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January 2019

AT A GLANCE

 


 Having a Narrow Focus by Pastor Aaron Adame
Ministry at Hope Village by Kathy Becker
Personal Devotion by Bryan Lemly, Elder
Dreaming Big by Connor Southerton, Ministry Assistant

Growing Deeper This Year by Kari Johnson, Kids Ministry Assistant 


 

 
 
 

Having a Narrow Focus
 

aaron circle


by Pastor Aaron Adame




And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:42 esv)
 
It is an interesting thought, isn’t it? Having a narrow focus? What this doesn’t mean is being narrow-minded. For years, Christians have been criticized and labeled as bigoted and closed-minded to alternative beliefs or lifestyles. Ironically, those who do this are guilty of the same as they close off the possibility or plausibility of the Christian gospel (who are the closed-minded ones, really?). 
 
But this is not what having a narrow focus means. On the positive side of the term, it mostly refers to someone being focused, determined, and resolved in a particular area or work. Professional athletes are an excellent example of people who devote themselves holistically to their craft. The most noteworthy people in history are not those who have accomplished a lot of things in different areas. It is those who have devoted their lives in one area for a long period of time, thus setting a benchmark for their work. 
 
It isn’t skill or knowledge or experience that is typically the key, it is simply devotion. Narrow Focus 2
 
In the early church, after the miraculous work at Pentecost, we are presented with a snapshot of what life was like in the early church in Acts 2:42-47. It was simple, yet radical. It was tumultuous, yet filled with the shalom of God. There was persecution happening daily, yet there was joy and gladness of heart. The message we are meant to hear is obvious: God was at work among his people. 
 
But what was the first response of the people to this work? What part did they play in the work God was doing? Luke doesn’t describe it as faith, or repentance, or even obedience. Luke describes it as devotion.   
 
Devotion implies passion. It implies discipline when feelings pull us away. Devotion requires intentionality and sacrifice. Devotion is finding both joy in the process and vision for the goal and prize. 
 
The apostle Paul personally understood this idea of devotion when he wrote these words: 
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13–14 esv).
 
Could you say the same as Paul? Are you able to forget the past (good or bad) and move forward in hope and assurance of what God has in store for the future? 
 
As the sun rises on a new year in 2019, assessing your devotion is important as a follower of Christ. As a church, we desire to be a people who devote themselves to the biblical vision of loving Jesus, loving one another, and making disciples. Our strategy for doing this is not new—in fact, it is as old as the first-century church—we want to be devoted to God’s Word, prayer, the fellowship of believers, worship, mission, and active service. Instead of getting bogged down by trying to be creative and reinvent the wheel, let’s focus on what we do know and be devoted one hundred percent to that! 
 
We have so much to be thankful for as we reflect on 2018. There are lessons to be learned, as well as goals accomplished, and some still left on the table. But the beauty of a new year is that we get a fresh start. We can go back to the drawing board and see where we lost focus and make the necessary shifts and corrections. I invite you, as you enter into the new year, to spend some time thinking on your areas of devotion. Write down a short list of things you want to pursue passionately along with a manageable strategy to make it happen. 
 
Let 2019 be the year that you look back on and see a renewed and growing devotion in your faith! 
 
 
Pastor Aaron Adame 
 


Ministering at Hope Village

by Kathy Becker


There have been many books and articles written on aging, retirement, and just getting older. However, until you reach that time of your life, you don’t really know what you’re going to do or what it will look like.
 
I, too, have wondered what life would be like when I retired and moved to the Meadows at Hope Village.
 
There have been so many areas where God has used me in the lives of people here. It has been a blessing to help people by driving them to the doctor, the dentist, the airport; and helping them with life issues such as getting their mail, the laundry, opening jars, or setting up coffee day and game night—too many to add to the list.
 
It would seem that God uses me almost every day in some way. One of my greatest joys is praying with those going through a hard time, listening to hard situations, and offering some help for restoration.
 
In the evening I walk the halls and pray for those who are hurting and those who don’t know Jesus. My goal in life is and will always be to bring light in a dark world and help people to change the way they think about Jesus!
 
Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know. (Jeremiah 33:3 nasb)

 

 


 

Personal Devotion

by Bryan Lemly, Elder

 
Asking someone about their personal disciplines in regards to their faith is similar to asking people what version of the Bible is the best. Simply put, the answer is whatever you will read or stick with. For me, my devotional times and norms have shifted and changed depending on what I could stick with and stay committed to. Through the years, I have had early morning or late evening quiet times, audio Bibles, Bible studies, and a variety of Bible reading plans. It’s about finding the method that works best for me during that season of life. Now, these different methods have proven their level of engagement, effectiveness, and relevance to me just like different versions of the Bible through the years.
 
Ruth ScriptureA year and a half ago, I began a chronological Bible-reading plan that challenged believers to read through the Bible in 90 days. My personal reading commitment lasted about 120 days. I found that this reinvigorated my faith and refreshed my desire to know God’s Word. When I committed to this plan, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it in 90 days. However, the context that the 90-day chronological method gave me in conjunction with the goal of reading a large amount each day proved to be a very beneficial challenge. You see, spending that much time in the Word helped me to more clearly hear God’s voice in my prayer life. It also led to my current season of deeper prayer, worship, time in the Bible, as well as reading other books to build my faith and knowledge. 
 
Staying committed to reading God’s Word over a 120-day period has created a habit that grew into a refined passion for remaining devoted to Christ in all I do. This has been imperative as I have walked through this most current season of life. The benefit of creating a habit is that as I depend on God’s promises, I know them well. Filling my mind with God’s Word and spending time in prayer for God’s will and peace makes being devoted to His works and Kingdom purposes far easier to face and be obedient to. I can commit to being devoted to Christ and His call on my life, in the way I serve, the way I live, and the way I follow Him because of these disciplines. As I finish out this year once again in the familiar place of leaning into God’s promises that He will direct me, guide me, guard me and uphold me, my devotion to Him grows. 
 
As I mentioned before, finding a rhythm and plan that works for you is important. Most recently, I have been spending time in the Word while in conjunction with listening through the New Testament while I drive to various meetings for work.  I rotate reading the Word with reading through the 9Marks series. Reading God’s Word and listening to God’s Word while reading through the 9Marks series has had a substantial effect on me. I have had multiple instances on the way to a meeting where the audio Bible starts right at a point that is beyond relevant to the situation I am driving to or the life circumstances I was just praying through.
 
You see, if you use methods or habits to maintain your devotion that don’t work for you and that you cannot maintain in your daily or weekly routine, at the very least, you will find yourself restricted or discouraged in your daily devotions; even more so, you might miss what God is trying to do in your life or teach you through your circumstances. One of my family’s favorite stories of devotion is of Ruth’s devotion to Naomi. Andrea and I often relate our devotion to each other via Ruth 1:16.
 
This is an example of how Christ loves the church, and also how we are to respond to Him in love and devotion. I want and am called to nothing more than to chase God in a way that reflects Ruth’s devotion to Naomi.
 
But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go, I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16 niv)
 
 


Dreaming Big

 
Connor

by Connor Southerton
 
 
I have been at Canby Christian as a staff member for six months now. Wow! That came fast! It has been so amazing to watch and grow with this church body. I have loved the time I have spent building relationships, learning, and growing with this body. 
 
I love being able to oversee the First Impressions teams here at Canby Christian Church. In the last six months, we have seen great improvement in our organization, commitment to doing things with excellence, and an uptick in quality. While some of these things were logistical, the biggest contributing factor to the improvement of First Impressions is our volunteers. I am beyond grateful for the amazing volunteer base that serves the church—from coffee to food services, to our host team, to safety and security. These different teams help facilitate an awesome experience on Sunday mornings! We have had a great end to 2018, but now the question is where are we going in 2019?
 
As most people know I tend to dream and dream big. Someone once told me that I live 500 steps in the future. They are not wrong! I believe 2019 is going to be a big year for CCC. I believe God is going to work in mighty ways through His church this coming year. As I begin to plan out 2019 in the realm of First Impressions, I am seeking God’s direction.
 
The question that comes to my mind is this: What is the goal of First Impressions? The answer is simple. I believe we do what we do so that anyone who comes to CCC can see that we take God seriously. We love being at church and in community with His people, and we want anyone and everyone to be a part of it. We want to create an environment that facilitates hospitality, comfort, and ease for people who have come here for a lifetime and for people who might have waited a lifetime to finally come to church.
 
In 2019 I desire to continue to find ways to improve our ability to create an engaging and comfortable environment for all people. Talking briefly about our teams, we see a unique vision for each of them:
 
Safety and Security Team: This team exists to facilitate a safe environment for kids and adults alike to worship and have community. They are not security guards—they are loving fathers, husbands, mothers, wives, and grandparents. Often, you might not even know who they are on Sundays, and that’s the way they like it!
 
Coffee and Food Services Teams: These teams are dedicated to providing you with a delicious cup of coffee, some juice, and a snack for you and your family. We all know how important coffee and food is, so we hope you appreciate their efforts. We are always looking for new and creative ways to improve our snack game!
 
Host Team: This team is a wide spread of people. These are the people that help your kids get checked into class, serve communion, greet you, and hold an umbrella for you. These people love serving you and have a desire for you to feel warm and welcome from the time you step out of your car. They are trained and ready to help you. Feel free to ask!
 
The people who serve on these teams are some of the best people I know. We love serving you, and we would love for you to join us in serving the church! My prayer is simple for 2019. I desire for the Lord to “add to their number daily” (Acts 2:47).
 
Thank you Canby Christian Church!
 

 
 
 

Growing Deeper This Year


Kari Johnson            

by Kari Johnson, Kids Ministry Director
 
 
I always love the start of a new year and an opportunity to look forward to what’s ahead. Even today I spent time preparing the yearly calendar for CCKids, and I’m pretty excited about what 2019 has in store!  
 
This year will be a foundational year for CCKids as we build a new ministry and really focus on Growth pull quoteleadership as we continue to develop personal relationships with the kids and their families. We will be using a new curriculum called Grow that is designed to offer kids opportunities to grow in four essential spiritual habits: spending time with God, sharing your story, spending time with others, and using your gifts. All year we’ll focus on these four essentials as we grow disciples who not only love Christ but also are also comfortable talking about it and sharing it with others.  
 
We have 39 kids’ leaders! I hope to grow that number even more in 2019 as we seek and prepare to welcome new families to Canby Christian. In January, there will be a training meeting for all leaders that will not only go through policy and procedure but will sharpen our vision of what it means to “lead small.”  I’m really excited to work with the leaders and help them catch a grander, more personal vision for leading in kids’ ministry.

This ministry isn’t about taking care of kids on Sundays. It’s about valuing and caring for our next generation of Jesus' followers. It’s about being there for them and creating a safe place where they can grow in their faith. It’s about partnering with families to help lead their children on their faith journey. It’s really exciting to think about these 39 amazing leaders growing deeper this year.
 
As the kids move out of the adult worship service on a regular basis, I’m really looking forward to building some fun and relevant worship times for both our preschool and elementary ages.  There are fantastic resources for kids’ worship that include motions and lyrics that are easy to penetrate these young hearts. I’m excited for the kids to dance around and worship with their peers in meaningful ways. It’s my desire that the leaders will be so blessed as they watch and engage with these kids who learn to love to worship and to worship freely. There is something so beautiful about childlike faith and worship, and as adults, we have so much we can learn from them.
 
In addition to these immediate things, I’m also looking forward to continued partnership with the Middle School program. Connor and I are already working on our promotion Sunday transition that will take place in June. It’s our desire to make the transition seamless and meaningful as our 6thgraders move on to Middle School. I’m thankful for a devoted youth team in Neal and Connor who are so diligent in creating experiences where our youth meet Jesus. Their partnership with CCKids is important as we all work together to grow our next generation to be the church. I’m very blessed to work with not only an amazing staff team but an amazing volunteer team as well! 2019, here we come!