Why spend time studying the Bible?
Mel Tavares (C) 2017
What profit is there from investing hours, days, weeks, months, or years in studying the Word of God?
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
We study, not just to show ourselves approved (as 2 Timothy exhorts us to). We study, not just for our own benefit, so that we may live righteous and holy lives before our Living God and Savior. We also must study to become equipped for every good work, regardless of our particular area of calling to the ministry. The Bible provides spiritual truth in doctrine; reproof in showing our imperfections; correction by revealing our sinful failures; and instruction in living a righteous life.
We minister to people from all walks of life. They are broken and hurting, empty and despondent. Whether they be in prison, prostituting themselves on the streets, dealing with a chronic illness, or are the rich man (or woman) sitting in a business meeting; they need to answers to their questions. They need healing. They are captives that need to be set free. They are parents that need to know how to deal with their kids, the addict who needs deliverance.
We are on the brink of revival here in New England, and we here in Connecticut are going to be instrumental in the revival. Revival happens when people decide enough is enough and they can no longer deal with living with what this world has to offer, and they cry out to God. When hundreds, yea thousands, yea tens of thousands begin to cry out and hunger and thirst after God-revival breaks out. When revival begins to break out (as it is now, with embers of revival fires beginning to burn), spiritually hungry and hurting people are going to turn to us for answers. We must be ready and equipped, for there will be no time to start learning at that point. If a water main breaks in town, there is an immediate need for an equipped workman to step in with his toolbox and knowledge and immediately remedy the breach. So it is with ministering to people. We need to be ready, because the floodgates are beginning to open.
We know there is no deficiency in the Bible for man, in any of the situations in which we may be in life. Every situation that I just mentioned and so many more, are addressed in the Word of God. Who in this world is not concerned about finances? If they turn to us for answers, we must be ready to point them to the 2200+ Scriptures that deal with money issues. The lonely, the broken hearted, those who have succumbed to a myriad of temptations then repented and are now looking for a roadmap of how to live….these are the ones who are all around us and are beginning to cry out for answers. Where the Bible is silent on specifics—such as where a young person should go to college—then we are to apply biblical principles (good stewardship of God-given resources, protecting one’s heart and mind from godless influences, etc.) to the situation while at the same time allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal direction. Regardless of the situation a person is facing, answers are found within the Bible.
The revival fires are smoldering and we must study to be equipped with a full toolbox, ready to give answers to the hope that lies within us, but also with real answers for real issues people are facing. I read this quote recently “Christians need not go down to the Philistines to whet their tools, nor be beholden to unwritten traditions, or to the writings of pagan philosophers, for directions what to do, how to worship God, or manage any part of their conversation, either as to their general calling, or as to their particular relations. The answers are in the Word of God”
We must have tools at our disposal for when they are needed and necessary in our lives and in the lives of those around us. You have some knowledge. Some of us may have much knowledge. But, we know that the mysteries of God are deep and we must continue to study God’s Word, the Bible. Where ever you find yourself today in this journey, however far you have already come, know that there are always more tools to be added to your toolbox for ministry. Continue to study, continue to learn, continue to be equipped; so that you may live righteous and holy lives and that you may be effective when ministering to others!
Here are three questions for you to consider:
- How do you share your faith in the real world?
- How do you live out your faith online?
- How do you see other sharing their faith online?
We are called to preach the gospel to all nations. It should be our goal to go beyond preaching the gospel to all people. Rather, we should purpose to make disciples of them. A large part of making disciples is teaching and equipping believers (Christ followers), that they may be prepared to live the life Christ has called them to.
When we disciple, we are intentional about creating a Biblical community of believers who are passionately committed, sensitive and submitted, are mission driven, are family oriented and keep family as a priority, ones who are responsible citizens, and are evangelistically bold.
Technology pervades nearly every aspect of our daily lives, especially those of our youth and millennial adults, and yet we rarely talk about it in our churches. In this media-driven world that we live in, utilizing digital platforms for ministry has never been easier. Today’s youth are ‘digital natives’ who are tech savvy and already using every possible platform of media.
People carry powerful smartphones and tablets, and they work daily on desktop and laptop computers. They are continually plugged into the internet and social networks—technologies which have completely saturated our daily lives and work. Nearly all students and adults have smartphones, and even if they aren’t checking them, they are fiddling around in their purses and pockets checking for them.
Social media saturates our daily lives, like eating breakfast and taking the bus to school or commuting to work, so much so that not sharing our feelings in images and updates would be foreign, even in our faith lives.
Why not use the digital platforms to spread the gospel, equip believers, and create disciples?:
What Can You Do?
You can tweet prayers and post happenings on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Also, liberally use Instagram and Facebook Live, share the VCC App, Use the hashtag #VCCinCT, and numerous other possibilities. If you use these platforms, be sure to interact with the VCC media pages, share the posts, retweet etc. By doing so, the VCC reach will expand into your sphere of influence.
You can connect with others and connect them to God and to our church by giving them glimpses of what God is doing in people’s lives through the ministries of Victory Christian Church. Invite them to events, share the news and announcements with them, and get them connected here at VCC.
You can help people grow and become equipped by posting encouraging Scriptures, graphics, articles, insights and more.
Learn More About Qualities of a Disciple
VCC’s Senior Pastor, Peter Leal spent several sessions preaching a series called ‘The 10 Qualities of a Disciple’. You can listen to the full series on the VCC church APP or on our YouTube channel.
About the Author: Mel is currently the Communications Director at VCC. She is the founder of VCC's Kingdom Writers Ministries. Prior to coming to VCC, Mel worked for over 15 years as a journalist, freelance content writer, and editor. (After 20 years in the field of Rehab/Special Education) She is the published author of 2 books and is working on a 3rd one. She is a Bible School student and loves to expend her days ministering in one way or another. Mel is 'Joe's Wife', mom/stepmom to 1 high school senior, 6 adult kids and several sons-in-laws, and is soon to welcome grandbabies #8 & 9 to the family.
Liz Hall ® 2017
As I drove down a familiar street early one morning I noticed smoke coming from a building I had driven by many times. It was a large structure and had been reconstructed into individual apartments. I’m not sure how many people lived there but I had always guessed it was quite a few based on the number of cars in the adjacent lot and the activity in and around the place.
Seeing the smoke my heart began to race and I quickly pulled over, slammed the car into park and ran towards the front entrance. This was dangerous; someone had to warn these people. Not thinking I ran into the foyer and surprisingly through a door into the hallway. I frantically began knocking on doors.
To my dismay the first few doors did not open in response to my knocking and I didn’t know if there was anyone home or if they just chose not to respond. Were they sleeping? Did they not hear me? How could I warn them of the danger if they did not respond? Desperate to get the message out I moved on.
I felt relieved as the next few doors were opened by occupants who received my warnings and left for safety outside of the building. I was so thankful they were free from danger, but within a few minutes I saw that once they were safe a few decided they had left something of importance behind and returned inside towards the imminent danger. “No”, I pleaded, “don’t go back, stay safely outside”, but I could not dissuade them from returning to the burning building.
I continued on. Incredulously, there were some who opened their doors but upon not knowing who I was did not believe me. They did not smell the smoke and were not alarmed by the commotion; they were convinced the message was not for them. They had no visible proof of smoke or fire and decided they could just go about their lives convinced they would be ok. I begged, pleading with them to please come away from the danger. I warned them that staying meant they may be consumed by fire, smoke and impending death. I told them I knew the way out and they could be free from this danger, but it seemed as though they neither heard nor understood my words.
I quickly moved to other doors and floors in the building. Some people had already smelled the smoke and were on their way to safety. As other apartment doors opened in response to my knocking the occupants who were warned of the smoke and impending flames heard and understood. They responded accordingly. They heeded my words and fled the danger heading towards the outside where they could be free from being burned, overtaken by smoke inhalation or possible death.
In the end some were saved but sadly some were not. They all received the same message of danger that could lead to death but all did not hear or respond.
Jesus said “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving’. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them” Matt 13: 13-15
About the Author: Liz is a founding member of the Kingdom Writers Ministry of VCC, and is the Vice-President of the Chapter Board. She has written extensively, been published on multiple occassions, and is the author of a published memoir/tribute. She is the director of the VCC Singles Ministry, is a lover of all things outdoors, of music, of dogs and of her family.
God took a hold of me and led me through His Spirit to an open valley that was filled with many bones. These bones were all around the valley – strewn about, lying there on the ground without life – they seemed like they had been lying there for a long time for all the bones were very dry. I didn’t know why the Lord had led me to this valley of dry bones, so I asked him.
“Lord, why have you led me to this place?”
“Tell me, son, what do you see here?” He replied. I wasn’t sure what He was going to show me with this, but I answered the question anyways.
“Well, I see a large open valley filled with bones. Dry bones. Everywhere I look in this place, I can only see these bones.”
“Do they have any life in them, child?” God asked me. I found this question a little silly seeing as I had just told Him that these bones were dry.
“No, I don’t think they have any life in them. I don’t mean to sound rude, Lord, but I just told you that these bones are all dry. Isn’t that a sure sign of death?” I inquired. There was a sudden burst of wind. The bones shook in the breeze as did the bare branches of the trees. This whole land seemed dead.
“Yes, that is a sign of death, isn’t it? May you please do me a small favor, Son?”
“What may I do for you, Lord?” I wondered if he wanted me to dispose of these bones and make the valley look alive again.
“Tell these bones to come alive.”
“What? Are you serious?”
“Yes, tell these bones to come alive. I would like you to tell them a prophetic message.”
“What might this message be?”
“I would like you to look at these dry bones and say, ‘This is a prophetic message from the Sovereign Lord. The Lord says: Take heart! For I am going to put breath back into you and bring life into your bones once again! I am going to put muscles and flesh onto your bones and cover them with skin as they once were! I am going to put breath into you once again, and you will come to life! Then you will know that I am Lord.’” A gentle breeze blew at this message and for the first time, I noticed there was a stream flowing nearby. I carefully navigated through the bones and watched the stream flow gently. There were small fish swimming about and many aquatic plants thriving. This was a representation of life in a place full of death.
So, I looked at all the dry bones around me and spoke the message that the Lord had given me. As I spoke, the bones rattled and started to come together. Soon, they formed skeletons. I kept speaking the message from the Lord, and the skeletons formed muscles and skin to cover the muscles.
“What do I say now, Lord?” I asked. “These bones have formed bodies, but they do not breathe.”
“I want you to speak a prophetic message to the four winds. I want you to speak to them and say, ‘This is a prophetic message from the Sovereign Lord saying: Come, breath of the four winds! Come and breathe into these dead bodies so that they may live once again!’”
I looked about the valley and the calm stream. Then I spoke the prophetic message as the Lord had instructed me to. All at once, the wind started to howl. It didn’t come from just one direction, but it came from all four! They came into the valley saying, “Breathe, O, Breath of God!” and filled each body with life once again. The bodies all came their feet and formed a great army. I was astonished at the sight of this.
“My son,” the Lord said lovingly, “This army of bones represents the people of Israel. They are crying out saying, ‘We have become old and dry bones! All of our hope is lost, and our nation is finished!’ I want you to go them and speak – just as you did to these bones. I want you to speak a prophetic message to them and say, ‘This is a prophetic message from the Sovereign Lord. The Lord speaks to you and says: ‘My people, I am will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise up once again. Then, I will bring you back to the land of Israel. When this happens, my people, then you will know that I am the Lord, your one and only God. I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live once again and return to your own land – your home. Then you will know that I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken, and I have done what I said. Yes, the Lord has spoken!”
I stood in the valley, and looked around at all I had done – the army of men that were dry bones not too long ago, the once bare trees had gotten their leaves back, and birds filled these trees and filled the valley with their song – and decided to go to the people of Israel and tell them the Lord’s message. If I could make a great army out of dry bones, I thought, what great things will the Lord allow me to do with the people of Israel?
About the Author: Mollie Astromowicz has been a part of the Kingdom Writer's Ministry throughout her high school years and continues to be a vital part during her college years. Mollie is studying Early Childhood Education and serves faithfully at VCC in the Children's Ministry. She is a gifted, anointed, and prolific writer across multiple genres. Her poetry and short stories are inspirational to all who read them. Here is an insightful piece:
Our neighbor had a mighty tree
That grew with a lean of 45 degrees.
Every time we had a bad storm
I thought that it might fall
But through blizzards and hurricanes, wind and snow,
that tree stood strong and tall.
The other day to my dismay,
They cut that old tree down
To protect the electric wires, I presume,
as they did so many other trees in town.
I learned a lot from that old tree.
And hated to see it go.
I, too, find it hard to stand up straight
As age and gravity take their toll.
But like that tree I’m determined to stand
No matter what trials life brings.
I will be strong and courageous
Standing firm in the faith
For I know God is with me through everything.
About the Author: Joan Monahan has been a long time member and Women's Bible teacher at VCC. She is one of the founding Board members of VCC's Kingdom Writers Ministry. Her writings are extensive and she has been published in many genres. Most recently, she was published by Blue Moutain Cards. As a "70-something", Joan expanded her genres to writing Children's books. Her first book has been published and the sequel will be out soon. Joan lives in Middlefield.
“This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” John 11: 4
Jesus had just received a message that his beloved friend Lazarus was ill. Jesus responded with what seemed like little concern. He said it was not unto death, but for the glory of God. Jesus waited two days before he headed to Judea, a place that had threatened to stone him earlier, his disciples even reminded him. Jesus tells them, Lazarus is sleeping and he is going to wake him up. His disciples thought Jesus meant Lazarus was resting, but Jesus was saying Lazarus was dead. Jesus said he was glad, for the sake of his disciples that he was not there when Lazarus died, it was intended to add to their faith. Four days after Lazarus died, Jesus arrives to the home of Lazarus’ sisters. Martha ran out to Jesus and said her brother would not have died if Jesus, in whom she believed could have healed him, had been there to do just that. For four days Lazarus laid in his grave, already beginning to stink, Jesus said to Martha, “Thy brother shall rise again.” Martha is thinking, the resurrection of the last day, while Jesus is talking about ‘today’, in the flesh. Jesus states, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”
One can sense the humanity and compassion Christ had when he looked at Mary, who proclaimed the same words as Martha, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died”, and also as he saw the grief that the sisters and the crowd displayed, Jesus groaned and was troubled. Jesus, now at the grave, weeps. Once again, he groans after he hears others proclaim, “Why didn’t he heal Lazarus like he did others?”, after all he loved Lazarus. Did they not know? Did they forget? Already a young girl and a soldiers son was brought back to life… resurrected and returned to their loved ones. Jesus, right on time, prays, thanking God our father, for hearing him, and for responding. With a loud voice, Jesus cries out “Lazarus, come forth”. Lazarus exits the grave, bound and covered in grave clothes, Jesus proclaims “Loose him, and let him go”. After witnessing this glorious event, many more believed on the Lord Jesus and who he was.
Of course the Pharisees, instead of embracing Christ, grew concern over the potential that the Romans would come and take their place, and their nation. Yet, Gods perfect plan required another death. And so it goes, despite the threats, Christ continues to reveal who He was. Eventually, as prophesied, Christ is crucified. Jesus told them this was to happen so that God would be glorified. Why then, should one be surprised, or disbelieve in His resurrection, after all, through others He already displayed the resurrection life three times! Before the time of the cross, Christ performed many miracles. Just like Mary and Martha asked regarding Lazarus, one could ask, as the soldiers did, why did Jesus not save Himself from such a torturous death? Because, without death, there is no resurrection, without the resurrection there is no glory. Jesus, the lamb, as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, died, but not held down, was resurrected and in doing so also gave us, who believe, the promise of our own resurrection yet to come, leading us forever into eternal glory with our Heavenly Father.
Do not be surprised. What He has done for others, He will also do for you, if only you would believe. Romans 10: 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. An earthly, flesh resurrection is not guaranteed for us – yet we know it is possible; but eternal life is surely ours, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Help us, Lord Jesus, to trust you in all things. Help us to seek your face daily; please give us the eyes to see you and the ears to hear you. We place our hope in you alone, knowing full well you hold our future in your hands. We are a stubborn people, you told us three times – you showed us three times – the resurrection power you have. We thank you that you did not stop there, but you also personally raised from the dead, victorious and triumphant over the grave. Thank you for the suffering you endured on our behalf, thank you for the victories you won for us, and thank you for the gift of eternal life. To you alone we give honor, praise and glory!
ABOUT DEB: Deb is a founding member of the Kingdom Writers Ministry of Victory Christian Church and is also the Director of the VCC Photography Ministry. As a long-time member of VCC, she serves faithfully at the church, is currently working toward her degree in Web & Graphic Design, and is the owner of 'Heart Marks'.
Christmas decorations, music and holiday cheer rise up during December, here in the great USA. Most of us content in our warm comfy houses, full bellies and worry free. For some, the biggest stress is what to buy someone for Christmas, what outfit to wear, and what should be on the menu. Many will never know what it’s like to be desperate for shelter, for food or for life essentials. However, there are those that do, on a daily basis, struggle to meet their necessary needs. There are men, women and children in cold, foodless homes, or on the streets. We call them the less fortunate. Some call them the unwanted, the scoundrels, the slackers, the moochers too lazy to work for themselves. We call them bad names, and with lack of compassion we turn our eyes away to forget them.
While some children witness true horrors in life, others are living the very sweet life.
While some children fear for their lives, others are abusing theirs.
While some parents must put their lives on the line daily to protect their children,
There are those who misuse their authority and strength towards their own.
For some life is like a bed of roses, rainbows and dreamy days.
For some, their worst struggle cannot even compare to the struggles of another.
While we love, hug, provide for and teach our children to grow mature as hard working responsible people there are others who are teaching children evil ways. Even more so, beyond the great USA, children are being taught to rise up, handle weapons and to kill. This is the worst of evil, and if you are not for them, you are against them; and if you are against them, they are being trained to come for you.
Do not be deceived. This evil has no respect. The world has gone mad. Evil is rampant. Yet in all the chaos, a quiet voice can still be heard. While folks battle between xmas and Christmas, Jesus remains with open arms for all who will receive Him. In these days the world groans with unspeakable pains that never should have ever been needed to utter
This is the reality of life, and even if it is ignored, it’s still real. There is hope even in the darkest of places. Love can cover the multitude, love can restore and heal, love can bring peace. Yes, it’s possible. Love awaits, even as a flicker, it can spread like wild fire. Genuine love comes from God; without Him there is darkness. Choose love, choose God. Love is contagious in the most marvelous of ways.
Please, pray for those in harms way, and if you can, do something more.
John 13:34 " A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another;as I have loved you, that you also love one another."
I’m always on time, prompt, early even. I blame my mother. As kids we were the first ones to arrive anywhere we went. I remember her taking us to the beach in the summer. We had an hour long drive before we arrived at Ocean Beach in New London, CT. We were kids and very excited to be spending a day at the beach. How were we to know we’d show up before they opened? We had to wait patiently until they opened the gates. Then we would grab all of our stuff and make our way to the beach to sit in fog with no visibility of the water. “Be patient”, my Mom would say “it will lift”. And so it did, and we enjoyed a sunny day at the beach and were able to leave for home in plenty of time before the traffic picked up.
Now, there is nothing wrong with being on time. It has its advantages but it also has some disadvantages. When you’re on time or early to a meeting you don’t miss what people may have said before you showed up. No need to ask people to re-cap what you missed. On the other hand, you may have to re-cap for those late arrivers. Arriving early you can sometimes beat the traffic and even get a good parking space. Alternatively, if you want to be fashionably late somewhere, say to a singles holiday party – it is nearly impossible. Trust me, I’ve tried it. Upon failing, I was forced to sit in the car at the venue in order to not look like the first geek who showed up on time. Arriving early you can also have the pick of the best seats. This last benefit however, can also become a disadvantage. The early arriver who saves seats for their friends sets a precedent; they are now always expected to save a seat. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem saving seats for my friends and assuring they will be close by. However, in setting my early arrival precedent, I have also taught my friends to be less than prompt. Truly, I’m not finding fault or judging. It’s just that on those rare occasions where I’m tired or running late, my seat will not have been saved for me.
It was during a recent occasion where a friend said “save me a seat” that I struggled, ever so slightly, to not be irritated. But then my spirit prompted me to think of the time where I will leave this earthly body and graduate to my heavenly home. As I continued to think on this my countenance displayed a huge smile as I imagined my savior greeting me with a warm hug and saying “Liz, I’m so glad you’re here. I’ve been waiting for you. You are right on time and I have saved you a seat”.
"In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2 (NASB)
How do we tell a story? From the beginning of time stories have been told, one person to another and then later recorded in written language. Today, stories are told through pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. One look at our social media and everyone it seems has a story to tell. From the dinner on our plate, to our vacation photos, to children’s achievements, we tell our story all day long with quickly snapped pictures on our cell phone. Our lives in photos are everywhere. I’m not a photographer but I do love photography. I have some friends that are exceptional photographers and they regularly flood my social media with stunning images spreading their love of vibrant color, contrast and composition for all to see. I also like to snap pictures of especially beautiful scenes, stunning sunsets or spectacular cloud formations that I come across with plans of incorporating them into a painting in the future. I am continually collecting the colors of the rainbow.
I also enjoy black and white photography as I find it has a special ability to tell a tale and convey strong emotions with its varying degrees of whites and greys, light and shadows. Many of us grew up in a colorful world that was depicted back to us in the black and white media of the time. Our old family photo albums and memories of television are in black and white. Despite the lack of color they hold treasured memories for us. But, if we think back, our black and white entertainment was no less emotionally colorful; we laughed and cried just the same.
So what is it about an image that conveys a story to us? Why are capturing light, darkness and color so emotionally engaging? It is widely accepted that darkness is associated with negativity, danger, even evil. In photography the negative is a complete reversal of the original image. Light on the other hand is the thing that makes vision possible. Light reveals what the darkness hides; it reveals the truth. Light is the truth and darkness is the opposite. Color is what the eye perceives after light is reflected off of an object; without light there is no color.
It is currently fall in New England and we are surrounded with color. I walk in my yard and drive along the highways and byways and my eyes are flooded with the light God spoke into existence and his creation which reflects all the colors of the rainbow. God colors my world with light and truth, in him there is no darkness. We may tell stories all day long with our snap chats, our instagrams and facebook posts but in truth we are telling God’s story. We are his creation, fashioned in his image and able to reflect his goodness. It is true, we are captivated by an image that tells a story and we desire to leave a mark and tell our own story. God colors our world, but it is our choice whether we want to be a reflection of the light or the darkness. We all love a story, what will yours be?
And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. Gen 1:4
And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight…Gen 2:8-9
They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. Ephesians 4:18
About the Author
Liz Hall is a founding member of the VCC Kingdom Writers Ministry and has been active since the formation five years ago. She is a published author and gifted writer. She serves on the Kingdom Writers ACW Board as Vice-President. She is also a co-director of the VCC Singles of Integrity Ministry.
If we are to strive to become more like Christ, we must always be looking for opportunities to serve others.
Matthew 20: 28 tells us “The Son of Man (Jesus) did not come to be served, but to serve.” Mark 10:45 states the same. In Philippians 2:7, we are reminded that Jesus made himself nothing by taking on the very nature of a servant.
If we are to serve, what is it that we are to do? Jesus answers that question for us in John 13:15. “I have set you an example, that you should do as I have done for you.”
Serve Your Family
Parents have the difficult task of caring for, teaching, training up, and nurturing their children. In Deuteronomy 6:7 the Lord is clear about when we must teach children His commandments. “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” That is pretty clear! Spouses loving and serving one another is essential for healthy marriages, but also demonstrates to the rest of the family, how Christ served others.
Serve One Another
Here at Victory, we are all about serving one another. When you drive into the parking lot, you are greeted by a team of attendants. When you enter the foyer, the Care Team is there greeting you. Enter the Fellowship Hall and a team of volunteers is serving behind the coffee bar. You’ll find another team serving in the Children’s Church ministry, making it possible for hundreds of children to attend classes during service. There are ushers, media teams, and the worship team all serving throughout the service. Special events bring the opportunity to serve on the food ministry, the set-up/break-down team, and much more. Serving one another is what we do!
Serve in the Community
There are many opportunities to serve in the communities surrounding our church. Our youth group recently collected diapers and other items for the ABC Women’s Shelter. Our Shield and Fearless groups (20 something’s) recently served at a local soup kitchen on Easter Weekend.
What Ever Happened to Sunday Dinners?
(C) 2015 Mel Tavares
There was a time ‘back in the day’, when families gathered ritually around the dinner table every Sunday. Often, dinners were held at Grandma’s house after church. Meals were home-cooked, sometimes prepared just by the hostess and sometimes it was a pot-luck gathering. Roasts, casseroles, fresh breads, and decadent desserts are all a part of the Sunday dinner tradition. Each dish is carefully and lovingly prepared and served.
While the food itself is enjoyed immensely, it is not as important as all of the connections that happen around the dinner table. The dinner table is the place were events of the day or week are shared, history is passed down to the next generation, jokes are told and laughter abounds, and memories are made. Depending upon the family, deeper things of the Lord may be pondered, as well.
The demise of the tradition of Sunday dinners is primarily due to the busy schedules of both children and adults. Simply put, people are too busy to stop and eat together and spend an afternoon doing family based activities. Contrary to popular opinion, it is the adult schedules (not the kid’s sports games) which are contributing the most to the decline.
Columbia University's National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse released studies, the results of which indicate that children whose families eat meals together have better life outcomes. In other words, keeping kids busy with activities and giving them access to the online world is not enough to keep them out of trouble. They need to be connected to their family, to be plugged in to what is going on in their own home, and to feel loved and that their lives matter.
It is certain that few parents would ever intentionally negate the responsibility and necessity of nurturing the most basic needs of kids of all ages. More likely, it is simply losing sight of the importance of sitting down to dinner together. Many times, it is a matter of needing to make the choice to give up good things in order to make room for the best. There will always be several options of activities to do on a given Sunday afternoon, but few supersede the joy of being with family.
If you find yourself or family members working or otherwise unable to do the traditional Sunday dinner, we suggest finding another day of the week that can be set aside as a fun, family dinner time. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate meal. A pizza or taco night is sure to be a hit with family members of all ages. More important than what we eat is the fact that we sit and connect with each other.
Once you do come together, purpose to actually ‘be present’. Electronics are a major distraction, and nothing is sadder than seeing a family sit down to eat together, and within minutes everyone is on their phones. We must each decide that the phones will be in another room, rather than be allowed to intrude on the sacred time that is set aside to spend together. Rather, we must purpose to once again be story tellers to the younger generations, sharing the rich heritage that can be handed down through coming generations. We must intentionally connect with each other on a deeper level, for the sole purpose of developing relationships that are intended to become an interwoven support network and the strength in times of need.
About Mel: Mel Tavares is the Communications Director at VCC. She is also the founder of Kingdom Writers Ministry at VCC. Mel is a current Bible school student, is a seasoned writer/teacher and published author. Her heart is to encourage and equip believers by teaching Biblical truths with life applications.
Are you one of the people who seems to be ‘on the go’ 24/7? It is easy to get sucked into the rat-race lifestyle of working, maintaining a household, and even recreating seven days a week. The truth of the matter is that inventions, discoveries, and material possessions now cause many of us to be ‘in gear’ 24/7. We rush here and hurry there, but where are we going to? We have no time to just rest.
In Genesis 2:2, God sets the example for us to follow, regarding the necessity of resting. “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.”
There are many (over 100) Scripture references regarding the importance of keeping the Sabbath. It is clear that this a command from the Lord, not a mere suggestion. Deuteronomy 5:12 says “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you.” In fact, the keeping of the Sabbath is so important to the Lord that he listed it as one of the Ten Commandments. Exodus 20: 8-11 Remember (fill your mind again and again with) the Sabbath day to sanctify it (just as God had done during the creation). Six days shall you work and accomplish all your work; but the seventh day is Sabbath to the Lord, your God: you shall not do any work – you, your son, your daughter, your servant, your animal, and the stranger within your gates – for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it (regarded it as sacred or holy).
All of Creation Needs Rest
Farmers know that land needs to rest. They purposefully rotate fields and allow some a season of rest, to replenish the nutrients. The human body requires rest. On a micro level, if the heart did not rest between beats, it would stop working. If a person exercises extensively without resting between, he would become weaker and weaker. The body requires rest. If you push through your week, full speed ahead 24/7 and do not take the time to refresh your spirit, you will become depleted-getting weaker and weaker. Not only will you be weaker in the spirit, but in your physical body as well.
Still not convinced that Sundays can change your whole week? It is important to realize the reason the Lord tells us to keep the Sabbath, is for our blessing. If we do as He commands, we will (1) prosper and (2) be successful. We will even (3) be granted sleep. (4) Our joy will be in the Lord. He promises to cause us to (5) ride triumphantly on the heights of the land.
If you purpose in your heart to make it your Sabbath day and begin preparing for it like it's the highlight of your week, your Sunday experience can provide a beautiful rest and rhythm to the rest of your life.
Joshua 1:8 “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
Isaiah 58: 13-14 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Psalm 127:2 “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat, for he grants sleep to those he loves.”
Click this link and read 84 more verses on the Sabbath.
by Mel Tavares
Do you love going to the house of the Lord? Do you look forward, expectantly, to the mid-week service or Sunday service? Is it with great joy that you leave work on Thursday, eager to make your way to church? Do you set your alarm for Sunday morning, anticipating meeting with the Lord in the corporate worship services?
I was glad when they said unto me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord”. Psalm 122:1 It is with great joy that each believer (Christian) should look forward to every opportunity to assemble together with other believers, to worship and glorify the Lord together. When He is glorified, when His people cry out, when worship ascends to the throne-the Lord manifests Himself in a very real and powerful way.
Isn’t it wonderful that there is a place that we can all gather to worship together? Not all believers have the luxury and freedom to gather together! The persecution around the world makes it difficult and unsafe for Christians to meet. Yet, we have opportunity to meet as frequently as we desire. Our response should be that of a glad heart.
Not everyone has a glad heart and some of our brothers and sisters (family of God) need encouragement to go to the house of the Lord. As you prepare to attend a service, why not call or text someone and let them know you look forward to seeing them there? The psalmist, David, was all about worshipping the Lord. Even so, he loved it (I” was glad”) when others encouraged him “Come, let us go into the house of the Lord.”
Aside from intimate alone time with the Lord, there is nothing better than the fellowship of other believers. Christ said in Matthew 18:20 “Where two are three gather in my name, there am I with them.” What glorious times there are, of worship and studying the Word together during corporate gatherings! David was glad to go into the house of the Lord, glad to find other believers to go with, glad for the company. Can the same be said of us? Are we glad when someone asks us to go to the house of the Lord (church)? Does our heart leap for joy? Are we excited at the prospect of gathering together? Do we prepare ourselves to enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise?
We are commanded to enter the house of the Lord in a jubilant fashion. It is not a suggestion. Psalm 100:4 says “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Verse 5 tells us why we should enter in this manner. “For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”
The fact that the Lord is good, is merciful, and has given us His Word is enough of a reason for us to be glad to go to the house of the Lord, to enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise, and to worship Him.
Come, let us go to the house of the Lord.
Friends and Family Weekend: October 2-4
written by Mel Tavares
VCC believes it is necessary to build strong relationships with friends and family. Building bonds takes time, which is exactly why Pastor Pete sets aside several weekends a year for ‘Friends and Family Weekend’. The intent is that all ministries cease (we still hold Sunday a.m. services however), thereby allowing time for VCC members to spend time to enjoy the company of their family and friends.
Why just sit around the house doing nothing? After the intense heat of this past summer, the cooler air of fall is a welcome relief to most people. As the weather changes, be sure to take advantage of all the fall season has to offer. Below are some suggestions for those of us blessed to live amongst the colorful leaves of New England. Don’t forget to take lots of memory making pictures!
VCC’s Top Ten Picks
Go apple picking. There’s nothing quite like picking an apple right off the tree and biting into the tangy, crunchy goodness. Whether you pick a few to eat, or buy extras for pies and applesauce, apple picking is a timeless favorite activity. Many orchards also have pumpkin patches, offer hayrides, and sell cider and donuts. Fun for the whole family!
Visit a corn maze. There are many to be found throughout Connecticut, some simple and some more complex. Corn mazes are fun, regardless of the age. A group of teens, a couple, or a family with children can have a great time finding their way out of the maze. What a perfect way to spend a couple of hours making memories!
Go on a nature walk or hike. Older kids will enjoy being outside with a pair of binoculars, observing migrating birds and small wildlife. (Be sure to stick to the trails unless you are a seasoned hiker) Keep the younger kids busy counting squirrels and collecting leaves. (Once home, the kids can use the leaves to create masterpieces of art)
Take an end of season trip to the beach or lake. Connecticut is filled with nooks and crannies along the endless miles of shoreline and hundreds of lakes. Pack a kite or two, as the brisk autumn breeze makes for perfect kite flying weather.
Enjoy a walk in the park. Connecticut has numerous open spaces to explore. If you have dogs, fall is a great time to get outside with them and let them romp through the leaves, watching the squirrels busily gathering nuts. Pack a picnic lunch, some music, a blanket, and a football and you have the makings of a perfect day.
Wind through CT hills on scenic roads. Connecticut is beautiful, and while there are urban areas, there is also unspoiled beauty waiting to be discovered. For those who are not able or not inclined to be active, taking a scenic drive is the perfect way to enjoy the creation we are surrounded by. Be prepared to stop by some roadside farm stands to purchase fall harvest items and don’t forget to leave time in the day for lunch at an eclectic spot in one of the quiet areas of the state.
Go to a fall festival or fair. On Friends and Family Weekend (October 2-4) There are several to choose from in the area. The Berlin Fair, Southington Apple Harvest Festival, and Harwinton Fairs are all taking place. For those willing to travel a little further, a last chance option exists to go to the Big E in Springfield, which closes on October 4.
Have a backyard party. When’s the last time you went outside and just enjoyed your own property? Invite some friends over, have a backyard bonfire, roast some hot dogs and marshmallows and enjoy a time of fellowship as the leaves drift down to the lawn. If enough leaves have drifted down, give the kids a couple of rakes and have them make a giant leaf pile to jump in. Your yard will be raked and everyone will have a great time!
Pumpkin Everything. Wondering what to do that will make a memorable weekend? Why not host an impromptu ‘Pumpkin Everything’ potluck? Pumpkin soups, pumpkin desserts, and pumpkin drinks. The possibilities are endless. With a quick trip to the Dollar Store for some fall decorations and paper goods, your hostessing efforts will be minimal. Invite some friends and acquaintances for a great time, rain or shine!
#10-BACK TO CHURCH SUNDAY...bring your family and friends! Topic: Why Sundays Make Better Mondays
The above listed are just a few of the activity options for Friends and Family weekend, October 2-4. Whatever you do, we trust that you will enjoy a weekend free from ministry related activities!