Sports strengthen church

Sports Strengthen Scottsdale Congregation

Church grows through sportsA local Scottsdale church has been reporting steadily increasing congregation numbers thanks to the addition of various sporting activities for both youth and adult members. The church has found that families are significantly more active in church activities when there are sports involved. The Scottsdale church has found that sports lead families to be much more social with other families, which grows lasting bonds with one another and creates a stronger Christian community.

Some of the church sporting activities that have had the best turnouts are group golf outings, youth soccer games, family softball events, and church bowling nights. These events have proven to not only bring out families that are already within the congregation but also new families who weren’t previously members. A lot of people can be a bit hesitant to join a new faith community, however, group sporting events seem to take the edge off and make joining a church more fun and welcoming.

On a particular Saturday golf event, the Scottsdale congregation had four families who weren’t already members in its church show up to play golf. There, the congregation had a group golf lesson where they learned to putt and received some amazing golf putting tips. After the event, all of those four families decided to go to church the next day (Sunday). They were asked why they decided to join, and they all answered that they had such a nice time playing golf with the other families that they would like to visit the church.

Another event that turned out well was bowling. Similar to golf, multiple families from within and outside the congregation showed up and played a couple games of bowling on a Saturday. On Sunday, the families that weren’t previously members of the church decided to go to mass with their new friends.

It seems that choosing sports that members of all age groups can have fun playing, no matter their physical fitness has the best results. The other sports mentioned, youth soccer and family softball games, are great to strengthen the congregation but are better for families that are already comfortable with each other.

Here at http://calvaryscottsdale.com/ we think sports is a fantastic way to strengthen your congregation.

Rats In The Church Basement

The Scottsdale Church Has Rats

rat found in basement

We were notified Sunday that there were rats in the basement of the Scottsdale location. The basement is used to store boxes containing props, decoration, and various other items used through the year for religious holidays. Christmas and Easter decorations top that list. We also keep tables and chairs there for the events when we host weekend celebrations. While taking inventory for the upcoming holiday season, one of our members noticed that there were some unwelcome guests living in the basement. There were multiple rats spotted when the lights turned on, they quickly scurried through an opening in the wall that led to the exterior of the property. This was a bit concerning because of the potential hazards they pose for disease. Rat droppings can spread diseases like hantavirus and can become deadly for children and the elderly. Considering that many of these decorations are placed out on tables with food and beverages during holiday events it was important that not only did we cover the hole in the wall, wash all of our linens and props, but that we also treated the property for rats and other rodents that may take a liking to the basement of the property. Our Scottsdale location is an older property and has also had some cockroach problems that need to be treated. We contacted an exterminator in Scottsdale that had experience with pest control in the area and provided an affordable quote and a timeline for the treatment. They were able to come out the next day and treat the property for rats, termites, cockroaches, bed bugs, ants, spiders, and scorpions. We have seen all of these insects on the property at various times during worship hours and figured it would be best to treat the property for everything at the same time. They also set out traps for the rats, we would rather have them captured and killed then poisoned and wondering off into the walls of the church and dying off. Because the property is older and the surrounding area has older buildings that are not maintained we opted in to on-going maintenance. They will be out monthly to spray the property and check the traps for rats. This should provide us with a sanitary property to worship and enjoy fellowship during the holidays without having to worry about infestations and disease.

Storm system heading toward Phoenix area could bring rain overnight

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Teachers encouraged by early results of Arizona law requiring more recess

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How Cracking Wheat’s Genetic Code Reminds Us Who We Are

This grain’s genome echoes of the strength found in the diversity of God’s people.

Like many kids, I grew up picking wild grasses believing that they were wheat. I would pick one from the yard of my childhood home, believing the harvest I held in my hands could be transformed into food. As I grew up, I quickly learned that the “wheat” in my yard was far from a bountiful harvest and instead was actually weeds and wild grasses.

Yet, my childhood confusion about wheat is, in one sense, understandable. Wheat is a part of the grass family. In Matthew’s telling of the Parable of the Weeds, the “weeds” represent darnel, “a poisonous weed organically related to wheat, and difficulty to distinguish from wheat in the early stages of the growth,” writes New Testament scholar Craig Keener.

In the Bible, wheat is used as a metaphor for the people of God. The scientific study of wheat prompts reflection on how what distinguishes God’s people and how our vast diversity can strengthen us all.

Wheat’s genetic makeup has baffled scientists. But last summer, after 13 years of research, a team of international scientists cracked the wheat’s genome to reveal the baffling, beautiful genetic material that makes wheat, well, wheat.

Essentially, a genome contains all of the genetic knowledge needed to create and sustain an organism.

It would be easy to assume that the wheat genome would be more straightforward to sequence than the human genome. After all, human beings are the crowning achievement of God’s creative work while wheat is a mere plant. However, the wheat genome holds mysteries that offered significant challenges to research scientists who wanted to understand this plant at the most minute level.

The full sequence of the human genome was published in 2003, …

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Emerging Adults and the Church: Is There Really an Exodus?

Are emerging adults are leaving their faith behind? We are hosting a conference to explore this question.

It seems every few weeks a new article makes the rounds on social media heralding the collapse of religion in America. Often central to these pieces is an emphasis on the role of emerging adults, focusing either on their declining church attendance or their rejection of traditional beliefs or practices.

Emerging adulthood describes that phase of life between adolescence and full adulthood as marked by transitions like marriage and kids, settled careers, and owning a home. This life stage covers people ages 18-29 or so.

So what are we to make of the claim? Are emerging adults are leaving their faith behind?

Yes.

And no.

And maybe.

Let me explain…

Let’s start with yes. There is ample evidence to suggest that many emerging adults are questioning the religious beliefs and practices of their Christian upbringing while still others are leaving church altogether.

According to the Pew Religious Landscape study published in 2015, younger emerging adults (18-24), identify as nones at a 36 percent rate compared to only 25 percent in 2007. Just last month, LifeWay Research reported that “two-thirds (66 percent) of American young adults who attended a Protestant church regularly for at least a year as a teenager say they also dropped out for at least a year between the ages of 18 and 22.”

While many return, Kara Powell in Growing Young estimated the long-term loss at around 50 percent of those who initially left. Attempts to explain this exodus vary and often include descriptors of emerging adult spirituality like “Spiritual by not Religious” to characterize those who still value spirituality but have rejected religious organizations or doctrines as ways of pursuing their spiritual interests.

Turning to the …

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Photos: Fish hatcheries near Flagstaff

Take a look at Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Sterling Springs hatchery near Flagstaff.

      

 

 

Flooding damages Yavapai County homes, forces evacuations

Heavy rains brought flooding and damage to several Yavapai County communities on Thursday night, authorities said.

      

 

 

I Fled My Country, But Not My Marriage

Though extremists separated me from my husband years ago, I know who holds us together.

Two years ago this Valentine’s Day, I arrived in the United States after fleeing persecution in Pakistan. When I describe my journey, I often tell people it was like a journey from hell to heaven. I really do love it here.

But the holiday where Americans around me celebrate romantic love is bittersweet. Although I have been married to my husband for seven years, we have only been in the same country for one Valentine’s Day. He has not yet made his journey “from hell to heaven.”

Shortly after we married in Pakistan—a marriage arranged by my parents, who were thrilled that he was Christian, well educated, and taller than I am—my husband started a website to tell the stories of persecuted Pakistani Christians. Soon after the website launched, we were in danger.

We set out to flee, but my husband was captured by extremists. I continued with my plan to escape Pakistan, thinking my husband had been killed. I knelt in church every day praying for his safety, even though the evidence told me it was futile.

Only later, after I had left the country, did I learn that he had been tortured and left for dead. A passerby found him and saved his life, but the opportunity for him to come with me had passed, and he had to wait for another chance. By that time, my application for refuge in the US was already in process, and our separation was in the hands of systems larger than us. We never wanted to be apart, but now we had little choice.

Our marriage has crossed continents and oceans, and even though many people think I’m crazy for staying in it, I have never considered getting out. Distance doesn’t matter if the roots are strong. I can bear the pain and uncertainty of physical separation far better …

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Who’s Searching for ‘Love’ Online? Bible Readers

The fruit of the Spirit is No. 1 at Bible Gateway—in both English and Spanish queries.

Of the 920 million readers who visited the world’s top Bible website last year, most are literally searching for love more than anything else.

Only 3 of the other 9 fruits of the Spirit joined love among Bible Gateway’s top searches of 2018: peace (No. 2), faith (No. 3), and joy (No. 4). The pattern holds true in Spanish-language searches, though gozo (joy) ranks 12 slots lower [full lists below].

Love has been the most popular topic at Bible Gateway, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year by reaching more than 14 billion views, ever since the site’s inception in 1993. Such searches perennially spike on Valentine’s Day.

“This may be the time of year that we talk most loudly about love, but [our] usage statistics show us that we long to understand and experience love throughout the year,” stated Andy Rau, Bible Gateway’s then-senior manager for content, in a 2017 post.

In 2014, when the site first offered more detailed stats, CT reported how “the word never fell out of the top 10 searches, and was the top searched word more than 200 days of the year.”

In contrast, searches for lust only came close to love on one day: September 30, 2015.

Overall, searches for heart, pray, and spirit rose the most from 2016 to 2018. All rose in rank by double digits. (CT analyzed the top 2018 verses of Bible Gateway vs. YouVersion in December.)

Among CT’s coverage of Valentine’s Day, last year—on the first VaLENTine’s Day since WWII—CT noted how Twitter suggested chocolate and alcohol would be absent from many dates, while Tish Harrison Warren reflected on God’s message on “Ash Valentine’s Day.”

Bible Gateway’s top 25 topic searches …

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