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Calling Central Arkansas Pastors to Pray for Marriage

The ABC News headline on December 3 read,

 “Sites Match Potential Co-Parents, Skip Love and Marriage”.

Rachel Hope of Los Angeles says she’s ready to be a mother again.  She’d like to get pregnant next month.  The thing is, she has no idea who the father will be. Hope is one of a growing number of Americans interested in exploding the old 1950s notion of the nuclear family. She’s not looking for love.  She wants a co-parent.  .  .  Hope already has two kids from two different fathers: Jesse, 22, whose father was her childhood best friend, and Grace, 4, whose father is her current housemate, Paul Wenner.

Stories like the one above along with others in the last few weeks such as the Phil Robertson (Duck Dynasty) controversy, and of legal challenges to the “Arkansas Defense of Marriage Act are some of  the latest reminders of what we know and feel.

God’s design for marriage is being actively opposed by our culture as never before in our generation.

It’s not just our culture however; we are facing it in our churches.  Bill Elliff, Senior Teaching Pastor at The Summit Church, recently wrote

“Every church and pastor I know is struggling with the devastation of families in their midst. More than any day we’ve seen, our families are under attack. We need to everything possible TOGETHER to help turn the tide. And, it would seem, the very first and best course is to unite together in prayer inviting the Creator of the family to send a mighty revival in the families in Central Arkansas. John Bunyan said, “We can do more than pray after we’ve prayed, but we can do nothing but pray until we’ve prayed.”

It is out of this sense of urgency and need that Family Life Ministries and the Nehemiah Network are inviting Central Arkansas Pastors to a special time of “Prayer for Marriage” on Friday, January 17, 11:30-1:00 at the FamilyLife Headquarters.   (Lunch provided)

Let’s unite together to cry out to God for marriages in our churches, community, and our culture.

No Waiting Child

Recently, Central Arkansas Pastors gathered for the annual Children of  Arkansas Loved for a LifeTime, (the CALL) Pastor’s Appreciation Breakfast.   Mary Carol Pedersen, Director of the Pulaski County Chapter, not only expressed appreciation, but provided an update on progress toward the hope that Central Arkansas might become a community where there are NO children waiting for a caring home.   There were inspiring stories and examples of progress where we give thanks to God.

  • Almost 45 % of the foster families in Pulaski County come through the CALL
  • There are almost 100 active foster families with more in the process.
  • A growing number of churches are involved.

Along with thanking God for how he is already working in families and churches on behalf of the orphan, we were also encouraged to continue praying and making the need known.     Pulaski county still has a need for more nearly 250 foster families.    At the date of  the breakfast,  there were 150 children needing forever families.

What if Central Arkansas was a place where there was a caring home for every child in foster care and and there was no child waiting for adoption?

By God’s grace that hope canbecome a reality if  Christ followers in our community will say we will love our children as Jesus love them.     November is National Adoption month and November 3rd is  Orphan Sunday.   Visit www.thecallinarkansas.org  and  www.orphansunday.org for more information about how you or your church can get involved.

AR Kids Read

Another school year is about to start. Lauren is going into 5th grade. This should be an exciting time for her. Except she doesn’t want to go back to school. She says the work is too hard and the other kids tease her.

You see, Lauren doesn’t read at a 5th grade level. She really barely reads at a 2nd grade level. So keeping up with school work is next to impossible for her.

AR Kids Read - Reading at Grade Level
But there is hope. This year Lauren will have a tutor work with her on her reading skills. With that help and some hard work on Lauren’s part, she will be able to greatly improve her reading skills and catch up.

All this is thanks to AR Kids Read, a community organization that has an in school tutoring program where volunteers meet with students, working one-on-one or in small groups to assist students to read at grade level. AR Kids Read is supported by many churches, as well as businesses and organizations in the Little Rock area.

Click here to volunteer as a tutor or learn more about AR Kids Read.

As little as 30 minutes a week with a student can change the course of their life. Help make this a great year for Lauren and her fellow students.

Making a Contagious Difference in Central Arkansas

Scott Ford“Little Rock is famous for racial segregation …,” says Scott Ford, co-chairman of the 2009 Central Arkansas CityFest and partner in Westrock Capital. “I think it is terribly unfortunate, but it doesn’t make it any less true.”

Ford has a dream for Central Arkansas and it begins with the Body of Christ—the church. He imagines a community where African Americans, Asians, Caucasians, Hispanics and other nationalities are united and functioning as friends. “And then that ripples out in the city and Little Rock would be known as a place … that healed itself and united as a community.”  Ford says only could God could do this. “And I’d like to see it happen.”

Born and raised in Little Rock, Ford grew up in public schools—in a neighborhood where the rich, middleclass, and poor all joined at the football field. Although he recognizes the sincere efforts of our political and legal leaders, he says there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. “… and I think it has to take place on a one-on-one level.”
When he and Dr. Fitz Hill (co-chairman of the 2009 Central Arkansas CityFest and President of Arkansas Baptist College) first prayed in Dr. Hill’s office about CityFest, he sensed that God could use it as a way to reconcile people across racial lines.

The difference CityFest can make

Looking back at the 175 Season of Service projects that were done in Central Arkansas in 2009, Ford doesn’t think there was a school or neighborhood in the area that wasn’t touched. As people got out of their comfort zone to help others, our community saw the difference that Christ makes. “They [non-believers] are really interested in seeing if Jesus is alive in people.”

Ford believes the root of real change happens one-on-one: to serve … to mentor … to encourage … to uplift. The difference happens, he says, when people come “alongside of people and help them up so they can stand up and walk on their own.”

As he thinks back on the 55,000 people who came to the 2009 CityFest event, he recalls a diverse crowd of individuals who represented the community. “It was about half white and about half African-American and Hispanic. They worshipped together and they enjoyed one another’s company and friendships were built.”
Those ongoing friendships are what Ford thinks will make a lasting change in our community. “I saw it happen at the pastoral level. It happened to Fitz [Dr. Fitz Hill] and me. I saw it happen in the business community.” Ford now mentors some African Americans businessmen; they became friends because of CityFest. “I think those are the kinds of things that really matter.”

Ford recalls the men and women who made a difference in his life by their individual investments. They took time to personally get to know, encourage, and hold him accountable. “That made an impact on my life and that’s the way I think the church has to act. And when it does, I think it’s contagious.”

Becoming a Blessing to Central Arkansas

“My mother had the most impact on my life,” says Dr. Fitz Hill (co-chairman of the 2009 Central Arkansas CityFest and President of Arkansas Baptist College). He says she modeled a life of faith and service to others. “She just believed in serving the Lord outside the walls of church and that has been imbedded in my heart.”

Hill says his mother knew no strangers in his hometown of Arkadelphia. When she took community children to various school and church events, she talked to them about life. Hill says that was her way of giving them a life map for positive choices. “Because the life map for negative choices are right there, too. If you don’t know any other road you will usually take the one that is most accessible … and not the one that is best for you.”

2009 CityFest

When Hill was asked to be a 2009 co-chairman for Central Arkansas CityFest, he felt that he had been called by God to serve in this role. He said that he trusted the Lord to work out all of the details. Hill recognized CityFest as an opportunity for community churches to get out of their individual walls for the glory of Jesus Christ. “CityFest is about reaching out and bringing people together.”
He really liked the Seasons of Service prior to CityFest, with its emphasis on community projects. He was encouraged as he watched different churches interact in the community. “Each church has to find what … their mission field will be,” he says, adding that the choices for the Season of Service were endless. They included reaching out to the homeless, teaching literacy, and partnering with area schools. “This is not a cookie-cuttter [outreach] where everything has to fit,” Hill says. “You just have to find the best method to make a difference for the Lord Jesus Christ.”

As churches come together for the common good of the city, Hill says they are a catalyst for positive change in the community. Three hundred to four hundred churches working together for the common good of the city can accomplish much more than churches functioning as isolated silos working in their own capacity. As churches have joined with one another, there has been a sense of a common goal of improving our community.

Hill says it’s important to be in line with what God has called us to do, which is be a blessing to others. He believes that we have an opportunity to be a very special community. “When you try to bless yourself, you block God’s blessings,” he says. “When you try to be a blessing to somebody else, then the blessings will automatically come back to you. If we can become a community that each day wakes up and tries to be a blessing to somebody else, everything else will take care of itself.”