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Parents Beware

By Pastor Domenico Danesi

 

There are two men in the book of Acts chapter 5 whose names rhyme, Theudas and Judas. These men are mentioned by the Pharisee Gamaliel in defense of leaving the Apostles to themselves and letting time determine if their work is from God. The apostles refused to stop teaching and preaching Christ and the High Priest along with the Sadducees were concerned. Gamaliel then speaks up. “Then he addressed them (the men of the council): ‘Men of Israel, take care in regard to what you propose to do concerning these men (the Apostles). For before our time there arose Theudas, asserting himself to be a person of importance, with whom a number of men allied themselves, about 400; but he was killed and all who listened and adhered to him were scattered and brought to nothing. And after this rose up Judas the Galilean, during the time of the census, and drew away a popular following after him; he also perished and all his adherents were scattered.’” (Acts 5:35-37 Amplified, emphasis added)

We as parents need to learn from Theudas and Judas. Who our children “hang with” matters. Both Theudas and Judas lost their lives and the people who followed these men were scattered. Notice Judas drew away a popular following after him (verse 37). Your child is going to be like those they are around. God designed us to be imitators. Have you ever noticed that someone who moves down south after a while develops a southern accent? Why? That’s what they are around and eventually it rubs off and is adopted. This holds true for both words and actions.

If your children are friends with mischievous children, they likely will be mischievous. If they have been around liars, they too will likely start to lie. If they have friends who are kind, you will probably see your children become kinder. No proverb speaks louder to me as a father than 13:20: “He that walketh with wise men will be wise: but a companion of fools will suffer harm.”

Your child’s circle of friends matters a great deal. Is there a Judas or Theudas that has befriended them? Parents beware; you must take action of some sort or your child could end up being harmed in some way. Counsel your children to befriend like-minded children, followers of Christ. We do not want to alienate our children, but rather insulate them with good counsel, prayer, and the word of God. Encourage them to reach out to the lost but develop relationships with the saved.

I am all about souls being saved, but do not deceive yourself into thinking that your 8 or 10 year old is hanging with “Johnny mischief” to redeem him, unless they really are. (It is possible, but not likely.) Encourage your children to pray for the lost and hurting, but instruct them to not be unequally yoked with them. The last thing any parent wants is their child to be a causality of a “Theudas or Judas”. Keep praying, keep feeding them the word, keep instructing, counseling, and loving your children. It’s worth it. We are praying for your family.

 

Worship is something that we talk about a lot in the Christian community, but unfortunately it is something most people rarely fully understand. When someone comes up to me on a Sunday morning and tells me that they loved worship that morning, I have to wonder if that person truly understands the meaning of that word. We, as finite human beings, like to put things in little boxes so they are easier for us to comprehend. But, as we can see from the Scriptures, worship does not fit neatly into a small, tightly wrapped box. In the next few months I want us to go on a journey together to uncover the true meaning of worship and how that should affect our everyday lives. 

To discover the truth about this topic, I believe we first need to start with some misunderstandings we have about worship and look to the Scriptures to find the final truth.

About midweek during VBS, the Lord showed up in a group of children’s lives in a real & applicable way. It was a beautiful thing to watch take place! There was a child, not a Christian, who had been invited by another child, a Christian, to attend VBS. The Christian child started gravitating toward who they knew & were familiar with in fellowship. This left the invited child a little bit of an outsider. It was clearly unintentional. During snack time, the invited child had done something odd with their food. This was probably to gain attention from the rest of this group. Another child made a comment that that bothered them, and the rest of the group joined in on some teasing. The invited child’s feelings were hurt and tears began to flow (including mine that had to be held back). Very quickly, this group of children acknowledged the hurt feelings, each apologized and each asked individually for forgiveness. This was of their own doing (no adult instruction), clearly prompted by the Holy Spirit. The tears were wiped dry and smiles appeared! The following day, this group of children clearly took this seriously and made sure that the invited child was made to feel included and loved for the rest of VBS. One child even told me the day after that they couldn’t stop thinking about it the night before and was praying.
Ava Fair (4th and 5th grade crew leader)

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2

As I sit here trying to decide how to begin this update, many things are whirling around in my mind, making it hard to choose a direction to go in. It’s been awhile since I’ve written and much has transpired.  Patients have come and gone; our missionary team shrank dramatically and only now begins to grow again; the hospital staff I work closely with continue to push through times of slow growth and uncertainty; Nigeria as a country remains stuck in economic recession and political apprehension as the president is hidden out of sight unwell; and in my own heart I see signs of maturation, proof that life has not been static! Yet as I write out details, hoping to draw you into the going-on’s of Egbe, I find myself hitting the delete button and watching the words erase in reverse, specifics that can’t capture the essence of what I want you to see.

As in life, there are times when details blur the bigger picture, when particulars distract from the central message. There are times when the only perspective that genuinely  reassures is the one that comes from above. So what is that view?  From my current position, I think it’s this: God is active and on the move!

By Anthony Salvaggio

Can you believe it? September is already here! Do you know what that means? Accelerate is back! Our team is super excited about what the Lord has planned for our youth. As a leadership team, we have taken the last few months to refresh, reflect, plan, and pray.

As we launch out into this new season of Accelerate here at Koinonia, our vision as a team is: “We are committed to making disciples of Jesus Christ and seeing the power of God unleashed through the lives of our youth.” 

As youth leaders we are here to model, mentor, and equip our youth in Christ-like character, sound doctrine, and effective methods to reach the lost and make disciples of their own. To do this we will follow the model given to us in Scripture found in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: 

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

And the model given by Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20:

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”

 

“One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, ‘There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?’” (John 6:8-9 NKJV)

Have you ever asked yourself the question, “How could a perfect God use me?” Or perhaps you’ve wondered, “How could an almighty God use what I have, my gifts or my abilities?” If you have, you are not alone! 

During this time Jesus was becoming increasingly popular. So much so that huge crowds would follow Him around from place to place. People witnessed the many miracles of Jesus healing the sick, the blind, the lame. The crowds were anxiously following Him because they were needy and hungry. Can you relate to being needy and hungry? Physically, emotionally, or spiritually? 

 

 

Introducing EQUIP

By Pastor Ben Hiwale

Do you want to go deeper in your understanding of God’s word? Do you want to live authentically as a true disciple of Jesus Christ? At Koinonia Fellowship, our desire is to foster a church community where believers can belong, grow and serve. On Tuesday, September 12 we will launch Equip - a series of in-depth, classroom-style courses that will strengthen your faith and challenge you to pray, engage, and share the truth of the gospel with those around you. 

 

By Pastor Domenico Danesi

The fall is here. The air is cooler, the days are shorter, and the Fall Festival is slated for Saturday, October 14th from 11am - 4pm. The Fall Festival has drawn a wonderful community response the last two years and we are praying that continues. God has so graciously planted Koinonia Fellowship in a spot where there is much land to be utilized. The “Gospel Gazebo” is the platform for our musicians and speakers. The softball field will be utilized for pony rides, the bounce house, duck pond, prayer tent, pumpkins, face painting and several other activities. The Father’s Heart will be on hand passing out free meals from noon - 2pm. Last year they served over 300 free meals to the community and our church family! 

Everything about the festival is free. “Freely receive, freely give”. Do you remember in Acts 3 when the lame man was waiting at the Gate called Beautiful? He asks for a donation and the response of Peter and John is this: “Then Peter said, ‘Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.’” (Acts 3:6) The best thing in life is free, eternal life! 

 

by Lynn Metier

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth Ephesians 6:10-14a

(Part 1 in a series on Spiritual Warfare)

Believers are exhorted to both “take up” and “put on” the whole armor of God, and the Greek tense used urges immediate action. It is not enough to merely know about, or have the armor, but it must be properly worn to be useful. Three times in the chapter Paul links the necessity of wearing the full armor with the ability to “stand firm” and resist the devil and his evil schemes. For Christians the spiritual battle against Satan is to be continuous and all-out warfare until Jesus comes, since the word “finally” in verse 10 can also be translated as “from now on”.

 

Ilysia Martin

If you told me 5 years ago that I would be a married woman serving as a worship director at a church, I would have never believed you. My life has taken quite a few twists and turns in the journey to get me where I am at today. But that is just how God works isn’t it? He takes our best made plans and proves that He has something much better in store for us.

I have always called Rochester my home. I have lived here my whole life and my entire family is from the area. In 2012 I began my first year at Roberts Wesleyan College as a piano performance major. I was really unsure about what I wanted to do with my degree, but I felt like music was the only thing I knew how to do. The first year and a half were tough. I went through a season of depression and doubt and I started to question everything I had previously accepted. I did not know what to do with my life and I felt broken. But this brokenness led me to the feet of Jesus. 

 

Dear Koinonia,

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV)

By Pastor Domenico Danesi

One of the wonderful things about the gospel is that there are no generational gaps with it. This year’s crusade includes 11 men ranging from 22 years of age to 64 years of age, which is a 42 year span from youngest to eldest team member. The “Good News” of the saving grace of God is the same to them all! I am also reminded of a command from Paul to his spiritual son Timothy: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2) Did you catch it? Paul to Timothy to other men. Three generations are mentioned. The cycle of the gospel is endless. We have been entrusted with it and are to pass it on. It is the everlasting gospel.

 

It’s that time of year again. From July 10-14 the children will take over the grounds of Koinonia Fellowship and God will be pleased that they are. 

Crazy hair, fun music, crafts, snacks, games, bible stories and more! Our VBS theme this year is Maker Fun Factory - “Created by God, Built for a Purpose”. The Lord has granted me the privilege of serving in 11 Vacation Bible Schools at Koinonia Fellowship. This is my fourth year directing the VBS and each year has brought a special flavor for the week.



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