If you’ve got a few moments, I’ll tell you a cautionary tale.
It’s a story about a family road trip.
It’s all about adventure and it’s filled with intrigue. I’d say, “It’s the Story of Us,” except I’d get sued for using a title already copyrighted. So I’m calling it, “The Story That’s Something Like 'The Story of Us,' Only It’s Different.”
Once upon a time, in a car much like the one you wish you were driving, a most-surprising and unexpected thing happened. It must have been unexpected, because the family in our story most certainly would have made different choices if they’d realized the consequences of their decisions. Looking back on it now, we’re amazed our travelers didn’t see what was coming to them, but they didn’t, so their story is a bit bewildering.
As we piece it all together, it seems they were speeding along, celebrating how “smooth” their ride was, when they noticed a sign up ahead. It read, “DEAD END AHEAD. NO OUTLET. TAKE NEXT EXIT.” Well, they looked at the new app they’d downloaded for the trip and immediately realized they would need to slow down if they took the next exit. They were going fast, and the ride in their rental car was amazing. (It was a awesome rental car, way better than they could afford. They had no idea how they were going to pay the rental charge they’d put on their credit card, but until the bills came due they were determined to make the most of their temporary wheels.) They didn’t want to get off the highway, so the sped up a bit and drove on.
Down the road they saw another sign. This one read, “DEAD END AHEAD. NO OUTLET. EXIT HERE.” (We know they checked their handy-dandy-travel app, because recent regulations have been put in place that require everyone’s personal use of the Internet be released for the public record, - apparently, for national security reasons.) It’s obvious that they knew the difficulties they'd face if they took the next exit. Exiting would mean they had to travel a narrow path instead of the broad highway they were so enjoying. Apparently, they didn’t want to face the challenges of turning away from their easy ride. Rather than choosing to reduce their speed, slow down and carefully work their way over difficult terrain, they hit “CRUISE” and sped ahead.
It should be noted that there are only a few warnings on life’s highway. I mean, it’s not like there’s a new sign every mile, warning travelers of what lies ahead. I guess there’s a point where the folks making the “warning signs” assume it’s the traveler’s responsibility to pay attention and heed their advice. It’s as if they’re thinking, “More signs won’t help. If people won’t pay attention to all the signs already warning them, what difference would one more warning sign make?”
Just before they reached their last feasible exit – their final possible “planned” egress option – they read this sign: “DEAD END. NO OUTLET. EXIT NOW.” A quick check of the app verified what they already knew; if they took this exit the remainder of their trip would be very difficult. Exiting here would risk their vehicle, stretch their patience, test their limits and take a massive toll on their energy and time. They knew this exit led to a narrow pathway requiring them to make some painful sacrifices, so they stepped on the gas and roared past their last chance to get off the highway.
There were no more warning signs ahead of them.
Only the DEAD END was ahead of them. They'd gone so far there was no way out. The consequence of their actions was now inevitable.
Just before they reached the DEAD END they’d been warned about, one of them asked a serious question. (We know about their last moments, and their final conversation, because recent regulations have been put in place requiring all vehicles to have “Black Boxes” to monitor what happens in our cars – apparently, for insurance reasons.)
And what was their last question?
“Who do you suppose is going to be held responsible to payback all the money we owe for this expensive rental car?”
If you want my advice, here it is. Repent. Turn to God, that your sins may be wiped out and times of refreshing may come from the Lord.
Some say we've passed the point of no return. I don't agree.
Get off the broad and easy road that leads to destruction and choose the Jesus Way.
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Daniel 9:13-14 - Just as written in God’s revelation to Moses, the catastrophe was total. Nothing was held back. We kept at our sinning, never giving you a second thought, oblivious to your clear warning, and so you had no choice but to let the disaster loose on us in full force. You, our God, had a perfect right to do this since we persistently and defiantly ignored you.
Sheila and I spent some time with a couple of our grand-daughters today. I grabbed my camera when Sheila took Lydia outside to build a snowman and bumped into a problem shared by grandparents everywhere. After taking a few pictures I couldn't decide which one I liked best, so I'm putting them all up.
Got a preference?
Psalm 128:6a - Enjoy your grandchildren.
I'm not sure how you are preparing for what's ahead of us, but at GCC we're looking to the Bible to see what God tells us. According to the Bible, our lives need calibration from time to time, so we're launching January 2013 with a biblical focus some big issues: our time, relationships, physicality and mission.
Get prepared for 2013.
John 16:1-4 - Jesus said, "I’ve told you these things to prepare you for rough times ahead. They are going to throw you out of the meeting places. There will even come a time when anyone who kills you will think he’s doing God a favor. They will do these things because they never really understood the Father. I’ve told you these things so that when the time comes and they start in on you, you’ll be well-warned and ready."
I don't see Red-shouldered Hawks very often, and it's even more rare for me to have this view when I do - looking down on the bird in full flight. These guys are stocky little forest buteos with short broad wings. I've seen them hunting from perches near water, swooping down to catch little amphibians and mammals.
The Bible suggests it's better to watch them than eat them.
Yeah. No kidding.
Deuteronomy 14:11-18 - You may eat any ritually clean bird. These are the exceptions, so don’t eat these: eagle, vulture, black vulture, kite, falcon, the buzzard family, the raven family, ostrich, nighthawk, the hawk family, little owl, great owl, white owl, pelican, osprey, cormorant, stork, the heron family, hoopoe, bat.
Dustin Maust captured the moment as thousands lifted their candles high at the conclusion of this Christmas Eve Service.
Matthew 5:14-16a - You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men.
Thousands gathered yesterday (in GCC's nine Christmas Eve services) to celebrate the Savior's birth. With only 30 minutes between services we emptied a full auditorium, cleared the parking lots, refilled the parking lots and packed the auditorium again and again throughout the day. It was a logistical challenge but since everyone "coming and going" had a great attitude about doing whatever was necessary to get everyone parked in time, we pulled it off.
The special "Christmas Offering" gained some real momentum yesterday. If you want to add your gift to aid the important ministry initiatives we're engaging, it's not to late. Go here and do something great!
Enjoy the pics and lyrics.
let the sky fall
when it crumbles
we will stand tall
face it all together
the future was bright and clear;
she planned for a wedding day;
her daddy would hold back tears giving her hand away;
now all her hope and fear in a cradle lay;
'cause a baby came and everything changed
this is the end
hold your breath and count to ten
feel the earth move and then
hear my heart burst again
for this is the end
I've drowned and dreamed this moment
so overdue I owe them
swept away, I'm stolen
apart from YOU, there is no god,
light of the world, the bright and Morning Star,
your name will shine for all to see,
you are the One. you are my glory.
he has come for us
he's the hope for all mankind
he has come for us
born to give us life
he is born to give us life
how silently, how silently
the wondrous gift is given
so God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of His heav'n
no ear may hear His coming
but in this world of sin
where meek souls will receive Him still
the dear Christ enters in
Isaiah 9:6 - “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Big gets noticed; small is easily overlooked and that's too bad.
It's often the small, seemingly insignificant details of a relationship, performance or routine that make the biggest impact on your life. Miss the details and life become a blur, a bland purée of uniform boredom, but if you take the time to actually see the intricate details and slight variations of color, form and texture around you, you'll find little signs of God's creative and intelligent design.
The evidence is overwhelming. The collision of intricate details with the vast expanse and grandeur of the Universe demands reconciliation - and the facts are in. The conclusion is obvious. All of creation reflects the glory of the Creator...but what's most surprising is this; God - the Maker of heaven and earth - took on flesh to dwell with us, Immanuel.
What a surprise! Our Savior came to us, clothed in flesh and born of Mary - the infant King, the baby Jesus. God surprised the world with the birth of the Savior - so tiny and so easily missed.
Most were caught off-guard because people assumed God's Kingdom would be ushered in as other kingdoms had swept across the landscape of history. Folks anticipated a great ruler would come to crush and conquer the kings and kingdoms of earth, but Jesus arrived on the world's stage with little fanfare.
2,000 years after the inauspicious incarnation of the 2nd Person of the Trinity, the movement Jesus started has become an audacious world-wide extravaganza of peace, joy and love.
You're invited to celebrate the birth of the Savior this Christmas Eve, at any of the nine worship services GCC is offering to the people of Michiana. God is with us. Rejoice!
Matthew 1:23 - “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
In despair I bowed my head
There is no peace on earth, I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead,nor does he sleep
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men
Kim Stewart and Dani Payne captured the heart of hope when they sang these words in our weekend Christmas service. They're right. The wrong shall fail. Right will prevail. Though hate is strong, the story of Christmas is God's declaration: HIS Kingdom is coming.
We're celebrating HIS incarnation with nine Christmas Eve Services: six at the Granger Campus and three at the Elkhart Campus. Tickets are free, though several services are already "Sold Out." You're invited to come and worship the Savior as HE brings, "peace on earth and good will to men."
Luke 2:13-14 - Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
Sheila and I attended the Christmas program offered to the family and friends of GCC's Early Learning Center. They called it an "INFORMANCE" because it was more than a Christmas performance by the little children of the ELC; it was also a great time for their parents to get information.
I don't suppose anything can compare with watching a granddaughter perform in the ELC Christmas program, but GCC's upcoming Christmas Eve Services promise to be at just as meaningful, and at least as expertly delivered.
Even if you weren't able to attend the ELC program, you can celebrate the Christmas Story at any of GCC's nine Christmas Eve Services (six at Granger and three at Elkhart). Tickets are free and they're easy to get. Don't delay. We've given away 2,000 tickets more than we had at this time last year, and the 3:30 Service is already sold out.
We're in for a BIG celebration!
"I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace
to those on whom his favor rests.”
I became a pastor in the United Methodist Church in 1972. The local church I served (officially credentialed in those days with my signed and sealed "License to Preach") dedicated a weekend of that Advent to celebrate the birth of the Savior - with a passel of singing children standing before the little congregation and belting out the songs of the season.
That was 40 years ago, and every Christmas since, I've invited the children of the congregation to stand before the gathered church and celebrate Jesus' birth. It's always a special day when the congregation gets to worship the Christ Child and bless the children God has entrusted to our care.
Here's a glance at a few of my photos from the weekend.
Sing to God a brand-new song,
praise him in the company of all who love him.
Let all Israel celebrate their Sovereign Creator,
Zion’s children exult in their King.
Let them praise his name in dance;
strike up the band and make great music!
And why? Because God delights in his people,
I found this at The Anarchist Soccer Mom Blog.
I've copied it here for you, and linked back to the original source as well.
I know you're not supposed to believe everything you read on the internet. I have not verified the facts in this blog post, but it includes enough detail to imply its veracity. Whether it is historical truth, or the summation of an allegorical reality, I believe the underlying issues worthy of our consideration.
God helps us.
We're facing more than a review of school safety procedures and talks about more gun laws. We're dealing with the tension found between our "caring" and "controlling," and I can't predict where we'll land between those drivers of our national resolve.
Read below: "Thinking the Unthinkable"
In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.
Three days before 20 year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, then opened fire on a classroom full of Connecticut kindergartners, my 13-year old son Michael (name changed) missed his bus because he was wearing the wrong color pants.“I can wear these pants,” he said, his tone increasingly belligerent, the black-hole pupils of his eyes swallowing the blue irises.“They are navy blue,” I told him. “Your school’s dress code says black or khaki pants only.”“They told me I could wear these,” he insisted. “You’re a stupid bitch. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!”“You can’t wear whatever pants you want to,” I said, my tone affable, reasonable. “And you definitely cannot call me a stupid bitch. You’re grounded from electronics for the rest of the day. Now get in the car, and I will take you to school.”I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.That conflict ended with three burly police officers and a paramedic wrestling my son onto a gurney for an expensive ambulance ride to the local emergency room. The mental hospital didn’t have any beds that day, and Michael calmed down nicely in the ER, so they sent us home with a prescription for Zyprexa and a follow-up visit with a local pediatric psychiatrist.We still don’t know what’s wrong with Michael. Autism spectrum, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant or Intermittent Explosive Disorder have all been tossed around at various meetings with probation officers and social workers and counselors and teachers and school administrators. He’s been on a slew of antipsychotic and mood altering pharmaceuticals, a Russian novel of behavioral plans. Nothing seems to work.At the start of seventh grade, Michael was accepted to an accelerated program for highly gifted math and science students. His IQ is off the charts. When he’s in a good mood, he will gladly bend your ear on subjects ranging from Greek mythology to the differences between Einsteinian and Newtonian physics to Doctor Who. He’s in a good mood most of the time. But when he’s not, watch out. And it’s impossible to predict what will set him off.Several weeks into his new junior high school, Michael began exhibiting increasingly odd and threatening behaviors at school. We decided to transfer him to the district’s most restrictive behavioral program, a contained school environment where children who can’t function in normal classrooms can access their right to free public babysitting from 7:30-1:50 Monday through Friday until they turn 18.The morning of the pants incident, Michael continued to argue with me on the drive. He would occasionally apologize and seem remorseful. Right before we turned into his school parking lot, he said, “Look, Mom, I’m really sorry. Can I have video games back today?”“No way,” I told him. “You cannot act the way you acted this morning and think you can get your electronic privileges back that quickly.”His face turned cold, and his eyes were full of calculated rage. “Then I’m going to kill myself,” he said. “I’m going to jump out of this car right now and kill myself.”That was it. After the knife incident, I told him that if he ever said those words again, I would take him straight to the mental hospital, no ifs, ands, or buts. I did not respond, except to pull the car into the opposite lane, turning left instead of right.“Where are you taking me?” he said, suddenly worried. “Where are we going?”“You know where we are going,” I replied.“No! You can’t do that to me! You’re sending me to hell! You’re sending me straight to hell!”I pulled up in front of the hospital, frantically waiving for one of the clinicians who happened to be standing outside. “Call the police,” I said. “Hurry.”Michael was in a full-blown fit by then, screaming and hitting. I hugged him close so he couldn’t escape from the car. He bit me several times and repeatedly jabbed his elbows into my rib cage. I’m still stronger than he is, but I won’t be for much longer.The police came quickly and carried my son screaming and kicking into the bowels of the hospital. I started to shake, and tears filled my eyes as I filled out the paperwork—“Were there any difficulties with....at what age did your child....were there any problems with...has your child ever experienced...does your child have....”At least we have health insurance now. I recently accepted a position with a local college, giving up my freelance career because when you have a kid like this, you need benefits. You’ll do anything for benefits. No individual insurance plan will cover this kind of thing.For days, my son insisted that I was lying—that I made the whole thing up so that I could get rid of him. The first day, when I called to check up on him, he said, “I hate you. And I’m going to get my revenge as soon as I get out of here.”By day three, he was my calm, sweet boy again, all apologies and promises to get better. I’ve heard those promises for years. I don’t believe them anymore.On the intake form, under the question, “What are your expectations for treatment?” I wrote, “I need help.”And I do. This problem is too big for me to handle on my own. Sometimes there are no good options. So you just pray for grace and trust that in hindsight, it will all make sense.I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map). Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman. Mother Jones focused on whether the killers obtained their guns legally (most did). But this highly visible sign of mental illness should lead us to consider how many people in the U.S. live in fear, like I do.When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”I don’t believe my son belongs in jail. The chaotic environment exacerbates Michael’s sensitivity to sensory stimuli and doesn’t deal with the underlying pathology. But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise—in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population. (http://www.hrw.org/news/2006/09/05/us-number-mentally-ill-prisons-quadrupled)With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill—Rikers Island, the LA County Jail, and Cook County Jail in Illinois housed the nation’s largest treatment centers in 2011 (http://www.npr.org/2011/09/04/140167676/nations-jails-struggle-with-mentally-ill-prisoners)No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”I agree that something must be done. It’s time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal.God help me. God help Michael. God help us all.
Mark 5:3b-4 - No one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him.
You know that place in the middle of your back you can't quite reach well enough to scratch?
Sometimes people get an itch for something other than the truth, something they find more exciting or pleasurable than reliable and trustworthy. When that happens their efforts to scratch what itches almost always lead to even worse problems.
2 Timothy 4:3 - The time will surely come, when men will grow tired of sound doctrine, always itching to hear fresh and catchy opinions that tickle their fancy.
I love being led by someone who is going with me - someone who says:
"O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
Christ the Lord"
Luke 2:15 - The shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem. Let’s see this thing that has happened which the Lord has told us about.”
1 Corinthians 1:30-31 - Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”
GCC offers Michiana "The Christmas Spectacular" Thursday and Friday this week. Tickets are available for three presentations: 12/06 @ 6:30, 12/07 @ 6:30 and 12/07 @ 8:30. Go here to get your tickets for the whole family.
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign;
Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and shall call his name Immanuel.
Bring the whole family to this night of incredible arts and entertainment centered on the celebration of Christmas. Featuring music, drama, sketch comedy and much more, the "Christmas Spectacular" will offer an unforgettable Christmas memory for the whole family. Children are welcome but there is no childcare.
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Matthew 2:11 - They saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.
The marsh is a remarkable place: refuge, nesting area, rookery and roost. It's all that and more. It's no wonder the Sandhills stay until the winter freeze makes life here impossible. When they can't stay, they move on. If they don't, they die.
Jeremiah 8:7a - Cranes know when it’s time to move south for winter.
I was in Ontario fishing in the rain last year. By all measures, we had some pretty ugly days, but I was fine. I remembered that my mom had once told me, "Never judge a day by its weather." She was right, and I've marked many of my most meaningful and memorable days in some of the harshest conditions.
But it wasn't just good counsel that helped me enjoy what could have been a miserable day in the cold rain; I was able to find a way through the inclement weather because I was prepared for it. I had the right clothes and I was wearing warm rain gear, so whatever the weather served-up, I was ready for it.
The Bible says some pretty miserable days can come along, often when we least expect them. That's why we're supposed to be prepared. We're told to be dressed and ready, expecting adversity. Bad days come; we need to dress accordingly.
I'll pass along the scriptural advice. Maybe it'll help you face the storms, troubles and cold-hearted assaults that come your way.
Ephesians 6:10-17 - Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
i've been moved recently; the awesome wonder of God's loving concern grips me. The idea that we matter to the Creator of the Universe astounds me.
We have sinned, yet God extends grace.
Why? Why would God would come to us, seek us out and save us?
What wondrous love is this?
The omniscient, omnipotent Creator God - the One who "created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves" - prompted the psalmist to cry, "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him,and the son of man that You visit him?"
What are we?
Who are we?
We may not seem like much when we compare ourselves to the other marvels of God's creation, but Christmas reveals we are the beloved of God. We may not be like the awesome Leviathan. (At times we feel weak, powerless and incapable of pushing ahead.) But we are the object of God's affections. And God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us ...
...and that's worth celebrating.
Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook,
Or snare his tongue with a line which you lower?
Can you put a reed through his nose,
Or pierce his jaw with a hook?
- Trace Rorie -
America faces a financial dilemma.
Few suggest the trillions of dollars of our national debt will be erased without pain, in no small amount, being visited on many. The poor will suffer most and first. When payback comes, and it will, we'll all feel it - and it may be deep enough to impact the financial viability of churches across the country.
“So,” people are suggesting to me, “If we’re going to be a multi-site-church in this economy, isn’t it important that every campus is financially independent?”
My response is a question. “Why should they be?"
Let’s stretch our thinking on this. Maybe we can imagine something better than every campus striving to survive on-its-own: isolated, disconnected and independent of the rest of the Church.
What if the success of a local church campus isn’t based solely on its financial prowess? What if the highest goal of each campus isn’t financial independence? What if financial sustainability isn’t always expected of every campus ministry? What if a congregation’s status isn’t tied solely to the average income of its members?
There may be an unusual power wielded by churches with a footprint in the neighborhoods of the poorest among us. Congregations distributed among universities filled with students buried under student loans, located in ethnic immigrant communities or planted deep in the heart of rural America are outposts of the Kingdom. Whether each expression of the church can stand as a silo, isolated and independent, is not the loftiest question. Unity in the church among all campuses, ministries and departments matters more. What can stand against a distributed Church unified in its mission, vision and values?
The best multi-site strategy is one of synergistic collaboration, where each campus is not pursuing self-importance and financial independence as a sign of strength, but is instead finding significance by doing Christ’s work as missional outposts of the Church - of which they're a part.
1 Corinthians 12:19 - I want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of.