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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.

 

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.

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)

 

 

As always Flower City was amazing this year. We had 26 students participate and more adult volunteers than we have ever had! We started with 10 adult volunteers who signed up in the winter and that number only grew as we got closer to camp.

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.”

 

I am writing today to fellow dads and moms, grandparents, and leaders of boys and men. I am being challenged more and more about how vigilant we need to be in protecting our families from the onslaught of attack on traditional marriage and family. The more confused our kids are about what is good, true, and wholesome love and intimacy the less likely they are to have good, strong marriages and families. I believe this is one of many reasons pornography, sexuality, and promiscuity are flaunted in today’s TV shows, movies, video games, and online.

I wanted to share with you some solutions that I have found to assist us in the war to keep our young men pure and to walk alongside them in this journey into manhood. I have a really great dad, but he didn’t know how to talk to me about sexuality and the issues of life that young men face. In turn I attempted to teach my boys lessons that I had gleaned through my growth in the Lord and my desire to pass along Biblical truths, but I know I could have done a lot better.

This current generation is dealing with a culture that is hostile to God’s word, purity, and even real manhood. I would like to focus this article on a number of items related to protecting ourselves and our children in the digital age.

 

 

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. 

 

This Simple Chorus

By Collin Zweigle

 

I write to you from the warmth of one of my favorite coffee shops in Rochester on a blustery Thursday following the infamous windstorm that blew through our region leaving felled trees, damaged homes and vehicles, and power outages in its wake. I feel prompted to write about storms. You, the congregation of Koinonia Fellowship are not unfamiliar with the story of health issues, long distance support, and love that is the life of Collin Zweigle and Megan Farrell. When I think about our life and I think about the storms we have already endured even in our early 20’s it can become quite overwhelming. I share this with you because I believe in the concept of vulnerability. Vulnerability is a key component of communion (the fellowship of the believers). The schedule of doctors visits seems endless, the worry of the financial strain needed medications will cause in the future is looming. How do you go to graduate school and provide for your family? These are just a few of the questions and issues we find ourselves facing in this portion of a storm that has waves of intensity and moments of calm, but never really goes away. 

This is the reality of life. We have our doubts, our struggles, and our questions. We have the moments where we think and even cry out, “Oh, God where are You now?” I think of the writings of David, when in great moments of depression and fear he would cry out to God. Recently I have been finding comfort and encouragement in the intense and often “angry sounding” music of rapper NF. This simple chorus: 

“Oh Lord, oh Lord, do You see us down here?

Oh Lord, oh Lord” 

Backed by soothing piano chords and synth sounds this music just meets me in those moments. 

Later on in the bridge of the song these lyrics hit me pretty hard:

“You see the same God that you saying might not even exist

Becomes real to us, but only when we dying in bed

When ya healthy it's like, we don't really care for Him then

Leave me alone God, I'll call you when I need you again

Which is funny, everyone will sleep in the pews

Then blame God for our problems like He sleeping on you

We turn our backs on Him, what do you expect Him to do?

It's hard to answer prayers when nobody's praying to you”

So often I find myself forgetting to pray in those moments when everything is going well, and then something happens, or I am reminded of the weight that these medical struggles are on Megan’s heart and mind and I get woken up, reminded to pray. The lyrics of this song, and the realization of my own patterns and habits make me wonder how much easier would it be if I just maintained a regular, steady connection with the One who knows me best and loves me most. I don’t want there to have to be some serious situation that reminds me to pray, I want to just pray anyways. I want to be praying already and then, just continue the conversation with the King. He’s always listening, why don’t we talk to him more? 

Recently I have been challenged to go into the secret place and to let that fuel my worship leading and my ministry. Will you go there with me? I challenge you to find that secret place where you meet with God naturally and comfortably. Start there and then continue the conversation as your day goes on. This is one of my goals for the Spring. Consider making it yours. 

 

 

 

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”.

 

 

How important is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead? The apostle Paul sees the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead as being the peg upon which the gospel hangs. “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures: and that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, He was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all He was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-8)   

Because the resurrection of Jesus was being questioned, Paul launches into a lengthy discourse about the importance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the Christian faith.

 

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)

 

 

A Matter of Life and Death                     

By Lynn Metier                          

Could anything have been more unfair or seemed more WRONG than the brutal murder of Jesus Christ?  It was demanded by the Jewish religious leaders and perpetrated by the highest civil authorities in the region, but they broke many of their own moral and legal laws to accomplish it! The trials were a total mockery of justice; the accusations, completely and utterly false. The violence - the Almighty Creator of the universe mercilessly beaten, bloodied, spat upon, and mocked at the hands of His creatures for whom He was suffering and dying! Jesus was completely innocent of all the charges made against Him.  He was perfect, sinless, righteous, and always obedient toward His heavenly Father and gracious toward His fellow man. Jesus is the only one born of a woman who NEVER sinned and, therefore, did not deserve to die; but His death is the most noteworthy in all of human history. "Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; He was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgression of my people was He stricken. Yet it pleased the LORD to crush Him, putting Him to grief ". (Isaiah 53:4,5,8,10) 



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