How will we define ourselves?

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Last month I wrote about the marathon I had trained for all summer. I ran the marathon September 14 with my son, Nathan, and daughters, Jessica and Bethany, and beat my goal time of four hours by almost four minutes.  Surprisingly, I enjoyed the event and the challenge. I never felt awful, but I did feel a little light-headed after it was all over as we waited at the finish line. The legs were quite sore for a couple of days.  

After the race on the drive home, Pam shared a quote from President George H.W. Bush about his first marathon: “I learned that running can make you feel 10 years younger the day of the race and 10 years older the day after the race.”  His words were confirmed when we stopped at Casey’s and my 20-something progeny were hobbling up the curve like their knees wouldn’t bend.

The month before race day most of the people in our family were looking forward to having this experience crossed off the bucket list. They were reflecting on all the time they would reclaim. However, I found myself feeling a little sad that this season would soon be over. Goals that we really pursue give us direction and motivation. They focus our energy toward change. When the goals are achieved or given up on that direction is gone.

Now I find myself killing time looking at future marathons or calculating my needed improvement to qualify for the Boston Marathon, a quantum leap. I am looking for my next goal. Going after goals is not wrong. However, we must weigh what difference achieving the goals we choose will make. Any goal will take time, money, and energy. The goal will take time away from important relationships or give time to them. The goals a person chooses to pursue over time define the person they become. Likewise, the goals that an organization pursues will eventually define that organization.

In 2018 we set a goal as a congregation to define a discipleship process. The process we decided on was

1) Connect 2) Grow 3) Serve 4) Go. In 2019 we set a related goal to implement that process in the ministries and people of our church. We have been working at it. The path has not been as straightforward as the marathon training nor the implementation as clear as running a race. Though not a straight path toward the finish, we are making progress. Over the next several weeks we will be preaching through the components of this process. You will be challenged to set some goals for yourself to follow Jesus...further! Your choice to set challenging goals in these areas and pursue them will define you as a Jesus follower.

1 Timothy 4:8 (NIV2011)
“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 

 

Blessings - Pastor Harrison


 
 

Mental Illness and The Church

The news was visceral to read, heart breaking to consume, and tormenting to digest. The headline “Jarrid Wilson, Pastor, Author, and Mental Health Advocate, dies by Suicide This Week”. Jarrid is a pastor that I’ve come to appreciate having heard him at a conference, reading his articles, and encouraging social media posts. Jarrid impacted many through his honest voice in the church when it comes to mental health. The news of his death the day before World Suicide Prevention Day, well there’s no better way to say this… it sucks. He leaves behind a wife and two children. His wife, Juli,  in a Instagram post wrote:

“Suicide doesn’t get the last word. I won’t let it. You always said “Hope gets the last word. Jesus gets the last word’. Your life’s work has led thousands to the feet of Jesus and your boldness to tell others about your struggle with anxiety and depression has helped so many other people feel like they weren’t alone.”

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It may seem odd to many that a Pastor and mental health advocate could ever struggle with mental illness, let alone take his life. Some statistics report that 35% of pastors battle depression and that 1 in 4 people will experience mental illness this year. Whether we talk about it or not many of us are either personally touched by mental illness or know someone who struggles. This is true for me… in high school I had a friend send me pictures of her cutting her arms, a practice she had been doing for a long time. According to her many of her friends knew and nobody did anything… until I did. My roommate and best friend battled depression, many days it was difficult to even get out of bed for him. In Seminary I had my own bout with depression and negative thoughts. As a Youth Pastor we had several kids die by suicide in one summer. So, what do we do with the news of Jarrid and the unspoken reality that exist within our churches? 

Personally

  • Honesty: You can’t get help until you’re honest about your situation. I know that sounds cliché but hiding your mental illness for other people’s comfort isn’t being strong. It’s only when you’re honest with yourself can recovery and treatment happen.

  • Courage: Have the courage to tell someone, this is the hardest and scariest part. Anxiety of wondering how people will react will fill your head. Find someone you trust; someone you know cares enough to get you help.

  • Christ: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Jesus understands the deeps pains and frustrations of mental illness… and walks alongside of us. So, when you feel alone; when family, friends, and the church responds poorly know that Jesus understands and is always there with the truth that you are beloved by God.


The Church

  • Learn: Many within the church have ignorant and unhelpful attitudes when it comes to mental illness. When we believe and say things like; “She does it for attention”, “It’s just an excuse for behavior he could stop”, or “Christians shouldn’t struggle with depression” we discourage people who struggle from speaking up and getting the help they need.

  • Honesty: As the church we must push beyond our discomfort and be honest about mental illness. Many within our youth and our congregation struggle with mental illness. We have to speak the theological truth that mental illness is not a sin, but a consequence of living in a deeply broken world.

  • Advocate: We as brothers and sisters in Christ must be advocates of HOPE and getting professional help. Praying and reading scripture can help, but in many cases professional counseling, therapy, and medicine are necessary. Let’s help those struggling get the help they need.


There’s no way around it, Jarrid lost his battle with mental illness and his loss will never sit right with any of us he encouraged. This tragedy reminds us to live our lives with eyes wide open, to our own stubbornness to get help and to those around us who are quietly suffering. Suicide gets the last word when those who are left behind live in despair rather than rejoicing in lament. So, with a broken heart I affirm Christ came, died, was buried, and was raised to new life and I will join him… but not yet, there is good work to be done. 

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10.

 

Blessings - Vince Derr

connections pastor


 
 

New Giving Options

How many of you have your checkbook with you at church? How many of you have your cell phone with you at church? I’m sure more of you answered yes to the cell phone question. That is exactly why the Stewardship team has been working on ways to make giving easier for everyone at Steamboat Rock Baptist Church. We now have 3 new ways to give to SRBC: by mobile device, by text, or by using your computer.

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Mobile Device:

First you will need to download the “Church Center” app from the app store for your phone. The app will ask you to link the app to the church by location. Search for Steamboat Rock Baptist Church and follow the instructions. After you are signed in, click on “give” at the bottom of the screen and follow the instructions to submit your donation by choosing the appropriate fund and adding your bank account or credit card information. If you want, you can also click the small check box to cover the processing fees. This allows the church to receive the full benefit of the amount you are giving. Within the mobile app, you can also view your donation history and setup how you want to receive notification of your giving.

Text to Give:

Text any dollar amount to 84321. You will be asked to choose a church based on location, pick SRBC. Follow the instructions to setup your payment method. After setup is complete, next time just text the dollar amount to 84321 and your donation will be processed.

By computer/web browser:

Go to the “Giving” page on the SRBC website. Click on the “GIVE NOW” button in the middle of the page. Follow the instructions to sign in and submit your donation. You will be asked to enter your bank account or credit card information. You will also be able to view reports on your giving and set up automatic recurring donations.

If none of these new options are for you, please continue to give by check or cash in the offering plate.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me at church or send me an email at gregg.anderson@hotmail.com.

 

Treasurer - Gregg Anderson


 
 

Teenage Culture

Every few months I like to share or write articles that focus on teenage culture. Whether you’re a parent or grandparent of a M.S. or H.S. student or just someone who attends our church, it is helpful to learn about this generation of students that make up a portion of our church family. Last month, I wrote an article for the NAB focusing on youth ministry, but I also interviewed Jillian Simon, a student who is doing some youth ministry intern hours for a school class, with some questions about her life as a student being a part of our church family. Thanks for being a church who cares about students and their faith journeys. 

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Tell us a little about yourself

My name is Jillian Simon. I am a senior at Aplington-Parkersburg High School in Iowa. In school I participate in soccer, dance team, large group and individual speech, our spring play, as well as many other clubs. My family has been attending Steamboat Rock Baptist Church for as long as I remember. I am involved in different ministries there as well as some in my school.

What are some fun things about High School?

I love all of the activities I am involved in and that I have access to so much. I love the relationships I am able to build while being in high school. I once heard that high school is the biggest mission field because seldom will you be in contact with that many people on the daily after graduation. I love the idea of being able to have that large of an impact on my peers while being able to do things that all of us enjoy. My high school is just really awesome because of the community we build. We have so much school spirit and I love being a part of something like that.  

What are some of the challenges that High School students face that other adults might not know?

We are trying to cram every possible thing we can do into 24 hours. That being said, it leaves a lot of high schoolers stressed beyond measure and filled with anxiety. It’s difficult when we are told we need to be involved, but we are trying to give our all to everything we are committed to. It leaves us stretched very thin, and I don’t think that adults understand that all the time. That can be very taxing on students’ mental health, but another contributor to poor mental health is comparison. Students will look at others and wish they were them. They wish they had a certain personality or body type or matched the perfect beauty standard. The older I get, the more I realize that society's beauty standard is everything that we aren’t. People with curly hair want straight hair, and people with straight hair want curly hair. If you’re short, you wish to be taller, and if you are tall, you wish you were short. There are so many other examples, but the way that students view themselves is so degrading towards themselves and leave them feeling like they aren’t good enough in many cases.

What are some things that have been helpful for you in your faith as you have been active in our church and youth ministry?

I think the main thing is being active. The Bible calls us to community and being involved in my church and youth ministries have been such a blessing. I know that there is always a place I can turn when I need help, no matter what that looks like. Being active in church causes accountability and strong friendships that are rooted in the Word. Also, having strong, Christian adults that can speak into my life is one of the biggest blessings I could have ever received.

What role has serving others played in your faith development over the years?

I have been blessed to be able to go on many missions’ trips but those always remind me of the need in my own community. More than anything, just learning that we are to serve like we are serving God, not man. If we are doing this we should be serving to the best of our ability. Also, being willing to do the little things or the things we don’t feel comfortable doing. When we are outside of our comfort zones is when we see the most growth. We are to serve as Jesus did.

You’ve had many adults speak into your life over the years, what kind of impact has mentoring played in helping you follow Jesus further?
My mentor has become like another mother to me. She is an amazing woman of the faith, and she has shown me what a great example of a mother and wife looks like. Being able to have an adult I know I can count on that isn’t necessarily one of my parents has been such a blessing. Having her guide me in my faith has helped me grow so much. I highly suggest pursing mentorship. 

 
 

 Blessings - Pastor Bryce

 

 
 

The Value of Commitment

com·mit·ment

/kəˈmitmənt/

noun

  1. 1.

the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.

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I’ve been considering this word the last few days. Beyond the actual definition posted above, I heard it explained as “the deciding factor in reaching a difficult accomplishment”. That type of explanation really had me consider the commitment I have and more so, that of the people around me. I wanted to highlight a few people that I believe have strong commitments and how I think sharing the value of commitment to our Rock Solid Kids is one of the greatest examples and lessons we can teach. 

Our Staff

October is Pastor Appreciation Month and when I think of men who have the character of commitment, I think of them. Harrison’s commitment for people and his care for our congregation is deep and steadfast. He does so much on a given week but makes room and time for people first. I know I am and the rest of us are blessed by his commitment to our church. Bryce’s ethic towards his job and care towards projects and people has taught me so much in the last few years about being consistent, thorough and thoughtful to people and tasks. He accomplishes so much for youth, but also supports so much in Transformation Team and beyond single handily due to his commitment. Both men have true commitment to this church and all the things that go with it. Vince’s tender care for people and his commitment for the journey God has him on is exciting to see as well and although Brian is not “Pastoral” Staff, we all know that his commitment to excellence and attention to the big and small details in worship is what makes our Sunday Morning experience (and beyond) so thoughtful and beautiful. I know because of these folks that we have so many great VIP’s. 

VIP’s 

Billy Graham calls those steadfast in their commitment to Christ as a “VIP”. 

VIP-a person with vision, integrity, and in God’s presence. 

As I consider the people who work a long side our staff week in and week out, I am reminded of that “VIP” title. Our volunteers have such commitment to the ministries of this church, it’s compelling. We have an overflowing well of gifts here because of so many VIP’s.  I am encouraged by the volunteers I work with and seeing Awana, Sunday School and Children’s Church all begin again this September, it amazes me all the hands at work and all the commitment these ministries bring. This is due to the person with vision, integrity and in God’s presence. 

Children Need to Know

I was listening to a synopsis of Andy Stanley’s book called “Reclaiming Irresistible” and he mentions startling statistics of the “millennial” age category in their identified religion or affiliation and of which we have a large increase of “none” as their answer.  We also have an every-growing culture that doesn’t just check the “none” box, but even are claimed Christians who believe the Bible isn’t historic; believe the Bible isn’t relevant; and even believe the Bible could be harmful. 

These adults were mostly “church-going” children. What changed? Stanley’s book points to one reason: Access. “Once upon a time, before the internet and era of knowledge overload…. you had to actually read the Bible to know the Bible.” (Stanley). That would have taken serious…commitment. 

We have an amazing Pastoral Staff and so many VIP volunteers that have evidential harvest in their giftings and nurturing for our children – but that won’t be enough for today’s children. Personally, I have left little time to invest at home for our family to grow Biblically, and equally important, prayerfully that I can see where my commitment is based on where my time is, and it needs some work. With a culture at war with our beliefs, - they need our commitment more than ever. I’m afraid I’m teaching my children it’s okay to not be committed. Kay Arthur says: 


“If you do not plan to live the Christian life totally committed to knowing God and to walking in obedience to Him, then don’t begin, for this is what Christianity is all about. It is a change of citizenship, a change of governments, a change of allegiance. If you have no intention of letting Christ rule your life, then forget Christianity; it is not for you”. 

Perhaps our children don’t know the commitment it takes to serve Christ? Or see the value or gift that this commitment brings? This is something I hope to incorporate in a Thankful 30-Day Challenge in November and will likely influence our “vision for 2020” in Rock Solid Kids. I know commitment will be necessary to accomplish the Ministry Leadership Team’s goal to “Connect, Grow, Serve and Go” as well.


Children need to see and know the commitment or Kay Arthur is right that once they’re older and the baton is given to them, they will not think it is for them or see the value of the commitment. In a world where we can do anything to advance them scholastically, in activities and/or recreationally, consider spending time on knowing God and having your child know God together or maybe a little more of the commitment building for Christ and those other things a little less. Read His Word. Pray together. I hope to have a great November challenge to help steer us into a place/habit; but lastly, I’ll say I know for our family that the commitment needs to start with me and I pray you’ll consider my newsletter and take time to see how you can commit to Christ, strengthen your commitment and model and encourage it for your children – it may be the best thing we can ever teach them! It’s the commitment that will be “the deciding factor in reaching a difficult accomplishment” for your children.

 

God Bless - Crystal Carroll

Children's Ministry