We want to extend our appreciation to the many volunteers (including RBC Staff) who worked together as a team to help the Abundant Life Conference featuring Alistair Begg run so smoothly. This includes the people during the conference who came by and extended their services in any way we needed help. To all of you – THANK YOU!!! We were truly blessed by the magnitude of so many servant hearts.
It was also exciting to see so many people coming from many areas/states joining together to hear the Word of God proclaimed. We’d also like to extend a special thanks to the people at Alistair Begg’s Bible-teaching ministry, Truth for Life, who provided the information kits for the conference.
Diane Sheldon & Sue Illari, event coordinators
on behalf of the Men’s & Women’s Ministries of Reston Bible Church
THE AUDIO & VIDEO FROM THE ABUNDANT LIFE CONFERENCE FEATURING ALISTAIR BEGG IS NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE! CLICK THE LINKS BELOW TO ACCESS MEDIA FROM INDIVIDUAL SESSIONS.
Jr. High Friday Night Live events (FNL) are fun, safe events we hold monthly where our teens feel comfortable inviting their friends, and the Gospel and the truth about Christ is clearly presented.
On September 14th, we started off the school year in delicious fashion with Chocolate Night. We had around 140 students with lots of friends and consumed approximately 10 dozen brownies, 12 Costco-sized bottles of Hershey’s syrup, 15 lbs of M&M’s, 2 lbs of chocolate chips, 12 tubs of chocolate frosting, 24 lbs of Hershey’s bars, 4 pounds of chocolate covered pretzels, and 25 pounds of fruit dipped in chocolate. Now when I say “consumed,” let me explain that probably only 3/4 of that was actually eaten. The rest got smeared all over the students as we played all sorts of chocolate themed games. (As you might imagine, we are incredibly grateful for the amazing cleaning staff at RBC.)
In the middle of the mess, we also got to share the beauty of the Gospel. God created mankind in absolutely perfect relationship with Him, but our sin has separated us from God. No matter what good things we do, we can never make things right with God again. It is like a bowl of chocolate brownie batter with dog poop mixed in. No matter how many other good things you add (e.g., chocolate chips, chocolate sauce, whipped cream), no one wants to eat poop brownies.
That is what is so amazing about Christ. He doesn’t say, “Do good things, and I will forgive you.” Instead, He gives us Christ’s righteousness when we believe. Praise the Lord for the many who heard the Gospel and for the 15 students that indicated decisions that evening. Please be in prayer for our students to fully understand the forgiveness and life we have through Christ.
Below is a highlight video from all the chocolate festivities and a special interview we had with world renowned chocolate artist, Ned Wonka!
Back in July, we had our yearly youth summer camp. We had over 160 students and 50 leaders for our weekly camp. It was a great time to get away from the day to day distractions and really focus on the LORD and His Word and learn more about our relationship with Christ. We also had a blast with our youth as we participated with them in several of our camps activities which included: Paint Ball, water sports, caving, rappelling, rock wall climb, white water rafting, hiking, and a day of service to name a few activities.
We had a great time at camp and really saw God working in many of our teens’ lives throughout the week and even saw some kids place their trust in Christ for the first time.
-John Lyver (Jr. High Youth Assistant)
We love to take the opportunity to thank those who serve at Reston Bible Church… which is exactly what we hoped to do at the Host Team Appreciation Dinner last week.
Our dinner was western-themed, complete with cowboy hats, bandanas, root beer, country music and a square dance! The goal of our evening was simple: express appreciation to those who serve throughout the whole year – and have fun doing it.
What a blessing to see our volunteers fulfilling the vision to be stewards of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to guests and our congregation by demonstrating love, expressing value, and offering practical support at weekend services.
Week after week, our Host Team joyfully serves our congregation. They have helped transform the culture of our church toward loving hospitality and we who attend get to reap the fruit of their service.
We are so thankful for those who serve on the Host Team at Reston Bible Church.
This summer, a team of 20 students and adults went to Slavonski Brod and Nova Gradiska, Croatia to work with RBC missionaries Garret Prestwood and Darko Mikulic and the Pioneers Team that Tony Pedroni, RBC’s Shepherd Groups pastor, used to lead. In these cities, we did a Kid’s Club (think outdoor VBS) for younger kids, and ran camps where we taught Croatian teens how to play baseball. God was amazingly gracious to us, bringing out the perfect number of participants and providing us with great weather, even though the forecast was bleak. The videos below will give you a glimpse of what these events looked like.
Through these events, we were able to build relationships with many Croatian students. In the evenings, we would meet up with the friends we had made in the town square and hang out in small groups. It was in these times, I saw the Lord so powerfully work. Our team would regather late at night, and the stories were just amazing of how this student got to share their testimony of how God has changed their life with two Croatians, or how a Croatian opened up about the struggles in their life and we got to share about the hope we have in Christ. Every night we seemed to have another five stories of God at work.
I have had the privilege of being a part of many overseas missions trips, but I have never before seen the Lord open up so many opportunities for His Word to go forth in personal one-on-one relationships as I saw this year in Croatia. We were truly blessed to be a part of God’s plan and work in that country. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement along the way.
Please continue to be in prayer for the many seeds planted in Croatia, the new believers to be connected with the body of Christ, the students still exploring their faith with the long-term missionaries there, and for our teens to catch a vision that conversations about God can happen not just when we travel halfway around the world, but wherever God has placed them.
Five days, over 500 children, 200+ volunteers, 2500 snacks served, tons of fun, more than 4,000 combined volunteer hours and, best of all, God showed up! Can it get any better than that? If you have never participated in an RBC Kids Camp (formerly VBS) then you are missing a unique experience in the life of this church. Kids Camp has always been a time for the children of the church to grow in their faith, but with 180+ visitors at this summer’s event, this has become one of RBC’s largest evangelistic outreaches as well. This year the children at Kids Camp were learning to “fly” at the Amazing Wonders Aviation flight school. They learned that in order to “soar on wings like eagles” they must be fueled by the power of God and that His power extends over nature, our circumstances, our sin, and our lives. Our desire is to see them make a smooth take-off and a God glorifying flight.
We were blessed to see so many sweet stories unfold throughout the week. Let me share just two of them with you. First time Kids Camp volunteer Curt McGowan decided to take off a week of mornings from his full-time job to be a small group leader. In no time he and his group of cadets were a tight squadron. Seeing them all march in with the very cool aviator shades that Curt had picked up for them was priceless. His enthusiasm grew throughout the week and by the end he was talking about plans to tell other men of the church how they can join him next year and share in the blessings.
This year we were privileged to host a large number of children from Guilford elementary school at Kids Camp. Thanks to the hard work of Barb Ruffner and her team, these special visitors were treated to a delicious lunch each day following camp. By day two this had turned into a banquet for the students, their parents, siblings and grandparents in some cases! Each family received a Bible as well as a personal invitation from Children & Family ministry Director Jason Goetz to return and visit Quest at our weekend services. Imagine our excitement when several of these families showed up Sunday morning.
Jesus said, “whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” At Kids Camp 2012 the body of Christ at Reston Bible Church welcomed the presence of Jesus in a big way!
On July 15, 2012, eleven members of RBC’s Hispanic Church (Iglesia Hispana) were baptized at Shenandoah National Park as a public demonstration of their faith in Jesus Christ. Pastor Salvador Medina held an open-air worship service with preaching and music. The church rejoiced with and prayed for the baptism candidates before baptizing them in the Shenandoah River. ¡Gloria a Dios!
“Arrepiéntase y bautícese cada uno de ustedes en el nombre de Jesucristo para perdón de sus pecados —les contestó Pedro— y recibirán el don del Espíritu Santo. En efecto, la promesa es para ustedes, para sus hijos y para todos los extranjeros,es decir, para todos aquellos a quienes el Señor nuestro Dios quiera llamar.” – Hechos :38-39
To learn more about RBC’s Iglesia Hispana, visit www.restonbible.org/iglesia.
Last Sunday, our church family was privileged to see eleven families publicly proclaim their desire to raise their kids for the glory of God at our Parent-Child Dedication, held during the 11am service.
At RBC, dedicating your child allows you to proclaim before our congregation your desire to raise your child(ren) for the glory of God. Dedications serve as a vessel for parents to express gratitude to God and to acknowledge their responsibility before Him in raising their children. Dedications are done during a weekend service and follow in the spirit of Hannah who offered her son Samuel completely for the Lord’s work (1 Samuel 1:27, 28).
For more information on Parent-Child Dedications at Reston Bible Church, click here.
We’d like to extend a huge thanks to all that donated clothing and/or helped out at this year’s Clothing Exchange, held earlier this summer. Well before 8:00am, when we opened, there were just over 70 guests already waiting in line. In the first 30 minutes alone, we handed out over 250 bags for people to fill with clothes. Around 300 bags had been given to guests within the first hour.
Our guests also had the opportunity to visit the Food Pantry while they were here. We ended the event with only about 10 bags of clothes left over, which we donated to the SACS Thrift Store. In addition to meeting needs within our congregation and our surrounding community, we were also able to give clothes to the Brazil summer missions team to take with them to distribute in Beneviedes.
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
(Matthew 25:34-40 ESV)
If you’d like more information on how to get involvedour thrift store partnership, our Food Pantry, or other community-oriented service opportunities, please visit www.restonbible.org/community
What do you get when you take 80 bakers, 50 coffee servers, 25 ushers, countless food preparers, children’s ministry volunteers, prayer warriors, 2 backstage crew, 38 actors, 7 band members, sound, lights and media volunteers, a director and 3 people willing to be transparent and share about the struggles in their lives and the victory they have found in trusting Christ with their circumstances? Conversations, that’s what you get! Conversations is an annual production including music, drama, humor and real life stories that takes place each evening the week before Easter. It is week where our church comes together to share with our families, friends, co-workers and neighbors the hope that we have in Jesus. This is real hope – hope not based on circumstances or happily-ever-afters, but on the truth of the word of God and His son, Jesus Christ.
Working behind the scenes, we have the privilege of seeing God at work during the entire process of putting Conversations together. The ministry that takes place among the cast and crew is amazing. People of all ages come together to do ministry, connections are made, prayers are answered, and we are each changed through our experience.
Hundreds of hours go into putting on a production like this – writing, rehearsing, building sets, designing graphics and coordinating all the many, many details. But even the most impressive production is worthless if the congregation doesn’t get behind it and do the most important part – invite and bring their unchurched friends and family. We named this event Conversations for two reasons. The music and scenes are based on conversations that go on around us all the time, and our hope is that you would continue to have conversations with the people you brought to see it.
If you have had a memorable conversation with one of your guests since bringing them to Conversations, we would love to praise with you and pray for you. To share a conversation or story that happened as a result of Conversations, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to RBCer Mike Kelly for the great photos. You can see his Conversations 2012 photo gallery here.
Also, since so many of you asked so nicely, below is The Elevator Scene:
In the spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of (sigh) baseball.
It’s true. But before spring hits, February 14th peeps around a wintery corner and we find an affectionate group meandering the Children’s Ministry halls for the 2nd annual Father / Daughter Dance. This is my personal favorite event of the year for our little ladies who come with hair curled, cheeks blushed and a curtsey-worthy gown for a night of fun and conversation with their fathers or special date (who also dress the part in a suit and tie). The evening starts off with fathers tokening their young ladies with corsages and a formal photo shoot. From there, it’s delightful chaos as they spend their evening walking through a couple hundred helium balloons while visiting crafts rooms, eating desert, and finally, dancing the night away!
Yes, it’s meant to be fun and enjoyable (and I think it’s safe to say, it is!), but there is something much deeper at work on this special night. Gavin Long, an RBC dad who attended with his lovely ladies, shares from his perspective:
“The worlds of a father and his young daughter can sometimes be vastly different. Dads are battling in the marketplace, while their daughters are concerned about who likes them at school. Dads are anticipating March Madness, while his daughter is dreaming of a new dress. The Valentine’s Dance creates a common experience to let those two worlds converge. Dads are not always the best when it comes to expressing their feelings, but events like the Valentine’s Dance provide fathers with an environment to connect with their daughters in an intentional and intimate way. Simple events like this go a long way in bridging the potential divide between the worlds of fathers and daughters, providing us, as fathers, with a powerful, but accessible way of communicating love to our little girls. It is that experience of fatherly love that dramatically shapes how our girls think about themselves, their families and God throughout their lives.”
Last year, we received numerous responses back from dads telling us that this night was a springboard for them to initiate a deeper relationship with their girls. Praise the Lord! This year, I was able to see some of the benefits before the night even ended. You’ve got to love overhearing a 2nd grade daughter asking her dad, “I have three things I really like about you. Can I say more than one?”
Usually once per semester, International Connection (the English as a second language program at RBC) plans a “talk-a-latte” for both morning and evening sessions of classes. This is a time when all four class levels meet together for the last 30 minutes of the class time in the Clubhouse room to have coffee (hence the “latte” part) and snacks, then sit around tables in their class groups with teachers to engage in a particular topic of free discussion. The topic designated for February 14 -15 was “What do you think is the American (culture’s) view of love? What do you think is God’s view?”
After I briefly introduced the concept of Valentine’s Day, I asked them to pause and consider another point of view by watching a music video. We then watched Jason Gray’s video entitled “Remind Me Who I Am” in which many characters were shown holding signs that typified negative characteristics or characters, for example, “Anxious”, “Empty”, “I’m Angry”, “ Victim”, etc. But the crux of the song was that no matter what we think of ourselves or what others may think of us, in God’s eyes we are His “beloved”.
On our tables, in addition to sheets with the song’s lyrics, there was a list of the main vocabulary words written and defined in order to enhance understanding. For the ESL group, any time one can combine words with pictures or visuals of any kind, greater comprehension is achieved. And when one adds music, it adds yet another dimension of interest!
The five tables of students and teachers set about recapping the meaning of the video and song and the lingering question: What is God’s view of love? The word “beloved” is rarely used these days and took some time for the students to grasp – but again, the contrast to the other negative labels mentioned in the song was helpful for gaining understanding. Many of the students could relate to feeling under-valued, abused or “less-than” in this culture. Incidents of discrimination are regular occurrences to the immigrant population here in Northern Virginia. But it was the concept of being God’s “beloved” that surprised many of them. One Buddhist monk came to me and asked for clarification, “Does it mean greatly loved?” he asked. It does.
I closed the talk-a-latte sessions with a short devotional based on John 3:16 (which was made available to each student in his/her first language) and asked for those who are spiritually interested to continue the conversation with me or with their teachers. Both sessions provoked deeper questions than the usual classroom lesson plans even for the first-level students. Our prayer is that the questions will continue and that the Holy Spirit will bear fruit in our students’ lives.
Thank you to everyone who attended our RE:NEW 2012 Conference featuring Josh McDowell. We pray the conference was fruitful for your growth in Christ.
Where’s the audio from the conference? Because of our contract with Josh’s ministry organization, we were only able to make the conference audio available for up to two weeks after the event.
You can find audio/video media and lots of other resources from Josh on his website, www.josh.org.
First Fruits took place on Nov. 19th, but the fruit extends far beyond this day and the delivery of groceries. We were all blessed in more ways that we could have asked or imagined. We had over 500 volunteers come out, spread over 27 teams that did more than 140 jobs on a beautiful Fall day, that raised funds for more than 90 families in need. Many of our First Fruits families are struggling with unemployment or underemployment, working multiple jobs to care for their families and still not covering their bills. More than 10 of our families may soon lose their homes. Many are also struggling with the loss of a spouse, divorce, major medical bills, and crippling disabilities. First Fruits is about providing encouragement to families in the midst of these struggles as the result of teams often literally expending themselves on their behalf.
Our teams were able to see the first fruits of their labor the same day by shopping and then visiting 31 of the families on the evening of Nov. 19th. The groceries (the small part of the First Fruits gift) together with Shoppers Food Warehouse gift cards provides as close to a month’s worth of groceries for each family as possible. Beyond the groceries, the teams were able to encourage and often pray with some of the families in the midst of some very tough times. One family of four shares a two-bedroom apartment with another family. The team leader has stayed in touch with the family and is putting together a Christmas gift. Another of our teams brought groceries and visited with an Iraq veteran and his family, who are working through the challenges of a brain injury. Team members have stayed in touch with the family, who has also now visited RBC several times. Another team visited a family about to lose their home to foreclosure – yet another reminder of how things that look great on the outside can mask the turmoil and pain taking place on the inside. I’m thankful that our team went beyond the exterior to pray with and minister to the family, encouraging them to not give up.
Thanks to the Lord’s blessing, First Fruits was also able to go beyond these 31 families to include another 60 families in need. One of these families was out of food, had been praying for help, and then received the grocery gift cards unexpectedly that day from a friend that attends the RBC Spanish church. She is still praising the Lord for his provision at just the right time. The wife of another First Fruits family had brain surgery, and after recovering from the surgery, she returned to work and was immediately laid off from her job. Her husband is also out of work. When they were given the First Fruit gift, the husband was thankful, speechless, and surprised that church teenagers would work to help those in need.
One story of a single mother is a further reminder of how important it is for us as the body of Christ to be looking up and caring for those God has placed in our lives. This mom was referred through a First Fruits captain that saw her need and reached out on her behalf. She had been a property manager, lost her job in the downturn, and is now doing a short sale on her home. Her story is still unfolding, but she sends thanks for the unexpected help from First Fruits that provided key encouragement over Thanksgiving at exactly the right time. She too has visited RBC a couple times.
There are many other stories still unfolding from First Fruits and how the RBC body is in motion looking out for neighbors, Shepherd Group members, family members, coworkers, or friends met through church, school, or a child’s sport’s team. Financial struggles cross all lines and neighborhoods. And, thankfully, the RBC body is reaching across these lines. I know there is more fruit to come.
Thanks to all who participated in the Guilford Elementary’s 3rd Annual Thanksgiving Dinner last Monday, November. Whether you came and served, donated pies, or cooked turkeys, all of your efforts resulted in a fun family gathering as the Guilford families enjoyed a good ol’ American Thanksgiving dinner.
This was a real community gathering, with several organizations helping out. Teachers from the school, RBCers, and Little League volunteers all worked side by side to bless these families. For many of the families, this was their first taste of stuffing, which we learned has no Spanish word equivalent since it is not a food they eat in their countries. Maybe it’s a universal thing, but it appears that most kids don’t like stuffing. Also universal is the look of dislike and the shake of the head “no” – but all were polite and said “no thank you” if they didn’t care for any (although their faces were priceless!)
Hundreds of people came out for the dinner. The rain and long walk from where they parked on the ball field didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirits. Even though the line of people waiting for their turn for food wrapped around the building hallways, everyone was patient and excited for the feast to come. It reminded me of what the disciples must have felt like with the loaves and the fishes, for as many people as kept coming, there seemed to be more food as the evening progressed. And after all had been fed, the volunteers, at last, took a few minutes to sit down, rest and have some dinner as well.
Due to the abundance, the residents at the Embry Rucker Homeless Shelter in Reston also enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast.
Many thanks for all who helped to bless our neighbors.
– – –
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
– Matthew 35:34-40