From the Rec Min October 8th, 2018

               What a great weekend we had! Soccer games on Friday and Saturday and then the CSports Soccer Celebration on Sunday – all with the Pumpkin Patch drawing our kids to it for a fun Fall time – made it a busy and worthwhile few days! Our prayers go to the people in Florida who are preparing for Hurricane Michael this week. Things here may be a little wet and breezy but we hope to be fine.

               A big Thank You goes to Pastor Jeremy Steele, our Next Generation and New Song Pastor, who presented a wonderful message to the big crowd at the Celebration telling us about God’s love for us. God loves us so much that He became just like us, being born, growing up, and then teaching us – because He loves us – and then gave His life so that we can be with Him in eternity. That’s pretty much the Bible’s message in a sentence.

               I heard a story a while back about a dad who was in a swimming pool trying to get his young child to jump in. The child was scared and stood at the edge of the pool crying. The dad kept assuring the child that he would catch him and that he would be ok. People around began watching to see how this would turn out. After a long time of coaxing and pleading from the dad, the child, with tears in his eyes, jumped. The dad caught him and they embraced. The people around the pool applauded. What a touching scene!

1 Corinthians 2 9.jpg

               1 Corinthians 2:9 quotes an old testament writing saying, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” What we try to do in this ministry, the majority of which you have been called to accomplish, is to get the children to “jump” into the waiting arms of the Savior; to embrace Him and to experience all that He has for them for the rest of their lives. Our successful efforts were demonstrated yesterday in the huge numbers present at the Celebration. We ended up having to put out extra chairs! Although not all of our participants were able to be present, of the ones there, the response cards indicated that 24 adults and 45 players accepted Christ as their Savior during the season. 81 adults and 61 players said that they grew closer to Christ during the season. 2 adults and 1 child would like to speak with a minister regarding their faith, and 3 families indicated that they are looking for a church home. Your faithful diligence has been manifested by these results.

               We still have one more week to go! Keep up the great work! Let’s reach out to the rest of the players and families and let us continue the witnessing and mentoring that we’ve been called to do. Please remind everyone on your team that CSports Basketball evaluations are the Monday after this week’s last game. Get them registered. Also…as always…Mrs. Rose could use more coaches J

               See you on the field!

 

In His Service,

 

Steve Ellisor, Recreation Minister

Christ United Methodist Church

251-706-3326

 

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6

From the Rec Min October 1st, 2018

20100131 For Steve Ellisor 006.jpg

Two more weeks of CSports Soccer to go! Let’s plan for a big and successful finish. Please emphasize to your team families through emails, texts, and verbal communication the importance of being at the CSports Soccer Celebration this coming Sunday at 3:00pm in our gym. Remind them to be here several minutes early so that they can fill out the response cards which are vital to our ministry’s continuous growth and understanding of how we’re doing. We need the input from everyone.

               I’m receiving paperwork daily from teams who have completed their Team Service Project. I hope these acts of service are meaningful to the players as they selflessly do things to help others. It’s funny how when we do things for others we find ourselves being blessed!

               This afternoon I will be receiving a call from a reporter with Outreach Magazine in Colorado Springs, Colorado who contacted me a few weeks ago after seeing our ministry activities on our website. This magazine publishes activities of the 100 fastest growing churches and ministries each year. He and I have spent some time on the phone as he asked questions regarding our origin, purpose, methods, and successes. I related to him a number of steps we took to get where we are and (to make a short story long) I told him about our process during which we felt the call to do Recreation as a ministry of this church. About 17 or 18 years ago the leadership of this church felt led to build a big, multi-purpose building with a gym. One component of the facility would be fitness and recreational opportunities in the gym. The gym would also be the “New Song Sanctuary” on Sundays. As I was preparing to retire from my position with the Juvenile Court in 2003, I was invited to assume the position of Recreation Minister. One of my first acts was to organize a steering committee for both wisdom and consensus as we created policies and procedures. The first question we pondered was, “Why are we going to all of this expense and effort for recreational activities?” One of the committee members quoted Proverbs 3:6 which clearly directs us to, “In all you ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” That answered our first question, and it was pretty smooth sailing from then on.

               As we were preparing to open our facility I was called upon to lead our weekly church staff devotion. I told the story from John 21 in which the disciples spent all night fishing and caught nothing. They returned to shore exhausted. They saw Jesus (but didn’t know it was Him) on the shoreline and He asked, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” When they told Him “no” He told them, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” They did that, and caught a boat load of fish. Now, here’s the question; these guys were professional fishermen. They had been working hard all night and were tired and ready to come in. A man (Jesus) on the shore told them to throw the nets on the other side of the boat…and they did it! They felt led to do something seemingly irrational, but they did it and were blessed.

               Stepping out in faith brings us these opportunities and blessings. When the Holy Spirit calls a _____________ (insert your qualifications) to lead a ball team and to do devotions as you minister to numerous families, changing lives and futures, it doesn’t really fit the “life goals” we may have set for ourselves. However, when we have given our lives to Jesus and to His will, we find ourselves called to do things we’ve never done before. The Spirit equips us and we are blessed for doing them. In the past 14 years, our community has been blessed by the things that you, and those who came before you, were called to do and did so as led by the Holy Spirit. Thank you all, Coaches, Team Parents, Prayer Partners, Rec Volunteers, and Rec Staff, for all you do for this Ministry and for the Kingdom of God. Keep it going! Some of the children you are leading will be CSports coaches one day. Teach them right!

              

See you on the field!

In His Service,

Steve Ellisor, Recreation Minister

Christ United Methodist Church

251-706-3326

 

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6

From the Rec Min September 24th, 2018

Soccer celebration.jpg

               Thank you for another great week of CSports Soccer! We’re over the hump and heading for the finish line. This week is supposed to be wet but we will be working on the Celebration Banners in the pavilion so please try to have everyone here to participate. Our CSPORTS SOCCER CELEBRATION will be SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7 AT 3:00PM IN OUR GYM! Please press the importance of being at this event as it is the culmination of what we have been doing this whole season. Tell your families to please arrive 10 minutes early so that they can fill out their response cards. At the beginning of the season I sent out letters to many of the families asking them to be invitational to people on their teams. Even people who attend other churches were asked to be invitational and to be witnesses to the many who may be new to the faith. The Celebration is our opportunity to receive written evidence of the transformations that have occurred during this season due to your mentoring and your sharing of your Spirit through the devotions each practice. It’s also your team’s chance to thank you! Please don’t miss it!

               Recently a man from Colorado who is with Outreach Magazine called me and told me he had heard about this ministry, researched it on line, and would like to do a story about the life changing process you guys are a part of. He was blown away when I told him how many volunteers we have doing the important things that keep us going. I assured him we weren’t perfect but that I can’t deny the great testimonies from the people involved in our sports programs throughout the years. The Psalmist tells us in Psalms 37:23-24, “If the Lord delights in a man’s way, He makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” We were all called into this ministry. Thank you for your willingness to serve…and I promise you, the Lord delights in your way!

               Please let me know the what and when regarding your Team Service Project. I can send you a documentation form if you need one. If you’re planning a “team party”, I always recommend that you do it before the season is over. You’re among a number of new friends and it would be a shame to wait until the season is over to sit and get to know them over a cupcake or two. Again, please push attendance at the Celebration Oct. 7. Thank you all for what you do for this ministry and for this community! I’ll see you on the fields (or in the pavilion)!

 

In His Service,

 

Steve Ellisor, Recreation Minister

Christ United Methodist Church

251-706-3326

 

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6

From the Rec Min September 17th, 2018

               What a beautiful day we had Saturday for soccer games! Friday was “iffy” all day but I understand the make-up games got played anyway. Please give Mrs. Rose a hug or pat on the back when you see her. She’ll be mad at me for saying this, but she works so hard making sure we have staff and volunteer coverage at all practices and games and that fields and equipment are in great shape whenever you guys show up. She also monitors other sports and activities in the gym and on the running track. She is blessed with God’s calling and the energy He provides!

               This morning as I was enjoying my morning mug of coffee I saw a Facebook post from our Senior Pastor, Dr. Rob Couch. He shared the words from Ecclesiastes 9:17-18, “The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a foolish leader. Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.” His sermon yesterday was about what happens to people who never hear about Jesus. It was very interesting and can be found on our website if you’re curious. Anyway, as he preached, the words of a song I haven’t thought about in many years came to mind. I began playing guitar when I was in the 5th grade. Back in the 60’s and early 70’s we didn’t have multiple tv channels, video games, or social media. I spent many hours just sitting on my bed at my house on Mohawk Street listening to 8-track tapes of Simon and Garfunkel, John Denver, Jim Croce, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, and others. I would adjust my tuning so that the chords I knew would work with the songs I was listening to. I still play many of the songs when I’m feeling nostalgic. One of the CSN&Y songs I loved was Teach Your Children Well. While I’m quite sure that there was no “theological” intent in the song, I still absorbed some of the logic. It begins with, “You, who are on the road, must have a code that you can live by.” All of us who are reading this know the code we live by. It’s the one we try to teach our children; ours and the ones God and Mrs. Rose place on your teams.

               My children are both married and raising children of their own. Both, in fact have been CSports coaches. If you ever asked them about “wisdom they learned from their dad” they would both roll their eyes and say things like, “Pick your battles”, “Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it”, and, after an accident where they say, “I didn’t mean to”, I would tell them, “Mean NOT to!”  As they, along with their wonderful and God sent spouses, raise my grandchildren, I know that they will relate their own wisdom with its present day relevance so that my grandsons, their children, will grow to be God’s servants and instruments of His peace.

               When I was growing up, along with fire drills in school, we had atomic bomb drills in which we would go into the hallway and cower in the corners. I grew up during the cold war, racial conflicts, multiple assassinations, unpopular wars, and heard the music, heard the rhetoric, and survived the turmoil of the times. The children we are helping to raise, the ones I continually encourage you to teach, mentor, and model for, are coming up in their own troubled world. We are God’s instruments who must guide them through experience after experience so that they may achieve their own wisdom to pass along to the next generation.

               Last week I was walking in the hallway by the gym doors and saw Pastor Jean Tippit come out of the gym with a gentleman who is the owner of a professional sports team. She stopped me and introduced me to him. As she had been telling him about our church, she asked me to tell him about our Recreation and CSports ministry. I can talk about that all day, and almost did, but I told him mainly about how fitness, recreation, and sports are ways we get people in position to see our church, meet wonderful people, and hear the Word. I told him our goals regarding competitive sports and how we, while never compromising effort or skill development, emphasize teamwork, sportsmanship, grace, and comradery in all of our activities. We don’t shout at players, referees, or anybody except with encouraging words. Our post game spirit tunnels where parents of both teams raise hands together so that players from both teams can run through, feeling the support and appreciation of all show that our efforts are working. The team owner nodded and, I believe, shared the somewhat idealistic intent of our ministry influence, as he knew it just isn’t that way out in the “world”… the world our children and grandchildren are growing up in.

               The end of the song I referenced earlier tells children, “You of tender years can’t know the fears that your elders grew by, and so please them with your youth, they seek the truth before they can die.” It ends with, “Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry, so just look at them and sigh, and know they love you.” Thank you all for being the teachers, the pray-ers, the facilitators, and the supporters as we, through the hot days of soccer, seek to Love God, Love People, and Change the World. See you on the fields!

 

In His Service,

 

Steve Ellisor, Recreation Minister

Christ United Methodist Church

251-706-3326

 

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6

From the Rec Min August 27th, 2018

               Welcome to the aftermath of the first weekend of soccer games! I saw tons of fun and heard lots of happy cheers and giggles as the players got their first taste of 2018 CSports Soccer. Thank you all for your hard work getting this thing going! My staff have worked very hard (as they do each season of each sport) but could get nothing accomplished were it not for your spirit and dedication. Sorry for the problems with the pavilion bathrooms on game day. Turned out to be a minor problem with an easy fix.

               By now all you coaches and team parents have certainly learned that you have become “ministers” by accepting the responsibilities of guiding your teams. My staff and I work to equip and encourage you, but frankly, the players will not remember us when they grow up and begin coaching the next generation; they will remember you along with all you taught them about teamwork and sportsmanship. It is our goal for them to also grow spiritually from your devotions and from your Christian leadership and mentoring.

               If you are with us for a few seasons you will hear or read where I reference Deuteronomy 6:4-9 regularly. It tells us our purpose. It says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them upon your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Basically, Live your faith, show your faith, and spread your faith! The C in CSports stands for Christ, the Son of God, who came to earth to teach us and died to save us. Wear it proudly and teach your children what it means that they are wearing that on their shirts.

Love god love people.jpg

               Our church mantra is to LOVE GOD, LOVE PEOPLE, AND CHANGE THE WORLD. One child at a time. One team at a time. One family at a time. You, desk volunteers, Prayer Partners, are all are world changers. Live it faithfully.

Thank you for all you do for this ministry! See you on the field!

 

In His Service,

 

Steve Ellisor, Recreation Minister

Christ United Methodist Church

251-706-3326

 

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6

From the Rec Min July 10, 2018

Good morning C-Sports family! I was out most of the day yesterday and am a day late with the weekly rec min message. Sorry! Thanks for a great week of practices and games. Even more so, thank you for a great time of Celebration Sunday afternoon! It is always great to get to voice our thanks to all of you who give so much of your time and spirit to teaching these players and blessing their families by doing it. It is a blessing every season of every sport to see the players go across the stage with their Celebration Banners and get recognized as they show appreciation to the leaders who have led them during the season. The response cards we received indicated that 17 players and 1 adult accepted Christ during the season and 26 players and 16 adults grew closer to Christ due to your leadership and inspiration. Jesus told us that a tree is known by the fruit it bears. You are bearing good and blessed fruit!

Matthew 22 37-39.jpg

Our speaker this season, Rev. Jon Seale, was unique in that he is a C-Sports coach, a C-Sports parent, was once the Sports Coordinator of our Recreation Ministry (what Mrs. Rose does now), and is the minister at a local United Methodist Church. So…he was qualified. His message was simple but very effective. In sports there is a “process”. We hear that from Coach Nick Saban quite often. The process will get you where you want to go. Jesus defined “the process” for us in Matthew 22:37-39 when He was asked what the “greatest commandment” was, saying, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” He added, “All the law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” That’s the “process” he was teaching us.

Here, during the final week of this year’s Flag Football season, let’s be sure to be the “Coach Saban” for our team and teach the “process”. I hear you, Tiger fans,…this is a Jesus thing, not a Bama thing so work with me :). I’m hoping the weather cooperates this week and we have a great final week of practices and games. Please be sure to complete your Team Service Projects and get the paperwork to me. If you decide to do a team party on campus here at Christ United, please contact Mrs. Angelia between 8-2 on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday to reserve a spot. Please remind anyone who hasn’t registered for soccer to do it this week! Have a great week and I’ll see you on the field!

 

In His Service,

              

 

Steve Ellisor, Recreation Minister

Christ United Methodist Church

251-706-3326

 

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6

From the Rec Min July 2, 2018

               Thank you for another week of Flag Football fun, exercise, education, and ministry! This is a very special week as we celebrate our nation on Wednesday, the 4th of July. I hope everyone has a blessed and safe day in celebration and remembrance. Please remember to tell all of your families to be at the 2018 CSports Flag Football Celebration THIS COMING SUNDAY AT 3:00PM IN OUR GYM! They will want to get here about 10 minutes before so that they will have time to fill out their response cards and find a seat before the lights go out for the program. Teams should be finishing the Celebration Banners which each team will hold up as they parade across the stage during the celebration to thank their coaches and team parents for the season. I have received a few notices of Team Service Projects being completed so far. It is warming to see how our teams can do so much to help our community and the people who need a hand!

               Our main purpose in the Children’s Sports component of our Recreation Ministry is expressed not only in our podium verse, Proverbs 3:6, “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”, but in Deuteronomy 6:5-7 which says, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” It goes on from there, but you get the idea of what we are trying to do. We teach a lot of things from forward passes, to double plays, to in-bounds passes, to layups, but the main and most consistent thing we want each child (and family for that matter) to go home with each week is the knowledge of how much Jesus loves them and what He wants them to be. We have been blessed to be called into this ministry and we plan to be faithful in all we do. Thank you all for the part you play in this vital process.

Deuteronomy 6 v5-7.jpg

               Here, as we approach the 4th of July, we should remember that our patriotism, just as our faith, is modeled through our words and actions. Let us be re-energized in our efforts to teach love for our brother/sister, love for our nation, as well as love for our creating and saving God. Make a “mid-year resolution” to increase your Bible study, and maybe even do some reading about this country’s history, the good and the bad, and be agents of peace and unity in our homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, churches, and here on the ball fields!

               Years ago in my other career with the Juvenile Court I served for a while as a “Loaned Executive” with The United Way. The phrase we often used was, “Thanks to you, it’s working!” I believe strongly that the phrase is appropriate for my message to you today. Thank you all for what you do to make this ministry all that the Spirit ordained it to be! Keep up the good work!

 

In His Service,

 

Steve Ellisor, Recreation Minister

Christ United Methodist Church

251-706-3326

 

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6

From the Rec Min June 25th, 2018

               It seems Mrs. Rose was able to pull some strings and get us a little weather good enough to get games in last week. Summers on the gulf coast remain interesting. We are hoping that whatever happens this week will be over before 5pm each day or will not start until 8pm. Thank you all for the work you are doing with these teams; teaching, coordinating, praying, all of the things that are called for to minister to them the way we were called to do. It is getting close to the time to begin celebration banners and plan team service projects. Please work those into your schedule this week. Rec staff will be making necessary items available this week and next. Remember to tell all families to be at the 2018 C-Sports Flag Football Celebration at 3:00pm Sunday, July 8. Some families have told us before that they were not told about the celebration (even though it is in the parent information material in the registration packet) by their coach. We need for all of you to be there to complete the season!

               I am scheduled to lead our Christ United staff in our weekly devotion next week. I’ve been praying for a guiding voice from heaven to tell me what needs to be said to bless, motivate, and encourage my co-workers. As I was preparing to write this “rec min” message it occurred to me that teaching and challenging are not the main purposes of our worship, although they are important. The most important, and perhaps the most difficult, method of worship is simply worship itself. God tells us in Psalm 46:10 to, “Be still and know that I am God.” David, in Psalm 8 said, “Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.” He went on later saying, “When I consider the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him?”  Farther down he adds, “You made him a little lower than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands and put everything under his feet.” Yes, how majestic is His name and all that is about Him!

               This afternoon we are studying the radar on several apps and ready to make the daily decision regarding practices and activities. Many things change daily and even hourly. The one thing that doesn’t and will not change is that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The God that created the universe is the same God who created you and all of the children and families you are leading and serving. Take time to worship daily. Do it sincerely and without distraction. Be still and know…

 

In His Service,

 

Steve Ellisor, Recreation Minister

Christ United Methodist Church

251-706-3326

 

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6

 

Psalm 46 10.jpg

From the Rec Min June 18, 2018

proverbs 22 6 (2).jpg

               This was a tough week to run a football program! Rain, lightning, and mud all gave us reason to go to plans B, C, and so on. Please see the emails from Mrs. Rose regarding make-up games. We are doing our annual C-Sports basketball camp this week in the gym with our two day “Lil Dribblers” camp tonight and Tuesday. Mrs. Rose will be working hard to have everything done so please give her a big “Thank You” when you see her this week.

               Last week I heard two things on the radio that made me pause and process. There was a play on the verse from Proverbs 22:6 which says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” The statement goes, “Train up a child in the way he should go…and make sure you are going that way, too!” What a challenge for us all as coaches, parents, grandparents, role models, and mentors! Another thought that I heard was one I have shared with you guys many times before saying, “What you teach to a child today will be what they teach their child in the future.” What a wonderful and fruitful privilege and responsibility we have been given by the Holy Spirit when we were called into this ministry! Please internalize these thoughts and pray that your efforts, style, and influence will be maximized in the short time you have with these players and families.

               Thank you all for all that you do for this ministry!

 

In His Service,

 

Steve Ellisor, Recreation Minister

Christ United Methodist Church

251-706-3326

 

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6