The Big Splash Bash: All Are Welcome

 

On Sunday, August 19, at 9:30 AM, you and your family are invited to join us at The Family of Faith for this year’s Big Splash Bash. During the worship service we will be blessing all teachers (e.g. preschool teachers, aids, Children’s Church teachers, public school teachers, private school teachers). We will also be blessing all children as they prepare to return to school. If you have such children in your care, please allow them to bring their backpacks with them to church that day (we call this The Blessing of The Backpacks). After church we will gather for a potluck lunch in the gym. In addition, youth and children will be invited to enjoy water games and activities in the church yard.

Whether you have attended worship service here for years or are sending your child to preschool for the first year, we pray you will feel like a part of The Family of Faith. Activities like The Blessing of the Backpacks helps us all connect with each other. Please keep an eye on the church calendar for more special activities. For example, the new Family of Faith – Miramesa is getting very close to being open. When it is open we will hold a special service of dedication and celebration.

As the Summer Camp calendar comes to an end, and the regular school year begins, many families experience transitions. A new school, a new teacher, a new class level, etc. can make some individuals anxious. The Lord Jesus Christ wants all of us to know that no matter what the challenge is before us, He promises to be with us always and forever.

-Pastor Doug

At The Family of Faith – Copperfield we are so glad to be honored with carrying for young children. Over the past 12 years we have been providing excellent care for children as young as 18 months. Now the Lord is blessing us again as we begin to offer care for infant children our new location, The Family of Faith – Miramesa.

Caring and nurturing the youngest of children is clearly part of God’s direction to the church in the Bible. The Bible refers to infant children when it uses the Greek word “brephos”. We read about infant children in Luke 18:15, “Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them.” Jesus was glad to receive infant children into his care; therefore, The Family of Faith Lutheran Church is glad to receive infants into its care.

Of course, Jesus did not just hold little children in his arms. Rather, Jesus himself was an infant. For example, the angels said to the shepherds on the original Christmas day, “And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12).

Please join us in praying for God’s richest blessings as we begin taking care of infant children at The Family of Faith – Miramesa. Sadly, we only have so many cribs available. If you know of a family who needs a helping hand carrying for their infant child, please refer them to us at The Family of Faith as soon as possible so we may include them in the first class ever to attend the new facility.

– Pastor Doug

Vacation Bible School was celebrated this week at The Family of Faith Lutheran Church. Dozens and dozens of children from our community chose to spend the week learning about how Jesus rescues us from sin. This main theme was taught at craft time, chapel time, snack time, game time, and during Bible study time.

On each of the five days of VBS we learned about another way Jesus rescues. When you are lonely, when you worry, when you struggle, when you do wrong, and when you’re powerless…Jesus rescues. These themes included the Bible stories about the lost sheep, Mary and Martha, Jesus at Gethsemane, the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the miraculous healing of the lame man.

Please join me in giving thanks to God for all of the volunteers who generously gave of their time and abilities to support this year’s VBS. Our congregation aspires to be multiple-multiples: multi-generational, multi-cultural, multi-site, and for men and women. The Lord allowed us to realize many of these aspirations this week through our volunteers and through our guests.

While the songs were inspirational, and the crafts were clever, and the snacks were tasty, and the games were fun, the main benefit to all was the comfort offered to all through the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. May the Lord send the Holy Spirit to work through the lessons taught this week that many may know that they too are rescued by Jesus.

– Pastor Doug

 

STARTING THIS SUNDAY, JULY 1, WORSHIP WILL START AT 9:30 AM.

Because The Family of Faith is dedicated to reaching out to our community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we are starting church at 9:30 AM. The time change starting here in July will allow us to be ready when we begin to offer a second worship service at 11:00 AM at the new Family of Faith – Miramesa. We believe that two worship services will help more people come before the Lord’s altar to worship on Sunday, the Lord’s day.

Please pray for God’s blessings on our new worship time. Please also pray that the new facility will be finished in a timely manner. Call upon the Holy Spirit to work through the Word and the Sacraments at both The Family of Faith – Copperfield, and The Family of Faith – Miramesa, that many souls may know the joy of the Gospel.

We rejoice that our Director of Preschool Operations, Cora Nash, is already able to provide weekly tours on Sunday evenings at Miramesa. If you know of someone looking for early childhood education and care, we would appreciate you referring them to us. God’s peace.

– Pastor Doug

Years ago, in preparation for the 20th anniversary of The Family of Faith in 2011, the congregation decided to beautify the church property by planting a flower garden around the sign in the front yard of the church. The gardeners in the congregation selected the flowers, planted them, and cared for them. This legacy of generosity welcomes all who enter our property for today (7 years later) the initial plantings have grown tremendously. Rich colors of green, red, pink, and periwinkle blue, welcome our guests like nature’s own version of fireworks.

Flowers are part of God’s good creation. Jesus used flowers as a visional aid when teaching his disciples: “And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like on of these” (Matthew 6:28-29).

Similarly, to how God cares for the flowers, He also cares for children. In 19th century Germany a man named Froebel wanted to help the children in his area receive excellent care, so he started something called a “Kindergarten” (i.e. a children’s garden). Children from 2 to 6 years old attended this garden for children. Our summer camp program, and preschool program, and before-and-after-school program imparts a similar work to our 21st century community. Our excellent staff cares for the children in our community with the same nurture and care that our gardeners provided to our beautiful flowers. May God bring our little children to grow and bloom to the glory of God.

-Pastor Doug                                                                                                

The 2017-2018 academic year of The Family of Faith Preschool is now finished. The preschool students received their diplomas in an exciting graduation service which included the class processing in cap and gown. Starting next week, The Family of Faith Summer Camp program will begin. This program serves children who are 18 months old through those children who are in 5th grade. Vacation Bible School will be offered in the middle of the Summer Camp schedule starting July 16.

What does the early childhood program have in common with the summer camp program? And what does the summer camp program have in common with the VBS program? And what do all of these have in common with the before-and-after school program? They all celebrate children’s innate desire to play.

Children’s play, while filled with silliness, and fun, is extremely important to their overall development. Actually, when we adult-type people watch children playing we are seeing children learn right before our very eyes. Social, emotional, physical, intellectual, aesthetic, and spiritual development are all greatly affected by children’s play.

Jerome W. Berryman realized how important play was for the spiritual development of children. Therefore, Berryman created a support organization called Godly Play. You can learn more about Godly Play by visiting www.godlyplayfoundation.org. There you will find an abundance of books, articles, and resources to help you see how significant play is in the lives of our children.

At The Family of Faith we understand the developmental benefits of play for children. This is why we recently updated the playground at The Family of Faith – Copperfield. It is also the reason we are building a beautiful new playground at The Family of Faith – Miramesa (set to open this August). This knowledge regarding the importance of play is also why our daily chapel offerings are filled with puppets, and silly songs, and age appropriate games. May God bless our summer as we learn more about him as we play.

– Pastor Doug

This time of the year at The Family of Faith is lots of fun. It is lots of fun because we have the opportunity to celebrate. For example, this last Saturday, we celebrated the graduation of our preschool students. The children wore white caps and gowns as they processed into the sanctuary for the preschool graduation service. The children led the congregation in prayer, and song, and the pledges. Parents energetically took pictures as their child received their diploma from the preschool directors and myself.

In addition to the preschool graduation, we celebrated six confirmation students on Sunday in the Rite of Confirmation. Each of these children joined me each Sunday after church for at least a year in order to study the Bible carefully in preparation for their first communion. Each confirmand approached the altar for Holy Communion with their families. And each student presented a confirmation project in order to express their faith. One student created an artistic painting that was displayed on the bulletin. Another student crafted a wood cross and decorated it in such a way that it displayed an iridescent shine.

Finally, on Sunday, we also celebrated Pentecost Day. This is the day God poured out the Holy Spirit upon the church. The Spirit moved the church to speak God’s Word of salvation to many, as well as moving the church to baptize 3,000 souls in one day. May God continue to gather us as His family, as The Family of Faith, to celebrate His great goodness to us all.

-Pastor Doug

Yesterday was a day of appreciation at The Family of Faith Preschool. The preschool staff showed their appreciation of the mothers of our preschool children by providing an early Mother’s Day celebration. Just hours later several mothers reciprocated by watching the children while the staff enjoyed lunch together as part of Teacher Appreciation Week.

All of this celebrating, volunteering, helping, and appreciating accumulates to make for a wonderfully positive culture within The Family. What a joy it is as a pastor to see all of this generosity at work in our children’s learning environment. If there are such things as emotional “vibes” then there are certainly good vibes at The Family of Faith Preschool.

I, myself, was appreciative of the mothers who joined us for chapel. Three moms even volunteered to help me present the chapel message while using bird puppets. Thank you, ladies. One point of our puppet extravaganza (e.g. a penguin, a chicken, an owl, and an ostrich) was that all of these very different creatures are all birds. Some can run fast. Some can swim well. Some can cockle-doodle-doo. And some can see well at night.

In addition to sharing unity within their diversity, all of these birds also shared something else in common. God provides for them all just as He also provides for us all. Who really provided the tea for the mothers? Who really provided the lunch for the teachers? Who really provided the positive vibes in our children’s learning environment? Our Lord Jesus Christ, that’s who.

Here is how Jesus put it himself: “Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into a barn, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they” (Matthew 6:26)? Yes, you, dear reader, are valuable to God. Yes, the children in our care are valuable to God. Yes, the Lord himself appreciates us all for we are all His children.

-Pastor Doug

“A Crown and Kids”

 

It is my pleasure to serve as the Senior Pastor at The Family of Faith Lutheran Church. One reason working at The Family is such a pleasure has to do with the energy and excitement that the preschool children and preschool staff members bring with them every day.

For example, today, in celebration of my 53rd birthday on Saturday, the staff presented me with a lovely birthday crown. This lovely craft was handmade by Ms. Tara. How much fun is that! Of course, I proudly wore my birthday crown as I greeted the children and their families at the door. As we celebrated the Lord’s goodness to us at our daily chapel time, I proudly wore my new birthday crown throughout the service. The children and staff members even sang the birthday song to me at the end of our time together in the sanctuary.

After all this extra attention, it occurred to me that I was receiving a small taste of the care and support that our children receive from our staff members every day. Celebrating birthdays is something our staff makes a priority in their classrooms. Actually, the staff finds something to celebrate with the children on a daily basis. It may be a birthday. It may be a rainbow in the sky. It may be a new game. Somehow each day the staff direct the children towards God’s goodness to them while inviting the children to join the joy.

I pray that each of you, parents, and grandparents, may share in the culture of joy found in the hallways, classrooms, playground, gym, and chapel of The Family of Faith Lutheran Church and Preschool whether it is your birthday, or not. May the Lord generously give to you eyes to see his generosity and a heart to respond to his repeated goodness.

-Pastor Doug

Jesus Is My Best Friend?

Thank you to all the parents and staff members who helped the preschool children sing in church last Sunday, April 22. Your generosity is very much appreciated by myself and our congregation. While early childhood education and care are offered at The Family 60 hours per week, those large efforts are not always apparent to the congregant in the pew. Thank you for sharing a little taste of our wonderful preschool with those who worshiped last Sunday.

One of the songs the children sang was called “Jesus Is My Best Friend.” Not only are these the words in the title, but they also serve as most of the words of the song itself. Repeatedly, the children reminded us that Jesus is our best friend.

Dear reader, you may find yourself cracking a little wise as you think to yourself, “Jesus is not really my best friend. My best friend is my fishing buddy.” Or, “My best friend is my shopping partner.” Of course, it is wonderful, dear reader, that you have such a special person in your life; however, I suggest that we can have Jesus as our best friend AND keep our other friends too.

Jesus shows himself to be our best friend by traveling with us wherever we go. No matter what the situation is. No matter the location. The children learn in chapel that our Lord Jesus goes with us on the playground, and in the gym, and during nap-time, and snack-time. Actually, at any time and place the resurrected Jesus can and does go with us to strengthen, encourage, forgive, love, and support us in our Christian faith.

What about on an off-shore oil rig? What about on a military base? What about in a hospital room? What about in a university classroom? Yes, our Lord Jesus can and does go with us adult-type people into our adult-type places and situations. While Jesus loves the little children, he is not a little child.

As you go about your work-life, your home-life, and your life in general, go with your best friend. Go with the only person who loves you with absolute, perfect, and unconditional love. Go with the Lord as you join the children in singing, “Jesus is my best friend.”

Pastor Doug