Dear friends, If God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:11
The simple truth stated in 1 John is one that Be The Church has tried to adopted as its core mission. But as always, it’s easier said than done. It begs the question, what is love? What does love for others look like? How could I ever, even for a moment, love others the way God loves me? At times we see glimpses of this love through the kindness of those around us. Communities coming together following a natural disaster, outpouring of support to a family in need, the care a parent gives to their child. Though love is not always displayed as a grand gesture, it is almost always intentional. Thinking back, I can’t remember ever feeling accidentally loved by the people around me. When we show love, especially the kind of love that God calls us to, we do so with intentionality. We love our spouse intentionally, we raise our children intentionally, we better our communities intentionally. Self-serving desires are easy to default to, its loving others that takes work.
By Jim Panter
We are able to support various missionaries, teachers and national workers as they seek to learn languages and then translate the Scriptures into the heart language of the people they live among. It is a hard, often long, process. The end result is well worth it, but there are learning bumps along the way. For instance, you might possibly smile as you read this story by Ely Johnson from Bangladesh from a recent AOB newsletter.
You may have seen the recent Women's Summer Events video both in the service and online. But what you didn't see were the bloopers. That's right, with every video we throw together there's a handful of moments that don't make it to the final cut, but are too good to not show. So, here they are:
Ok, so hopefully that gives you a good laugh, but there's also another point. They're willing to go through the torture of public speaking in front of a camera, just to help you stay connected this summer (they did this during the winter too, and there was another blooper video). Our ministry leaders are just flat out awesome!
by Ben Panter
This spring we hosted our first Generosity Principles class, a 4-week book and video study from Andy Stanley’s book, How to Be Rich. That name may make you do a double take, but it makes sense from the primary passage of the study, 1 Timothy 6:17-19:
To give you a quick summary of the big idea, it’s Andy Stanley’s premise that this passage applies to pretty much all of us in our North American context. But the fact that most of us (including myself) tend to read “those who are rich” and then skip on down the page because that clearly doesn’t apply to us, means that even though we are rich (check the stats), we don’t feel rich. And since we don’t feel rich, then we often aren't good at being rich. And Andy clearly doesn’t mean “be rich” as in, drive fancy expensive cars, take luxurious vacations, etc. “Be Rich” simply means living according to God’s specific commands for the wealthy. And also, this is not just about giving more money to the church. Certainly tithing is a part of spiritual growth and obedience (and the book covers that), but the focus of this book is a much broader focus on a lifestyle of generosity, and how God’s commands on generosity to us are centered in making sure our hearts do not enshrine our finances. The book is very inspiring, and it’s hard to imagine anyone reading it and not coming away without a bigger picture of God and His purposes for His money through each of us.
Ok, obviously there’s a lot more in there than that, and I would highly recommend the book, but that’s not what this post is all about. Really I just wanted to share some of the challenging thoughts and fun we had in the group of about 10 households that went through the class.
by Joanne Sharp
Here's what happened at the Women's Retreat
A few weeks ago, two hundred and forty women gathered at Fellowship to retreat. We gathered to connect. We gathered to grow. We gathered to laugh and cry. We gathered well, to gather! Women long for connection, conversation and time to process things together. Our annual retreat is an awesome opportunity way for women to do just that. The last few years we’ve purposely chosen to host this event at FCC because it allows the affordability and flexibility we desire. Each year, we are amazed at how God grows and uses this event. We have seen Him connect women in a deep and meaningful way, learn about His character, His word and ultimately grow closer to Him. We are incredibly grateful to watch as he unfolds His plan each and every year.
by Pastor Jim
Teaching at a Belize Pastor's Conference
Written by Mark Willey
You hear it all the time. “No worries”. A gracious response to you when your mess up was at someone else’s expense. How lovely it would be if our lives could be lived in this mantra, “NO worries”. But, then life hits. So, when Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything” (Philippians 4:5-7), it is an attention getter. He reminds us…
Written by Lisa Meyers
One of the hardest things to do when you are in the throes of raising children (diapers, school lunches, soccer practice!) is to take time out to think about and plan meaningful family activities. And yet, family traditions… vacations together to the same beach house or egg hunts at Grandma’s house or fall apple picking… are all occasions children remember long into their adulthood. And the truly important ones get passed on to their children. I know this because it’s happening to me! We have dear friends who we made memories with while experiencing those traditions year after year. We’d laugh and say,” why are we doing this again?” And the answer always came back, “because it’s a tradition!”
Written by Pastor Jim
There are many ways to describe Guatemala. The travel guides say it this way.
“Guatemala, a Central American country south of Mexico, is home to volcanoes, rainforests and ancient Mayan sites. The capital, Guatemala City, features the stately National Palace of Culture and the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Antigua, west of the capital, contains preserved Spanish colonial buildings. Lake Atitlán, formed in a massive volcanic crater, is surrounded by coffee fields and villages.
That is all accurate and actually there is so much more in its rich heritage and culture. But there are other ways to describe it as well. It is still an emerging nation that is still dealing with old ways of doing things, trying to help a relatively poor population get ahead, struggling with illiteracy in some areas and knowing how to help many people who live by subsistence farming.
That is much more the Guatemala we serve in when we go there on our medical missions trips. We hold clinics in places where many people are poor, who live in houses that are far below the standard we are used to here in the United States and make a living by working hard in the fields or little shops for enough money to buy food for the day. They are very gracious people and are very grateful for the help they receive. They are extremely patient as they wait their turn to see the doctor or respiratory therapist or pharmacist. And when they are done, after expressing many, many thanks they go back to their small houses to continue on with their lives.
However, for some them, there is a huge difference.