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This Summer in Sonlight!

June 7, 2018


Sonlight Newsletter

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of our newsletter for parents!

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By now most of our schedules have changed. Summer is a time for a break from the craziness that the school-year brings. My kids have always been involved in summer activities, but it is such a welcome break from school for us all. This summer the kids in Early Childhood-4th grade will be learning about the Beatitudes and the Armor of God. We are very excited for our summer programming in Sonlight.

As parents, helping our children understand the Beatitudes is not always easy. The Beatitudes teach us what it means to be blessed and they show us the attitudes that the followers of Jesus should have. To prepare your children for their summer in Sonlight, have a time of summer Bible reading together. Here are some of the readings that would help prepare your children:  Matthew 5:1-12, Matthew 7:9-11, Psalm 29:11 and Jeremiah 17:7.

Talk about the word “blessed” in the scripture. How many times does the word “blessed” appear in this scripture?

We are truly blessed to come alongside all of you as parents. My prayer for you is to have a blessed and relaxed time with your children this summer. Be spontaneous. Do something out of the ordinary. Have fun and enjoy your time as a family!


Marianne Watson
Children’s Ministry Director
Warsaw Community Church

making the connection | June 3, 2018

June 4, 2018

The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is one that people may have at least a vague knowledge of. But not because we’ve spent much time studying it as adults. No, most of us know about this trio from Veggie Tales or Sunday School flannelgraphs. But that’s pretty crazy if you stop to think about it for a minute. We teach this story to kids and all but ignore it as adults. These guys were removed from their families, forced to assimilate into Babylonian culture, pressured to worship false gods or die, and were thrown into a fiery furnace when they refused. Definitely not G-rated.

Sure, this story has good lessons for kids. But it’s also, or maybe more, important for adults. Their actions and beliefs were being questioned. They were facing intense pressure to conform to what the king wanted – “do what I say or die” style pressure. But they trusted God and didn’t back down: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)

Talk about an extreme example of faith. Doesn’t that inspire and challenge you? Don’t you wish you could boldly trust God like that? Unfortunately, our anxious thoughts usually get in the way. We start to think about the “what ifs” and get so worked up that we don’t even trust ourselves, let alone God. During times like this we have to pause and focus on God’s truth: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

But we shouldn’t stop at verse 7 because it’s hard just to stop thinking anxious thoughts and pray about everything instead. So, in between prayers, what can we do? Take the advice found in the next two verses: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me –  put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)

You know what’s true and pure and excellent? God. As we fill our heads with thoughts of God, what we know to be true about Him, and how we’ve seen Him work in our lives in the past, we will find that we trust Him more and more. We grow in our trust as we spend more time with God and get to know Him better. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew God. They knew what He was calling them to do and that He was with them. That’s how they were able to trust Him. Our prayer this week should be that we grow in our relationship with God and come to trust Him more and more each new day. – Sarah Neel

  • If you struggle to trust God, especially because of anxious thought, spend some time engaging with Philippians 4:6-9. You can dig in and study the verses, think and pray about them, memorize them, or put them up somewhere you’ll see them throughout your day, whatever way of engaging works for you.
  • Spend some time reading Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s story in the book of Daniel. As you read, be encouraged and challenged by their strong example of trusting God and God showing His faithfulness to them. Their story starts in chapter 1, and you can read through chapter 3 to see them stand up to the king and trust God.

Before I Die

May 29, 2018


When we get to the end of our lives and look back, who wants a list of regrets? What most of us want is a completed bucket list. But, at the core of who we were created to be, is it even more than that? Is it more than adventures, vacations, houses, and cars?

Join us for our next series, Before I Die… as we dig into some deeper questions to redefine our bucket lists. In light of eternity, what do I want to accomplish? Who do I want to be? What legacy do I want to leave? Before I Die.

Services are Sundays at 9 and 10:45am.

making the connection | May 28, 2018

May 23, 2018

Peter is one of those guys I would have wanted as a friend. I picture him as full of energy and always up for doing something crazy. As we examine Peter’s life before and after meeting Jesus, the changes are incredible and enduring. We have been looking at the impact we can have as we allow the Lord to guide us. The life of Peter should give us great encouragement.

To start, Jesus sees beyond a guy making a living as a fisherman. Jesus offers Peter an opportunity to join Him and learn what it means to seek out men, instead of finding where the fish are. So, Peter takes a chance and trusts Jesus enough to go with Him and leave the life he knows so well. Another reason I enjoy Peter’s life is because I can so identify with the mistakes he makes because of his eagerness. You can also see Jesus’ training methods as He responds to Peter’s miscues – instead of getting frustrated and kicking him out of the group, Jesus redirects him and gives him another chance to make a difference with his life.

As Jesus is nearing the time of His death, He shares some important things with those closest to Him. To Peter, He says that when the pressure is on you will deny even knowing me. Peter is outraged and defends himself saying that will never happen. And yet, when Jesus is taken away to be crucified, Peter is asked by a servant girl about being with Jesus, Peter chokes and denies Him.

But, this is not the end of Peter’s story. Because of the time and the truth that Jesus poured into Peter, we see him stand up and provide leadership for a scared group of Christ-followers in the book of Acts. Peter goes on to preach the Good News in spite of being imprisoned and multiple threats of being beaten.

So what was it about Peter that empowered him to keep moving forward and hang in there? We could easily say that he had the right personality or personal confidence. However, I would like to suggest something else that made the difference. It was because he had been with Jesus. This should give us all great hope, because if we can realize that it’s way more about what Jesus does through us, as we spend time with Him than what we bring. When we put ourselves in Jesus’ presence by focusing our time and thoughts on Him – we are changed. Jesus transforms ordinary people into ones that can be used to have an impact in other people’s lives. God doesn’t want us bringing big ministry plans to Him. Instead, He wants us to be willing to surrender our time, our abilities, and resources to Him for His purposes. To the extent that you do this, you will experience the greatest impact for the Lord with your life.                    – Scott Nieveen

  • How are you doing in spending time with Jesus? What changes do you need to make to create more space in your life for the Lord?
  • People who have followed Christ longer than you can be a real encouragement and help. Consider asking someone if they would be willing to meet with you, in order to help you grow and become more like Jesus.
  • And always keep in mind this truth about God’s work in our lives, He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

Fellowship Missions | Night of Hope & Inspiration

May 17, 2018

Please join us at the 3rd Annual Night of Hope & Inspiration to benefit Fellowship Missions. Our theme this year is “Come to the Table.” All are welcome!

We invite you to spend the evening with us celebrating all that God has done through the work of Fellowship Missions. You will hear about exciting, new ways we intend to serve those in need in our community that will lead to lasting life change. And you will have the opportunity to partner with us to transform lives in Kosciusko County and beyond!

Tickets are $75 each. Tables of eight can be purchased for $600. This is the best way to ensure preferred seating. We encourage you to reserve a table and bring your small group, colleagues, family, and friends. We also have great opportunities for sponsorship. If you are interested in sponsoring the event, contact Melissa at mdemopoulos@fellowshipmissions for details.

making the connection | May 20, 2018

May 17, 2018

Think of someone who has had a positive impact on your life. Often what sets apart these folks isn’t their success, their charisma, or their intelligence. Many times we’re impacted by their attitude in the midst of trials, and their ability to accept the hand they’ve been dealt in life. My Grandpa John was that way. I have come to know him mostly through stories shared time and again at family gatherings. I’ve heard so many stories of how, despite personal challenges and turmoil, he would go out of his way to encourage others and show them he cared. He was always upbeat and gracious. Even casual acquaintances remembered him long after he’d passed out of their lives.  While he was only in my life for my first 3 years, he made a lasting impact.

At the end of Genesis, we meet another figure who left a legacy thanks to his attitude and his willingness to accept what he’d be given (See Genesis 37-50). Joseph had every reason to seek revenge and lash out at others. He suffered a great deal throughout his life, yet his legacy isn’t that he got his revenge on his enemies. No, instead Joseph’s legacy is about resilience and forgiveness.  He truly believed that God’s greater plan was working itself out through his life, regardless of any setback. In Genesis 50:20, the moment came when he got the opportunity to crush the brothers who wronged him, and this is what he tells them: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” How many people would’ve stewed for years, letting bitterness root into their hearts, just waiting for an opportunity to get revenge? Yet, Joseph trusts in God’s purposes and he releases any anger he had. Without Joseph first laying down his legitimate personal baggage (and he did lay it down), God couldn’t have used Joseph to impact Israel. That’s why Joseph has had a lasting impact that continues to this day.

God wants to use us to impact others today and He can’t do it if we allow a bad attitude or a tough circumstance to ruin our outlook on life. Choose to trust in the Lord and let Him use you to bring healing and hope to others. Leave a legacy by choosing to believe that God’s greater purpose in your life is a good one. Allow that hope to shape your attitude and relationship to others. –Nate Metler

a mother’s day blessing

May 10, 2018

Today we pray a blessing

over all the women in our life

who can be considered a mother.

Help each one of them to be encouraged

and strengthened today.

Confirm in her heart daily

that the love she gives and the work she does

is valued and cherished.

Remove any feelings of guilt

that will be replaced with Your grace and forgiveness.

Calm every doubt, and strengthen her confidence

as she looks to You for guidance and wisdom.

Help her to love without limitations, Father.

Give her the strength and courage to persevere

in even the most difficult moments of her life.

Bless her with honesty, integrity, and a playfulness

that shows us she is human,

but let her eyes remain steadfast on You.

May You shine through her imperfections

that she may see the best way to impact her children.

And let her life overflow with all the blessings she deserves –

not just on special days,

but on every day of her life.


-written by Stephanie Cloud, WCC Creative Arts Administrator