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Dear Shiloh Family,

It had been a very hectic day, and the bedlam was exacerbated by not being able to find an item, nor an attendant at a local building supply store.  I was on my third or fourth aisle of seemingly randomly placed inventory, when I heard a voice crying in the wilderness (just kidding, there was nothing spiritual in my being at the time).  However, I really did hear one of my former student athletes yell, “Hey Coach, wait up.”

Now, in moments such as this, one has a tendency to pretend not to hear, duck around a corner, and blame it on age-related nerve damage in the left ear. I really didn’t have the time nor temperament to talk about old times, batting average, or why he didn’t sign a D1 contract with the Dawgs.

However, I turned and greeted the young man with a handshake and a smile.  Often, I talk to former students for several minutes before I realize to whom I’m speaking, if I remember them at all, but I recognized this young fellow well. He and I had had a shaky start his freshman year because of a disagreement in playing time in baseball.  Actually, the ruse was more with his dad than with him.  Consequently, we worked out our differences and he later played football for me as well.

In any case, I was expecting the normal pleasantries and rhetoric, but that quickly changed.  He clasped my hand in both of his and with tear-filled eyes began to speak.  “Coach, I have been wanting to call you.  I believe the Lord led me to you today.  I just want you to know how thankful I am that you held me accountable and talked to me about the Lord.  I just accepted the call into the ministry and am the new youth director at my church.”

After I crawled out from under that rock and coughed up all those black crow feathers, I told him how proud I was of his decision for Christ and encouraged him in the new ministry.  It certainly made all the long, hot, dusty days on the ballfield seem relevant and worthy.  In fact, I wish I had done more for the cause of Christ.

Mark 10:13-16;13 Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them.  14 But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.  15 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it."  16 And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them. NKJV

As you enter the Main Auditorium this Sunday, you will notice the product of many days of hard work by my sweet wife, Anita, Melissa, and the VBS team.  Your Sunday School class may look like a scene out of an Earnest Hemmingway novel.  There might be Kayaks in your normal path or seagulls on the walls. Please, don’t be offended.  We want our children to know how special they are to us and to their Heavenly Father.  We want them to be excited about their church and leaders.

If just one child comes to a saving knowledge of Jesus, it will be worth every ounce of strength, every dime that was spent, and every minute donated.  You never know; one day you may be chased down in a building supply by a young man or woman thanking you for your part in their salvation experience at Shiloh.

Get excited, bring a car load of kids, join us for the opening ceremonies, or most importantly, pray that children make decisions to accept Jesus.

 Children understand better in their world in their language.

 God bless you all,

 Pastor Derrell