On Sept 23 our youth group will head to Washington, DC to join with many others in supporting St. Jude’s Hospital to help care for children who have cancer and their families. Let us represent our church with many voices and walk together in DC, raising our voice and funds to care for these beautiful children. You can sign up with our group here
Syrian refugee children head home with crowns and painted faces after another fun day at one of the Child Friendly Space and Early Childhood Education centers for Syrian Refugee children, near Zahle’ in Bekaa, Lebanon.
Here is our final match up for the 2017 Holy Dove Championship!
2 – Elaine Heath (The Professors) “Holiness is a Godward posture, a complete belonging to God, a full commitment to the reign of God in this world, being set apart. Yet holiness is not a denial of one’s own humanity. Nor is holiness a matter of “purifying” oneself by removing oneself from the muck and mire of actual life. On the contrary, the holy life is one that is fully engaged in this world in the name and power of Jesus Christ. As the lives of so many great saints and mystics demonstrate, the more one advances in the way of holiness, the more one must wrestle with “powers and principalities,” for the same evil that opposed Jesus opposes those who live in the power of his name. Suffering of all kinds seems to mark the paths of many of the great saints and mystics, through illness, rejection at the hands of loved ones, persecution, and loss. But the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it. It is precisely in the midst of such adversity that these holy ones become testaments of divine love.”
1 – Kenda Creasy Dean (Youth Ministry Voices) “Disciples are people who participate in God’s movement toward the world, and who are empowered by the Holy Spirit to represent Christ in the process. This is the root of the church’s missionary identity. Etymologically, a missionary is one who is ‘sent,’ especially one who is one across boundaries – which makes God the orinaial missionary, crossing every human boundary imaginable in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Mission originates in God, not in a church committee. Themissio dei is God’s sending of God’s own self into creation, making God both the sender and the one who is sent. A church that fails to respond to the Holy Spirit’s boundary-crossing impulse, that fails to share the love of Jesus Christ – God’s own self in the world – is unthinkable.”
2 – Elaine Heath (The Professors) “Christian mysticism is about the holy transformation of the mystic by God, so that the mystic becomes instrumental in the holy transformation of God’s people. This transformation always results in missional action in the world. The idea that mysticism is private and removed from the rugged world of ministry is simply false. All the Old Testament prophets were mystics. Their visions, dreams, and other experiences of God were for the express purpose of calling God’s people back to their missional vocation.”
1 – Rachel Held Evans (The Writers) “Millennials want to be known by what we’re for, … not just what we’re against. We don’t want to choose between science and religion or between our intellectual integrity and our faith. Instead, we long for our churches to be safe places to doubt, to ask questions, and to tell the truth, even when it’s uncomfortable. We want to talk about the tough stuff—biblical interpretation, religious pluralism, sexuality, racial reconciliation, and social justice—but without predetermined conclusions or simplistic answers. We want to bring our whole selves through the church doors without leaving our hearts and minds behind, without wearing a mask.”
1 – Kenda Creasy Dean (Youth Ministry Leaders) “If we say we want to translate the gospel with young people, this is what we are saying: we are willing to put the very power of the gospel itself—the very power of the Word of God—into the hands of teenagers, people who do not view culture the way we view culture, who do not hear God the way we hear God, who will not worship the way we worship, who will not “do church” the way we want them to simply because they will be listening to Jesus and not to us.”
2 – Amy Butler (Church Voices) “Matthew’s gospel today tells the story of a small crowd waving palms on the edge of Jerusalem, and it presents an invitation to us to change the way in which we understand the expression of our faith. So many of us have learned that a life of faith is the exercise of following an inviolable list of rules, our successful following of which will get us into heaven, and our failure to follow, well, you know. But I wonder as we set out into this holiest of weeks, whether we’re being invited to understand our faith less as following rules and more as speaking up, as being mouthpieces for righteousness, insisting on justice and peace and wholeness for all of humanity.” Click here to read the rest of her sermon
1 – Rachel Held Evans “Baptism reminds us that there’s no ladder to holiness to climb, no self-improvement plan to follow. It’s just death and resurrection, over and over again, day after day, as God reaches down into our deepest graves and with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead wrests us from our pride, our apathy, our fear, our prejudice, our anger, our hurt, and our despair.”
3 – Lisa Sharon Harper “Why didn’t Jesus fight? After all, that’s what the people wanted. They had been waiting for a Messiah to overthrow Caesar by force and take back the Promised Land. Why did Jesus rebuke Peter and heal the slave’s ear? Why did he choose the route of silent, non-violent resistance with Pilate rather than lashing out or arguing his case? Why did Jesus turn the other cheek and excessive meekness, which means disciplined power, in the face of terror? I believe it was because when he looked into the eyes of the chief priests or their slaves or the Roman soldiers, or even Caesar himself, He saw the image of God.”
8 – Jonathan Aigner “We don’t want to be entertained in church, and frankly, the church’s attempt at entertainment is pathetic. Enough with the theatrics. Enough with the lights, the visuals, the booming audio, the fog machine, the giveaway gimmicks, the whole production. Follow that simple yet profound formula that’s worked for the entire history of the church. Entrance, proclamation, thanksgiving, sending out. Gathering, preaching, breaking bread, going forth in service. Give us a script to follow, give us songs to sing, give us the tradition of the church, give us Holy Scripture to read. Give us sacraments, not life groups, to grow and strengthen us.”
2 – Amy Butler “The message Jesus came to preach is a message of challenge—utter and difficult challenge—that pushes us all to places of discomfort—pain, even, a message that makes all of us look hard at our hearts and think about just how they need to stretch. True sacrifice that makes a difference in the life of someone who has less than I do; relationships that practice the difficult discipline of community, of truth telling; communities that work together even when we’d prefer to promote our individual agendas; people who engage in real forgiveness and reconciliation with someone who you’d rather forget altogether . . . doing the hardest thing ever to reach out and heal situations you’d rather leave by the side of the road and move on . . . so that your life reflects the radical reconciliation Jesus came to show us.”