Streaming Camp

Hey, parents just wanted to let you know that we will be unable to stream the service.  Where we are having service is too far from the wifi.  The kids are doing great and we are having a great time at camp.  There has been such a wonderful sense of God’s presence and the kids have been so engaged in our times of worship and preaching.

April Virtue Packs are In!


Get them before they are Gone! This month is all about friendship. You can pick up your copy at the Coffee Bar in the Utica Campus.

A true friend will love you no matter what. Jesus explains His crucifixion and resurrection to a couple of mates on the trek to Emmaus (Luke 24).

A true friend will help you believe. Jesus, ever the ally, makes a surprise appearance to help Thomas defeat his doubts (John 20).

A true friend will make time for you. Jesus makes breakfast on the beach for His fishing companions (John 21).

A true friend will always be your friend. Jesus returns to heaven but will always be our comrade (Acts 1; Matthew 28).

April: Friendship

Got Your Back
Who’s got your back? You know, the one you trust with your closest secrets. The one who’ll tell you the truth, even if you don’t particularly want to hear it. The one you can call in the middle of the night. Do you have a friend like that? Sure, we’ve all got neighbors, acquaintances, associates, co-workers, and maybe even pals and cronies. But how many can you count as true friends …

… the mate who’s there for you when the going gets tough?
… the ally in your corner who has your best interests at heart?
… the companion who genuinely enjoys your company?
… the comrade who seriously is a BFF?

By fifth grade, many kids have figured out on their own that “friends come and friends go,” but they need someone to teach them “a true friend sticks by you like family” (Proverbs 18:24, THE MESSAGE). They need to know what a true friend is all about. And there’s no better friend (or model of a friend) than Jesus. Which is why we’ll be examining friendship, come April, through the lens of the Easter “story line.” Specifically:

A true friend will love you no matter what. Jesus explains His crucifixion and resurrection to a couple of mates on the trek to Emmaus (Luke 24).

A true friend will help you believe. Jesus, ever the ally, makes a surprise appearance to help Thomas defeat his doubts (John 20).

A true friend will make time for you. Jesus makes breakfast on the beach for His fishing companions (John 21).

A true friend will always be your friend. Jesus returns to heaven but will always be our comrade (Acts 1; Matthew 28).

So, who’s got your back? And just as important, whose back do YOU have?

March: Honesty

Have you ever seen the TV show Lie to Me? The Lightman Group (clever name, isn’t it, since light = truth, biblically speaking), made up of psychologists, researchers, and investigators, assist law enforcement and other government agencies in criminal investigations by detecting signs of deception in people’s voices, faces, and body language.

The premise behind it is simple and ordinary; the science complex and intriguing. Rather like honesty itself.

On the one hand, honesty is simple.
It always involves a choice.
We choose to tell the truth or to lie.
Honesty is ordinary, too.
Because every one of us,
from Adam and Eve to you and I,
chooses to be honest or dishonest on a daily basis.

On the other hand, honesty (and therefore
dishonesty) is complex and intriguing.
You can be honest (or dishonest) in your words, actions, and attitudes.
You can be honest (or dishonest) in what you don’t say or do, as well.
You can set out to lie, and
you can go along with someone else’s lie.
And then there are the multitudes of motives for
two-faced, duplicitous, and deceptive dealings.

When you’re not truthful, you hurt the people you should care about most.

Joseph’s brothers practiced so many forms of deceit in that whole sell-your-brother-as-a-slave episode you’ll weave quite a web recounting them all. (Genesis 37; 45)

Lying to hurt someone else really hurts YOU. Haman’s perfidious plot backfired on him. (Esther 3-5; 7)

Truthfulness builds friendships; dishonesty tears them down. Jesus gave even wee, little, fraudulent Zacchaeus a do-over. (Luke 19)

You can lie so much you forget what matters. Treacherous Judas forgot, or deceived himself, about what matters most. (Matthew 26; 27) Note that this week begins the Easter season and the Easter “story” in 252 Basics.

Honesty creates a safety net.
Honest thoughts, words, and actions weave together to
strengthen trusting, happy relationships with others and God.

Dishonesty creates a web.
Lies and deception weave a web that ensnares us,
tearing at the fabric of our relationships with others and God

So, help kids be careful about what they weave.