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As we head into the fall, I’m thrilled with what God is giving us the opportunity to do in our student ministries. We will be “launching” leadership teams in Jr. High, Sr. High, and College/Career starting in September. Student Ministry is not an end in itself though, we have a goal or mission we are seeking to accomplish. As we minister to our young people, our desire is to take them from being children and bring them to maturity in the faith (Eph 4:11-16).There is nothing wrong with being a child, but many people stay childish long after they should have grown up, and many Christians stay children in the faith long after they should have been showing signs of maturity. Godly maturity lis someone who is God-loving, Word-filled, Ministry-minded, and Making-Disciples (Duet 6:1-9). Our desire is to engage in a student ministry that God would use to do a radical work of maturing in the lives of many teenagers. Our mission is to minister to our students and families in a way that would bring about God-loving, Word-filled, Ministry-minded, Disciplemakers.

I’m always on the lookout for good Old Testament resources. It seems that no matter how hard I work at it, the most challenging, perplexing, and disturbingly distant parts of the Bible are in the Old Testament. I know the whole, entire Bible is breathed out by God and profitable. (the New Testament says so). Getting to the profit, however, is frequently challenging. So reviewing these guidelines by Julian Freeman were good for me, and I hope they will be for you too.

I'm eagerly anticipating our annual BBQ and Baptism, which is just about a month away now. Each year, it's been such a delight to be together, eat some great food, and celebrate baptisms together. This is also a golden opportunity to serve our church family, and we certainly need your help! Below is a list of the service opportunities, so if you could look over the list and see where you'd like to serve I'd love to hear from you this week.

Newton continued his encouragement to Ryland, pointing him to trust in God and not Ryland's emotions or perceptions of God's blessings. Ryland would swing from despair that he was failing spiritually to concern that he wasn't being tested enough. Newton deals with both these extremes.

Although he's better known for writing Amazing Grace, John Newton was also a faithful pastor who excelled at another kind of writing. Newton wrote countless numbers of letters, some to members of his congregation, some to friends, some to the newspapers as editorials, and some to other pastors. Newton's letters to one pastor in particular, John Ryland Jr., have been gathered and organized in a book called Wise Counsel. This fascinating and helpful work functions as a mix between history, biography, and devotional reading. For the next few weeks, I'd like to share excerpts from "Letter Five," a letter designed to encourage a discouraged Ryland.