Welcome to the El Camino Baptist Church blog. We wanted a place where our ministry leaders could share things that God has laid on their hearts. Please feel free to comment and join in the discussion as we share how God is moving through His church.Other places to find us on the web are our website, Youtube, and Facebook. You can also check out Hoss' music blog at hosshughes.com.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Which Child Were You?

After Prayer Meeting tonight, a feisty gentleman in his 70's couldn't resist teasing me before heading out. As a former first grade teacher, I wondered what that gentleman was like when he was 7; this man who now serves God so wholeheartedly, joyfully and selflessly. It gave me the idea to interview adults who love and strive to serve God, to see what God used to help develop them into the men and women that they are today.

We'll start with me. Who was I?

I was the little girl who was invited to church by a friend because I either spent Saturday night at her house, or was invited to be her 'visitor' so my friend could win a prize for inviting someone to Sunday School.

I was the quiet little girl who sat completely still, hanging on the teacher's every word. I was fascinated and absorbed everything that was said. I was shocked that the other children knew the answers to things I was hearing about for the very first time.

I was the attentive little girl who never took my eyes off the teacher. I couldn't understand why he would be so kind to me, or why she took such an interest in me. My world was brighter because they smiled at me when they were teaching or leading. Their smile spoke volumes to me. I felt noticed. I felt significant. I felt loved.

I was the disappointed little girl who cried on the inside when it was time to go home. I didn't want to leave. I wanted to stay there where I felt loved and significant and cared about. I wanted to know more about this God. I wasn't done. I didn't understand it was all repeated the next week and that I was welcome to return, even though they said they hoped to see me again.

I was the little girl who was here today and gone tomorrow. My family moved a lot. We lived in 8 different neighborhoods in 5 different states by the time I was 12. With each move came new friends, and new opportunities to be invited to someone's church. Very few invited me; this quiet, scraggly, insecure little girl. But there were a few precious times when people did invite me to a Sunday School class here, or to an outreach event there. I never declined if my parents let me go. And I treasured each experience. I still remember them to this day.

Going to church as a child was a treat for me. It was a place where I got to experience people who loved children in a way that was different for me. They took time to invest in us. They were excited about God and about making sure we knew all about Him. And they noticed us. They noticed me! They looked me in the eye, smiled at me, and said they were glad I was there. And I believed them. They were believable. They showed they cared.

Those Christian teachers, leaders and helpers were Jesus to me. I knew God loved me because those people loved me. I don't know that I ever knew their names, and I can't picture a specific face when I think about those experiences, but I clearly remember their smiles, and I remember the way they made me feel. It is exactly the same way Jesus still makes me feel today.

Hebrews 13:1-2 says, "Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." I'm certainly no angel, but when we show love and hospitality to others, we never know how God is going to use it. I am so thankful and grateful to each of God's servants who reached out and ministered to me when I came to their church.

Today I serve as the Director of Children's Ministries at our church. I pray God will give me many opportunities to reach out to others for Him in return, so they too can experience this loving God, no matter where they come from. What an honor to carry on this legacy of love, one small person at a time.

May I introduce you to our readers? May I tell your childhood story? Please let me know. You are a work of God. Your childhood experiences contributed to who you are now. Please let me share what He did in you. I'd love to hear your story. I know others would as well!

Friday, July 15, 2011

When It's All Said and Done

Today is the last day of our final camp of this summer. Summer Science Spectacular is quickly drawing to a close. Many parents will be attending our finale tonight with their children to enjoy a sample of what we experienced all week. They will also get to hear about this Jesus their children learned about. Our prayer is that they will be in awe of God's Son, and tonight choose to have a personal relationship with Him. At least 32 of their children did. Please pray their parents will as well.

Last night I glanced at the Children's Ministry page on our web site. I saw the list of events and activities that we've held since January. Besides jokingly thinking, "No wonder we're tired!" I sat there wondering if God was truly glorified. Did we do what God called us to do, and only what He called us to do? Did we take advantage of every opportunity to share Him thoroughly and completely? Did we follow up well enough so that if there were any lingering questions or confusions we could clarify and guide? Is our plan to disciple them in the coming months adequate and God led?

I know God cares more about our personal relationship with Him than He does about what we do for Him, and for that, I am grateful and relieved. It is during those cherished personal quiet times with Him that He has the chance to instruct and guide us. I also know that He has called us to go forth and make disciples. I sat there last night wondering, are we being faithful? Lord, please guide our every decision and ministry move. Please help us to reach each person you bring our way for You! And may You be highly lifted up in all ways so our little piece of Your world will know that Jesus is the Son of God, their Redeemer!

"Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent."
John 17:3

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Praising God!

Our group of 22 adults and teens returned yesterday afternoon from our first Family Mission Trip. We went to the Gospel Rescue Mission's Women's and Children's Center here in Tucson. Although probably less than 20 miles from home, God used this trip in each of our lives in so many ways.

This morning I want to praise You Lord for:
*Choosing the location and the time for us to go.
*For knowing each one of us so intimately that you knew exactly what each one of us needed to experience this weekend in order to grow closer to You.
*For using us with our unique gifts and talents so that moms and children would be able to experience Your love.
*For exposing us to what a slippery slope just one poor choice can be. (Exodus 23:2)
*For the team You chose to go; for the friendships started, renewed and strengthened.
*For continuing to work on areas of our lives we haven't wanted to look at.
*For the potential of future ministry with these families.

Psalm 52:8-9 NIV

But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
for ever and ever.
For what You have done I will always praise You
in the presence of Your faithful people.
And I will hope in Your name,
for Your name is good.