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

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.

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.