CCY Connect MAY edition 2024


I am writing this month’s article from my treatment chair at the Cancer Center. I am here only for an infusion to boost my immune system, but as I look around the room, I am reminded of the chemo treatments that I endured here and that so many are undergoing today. This caused me to reflect on Clay’s current series on Mountains and Valleys. We all can remember, probably with fondness, some of our peak and mountaintop experiences. They should bring us joy and, hopefully, peace.

We can also recall our valleys. The emotional response to these is probably different due to the negative impacts that valleys often bring, but I hope that the interconnecting emotion we find as Christians is peace. Of course, this reminds me of the 23rd Psalm, where we are assured that WHEN (not if) we are in the valleys of life, God is with us to guide and comfort us. God wants, for us, refinement which comes through good times and bad, as long as we trust in Him.

Isaiah 26 tells us that God will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in Him. Do you trust Him? I do. Do you feel His peace? I do.

I want nothing more for us than to understand and trust in His perfect peace and love, for 'The Lord Himself is the Eternal Rock.

Peace be to you Family.

In this segment of our newsletter, we are celebrating the profound impact that our senior members have within our church community at CCY. From providing guidance and wisdom to embodying a living history of faith, our seniors are invaluable to the fabric of our congregation.

It was Sunday so I went to meet with the church family at CCY. As I entered, I was welcomed by a greeter, a senior Christian. In the foyer, I saw the coffee (made by a senior) and donut (brought by a senior) counter. Off to one side, I noticed our security officer for the day - also a senior. In the celebrity room, a Sunday school class was about to start; yes, the teacher is a senior, as well as most of the class members.

After the worship hour, I overheard two men mentioning they would see each other at the shepherds’ meeting. And you are right, one is a senior. I waited around for my wife, a senior, who had counting duty, hoping she would finish quickly so we could join the Senior Connection potluck led by Kathy who also is a senior.

Following this, we headed home. We knew there will be Senior Saints on Wednesday, and then Christ’s Closet with senior volunteers who will minister to people come Saturday. We pulled into our driveway and were happily welcomed home by our senior dog. It was another good day.

Even though I'm 77 years old (not comfortable with that word "old" either!), I still have difficulty seeing myself as a "Senior". When I was in my 20s, a Senior was my grandparents. When I was 45, a Senior was my parents. Now I'm that "Senior". So, what has changed? I'm still the same person (until I look in the mirror). I just never thought of myself as the person who was supposed to have the answers instead of the person who had all the questions. Have you noticed how children are always asking questions... and older folks are always ready with answers!

So, what has changed? I've always been "in the church". I was raised "in the church". It's easy to just say that I've gained a lot of knowledge; and that would be true. But when I look back on my life, I realize, and recognize the times that the Lord laid out my path. Yes, meeting and marrying my wife, and living together these years has been a blessing and has included many blessings from God. Certainly, our children and our grandchildren have all been blessings. The direction and the track that my path through college and the directions of my career showed God's hands on me.

But before all of that, I accepted Jesus and was baptized. I grew up reading Bible stories and sang hymns in church. Then, at 18, life and belief in God and Jesus became real. My father died three days before Christmas, my senior year of high school. And suddenly the future looked very different than it had the day before.

At that point in time, there entered a man named Louie. I knew him from church. He was my parents' Sunday School teacher and he had two boys about my age. But when he came to visit our home that night, he didn't just sit and talk. He asked me to come outside and we visited while sitting in his car. Then we prayed, and he asked me if I believed in Jesus, and he led me to my "confession of faith".

He was the Senior that I recognize to this day. Now I ask the question, am I able to be that kind of person now that I'm a Senior? I think so, and in some ways, I think I have already. I understand how important the church is; not just to an 18-year-old but also to a 77-year-old. I understand the opportunities of sharing my belief in Jesus with others when I attend church. I learn from others my age as well as from those of all ages. I've learned that God brings different people to Him in different ways. I've also learned that the way to God is truly through Jesus.

I still ask God to give me wisdom and am not surprised anymore that He shows it to me through people young and old. At the same time, I recognize the importance of making myself available to share my experiences and my faith with those younger than me who may be struggling with something I may have already experienced.

In preparing this letter to CCY from our Senior Saints Small group, we collectively used our “Big Chief” tablets to pencil down numerous words and phrases that reflect what we feel is our relationship with our church. We sought ways to sincerely and respectfully convey our thoughts and feelings to all, young and old. We settled on using the LARGE print Bible as a source for our prayer and message to CCY. God’s word is timeless and perfect and relevant to any life situation and in our case many, many, many life situations.

In the ESV, Psalm 71 is prefaced by “Forsake Me Not When My Strength is Spent”. Interestingly, the ICB (International Childrens Bible version) prefaces Psalms 71 with “An Old Persons Prayer”. So, how appropriate it is to recommend that you read this passage and see how we seniors feel about our relationship with our CCY church family by being a blessing and being blessed.

Our CCY small group is named “Senior Saints”, not because we are Saintly or anywhere close to being perfect. We are common ordinary human beings created by God who have survived many and varied life struggles. We are senior in years and all have figured out that the same God that created us, sustains us and saves us. Our years are a testament that God has never abandoned us and has always been faithful. We are absolutely positive God wants us to grow old. He is our creator and He set in motion from the beginning, time and seasons, and the process of growing older. God has a purpose for us all and in growing older we are blessed by God, blessed by others and are a blessing to the younger. God has spent many years shaping us and developing our character to be a blessing to others. Blessing others by being less impulsive, being compassionate, empathetic, exhibiting emotional stability, providing wisdom and relating life experiences where God has always provided. We acknowledge there are, and we are fully accountable for, the many times we have strayed from His path. He has also provided us with ears to listen all be it some of us are hearing impaired, either physically or decidedly.

Romans 8:28 “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

Psalm 57:2 says, “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” God truly has a purpose for our lives, has numbered our days and wants us to fulfill His purpose. Sadly our choices and actions often deviate from His purpose.

So, to the younger ones here at CCY. Be patient with us, our purpose has not come to fruition. We sincerely endeavor to build meaningful relationships and honor God in so doing.

For all reasons “CCY needs us, we need CCY”.

So, to all the younglings, continue to educate us in your ways, your feelings, your understanding of the world as it is today and in the future that you seek, your purpose you see it in the light of honoring GOD. As seniors, our work is not finished. We need to partner with the youth to fully exhibit God’s purpose in all our lives, in our CCY community, and share the good news about God, Jesus, and the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Allow and help us to use our compassion and wisdom to make meaningful contributions to our younger generations here at CCY. Help us navigate this evolving world with wisdom and grace. Old age is not contagious, it is not a condition to be feared, but a journey to be cherished and shared.


How many of us struggle with the concept of thinking before we speak? To be honest, this is something I struggle with on a daily basis. What we say to others can be so powerful in a negative or positive way. Our words matter.

I believe social media is an easy platform to say something, through our posts, to a lot of different people. As we are scrolling we see posts that have quotes that are so catchy. Sometimes I see some of these quotes and think “Wow! This is good”, I should share it. In this moment, do I stop and think about whether the content or message may be encouraging or hurtful to anyone? How do my words affect those who don’t believe the same way I do? I believe most of us would agree that ourselves, loved ones or friends of ours have, at one time or another, been hurt by words, whether intentional or unintentional.

God’s word has so much to say about our actions and words. I could list verse after verse, but decided these are a few I would like to share:

Colossians 3:17 says,

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God the Father through him”.

Proverbs 13:3

“He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin”.

Proverbs 11:9

“With his mouth the godless destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous escape”.

Proverbs 15:28

“The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil”.

Colossians 4:5-6

“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone”.

I would also like to share some of the lyrics of a song by one of my favorite artists, Toby Mac. His song, Speak Life, has a great message. Think about the impact we can be on believers and unbelievers if we “speak life with the words we say”.

As the vibrant flowers of May unfold, our hearts brim with joy and pride for a special reason. We are excited to celebrate the accomplishments of our 2024 graduates—a remarkable group of individuals who have reached a significant milestone in their educational journey.

This year, as our graduates turn their tassels, we also turn our hearts in gratitude towards all who have made this journey possible. To the dedicated parents, tireless teachers, and our church community, your support and guidance have been the bedrock of our graduates’ success. Your commitment has not only fostered academic achievement but has also cultivated the spiritual growth and character of our graduates.

In recognition of this collective effort and the grace that has been abundantly provided, we invite you to join us for a special Graduation Sunday on May 19th. This will be a day filled with celebration, reflection, and anticipation for the bright futures that lie ahead. It will be an opportunity for our church family to gather, to share stories, and to offer prayers for the graduates as they embark on new adventures.

As we prepare to honor our graduates, let us remember the words of Jeremiah 29:11,

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

It is with this promise that we look forward to seeing how our graduates will use their gifts and talents to make a difference in the world.

Please mark your calendars for Sunday May 19th. Your presence will make this day all the more memorable for our graduates and their families. Let us come together to celebrate not only the achievements of our young people but also the strong community spirit that supports them every step of the way.


Introducing Parker Barnhart, a talented graduate ready to embark on a new educational journey at Southern Nazarene University (SNU) this fall, specializing in Graphic Design. Since 2016, Parker has been an active member of the CCY community, nurturing his interests in various fields.

Parker has a deep appreciation for the arts, with a special fondness for Art classes during his school years. He also excels in Spanish and Yearbook Class, showcasing his multifaceted skills and creative talent. Outside the classroom, Parker enjoys online gaming with friends and values spending quality time with his family, including his parents, Andrew and Aundrea Barnhart, and his grandparents, Fred and Mary McCroskey.

As Parker prepares for his next steps in the realm of graphic design, his passion for the arts and commitment to personal and professional growth are sure to propel him to new heights. His journey is just beginning, and his future in the creative world looks promising.

Kassidy is an enthusiastic graduate who's gearing up to start her journey at Redlands Community College, where she plans to study Agribusiness. Kassidy has been actively involved in her community and school since July 2022, making a notable impact through her participation in the Future Farmers of America (FFA).

Kassidy's passion for agriculture is evident in her hobbies, which include going on scenic drives along backroads, capturing beautiful landscapes through photography, and exploring all aspects of agriculture. One of her cherished school memories is a visit to Oklahoma State University, where she explored the Dairy and Vet Med Facilities with her ag chapter, an experience that solidified her career path.

Looking ahead, Kassidy aims to complete her bachelor's degree in Agribusiness and aspires to become an Agricultural Loan Manager. Her advice to future graduates is to consistently apply themselves and strive to surpass expectations, a philosophy that she embodies fully. With her dedication and passion, Kassidy is well on her way to making significant contributions to the agricultural sector.

Brian is a dedicated graduate of Dallas Christian College, where he has been enriching his spiritual and educational journey for the past three years. As a devoted family man, Brian cherishes time with his spouse, Jennifer, and their kids, Sheyenne and Cade Brown, and Brian.

Throughout his time at college, Brian has actively contributed to the CCY community by participating in the preaching rotation and leading a Wednesday night Bible study. This involvement reflects his deep commitment to his faith and his desire to share it with others.

One of Brian's most memorable experiences in his academic journey is the realization that "God opened the doors that I saw as closed," a testament to his faith and perseverance. This perspective has guided him through challenges and has been a source of motivation.

After graduation, Brian is looking to pursue a pastoral job close to his family, aiming to balance his professional commitments with his personal life. His guiding principle, drawn from Proverbs 3:5-6, emphasizes trusting in the Lord and seeking His will in all decisions, a verse that Brian holds close to his heart.

Brian's journey is a beautiful blend of faith, family, and leadership, making him a respected and admired member of CCY.

Lucas Punneo is an ambitious graduate who has spent his entire pre-K through 12 education at Yukon and 17 years involved with CCY. A dedicated scholar and leader, Lucas has significantly shaped his academic community as the editor of the school newspaper, a copy editor of the yearbook, and a member of the National Honors Society, ultimately earning the distinction of Valedictorian.

Outside of his academic achievements, Lucas enjoys spending quality time playing video games, hanging out with his dogs, and being with his family. He credits his mother, a former Valedictorian herself, as a major influence in his life, inspiring him to pursue excellence in his own educational endeavors.

Lucas is poised to begin his next chapter studying Political Science: Pre-Law, although he is still deciding on which college to attend. Known for his resilience, Lucas lives by the motto: “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.” This belief, along with his drive and accomplishments, makes Lucas a standout individual, ready to tackle the challenges of his future career in law.

Kristen Thorne is a dedicated and enthusiastic graduate from Oklahoma State University, where she majored in Speech Pathology and minored in American Sign Language (ASL). During her 4 and a half years at OSU, Kristen actively engaged in several extracurricular activities, serving as the secretary of the Speech Pathology and ASL club, a member of Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority, and the Purple Pals Club. She also participated in The Table college ministry and devoted her time to community service through Into the Streets and volunteering at Happy Hands Preschool.

Kristen’s interests span a wide range of hobbies, including ASL, cooking, photography, crafting, and playing musical instruments, all of which she enjoys sharing with her friends. A highlight of her college experience was becoming a big sister in her sorority, which allowed her to mentor and guide a little sister—an experience that enriched her collegiate journey.

Looking ahead, Kristen is set to continue her academic and professional journey at the University of Tulsa, where she will pursue a graduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Inspired by the quote, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world,” Kristen is driven to make a positive impact in her field and beyond. Her proactive approach and commitment to her passions are sure to lead her to great success in her future endeavors.

Meet Ruby Vandendriessche, a dynamic and spirited graduate who has made a significant impact both in her school and in the broader community. Ruby attended Okarche High School for four years, and has been a part of the CCY community most of her life. Throughout her high school career, Ruby was a multi-sport athlete, participating in basketball, softball, and golf. She also demonstrated her leadership and commitment by being actively involved in the National Honor Society, Beta Club, Student Council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Letterman’s Club, Spanish Club, and FFA.

Outside of her academic and extracurricular commitments, Ruby enjoys hanging out with her friends, playing sports, visiting the lake, and just being outdoors. Some of her most cherished memories from high school include competing at the state level in basketball, celebrating her school’s victories, and enjoying baseball games with her friends. Ruby cites her grandparents, teachers, and coaches as her primary influences, shaping her into the dedicated and ambitious individual she is today.

Looking ahead, Ruby plans to pursue a degree in biology at the University of Central Oklahoma and then continue her education at Northeastern State University, where she will study optometry. Ruby’s enthusiasm for life and her proactive approach to her education and career are truly inspiring. Her journey is a testament to her resilience and determination to succeed in all her endeavors.

As May blooms around us, bringing with it the fragrance of spring flowers and the chirping of birds, we also prepare to celebrate a very special day dedicated to the remarkable women in our lives—Mother's Day. Sunday May 12th provides us a wonderful opportunity to honor the mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and all the maternal figures who have nurtured, taught, and shaped us in countless ways.

This Mother’s Day, let’s reflect on the unconditional love and unyielding strength that these incredible women exhibit every day. Mothers often play many roles—caregivers, mentors, confidantes, and so much more. They do all this with a grace that belies the challenges and sacrifices involved in motherhood.

Proverbs 31:25-26 says,

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.”

As a church family, we will be holding a special service to celebrate and pray for our mothers on Mother's Day. We invite everyone to join us in honoring moms.

Lastly, if your mother is with you, tell her just how much she means to you. If she is no longer here, honor her memory by continuing to live in the love she taught you. And to all our mothers—thank you for your sacrifices, your love, and your faith. You make the world a brighter, kinder, more compassionate place.

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful mothers! Your church family appreciates and loves you dearly.



Thursday May 2nd marks the National Day of Prayer, a time when our nation unites in faith and hope. Join us and millions of Christians across the country as we pray fervently for our community, our leaders and our country. You can pick up a prayer guide in the Gathering Area, or visit the website at for more resources. Let's embrace this opportunity to pray.


Christ’s Closet will be open on Saturday, May 4th from 11 to 2 pm. This is a wonderful opportunity for those in need to come and find what they might need. We also encourage anyone who can, to spread the word to friends, family, or neighbors who might benefit from this. Additionally, if you're looking for a way to give back, we welcome you to join us as a volunteer during these hours, even if you only have an hour or two to dedicate, every hand helps.


Join CCY Children's Ministry at the Festival of the Child on May 4th at Chisholm Trail Park.

We're excited to announce that CCY Children's Ministry and PDO will be hosting an interactive boot at this year's Festival of the Child! Don't miss out on a day full of fun, creativity, and learning, perfect for the whole family. Presented by Children's New World, we're here to celebrate Oklahoma's amazing youth!

🎟️ Purchase your tickets online at


Seniors, join us after service on May 5th for our monthly Senior Connections potluck. The topic discussion is a sensitive yet important topic: "How to Close Social Media Accounts of a Deceased Loved One." This session will be led by Kathy Stanka. Bring a dish and stay for lunch!


We have some exciting news for our youth and families as summer approaches. We have two fantastic camp opportunities coming up at Sunset Bible Camp. First up, our High School Camp will be from June 2nd to June 7th. The following week, our Middle School Camp will run from June 9th to June 14th. The cost is $275 per student and $125 per adult volunteer. Scholarships are available. These camps are not just about fun; they’re about making memories that last a lifetime. Imagine yourself swimming, rappelling, climbing, and even sliding directly into the lake all while growing closer to God. Sign up today at www.ccyok.comyouthcamp to secure your spot. Let’s make this summer unforgettable!


Ladies and gentlemen, please gather around! We're excited to open sign-ups for our summer camp for 1st through 5th graders! Camp dates: 3rd to 5th graders: June 9th-12th. 1st to 3rd graders: June 13th-14th. Visit and choose Christ’s Church for a special discount. Parents, we need volunteers to make this camp memorable. Interested? Please contact Ms. Tori. Mark your calendars, and let's make this a fantastic summer.


We are excited to announce that the CCY Parent's Day Out program will be returning this summer! From June 11th through July 30th, we welcome children aged 15 months to 4 years to join us every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 AM to 2 PM for a time of fun, learning, and spiritual growth. This ministry is a wonderful opportunity for parents to have a day to themselves while their children are cared for in a safe, nurturing, and faith-filled environment. We believe it can be a great blessing not only to our church members but also to our surrounding community. We ask you to think about the families you know who could benefit from this program. Whether they are looking for a few hours of rest, need to run errands, or simply wish for their child to have a meaningful social experience, our Parent's Day Out could be the answer to their prayers. Please help us spread the word about this special ministry. Share this information with friends, family, and neighbors. For more details, including how to register, please visit our website at




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