Greetings, my beloved Friendship Family!

I am grateful to greet you this week! I am still basking in the joy of the 19 baptisms on Sunday! To God be the Glory!  Friendship Family, I sincerely believe God wants to do something great in us and with us! Moreover, I believe God is already doing it! I believe the BEST is STILL yet to come.

Now, last month I encouraged us to be Fruitful and Faithful. This month I want to encourage us to be Focused and Fearless! 

In today’s society staying focused is an ongoing job. The world is full of distractions. We have never been more connected to news, information, and technology at any time in human history.  We can instantly received updates from the lives of our friends, opinions of those we don’t even know, and opportunities to participate in activities we might never have considered before.

Research shows that iPhone users unlock their phones an average of 80 times per day. In addition, it was shown that the average iPhone user checks their phone between six and seven times per hour—or about once every 10 minutes.  Our days are constantly being interrupted by texts, tweets, push notifications, ads, Instagram posts, emails, and several other distractions.

Some would argue that our brains are being trained to crave distraction. With this increased connectedness, if we are not careful, we can become disconnected with our Creator. We become unfocused! We must remain focused. That is singular in head and heart. That is intentional in our relationship with God.

So how do you stay focused on God in the daily grind while so many things are competing for your attention? Here are three ways we can stay spiritually focused in a distracted world that I have borrowed from a recent Lifeway post!
1. Pay attention to what you pay attention to.
As Christians, we must be careful what we are giving our attention to. What we give our attention to is what we are being discipled by. Another way to put it is, what fills our minds ultimately fills our hearts.

Paul reminds us in Romans 12:2 that as Christians we are called to “not be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewal of our minds, that by testing we may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

In order to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” we must diligently evaluate what we are filling our minds with in order to protect our hearts. Remember that Proverbs 4:23 tells us, “Guard our hearts above all else, for it is the source of life.”

As Christians, we must make sure we are spending more time in God’s Word and in prayer than listening, watching, and reading the voices around us.
2. Create boundaries and constraints.
When it comes to guarding what is valuable in our lives, we set up boundaries and constraints to make sure those valuables are protected, even from themselves.

This may involve Turning Off Push Notifications, Setting Screen Time Limits, and Taking Regular Breaks from Social Media.
3. Set your minds on the things above.
If we go back to Romans 12:2, we see that Paul tells us to “not be conformed to this age.” But we can’t accomplish this by simply protecting our attention. We must begin to focus on the right thing. This is why he goes on to say, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Paul reinforces this idea when he wrote to the Colossians saying, “If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

We can’t just stop giving our attention to the world. We must start giving our attention to the things above. Specifically we must start giving our attention to God! Focus on Him. His purposes, His Plans, His priorities.
Now let me quickly talk briefly about being fearless and I will complete this conversation in two weeks, the week before our 60th Church Anniversary. We all have fears. We have things that hold us back and make us scared or fearful.
  • We fear failure or not reaching your goals
  • We fear the opinion of others
  • We fear not being good enough

We must remember what 2 Timothy 1:7 states, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." To be fearless we must hold to scriptural truth that God HAS NOT given us a spirit of fear. I want encourage us to not be afraid. Instead be strong. Be courageous. Be fearless. Not because of any overconfidence or arrogance about your intellect or abilities but because you know GOD is with you. He will never leave you or forsake you. I will unpack this more in two weeks.

Be encouraged!
Now here are this week's announcements...
First, please note that since we had NATIONAL DAY of Prayer last night, there is no FAMILY Prayer service this evening! I repeat we will not have Family Prayer Service via the prayer line TONIGHT!
To accommodate the Leadership Meeting and the Spring Cleaning Day, the Kingdom Wives class will not meet! Please plan to be present on Saturday, May 18th for the next Kingdom Wives Class.
For our Leaders, our Leadership Meeting is tomorrow, Saturday, May 4th at 9am. This is a one hour meeting.  This will be a ONE-HOUR MEETING only!
After the meeting, we can join right in with our Spring Clean-up Day.
Also on Saturday we are having a Spring Cleaning Day here at the Ship! We will start the “Spring Cleaning Day” @ 9am and go until 3pm. We need volunteers. Yes we need you!

Friendship, we need your help anytime between 9am and 3pm as we clean up around the campus, inside and out. All you need to do is SHOW UP with a willing heart and willing hands! I hope to see you tomorrow!

Also, we are asking ALL ministries with closet space in the Carrington Building to take this opportunity to purge and clean your designated closet.

We look forward to seeing you and getting some cleaning done tomorrow.
This Sunday, May 5th, is First Sunday. We will gather for worship and communion!   I pray you will join us in person for worship and communion! If you will worship form home, check out the communion instructions so you can observe communion virtually HERE
Friendship is pleased to present another 13-week GriefShare series. GriefShare is a support group that offers a safe, welcoming place where people understand the difficult emotions of grief. The series is for anyone who is grieving the loss of a loved one. This is our second13-week series, and we encourage those dealing with grief to journey with us through this series. Our hope is that you would gain comfort and some practical coping skills from these sessions that will assist you as you continue to navigate through loss.  This new GriefShare session will start on Tuesday May 7th at 7pm and meet every Tuesday in the Carrington Building here at Friendship.  To register, please follow the link HERE on our GriefShare page.
On THURSDAY, May 2nd , we kicked off our 2024 Leadership Excellence and Development Academy. We simply call it the LEAD Academy. I am excited that we will develop NEW and EXISTING Leaders. It is NOT too late for you to join this exciting development opportunity for existing and aspiring leaders. This course offers meaningful discussion, readings, training videos, mentorship, and more in a hybrid learning environment (in-person, online, and self-study). We meet next on May 9th @ 7:00pm.

Again, our desire and goal is to develop existing and future church leaders. That includes you! You do not need to already hold a leadership role or title within the church to participate. We especially welcome young adults and those aspiring to lead.

Join Pastor Curry, Lady Karima, Pastor Jaron, and Le Shon Archer as we LEARN to LEAD!
To sign up, go HERE.
The Side by Side Couples Ministry is starting a new study titled, Building a Better Marriage. This study starts on  Friday, May 10th @ 7pm and invites married/engaged/seriously dating couples to explore God's blueprint for building a healthy marriage through trust, honesty, service, love, and God's Word. This series is offered through Right Now Media and the class will be facilitated online by Deacon Hilton and Sheila McDaniel. To register and join the study go HERE.
Friendship, we have said it many times, but it bears repeating! Friendship celebrating 60 years of faithful ministry in May, and we have a wonderful celebration weekend planned.

Look below for more details...
Saturday, May 18th, is a family fun day from 2 to 5 pm with games, food trucks, and more. You can bring your food or purchase from the food trucks. The church will provide all the snacks and beverages.
Also, on Saturday, May 18th, we have the Chuckie Owens Comedy Show at the Ship! You don’t want to miss this. Tickets are only $20. Stop by the table on Sunday to purchase tickets, or you can do so online HERE.

Finally, on Sunday,  May 19th, we worship together and celebrate Friendship’s 60 years with dinner following the 11:30am service.
Our 60th Anniversary Commemorative book is on the way. We are taking pre-sales online and on Sundays after each worship service. The book is only $75.00. Friendship family, friends, and guests, we need you to support this great milestone. Sixty faithful years of ministry! What a blessing it will be to look back over the years to see what God has done in our ministry and faith community. For more information, contact the church office.  To purchase your Commemorative Book, go HERE.
Women of Friendship, please note the next Virtual Women’s Ministry Monthly Fellowship will take place Friday, May 24th, at 7:00pm

The guest speaker is the Minister Karen Wiggins. She will teach about Sarah - When Women Pray, They Find Hope & Joy In Unexpected Places based upon the book When Women Pray - 10 Women Who Changed The World Through Prayer" by Bishop T.D. Jakes.  Bishop Jakes writes:
"I believe Sarah began her life with hope. With joy as well. In her youth, she cradled that hope against her chest the same way she planned to cradle her child. As the years passed, that hope became heavy. Harder to carry. Harder to pin against her skin and hang on to. Then, one sad and terrible day, she decided to let go. Did you know hope can be aborted? Sarah did. And the pain of that loss was greater than anything she had experienced. She lost her hope and joy in the same moment. After all, hope can be a painful thing when it stretches and strains without fulfillment; therefore, we resist the rekindling of that hope to avoid that pain.  Here is a principle: when you feel skeptical about a promise that seems too good to be true, your best hope is to pray.  That is why I will continue to call ALL women to pray in EVERY circumstance. Because when women pray, they find hope and joy in unexpected places. "
Ladies, don't miss your blessing and a time to learn that something powerful happens When Women Pray!  Register today, HERE.

We are excited to announce that our Youth Worship Service is back. All youth 6th-12th Grade are welcome to join in.  Come out as we continue this series called Bible Basics where we discover how we got the Bible and why we can trust that the Bible truly is the Word of God.  The Youth Praise Team leads worship and there will also be games and fun.  They meet in the Carrington Building Basement.  Young people, JOIN IN!

Children's Worship also happens every 1st - 3rd Sunday.  All Children from age 3 through the 5th Grade are welcome to join in.  We currently have three groupings; Pre-K - Kindergarten, First - Third Grade, and Fourth & Fifth Grade.

The Friendship Safety Team is currently recruiting new members. We need more women and coverage for the 2nd service.

The prerequisites are:
  1. Member in good standing. New Members must complete new member's class to be officially added to the team. However, they are able to serve will attending the class.
  2. Ability to serve the entire service. We ask that they show up 30 mins prior to the start of service and stay until the end of service, preferably until all the parishioners leave.
  3. Be available for special services/events, as needed.

We also would like to appeal to those in Law Enforcement Officers or Retired LEOs. We would love to you on the team, but we know that many of you want to just worship and leave the job at the job. The Safety team, however, just needs to know who you are and where you (in the service) are in case of an emergency.

If interested please contact Pastor Rodney Friend HERE.
We want to say thank you for your giving and partnership.  YOUR GIVING MATTERS! Your faithful giving allows us to increasingly do the work of ministry for our members AND to everyone the Lord sends to us and sends us to.   Let’s keep giving to make Friendship a productive church!  You may give HERE.

General Church things to remember:
  • 2024 CHURCH THEME:
     Advancing and Expanding... for God's Glory Alone
     Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV

     Walking in the HOPE of Jesus Christ
     Isaiah 14:10; Duet 31:8; Matt 11:28-29; John16:33; Psalm 32:8; Psalm 37:23-24

We invite everyone to consider reading God’s Word this year! As of today, you have 242 days to complete a Bible reading plan, including today. At Friendship, we encourage every member to read one of six Bible reading plans in the year. Consider joining a Bible-reading small group that will be starting soon! The plans include:
✔ The entire Bible,
✔ The Pentateuch (or the first five books of the Old Testament),
✔ The entire Old Testament,
✔ The Gospels (or the first four books of the New Testament),
✔ The entire New Testament, and
✔ Psalms and Proverbs (3 times)

Remember,  Health Care Ministry is sponsoring a weekly Health Walk every Saturday  from 7:00 am to 7:35 am led by Rev. Aubrey Craig and Sister Sandra Jones. This is a 30-minute walk. The walking group will meet on the corner of Bastanchury Road and Rose Drive.  If you want to participate, show up with water and energy snacks. Water and snacks will not be provided. For more information, please call Sister Sandra Jones at  909-438-7217.

We invite you to stay after the first service or come earlier for the second service to attend EX-Hour in person. Remember, we have two adult classes meeting in person on campus and a Young Adult Class. They meet as follows:

  • Adult Class One (Sanctuary): The team teaching in the Sanctuary includes Lady Karima Curry, Pamela Jones, Deacon Demetrius Linebarger, Melanie Porter, Vivian Randolph, & Deacon James Shelby
  • Adult Class Two (Carrington Building Room 217): The team teaching in the Carrington Building Room 217 includes Le Shon Archer, Deacon Rick Archer, Karen Ammons, Gwen Matthews, and Carl Randolph.
  • Young Adults Class (Carrington Building Rooms 207-208): This class is designed for those aged 18-35.
  • VIRTUAL EX HOUR: Virtual Ex-Hour meets weekly on Sundays via ZOOM. Join us for class at 10:00 am via this link HERE.
  • YOUTH EX HOUR: Our in-person youth EX-Hour takes place during our designated EX Hour time in the Multipurpose Building. Parents, please encourage your students to join youth teachers for this biblically fun opportunity to learn God’s Word, connect with others, and grow.
  • CHILDREN’S EX-HOUR: As stated in previous weeks, our Children’s EX-Hour is back and meets on Sundays at 10am in the Multipurpose Building. Parents, please note you must check in and check out your children weekly for Ex-Hour. 
  • MOMMIES WITH BABIES: We have our Mommies with Babies class simultaneously during EX-Hour in the Multipurpose Building. Mommies with two years old and younger children are invited to this EX-HOUR class and are encouraged to bring their children with them! Come for encouragement, community, and growth! Amen!

  • WEDNESDAY Prayer Day: Join us each Wednesday for Prayer. We pray at 6:30 am, 12:00 pm, and 6:30 pm. To connect with our prayer services, please follow this link HERE or dial in at +1 (413) 418-4274 and use the PIN 287683504#.

  • Friendship FOOD BANK OPEN: The Friendship Food Bank is OPEN with a new drive-thru system where our clients will receive a pre-packaged food box and a bag of groceries.  The Food Bank’s hours of operation are Tuesday - Thursday, 2:30 pm-4:30 pm.  

Look, Friendship, that's all I have today.  I know it’s a lot, but a lot is happening at the Ship.
We appreciate your continued support, Friendship Family!  For more information, contact the church office.

Remember this, God loves you and so do I.

Be encouraged!
Rev. Kenneth C. Curry, Jr.
Your Pastor

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