Summer begins…

Well, it’s official…Baylee is now a Sophomore!  Yesterday, Wednesday the 23rd at 11:46, she transitioned into her Sophomore year and began her Summer of 2012! It’s a week of sleeping in and then June becomes a whirlwind of camps and a week of VBS before July even creeps into existence. 

Samantha has been enjoying her time away from campus by filling in at the church office when our receptionist is out of town. It has been a blessing to work alongside her during most of those days. She has also taken an interest to Pineterest. Her baking and crafts have entered a brand new level. Here is a art piece made with melted crayons on a canvas board. Truly cool!  Her summer will mirror that of Baylee’s. So let’s get some rest before June begins!

Two very beautiful ladies starting off the summer right!

Blessings Abound…

New Storm Door!!

Just wanted to share a blessing from one of our Eastern Hills family.
We now have a new full glass storm door! One of our church members here at EHBC had me meet him at Lowe’s two weeks ago and purchased a new storm door for my family.
He said, “Thanks for all you and your family do to serve everyone at Eastern Hills. We appreciate and love the Vivian family.”
We are the appreciative ones. We are blessed by the generousness and support we receive every day and every week of our EHBC family!
Oh yea, I installed it myself!!

Focus On What Only You Can Do…

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focus – the concentration of attention or energy on an object, maximum clarity or distinctness of an object
Sounds like a great motivational quote, one that would be found on a large poster that shows a view of a grand mountain range, or maybe of an eagle in flight.  However, that was not the intention of the person that shared this quote with me. 
Let me explain…    When I was faced initially with that quote, I immediately thought of the ministries which God has placed in my service.  A simple thought rushed through my mind, “Yes Lord, I will focus on Children’s Ministry.  I will stay focused on Upward and Awana. Yes Lord, I understand.”  The amazing thing, I did not understand.
Here, let me ask the question again, ‘What is the one thing that only you can do?”  God can certainly raise up another Children’s Minister.  He can also lead another to guide and direct both Upward and Awana.  So again, I ask myself, “What is the one thing that only I, Joe Vivian, can do?” 
            The answer was so simple, yet I missed it at first, as I feel most of us miss it.  We think of our jobs, our ministries, our hobbies and possibly even our athletic endeavors.  No, that wasn’t it.  The one thing that I must focus on that only I can do is being the obedient servant to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to be the husband to Kerry Vivian and to be the father to both Samantha and Baylee Vivian.  That is the one thing. 
            “You shall love the Lordyour God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”  Deut 6:5   I must first and foremost seek His will and His love.  When I daily come to Him and bow before His throne, I can feel my “troubles’ and “anxiety” wither away.  I rest knowing that He is continually forming me more into His image.  Sometimes very uncomfortably, yet very necessary.
Next, my marriage covenant to Kerry was not only made in front of family and friends, it was first and foremost made to God.  I made a covenant to leave, cleave, become one with Kerry and not be ashamed. “Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husbandEph 5:33I am the only one that can be the husband to Kerry.  I am the only one that can love her with an unashamed and unconditional love.
Finally, we must never forget that our children are a gift from God and are only ours as loaners.  They are His and we are given the blessing to raise them up in His ways.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deut 6:6,7  We will be held accountable by God for what we teach and how we train them up in His Name.  I am the only one that can be the father to my two ladies and my days are becoming few with both of them.  I need not take them for granted nor make allowances for time that may be available.
So, the quote is much more than just some mountains and eagles. When our focus is concentrated on that which only we can do, then everything else will fall into place; our ministries, our jobs/careers, our hobbies.
We all need to focus, concentrate our attention and energy, on what only we can do.  To love the Lord with every fiber in our being and to focus on the blessings He has given only to us; our spouse, our children, our parents/grandparents, our siblings… our family.   
A Growing Bond Servant to the King~
Joe

Genuineness of Faith

“You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to be distressed by various trials so that the genuineness of your faith-more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire-may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
1 Peter 1:6,7

I really appreciated Larry’s illustration a couple weeks ago on genuine faith as we were studying Legalism in Galatians. It brought me to a passage that I had studied but had not seen in this light. When a Secret Service Agent is being trained by the Treasury Dept for Counterfeiting; they will only handle the genuine article as they go through training.  They will study and become completely familiar with real currency.  They are not allowed to handle a fake or a counterfeit bill during their entire training.  How it feels, how it looks, even how it sounds and smells, are what they are trained to know of the genuine article. Why this intense training and focus on only real currency? Well, when the fake or counterfeit bill crosses their path, they will easily spot the fraud because they have always focused on the genuine article.
That’s what Peter was talking about when he spoke of the genuineness of your faith in his first letter.  We need to be seeking Jesus, having such an intimate relationship with Him and Him only. We need to stay immersed in His Word and read it daily.  We need to be in communication with Him through prayer, study, and fellowship with other believers. Why? So that when “so-called” Biblical quotes are passed our way or when we listen to teachings or even read Christian literature, we can spot the counterfeit and turn away from it. 
We live in a world today that teaches us to conform to the standards of the world. We are told to be tolerant. We are told that we live in a bubble, that we are peculiar for following God’s ordinances and truths.  Ya know what, we are to be peculiar.  Jesus even prays to His Father as we remain in the world but not of the world. (John 17:6-16)  Our foundation in Christ should be so solid and deep that we need to be shocked by what the world offers and then stand our ground in His Truth. 
Study the genuine article…Jesus Christ…and you will be hard pressed to ever receive a counterfeit.
A Growing Bond-Servant of Jesus Christ,
Joe 

Kerry is knocking at 20 years!!

As I was watching the news this past week, they were showing the 2012 Commencement for the University of New Mexico. All those graduates, heading on out to “conquer” the world. It truly seems like yesterday when Kerry was crossing that threshold. She is finishing her 19th year of teaching…19 years!!  I can remember that day on the front porch of our rental house having her graduation party, it couldn’t be 19 years…maybe because she doesn’t look like she has aged a bit, that’s probably why I find it hard to believe.
She is an amazing teacher. Her students truly love her and grow so much in their love for science, but also for their love of God through her guidance and reflection of Him. I recently had a science teacher from one of the High Schools tell me personally, “The students from Eastern Hills are so superbly prepared for science as they enter High School. I wish more teachers taught at the level Kerry does.”
I am so honored and blessed to call her my wife and my best friend. Here’s to the big 2-0 next year!

Baylee’s Freshman Year…At A Glance…

What a year 2011-12 has been for Baylee! We started off 3 months before she even stepped into a classroom at Hope Christian. She made the varsity cheer squad and the practices began in June. When the year started it became evident that balance and planning was essential. She had a full load of classes, 3-4 two hour practices a week as well as cheering for varsity games. On top of all that, she still stayed active in her church youth group.
To round out the year, Hope Varsity Cheer took state for the 9th year in a row. Hope Varsity Cheer also qualified and participated in Nationals and Worlds competition in Florida!  She has maintained an overall GPA of 4.215. She also received Scholastic Excellence honors for 9th grade Bible and English for the entire Freshman class.
She is now getting ready for finals and a fun summer filled with Youth camps, Volunteering for Young Lives Ablaze Children’s Camp and VBS at our church, then she, Samantha, and Kerry will head off to Lubbock on a Mission Trip with our church to help re-roof homes.
Yes, I am blessed with amazing ladies!

Baylee’s Scholastic Excellence Awards for Bible and English
At the Hope Varsity Cheer Banquet
Cheering a Hope Football Game
Getting ready for the Hope Homecoming Dance with her friends.