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Campaign Blog

The Grace of Giving

DFJ Updates

What does grace mean? We've all heard such definitions as "grace is getting what you don't deserve, as opposed to mercy being not getting what you do deserve," or, "God's Riches At Christ's Expense." David Takle, who writes some of the material used in the Healing Center classes, says that grace means that you are God's favorite!

God isn't a judge with a sledgehammer, just waiting for an excuse to pound your head. He is someone who loves you -- who even likes you! Think about that! He loves you enough to personally remove anything that could separate you from Him. That's why Jesus went to the Cross. He even loves you enough to marry you! He calls the Church the Bride of Christ.

And do you know what? He wants you to love Him like that, too. Isaiah 54: 5a says, "For your Maker IS your husband."

When Joe decided that Beth was his favorite girl, and Beth decided that Joe was her favorite guy, they got married, so that they could spend a lifetime of giving their best to each other.

It's not just: "Maybe if I give him this fishing rod, he'll let me buy that dress!" or "What do you need more grocery money for? You just bought groceries last month!" but giving, for the sheer joy of seeing the other's joy in the gift -- and in the giver.

This is how God loves us, and He would so love us to love Him like that. When we do this, setting aside money for our vision or for a new home for the church won't seem like a strain or a drain. We will have the joy of giving to God just to see the smile on His face and the delight in His eyes.

Good news! You are God's favorite! God wants to be your favorite, too!

Father, thank You for that great news! Help each of us to learn the joy of living as Your favorite child. Forgive us, please, for believing the lie that we are Your favorite target! Help us to see You as You see us, and help us to have eyes for only You, as the bride walking down the aisle and the groom waiting at the altar have eyes only for each other. Thank You for making that love real in our lives. Amen

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6: 5; For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3: 16

Deirdre DiGirolamo

 

Our Vision: Unity Sunday Video

DFJ Updates

In case you missed our Unity Sunday celebration, here's the follow up to the vision video that was shown in our Destined for Joy Small Groups. We were extraordinarily blessed by the fellowship with each other and with the Holy Spirit that we experienced during this weekend's service. Enjoy and be blessed! [video type="youtube" html5_video_url="" html5_poster="" width="900" height="506"]_bEAMrqxoCM[/video]

The Apostles - Age of Joy

DFJ Updates

I went to the movie theatre a couple of weeks ago to see a much raved about blockbuster, and not long into the movie I was suddenly struck by how much the Church is like The Avengers. To clarify:

I don’t mean that Joe is like Tony Stark - donning his Iron Man suit and flying about the sanctuary, or that the coffee volunteers wear skin tight PVC suits and do back flips and cartwheels while putting out the cookies and lemonade.

The Avengers are a rag tag group of individuals, each with a (admittedly pretty impressive) unique skill set, who come together to form a cohesive unit.

The theme throughout the movie was it’s better to work together. Without Bruce Banner turning a particularly vile shade of puke-green and becoming the Hulk, the team would not have been able to defeat Ultron. If the mighty Thor had not offered to use his strength (and his hammer), the group would have faced defeat. Hawkeye’s bow and arrows, Captain America’s trusty shield ... all those powerful Super Heroes ... all undoubtably capable of doing so much alone. But put them together and they create an unequaled unstoppable force.

And what about us?

The Church is not a building where people gather.

We don’t just ‘go to church,'

We ARE the Church.

We may not be Thor, Black Widow, The Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America or Hawkeye.

But we are the prophet, the evangelist, the pastor, the teacher.

We each have a unique gifting or calling. But, more than this, we ALL have a calling to be in community - the community which is the church.  Some may participate in the worship band, or help with the sound, or with children and youth ministry. Some may make sandwiches and minister to the needy in Fairfax and DC, some may be on altar guild or lead bible studies or be in prayer ministry. Some open up their homes and lives to those in need.

And what one person does today, God may call and enable another to do tomorrow.

Look again at the vision statement.

Church of the Apostles glorifies God by celebrating the healing power of the Holy Spirit through prayer, praise and worship that overflows into community, living the joy of knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior.  

As we continue to keep our hearts open to how God wants to use us individually and corporately to grow his church through the Destined for Joy campaign, we can also think about the future Church of the Apostles. One filled with God’s Avengers, ready to do HIS will in the community.

For church to work as God intends it to work, we all need to be ready to do our part.

But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. (1 Corinthians 12: 19 & 20)

Lynne Harris
Media/Information Team

 

Your Destined for Joy Campaign Checklist

DFJ Updates

It's Wednesday. Did you read Psalm 51:12 today?

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain in me a willing spirit.

You did if you are following the daily prayer reminders on your Destined for Joy campaign tri-fold. It is Wednesday's scripture reading under the reminder to "Pray for a Willing Heart."

The reminder to pray for a willing heart is also on your campaign bookmark for Wednesday:

Heavenly Father, You loved us enough to give Your Son for us. Help us to love You enough to give in support of the work for which Your Son died. Thank You for the Gift beyond words.

These are many other ways that you can participate in the Destined for Joy campaign as we proceed towards Unity Sunday and a time of making commitments. Our small groups are a blessing and support in providing vision clarity and enthusiasm to a great many of us. Here is a checklist of some of the other ways in which to invest in the campaign and to encourage your fellow members of Church of the Apostles:

☐ I visit the Destined for Joy campaign table every Sunday to obtain any available new resources.

☐ I regularly check the Church of the Apostles website for any new events and for materials to print out.

☐ I have watched the Vision Video and encouraged others to watch it.

☐ I read each new blog post here on "Reflections from the Campaign Trail" when it is posted.

☐ I join in the discussion by commenting on the blog posts.

☐ I share the blog posts and other campaign matters from the Church of the Apostles' Facebook page on my own page.

☐ I have shared, or am planning to share, my testimony to encourage others by contacting Alice Buck, our campaign Testimony Team Leader.

☐I am looking forward to participating in Unity Sunday on May 31.

 

Don't miss the blessing from participating in any of these simple but meaningful activities to promote our Destined for Joy campaign!

Faith McDonnell
Media/Information Team Leader

Followed by Goodness and Mercy

DFJ Updates

If you attended the Capital Campaign meeting on Sunday, April 26, you will remember this meditation on Psalm 23 that was provided by Deirdre DiGirolamo, and presented by Helen Metzger and Catherine Evans. We requested permission to reprint this insightful devotional for you here.

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me. Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

We have definitely seen this psalm in action for us as a congregation.  Even though we've "walked through the valley of the shadow of death" both figuratively, in the loss of our property, and literally, with the loss of many of our beloved congregants, God has been with us.  And he has "prepared a table before us in the presence of our enemies" by providing us with a temporary place of worship - and even enabling us to start two more congregations!

 So why does God's goodness and mercy follow us?  Why not at least walk with us, or go ahead of us?  I've always thought of "follow" as meaning "traipse along behind," but when I looked up the original word, I discovered it means "pursue", like a lion pursuing its prey.

Picture God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit on their white horses, in red coats and hunt caps, looking at us and joyfully shouting, "Tally ho! There they go!  Bless them again!"  And look for the blessings with which they're going to shower us - both spiritual and financial - as we spend time with them during this campaign.

We are God's church, and if He has a particular place He wants us to be, He is perfectly capable of picking us up and putting us there.  We just get the fun of watching to see how He'll do it!

Father, thank You for being our Shepherd.  Forgive us for believing that we have to do this all on our own.  Keep reminding us that You are taking care of all our needs as we look to You. Open our eyes and hearts to the amazing creativity You are going to display in getting us into our new home.  We give You all the glory, rejoicing in Your pursuit of us.  We pray this in Jesus' name, through the power of Your Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deirdre DiGirolamo