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Going Pro?

       My child is not going to be a professional athlete.  Read that sentence again.  My child is not going to be a professional athlete.  Your child is not going to be a professional athlete.  The kid across the street, that dominates opposing teams, is not going to be a professional athlete.  Let's just face it, that's a fact.  Having a professional athlete is like catching lightning in a bottle...literally.  The chances of being struck by lightning in your lifetime (1 in 12,000) are significantly greater than the chances of being a professional athlete (1 in 24,550).  Think about all the people you know that have been struck by lightning and let that comparison sink in...

       So what difference does this make?  It has to change the way we view sports and other recreational activities.  Simply keeping this thought in the forefront of our minds keeps us from losing focus on what's really important.  Things like teamwork, humility, passion, discipline, respect, leadership, and commitment are all more important than the development of a particular level of "talent."  Because no matter how many games one plays, how difficult the competition is, or what kind of equipment one takes an absurd amount of God-given talent to be a professional athlete.  As a new season of sports ends and others begin, let's keep this in mind when cheering on a team, yelling at a referee, encouraging a student's actions, or skipping a practice.  What's really important?

Discussion questions with middle school students: Do you feel like you're too active in something? What's the most important thing in rec activities? What things have you learned from playing? How do you balance reality, hopes, dreams, and what God calls you to be?

Posted by Calvin Bryant with

IHN Serves Homeless Families

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice Hospitality         Romans 12:13

Several times a year, ZPC hosts a group of people in our church building. Two of these times are coming up in the next couple of weeks—the men’s and women’s Great Banquets. Individuals sleep here in our building. Meals are provided in the kitchen. Rooms are made up with beds and makeshift night stands. This is something we’ve been doing at ZPC since the early 90s. In November, ZPC will have an opportunity to do this for a group of families who are experiencing homelessness through an organization called Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN), a national, faith-based, organization whose mission is to provide temporary, emergency shelter for homeless families.

Mary Leman, one of the program coordinators, thinks this ministry is a great fit for ZPC. “I knew this ministry sounded exactly like who we are as Christians. It's been said, 'this is in ZPC'S DNA!' In addition, I know we, as Presbyterians may be a reserved group, but I say, do not confuse that with apathy. All you need to do is show us a need or ask for help, and we will drop everything to show God's love.”

Each week up to fourteen homeless individuals are provided with housing at network church facilities. During the day, guests stay at a day center in downtown Indianapolis, where they receive social services. Older children attend school. Between 5 pm and 6 am, local congregations serve as hosts on a weekly rotational basis, providing lodging, meals, and hospitality. ZPC will host for the first time from November 8 through November 15, 2015.

I asked Mary why she was draw to IHN. She said, “here is the opportunity to reach out to people in our community who are in need right now, and help them lift themselves up today. I was especially drawn to the opportunity to keep families together and provide a safe, stable environment for the children. I am delighted that my own children, aged 5, 8, and 10 years old, can be a part of IHN and can learn how to share Christ's love by volunteering and helping the families feel welcome.”

Volunteers are the heart of the program. As Mary mentioned, opportunities exist for people of all ages to serve including:
            >          Setting up guest bedrooms in the church
            >          Cooking and serving meals
            >          Playing with the children and helping them with homework
            >          Staying overnight with the families
            >          Providing transportation to and from the day center
            >          Tearing down guest bedrooms
            >          Doing laundry
            >          Donating food items and supplies or making a financial donation to purchase needed items
            >          Most importantly, demonstrating Christ’s love

IHN continues to work with these families after they are no longer in crisis. Mary says, “I feel great about the entire program and especially the follow up each family receives afterwards to make sure they don't fall victim to homelessness again.”

“IHN puts those needy families right before us, within our walls, where we can be the hands and feet of Christ in our own church home. In truth, I feel we are blessed that these families would allow us, complete strangers, to serve them and trust us during this difficult time in their family's life. In being true disciples of Jesus, others will see the light within us and be touched.”

Posted by Sally Bias with

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