Winterblast youth retreat testimonies

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Youth pastor Anthony Palandro shares his impressions of the previous weekend’s youth retreat — Winterblast 2020 — by emphasizing two questions that the keynote speaker had posed:

  • What if the best possible picture you can paint for your future falls short of what you are meant to experience?
  • What if the story you are writing in your mind, what your life is going to look like, is less than what you are ultimately going to experience?

Then several of the youth who participated shared: Joey Garrett, Caleb Messenger, Emma Young, Rick Ciccone, Belle Rossiter and Byron Jones.

Worship songs, led by the youth, are on this YouTube playlist.

Growth in prayer

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The core element of prayer, Pastor John teaches, is faith. Not some theory that if we say certain things maybe there will be a reaction. It is praying in faith, in response to what God is doing in us. Message delivered 1/12/20

At the end of the message, Jason Boyer shares his testimony of how, by God’s faithfulness and the prayers of many people, he has been sober and clean from addiction for two years.

Pastor John’s sermon notes are available at this link on Bible.com.

Here’s the YouTube playlist of our worship songs.

#Growth2020

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Pastor John shares that the word on his heart as 2020 starts is “growth.” Growth in prayer, growth in our obedience to Christ, and most of all, growth in our discipleship and discipleship-making. Also during the service, fellowship members and Pastor Anthony shared about Discipleship Training, the Emotionally Healthy series, and youth ministries.

Here’s a YouTube playlist of our worship songs.

Seize the day

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Kevin Harvey speaks to encourage us as we move into the 2020 decade to look at our faith in bite-sized pieces. Sometimes our problems and the business of life can get overwhelming. But he shares with the hope the Lord is going to encourage us today to look at each day as an opportunity to walk with him.

He highlights three steps to doing that: Stay connected to the vine, stay humble and thankful, and keep saying “yes” to Jesus each day.

Before getting into the message, Kevin took time to playfully poke fun at Pastor John Young by showing this picture of “Ralphie” Young …

After Kevin’s message, Amy Minnich shares a word of encouragement and prayer for those who have been feeling disconnected.

Worship music for the morning is on this YouTube playlist.

The forgotten gift — 3

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The physical gifts we give and receive can be pleasing or disappointing. But no matter what they are, Pastor Anthony shares, they are temporary. The best, and most important gift we can receive, is salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Click here to view the video that Pastor Anthony shared early in his message.

Songs we sang in worship are on this YouTube playlist.

Here’s “‘Twas the Night After Shopping”, the dramatic presentation written by our own John C. Moyer:

’Twas the night before Christmas and no one was napping.
We were all overwhelmed with our holiday wrapping.
The stockings were buried under ribbons and bows.
Would we finish wrapping in time? Only God knows.

The children stacked boxes both this way and that.
At one point, our mom bubble-wrapped the cat.
While Dad with his tape gun secured things with ease,
the piles grew higher under the tree.

“We need more gifts!” Dad cried, “We need more stuff!”
“Surely,” says Mom, “isn’t this stuff enough?
“You shopped all the sales. You shopped late. You shopped early.”
“Never enough!” Dad said, “And don’t call me Shirley.”

“You’re addicted to shopping,” Mom says, disappointed.
“Not addicted,” says he, “I’m shopping anointed!
“Now, go get the car and we’ll make one more round.
“There must be toys left at the new mall in town.

“There’s no more time,” Mom says, “Shops are shutting their doors!”
“That’s just the first closing. There will be two or three more!”

When outside the house, a truck stopped with a squeal
Mom ran to the window shouting, “Hey! What’s the deal?”
The driver grunted and groaned, not moving so quick.
It was our UPS favorite, good old St. Nick.

No longer jolly, St. Nick looked haggard and sore
as he exited his truck with boxes galore.
“So many deliveries,” he said, “for so late in the game.”
He threw all the boxes, calling each one by name:

“Here’s Macy’s and Amazon! And more from that place!
“Sears, Walmart, Home Depot and hardware from Ace!
“I could build you a tower, way up to the sky!
“What is all this mess?” he asked. “How much did you buy?”

“I’ve got fifteen more boxes—It’s never ending!
“Did you give any thought to the message you’re sending?”
Dad says, “I bought cards showing a church and a steeple!
“And lots of good stuff for my favorite people.

“I bought new sneakers for Kevin and a new bass for Dan;
“Six different horns for Bob because he is the man;
“Table cloths for Connie, a jigsaw puzzle for Rick;
“There’s a whole bunch of gift cards—please take your pick.

“There’s a couch for Scott, Uber Eats for the new guy,
“A laptop for Jill and a scooter for old Guy;
“New lights for the kids’ room, if they didn’t break;
“Plane tickets to Italy? That must be a mistake.”

At this point, Nick moves to the wall of presents and dismantles it.

“You’ve got it all wrong!” says Nick. “The real gift is love
“Sent as a baby from our Father above.
“It’s not about stuff and going into debt.
“We celebrate Jesus! We must never forget!”

“It’s not all these presents that we should be craving.
“His presence is priceless and His grace is lifesaving.
“Share Jesus’ love,” he said, “With whomever you meet.”
And he sang “Silent Night” as he drove down the street.

The forgotten gift — 2

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When the Magi, Persian scientists and astrologers, saw the sign in the stars that indicated a king was being born in Israel, they followed the star, found Jesus, worshiped him, and presented gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh: a model of how we should worship him. Gold recognized his kinship. Frankincense recognized his priesthood and position as head of the Church. Myrrh, an ingredient those days in embalming the dead, acknowledged his sacrificial death for us. Message delivered 12/15/19.

Songs we sang in worship are on this YouTube playlist.

The forgotten gift — 1

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The story of the Magi traveling to bring gifts to the newborn Jesus is pretty crazy, Pastor John says. But it illustrates how God, who sees the big picture, sets things up throughout history to show something about himself. It illustrates how God sets things up to accomplish his plans. Message delivered 12/8/19.

Pastor John’s sermon notes are available at this link on Bible.com.

The songs we sang in worship are on this YouTube playlist.

A light in the darkness

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When we shine a light into the dark, onto the thing we fear and we thought was going to hurt us, fear is removed. We are now celebrating Christmas, the birth of Jesus, the Light of the World. When we let that Light shine into our lives, it brings joy and freedom from fear. Message delivered 12/1/19.

Here is a YouTube playlist of the songs we sang in worship.

Running the Race — 5

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The life we are called to is not the life of the World. It’s not the life of those who don’t follow after God. Rather, it is outlined in Hebrews 12:1 — Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Message shared 11/24/19.

Pastor John’s sermon notes are available at this link on Bible.com.

The songs we sang in worship are on this YouTube playlist.

Running the race — 4

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Many of us (maybe most of us) are in a place where we need endurance to get through current circumstances, to get to the other side. Pastor John shares how the apostle Paul learned how to be at peace no matter his circumstances. Message shared 11/17/19.

Earlier in the service, Connie Schaeffer shared how, after years of trusting God, she and her husband Terry had been delivered from a mountain of debt.

Here, on this YouTube playlist, are the songs we sang in worship.