Back in October, the RBC Youth Ministry hosted “Minute to Win It” over the span of two evenings – one geared for junior-highers, the other for senior high students. This event, based off the popular game show, was a big hit with the teens and their invited friends. The game show host was Erik Palmer, who fit his role well. Besides 12 challenging 60-second games, those who attended were treated to pizza, raffle prizes, cash prizes, and powerful testimonies by fellow teens.
As on the TV show, each challenge was created using household items. Everyone had an opportunity to get on stage and win. Over $500 in prizes were given away. Contestants were chosen by raffle, at random, or based on their creative costumes. Do you think you might have had a chance of winning? Try stacking five Red Delicious apples on top of each other in one minute!
On Friday night, junior-highers got to hear Mason Nalle share his story of going through three open-heart surgeries before the age of 17. Amy Stegeman then shared on Sunday night to the senior highers how she tragically lost several of her siblings and a friend by the time she reached 8th grade. A minute is all it takes for someone to lose their life. Following the testimonies, a pastor shared of God’s love and sacrifice and invited the attendees to a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Several students indicated that they accepted Christ as their Savior that night. Praise our God! Knowing Christ and making Him known to teens is what this youth ministry is all about. Pray for the staff as we follow up with them, and other teens that have expressed interest in knowing more.
Oh, and we’re pretty sure Guy Fieri would be proud. 😉
(I have to give credit to Aaron McAndrew for helping me write this blog post. Thanks Aaron! Aaron is a Junior at Briar Woods High School who loves writing. He also is an editor for his school newspaper.)
A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor. ~Proverbs 22:9
The Food Pantry workers were overwhelmed by the generosity of the members of our church who brought in groceries on October 3rd. There were so many large bags of food that it took three people four trips each to bring all of it back to the pantry. These trips included the use of carts and baskets on wheels.
God’s love and abundance really showed up through the giving of His people to those of us who are in need. So far there are 20 to 30 families who directly benefit by this food pantry every week. By offering them food, we have an opportunity to share the Gospel and the love of God with these people. Lives are being changed. Glory to God.
The retreat this year with John Lynch was fantastic! It was such a clear declaration of God’s Grace and presented in such a living and dramatic fashion. Trusting God for who He says I am is the only way to live this life. On my worst day, I am “Christ in Dave” and clothed in His righteousness all because He led me to Himself.
My desire is to see all the men at RBC – or everyone for that matter – live from these truths. What a wonderful fellowship we would have. Knowing the Truth sets me free, and free to really love others from the strength of God’s grace on and through me.
Many thanks to all those who prepared for and ran the 2010 RBC Men’s Retreat. It was fabulous!
Thank you so much to the many who faithfully prayed for the Croatia team this year. God definitely used your prayers in and through our lives. Personally, I saw more prayers answered in our two weeks there than I have seen during any period in my life, and each of you were a part of that. There were impending storms that threatened to cancel the baseball camp that never dropped more than a sprinkle. There were times when we were exhausted, but suddenly got another wave of energy to continue ministering. Our plans were constantly changing, but God was constantly providing. We thought we would just be planting seeds, but got to reap a harvest. Whatever number of kids we prayed to come to our camps, we got double.
God was incredibly gracious to us, and we thank you for partnering with us for the advancement of God’s kingdom. Thank you for your prayers. If you have any questions about the trip, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On August 8, 2010, after over ten years of faithful giving, planning and praying, Reston Bible Church held our first services in our new church home in Dulles, VA.
How does a pastor express his thanks to so many people who have made all this a reality? We had six hundred more adults than we normally have. We went through 32 gallons of coffee. (Is it any wonder the toilets were clogged?)
We have many challenges ahead of us and we will need your patient cooperation over these next few months. As your pastor, I just wanted to say how thrilled I am to help shepherd such a wonderful group of people who truly want to see the kingdom advanced throughout the world. You have blessed my life and family more than you could ever know.
To God be the glory.
Last week marked the first annual Host Team Appreciation Celebration – this year in the theme of a Fiesta!
The Host Team is the group of volunteers made up of Ushers, Greeters, and Welcome Center Attendants who serve at the services for us each weekend. In thanks for their service, the Host Team and their spouses were invited to attend the Fiesta – an evening of fun including dinner, games, thanks and encouragement for our volunteers. We even ended the evening with piñatas, stuffed to the brim with candy…and yes, three (clearly inadequate) sticks were sacrificed on the piñatas this year.
In attendance to the Fiesta were volunteers who have been serving anywhere from the past couple of months to those who have been serving at RBC for more than 20 years.
The Fiesta was a wonderful celebration of how God has used this ministry for His glory and an opportunity to celebrate those who serve Him so faithfully through this ministry.
Interested in serving on the Host Team (Coffee Team, Greeters, Ushers, Welcome Center, or Parking)? Or just interested in attending the celebration next year to encourage our volunteers? Contact Kemper DeGroot at email@example.com for more information or to learn more about how you can serve here at Reston Bible Church.
After many years of praying and planning, Sunday, May 2nd was the first church-wide event at the new building. RBCers were invited to tour our new buildings then grab a sharpie and leave messages of gratitude to the Lord and thanks for the construction workers on the cement floors of our new church home.
Underneath the carpet and tiles of the floors of our church are now written many verses, prayers of petition and thanksgiving to God for His blessings to us.
Walking around the building, you could almost feel the pleasure of the Lord while reading the graffiti-laid floors as children and adults alike wrote notes of thanks to the faithful men who are working so hard to build this building. Prayers for guests, the leadership, the congregation, and all who will enter through the doors of RBC were written everywhere, often in significant places throughout the building. Verses of thanksgiving, requests for wisdom, commands, and the Gospel mark the floors of our building as prayers for RBC and reminders of what God has called us to at Reston Bible Church.
The Sharpie Party was a great joy as our congregation united together to celebrate what God has done and will do in this place.
I love hearing stories of how God is at work in His church. Such stories remind me that it is normative for Jesus to be active in the lives and hearts of His people, and they remind me of the greater context in which we “do” church.
If you’ve been around RBC much at all, you already know that each year for the past six years we have hosted a stage production called Conversations the week before Easter. Through hospitality, music, real life stories, and dramatic vignettes, we seek to communicate the power of the Gospel of Jesus in a loving, practical and relevant way. There are many stories that can be shared about how Christ has used Conversations as a means to reach hearts for His glory, and I wanted to take time to share one with you in the form of an email that one of our staff received after this year’s production:
Thanks so much for your emails and for the personal card and gift in the mail. I really appreciate you reaching out, and have been meaning to write back to you for a while because I wanted to share an encouraging story with you. I hope that you will share this with others who may also be encouraged.
I have been looking for a new church recently, and Ali has recently joined me in my search over the last month or so. Ali has a mixed-faith background and described herself to me as a “seeker” when I broached the subject when we first became friends (just a few months ago). We came to visit RBC on Palm Sunday, and heard about Conversations. God has most certainly been pursuing Ali through various circumstances that have come together in just the right timing.
Although I consider myself a strong Christian, the last two years have been the toughest of my life. My faith and my motivation for evangelism has waned lower than ever. However, despite my recent brokenness and struggles, God used RBC and me to draw Ali to himself. When we attended Conversations that Tuesday night, we were both incredibly impressed and moved to tears. Afterward, I invited Ali in to chat, and I had the privilege of leading her in a prayer to give her life to Christ, just before Easter. I wanted to share this with you because I know that those involved in Conversations will be greatly encouraged to know that they were a key role in Ali’s decision. Conversations also greatly encouraged and softened my somewhat hardened heart – praise God!
Ali and I are signed up for the Starting Point class that begins this coming Sunday, and she is eagerly reading her bible daily, always excited to pray and worship and attend church. I not only praise God for bringing Ali into an eternal relationship with Him, but also the incredible encouragement she is to me!
Thanks again for the warm welcome to RBC.
For His Glory,
While church productions and programs come and go, the work of Jesus remains steadfast and strong and will endure for eternity. What a humbling thought that He would use so small a thing as a stage production to do a great and lasting work in the hearts of those who saw and heard what Jesus has done in the lives of others. Be encouraged – God is at work in His church.
Have a story to tell from your experience at Conversations this year? I’d love to hear about it.
Praise the Lord for His great blessing this year with Spring Clean 2010. Spring Clean is one of the major ways that RBC youth raise funds each year for summer mission trips. The Spring Clean 2010 was Saturday, April 24th, and we had 190 volunteers come out to work on 57 jobs doing everything from spreading mulch, mowing grass, raking leaves, repairing fences, hauling wood, planting flowers, washing windows, staining decks, cleaning out garages, and even some interior painting. Together, the teams raised $20,000 for their mission trips to Brazil, Croatia, Chicago, and East Asia. Despite a wet forecast, the Lord also provided cover from the sun and held off the rain until after the teams were back.
We are so thankful for the Lord’s perfect provision and for the many volunteers who were used to bless both families in our area and the 71 team members going on mission trips this summer. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4
Earlier this month, the Jr. High held one event “to rule the them all”: Friday Night Live – Star Wars vs. Lord of the Rings. At this epic event, we enjoyed Yoda Soda and Eye of Sauron Cookies, played games with light sabers and Legolas’ bow, thought we were in the “Cantina” with our cool Star Wars Band (Pollock), reviewed lots of trivia from the movie, and watched a few exciting scenes from the movies, all in crazy costumes.
As part of the evening, we also looked at some Biblical truth we can clearly see in the movies. First, sin promises to solve all of our problems, but in the end just destroys us. Just like Adam and Eve were seduced to eat the fruit by the temptation to become like God (Genesis 3:5) which led to our spiritual and physical death, Anakin was drawn to the Dark Side by his lust for power and the promise to save his beloved Padme, but in the end he burns in lava and becomes the more machine than man (Vader). Similarly, the Ring leaves in its wake a path of deception and destruction, as Smeagol is drawn by the beauty of the Ring and the identity he finds in “my precious”, and Boromir desires the power of the Ring to defend Gondor. However, in the end, the seduction of the Ring leads to both of their deaths. We see this same truth in the world around us and in our own lives. We must be keenly aware that sin is constantly lying to us and promising solutions while really bringing destruction. The wages of sin is truly death (Romans 6:23).
Second, we looked at how sin corrupts and tempts us all. We read in the Bible, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and clearly see this truth with the Ring. All characters who come in contact with the Ring are drawn to and seduced by its power. The whole “Fellowship” starts because they each know that they cannot be trusted with sole possession of the Ring; however, it breaks up because they each know their behaviors are not safe around the Ring. Even Gandalf turns away in fear when he is offered the Ring because he knows he cannot handle its temptation. As we look into our own lives, it is clear that sin is something we each face daily and will continue to face until eternity.
Finally, while the first two truths are kind of depressing, we have seen the end of the movies and know that a Savior always comes. When it looks like Vader will blow up Luke’s X-Wing, in comes Han Solo in the Millennial Falcon. When the Battle of Helm’s Deep seems lost, Gandalf comes in with the Riders of Rohan. After Obi-wan and Anakin have been defeated by Count Dooku, Yoda pulls out his light saber. And even though Sam can’t carry the Ring, he can carry Frodo. In the same way, “just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly…God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8) Especially as we reflect on Easter, praise be to God for sending His Son, because without Him we would be hopeless.
At the end of the evening, we voted which series was more epic. In a vote even closer than the 2000 Presidential election, Star Wars won by two votes, even after a full recount. So if you are ever in a debate as to which is better, the decision has been made.
Many thanks to Pollock (Jesse Trask’s Band), Jason VanDorsten, Aaron Reed, Catherine Wilson, Sarah Jarvis, Elizabeth Johnstone, Kelly Hack, Mason Nalle, John Lyver, Denna Zimmerman, and the many others who helped. Please be in prayer for the six Jr. Highers who indicated decisions for Christ that night.
You know the old saying “The best laid plans…”? Well, God has His own plan and it always, without fail, turns out to be the right one. After many months of planning for the Ladies Annual Retreat we, Barb, Bridget and I, arrived at Sandy Cove the weekend of March 5-7 full of anticipation and excitement. We had decided to try some new things and were eager to see if they would work and how they would be received. And I think we were even a little worried that we had somehow forgotten something. As the ladies began to arrive, there were the sounds of welcoming those we’d just seen at church the previous Sunday as well as the squeals of delight at being reunited with those who we hadn’t seen since the last retreat.
There was an excitement in the air at the prospect of sharing a weekend away from home… eating meals we didn’t have to cook, sleeping in beds we wouldn’t have to make and laughing at jokes that only we would get. But all those things, while good, are not the real reason we make that two hour trip up 95 on a Friday afternoon. And maybe I speak only for myself, but at the heart of it what I was really wondering was “What does God have in store for us this weekend?” and “How will He make Himself known to us in a new way?”
For those women of Reston Bible Church who have sat under sound biblical teaching for, well, forever, most of us entered the weekend titled “Love, Loss and Legacy” (centering around the story of Ruth) with our own knowledge and opinions. After all, it is of one of the great love stories in the Bible. What we didn’t anticipate is how the story would change us all individually and so differently. I’m not sure any one of us could have been prepared for all that God would bring to light through Kelly’s study and teaching. Each lady who attended came away with a view of that amazing story through a new lens. Some of us may have learned a hard lesson about forgiveness, others about loyalty, still others about how to just be still and simply hear from God and let Him guide our paths. I truly believe that every lady came away with a changed point of view about those three women in Ruth who began a journey and the paths they each chose.
As we watched the weekend unfold, we saw God use the plans we’d made in ways we couldn’t even have imagined as well as bring some surprises of His own. At first we may have resisted some of those, but as we watched God work, I believe one thing we all walked away with from that weekend was a greater sense of awe for the God we serve… and we could all use a lot more awe.