Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Join us next year 2010

Our next topic meeting is Tuesday, January 12, 2010 Join us at Bethel Assembly of God in the Mace building, rm 109 (large center room on first floor) from 9:45-11:45 AM. Our meetings consist of brunch, discussion groups, and prayer. Childcare is provided.

Mom's Connection is a ministry for moms. Our goal is for every mom to participate in a care circle, where they will find meaningful connection to others and consistent spiritual growth in their life. Our care circles consist of small group discussions. There are several to choose from: Marriage, Thought life, or Parenting.

*The event calender for the spring semester (Jan.-May) will be planned soon. If you have an idea or a place for us to visit, please share it with a member of our leadership team. We are always interested in your thoughts looking for new ideas and places to go.

If you would like more information, please contact Lisa Fraley at momsrgreat@comcast.net

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Invitation

What I have forgiven...has been for your sakes...to keep Satan from getting the advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his wiles and intentions. 2 Corinthians 2:10-11

Suppose we receive a package from an overnight carrier. After we open it, we stare at a beautiful, over sized envelope, with our name written on it in exquisite calligraphy. Inside, the invitation starts with these words. You are invited to enjoy a life with misery, worry, and confusion. Which one of us would say yes to such an outrageous invitation? Don't we seek the kind of life that keeps us free from such pain and distractions? Yet many of us choose such a life. Not that we blatantly make that choice, but we sometimes surrender-even temporarily-to Satan's invitation. His attack is ongoing and relentless-the devil is persistent!

Our enemy bombards our minds with every weapon at his disposal every day of our lives. We are engaged in a warfare-a warfare that rages and never stops. We can put on the whole armor of God, halt the evil one's advances, and stand fast on the Word of God, but we won't put a complete end to the war. As long as we are alive, our minds remain Satan's battlefield. Most of our problems are rooted in thinking patterns that produce the problems we experience. This is where Satan triumphs-he offers wrong thinking to all of us. This isn't a new trick devised for our generation; he began his deceptive ways in the Garden of Eden. The serpent asked the woman, "Can it really be that God said, You shall not eat from every tree of the garden?" (Genesis 3:1a) That was the first attack on the human mind. Eve could have rebuked the tempter; instead, she told him God would let them eat from the trees, but not from one particular tree. They couldn't even touch that tree, because if they did, they would die. "But the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die, For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil and blessing and calamity" (vs. 4-5).

This was the first attack, and it resulted in Satan's first victory. What we often miss about temptation and the battle our enemy levels against us is that it comes to us deceptively. Suppose he had said to the woman, "Eat of the fruit. You'll bring misery, anger, hatred, bloodshed, poverty, and injustice into the world." Eve would have recoiled and run away. He tricked her because he lied and told her what would appeal to her. Satan promised, "You will be like God. You'll know good and evil." What a marvelous appeal to the woman. He wasn't tempting Eve to do something bad-or at least he phrased it in such a way that what she heard sounded good. That's always the appeal of sin or satanic enticement. The temptation is not to do evil or to cause harm or bring injustice. The lure is that we will gain something. Satan's temptation worked on Eve. "And when the woman saw that the tree was good (suitable, pleasant) for food and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave some also to her husband, and he ate"(3:6). Eve lost the first battle for the mind, and we have continued to fight for it since that time. But because we have the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we can win-and we can keep on winning.

Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, December 23 Christmas Candlelight Service at Bethel Assembly of God from
7-8pm. There will be no regular service, Mpact, Royal Rangers, or nursery so families may enjoy this service together.

Sunday, December 27 Bethel Assembly of God's Christmas Dinner- A catered event at Heritage Hall in Inwood, WV at 6pm for the whole family. **Only if signed up in advance.**

Events for January

Tuesday, January 12 Mom's Connection Topic Meeting- Join us at 9:45 am at Bethel Assembly of God in the Mace building, rm 109 (large center room on first floor) for brunch, discussion, and encouragement. Childcare is provided.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Treasures In Our Heart

One evening this past fall my children and I were walking onto the soccor field heading to practice. Across the field a mom and her daughter came walking towards us. As my son excitedly approached this young girl, I looked up and took notice of them. The mom had a huge smile on her face as she watched my son talk to her daughter who has downe syndrome. Then Lee introduces me to his friend at school. We say our goodbye's and head towards the field. I found myself making a mental note of this in my mind after witnessing his kindness. I wondered what kind of man he was going to become and what lied ahead for him. This is nothing new for moms. We all do this. We look at the things our children do or say and we wonder what it means for their future.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, wondered the same things. After the shepherds came to Bethlehem to see Jesus in the manger, they shared what the angels had spoken to them about her baby. In Luke 2:19 the Bible tells us, "Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Many things were spoken over Jesus by followers of God. Simeon said to Mary: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed and a sword will pierce your own soul too" (Luke 2:34). The prophetess, Anna, "spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem" (Luke 2:38). Many years later when Jesus was a boy, he was found in the temple "sitting among the teachers, listening to them, and asking them questions" (Luke 2:46). When his parents asked Jesus what he was doing there, he said, "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" (Luke 2:49) Joseph and Mary did not understand what he was talking about "But his mother treasured all these things in her heart" (Luke 2:51).

Just like Mary who did not completely understand everything about her son, we do not either. Although on a much smaller scale, we wonder the purpose and outcome of our children's lives. We aren't raising the Savior of the World however each of them do have a purpose that God has ordained for them. God wants us to take notice of our children and ponder them in our hearts as Mary did. It's God's way of helping us along the way. God did not leave Mary after she gave birth but continued to guide her as she raised Jesus. One of the ways was by having her take notice of things concerning him so she could tuck them away in her heart and mind until later. When Jesus was dying on the cross she felt the "sword pierce her heart" and when he rose from the dead, she understood how he was the "redemption of Jerusalem". She recalled all the things that she pondered in her heart about her child and new God had been there all along the way. In this same way, God is faithful to us in our children's life.

Blessings,
Lisa

Friday, December 18, 2009

What's on Your To-Do List for Christmas?

Have you been baking, shopping, or wrapping? I've been wrapping and shopping all week. Things I have been waiting for have come in the mail! Praise God! To my children's excitement, I will be making my homemade fudge today. Yum Yum! Don't be shy and share with us what has been keeping you busy!!
Lisa Fraley

Fun for the Holiday's



During the holiday season it is easy to get caught up in what we need to buy and where we need to go, but don't forget that its the small things that matter the most....take an hour and sit down and do something simple with your kids. Afterall the thing they want the most is quality time with you. This could be something simple like I did....painting. We put on old shirts, cut up an egg carton to hold the different color paints, and used cardboard that came out of packages from tablecloths for the holiday season to hold our masterpieces. We had a great time and only left a small mess behind!

Janine DiGiovanni

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Who Will?

Who will rescue you when you make mistakes,
too immense for you to contemplate?
Who will lift you when you fall,
when you’ve made a catastrophe of it all?
Who will comfort you when you cry,
and tears fall down that will not dry?
Who will have compassion when you get what you deserve,
or give you courage when you’ve lost your nerve?
Who will give you guidance when you need it badly,
and won’t think it inconvenient but gives it gladly?
Who will give you hope when you are in despair,
and the answer you are looking for can’t be found anywhere?
Who will give you peace when your mind is full of worry
and your day is very busy and you’re always in a hurry?
Who can give you joy that is unspeakable,
while healing you of illness that is untreatable?
Who will be faithful when you can’t seem to get it together,
and gives you second chances that go on forever?
Who will come in a hurry when you desperately need a friend,
and no one picks up the phone and a hand they won’t lend?
Whose words have the power to battle all affliction,
and can deliver you from any addiction?
Who thinks you are valuable, more precious than gold
and has a love for you beyond what you’ve been told?
Who would die in your place and pay the price for your sin,
yet knock at your hearts door waiting for you to let them in?
Who will make a path unique just for you,
using the talents you were created to do?
Who could be so patient, so loving, so kind, so truthful,
so devoted, so worthy of rhyme, so life changing, so merciful, so truthful and real,
so wise, so available, so right here,
So worthy of being worshipped for two thousand years,
so imprinted on the hearts of those who hold him dear?

JESUS CHRIST

A Poem written by Sherry Shirley

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Upcoming Events!!

*Location Change*
Sunday, December 20 Bethel Assembly of God's Christmas Dinner- A catered event at Heritage Hall in Inwood, WV at 6pm for the whole family. **Only if signed up in advance.**

Wednesday, December 23 Christmas Candlelight Service at Bethel Assembly of God from
7-8pm. There will be no regular service, Mpact, Royal Rangers, or nursery so families may enjoy this service together.

Events for January

Tuesday, January 12 Mom's Connection Topic Meeting- Join us at 9:45 am at Bethel Assembly of God in the Mace building, rm 109 (large center room on first floor) for brunch, discussion, and encouragement. Childcare is provided.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Testimony by Amanda Dagostino

Angelo and Dominic got a stuffed Rudolf that sings for Christmas. They have been playing with it and it has not been working right. We thought it was the batteries, so we proceeded to change those......still did not work. Angelo was upset and said "Mommy, can you make this work?" So I prayed for the stuffed animal (as silly as that may seem). I prayed " God, my boys really like this reindeer and are disappointed that it is not working. Can you please help this reindeer work? In Jesus name I ask, Amen" I opened my eyes and hit the button and immediately it started playing!!! Angelo was in shock! It was a great moment in teaching that God cares about ALL things! No matter how "silly" it may seem to us!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child

Our church has recently been doing a message series for Christmas based around The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis. There was a question at the top of the card I received announcing this series: What if there were no Christmas? In the book it said that in Narnia it was "always winter but never Christmas". I began thinking how sad it would be if there were no Christmas. But in the book this statement is made to a child, and I thought how much more sad would a child feel if there were no Christmas? To children everything is larger than life. Christmas is especially magical to a child, filled with awe and wonder. Children look forward to Christmas with great anticipation.

To see things through the eyes of a child is so interesting and wonderful. For example, last Saturday morning I was up early and it was snowing. Our Christmas decorations were up and the snow added to that Christmas feeling. When my daughter got up she announced excitedly that it was snowing and went right away to the window to watch. Then my son got up and said "WOW! Why is it snowing?!" Then he too ran to the window and pressed his face against it to watch the snow. Then he says to me, "Mommy, no one is looking out their window. I guess they are still sleeping." I said, "yes they probably are." When I thought about what he said I realized that it was his assumption that as soon as people got up they would run to their windows to look out at the falling snow as he had done.

Sadly, most adults would not share in my children's excitement about the snow. They would naturally be concerned about having to drive in it or the irritation of shoveling it. The magic and wonder of a December snowfall fades away once we move into adulthood. In the same way adults tend to lose their wonder and excitement about Christmas. The many awe inspiring events surrounding the birth of Jesus, a virgin being with child, the announcement by angels that a savior had been born in Bethlehem, Magi traveling from a distant land following a star to find this baby, and countless others all become just a story we are used to hearing every year instead of real events in history that changed our lives forever. We become so stressed with shopping, wrapping, baking, parties, and events that we forget why we are celebrating. I have even heard many people say they couldn't wait for Christmas to be over. I have been guilty of this myself in the past, but I have never heard a child say that. Jesus said in Matthew 18:3 "I tell you the truth unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven".

When I asked my children why we celebrate Christmas my son said "because it is Jesus' birthday, we should get Him a present mommy." Then my daughter says to him "do you know the present Jesus wants most of all, you. This year let's try to view Christmas through the eyes of a child remembering that first and foremost it is Jesus birthday and everything we do should be to honer Him. Let's not lose our awe, wonder and anticipation as we celebrate God's most precious gift to us.

Have a blessed Christmas,
Kim Ratcliffe

Friday, December 11, 2009

Candy Cane Brownie Lollipops

This treat was made for us at our Christmas party by Jule Burton! Thank you, Jule, for giving them to us and for sharing this recipe!

Ingredients
1 pkg (18-21 oz) fudge brownie mix (plus ingredients to make brownies)
24 candy canes
10 oz chocolate-flavored almond bark
Additional decorations such as red jimmies (optional)

1. Line Medium Sheet Pan (or 9-in. by 13-in. metal pan) with a 13-in. piece of Parchment Paper; lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions; pour batter into pan.
Bake 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Remove from oven to Stackable Cooling Rack; cool 20 minutes or until still slightly warm.
2. Meanwhile, cut straight ends of candy canes off to form 4½-in. sticks using Utility Knife. Place candy cane tops into resealable plastic bag and crush using flat side of Meat Tenderizer; set aside.
3. Using Medium Scoop, scoop brownie into 24 rounded scoops, packing brownie into scoop using hands. (Entire brownie will be used.) Roll brownie scoops into smooth balls. Insert candy cane sticks into centers of balls, mounding brownie around each stick to secure. Pinch each brownie ball where candy cane and top of ball meet.
4. Place almond bark into Small Batter Bowl; microwave according to package directions until smooth. Spoon melted bark evenly over each brownie ball, turning to coat completely. Be sure to coat where candy cane stick meets brownie ball. Allow excess bark to drip off. Dip into reserved crushed candy canes or jimmies and stand upright on a piece of Parchment Paper. Repeat with remaining almond bark, lollipops and crushed candy. Let stand until set. Place into miniature cupcake liners.

Yield: 24 servings
Cook’s Tips: Although the edges of the brownies are crusty, they don’t need to be discarded. Simply scoop the edges along with the center, and they’ll soften as they stand.

If desired, lollipop sticks or stick candies can be substituted for the candy canes.
Wrap lollipops in cellophane, tie with ribbon and use as table d├ęcor, place cards or take-home goodies for a special holiday touch.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Meet...Jennifer Kirsch


I have really enjoyed getting to know Jennifer Kirsch over the past year. She has an absolutely joyful personality and she is a pleasure to be around. It is a treat to be able to feature her this month.

Jennifer has been happily married to her husband, Shannon for seven years and they have two children, Trevor (4) and Brianah (2). She also has one sister, two brothers, and four nephews. Her family is the most important thing to her after God.

Her hobbies and interests include spending time with her family, laughing, and shopping. She loves listening to Christian rock and some of her favorite singers and musical groups include Bebo Norman, Nathalie Grant, Jeremy Camp and the Newsboys. She also occasionally likes to listen to music of the 80's and 90's.

Jennifer's favorite thing about Mom's Connection is being able to fellowship with other moms who share the same interests and become closer to God's word.

Her favorite Bible verse is 1 Corinthians 13:4, which says, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud." It reminds her that she needs to think of others in this way; no matter what is on the outside, it is what is on the inside that really counts.

Jennifer's relationship with the Lord is very important to her. She feels so blessed that He is always there when she needs Him and He never lets her down. She says, "It is always exciting to see what the Lord has in store for me next."

I hope you have enjoyed getting to know Jennifer, I know I have.
Tina Burton

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December Events

Monday, December 14 Women's Ministry Christmas Dinner- Enjoy great fellowship and delicious food at Dubbie's Deli at 6:30 pm. Tickets on sale for $15. For more information, contact Heidi Shank.

Sunday, December 20 Bethel Assembly of God's Christmas Dinner- A catered event in the church gym at 6pm for the whole family. **Only if signed up in advance.**

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Greatest Gift

What was read at Mom's Connection Christmas Party on Tuesday, December 8:

I'm placing before you this beautiful gift. If I would give this beautifully wrapped gift to one of you, what would you do with it? What if you never took the time to open it? I would feel disappointed, hurt, and angry at your callous rejection of my friendship and my love for you. And for you, this gift would be worthless if you left it wrapped on this table. It would be of no benefit to you.

Yet this is exactly what so many people do every Christmas. They have celebrated Christmas every year of their lives without ever having opened their greatest and most expensive Christmas gift- Jesus Christ. Jesus is God's Christmas gift to you. He came wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger. He went unrecognized by many in that time and still in ours as the priceless and personalized gift He is.

It doesn't matter whether you are Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Mormon, or have no religious background at all. God didn't send Jesus to bring us religion! He came to make a relationship with God possible. In Romans 5:11 it reads, "Now we rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God- all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in dying for our sins- making us friends of God."


For some of us who have opened this precious gift we have found that in Jesus our past is forgiven, we have a purpose for living, and a home in heaven to look forward to. (Moms stood up and shared what Jesus has done for them.)For me, Jesus replaced my self-centeredness with love and compassion for others. And Jesus says to you today, "I can do the same things in you. But I'm not going to break down the door of your heart. You have to invite me in." Is it time for you to accept His gift today? If you want to take that step today, you can recite the following prayer:

Dear God in Heaven,
I know that I have sinned against you and that my sins separate me from you. Please forgive me. I want to accept your free gift of salvation given to me through Jesus Christ because He died on the cross for my sins, rose again three days later, and hears my prayer today. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey you, and to do Your will for the rest of my life.
In Jesus' name I pray,
Amen

The Bible tells us that when one person makes a decision to follow Christ that all of Heaven rejoices! Praise God!! 

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Walking in Winter Wonderland

Don your stocking caps and wrap those scarves tight as you take a magical stroll around through this winter wonderland! You're sure to be delighted by this light show that let's you see it from the inside out. Clearbrook Park will host this enchanted walking tour that encourages you to take your time enjoying the sights and sounds of the season. Warm up in the cabin-where you might run into santa- or with hot chocolate and cookies!

Walking in Winter Wonderland Spectacular Holiday Light Show at Clearbrook Park in Clearbrook, VA. The grand illumination began December 5 and continues through Dec. 30 (closed on Dec. 24 & 25) from 5:30-9:30 pm. Lights are out at 10 pm so plan your trip accordingly.

Fee: 12 and over: $4; 2-11 years: $3; and 1 and under free

For more information or directions, check out www.co.frederick.va.us/parks/communityevents.aspx

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holiday Events


If your looking for a way to give to children in need this Christmas, please consider putting together a stocking for the Urban Outreach in DC. This ministry focuses on spreading the love of Jesus Christ to the children of the inner city. Mom's Connection will be giving towards this ministry at our Christmas Party. We will already be able to donate 20+ stockings as shown above! When filling each stocking, label it for boy or girl and age group.

Below are some items to consider putting in a stocking:

 Toys: small cars, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, plastic kazoos, jump rope, coin purse or wallet, action figure toys, story books, harmonicas, yo-yos, puzzles, stickers, small Etch A Sketch®, travel games, toys that light up or make noise (with extra batteries), Slinky, Video (ie:Bibleman,Veggie Tales), CD’s, etc.
 School supplies: pens, pencils and sharpener, ruler, crayons or markers, coloring/activity books, stamps and ink pad sets, writing pads or paper, solar calculators, etc.
 Hygiene items: toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, soap, mirror, body lotion, shower gel, shampoo, comb, washcloth, etc.
 Other: hard candy, lollipops, mints, gum, sunglasses, flashlights with extra batteries, ball caps, toy jewelry sets, hair clips, watches, small picture books, tracts, etc.
 Clothing items: mittens/gloves, hat, scarf, character underwear, decorative shoelaces, socks, T-shirts, sweatshirt, etc.
 Do not include: used items, war-related items, medicines, or fine breakables!


Tuesday, December 8 Our Annual Christmas Party- In the busyness of the season treat yourself to a time of fun and fellowship with good friends and an opportunity to meet new ones. We will be having prizes, games, treats, food, and our gift exchange!!

Everyone is encouraged to bring a dish to share for lunch (ham will be provided) and a gift to give. Your gift can be something you received on a past occasion that is like-new or buy one for no more than $10.

Monday, December 14 Women's Ministry Christmas Dinner- Enjoy great fellowship and delicious food at Dubbie's Deli. Tickets on sale for $15. For more information, contact Heidi Shank.

Monday, December 20 Bethel Assembly of God's Christmas Dinner- A catered event in the church gym at 6pm for the whole family. **In order to attend, must sign up at Bethel at the Welcome Center or notify Lisa Fraley by Sunday, December 6th.**

Monday, November 30, 2009

Meditating on the Word of God

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields it's fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Psalm 1:1-3

Recently I have been in a dry place. I have been reading my Bible and praying. I have still been working in my ministry, but I have had an overwhelming desire to go deeper. I have felt there was a barrier keeping me from living and working for God to my fullest potential. I was attacked with confusion, fear and doubt. As I continued in prayer and had other people praying for me, God brought my personal testimony back to my mind. It helped me remember that I was not the person I used to be. God had done great things in my life and he wants to use me to do even greater things for Him. So what was hindering me from moving forward?

In our care circle we are studying the book Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. As I was preparing for our meeting God began to answer my questions. In chapter seven, Joyce is talking about the importance of meditating on the precepts of God. She says the reason Christians are not living victorious lives is because we are not delving deeply enough into the word of God. I realized that this was happening to me. Instead of meditating on God's word and remembering all the great things he had done already, I was thinking about what was wrong with me, all my faults and limitations.

"Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart form your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go". Joshua 1:6-9

Three times Joshua is told to be strong and courageous. God then tells him to be careful to obey the law and not to turn from it, not to let it depart from his mouth and to meditate on it day and night. Then God promised several times that he would be successful and prosperous. Joshua was to lead the Israelites to inherit the land God had promised them. He could not afford to have his mind filled with fear and doubt or he would begin to question his calling. He couldn't have his mind on the wrong opinions of other people who were only looking at the circumstances and Joshua's humanness and not God's power. Joshua's mind needed to be filled with God's word and all the wonderful things God had already done so that he could know what God's will was and how he could be the vessel through which God would carry it out. We are supposed to have our minds so filled with the word of God that there is no room for junk. We are to continually remember what God has already done so we may be victorious in all that He has called us to do.

As I began to meditate on God's word more deeply, I felt the heaviness and confusion lift from me making it easier for me to hear from Him. Don't let wrong thinking keep you from living living a victorious life in Christ. Keep your mind on Him.


Kim Ratcliffe

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

TWAS THE NIGHT OF THANKSGIVING,
BUT I JUST COULDN'T SLEEP.
I TRIED COUNTING BACKWARDS,
I TRIED COUNTING SHEEP.

THE LEFTOVERS BECKONED
THE DARK MEAT AND WHITE,
BUT I FOUGHT THE TEMPTATION
WITH ALL OF MY MIGHT

TOSSING AND TURNING WITH ANTICIPATION,
THE THOUGHT OF A SNACK BECAME INFATUATION.
SO, I RACED TO THE KITCHEN, FLUNG OPEN THE DOOR,
AND GAZED AT THE FRIDGE, FULL OF GOODIES GALORE.
GOBBLED UP TURKEY AND BUTTERED POTATOES,
PICKLES AND CARROTS, BEANS AND TOMATOES

I FELT MYSELF SWELLING SO PLUMP AND SO ROUND,
'TIL ALL OF A SUDDEN, I ROSE OFF THE GROUND.
I CRASHED THROUGH THE CEILING, FLOATING INTO THE SKY,
WITH A MOUTHFUL OF PUDDING AND A HANDFUL OF PIE.
BUT, I MANAGED TO YELL AS I SOARED PAST THE TREES....
HAPPY EATING TO ALL - PASS THE CRANBERRIES, PLEASE.

MAY YOUR STUFFING BE TASTY,MAY YOUR TURKEY BE PLUMP.
MAY YOUR POTATOES 'N GRAVY HAVE NARY A LUMP.
MAY YOUR YAMS BE DELICIOUS.
MAY YOUR PIES TAKE THE PRIZE,
MAY YOUR THANKSGIVING DINNER STAY OFF OF YOUR THIGHS!!

Holiday Events

Monday, November 30 Kick-off to Christmas with shopping at the Prime Outlets in Hagerstown, MD. Meet at Bethel Assembly of God at 6 pm to ride together in Bethel's van. Seating is limited, reserve your spot. Or join us directly at the Outlets at 6:30 pm in front of the food court. The expected departure time for the van is 9:30 pm to have you back to the church by 10 pm.

Tuesday, December 8 Our Annual Christmas Party- In the busyness of the season treat yourself to a time of fun and fellowship with good friends and an opportunity to meet new ones. We will be having prizes, games, treats, food, and our gift exchange!!

Everyone is encouraged to bring a dish to share for lunch (ham will be provided) and a gift to give. Your gift can be something you received on a past occasion that is like-new or buy one for no more than $10.

Monday, December 14 Women's Ministry Christmas Dinner- Enjoy great fellowship and delicious food at Dubbie's Deli. Tickets on sale for $15. For more information, contact Heidi Shank.

Monday, December 20 Bethel Assembly of God's Christmas Dinner- A catered event in the church gym at 6pm for the whole family. **In order to attend, must sign up at Bethel at the Welcome Center or notify Lisa Fraley by Sunday, December 6th.**

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Our God Heals

This week I found out that my brother's friend, a 22 year old woman, went to her doctor and was told that she had cervical cancer. The doctor painted a very bleak picture and informed her that her options may be a hysterectomy with Chemo or that it may have penetrated too far and there was nothing they could do for her. She told my brother this news and shared her fear and frustration made worse by the fact that she is not a believer.

My brother was astounded and felt like this is where the rubber really meets the road and that for the first time there was no one else to do the praying because she wasn't willing to come into church and be prayed for by his pastor or anyone else. He said he had the overwhelming task of bringing a huge need before our Lord. Daunting as that may be that is exactly what he did, not with a nicely written out guaranteed plea but with his own words and heartfelt emotions.

My brother's friend got a call this Sunday by an amazed doctor that said she couldn't wait till Monday to give her the good news. All of her tests came back cancer free! The doctor said the reason her test results took so long was because the doctor sent them back to the lab and told them they made a mistake. The second set of tests came back exactly the same. The doctor said she had never seen anything like this and that it truly was a miracle. My brother was then able to witness to his friend and tell her that God obviously exists and is paying attention and caring about her life. It was up to her what she wants to do with it.

So during this Holiday Season pay attention to everything around you and remember that God is with you and cares about every small and large facet of our lives. Most importantly in the face of daunting circumstances remember to bring it before our Heavenly Father!

Janine DiGiovanni

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hard to pray?

As important as I know prayer is, there has been times in my life that I found it hard to pray. I believed God heard me but I still found it a struggle. And even now when I set time for prayer aside each morning there are days I feel so insignificant that I can't utter a word before God. But then there are days I feel like I touched Him. But why is it hard some days and not others when "God is the same yesterday, today, and forever." He doesn't change but I do.

When I was less mature in my Christian walk, I found it hard to pray because I didn't do it very well. I grew up in church listening to eloquent, powerful, or scripture-filled prayers. But I didn't sound like that. My words clumsily, stumbled out of my mouth. But I learned God looks at the heart. He's not listening to how I pray. He's listening for what my heart is saying. God wants to have a conversation with us even if all we say is, "It's me again."

Then there were times I found praying difficult because I doubted whether God would answer my prayers. I thought I had made too many mistakes and was too far gone for God to salvage my life to be of any use to Him. But I learned we have all fallen short. None of us are worthy on our own. Only Jesus makes us worthy. His blood redeems us. Praise Him! God was waiting for me and He waits for you to come to Him and confess your sins so He can set our feet back on the path He has for us.

As I grew in my relationship with Christ, I found it difficult to pray when I wasn't sure if I was praying in God's will. I didn't want to pray for something if that's not what God wanted for me. I remember praying to have a child. I couldn't fathom why God wouldn't want me to be a mother. But every month when my prayer was not answered, I questioned Him. But I learned we don't find God's perfect will for our lives before we pray, we find it AS we pray. I grew close to God during that time. No matter how long we serve Him, we won't always have full knowledge of what He wants for us in every situation. Just say, as Jesus did, "not my will but your will be done."

Now the biggest reason I find it hard to pray is I have too many things to do. If I don't get that time with God first thing in the morning then my day gets away from me. It's like I'm on a runaway train going down a steep hill and by evening I'll crash. For me I have to make God the priority first thing in the morning. There is a good time for each of us. Ask Him to help you find the right time of day and dedicate it to Him.

As I continue to grow in my prayer time with God, I still feel inadequate to come before the great I AM. I am humbled more than ever with the privilege He has given us "to come boldly to the throne of grace". I'm in awe of His love for me and that He wants to communicate with me. Those are the times I stop talking to sit in His presence and listen. No matter how hard it has been, the perseverance is worth it--PRAY.

Blessings,
Lisa
 

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Crunch

This is a delicious dessert especially for the Holiday's! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Crunch
Ingredients:
1 Pkg Duncan Hines Moist Yellow Cake Mix
1 can (16 oz) Solid Pack Pumpkin
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 c chopped pecans
1 cup butter or margarine melted
whipped topping

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish.
2. Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, pie spice, and salt. Pour into baking dish.
3. Sprinkle dry cake mix and pecans over the top. Drizzle with melted butter.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until golden. Cool completely. Serve with whipped topping. Refrigerate leftovers.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Biggest Loser

Recently, a horrible, catastrophic thing happened. I ran out of books to read before bed. Usually, I get my supply at different book sales around the area and unfortunately there were no book sales to be found anytime soon. I am too cheap to buy a book at full price unless it has been really raved upon by critics and promises to be truly awesome. As I was about to voice my unhappiness to my husband that I had nothing to read and hence wouldn't be able to go to bed that night, I heard a small voice in my head say, "Why not read the all-time bestseller ever written before bed?" So, I took that voice's advice [God] and went in the bedroom and opened my Bible. I opened it to the beginning of Job and began reading. At the time, I really didn't know why I didn't start at Genesis or even Matthew or anywhere else in the Bible but upon the completion of the book of Job I realized why the Lord led me there.

The book of Job begins with a conversation between the Lord and the devil in which the devil is allowed by God to test Job provided that he doesn't harm Job. After the test was agreed upon to prove to Satan that Job was truly blameless and a servant of the Lord, Job goes on to lose everything he has and is even beset with blemishes himself. Through this whole ordeal Job doesn't give up on his love and devotion to the Lord. In the end of the book Job sees everything restored to him and then some. He lives out his life to see his children and their children to the fourth generation. He lost everything except his faith in the Lord and his faith was all he really needed. As long as he had the Lord he was complete.

I have seriously meditated on this book for a few weeks and last night after watching ,"The Biggest Loser" it finally hit me why this book was important for me to read at this stage of my life. Through my life I have kept a record of people that have wronged me in one way or another. By keeping this record, I was also not allowing myself to get too close to anyone for fear that they would find a new and terrible way to hurt me. In effect, I was keeping myself from relationships that I needed and that others needed with me. I knew that I should forgive the people that had wronged me and that I should work on trying to forget what they had done to me. But for some reason, like a security blanket, I was holding on to my hatred for all I was worth. In Matthew 18: 22, we are told to forgive others seventy-seven times or seventy times seven. I realized that I may have told myself that I forgave these people but I was still carrying around bad feelings towards them and for that I was sinning against God without even realizing it.

I had this epiphany while watching., "The Biggest Loser" because I realized I needed to become a big loser. I needed to lose those feelings of hatred and betrayal from people in my life that probably didn't mean to hurt me. How could I expect the Lord to bless me if I was holding onto my burden? How could I ever expect to build healthy relationships while holding myself aloof, afraid that I was going to be hurt again? Before bed last night I prayed to God to please banish those feelings and that I know in having those feelings that I am sinning and that I can't lose them without His help.

This morning, I woke up feeling 100 pounds lighter. I truly feel like 'The Biggest Loser'. Even though like the contestants on that show, I know it is only a small step on my journey.
Job lost everything only to gain everything back and more. I have lost my unforgiveness and I know that God will now work on me to restore my faith and trust in others and I am willing to hand over every one of my relationships to Him so that He can bathe them in His light and love.
What do you have to lose? Is it feelings of hatred and betrayal like I had? Is it feelings of worthlessness or depression? God can truly work a miracle within your heart.

Tina Burton

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Upcoming Events for 2009

Events for November

Tuesday, November 24 Topic Meeting- Meet at Bethel Assembly of God in the Mace building, rm 109 at 9:45 am for a time of fellowship, prayer, and discussion! Childcare is provided.

Monday, November 30 Kick-off to Christmas with shopping at the Prime Outlets in Hagerstown, MD. Meet at Bethel Assembly of God at 6 pm to ride together in Bethel's van. Seating is limited, reserve your spot. Or join us directly at the Outlets at 6:30 pm in front of the food court. The expected departure time for the van is 9:30 pm to have you back to the church by 10 pm.

Events for December

Tuesday, December 8 Our Annual Christmas Party- In the busyness of the season treat yourself to a time of fun and fellowship with good friends and an opportunity to meet new ones. We will be having prizes, games, treats, food, and our gift exchange!!
Everyone is encouraged to bring a dish to share for lunch (ham will be provided) and a gift to give. Your gift can be something you received on a past occasion that is like-new or buy one for no more than $10.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Keeper

Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away. I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat and Mom in a house dress; lawn mower in his hand, and dish-towel in hers.
It was the time for fixing things.. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things we keep.It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, eating, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful.. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there'd always be more.
But then my mother died, and on that clear summer's night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any more. Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away....never to return.
So... While we have it... Its best we love it... And care for it.... And fix it when it's broken..... And heal it when it's sick. This is true... For marriage.... And old cars.... And children with bad report cards...... Dogs and cats with bad hips.... And aging parents..... And grandparents, aunts and uncles and friends..
We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it. Some things we keep. Like a best friend who moved away or a classmate we grew up with. There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special...... And so, we keep them close in heart and mind and spirit.
Anonymous

Monday, November 16, 2009

Persistence in Prayer

Then He said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him'. "Then the one inside answers, 'Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give you anything'. I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. "So I say to you: ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door will be opened." Luke 11:5-10

As I was reading my Bible this scripture stood out to me. I felt I was supposed to write something about it, but I didn't know where to begin. So I wrote it down and began to meditate on it and pray for God to explain it to me. I wanted to know what persistence in prayer really meant. I felt it was interesting that this is part of the passage where Jesus is teaching His disciples how to pray. I feel Jesus wanted us to understand the importance of persistence/boldness in prayer. But what is boldness? The meaning of boldness according to my dictionary/concordance is "fearless before danger; self-assured. It is important to note that boldness and persistence are used in the same context in this scripture. So why are we to persist in prayer? There is a point in our prayer life that we can become tired, lazy, or even fearful, especially when everything around us is bleak and we don't see an answer to our prayers forthcoming. We may just want to give up, but it is then that we need to press in all the more. We need to remember God loves us and desires to give us good things. Luke 11:11-13 says "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"

God already knows what we need, persistence helps us to recognize our need and the power of God. Then even if the answer isn't exactly what we asked for we can recognize it and know it is what we needed. This is seen in the life of a man in the Bible named Simeon. In Luke 2:25-32 it says, Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for Him what the custom of the law required, Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God, saying; Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel".

Simeon was an old man. It is hard to tell how long he prayed for the consolation of Israel. And I'm sure he probably wasn't praying for a little baby born in a stable. Simeon persisted in prayer. He didn't go before God thinking he already knew what was needed but he believed God did. Simeon had boldness and because of his boldness he received an answer to his prayer and recognized it when it came. He was not moved when years had passed and he didn't see it and he didn't dismiss it when it wasn't exactly what he had asked for. This finally came to me the other night when we watched a movie called Facing the Giants. The character who stood out to me was not the coach or the players, although their story is inspiring. But it was the old man, who for years walked the halls of the school touching each locker and praying for revival for each student. For years he didn't see an answer, in fact things got worse before they got better, but still he prayed. At one point, when the coach was wondering when things would get better, this man came to him and gave him a word of encouragement from the Lord. When the coach questioned him about it he told him the story of two farmers, both in need of rain. Both prayed for rain but only one prepared his field to receive it. Both farmers probably prayed for rain over and over, but only one had the boldness to prepare his field for it even when it didn't look like he would get it. That's persistence. I believe persistence is more than just asking for something over and over, it is continuing in prayer, believing and preparing to receive an answer having boldness (self assurance) that God will give us what we need when we need it.

Kim Ratcliffe

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mom's Connection is having a Fundraiser!!!

Mom's Connection is having a fundraiser to raise money for a trip in the Spring! We will be selling Tastefully Simple! The Independent Consultant, Jennifer Csordas, has so graciously agreed to help us make the most money we can for our group! All you have to do is get the word out!

Be sure to show a book to your family and friends. If they chose to place an order from you, there will be NO SHIPPING AND HANDLING fee. This is a huge advantage! Of course be sure to add 6% sales tax. They can also order online at http://www.tastefullysimple.com/. In order for Mom's Connection to receive credit for any online orders, the person placing the order must select Mom's Connection as the host. This is simple to do. When viewing the Shopping Cart, there is a link that says "Find Host/Event". When they click this link it will ask for the First & Last Name of the Host. They must enter "Mom's" as the first name, & "Connection" as the last name. They will then be able to select our party! However, orders placed on the website do have to pay shipping!! Only orders you take using the order forms in your packets are exempt from shipping.

The orders and money need to be turned in by Dec. 8 (Our Christmas Party). This will ensure the orders will come in before Christmas. When the orders come in, they will be sent to Donnis Lloyd (who is heading up this fundraiser). She will divide up the orders that are to be given to each mom. Each mom will be responsible for delivering the orders to their family and friends.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact Donnis at donnisleigh@comcast.net.
Thank you for all your effort in making this fundraiser a success!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Staying Friendly

Thank you to Tina Burton, Janine DiGiovanni, and Jennifer Kirsch for showing us on Tuesday how to meet a new mom. I want to challenge you during our topic meetings at refreshment time that you get to know someone you don't already know. By doing this, it will make our group a friendlier place to be. Just like God wants it!

Here are some tips I went over with the group on how to keep our group friendly:

1. When approaching someone new use this phrase: "I don't believe I've had the opportunity to meet you." This will give you an opening to start a conversation and put the other person at ease. Do not say: "Are you new?" or "Is this your first time?" If the mom is not new or her first time, she could possibly be offended by those questions.

2. Extend a firm handshake when you approach a new mom and introduce yourself. In doing so, you give the gift of touch, which is something we all need.

3. Ask questions to get to know them better. Ex. Where do you live?, How many children do you have?, or How did you find out about this group?

4. Then make a conscious decision to introduce her to another mom.

Two important things to remember when deciding whether to approach a mom:
**Anytime a mom is sitting by herself, this is a clue that someone needs to reach out and have a conversation with her.
**Focus more on making someone feel comfortable than on your feelings of being uncomfortable approaching her.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Events for November

Tuesday, November 10 Topic Meeting- Meet at Bethel Assembly of God in the Mace building, rm 109 at our new time 9:45 am for a time of fellowship, prayer, and discussion! Childcare is provided.

Tuesday, November 24 Topic Meeting- Meet at Bethel Assembly of God in the Mace building, rm 109 at 9:45 am for a time of fellowship, prayer, and discussion! Childcare is provided.

Monday, November 30 Kick-off to Christmas with shopping at the Prime Outlets in Hagerstown, MD. Meet at Bethel Assembly of God at 6 pm to ride together in Bethel's van. Seating is limited, reserve your spot. Or join us directly at the Outlets at 6:30 pm in front of the food court. The expected departure time for the van is 9:30 pm to have you back to the church by 10 pm.

Events for December

Tuesday, December 8 Our Annual Christmas Party- In the busyness of the season treat yourself to a time of fun and fellowship with good friends and an opportunity to meet new ones. We will be having prizes, games, treats, food, and our gift exchange!!

Everyone is encouraged to bring a dish to share for lunch (ham will be provided) and a gift to give. Your gift can be something you received on a past occasion that is like-new or buy one for no more than $10.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Getting to Know....Amanda Dagostino

I have the pleasure this month of introducing you to a lady that I have really enjoyed getting to know. I recently got the opportunity to ask her some questions for this feature and I have really enjoyed reading her responses.

Amanda has been married to her husband, Lino, for six years and has two boys , Angelo (5) and Dominic (3 1/2).

Her hobbies and interests include stamping, scrap booking, reading, shopping and taking pictures of her children. She enjoys a variety of music but doesn't much care for rap or heavy metal.

Her favorite thing about Mom's Connection is "feeling loved". She "enjoys being able to connect [with other moms] and make lasting friendships with fellow believers that are there for you no matter what and are willing to pray with you at the drop of a hat."

When asked what a relationship with the Lord means to her, she replied, that it "gives her a sense of belonging." She also takes comfort in knowing that if God is for her who can be against her? (Romans 8:31) The Lord also ,"offers [her] security when everything around [her] seems to be falling." Her favorite Bible verse is "Jesus wept." (John 11:35) because, "it gives us that human perspective of God that he could cry just like us."

I asked her if there was anything else that she wanted us to know about her and she replied, "I am a stay-at-home mom of two boys but I don't let that identify who I am." She feels that it is important to have your own identity and your own time. She said," Being a mom is great, but you need to remember you are a woman also."

I think a lot of us forget that we are people too and we get caught up in taking care of our husbands, our children, and everybody else that we often forget about ourselves, failing to nurture relationships with other women who are experiencing a lot of the same things we are going through.

Mom's Connection provides an oasis for a lot of moms, a place for us to fill our canteens with God's love through fellowship with other women so that we can prepare ourselves for the weeks and days ahead. Amanda said, "That's another great thing about Mom's Connection, it is time away from your children to be that woman God created us to be."

I hope you have enjoyed getting to know Amanda as much as I have. I hope to continue to build a strong friendship with this amazing woman that I met at the oasis I have found in Mom's Connection.

Tina Burton

Monday, November 9, 2009

Why Pray?

I don't remember who taught me to pray. My first prayer was probably at the dinner table because we all had to take turns blessing our food each night. My dad would tell us to "remember to say your prayers". Every night before bed, every post card he sent us on each of his hunting trips, and whenever he left on a trip, he reminded us to pray. Praying was seared into my brain. And maybe you hear this voice beckoning you to pray. But why?

First, prayer provides conversation and opens up the door for a relationship with God. He wants us to talk to Him! Sometimes this is hard to believe that the maker of heaven and earth would want to talk with us. But it is precisely why He created us. In Genesis 3:8 after the creation of man, God walked in the garden to spend time with Adam and Eve. "For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible,...everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him." Colossians 1:16 Msg.

Secondly, prayer provides an invitation to God to intervene in our lives. God gave the responsibility for governing Earth's affairs to us (Genesis 1:26,28) We pray because we need His help. We need help making important decisions. So why not ask a God who is all-knowing (omniscient), all-powerful (omnipotent), and always present (omnipresent). I've often heard it said God is a gentleman. He is only where you ask Him to be. He will never force himself upon us, but is waiting for us to ask.

Thirdly, prayer provides a channel for God's power and the key to unlock this power in our lives. When we pray we are opening an avenue to the release of His power. The Holy Spirit brings the power of God into our lives and enables us to be the conduit of it. Psalm 68:35 reads "it is you O Lord, who gives strength and power to Your people".

When we work, we work; when we pray, God works. Giving everything to God takes the burden off of us and gives it to God. The Bible says, "His yoke is easy and His burden is light" (Matthew 11:30). Our prayer life will reflect what we believe about God. If we truly believe He can move supernaturally, we will approach Him in faith. We will be looking at the Mountain Mover, not the mountain!

Blessings,
Lisa

Friday, November 6, 2009

Mariah's Baby Shower!













Thank you to everyone who helped with Mariah's baby shower. It was a real special night! We had delicious food, an out of the world cake made and decorated by Julia Bivens, games planned by Janine DiGiovanni and Heidi Shank, and lots of wonderful gifts.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What makes a group friendly or unfriendly?

Let me start out first stating that Mom's Connection is made up of friendly, warm, and caring moms!! It is a privilege for me to know you and share our lives together.

However as we become comfortable with each other and friendships form, we can become oblivious to new faces in the room. What happens the minute a mom walks in the door is crucial. She forms perceptions of the group and its members. For example, if she walks in the door and has to figure out where to go to register on her own, that's strike one. If she has to navigate her way unassisted to the child-care rooms, that's strike two. And then if she goes to the room where the group meets and sits by herself while others are having conversations all around her, that's strike three, and most likely she's out. The likelihood of her returning to this group is very slim, because she has felt neither welcomed nor cared for in the most vulnerable time of her first visit. Intentional effort to make the mom feel welcomed and to introduce her to others in the room is the key.

There are two parts to a friendly group: starting friendly and staying friendly. I will be partnering with the hospitality coordinator to work out ways our group can start friendly and then I will be discussing how our group can stay friendly.

One of the ways our group can start friendly is by having volunteers greeting at the door of the Mace building (which we already have in place). This is where a mom will be met with a warm smile and a verbal welcome by the greeter. This person is one who exudes hospitality and has a true caring heart for others. She also greets all regular attendees by name ans asks newcomers, "Is this your first time attending our moms group?"

Another way our group can start friendly is by having the greeter introduce the newcomer to another mom who is waiting to serve as a personal "hostess". We will call these moms "takers". Because they will be waiting to "take" the new mom around. The taker will accompany the mom to find the appropriate child-care rooms, the meeting room, and introduce her to others. They will explain some the components of the group and how the meeting will go. The two women may want to visit the food table and pick up any handouts for the day. The most important part of the taker's job is to introduce this mom to others in the group.

If becoming a "taker" is something that interests you, contact myself or Tina Burton, our Hospitality Coordinator. We are going to make this group even better!! Thank you!

Lisa Fraley

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Events for November

Tuesday, November 10 Topic Meeting- Meet at Bethel Assembly of God in the Mace building, rm 109 at our new time 9:45 am for a time of fellowship, prayer, and discussion! Childcare is provided.

Tuesday, November 24 Topic Meeting- Meet at Bethel Assembly of God in the Mace building, rm 109 at 9:45 am for a time of fellowship, prayer, and discussion! Childcare is provided.

Monday, November 30 Kick-off to Christmas with shopping at the Prime Outlets in Hagerstown, MD. Meet at Bethel Assembly of God at 6 pm to ride together in Bethel's van. Seating is limited, reserve your spot. Or join us directly at the Outlets at 6:30 pm in front of the food court. The expected departure time for the van is 9:30 pm to have you back to the church by 10 pm.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

Prayer is a Privilege

"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:36

Prayer is a privilege. It is not just something else on our to do list. As Christians, sometimes it is too easy to take for granted what God has done for us. If we are not careful, we can forget all that we have thanks to Christ's sacrifice. Prayer becomes something else we have to do, instead of a great privilege granted to us through Him. So, we look first at our schedules to see where we might pencil God in, or we make excuses that we don't pray as well as other people, forgetting that God is not impressed by our flowery words or how we took time away from other things to fit Him in. He just wants to spend time with us.

Jesus died a brutal death so that we might have access to God through Him. Through Christ, we may freely enter into the very presence of God. In the Old Testament temple, the Most Holy Place, where the presence of God dwelt, was sealed from view by a curtain. No one was allowed access to this holy room except the high priest on the Day of Atonement, which was only one day a year. This is when sacrifices were made for the nations sins. He himself was not allowed to enter until he had washed, put on special clothes, and made atonement for him and his family.

After Jesus' death on the cross the curtain that separated us from God was torn in two. We now have the privilege through Christ to enter the "Most Holy Place" and know the joy of being in God's holy presence. Jesus ushers us in and says, this one is mine. There we can worship Him, fellowship with Him, receive instruction, cleansing, and comfort from Him. When we think of the great sacrifice that was made so that we might have this kind of close relationship with God, prayer is no longer something we have to do. It becomes a time we look forward to with joy and thankfulness. Enjoy the privilege of your time with God today.

Kim Ratcliffe

Friday, October 30, 2009

Mom's Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients:
1 tbs. olive oil
3 celery ribs with green tops, thinly sliced
2 carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/4 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 (49-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
8 ounces chicken tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 ounces (about 3 cups) wide egg noodles
2 tbs. finely chopped fresh parsley (or substitute dried parsley)
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme (or substitute 1/2 tsp. dried thyme)
1/4 tsp. pepper, to taste
salt to taste

Directions:
Heat the oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add celery, carrots, and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until the carrots are crisp tender and the onion is translucent but not browned.
Stir in the chicken broth. Cover and increase the heat to high. When the broth comes to a boil, stir in the remaining ingredients, except the salt. When the liquid returns to a boil, reduce the heat to medium; cover and cook for 8 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the noodles are tender. Season with salt.
Makes 4 servings (8 cups)
Enjoy this soup as the weather gets colder! November is a great month to share recipes when we are planning to make our favorites for the Holiday's. Be sure to have yours included!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Treasures

My son, Sean, has a little white tote that contains what he calls his ,"treasures". His "treasures" are little toys that he has acquired from various places such as little cars, toys from McDonald's etc. To an adult, his little trinkets might seem far from anything we would consider precious but to his three-year-old heart they are really something.

This reminded me about a writing assignment I had in high school where the teacher had us write about a scenario he had created. In this scenario he had us imagine that our house was burning down and we had two minutes to grab something precious to us. We could only save one thing and we had to explain why we saved what we did, it's significance to us, and why we prized it above all of our other possessions, in effect, why it was our "treasure".

Most of my peers wrote down superficial things such as a favorite CD, love letters from a boyfriend or girlfriend, one student even chose the football that got the winning touchdown at one of his games. I do not remember what I chose and it probably holds no real significance to me now. However, I reflected on what I would save today if I had to write the same paper. I tried to think of something clever all day and couldn't come up with a single thing. In each stage of my life, I would have chosen different things but now instead of something being precious to me-- it's someone, my son.

Like any parent I would do anything for my child including sacrificing myself physically, emotionally, and financially. I have never felt this way about anyone before and for me it really puts God's love into perspective. Jesus must have been extremely precious to God, so for him to send his son to die for us...we all must be precious to him.
 
"For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life". John 3:16
 
Tina Burton

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Upcoming Events for November

Monday, November 2 Baby Shower for Mariah Triggs at Bethel Assembly of God in the Mace building, room 109 at 6:30 pm. If you have any questions, contact Lisa Fraley at momsrgreat@comcast.net.

Tuesday, November 10 Topic Meeting- Meet at Bethel Assembly of God in the Mace building, rm 109 at our new time 9:45 am for a time of fellowship, prayer, and discussion! Childcare is provided.

Tuesday, November 24 Topic Meeting- Meet at Bethel Assembly of God in the Mace building, rm 109 at 9:45 am for a time of fellowship, prayer, and discussion! Childcare is provided.

Monday, November 30 Kick-off to Christmas with shopping at the Prime Outlets in Hagerstown, MD. Meet at Bethel Assembly of God at 6 pm to ride together in Bethel's van. Seating is limited, reserve your spot. Or join us directly at the Outlets at 6:30 pm in front of the food court. The expected departure time for the van is 9:30 pm to have you back to the church by 10 pm.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Testimony by Janine DiGiovanni

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

Anyone that knows me knows that I have a problem with patience….my attitude is usually hurry up, gotta have it, give it to me now, oh never mind I will just do it myself! Sometimes I think I try this approach with God and he is slowly but surely teaching me that it doesn’t work that way in his kingdom.

This summer I came home during the hot spell we had and my house was 90 degrees. I called my friend who does heating and air-conditioning and he came over to give me the bad news. He could bypass the problem currently so that I could have cool air but I wouldn’t be able to turn on my heat without replacing the part. I immediately said “do it! How much could that little part cost”? He then regretfully told me that they no longer make this air-conditioning system and that if he can’t find the part left over somewhere I would have to replace everything to the tune of $4000. During this same time my husband’s car died and we had to purchase him another one to commute to Frederick. The morning we signed the loan papers I got the call that the part was nowhere to be found and that I would have to replace everything. My normal reaction would be to go ballistic and be emotional and rant about where the money was going to come from. I would normally have pulled out all of my banking records and got cracking on how I was going to pull this off!

For some reason the above verse “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Came to mind and I practiced something I am not sure if I have ever used before…..PATIENCE…..I relied on God that he was going to come through for me instead of the other way around. Later that month my brother-in-law Robert who is an electrician said maybe I could replace the parts inside of the motherboard if they are generic….when he pulled the board out he replaced what he had however he was pretty sure the computer chip was the problem and there was nothing he could do for me. Meanwhile we had the cold snap and my house was 50 degrees. For 6 days we were vagabonds going to my mom’s house and my mother-in-law’s house to keep warm. I was frustrated and frazzled with packing and moving and trying to keep my kids from falling apart at all the changes.

Then when we went to the young lives program last Thursday, Julia was listening to my story and said well we need to pray about this right now! She began to pray miracles over my heater along with Lisa and Kim. That following Monday my friend John came back to hook up the heater and to see if what Robert had replaced had done any good. No one really believed that it would work; in fact I had already packed my bag to stay the night somewhere else! The only thing I can say is that Philippians 4:6 kept playing over in my mind and I felt more peaceful than I had in a long time that things were going to be ok. The next thing I knew we had heat and we haven’t had any problems since! Each day that my house is warm I am reminded of God’s love, promises, and faithfulness in all aspects.

Janine DiGiovanni

Monday, October 26, 2009

Freedom from Fear and the Flu

Over the weekend I spent one evening at the emergency clinic of my child's pediatrician. The office was crammed full of parents and children with no room to even sit in a chair. Several kids came in with masks over their faces. After seeing the doctor we were told to be watchful the next few days because we have been "exposed" to the H1N1 flu virus. The same day the President announced a state of emergency for our country because of this virus. I continue to hear of cases in school, at church, and with friends. I am not comfortable allowing myself to live in fear and worry nor do I want my children living that way either. Maybe like me, you feel the same way.

When I begin to feel overwhelmed I open my Bible where God speaks personally to me (and to you). I need to refocus my mind and heart on what God says and not what I'm hearing or seeing around me. God wants us to live free from worry and fear even in difficult times. We have a God who loves us, provides for us, and protects us. God speaks to us in Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." In Isaiah 41:10, God says, "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

It also helps to read about real people like David in 1 Samuel who had a lot of reasons to be afraid but chose to live free from fear. David had lost his home, his friends, his wife, his job, and his security. However he wrote in Psalm 34:4, "I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears". If God can do that for David then surely He can do that for me and you!! If your feeling fearful or worried today encourage yourself in God's Word today by looking up the following verses: Psalm 23:4-5, Psalm 56:11, Romans 8:31, 35-39, Psalm 27:1-3, Psalm 91, and 2 Timothy 1:7. Then remember to "not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:4-7).

Blessings,
Lisa

First, Trust God!! Then live smart! Here is some good advice from Dr. Vanay Goyal found on
Shepherd University Website:http://www.shepherd.edu/safweb/health/index.shtm

For the prevention of "Regular & H1N1 Swine" Flu

The only portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth/throat. Contact with H1N1 is not so much of a problem as proliferation is. While you are still healthy and not showing any symptoms of flu infection, in order to prevent proliferation, aggravation of symptoms and development of secondary infections, here are some very simple steps you can follow:

1. Frequent hand-washing (well highlighted in all official communications) .

2. "Hands-off-the- face" approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of face.

3. Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don't trust salt). *H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tami flu has on an infected one.Don't underestimate this simple, inexpensive and powerful preventative method.

4. Clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water . By blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population.
*Neti pot s and sinus rinse kits are available at the drug store and relatively inexpensive….under $15.

5. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C(Amla and other citrus fruits). *If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc to boost absorption.

6. Drink as much of warm liquids (tea, coffee, etc) as you can. *Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. They wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate or do any harm.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sitting at His Feet

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" "Martha Martha", the Lord answered "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her". Luke 10:38-42

In life there are many things we have to do. As moms, when our babies are small we have to make sure they are fed and rocked and that their diapers are changed and they are bathed. As they get older we help with homework, take them to school, soccer practice/games etc. Then there is the housework, laundry, grocery shopping and making dinner. Not to mention the many other commitments we may have, such as mom's group, church/functions and ministries. The list goes on and on. In the midst of all that we feel God tugging at our heart to pray, worship, read the Bible, witness to our neighbors, and use the gifts he gave us to serve him. This list can seem very overwhelming and if we do not prioritize correctly we can find ourselves neglecting the most important things.

Prayer for example is one of the most important things God calls us to do. It puts in perspective all of the other tasks we have especially our ministries. When we neglect to pray and spend time listening to God, we lose sight of why we are serving him. We often miss the important instructions we need to make our ministry successful. Also we are not giving him the thanks and praise he deserves for everything he is doing in our lives.

Business is a lame excuse for not praying. We are too busy not to pray. God knows how busy we are and the limitations we have, but he wants us to make him the top priority. We need to acknowledge that we can do nothing without him. When we do God takes care of the details. Martha's only thought was on her work and how Mary wasn't helping her. Even though she was serving Jesus, she didn't hear anything he said. Mary on the other hand was just in awe of the Savior, and at that time just wanted to sit at his feet and soak in all his words of wisdom. Jesus said Mary had chosen what was better and it would not be taken from her. Don't let excuses cause you to miss all that God has for you and everything he wants to do in you and through you. Jesus said that only one thing is needed. Will you choose the better thing the way that Mary did. Try sitting at his feet today and see the difference it makes in your life.

Kim Ratcliffe

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Upcoming Events!!

Remainder of events for October

Tuesday, October 27 Topic Meeting- Meet at Bethel Assembly of God in the Mace building, rm 109 at our new time 9:45 am for a time of fellowship, prayer, and discussion! Childcare is provided.

Upcoming events for November

Monday, November 2 Baby Shower for Mariah Triggs at Bethel Assembly of God in the Mace building, room 109 at 6:30 pm. If you have any questions, contact Lisa Fraley at momsrgreat@comcast.net.

Tuesday, November 10 Topic Meeting- Meet at Bethel Assembly of God in the Mace building, rm 109 at our new time 9:45 am for a time of fellowship, prayer, and discussion! Childcare is provided.

Tuesday, November 24 Topic Meeting- Meet at Bethel Assembly of God in the Mace building, rm 109 at 9:45 am for a time of fellowship, prayer, and discussion! Childcare is provided.

Monday, November 30 Kick-off to Christmas with shopping at the Prime Outlets in Hagerstown, MD. Meet at Bethel Assembly of God at 6 pm to ride together in Bethel's van. Seating is limited, reserve your spot. Or join us directly at the Outlets at 6:30 pm in front of the food court. The expected departure time for the van is 9:30 pm to have you back to the church by 10 pm.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Physical Inventory

As the days on the calendar were crossed off this year, another birthday came and went. And I did the same thing I do every year around this time – physical inventory. It’s not a pleasant task, more like torture really, but it’s something I feel compelled to do. I take a good, long, up-close and personal look in the mirror, and take inventory of the effects of moving past yet another birthday. The results this year were not pretty… Hair with a serious attitude problem that also now requires industrial strength color to cover all the gray; skin that is beginning to crease and wrinkle even when I don’t move my face; parts of me are now drooping lower than ever; a rear-end which has expanded enough to need it’s own zip code. Like I said, not pretty. To call this inventory disappointing is an understatement. I was depressed – deeply depressed. As I stood staring into that mirror I thought, "I don’t know this woman staring back at me! She’s old! She’s ugly! Who could love this mess??" I felt totally worthless.

This is how the enemy attacks me. He nags at my self-esteem by pointing out all my physical failures. He tells me I’m worthless; too ugly to be loved. He tries to drag me down so low. But then God whispers to me that to Him, I am more beautiful than the rarest of gems!

And so, as I stared back at my reflection that day I began to, "…take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5b. Retaking my inventory that day, with the knowledge of my beauty to God, changed my perceptions. My stubborn gray hair was now, "…a crown of splendor" Proverbs 16:31. Those creases and wrinkles became the evidence of my laughter and joy at how God has blessed me. All those drooping, sagging parts became sweet reminders of the awesome privilege of carrying life and becoming a mother to two precious little boys. And lastly, my "rear-expansion" became a not-so-subtle reminder to embrace God’s Word more, and the pepperoni pizza less. Is God amazing at makeovers or what?!

The next time you stop to take a physical inventory, be sure to use God’s perspective. I think you’ll be saying, "Hello Gorgeous!"

Be Blessed!
Donnis L. Lloyd

Monday, October 19, 2009

Where is your medicine cabinet?

Whenever I am in pain physically I make my way straight to my bathroom. I pull open my medicine cabinet and pull out whatever I need to take care of the pain. After taking it, I have to wait for it to take affect. It has to make its way to my stomach, dissolve, and spread through my blood stream before I feel it working. It's normally a fifteen minute wait. During this time I know something is happening inside of me even when though I don't see. This is how I think of prayer.

When I pray to my heavenly father, it's like I'm going to the medicine cabinet. I can't control the things in my life just like I can't control the pain in my body. I need help. After I open up in prayer to God, I tell him all about it. I soak in His peace, His strength, and His assurance that help is on the way. It's like I took the pain medication and I know something good is going to happen. Now I have to wait just as I'm waiting for the Advil to kick in.

I am certain that just as the pain medication takes time to work its way through my body to take away my pain that God is moving in the same way. I believe this because I am a child of God (Romans 8:16). I have been saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). God's Word says, I will be delivered from the powers of darkness (Colossians 1:13), kept in safety wherever I go (Psalms 91:11), and will get all my needs met by Jesus (Philippians 4:19). I can cast all my cares on Jesus (1 Peter 5:7) because he cares for me. I am healed by his stripes (1 Peter 2:24), blessed with all spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3), and more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37). I do this by walking by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Therefore I can not understand the people who "try" not to use any medication to relieve their pain. They prefer to suffer than to feel better. They run more to imperfect human beings than to the medicine cabinet- GOD. What are you waiting for? Go! (If you want to know how, ask me!!)

Blessings,
Lisa