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Big Picture Show Sneak Preview - August 23/24

Posted on Mon, Aug 18, 2014 under Children Weekend Expression 3

We believe parents make the biggest difference in their child’s faith. So we want your kids to hear the Big Picture Show Bible story first from you! Take five minutes this week and read the Bible story with your child and talk about the questions below. You can also listen to the songs we'll be singing this weekend!

ANIMATION STATION

Bible Story: Ruth - Ruth 1-4

Big Idea: God wants us to be kind friends.

Talk About: Discuss with your child how they could show kindness to one of their friends this week. Maybe have them make a card to thank that friend for being their friend.

Worship Songs:

Touch the Sky
by Singin’ Praise Tots

This Is How-
by John Delich

God Gives Us Friends
by Singin’ Praise Tots

THE BACKLOT

Bible Story: Rich young ruler - Luke 18:18-30

Big Idea: The Bible is truth so we can trust in it’s wisdom.

Talk About: Make a list of all the things in the world that we can't see or haven't seen yet, but we know they are still there. Discuss how even though we can't see the stories that happened in the Bible we can trust that they did happen and we can learn from the wisdom it teaches us.

Worship Songs:

Can’t Stop Singing
by Heath Balltzglier

Imagine the Impossible
by Riley Biederer

No One Higher
by Ryan Stewart

Shannon Colwick
Children's Ministry Leader - Danville

Lunch Break Challenge

Posted on Mon, Aug 18, 2014 under Local Involvement Expression 3 Expression 4

What if I told you that your 30-minute lunch break could be the most fulfilling 30 minutes of your day? What if I told you that your lunch break—just one time each week—could radically alter the trajectory of a child’s life for the positive? There’s good news—it can!
 
Because of our School Partnerships, we get the opportunity to invest in students at four elementary schools in Central Kentucky. Our goal this year is to double our number of mentors. Imagine the difference we could make in the cities of Lexington, Nicholasville, and Danville by sending 200 committed individuals from Southland to work one-on-one with students. You could be the closest a student ever comes to meeting Jesus.
 
There are thousands of students in Fayette, Jessamine, and Boyle Counties. We can’t help every kid, but we can do for the one what we wish we could do for everyone. And, by doing that, we can make a huge eternal impact in our cities’ schools.
 
If you want to get involved with School Mentoring, head over here to learn more and sign up!

Shaun Denney
Local Initiatives Director

It’s worth It

Posted on Wed, Aug 13, 2014 under Evangelism Expression 1 Expression 4

When I think of evangelism, my mind doesn’t always jump to strangers with whom I know God wants me to share my faith. In my life, God has been challenging me to reach out to some difficult people—my family. I don’t have an easy time sharing my faith with them. I wasn’t raised a Christian, so my beliefs are pretty foreign to my parents, grandparents, and cousins. On top of that, I’ve been struggling with unforgiveness, which makes it even more difficult for me share the love of Jesus.

So where do we start? How do we share the love of Christ with those closest to us—those who often have the ability to hurt us most? I’ve learned over the past year that it starts by making a choice every morning. One of the first steps I need to make is to forgive the hurt that’s been caused, or the deceit and lies that make me want to cling to anger like it’s my source of salvation rather than Christ. I know there are a lot of people who have been hurt by the ones closest to them, but I promise the daily choice of forgiveness will bring humility beyond what you can imagine.

After making the internal choice of forgiveness, I start to reach my family through kindness. When I read through the Gospels and examine the life of Jesus, the one thing that hits me above all else is that He was kind. Jesus showed compassion to the adulterous woman in John 8, extended forgiveness to the sinful woman in Luke 7, fed the hungry, healed the sick, and was patient with His disciples.

I’ve found that kindness extended toward those who have hurt me—who are difficult to evangelize—has created organic conversations that lead to Christ. It’s really an act of God. We have the option of being a stumbling block or a stepping stone. Our actions can lead people into the church or away from it. We have to resist selfish desires and try to be as Christlike as possible through this process.

Who in your life is difficult to reach? Has someone hurt you but really needs Jesus? God created the human race, was cast aside by mankind, yet sent His only son to redeem us. If He can bring us redemption through forgiveness, surely we can forgive so that others may know Christ as well. It’s not easy. But, it’s a command of Christ. And the day you watch someone come out of the waters of baptism knowing they will join you in Heaven—it’s worth it.

If you’re going through something similar, I'd love to hear from you and pray for you as you evangelize the challenging people in your life.

Lizz Kunz
Global Outreach Logistics Leader

What’s Your Story?

Posted on Tue, Aug 12, 2014 under Global Missions Local Involvement Students Expression 4

I love getting to know people—and I don’t just mean finding out their favorite color. I want to know the deeper things that fill them with joy and passion. 
 
Has anyone ever asked you about your story? This one question can make you feel so inadequate. I’ve heard so many people say their story isn’t special. The truth is just the opposite. Everyone’s story is something special because it's your journey with God.
 
In preparing a group of middle school students for a mission trip to Haiti, I asked one of our students to share their story:
 
I grew up in a Christian home—going to church with my grandparents, and doing “Christian” things—but it wasn’t a big part of my life. It wasn’t until a friend invited me to Southland that I finally understood God—who He is and what He has done for us.
  
Through church, my Life Group, and the Haiti team, I have become closer to God on a whole new level. Month after month the Haiti team has continued to bond, talk, and prepare. Unfortunately this past July I got a notification that the Haiti trip was going to be postponed. I was so disappointed. Why would this happen?
 
Our leaders asked us to do service work in Lexington to touch the lives of local families while we waited for the trip to be rescheduled. We decided to partner with Serve The City in downtown Lexington. I decided that volunteering weekly would strengthen my relationship with God and help me wait patiently for the Haiti trip.
 
As I write this, I'm slowly learning that life has twists and turns that you don't see coming—disappointing moments, happy moments, and blessed moments. I've learned more about myself this year than I ever thought possible. God has a way of making things work out.
 
Everyone’s story is special. Yours is being added to each day as you walk with Jesus.
 
Southland’s Haiti mission story didn’t end just because the trip was postponed—our team’s eyes were opened to the needs of others in our own city. There is always an opportunity to help others and add to your story if you’re willing.

Caroline Krouse
Middle School Discipleship Leader - Harrodsburg Road

Big Picture Show Sneak Preview - August 16/17

Posted on Mon, Aug 11, 2014 under Children Weekend Expression 3

We believe parents make the biggest difference in their child’s faith. So we want your kids to hear the Big Picture Show Bible story first from you! Take five minutes this week and read the Bible story with your child and talk about the questions below. You can also listen to the songs we'll be singing this weekend!

ANIMATION STATION

Bible Story: Esther - Esther 1-10

Big Idea: God wants us to have courage to obey.

Talk About: Help your child make a crown and discuss how Esther was a queen and still chose to obey God.

Worship Songs:

Ha-La-La-La
by Studio Musicians

My God Is So Big
by John Delich

I Can Obey
by Singin' Praise Tots

THE BACKLOT

Bible Story: The Bible is God’s Word - 2 Timothy 3:16

Big Idea: The Bible is the script that guides our lives.

Talk About: Choose a Bible story and read it as a family. Have your child turn it into a script and perform it together.

Worship Songs:

Jump
by Steve Fee

No One Greater
by Holden Fincher

Our Great God
by Heath Balltzglier

Shannon Colwick
Children's Ministry Leader - Danville

Relationship

Posted on Mon, Aug 11, 2014 under Evangelism Expression 1 Expression 4

Evangelism. It’s a word that brings many mixed emotions to a whole host of people. Some get angry because they think of the person with the bullhorn on the corner of the street shouting, “turn or burn.” Some get nervous or fearful because they think about publicly sharing their faith with strangers. Others get excited because they get the opportunity to share with anyone who will listen what God has personally done for them.
 
Honestly, I can understand all three reactions. I’ve been in all three pairs of shoes. 
 
For me, when it comes to the word “Evangelism” there is another word that comes to mind right along with it: “Relationship.” The most natural and effective method of Evangelism that I have ever seen is when there is first a relationship. I know in my life the people who have had the most influence on me are the ones whom I have a relationship built on trust.
 
Think about it for a moment... if we were all easily influenced by the loud-talking guy on the Home Shopping Network our homes would be full of knives that cut a metal pipe, a shoe and a tomato (although I’ve never understood why cutting a shoe with a knife is supposed to impress me). But the relationship is just not there. However, if a good friend tells you they own this same knife and have used it for years and just can’t live without it, I’m willing to wager you would own a box set of these miracle workers before too long.
 
The same is true of your relationship with God. Who do you currently have a relationship with that needs to hear what God has done in your life? It's possible this person has been waiting for you to begin this conversation. Give it a try. 

Jeff Presley
Formation Team Director - Harrodsburg Road

Following God’s Example

Posted on Wed, Aug 06, 2014 under Spiritual Formation Expression 1

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1-2)

When I was a little girl I wanted long, flowing blonde hair. I had very fine, dark-brown hair and was horribly tender-headed. So, when I would play dress-up, I would take a little yellow slip and wear it on my head with the waistband circling it like a scarf, and then poof! Long, blonde hair achieved! I’m laughing as I write this, thinking how ridiculous I must have looked. But, those are the adventures of a determined four year-old.

When I was a child, I wanted to look like someone else. I’m all grown up now, and comfortable in my own skin; but the truth is I still want to look like someone else. Only now, I want to look like Jesus. When I put away childish things (1 Corinthians 13:11) and became a Christ follower, I began to pray to look just like Jesus, to imitate everything He did, and to incorporate all of His traits. I hope that when someone looks at me, they see Him.

This is exactly why Southland has invested so much effort to encouraging, assisting, and even unapologetically urging you to be part of a Life Group. It’s to help you look more like Jesus by connecting you to others in meaningful and significant relationships. These spiritual friendships will challenge and inspire you every day. Together you’ll find powerful ways to serve others and extend hope.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t just want dinner companions. I’ve got scores of those. I don’t just want stuff to do—something to check off my list of “things that make me feel better about myself.” I want to surround myself with people who recognize that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6), and who won’t rest until we all look more and more like Him. When I do that, I have hope to offer a lost and dying generation. Through others, I can receive hope in my time of need. Together we can make an eternal difference in our circles of influence. None of this happens by looking like me, but by looking like Him.

I pray for each of you—that you will know Jesus so deeply, listen to His voice by His Word so much, and be in His presence so often that you have to veil yourself because His glory shines on your face like the sun (Exodus 34:33-35).

By all means, join a Life Group. But, by any means, look like Jesus.

Rebecca Hatton
Formation Director - Danville

That Place

Posted on Tue, Aug 05, 2014 under Evangelism Expression 1 Expression 4

We all have that place. That place besides home and work that you frequent. Starbucks has coined it, “the third place” and their goal is to be yours. What is that other place for you? For some of you it may be your kid’s baseball field three to four nights a week (I just started this season of life with my son Riley), for others it may be the gym, or it could be your favorite restaurant. Or Starbucks may have succeeded in becoming your third place. Whatever or wherever it is, we all have that one place where we spend a lot of extra time, either voluntarily or involuntarily. For me, it’s the gym where I workout and coach. I’m there six days a week and sometimes a few times a day. But the real question is, what are you doing with all this time that you spend at that place?  
 
In Colossians 4:5-6, Paul says, “Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”
 
Make the most of every opportunity. That’s a big task. But I firmly believe that God has designed all of us with different passions and abilities, and He wants us to use those for His glory. So when you’re sitting at the ballpark next to the same sets of parents night after night, make the most of that opportunity. When you’re working out next to the same people every single day, let your conversations be full of grace. When you’re hanging out at your favorite coffee shop, live an attractive life in front of those who are not believers. Make the most of every opportunity.
 
Our fourth Expression says that we generously extend hope to the poor —that includes the spiritually poor. The challenge that comes along with that expression is that we would all baptize at least one friend each year. And I know that sounds scary and maybe even impossible for you. But I promise, it’s not. God has put you in that place for a reason—make the most of every opportunity. It may be as simple as starting up a conversation about plans for the upcoming weekend and asking them where they go to church. If their response is, “nowhere,” then make the most of that opportunity.
 
We all have that place—it’s just a matter of what you’re doing there.

Kelly Jennings
Producer -Richmond Road

Who Do You Look Up to?

Posted on Tue, Aug 05, 2014 under Students Expression 3

In middle school and high school, a lot of students look up to a professional athlete, actor, or maybe musician. But I was different. It wasn’t people I saw on TV or listened to on the radio that inspired me—it was the men that radically invested in my life. Men like Aaron Rathbone, Josh Adsit, Jared Parker, James Summers, Damien Spikereit, Bob Witte, Michael Defazio, and now guys like Nate Johnson and Dan Hamel. I'm sure a lot of these names don’t carry much weight with you, but to me, they mean the world.
 
Students at Southland are growing up in a world the apostle Paul would likely describe as “warped and crooked” (Philippians 2:15). But, we want our students to be different—to shine and be holy. While other students are getting into things that aren't good for them, we want ours to be filled with the Spirit. When other teenagers are gossiping, using crude language, or lying, we want our students to be telling the truth, building others up, and spreading the Gospel with their lips. Our desire is for students at Southland to further the Kingdom of God—but it can be hard, scary, and confusing for a student to figure out on their own.
 
As an intern with the student ministry team, I get to see them work hard and pray a lot for the students to fall in love with and follow Jesus. But we have a lot of students. And the team can’t radically invest in every student one-on-one. So we need your help! We need mentors for our students—men and women who will personally invest in the lives of our students.
 
There are many ways to radically invest in our students’ lives. You can lead a life group, volunteer at Lift or Amplify, or give your time and talents to support our student ministries. Our hope is, after time, you're able to build personal relationships with our students—with their parent or guardian's permission—that would eventually allow you to invest in a student or two on a one-on-one level throughout their middle school and high school years. Whether it's grabbing a cup of coffee, talking about Jesus, or heading to the movies, we want them to be around and admire people who love Jesus—people like you!
 
Your radical investment in the students at Southland will make an eternal difference.
 
Drake Holderman
Student Ministry Intern, Ozark Christian College
 
If you'd like to get involved with our Student Ministry team, we'd love to talk with you! Contact Mallory to learn more.

Big Picture Show Sneak Preview - August 9/10

Posted on Mon, Aug 04, 2014 under Children Weekend Expression 3

We believe parents make the biggest difference in their child’s faith. So we want your kids to hear the Big Picture Show Bible story first from you! Take five minutes this week and read the Bible story with your child and talk about the questions below. You can also listen to the songs we'll be singing this weekend!

ANIMATION STATION

Bible Story: Walls of Jericho - Joshua 5:13–6:20

Big Idea: God wants us to have courage to obey.

Talk About: Build a wall out of pillows around your house and march around it seven times. Talk about how Joshua marched around a wall seven times to obey God.

Worship Songs:

Touch the Sky
by Singin’ Praise Tots

My God Is So Big
by John Delich

I Can Obey
by Singin’ Praise Tots

THE BACKLOT

Bible Story: Moses and the Burning Bush - Exodus 3

Big Idea: Give and it will be given to you

Talk About: Discuss something you can give to God this week. Maybe this is a prayer, a letter, or your time.

Worship Songs:

Jesus Freak
by Heath Balltziglier

My God Can
by Jordan Sasser

No One Higher
by Ryan Stewart

Shannon Colwick
Children's Ministry Leader - Danville

No Turning Back

Posted on Mon, Aug 04, 2014 under Evangelism Expression 1

When I was in college there was a group called “Impact Brass and Singers” who traveled all over the country to recruit new students. They would do a full-blown music and drama program which, back in the day, was amazing. At the end of every program each night they would give an invitation and sing the song I have Decided to Follow Jesus. Those lyrics go something like this: 
 
I have decided to Follow Jesus,
I have decided to Follow Jesus,
I have decided to Follow Jesus, 
No turning back, no turning back.
 
We would keep singing and singing that song until there were no other people coming forward. Many people gave their lives to Jesus and some made a commitment to full-time Christian service during those invitations.  
 
You see, Jesus will always extend that invitation to us to come and follow Him. But it’s your decision. No one else can make that decision for you. He wants all of us not just a part of us. It’s like going to the beach, you get to the edge of the water you’re not sure if you should jump in or not. Will the water be cold? You know you didn’t come all this way to just stand on the beach and gaze at the water.  Now the decision comes, do you just jump in or do you just stick your big toe in? You know you want to jump all the way in and enjoy the water. You see many people already in the water enjoying themselves and you want to jump in. What’s holding you back? Fear? Rejection? Not living up to your own expectations? Not wanting to surrender all of you totally? What’s keeping you from the best decision you’ll ever make for your life?  
 
Just dive in! God is long-suffering and wants everyone to surrender their life. He is a Loving Father, a patient father, an arms open wide Father and wants to welcome you into his family!  Once you surrender your life and heart to HIM, believe me, there will be no turning back!

Dotty Harney
Children's K - 2nd Grade Groups Leader - Harrodsburg Road

Refuge Community Cookout

Posted on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 under Connection Local Involvement Expression 1 Expression 4

Life Groups are about community and growing closer to God through a shared journey with others. Even if you’ve never experienced a Life Group before, you’ve probably become pretty familiar with those ideas by now, right?
 
Here’s something else we’re learning these days at Southland about Life Groups. Not only are they about the connection that occurs within them, but they also have the potential to have an incredible impact on the world around them. Let me share an example with you.
 
A few weeks ago, The Refuge Clinic hosted a community cookout. As with any big event, there were lots of hands and hearts needed to make it happen: people to work the grill, direct traffic, set things up, tear them down, and take out the trash. And, as always, they were also in need of smiling faces to encourage and appreciate the guests in attendance. The guest list was long, and so was the list of needs!
 
Now meet Jim. He’s a Refuge volunteer who helps on an ongoing basis with the Spiritual Care and Transportation side of things. When he heard about the needs for the cookout, he shared them with the men in his Life Group. They not only showed up to help, but went above and beyond what was asked of them. Kara Moore, the Director of Operations at The Refuge Clinic, said they simply did an amazing job. And they blessed a whole bunch of people in the process.
 
When we talk about Biblical community, it can be easy to forget a really important element of God’s design for us. Community is not about “me,” it’s about “us.” God designed us for community, so it’s healthy for us to desire relationship with others! But as we approach these relationships, it’s important that we seek to do so with the command of Jesus in mind:
 
Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. John 13:14-15
 
So, whether you’re already in a Life Group or you’re considering joining one in the fall, be challenged to go to the next level in community. If you’re interested in volunteering at The Refuge Clinic, contact Ellen. Or take a minute to check out all kinds of other opportunities to serve here!
 
Though laying down our lives for others isn’t the easiest way, it is the best way. Because it’s the way of Jesus.

Katie Bodager
Life Groups Administrative Assistant


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