Category: Stories
January 10, 2017 by Relevant

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On Sunday, we celebrated Transformation Sunday. At Relevant, we pause 3 times a year to recognize some of the transforming work God has done in people’s lives, within Relevant, and through Relevant over the past trimester. It was awesome to look back over the past 4 months and celebrate the transforming work God is doing in people’s lives and within our church. Here’s a recap.

 

Raising the Heat

 

Nothing good – and no transformation – happens when we live lukewarm. BUT when we raise the temperature of our lives and our faith to boiling point, God does transforming work. Over the past trimester, the temperature was raised within our church in many ways. Below are just a few!

 

The Temperature Was Raised On Our…

 

1. Financial Generosity

Generosity is so important because generosity generates transformation in our lives, church, and the world through us. In the past trimester, we launched the 212 initiative – a two-year generosity initiative and an opportunity for every person at Relevant to “turn up the heat” of their generosity and their commitment to Relevant’s mission of transformation. About 500 people made 212 commitments and we committed to raising a total of $4.3 million, surpassing our God-sized goal of $3.8M! The coolest thing is what God did in so many lives and marriages as we went before Him to ask what He would have us do financially.

 

One of the main initiatives the money is going toward over the next 2 years is The Relevant Center. We’re so excited about The Relevant Center, as it will…

  • Provide a gathering place for our church to meet AND be a place our community can use throughout week.
  • Help us grow the ministries of Relevant AND be tool to impact our community by helping us meet the needs of our community.
  • Be a tool to help us reach more people for Jesus and make disciples of Jesus.
  • Be a catalyst to reach people far from Jesus and the church and see their lives transformed by Jesus through Relevant.

The money committed in the 212 initiative makes The Relevant Center possible. WHEN? Our December 4th offering, which we called the “First Big Give“, totaled $370,000. This will allow us to move forward with the building process and break ground on The Relevant Center later this year, with plans to occupy The Relevant Center by Christmas 2018. PRAISE GOD!

 

2. Commitment to “Invest and Invite”

As followers of Christ, Jesus has called us to reach people people far from Him by INVESTING in them, through sharing the love in Jesus in how we speak and act toward them. At Relevant, we’re always challenging people to INVITE those they’re investing in, into Relevant to hear the gospel. There is nothing more important than investing and inviting, because it’s ultimately about inviting people into a relationship with Jesus! The temperature was raised in this area last trimester. Because of Relevant’s “Investing and Inviting”, we saw more than 20 people put their faith in Jesus in the past 4 months!

 

Christmastime is a special time that people, many of whom are not already part of a church or interested in God, spiritual things, or being part of a church, are more open to God and the church. Leading up to Christmas Eve, we encouraged everyone at Relevant to be intentionally about inviting and bringing people in their lives with them to our Christmas Eve gatherings. Because of Relevant’s commitment to investing in and inviting others, over 1100 people had the opportunity to hear the Gospel message at our Christmas Eve gatherings. PRAISE GOD!

 

3. Global Impact with the Karen people

Our global impact initiatives are focused on Karen people from Burma. We do everything to impact the Karen community with Jesus’ love in word and deed– bringing long-term transformation to their communities both here locally, with over 6000 Karen refugees in Omaha, and globally in Thailand and Burma.

 

Our main initiative globally with the Karen people up to this point has been through Safe Haven Orphanage on the Thai side of the Thai/Burma border. Last trimester, we began organizing the next trip to Safe Haven, which will be taking place this March. On the last trip to Safe Haven, Tasanee oversees the orphanage shared her desire for musical training and instruments for the children to help them grow in leading their own daily worship times. We have the awesome opportunity of being able to send 5 members of our worship team to Safe Haven to share the Gospel and love of Jesus through providing musical training and interacting with the children and staff.

 

For years, we’ve been wanting to get into Burma, into Karen State. Up until recently, this hasn’t been possible. However, in the past several months, we’ve seen God open some doors to make this possible, including our contacts in Thailand and Burma, connecting us with a church plant in Burma. This church plant, located just outside of capital city of Karen State, Hpa-An, is a people committed to meeting the needs of and sharing the Gospel with their Karen brothers and sisters. At the end of this month, a team of three will be making Relevant’s first trip into Burma to connect with this church plant in Burma about a possible partnership. We’re excited to see where God leads and for an opportunity to help the Karen people directly, through Christ-following Karen people. PRAISE GOD!

 

 

Baptisms

 

One of the things we always celebrate on Transformation Sunday is transformation through baptism. On Sunday, we had the opportunity to celebrate 15 people who have put their faith in Jesus by asking Him to be the Forgiver of their sins and Leader of their lives. The following people publicly proclaimed their faith in Jesus through baptism…

  • Natalie Aksyonov
  • Millie Bautch
  • Riley Beltran
  • Jimmy George
  • Solomon George
  • Will Grisham
  • Amy Houck
  • Scott Houck
  • Shayli Houck
  • Cassi Krepela
  • Cruz McCarty
  • Rigley Renbarger
  • Zoe Sullivan
  • Andrew VanHoozer
  • Jake Wolfe

 

Transformation Stories

 

We always want to hear from as many about transformation and what God has been doing in people’s lives and our church in order to praise God together. In December, we set up a video Story Booth, along with inviting people to send in their stories to answer the question of, “What have you seen God doing in your life or our church recently?” Here are some of the responses we received (~4.5 min):

 

 

 

It is humbling to see the transforming work that God is doing in our church! To Him be the Glory!

 

December 17, 2016 by Relevant

 

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The following was written by Sara Frank, the mother of Allison Frank. It details what God did in Allison’s life through the faithful prayer of her parents, family, and friends.

 

“A little over three years ago, our oldest daughter was diagnosed with juvenile dermatomyositis, a rare autoimmune disease that can attack the skin, muscles, and internal organs. At our first appointment with the rheumatologist, he told us we needed to start her on medicine right away. He said that without it, her disease would only progress and that the longer we waited, the harder it would be to reverse the damage. The standard treatment was a minimum of two years on steroids and chemotherapy. We were honestly terrified, and told him we weren’t ready to decide that day, and needed time to pray about it.

 

After that first appointment, I became obsessed with researching everything I could about the disease. I would stay up most of the night every night, just starring at the computer screen and bawling. I was in the darkest place I had ever been, and so depressed that I just wanted to die so I could escape it all. I discovered through the research that before medication was introduced a third of the kids died from the disease, and a third were left permanently disabled; but with the medication, kids also passed away, because of the side effects. Either way felt so scary, and I couldn’t handle the thought of losing one of our kids. I often kept a lot of the information, and my emotions, from my husband. Because I was doing all of the research, his attitude was affected by mine, and I didn’t want him to lose hope.

 

Looking back, I was in such denial, and so upset, that I just didn’t go to God right away. I can be a huge control freak, and I think I believed that if I could just read enough, I would find some magic answer, and it would all go away. The weight was unbearable, and after several weeks of little to no sleep, I couldn’t handle it any longer – I was ready to just surrender to God. I felt led to start asking people to pray for miraculous healing for Allison and wisdom for us. We asked everyone we knew to pray for those two things, over and over. It still makes me emotional every time I think about a friend who looked at me one day and said, “You know I’m not the praying type, but I’ve been praying for your daughter.” God was carrying us through with the prayers and love of so many people.

 


 

“I couldn’t handle it any longer – I was ready to just surrender to God.”

 


 

It was during this time, that I literally felt closer to God than ever before. I wanted to really know and hear Him, so I began to set aside very quiet times with Him in the mornings. One morning, I felt led to pray “God, please don’t let me be unchanged by this.” I had been struggling with condemnation and wondering if maybe this was all a consequence for my sins. But if it was, I knew God didn’t want me to sit in that, but to change. Right away, I had two things come to my mind – sin issues I had been struggling with, and I knew God was calling me to deal with them. Since that morning, I have had freedom from those sins. I began to realize that God was using this trial to bring us closer to Him and make us more into the people He wanted us to be.

 

James 1 became our verse, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I read that verse over and over and started to believe and see how we were finding the greatest joy in the midst of the hardest time of our life. Being that close to God was the best place we had ever been.

 

In the midst of all this, we were still undecided on the course of treatment for our daughter, and still seeking prayers and wisdom. In a short time period, I had three separate, unrelated people all suggest that we contact the same naturopath doctor in California, so we contacted her! She did some tests, and gave us a list of supplements she recommended. One morning, I prayed over the list, and was able to write exactly the ones I felt God was leading us to! We had also been told by several friends to try changing our diet, so we prayed over that as well, and totally felt Him leading us to the changes we should make. It was all a little overwhelming, but so cool because we felt like we were really hearing from God, and that gave us strength and hope that these changes might help with our daughter’s healing.

 

In the meantime, we knew we had to really pray about the steroids and chemo too. We had our third appointment with the rheumatologist coming up (about 3 months since the diagnosis), and we had to make a decision. My husband and I had both been praying, and the morning of the appointment we both felt led to the same thing: the doctor had been telling us we should do an MRI to see how much damage had been done to her muscles, and we both felt like we were supposed to agree to the MRI and let the results determine the treatment. If there was any sign of damage, we would start her on the meds, and if there wasn’t, we wouldn’t.

 

The MRI itself had been a scary decision because it was two-hours long and she would have to go under general anesthesia. The day of the scan, I would normally have been full of fear and anxiety, but instead, we felt a total sense of peace. We knew we had done all we could and that we had so many prayer warriors who had really, truly been praying. For the first time, right before she went back for her MRI, we texted all of our friends and asked “Please just pray for God’s will to be done.” It was such a hard thing to ask for, but we knew that it was the safest and best place to be, in His will. We were finally okay with whatever plans He had for our daughter’s life.

 


 

“We were finally okay with whatever plans He had for our daughter’s life.”

 


 

The wait for the results seemed like an eternity. When we finally got the call, the nurse told us the results had come back completely clear … there was zero sign of damage. They had also done an echocardiogram and PFT to check her heart and lungs, and those came back completely normal as well! We couldn’t believe it. I have never been that emotional or in awe of God. I hung up the phone and started balling and worshipping like crazy. I sang and danced around the house the rest of the day, just yelling to our girls that God is SO good. We knew He had given us His answer.

 

We went to our next appointment shortly after, and the doctor agreed to let us hold off on the medication, as long as we came back for appointments every two months. So every two months we went in, and each time, our daughter’s symptoms disappeared more and more. Before long, she had no symptoms left, and no sign of disease. It was seriously a miracle. Our doctor told us he had never seen this in his career, and had no explanation for how it could have happened. We told him we knew exactly how it happened – God had answered prayer. We are now over three years since her diagnosis and although they say you never “get rid” of an autoimmune disease, she is still symptom free, and we are still treating with just food and vitamins. Every day is a gift.

 

We are honored and humbled that God chose to give this story to us. We can see clearly now how he used every detail to make us better, make us closer to Him, and guide us in the directions He wanted us to go. And our daughter, at a young age, has been given a testimony she will never forget. So cool.

 

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December 14, 2016 by Relevant

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What follows is a story from Brian Steere on how an act of kindness changed his life.

 

“I met Matt Paddack, Relevant’s Worship Pastor, in November of 2015. A few months prior, my marriage was irretrievably broken, I had lost my job, I had no money, and I was unable to pay my bills for several months. I thought I was going to lose my possessions like my house and vehicles. Christmas was coming and I couldn’t even provide a gift for my child. I remember staring at the bare Christmas tree praying to God to show me my worth. The thought of being unable to provide for my child overburdened me.

 

Two weeks before Christmas I woke up and headed to my CrossFit class which the Wounded Warrior Project provided me to help with my physical rehabilitation. I used this time to help with the depression I was feeling. I said my good mornings to Matt and his wife, Holly, and after my workout I went to change and noticed a red card on my belongings. At first, I wasn’t sure whose it was and I am not a thief so I grabbed it and put it on the bench thinking it may have fallen out of someone’s bag. Upon setting the card down I noticed it had my name on it and what I read had me in tears. Inside there was a card that said “Something unexpected to show you God loves you” and attached to the card was God’s gift to allow me to purchase presents for my daughter. I found out it was Matt who gave me the card. I still have this card, and in fact, I have used it to start a new holiday tradition that reminds me to remember that day and the lessons God showed me.

 

On Christmas Eve, I had presents under the tree but my family wasn’t there and there was an awkward silence in the house. On the back side of the card that Matt gave me was information about Relevant’s Christmas Eve services. I felt rather than sitting in the house I would attend Relevant and am I glad I did. As soon as I walked into the Christmas Eve service I was welcomed by many people, many whom didn’t even know me. There was this black curtain up, bright Christmas lights were everywhere, and I believe they even had hot chocolate. The service wasn’t traditional, rather, I felt like I was at a concert. Pastor Ronnie was hilarious, and preached in a way I had not seen before which I thoroughly enjoyed.

 

I decided to continue attending Relevant because I enjoyed the preaching and being able to feel the presence of God again during their worship services. The presence of the Holy Spirit is not something that I had felt in a long time. I longed to continue to be in the Lord’s presence because it brought reflection and value to my life once again.

 

A year later, I still attend Relevant and even went through their Volunteer Staff program. Relevant isn’t just a church, it’s a family, and they are invested in me just as I am them. Pastor Ronnie still makes me laugh during his preaching and the music still allows me to feel the presence of God. But most important out of everything is this journey which has transformed me. Relevant has renewed my relationship with the Lord and shown me that I am valuable, I am loved, and most important of all that I am family. Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 states for everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven, a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to harvest. For me, my time was Christmas Eve 2015.”

 

To learn more about attending Relevant’s Christmas Eve services, visit ChristmasInElkhorn.com. To learn more about blessing others through Something Unexpected Cards, visit SomethingUnexpected.org.

 

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December 7, 2016 by Kelly Samson

 

For over two years I’ve had a lot of back and SI joint pain, sometimes severe, often just uncomfortable and annoying. Because this has been going on awhile, I started accepting this pain as something I might deal with for the rest of my life (often people do). As a physical therapist, in some ways I think I’ve gotten hardened by seeing and hearing stories of people having chronic back pain. Despite my efforts to treat it myself, it has never gone completely away. I had started praying before that night at Staff United about this back/SI pain and surrendering it to God, telling Him I believed He could take it away if He chose to. I’m not sure that I really believed He could though.

 

At the second Staff United of the summer, Ronnie and Matt encouraged people to go forward and be prayed for at anytime during the night about anything that they wanted prayer for. I immediately felt like God put on my heart that I should go and have by back and SI joint prayed for.

 

Since I was running the computer stuff at Staff United, I knew I would wait to go forward for prayer until the end…IF I went. In the mean time, from the start of the night on, the stuff going through my mind was interesting. I knew going forward to be prayed over, for me, meant that I was choosing to believe and expect that God could heal me if He chose to. Partly out of pride (the fact that my job is to “heal” people’s injured backs and SI joints and I hadn’t been able to make myself better) and also out of fear (what if God didn’t heal me and I truly believed in full faith that He could?), I wasn’t sure if I could take the step of faith and choose to go forward for prayer about my back.

 

Then, something made me think of the story in the Gospels about the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years, who reached out and touched Jesus his cloak and was healed. I had read recently that part of the power and significance of that miracle lies in the fact that the woman had been bleeding for 12 years! Even after all the failed treatments, she still expected and believed Jesus could heal her, and He did. The next song we sang after that story popped in my head had the line “[He is] Greater than our pain”. With all that on my mind, I decided I would go forward at the end of the night…if He could heal the woman who had been sick 12 years, I believed He could heal me too. I believed that He is greater than my pain.

 

I was still kind of scared to go forward. I was in a lot of pain that night. Going forward meant facing my fears and letting go of my pride. But, at the end of the night, I went up to Mitch and Kim Elliott and told them about my back pain a little bit and asked them to pray for me. Kim asked if she could put her hand on my back. Without me telling her the exact spot, that’s exactly where she placed her hand—the most painful spot, a very spasmed muscle. I don’t remember the words that Kim and Mitch prayed over me exactly, but I remember telling/encouraging myself to believe in full faith that God could heal me. To believe that He could do it.

 

In my heart, I think for the first time, I believed He could. At one point during the prayer, Mitch took hold of my hands and helped me stretch my arms upward toward the sky, while praying about God giving a spiritual traction to my back and he said something about this being a prophetic posture of me praising Him with my arms lifted for healing me.

 

I walked away after being prayed over, and instantly the spasm that I had in my back/hip that night was gone. I’ve had spasms like that many times before in the past few years, and it never before just went away. It usually took weeks (sometimes longer) for a spasm like that to fully go away. And there it was…gone. My back pain, gone. My SI joint pain, gone.

 

I went to Dairy Chef afterwards, and as I sat there I just kept feeling my back and muscles around my lumbar spine and SI joint, and I couldn’t believe how it felt. The tightness was gone, the pain was gone! I probably felt my back and my back/hip muscles 100 times that night. I believed that God could do it, but I couldn’t believe that it had actually happened!

 

I laid in bed that night, and stretched my arms overhead, like I had remembered Mitch praying prophetically for me to praise God for what He had done with my arms lifted. And I did just that. I praised God and I told Him that whether He chose to heal me for just that night, a few days, or for the long term, I would praise Him and remember the miracle of that night–experiencing Him be my Great Physician, my Healer that night.

 

I woke up the next morning with some stiffness but none of the dreaded “knots” and tightness in my back and hip musculature that I have grown accustomed to having. In the days that have followed, I’ve had some pain in my SI joint, but my muscles do not have any of the same spasms that I’ve dealt with for so long.

 

I praise God for showing me that night what He can do when we expect him to move!

 

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November 25, 2016 by John Schluchter

 

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If we’re being honest, pretty much everybody feels warm and fuzzy on the inside when we are the recipient of generosity, OR when we get to bless someone else. Unexpected generosity is especially powerful. It can change a person’s day….sometimes, their life. With all that’s going on in our country right now, it’s time to show some kindness to one another, don’t you think?

 

Last year we started a new Christmas tradition at Relevant. It’s based on the idea that there is power in “randomly” doing something kind for someone and pointing to God as the source of that kindness. For some people, Christmas is the loneliest time of the year. So we printed up thousands of cards that said “Something unexpected to show you God loves you” on them. Then we handed them out to our church and told people to pair the card with an act of kindness. People left big tips, bought meals for strangers, gave food, did acts of service…and then they left the card. It. Was. Awesome. Check out some of the examples of how Relevant people used these “Something Unexpected Cards” below (these are just a sample, click here to see all of them).

 

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We’re doing it again this year!

 

We’re going to equip YOU, our church, with cards and ideas on how to unexpectedly bless others. We printed up 2,500 cards (pictured below). Grab a handful of cards starting on Sunday, Dec. 4 and start sharing the love of Jesus through acts of kindness!

 

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You’ll see on the back, we’ve got an invitation to our Christmas Eve service. Understand that the goal is not to “get them to church”. It’s to do something unexpected and kind for someone else, catch him/her off guard, and point them to God as the source. But what’s cool about the invitation is that it “tethers them to God’s house”. It gives them a place to go if and when God works in their heart.

 

With that said, you can still use these cards with people you know. Co-workers, friends, neighbors. If you’d just like to directly invite them to Christmas Eve, hand them a card with the Christmas Eve info side up and a little candy bar taped to the other side.

 

Below are some ideas to get you going. We’ll continue posting new ideas on SomethingUnexpected.org.

  • Leave an extra big tip and a card for your server at a restaurant.
  • Put an envelope with money and a card on the windshield of a beat-up car.
  • Give a certificate good for free babysitting and a card.
  • Attach a candy bar or a Scooter’s gift card to the card and leave it on a co-worker’s desk.
  • Shovel snow off someone’s driveway early in the morning and leave a note and a card on their front door.
  • Pay for the order of the person behind you in the drive-thru and have the cashier hand a card to them when they pull forward.
  • Bake some Christmas goodies for someone and attach a card.
  • Do an act of service for someone, and leave the card.
  • Leave some flowers with a card.
  • Pay for someone’s dinner at a restaurant and have the waitress give them a card instead of their bill.
  • Come up with something original and thoughtful!

Be intentional! Be prepared! Keep the cards and whatever other supplies you need in your car. When you see a need, MEET IT, and point to God with the card. Imagine if hundreds of us were using these cards each day. How might that change people’s perceptions of the Church and our Heavenly Father?!

 

Lastly, we would love for you to share what you’re doing with us. You can post what you’re doing online and tag it with #SomethingUnexpectedCards or send us a photo and a description at stories@relevantcommunity.org, and we’ll post it on our social media pages.

 

You ready? Get excited. Grab some cards on Dec. 4th. Go big! Do something really unexpected! And pray that God works in people’s hearts.

 

John Schluchter

Communications Pastor

@jschluchter

 

May 3, 2016 by Relevant

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On Sunday, we started off May by celebrating Transformation Sunday. It was awesome to look back over the past 4 months and celebrate the transforming work God is doing in people’s lives and within our church. Here’s a recap.

 

Transformation Stats

 

Here are a few of the awesome things we have seen happen in the past 4 months at Relevant:

 

1. Increased “Evangelistic Heat”

We saw the evangelistic heat—meaning, our desire to share Jesus with people who don’t know Him—in our church rise. On a typical Sunday morning, we average between 550-600 people. On Easter Sunday, we saw more than 1,100 people celebrate the risen Savior with Relevant! More importantly, more people than Ronnie could keep count of put their faith in Jesus on Easter Sunday morning! And 6 people who came to Relevant for the first time on Easter have since put their faith in Jesus at recent Sunday gatherings! That is transformation worth celebrating!

 

2. Caring for the needs of one another within the body

In January, Relevant’s own Chad Bautch, who has faced a lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis, was put on the top of the organ transplant list for a double lung transplant. In the past 3 months, Relevant has been a part of raising more than $100,000 for the Bautch family to assist with Chad’s medical expenses (the total cost will be about $200,000). Continue to support Team Chad Bautch at next Saturday’s fundraiser on May 7. Sign up at http://www.chadbautch.com/

 

3. Global Impact and Sacrificial Generosity

Relevant is making a global impact through our Safe Haven sponsorship program. As a church, we feel called to love and serve the Karen people from Burma. Our main global impact opportunity with the Karen is the Safe Haven Orphanage on the Thai/Burma border. Two years ago, we started the Safe Haven sponsorship program to help monetarily provide for the needs of the children at Safe Haven. In 2014, we sent $27,000. In 2015, $34,000. This year, through the sacrificial generosity of the body of Relevant, we will be able to send $35,000 to Safe Haven to help provide money for food, medical care, and school tuition expenses. This is evidence of the transforming work God is doing in us to make us a more generous people, and our giving will help provide hope for a future here on earth for kids across the globe. I believe God will do transforming work at Safe Haven this year through that…how awesome is that!

 

4. Increased “ownership” as a church body

More than 900 people call Relevant their church “home”. Relevant has only 8 paid staff. Thus, much of what we do is driven by our Volunteer Staff and teams within Relevant. This trimester, we have seen 2 teams, the Guest Services team and the Relevant Kids team, buy in and increase their ownership within Relevant, helping our church operate more as a body. These two teams have been a huge part of driving the mission forward, so that we can continue to reach more people for Jesus!

 

 

Transformation Story

 

We also showed a video story of Sarah Upton and the spiritual journey she has been on over the past couple years. Check out this inspiring story and transformation that has occurred in Sarah’s life through authentic connections within Relevant! (~7 min)

 

 

 

Baptisms

 

One of the things we always celebrate is transformation through baptism. On Sunday, we had the opportunity to celebrate 11 people who have put their faith in Jesus by asking Him to be the Forgiver of their sins and Leader of their lives. The following people publicly proclaimed their faith in Jesus through baptism…

  • Phoenix Daly
  • Savannah Kniewel
  • Carson Paddack
  • Adam Niles
  • Adrienne Ott
  • Diana Sealock
  • Avery Burnison
  • Richard Eppenbaugh
  • Angie Eppenbaugh
  • Randy McElravy
  • Landon Bautch

 

Story Booth

 

We always want to hear from as many about transformation and what God has been doing in people’s lives and our church in order to praise God together. In April, we set up a Story Booth and asked the question, “What have you seen God doing in your life or our church recently?” Here are some of the responses we received (~15 min):

 

It is humbling to see the transforming work that God is doing in our church! To Him be the Glory!

 

May 2, 2016 by Kris Ballard

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This letter was sent to us last year, our inaugural year for Vacation Bible School. Such a powerful story of how God transforms lives during this week for our children.

 

Relevant VBS Volunteers,

 

          I just had to write and tell you all thank you. I know this past week at VBS has meant many very late and stressful nights, busy days, time off work, time away from your children, and busy, hot, chaotic days with 100 young children! I’m sure most of the week seemed like it was filled with the logistics of organizing, controlling the kids, and getting snacks and crafts ready.  You may not ever know the eternal impact your time singing, chasing, crafting, and being silly with these kids has had.

 

          I can tell you that for my little girl, this week was absolutely life-transforming. Nola has never opened up and talked to me about her days anywhere – daycare, preschool, first grade, none of it. Every night she wanted to talk about what she learned at VBS. She wanted to dance to the music and talk about her friends. Every day, she talks about the Fruit of the Spirit and tries to apply them in her life. As a little girl who suffers from severe anxiety, she has never spent much of her time at home happy and joyful. I can’t even tell you the difference we have seen in her since she started learning about the Fruit of the Spirit – she is intentional about putting them to practice, she is so much happier, her anxiety has decreased and she is so much more at peace with all of us in her family and herself. This morning she was so proud to tell me that she could recite all of the Fruit from memory. ☺

 

          But the most amazing result was that Nola told us she asked Jesus to be the Forgiver of her sins and the Leader of her life. We are so, so excited and grateful and excited for her and thankful to all of you!

 

Love & blessings to you all,

Ginger Cowles

 

Nola

Nola (pictured on bottom right)

 

 

Vacation Bible School will be held June 6—10 from 9 am to noon, at Community of Grace in Elkhorn. Cost is $25 per child; $100 max/family and scholarships are available. Sign up online by May 22. Register by May 13 and receive a FREE t-shirt! Sign up here!

December 14, 2015 by John Schluchter

 

If you missed our original post on the purpose of these Something Unexpected cards, you can read it here.

 

It’s been a fun couple weeks as we’ve heard TONS of stories about people using the Something Unexpected Cards! Below is a string of many of the posts we’ve seen on social media so far. Search for the hashtag #SomethingUnexpectedCards on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to stay up to date on how Relevant folks are blessing others during this Christmas season.

 

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