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Grow July 16, 2015

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Last week’s command: Be at peace with one another!
Next week’s command: Ask, Seek, Knock!

Beloved

We finished our Integrity series as Paul Rasmussen challenged us to be at peace with other followers of Jesus.

Paul’s excellent message capped off the Integrity section of our SHAPING journey, working through many challenging commands of Jesus and summarizing them in our MCC Social Covenant.

I urge you to get a copy of this important document at the Connect Desk and prayerfully apply it to all your relationships.

The challenge of doing this well should make us all feel extra needy for God’s help!

Which brings me to the next section of the SHAPING study – becoming more Needy before God – as modeled by Jesus.

This word doesn’t naturally go with Jesus, and it’s almost a dirty word in a culture obsessed with independence.

But adopting the stance of a Needy child before our Father in heaven is precisely what we are going to learn to be as we look at the powerful commands of Jesus.

We will start with Ask, Seek, Knock!

Notice this is very different from “I came, I saw, I conquered”. :)

So get ready for a summer of learning to be Needy in the way of Jesus! May this transform our church into one even more radically dependent on our Savior!

In Jesus with you, Denis

Grow July 08, 2015

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Family

Along with our Youth Ministry Team, I am glad to announce that Paul Rasmussen will give leadership to our youth ministry, effective immediately.

In order to make the most of this extra investment in our youth, we are working together with parents during the summer to build our 2015-16 ministry plans.

Paul will continue to develop worship leaders to help him on Sundays, and he will simplify his outreach and small group responsibilities to free up 20 hours a week for youth ministry work.

Please pray for us as we make these changes.

Our philosophy of youth ministry is not changing. We believe in a team approach with active help from me and the elder responsible, Michael Eriksen, and a team of dedicated volunteer adults.

Paul brings 15 years of youth ministry experience and a heart to reach the students of Mariemont High School and the Madisonville community.

Paul and Juli have just relocated within walking distance of MCC – they are excited to increase intentional discipleship and fellowship and better meet the spiritual needs of our students.

We are developing plans for the next school year and look forward to our back to school pool party on August 23 from 5-8 pm (Please save the date/time, details to follow).

Please also pray as we continue to interview candidates for our Director of Ministry position, and as soon as practical, our Director of Family Ministry. These staff investments will help us bring our vision to life.

If you haven’t seen it yet, please review our little booklet called “The Way” for further details on our recently refreshed vision. It is available at the Connect Desk.

In Jesus, Denis

Grow July 01, 2015

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Making Disciples Who:
– Multiply
– Obey Jesus
– Build Strong Families

Family,

I’m pleased to announce that Leslie Seetin will succeed Jasmine Swann as our new Director of Children’s Ministry effective today.

Jasmine’s efforts over the past five years have helped us serve almost double the number of children in our ministry, helping families disciple their children in apprenticeship to Jesus.

I’m so appreciative of Jasmine and look forward to recognizing her together with you on Sunday, July 19, after the 11 am worship service. We look forward to saying thanks to the whole Swann family as we send them to Atlanta.

It’s wonderful to have a godly successor who knows our congregation, and our Children’s Ministry as a mom and volunteer, and whose gifts can build on the work underway.

Leslie grew up at MCC. She has several years of Children’s and Youth ministry experience gained in volunteer leadership roles while a college student at Indiana University and also as a graphic arts professional in Colorado.

Leslie is married to Rob and they have two boys – Abraham and Samuel. Please join me in welcoming them to this new role and please pray for their family.

I know you will give Leslie a warm welcome and your continued generous support and encouragement as she steps into this new role by faith.

Love in Jesus to each of you as we celebrate the Fourth of July and continue to pray for our nation.

Denis

Grow June 24, 2015

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This week’s command: Repent and forgive from the heart.

Family

It always amazes me how a series planned long ago “happens to” bring us into a particular text which turns out to be perfect for the situation in our community that Sunday.

For example, last week’s text was the parable of the unmerciful servant found in Matthew 18:23-35. The parable is a clear message from Jesus with rich application to violence in S.C. & next door:

– the servant did not truly repent from the heart
– without experiencing biblical forgiveness, he could not give it
– he was left in prison being tortured

This is what happens when we try to walk with Jesus without true repentance. We may not really own our sin. We may not believe our destination is hell. We may not understand God’s desire to save us.

If you have any doubt on this, go to God right now. Ask him to show you your true situation with him. Reflect on Psalms 32 and 51.

What flows from true repentance? It’s true forgiveness. He who has been forgiven much loves much. When we experience the relief of being truly forgiven, it opens up our heart to forgive others.

The text shows us three elements of true forgiveness in verse 27: take pity on the other person, cancel the debt, and let them go.

These steps were displayed powerfully in the wake of the racist murders in Charleston by the people at Emanuel AME church, and in the apology of the Madisonville shooter’s believing father.

As we struggled Sunday with all this hurt, this text and the examples of other believers provided perfect illustration and testimony.

Take pity means literally “heart goes out to”. It’s the most prominent of the emotions exhibited by Jesus. Its about identifying with the other person and knowing I am capable of similar evil.

Having identified with the other, step two is to cancel the debt. This means absorb the debt. In the costly pain of forgiving, we absorb the debt and as a result our hearts soften. Lack of forgiveness makes us hard.

Let them go means to set them free and bless them. (More on blessing those who hurt us this coming Sunday.)

May we be a church of “repenting repenters” and “forgiven forgivers” who live from humble hearts in genuine relationship repair!

From the heart, in Jesus, Denis

Grow June 18, 2015

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This week: A Vision to get excited about!

Beloved of the Father,

I’m praying today for all our fathers as we prepare to honor them Sunday. I am thankful that MCC is a community blessed with many godly fathers at every stage of life!

We will spend some time in prayer Sunday with and for our Dads – and please come ready to worship our heavenly Dad!

Last Sunday we renewed our vision as a congregation and elected elders to new terms of service in shepherding our community.

We also shared the first draft of a booklet entitled “The Way” and asked the church to give us feedback. If you missed, please pick up a copy at the Connect Desk this Sunday. We look forward to your input.

We are looking ahead to the vision we believe Jesus gave us – to love God, to love one another, and to go and make disciples.

What kind of disciples? Disciples who multiply, who obey the teachings of Jesus, and who are building stronger families.

It’s humbling to see what God has done for us, and what he’s invited us into – joining him in his mission here and around the world.

We believe this booklet can be a great way to introduce people to our community and to share our excitement in what is happening here.

Would you prayerfully ask God who you might share our vision with and invite? This may include invitations to lunch, into your home, to your small group or to our Sunday meetings.

Praying with you, asking the Lord of the harvest to call more laborers into the harvest along with us!

Thankful to be following The Way with you, Denis

The Way

Grow June 18, 2015

SHAPING – Integrity (Week 6)

Grow June 11, 2015

SHAPING – Integrity – Plank in Your Eye (Pentecost Sunday)

Grow June 11, 2015

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This week’s command:
Forgive Abundantly!

Fellow Forgiven Forgivers,

Last Sunday we looked more deeply into the biblical meaning of forgiveness in three different teachings by Jesus.

It is clear from his teaching that Jesus wants us to forgive as he has forgiven us. Since we each require so much forgiveness from him, he therefore expects us to dispense forgiveness abundantly.

This is a counter-cultural and very subversive message in a world where two unhealthy extremes prevail.

The first extreme says that there is no absolute truth or ruler to whom we are accountable, therefore everything is permissible – or worse – an elite few decide what is acceptable or not.

A variation of this is a man-made God whose attributes are that he loves all and would never punish anyone – no need for forgiving.

The second extreme is all about litigation to enforce our rights and get full repayment for any wrong. This results in a attitudes of entitlement and vengeance – “I will get mine”.

Variations of this range from the absurdities of medical malpractice litigation in our country, to gang warfare in many cities of the world, to sharia law in the Middle East.

Jesus announces a Kingdom that turns all this upside down.

Jesus is the appointed Judge who alone determines what is right and wrong. He says we are all deserving of eternal punishment.

Jesus is also the appointed Messiah who alone paid for our sin, reconciling us to God and one another.

This is the heart of God – the Gospel of Jesus.

The only way to be forgiven is to trust Jesus. The only way to stay forgiven is to forgive others.

That’s such Good News. For life. For marriage. For parenting. For extended family. For our world. For our hearts.

Pass it on! See you Sunday for our Annual Family Meeting! Denis

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Congregation Meeting – Sunday June 14 during worship services – 9 & 11 AM