Spring is in the air here in Idaho Falls despite our snowy day we had on Monday. As many of us are planning spring activities, gardening, summer plans, and vacation, our church is working on all sorts of activities and ministries for spring and summer.
Coming at the end of April, we have a men’s retreat and a women’s retreat planned. Pastor Todd will be sharing with our men about Jesus, the perfect man as an example for us to follow. Our ladies have asked me to speak at their retreat, and I’ll be sharing from Jesus’ life and example as the humble servant. My hope is that the Lord blesses these spiritual retreats, and that He uses them to grow us personally and grow as a church. May we gain a vision of how to better follow Jesus into the rest of 2017 and to better partner with Him in His mission to reach the lost and hurting of Idaho Falls.
Several of our church members are feeling burdened about the youth of Idaho Falls, and we are beginning to think through a concept for a unique ministry to youth in our city. I am not going to spoil our potential for a big announcement in a future newsletter, but suffice it to say that our idea is “cutting edge,” and we hope that we’re discerning the movement of the Spirit in making this youth ministry vision come to fruition. I ask that many of you would pray for us as we begin to think through ways to reach the youth of our city.
Next week begins the Jewish Passover celebration, and our plan is to share a fellowship meal for our church small groups next week. We are thinking of having this meal on Thursday evening, which would be fitting during passion week as Jesus shared his “Last Supper” with his disciples on that day. We will not be having a formal “Seder” meal, but we will spend some time talking about some Passover traditions and ways in which the traditional Jewish meal may point toward Jesus Messiah.
Speaking of small groups, we currently have two groups, and they are both going well (though I am more biased toward my group). God is working in the lives of our people, and we are developing fruitful relationships. Members are stepping out in faith and love to help one another out with difficult life situations, and people are growing in their faith. Our small groups provide a loving and gracious place for people to share their struggles, their burdens of their hearts, and how God is growing them in their faith. Most importantly, as each person shares what God is doing in his or her life, we all collectively learn how to be better disciples, and how to disciple others.
One thing that we do in small groups is think through ministry ideas and implement them. My group is working on a plan to contact the city of Idaho Falls and to ask about ways we might be a blessing in the downtown area this year. Last year we helped plant the boxes of flowers up and down the city streets. We also helped to put up the Christmas bows and garlands on our light poles in the downtown area. Please pray with us that the Lord would direct us to areas of service in which we might be a blessing to our city, and a light for Jesus in our community.
Last week, we looked closely at the blessings that Moses spoke over Israel just prior to his death at the end of Deuteronomy. Chapter 33 in Deuteronomy offers Christians a view of God’s loving and gracious heart for His people. He is our provider, and His heart is to bless His people. While we cannot “name it and claim it,” as some preachers inappropriately advocate with biblical promises, we can trust and hope in YHWH Yireh, “YHWH who Provides” (Gen. 22:14) and give thanks to our Gracious God for the provision of salvation through Jesus during this Easter season.