Ministry

Blog from Saudi Arabia from Keith Simpson

Hello again from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
 
   
Have you ever felt like your life is heading down a one-way road the wrong way? I sure do. Driving back and forth from our compound to the Saudi Air Force airfield reminded me of that. Traffic laws here are more like suggestions than laws. People here pretty much do whatever they want driving. It’s such a contradiction to the Religious laws. We regularly see cars and trucks driving the wrong way on a one-way road just because it’s quicker. Making the drive to the airfield every morning we face numerous obstacles. The first thing we face is the traffic driving the wrong way. They flash their lights and blow their horns. That is how they let you know they’re coming and you better move. It’s pretty exciting the first few times. It’s especially fun when the cars are 2 and 3 wide coming at you in the wrong direction. It’s like NASCAR except backward! After getting past the one-way portion of the trip, we’re headed towards the next set of obstacles. They like to build speed bumps in the road to control speed which often blend in with the asphalt. They don’t paint them so you can’t see them. If you slow down too much to cross them, cars or trucks will pass you in the opposite lane and on the dirt shoulder. Yep, exciting again!
Next, comes the camels. There are several areas we call camel farms. They’re 2 or 3-acre squares in the desert that have dirt bulldozed into walls all the way around. Somehow the camels still get out or maybe are let out. They wander out into the road. When it’s you in a Suburban or Tahoe against a camel, the camel will always win. They are very large and will completely destroy a Large SUV. I had one stand in the road in front of us and then finally walk along the side of our vehicle and stop and look in the window. Pretty funny. We have figured out they use dirt for the walls or fences because wood is in very short supply here but the one thing they have plenty of is dirt. Lots and lots of dirt or fine sand. The camel herders use what they have I guess. After the wrong way traffic, cars passing you on both sides of you and the camels wandering around, there’s always the mid-size flatbed truck that is piled as high as they can pile it with bales of alfalfa and they can somehow strap it down. The trucks are piled so high it looks like they could tip over with a light gust of wind. After all of that, we drive into the airfield, thankful we made it but knowing that in several hours we have to run the gauntlet again.

This reminds me of my spiritual life. I, probably like most people, navigate through various obstacles every day. We trudge through the journey every day, dodging bullets (so to say) from things thrown at us and just the normal issues most of us work through daily. Very often I find myself trying to do this on my own. I think I have to handle everything alone. First of all, I am lucky to have a wonderful wife I know I can count on to have my back and help me but I usually don’t want to bother her. The most important resource or help we all can have is the Lord above. I can ALWAYS pray and ask for His help, wisdom, and guidance. We all can look to Him to bless us with the wisdom and good judgment to successfully navigate any obstacle that life can throw at us. We are so fortunate to be able to ask for these things and most importantly ask for forgiveness for our sins and for the wisdom to do better the next day. Isn’t that amazing that our God loves us so much He is willing to forgive us all of our sins? All we have to do is ask and you shall be forgiven. I know I am certainly not worthy of it but he gives it to me willingly. His love for us is unconditional. His grace is constant. I am so thankful I worship such a loving God. I know I have to try harder every single day to live life in a way to honor Him and lead other people to know his grace and forgiveness. As a Christian, I believe it is my duty and obligation to him to set the example for everyone to see. More often than not it is what we do, not what we say that will either bring others to know Christ or make them turn away. The old saying “Actions speak louder than words” is something I believe. It doesn’t mean I always succeed but I must strive for that. We can let his light shine through us for others to see.

Instead of a scripture verse this time, I will leave you with words from my Grandmother’s favorite song.

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. 
I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no 
less days to sing His GRACE, then when we first begun.”

God bless you all. I hope to see you all soon!

Keith Simpson



Ministry Moment from Bobby Kirk

 

Lego the Worry

In youth, we have been discussing “worry & change” and how those two seem to go hand in hand in this world.  As a youth, they may not have a say in where their family moves, or what middle school, or high school they will attend; or even who their teachers will be when they move up a grade year after year. Sometimes it may be a bully at school they have to deal with.  Matthew 6:25-31 addresses the concerns of not worrying and for us to remember that God has got our back! He has told us to not even worry about the basics for survival – food, drink, & clothing. 

Our youth are walking through a lot of change in their lives right now with themselves and with their surroundings. I encourage you to remind the youth of Cokes Chapel how much they are loved and how awesome they are. 

May you be reminded how much God loves you and to not worry – God’s got your back.

 

Bobby Kirk

Youth Director | Cokes Chapel



Note from Bridget Adamson, Childcare Center Director

 

Love.  A simple, four letter word that can be shown in many ways. How do you show love? Let’s look at love through the eyes of a child.  Love to a child is a hug, a high five, a smile.  A child’s love is the most purest and innocent of all.  At Cokes Chapel Childcare Center, we give and experience love everyday.  Love is our foremost goal at the center.  We surround our children with love and in turn they shower us with love.  Love at the center can be as simple as saying, “See you later, gator”  as a child leaves for the day.  The bigger part of that love is to hear the joy and laughter of that child as they exclaim to their parent, “she called me gator!” 

Love is shown by lending a listening ear to an upset parent.  Love is shown by giving one final hug, one final ‘I love you,’ and one ‘remember, Jesus loves you,’ to a foster child on their way back to their home. Love is shown by assigning a child a nickname (they love this!). Love is shown by just being there, holding and comforting.

Do you need to experience love?  I invite you to come visit us at YOUR childcare center.  It truly is the place to see love in its purest form.  Come spend some time with our children.  I guarantee they will shower you with LOVE!

LOVE.  It really is that simple.  “Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud…Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

 

Bridget Adamson
Director, Cokes Chapel Childcare Center


Note from Bobby Kirk February 15, 2017

 

The flagship verse for our amazing youth is this:

1 Timothy 4:12; Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. 
 
At at time when it is important to fit in with their peers, our youth are deciding to stand out by setting an example of what a relationship with Jesus looks like. If you happen to talk with one of our youth at church let them know how awesome they are for standing up for Jesus!

We believe that God uses us regardless of our age, more so if we are willing!  It is exciting to see how they youth have developed over the past couple of months and how they are living out our flagship verse. Shannon and I are so blessed to be a part of this time in their lives!  

From the beginning of this year, we have been discussing identity, labels, attitude, and priorities. It’s paramount for our youth to know who they truly are in Christ and to build on that foundation.   All these things came together when they experienced WinterJam2017.

They experienced what it is like to worship our Lord and Savior in fellowship with 30,000+ brothers and sisters in Christ. Our youth learned they are not alone! There are lots of like-minded youth that love our Lord Jesus Christ and put Him first. WinterJam is a loud and exciting worship concert with modern Christian musicians that connect with the styles of music our youth listen to and enjoy. 

May your relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ always be youthful!

 

Bobby Kirk

Cokes Chapel UMC | Youth Director



Note from Kim Reindl February 8, 2017

 

 

There’s a popular song that says, “It’s always better when we’re together.” That’s true, don’t you think? Life’s just better…together.

Last November and December, during the season of Advent, we set out on a journey together. Instead of experiencing the season individually, we as a church were presented with very intentional opportunities to join together in reading Scripture, imagining the Christmas story (often in a new way!), discussing our insights, and worshiping as a church family. Every one of us—children, youth, and adults—whether through adult classes, Children’s Church, Youth Group, and/or worship, we’re studying and talking about the same stories of our faith. At the end of Advent, in typical God-like style, we finished with a celebration!

Some of the comments that I heard were… “I had never thought about how brave Mary had to be or how difficult it must have been for Joseph. The group helped me see these familiar stories in a new way.” “I really enjoyed getting to know people from both worship services. I met people I hadn’t met before. There are some great folks here at Cokes Chapel!” “It was so good to read and study the same things as my child. We were given an opportunity to talk about these Bible stories as a family.” “I loved the Celebration Breakfast! I loved hearing from everyone (all ages) about what God was teaching them through the classes or Lisa’s sermons. I hope we do more things like this!”

Yes…It’s always better when we’re together!

Kim Reindl
Director of Inter-generational Discipleship Ministry