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Start your Sunday off in a casual, low-key gathering where we share breakfast and chat about Jesus and life. Small groups for all ages – Nursery Available!
This ain’t your old fashioned
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10:00 A.M. Worship

“A little something for everyone and a lot of Jesus” is how we worship. Come as you are and experience our energetic, spirit filled service with moving messages and music ranging from contemporary Christian to traditional hymns.
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Teaching & Preachings

We teach and preach a Jesus that is real and authentic … Taken straight from the gospels with no biased or politics attached. Whether you’re an active participant or a “fly on the wall” listener, we have something for you.
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B I G  I D E A 
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15).
Pastor Bob
C H U R C H   M E D I A

Recent Messages

April 2020

Middle Sabbath Service – April 29 ( Wednesday)

“Middle Sabbath Service – April 29 ( Wednesday)”.

Middle Sabbath Service — April 22 ( Wednesday)

Middle Sabbath Service — 1st week of Eastertide

Maundy Thursday Evening Service

“Maundy Thursday Evening Service”.

Sabbath Sunday Service — Palm Sunday

“Sabbath Sunday Service — Palm Sunday”.

Middle Sabbath Service – April 1

“Middle Sabbath Service – April 1”.

March 2020

Sunday Sabbath Service – 5th Sunday

“Sunday Sabbath Service – 5th Sunday”.

Middle Sabbath Service 2 — March 25th

“Middle Sabbath Service 2 — March 25th”.

Sunday Sabbath Service – 4th Sunday

“Sunday Sabbath Service – 4th Sunday”.

Middle Sabbath 1 — March 18 (Wednesday)

“Middle Sabbath 1 — March 18 (Wednesday)”.

F R O M   T H E   B L O G

Recent Posts

THE LOST SEASON … and the story of 7 seniors whose stars never got to shine.

As I talked about in last Sunday’s message, it was later in life that baseball became a ministry for me. As a kid, and as a high schooler and as a college player, baseball was all about me. It was my time to shine. It was my pedestal, and I savored my awards and trophies. But as God moved into my heart and changed my way of seeing the world, baseball was part of the transformation. 

Since then, baseball is about something much more than me … and much more important than me! God moved into my life and changed everything, and baseball became a ministry about serving others and God.  And, as many of you know from first-hand experience, when God comes into your life in a mighty way, everything in your life gets altered. Today, baseball is just another platform for God to work in my life, which brings us to “the lost season of 2020.”

Three years ago, when I moved to Arthur as the new pastor at Vine Street Christian Church, another opportunity became available. I was offered the head coaching position for the ALAH baseball program. Because baseball was now a ministry in my life, it seemed like a great way to become part of the community here and to meet some young guys who could help me in my own walk of faith. And that’s exactly has what happened. 

So, three years ago my coaching tenure for the Knights began. That first year we had 2 seniors, and the next year, we had one. So, as this season approached, there were 7 players that had been part of the team for three years, and they were ready to shine as seniors! 

But, as we all know, that didn’t happen. Those 7 players, who had invested countless hours into their own development as baseball players and as young men of character (this is a big emphasis of our program), never had the chance to do what we quietly but confidently we’re hoping for in 2020 – to make a run for a Class A state championship in baseball. 

Winning that championship was a goal … a hope … a mere possibility. But spending a full season with those guys, and a solid group of underclassmen as well, was really what I was looking forward to. Wins and losses in baseball are funny things, sometimes very hard to predict. That’s the nature of the game. But playing through the season together is what the experience is really all about. Going through the ups and downs together, celebrating the victories and surviving the losses, builds camaraderie and a fellowship among guys that is hard to replicate, and that stays with you for years … even a lifetime. 

That didn’t happen in 2020. We lost that whole experience. We didn’t just lose the chance to play games; we lost the opportunity to become a team together; to walk with each other through a season and become linked by our common goal in a way very few things in the lives of young men can do. And that’s not fair! But then, neither is life.  

So, here in this “church newsletter” article, as high school sports have resumed competition and games get played once more, I would like to honor those 7 players who lost their senior season at ALAH and never got a chance to shine on the ball field in 2020.

MASON BERNIUS — the gentle giant of the team; loved and respected by all of us, “Bernie” (as we called him) was everyone’s favorite teammate. Not only did he win the award for best teammate, but he lived it out every day with us. Mason is more football than baseball. Baseball didn’t come naturally for him. But he dedicated himself to getting better every day, and all our coaches were looking forward to getting him more playing time his senior year — he had earned it. Still, I’ll not remember Bernie as a player, but as a mature young man, the adult in the room on a baseball team full of kids (including the coaches!). Honk that horn on your truck one more time, Bernie, for the lost season and your fellow seniors. 

JAKE HOLLINGSWORTH — my “right-hand man” even though Jake is left-handed. Jake was one of the key leaders in our program who loved everything baseball. He would lead our “open workouts” when coaches were not permitted to do so, and he hardly ever missed a workout, a practice or a game. We thought of Jake as a “pitcher-only” — but I believed his senior year was going to be different. When not pitching, I was hoping Jake would be our right fielder … and I could see him having a great senior year on the mound and at the plate. Finally, I loved to watch Jake pitch. A relatively quiet and unassuming kid, he turned into a “bulldog” on the mound and was willing to face any team, anytime. And I love that about any pitcher! 

SCOTT McCLAIN — the soccer player who became a baseball player. Scott was one of the guys who early on took on the challenge of becoming a baseball player, not just a kid who played baseball. He worked very hard at the game, and it paid off. Scott earned his 2nd base position and I’m sure his senior year was going to his best. Baseball is a game that doesn’t come naturally to all athletes, and it didn’t, at first, for Scott. But he proved the old adage true once again, that if you want something bad enough and you’re willing to work for it, things will come together in your favor. 

CODY MILLER — I love free spirits, and Cody was the free spirit of our team. Quiet almost to a fault, but a great athlete and wonderful long hair! I suspect one reason I liked Cody so much was because his hair would flip out beneath his hat, forming wings, just like mine used to do when I had hair! I still wear the bruise Cody left on my back by hitting a sharp screaming line drive right back at me during cage work. But my favorite day of Cody’s was the day he came right up to me and declared boldly that he could handle playing shortstop just fine, thank you very much. So I put him there. And he played it beautifully. And from that day forward, Cody was our shortstop. I’ll miss his slick defense, and his flowing hair — but not the bruise on my back! 

LUCAS OTTO — a superior athlete who played football, and basketball for a while, but Lucas was born to be a baseball player. And he is continuing his baseball career in junior college. But one of my biggest regrets of the lost season is not getting to see Lucas be that totally dominant high school player that he worked so hard to become during the three years we spent together. Frankly, the baseball stuff was not hard for him … but the leadership role was something he had to grow in to. And he did. As Lucas prepared for his senior year, he became a self-directed and disciplined player who was willing to lead the team and himself to a higher level. And he did that too! I am anxiously looking forward to Lucas playing at the next level, but I’ll always regret not seeing him perform as a senior for ALAH.

WYATT SCHLABACH — If Cody was the free spirit, and Lucas the star, then Wyatt was the glue that kept all of us on an even keel and did all the little things each and every day that help make this tough and challenging game a pure joy. As far as I can tell, Wyatt hasn’t had a bad day in the 3 years I’ve known him, and he always, always, always, put a smile on my face and reminded me that baseball is supposed to be fun! He was the first winner of the Best Teammate award, and I have considered naming the award after him! Wyatt accepted every role he played on our team with gratitude and grace, and I especially loved watching him run the bases — his reckless abandonment with a big broad smile on his face always made me feel good. 

RYAN YEAKLEY — I’m sure Ryan was born with baseball in his blood, and there wasn’t a day that went by that he didn’t do something special on the field — whether hitting, fielding or pitching. Without a doubt the most versatile high school player I’ve coached, Ryan could literally play all 9 positions and play them well. He was attuned to the details of the game (and there are a lot of details in baseball!), and walked onto the field each day with a confidence and passion that many players lack. Ryan was a worker, a hustler, a hard-nosed full speed player who would be the first in line to dive for a ball or take an extra base — he would’ve had a great highlight video if we had played in 2020. Ryan has one more important gift as well — he mows my front yard like it’s a major league playing surface — now that’s special! 

When God brought baseball back into my life — I learned to love players in a new way — not as players only, but just for who they are. I love each and every one of these “seniors” and I will hold them in my prayers as life goes on. Because life does go on. But I’ll never forget the Lost Season of 2020 and the 7 seniors, whose stars never got to shine, 

Faith, Hope & Love … But most of all — Love,

Pastor Bob Silvanik

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How to be a Sponge By Jackson Silvanik

Throughout my life, and particularly over the last few weeks – which I’ve spent poring through books and writings and devotionals in a search for meaning, clarity and inspiration – one thing seems to hold true: wisdom and insight will often be found in the places that you aren’t deliberately looking. 

Sometimes the Great Cosmic Synergy aligns itself perfectly: everything syncs up, the various writings seem to all touch on the same subject and small truths about your life are revealed. Other times, though, it’s not so easy or simple. The lessons don’t seem to apply to you, or the wisdom imparted on the page doesn’t really work for your spiritual needs at the moment. You might turn to the next chapter annoyed or frustrated that you’re putting in the effort to better yourself and aren’t quite hearing what you wanted to hear. 

These are the moments where you must set aside your expectations and become a sponge. My dad, believe it or not, has a large library of books scattered all over the house – and not just now; I have been lucky to grow up surrounded by books of all sorts. Lois, my grandmother and my dad’s mom, would often send me home with a book or two from her own library when she’d watch me and my sister as we grew up (she still does, and now she’s added my wife to her book club). 

      It’s often in those moments of poking around the shelves of books that something reveals itself to me. It might be the title, or an author that I recognize. It might be the size of the book, the colors or the design. Regardless, if I’m looking for something that I can’t quite define, something will reveal itself to me. More often than not, I’ll find what I was looking for purely by chance. 

Other times, though, wisdom doesn’t come from my own interpretation of something that I’ve read, but becomes clearer when I share my recently learned insight with others and get their feedback. My wife and I view the world through slightly different lenses: she likes facts, specific timetables and sticking to a schedule. I struggle with structure, often choosing to let things play out however they might and rolling with the tide. One of the most valuable tools at my disposal during this journey of self-improvement has been her perspective. I’ll often tell her about things I’ve read and notes that I’ve made, and she’ll listen, offer feedback and add her own response in ways that dramatically affects the ideas that I’ve been working towards. 

That’s what a partnership is all about. We all need someone to challenge us, to make us better, and to give us perspective that enhances our attempts to become better people. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to learn how to be a better partner when I had such a great example just sitting right in front of me. As I have sat and read and meditated and listened, she gave me feedback at every turn and shared her own insights and reflections. 

It was yet another reminder to be humble: you can’t fix everything on your own. It’s a team effort. Whatever is challenging you, surrender to the moment and let people in. Keep your eyes wide open and look for meaning and inspiration in every corner. You never know where the right combination of words might come from. Share what you’ve learned, listen to what others have to say about it and take that into account. 

I’ve thought that the idea that “it takes a village” was a little corny, but truthfully, it does take some cooperation. Living in a silo is hard. Let people in, let family be family and let partners be partners. I spent a long time trying to handle things on my own, but opening up and letting wisdom find me in whatever form is a pathway to peace.

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Quiet Time By Jackson Silvanik

Over the past week I’ve been doing many small things that I haven’t done in a long time, such as reading physical books, writing in notepads and simply sitting quietly without a phone or tablet to siphon my attention. One of the first things that I noticed is how hard it is to write; not just deciding on a topic or finding the right words, but the actual act of writing with a pen. My handwriting has deteriorated significantly, and it wasn’t easy to read in the first place.

Another thing that I noticed was that the more you sit and search for answers, it soon becomes clear that you aren’t even sure what questions you should be asking. When thinking about various aspects of your life that you wish to improve, you inevitably end up circling back to the biggest questions: how, why, when did things go off the rails? These are the large-scale questions to which there is no immediate answer, and precisely why they can be so frustrating, and without the gratification of a quick result, such reflection can feel fruitless. How can you tell if you’re making progress if you can’t easily mark or define it, or explain it to others?

One of the other things you notice when you sit quietly is just how remarkably loud life can be. Certainly, the world is more accessible now than it ever has been. You can look up anything you want to know, talk to anyone you might need to reach out to, and stay on top of the news just as it’s happening. Consequently, there’s also myriad ways for the world to reach out to you at any moment; to remind you of the bills there are to pay, the tasks you still need to accomplish, to buy this or that. It can come via text or email, endless robocalls, targeted ads in your social media, and it can come at any moment. Simply turning it off for a moment drives home how conditioned we are to such a volume of constant interruption. 

I’ve recently developed a series of small rituals to help give some structure to my day, something that I let go of during the ongoing pandemic, where working from home and the new demands of parenthood have shaken up the 24-hour dynamic, and though I have always been a night owl, it’s made sleep even more distant and anxiety a more constant companion. Starting the day with a devotional has been a welcome tool that helps me start to put one foot in front of the other. Each one concludes with a few meditation tips; things to focus on as you simply sit and breathe for a few minutes. 

One recent reading describes the burden of worry as akin to being a tree trying to stand up against the wind. The mystery and spirit of God is constantly moving all around us, and out of pride and ego, we often try to resist, and worry batters us to exhaustion. One solitary tree cannot bear the burdens and challenges of the world alone, but when we sit and breathe and let the wind move through us instead of flailing against it, the burden can be lightened. The spirit fills the entire forest, and even the still air is always subtly moving. The experience is meant to be shared.

The words “pride” and “ego” have stood out in the different texts that I’ve been reading. It’s a concept that I obviously am meant to absorb. Many of my own challenges stem from the fact that I must learn how to share my fears and worries, to not fear vulnerability and to embrace that you’re rarely alone; you just convince yourself that you are as to appear successful, confident and strong. Mostly, we crave to be in control, and feeling it slip away is stressful. 

Some tips have helped me better calm down and find sleep in the night, one of which is to breathe in slowly and deeply with fists clenched, and then slowly open your hands and extend your fingers as you exhale. The physical act of imagining the pressures of the day releasing from your hands lightens the load just a bit. Sitting, breathing, reflecting and writing have helped me find a few tools to add to the toolkit in the search for improvement; perhaps finding “quiet time” throughout the day will reveal more.

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Bob Silvanik
Beth Jones
Office Manager
Ruth Ann Lowder
Ed Coller
Candi & Bryan Thomas
Cleaning Crew
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Address: 249 S. Vine Street Arthur, IL 61911