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Catalyst 2.0 Prayer Guide : A School With a Church by Ellen Gregory

A School with a Church  

by Ellen Gregory

Matthew 11:25:  At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.   

From a different perspective . . . driving Second Friends Preschoolers back from Science City last spring, I heard a little voice behind me say "Is this a church bus?” The teacher replied "Yes, it is.” Then I heard, "Oh, does our school have a church?” and I had to smile. Since then, I have reflected over that short conversation many times.   

One of the things that drew Larry and me to Second Baptist over 20 years ago was the number of young families with small children and the importance Second places on nurturing, education, and the security of even our littlest ones.   

We have raised two daughters as part of this church family and our girls have grown into women of strong faith with a passion for service to people needing help. There is no way to put a price on this, yet it is due to programs that are still going strong and are funded by the Catalyst.  Sunday School ministries, Wednesday night mission programs, the youth program, choirs from children through adults, handbells, orchestra, Vacation Bible School, mission trips, children and youth camps. And we can’t forget Second Friend Preschool. Although it has become a ministry that is self-funded, it began 20 years ago as part of our church budget and has grown into a successful ministry to our community.   

We are a church of vision and passion with the knowledge that we must raise our future generations to develop their own vision and passion through deep relationship with the one true God.   

I come back around to the conversation on the bus. Yes, indeed. Second Friends Preschool has a Church.  A Church that values them, prays for them, volunteers when needed, and is just plain proud of them. What more can I say?     

Thank God for the impact Second Friends Preschool has had on countless children and families over the years.

Posted by Terri Soper at Wednesday, October 8, 2014 | 0 comments
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Catalyst 2.0 Prayer Guide : The Habit of Tithing by Greg Duncan


The Habit of Tithing

by Greg Duncan    

 Mark 12:17:  Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him.    

When I first started mowing lawns and walking home with crisp bills in my hands, my parents unabashedly explained the tithing concept to me – and promptly made change for my earnings so that I would have the right amount of dollar bills to put in the offering plate. Not optional. It certainly wasn’t a foreign concept. I knew that my parents gave to the church every month. It was fun to be a copy-cat giver.   

When I graduated to an actual job with an actual uniform (brown, pink & orange striped shirt complemented by brown baseball cap) at the local Baskin Robbins, I got my first actual paper paycheck! Having calculated the hours I worked times $2.10, I was shocked that my check was less than what I had earned. What’s a deduction? And who’s this FICA guy and why does he get some? I explained to my parents that I could no longer give 10% to the church now that I was only getting partially paid. Wrong. As a dishwasher, a pizza driver, a recreation assistant, a clothing salesman, a paralegal wannabe, the checks gradually got larger, but so did the deductions, and so did the things I “needed” the money for.  But I was in the habit of tithing, I knew it was right, and I simply did it.   

Fast forward to marriage, mortgage, children, medical expenses, and all sorts of grown-up things that compound financial pressure. As our incomes have risen (and fallen) and as our financial security has strengthened (and faltered) our commitment to a 10% tithe has remained steady. Sometimes it’s tough to write that check. Sometimes “joyful giver” is a real misnomer.   

But looking back over more than 30 years of consistent tithing I’m grateful for parents who instilled a value and cultivated a habit. I’m grateful for a wife who shares the belief and reinforces the commitment. I’m grateful for the ability and opportunity to continue to give to my God and my church through the Catalyst programs. With time and space it would be easy to enumerate all the reasons why, but suffice it to say, I can’t imagine not!   

 Are you a habitual tither? What steps, with God’s help, could you take to develop the habit of tithing?

Posted by Terri Soper at Tuesday, October 7, 2014 | 0 comments
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Catalyst 2.0 Prayer Guide : One Direction by Loulla Efstathiou


One Direction 

by Loulla Efstathiou   

Proverbs 3:5–6:  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (NKIV)   

This verse is both broad and precise. Numerous times in my life I have come to the end of the road, not knowing which direction to take. Growing up I often felt I was not understood and had no one to turn to for support. So where does one go for guidance and reflection? Trust in the LORD . . . He shall direct your paths.   

When I was fifteen years old, pursuing additional levels of education seemed an impossible goal for me. I had failed class for two consecutive years; thus it was probably time for me to marry and begin my family. However, God had different plans for me.  God sent a missionary who believed that I could finish my high school education if I would agree to come with her to the United States. What once seemed impossible now became a reality. After graduating high school, I returned to Cyprus and was again encouraged to get married, settle down and have a family. God again directed my path because the impossible came into reality. I would be returning to the United States to attend the School of the Ozarks to get a teaching degree. Eventually, God guided me to Liberty and the mission-minded Second Baptist Church filled both my spiritual and human needs. Trust in the LORD . . . He shall direct thy paths.   

Our upbringing and environment shape our future. Each and every one of our experiences help prepare us to better glorify Him. He assures us that He will send the Holy Spirt to illuminate our ways and to shield us from danger.   

Growing up in a fourth world environment, being educated in America, living and teaching in Liberty and worshipping and communing at Second Baptist Church makes Proverbs 3:5-6 come alive for me. God is indeed leading and guiding my way. Having experienced His presence through the Holy Spirit, I fault myself every time I spend time worrying about the insignificant road blocks that tempt my thoughts and actions. The Holy Spirit's presence provides everything needed plus much more.  

 Ask God to show you the roadblocks in your life and how to overcome them with God’s strength.

Posted by Terri Soper at Monday, October 6, 2014 | 0 comments
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