Gratitude

by Pastor Kent Carlson

30yearbash-54

I absolutely loved our church’s 30-year anniversary celebration weekend. I’m not completely sure why it was so profoundly satisfying and fun for me. I just know that it was perhaps the most enjoyable time I have had in thirty years of ministry at Oak Hills Church. Maybe it was because we were so very relaxed going into that weekend. Maybe it was because we weren’t really using the celebration for much of anything other than to have a party together. Maybe it was the amazing performance of the Oak Hills Rewind. Maybe it was seeing Rick Leary in long hair. Whatever it was, I had a blast.

The predominant feeling I have coming out of this celebration is gratitude. Thirty years is a long time to be in one place. In one church. There are so many stories, so many beautiful people, so many experiences of God’s grace and transformation. So many people who have sincerely sought to follow Christ in the midst of what seemed like impossible situations. And all these stories flooded over me, and I was, and continue to be, deeply grateful to God and to the people of Oak Hills Church, for all this goodness, all this beauty, all these stories that are a part of God’s great story of redemption. This Thanksgiving, without any effort at all on my part, but simply as the natural result of being overwhelmed by the goodness of God and the people of Oak Hills Church, I am deeply grateful. It’s a good feeling.

Now, on to the next thirty years!

I want to highlight two events to help us bask in the sheer delight of our 30-year celebration. First, we have our Annual Congregational Meeting and Vision Night on Thursday, November 20. We will worship together, meet our elders and vote to affirm them. We will talk about some of the challenges and opportunities in our future and have a time for questions and answers. We will have a scrumptious dessert. And most wonderfully, we will have a repeat of our Oak Hills Rewind. For those of us who have already seen it, we will be able to laugh all over again. For those of you who have never seen it, well, you are in for a treat. Please try to make this night a priority and let’s keep the celebration going!

Second, I want to encourage us all to come to our annual Thanksgiving Eve Service. We will worship together “in the round” and we will share together the Lord’s Supper. There will be ample opportunity to share with each other our deep gratefulness to God for all that He as done for us. I hope to see you all there.

With deep thankfulness,

Kent Carlson

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Mosaic: A Night with the Arts

“Another Kind of Love”

The problem with the word “love” is that it seems too small. The world’s romantic definition, while valid, seems to pale in comparison to the bigger love that Jesus taught and modeled in the Bible. The kind that loves enemies, that is patient and kind and other-centered, that cares for the poor and the marginalized. It is another kind of love altogether.

On October 6, we’ll be exploring “Another Kind of Love” through a variety of art forms in a once-a-year event we call Mosaic: A Night With The Arts. Mosaic is a special evening where we gather the best of what we do—music, drama, dance, literary arts, visual arts, and other artistic expressions from the people of Oak Hills. This year, our theme is “Another Kind of Love,” and we will offer many types of the arts in this vein, including lyrical and interpretive dances, a short story, photographic journalism, performance art, some edgy drama, and original music, from improvisational jazz to rock. Mosaic will be on Saturday evening, October 6, 2012, beginning at 6:30 PM for the Art Gallery reception and 7:00 PM for the program.

This year, we are pleased to present this as a benefit for one of our long-time ministry partners, the Twin Lakes Food Bank, a local organization which feeds thousands of people in the Folsom and surrounding areas. Admission is free, but we encourage everyone to bring non-perishable food items to replenish the stores at the Food Bank for this fall (you can also give money if you’d like too!) Free childcare is also provided for children third grade and below, but please RSVP to childrensministries@oakhills.org to confirm your children prior to that evening.

If you’ve been around Oak Hills awhile, you realize that the arts are an essential and normative expression of our faith. From our Intersections Conference to Arts Camp, from our Art & Soul Gallery in the lobby to our Sunday morning worship, the arts plays a big role in our church. This is a great opportunity to invite your friends and neighbors to a thought-provoking, artistically moving event, so we hope to see you all there!

 

Arts Camp 2012

by Sarah van Winkle

I have had the honor and privilege of being a part of Arts Camp since the very beginning. The very first year of Arts Camp, I participated as a camper in the Visual Arts 5/6 track. Some of my fellow campers included friends, Justin Luz and Julia Cross, with whom I am still friends with today. Our track emphasis was digital media arts and our infamous teacher, Matt Maszczak led us on a week of digital media-related activities and adventures. At the end of the week, our track had filmed and produced a short video starring PT Star and Matt as the Crocodile Hunter (corny accent and all) which was featured at the Friday Night Showcase.

One of the unique things about Arts Camp is the involvement of the arts in the lives of young children. There is something for every type of child! From the performance-based tracks of Drama, Dance, and Musical theatre; to the hands-on, cut, draw, and paint tracks of Visual Arts and Creative Craftsmanship and the newer tracks exploring the Culinary Arts; every child can participate in something that interests them.

Back in 2001, my 11 year old self was drawn to the track that used video cameras, computers, and editing software. Today, at 22 years old, I am a Graphic Design major and I still find cameras, computers, and editing software just as intriguing. My friend Julia will be graduating with a degree in Graphic Communications from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Justin has spent the last couple of years traveling the world working in print and film as an actor/model (Zoolander, anyone?). There is something very special about the three of us being exposed to the media design world at Arts Camp eleven years ago and now presently pursuing careers in similar fields.

The exposure to the arts aside, one of the things about Arts Camp that never ceases to amaze me is the intentional outpouring of Christ’s love that comes from the volunteers and staff of Arts Camp. For one week, children from all over the community, regardless of their circumstance, can come and experience the love of their Savior and come to know him by name. The value of being Christ to young children is eternal, which is why I am overwhelmed with gratitude for Arts Camp, the vision behind it, and the sacrificial volunteers and staff that makes it happen every single year.

2011 was a rough year for a lot of us involved with Arts Camp. The loss of friends, relatives, and immediate family members has left a lot of us feeling the painful sting of earthly death. One thing is for sure, the all-consuming joy that comes from knowing the Lord, even in seasons of loss, is our strength.

From a former camper, now teacher—to the Arts Camp staff:

I want to say thank you for this camp and the opportunity be a minister of love to children as well as be ministered to by “…your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3

I look forward to spending a joy-filled week with you.

Indoor Camp Out ~ Feb. 10/11

by Daniel Martin, Elementary Assistant, Children’s Ministries

This past weekend, January 14-16th, was Fusion Winter Camp for our Middle School and High School students. We went with four other churches up to Jenness Park to spend time in community with each other, to have fun, and to learn how to be people after God’s own heart. This was all beautifully achieved and the sea of students from different churches was a glorious sight, but as always, there was more going on below the surface.

One of the inconveniences of Jenness Park is the bad cell phone service, to be blunt: there is none! No service whatsoever; how terribly ancient of them to not have a cell tower nearby. How was I going to check Facebook? How was I supposed to keep up on the fun reality of the Kings never winning? How would I watch funny cat videos on YouTube? This was the scene that I would be living in for three WHOLE days!! The first night was annoying, the next morning was awkward, but by the afternoon, it was wonderful. Not only was I not constantly checking my phone, but none of the students were either, because we couldn’t. This was the sanctuary I had been longing for. Although there was Middle School girl drama and barf-y students, there was a sense of peace; a peace that only comes when there is no rush, no outside agenda, and no cat videos.

In a few weeks we will be hosting our 4th/5th Grade Indoor Campout. While not quite the same as Jenness Park, it has the potential to be. This is one of those just-for-fun nights. There’s no learning outcome, no objective, just good old fashioned “fake” camping fun, s’mores, and dumb camp songs. But beneath the surface, there is a larger story taking place. When we take time out of homework for a Friday night, and we ditch the Saturday morning soccer or basketball game, we are saying something; we are making an actual decision to admit that we run too fast and too hard and that it is okay to turn “off” sometimes.

February 10th/11th is right around the corner, so start turning those forms and flyers in, and grab a sleeping bag, flashlight, warm clothes, and toiletries to bring. Gaming and fun starts at 7:00 p.m. on the 10th and pickup is at 8:00 a.m. on the 11th.

Invite a friend, a neighbor, perhaps someone you’d like to know better. For more information contact me, Daniel Martin, and to sign up, grab a flyer at the Welcome Center or Spotlight Booth. See you at fake-camp!

HomeFront Monthly

by Colleen Gray, Children’s Ministries Pastor

“The best your children will learn about God will be from watching you try to find out for yourself.  Jesus said, “Seek and ye shall find.”  They will not always do what you tell them to do, but they will be-good and bad- as they see you being.  If your children see you seeking they will seek—the finding part is up to God.” 

Polly Berrien Berends, Gently Lead: How to Teach Your Children about God While Finding Out for Yourself

Parents are children’s primary teachers, and nowhere is that more true, then in spiritual formation.  If only the Bible gave us a scope and sequence to follow: teach this at this time and that at that time, this concept builds on that one, etc.  But the Bible’s instructions to parents are less about structure and more about lifestyle.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”  Deuteronomy 6:5-9

Children’s Ministries at Oak Hills is excited to offer another tool in helping parents create a spiritually forming lifestyle in the home through HomeFront Monthly.  This magazine is filled with articles and activities which are not about “doing more,” but rather about framing the things parents naturally do with some space for God to work. You can get your copy of this month’s HomeFront at the Spotlight Booth this Sunday, September 25th, or you can download it from this link.  Every month or so, watch for a notification that the next HomeFront is available and pick yours up.

We’d love to know what you think of HomeFront as well as what other things we can do to partner with you in your families spiritual journey, so give us your feedback.  colleen.gray@oakhills.org.

Meet the Thomsons

1. How did you hear about Oak Hills?

Dave: Actually we met Pastor Kent when he first came to Folsom to start Oak Hills. He visited with us in our home in Orangevale and shared the vision of Oak Hills.

Sharon: Before moving away from the area in the late eighties, our family attended Community Bible Church. Several dear families we knew from CBC were starting a new church and meeting at a storefront here in Folsom. We met Kent and even attended services a few times before we moved.

2. How long have you been attending Oak Hills?

Dave: We have been attending on regular basis for the past four years after relocating back to Folsom. We did however attend Oak Hills for years when coming back to Folsom to visit.

Sharon: We moved back to Folsom four years ago and have been attending Oak Hills ever since.

3. What was your first experience upon coming?

Dave: I was greatly moved by the authenticity of the people…..I mean people they were (are) just so friendly, warm and real. Great experience!

Sharon: I have four top priorities on my list in choosing a church to be a part of. They are: 1. Is the word of God being preached from the pulpit? 2. Am I and others freely able to worship God through the music ministry? 3. Is the church body passionate about its children and young people? 4. Am I able to serve and use the spiritual gifts God has given me? I found all of these to be true here at Oak Hills, and my expectations have more than been exceeded. I believe one of my Spiritual Gifts is teaching, and I am especially thankful and humbled to be able to teach fourth and fifth grade children during Prime Time. Last year, David and I helped with the Faith Foundations Class, and this year we had nine very special kids in class who have come to mean a lot to us. I have learned so much from teaching and from these children.

4. When/how did you make a decision for Christ?

Dave: Years before I made a decision for Christ Sharon & I converted to Mormonism. We were married in the temple and active in that church. While living in Orangevale in late 1978, a young man who was visiting our neighbors stopped by to talk as I was working in our pasture. Little did I know he had just returned from a six month training program in “how to witness to the cults” We talked over a three day period……from those discussions I committed one year of study to prove or disprove Mormonism and prove or disprove Christianity. My study lead to a decision for Christ in 1980.

Sharon: God has had a hand on my life from a very early age. My grandpa died when I was five, and I still remember how he comforted me through this tremendous loss. It was not until a few years later as a young teen that I made the decision to ask Jesus to be my Savior. My family attended a Methodist church while I was growing up in Orangevale. Our pastor, Reverend Anderson, was also our youth minister with lots of ideas and fun things for us kids to do. He also had a gift of knowing in what areas a person lacked confidence and could see right through any facade that might be used to mask that insecurity. That was true of me and the questions I had about God and where I stood with Him. During a youth meeting, he turned to me and looked straight in my eyes and said, “Sharon, God sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die for you.” In total disbelief I said, “Even for me?” “Even for you, Christ died.” God spoke through Pastor Anderson, and I made the decision to follow Jesus Christ that day.

5. Where were you born and raised?

Dave:  I was born and raised in Folsom. In fact my family came from Norway in 1874 and settled on a 90 acre ranch in Salmon Falls. My great uncle Karl Thomson was the first shoemaker in Folsom. My great uncle Fred Wales was one of the original Wells Fargo agents in Folsom as well.

Sharon: I was born in Deadwood, South Dakota. When I was three, my parents decided to move to California and leave the cold, snowy winters. We lived in Hawthorne and Anaheim before moving to Orangevale when I was in the third grade. I attended Orangevale School through seventh grade, Pershing for eighth grade, and then Bella Vista High School. After graduation, I earned an AA Degree from, what was then, American River Junior College. It was while I was working at the Folsom A & W during college that I met David. We were married a short time later, and that was over forty-two years ago.

6. Family info……..

Dave: wife Sharon, daughter Trista, son Eric, son-in-law Charles, grandson Cole and granddaughter Lauren. Sharon and I have been married for 42 years.

Sharon: David and I were married in the same church that I attended as a child and where I became a Believer in Christ. We have two adult children, Trista and Eric, a wonderful son-in-law, Chuck, and two special grandchildren. Cole is nine, and Lauren turned four in January. Right now, we do not have any household pets. Both of us really enjoy cycling on the many bike trails we are so fortunate to have here in the area. It is such great exercise, and spending time outside is an added bonus. Traveling, cooking, and working in our yard are other things I love doing.

7. What are you currently reading?

Dave: I am reading “I Heard the Owl Call My Name” by Margaret Craven. The book was written in 1973 and is a story of a young vicar who is sent to a remote Indian village in rural Canada and it is here where he learns the true meaning of serving God and His people. This is powerful book which I highly recommend.

Sharon: Currently, I am reading Dallas Willard’s Renovation of the Heart and Finding Divine Inspiration by J. Scott McElroy. My grandson just gave me a copy of a book he recently read and now wants me to read. It is The Red Pyramid and contains over 5oo pages!

8. If you could be anywhere right now where would it be?

Dave: You would find me living and traveling throughout France.

Sharon: Here on Earth, I would love to be vacationing in Europe, especially France, Scotland, and Ireland. We just finished watching the Tour de France for three weeks, and it reminded me of how much I would enjoy visiting the familiar, and not so familiar, sites there again. The hills in Scotland are gorgeous, and the Irish countryside and people are amazing.

9. Tell us something people would be surprised to know about you.

Dave: I am a Certified Pro Level Bicycle Mechanic and have recently opened a Bicycle Repair Shop in Folsom. I repair all types of bicycles and gladly accept bicycles which I can service, repair and donated to a variety of ministries and charities.

Sharon: Someday, I would love to write a children’s book and have it published. I have also thoughts at the back of my mind about owning and running a Bed and Breakfast.

10. Thing you are most proud of.

Dave: Most obviously I am proud of my family all of whom are followers of Christ. I am really proud to serve here at Oak Hills by teaching 4/5 grade Sunday School and Faith Foundations along with my wife. It is such a blessing to have an opportunity to work with kids and share Christ with them!

Sharon: That would by my family–my husband, son, daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren. I love them all so much!

11. My 15 Minutes of Fame occurred when…

Dave: I gave a presentation in Washington D.C. to the American Hospital Association on Quality Management Through Integration of Facilities Services Departments in Acute Healthcare.

Sharon: That would have to be during my college graduation ceremony when my husband and son walked with me across the stage, so we all could receive my Bachelor’s Degree and Teaching Credential together. As an older adult returning to school, I wanted to thank them for all of the support, love, and hard work it took for the whole family to help me realize a lifelong dream and goal.

12. Any fears (irrational or otherwise)?

Dave: Riding my bicycle down the Costco hill here in Folsom and having my brakes fade away……..

Sharon: I have great concerns for children today, especially those who do not attend church regularly, and all of the things they are exposed to in our society. It is so important for them to know what and why they believe and to build a solid foundation for their faith early in their lives. That is why I am so excited and passionate about being able to serve in Prime Time, assist in teaching Faith Foundations, and participate in Arts Camp.

13. My favorite verse:

Dave: Romans 5.5: “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

Sharon: “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6. Other favorites are Philippians 4:6-7 and Psalm 119:105, which is the Pioneer Girl scripture, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

Father/Daughter Dance

by Jeanna Robertson

Samantha, Brian & Andrea

When I think about the Father/Daughter Dance, I think of it as one of the joys that light up my daughter’s eyes and is a something she looks forward to each year.  It’s a night of getting dressed up, going out to dinner, and spending a little “daddy-daughter time.” Recently, as I was reminiscing about past dances, it became clear that it was so much more.

As a mom, it brings me pure joy knowing that from a young age, my daughter is able to experience joy, love, and adoration from the “main” man in her young life – her dad.  It might seem weird, but on the night of the Father/Daughter Dance, her daddy is able to set a wonderful example, and give my daughter a solid foundation on which to build her own self-worth.  It starts with her getting dressed in her fancy dress – out of sight from Daddy.  Next, she is picked up for her “date” and driven to the restaurant of her choice.  When they arrive at the dance, the two of them walk in arm-in-arm to enjoy the rest of this special evening.

Samantha has attended the dances with Brian each year she has been able.  She waits with anticipation for the dance, and every year after the dance, she asks when she will get to do it again.  These experiences have made a lasting impression on her.

This year will be more even joyous in my house; Brian will proudly bare a beautiful princess on each arm.  Our youngest daughter, Andrea, is now old enough to join Brian, and she has been looking forward to it for months.  Her face just beams when we talk about it coming up.  She has heard and seen the impact it has had on her sister and cannot wait to have her time with Daddy!  Not only will this be Andrea’s first Father/Daughter Dance, but this year, she gets to pick the restaurant and she can’t wait! It truly makes the evening even more special.

I think the dinner beforehand makes the night just that much more special.  It gives them alone time to laugh and be silly together.  Once the dance starts, the girls may prefer to run and dance with their friends or do crafts, but I think that’s okay.  It won’t take away from the wonderful moments, no matter how brief, the girls will share with their dad that night.

Brian and I both understand that these early years are crucial in our daughters’ formation.  In a culture that puts pressure on families and invites girls to grow up fast, it is good to enjoy family and demonstrate a healthy father-daughter relationship — not to mention being able to demonstrate the way men ought to treat women.  We are humbled to be a part of a church that recognizes this and provides such meaningful experiences for our family.

Editor’s Note:  Our Father/Daughter Dance is Friday, January 14 from 6:30-8:30 pm.  The cost is $12/couple and $5 for each additional daughter.  Buy tickets at the Welcome Center on Sundays or contact Colleen Gray, our Children’s Ministries Director, at 983-0182 x31.