Our daughter Hannah is a senior in high school this year. We went to a college night that was held locally on Tuesday. As the speakers talked about their universities, it occurred to me how fast the time passes and how important the years are. As a parent I wonder if we have done enough to equip our kids for the time when they will live without our encouragement and accountability. Do they have the ethical basis necessary for good decisions? Do they have a sufficient understanding of how life works? It was some comfort when Hannah’s small group gathered in our basement Wednesday night. Some of their adult leaders have been with these girls for years. They have a core group of girls as well as some new faces who are joining this year. I did not listen in on their conversation, but I could hear that there was lots of talking going on down there. Interspersed among the laughter and fun I could tell that serious conversation was taking place. I thought about what a blessing it was that these three adult leaders were dedicating their time to our daughter and all the other girls in that group. That made me think about all the teachers and leaders she has enjoyed at Floris. As a parent, I am very grateful for all the blessings of the Floris family and the gift that it has been to our girls. I am appreciative for the influence of the adults and students who are striving to live the Christian life and discern the Bible’s message to us today. When families avail themselves of that resource, we are given gifts that we carry long after we leave our home and journey through life as an adult. The years are moving rapidly these days, all the more reason that I value the ways the church has helped Karen and me as parents undertake such an important role for the children we love so dearly.

CRC Golf Tournament a Success

What a great round of golf we enjoyed on Monday at the annual CRC golf tournament. The weather turned out to be favorable and the golfers had a great time. Thank you to all the volunteers who made this year’s golf tournament a success. You provided a level of hospitality that keeps people coming year after year to support this ministry. You thought of everything from the greeting at arrival to your words of thanks as the golfers departed. With the efforts of so many planning the event, finding sponsors and golfers and extending very warm hospitality on the day of the tournament, the benefit to the CRC will be over $60,000. The tournament was started years ago when we did not know how God was going to keep this ministry financially viable over time. These funds are essential to sustaining the CRC. The tournament has been a key reason that we are able to serve over 200 children in Sierra Leone. Thanks to everyone involved for your dedication to the children.

Strategic Priorities

Many of you participated in the focus groups related to the strategic priorities that the Church Council has been discussing in recent months. If you would like to see aroll-up of the common themesthat were shared among these groups, it is now available.

“Feed a Child” Campaign

Recently two donations that total $24,000 were given to challenge persons under 25 to raise essential funds to feed children in Sierra Leone through the CRC and Mercy Hospital. One in three children under the age of five is malnourished in Sierra Leone. The “Feed a Child” campaign, facilitated by our sister non-profit, Helping Children Worldwide, will support the children at the Child Rescue Centre and the nutrition programs at Mercy Hospital in Bo, Sierra Leone. The idea of this challenge was to get younger people involved in making a difference for those who live in endemic poverty. Many of our college students have taken this challenge and have been selling “Feed-A-Child” t-shirts and sunglasses on their college campuses. They have reached out and asked their Facebook friends for donations. They have spoken at campus groups. The original idea was for those under 25 to ask friends under 25 for their help. Once people saw the t-shirts and sunglasses and heard about the challenge grant, however, lots of folks older than 25 wanted to get involved. For instance, when my parents saw the t-shirts my daughter Kathryn was selling at Virginia Tech, they both wanted one. This week our students will be offering these items in the Gathering Space so that they can raise funds as well. They are also selling them to friends in school and in the community. If you would like to see what they are up to, visit the table in the Gathering Space on Sunday.

Thanks to the Congregation

On occasion we receive thank you letters from families who have been blessed by your generosity in a time of sadness. I want toshare a letterI received from Kendall and Carolyn Starkweather this past week.

Check Out Mission Team Blog

We currently have a mission team serving in Pulaski, VA, helping to rebuild homes affected by this year’s spring storms. They have already worked on three houses and are heading to a fourth. Be sure to check outFloris’ blogto follow their progress.

Upcoming Sermon Series

During the recent focus group meetings related to strategic priorities, we discussed stewardship. A number of people shared some common responses that included: 1. call us to simplicity in our living 2. give us opportunities to learn principles of financial management and 3. help us teach our children about personal finances. I am very excited about our upcoming stewardship series, which I think will respond to many of the ideas you presented. For four weeks beginning October 9 we will be having a churchwide study and worship emphasis calledEnough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity. During this time we will explore what the Bible teaches us about financial management through corporate worship and small group study. There is a book that goes along with this series. Please buy it and read it as we go through this series together. It is only $7 and is a quick read, but has solid information. Books will be available this Sunday in the Gathering Space. I hope you will join us in the coming weeks as we look at how we can manage our financial resources and truly experience simplicity, generosity and joy.

This Week in Worship

This Sunday we conclude our sermon series,The Power of Words: How Conversations Can Change the Direction of Our Faith, with crucial conversations. Conversations are a part of everyday life but every now and then we find ourselves in the midst of a crucial conversation that will impact the rest of our life. Deborah has such a conversation with Barak. Deborah shares a message from God, but Barak is fearful of taking the role to which God is calling him as commander of the Israeli army.Because Barak does not trust God, Deborah tells him that he will not enjoy the honor that could have been his if he would have simply done what God told him to do. Crucial conversations are some of the hardest conversations we can have, but are necessary if we are to call each other to faithful living.Scripture: Judges 4:1-10.

In Christ,

– Tom

The post eNote from Rev. Tom Berlin – Sept. 29, 2011 appeared first on Today I Saw God.