Sunday, May 22 we will be celebrating people who are graduating from High School and any other post high school degree program. If you know a student we should celebrate help us out by letting giving us their information including their name, and email address and the school and level at which they are graduating so we can prepare for them.
We are deep in the heart of the political silly season and I have to admit something. I love it!
Yes, that admission puts me on the “People That Are Strange” list for many of you, but I’m just being honest.
Yet, as much as I love the political plot twists and partisan banter, I also see what many of you see - Political discussion in our current culture is divisive. I call this election infection. Nothing can harm a relationship faster than a heated political disagreement. If you take serious the call of Jesus to be the salt and light of influence in our world when it comes to eternal matters then you’ll need to be careful with political conversation.
I do my best to keep the flames of my political opinions away from any bridge of influence I may have with someone. After all, when we die we all spend eternity somewhere, but that somewhere is not in a political party.
How do we keep politically involved yet maintain influence with others?
So, I want to lay down a challenge for all of us. Between now and November 8 I challenge us to put our faith before your politics. That means I call us to be a Jesus followers first and a Democrats/Republicans/Libertarians second.
After all - Republican, Democrat, left or right we are precious in his sight. Jesus loves all the little children of the world.
At Turning Point we take the command of Jesus seriously. If you come to our church we will love you as we love ourselves, whatever your politics. We use the way we treat others as a gauge for how much we love our God.
As a person who has recently attended Turning Point you might be wondering, "What's next?"
If that's you, then you are invited to NEXT. Next is a luncheon at noon following the worship service April 24, 2016. You'll get a chance to meet other folks who serve and lead through Turning Point, learn what we're all about as a congregation and you'll find out how to take advantage of all the church has to offer you and your family.
If you'll just register below, and tell us how many people will be with you then we can make sure there will be plenty of food to go around. It's completely free and all you need to bring is yourself, your family or a friend and your questions. We look forward to our time together.
One of the things the church should do well is CELEBRATE! Over and over again His people are called to celebrate who God is and what He has done (Psalm 21:13, Psalm 102:21, Psalm 135:3).
As His church we should refuse to be silent when He has been SO good.
With that in mind I wanted to share some numbers from Sunday at Turning Point (just like what the church was doing in Acts 2:41)!
And remember…every number has a name, every name has a story and every story matters to God.
Our students from Switch ministries served breakfast to over 100 people. They did an incredible job – My favorite was a tie between the biscuits and gravy and the pancakes! A special thanks to Scott and Donna Clark for all their hard work on this. Hey, our teens can make me breakfast any time.
People can’t stop talking about Brigitte Jackson’s testimony Sunday. It is always powerful to hear how God has been at work in the life of his servants.
As I looked out at our crowd Sunday it was obvious that our Turning Point folks have been investing in the lives of others. We had around 40 first time guests Sunday! Many of them were people we’ve been praying for during our Lenten prayer emphasis.
I Chronicles 16:8 - Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.
Psalm 89:1 - I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
Psalm 105:1 - Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.
Let’s NOT be silent when God has been so good!
Can’t WAIT for this coming Sunday as we dive into what real Change looks like.
THE BEST IS YET TO COME!
This is a busy summer for the teens in Switch student ministries and we want to bring to your attention two specific activities that need your prayer.
First we would ask you to pray for Summer Camp. This year our Switch students will be going to Camp Table Rock June 15 – 19. This is a concentrated time for our students to unplug from the distractions of our digital world and plug in to their relationship with God. Camp Table Rock’s emphasis is Defending Your Faith.
Second we would ask you to pray for Wes, Ryan and Anthony Wallick, who will represent Turning Point at Nazarene Youth Conference (NYC).
NYC is an exciting and life-changing event for high school students, occurs just once every four years. It is the second-largest event sponsored by the Church of the Nazarene.
NYC is open to students entering 9th grade in the fall of 2015 through those just graduated from high school as members of the class of 2015. This year July 8-12, thousands of Nazarene students and leaders will gather in Louisville, Kentucky for worship, discipleship, service, celebration and leadership development.
Today we wanted to put their faces in front of you to ask you to do two things:
PRAY FOR THESE STUDENTS
Pray for our students (around 10) who will attend Camp Table Rock. Pray also for the Wallick’s as they prepare their hearts for a life-changing event. Pray that their time in Louisville will be rooted in deep communion with God.
SUPPORT THESE STUDENTS
Support could look like a number of different things. Here are some ideas:
· Maybe you have a heart for students and you would like to support them financially. The cost for these experiences is steep and you might find yourself burdened to invest in the continued growth of the Gospel in their lives.
· Maybe God is talking to you or a group of people in your life to adopt these students to commit to regular prayer and encouragement for them and their families.
Use this as an opportunity to get to know these students, pray for them, and join us in asking God to bring about renewal in their lives and our community through their ministry there.
I find your lack of faith...disturbing.
So is the world becoming more religious or less? The answer is, yes.
It is true, the non-churchgoing population in the U.S. and Europe is increasing and each successive poll reveals a growing number of Americans who say they have no religious preference. At the same time certain churches with supposedly outdated beliefs in a trustworthy bible and in the miraculous are growing in the U.S. at the same time they are exploding in places like Africa, South America and Asia. Even in the dauntingly secular halls of academia faith is on the rise among the faculty. Today the Society of Christian Philosophers (founded in 1978) includes more than 10 percent of all the professors of philosophy in the country which is up from less than 1 percent 30 years ago.[i]
The real story in all of this is that the world is getting both more religious and less religious at the same time. In one way Christians should take heart, because, in spite of frantic claims to the contrary, the church in America is not yet on her last leg. Still, in another way we need to be serious and wise in the way we navigate this faith/doubt divide. We serve a Savior who calls us to go into all the world making disciples. But how do we do we make disciples or even talk about faith when a good portion of people we rub shoulders with not only don’t believe but look down on people who do? It was hard enough to talk about faith when most people at the least had some respect for our worldview.
A comprehensive answer to these questions won’t work in one post, but I think I have a starting point and it begins with reevaluating doubt. People can no longer sail along too busy or too unconcerned to ask difficult questions about why they believe as they do. Doing so will leave you defenseless against the inevitability of tragedy and the relevant questions of smart skeptics. I have seen too many people crumble under one or both of these certainties simply because they have never explored their own doubts. We also, as loving neighbors, need to wrestle with the sincere doubts of our friends and family members. In light of the polar tensions of faith and doubt it is no longer sufficient to get by on beliefs that we have merely inherited. Wrestling with difficult questions now will not only help strengthen your faith, but it will also help you humbly and respectfully approach those who doubt.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect," 1 Peter 3:15
[i] Quenton Smith, “The Metaphilosophy of Naturalism” It should be noted that Smith is not at all sympathetic to Christianity, but has some strong statistics in this paper.
There are times when loving our world like Jesus loves it means answering an urgent call for help. Saturday, May 9 a small group of Turning Point students and their dads answered a last minute call for help at the God’s Mountain campground near Rushville, MO. In all 7 guys stormed the campground to put up then stain and seal trim, sand floors and to work on pex plumbing.
The day wasn’t all work and no play. Some of the staff at God’s Mountain invited the guys and play video games.
The work of these young men prepared the camp’s physical space to be a place where spiritual lives are transformed. Keep praying for the leadership of Scott Clark, Wes Wallick and the other leaders of Switch Youth Ministries as we provide space for our students to cultivate communities of transformed disciples who live for the glory of God and the good of St Jo.