posted on March 22nd, 2017 |
At first glance, some of you may look at the title of this post and wonder if I am about to sing the praises of one of the best point guards in the NBA, a Rookie of the Year, four-time All-Star, and Olympic gold medalist who just happens to play for the world champion Cleveland Cavaliers. But you would be wrong. That would be Kyrie Irving. (And yes, of course, I am pulling for Kyrie, LeBron and the rest of the Cavs to become just the twelfth team to repeat as NBA champions. But that story will have to wait a few weeks longer.)
Kyrie eleison is not a person, but a prayer. The first time I remember hearing this mysterious yet strangely attractive phrase was back in the mid-1980’s when I was still in my early days as a youth pastor in northeast Ohio. “Kyrie” was the title of a hit song recorded by a band called Mr. Mister (I know, it sounds a bit redundant, doesn’t it?). If you want to experience a little blast from the past, you can still find the music video here. It’s actually a pretty cool song.
I’m not sure what inspired the recording of the popular song, but I can tell you about the origins of the ancient prayer itself. Kyrie eleison is a Greek phrase that means, “Lord, have mercy.” Its frequent use as a central prayer of the Christian church derives from several New Testament passages where some form of this phrase is invoked as a passionate plea from a genuinely broken and contrite heart. A Canaanite women, for example, cries out to Jesus, “Have mercy on me, O Lord” (Mt 15:22). Two blind men call out, “Lord, have mercy on us” (Mt 20:30). Bartimaeus implores Jesus, “Have mercy on me” (Mk 10:46). But the kyrie eleison is perhaps most powerfully illustrated in the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Lk 18:9-14):
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Over the centuries, the phrase kyrie eleison (“Lord, have mercy”) has become one of the most beloved and frequently repeated prayers in the entire church, especially among our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters. This is also the same phrase that inspired what is commonly called the Jesus Prayer (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner”), a humble petition that has become increasingly popular among Western Christians as well.
So why am I spending so much time describing, affirming and commending to modern day Friends the value of an ancient prayer that has its roots in Eastern Orthodoxy?
I have been following Jesus for nearly 40 years now, and I have always found prayer to be the most essential and most challenging of all the spiritual disciplines. But what has helped me most in recent years is the discovery that prayer is not limited to a few, specific methods or models that are unique to any one denomination or tradition. As my good friend, Fil Anderson likes to say, “There are as many ways to pray as there are moments in the day.”
I have found that the more that my prayer portfolio has expanded, the more freedom, depth and joy I have experienced in my walk with Christ. This has also helped me to more readily embrace the biblical admonitions to “pray without ceasing” (1 Th 5:17) and to “pray always” (Lk 18:1). I have found it much more do-able to pray always when I am better equipped to pray all ways.
If you are interested in expanding your prayer portfolio, I would encourage you to explore the kyrie eleison or Jesus Prayer, especially during this season of Lent. Try them on for size and see how they fit. To borrow from William Penn, you might think of it as a “holy experiment.” At the end of the day, I pray that you will be encouraged and empowered to pray as you can, not as you can’t.
Oh, and one more thing. It is critical to remember that we are never alone when it comes to this life of prayer. Our good and beautiful, triune God is always praying with us. As the Scriptures reminds us, God the Father “knows what you need before you ask him” (Mt 6:8), God the Son “always lives to intercede” for us (Heb 7:25), and God the Spirit “intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Rm 8:26). As we learn to pray with God, not just to God, we grow to understand that prayer is simply a matter of staying in the conversation, i.e., continually and intentionally resting in the gracious embrace of our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, the Lover of our souls, the One who longs to communicate with us “face to face, as a man speaks with his friend” (Ex 33:11). And somehow, in the midst of this unfolding friendship with God, we are mysteriously and progressively transformed in such a way that others can actually see in us an imperfect yet increasingly authentic reflection of the very face of God (cf. 2 Co 3:18). As C.S. Lewis has testified, “prayer doesn’t change God; it changes me.”
Lord, have mercy.
– David O. Williams, General Superintendent
posted on March 22nd, 2017 |
The Alva Friends church is prayerfully searching for a pastor after 14 years. Are you being called to pastor a church in a small college town in Northwest Oklahoma? We are praying for someone who is willing to work with young people and those young at heart. The potential in our town is not only in the young, but college age and in a drug/alcohol rehab workcamp. We are the county seat of Woods County, home to Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Share Medical Center hospital, Northwest Technology Center and Alva municipal airport.
You may contact David O. Williams, DMin, General Superintendent at firstname.lastname@example.org or Peggy Fox, Chairman of Pastor Search committee email@example.com or 580-748-0028 and leave a message for me to return your call if you have questions about our town or church. Please, if emailing, put Alva Friends Church in subject line. Thank you!
posted on March 22nd, 2017 |
The Church Leadership Institute for Ministry will gather April 3, 2017, during the season of remembering Christ’s death and celebrating His resurrection. We will be filled with gratitude for God’s supreme gift of Christ’s sacrificial love for us. We will also share feelings of gratefulness for God’s gift of our Ministry Institute.
Derek Brown, who has carefully and wonderfully taught our previous two classes, will speak to us and guide our discussion in his third and final session on Worship Leadership. Derek, as we have discovered, is a very articulate teacher. Derek is Chaplain, Chair of the Pastoral Ministry Department, and Director of the Pastoral Ministries and Transformational Leadership concentrations of the Master’s studies at Barclay College. As Professor, he teaches courses in Bible, Theology, Pastoral Ministry, Leadership, Preaching, and Worship. Derek received the B.A. degree from Barclay College, the M.A.R (Master of Arts in Religion) from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, and the Ph.D. degree from Johnson University. Derek’s doctoral studies were in Friends Faith and Practice, particularly the history of the Faith and Practices in the six Yearly Meetings in the Evangelical Friends Church – North America. He also studied the development of the Friends pastoral system in North America. His dissertation is a significant resource for 21st-century Friends. Derek is married to Jessica Huffman, who is the great-niece of Max Huffman, former Director of Indiana Yearly Meeting’s Missions Department. Jessica and Derek are the loving parents of precious twin daughters,
Our hope is to make available this Institute class, and all Institute classes, to as many Friends as possible. With this goal we offer live, interactive classes at these locations: All Nations (formerly Sudanese Community) Friends Church in Omaha, Friends Bible Training School in Alaska Yearly Meeting, Noatak, Alaska (Robert Sheldon, Superintendent), Neighborhood Friends Church (at the home of Tom and Bonnie Bousman), Friends Ministry Center (Wichita), Lighthouse Fellowship Church (at the home of Jerry and Mary Louthan), Bangor Liberty Friends Church, Fowler Friends Church, Barclay College (Jackson Hall), Faith Friends Church, North Newton (at the home of Merl and Eunice Kinser), Friends Community Church (Angleton), New Hope Friends Church, Friends Church at Liberal, Arkansas City Friends Church (at the home of Bud and Pauline Lawrence), Louisville, KY Friends Church, Stone Mountain Friends Church, Atlanta, GA, Indianapolis with Steve Turner, Kingston, Jamaica (viewing and discussing videos), Kickapoo Friends Center, and St Paul, MN Friends Church
(Bhutanese). If you are unable to join one of these Institute groups and you prefer to view the video on YouTube, click here.
Derek will begin teaching at 7:00 p.m. central time, April 3, 2017, preceded by a time of fellowship and sharing at 6:50. You will want to make this class a priority, because from it you will take many ideas that you will find useful in your churches.
– Dave Kingrey, Director of Leadership Institute
posted on March 9th, 2017 |
EFM Missionaries Roy and Jinky Twaddell are living in Haviland, KS for the next 4 months as they complete their deputation and support raising to prepare to go as missionaries to the Philippines to do ministry among Muslims. They are available March through June to speak in EFCMAYM churches and to share about their ministry. You can contact Roy directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
to schedule a visit to your church, Sunday
School, small group, mission group, Friends Women group, etc.
Please pray for the Twaddells as they seek to complete their fundraising support. They are currently at 70% and need to raise the remaining 30% before returning to the Philippines.
Thanks for your love for missions, care for our missionaries, and partnership in the Gospel!
– Adam Monaghan, Associate Superintendent
posted on March 3rd, 2017 |
I wanted to share a unique opportunity with you to join in the Inaugural “Robert Barclay Institute” symposium on Saturday morning March 4. A brief understanding about the Robert Barclay Institute is as follows:
This scholarly resource supports Barclay College’s efforts to give historic Quaker thought a vibrant place in campus life and to allow Robert Barclay and other early Quaker voices to speak effectively in today’s world. The goals and aims of the Robert Barclay Institute fall under the identity, mission, and strategic plan objectives of Barclay College. This institute is made up of faculty, administrators, students, alumni, affiliated scholars and constituents.
- Research the early voice (writings) of our Quaker leaders
- Articulate ways the early Quaker movement speak into today’s culture
- Reinvigorate evangelical expressions of Historic Quaker Faith and Practice
- Connect contemporary Social Issues with evangelical Quaker Faith and Practice
Nurture Vocation and Calling amongst evangelical Quaker Christians
Here are the details about the presentation:
Saturday, March 4, 2017 | 9:30-10:30 a.m. (brunch to follow)
Student Center – Gathering Room
Theme: All Are One in Christ Jesus: The Social Justice Actions of Early Quakers as an Example to Contemporary American Evangelicalism
Presenter: Derek Brown, PhD
Responder: Aaron Stokes, MA in Quaker Studies, student
Moderator: Kevin Mortimer, PhD abd
Details for the gathering can also be found by clicking here.
I will share more info in the future about this Institute, but wanted to make you aware of this forthcoming opportunity.
Inaugural RB Institute Symposium Brochure
– Jesse Penna, Student Ministries Director
posted on March 3rd, 2017 |
Gerald and Deloras Mendenhall, pastors of Oasis Church in Dodge City, shared an article with us this week that was published in the December 2016 Dodge City Daily Paper. Excerpts of the article are included here:
Fred Utter Jr. is a relatively new resident of Dodge City and he’s happy despite the challenges he’s had in the past.
“After my last stint in jail, I came to Dodge City with nothing but the clothes on my back,” he said. “However, I got involved with a local church and some groups have helped me out and I have this job” (as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army).
“I enjoy every day ringing the bell. I’m free, clean and sober, the sun is out, people are friendly and I get to listen to holiday music. I enjoy every second of it.”
Oasis Church Pastor Gerald Mendenhall met and befriended Utter in 2013 – before he went back to jail – and was the first person Utter called upon arriving in Dodge City.
“The church and the Salvation Army are my family now,” Utter said. “I had a choice when I left jail as to where to go. I could’ve returned to Joplin, Missouri where I have some family, but they are still using, so that was a no. So, I figured I had a decent foundation in Dodge City and the people are nice, so I came here with nothing. Best thing I ever did.”
– Adapted from article originally published here: http://www.dodgeglobe.com/news/20161216/bell-ringer-enjoying-season.
posted on March 3rd, 2017 |
Mt. Ayr Friends Church, a small, country church located approximately eight miles south of Alton, Kansas, is looking for a pastor to help lead them in the work of God’s kingdom within the congregation and in the local community. This is a fellowship of devoted believers that describe themselves as “friendly, willing, active and Spirit-filled.” They desire to have someone partner with them who is able to offer biblical leadership and grow with them as they seek to deepen their faith in Jesus Christ.
Prospective candidates should contact Virl Gregory, presiding clerk, at 785-984-8068 or email@example.com.
posted on March 3rd, 2017 |
This summer we will partnering with the Tribe of Friends to continue a unique internship and training program for college students who have finished their freshman year. The purpose of “The Journey Project” is to develop leaders – the kind of leaders who live out their faith in such a way as to change lives and communities through the sharing of God’s unconditional love.
Interns will be stretched beyond their comfort zones as they serve those in need and live in Christian community with one another. Interns will be equipped and trained to make a difference in the world. And they will experience the joy of their salvation in ways they never imagined!
We invite you to visit www.tribeoffriends.org
to learn more, and to contact us if we can answer any questions.
Registration deadline is March 15.
– Jesse Penna, Student Ministries Director
posted on March 3rd, 2017 |
For some time we at Evangelical Friends Mission (EFM) have been asking a crucial question: How can EFM be better structured to mobilize Evangelical Friends worldwide to carry out the Great Commission of Jesus Christ? At its meetings last November the Board gave Dan Cammack, Executive Director of EFM, and Matt Macy, Associate Director, permission to develop a restructuring plan and to begin implementing it. They have been doing so with the help of several board members, the executive committee of the Board, and a consultant.
The restructuring plan has the following goals:
- To become more integrated with the yearly meetings/regions of Evangelical Friends Church – North America (EFC-NA)
- To build our capacity as Evangelical Friends to sustain the mission work we already have as well as to plant new fields and partner with yearly meetings around the world that are or will be planting new fields
- To enable EFM to be more efficient and effective in its work as well as a better steward of its resources
- To engage the younger generations in Great Commission work
- To see if we can finally put to rest the organizational confusion that has plagued EFM for most of its existence by developing closer working relationships with our yearly meetings/regions.
The more we thought and prayed about how to accomplish these goals the clearer it became to us that we need to regionalize our office staff and tasks; in other words, we foresee the likelihood that future EFM office staff will be scattered across EFC-NA’s yearly meetings/regions with no central physical office.
On February 16 and 17 we began implementing the restructuring plan by taking a very painful step: We closed down our office in Arvada, Colorado and laid off John and Vicki Hinshaw, David Cordova, and Laurie Mortimore who live in Colorado and Sue Jones who lives in Southern California. This was painful because they are not only our co-workers but also our friends, and some of them have served with EFM for a long time. David has been with EFM for nearly 28 years, Vicki for 22, and Laurie for 15. They will always have a special place in our hearts and in the history of EFM.
We are now entering into an interim period of about four months with an interim staff that will be based mostly in Wichita, Kansas. This interim period gives us time to bring our current system to an end and to grieve the many good things we are losing from this change, which is first and foremost our office staff. This interim period also gives us time to answer many questions like: Who will the new staff be? Where will they work? How will the yearly meetings/regions and EFM work more closely together? And many more questions. The consultants we are working with are taking the directors, Board, and others connected to EFM through an assessment process in the coming weeks and months that will help us answer many of these questions.
We are doing what we can to minimize the effects of these changes on the lives and ministries of our missionaries. Please pray for them as they make adjustments along with the rest of us.
Throughout this restructuring process we continue to depend on you for your prayers and financial support. We also ask for your patience. It’s going to take a little while to get the interim staff up and running, so for a time we may not be able to respond to your questions or requests as quickly as we have in the past. Please hang in there with us and don’t be afraid to follow up with us if you’re not getting a response.
The contact information for EFM during the interim period is:
Mailing address: PO Box 771139, Wichita, KS 67277
Thank you for your attention to this announcement and for your prayers. May the Lord use this time of change to further his mission to the world.
– Dan Cammack, Executive Director of EFM
posted on February 24th, 2017 |
We were greatly blessed last month with Derek Brown’s excellent teaching, and he will continue to inspire us with practical guidance for our Worship, Teaching, and Preaching Ministry when he speaks at the Church Leadership Institute class March 6, 2017.
Derek Brown has years of teaching, preaching, and leading worship in the local church, and teaching these subjects as Chaplain, Professor, Chair of the Pastoral Ministry Department, and Director of the Pastoral Ministries and Transformational Leadership concentrations of the Master’s studies at Barclay College.
Having studied in his Ph.D. research the Faith and Practice manuals of the six Yearly Meetings in Evangelical Friends Church – North America, and more specifically the development of the Pastoral system in North America, Derek brings a particular Friends emphasis to his understanding of Friends worship and ministry.
A fact about Derek’s good habits will interest you. He frequents the Quaker Room of the Worden Memorial Library at Barclay College, where he prefers to teach and where he continually studies the rich resources of Friends history. The question is, “Does Derek spend more time there, or do I?”
These are the sites where the technology for the classes is available: Sudanese Community Church (Omaha), Friends Bible Training School in Alaska Yearly Meeting, Noatak, Alaska (Robert Sheldon, Superintendent), Neighborhood Friends Church (at the home of Tom and Bonnie Bousman), Friends Ministry Center (Wichita), Lighthouse Fellowship Church (at the home of Jerry and Mary Louthan), Bangor Liberty Friends Church, Fowler Friends Church, Barclay College (Jackson Hall), Faith Friends Church, North Newton (at the home of Merl and Eunice Kinser), Friends Community Church (Angleton), New Hope Friends Church, Friends Church at Liberal, Arkansas City Friends Church (at the home of Bud and Pauline Lawrence), Louisville, KY Friends Church, Stone Mountain Friends Church, Atlanta, GA, Indianapolis with Steve Turner, Kingston, Jamaica (viewing and discussing the videos), and Kickapoo Friends Center.
If you cannot be at one of these locations, and you are free at this time, please notify me, and I will send you the link for the video conferencing. Or you may prefer to view the video recorded session, which Drew Davenport uploads to YouTube. Thank you Drew! Maybe you can gather a group from your church to view and discuss Derek’s teaching. This is your link.
If possible, please join us at 6:50 for a time of getting better acquainted. Otherwise, we hope to see you at 7:00 p.m. central time on March 6, 2017.
With hope for our deepest worship of our Living God,
– Dave Kingrey, Director of Leadership Institute
posted on February 15th, 2017 |
posted on February 7th, 2017 |
I’m sure that you are all well aware of the recent discussions taking place in our country regarding the appropriate treatment of immigrants and refugees. For those of us who claim to be devoted Christ followers, this is about much more than mere politics, demographics or statistical sound bites. These are real people with real names and real faces.
It would be good for all of us to remember that Jesus was one of those names and faces at one time as well, a Middle Eastern refugee whose family was temporarily displaced during a brutal despot’s reign of terror (Mt 2:13-18). It might also help us to gain a better grasp on why our Lord is so painfully clear and unequivocal in His declaration that the way we care for our most vulnerable neighbors (“the least of these”) is in reality the most accurate measure of how much we actually care for Him (Mt 25:31-46).
These conversations take on even greater weight for those Hispanic, Sudanese and Bhutanese immigrants and refugees who are part of our extended family of Friends here in Mid-America. I recently spent a weekend with some of these very real names and faces during my first site visit to St. Paul (MN) Friends Church, our newest body of believers here in EFC-MAYM. This is a fellowship comprised solely of Bhutanese refugees. Like nearly every other member of the group, their pastor, Kumar Tamang, was born and raised in the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan. In the 1990’s, Kumar and more than 100,000 of his fellow countrymen were forced to leave Bhutan during a period of ethnic cleansing due to the fact that they are of Nepalese descent. Because the government of Nepal does not permit citizenship for Bhutanese refugees, they eventually become a people without a country, until they were granted entry to the United States.
Our new Friends in St. Paul provide us with a very tangible reminder that, as much as we might prefer to duck and run from these messy issues, we cannot do so without betraying those we have been called to embrace as our very own family members (Gal 6:10). And while we are always praying for new ways to take the gospel to the “ends of the earth” (Ac 1:8), we cannot afford to lose sight of the fact that we are currently living in a time and place when the ends of the earth are coming to us in record numbers.
So what does all of this mean for those of us who are called to serve as faithful and fearless witnesses to the gospel here in our own “Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria”?
While there are no easy answers to this question, I do want to commend the excellent work that is being done to address these critical concerns by our friends and partners at World Relief and the Evangelical Immigration Table. I would encourage you to visit their websites, where you can find additional information and valuable resources that may help you and your church family to offer Christ-like compassion and hospitality to the “aliens and strangers” who are currently knocking at our doors (Heb 11:13).
You may be surprised to discover how many angels you have been entertaining in the process (Heb 13:2).
posted on January 24th, 2017 |
Amos 5:24 “But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
I don’t know about you, but when I look at the world I am often discouraged. It doesn’t take much, if our eyes are open, if our hearts are tender, for us to see the trouble around us. When we watch the news, when we talk with people and hear their stories, we see injustice, oppression and evil. Everywhere we look, there are those with power lording it over the weak. People in authority abusing their positions, and the world applauds or turns away to walk on by. If we are people of compassion, this is troubling.
And I believe it is troubling to God, too. I say this because from beginning to end, we hear God’s prophets speak out on behalf of the oppressed, the powerless, the marginalized of society. Isaiah tells God’s people to stop their noisy pretense of worship and do the right thing. Micah tells God’s people that God’s requirements are simple: justice, mercy, humility. Jesus tells us God has a special relationship to the poor, the grieving, the empty, and the weak. James tells us that true religion is caring for the orphan and widow and holding the world at arm’s length. Revelation invites all who are thirsty to come. God cares about justice.
When our hearts cry out at the brokenness around us, you can be assured that we stand in agreement with the God of the universe, and we can know that we are not alone.
We are not the first people to look around and see that the world’s systems are broken. Tonight we celebrate and honor a man who stood not long ago crying out for justice. Before him marched men and women who called for release from oppression. We’ve been fighting for justice for a long time.
In tonight’s Old Testament reading, Amos the prophet spoke these words that are so familiar to our movements for justice. He says, “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
This is our cry for justice. This has been a freedom cry, a battle cry against oppression. We cry out for justice with these words, but did you know that this verse comes in a passage not about foreign oppression of Israel? They are not in the context of deliverance. No, they comes in a passage outlining how the nation God established has itself become an oppressor. The people were calling out for justice, but it was their justice, justice for themselves but not justice for all. This passage details God’s disappointment with God’s people. It is a lament, and a call to repentance. A call to turn from their own ways and to walk in the ways of God.
Tonight, my friends, we need to hear that call for repentance, as well. Repentance simply means a change of mind and heart, a turning from one path to another, to go a different way. All it takes is a glance at the situation where we find ourselves in the world to know that we need to walk in a different way! We need to turn away from oppression and toward justice. We need to turn away from injustice and towards the peace of God. We must turn away from our own solutions that have become idols to the power of God for deliverance.
We have a problem. We have lots of problems, but we have one big problem, one big failure that needs to be laid aside. It is not a new problem, this isn’t a 21st century problem, it’s a human problem. It is as old as Cain and Abel. It is an “us” and “them” problem. We see humanity divided into those who are righteous, like us, and those who are sinners, like them. We can also say we are divided into those who are oppressors, like them, and those who have suffered oppression, like us. This division kills compassion, it kills empathy, and mercy. It divides us and disables us. It leaves us all looking after our own self-interest and forsaking the interests of others.
We want things to be different! We try all kinds of ways to bring about change, we fight wars, we launch campaigns, we protest and lobby. We even lobby for God to get involved. For us, for our rights, for our own sense of righteousness.
We pray for deliverance from oppression, and this is good, but if we stop there, we fall short. What I want to know is do we also pray for deliverance for the oppressor?
Dr. King recognized that the one who oppresses us is also a child of God. They also stand in need of mercy, grace, love, and peace. Through their acts of oppression, they oppress themselves as well. Oppressors need to experience repentance, deliverance, and freedom from their own brand of evil that eats away at their very souls.
That is why Jesus calls us to pray for our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us. He does not say to pray that God would smite them because he knows they are smiting themselves by their own hand. Jesus does not tell us merely to pray for the persecutor, for the oppressor, but to love them. To love our enemies, Jesus says, is to reflect the very nature of God in heaven who sends rain on the just and unjust and the sun to shine on the good person and the evil person alike. Jesus does not pray for God to strike his enemies down, he prays for grace.
Dr. King echoes this call for forgiveness, compassion, and recognition of our shared humanity with those who are oppressors. In his work that we have heard from tonight “Love in Action,” we hear his words commending Christ who prayed, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” Dr. King tells us that Jesus had other choices!
…he could have said, “Father, get even with them” Then he could have said, “Father let loose the mighty thunder- bolts of righteous wrath and destroy them in their tracks.” Then he could have said, “Father open the flood gates of justice and let the staggering avalanche of retribution pour upon them.” But this was not his response Though subjected to inexpressible agony, though suffering excruciating pain, though despised and rejected, nevertheless, He cries, “Father forgive them.”
Dr. King compels us to see that the injustice towards Christ, the very sinless Son of God, results not in a cry for revenge, but a cry for mercy. Jesus prays for their restoration. He prays for them to be forgiven and returned to a right relationship with their creator. Our nature cries out for revenge, but Christ presents another way, a path of forgiveness and wholeness and truth. The path seems impossibly hard for us! Jesus does not expect us to walk alone, it is a trail that he himself has forged before us, marking the way to peace. Jesus went first, so that we could walk in his footsteps.
I will ask it again, when we pray for deliverance from oppression, do we also pray for deliverance for the oppressor?
This is an important question to ask, not only out of concern for our fellow flawed human beings but for ourselves because:
What if we are participating in the oppression of others?
When we pray for an end to injustice, we must be careful that we are not heaping judgment upon our own heads. The prophet Amos says, “Why are you looking forward to the day of the Lord?” God’s people wanted justice, they wanted the day of the Lord to come so that there would be an end to oppression. But Amos the Prophet tells them they should not pray for it to come quickly because they are also in danger of judgment!
It is all too easy to walk through life blind to the ways in which we ourselves participate in the problems of injustice. Remember that Jesus said, “They know not what they do.” If those men had known that they were driving nails into the hands that shaped the universe, would they have continued? Or would they have fallen on their faces? Would they have cried out for mercy in anguished repentance?
Dr. King tells us:
“We must continue to see the Cross as a magnificent symbol of love conquering hate, and light overcoming darkness But in the midst of this glowing affirmation, let us never forget that our Lord and Master was nailed to that Cross because of human blindness. Those who crucified him knew not what they did.”
My friends, tonight, I am afraid that if we called for a flood of justice and righteousness, we would ourselves be swept away. How often have we participated in oppression, and systemic injustice blindly? Sometimes that blindness comes from our culture and our media and our politics. We are blinded by rhetoric and celebrity opinion. Many times we have acted in blindness and with good intentions. Dr King says again, “Sincerity and conscientiousness are not enough History has proven that these noble virtues can be relegated to tragic vices There is nothing more dangerous in all the world than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
Maybe more tragic for us than well-intentioned ignorance is that sometimes we choose blindness. We feel justified by our position and our privilege. We believe that our perspective on the world, our good intentions, and our opinions are the only ones that matter. We shut out the views and experiences of others, we refuse to listen. We stubbornly blot out any hint of imbalance or inequality in the experiences of others. We are so convinced that our experience of the world is the right one that when privilege is removed, it feels like we are being oppressed. Remove advantage given to us based on our religion, based on our race, based on our class, and the leveling of the playing field causes us to feel suddenly off-balance. We have walked crooked for so long, when we stand up-right the world itself seems slanted.
Sadly, at other times we face the temptation to participate in injustice justified by our own experience of oppression. “I was oppressed, now I will show them what it feels like to walk with a boot on their neck.” We refuse to forgive. We refuse to follow in the way of mercy. We want more than justice. We are looking for vengeance.
Dr. King has something to say about this:
“Jesus eloquently affirmed from the cross a higher law He knew that the old eye for an eye philosophy would end up leaving everybody blind. He did not seek to overcome evil with evil He overcame evil with good. Although crucified by hate, he responded with a radical love. What a magnificent lesson. Generations will continue to rise and fall, men will continue to worship the god of revenge and bow before the alter of retaliation, but ever and again this noble lesson from Calvary will come as a nagging reminder that only goodness can drive out evil, and only love can conquer hate.”
How can we call for justice to roll down like the mighty waters if we are the ones perpetuating injustice? We must ask for the light of truth to illuminate not only the darkness of our enemies, but our own darkness as well. We must cry out to God both:
Forgive them for they know not what they do…& LORD, forgive us for we know not what we do.
Those we view as oppressors need forgiveness for the ways in which they rend both their own souls and the lives of their victims. They need mercy for the brokenness brought about by ignorance to the reality in which they live. The oppressor does not need to be repressed, the oppressor needs to be regenerated. They need to be redeemed, they need to be renewed in the image of their creator. And so do we.
The truth is that we need freedom, and so do they. Let us not forget that Dr. King so eloquently said, “No one is free until we are all free.”
You and I, friends, we all need the same things. We all need the grace of God that forgives us when we know not what we do. We all desperately need the mercy of Christ who will open our eyes to injustice, not only at the hands of our society, the hands of those in power, but injustice wrought by our own hands in our own families, in our own schools, in our own churches, in our own towns and cities, and in our own hearts.
If we would pray: Forgive them for they know not what they do…LORD, forgive us for we know not what we do, that would make a good start because:
Justice begins with repentance.
I want to share a story with you to illustrate my point. It goes like this:
There was a man who had a problem. You see this man had a neighbor with a speck in her eye. This speck bothered that man and he was troubled day and night over the inability for that woman to see clearly. He was worried about her family. He was worried about her kids. He was worried about her workplace. He was worried about how this speck, this impediment to her vision would affect her community involvement, her church attendance, her giving to the poor. He was so worried about it that one day—he was determined to help her, you understand—one day he walked over to her house with a first-aid kit. He had tweezers and antibiotic drops and gauze bandages. He was going to help her with her speck, but she would not let him in the door. You see, he had a bigger problem of his own. There was a tree branch stuck in his eye.
Maybe it will be more familiar this way:
Jesus said “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make, you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5
Justice begins with repentance. It begins with our own repentance. It begins with a recognition that we are all God’s children. That we have all gone astray, each one to their own way. We all need to have our sin-wounds bandaged. We all need to have our feet set on paths of righteousness for God’s name sake and for the sake of our souls. We must have our understanding broadened to see the ways in which we have participated in oppression. We must acknowledge that we have not loved our enemies, we have not prayed for our persecutors, we have not sought God’s peace, but instead we have walked in our own way. We call for justice, but chase vengeance. We call for freedom, while putting others in chains. We call for the healing of our nation and our world, and we think we will get there if we can only convince that “other person” to let us take the speck out of their eye.
Friends, I stand before you and admit, I am guilty. I will confess with the Apostle Paul that I have not already attained all this, nor have I already been made perfect. I do not stand above you as one who is free from this trap. I find myself making an idol of my own causes and methods and heroes and programs. Likewise, I find myself making demons of those who stand opposed. I need to repent, to turn away from my path to the pathway of God that leads to true peace. I want a peace that is not just an absence of conflict, but a peace that restores. I need this peace.
We all need this peace of God that begins at the root of who we are, a healing and a wholeness that leaks out, pouring forth into the lives of others, flowing over the land and filling the whole earth. If we want an end to injustice, we must seek this peace and pursue it in our lives and communities, increasing the health of our bodies and the justice in our society. We can only find this peace in a person, the Prince of Peace himself, the embodiment of the Divine who showed us how to walk in peace regardless of the absence of peace in the world around us.
This is how I want to see God’s justice roll down, not in a wave of destruction, but as a well of living water bubbling up from within to bring healing to nations, starting right here. It can start right now, in our hearts, in our homes and our churches and our community!
Our nation may be like God’s people of old, a people freed from tyranny turning that tyranny on others. But there is hope. There is hope in each one who will turn away from injustice and cry out for mercy. There is hope every time two or three gather to pray for release for the oppressed and restoration of the oppressor. There is hope when we recognize our common humanity and humbly seek restoration in ourselves as well as the world around us.
Then, and only then, we can pray for God’s justice to roll down like a mighty water, then we can call forth righteousness like an ever-flowing stream, and we can be confident in that day that we are already moving in the flow of those waters, and we will have no fear of being swept away.
– Charity Sandstrom
Visit her blog, ReFreshing Life
posted on January 20th, 2017 |
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
It was 54 years ago this month that a fiery, young, black preacher stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, calling upon the leaders of our nation to finally and fully deliver on the promises that were made 100 years earlier when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln. Without question, the 1963 March on Washington, and the speech that that Dr. King delivered that day, represent a truly transformational moment in American history.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was far from perfect, of course. He was no superhero. He was just an ordinary human being. Like all the rest of us, Dr. King had his share of blind spots, and his human frailties have been well-documented. But if there is one thing I have learned over the course of my life, it is this: When we as flawed and finite human beings give our good and gracious God permission to transform our lives, we in turn are empowered to become agents of extraordinary transformation in the lives of other people.
I was just 5 ½ years old when MLK was shot and killed while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 4, 1968. I’m sure I had no idea how to make sense of it all at the time, but as I sat around a black and white television watching the news reports with the rest of my family at our home in northwest Iowa that day, at some level I knew that this was a traumatic yet transformational moment in our nation’s history. I soon discovered that it was to become a profoundly transformational moment in the history of our entire family as well.
As lifelong Quakers, my parents shared MLK’s commitment to pursuing peaceful, non-violent efforts to advance social justice, especially for “the least of these” (cf. Mt 25:31-46). One of the ways they put this into practice was through the ministry of foster care. Shortly following Dr. King’s assassination in April of 1968, my parents began to explore the possibility of engaging in racial reconciliation by pursuing the adoption of a bi-racial child, something that was extremely rare and culturally radical in the late 1960’s.
A few months later, in November of 1968, a little boy was born in Youngstown, Ohio to a black father and a white mother. His birth parents were unmarried and did not feel that they could keep the baby, so they placed him in the care of social services. This beautiful little boy had light brown skin and fluffy black hair, but he was considered “unadoptable” by most people, based on the fact that he was bi-racial.
In August of 1969, just a few days after my seventh birthday, that little boy was a passenger on a plane that arrived in Sioux City, Iowa. He was presented to my parents, who gave me the awesome privilege of holding him in my arms most of the way back home, where he was warmly welcomed by the rest of my siblings. That little boy is 48 years old today, and has a beautiful family of his own. Andy is not only my brother, but one of my very best friends in the whole world.
But real life is not a Hallmark movie. I discovered very quickly that not everyone shared our family’s enthusiastic support for racial diversity at the most intimate levels. I have vivid memories of the extremely cold and creepy reception we frequently received when traveling with my brother in portions of the Deep South, and I still get sick to my stomach when I recall some of the horrible names that he was called by a number of ignorant friends and neighbors.
Like I said, we all have our share of blind spots.
By far the most painful response to Andy’s adoption, however, came from what I would have considered the most unlikely source: my maternal grandfather. Grandpa was one of the most godly men I have ever known. Like my parents, he was a lifelong Quaker. He was also a devoted pastor, professor and college administrator. But long before I was able to understand what any of these titles meant, he was just Grandpa to me. He held me on his lap, told me Bible stories, made me eggs and bacon for breakfast, showed me how to tend a garden, defended me from the wrath of my critics, watched Indians games with me, and even managed to hit me a few, soft grounders at the age of 90.
But like I said, we all have our share of blind spots, and that included Grandpa. Born in 1894 in Guilford County, North Carolina, and raised in the post-Reconstruction south, Grandpa was just two years old when the Supreme Court ratified Plessey vs. Ferguson, which made “separate but equal” segregation (aka, “Jim Crow”) the law of the land. When my parents were in the process of adopting Andy, my grandfather made it painfully clear that “we love these people, but they are NOT part of our family.”
Without question, even the very best of us have our share of blind spots.
Thankfully, however, that is not the end of the story. My grandfather loved Christ more than his own cultural conditioning, and he was absolutely committed to practicing the same biblical truths that he preached from the pulpit. Slowly but surely, over a period of several years, Grandpa’s heart began to soften towards Andy through the gentle yet persistent ministry of the Holy Spirit.
As long as I live, I will never forget the first time my grandfather hugged my brother. A man that literally wrote the book on “entire sanctification” and “being made perfect in love” had obviously discovered that he had much more to learn about the love of Jesus than he had thought, and he was willing to admit it. Grandpa recognized his blind spots, and he allowed the Lord to renew his sight. It was one of the most traumatic yet truly transformational moments I have witnessed in my entire life.
Today we are on the threshold of yet another traumatic and potentially transformational moment, as our 44th president, the first bi-racial president in American history, passes the baton to our 45th president, who will take the oath of office within shouting distance from the very location where MLK delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech 54 years ago. On this Inauguration Day, I am hopeful that President Trump will be reminded on a daily basis of his Election Day promise to work hard at unifying our country in the days ahead, especially when it comes to promoting racial reconciliation and ethnic diversity. And when he lays his hand on the very same Bible that Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator used at his inauguration, I pray that our new president will be reminded of the unshakable promises that the God of the Bible has made to each and every one of us, for he is the One, according to Acts 10:34-35, who “shows no favoritism, but accepts from every nation [Gk, ethnos or “ethnic group”] the one who fears him and does what is right.”
Thanks be to God for the amazing grace and infinite mercy of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! He is the only One who has no blind spots, and He is the only One who can remove each of ours!
O Most High and Glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart. Give me right faith, certain hope, perfect love, and deep humility. O Lord, give me sense and discernment in order to carry out your true and holy will. Amen. – Francis of Assisi
– David O. Williams, General Superintendent
posted on January 13th, 2017 |
reGENERATION 2016 was an absolute blast and a blessing! 15 different churches from across MAYM and RMYM gathered at Camp Quaker Ridge for a time of worship, learning, relationship-building, playing, laughing, and much more. Thank you to everyone who worked and prayed for reGENERATION this year. Without you all, it wouldn’t have been the superb time that it was. – Adam Monaghan, Associate Superintendent, EFC-MAYM
Here are just a few of our student’s experiences and “takeaways” from reGENERATION in their own words:
Zack Leininger, Senior from Bethel Friends Church | Having reGENERATION 2016 at the beautiful Camp Quaker Ridge was not only great because of the people, but also because of the clear description of what God has created for us. Wherever you were at this camp, you had a perfect view of that creation. At reGENERATION I got to be on the worship team, while also being a student. Being able to use my musical gifts while also learning and diving deeper into God’s Word was a much needed “get-a-way” for me.
Having a weekend away from home and being surrounded by a large group of fellow believers is the best way to start a new year. During our small group discussion time that we had twice a day, we did not only learn more about each other, but we got to grow spiritually as well. These small group discussions and the silent periods of (on your own) bible study were the two things I enjoyed most. On the final day before we left, I openly shared in my small group that God was calling me to counsel at Camp Quaker Haven this summer and also be a part of the Saltshaker team that will be going to India/Bhutan from late June into early July.
Rosalinda Saenz, Junior from Northridge Friends Church | Hi my name is Rosalinda. I’m a junior and I was able to attend the 2016 reGENERATION. While there I really liked our main topics. I liked that they were all things we already knew but we were able to dive more into it (if that makes any sense). I learned a lot from the false narratives and saw just how much I believed them. I saw myself as a sinner and someone who needed to work their way to God.
One thing I really loved and learned from was our quiet time. This was surprising, because quiet time is usually hard for me. My mind tends to drift off. But they gave me different ways to keep my mind focused. They called them Spiritual Practices and my favorite was writing a letter to God. While doing this practice I really just let some things go and was able to write about things I had told myself that I didn’t care about. I think 4 days was a short time but reGENERATION definitely made me rethink my relationship with God. I’m glad I went and I can say that I saw and experienced God in many ways.
Lena Brown, Junior from Chandler Friends Church | reGENERATION 2016 wow! What an amazing time it was! I learned so much about God and myself during this retreat and what better setting than the beautiful mountains. I loved and learned so many things. Something I personally really loved about reGENERATION was that it really was a retreat type setting. It was a time to disconnect from the world and spend time just sitting at the feet of God. It was restful and insightful.
A quote that was in our book from reGENERATION by James Bryan Smith says, “As we spend time in quiet and rest and contemplation, sitting at the feet of Jesus, we gain strength to act in wisdom in the hustle and bustle of a busy world. In slowing down we can hear the spirit whisper that we are loved and then we begin to reflect the glory of Christ who is within us. We become the kind of people this frazzled and frightened world most needs.” I feel like this perfectly describes my experience at reGENERATION. We had the opportunity everyday to sit and practice being in God’s presence. Just to be still and listen to his wisdom. To take time out of my busy schedule and set it aside specifically for God is definitely something I took home. To just chat with him and hear what he has to say, and to become the kind of person this frazzled and frightened world needs.
Elaina Roher, Senior from Friendswood Friends Church | reGENERATION was an amazing break and a very unique and new way to experience Christ. Being in the mountains was a super amazing background for the way Jesus worked through and among everyone who went! Starting off mornings and ending evenings with common prayer was supernaturally powerful and served as a great bookend to the way Christ moved during the day. Having college students as the speakers made the message in some ways more powerful. College kids seem to understand my life more than an adult would. I would laugh and hang out with the same people who were speaking life and wisdom into me. Being reminded of what narratives are true was also much needed. Christ began what will be a long and painful process of removing false narratives from my life and replacing truth. The teachings were messages I have heard before, but Christ spoke in new ways. It was a true blessing to be able to go.
Joel Macy, Junior from Crossroads Friends Church | reGENERATION 2016 was an awesome experience for me. I grew closer to old friends, made some new ones, and most importantly grew closer to God. The workshops presented to us by the Friends University students were really cool, and I realized that I’ve made a lot of false narratives about God. One of the practices we did to grow closer to Him was to write a letter to Him. I thought it was really cool because it felt like I was communicating directly with God! Normally when I pray, I feel like I’m talking to myself, so this felt a lot more “real” to me. I plan to do this on my own time a lot more often, because I really enjoyed it. Quaker Ridge Camp was a really sweet place to reGENERATE, the staff was friendly, the food was really good, and the scenery was INCREDIBLE! I hope to go to next year’s reGENERATION for sure!
posted on January 13th, 2017 |
“Worship Leadership” is the subject of the new class in the Leadership Institute, beginning February 6, 2017, and Derek Brown will be our teacher. This will also be the start of the three-year Institute curriculum, and a good time for you to start, if you have not been involved, or to continue, if you have been active. There will be different teachers with new perspectives for each course. The course subjects will be: Worship Leadership, Church History and Theology, Old and New Testament Studies, The Personal Life of the Church Leader, Evangelism and Outreach, Church Leadership and Administration, Spiritual Formation and Spiritual Direction, Friends Faith and Practice, Family Building, Organizational Leadership, and Advancing the Church through Missions and Outreach Ministries.
During the months of February, March, and April, Derek Brown will teach the classes in the Worship Leadership course, central to which is the Teaching and Preaching Ministry of the church.
We are very privileged to have Derek Brown as our Leadership Institute teacher. Derek Brown is Chaplain, Chair of the Pastoral Ministry Department, and Director of the Pastoral Ministries and Transformational Leadership concentrations of the Master’s studies at Barclay College. As Professor, he teaches courses in Bible, Theology, Pastoral Ministry, Leadership, Preaching, and Worship. Derek was my student (an excellent student) in the Teachings of Friends class that I taught.
He earned the B.A. degree from Barclay College and the M.A.R (Master of Arts in Religion) from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He received the Ph.D. degree from Johnson University. Derek’s doctoral studies were in Friends Faith and Practice, particularly the development of the pastoral system in North America. He has studied thoroughly the Faith and Practices of the six Yearly Meetings in the Evangelical Friends Church – North America. His dissertation is a significant resource for 21st-century Friends.
Derek is married to Jessica Huffman (also an excellent student in my Teachings of Friends class), who is the great-niece of Max Huffman. Many Friends remember Max Huffman as past Director of Indiana Yearly Meeting’s Missions Department. Max Huffman came to me as a college student with the words, “I think God is calling you into the Friends pastoral ministry.” These words penetrated my soul and were a major stimulus for my life’s vocation in Friends Pastoral Ministry. Can you imagine the joy I have in God’s gift of being able to minister more than fifty years later with Max Huffman’s great-niece and her husband, Derek?
God has blessed Jessica and Derek with precious twin daughters, and God will bless us with Derek’s clear and informed teaching.
Some Friends will be unable to be present Monday evening, so you can view the video recording of the class on YouTube by clicking HERE.
You may want to gather a group in your church or area to view the video together and discuss it. If so, please inform me, so I can count you present when marking attendance. Thank you. Locations where you may share in live discussion and interact with Derek and others are:
Sudanese Community Church (Omaha), Friends Bible Training School in Alaska Yearly Meeting, Noatak, Alaska (Robert Sheldon, Superintendent), Neighborhood Friends Church (at the home of Tom and Bonnie Bousman), Friends Ministry Center (Wichita), Lighthouse Fellowship Church (at the home of Jerry and Mary Louthan), Bangor Liberty Friends Church, Fowler Friends Church, Barclay College (Jackson Hall), Faith Friends Church, North Newton (at the home of Merl and Eunice Kinser), Friends Community Church (Angleton), New Hope Friends Church, Friends Church at Liberal, Arkansas City Friends Church (at the home of Bud and Pauline Lawrence), Louisville, KY Friends Church, Stone Mountain Friends Church, Atlanta, GA, and Indianapolis with Steve Turner.
The class begins at 7:00 p.m. central time, February 6, 2017. However, most Friends will join at 6:50 for a time of sharing, prayer, and listening to the stories of others.
Excited about the new Institute course of studies with Derek Brown teaching Worship Leadership,
– Dave Kingrey, Director of Leadership Institute
posted on January 13th, 2017 |
Greetings on behalf of the camp board!
As many of you may recall, we did an “extreme camp makeover” in 2009 with many improvements and additions to the camp. The camp board, along with our new camp managers Joe and Carole Corder, have approved the following projects. We would invite our EFC-MAYM churches, families and individuals to consider the following 2 options:
1. Give towards one of the projects below.
2. Bring your church, family, youth group or yourself down to camp to help work on one or more of the projects below.
Camp Makeover | March 2017
Camp Quaker Haven ADOPT-A-PROJECT LIST:
Adopt a CQH Project!
- $1500 to pay for a new roof – 10 more roofs to go!
- $1500 for a pool light so we can swim at night
- $5000 for a kitchen remodal
- $2000 for 2 new RV spots
- $1500 for new windows on the Grace house
- $20000 for DREAM need for a skid loader
Several of these items are still being researched for a final choice and price.
Please contact us for more information:
Joe Corder: 918 – 694 – 7032 | Camp board manager and main contact for these projects
Spencer Linville: firstname.lastname@example.org | Camp board chair
Jesse Penna: email@example.com | Student Ministries Director, EFC-MAYM
If you or your group, church or family would like to help work on any projects, please contact Joe Corder ASAP!
Mini Camp Makeover | Spring break, March 2017
Please consider taking time off work to help with projects or hospitality at Camp Quaker Haven (CQH). Registration cost of $200 per person due Feb 25 goes 100% towards project costs, as CQH is funding all meals and hospitality. Mid America Friends Youth Ministries is partnering with the Camp Board to renovate CQH during spring break. Providing a facility for students and adults to renovate their walk with Jesus Christ has been a mission of Mid America Friends through CQH since 1949. This is the mission that we carry forward for coming generations as Friends Youth Ministries implement a Mini Camp Makeover. Please contact Joe Corder for a project list and other details that may not be included in this note. We need lots of help from adults and students; individuals or groups, so please consider going, sending, or donating towards a project! Registration is open now. Please fill out the form and mail it in. Camp Makeover Registration Form
MINI CAMP MAKEOVER Project List:
These items above are prioritized by the Camp Board and will be completed as funds are available. Mini Camp Makeover’s goal is to fully complete this list this spring with a dream to also purchase a skid loader to help with some of these projects! Please make plans to participate or give!
On behalf of the camp board,
– Jesse Penna, Student Ministries Director, EFC-MAYM
posted on January 12th, 2017 |
The EFC-MAYM Home Missions Board invests in powerful coaching tools through Logan Leadership to help empower people like you! The HMB prayer is that many will make the intentional decision to cooperate with God’s design for their lives and take advantage of these coaching resources. You don’t have to be a church elder, pastor or board chairman. For more information, please contact Randy Littlefield at 913.683.3831 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What does it mean to have a coach? It means you will have an on-going conversation that empowers a person or team to fully live out God’s calling. Coaching is for equipping and multiplying leaders, developing discipleship and spiritual formation.
“When one or a team receives coaching, they are given assistance in discovering God’s agenda for their life and ministry. Then and only then, through the Holy Spirit’s guidance, do the participants see that agenda become a reality.” (Gary Reinecke, Coaching 101 Handbook)
If you have a coach, you will not receive counseling, consulting, or advising. It is also not the Bob Newhart method of yelling “Stop it!” when assisting a client. However, through coaching, you will have a Godly support system with someone to: Believe in you, Listen to you, Ask you questions, Clarify God’s plan, Celebrate with you, And PRAY for you and with you. Christianity is not a go-it-alone faith. “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, ENCOURAGING, COMFORTING, AND URGING you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His kingdom and glory.” I Thessalonians 2:11-12 NIV
For more information, please contact your Area HMB leader or Randy Littlefield at 913.683.3831 or email@example.com.
posted on January 10th, 2017 |
As one who was born and raised in an evangelical Quaker family, I was never well-versed in the liturgical seasons on the church calendar during my early days as a Christ follower, but I have grown to appreciate them more and more over the years. Any tradition has the potential to be completely empty or rich with meaning, depending on how we approach it, but I know that my life and ministry has been greatly enriched as I have grown in my understanding and practice of a wide variety of Christian feasts and festivals.
Epiphany, the season between Christmas and Lent, has become one of my favorites in recent years. Most of us tend to experience a bit of an emotional letdown following the Christmas season, and for some of us this is often accentuated by the onset of winter, bringing with it colder temperatures, decreased sunlight and fewer opportunities for outdoor activity. What a wonderful time of the year to devote renewed energy to an intentional meditation upon the “appearance” (Gk., ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia) of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Light of the World!
In the western church, Epiphany is celebrated on January 6 (the twelfth day of Christmas, based on the Gregorian calendar), and the primary focus is upon the visitation of the Magi, the initial “revelation” of Jesus to the Gentiles. The eastern church (following the Julian calendar) typically celebrates Epiphany on January 19 and tends to place primary emphasis upon Jesus’ baptism by John in the Jordan River, the first public “manifestation” or “theophany” (Gk., Θεοφάνια, theophaneia) of God the Son.
Either way, Epiphany is a holiday that has been celebrated by Christians of various traditions from around the world for at least 16 centuries now. It is intended to remind us that God is always at work in the world, regardless of any apparent evidence to the contrary, and he is continually making personal “appearances” through an endless variety of ways and means (e.g., nature, archaeology, relationships, current events, conscience, miracles, prayer, Scripture, etc.).
When I consider the infinite number of ways that our Lord makes himself manifest to us all on an ongoing basis, I am reminded of a story I once heard about a man who came to G. Campbell Morgan (1863-1945), the prominent Congregational preacher and Bible scholar, with an honest question: “Why is it that God does not speak today as he did to men of old?” to which Morgan quickly responded, “Perhaps the answer is that God has not stopped speaking at all, but that we have stopped listening to God as men of old once did.”
O Lord, as we begin a new year together as a family of Friends here in Mid-America, please give ears to hear you, eyes to see you, minds to understand you, hearts to receive you, hands to embrace you, and feet to follow you. Thank you for your promise to be with us always, to the very end of the age. Amen.
– David O. Williams, General Superintendent
posted on January 10th, 2017 |
I wanted to acknowledge this important milestone in the life of the Evangelical Friends Church of Burundi as they have launched church planting efforts into their neighboring country, Tanzania. Matt Macy shares the details on behalf of EFM below as well as how and where to contribute. This is an exciting opportunity for our EFC-MAYM churches to partner with our sister church in Burundi to help with the costs of officially registering this new church/mission field with the government of Tanzania.
We continue to celebrate mission-sending efforts by our Friends in Africa. The Evangelical Friends Church of Burundi has been developing a mission at Kigoma, Tanzania with plans to launch church-planting efforts throughout Tanzania. Burundi Friends recently “recorded” Pastor Mapendo Songoro, and groups of Burundian Friends have been making regular ministry and encouragement trips to Kigoma over the past three years.
Burundi Friends have asked for assistance in costs of $2,600 associated with registering the EFC-Tanzania mission and church with the government of Tanzania in Dar-Es-Salaam. This has been an important “next step” that leaders in Burundi have been talking about in recent years, but some newly enforced mandates by the government call for an immediate registration of the church. EFM has been looking for appropriate opportunities to partner with Burundi Friends in this missions-sending work. Burundi Friends have been self-funded in all of their efforts in Tanzania up to this point, and we believe this request for assistance is a wonderful opportunity for partnership.
Please pray for this young mission that’s based in Kigoma, Tanzania! If you would like to partner financially with Burundi in this mission, please note “Tanzania registration” with your gift. You can use any of these giving options:
If excess funds are raised, they will be allocated to other EFM Luke 10 projects. EFM’s Luke 10 Initiative is focused on discerning where Evangelical Friends might participate in opening new mission fields.
– Matt Macy, EFM