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

Advertisements

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!