Monday, August 28, 2017

As the new school year gets into full swing, we are excited to kick-off our new ministry - the hands-on learning gardens!  We are starting this school year in cooperation with four teachers and their classes (one from Pleasant Grove Elementary School, and three from Liberty-Eylau Elementary School).  These kids, ranging from kindergarten through 2nd grade will have the opportunity to utilize one wood planter and one tractor tire planter per class.  This will give these kids the opportunity to have a hands on learning experience with their garden plots to learn all kinds of things!  

You may have noticed the the garden beds on the north side of the church near where the manse used to be located.  As the program grows, we plan to add more space for more classes to participate.  There was so much interest at LE that they actually had to draw names for classes to participate!  

We are also working with the local garden club of Texarkana, Bowie County Master Gardner, as well as with other programs in our community that seek to help with raising healthy living!  This is an exciting step forward for our congregation and a great way to interact with our local community and schools.  

Imagine being a child who has no idea where food comes from?  Imagine the excitement of hands on learning as plants grow in the soil?  A learning garden can be used to aid in the teaching of not only growing things like vegetables and flowers, but also math, science, nature, nutrition, bugs, and the amazing interactions of God’s creation with soil, seeds, sun, and water!

If you would like to help with this ministry, we are in need of prayer and some donations.  If you have any extra hand trowels or small digging tools lying around and would be willing to donate them that would be great!  We may also need help getting plants for the garden depending on how each class decides to proceed with their planters.  Hoses, sprayers, and soaker hoses would also be appreciated!

God is good and has blessed us with this opportunity to work with local teachers and kids in this exciting ministry!  Thank you for your prayers as we kick off our learning garden!

Faithfully in Jesus,
Pastor Cheryl Bourne

Monday, January 30, 2017

Galatians 5:22-23
"By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.  There is no law against such things.”

Colossians 3:12
“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”

At our last youth group gathering, we discussed kindness.  Most of us associate kindness with an action such as opening the door for someone or helping another in some way.  As we dug deeper into the lesson, we talked about what it means to clothe ourselves with kindness in three ways:

1. Kindness with your words.  It is easy to be unkind with our words, especially when we do not take the time to think about what we say before we say it.  We often speak words that are unkind because we often speak without thinking.  Before we speak, we can ask ourself if the words we are about to speak are kind.  If not, then we should change our words so that they reflect kindness.

2. Kindness with your actions.  Although this might seem like a no-brianer, we often act out of selfish desires.  It is much easer to look out for ourselves than it is to be kind to others.  Our actions can reflect kindness to others when we become more intentional as we think about the needs of others.

3. Kindness with your attitude.  Having a kind attitude is not easy and many struggle with it.  When someone gets on our nerves, wen someone is unkind to us, or when things don’t work out the way we want them to, we struggle to have a kind attitude.  But the only one who can control our attitude is us.  So we have to be the ones to take control.  When something happens and you feel irritated, selfish, or any other unkind emotion, take a deep breath and choose to react with kindness.  Ask for God’s help through prayer when needed.

What would it be like in our world today if everyone clothed themselves in kindness?  If kindness wasn’t just about an action, but about a whole way of being?  While we can’t control the whole world, we can control how we live, act, and breathe.  We can choose to build up a kinder world by starting with our own lives.  So as you live each day, make kindness a part of your whole being—kind words, kind actions, and a kind attitude.

Faithfully in Jesus,

Pastor Cheryl Bourne

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmastime is one of my favorite times of the year.  It brings warm memories of shared family time, hanging lights, decorating the tree, plenty of food, and flying popcorn.  It is a joyous time celebrating with family—and even remembering fondly loved ones who are no longer alive to celebrate Christ’s birth.

But as wonderful as Christmastime is, I’ve noticed that most persons, (myself included) like to jump straight to Christmas because we don’t want to go through the waiting.  Christ’s birth didn’t just magically happen without notice.  Predictions of his coming began centuries before he was born.  For this reason, this time before Christmas we enter into a season of Advent. Advent is about anticipating the coming of Jesus.  Advent is about expecting and waiting.  Just as a pregnant woman has to eagerly await the birth of her child, so too, we have to eagerly await the celebration of the birth of Christ.  

Therefore, during this time of advent, we are offered a chance to wait, anticipate, and expect with excitement the coming of Christ.  We can enter a time HOPE:  Hope for our ultimate salvation.  Hope for an end to war, pain, and suffering.  Hope for a day when there is no more weeping.  Hope for a day when joy and love will be all around us.

We can enter a time of PEACE: We hope for a day when peace shall reign.  When there will no longer be countries fighting, neighbors bickering, or children arguing.  A day when the wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and cow and the bear will all get along.  A day when peace will reign.

We can enter a time JOY:  We hope for a day when joy will surround us.  A day when we will no longer cry over the death of loved ones.  A day when we are no longer inflicted with illness, loss, sorrow, or pain.  A day when we can praise God will the fullness of our hearts!

And we can enter a time of LOVE:  What greater love is there than this… that a father lay down the life of his son for us.  We are reminded of the great love that God has for each one of us even though we don’t deserve it.  What an amazing love that God has for us that he would give us the greatest gift of Christmas: the birth of his son.

So during this time I wait and anticipate with you!  May you take the time to stop to reflect on hope, peace, joy, and love, as you make preparations to celebrate the birth of Jesus!

Faithfully in Him,

Pastor Cheryl Bourne