Baptism Stories - September 2, 2012

by Element Christian Church

 Baptism 2012 wide shot

Last Sunday was our Labor Day BBQ and Baptisms. If you didn't make it, or missed reading the stories, this weeks blog is simply a link to them. Please read them, be excited for them, and always stand amazed at the goodness of our great God.

Military Family Appreciation Day - July 28th

by Element Christian Church
July 28th, 1-5pm

All month our eKids! children's ministry are saying a big Thank-You to all the military families in our community. Each week during Sunday School, they will making crafts to show their appreciation. The last Saturday of July we are hosting a MILITARY FAMILY APPRECIATION DAY! This family carnival will be a great afternoon of games, food, prizes and much more! We invite you to join us, and invite those families you know who has a loved one who is serving or has served!

The carnival will be July 28th from 1-5pm at Element Christian Church: 3596 Skyway Drive!

Download Poster or Postcard here to send to your friends!

We also need anybody who is able to help build the carnival booths and other activities, as well as volunteers to help run the carnival! Email christie.marangi@ourelement.org to sign up.

Child Salvation

by Element Christian Church

I would like to know if you believe that young children (like age 4) can be brought to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? What are your thoughts on it? My family and I are currently attending a church that believes that it is very rare and that it is too hard to tell if a child really gets what is happening. My family and I are under the belief that it is possible and that we need to teach them about what Jesus did for us and about the free gift of salvation He is giving to us through the shedding of His blood. I would really appreciate your opinion on this subject matter.

Answer:
Elements position is that all children are unique.

We have had parents who have expressed that their 4 your old(s) want to be baptized. We meet with the parents and the child to ascertain if they understand what they are committing to (some we have said yes, and some we have said no). I, personally, have a friend who was 4 when they started to follow Jesus and they are one of the most amazing people I know.

While we too find it is rare that a very young child fully understands Christ and His atoning work, it is not impossible. We also believe that, in the end, you as a parent will be the best judge of that, as you live with your child every day. It is also one of the reasons we meet with the parents in the process of baptism.

I think you will know if your child "gets it." That it is more than just words regurgitated from a teacher or class...but an actual love for Christ deep in their soul. Besides, I think the gospel is perfectly suited for young hearts and minds and we should be teaching and telling them about Jesus even when they are in the womb (reading theology and scripture to the growing belly). We tell them they have a mother and father who love them, but also a great God, who calls himself Father as well and sent His son as our great propitiation.
 
Jonathan, one of our Elders added this as well.
 

Lauren, our 5 1/2 year old is saved, I have no doubt.  She has even begun the sanctification process and has inquired on her own initiative about Baptism.  The need for salvation is, for some reason, not that big of a mystery to a child.  A child that is shown both love and discipline on a regular basis by their parents can readily understand the love and discipline God gives to believers.

Lauren knew that she was a sinner because she did wrong things.  She believes in God, because Jennifer and I don't talk about God like he is make believe, but talk to Him, and about Him, as if he is tangible and in the room.  She knows mommy and daddy have a relationship through prayer with God, so she is naturally inclined to pray.  She hears us regularly acknowledge God's provision of our family resources and income.

She knows that God created her and saved her mommy and daddy.  When she realized that sin prevents you from being with God, and by extension her mommy and daddy in heaven, she wanted to fix that problem.  She knows that Jesus fixed that problem and so she believes in Him and trusts His sacrifice.  To hear her explain her salvation in her own words; would leave you with no doubt of its validity.  She was four years old when she "accepted" Christ, after watching a children's movie that depicted Christ ministry, death and resurrection.

How The Tamar Center Is Living Missionally

by Element Christian Church
Along the eastern banks of the Gulf of Thailand, you can find a small city called Pattaya. It is about the size of Santa Maria and has nearly a hundred thousand people who claim residency there. Pattaya is primarily known for being the sex destination of Asia. It is especially known for its large gay community in an area of Pattaya known as Boyztown and Sunee Plaza. As a result, the nightlife is consumed by gogo bars, massage parlors and hourly rate hotels. While there are only those hundred thousand or so people who claim residency within Pattaya, it is estimated that there are an additional two hundred thousand people living there periodically throughout the year working in the sex industry in one form or another. To give you an idea of how well known it is for its night life and sex trade, the New York Times says, “If Las Vegas is Sin City, then Pattaya is a bear hug from Lucifer himself.”

Stats:

Thailand. Pattaya. Sex Trade. 

In the midst of such an oppressive city, there is a group of Christians working to show there is a better way...A better way to live, and to survive. They are revealing Jesus to the people of Pattaya by building relationships and equipping them with skills for a better way to provide for their families.

Founded in 1999, the Tamar Center is located in the midst of Pattaya directly helping these women get off the streets and out of that lifestyle. Their goal is to give them new job skills so they don’t have to rely on prostitution for income. They are given courses in card-making and English. They are taught skills in a hair salon or in a bakery or other income-earning activities. Most importantly, thousands of women have been given the opportunity to see Christ’s love through the women who are there to help them.

Continue reading on page 5 of Element Dispatch

 

Vandenberg Air Force Base

by Element Christian Church

At Element, we want to bless our city and see lives redeemed by the good news of Jesus. But our vision is bigger than the city of Santa Maria alone. We want to see the whole Central Coast changed by the power of the gospel. We want to see the gospel go out to “the ends of the earth.” So in this article we wanted to take the time to highlight our neighbors at Vandenberg Air Force Base and begin to look at ways that we can reach the folks at Vandenberg with the Gospel.

Stats:

Opportunities and Challenges:

"The church exists by mission as fire exists by burning." - Emil Brunner

Our great purpose as a church is to bring glory to God. We are all called to live missional lives – in which our words and actions, where our individual lives and our community life, all line up the same message of good news of Jesus Christ. The key question, then, is “how can we take this message to Vandenberg?” The base presents some great opportunities and some great challenges. You don’t have to look long or hard to see them.

For example, settling into a new home can be frustrating and lonely. Constantly pulling up roots can be wearying and unsettling. But imagine if new students at Vandenberg were welcomed into authentic communities who became their home away from home. Imagine if new believers were discipled, equipped, and strengthened, and then sent off as missionaries all around the world. Imagine if families were blessed by the welcome, hospitality, and love of the church (who is merely reflecting the welcome and love of Jesus) and in turn becomes that welcoming, hospitable, and loving family to others...

Continue reading this article on page 17 of Element Dispatch.

Seder Meal 2012

by Element Christian Church

Missed our 2012 Good Friday Service? Watch the Passover Seder Meal presented byTuvya Zaretsky from Jews For Jesus.


This Is Element

by Element Christian Church

Because so many people misunderstand the Element logo, we get mistaken for a lot of crazy things. Element constantly has beliefs ascribed to us by people who have never spoken to us, and the assumptions usually end up being wrong (you know what they say about assuming). We have decided to help everyone understand not only what Element is here for and what we believe, but also why Santa Maria. If you are visiting our city, moving to our city, or wondering about Element, we hope this 5 minute video answers many of your questions about who we are, what we believe, and why we do what we do the way that we do.
 

Element Baptism Storm Watch 2012

by Element Christian Church

Storm Watch

[tbanner color="red" title="BAPTISMS WILL BE SUNDAY, APRIL 1st, at 1pm!" style="1"][/tbanner]

What you should bring to survive the storm...

[list class="bullet-1"][li]Soup or Chili! (It will be cold, and nothing like a warm meal on a rainy day)[/li][li]Umbrella (To watch the baptisms)[/li][li]Lawn Chair (We'll eat inside)[/li][li]Read More about Baptisms[/li][li]Read the stories of those being baptized this Sunday![/li][/list]

Weather Forecast:

{jcomments on}

Good Friday 2012: Seder Meal

by Element Christian Church


Good Friday 2012: Seder Meal, 6pm (Full)

At Element we are always trying to mix things ancient and modern. Understanding our heritage as Christians and still living in the vibrant newness of the Spirit's leading.

If you have ever been to or through one of our Good Friday services you know they tend to be different. From attending a funeral, to making you carry rocks, to even having you walk through a life-sized board game, our goal is to make you think about Christ’s sacrifice for our redemption.

This year we are doing something ancient and modern as well; we will be hosting a Seder meal. You may be asking what a Seder meal is, well, a Seder is the traditional Passover Week Dinner celebrated by the Hebrews since the Exodus. It is the Hebrew Thanksgiving, giving thanks to God for deliverance and redemption. Seder is also called the Passover Dinner.

The word Seder simply means "order," and refers to the service of the Passover festival meal that follows a prescribed order. The Seder was also what Jesus would have celebrated at The Last Supper the night he was betrayed. Jesus also chose the Seder as the setting for announcing (and explaining) The New Covenant. Many of us have done part of the Seder at every Sunday service when participating in communion.

The Seder was the basis of the early Church's Lord's Day worship service. It was referred to as the Agape Feast and Eucharist. Agape is the Greek word for Christian Love, that Love we have for one another.

Passover (Seder) is really more than a festival. It is an elaborate teaching experience, especially for the children. It is intended to call people to their identity as the People of God. By using all of the senses, the Passover Seder tells the story of God’s grace in history and calls the participants to experience and share in the story as their own story.

We are very sorry, but we are completely full, and cannot take any more sign-ups.

Genesis Promo Video

by Element Christian Church

On January 15th, 2012 we will start a series on Genesis... Here is a little glimpse of what you can expect.


2 Week Mealtime Devotionals for Families

by Element Christian Church

At CTV (Change Their View) this week, our primary goal was to help families learn together, and to equip parents to continue to teach their kids about Jesus and the Scriptures. We compiled two weeks worth of Mealtime Devotions for you to download to go through with your kids either at the dinner table or whenever you can, to keep the momentum! Download Mealtime Devotions here!

What Does The Bible Say About Money?

by Element Christian Church

At Element, we base everything we do off of the scriptures. The Bible contains great advice about life, from improving your marriage to getting along with your boss at work.  But does the Bible really say much about money?  Does it really give us advice that we can apply to our own life in today's world?

The Good News is Yes!  Absolutely!  We believe the Bible is as relevant and helpful today as when it was written, and God has a lot to say about money.  In fact, money is mentioned in the Bible over 800 times.

In fact, Jesus says in Luke 16:11, "So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?"  It appears from this verse that God uses money as a test of our management and stewardship skills before entrusting us with spiritual things.  See more below.

Money in the Bible

1. Proverbs 13:22 "A good man leaves an inheritance to his childrens' children" indicating that God wants us to make a difference, financially, in our family tree.

2. Proverbs 21:20 "In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has."  This gives us an idea of how God wants us to save for a rainy day, to set something back for safekeeping.

3. Proverbs 22:7 states that "The rich rule over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender."  Really?  The Bible discourages debt?  Does God really want me to pay my debts off and avoid debt?

4. Luke 14:28 "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it."  Does Jesus really want me to save up and pay for the things I buy?

5. Matt. 6:24 "You cannot serve both God and money".

We can talk about a lot of things openly, but it seems like as soon as we talk about money, people tend to close off and stop listening. There are many reasons for this, but the top reason is that most people don't realize how much of a problem managing money is for the average family.  Look at the statistics below:

Financial Statistics

1. Marital Problems - 37 percent (the highest rate) of marital problems derive from financial situations

2. Cash Flow - 70 percent of all consumers live paycheck to paycheck, meaning they run out of money before the end of the month

3. Savings - The average family would have to use a credit card to pay a $1,500 unexpected expense (ex: home or car repair).

4. Retirement - Nearly half of all Americans (46%) have less than $10,000 saved for their retirement.

It is a problem that affects everyone, inside and outside of the church.  In fact George Barna says that the fastest growing churches are teaching about marriage, child rearing, finances, and careers.  Money is a serious subject, and God is serious about money, which is why we should study closely what he has to tell us.

This is why in January, we will be offering Financial Peace University - a 13-week course on finances. In it we will all learn how to make the right money decisions to follow what God has taught us throughout the scriptures. The course includes practical lessons on eliminating debt, building wealth, giving like never before, and much more. We invite you to come and learn what it means to truly have Peace with your finances. Read more & Sign up online here.

Element Christmas Party

by Element Christian Church

Saturday, December 11th from 5:00-8:00 pm.

Join us for our Christmas Party! This is a great time to come and relax, have fun and hang out with your friends and family!

We will be having a variety of fun activities for all age groups: movies, snow, board games, cupcake and card decorating, etc. We will be providing food and warm drinks! Dress for a good time (and to stay warm if you plan on playing in the snow)! Don't forget to invite your friends/neighbors/coworkers... it's a party!

We also need your help to make this party awesome! We are asking for the church to help us out with either your time or donations. We are looking for people to donate some time during the party and also to the cleaning up afterwards. Also, we are asking for people to help out by donating firewood, jumbo marshmallows, skewers, cupcakes, cupcake decorating items, and card-making supplies. There is a sign-up sheet in the information center or you can contact the events committee by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Happy Halloween

by Trevor Carpenter

Halloween is the one holiday we Christians can't modify into our very own Christian bookstore supported holiday.

Do you know that we celebrate Resurrection Sunday (Easter) on an old Roman, pre-Christian pagan holiday. Do you know that we celebrate the birth of the world's Savior (Christmas) in place of the ancient celebration of the winter solstice. In all truthfulness, Christians have been in the business of hijacking holidays for the glory of the King since we were still persecuted by the Romans.

So, in light of all that, Happy Halloween!

Now let me be fair. I've struggled with my own support and/or involvement in Halloween quite a bit. In the early days, as a teen, I recall dressing up and strapping on roller-blades (so I could hit more homes, faster). Much later, as a young father, I was adamantly against Halloween. I'd make sure the front porch light was off and we'd be out of the house, busy. Fast forward a few more years, and I've got 4 punks (I mean LOVELY KIDS) at home, who simply must be allowed costumes and candy.

What's a father to do?

Here's the deal. Are we celebrating paganism, idolatry, and satanism in our house? Nope. We're enjoying an opportunity to be together as a family. An opportunity for our kids to dress up, and be something or someone fun and exciting. And the best opportunity of all, we're embracing one of the few opportunities to speak with our neighbors in a way that is not awkward.

The great majority of other families celebrating Halloween aren't burning candles and offering sacrifices to any pagan gods either. Most don't even know the origins of Halloween. Romans 13:2 says, "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers..." We're encouraged to be hospitable, to ,show charity and display a giving attitude to others. On this day, we simply do it with candy. (Get those full-sized candy bars. All the neighbor kids will love you!)

Love your neighbors. Welcome them into your home. Seriously, take advantage of this great opportunity to meet your neighbors. Don't sit there, reading this, and tell me that you know all your neighbors. You don't. I don't. Make some hot chocolate and coffee, get a couple of carafes at Target, and some cups with lids, set up a little TV tray near the door, and offer all those over-walked parents something hot to drink.

What was one of the last things Jesus said? He said, "Go!" We've been sent. Sent into this world to engage our community with the Gospel. How can we engage our community, if we don't know them? Here's your chance!

Oh, and BTW, let's not forget that we know the end of the story. Jesus wins! He's kicked some major demon butt. There's no need to fear those little plastic demons on the 31st.

-Trevor Carpenter{jcomments on}