April 3rd, was a SUPER Sunday in our church. Thirteen young people have chosen to become members of Elkhorn Hills and gave vows to support our church through their prayers, presence, gifts, and service. They spent the last 12 weeks working with Youth Director and Confirmation leader Jenny Louis and their mentors to learn about Creation, Sin, Redemption, Worship, the Sacraments, the United Methodist Church, and Living a Holy Life. They are making a choice to grow in their faith. Our prayer is that they find Heroes throughout the Bible and in life to help them in their faith journey.
The confirmation youth also helped with the service. Several youth members handed out bulletins for the service. Bailey Klanderud and Ashleigh Ritter led the children’s sermon. The Children’s Choir, led by Heather McBeth, sang two great songs during the service and the church was filled with loved ones for the special day.
Congratulations to these newest members of our church family: Megan Bruner, Bella Crisman, Drew Dunham, Bailey Klanderud, Jacob Landers, Kathryn Lytle, Jaxon Morgan, Ethan Murphy, Ashleigh Ritter, Jaycee Schutte, Josh Uehling, Allen Walla, and Bella Wiles.
Each confirmand was assigned a mentor. These mentors attended class each week, completed the homework, led discussions, and guided each young person through this process. A HUGE THANK YOU to Valeri Parrish, Brian Spangler, and Darla Langendorfer for their service to Elkhorn Hills, their devotion to this confirmation process, their love of Jesus Christ and their compassion and caring for these young people.
Youth Director Jenny Louis gave an uplifting message about Super Heroes. She asked these questions:
- WHO ARE THE HEROES IN YOUR LIFE AND WHY?
- DO MY HEROES POINT ME TOWARDS THE CROSS?
The confirmation class was asked those questions and here are some of their responses. The most frequent response given was that “mom” was their hero. Other heroes included my grandpa and my Tae-Kwando instructor.
The mentors also answered the same question: Brian Spangler’s hero is his wife (Nici Spangler) because she shows unconditional love, she’s supportive, honest, nurturing, a spiritual partner and trustworthy and also her accountability. Darla Langendorfer said her first hero is Mother Theresa, because she was kind, compassionate, loving, caring and, above all, she was selfless. Her second hero is Dori from Finding Nemo, because she was kind and selfless and she got Nemo back home safe! Valeri Parrish’s hero is her dad because he showed such courage when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer at age 66. He fought a tough 3 year battle with cancer and never complained. He went through painful treatments and surgery and yet he kept living his life fully with joy.
As you can see, our heroes come in different forms. Most of the reasons given for these heroes include being kind, courageous, helpful, and loving. This leads to the next question, Do my heroes point me toward the cross? All around the sanctuary are faith statement posters prepared by the confirmands and mentors. It shows you what they believe in and what they want to know more about as they continue their faith walk and grow in their knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Amazing Stories of Faith
Here are some of the Heroes from the Bible.
Abraham. God set Abraham up to be one of the major heroes in scripture. God made him a hero because God saw in him a special trait – Faith. Romans 4:9 tells us that “… Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness.” In Romans 4:12, it says, “he is the father of (those) who walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had…” Faith is a highly-valued commodity to God.
“…without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
Esther. The book named for her is the only one in all of Scriptures that never mentions the name of God, yet in Esther’s life the Lord’s will and hand are ever visible. Esther was born in exile and raised by her cousin Mordecai. She was chosen by the king for her beauty to be a faithful queen and raised out of the low position of the Jews in Persia to one of prominence. In this position, Esther remained a faithful woman of God, fasting and praying while still maintaining devotion and submission to her king husband.
Deborah. You may not know who she is, but Deborah was a unique judge and her story can be found in the book of Judges. She was different than any of the other judges mentioned in the Bible. For example, the Bible speaks nothing but praise for her faith and actions in her service of her God. Most judges in the Bible were called to go to war as military commanders. But not Deborah; she went as an encouragement. She’s called a judge because she helped settle disagreements with one another–an arbitrator. Deborah was also a prophetess and she sang praise to God. But, Deborah isn’t a hero because she’s a judge or a prophetess. She’s a hero because she allowed God to use her for something special. She was used by God to help solve crisis.
John. He is sometimes called the “Beloved Disciple.” John, with his brother James and Peter, was one of the three chief disciples. He witnessed Jesus’ first resurrection, the Transfiguration and Jesus’ prayers in Gethsemane. But, John did not flee like the others, nor strike out with his sword like Peter – instead, he suffered with Jesus. At the foot of the cross, he stayed until Jesus commanded him to take care of Mary, his own mother. With Peter, John healed a lame man in the Temple and was thrown into prison. Paul calls him a “pillar” of the church.
And, one of my favorite stories is of David. A shepherd boy, an everyday guy, who is called by God to be a king. He looked out at a situation that seemed impossible, and then believed it WAS possible. David’s life is a story of break and renewal. As a boy, he was a strong and brave shepherd who ended up defeating a giant at war. As a teenager who knew the throne of Israel was to be his, he never once lifted a hand even as Saul tried to kill him. In his sin as an adult, he confessed and wept, yet wrote most of the book of Psalms.
JESUS IS MY SUPER HERO. You see, Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, real and fictional. These heroes may not wear a cape or be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, or be able to cook you a meal or help you with homework, but they do stand up for God and His beliefs. God calls His people to LIVE by faith. That implies that not just any old faith is going to do. God wants a faith that changes how we live.
As you go out this week, I challenge you to put on an imaginary cape and go out and be a Hero to someone else. Be still and see where God is leading you to do great things, and live by the faith that can change your life. Maybe, just maybe, you will be a Hero to someone in your life or someone you don’t even know. Amen.
Thank you to Scott Avery for these fantastic photos of the confirmation service!