OUT like a Lion as we experience the Lamb of God this week! No one was more surprised than me this morning as I departed for my Tuesday morning Bible Study and my morning swim. Wow – must have been three inches of snow in my driveway —which will probably be gone by tomorrow! How appropriate though as we celebrated Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday which began the journey of Holy Week. Several services this week, Thursday @ 7:00 is our Maundy Thursday service where we celebrate the ordinance of foot-washing, on Friday there is the Community Good Friday Service @ 12:00 @ the Midland Missionary Church and then on Sunday our Easter services are 9:15 AM with the Sonrise Service, then a 10:00 AM Brunch followed by our Easter Worship Service at 11:00 AM. Everyone is invited and we encourage you to come worship a risen Savior!

We were pleasantly surprised Sunday evening as a roomful of teenagers filled our Youth Room for our lesson “The Mission of the Church.” After many weeks of poor attendance it was good to see several students back to youth and knowing what the absent students were doing. (Florida, a play, family obligations, etc.) Prayers are working! Unfortunately, but gladly there will be NO youth this week because it’s Easter. However, we will resume the next week.

We are beginning a new series called “Knowing God’s Will” and that will continue for four weeks. In those lessons, we will look into “How Do I Know God’s Will?’ which will show the students that God has given us several ways to help us know his will. Of course, after that we will be “Doing God’s Will” and talk how we can use our abilities to do God’s will with our hearts, souls, bodies and minds. Next we will be “Charting Our Future” and equipping the kids to do God’s will. We will finish out with “When You’ve Messed Up” because we know that we are all sinners and we mess up. Should be an exciting study.

On Sunday mornings we have finished the “InTune” series and also the week after Easter begin a series called “Being God’s Champion” a study for maximizing your Christian potential by looking at the characteristics of a champion for God. Looking ahead, we will have Youth every Sunday night except for these dates: April 5 (Easter Sunday), May 10 (Mother’s Day), May 17 (SYC), and May 24 (Memorial Day). The last day of youth for this year will be Sunday, May 30, 2015. GRADS @ Grahams continues and we are finishing the spring with Bible Study on Proverbs.

On Friday, April 10th, we will have our annual Youth Lock-In at the church. It begins at 8:00 PM with an activity (yet to be finalized) away from the church and then lasts all night at the church until 7:00 AM. We encourage you to bring friends, board games, (and probably video), a SNACK to share, perhaps a sleeping bag and ready to have lots of fun. There will be devotions, organized games and activities throughout the night, movies and lot of other crazy stuff. We need to have some parents who come play with us also and be of help for the evening. Sign up in the narthex on the Youth Bulletin Board so we can plan food and the activities. We need at least 10 people to conduct the Lock-In. On Saturday morning, we MUST be cleaned up and out of the church by 7:00 AM because there is a Mt. Haley community meeting in the Fellowship Hall that morning. Thanks for signing up and helping.

Our State Youth Convention team has been created. We have 10 youth paid and signed up to attend on May 15-17, 2015 plus three adults. Now that they have paid their registration, they will be getting a SYC T-Shirt and having the Youth Ministry match their $40. This year’s speaker is Reverend Doctor Todd Faulkner, campus minister of Anderson University, and the worship leaders are Alanna Story, a new and upcoming Christian band. Our theme is “Rise Above” based on Matthew 26:41 which says: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” One of the goals of SYC is to become stronger students for Christ and we have BIG expectations. Also, many things are different this year for the convention. We are staying in different dorms, having new seating arrangements in the auditorium, eating all in one place, but having the athletic tournaments, pizza party on Friday night and the talent search. Impact Kalamazoo will also happen on Saturday afternoon as we reach out to serve the city of Kalamazoo. It will be AMAZING! Registrations can still be taken for this weekend up to the end of April for $50 and a balance of $70 in May.

Let the fundraising BEGIN as the weather gets warmer. We have already had one successful gift card sale and we will be having another near High School Graduation and Father’s Day. Our number one project is for Olive–we have a standing job to clean and rake her yard in the spring and that will begin as soon as the weather is appropriate. Our Youth Garage Sale at the Grahams will be May 1 & 2, 2015. We will begin collecting items for the sale beginning April 15 up until April 29. They may be taken to the church garage (as we have space or be delivered to the Grahams). Delivery to the Grahams is really helpful if possible. Our annual Mother’s Day Kutchey Hanging Basket Sale begins April 12 with order taking and continues until May 3. Delivery will be on Friday, May 8 just in time for Mother’s Day. We are also collecting bottles and cans and may even have a collection day. There should be ample opportunities for the students to earn their $40 needed for SYC and even more for summer activities. Summer events have not been finalized yet, but there will possibly be a couple of activities where funding is needed. A schedule should come out by next newsletter.

The 360 Conference is April 18th and we hope to have people in attendance. Pastor Jerry will be speaking on the topic “Emerging Tomorrow Leaders” at one of the sessions. I also have the privilege of sharing in Worship the next day with the sermon, “The Joy of Serving.” It will be a busy weekend for us.

Parents and church, your prayers, support and encouragement are greatly appreciated and we look forward every week to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with our students through interaction, study, fellowship and relationship. Thank you for sharing your son or daughter and our congregation for holding the youth up in PRAYER.

Love God, Love People, Live It!

Blessings, Pastor Jerry

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