Friday, September 27, 2013

The Sunday Set-Up for September 29, 2013

Sermon Teaser: "My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism." -- James 2:1

Think of a time in your life when a group of people snubbed you. They had plans and they left you out. Or you respected the people in the group, but they wouldn't make you part of the group. How did you feel at the time? Keep that in mind as we consider James 2:1-13 together this Sunday.

Reading for Sunday: James 2:1-13

Bulletin for Sunday: September 29, 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013

Seeing the Work of God: A Men's Retreat Testimony

I used to think that the caricature of an angel being on your left shoulder and a devil on your right was absolutely ridiculous. Of course, they were mostly shown in comic strips or fictitious comedies. Did you ever wonder how someone dreamt that up, and whether they saw any truth in it? Well, as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that there is indeed spiritual contest for our thoughts and attention. Instead of being some tiny cartoon devil on my shoulder, it’s a serious enemy that can be very persuasive and can inflict much damage. And there is much at stake -- you.

Several years ago I was reintroduced to a Biblical message that opened my eyes to what was going on spiritually with me. It made me realize that Satan had really been doing a number on me. All my life I wished I was made differently than the way God had made me. For example, I always wished I was better at team sports; instead of being quick, aware, and aggressive, I was cautious, my mind wandered, and I didn’t have that drive to get in there and win. I was more analytical about the world around me, I enjoyed building relationships with people, and I really didn’t care about winning so much. That doesn’t sound so bad, when I think about it now, but back then, I felt like an oddball. It didn’t stop there.
As an adult, I questioned why God made me such sensitive person. Why was I so up and down instead of being more even-keeled, or better yet, care free. I was buying into the discouraging thoughts that I internalized, like “you’re weird”, “you’re not manly”, or quite simply “you’re a disappointment.”

I subscribed to these discouraging thoughts and decided I didn’t like who I was. I didn’t like who God made me to be. These feelings were more subconscious than conscious, but they left a gloomy cloud lingering over me and that brought discouragement that affected me and my family.

It wasn’t until I sought counseling with Michael Thompson (this year’s retreat speaker) that I admitted these thoughts and that I realized the damage they were doing to me and those around me. With his help, I came around and embraced all those good things that make me who I am. And I like those things -- I really do.

It was at the Apostles Men’s Retreat that year that I went to God about it. Alone with Him, I confessed how I had been buying into those lies for so long. I admitted that I had not trusted His craftsmanship in making me and I had not been seeking Him. I turned from those discouraging thoughts – I repented of them. And I’m so thankful I did.

We all have some incredible stories that have shaped us – for better and for worse. I am glad now that I can face things that once haunted me and hold them up to God’s truth that we’re all fearfully and wonderfully made. And each of us has our own role to play in His Larger Story.

I hope you’ll come out to the Apostles Men’s Retreat Oct 25-27th. My friend Michael Thompson will be giving a message of hope, strength, and life. You’ll hear testimonies from guys you know. Come show up – God certainly will!

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Sunday Set-Up for September 22, 2013

Sermon Teaser Question:
James writes in his epistle,

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." -James 1:27

Does your faith reflect a concern for people in hard situations? What kind of actions does this lead you to take? Does your faith also reflect the holiness of God? In what ways?

Join us this Sunday as we explore the book of James and what it means to be 'doers of the Word.'

Readings for Sunday: James 1:19-27 and John 14:15-21

Songs for Sunday: September 22, 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Blessings and Miracles

The day the Blaziers brought Lexie home.
This summer during Vacation Bible School, the kids learned Philippians 4:6 "Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything, tell God what you need and thank Him for what He has done."  This has been an often repeated verse in our house these last few months.  In June, the baby we had been praying for over two years to adopt was born.  The story of how God brought her to our family could fill up several blog posts (including the fact that a small group of women at Apostles chose a random day in May to pray and fast for us to adopt a baby, and the day they chose was (unknown to them and us) the very day that our daughter’s birth mother was making her decision about what family to choose)!  We were in awe and so thankful that God prompted these ladies to intercede for us at the exact time we needed it.

Unfortunately, our daughter, Lexie, was born with a bulging right eye.  An MRI revealed one of the largest masses the surgeon had seen in a baby so small – it filled her eye socket and then some.  A biopsy (major surgery for a 9 week old) was scheduled.  After the biopsy, the surgeon came to tell us he could not find the mass. It was not there anymore!  All praise and honor to the Lord God Almighty!  The surgeon was dumbfounded.  He said if he had not seen the MRI, he would never have known there was anything wrong with her eye. The recovery room nurse said “You must be a praying family.” Yes we are.  But it was not just us who had been praying - it was our family, friends, people we had never met, and all of our dear Apostles family.  We are overwhelmed by the Lord’s kindness, power, and unmerited favor in healing Lexie this way, and saving her from the radiation and drugs that had already been discussed as likely next steps. We are also overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, prayer, meals, emails and encouragement from our church family.  We have truly experienced what it means to be part of the Body of Christ, and have learned a lot about the power of prayer and blessing of community along the way.  Our hearts are full of gratitude for you all.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Apostles' New Blog Name: The Ebenezer

I am happy today to announce the name for our new blog. We are calling it ‘The Ebenezer.’ No, not after Charles Dickens’ Scrooge...but after the biblical passage 1 Samuel 7:12
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”
This stone of remembrance was erected to remind the Israelites of God’s deliverance when the Philistines were ruthlessly attacking their nation. 
We chose this name because every time the Lord acts in our midst to bring lost people to faith, build up Christians in His character, or transform lives and situations for His kingdom, we want to celebrate and remember. So we hope this blog will serve to collect all the little ebenezers, taking place in and through the lives of our members, into one big ebenezer to proclaim the wonders of our God.
“God bless us every one” - Tiny Tim, from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol
In His name,


Friday, September 13, 2013

The Sunday Set-Up for September 15, 2013

Sermon Teaser Question:
How do you handle temptation? Is giving in to a little temptation now and then ok? What temptations do you most commonly experience? How could God equip you to resist temptation and grow stronger in faith?
Please join us for this week's sermon as we wrestle with this issue.

Readings for Sunday: James 1:12-18 and Matthew 26:36-41

Worship Songs for Sunday: September 15, 2013

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

New Fellows Class...Part 2

This year we have 10 new Fellows who will be taking part in the Raleigh Fellows Program.  Five of those Fellows will be working with the Children's Ministry on Sunday mornings and five will be working with the Student Ministry on Sunday mornings. 

Yesterday we introduced the Fellows that will be working with the Children's Ministry. Today, we would like to introduce you to the five Fellows who will be working with the Student Ministry on Sunday mornings. Each Fellow was asked to share about how they came to know the Lord, why they wanted to participate in the Raleigh Fellows Program, and an interesting fact about themselves:

Megan Gilchrest
How you came to know the Lord: I came to know the Lord at a very young age. I grew up in a solid Christian household with devout Christian parents. It was not until I reached high school where I truly made my faith my own and decided to follow God no matter what.
Why you want to be a Raleigh Fellow:  As I was about to graduate from college, I knew it was the perfect time to go on a crazy adventure where I could learn and grow closer to God. I am really excited to be in the Fellows Program, to learn and be stretched by God. I am also excited to be in a strong community with other believers.

Interesting Fact: Since I was 4 years old I have played soccer and I just finished four great years playing at the college level for Colorado Christian University! I also LOVE anything outdoors-- hiking, running, playing sports, and I love both the mountains and the beach. 

Ellen Bosserman 
How you came to know the Lord: I met the Lord after my sophomore year of high school at Lake Champion, a Young Life camp.
Why you want to be a Raleigh Fellow: I want to be a Raleigh fellow to be part of a community in a new city and consider the Lord's calling for my life.
Interesting Fact: I love baking, going on power walks with friends, eating anything with sweet potato, and spending time outside.

Jake Sipe
How you came to know the Lord: I came to know the Lord through College Life ministry during my freshmen year of college.
Why I want to be a Raleigh Fellow: I wanted to become a Raleigh Fellow because I wanted to have a year in which I came closer to the Lord in a community of people looking to do the same.
Interesting Fact: I was born and raised an N.C. State fan and have been coming to Raleigh for games my whole life.

Carly Prince
How you came to know the Lord: I grew up in church and hearing the gospel but I really came to know The Lord through the ministry of Young Life my freshman year of college.
Why you want to be a Raleigh Fellows: I want to be a Raleigh fellow because I want an experience that is unique and allows me to grow in a deeper relationship with Christ.
Interesting Fact: I love coffee and it is a dream of mine to move to Europe and open my own coffee shop.

Cary Bayless
How you came to know the Lord: I grew up in the church my whole life. When my family moved to Huntsville, Alabama from Fayetteville, Tennessee when I was in fourth grade we joined Southwood Presbyterian Church. During that year is when I first realized Jesus was not just an answer to get candy in Sunday school, but a real savior who actually loves and died for me. Since then I have been falling deeper in love with Christ each year as I pursue him farther and he continues to love me better than I could have ever imagined possible. 
Why you want to be a Raleigh Fellow: I want to be a fellow because of the inevitable growth, strengthening, community, and direction the program will provide. After college the world is suddenly a bigger place and having an opportunity to immerse myself into a body of believers in the same stage of life, in which we make preparations for the rest of our lives, is a dream come true. When I began researching the fellows programs the Raleigh Fellows stood out to me. It was like the Lord had designed a perfect program with focuses in areas I feel called to in a location that is so filled with beauty that even the trees and mountains proclaim praise to our Lord. After prayer and many conversations I knew the Raleigh Fellows was going to become my home.
Interesting Fact: One of my favorite places in the world is Peru. I lived there for three months during college working with Mission to the World in Lima. After the first two weeks I had to return to the states for rabies treatment after being attacked by a dog in the streets of a neighborhood called Manchi. Returning to Peru after the treatment was difficult but one of the biggest blessings of my life. The Peruvian people are the most loving I have know, the food (except the BBQ guinea pig) is exquisite, and the Gospel is being spread throughout the Andes Mountains with power. I love Peru!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New Fellows Class...Part 1

This year we have 10 new Fellows who will be taking part in the Raleigh Fellows Program.  Five of those Fellows will be working with the Children's Ministry on Sunday mornings and five will be working with the Student Ministry on Sunday mornings. 

Today, we would like to introduce you to those who will be working with the Children's Ministry. Each Fellow was asked to share about how they came to know the Lord, why they wanted to participate in the Raleigh Fellows Program, and an interesting fact about themselves:

Sarah Bowman
How you came to know the Lord: I've grown up in the church my whole life, but I think what truly helped me come to know Christ was going to Summer's Best Two Weeks (a Christian sports summer camp up in PA) and meeting various influential people in my life, especially while in college.
Why you want to be a Raleigh Fellow:  I want to be a Raleigh Fellow because I thought it would be a great way to spend my first year out of college, being immediately plugged in to a strong believing community consisting both of people my own age who are seeking to learn more as well as those who are older who can serve as teachers and mentors. I'm also preparing to apply to PA school, but need to spend some time earning experience hours working with patients , so by doing the program I can hopefully spend some time working towards those but also being busy with other things, such as working with youth or children's ministry and taking seminary classes. Overall I'm just excited for how much potential there is for learning and growth while participating in this program.
Interesting Fact: I know how to sword fight

Katie Riddle 
How you came to know the Lord: I was raised in Christian family, so from day one I was surrounded by believers. At 13, after going through my confirmation course, I decided that I wanted to pursue a relationship with Jesus myself. It wasn't up to my parents, friends, etc. but it was up to me. Since then, I have sought to live a life focused on Jesus Christ, pursuing His kingdom, and following His will for me.
Why you want to be a Raleigh Fellow: Having been born and raised in Raleigh and attending school in Chapel Hill, I have developed a deep love for this city. Coming out of college I wanted to pursue something I enjoyed in a place I love. The Fellows Program was a chance for me to expand my faith through classes, work, and service, and see Raleigh from a different perspective. Having been rooted in Christ and established in this city, I felt that Raleigh was exactly where I needed to spend my first year out of college and in the "real world!"
Interesting Fact: At one point in my life I was right handed... Now I am a lefty (for the most part). I also have three younger sisters, am obsessed with the Tar Heels, and love to go on runs with friends! 

Matt Gross
How you came to know the Lord: I grew up in a family where the Lord was always at the center, and church was a part of the Sunday routine. Because of this environment, I accepted Christ at a young age. I went to a private Christian school during junior and senior high years, so was always surrounded by the scriptures. It was all a routine and going through the motions. It wasn't until my freshman year at the University of West Florida and sophomore year at Mississippi State University where I really began to take ownership of my faith and really understand my need for Christ.
Why I want to be a Fellow: I consider it an awesome opportunity to be a part of a nine month program such as the Fellows. I am really looking forward to learning more about myself. Not only my sin and how much I need a savior, but also to understand better where the Lord wants me to go in this life. Another reason is to learn how to minister to others in the marketplace and the church.
Interesting Fact: I have been surfing since I was 11 years old

Rebecca Schuh
How you came to know the Lord: I came to know The Lord through my family and developed a relationship with Him through my Young Life leaders in high school.
Why you want to be a Raleigh Fellow: I am looking forward to being a Fellow because even though I attended a Christian college, I still feel I need more guidance on how to love The Lord with my whole life. I am also unsure if teaching is what I am called to do so becoming a Fellow seems like a great way to explore other avenues. I am so excited and thankful for this opportunity! 
Interesting Fact: During the spring semester of my junior year I studied abroad in Vienna, Austria and it was the best decision! I love to travel and I cannot wait to explore Raleigh. 

Wesley Martin
How you came to know the Lord: My parents have always been strong believers my entire life but when I was around the age of 7 or 8 I asked the Lord to come into my heart in my bedroom one night.
Why you want to be a Raleigh Fellow: I want to learn to be a better man and a stronger believer as well as give back to the community as Christ did.
Interesting Fact: I love playing guitar, mandolin, banjo, bass, and piano. Music is one of my absolute favorite things and I love teaching other people about those instruments and music.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Transform the City (and Be Transformed) with Jobs for Life

Our theme this year is Stepping Into Mission and now we're studying in James what it means for our faith to come alive through our deeds.  Is your heart being stirred, but you don't know where to begin?
Two of the graduates from Ray and Doug's class.

Through Jobs for Life, we (Doug Brogdon and Ray Bennett) have experienced the life-changing impact of stepping into the lives of others who are looking for meaningful work.  We have taught and served as Champions (mentors) several times at the Jobs for Life men's program at Neighbor to Neighbor.  We have been so powerfully impacted by the experience that we are returning to teach a class of young men again this fall on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.  We can echo the stories that Craig Kincaid and Iris Mitchell shared about their experience on Vision Sunday.  Every class is different, but all of them are memorable.  During one class last fall, almost half of the 13 students in our class were homeless at one point, yet by graduation two-thirds had gone on to find employment.  Other students (and friends) have overcome felony convictions, childcare and transportation challenges, and painful family histories.  
It's remarkable how much change takes place in eight weeks-and it is not limited to the students.  We have seen students embrace the idea that they were made to work, come alive with new vision and hope for their lives, and discover a confidence they never knew they had.  And we ourselves have discovered new meaning in our own work and been humbled as we have walked with students who have overcome seemingly insurmountable roadblocks in their lives.  Our faith has grown as we have seen God at work.

If you are looking for ways to "step into mission" this year, we want to invite you to join us and others from Apostles who are part of the Jobs for Life movement.  Become a Champion at one of the four sites connected with Apostles this fall
(listed below) One night or morning a week can change your life! Or better yet, sign up for a class as a Community Group-there is no better way to build community and a sense of shared vision in eight short weeks.  We are thankful for the chance to serve through Jobs for Life and want others at Apostles to discover and experience its impact.

Doug Brogdon ( & Ray Bennett (

Neighbor to Neighbor | Men Students/Men Mentors
Tuesday and Thursday, 7-9 pm
Begins September 14 | Lasts for eight weeks
Casanova Womack (

North Raleigh Ministries | Men and Women Students/Men and Women 
Mentors Monday and Thursday, 10-12 pm
Begins September 16 | Lasts for eight weeks
Nina Honeycutt (

Alexander YMCA-Downtown East | 9th and 10th Grade Students/Women Mentors
Tuesdays, 5:30 pm
Begins September 10 | Lasts for the school year
Carson Speight (

Encouraging Place/Treasuring Christ/Midtown | Women Students/Women Mentors
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 pm
Begins September 24 | Lasts for eight weeks
Marsha Smitley (

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Sunday Set-Up for September 8, 2013

Sermon Teaser Question:
Can you look back on your life and see how God has used trials and troubles to help you grow? Might you even be thankful for those troubles? 

Please join us Sunday for our sermon entitled "Pure Joy" as we look at the book of James and consider how the Lord uses trials and troubles in our lives for ultimately good purposes.

Readings for Sunday: James 1:1-12 and Luke 8:22-25

Songs for Sunday: September 8, 2013

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Fellows Program Testimony

This coming Sunday, September 8, the new class of Fellows will be introduced to the church. The Raleigh Fellows Program is a nine-month leadership development and training program for young adults recently out of college or graduate school. Young men and women from all walks of life come together to engage in a program designed to foster a God-centered view of knowledge, culture, work and life.

Halie Simmons (below) is a 2013 graduate of the Fellows Program. Read about how the Lord worked in her life through her 9 months as a Fellow and how it has changed her perspective about her current and future work.

I came to the Fellows Program after leaving an intense and special community in Boone/Banner Elk, NC, where I was in school. My first day at Church of the Apostles was hard, because it felt so different from the church I attended throughout college. However, through my Fellows year, I was privileged to witness the way one church in Raleigh embodied true community around me. As I began to get to know people at Church of the Apostles and attend classes about the Anglican Church, I fell in love with the structure, the leadership, and the family. I especially grew to cherish communion each Sunday as the focal point of the service. 

The Fellows Program itself was a tremendous gift to me coming out of college. So many friends of mine have not had the opportunity to learn or discuss ideas surrounding faith, work, and how the two mix, as I have this past year. I am so grateful for the way the Fellows Program introduced me to wild ideas about the way God can use me in any vocation. I attended conferences with the Fellows where speakers of all backgrounds talked to us about how these ideas of the intermingling of faith and work revolutionized their own lives and walks with God. I have much to learn, but I am indebted to the Fellows Program and Church of the Apostles for the ways they have equipped me for this new year (post-Fellows). 

Right now, as I begin a new job, I want to steward my position well. A lot of what I learned from my time as a Fellow was about stewardship: stewardship of life, time, money, body, mind, etc. My new position is a blessing I want to give back to God, and I want to see the power of Jesus work through it.

Thank you,

Halie Simmons
Fellows Class 2013

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

FaithWorks: A New Sermon Series on the book of James

A message from the Senior Pastor regarding our upcoming sermon series on James which begins this Sunday, September 8.

1080p from Church Apostles on Vimeo.