News*This month’s featured blogger is: Glenn Sterret. Glenn blogs almost daily with meditations on the Word. You can read Glenn’s blog at: www.gckrs.com.
Classis of Illinois Multiplication Mini-Conference
– Illinois Classis recently approved a new vision to start 10 new congregations by 2030. As they begin living into this vision, they would like to invite you and any leader from your church to join us for fellowship and a great learning opportunity at the multiplication mini-conference! We all want to live out the great commission and reach our communities with the good news of Jesus. In 3 sessions we will explore several principles to equip and empower the leadership of your church. The focus will be on adding a 2nd worship service in your church, but the principles are applicable to many other ministry areas. Wednesday, April 9 @ Bethel Reformed Church 230 E. 23rd St., Sterling, IL. For more information please contact Joel Vander Wal.
Missional Cafe – On April 26 a gathering of leaders from the RCA and CRC will learn about discipleship, evangelism, and initiative for churches. Seven speakers including Jason DeVries, Dave Izenbart, and Jason Perry will be sharing where they see God at work and leading a discussion about joining Him. For more information and to sign up, go to missionalcafe.org.
Starting a 2nd Service Webinar – (Even if you missed the first one, you can still register) The Synod is providing opportunity to learn and design a second service strategy for next fall or 2015! The next dates are April 28 and May 19 at 2 pm CT. Together these webinars will cover discerning readiness, laying a foundation, identifying a target, launching strategies, biggest mistakes made, assimilation and much more. If you’ve even wondered about starting a second service, you’ll gain insight and be helped. The training features experienced pastors and is being coordinated through the synod by Ben Ingebretson. There is no charge for these events. Register by emailing Chad Schuitema.
Join the Illiana-Florida Church Multiplication Movement – The Illiana / Florida Classis Church Multiplication team is looking for church planters for upcoming projects! We provide assessment, training, coaching, support and funding for new church plants. If you are interested, go to http://www.iplantchurchplanting.com/ and click “start process.”
Camp Manitoqua Work Day – Come partner with other volunteers at Manitoqua Ministries Annual Camp Work Day. Camp Manitoqua and King’s Camp work day is scheduled for Saturday, April 12, 2014 Lunch is provided. More information can be found on our web page, www.manitoqua.org/work-day. Please RSVP by April 5 for Camp Manitoqua to (815) 469-2319 or for King’s Camp to (815) 645-8277.
This issue’s story comes from Living Springs Community Church and Rev Ann Bilbrew…
Every year, Living Springs Community Church takes Jesus into the surrounding residential communities in the form of service projects. We passionately call this event, Fatih In Action. We meet for a short worship service and community service projects assignment and then we go out to bless, serve, and share the good news of Jesus. This year we completed lawn care services for the elderly and disabled, provided laundry mat quarters to unexpected people, paid for food in local food stores, provided gas cards, complete home repairs, knocked on doors and provided prayer and encouragement cards, packed and mailed care packages to military people, sick/shut ins, and college students, worshipped at local nursing homes, made cards for the military people, sick/shut ins, and college students, provided homemade bake goods to the police, firemen, and homeless in various villages, cleaned our local parks, street mission prayers, and more. And finally, after we completed our services, we gathered at the church to eat and share our outreach Faith in Action experiences. This is a wonderful opportunity for the congregation and church ministries to work together in radically blessing God’s people. We are excited about our next Faith in Action day. I encourage you and your churches to consider Faith In Action.
*Telling our stories is a way for us to encourage each other and to share what the Spirit is doing through the churches and people of our synod. As you share yours, others may be empowered to do similar things or the Spirit may use it as a starting point for another idea to reach people for Christ. We encourage you to share!
If you would like to share a story for a future issue, please email email@example.com
In early March I had the opportunity to participate in an Israel/Palestine Study Tour led by Marlin and Sally Vis, former RCA missionaries to Palestine. I was a part of a group of about 30 people consisting of pastors, next generation leaders, regional synod executives, and denominational staff. We participated in the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference with more than 600 other Christians from all over the world. The speakers we listened to shared about seeking peace, justice, freedom, security and a sense of hope in the midst of great conflict between Israel and Palestine. We also had the opportunity to walk through the holy sites and experience the places where Jesus walked.
The place which probably had the greatest impact on me was situated on top of a hill just south of Bethlehem next to the village of Nahalin, and within eyesight of an Israeli settlement of 50,000 people known as Gush Etzion. We unloaded the bus and walked about 3/4 a mile up a dusty road, crossing through some large stone barricades and a concrete barrier erected by the Israeli military to close off the only access road the Nassar family has to their property. After walking through a chain linked we arrived at a place called Tent of Nations – the name of the farm claimed to be owned by the Nassar family. The family farm grows olives, grape vines, almonds, vegetables and fruits on about 100 acres of land. At the top of the hill we were greeted by Daoud Nassar and invited to gather in a cave where he told us his story.
For years the Nassar family has fought a legal battle in the Israeli court system to keep hold of their land since it was threatened with confiscation in 1991. We were told that many Palestinians have lost their land because it hasn’t been maintained or cultivated. The Nassars claim they have owned the land since 1916, and according to international law, they believe that the land does not belong to Israel. They claim to have legal documents that date back to the Ottoman Empire which is pre-1917. For more than 20 years now the Nassars have fought legally to keep their land. Daoud claims that their papers have been honored over the years by the Turkish, British, and Jordanian rulers prior to the Israeli government claim to the land. Over the year the Nassar family has suffered many form of oppression and persecution over the land as Israeli settlers have cut own hundreds of their olive trees, ruined their grape crops and devastated other parts of their land. One would think that Daoud and his family would be bitter and angry and frustrated, blaming the Israeli settlers for all that has happened to him and his family. But that was not his message to us as we sat in the cave and listened to his story. Daoud only had one message: “WE REFUSE TO BE ENEMIES”. It took me back to the words of Jesus: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:43-45a) Through my encounter with Daoud I was reminded of the importance of building bridges of understanding, reconciliation, and peace.
7: KEZ Meeting/Calvary Reformed Church/Orland Park, IL
8: Synod Assembly Meeting/Crossroads Community Church/Chicago, IL; Meeting/Beecher Community Church/Beecher, IL
9: Classis of Illinois Multiplication Mini-Conference/Bethel Reformed Church/Sterling, IL
10: Meeting/Faith Church/Dyer, IN; Meeting/Naperville, IL
13: Sunday Worship
14: Meeting/Orland Park, IL
16: Ridley Assessment
18: Good Friday
20: Resurrection Sunday
Wayne’s contact information:
10088 Prairie Knoll Ct.
St. John, IN 46373
Mobile: (941) 302-1281
Chad’s Contact Information:
2533 Mar Ruth Drive
Lafayette, IN 47905
Office: (815) 464-9181
Mobile: (765) 237-7678
*Note: as of May 9 my contact information will be changing to:
2104 Campbell Street
Valparaiso, IN 46383