Farewell 2018!

"But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and striving forward to what lies ahead," Philippians 3:13

I hope you had as wonderful of a time as I did, worshipping and celebrating Christ the Savior on Christmas Eve. I hope you were encouraged and able to be an encouragement to someone else. Thank you to the many hands (I feel like the whole church showed up to help with setup!) that came out over the 3 days to help setup, serve during and teardown everything for Christmas Eve. I enjoyed watching you all have times of fellowship with one another and getting to know one another better.

But now, we are staring down the beginning of a new year. 2018 will soon be over and 2019 will be underway. There is nothing that any one of us can do to change anything that happened in 2018. But, we don't have to let the things happened in 2018 dictate what will happen in 2019. 

Join us this Sunday as we talk about forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead! We will share in the Lord's Supper and remember the only thing in the past that can change the future. I hope to see you this Sunday morning!

Grace & Peace,
John
(You can reach Pastor John at jwhite@thevillagemi.com)

Strengthen Your Hands!

"So they strengthened their hands for the good work." Nehemiah 2:18

Well, here we are. As of the time that I'm writing this, Christmas eve is just a few short days away. We have been planning and praying, and now it is time to work. Oh, we're not building a wall like the Jews with Nehemiah. And, I'm not referring to the moving and setup of equipment and festive decorations on Sunday. I'm talking about the good work of proclaiming the Lord Jesus Christ to our community, our friends and our neighbors.

No, we won't all help setup and we won't all sing with the band. We won't all greet and welcome people and we won't all open the Word of God and proclaim His truth. But, we will all, as the Body of Christ, in unison proclaim the living King of kings and Lord of lords, our Savior, Jesus Christ!

Who have you invited? How are you serving? Remain steadfast in prayer, especially for the salvation of lost souls! There is still room and time for you to join and support the work going into Christmas Eve! Strengthen your hands for the good work in front of us, Village Church!

Grace & Peace,
John
(You can reach Pastor John at jwhite@thevillagemi.com)

Stand Firm!

"Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Ephesians 6:13

It may seem like just a simple thing. We will decorate, gather, sing, preach, feel great about Christmas and Jesus and go home. But, there is nothing in any of this that is simple. It is actually, on the contrary, impossible. Not only is it impossible, but we have an enemy in satan who would seek to do all that he can to steal and kill and destroy the work we are doing.

As we enter into this fourth week of 30 Days of Prayer for Christmas Eve, let us focus our attention on standing firm in prayer against the enemy. Let us call on the name of the Lord, our Warrior God, to keep the enemy away, silent, and powerless in the face of the work we are doing.

When tempers flare, when words are short, when children are out of control, remember that the enemy of our God is working. Don't write these things off, have a heightened awareness and be on guard against the enemies attempt to work. But, also remember that the enemy of our God is defeated! Stand firm! Join me in praying for the protection of Almighty God over us during this season and always.

Grace & Peace,
John
(You can reach Pastor John at jwhite@thevillagemi.com)

It's Impossible!

"And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness." Acts 4:31

As we enter our third week of 30 Days of Prayer for Christmas Eve, I want to help focus our attention on two things. One, when the people of God get before Him in prayer, God shows up and works. Two, the power that God shows up with when His people get before Him in prayer.

If we have a right understanding of God through His Word, then we must have a greater understanding of prayer as well. It is commonly said, "There is power in prayer." And, while I understand what is being said (James 5:16 literally says, "the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working."), we cannot let ourselves think for a moment that we have power in anything we do. There isn't any power in our prayer. There is power in the One we are praying to. We are given access and allowed to come before the Lord Almighty with boldness and confidence to ask that He exert His power in a given matter on our behalf. And, He does, if what we are asking is in accordance with His will.

Presently, we are in a season of prayer. We are asking for some things that, at face value, probably seem simple and small. For example, the effective planning and setup for Christmas Eve, the logistics, and our safety. These are not overly complicated. However, even these things are utterly impossible for us without the strength and power of God. And, if these are impossible for us without Him, how much more do we need His power for things like the protection of our families and our work from the enemy, our unity in spirit and mind, and, most importantly, the salvation of lost souls.

In this season of prayer, I am asking that God shake the place in which we are gathered. That we all, filled with the Holy Spirit, speak the Word more boldly, care more compassionately, and love more compellingly. We have two weeks remaining, don't stop praying now. Start praying more, now!

Grace & Peace,
John
(You can reach Pastor John at jwhite@thevillagemi.com)

Favor With All the People

"Praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved." Acts 2:47

As we head into our second week of prayer in our 30 Days of Prayer for Christmas Eve Journey, this week I want to draw our attention to praying for favor with all the people. In the passage of Scripture that the above verse comes from, it is important to note what the believers did to earn the favor of the people. They followed the Lord in devotion to His teachings, fellowship, the breaking of bread and to prayer. They bore the burdens of one another and cared for one another. They spent time together and they were visible to the people around them, not hidden, concealed, embarrassed, ashamed.

I love when new people join us for our worship gatherings and I love that the Lord gives us a voice to proclaim His truth to them, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But we cannot rely solely on the drawing of people into our fellowship. We must be out among them.

Next Friday is Byron's Christmas in the Village. We will have the opportunity to be seen, to talk, to meet, and I pray, to share the Good News of Jesus with someone. As we are in prayer this next week, let's pray that our lives before the Lord would bring His continued hand of favor upon our church body in our community. That His favor would lead to the favor of the people around us. And, not so we can feel good about something we did but that we might also see the Lord add daily to His Kingdom those who are being saved!

Grace & Peace,
John
(You can reach Pastor John at jwhite@thevillagemi.com)

30 Days of Prayer for Christmas Eve

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God." Philippians 4:6

With yesterday's celebration, a national day of thanksgiving, we have officially entered into the 2018 holiday season. For the world, this just means the hustle and bustle of shopping, parties, stress, and spending too much money. For the follower of Christ, it should mean the heightened awareness that the unsaved, lost soul will be more vulnerable and receptive to the Good News of Jesus Christ. 

We will be getting you specific information about our Christmas Eve gathering very soon and we appreciate your patience as we finalize the last details. But, before we mobilize behind this year's Christmas Eve Outreach plans, let's begin going before the Lord in prayer. Once we begin inviting people to our Christmas eve gathering, let's remain before the Lord in prayer. And, as people begin to gather on December 24th to hear the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, let's be in prayer for their soul that they might be saved!

This is a church wide call to prayer, from November 24th through December 23rd. Every day for the next thirty days, join me in setting aside time for prayer, urgent prayer, with thanksgiving in our hearts for what God will do through our effort this Christmas. Each week in this article, I will highlight areas for us to focus our prayer on. We cannot do anything if the Lord does not go before us. And, the surest way to have the Lord before us is to be before Him in prayer.

Grace & Peace,
John
(You can reach Pastor John at jwhite@thevillagemi.com)

Don't Be Robbed!

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10

This Sunday, we are going to look at a passage of Scripture that talks about the Body of Christ - the church - and it's many parts. It's a topic I am very passionate about. Here's why in a nutshell. Come Sunday for the long form! 

You have a part to play in what God is doing here at The Village Church and throughout the world. The Bible compares us to lost sheep, or lost coins, that the owners go to great lengths to find. God has gone to great lengths to bring us into His kingdom. In the verse above, Jesus tells us that the reason He came was that we may have life and have it abundantly. When we are saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, we find life. When we step into God's design for our life, we find it to the full. Part of God's design for our life is that we would be active, working, members of the body. This is out there for everyone. It's not for a select club or group or specific person. We are all members of the body and we are important and we matter to the function of the body!

Sadly, many professing believers don't see what they're worth to the Kingdom and they don't take that step toward finding the abundant life that Christ gives us. This is because the enemy has come to steal, kill, and destroy. With all that I have within me, I want to work for the Lord in such a way that helps you see and understand that you have value to the Kingdom. You have value to The Village Church. And, you have value to the lost world around you as a light for Jesus Christ. 

Let's walk together in this. We need each other. Let's take chances for His name and for His glory. Let's be bold to share Christ with the family member or friend who doesn't know Him. Let's be actively serving in the church. Let us step out of any comfort zones, and go to the lost world, whether it's across the street or around the globe. Let us not just have life in Christ, let's have it abundantly!

Grace & Peace,
John
(You can reach Pastor John at jwhite@thevillagemi.com)

Be a Burden Bearer

"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2

We all desire to obey the law. We see a speed limit sign, we drive the number on it. We see a no trespassing sign, we don't go beyond that boundary. We hear any number of The Ten Commandments and we look at our life and make sure we are in line. 

So, in our attempt to be law-abiding citizens in a home not of this world, what burdens belonging to your brothers and sisters around you are you carrying right now?

I love the verse I used up there. I quote it frequently. It is at the core of what I believe people should find among Christians. And, according to the Word of God, bearing the burdens of your brothers and sisters fulfills the law of Christ. There is tremendous opportunity for growth in the Lord when someone has a safe confident place to share their burdens and find Godly, Biblical accountability and encouragement.

I'd like to point out that the passage this comes from, Galatians 6, is not a passage directed at church leaders, pastors, or teachers. It's directed to the Church at large. That's all of us. So in my calling as a pastor to equip you for the work of the ministry, I must be diligent to call out the things we must do. And one of the things we must do is to bear one another's burdens.

One of the greatest ways to step into this law-fulfilling action is to connect with other believers and a great way to do that is the Village Homes ministry. These homes offer the opportunity to meet with other believers. And, when you are comfortable, share the burdens you have so that others can help you with them and pray for you. I'd encourage you to take this bold step in your life and watch the Lord begin working. The more people that take this step, the better we can all be at fulfilling the law of Christ.

Grace & Peace,
John
(You can reach Pastor John at jwhite@thevillagemi.com)

Thank You!

Thank you Village Church! Thank you for coming out on a beautiful October 31st night and taking the time to love our community! If the smiles and the countless "thank you's" weren't enough to show how much our efforts were appreciated, I'm not sure what was! 

Thank you to all of those who helped setup from 12 o'clock on, who came out and decorated a trunk, who worked traffic/security, who handed out donuts and cider, who were ready to answer questions about the church, thank you!

We didn't have an official count, but we know for a fact that greater than 800 children received candy. Trunk-or-Treat is just a silly thing of man, but it is a way for us to love our neighbor. And that is a big deal to God! Now, let's pray for all those invite cards and points of contact that were made, that God would use our small effort as a seed planted to bring many to His Kingdom!

Grace & Peace,
John
(You can reach Pastor John at jwhite@thevillagemi.com)

Favor of the People

"praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved." Acts 2:47

The Village Church of Byron is a church deeply rooted in the belief that Acts 2:42 should be a guiding verse for all of God's churches. It shows a church devoted to "the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers." For us, this means we seek to be devoted to the Word of God, to the fellowship of believers, to the Lord's Supper and to prayer.

The verses that follow Acts 2:42 shows us the fruit of a church devoted to these things before the Lord. Incredibly awesome things were happening all around the church in Jerusalem at this time and the believers within the church were living in great unity and harmony.

One of the things that we see as a product of our devotion to these things is found in the verse above. Acts 2:47 says, "having favor of all the people." We have talked a lot about, as a church, maintaining a strong witness and testimony of our God before our community, our Jerusalem. And, we are thankful to God for granting us favor with all of the people.

This coming Wednesday, October 31st, is Trunk-or-Treat, from 6-8pm, and this year the Village of Byron is allowing us to close off a portion of Saginaw Street in downtown Byron for the event! I do not believe this is a result of being friends with many in the village or from our being super awesome people (which you all are!). No, I believe this is much higher than our earthly limitation can see or produce. This is the result of a church being devoted to the Lord and the Lord granting us favor with all the people. 

If you haven't signed up yet, to serve, to have fun, to further our strong witness and testimony of the Lord we are devoted to, join the fun today! Don't even worry about decorating a trunk. Come park your car and hand out candy to kids passing by. Share a cup of cider with someone you just met from our community. Be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit and watch the Lord add to our number those being saved. It's an incredible opportunity for us as a church! Don't just hear about it, be a part of it!

Grace & Peace,
John
(You can reach Pastor John at jwhite@thevillagemi.com)

Guardian God

"For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone." Psalm 91:11-12

I blew a brake line in my truck the other day. I was by myself running some errands. As I eased into the stoplight at the intersection in Corunna, right by the courthouse, I could feel the brake pedal going way farther down to the floor than normal. Then I realized I was moving with my foot on the brake. I got to Aldi, one of two stops I needed to make, safely and went in to pick up a few groceries. I came out and when I put my foot on the brake to put the truck in gear I felt this pop and all of a sudden the pedal was going all the way to the ground and there was fluid dripping under the truck.

I slowly limped the vehicle home with hazard lights on, shifting into neutral to stop better, then back to drive to go. A normal 20 minute drive definitely took me well over an hour. I was frustrated. It was a defeating moment, but I was safe. Why was I safe? Because I know that shifting the vehicle to neutral helps the vehicle to stop without the transmission telling it to go forward? Because I had four-way flashers on? Because I was driving slow and took roads not many others did?

No. I was safe because the Lord assures us through His Word that He guards us and that He dispatches His angels to guard us. And if He doesn't, we must submit to the fact that His plan is far greater than our own and that He is working His will. This situation could have played out differently. What if I hadn't been safe? What if I had been in an accident? Would I have remembered that the Lord guards us and dispatches His angels to guard us? If something had happened to me, would my wife and children have remembered and realized this? I hope so! It definitely would have been more difficult to remember, but it wouldn't have made the promise any less true.

And, what is wrapped up in this promise? The Lord commands His angels to guard us and so we must come to see that God loves us and cares for us so greatly! You are loved!

Grace & Peace,
John
(You can reach Pastor John at jwhite@thevillagemi.com)

Being a Disciple Means Learning

"Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always to the end of the age." Matthew 28:20

Discipleship is the hardest part of the Great Commission. Christians and churches have really made it a messy thing over the years. Discipleship is hard, because that is where we begin learning all that Christ teaches. And, in that learning is where the Holy Spirit begins to sanctify our lives. Sanctify, that might be a strange word to some. It simply means the cleaning out of worldly, sinful ways and being filled with holy, Godly ways. And, sanctification can be an extremely uncomfortable place as ungodly patterns we have had for many years are confronted by the truth of His Word.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor in Nazi Germany during World War II and author of "The Cost of Discipleship" wrote, "Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ." And, discipleship without learning is not discipleship. Jesus commands that we proclaim the Gospel, baptize new believers, and teach them all that He commands. Many preach and many baptize, but oftentimes the teaching then falls to the wayside as though two-thirds of the Great Commission was enough to accomplish the whole. But, it is in the teaching where the seed of the Gospel is watered and grows and blooms and blossoms into something amazing - a maturing follower of Jesus Christ. We cannot escape the call to teach and to learn as disciple-making-disciples of Jesus Christ. It is found throughout the Word.

Maybe you are a new believer and as you read this you are saying to yourself, "I'd like to learn more about this Jesus that has saved me! I'd like to know Him better and share Him with others. But, I don't know where to start." Maybe you are intimidated by opening the Bible to read, where to start, what to read. Maybe you would like to start learning how to pray or maybe you just have questions about what church is, why we sing, why we give. Well, then I'm glad you are reading this, because we have people standing ready to come alongside of you in your new faith in Jesus Christ and help you with these exact things. 

If you are looking for help and where to begin growing in your walk with Christ, please reach out to us today and we will connect you with some very kind, caring, and patient people who will walk next to you and help you build on the foundation of faith in Jesus Christ as you learn to observe all that Christ commands.

Grace & Peace,
John
(You can reach Pastor John at jwhite@thevillagemi.com)

Proving to Be Disciples

"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35

I am extremely thankful for you, The Village Church family, as I look around and watch you living life with one another. Walking alongside of each other. Learning to carry burdens for each other. I observed this past week, people randomly caring for others going through a rough time, lending a helping hand when available, praying for one another. What a blessing to this pastor's heart.

These are the exact actions that Jesus said would prove to the world that we are His disciples! You are showing me, and the community around us, that you are truly disciples of Jesus because you love one another.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be giving my attention to a different area within the church other than preaching. Todd, and perhaps some others, will be filling in for me preaching on Sunday mornings. I'll still be with you each weekend and fulfilling any and all of my regular responsibilities necessary during the week. I appreciate your prayer for guidance and wisdom in this other area. I love ya church! I'll see you Sunday!

Grace & Peace,
John
(You can reach Pastor John at jwhite@thevillagemi.com)

Praise the Lord!

The Village Church One Year Celebration. I can't even believe those words. The Lord, He is good, praise His Name! As we gather this weekend, let’s come together with thanksgiving in our hearts to worship the Lord for who He is and what He has done. Instead of many words this week, I just want to leave you with Psalm 150. I hope to see you all Saturday at the Richardson's as we celebrate our first year and again Sunday as we gather downtown to worship the Almighty who has done great things!

"Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD."

Grace & Peace,
John
(You can reach Pastor John at jwhite@thevillagemi.com)

Byron Community Youth Group

"Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel." Philippians 1:27

Byron Community Youth Group. For the sake of those who may be new to The Village Church, a little bit of background is necessary for these four words to be understood and as awesome for you as they are for me.

A year ago, before The Village Church had officially begun ministry in the community of Byron, I was approached to be a part of a program called The Break. The Break is a voluntary release time available for Byron High School and Middle School students, who leave during a small portion of their school day each Tuesday and are taught lessons from the Bible. I was invited into this program as the weekly speaker and the Byron Baptist Church was invited in as the host and transportation. What began as a bit of a wild card quickly turned into real ministry and a wonderful friendship.

This past summer, The Village Church and the Byron Baptist Church partnered to bring a community wide Vacation Bible School to Byron. The unity and enthusiasm the two church bodies showed over the hot week of "striving side by side for the faith of the gospel" only helped to further the bond of friendship. And, though two churches we came together as one body and we were able to reach into the homes and lives of around 60 children!

This brings us to today and the Byron Community Youth Group (BCYG). Just about two months ago, I was contacted by the youth leaders from the Byron Baptist Church about the idea of joining as one to further our reach and influence for the Kingdom in the lives of teenagers in our community. We sat and talked about what this would look like, how we would do this together, and how we would reach the youth of our community. It came up that since both churches were already involved in The Break, working together with youth, that perhaps we should reach out to The Break leaders and work to incorporate the youth from that program. Understand, the two churches have around 30 youth in 7th through 12th grades combined. The Break saw around 50 students throughout the year and many of them weren't from either church. There is work to do!

Myself and the other elders here at The Village Church prayed and we talked and we felt peace in the decision to see what God would do if these two parts came together as one body to serve Him in reaching the youth of Byron. A calendar was made with some events on it along with a first and third Sunday of the month youth gathering.

The first BCYG gathering happened this past Sunday. I was asked to speak and I shared pieces of the message from a few weeks ago, What is a Disciple? The youth were challenged with, "Deny yourself. Take up your cross. Follow Jesus." There were about 30 youth there. The opportunity to make a difference in the life of a teenager was there too. And, it will be there again the next time we meet or at their next football game, their next great achievement, their next heartbreak.

This is where you come in! You're going to start seeing information about BCYG events and gatherings. And, maybe as you read these words God is stirring something in you to be a part of this. BCYG isn't just events and gatherings, it's loving and speaking the Truth of God into a young person’s life. It's building relationships so that if the time comes when their world falls down, they know who they can trust and turn to. If you would like more information about how you can get involved with BCYG, please contact me. I'd love to help you get involved on the ground floor of this new ministry opportunity!

Grace & Peace,
John
(You can reach Pastor John at jwhite@thevillagemi.com)

An Invitation to Baptism

"Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." Mark 16:16

As we continue to work through our current series, Making Disciples, it was inevitable that we would come to the topic of baptism. To talk about making disciples and not talk about baptism, would be like talking about salvation without talking about repentance from sin.

Baptism is an interesting thing and in some examples has become the wrong thing. For example, we don't baptize infants because Scripturally we only have reference to those being baptized as those who have understood the Good News of Jesus Christ and by faith believed in Him for salvation. Additionally, we don't believe that baptism is how we are saved. If this were true, we would find salvation in something that we did instead of something that God does.

However, baptism is not something that can be neglected. In the New Testament, from Jesus’ command to His disciples to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15) no account of someone believing in Jesus Christ by faith exists without that person or group of people subsequently being baptized. 

In Acts 2, the Jews ask Peter what they should do to be saved and he says, "Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins," and in the verse above Jesus says, "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved."

Baptism does not save you. The act of being baptized is not how we come to salvation. But, for the one who has by faith believed in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, the next step for that person is the public confession of their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. And, in the Bible, the way we see this confession happening is in the waters of baptism. This plays out all through the book of Acts, as the Apostles are making disciples. And, in Matthew 28:19 Jesus says in regards to making disciples, "Go...baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." 

Have you by faith believed in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins? Have you confessed Jesus publicly before man and obediently through baptism? If not, consider this a personal invitation for you to join us this Sunday and in obedience be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. 

If you have any questions about baptism at all and would like to talk more about it, please feel free to contact me!

Grace & Peace,
John
(You can reach Pastor John at jwhite@thevillagemi.com)

Do You Understand?

"So Phillip ran to him and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah and asked, 'Do you understand what you are reading?' And he said, 'How can I, unless someone guides me?'" Acts 8:30

Pastors have a wide range of responsibilities within the church, but chief among them, according to the Word of God, is "to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ," (Ephesians 4:12). In order for me to do this for you, it is extremely important for me to be in the Word of God. Because of this, it is likely that I spend more time in the Bible than most people and not nearly as much as others. Actually, I feel like I never spend enough time in God's Word. But, I do feel like I know why the prophet said the Lord's Word was as honey to him.

I also know that opening the Word of God and reading it produces questions. So here are 3 simple steps to help you when getting into the Scriptures.

  • 1) Pray before you open the Bible. Pray while the Bible is open. And, pray when you're done reading the Bible. The whole time asking God for understanding. He knows the content better than anyone, He wrote it, and He gives understanding. 

  • 2) Get a notebook or a journal or something to write in! Write down your questions. Write down what spoke to you. Write down what challenged you. Write down what was confusing. Write, write, write!

  • 3) Take your notebook and find someone you can sit down with and work through the questions that you have. A spouse, a friend, a parent, whatever, but don't just sit and be confused or have unanswered questions about God's Word.

Like the Ethiopian in the verses above, there are times when we are all in need of someone to guide us in what we are reading. In my call from God to equip you for the work of ministry, He has given me to serve as a guide for you. If you have questions and don't know where to turn, please contact me and we'll turn to the Holy Spirit to guide us both!

Grace & Peace,
John
(You can reach Pastor John at jwhite@thevillagemi.com)

Making Disciples

"Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law." Proverbs 29:18

I have always had a strong belief that people who are members or regular attenders of a church should know, understand, and be able to talk about what their church is about. Like if someone asked you, "Hey where do you go to church?" and you responded, "Oh, I go to The Village Church" and they began to ask you questions about The Village Church, you would have the answers. Now, I'm not saying you should have all the answers, and some questions are so complex that you may not know. Please, always feel free to contact me whenever that may happen!

Part of the prophetic vision that keeps us from casting of restraint at The Village Church is making disciples! This is like prime directive number one for the follower of Jesus Christ and it carries over into the body of Jesus Christ, the Church!

I hope you will join us over the next few Sundays, as we look a little more closely at this topic, the work of making disciples, it's for all of us! I am praying that God will save someone, as we look at what disciples are. I am praying that you will be encouraged in your life as a disciple maker. I am praying that we, as Christ's body here in Byron and the surrounding area, will become more effective and passionate about disciple making. That God will continue to bless us as we keep the law.

If you are new to our church family and interested in learning more about us or if you are with us each week and just want a refresher, you can click here and listen to a message from this past February about the biblical vision and direction of The Village Church.

Grace & Peace,
John
(You can reach Pastor John at jwhite@thevillagemi.com)

It's a girl!

"For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations." Psalm 100:5

What a week! Due on August 7th, our newest addition, Margaret Austen White, was born this past Sunday at 9:19am, 12 days "late" and just in time for church! Jacqueline is continuing her recovery and Margaret is beginning to grow, having gained 2 ounces from Sunday's birth to Wednesday's check up.

We wish to express our thanks for the many weeks and months of prayer and support from you, our church family! You have all been wonderful. We also thank you for respecting our privacy as we transition to having a newborn in our home once more.

At the peak of what I can only imagine to be the most excruciating pain, Jacqueline prayed the most heartfelt and sincere prayer someone could possibly utter, "Please Lord, help me." I was moved to tears, unable to relieve her pain, as I watched my wife and then as I watched the Lord answer her, for he is good; his love and his faithfulness truly endures to all generations!

We are excited to finally introduce you to our new little girl!

Grace & Peace,
John
(You can reach Pastor John at jwhite@thevillagemi.com)

Keep Calm & Trust God

"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand." Proverbs 19:21

This weeks article is written from a very personal place in the White's house currently. The expectation of any child's birth is marked by a very special date, the due date. We spend a lot of time planning things around that date. When the date approaches, everyone has grand anticipation of that being the day on which the special new baby will be born. 

But, sometimes, as in our current case, that date comes and goes without the birth of said bundle of joy. As I write this, we are 9 days passed our due date and at first that isn't that big of a deal. But, when a couple days turns into a week plus, what was anticipation, simply put, turns into frustration.

And boy, isn't our life with Christ just like that sometimes. I know mine is. We make plans, and we build everything around those plans and as long as everything is going to plan everyone is just having a great time. But sometimes, when frustration starts to fill the void, we should just stop and remember, it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

This little girl will be born in His perfect time, not a minute sooner, not a minute later. And no matter what my plans are, it is the Lord's purpose that will stand. We must hang our faith and confidence on God's perfect time. In your life, whatever breakthrough you are praying for, whatever need you are looking to have met, whatever circumstance you face, plan and be as prepared as you can, but remember that it is the Lord's purpose that will stand.

Thank you so much for your prayers and your genuine concern for our family! You cannot know how much we appreciate it!

Grace & Peace,
John
(You can reach Pastor John at jwhite@thevillagemi.com)