With the start of the New Year, I am going to take a new step to help the Body celebrate what God is doing at and through Zion. Rather than a weekly email that is “informative” I am going to send a weekly email that is more “inspirational” and also post it to my blog. It will highlight stories, testimonies, and exciting news about “Life at Zion.” To help make this weekly communication fresh, I would love to hear stories from everyone. Email me at email@example.com. Here is what “life” looks like recently:
Stan and Sharon Pierce welcomed graduates from Women at the Well in Tennessee and they had an opportunity to share their story of life change at one of our Life Groups. We continue to pray as Stan and Sharon launch Women at the Well of Pa this year. They have a location and will need volunteers to help with renovations in the coming months.
· Zion of Petroleum Valley welcomed a new volunteer to the after school mentoring program at Karns City High School. This is a huge opportunity to give back to their school system and build into the lives of students.
· We kicked off a yearlong sermon series, Storyline, by going back BEFORE the beginning to remind ourselves “There was a King before there was a Kingdom.” Listen to the message at www.zionlife.com. Be sure to download the notes for study and discussion in Life Groups too.
· Barry Mitchell, the leader of a ministry to prisoners at the Clarion County Jail, is launching a new discipleship focus this year. It will be more effective in building into the lives of men, helping them to discover life in Jesus.
· New guests attended our worship gatherings on Sunday at all three locations, some of whom were coworkers who folks from Zion had been inviting for months. Don’t ever give up!
Missy Brazier, a single mom who attends our Clarion campus, is in the Dominican Republic this week serving with a friend and their church. Pray for her. Is God calling you to a short term trip to serve the global church?
· On the last Sunday of 2012, we baptized a man who recently came to faith in Jesus and is now being discipled. Check out his story here (it’s a little rough but worth watching) http://youtu.be/amQKftgUHEQ. We celebrate 41 baptisms in 2012.
· On Sunday morning we prayed for Life Choices of Kittanning and AAA Life Service of Clarion. In God’s providence, Zion of Jefferson County prayed for Hilary Boyer who has worked at AAA for six years. This week, she is doing presentations in the Brookville School District about Abstinence, the first time they have ever been in the school district.
· We made budget in December! Praise God. Let’s continue to be consistent, sacrificial, and cheerful in our giving.
On Sunday morning, we opened our gathering by asking this simple question: “Why am I here?” We wanted people to think about the reason they come to church on Sundays. I received this email Sunday afternoon: I thought I would let you know one of the reasons I come to church on a regular basis. The reason is because I often receive unexpected blessings when I attend church. Here is a most recent example, which has actually happened twice in the past two months. In December one morning, I asked some people to pray for me regarding a personal situation. They of course agreed to do so, and we chatted for a bit. During that brief minute, one lady said something that really helped me know that she truly understood what I was saying. This was extremely meaningful to me as she is a person from whom I probably would not have sought out counsel. However, her comment stuck with me during the next hour, and I once again found her after church to talk some more with her about this situation. While we were talking, I found an immediate peace about the situation and knew that God was using her to talk to me. What a blessing! Likewise, yesterday, the same thing happened, only with a different person. Again, this person is not someone I would have normally thought about to help me with my situation as we are in different “stages of life.” However, clear as anything, I know that God brought us together so that I would hear from Him and find peace, comfort, strength, and encouragement in a situation I’ve been struggling with for months. The key for me, is that I would not have normally connected with these two individuals to discuss my life, and yet God brought us intentionally together during our Sunday morning time so that I could hear from Him and be encouraged and strengthened. Why come to church? Why not is what I say! You never know what unexpected blessings God has in store for you!