In this Roundup you’ll read about Michael Mattar’s commencement speech at Ivy Christian College, where he shares about “The American Dream.” Though for many that feels tainted these days, Mattar wonderfully shares that it requires hard work and sacrifice, and he reminds students, though it really applies to all of us all, the words in I Thessalonians, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.’” Great words to remember this week!
Michael Mattar, pastor of Hope Fellowship Church, Va., and Montgomery Baptist Association (MBA) language church missionary gave the commencement address at the Ivy Christian College graduation.
Mattar said he gratefully accepted the request immediately, thrilled to share. He and Ron Blankenship, MBA director of missions, have the privilege of teaching quarterly at the college.
“There’s something special about that school,” Mattar shared. Students come from all over the world—Russia, Turkey, South America, the Middle East…and few that come in are Christians. Many are Muslims. But it’s a Christian college and all of the students are required to take biblical studies.
Many accept Christ, though not all are public about their confessions of faith. Mattar said he’s had students approach him and share they have accepted Christ but ask him not to announce it because they’ll be rejected by their families.
Mattar and others at Hope Fellowship Church welcome students to the church to continue their immigration process, “We use the church as a training center, allowing them to do their OPT (Optional Practice Training) as interns.” Mattar said the church can’t pay the students but gives them an opportunity to learn the skills they need.
“I help them and sign their papers for the OPT internship, to continue mentoring and guiding them through that process,” Mattar said.
At the commencement, Mattar said he shared about the American Dream. There are no Chinese dreams, or African dreams, everyone wants to come to America, he said. “I told them the American Dream has to do with education, hard work, and sacrifice.
“I love the passage from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, and I told them that as they seek the American Dream, to remember to ‘[r]ejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.’ It was well received,” he said.
Partnering with the college is a way the Montgomery Baptist Association is beginning to look at church planting. They’re getting to know people, connecting young believers to the right ethnic groups.
Ultimately, Mattar said, “My passion is to see people encouraged and know Jesus Christ and serve Him.”
Church planter wife Lindsey Carlson, a mother of five, is one of the authors of the recently released, “Identity Theft: Reclaiming the Truth of our Identity in Christ,” published by The Gospel Coalition. She and her husband, Kyle, originally from Houston, Texas, are planting Imprint Community Church in the Perry Hall community of Baltimore.
Cumberland Valley Baptist Church had an ecumenical “Praisefest” in May with a variety of music including the barbershop Gospel quartet, “4forHim,” that included CVBC’s Pastor Ron Kline. Other offerings were CVBC Member Betty Spence’s son, Billy Spence, accompanied by a pianist who is blind. Bob Bloomfield, the church’s guitarist, played several songs, and Darren Homontowski, a baritone in “4forHim,” sang with CD accompaniment.
Kline said it was a joyful time. They plan to have the event again in the fall and Kline hopes more churches will participate. For more information, contact Pastor Kline.
West End Baptist Chapel, Hagerstown, will have a worship service at the Hagerstown Rescue Mission tonight. They’ll also serve spaghetti dinners to the residents.
Gary Glanville, interim pastor of Greensboro Baptist Church baptized nine believers earlier this month, including his granddaughter, seven-year-old Kendall Larkin.
Tabernacle Baptist Church, Essex, will have a community block party from 6 to 8 pm on June 22. Visitors will enjoy free food, games, prizes, music and a bounce house.
Bayside Baptist Church, Chesapeake Beach, celebrated breaking ground for their “Transformation Center” following the worship service on June 10.
Pastor Glenn Swanson read from Ezra 3:10-11, “When the builders completed the foundation of the Lord’s Temple, the priests put on their robes and took their places to blow their trumpets. And the Levites, descendants of Asaph, clashed their cymbals to praise the Lord, just as King David had prescribed. 11 With praise and thanks, they sang this song to the Lord: ‘He is so good! His faithful love for Israel endures forever!’ Then all the people gave a great shout, praising the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s Temple had been laid.” (NLT)
As they did in days of old, church members gave a great shout as members shoveled a bit of dirt, thanking God for what He is doing in their midst.