Acts Part 1 Video Recap

by Element Christian Church
This week we finished our series of Acts Part 1. We found this fun video to help vizualize what happened in the first twelve chapters of Acts by our friends at the Bible Project. View more of their videos at: http://www.jointhebibleproject.com. Enjoy:



 

Planting Roots Re-Mix Coming

by Element Christian Church
It’s been almost two years since we started our Planting Roots Journey. Since that time families have moved away, other families have moved to town and started attending Element. No matter where you find yourself today we think we could all use a refresher of the practical wisdom of stewardship and sacrificial giving that we walked through during Planting Roots two years ago. That is why we are about to set out on a shorter journey through our Planting Roots Re-Mix.


Our goal through the Re-mix is the same as when we originally went through Panting Roots: to understand God’s call in our lives, to understand the vision God gave Element, and to all find ourselves on the same page in regard to giving and honoring Jesus. We will revisit the teachings, videos, and ideas from two years ago. At the end our Re-mix four-week journey you will have the opportunity to recommit, or make a first time commitment, towards our future home.
 
We have a realistic time frame where we believe we will be able to break ground during the Re-Mix! I know this sounds like a late-night infomercial, but that’s not all, during the Re-mix we will also have Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, prayer gatherings, and family/GC discussion evenings.
 
If you’ve made a commitment in the past to Planting Roots, you will receive a letter in the mail starting next week with your giving records for corrections. You will also receive a Re-Mix brochure that will have an update on our Planting Roots Journey Progress, ways to respond, and a new (re)commitment card.
 
Please keep Element in your prayers as we continue to walk toward building our future home and listening to what it is God would have us do, individually and corporately, in these coming days.
 
Our Re-Mix Journey will start August 28th, 2016 and culminate September 18th, 2016 where we will all turn in our (re)commitment cards!

Happy Fourth of July

by Element Christian Church
Happy Independence Day from all of us at Element. Hope you have a safe and fun weekend. 

The Gospel and...

by Element Christian Church
A couple of weeks ago in his message titled Acts 14: A Hope That Heals Us (Acts 5:12-16), Aaron talked about how the gospel speaks directly about God’s miracle of reconciliation in the midst of broken relationships that seem hopeless.
 
Every day we face situations, circumstances, people, and desires that are broken and hurting that the Gospel can speak good news into. We get to be His people who know and speak God’s truth into not only our lives, but the lives of those we live with in community. Jeff Vanderstelt calls this being ‘Gospel Fluent’ – a language of redemption in all areas of life. And just like any other language, it needs to be studied and practiced much before it becomes second nature.
 
The Verge Network has released an eBook called “Gospel Fluency: The Key to Effective Disciplemaking” from one of Jeff’s talks. I want to pull a little from of the ‘everyday situations’ section of that book here.
 

The Gospel and Finances
When was the last time you counseled someone with finances and you said, "Okay, before we go anywhere, I just need to let you know the God of the universe has all the resources you need today, that you are co-heir with Christ.
 
Therefore, you are as rich as you could ever imagine. That He who was rich became poor so that in His poverty, you might become rich. So that should make you the most generous and eager to give because you know that even though He lost it all, He got it all back." And let me ask you, do you know much about first fruits? Because see, Jesus is the first fruit of a new creation.
 
And God was willing to give His own son so that with Him, He might take in everyone else. Do you know that idea of first fruits, that you give the very best that you have, trusting that God will complete what He started in your life?
 
And you won't have to worry about your provision tomorrow because when you give it to Him and trust Him with it, He will give you everything you need. How will He not also, with Christ, give you every good gift?
 
 
The Gospel and Debt
How do we counsel people in the area of finances? They're in debt. Why are they in debt? Because they went somewhere else to find great satisfaction, and they became an addict of a thing that didn't satisfy them. That's what's going on.
 
They thought that by buying more, I'll feel better. But it didn't make it better, so I kept buying. And I became a worshipper at the marketplace. And what they don't need is better financial counsel first. Rather, they need to repent and turn to Jesus Christ who's the only one who deeply satisfies their longing.
Because if we're not, what we're telling people is Jesus is really good when it has to do with your standing with God and your eternal destiny, but he doesn't really know a whole lot about finances.

 
The Gospel and Sex
What about sex? The reason why you wait to have sex till after you're married is because you're telling the story of Jesus Christ through your purity. That's why. We don't wait to have sex till we're married so we can have better sex. We wait to have sex till we're married because Jesus is the one who, with His own life, purchased his bride.
 
And then He said, "I will wait to return to consummate." You want to talk about someone who's waiting a long time? It's been over 2,000 years from my count, and He's doing pretty well at being faithful to His bride.
 
That's the story we're telling. It's not about you. It's about Jesus. Don't give people counsel about sexuality without helping them to understand the whole point of it is to tell the story of God's faithfulness to His bride.

Read more of Jeff’s words and download the entire ebook at the Verge website here.

Baptism Stories - April 17, 2016

by Element Christian Church

 

Last Sunday was our Baptisms, and we had 5 people show their faith by being baptized! If you didn't make it, or missed reading the stories, this week's 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.

Accountability: Why We Must Be Accountable!

by Jonathan Whitaker
I read an interesting article a few weeks back that cited a study of nearly 58,000 participants from the Millennial Generation. The study compared the religious practices and beliefs of Millennials to a similar population of Gen Xers and found that hallmarks of religious life (prayer and church attendance) are in major decline. There was a five-fold increase since the 1970’s among 18-22 year olds who say they never pray and the number who attend church (ever) was cut in half. 
               
The study found one odd and alarming fact, among people who never pray or attend church, the belief that when they die they will go to heaven…increased. That is the world’s standard of accountability. The world now says you no longer have to talk with God, worship Him, or even believe in Him to go to heaven. These folks certainly don’t believe that God created the world and man and I suspect the thought never occurred to most of them that if heaven exists, God would have had to create that, too.
 
In the Air Force we call this conundrum a “self-licking ice cream cone.” In essence, heaven exists in my imagination, I set the standard for going there when I die, and I do the quality control check for who gets into heaven based on my own criteria. It seems like people have replaced accountability to the sovereign God with accountability to themselves alone. Personally, if I were going to invent a make-believe heaven, I would not make dying one of the prerequisites for entry. 
 
This lunacy is not Christian accountability. The fact is, we are all going to die, and we are all going to be judged (Heb. 9:27-28), but you, Christ follower, will be raised to life; that means there is work for you to do here and now. In the modern protestant parlance, accountability is among the churchiest of words, no doubt you have heard the term. Some of you have even thought through how you can get some of that accountability in your walk with Christ. You may even have gotten an accountability partner or accountabilibuddy, but what is accountability anyway? IMHO it is being held to a standard by something or someone greater than yourself.
 
Here is the thesis: for the Christ follower, the standard of accountability is the grace of God (Rom. 6:1-14).  Since Christ died for your sin, you are no longer held to account by death, instead you are held to account to God, by the resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. The resurrection is a much higher standard than death for two reasons. 
  • First, the resurrection overcame death.  
  • Second, it took the God of the Universe dying on the cross in our place to achieve that standard.
A Christian person can expect to either be conformed to the image of Christ by trusting in the resurrection and walking in it, or they can expect to be conformed to the image of Christ by ignoring the resurrection and being held accountable to it. Paul says in Philippians 1:6, "I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."  The question is, are you going to go willingly, or kicking and screaming?
 
Christ has a plan for His church and good work for each one of us. That work begins when we turn from sin and serve Jesus with our whole hearts (Rom. 1). This also means that when our brothers are caught in sin it is our duty to pull them from the fire, so that they can be restored (Jude 23). Accountability is not about rule following, it’s about holding one another to the standard of righteousness that is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ…the standard which we claim as our salvation.
 
What’s crazier? Believing in heaven while denying its creator, or believing in the Creator then denying Him with your actions? I don’t know about you, but when your kids misbehave, I don’t punish them, but when my kids misbehave, discipline is a certainty. Do you see the difference?  God disciplines those he loves.  We are His children. 
 
There is you preview of this coming Sunday. Come to church this weekend and get the main show! See you soon.

Self-Guided Good Friday 2016

by Element Christian Church
Our Good Friday service was a self-guided open house service that took time to read through Matthew 27 and look at the issue of the betrayal of Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, forgiveness of others, and letting go of identities in light of Jesus’ sacrifice. The night was meant to being us to a place where we contemplated what He has given us and our response to His great gifts.

Download the self-guided Good Friday Service handout here.



Unexpected Rest In An East Coast Blizzard

by Jennifer Whitaker


Life is busy.  For me, that busy life in Waldorf, Maryland looks like homeschooling three active girls, teaching a homeschool co-op class and Sunday School, hosting a life group, and serving at my church's food pantry and outreach events, all while keeping house and trying to be a godly wife and mother.  Back in November, I found myself looking forward to the Christmas holiday not so much for the spiritual celebration it should be, but for the break I thought it would afford me and my family.  Co-op and life group would be on break, we would take days off from school, and Jonathan would take several days off work.  My parents would come visit.  It would be a relaxing time of just enjoying life with family. 

Imagine my surprise when the Christmas holiday was anything but relaxing!  It was definitely sweet and full of fun memories we'll cherish, but making memories requires quite a bit of work.  I neglected my time in God's word because I was just "too busy."  Before I knew it, my not-so-relaxing holiday had come to an abrupt end and life was back in full swing.

 
That's when God showed His mighty hand.  He had a plan all along for me to find the rest I needed -- and it wasn't how I would have planned it.  He wanted me to find rest in Him and His word.  He sent a blizzard to give me the physical rest I craved, and He provided ample time for me to soak in His word and sweet time with my family.   
 
On January 22, as the snow began to fall and collect, I felt relief.  I knew all the events of the weekend -- and even our homeschool co-op day -- would be canceled.  I felt grateful to have a warm home, plenty of food, and good company to wait out the storm.  We snuggled down on the couch to play Super Mario Bros. and watch movies.  We fed the birds and watched them eat in the middle of the blizzard. We baked cookies and made snacks you'd usually see at a Super Bowl party.  When the snow finally stopped on Sunday morning, we ventured out to a world completely covered in two feet of snow.  We shoveled so much snow that I'm pretty sure it counted as a week's worth of workouts. We built a snow mountain and went sledding in our yard.  I didn't worry too much about the mess and got to just enjoy being with my family.  I finally felt the rest I had longed for in December.
 
Maybe God didn't send the blizzard just for me, but in this massive storm that crippled some of the East Coast's largest cities, I felt His love for me.  I knew He cared so much that He gave me rest.  In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus invites us to rest in Him. "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." I know this can't always mean taking a snow day vacation in the middle of a busy season of life, but it can be a daily rest.  Each day as I seek God in His word, He reveals His nature and His character in fresh ways.  He restores my soul (Ps. 23:2). He renews my mind (Rom. 12:2). And He gives my soul a rest from the busyness of life.
 
When you find yourself in a busy season of life, make time to rest in Jesus.  His mercies are new every morning, He is faithful (Lam. 3:23), and He will give you rest.

Pumpkin Killing 2015 Recap

by Element Christian Church
Happy New Year Element! As we do some house cleaning around here, enjoy this video from our Pumpkin Killing this past year that slipped through the cracks of being posted online!

Advent Week 5: Christ

by Element Christian Church
Join us Thursday night as we celebrate what we've been anticipating during our Advent Journey, Christ has come! Our Christmas Eve Services which will be at 7, 9 & 11pm. Childcare through age 5 is available at our 7pm service only. We hope Christmas Eve Services will be a time of loud joy as our Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace are found in this baby, lying in a manger, that grew up and died, rose, reigns forevermore.

Advent: Week 1 - Hope

by Element Christian Church

We have started our Advent Journey and are in Week One: Hope! 
Pick up your Advent Booklets This Sunday, or download our pdf version here!

Come across a word you're not familiar with? Refrence our FAQ and Terms/Definitions on pages 4-8!
And don't forget we have family devotions on page 30 for this week. 


Christmas For Kids 2016

by Element Christian Church

Christmas For Kids Ministry needs volunteers to take children shopping for Christmas and to commit to being part of an ongoing ministry to these children during 2017.
 


What: We want to reach out to children in our community of friends and neighbors who may not have a Christmas without our support.  This isn’t about purchasing gifts, it is about offering relationship, building trust, and demonstrating Jesus’ love to hurting families or those who may not know Him. 

When:  Our kickoff Christmas breakfast and shopping spree will be Saturday, December 17 at 8:30am, beginning at Element.  We ask that you pair with your GC, Women’s Ministry member, or other Element members to continue throughout 2017 ministering and building relationship with the children (see attached brochure).

Why:  Christmas for Kids began at Element 8 years ago to assist children who need assistance but do not receive government or other charitable organization Christmas gifts.  The ministry has grown but we have not seen solid relationships built, which is why we are expanding with a focus that extends throughout 2017.  We are asking Element to commit to growing this ministry beyond just a one day shopping event.  We want to make a difference in these children’s lives and in our communities.

We really can't do this every year without your generous donations. You can write a check and and turn it in at the small Christmas Tree at the Welcome Center, or donate online here.

Download our Brochure with ways to get involved with Christmas For Kids! and ways to be involved in kid's lives through out the next year!

If you have questions or family recommendations, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Christmas For Kids 2018

by Element Christian Church

Help us bless Delta High School!

This year, in lieu of Christmas for Kids program, where we take kids shopping, we want to bless our new neighbors: Delta High School, by providing a Christmas gift on their last day of school.

This gift will include a movie ticket pass, some candy, and an Element bookmark.

We really can't do this every year without your generous donations. You can write a check and and turn it in at the small Christmas Present at the Welcome Center, or donate online here, and select "Christmas for Kids!" in the first drop down box.

If you have questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Supporting GoBags

by Trevor Carpenter
"And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’" (Matthew 25:40 ESV)

Take a moment to envision with me a common experience in any city in the US.

You're in middle school and come home from school to find someone from Child Protective Services (CPS) and a police officer waiting for you. They tell you that your single parent made a mistake, and you're going to have to go with CPS so that they can find you a safe place to sleep tonight.

Situations like this happen often, but there other times when the situation has no criminal or law enforcement element.

A teenager might have the wherewithal to know what to grab on the way out of the house. But what if it's a crime scene now, and you cannot even enter your own home? What if all you have is your backpack for school and a skateboard?

Here in the Santa Maria Valley, we have this outreach that helps prepare people like the CPS staff with the most basic of items that they can have ready for situations just like this. They call them GoBags.



At Element, we've helped put together these GoBags in the past, and we're doing it again. During the month of November, after each service, there will be a table set up where you can get any questions answered, and pick up a large zip lock bag with all the instructions. You can choose between making up a bag for an infant, toddler, school-aged child, or a teenager. 

All we ask is that you go purchase the items on the list and return the bags to us within the month of November. These are regular items that you would need to make that first few nights not as bad as it could have been. The list has common items for their first nights such as: Pajamas, a Toothbrush, Socks, a Blanket, and a small toy or coloring book. We ask that these are new items for safety and hygiene reasons.

Then just bring the filled bag, along with the original instruction card, to the GoBag booth before or after the service you attend.

Again, we’ll be doing this all of November. Please take the time to consider how supporting children with GoBags can and does impact our community here in the Santa Maria Valley.

"But Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.'” (Matthew 19:14 ESV)

Agape Thanksgiving Dinners - November 22nd

by Element Christian Church



As we mentioned two weeks ago, Advent is just around the corner. Advent means arrival, coming into a place, or even coming into being. We want to take a concentrated look during the Christmas season about what the arrival of Jesus meant, and still means, to all of us.
 
We want to encourage all of you to join us on Sunday, November 22nd for a shared meal in people’s homes as we kick off our Christmas Advent Season. This will be a Thanksgiving type dinner with a time of reflection and joyful celebration.
 
The dinners we have done on past years during the month of November are called Agape meals. Agape is a Greek word for love that was used to translate a Hebrew word for love that was only ascribed to God in the Old Testament. In the New Testament we are told that we are first given love by God in order to love like God loves. Agape dinners are designed to encourage people to see that a dinner in, and surrounded by, community is not a one-time yearly event, but a symbol of Jesus in our daily lives as we are united and growing as His disciples in grace and love.
 
Just like the Agape meals encourage us to share the love of Jesus year round, so Advent does the same thing. Advent reminds us that Jesus’ incarnation was not just good news for those that lived 2000 years ago, it is also good news for us today.
 
This year we are combining the kick off of Advent and the Agape meals together in order to better understand God’s grace as we live with one another.  We will hand out Advent journey guides at these meals so we can all take this ride together. We will have several host homes throughout Santa Maria, Lompoc and Nipomo and would love for you to join in.
 
If you are not comfortable joining one of our Gospel Communities for a meal, we would still encourage you, at the start of Advent, to grab some journey guides, invite your family and/or neighbors over for a meal and spend time with them, getting to know them better.

Signup here to join a Gospel Community/Host Home