Connections  July - September 2018

  • God and Love Lead to Life Spring 

    Thinus van der Merwe’s journey with Jesus began as a teen in South Africa

     Whenever Thinus van der Merwe takes the stage for the Sunday services announcement, one thing is certain: the audience will hear a joke that can be appreciated by youngsters and the young at heart. 

       There are some groans, but mostly laughs for the man who serves as Life Spring’s Youth Director.

       “I think of it as an ice-breaker between me and the audience,” said Thinus, “I think it relaxes us.”

       Thinus leads the middle school and high school aged youngsters through a variety of activities that includes games, Bible study, worship and a variety of topics that affect young people.

       “The Gospel runs through our discussions which center on God’s purpose for them,” he said. “It’s a smart group. It’s a real privilege to be a role model for them.”

    Thinus grew up in the church culture of Capetown, but as a teenager he was unsure of what the future held for him.

       At the end of his 11th grade while attending church camp, Thinus had his first real
    encounter with God.

       “There was a build up - I could sense that something was happening on the first night there.”

       On the second night, in a massive prayer room, Thinus felt for the first time the “clear experience of God’s presence”. Excitement and joy were some of the emotions he recalls. There was also trepidation.

       “From that moment on I knew I was no longer the same,” he said. “It was a good and positive feeling but also a determination to not fall back into my old life.”

       His new life eventually led Thinus to Jabulani Africa Ministries (JAM)impact Africa for Christ.

       By the time he was 20, Thinus was already one of JAM’s directors. It was at this time that he met his future wife, Lisa Monreal, longtime member of Life Spring who was interning with JAM.
       “We didn’t actually start dating until she went home,”
    Thinus said. “There was a lot of emails and phone calls.”
    And there were visits. Thinus remembers the first time he visited Life Spring with Lisa.

    "Everyone was so welcoming... I felt this collective embrace" 

    Lisa and Thinus were married in 2011 and moved back to South Africa. In prayer Thinus asked God, "Do you want us to go to the States? And if so when?" They returned to the States in 2016. Thank God. 

  • Ministry will help you carry your burden

    There are times when everyone needs the care and support of other people, whether it’s prayer, a compassionate ear, a comforting visit or words of advice. The Life Spring family is here to follow the instruction of Jesus to “Carry each other’s

    burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the Law of Christ”   – Galatians 6:2 (NIV) 

       “In keeping with His teaching, we are excited to announce the formation of a comprehensive Congregational Care Ministry,” said longtime church member Lisa Dyck. “This is a big undertaking but something that Life Spring feels passionate about and something that has been on my heart, personally, for years. “Although we are in the development phase and the details are continuing to unfold as the Lord guides this new endeavor, I would like to offer a glimpse of our hope for this new ministry.” 

       The goal for the Congregational Care Ministry is to be able to provide ongoing coordinated care and support to the Life Spring family. 

       Lisa will assume the position of Care

    Coordinator to oversee care needs and requests, coordinate prayer, hospital/wellness visits, home assist visits, counseling services, benevolent assistance and more to better serve the members of Life Spring. Beyond coordination of care, the Congregational Care Ministry will work to make availability a variety of affordable counseling services and the development of support/educational workshops and groups in the future. 

       These groups and workshops will include; marriage and parenting workshops, divorce recovery, AA and/or other addiction support groups, grief groups and more. 

       “These services will take some time to unfold but it is my sincere hope that the Congregational Care Ministry will be able to provide the help and comfort of those in need.” Lisa said, “I feel blessed to be able to work in the formation of this new ministry and look forward to being of service to my Life Spring Family."

  • Summertime is a good time to relax

    “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” Genesis 2:3

       The old Porgy and Bess tune that declares, “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy” no doubt was written when life was so much different than what it is now. If you’re like most people, you are hoping that summer will be a time to kick back and relax a little, but maybe you’re afraid that it will end up like most other summers with lots to do and flying past far too quickly.  But while we may bemoan the fast pace of summer with all of its chores, the packing and unpacking for vacations, and repeated trips to Little League games, it would be good to stop and think about “easy living.” So, let’s get some perspective from God’s Word about the importance of rest.

       It can’t go unnoticed that God Himself rested after six days of assembling the universe. Knowing that time to kick back was important for the people He created, God instituted the Sabbath so that we would get the point that no one can work without a break along the way. 

    Tanks that run on “weary” all the time soon lack the stamina to do well spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and relationally. Even Jesus, with more sermons to preach, more people to heal, and more tasks to accomplish for His Father, often went apart to rest a while.

       I am not sure why it is that some of us feel guilty or unfulfilled if we are not busy all the time. It’s important to realize that not everything needs to be done - at least not done right now. It may be more important to sit back with a tall glass of iced tea and contemplate the beauty of nature and the greatness of our God who is as faithful to us as the dependability of the seasons. As the hymn says, in “summer and winter and springtime and harvest . . . join with all nature in manifold witness to Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.”

       So carve out a little easy livin’ time this week and refresh your heart and spirit with blessedness instead of business.

       And don’t worry; the chores will still be there. They aren't going anywhere! 
                                                                                                            - Joe Stowell

  • on the calendar

    Every Friday - Life Spring softball games Arroyo Vista Community Park

    (See website calendar for start times.)

    First Sunday of each month - Sunday Pizza at Jax After second service.  

    Saturday, July 14 - Men’s Breakfast 9:00 a.m. at the Church patio

    Sunday, July 29 - Pool Party Potluck 12:30 p.m. at Meridian Hills Community Pool. 

    Saturday, August 5 - Thrive Youth Group Zuma Beach, 10:00 a.m. 

    Saturday, August 12 - Life Spring Family BBQ 1:00 p.m. at Mountain Meadows Park. 

    Friday, August 17 to Sunday, August 19 - Thrive Youth Group

    Summer Camp at Point Mugu.

    Sunday, August 26 - Kids Ice Cream Social 12:00 p.m. at the Church patio

    Saturday, September 1 - Thrive Youth Group Magic Mountain, 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. 

    Sunday, September 16 - Back-to-School Lunch 12:00 p.m. in the Church Auditorium. 

    Sunday, September 30 - Teacher Appreciation Luncheon 12:00 p.m. at the Church patio.