Ashley Gardner

Please join us!


April 7, 2019


Single Service 
11:15 a.m.


Children's Ministry
Ashley Gardner


"Hide and Seek"


Luke 19:1-10

Click Links Below for:

April 4, 2019 Ashley Gardner

Dear Friends,

Greeting from Children's Ministry! I am excited that this coming weekend is Children's Sunday! I hope you are able to join us at 11:15 AM as the kids will be leading us in worship through songs, Bible verses, the Apostles' Creed, Lord's Prayer and personal testimony. It should be a wonderful time worshipping our God and King.

I'm currently reading through the Bible in a year and just finished the riveting book of Numbers (that's only slightly sarcastic!). One of the passages I read was very convicting to me and seemed to fit perfectly for our church and where God is guiding us. This particular passage takes place after God has freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and they are at Mount Sinai. At that time, God's Spirit would physically guide the Israelites with a cloud by day and fire by night.

"On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. 16 That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. 17 Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. 18 At the LORD's command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. 19 When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the LORD's order and did not set out. 20 Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the LORD's command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. 21 Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out."  Numbers 9:15-21

What amazed me about this passage was God's presence with the Israelites. It was very clear to them when He was calling them to move, for they could physically see the moving of the cloud. Sometimes they would stay in an area for a day, other times for a year. It all depended on when God moved. I'm fairly sure they did not understand why God stayed or moved, but they had to trust where He was guiding.

While we can't see a cloud moving in the sky, I do believe that God still guides us through the Holy Spirit. He convicts our hearts of the direction we are supposed to head and it is our choice to follow. In church, sometimes we expect that if God's Spirit has moved in a certain way in the past, He will continue to move in the same way in the future. We think if we've pitched our tent in a certain land, the tent should remain. God has personally been convicting my heart of this over the past year. He has been showing me that I need to be obedient to where His Spirit is moving. A main example of this was with Family Fired-Up Friday. God had laid it on my heart about four years ago that it wasn't enough to just reach the children at Fired-Up Friday, we needed to build relationships with the parents. Through these relationships, we could empower and come alongside to support them in whatever ways needed.

At the same time as God was leading me toward Family Fired-Up Friday, He was strongly convicting my heart that we needed to move away from Vacation Bible School for the upcoming year and fully focus on Family Fired-Up Friday. It was almost as if God had removed a veil from my eyes and I was looking at VBS for the first time with critical eyes. I still saw that it was a wonderful ministry that God had used over the years, but I started to see the time, volunteers, and finances that went into it for one week. God started speaking to my heart, "What if these resources were geared towards Fired-Up Friday? What difference could be made?" Rather than getting the kids for one week, we had the potential to see them twenty four times throughout the year. Furthermore, we would have the opportunity to build relationships with parents and their children.

As much as I could, I was seeing God's Spirit move from VBS to Fired-Up Fridays, and I chose to follow.

I also was seeing the Spirit lead in another direction. God was placing on my heart that we needed to incorporate the Fired-Up Friday's kids and families into Children's Sunday. This would be a nonthreatening way to invite the families into the church. To do this, we created a "music room" at Fired-Up Fridays where we have been teaching the kids music from the 2019 VBS curriculum that they will sing on Children's Sunday. We are also offering a reward of Fired-Up Friday tickets to anyone who comes to participate. Please come on Sunday and welcome these families into our church.

I truly believe that God's Spirit is moving. It might not be as easy to spot as the cloud with the Israelites, but if we quiet our hearts before God, He will guide. He may lead us in a direction for 40 years or 1 year. We might not understand at the time what God is doing, but we need to follow in faith. When Fired-Up Friday began 9 years ago with 13 kids, I had no idea it would become what it is today. Every step of the journey has been following where God's Spirit is moving. Our largest number was in January with 195 kids.

One of the songs the kids are singing on Sunday is called "A Whole Lotta Change" and is incredibly appropriate for where our church currently stands.

"There's a whole lotta change coming your way 
'cause like it or not nothing stays the same. So hold on tight and follow real close. God is good and He's in control."

Let's look to where God's Spirit is leading and not be afraid. God is good and He's in control.

I hope you're able to come on Sunday to see what God is doing in our midst and to welcome these new families.

In Christ,
Ashley Gardner
Having Trouble Viewing the Graphics?

If you are having trouble viewing the graphic elements on this Pastoral E-Letter, please go to the top of the page and click where it reads "Click Here." If you have Outlook, please right click in the image block and "download pictures."