Sunday Music – February 3, 2019

Playlist:

Opening Songs:

This is My Father’s World : Valley Song
Reckless Love

Response:

Your Labor is Not in Vain

Offertory:

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Sanctus:

Sanctus (Holy and Hosanna)

Eucharist:

Spirit of the Living God
Muévete en Mí
God the Spirit

The “Gift” that is Bolivia

RestoBolivia 2018 - 55

Hunter Weimer reflects on going to Bolivia with his son.

As children grow toward middle school, they begin to peck at the shell of dependence that served them well in childhood, breaking through in fits and starts to greater independence. Last summer, we could see the emerging teen in our twelve-year-old son as he would vacillate between thoughtful and charitable to surly and selfish, sometimes in a matter of moments. While I enjoyed his deepening maturity, refined laughter and beginning wisdom, surges of impulsivity and occasional emotional squalls were trying, and arguments took on a new edge.

So it was a gift to do something together, father and son, far away from the well-worn paths of our relationship at home, where we experienced service and selflessness both individually and alongside each other as part of a gifted Restoration team in a place new to us both, centered on care for children with a very special place in God’s heart. “O Lord, you will hear the desire of the meek; you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear to do justice for the orphan and the oppressed, so that those from earth may strike terror no more.” Ps 10.17-18

I could talk about how God led me to a deeper experience of intimacy and immediacy in prayer or about how he broke my heart engaging children afflicted with chronic mental and physical challenges while also surviving neglect, abondonment and even abuse from parents — those who should care for them the most. I haven’t known tears to flow so freely for a long time.

But what I cherish most about that trip is that I shared it with my son. We saw the same things together. I saw him lift up and play with little Ninos, joy beaming from his face and theirs. He saw me engage Bolivian adult Christians in prayer for the retreat we led. We learned together, experiencing a new culture and country we knew little about. He saw me simple and uncomprehending when faced with linguistic challenges. I saw him take things in stride and adjust to the unexpected, as schedules and the need to serve sometimes changed from what we anticipated. We tried new foods together and made new friends independently. We joined the whole team for daily worship and prayer together, and sometimes youth and adults divided for their own reflection. And that was perfect for us both. He could see me let him have his own experience, and I could see him take risks, serve Niños kids, laugh with peers and grow in faith. I appreciate and admire the young man he’s becoming in all kinds of new ways.

And now we can’t wait to go back — to love the kids of Niños con Valor, embrace the people of La Trinidad and engage the city of Cochabamaba. We want to experience more of the beauty of God’s children in Bolivia.

Hunter Weimer

Application Deadline: This Friday, Feb. 1st 

BoliviaApp


Trip Dates: August 2 – 12, 2019
Email a team leader: Diana Intagliata, Andrew Intagliata, Isaiah Brooms
Application Link:  2019 Bolivia Application 

Spring: It’s Breaking In

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January 27, 2019 – Beth Tipps

Isaiah 35.1-7 : Psalm 113 : Luke 4.24-30

Listen to the songs here.

Rhythms of Spiritual Formation: winter

Winter

Winter

I loved starting our new series last week.  This metaphor of seasons as a means to describe the rhythms of spiritual formation has the potential to be so helpful for us.  I love the conversations in our church when we are vulnerable and trying to describe what God is doing in us.  Using the language of ‘seasons’ both allows us to be more descriptive of what is really going on AND it allows us to focus on the goal of our discipleship which is FRUIT and not mere activity.

For example, if I say ‘I am in summer’, it calls to mind a description of God’s work in my life that is much more textured than just, ‘I am fine.’

And if I remember that the work God wants to do in my life is compared to ‘fruit’, then I can be comfortable with the reality that sometimes there are periods of activity AND inactivity-  that all the seasons are necessary for fruit production.  We can’t have the harvest of fall without the inactivity of winter and the planting of spring.

This sermon series comes from the book, Spiritual Rhythm by Mark Buchanan.  He writes about growth in a way that has helped me understand some of our apprehension and aversion towards winter:

We have adopted a view of the spiritual life and church growth that is a variation on free-market capitalism.  In capitalism, the economy, in order to be strong, must constantly grow.  A 3% shrinkage in the GDP for 2 or more quarters is a recession.  A 10% shrinkage is a depression.  Three percent.  Governments fly into panic, banks stock the moat, corporations start to implode.  It’s wolves.  It’s bubonic plague.  It’s the sky falling.

Where else is constant growth an unequivocal sign of health?  In human bodies, it’s a sign of obesity or cancer.  Yet we’ve applied the standard of constant growth to our churches and to our spiritual lives.  We applaud every sign of getting bigger, and fret every sign of getting smaller.

This is bizarre.

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It is good to pay attention to numbers and size and growth, but the Kingdom of God often gets measured with different criteria.  We can be always healthy and not always growing.  There are seasons of increase and seasons of quiet.  The Kingdom is different. 

Sometimes you are in winter.

And God is there too.

-David

Sunday Music – January 27, 2019

Playlist:

Opening Songs:

I Sing the Mighty Pow’r of God
All the Glory
Holy and Anointed One

Response:

Thou Lovely Source

Offertory:

Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee

Sanctus:

Sanctus (Holy and Hosanna)

Eucharist:

And Can it Be
Great Are You Lord

Small Group #17 – The Good Gift of Deliverance…wait what?!?

If you don’t have time to read this blogpost, sign up for small group #17 here.

Healing and deliverance are part of the ancient teachings and practices of the church meant to draw people to the heart of God and to help them to experience a greater fullness of life before him.  Our baptism liturgy is a deliverance prayer and we are given the model in Scripture to lay hands on the sick and pray for them.  That said, there has been a lot of misinformation and poorly handled situations that have hurt the church’s reputation in both of those areas.  We are striving to offer more small group opportunities that are designed to help us listen to the Holy Spirit in regards to his desire to heal and deliver us and to help others experience those same gifts.

Chain_expressing_freedomA few months ago I wrote about an intense experience with the Holy Spirit.  You can read about it here.  In that blogpost I wrote, “I have been delivered from demonic oppression and helped others toward greater freedom.”  Apart from the Holy Spirit’s assurance of love and salvation, this has been one of the greatest non-material gifts that I have received from him.  It doesn’t mean my track record has been perfect since then, but it does mean that I have been able to experience amazing progress in the area of what used to be my addiction.  And I have had the humbling honor of helping people experience greater freedom through claiming the authority that Jesus won for us on the cross – the authority he has given us through his Holy Spirit.

Last trimester Ramsey and I led a small group on listening to the Holy Spirit with an emphasis on physical healing, and by God’s grace our small group experienced both healing and deliverance during our time together. Praise God!  When Jesus sent the disciples out, he sent them to proclaim the good news of the kingdom and to heal the sick, and they came back to Jesus excitedly proclaiming that even demons were cast out in Jesus’ name.  In many cases there was a connection between healing and deliverance, and this trimester I am excited to learn more about what it means to practice living into the freedom of the Kingdom of God through focusing on his gift of deliverance.

Our small group meets in north Alexandria (Chirilagua/Arlandria) and meets on Wednesdays from 7:30 to 9:00 (#17 on the small group list). In our small group, we will be using the book Unbound as our hub of conversation.  It is the book that helped me to accept and act on the authority that the Scriptures teach about concerning deliverance.  It has ultimately helped me towards greater freedom and closer alignment with the heart/will of the Father.

Even if you cannot be part of our small group (which has some of the same amazing folks that were in it last trimester) I would love to grab a coffee with you if you’d like to have a conversation about this.  I believe that God continues to use healing and deliverance to draw people to his heart, and I want to participate in that.  I would love for you to participate in it with me.

 

darkness is my closest friend

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January 20, 2019 – David Hanke

Ecclesiastes 3.1-8 : Psalm 88.1-7, 18 : Luke 7.18-23

Listen to the songs here.

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