As we reflect during the season of Lent, Holy Week and Resurrection Day we can joyfully rest upon God’s unwavering love and promises. Our lessons from the Old Testament this year teach about the kings and prophets that God used to tell the nations about His goodness, love and promise of redemption through the coming Messiah. What a blessing to share this solid foundation with the children as well as the Good News and love of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah and fulfilled prophecy!
There are times in the lives of our students (over 50% are non-churched) that they may be mocked or teased just like Jesus. We strive to nurture each of them, by sharing the hope and love of our perfect and blameless Lamb and keeping them in prayer. So while we celebrate Easter and his Resurrection, we celebrate that through this event, Jesus broke the power of sin and death and became the king of our hearts!
When Jesus was hanging on the cross, the skeptics and critics mocked him and said, “If you’re the Son of God, why don’t you just pull yourself down from that cross? Why don’t you just come down and show that you’re really God?” Yet Jesus had something more spectacular planned. He said, “I’m going to let you bury me for three days, and then I’ll come back to life to prove that I am who I say I am.” Jesus is the living proof, “He was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit” Romans 1:4. (Rick Warren, Saddleback Church)
Join us in celebrating the one living and true God! The one who showed His love for us, not only by his death on the cross, but His burial and resurrection. Tearing down the barrier that once separated us from Him, now we have free access to a life surrounded by His goodness and mercy. By partnering with us in Released Time, you will help us share this news with the 4th and 5th graders in the public elementary schools of Orange!
Blessings to you,
Chantell Tibbets, RTCE Director
A faithful servant, Joyce Palanca has dedicated her life to serving God. Joyce grew up in Orange County and has been married to her sweetheart Matthew for 25 years! They have raised three children; Christian, Abri and Juliette, and she marvels at the way God has molded each of them into Godly adults.
Joyce and her family attend Harvest Christian Fellowship in Irvine where she has been involved in their Virtue Women’s Bible Study and Children’s Ministry for several years. She also has been an active member of National Charity League holding several positions.
The past ten years, we have been blessed to have Joyce as a part of the Released Time Christian Education family. She began by teaching the precious children at Villa Park Elementary. She cherished her time sharing with the children the joys of a relationship with Christ. Joyce’s passion for Released Time began in her youth as she was a Released Time student herself at Walt Disney Elementary in Anaheim.
She combined her memories from attending and later teaching RT classes, to now serving faithfully on the RT Board as Secretary.
Joyce’s joy for the Lord and her sweet, caring spirit have also given her success in her real estate career with the Palanca Group at Keller Williams in North Tustin.
Joyce’s life truly reflects Deuteronomy 11:19, “Teach (these words of mine), carefully to your children, talking about them when you sit at home, when you are traveling on the road, when you lie down and when you get up; and write them on the door-frames of your house and on your gates, so that you and your children will live long…as long as there is sky above the earth.”.
The Power of Our Words
Two of our teachers had a very similar experience with some of their students this year. Each week as the children
were being gathered to go to class, they were met with the statement by the same few kids: “I don’t think I’m going today.” When the teachers said how much they would be missed, the students perked right up and decided to come after all. It doesn’t matter how young or old we are, we want to be wanted! Pray for these young hearts to know that God loves them beyond measure!
Using ALL Our Gifts—Being a Faith “Champion”
God does not call us to do all things, but to be obedient to our specific part of His total plan. What wonderful news! We are part of a team! Each member has a role and is important to accomplishing what we could never accomplish on our own! Our assignment is to seek out what God has called us to do, to listen carefully for His instructions, and then to walk boldly through whatever doors He has opened to us. As you read this, we are praying for those He is calling for continued or new partnership with Released Time. There are many necessary components to fulfilling the mission God has called us to in our public schools. Just to name a few:
When it comes to Released Time—We won’t move without Him!
If He calls you to participate in new/additional ways—Move WITH Him!
- Prayer -If the gift of intercession is your passion, we need you to join us! You can
pray for the program in general (for leadership, finances, schools and weekly teaching) or be part of a team that prays for a specific school/teacher.
- Teaching —If God has gifted you with the ability to share His Truth with children in a loving way, we would love to have you join our teaching team. There are 6 Elementary Schools that currently are without Chapel Classes: Cambridge, Chapman Hills, Esplanade, Imperial, Jordan, Panorama. Lesson plans are clear, simple and focus on teaching the Bible devotionally.
- Chapel Assistant -If your gift is one of encouragement, this may be an area God is calling you to help with. Includes help walking the students to and from chapel, handing out materials and generally showing the kids a smile.
- Service —If God has gifted you with ability/desire to help in physical ways, we have several needs. Our chapels need regular refurbishment and maintenance. There are also special projects to prepare/update chapel teaching materials.
- Financial Gifts —We are certainly blessed by so many that are continuing to partner with us through financial donations! We maintain a streamlined budget, but are also facing the challenges of rising fuel, insurance, printing and postage costs. Adding schools will directly impact the financial needs. But God has blessed many with the gift of blessing others, so we are grateful and humbled by His provision.
The Billy Graham Training Center in Ashville, North Carolina was the site of the 100th Anniversary of Released Time Christian Education programs throughout the United States! Program director Chantell Tibbets and assistant Joan Wasson joined over 150 other representatives from across the country to share two days of celebration of the faithfulness of God in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ in our public schools.
Keynote speaker Jim Daley, president of Focus on the Family, shared his personal connection to the Released Time program from his attendance as a 4th grader in Long Beach. It became a pivotal anchor to his understanding of God as he navigated a life in a dysfunctional and abusive family. Dr. Richard Blackaby also spoke on allowing the Spirit of God to guide each city’s program as they minister to the children’s unique needs.
“Make sure you are doing ‘God things’ not just ‘good things’ “, was the reminder to the leaders in attendance. “Good things” can fail or succeed, but “God things” will always succeed because they will have His power propelling it forward. And that is exactly what is being focused on as we begin our 62nd year of reaching the 4th and 5th grade students and their families in Orange with the love of Christ! The celebration was hosted by School Ministries, a national support organization for Released Time programs, including our program in Orange.
What a blessing to be serving such a gracious Father during this time. As we hear of tragedies and unrest across the world, I am reminded of the importance of our ministry. My heart is heavy for those who haven’t heard the Good News, thus making our job so important… reaching more children for Jesus!
It is hard to believe that we are only ONE generation away from being a secular nation. Yet saying that, unbelieving children are one encounter away from an entirely new life with Christ. In Released Time we are able to touch the lives of elementary age children and be that encounter that will change their lives forever and what a privilege it is.
Joan and I recently attended the 100 year celebration of Released Time in the USA. We joined 150 other directors, teachers and board members with hearts that desire to share the Bible with children in our public schools. What a testament that there are more than 1,000 other programs in over 32 states, educating more than 350,000 students and changing lives.
We were encouraged by the faithfulness of those who have gone before us and for those working alongside us! In Released Time we have the opportunity to encourage, educate and empower our students to change their lives for Christ. Let us listen to the voice of God when he lays it on us! Don’t let the opportunity to impact these precious children pass!
We are each vessels created for His use, how can you be used to help further His kingdom through Released Time? Join us, don’t let the next generation be the one that misses out on the opportunity to spend a lifetime with Jesus! Join us in spreading the Good News!
-Chantell Tibbets, RTCE Director
Jack and Lizzette Ollestad along with their youth group rallied to beautify two Released Time Chapels this spring. Lizzette, a past Released Time teacher and Champion responded with excitement to our last newsletter. Hoping to beautify a chapel and allow more children to hear the truth of God’sWord, they gathered their youth group and headed over with open hearts and a willingness to serve God’s children.
With little to no painting experience these youth came together to make the new school year bright and shiny for some unsuspecting 4th and 5th graders. Some worked tirelessly inside scrubbing, dusting and shining the wood desks. Others diligently applied paint to two of our well used chapels. Because of their amazing dedication we now have 5 chapels nearly ready for the fall!
Champions like Jack, Lizzette and YOU, are what make Released Time possible. Going the extra step to make a difference. In Released Time we have the opportunity to encourage, educate and empower our students to change their lives for Christ. Let us listen to the voice of God when he lays it on us! Don’t let the opportunity to impact these precious children pass!
We are each vessels created for His use, just like these chapels…how can you be used to help further His kingdom through Released Time? Join us, don’t let the next generation be the one that misses out on the opportunity to spend a lifetime with Jesus! Join us in spreading the Good News!
Blessings to you,