June Prayer Update

prayer-update

Dear Prayer Partners,

In Jeremiah 33:3, Jesus says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Our staff at CEF is grateful for your faithful intercession as together we call to the Lord on behalf of this ministry.

Praises:
• We praise God for the seven teenagers committed to being summer missionaries. Last week we were at Columbia International University in Columbia, SC for a week of intensive training with other teens from around the state. This week our staff is leading local training during the mornings and then in the afternoons the summer missionaries are being supervised as they teach the children in summer Good News Clubs. While we will have the first week in July off and then clubs will resume for the remainder of July.

Prayer Requests:
• Pray for the summer missionaries. Pray for their safety as they travel to clubs, for good health and daily stamina, for a spirit of oneness in Christ, for their own personal lives to be deeply enriched during our weekly Bible study, and for God to use the summer missionaries to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
• Pray for the Summer Good News Clubs and ask God to prepare the hearts of the children to receive Him and to be discipled.
• Pray for our staff and specifically that God would provide strength, endurance, health, joy, and quietness in Him during these busy summer months of maintaining the office, mentoring the summer missionaries, and preparing for ministry in the upcoming school year.
• Pray for additional churches to cast the vision to their congregations to partner with us for a Good News Club. Pray also for additional community partners both for volunteers and financially. Continue to ask God to send out workers into his harvest field and that more believers will be convicted of God’s Word, “Even so it is not the will of your Father, which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.”

Thank you for joining us in prayer and experiencing the presence of God and inviting His presence into our lives and circumstances.

B. J. Bateman
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

May Prayer Update

prayer-update

Dear Prayer Partners,

Ephesians 3:20-21 says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” Our God, who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, has brought a group of teens who will serve as summer missionaries with the ministry. We’ve had a day of training on how to share the Gospel and we’re excited about this year’s team. How we praise God for His faithfulness, His provision, and for the teens who will teach the children in summer Good News Clubs throughout the Upstate.

Praises:
• We just completed the stats for this school year. It has been a tremendous year of evangelizing and discipling children in a Good News Club in every elementary school where a principal gave us permission. Join us in praising God for…
o 115 school clubs in 95 elementary schools
o 20 community clubs
o 1,698 volunteers
o 9,035 children
o 953 salvations
• We had our annual golf tournament on May 15th at The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards. We praise God for golfers who played, for the many sponsors who supported the tournament financially, for the volunteers who served, and for the beautiful weather! The money raised through this golf tournament will help meet the financial needs of the ministry.

Requests:
• The summer missionaries will be going to Columbia International University in June with summer missionaries from all over South Carolina for a week of intense training. Pray for these teens to have tender hearts and that their lives would be unalterably changed as they reach children with the Gospel. Pray for our staff as we train and mentor the summer missionaries. Pray for our safety as we travel to club locations and for God to send many children to hear and receive the Gospel.
• There are 10 principals who have not given us permission for a Good News Club to meet on the school campus. We continue to ask you to pray specifically for all these schools.
• Pray for our staff as we prepare for our annual fundraising banquet to be held on September 18th and 19th at Taylors FBC and September 21st at Covenant Baptist.
• Pray that God will touch the hearts of those who are able to give financially to support CEF, for new donors, and for His wisdom as we make decisions. We know God owns “the cattle on a thousand hills” (Ps. 50:10) and that He is Faithful to meet our needs.

Thank you for your faithful intercession for the Good News Club ministry!

B. J. Bateman
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

Moving Onward and Upward!

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“To God be the glory great things He has done.” As another year of clubs come to a close, we have seen and testify that the Lord has done great things! God has heard our prayers and answered them in His best ever way.  We prayed that He would be glorified as we served these children leading many to the knowledge of His Gospel message and into personal relationships with Him as their Savior and Lord, and He was and He did. We prayed for Him to raise up the volunteers that would come and minister to the children in our after school clubs and community clubs, and He gave us what we needed. And when we didn’t think we had enough, He gave us His grace to strengthen us and sustain us as we served these children. We asked for the necessary finances to support the clubs and He has been more than faithful. We asked for protection from our enemies and that He would lead and guide us, and He has. And we asked Him to grow us, the volunteers, in the knowledge of His grace and power, and He did.

Many of these children have been in clubs for a full 6 years, starting when they were in K5, and now they are moving on to Middle schools and into another part of their journey of life. Pray that they will be able to walk in God’s right way and not go their own way. Pray that God will give them many divine appointments where they can share their faith with those who have yet to hear about Jesus and His love for them. Pray for their protection and growth in God’s grace!

In our last series, Jesus, God Who Saves, we learned about God’s love for the world and how His plan was in place since before time to bring His Son into the world to redeem a people for Himself. The children learned about the fulfillment of prophecies that God had given to the Prophets in the Old Testament times to point God’s people to the coming Messiah and how Jesus fulfilled every one of them!! We learned about Jesus willingness to suffer and die in our place for the punishment of our sins. What amazing love for sinners like us! We learned that God’s plan was not to leave Jesus in the tomb, but for the Holy Spirit to raise Him from the dead after three days! Yes, He is risen and He lives!  Jesus overcame sin and death so that when we believe on Him and receive Him we will not perish but have eternal life because He has made us one of His very own children, and He will not lose one of us. We have been sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of our redemption! Our Savior lives and reigns!

Now what do we do with our salvation? Do we just sit in wait of His second coming or does He have plans for us? Ephesians 2:10 says “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Now that we are His children, He has amazing things for us to do in His name. jgws-6-insetNo matter where we are in life, once we become His child, there is kingdom work to be done. These works do not earn your salvation, no, you have received your salvation without works, like the thief on the cross dying beside Jesus. These works are as it said “prepared in advance for us to do” for His glory and honor in His power that works within us!

The children have learned of Christ. Many have been saved. We will continue to share this Good News with them and by His grace disciple them in His Word. New discipleship booklets, The GrowUp Booklet, for the students, for teachers, and for parents, have been created to help us to do this very thing.  We are praying for ways to continue to do follow up. Clubs are ending the first week of April and some volunteers might fine time to follow up with the children before school is out or even over the summer in their homes. We are praying that some parents will be excited about using the Parents Guide to the GrowUp Booklet to minister to their children over the summer as a means of establishing family devotions and times of prayer. God will show us the way as we pray and ask Him to guide us in this ongoing ministry to the children from our clubs. Will you join us in prayer that we might hear from the Lord and find the means for this continuing work of discipleship with those children who have professed faith in Christ? To God be the glory, great things He has done and continues to do!

ow3author

March Prayer Update

prayer-update

Dear Prayer Partners,

James 5:16 says, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” I know you believe in the power of prayer and I invite you to bow your head and heart to our Father for the following needs for this ministry.

Praises/Requests:

•The Good News Clubs will end in 2 weeks for this school year. Praise God for 95 schools and 19 community facilities that have a Good News Club! Pray the volunteers will finish strong, the children who have not responded to the Gospel will do so, and those who have responded will continue to grow in their walk with Christ. Many parents will be invited to the last club for the year and will hear the Gospel as it is given. Pray the churches will reach out to the families who are unchurched and who have children attending the club.

•Our staff is visiting clubs every afternoon to encourage the volunteers and to thank them for serving. Pray the volunteers would be receptive to our mentoring as we offer suggestions to make the clubs more effective in teaching the children and the volunteers will desire to continue serving in the clubs this fall.

•Pray for the ten elementary schools that do not have a Good News Club. We continue to ask God to make a way for the door to be open in these schools. It is God’s desire that “the little children come unto Me” and pray in faith that He will make a way for every school to have a club.

•In May we will have an appreciation time for the Good News Club Coordinators and Team Leaders. This is also an opportunity to give the calendar and suggested changes for the next school year. There is still much work to do in the weeks ahead to prepare for this.

•A staff member is in the process of scheduling summer clubs for the teens who will serve with the ministry. Please pray for favor with all aspects of the summer ministry.

•The CEF Annual Golf Tournament will be on April 24th at The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards. We have been blessed with a Golf Committee that is making this tournament better than ever. Please pray for the many preparations which include finding sponsors, Par 3 prizes, golfers for the tournament and for a beautiful day of weather. We need volunteers, if you are able to serve. Please call the office at 292-5842 or reply to this email.

Thank you for faithfully bringing the needs of CEF and the children before God’s throne.

B. J. Bateman
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

Never Forget

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The older I get, the harder it is for me to remember. I have to make lists so that I will not forget things like tasks for work or what may need to be purchased from the grocery store.  What I will never forget is that Jesus loves me so much that He gave his life on the cross so I could have life. Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”  I lean on this truth from scripture for strength and security every day.

This week, the children in Good News Club are learning that Jesus is the perfect Passover Lamb. The Israelites were given the promise of a Passover lamb during the time of the Exodus. God kept his promise, sending us a Savior for our sins.  It is important that each child understand that Jesus gave his life and rose again for him/her. We do not have to worry about trying to remember religious practices or rituals because Christ paid the ultimate price for our sins once and for all.

I am reminded daily of Christ saving me from my sins… of what he has done for me.  Today, have you taken the time to reflect on what Jesus has done for you? Have you rested in the sweet truth that He has paid the ultimate price? Have you remembered how he showed His love for you on the cross all those years ago?

ow4author

The Love of the Father

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The prisoner was condemned to die. Everyone in the courtroom stirred and no one said a word.  All the evidence against him said that he deserved death and there was no way out, or so it seemed. As the judge was getting ready to dismiss everyone, a man came into the courtroom and asked if he could come to the bench and speak to the judge regarding the prisoner. The judge motioned for him to come forward. “Your honor,” he said, “I have come to ask that I might take the place of the prisoner and die in his place for his crimes.” No one in the courtroom moved! The judge leaned forward and asked the man, “And why would you do this?” And he said “I want him to know how much he is loved and to know this kind of love!’  The prisoner was astounded at the man’s request and even more amazed at the judges’ response.  “Yes, you may!” The prisoner fell to his knees and wept. His heart, having been softened by the knowledge and witness of this amazing gift of grace, bowed his head and said to the man, “You have saved my life and at an outrageous price, your very life, and I don’t deserve it! Your life for mine, how can that be!”

Each of us is born in bondage! And you may ask to what? It is sin. God tells us in His Word in Romans 5:12: “Sin entered the world because one man (Adam) sinned. And death came because of sin. Everyone sinned, so death came to all people.” What a desperate scenario! We are prisoners held in darkness with no way out on our own. Sin separates us from God and our ability to have a personal relationship with Him as Adam and Eve had before they sinned against God. Because God, our Creator, who is holy and just, cannot let sin go unpunished, only He could determine the way of escape!! Because He already knew Adam would fall, He had a loving and glorious plan in place to make reconciliation with Himself possible. We cannot rescue ourselves from this bondage to sin, no, only God is able! Like the prisoner in the story, there was no way out on his own.

But God spoke through His prophets hundreds of years prior to sending a Savior, who would save us from the punishment our sins deserved. The prophecies that spoke of the coming Messiah were all eventually fulfilled. And who was this Savior that God foretold? God’s very own Son, Jesus Christ. He would come into the world at a time set by God, the Father, and reveal God’s plan to reconcile us to Himself. This is what took place.  Jesus (who was without sin), would willingly take the punishment for our sin (had to be done), shed his blood (the payment) on a cross, and die (the finished work) in our place. He would be raised from dead (to prove that He was from God).

jgws-4-inset  How amazing, how divine is the love the Father has for us!  God’s word says in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “..that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…” Also in Isaiah 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him (Jesus) the iniquity of us all.”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Knowing what God has done in giving His only Son, how will you respond? Will you believe in Jesus and have eternal life? There is only one other response and that is one of unbelief, which God calls sin, and in your death you perish separated from Him for all eternity? I pray that God has given you the faith to believe, which is a gift of His amazing grace, that you may receive Jesus and know the joy of being reconciled to your Heavenly Father!

ow3author

The Waiting

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It is hard to wait for something that you have been expecting.  My husband wanted the new Purple Pillow for Christmas, a new product that has been in its launching stage.  The company took pre-orders with an expected ship time of Spring 2017.  He has been anxiously waiting on it to come and even checks their website for the status frequently.  Why?  Because he is looking forward to great support that it promises to provide for restful sleep.  It promises to make your pillow problems a thing of the past!  I can only imagine what all Israelites were feeling as they awaited on the promised Savior, the Messiah!

jgws2When He would come, how would they know it was really Him?  They didn’t have promotional videos and 5-star reviews to convince them that Jesus was Him as my husband did to convince him that the Purple Pillow is the “sleep savior”.  But they did have prophecies, 300 of them, that were from the all-knowing God.  Jesus did fulfill all of the prophesies, proving and confirming that He was in fact the true Messiah, the promised savior of the world!  Zechariah 9:9 is just one of those, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.”  They simply needed to believe that it was Him.  And you and I simply need to believe that Jesus is the Messiah as John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  He came to be our Savior from the punishment of our sin so that we might have everlasting life with Him that starts now and continues when life on earth is over into heaven forever!  The promised Messiah offers far more than the promise of a Purple Pillow.  The promised Messiah makes your eternity problems a thing of the past!

wb4author

Searching for Love

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Searching, searching, searching for true love!!! So many people today are in search of the elusive ‘true love’ because they are looking in all the wrong places. In our Good News Club Lesson this week we meet up with a little boy name Cody who is doing just that, looking for true love, but finding it a daunting task. Looking for love in all the wrong places absorbed a good part of my younger and early adult life, too. Like Cody, I too had parents that fought all the time and were never happy nor did they seem to love each other. I knew love must be out there somewhere but I couldn’t find it, and Cody couldn’t find it either.

In our story Cody does end up finding out not ‘where true love can be found, but in whom it can be found!’ Years later in my older adult life, I too was shown, not where it is but in whom it can be found, and oh the joy that touched the both of us, Cody and myself. Like Cody, someone in my life cared enough to share the ‘Good News” and in it I met my “true love and found out what true love is and does!

Both Cody and I were told the most amazing story, a true one and a wonderful one! It doesn’t seem to start well, but hang on to the end. God who created all things, including you and me, loves us very much. God is holy and perfect and dwells in heaven where all things are perfect as He is perfect.  God loves us so much that He wants us to be with him again someday in this perfect place. In Revelations 21:21 it says that “the street of the city was pure gold.” No one ever is sick or in pain and there is no more crying nor sorrow for all the former things have passed away (Rev 21: 4 paraphrased)! No one but God could make such a wonderful place.

But sin, which we are all born with, is in our heart. And sin will keep us out of heaven. God says in Romans 3:23 for ALL have sinned. Yes, God says ALL have sinned that includes you and me. Is it a sin to lie? Is it a sin to disobey our parents or those who are in authority over us? Is it a sin to take what doesn’t belong to you? Yes, all of these are sins and the list is endless. Sin can never enter into heaven and we have all sinned!! What can we do??

But here’s where the story becomes the “Good News”! You see God made it possible to have our sins taken away!! We can’t take them away ourselves. No. But if we believe the ‘Good News’ which is the Gospel, God will take our sins away. Here’s the ‘Good News.’ “How 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” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Look at this kind of love “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). God loves you so much that He gave His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to be your Savior, to suffer and die in your place that your sins may be washed away. Jesus willingly laid down His life for you. He wanted to take the punishment for our sins that we might not have to take the punishment ourselves. “The Lord Jesus bore our sins in His own body on the Cross” (1 Peter 2:24).  Remember, He died, He was buried, and He rose again. He is alive!! He lives!!

So what must we do to be saved? “Believe (trust) in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved?” (Acts 16:31). The moment that we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and open the door of our hearts and receive Him as our very own Savior from sin, that moment He takes all our sins away! He washes our hearts clean, as white as snow, according to Psalm 51:7. You are now made able by His love and sacrifice for your sins to enter Heavens’ gates when the time comes! He’s preparing a place for you to be with Him forever!!

valentinesblog2Now that’s True Love, that God loved us so much that He sent His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life!! (John 3:16) Cory and I both found ‘True Love’ in the Jesus Christ.

We received Him into our hearts and He has made us to love Him. We are always excited to tell others too where they can find this  ‘True Love.” In Cory’s case his mother was excited and she too received Jesus as her Savior, but not everyone comes to Him when they hear this Good News. Cory told his dad, but his dad didn’t want to know what Cory had found out. Cory prays as I do for my family members and friends who have not believed in Him yet.   But because God loves us, He wants us to go and tell others and to” love Him with all of our heart, with all of our soul, and with all of our mind. This is the great and first commandment and the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself”!! (Matthew 22: 37-39) Now that you have the love of Jesus in your heart, you can truly love God and others, too!!! What Good News!!

ow3author

January Prayer Update

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Dear Prayer Partners,

Thank you so much for your prayers for this ministry.  We thank God for His Faithfulness and for those who intercede on our behalf.

Praises:

  • -After a break over Christmas, our Good News Clubs have restarted.  Ninety-five after-school Good News Clubs and 13 community Good News Clubs are meeting every week.  Over sixteen hundred volunteers are telling the “good news” of Jesus Christ to almost nine thousand children in these clubs!
  • -CEF held a workshop for the volunteers in the Good News Clubs. We thank God for individuals who give of their time each week at club as well as their time to prepare themselves with additional training throughout the year.  Each year from mid-January through March, staff teaches a ten-week teacher training course titled Teaching Children Effectively, so that volunteers learn how to be more effective in their ministry with children.
  • -For the past several years, CEF has been the recipient of a local challenge grant.  The grant is funded in two parts:  part of the grant is funded dollar for dollar for “new” money (not previously pledged) and part is funded $1 for each $2 received.  With this challenge grant, CEF received over $74,000 in the last 2 months of 2016.  We praise God for His provision, which enabled us to meet our budget goal.
  • -We are blessed to add 2 new staff members who started this month:  Matthieu Wilson will serve as Assistant Director and Jean Ballew will serve as an Office Assistant (part-time volunteer position).

 

Requests:

  • -Pray for the children in our Good News Clubs. So many of them have no one who prays for them.
  • -Pray God will open the doors for all public elementary schools to have a Good News Club.  There is 1 school where we have had an open door, but we cannot find a partnering church.   Pray also for the schools in Greenville County that do not have a Good News Club because principals won’t give us permission to be on the school campus.
  • -Pray for the existing clubs.  Several clubs could increase the number of children who attend, but there aren’t enough volunteers (1 adult for every 7 children).  We have a tremendous opportunity to share the Gospel with children and it takes a lot of volunteers!  We have almost 100 less volunteers serving this year than last year.
  • -Pray for the Good News Spectacular, a one-day free community outreach event to be held at the TD Center on Feb. 25th.  We are asking God to bring 7,500 people to this community event. Pray the Gospel will be presented with clarity and for salvations.
  • -We are recruiting teenagers for our summer Christian Youth in Action ministry.  We have asked returning students to reapply by February 1st.  Also, we are beginning to secure locations for summer Good News Clubs.
  • -The Golf Committee is soliciting sponsors and golfers for our tournament on April 26th at The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards.  Pray that our shotgun start will be filled with golfers and that God will give us beautiful days to be outside.

For His glory,

B.J. Bateman

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever!  Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20-21

You Can Help!

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Dear Good News Club Volunteers,

The founder of CEF said, “Little children can savingly believe, and our Lord made it our duty as believers to bring them to Christ for salvation.”  Through your service in Good News Club, children are professing Christ as Savior and others are being discipled to grow in their walk with the Lord.  Thank you for making an eternal difference and changing our community for Christ.

There are 2 opportunities that would allow us to reach even more children for the Kingdom.  The second annual Good News Spectacular will be held on Saturday, February 25th, at the TD Center from 10 am to 3 pm.   The Good News Spectacular is a FREE one-day community event filled with games, inflatables, popcorn, live interactive shows, eye and dental screenings, and more!   If your church has popcorn or snow cone machines, we would like to use these machines for the Good News Spectacular.  But there’s more!  If your church would be willing to provide the supplies for the popcorn or snow cones, or provide the volunteers to work at these two specific concession areas, please get in touch with me immediately.  This would be a wonderful one-day mission trip for your church as you not only serve, but as you provide the community with information about your church, and share the love of Jesus with others.  Volunteers are needed for other areas at this event and should register at www.goodnewsspectacular.com.

The second opportunity is for a group of Good News Club volunteers to lead a summer club for a week in July (other than the week of July 4th).   Your team of 3-4 people would decide the number of clubs  (up to 3) to teach for the week at locations in your community, such as recreational facilities, daycares,  and YMCA’s.  There is no cost, all materials will be provided, and our office will find the club locations near your church.  What a tremendous summer outreach without packing your bags or needing a passport!  Again, please get in touch with me immediately.

May God bless each of you as we minister to the children!

 

BJ Bateman