Monthly Archives: October 2013

A Commitment to Children & Youth

Recently one of the young teens in the church said to me, “I used to like coming to the church because my friends were there. I still like that my friends are there, but now, I also just love the church.” When he said that, it brought joy to my heart, because it so much reflects what we want to be about here at Ashland Church. We don’t want to just provide outstanding opportunities for children and youth to explore and learn about the faith, we also want them begin to see the faith as their own, and know what it means to have a genuine relationship with God and a home in his church.

Our Lord Jesus once said, “Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth; anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And He took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them. (Mk 10:14-16) From these simple yet profound words and actions, Jesus shows us something from His heart; that children matter to God. He did not want anyone hindering them from coming to Him for His blessing. Children really do matter to Him, and so also children matter a great deal to us here at Ashland Church. This is why you will see so many efforts and resources of our church focused toward to the important ministries of children and youth.

God has given us so many great opportunities to minister, and we never want anything to hinder His children from coming to Him. One way you see this in August is the transformation that takes place in our facility as Vacation Bible School gets underway. The building will be transformed into the Old West, and our people take on the roles of removing any hindrance from children receiving the blessing of Jesus.

I want to thank all of you who through your volunteer work, giving of resources, and prayers have supported the important ministry toward Children and Youth. I also want to give special thanks to our Youth Planning Committee who has been so prayerfully and diligently seeking the next steps for the leadership of our Youth since the departure of our Youth Director to lead a church in Central Jersey. It is such a blessing to be a part of a church that sincerely embraces its role to minister to our Children and Youth.

It’s great to be your Pastor,



This article taken from Ashland Church’s August 2013 Newsletter.

A New Outreach/ Ministry in the Works …

Together with Bethany Christian Services, Ashland hopes to partner to raise awareness of the children who have been orphaned or are in the foster care system. Though it is not within everyone’s realm of abilities to be able to foster a child or adopt, we are encouraging you to take some time and meditate on a way in which you can help the orphaned, as God has called us to do. Whether this means prayer, a monetary donation, volunteering within Bethany, or other ways of awareness, we are grateful. In November, Janine Fleming and Emily Dempsey (as well as some possible others) will be attending a Bethany fundraiser and awareness night. After that meeting, we will be equipped to bring more ideas to the table for ways in which you can get involved. Until then, we thank you for your support and prayer as we begin this exciting new partnership!

–Emily Dempsey


This article taken from Ashland Church’s August 2013 Newsletter.

Parents In Touch – Some Encouraging Words

Charles Swindoll, in his wonderful book Parenting: From Surviving to Thriving , entitles the seventh chapter “Affirming and Encouraging Words to Parents.” Perhaps this is a good time to share words that will lift our spirits as we strive to be the parents our children deserve. In reading the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32, we encounter an example of a godly parent guiding a difficult child. Jesus is revealing the parenting skills of His own Father, and we can find qualities of an ideal parent if  we seek them. It has been said that loneliness is the penalty of leader-ship, and that can certainly be true of parenting. After all the father had done for his prodigal son, the young man chose to leave. Dad was left with his hopes, a lonely feeling, and the possibility that he may never see his son again. How would God have us react when the difficult times come? They become opportunities to show the qualities He Himself models when His children are in need.

  1. The father created a comfortable, nurturing, grace filled environment
  2. He was approachable and gracious
  3. He knew his child
  4. He was willing to listen and risk
  5. He released him completely
  6. He was willing to wait to see change
  7. He was willing to accept, forgive and restore.

Children have wills of their own, which means we can do everything correctly and not have the result we hoped for. Yet, be assured that your investment is not made in vain. God is never surprised by what happens, and is ready to do the ‘impossible’ as we continue to seek Him. May He show us how to love our children as He loves and cares for us. In the words of Charles Swindoll, “Thank you for fulfilling your role with such devotion and faithfulness, even when you’ve run out of hope, energy, and ideas.”

by Dennis Cesare, M.A., LPC


This article taken from Ashland Church’s August 2013 Newsletter.