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.

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               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!

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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.

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               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

 

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From the Rec Min June 18, 2018

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               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

From the Rec Min June 11, 2018

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Last week was a fun time for the practices and games. This time of year we here in the south have hourly weather changes to which we must adapt. We will always try to have the outdoor events but will not compromise when it comes to safety and reasonable conditions. Thank you all for understanding and for helping us communicate that to families. We are still fine tuning our game management and I ask that you all check with Mrs. Rose if you have any questions regarding your PGR or anything else having to do with your team. This is our chance to minister to each of these players and their families and we want to be sure that our “product” is consistent with our purpose. We want each player to get better each week, learning and practicing skills, not only about football, but lifelong skills such as teamwork, sportsmanship, hard work, respect for rules and authorities, and learn that playing a game is fun! Some on your team may not be active in a church and your time with them during the weekly devotion may be their only worship opportunity. Make the most of it! Our ministry was, in a way, based upon Proverbs 3:6 which says, “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” That was a verse a member of the steering committee introduced to us as we planned and formed the nature of this ministry. We “shine our light” while we do whatever we do. We are God’s eyes, voice, and hands here on earth as we conduct His business….in all our ways. Let’s display our faith, joy, and love in all that we do, especially on the ball fields.

               Thanks for all 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

From the Rec Min May 7, 2018

                2018 CSports Baseball is history! Now it’s Flag Football season! Evaluations tonight and tomorrow! If you can help, please let Mrs. Rose know (706-3326). We need coaches!

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               The season was great. Most days the weather was beautiful. Thank you all for your dedication, spirit, and hard work. We in the Recreation Ministry hear stories from families in our programs that most may not hear. We have families who are going through struggles, some have been homeless. Several this season are living with serious illness in their family. We’ve had families in the witness protection program, families who had lost their jobs, who were living through foreclosure. All of these people were out there among you as we facilitated the baseball practices and games, team parties, and Team Service Projects. Among these people, response cards from the Celebration last week indicated that 25 players and 24 adults accepted Christ as their Savior during the season. 42 players and 46 adults indicated that they grew closer to Christ during the season. 1 player and 1 adult asked to speak with a minister about their faith and 2 families are looking for a church home as a result of their time with you on the ball fields.

               In John 13:35, Jesus tells us, “By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” That’s how we show our true faith. I may have been the only one present who noticed in the 10:40 worship service last week, but we had a young girl serving as the Acolyte leading the choir into worship. She was a little nervous as I’m sure any young person would be leading a group into a large crowd, but she did great. She climbed to the podium and lit the first candle. As she moved to the next candle, her fire went out. She froze there not knowing what to do. As the choir was moving into their places in the loft, our Lead Pastor, Dr. Rob Couch (a dad himself), stepped over to the young girl and helped her re-light her acolyte wick and she moved on to light the second candle. I know it is like that in the Recreation Ministry. We who are here each day tend to help each other’s “light stay lit” with encouragement, witness, and example. That is what you did every day on our ball fields. You may not have seen the need in each person’s eyes or heart, but you were the bearer of the light that changed them and made them, in turn, share with others.

               Titus 2:7 says, “You yourself must be an example to them.” You have done a mighty good job of that. Our mission goes on. I pray that you’ll pray and see what all God has planned for you. A flashlight is just an expensive stick unless it’s shining to show someone the way. You have done that, and I hope you will continue, here at Christ United, at home, at work or school, wherever you may be.

               Until next time, may God bless you and keep you! Thank you for all 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