Updated Sermons – 11_08_09 to 1_31_10

September 22nd, 2010 — 7:36pm

Click here for November 08, 2009
Click here for November 29, 2009
Click here for December 06, 2009
Click here for January 03, 2010
Click here for January 10, 2010
Click here for January 17, 2010
Click here for January 31, 2010

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Note from Josh about Sermons

September 10th, 2010 — 11:41am

For all of you that regularly downloaded and listened to the Sunday morning sermons I posted on the site, thank you. I am sorry that I have not been able to keep the site current with sermon postings. All of my spare time for the past several months went toward starting my new life with my lovely wife and many other crazy and random things, and so there wasn’t much time for me to mix down the sermon recordings.

I have all of the sermons recorded, I just have to go through and edit the recordings, mix them down to .mp3’s and upload them. Hopefully, this will be done soon.

God bless,

Josh Bartholomew

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Wednesday Night: Crafts and silly songs

August 26th, 2010 — 6:38am

Driving the van is a story book of its own. You get the opportunity to hear stories that children share with one another, some of which almost break your heart.

Children impact the lives of the staff at Agora every day. Each one of us has a few faces in mind when we think of kids’ church and the night of events there is to follow. One child that has touched me is a little 7 year old named Shane. He’s always full of energy and always loves to sing and ask questions while I drive the van to and from church.
“Bus driver! Bus driver!”
“Yes, Shane?”
“I know what tonight is!”
“What’s tonight Shane?”
“Craft night! I get to take it home,  AND I get a prize if I am good and listen to the story!”

Needless to say, each Wednesday night Shane tries to give me his craft to take home with me. Many pictures and crafts remind me each day how much prayer that our children here at Agora need. God has unique ways of reminding us of his love for each of us. For me it’s Shane’s crafts and silly songs :)

Keny, church volunteer and infant care-giver

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Update from Little Gems: Emergency Prayer

August 25th, 2010 — 9:46am

Something extraordinary happened when Sunshine and I went door to door in the community, advertizing for the child care center.

We went up to a house where some girls were standing on the veranda. You could tell from far away that there was something strange going on. As we got closer, it became clear that they had something going on inside (and also, very likely, were lesbians). Oh well, it didn’t matter what was wrong with them; my heart broke for them, because the misfortune and need of their situation was written all over their faces. They needed Jesus!

Shortly after we had walked away, one of the girls just collapsed. At first we thought that she was out of her mind. But then one of the other girls bent over the first girl, lying on the ground, and said panic-stricken, “She isn’t breathing right any more. She isn’t breathing right any more!”. We realized that she needed medical attention.

We were heart-broken, having to stand there and watch this terrible scene unfold. The girl had likely collapsed from a drug overdose and was nearing death.

Because we didn’t have anything along with which to provide her some more practical help–for example, a cell phone to call an ambulance–we decided that we would pray for her. So, we just went right back to them and asked if we might pray for them. At first, they were really perplexed, but finally the second girl said hesitantly, “Oh yeah, sure…” So we stood there, while the first girl kept fighting for air, and Sunshine prayed for her.

This moment was really, totally wonderful for me, as weird as that sounds. God led us to exactly the right spot at exactly the right time, where we were able to bring God’s light to these girls.

Pretty quickly after Sunshine had finished praying, the ambulance arrived. You could see that the girl was thankful for our prayer, even if it might have been weird for her. We just hope that this moment remains in these girls’ memory. Maybe it contributed to arrival of that day when they will come to know Jesus personally. That’s what I’ll pray for, and it would be great, if you all would pray for that too.

And maybe they’ll come by Agora sometime :)

-Miriam, German volunteer, care-giver 0-12 months

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Update from our Little Gems:

August 24th, 2010 — 10:06am

Lately, I’ve been helping out in the “Orange Room”, where children ages one and a half to three years are cared for. As usual, there are conflicts from time to time between the children, and the other day was no exception. Two little girls got into a spat. Since forgiveness is big at Agora, I wanted to help them clear it up. So, as is customary here at Agora, I asked the two of them to say to one another “Sorry. Will you forgive me?”

But instead, they hugged each other. I thought that was strange: Usually, the children don’t hug each other until after they have apologized and been forgiven. But these two still hadn’t said a word!

So I repeated carefully and slowly one more time the same question, “Sorry. Will you forgive me?” and asked them both to say it after me. But the litle ones just gave me a suspicious look and then hugged each other again.

I didn’t know what else I to do. Then one of the other volunteers came up and explained the problem to me: Neither child could speak yet! Whenever either one had to apologize for something and ask forgiveness, she just gave a hug instead.

Oops! :)

Andi, German volunteer teacher, 18-30 months

Editor: There’s no surer antidote to pride than that most humbling question, “Will you forgive me?” These little ones can still only muster a hug. But we adults can still show them what to say once they are able. Good for Andi and the example she has shown to the children!

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Update from Little Gems: Ohio Weather

August 20th, 2010 — 3:06pm

I had to cover for Ruben on Thursday, because he was taking care of a “battle wound” from one of the children.

As I walked in and sat down, a little 4 year old girl came up and showed me a “boo-boo”, as she called it, on her shin. It looked like the type of bump or scrape normally incurred by four year olds, and I could see where a band-aid had recently fallen off. So, I asked her how she got it.

I couldn’t have made up a funnier answer. “Well last night I slipped in the snow and bumped my shin, Mr. Ben,” she said smiling brightly. I thought that made sense at first, snow being very slippery and all. But a few moments later I realized there was a problem with her story. “But Susie, it’s August,” I pointed out. “There’s no snow outside!” Her eyes grew wide, and she answered quickly, “Well there was last night!” Then she promptly turned back around to play.

Ben Bartholomew, Maintenance Supervisor

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Update from Little Gems: Joyful Noise

August 20th, 2010 — 1:34pm

The theme this week has been camping, and like all good camping trips we have had good times singing around the campfire. It’s always fun to hear the children sing throughout the day as they go from one activity to another and to see their excitement when it’s their turn to pick a song.

As we made our way out to the playground today we overheard one of the girls singing, “Our God is an awesome GUY!”. It brought a smile to our faces but also reminded me that God did come in the flesh, a guy, and as we love the children here at Little Gems, we are His hands and feet to them as well.

Janine Beachy, teacher, 3+

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Update from the Daycare: A Little Child Will Lead Them

August 14th, 2010 — 6:09pm

By: Janine Beachy, Teacher, 3+

Our morning Circle Time has been focused on stories of Jesus and His power to heal. We’ve been praying for loved ones that are sick and praising God for His mighty power with songs like “My God is so Big”. When one of the little girls in class came down with a fever this morning all the children knew what to do. As she lay sleeping in our reading corner we quickly gathered around her, and on bended knees they all prayed innocent prayers of healing over her.

After we had walked away and sat down to finish up Circle Time, she began to wake up slowly and started to smile: She was feeling better! Everyone was excited to tell her that we had just prayed for her. One of the girls then turned to the group and said, “See guys? God healed her right up!”. Thank God for children who see Him at work and have no room in their hearts for doubt.

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A Faithful God

June 3rd, 2010 — 8:52am

As I said in my last post, our group of children keeps multiplying every week– We now have well over 20 children enrolled!  What a blessing!  Our teachers in the childcare center are doing a fantastic job; if you get a chance, affirm Keny, Ina, Nicole, and Janine  for their wonderful work.  The children coming here absolutely love it; sometimes they don’t even want to go home at the end of the day!  We feel so blessed to be given the opportunity to work with all these little gems and their parents.

While things are really going great in the childcare, it has not happened without a lot of hard work.  Pastor Rich and Becky have put a tremendous amount of time and energy into getting this childcare up and running and they continue to do so.  Both work very long hours and do a lot of work so please keep them in your prayers.  Rich and Becky truly enjoy the work that God has given them to do, but they get tired just like anyone else would!  Pray that God will smooth out the last wrinkles in the childcare center and provide more workers to alleviate Rich and Becky’s responsibilities.  Also, pray that God blesses them greatly for their incredible dedication and commitment to serve.

We have some more great news to share.  A few months ago Agora turned in a grant application to a local philanthropy.  Last week we were notified that our application had won!  Needless to say, we were ecstatic!  The grant is going to be a huge blessing and will really help us financially.  Isn’t it just wonderful how the Lord provides?  We learned that we had been awarded the grant the same week we were wondering how we would pay our upcoming bills.  Again and again, the Lord has blessed us and provided for us and proven his faithfulness.

Thank you for your continued prayers!  Please continue to pray.  The Bible tells us again and again that God is faithful when we pray.  Consider Matthew 21:22 which says, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”  Thank you once again and don’t forget to keep in touch!

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So many “little gems!”

May 20th, 2010 — 5:01pm

We keep getting more and more “little gems” each week!  This week we grew to 13 kids in our childcare center!  Each one of them is such a blessing to us!  This childcare has opened up so many doors for ministry, not only with the children but with their parents.  Last week I was working in the infant care center, holding a 7 week old and it hit me how blessed we are to be entrusted with such precious little children.  I realized that this childcare center really and truly is a source of help, support and guidance for families.  The majority of the families that we currently work with are living in transitional housing, which means that they were living in a shelter just a short time ago.  Without having a place to take their children, they would not be able to go to work and get their life back on track.  I felt like God showed me that not so that I could pat myself on the back, but so that I could realize what a responsibility and opportunity God has place in my hands (and in Agora’s hands).  Please pray that we will continue to have opportunities to show God’s love to families and children!

Church the last weeks have been absolutely wonderful!  The kids are really a blessing!  In general, they have behaved so well and we have not had any problems most nights.  The teens have become more active than ever and we can really see God at work in their lives.  Last night, I spent time talking to a young lady who has been coming to Agora for many years.  Her story is quite possibly one of the worst that I have heard, but a few years ago, she gave her life to the Lord and we have seen God do so much in her life.  Now, she will be graduating in just a few weeks, she is accepted to a college here in Columbus, and most importantly, she continues to dedicate her life to following the Lord.  These kids that we work with continue to inspire and amaze me!  Sometimes I think about all the horrible things that they have faced in their lives and I see how they continue to be hopeful and have faith in the Lord and I just think, “Monica, what excuse do you have?”   Sadly, we still see many older kids and teens that have become hardened by their surroundings; pray for these youth, that their hearts will be softened and they will allow God to break in on their lives.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support.  We really need and appreciate every prayer that you send heavenward!  Have a great week!

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