Neighbors

 

I am with Pastor Lynn Arends, the other pastor in town, at Panda One in Eldora, sitting at a table for ten.  We have one empty seat at the table.  The other seats are filled by the family of my neighbor.  He grew up in Steamboat Rock and moved away.  He moved back a year and a half ago.  I saw him outside his garage grilling while walking around the block with my daughter.  I stopped to say “Hi” and introduced myself.  He was very friendly and showed me his new puppy.  We talked about his grill which looked like an engine block on a stand.  

Later that year Pam and I were invited over for a Christmas party.  He and his wife were gracious and hospitable.  They stretched our palates as he served me raw oysters and offered an appetizer tray filled with oriental fare.  

“My wife is from Thailand,” he explained. “She went to cooking school and can impress the best chefs.”

His wife modestly shook her head in denial, but the tastes in my mouth made me a believer.

This past year he came back.  I saw his truck parked in the driveway and greeted him.  He took me around to look at some of his projects in town; my neighbor is extremely energetic.  We enjoyed some good conversation about the town and the opportunities and challenges it faces.  This past Christmas he called me and wanted to visit about a bus or van to help pick up his mother from the care center.

Now here we are at a restaurant sharing a meal together with his family members who have come all the way across the world to visit Hardin County.  They ask about the Steamboat Rock Baptist Church logo on my shirt.  They share that there are Christians in Thailand but that most of the people are Buddhist.  One asks whether Pastor Arends and I are part of the same church.  We say, “No.”  

  “How many different churches are there?” asks the questioner.  

  “Thousands, but they all share some common beliefs,” I try to explain.

  “You both believe Jesus is alive?” she asks.

Steamboat Rock The Valley of Friendliness.png

We both enthusiastically nod our heads!  We are bearing witness.  Because 18 months ago I took the time to say “Hi” to the new neighbor on the block, we are doing international missions right here in Eldora.  Want to live an adventurous life with Jesus?  Commit to loving your neighbors in His name.  You never know where that commitment will lead you or how those neighbors will bless you.  (He bought our meal.)

 

 

Blessings - Pastor Harrison


 
 

Our Family is Growing!

Here I go again with numbers!!  However, I think you will be both amazed and encouraged by some of the numbers that I want to pass along to you today.

  1. 55—this number represents the number of new households that have been added to our church family since October of 2015.  Think about that for just a moment.   That figures out to 22 new families each year since we have built the new facilities.  And, many of these new people are already serving in many different ways or joining a Small Group or getting involved in the leadership.   As the Pastor of Community Life, I have had the opportunity to get to know many of these people and my life has been greatly enriched.   Each of these new families has truly been a blessing to the life of SRBC.
  2. 14—this number represents the number of households that we have lost in the past   2 ½ years. 6 of those households moved away from this area and I am confident that they are worshipping and serving in another church. Praise God! That leaves 9 families that still live in this area but have chosen to attend church elsewhere. Or, maybe, they don’t attend church at all. It does make me ask the question—Why? Is it possible that these families simply did not make a connection with other people?
  3. 21—this number represents the percentage of increase in our Sunday Morning Worship Service attendance over that same time frame. 

I don’t know about you, but I am really encouraged to see these numbers and how God blessed us when SRBC made the decision to invest in the future.  When I review the actual names of the new families, I am so encouraged to see many of them getting involved in the ministry of SRBC.  And a number of these new families have been an encouragement to Jane and I on a personal level.  I thank God for each of them.

image001.jpg

God is at work here.  Do you want to get involved in what God is doing here?  If you want to know more about where you can get involved to “Encourage Everyone to Follow Jesus Further”, call me at 641-858-6085 or text me at jim@steamboatbaptist.org and I would be happy to visit with you so that you can get connected with other believers at SRBC.

Before I close, think about this.  What if God sends 22 more new households in the next year?  And then, 30 more the following year?  Hey, remember, PRAY BIG!!!!!

 

 

 

Jim Kramer—Pastor of Community Life

 

 

The Rise of Vaping

I was driving through Eldora recently and as I crossed an intersection, I saw a teenager driving a car that was familiar to me. As I looked into the car, I saw it fill with smoke. Have no fear, the car wasn’t on fire, it was someone vaping. Likewise, a few days later, I was eating at Subway when two teens got out of their car. One let out a big puff of smoke before entering Subway. 

We recently had a captivating discussion in H.S. Radiate about the issue of teens and vaping. We try to hold these “Hot Topic” discussions in a way that allows students to honestly weigh in on a subject. And I was very grateful that they did weigh in openly and honestly, sharing both sides of their beliefs on the issue. At the end of the discussion, we challenged them with some guidance the Bible gives.

As I thought about all that was shared, I left the discussion thinking, “I’m not sure if teens (or adults for that matter) know much about vaping.” With that in mind, I wanted to share an article that was helpful for me from a youth ministry source that I trust.

 
 

“Safer” Smoking

Why Vaping May Not Be As Harmless As We Were Told by David R Smith

vaping picture.jpg

Vaping – the act of inhaling vapor from e-liquid through a personal vaporizer – has always been touted as “safer” than smoking conventional cigarettes. But according to new research, that might not be saying much. 

In a world where drug use among teenagers is down overall, vaping and marijuana use are up. No surprise in a culture where a growing number of kids think getting wasted is “no big deal.” 

So is vaping a safe substitute? 

 
 

I wrote about vaping almost two years ago when more and more kids began disappearing into a mist at hangouts, on street corners, and even in school parking lots. The number of teens who vape continues to rise; roughly 28% of high school seniors now admit to vaping in the past year alone.  


It’s easy to see why so many young people prefer vaping over the old-fashioned cigarettes of yesteryear. There’s no bad breath (or smell of smoke since it’s actually smokeless), nor any risk of burns (because, again, there isn’t an actual fire). Vapers also claim their hobby – or habit? – is cheaper than conventional cigarettes…which isn’t hard to believe since the average cost of a pack of cigarettes is now $6.16. But the claim that vapers love to repeat the most – that vaping is less likely to result in cancer or other smoking-related diseases – is now in the crosshairs of several researchers. 

The Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University has found that electronic smoking devices can release “significant amounts of toxic metals” within the flavored vapors enjoyed by millions. Analyzing the equipment of 56 different users, researchers found traces of lead, chromium, manganese, and nickel. Problems stemming from the ingestion of these metals can be quite serious: lung, liver, and brain damage, upsets in the immune and cardiovascular systems…and some cancers. 

The University of California (San Francisco) corroborated the cancer-related dangers of vaping when they released the results of their study that claimed “smoking e-cigarettes delivers cancer-causing chemicals” to users. Testing teens who smoked traditional cigarettes alongside teen vapers, researchers found that the latter could be contaminating themselves with the same harmful chemicals found in tobacco-based cigarettes. Unsurprisingly, they found that young vapers had “higher levels of the cancer-causing chemicals” in their system than non-smokers did. Their report was crystal clear: “The presence of harmful ingredients in e-cigarette vapor has been established; we can now say that these chemicals are found in the body of human adolescents who use these products.” 

This damning research on vaping is just the latest in a long line of troublesome reports on the subject. Back in 2016, research by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that teenagers who vape are six times more likely to start smoking cigarettes than teens who never vaped. Holy smoke! 

 

Blowing Smoke 
In spite of what proponents might claim, it seems vaping could be more problematic than originally thought. So, how should parents and youth workers respond when teenagers ask about the relative safety of vaping? What can we do to steer our kids away from the dangers associated with vaping (whether they’re “probable” or “actual”)? Here are two thoughts to consider as you try to guide the young people in your life.  

  1. Avoid the problems associated with “lesser evils.” Since its inception, vaping has claimed to be less dangerous than traditional smoking. Let’s say their claim is true and that vaping is less dangerous than outright smoking. Is “less dangerous” really the line we want to tow with our kids’ futures? Parents who want their kids to avoid heroin don’t usually give them marijuana or alcohol because it’s less dangerous! Likewise, youth leaders who denounce pre-marital sex to their students don’t suggest porn as a replacement…because it’s a problem, too. Let’s skip the “lesser evil” argument when it comes to our kids and address the issue head on in a compassionate way. Give them real solutions to real problems…not just smaller problems.
  2. Lead by example. It doesn’t matter what you say, teach, or advise on vaping (or smoking) if your model contradicts your message. You have to practice what you preach, so to speak. If we expect our kids to steer clear of vaping, we have to lead them by our example. There isn’t any room for hypocrisy on this issue, or any issue for that matter. Just like you and me, young people respond most favorably to a strong example. Provide it!

Don’t allow your kids’ views on vaping to get clouded by the voices screaming from both sides of the issue. Remember, most of them will say anything to make a buck…or a billion bucks. To clear the smoke, give teens a consistent message and example. 

 

Blessings - Pastor Bryce

 

 

Women's Summer Bible Study

Join us this summer on Tuesdays, June 5- July 10th for this exciting community bible study by Beth Moore. Bring your neighbors and your friends and enjoy time in God’s Word and in fellowship with women of all ages. Beth will inspire us to “Follow Jesus Further”! 

e3a1f8b8e9be9d4585b44855ac6c5ef8--the-study-beth-moore.jpg
  • Offered sessions: morning 9:30-11 a.m. or evening 6:30-8:00 p.m.
  • Child care morning session only ($3 for one child or $5 for 2 or more per session)
  • Steamboat Rock Baptist sanctuary
  • Cost of the study books: $17
  • Sign up at the Welcome Center or contact Jane Kramer at  jkramer@heartofiowa.net or 319.231.2272

 

Summary: A 6-Session Study of 2 Timothy

We were never meant to take this journey of faith alone or in secret. God has entrusted us with the great and mighty gift of the gospel, something too precious and life-giving to keep to ourselves.

In this 6-session Bible study, Beth will encourage you to guard what God has entrusted to you, further His kingdom by sharing Christ with others, and pour into future generations just as Paul once mentored Timothy. Because in this journey of joy and hardship, we need each other to stay the course and live lives of faithfulness.

images-3.jpeg
 

Jane Kramer - Women's Ministry

 

 

Calling Out a S.O.S!

Join us this Summer as we venture onto an uncharted island where kids survive and thrive. Our goal for this year’s VBS week June 25-28 is to anchor kids in the truth that Jesus carries them through life’s storms! 

30264265_10156239117117433_785837389341897342_n.jpg

Some of our VBS Committee Members were able to attend the curriculum’s workshop in Des Moines. It was so great to experience! We were able to learn some tricks of the trade, talk logistics for the week, but most importantly, we were able really take the time focus back in on the main thing: Jesus and Him wanting to be our friend.

 

This year, not only does this theme provide the Gospel Message, but it also challenges typical emotions, even we as adult Christians walk through, such as loneliness or anxiety. This workshop inspired our group in so many ways. VBS is going to be a great time of worship, discovery, creativity and fun. 

 

shipwrecked-vbs-logo-HiRes-CMYK.jpg

When starting the VBS week, each child is assigned a group and a leader. A big focus for our Committee this year is ensuring that each child has time to build a relationship with their leader and has the time to talk to their leader. These topics are relevant to our children. It is imperative the children have the ability to process with their leaders to help this message take root. 

 

We are asking the church to prayerfully consider partnering with us this year for VBS! We know that God is in the details for our planning. From the curriculum, to the decorations, to the logistics and even to you. If you are interested in serving with us, I have a link below for you to sign up. If you have any questions, or reservations regarding serving, please don’t hesitate to ask me and I can answer them or forward you to our Directors.

 

 

In Christ — Crystal Carroll

Children's Ministry Coordinator