April 19th, 2020 by Erica Stephenson
Easter looked different this year, but we celebrated anyway! Thank you to everyone who participated in Stations of the Cross, whether as a reader or a participant.
We were blown away hearing stories of you delivering eggs to your neighbors, egg hunts, chalk art, and other wonderful family events.
Check out the beautiful chalk art above that was created by our members!
Read below to hear some of the stories that we received from families who delivered Easter Eggs to their neighbor's so the kids could have an at-home Easter egg hunt.
October 19th, 2018 by Carl Buffington
There's a fun movie about it, The Way, with Martin Sheen. As the story goes, his son is killed at the outset of the Camino. Martin decides to make the hike himself, dispersing his son's ashes along the way.
October 12th, 2018 by Carl Buffington
(Referencing Mark 10:17-31**)
September 28th, 2018 by Larry Selig
Have you ever questioned God's concern for you, your family, or friends who were facing crises which seemed out of control?
Have you found it difficult to trust God when your prayers seem to go unanswered?
September 27th, 2018 by Kourtney Street
Orlando, FL; November 2-3, 2018I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. —Psalm 139:13Young children live freely, moving through the world without shame or pretense. But as we grow older, the impact of sin, trauma, and cultural expectations dim our natural luminescence. When this happens, we develop a “false self” as a way to cope and control how others see us. We exaggerate our gifts and create a caricature of the glory God gave us as image bearers.Parker Palmer says “Our strongest gifts are usually those we are barely aware of possessing. They are a part of our God-given nature, with us from the moment we drew our first breath, and we are no more conscious of having them them than we are of breathing.”
September 14th, 2018 by Carl Buffington
What if that is not bad news, but in fact really good news? What if our soul's destiny depends on it?
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?"
Joel Marcus in his commentary on the gospel passage for Sunday provocatively asks,
"But why should one accept the dreadful burden of the cross? Why should one want to follow Jesus, (cf.8:34b) if discipleship means entry into a living death?"
August 31st, 2018 by Carl Buffington
Scripture closes with the same invitation (Rev 22.17) "The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!"
But the invitation doesn't stop there.
How do we respond to this his invitation?
I want to share a story. It's one I have told before, but one worthy of a second telling and hearing.
It's told by a friend who has now checked into the heavenly Jerusalem as he would say (Brennan Manning, author, preacher and teacher.)
As he shares - He was giving last rites to a woman named Yolanda in LA. She had been abandoned by her family and was dying alone, severely disfigured from the ravages of leprosy. As Brennan turned from her bedside to put away the communion kit, a bright light came into the room. He said it was like light just falling in through the window.
As he turned, she said, "Oh Father, my Abba just spoke to me." And he said, "Oh? What did he say to you Yolanda?"
He said to me, "Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me."
As he was leaving, the nurse asked how she was doing. And he said, "Well, she was quoting scripture, Songs 2.10-13, so I'm not sure." The nurse said, "She's illiterate! She's never read a word of the Bible!"
When they returned to Yolanda's room, her Abba had indeed come in and scooped her up. Come my beloved!
Can you imagine just how beautiful Yolanda became in that instant? I'm sure you could have compared her to the most breathtaking sunset you ever saw your Abba paint.
Responding to his invitation is virtually transformative, life and soul changing! We need to respond, any and every way possible.
And we respond in many ways, e.g. our obedience to his word (listen to the epistle from James), our reaching out to others in serving (listen and look to those being honored today), and as the gospel makes clear, with our hearts!
"These people honor me with their lips,But their hearts are far from me."
Where is your heart in terms of this invitation? How will you draw near? Come my beloved!
Sunday, I plan to share how I responded a couple weeks ago.