Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Sunday Set Up for May 31, 2015

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” -Gandalf

I love being around wise people. They seem to know just what to do or say at just the right time. They not only have lived life, they have learned life’s lessons. Yet, sometimes, I meet people who are wiser than their years…young people who exhibit these qualities. Where do they get it from? Are they born that way? Or is it possible to become wise sooner rather than later? Please join me this Sunday as we begin our summer series in the book of Proverbs and consider a question that just may make us all wiser.

in Jesus with you,


Friday, May 29, 2015

I Don’t Have Time for You

If you don’t want to hear the struggle of my heart then don’t read on -- but if you have ever felt disconnected, lonely, bored, or just flat out frustrated with church community maybe this will help. 

I just want to share a recent experience that was almost a missed blessing in my life. I have often lamented the difficulty of getting connected within the church, and have heard others do the same. This past Sunday one of the mother’s of a student I lead for youth group started to make her way toward me after the service. I love this family and have been so blessed by my conversations with them over the years, but as she extended an invitation to join her family for lunch, much to my shame, this little voice in my head said, "You don’t have time for this; you have things to do today, and... you wanted to relax…and... you want to go enjoy the beautiful weather, and…" (Me, me, me…)

She smiled as I clearly paused trying to decide in my own selfish brain if I wanted to give up my “precious” time for a plan that was not in my plan, and then the words came from her mouth --  “Don’t worry, it won’t be too long we have other plans later, too, but we just thought we are eating lunch and we would love to have you join.” 

I don’t know what it was about the second statement, but immediately all of my internal debating went out the window, as I laughed at myself for thinking my “relaxing” plans were significant enough to have even begun the debate in my mind in the first place. I said yes. I could see that asking me had been uncomfortable, because let's be real, most of us get turned down when we take those five steps over to our family members (church family members) and ask the unthinkable,,, that they spend time with us. I am so glad she did. 

So if I could sum up what I am trying to share with you all, I would say it this way:

  • Our individual plans very rarely outweigh the blessing of community time.
  • We aren’t as busy as we think we are; I mean we all eat lunch somewhere after church right?
  • I feel significantly closer to that family having broken bread with them and with their children.
  • Church became just a bit more like family this past Sunday and I am tearing up as I write that, because isn’t that what we are all really longing for-- family? 
  • Ask for each other’s time and be flexible.

This is not a guilt trip, just a confession. If we don’t ever say yes to each other how can we ever truly become family? It doesn’t have to be crazy scheduled-out time, or even a long time (our lunch lasted all of 45 minutes) to establish family bonds.

And last but not least, we “young people” (though I realize I am slowly inching out of that category) love lunch-- and we love you!

Lunch at a restaurant or lunch at your house, it doesn’t matter. To be included in your family is just a little bit of healing and peace that we all need. 

By Beka Dominguez

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Sunday Set-Up for May 24, 2015

This Sunday is Pentecost!

Happy Birthday Church! No, I’m not referring to the day our local church (Apostles) was planted, but the celebration of the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was given to the disciples of Jesus. On that day the church was born and the world has never been the same since. A community of faith, joy, love, power, generosity, reverence, and compassion was unleashed and it has been growing ever since. How can we experience more and more of these same qualities in our local expression of Jesus’ worldwide church? Do you experience these things in abundance or are you missing something of the passion and depth so characteristic of the early church? Come this Pentecost Sunday with expectant hearts as we celebrate…and contemplate the birth of Jesus’ church.

Happy birthday to all!


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Lockey: Thankful I Went to Prayer Team with My Back Pain

I want to share with you my experience regarding a difficult circumstance with my lower back and being in extreme pain.

I woke up on Easter morning and realized I was experiencing low back pain with every attempt I made to move.

I had done some extra yard work (spreading mulch) the previous couple of days, but had not noticed any lingering effects other than feeling tired. I was surprised that my back seemed to "go out" as I was sleeping.

My first thought was to persevere, and get to church (since it was Easter morning, after all.)  I did attend church, but the pain was so severe I was unable to stay through the Easter service.

I came home and planned to take it easy and rest, hoping my back would settle down. I stayed inactive for four days with Debbie having to wait on me to accomplish practically everything I did.

After my "take it easy" approach, I realized professional medical attention was going to be required. I opted to go to my chiropractor and was told my lower back condition was pretty severe, but they would try to help me with eight to 10 consecutive adjustments.

Of course, at this point I was open to trying most anything to get my mobility, and relieve the pain. I went for my adjustments over two weeks, but really didn't see much change.

I was still attending church, but could only manage it by wearing a back brace. After three very difficult weeks, and showing my discouragement, Debbie said maybe I should consider going to the prayer team after communion.

My response was, “Well, maybe…” but I knew her saying that I should consider it really meant I was going. After communion, I got the loving and caring reminder that I’ve seemed to always need from my wonderful wife of 48 years. The experience of asking for prayer, knowing that the people praying for me truly cared, and truly believed in God's healing power was a very heart-warming comforting feeling.

As we left church, and my back condition was mentioned, I was again touched by you praying for me at that moment. Needless to say I left church feeling very loved, and totally grateful for the prayers being said on my behalf.  

I have to tell you that as I walked to the parking lot I began to notice less discomfort than I had felt over the previous three weeks. I mentioned to Debbie on the drive home that I thought the prayers for healing were already working.

As the day progressed, I continued to feel there was definite improvement in the way I felt prior to church that morning. The chiropractor had moved me to a two adjustments per week schedule, which I continued to do over the next couple of weeks.

The chiropractic care was vital to my improvement, but I truly believe that the prayers said for me that Sunday morning started to change the circumstances, and helped me turn the corner to feeling better. It has now been six weeks since the initial back issue started, and I'm so thankful that I have complete mobility-- and no pain.

My experience was very attention-getting, and a definite opportunity to think through what a blessing having our health is in order to live a normal life. I'm giving all the praise and glory to God, and thanking all who prayed for me and the doctors that helped me. May God continue to bless us
by Kent Lockey

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Sunday Set-Up for May 17, 2015

Getting to the end of the Sermon on the Mount for its hearers was likely two very different things -- it was awesome in terms of the teaching and the experience, but overwhelming in terms of the breadth and depth of what Jesus had discussed. "Therefore hear . . . and put into practice." What does it mean to live out Jesus' wisdom?

Come enter into the joy of worship this Sunday as we consider that question and its impact on our lives.

In Christ,

Monday, May 11, 2015

'Hi, Mom': Redeemer Phones Home

A week ago on Sunday night, after our evening worship service at Redeemer, I rushed across town to try and make it to the end of Curt’s Ordination Celebration.  I made it just in time to congratulate Curt and take home a plate of food from the reception.  In many ways as I drove home that night, I felt like a child who has recently been sent off to college and who only comes home to get his laundry washed and to pick up some grub when he’s hungry. 

One major difference between “college Ford” and “church-planting Ford,” is that this version of me drove home with a heart full of gratitude, aware of all of the sacrifices that my ‘mother’ has made for me.  (If my real mom is reading this--sorry I didn’t appreciate you more in college.  I had no idea at the time all that you were doing for me!)  We are now 3 months into worship at Redeemer Anglican Church and thought that this would be a good time to ‘call home’ and let everyone know how we are doing. 

We have had a wonderful start down the road at Redeemer.  Our prayer from long before we started was that the Lord’s presence would go with us as we were sent out to begin this church (Exodus 3:14-17).  God has answered that prayer week after week as we have gathered for worship.  The Holy Spirit has been present in the worship, in the preaching of the word and in the administration of the sacraments (communion and baptism).  He has filled the church with His joy week after week. 

As I’ve reflected on the past 3 months, I’ve been humbled to realize how many wonderful folks from Apostles have made this journey with us and how they have used their gifts and stepped into key roles of leadership in order to help this young church thrive.  It’s been beautiful to see the body of Christ function this way – each person using their gifts for the building up of the body.

We have a great (and growing) relationship with Mt. Sinai church (whose building we are meeting in).  We joined our congregations together for worship on Palm Sunday and it was so much fun and so rich that we’ve decided to worship together on every fifth Sunday.  Their pastor, Bishop Rogers, and his wife have become personal friends to many in our congregation.

Most importantly, we’ve been having a trickle of visitors each week.  This is the reason why we started Redeemer.  There was no reason for Apostles to send so many people away only to have them worship in another part of town.  Instead, this church was planted for mission.  The people of Redeemer have been inviting friends and folks from the neighborhood have come to check things out.  It has been exciting to welcome them in.  We are asking the Lord that he would open their eyes to faith.

Overall, the past 3 months have gone as well as we could have hoped.  We are encouraged and looking forward to what the Lord has in store for Redeemer and Apostles in the yeas to come.  Thank you again, for all of your encouragement and support in helping us get up and on our feet.  And thank you for your prayers for Redeemer.  Please continue to keep us in your hearts and prayers.
---------------By Ford Jordan

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Sunday Set Up for Sunday May 10, 2015

Mother’s Day! Is it just another made up holiday from Hallmark, or is there something sacred about that day? Do the things we do on Mother’s Day have any relation at all to the biblical command (given in Deuteronomy 5:16 and reemphasized in Ephesians 6:3) to honor our mothers and fathers? How do you honor your mom if she (in your opinion) isn’t doing or didn’t do a very good job? Is honoring something more than giving a card and some flowers once a year? Join us Sunday for some insight and a whole lot of guilt as we look at the biblical command, and some moms in the Bible, to help us know what this whole “honoring your mom” thing is about. (Just kidding about the guilt!)

from one mom’s child to another,