BY HEATHER GOBLE-SORRELLS
Read how one Northview couple finds strength to deal with their son’s rare blood disorder. Discover how others have helped and how you can help too.
Kane is a vibrant, energetic, super-hero-loving four-year-old. He is commonly found playing with action figures, wearing a mask of some sort and playing with his two older brothers, ages five and six. Sure, he might be a little on the small side due to slow growth, but apart from that, you wouldn’t look at him and know he’s fighting a rare and potentially debilitating disease.
Likewise, in befriending Kane’s parents, Liz and Dave Lamberson, you would never know they are struggling as a result of Kane’s medical condition since they always have smiles on their faces and are always willing to help others. When discussing Kane’s condition, Liz is stoic, brave and optimistic. “We pull our strength from God and have grown closer to Him because of Kane,” says Liz.
Kane was diagnosed with congenital dyserythropoietic anemia type 1 (CDA) at age 18 months. CDA is an extremely rare disease inherited at birth; there are less than 300 cases worldwide. CDA causes the body to absorb too much iron which can build up and damage the body’s tissues and organs. Since 2011, Kane has been undergoing blood transfusions every six weeks. A possible long-term cure is a bone marrow transplant. “But the risks outweigh trying it,” says Liz.
Most adults don’t like needles or having their blood drawn and Kane is no different. Liz has to wrap herself all around him so he is still enough for the nurses to do their job. “I pray before, during and after,” says Liz. Kane’s transfusions take most of the day to complete, but at the end of them he’s ready to play.
Kane needs less than a bag of blood each time but without this life-saving blood, Kane’s organs would slowly shut down. “He’s alive because of other people,” says Liz. Neither Liz nor Dave are compatible blood matches.
Because blood is so valuable to Kane, the Lambersons are hosting a blood drive. Stop by the Indiana Blood Donation Centers in Fishers or Carmel on April 26 from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. to draw up your sleeve and give blood. While the blood at the drives does not go directly to Kane, every little bit helps him and others in need of blood. Kane receives type O+, so you are truly in demand if you have that blood type.
There is also a fundraiser, click here, to help offset some of the Lamberson’s out of pocket costs for Kane’s treatment. Most of the people who have donated so far—the Lamberson’s do not know personally. Liz says the generosity they’ve seen through the fundraiser “is touching and brought tears to [her] eyes”.
To follow Kane’s journey, check out Liz’s blog by clicking here.
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16 (ESV)
BY DRAKE D’AMBRA
Even though Northview Church’s Hilltop Sports men’s flag football league is in the midst of its offseason, the league’s impact is still being felt around Northview.
“Hilltop Sports leagues are wonderful opportunities to have good, clean, competitive fun with other believers,” says flag football participant Jason Williams. “Hilltop football specifically is a great way to introduce guys to other men at Northview.”
The flag football league provides a way for men to bond and create friendships, but is also an integral part in bringing guests to Northview and connecting them to the church.
“Hilltop Sports has provided an incredible opportunity for the men of our church to invite their unchurched friends to a fun, competitive and uplifting environment,” says Family Ministry Pastor Kurt Brodbeck. “We then get to use that as an easy way to invite others to church.”
While the Hilltop Sports football league is flag football, the men on the field enjoy contact and the competitive nature of the game. The physical play does not depreciate the sport because Christ is the most important element of the league.
“There is nothing wrong with [contact and competition] if put into the proper framework,” says Hilltop Sports Director Mel Arnold. “Giving the men parameters to work within and keeping a focus on Christ and His teachings has allowed our league to be set apart from other adult flag football leagues.”
The competitive spirit of the flag football league is on full display in the trenches. Full contact is allowed between offensive and defensive linemen; however, when the play ends, contact between both teams halts.
“It’s good practice when tempers do flare and everyone is able to show their sportsmanship to resolve differences quickly and move on with the game,” says Williams.
One of Arnold’s favorite moments in games is when a lineman falls to the ground as the result of a clean block from the opposing lineman. “Then the opposing player reaches out his hand to help the opponent up only to be met with a smack on the backside and the comment, ‘Nice block; let’s do it again.’”
“With the strong team camaraderie and the ties binding men together, lives have been changed on the football field,” says Arnold.
Last November, Brodbeck and other flag football players Scott Frei, Steve Gill, Schawn Walthall and Jason Williams qualified for the Hilltop Flag Football’s first Hall of Fame ballot. When the dust settled and the votes came in, all five became Hall-of-Famers.
In order to be eligible for the Hall of Fame, each candidate must have displayed a competitive and Christ-like spirit on the field, been a team and spiritual leader on and off the field, and hung up their cleats for at least two years.
“It’s not about football, it’s about the guys being together,” says Brodbeck. “So to have guys you have spent a lot of memories with on a football field vote you into the Hall of Fame, it is actually a special honor for those of us who have shared that experience.”
Although flag football is just a game, it’s a microcosm of life for the men who take the field.
“We remind the men Jesus gave us 100 percent. The least we can do is give Him 100 percent in everything we do – at work, at home or at play,” says Arnold. “To be a true follower of Christ, we must give Him our best all the time.”
BY HEATHER GOBLE-SORRELLS
Northview Church attendee Scott Gentry received $20 in his envelope during the Northview pay-it-forward weekend, when $83,000 was dispensed among Weekend Service attendees. The money was given with Lead Pastor Steve Poe’s challenge for each person to prayerfully consider how he or she would spend the money to glorify God.
Gentry says he and his wife prayed for about a month before making their decision on how to use the money. “It honestly was the first time in my life I can really say I felt God speak directly to me – and what an incredible feeling that was.”
Gentry volunteers in Northview’s 11 a.m. second grade Northview Kids classroom. Every weekend the students learn Bible stories and memorize verses. Gentry and the other volunteers noticed some of the students were unfamiliar with the names of books in the Bible and because of this, couldn’t find verses or stories. “So, the idea was born. Our way to impact the lives of the kids in our 11 o’clock second grade classroom was to buy each of them a Bible to use to go one step further in our teaching—to teach Bible basics,” Gentry says.
With the help of his wife, parents (who also attend Northview), and Northview Kids Elementary Coordinator Bryan Baker, Gentry turned his pay-it-forward money into a life-changing opportunity for the second-graders. Collectively, they donated $200 and purchased 50 Bibles, one for each of the second grade students in his class.
“You should have seen the faces of the kids when they found out they were getting their own Bible. The class started to cheer. It is amazing when you look at how something so simple can make such a lasting impression,” Gentry says.
As part of the class, they are teaching the students how to look up verses and mark the Bible so verses are easier to find later. Gentry is hopeful this yearning for more understanding will continue at home for these kids and not stop after they leave Northview on Sunday afternoon.
Gentry understands his time is limited with these children; he wants to make a difference in their lives as much as possible. “As volunteers/teachers, we know we only have our class once a week for a little over an hour; we feel if we can show them each week how to use their Bible, they will look to learn outside of class, and when that happens, the true impact of the Holy Spirit will really show itself.”
Ultimately, Gentry truly believes this was God’s plan. By giving the kids Bibles, Gentry says, “Our hope is this is just the beginning of a new generation of believers. The volunteers in our classroom always say, ‘if we can lead even one child to Christ, then we have been successful.’”
BY JESSE JOHNSON
Since 2011, Indianapolis-based Companies with a Mission (CWAM) has been helping small groups serve others through the Super Service Challenge. The idea is simple: inspire people from churches, businesses and communities by awarding money to organizations they’re already helping. More than $1 million in rewards is given each year, ranging in individual prize amounts from $1,000 to $25,000. This year, Northview Church volunteers alone brought in $30,000.
Brookside Community Church and the Northview Outreach department were each awarded $5,000 in prize money, thanks to the efforts of Northview Life Groups. Northview attendee Sarah Hensley’s Life Group entered Brookside Community Church, and according to Outreach Pastor Wayland Thompson, the money will be used for ongoing repairs and maintenance issues at the inner-city building. As for Northview Outreach, the money will be reinvested into community projects.
A second-place award of $20,000 was given to Nicole Roswarski for her organization, Two Little Fish. Roswarski, a member of Northview’s Greater Lafayette campus, was awarded a $1,000 prize last year and was hoping for another award this year because the organization was in dire need of funding.
Roswarski recounts her reaction at hearing Two Little Fish won a second-place prize:
“They began to list the $20,000 winners and I whispered to my friend, ‘These are the big dogs, like Habitat for Humanity and Kids Against Hunger.’ So, I sat; all the butterflies had left and I was simply listening in support. Then I heard them say, ‘Northview Church,’ but it still didn’t sink in as our church entered around ten teams. Apparently then they said, ‘Two Little Fish’ and put up our web banner; but I honestly don’t even remember hearing our name. I just stared at our web banner up on the screen. My husband then looked at me and said, ‘That’s us,’ kinda like, ‘Wake up, you dummy!’ I was in such shock and disbelief!”
You can read Roswarski’s full account of the incredible experience on her blog, twolittlefishblog.blogspot.com.
Suffice it to say, the money is taking Two Little Fish to a whole new level. Not only do they make one-of-a-kind bedding using materials sourced from international low-income families, but 100 percent of the money made from the sale of the bedding goes to purchase mattresses for AIDS orphans in Africa.
With the winnings, Roswarski can begin hiring women in the West Lafayette area who are recovering from addiction or leaving transitional housing, extending and expanding the blessing cycle of Two Little Fish.
Entering the Super Service Challenge is simple and straightforward. Any group can enter by putting together a short video explaining what organization they think deserves the support and why. The video is submitted along with basic information to the Super Service Challenge website, superservicechallenge.com.
Northview Outreach is encouraging Life Groups and individuals to start putting together videos for submission, due in November. This is a great way to bring attention to the many ways Northview attendees answer the call of obedience to Christ by working in their communities to make the world a better place.
BY SANDY POE
I have a confession: I am a mother hen. I always have been and probably always will be. As a young mom, I liked having my kids in the safe haven of my “nest”—under my wings and close to my heart. Now that they are grown and have families of their own, my favorite times with them are still in my home for a family dinner.
When our children are young, we are speaking into their hearts every day. These are the years we are intentional about helping to shape their lives and encourage them. We pray daily with them and for them.
I know most parents think when their kids are grown, their parenting days are over. But the old saying “once a parent, always a parent” is so true. We never outgrow the need for our parents’ approval, prayers and words of blessing. I’m not saying I always get it right, but there are a few ways I pray for and encourage my adult children.
One of the love languages Gary Chapman talks about in his book “The Five Love Languages” is words of affirmation. I’m a “words of affirmation” person. I think all of us are. I mean, think about it. Who doesn’t love hearing compliments, words of love, praise and encouragement? Here are a few things I sometimes say to my kids:
- “You are doing a great job raising your kids.”
- “I am proud of the life you have built with your spouse.”
- “You look great in your new shirt, pants, dress, etc.”
- “I love your new haircut.”
- “I am proud of the way you use your gifts for God.”
Mark Twain said “I can live two months on a good compliment.” Me too, Mr. Twain, me too!
There are many other simple ways to reach out to your adult children. For instance, offering to babysit or keep their kids overnight is a love language all its own!
When I give my kids a card, I don’t just sign it “Love, Mom.” Steve and I have always been in the habit of writing a special note in their birthday cards or for other occasions. We like to use that opportunity to tell them what we appreciate and admire about them.
I try to be a good listener. Sometimes my kids just need to vent about a parenting issue or tough life situation.
Some days I will send a text or email and ask, “How can I pray for you today?” It’s just a simple way to let them know they are in my thoughts and prayers.
I don’t just pray for my kids; I pray with them! I have emailed prayers and prayed over the phone with my kids. But nothing beats being in the same room, putting my arm around them and agreeing together. I learned this firsthand from my own parents. When it’s time for me to come home after visiting my mom in Texas, she and I will typically stand in the middle of her living room with our arms around each other and take turns praying for one another. These are sweet moments I will remember forever.
While they aren’t in our nests forever, we can stay connected to our adult children’s hearts with encouragement and prayer through every season. And know this: You don’t have to be a great prayer warrior when praying for your children. The simplest prayer spoken with the simplest faith can set the wheels of heaven in motion. Trust Him to do great things for your children!
BY DIANA GORIN
At Northview’s Greater Lafayette campus, students haven’t had space for themselves. They have been meeting in the church lobby or a small closet classroom to do ministry. It was tight and not a good place for students to bring guests.
There’s nothing kids like more than their own space. Staying in their room and being able to relax and unwind from a long day is what most kids like doing. Having their own space for ministry is no exception.
Northview is known for having a great student ministry. With spaces like North Beach and Area 56 at Northview’s Carmel and Fishers campuses, students are in an environment where they are able to stay engaged with their friends and learn more about God.
Northview’s Greater Lafayette campus has decided to expand to allow both Northview 7.12 and Area 56 to better reach children and students. This expansion will help them grow both spiritually and in attendance numbers.
Hundreds of students enter the doors of North Beach at the Carmel campus every weekend. Now, the Greater Lafayette campus can grow to over a hundred students in their location.
At the Carmel campus, North Beach is used by kickboxing classes, Zumba, parent meetings and other events. Now, Greater Lafayette’s additional space can also be used for meetings and for Northview Kids to use for Family Experience (FX). FX is a monthly teaching and worship program for children and their parents which introduces the upcoming month’s curriculum.
Patrick Ringer, Family Pastor at Northview’s Greater Lafayette campus said, “We needed the space because it brought the ability to give a home to Northview Students and it will impact the ministry by getting a better reach to students and help them grow.”
More information on Northview ministries for children and students can be found at www.northviewchurch.us.
BY TERI KNAPP
As believers in Christ, we are called to be God’s hands and feet – to help teach and reach the lost in a variety of ways. Because of that, we are often placed in situations where we have to step out of our comfort zone. We allhave a purpose and God can do amazing things through us when we are willing to serve. Agree? I do. However, I recently had nothing but rest and relaxation on my agenda for Spring Break 2014. You know what I discovered? God doesn’t take breaks.
I went to a mall one afternoon that was within walking distance. As I walked up to one of the stores, I discovered that it wouldn’t open for about 30 minutes. I was in Arizona and the weather was very pleasant. Rather than go back to the hotel, I walked over to a small table and sat down in one of the 4 chairs that surrounded it. There was a good breeze and I truly could’ve stayed in that spot all morning.
Within 2 minutes, a lady walked up and sat down in the chair next to me. I was a little uncomfortable at first because there were many (I mean MANY!) empty chairs in the area to choose from, and she chose the one right next to me! She looked at me and smiled, and mentioned that she thought the stores opened earlier. I agreed and then struggled for something else to say. This was so out of my comfort zone. I finally asked her if she lived in Arizona. I guess it was the right thing to ask, because from that point on, we talked for over 30 minutes!
Tina is her name. This 67 year-old sweet lady was originally from Vietnam. I had a difficult time keeping up with what she was trying to say and had to keep asking her to repeat what she said. She was very patient, and for whatever reason – she pretty much shared her life story with me. She never looked away, nor at her watch or phone….and neither did I.
She told me that she began working when she was 12 (so that she could help support 7 siblings.) If I understood her correctly, she has continued to send money back home to help support her mother and a couple other family members. She said that’s what God wanted her to do – so she does it. She really misses her mother, but doesn’t go back home often because of her stepfather. She said he’s mean to her when she visits, and often worries that he may harm her mother.
She got married when she was 20, then soon divorced because he had an affair. She was devastated. She still doesn’t understand it. She remarried only because she wasn’t independent enough to stay here on her own. Sadly her second husband had a gambling problem and spent all of their money. They were separated for 2 years – but he finally changed his ways. She smiled as she told me they are still married today.
What got me was that she was able to open up to a total stranger – me! I won’t go into all the details, but I just kept asking myself – and asking God – why is she telling me all of this, and what do you want me to say?!
Although I’m not exactly sure what God was teaching me, I’ll share an account of what I do know. In 30 minutes, a total stranger taught me how meaningful it is when someone trusts you enough to share their story. God used Tina to make me realize that there are no ‘breaks’ when it comes to sharing God’s love – even when it’s spring break.
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. – Proverbs 16:9
Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8
The Friday Spiritual Column is entirely the opinion of this week’s writer and does not necessarily reflect the view of Northview Church as a whole.