Archive for May 2009


Sermon – 05_31_09

May 31st, 2009 — 3:34pm

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Sermon – 05_24_09

May 24th, 2009 — 8:03pm

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Power in Prayer

May 22nd, 2009 — 6:08pm

It has been a quite week around Agora.  Our full-time, long-term volunteers travelled to Colorado this week for a conference.  However, us staffers that were left behind managed to have a great week regardless.  :)  Our small group of people spent some quality time together in the evenings just getting to know one another better.

Some really cool things happened at Agora throughout this past week.  Last Saturday a group from Zion Christian Fellowship came for a prayer walk in the morning.  We went out into the community in small groups and prayed with families of kids who come to Agora.  It was a really powerful and fun time!  The parents were, for the most part, really receptive to our groups.  They seemed to thoroughly enjoy fellowshipping.  We look forward to seeing powerful things come out of this time of prayer, and the continued prayers.   We know that prayer is so powerful.  Matthew 21:22 says, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”  How incredible is this verse?!  I think where most of us get lost is in the “believe” part.  This verse is clear, it isn’t just the prayer, it is the faith that goes with it.  We have to trust in God that he will carry out what we have lifted up to him in prayer.  With prayer also comes persistence.  Matthew 7: 7-8 says to ask, seek and knock, “for everyone who asks receives, ; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door will be opened.”  God can do the miraculous; he can answer a prayer immediately, but he often requires faith of us, which can mean time.  God simultaneously builds our faith and produces a miracle in the lives of those we are praying for.

Wednesday night church was wonderful as well.  We had only one van to pick the kids up with but pickup went smoothly regardless because everyone pitched in, taking 3 or 4 kids in their vehicles.  The warm weather makes it really nice for church.  The kids can play outside and even have class outside, which they really like.  We had another big turnout on Wednesday.  It seems like more and more kids have been coming!  What a blessing!

At one point in the night one of our volunteers walked around the back of the building.  Often the kids run back there (even though they aren’t supposed to) to play so we have to regularly go back there and bring the kids back up front.  On this occasion, the volunteer found a the most energetic and, at times, disobedient group of kids we have playing in the back.  He told them to go up to the front but they continued playing.  Suddenly one of the kids shouted to the rest and they began to run up front screaming and yelling.  The volunteer was impressed to see how well the kids listened to him and respected him until he turned around and discovered that Pastor Rich just happened to be driving in.  The kids were running to Pastor Rich to say hi, not to go up front.  :)  Kids are wonderful aren’t they?

As always, thank you for your prayers.  Keep praying for Agora and we hope you keep in touch!

Prayer Requests

  • Finances for the ministry- things continue to be difficult, but the praise is that God has provided every time, so keep praying!
  • Please pray that the parents of our kids will come to know the Lord
  • Please pray for the staff and volunteers at Agora, for strength and refreshment in the Lord.

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Sermon – 05_17_09

May 17th, 2009 — 1:32pm

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A Harvest of Blessings

May 15th, 2009 — 9:18pm

This week had highs and lows across the spectrum.  We had a funeral, we had parents come to church, a new full-time volunteer began her term, and we had numerous opportunities to minister.  What a week!  This is Agora, what can I say?

We feel blessed to have been able to share in the last few months of a new believer’s life.  Our sister is at peace in Heaven now, so we praise God!  However, there are still family members here on this earth and we cannot pretend that there isn’t real pain for them to go through.  Please continue to keep her family in your prayers.

We appreciate your prayers for our Sunday school outreach.  Two bright new faces arrived Sunday morning with their children.  I think that we can forget what a blessing it is to go to church as a family. Sometimes it doesn’t seem that way, when you are running late and arguing with each other.  The Bible tells us that The Church is code for community.  Church is not done in isolation, it is done together.  The family is one way that God intended for believers to walk together.  Seeing single moms in church with their kids for the first time, reminded me that Church is a gathering, not a time apart.  It is a walk with one another.

Agora was blessed with a new full-time, long-term volunteer.  She moved in last Friday and started work this week.  She is already a huge blessing to everyone!  It is with perfect timing that she has come on board.  This is a time of some new beginnings at Agora.  We have seen lives transformed throughout the last months and we are looking forward to opening a day care center in the near future in order to futher our ministry.  What an exciting time here!  I just marvell at how God works!  When I take time to consider all the blessings that are in my life I am continually amazed with all the goodness that God has given to me.  Try it!  Take a minute right now and begin listing the thing for which you are thankful :) Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Blessings

  • God’s provision throughout financial worries
  • The beautiful weather (if you are in Columbus, OH right now)
  • All the Agora children (even the worst of them have taught us and blessed us in some way)
  • Friendships
  • Forgiveness
  • Laughter
  • Family time
  • Agora!

See what I mean?  Once you start its hard to stop!

Prayer Requests

  • Finances
  • Volunteers current and those who will be arriving in the summer
  • That our church body will continue to grow and God will continue to minister to parents of our kids

Thanks for praying!  Keep in touch!

Galatians 6:9 (New Living Translation)

9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

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Sermon – 05_10_09

May 10th, 2009 — 2:05pm

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Being Blessed and Being a Blessing

May 7th, 2009 — 3:22pm

First of all an update on the last post.  Our sister in Christ is still in Hospice Care.  Her status is the same.  Please continue to keep the family in your prayers as they go through this difficult time.

Last Sunday Elena (a volunteer from Germany) and I visited Zion Christian Fellowship in Powell, OH.  We were asked to go there to share about our Saving Change fundraiser.  We had a wonderful experience at Zion.  I am always struck by the way I am spoken to when I travel to other churches to share with them.  It is neat how God keeps me humble, teaching me that I have much to learn even when I go to teach others.

Agora has been busy (as usual) this week.  We have been blessed with a new full time volunteer.  She will be joining our family during the next few days.  Also, us Sunday school teachers have been planning a Mother’s day program with the small group of children that come on Sundays.  Joanna helped the children make invitations last Sunday, which they took home to their mothers.  Our hope is that the mothers (most of whom do not come to church) will come this Sunday to see the special program that the kids are preparing.  Please keep this in your prayers! Most of these women have never come to Agora for church, although their children do.  It would be wonderful if they come this Sunday.

We had church last night. It was great!  We have had so many kids lately.  It is really wonderful to see so many new (and old) faces.  The kids at Agora are such blessings.  Even though they can be pretty naughty sometimes, on the whole it is such a wonderful blessing to spend time with them.  Last night one little girl (who I am very close to) was having a rough night and was upset.  She acted out towards me and I took her in my arms and asked her what was going on.  I knew that there was something more to the situation because this little girl very rarely acts out.  She drooped her head and mumbled, “I just want to spend time with you.”  I couldn’t help but smile.  I was blessed that she wanted to spend time with me.  But I was also reminded that sometimes these kids just need one on one time.  They desperately need attention.  I hugged the little girl and told her that I would drive her home instead of having her ride the church van so that we could spend some quality time together.  She cheered up immediately.  During our drive home  I barely said a word, she talked the whole time.  God reminded me last night that it is really easy to get caught up in the big picture of what Agora is doing.  We need to be willing to to the “little things” like spending some quality time with kids at times, this is actually the “big stuff.”

Prayer Requests

  • Family mentioned at beginning of post
  • Mother’s Day Sunday program
  • Volunteers and staff (for strength and peace)
  • Finances for Agora’s proposed day care center

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Sermon – 05_03_09

May 5th, 2009 — 4:10pm

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The Valley of Weeping

May 1st, 2009 — 9:43pm

Today, I don’t know what to say.  I think that everyone one at Agora would agree with me.  Sometimes struggles are so painful and a person is full of so much sorrow that there are no words.

For the past several months, the mother of 4 kids and young adults (who have come to Agora for many, many years) has been struggling with cancer.  This week, her health suddenly declined and we know that she does not have much more time here.  We praise the Lord that she came to know him, but it is still a time of mourning and sadness.

The worst has been watching her children go through the pain of watching their mother fade away.  Many times I see their tears, anxiety, pain, frustration, and I wish that I could say something to make them feel better.  I feel so incapable of helping them.  I have no inspirational words, no hug that makes the sorrow go away, no activity that can distract them from their grief forever. “Lord,” I say, ” How do I help?”  I trust that the Lord has an answer for me but I still struggle to hear it.

Today I spent the day with the kids by their mother’s bedside at a Hospice Care Center.  We cried together, laughed together, and held each other.  But the whole day I had no words.  I desperately wanted to give comfort but I felt powerless to do so.  I have faith that God’s plan is good, but right now I just don’t understand at all.

Lord, my prayer today is that we can all hear from you.  Please bring us your peace.  Amen.

Psalm 84:6 (New Living Translation)

6 When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,
it will become a place of refreshing springs.
The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.

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