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Advent Devotion // November 30th, 2014

What area you looking forward to this Advent season?

Throughout our lives, our expectations of the Christmas season changes. As children, we look forward to the gifts under the tree. As parents, we look forward to seeing our children’s reactions on Christmas morning. For many, the thought of reconnecting with family members not seen in a long time brings joy and anticipation. All of these things can bring moments of joy, peace, love, and hope; but they are just fleeting moments that will quickly pass and only come back in a memory. None of these things will last forever nor are they what the advent season is really about.

In this passage of Isaiah, the prophet alludes to the coming of a Savior. One who will bring peace and judgment to all peoples. He will bring light to those who listen and darkness to those who turn away. Jesus came to bring salvation that will last for eternity and return us to the true glory God designed for us to realize. This is what the advent season is about, looking back on the life of Jesus, God incarnate, and preparing our heart and minds for His promised return. As we reflect on Jesus life and purpose, may we also look at what we are spending our time looking forward to, is it eternity in heaven or fleeting moments on earth?

Written by Jennifer Riddle

 

May I Serve You – Devotion for May 20, 2013

Read: Deuteronomy 15:11

Camden, New Jersey. When you see the name of that city, what goes through your mind? I know for me, prior to working there I always would think of Camden as a city to fear, because violence, drugs, and poverty cover those streets. But little did I know my image of the city was not entirely correct.

I am a Division of Child Protection and Permanency case worker in Camden City. As I tell most people though my office is across from the police station, my job is on the streets of Camden, serving those who are violent, drug addicts and poor. And at the end of the day I may leave grateful I survived, but I mostly leave with a broken heart for the people of that city. And knowing that my God’s heart must break so much more for his people, only makes me desire to return the next day.

In my experience I have come to see the way some people live, in tent city, abandoned houses or under bridges, and had to remind myself I am still in America, and I am only a few miles down the road from my own home. My first case in my job was a family of five children and a single mother. And to be honest this mother made an accidental mistake, and did not abuse or neglect her children in any way. In fact, in my opinion she did everything possible to keep her kids thriving. Her home was on one of the worst alley’s in the city. Honestly, most people would hear this story and think, she must of made some bad decision that landed her there. But the truth is poverty is often not a choice. This woman was actually in a severely abusive relationship with her husband, and knew she had no other choice but to leave for the sake of her and her children’s lives. However she had absolutely nothing. She found out that she could go to school to become a nurse for free if she was a Camden resident, so with all of her children she had no choice but to live in a rundown home where she could afford rent. This family was by far one of the most respectful and positive families I have ever met. The second I stepped foot into their home, I knew God was calling me to utilize my position to shed some light into a dark situation. Through my job, we were able to provide uniforms for the kids for school, and beds so that each child had their own.

God doesn’t call us to ask the questions, or judge the circumstances that lead people to be poor. He only commands us to love the poor and give to them. As the verse indicates there will always be poor people in the land, and so we must be open handed toward them. Our job is not to think that we are better or more deserving than them. Because when it comes down to it we have what we have only because God has provided.

God is calling us all to stop judging the poor, or to not be fearful of them, and realize that they too are people who need to be cared for. And though I would not advise giving money to beggars, I would encourage offering to buy them a sandwich. Continuing to open handedly give generously will not just help another it will leave you feeling wealthier than ever.

Prayer and Worship: Listen to Leeland’s “Follow You”. And reflect on the words, and pray for God to show you where He wants you to follow Him.

Written by Sarah Johnson

May I Serve You – Scripture Reading for May 27, 2012

Luke 14:12-14 (NIV)

12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

May I Serve You – Scripture Reading for May 5, 2012

Jeremiah 29:6-7

New International Version (NIV)

Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

Lenten Devotion for March 3, 2012

Today’s Reading: Mark 3:31-35

Jesus’ mother and brothers had shown up out of concern because they thought he went “over the edge”. Someone in the crowd informed Jesus that they were asking for him. He responded by saying “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” Obviously Jesus is in no way discounting his family of origin as he acknowledges them. Rather he is expanding the meaning of family. While Jesus loved his mother and brothers, he also cared for those who loved him. He affords everyone the opportunity to obey God and become part of his family. A family that is fully accepting and doesn’t exclude anyone. As close as people are with their own families, that is how close He is to those who believe and follow him.

Challenge: Whom can we call brother and sister and mother?

Prayer Focus: Lord, help and guide me to be a good spiritual companion to my brothers and sisters. Let shared faith remain our surest bond. Amen!

David Riddle

Public Event – Release! The Healing Power of Forgiveness

On Saturday March, 3, 2012  Dr. Michael Barry will Present “Release! The Healing Power of Forgiveness,” which provides resources and education that encourage healing through forgiveness. We believe that learning to forgive can positively impact your physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health. To… that end, “Release! The Healing Power of Forgiveness” trains pastors, churches, communities and individuals how to forgive.
 

Light refreshments provided from 8am-9am. The event is 9am-12pm. Childcare will be provided. Please include in response if you will be needing childcare and for how many children.
 

Location: Ashland Evangelical Presbyterian Church

                  33E Evesham Rd.
                  Voorhees NJ, 08043-1168
                  Telephone:  (856) 429-8844

For more information, visit releasenow.org.

Ashland Youth Winter Retreats

WINTER RETREAT 2012!!!

That’s right we are having two winter retreats this year splitting the Middle school and the Sr. High groups into their respective age groupings.

Middle School Winter Retreat

Who: Grades 6-8 Students
When: Jan. 13-15 – We will leave as soon after school as possible on Friday, Jan. 13!
Where: Tel Hai Camp and Retreat in Honey Brook, PA.  http://www.telhaicamp.org/
Cost: $100 which includes food, lodging and activities for the weekend.
With: We will be going with the youth from Cross Keys UMC and Oreland EPC.
Sign Up: This retreat is rapidly coming upon us! Sign up and payments need to be made by Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012.

Sr. High Winter Retreat

Who: Grades 9-12 Students
When: Feb. 24-26 – Leaving as soon as possible after school.
Where: Camp Men-O-Lan, near Quakertown, PA. http://www.menolan.org/
Cost: $125 which includes food, lodging and activities for the weekend.
With: Cross Keys UMC, Oreland EPC, New Life Glenside and New Life Drescher.
Sign Up: Sign up and payments need to be made by Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012.

As always, we will be bringing our quality youth leaders along to help make the weekends a great and meaningful time. Click the following link for the Packing List and the required Medical Information form required to go.   Winter_Retreat_Info_Pack_Med_2012

Please make all checks out to Ashland EPC and please be sure to deliver payment to Ken Buck or a youth leader directly. Do not just place payment in the offering plate!

To sign up and make payment arrangements, please contact Ken Buck via your preferred form of communication:

856 669 7965 cell
kennethbuck@gmail.com
Facebook Messages works well too!

Upcoming Services, Events, and Opportunities….

Ladies Cookie Swap – Thursday, December 15th @ 7:00pm

Youth Christmas Party – Sunday, December 18th, 5:00 – 8:30pm

Youth Voorhees Pediatric Visit –  Wednesday, December 21st

Christmas Eve Service(s)  - 

                 Children’s Service  – Saturday, December 24 @ 5:30pm

                 Candlelight Service – Saturday, December 24th @ 11:00pm

Christmas Morning Family Service  -  11am (no Kid’s church or nursery)

New Year’s Day Service – 11am

New Members Class  – begins January 8th

Volunteer Ministry Fair – Sunday, January 15th between the services and following the second service

Middle School Winter Retreat – January 13 – 15th

Wednesday Night Programs Resume – January 18th

ABC Fundraising Luncheon – Sunday, February 12th after second service

Senior High Winter Retreat – February 24 – 26th