Monday, July 19, 2010

Education Day 2010

Education Day 2010 came and went with a bang. This year, South Brooklyn's focus was "True Education = Education for Eternity". We wanted to nail down the point that salvation is tied to your knowledge of God. Education alone isn't sufficient, education that recognizes the God of Heaven is.

Three of our own graduates preached for Education Day: Chrystal Goulding, Davin Scott, and Kiarra McQueen. They are a representation of our younger membership (graduating from primary school, middle school, and high school). They did an excellent job and should be very proud of themselves. Their preparation and insight was apparent throughout their sermons.

We're happy to have as many visitors in attendance as we did, but also recognize that some of our friends, members, and interested guests could not make it out to the church. We have videos from our YouTube page for times like these, so the videos are below for you to view.

Aren't our youth outstanding? They make you feel proud that there are children who still believe in God. Their parents, teachers, and friends are proud of them.

We have year-round training at South Brooklyn that can prepare your children to do the same as these young ones have done. Why not come and see? We have friendly, eager teachers with lively classrooms. We have a photo album on Facebook that shows some of the activities. We even have a children's choir!

I hope the videos above have blessed you. Feel free to pass them on to others so that thy, too, can be blessed.

God bless you, as you bless others.
Elder Scott Hampton

Friday, July 9, 2010

Vacation Bible School

Children across America have been looking forward to the end of June since the beginning of September. They all know that the end of June equals summer, and that means vacation. Time to drop the books and uniforms and get ready to play!

Well, life isn't all about playing, and summer isn't about doing nothing. The children need something constructive to do with their time and talents. True, children need to play. And it's also true that they need recreation. But temperance should prevail: don't give them too little to do and don't give them too much to do.

We at South Brooklyn believe that one of the most wholesome activities children can immerse themselves in during the summer months is Vacation Bible School (or just VBS for short). Our VBS this year is based on the "Castles & Crowns" evangelism curriculum. It runs for two weeks, from June 5 to July 16, 2010, from 8:30AM to 1:00PM. During that time, the children sing Bible songs, play Bible games, engage in physical activity like bike and skateboard riding, meet new friends, create arts and crafts, and make new friends, all under the watchful eyes of dedicated staff in a Christian environment.

You should see the children. They're enjoying themselves so much they don't want to go. Instead of reciting the words to songs that talk about negative lifestyles they're singing about Jesus being good to them. Instead of talking about the Diary of a Wimpy Kid they're talking about King Joash. Instead of running the streets they're riding bikes and skateboards.

Click the white triangle to see a slideshow

Elder Marcia Phillip, our Sabbath School Superintendent, implemented the program this year. She is supported by Sisters Diana Cato, Akesia Phillip, Anika McShine, Akilah Phillip, and a few volunteers. They are responsible for sharing Jesus Christ and a safe, Christian environment with your children.

Do you have children that would benefit from such a program? Maybe you know someone with children who would do well to enroll their children? Come out and join us. Spread the word. It's better for your children to be in such an environment instead of places where they would not get the same nurturing.

There's only one week left, so take advantage of the opportunity while you can. Once it's over there won't be another VBS until next year. We have a graduation planned at the end for all of the children who participated. Why not come out and support them? They would love it. (Stay tuned for details of the graduation.)

God bless you, as you bless others.
Elder Scott Hampton

Friday, July 2, 2010

Not Independent, But Dependent

The United States of America is getting ready to celebrate Independence Day, but many Americans don't feel independent or free. They feel trapped, or enslaved, because they are without sufficient income, a decent job, a reasonable outlook, and are oppressed by financial worries. Such a burden makes them feel as if they are held captive by stress, colonized by woe.

Lifestyles have changed drastically since the economic collapse. Once thriving households are now single-parent income, not double-parent income (some have no working parents). Vacation plans have been scrapped because rent can't be paid. Nights out on the town have been replaced with meager dinners at home. Many areas of individuals lives are made to suffer because of a lack of sufficient income.

Thankfully, unemployment benefits became a reality for many, offering a cushion during the trying months of unemployment. Families were able to depend on the weekly benefits to make it through. Rent was able to be paid, Metrocards were purchased so job-readiness training could ensue, tithe was returned, and other activities could happen. Such was the case for a while. At some point, though, the money to fund unemployment benefits ran out. Lights out, the show's over.

Temporary extensions did materialize, but they were not to last. For whatever series of complex political and economic reasons, the decision to reinstate and/or continue unemployment benefits for the millions of unemployed could not be made. That, coupled with the lack of sufficient jobs for workers, created a devastating situation for the American people, New Yorkers in particular.

Next week, Congress will be taking a week-long break. If the house and Senate cannot come to a positive decision before then, another week of missed benefits will be the reality for the unemployed whose benefits have been terminated. Another week with no money means it will be harder to eat. It will be harder to make ends meet. It will be harder to sleep at night, too.

Why should you care? Laughably, for many reasons. One reason is that you may be next! There is no such thing as job security anymore. Even "good" jobs, like working for the city or state, are not guarnteed anymore. Another reason is that we are our brother's keeper. We have a moral obligation to assist them when they fall upon hardships like these.

So, what can we do? Why not turn to the most effective strategy available to us, as Christians? Let's pray and depend on God. Let's all join together and ask the God of heaven to work the situation out on behalf of the unemployed. For five days straight—July 5th through July 9th—let's pray once per day to God, asking Him to:
  • Restore unemployment benefits to those who are without until they find work
  • Open up a job for the unemployed so that they can resume a normal American way of life
  • Heal the nation's economy so that fear and lack of faith doesn't drive many to despair
  • Allow the unemployed to see God's Hand of Mercy throughout this ordeal
We don't know how God will resolve the issue, but we know that he will resolve the issue. This is a time to depend on God, even more than before. Let's turn the matter over to Him and await a positive answer. Whatever the outcome, trust that God is in charge and is doing the best thing for us all.

God bless you, as you bless others.
Elder Scott Hampton