October 03, 2017
Last weekend, our middle schoolers headed up to Phantom Ranch Bible Camp in Mukwonago, Wisconsin, for a time of retreat. During the trip they focussed on Paul's letter to the Colossians and living into the sense of identity that comes from having "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Youth Pastor Will shares some highlights from the trip below.
The middle school retreat last weekend was a wonderful time of fun, fellowship, learning, and worship! A great group of 46 students participated. Our speaker, Zach, delivered powerful sermons reminding us of our identity in Christ and the hope of glory that awaits us in Jesus. I was particularly moved by his statement: "You are most true to who you are when you are in Christ." Our young people are bombarded with voices telling them who or what they should be, and routinely tagged with labels that can be helpful or harmful. What a good reminder that the best descriptor of our identity is that we are "In Him," and that, regardless of our circumstances, our destiny is glory because of what Christ has done on our behalf!
My favorite moment of the retreat was our time of worship on Saturday evening. I saw students with hands lifted in worship and others seeking prayer from leaders on their own initiative. One student remarked, "I don't always feel comfortable lifting my hands on Sunday because I wonder who's watching. But this was different because I was surrounded by other middle schoolers and I didn't feel self-conscious around them." Another student remarked, "I feel comfortable sharing about my spiritual life with friends at RezYouth because I don't worry about what they'll think about me." We ended that time of worship singing and dancing to the song "Oh Happy Day" like it was Easter morning at Resurrection and then closed in prayer with arms around one another's shoulders.
September 10, 2015
My husband John and I have always been pro-life, but we haven't always known how to engage the issue. We have felt helpless because sadly the injustice of abortion is legal. But the recently released videos exposing what Planned Parenthood does behind closed doors have been a game changer for us. They took our hearts to a new level of outrage and lament. Seeing what goes on inside an abortion clinic has been horrifying. Watching a doctor callously explain how she can manipulate an abortion to obtain intact organs from which to profit made us nauseas. Seeing the tiny limbs of an aborted baby and hearing the doctor exclaim "it's a boy!" wrecked me as I thought of my own two sons and the unspeakable joy and potential their lives bring. We asked ourselves, "How should we respond? We can't be silent. To be silent is to be complicit and that's not an option."
We spoke to pastor Matt Woodley and told him how our hearts were breaking anew over this issue, and that we would be willing to host a prayer night to ask the Lord for clarity in how to respond. In the wake of that prayer night, John and I have stepped into a season of co-leading the Sanctity of Life ministry at Church of the Resurrection, and we are honored to hold that role.
Several words have settled on our hearts as we consider what leading this ministry might look like: Strength. Prayerful. Respectful. Healing. Hope.
We strongly believe that life is a gift from God and that it should always be defended and celebrated. We believe in the preeminence and power of prayer, and that the fight for life is a spiritual battle that must be engaged with spiritual weapons. We want to engage the evil of abortion in a way that respectfully communicates God's love for everyone involved. We want the strong convictions we bring to conversations about this issue and the quiet, prayerful presence we have outside an abortion clinic to reflect God's love for all of His children. We want the manner in which we engage this issue to be worthy of the Gospel (Phil. 1:27), simultaneously uncompromising and compassionate. Lastly, we believe in the healing made available through the cross of Christ. We believe in the sufficiency of Jesus' blood to cover any sin, no matter how grave, and to redeem even our worst choices. We long to see people involved in the abortion industry meet Jesus and be healed by His love, and for women and men who have chosen abortion to know His forgiveness and healing offered freely through the cross.
Proverbs 24:11-12 "Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, 'Behold, we did not know this,' does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?"