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Latest Blog Posts in April 2016

Whatever Happened To Baby Dedication?

Posted on Fri, Apr 29, 2016 under Expression 3

One of my favorite parts about Spring is the chance to get outside and work in the yard.  Whether I’m planting, weeding, or mowing, there’s something that’s so rewarding about getting my hands dirty and helping things grow. It’s overwhelming at first, a tangled, patchy mess, but as the season progresses, I love watching my yard transform into a place of life, health and beauty.  
As a dad, though, that’s nothing compared to the joy of watching my kids grow in Christ.  Yes, parenting can be overwhelming and some days it’s messier than others, but over time it’s amazing to watch God work. There is nothing cooler in my life than to see my kids growing spiritually.  
But my wife and I certainly couldn’t do it alone. That’s why, when our girls were infants, we brought them to a Baby Dedication service and committed to partnering with the church to raise them to love and follow Jesus.  
Those Baby Dedication services were meaningful experiences, but over the past couple of years our Children’s Ministry team began praying about how we could take it to the next level. How could we offer parents and guardians even more as a church – more support, more resources and an even more significant experience?
That’s why this year we are launching a brand new dedication service for parents. It’s called Rooted, and it’s based on Ephesians 3:17 that says, “Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong” (NLT).
Here at Southland we want to help families raise kids who are deeply rooted in the love of God. That begins with parents making a decision to raise their child in a home where  Jesus is the highest priority. The Rooted Parent Dedication service is a chance to go public with that choice.    
You may be wondering how Rooted is different from our old Baby Dedication service.  Here are a few highlights:
  1. Rooted is called a Parent Dedication service and not a Baby Dedication service.  This day is all about the parents’ commitment to raise their child to follow Jesus and is obviously not based on any decision the baby is making.  
  2. Rooted comes with homework.  Once your family is registered for the Parent Dedication service, you will receive three audio sessions with homework that you will need to complete before attending the service. Don’t worry, it’s easy and fun!
  3. Rooted has awesome take-home resources.  At Rooted you’ll receive a faith scrapbook to capture spiritual memories and milestones for your child’s first three years, along with a prayer guide with some helpful next steps.
So what are waiting for? Spring is a great season to focus on planting and growing.  Take a step and help your child get rooted in God’s love today.  
Our Rooted Parent Dedication services will be on the following dates:
  • Danville June 12, 2pm, Auditorium
  • Richmond Road, June 26, 2pm, Parkside Theater
  • Harrodsburg Road, July 10, 1:30pm, Theater 81 
  • Georgetown, July 17, 2:30pm, Lemons Mill Elementary
Click here for more information about registering for this event.

Jason Byerly
Children's Pastor

Sno-Cones, Shovels, and Paint

Posted on Thu, Apr 28, 2016 under Expression 4

One of my favorite authors right now is a man named Tim Keller who pastors a church in New York City called Redeemer Presbyterian. He’s taught there for a long time and written many books based on sermon series he’s preached. There are many that come to mind but "Why God Made Cities" and "Generous Justice" are two that are among my favorites. He writes in "Generous Justice",
“We instinctively tend to limit for whom we exert ourselves. We do it for people like us, and for people whom we like. Jesus will have none of that. By depicting a Samaritan helping a Jew, Jesus could not have found a more forceful way to say that anyone at all in need - regardless of race, politics, class, and religion - is your neighbour. Not everyone is your brother or sister in faith, but everyone is your neighbour, and you must love your neighbour.”
It’s hard to escape certain truths of the Bible. They are non-negotiables in God's world and I, for one, want to participate in what God has commanded of me. This may look a million different ways, but this summer I urge you to take the commandments of Love Our Neighbor very seriously. Help us serve sno cones at one of our Serve the City summer cookouts, harvest some potatoes at our community garden, or help a local school in need. 
I would love to help you find a great place to serve and extend the hope that God has so graciously extended to us.
Contact me if you have questions or want to sign up with any of our local ministries. 

Janelle Earley
Serve The City Coordinator

Hot Potato Parenting

Posted on Thu, Apr 28, 2016 under Expression 3

Good parents make sure their kids are prepared. That’s why we obsess over car seats, bike helmets and sunscreen. It’s why we pack lunches and track down soccer gear. It’s why we spend hours driving them all over town searching for supplies for big school projects.
We try to prepare our kids because we love them. We want to give them every advantage against the challenges life throws their way.
Yet, when it comes to our kids’ spiritual lives, how well have we prepared our children to face the future? Will they be able to handle challenges to their faith? Do they know how to answer questions and articulate what they believe and why?
In our latest teaching series, Hot Potato, we are tackling questions about faith that don’t always have easy answers.  It’s hard enough to get our heads around some of these topics as adults, but what about when also you’re a parent? How do you equip your kids to think about the hot potato questions of life?  
Well, fortunately, there’s a great book out there that can help.  It’s called Keeping Your Kids On God’s Side by Natasha Crain. It’s a guide for parents to help kids answer difficult questions about their faith.
Over the course of the book, Crain tackles forty hot potato questions, such as:
  • How can Christianity claim to be the only path to God?
  • Why does a good God allow suffering?
  • What evidence is there that God created the universe?
  • How can Christians believe miracles are possible?
These are deep waters for sure, but Crain never lets it get boring. The author has a unique talent for taking deep, complex issues and putting them on a shelf we can all reach. The chapters are concise and easily digestible. With tangible illustrations from everyday life, she makes this material so accessible that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to get it.
So make sure you’re preparing your kids to really think about their beliefs.  Pick up a copy of Keeping Your Kids On God’s Side and get ready to go on an incredible journey of faith and reason with your kids.

Jason Byerly
Children's Pastor

Parent Sneak Preview - May 1

Posted on Mon, Apr 25, 2016 under Children Expression 3

We believe parents make the biggest difference in their child’s faith. That’s why we want your kids to hear the Big Picture Show Bible story first from you!  
This week:
  1. Read the story.
  2. Talk about the Big Idea.
  3. Memorize the Bible verse.
Animation Station
Bible Story:  An Angel Helps Peter Escape (Acts 12:4-11 NIrV)
Big Idea:  God wants us to pray about everything
Bible Verse:  “Don’t worry about anything. No matter what happens, tell God about everything. Ask and pray, and give thanks to him.” - Philippians 4:6 NIrV
The Drive-In
Bible Story:  The Rocky Road (Acts 9:1-6 NIrV)
Big Idea:  God has a plan for me, so I can trust Him.
Bible Verse:  “I know the plans I have for you,” announces the Lord.” - Jeremiah 29:11 NIrV
The Backlot
Bible Story:  Jesus Heals A Blind Man (John 9:1-7 NIrV)
Big Idea:  When we choose Jesus we are forever changed.
Bible Verse:  “When anyone lives in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone! The new is here!" - II Corinthians 5:17 NIrV

Jason Byerly
Children's Pastor

Who are You Inviting to Hot Potato?

Posted on Sat, Apr 23, 2016 under Evangelism Weekend Expression 4

Did you ever play Hot Potato growing up? I remember it, but I honestly don’t really recall being that much of a fan. Why would I want to hold a hot potato? Isn’t that why my mom used a pot holder? And who thought of this game? It seems like a lot of preparation to get the main implement ready to play with. I think you have to bake a potato for like an hour. You could microwave it, but everyone knows those are never as good as the actual baked ones.

Well, we are beginning a brand new series this Sunday called “Hot Potato” and we’re asking some of the hard questions that no one wants to touch. Topics like: How Can A Loving God Send People To Hell?, Aren’t All Religions The Same?, and Does The Bible Contradict Science? Then, on the last week, Jon will be answering some of the most frequently asked questions, which is going to be great.

This past weekend I challenged our campus to begin praying about who they need to invite to this series, because I really think a lot of people in our life need to hear it. To help you extend that invitation, here’s what we’ve got for you: over the next four weeks at Connection Point, you’ll find invite cards with the series topics on the back along with a voucher for a free cup of coffee from the Café. What we want you to do is grab a couple of cards and then really pray about who you want to invite to this series. And I need to preface that with this—this invite needs to be done out of relationship. That means sitting down with a friend, family member, or coworker over a cup of coffee or a meal and having a conversation with them. What this doesn’t mean is leaving a stack of them in the bathroom at McDonalds. It should be someone you know well and that you know needs to hear one or all of these topics. Even if you don’t grab one of the invite cards, still pray about who to invite and then make the ask. You won’t regret taking this step of faith. See you this weekend!

Kelly Jennings
Richmond Road Campus Leader

Send Your Student To CIY!

Posted on Thu, Apr 21, 2016 under Expression 3

There’s nothing like the summer as a teenager! School’s out, sun’s up, sleeping in… What more could you want in life?!
Well we have the answer to that question...CIY! Every summer we take hundreds of students to CIY:MIX (middle school) and CIY:MOVE (high school). CIY stands for “Christ In Youth” and that is their goal… that every student will encounter the God who loves them and that Christ will truly dwell in their heart. CIY combines hilarious games and entertainment with deep spiritual conversation and worship. 
Every year we celebrate baptisms and other big decisions when we come back from CIY. Some students even feel called to go into full-time ministry. The experience at CIY is the week that changes so many students’ lives. There’s something that happens in their heart when they are removed from ordinary, daily life and placed in an environment specifically tailored for their age group. Hard hearts become soft. Stubbornness becomes willingness. Old gives way to the new. 
We want your student to join us this summer! We’ve even lowered the price by $150 for first-timers just to make it easier for them to take the leap! But here’s the thing… These trips often sell out and some people try to wait until after the deadline to sign up… Don’t do that! Head over to the Student's page today to reserve your spot with a $100 nonrefundable deposit. We’ll work with you on a payment plan if we need to! 
Have questions? Need a little reassurance before you sign up? We totally understand. Check out the MIX FAQ for 5th-7th graders and the MOVE FAQ for 8th-12th graders.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions about these life-changing trips! I hope to see your student’s name on the list! 

David Hausknecht
Middle School Director - Harrodsburg Road

Parent Sneak Preview - April 24

Posted on Mon, Apr 18, 2016 under Children Expression 3

This Sunday is Life Group Celebration, a time when our groups have a party to celebrate their friendships and all that God is doing in their groups and in their lives.  Encourage your kids this week to give thanks for friends they’ve made at church and think about they can encouraget their friends and their Life Group Leader this week.
Animation Station
Bible Story:  Life Group Celebration Sunday
Big Idea:  God wants us to celebrate with faith-filled friends.
Bible Verse:  “Let us encourage one another with words of hope.” - Hebrews 10:25 NIrV
The Drive-In
Bible Story:  Life Group Celebration Sunday
Big Idea:  God wants us to celebrate with faith-filled friends.
Bible Verse:  “And let us not give up meeting together. Some are in the habit of doing this. Instead, let us encourage one another with words of hope. Let us do this even more as you see Christ’s return approaching.” - Hebrews 10:25 NIrV
The Backlot
Bible Story:  Life Group Celebration Sunday
Big Idea:  God wants us to celebrate with faith-filled friends.
Bible Verse: “And let us not give up meeting together. Some are in the habit of doing this. Instead, let us encourage one another with words of hope. Let us do this even more as you see Christ’s return approaching.” - Hebrews 10:25 NIrV

Jason Byerly
Children's Pastor

This Week’s Dollar Club Story

Posted on Sun, Apr 17, 2016

What if we told you that four quarters or ten dimes or one hundred pennies could make all the difference in someone’s life?

Every weekend when we gather together for worship, we ask everyone to give a dollar extra for our Dollar Club. And for every extra dollar generously given, we use that money to bless a family in our community. We get to extend hope and spread the love of Jesus through the money we give to a family in crisis.

This past week, we were connected to a mother who is the main financial supporter for her family. Her husband has an untreatable heart condition that has placed him in and out of the hospital over the past several years which makes it difficult for him to work. In turn, she has had to miss multiple days of work to care for him and it feels like the bills just keep piling up.

However, through the Dollar Club, we are able to give them some financial relief. We will be able to help this family get caught up on their bills while providing assistance on their car payment and rent payments for a few months.

Thanks for helping us generously extend hope through the Dollar Club each week so we can share stories like this. And remember, even if you weren't here this Sunday, you can always be a part of the Dollar Club by giving online.

Jennifer Manley
Communications Project Coordinator

Can I Do That?

Posted on Thu, Apr 14, 2016 under Expression 4

“I thank God that I did not baptize any of you…” Say what? Can you believe this is in the Bible? Controversy about baptism popped up in the church and Paul had to be clear in 1 Corinthians 1:14 about the significance of the baptism, not the baptizer.

Baptism is such an important decision. Such an awesome experience. Such a humbling welcome into God’s family. Maybe you’ve noticed that one of the goals we have for every one of us around here is to generously extend hope to people by baptizing someone every year. But is baptizing someone as heavy-duty a pastoral responsibility as some seem to think? Are there rules God has put in place to make sure only certain people, in certain places, at certain times can baptize someone? Don’t I need to be on staff at a church? Does someone need to tell me it’s OK to baptize? Do I have to be ordained for it to stick? Does it have to happen during a service? In a church building? In holy water? Do I have to sit through a class? Should it be one week? Two? Ten? Will there be a test? Can I pass with a “C”?

So, WHO is authorized?
Jesus cast a wide net in His broad instruction to go into the world, teach, and baptize. The first person I baptized was the delivery guy who brought boxes to the back door at my retail store. I was a baptized believer, so I was not only authorized, but commanded to do this for my friend when he was ready to be baptized, express belief in Jesus as God’s Son and Savior, and follow Jesus with his life. Have you taken the plunge? If so, you’re authorized to go and baptize people.

Well, what about WHEN?
It’s important to make an informed decision about baptism, for sure. But there is a profound simplicity to the invitation Jesus makes in Scripture. Come if you’re weary. Come if you’re burdened. Believe He is who He says He is, and be saved. There might be a class, a Bible study or a video that helps someone make an informed decision… but there’s not a formula that says any of these are a requirement for baptism. Anything that sets up the conversation and answers the important questions about Jesus, who He is, what He did and why.  Even if it’s just that...a simple, ordinary conversation.

Then WHAT do they need to know?
The pattern of salvation we discover in the Bible includes four steps: Belief, Confession, Repentance and Baptism. They need to know and believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died for their sins. Then they should speak out that belief through verbally acknowledging their faith in Christ and their sin-problem that brings them to a place of realizing their need for a Savior. Repentance is simply turning from their helplessness to deal with their sin on their own and turning to God to receive the gracious forgiveness He offers through Jesus. Then they should move toward baptism, understanding it is not the water that saves them, but a tangible expression of identifying with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Learn even more at this LINK!

And WHERE can I baptize my friend?
Thankfully we have the awesome example of John baptizing in a river. And Jesus’ disciples doing the same. Then there’s Philip baptizing in whatever water happened to be closest to the road. Bathtubs, ponds, pools, cattle troughs, hot tubs, rivers, oceans, lakes and baptisteries, every one of these and more are prime locations for baptisms to happen.

HOW do you say that again?
Not sure what to say? There’s no exclusive verbal formula that makes a baptism “official”... The key ingredient is Jesus and acknowledging Him as God’s Son, Savior and Lord. You’ll often hear us say at Southland, “I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, my Lord, and my Savior,” and then we baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

So what NEXT?
If you’ve baptized someone, let us know - just email Cindy! We will be sure to follow up with them to give them tools and encouragement to take their next steps to follow Jesus.

What next? Are you someone who is considering baptism? Let’s talk about it! We want to help you make that decision and take that step.

Are you a friend of someone who is getting close to making that decision? By all means, be a part of this awesome, joy-filled commission from Jesus Himself. Pray for your friend. Talk with them. Help them dig into learning more. And dare to invite them to take the step to be baptized! You might find yourself with the honor of doing your first baptism! How cool would that be?

To talk further or learn more, give me a shout!

Will Briggs
Care Pastor

Spring Cleaning Season Has Arrived!

Posted on Wed, Apr 13, 2016 under Expression 4

Spring Cleaning season has arrived! As you clean house, organize and purge items you don’t use - be sure to remember our Helping Through Him Ministry! We are always looking for gently used household items including clothing, large and small appliances, bedding, furniture, bikes and even cars to give to attendees and others in our community who find themselves in need of basic necessities. 
We want to demonstrate people’s value to us - and to God - by giving them furniture and basic items they can still use that are in great shape. A great rule of thumb for donating items to Helping Through Him is if it’s something you would give to your best friend.
To donate items, bring them to Building N of our Harrodsburg Road Campus (beside the baseball fields) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you have questions about Helping Through Him, contact Charlie Easterly to learn more!

Learning To Do Big Things

Posted on Wed, Apr 13, 2016 under Expression 3

Do you remember the day you learned to ride a bike? Were you by yourself or did you have a little help? I remember my dad holding my bicycle and then running beside me until I could finally take off on my own. The training wheels were off now, and I was flying. I thought it was a big deal but I would have never been able to take off without my dad.    
The fact is little people need big people to help them learn how to do big things. That includes discovering faith in a big God.
That’s why every Sunday hundreds of leaders at Southland volunteer their time in the Big Picture Show Children’s Ministry. They are helping kids fall in love with Jesus and begin a life of faith and you can too!
You can be that person who changes a child’s life by volunteering to serve in the Big Picture Show with kids from birth through fifth grade. As our church continues to grow, we’re counting on leaders like you to come alongside our kids and show them just how much God loves them.
Yes, little people need big people to learn how to do big things. Maybe it’s time for you to make a big difference today!
Would you like to learn more about serving in Children’s Ministry? Sign up here!

Jason Byerly
Children's Pastor

Parent Sneak Preview - April 17

Posted on Mon, Apr 11, 2016 under Children Expression 3

We believe parents make the biggest difference in their child’s faith. That’s why we want your kids to hear the Big Picture Show Bible story first from you!  
This week:
  1. Read the story.
  2. Talk about the Big Idea.
  3. Memorize the Bible verse.
Animation Station
Bible Story:  Barnabas Encourages (Acts 9:27-31 NIrV) 
Big Idea:  God wants us to encourage others.
Bible Verse:  “So encourage one another with the hope you have. Build each other up.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11a NIrV
The Drive-In
Bible Story:  Zacchaeus Pays It Back (Luke 19:1-10 NIrV)
Big Idea:  This I Know … Jesus’ love changes me
Bible Verse:  “Love one another. You must love one another, just as I have loved you.”  John 13:34 NIrV
The Backlot
Bible Story:  Paul Builds the Church Acts 7-28
Big Idea:  God wants us to encourage one another and not give up.
Bible Verse:  “And let us keep on running the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1

Jason Byerly
Children's Pastor

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