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Campaign Blog

All I Am is Yours

DFJ Updates

You stood before creation, Eternity in your handYou spoke the earth into motion, My soul now to stand. You stood before my failure and carried the cross for my shame My sin weighed upon your shoulders, My soul now to stand. So what could I say? And what could I do? But offer this heart, Oh God Completely to you. So I'll walk upon salvation, Your spirit alive in me This life to declare your promise, My soul now to stand. So what could I say? And what could I do? But offer this heart, Oh God Completely to you. I'll stand With arms high and heart abandoned In awe of the one who gave it all I'll stand My soul Lord to you surrendered All I am is yours. "The Stand" Jaime Jamgochian, Hillsong United

I’ll stand with arms high and heart abandoned, all I am is Yours

But ... I’m not very good at giving to God.

I go through fits and starts. My version of the God inspired Hillsong hymn “the Stand” is roughly as follows -

“I’ll sit with arms slack and heart indifferent. About, (maybe?) as much as a third (but often less) of what I am is Yours. In denial of the one who gave it all I’ll sit My soul Lord to you hidden All I am is mine. You can have what’s left. On sundays. And possibly a few other days, depending ...”

I don’t know about anyone else, but I so easily lose focus. I get distracted by so many things. A good bottle of wine. my new fixation for Korean dramas (weird one, that), the kids, the pets, a good book ... I could go on ...

I am not saying that any of the things we do are necessarily bad. Relaxing in front of a good Korean drama (ask me about them ... you know you want to!) with a glass of merlot with my husband is often necessary after a taxing day.

But when we allow the things we like to become our obsession, then we tend to lose focus on Jesus.

This past week I have been sick. Holed up in my bed I have survived on a mix of sleep, over the counter drugs, copious amounts of water, the tender ministrations of my husband, the somewhat abstract attention of assorted daughters and my trusty laptop.

I have watched far too many episodes of my favorite korean drama (no, really ... they are good!) But ... maybe I am becoming a little over dependent?

I am feeling better now. Time to get on with real life. And real life involves abandoning all that I am. All that holds me to this life. All that I would rather do than spend time in Jesus’ presence.

Time to refocus on the vision of Church of the Apostles - to impact the community of Fairfax with the love of Jesus.

Time to stand, with arms high and heart abandoned to God.

All I am (my time, my money, my life) is Yours.

There are so many ways we can do that. Learn more by clicking on all the relevant links about the Destined for Joy campaign. Ask questions. Join a small group. Be involved.

God can use us all, if we stand before Him, abandoned, willing and ready to serve.

Lynne Harris
Media/Information Team

The Joy is for All!

DFJ Updates

Have you gotten involved in the Destined for Joy campaign yet?

Remember that the joy promised to us by the Lord in the vision that He has given to our church is for all. When we catch the vision, we rejoice. And we discover what role we can play in bringing the vision to life.

In the book of Nehemiah, it took Ezra the priest reading the Book of the Law to the people for many hours before they caught the vision! Ezra “read it aloud from daybreak till noon . . . in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.” (Nehemiah 8:3) The chapter goes on to say that the other priests, the Levites, “instructed the people in the Law while the people were standing there . . . . making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.” (8:7-8)

Once the people “understood the words that had been made known to them,” Nehemiah says they “went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy.” (8:12) They understood God’s vision for them and were filled with the joy of the Lord. They responded to their new understanding of God’s law by worshipping the Lord, celebrating with a great festival, confessing their sins, and covenanting with the Lord to live out the vision that He had given to them to be His Holy people.

Well, unlike Ezra the priest, our priest, Father Joe, has not “stood on a high wooden platform built for the occasion,” (8:4) reading the church’s vision statement to us from daybreak till noon! But he has shared it with us, and now he is devoting sermon time to delve more deeply into the vision God has given to us who are living the joy of knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior.

There is an opportunity to learn more about the Destined for Joy campaign, and how its goal is to enable us to live out our vision, at the campaign meeting tomorrow, April 26, after the 3:30 service. That meeting – open to one and all – takes place after the 3:30 service. Sunday, April 26. Bill Collins, our Destined for Joy campaign director, wrote to urge everyone to come to the meeting. If you have not RSVP’d for supper already, you will have to bring your own food, but don’t let that stop you from hearing the exciting updates from the campaign teams.

We even have our own “Levites” to help us share our ideas about living out and overflowing with the joy of Jesus at Church of the Apostles, Anglican, in the HIS Joy small groups that will occur in May. Maybe you have never been in a small group before, or, like me, you belonged to a small group in years’ past, but your group disbanded and you never took the time to join another. I am really looking forward to being a part of a small group once again when I participate in a HIS Joy small group. You can sign up here.

Finally, if you have not yet decided on a way to participate in the Destined for Joy campaign, here is something very simple you can do that would be a big help! We are putting together a Fact Sheet of frequently (or even infrequently) asked questions about the campaign and the vision and we need your help. You can send all your questions to me, Faith McDonnell, at fmcdonnell@theird.org. You don’t have to just ask “nuts and bolts” questions about money and properties. Feel free to be creative and curious about all of the aspects of the vision. But please do this quickly! We are finishing the Fact Sheet very soon!

The end of Nehemiah 10 talks about first fruits, something we have been discussing lately at Apostles. As part of their response to the Lord’s word to them, the people promised to bring the first fruits of their crops and fruit trees to the house of the Lord every year, and many other first fruits as well. Like them, when we become excited about and committed to sharing Christ’s love, “we will not neglect the house of our God.” (10:39)

Faith McDonnell
Media/Information Team Leader

Joy is Like the Rain

DFJ Updates

With spring comes the rain, making it possible for everything to become lush and green again after a long hibernation.  As I sit down to write this post, I hear the rain beating gently on the window behind me.  It’s a comforting sound that brings a sense of peace, and makes the house seem that much cozier.

For most summers growing up, I attended a Methodist camp in Pennsylvania, where I learned a simple song (which you can hear here), whose lyrics didn't make sense at the time.

I saw rain drops on my window, joy is like the rain. Laughter runs across my pane, slips away and comes again. Joy is like the rain. I saw clouds upon a mountain, joy is like a cloud. Sometimes silver, sometimes gray, always sun not far away. Joy is like a cloud. I saw Christ in wind and thunder, joy is tried by storm. Christ asleep within my boat, whipped by wind, yet still afloat. Joy is tried by storm. I saw rain drops on a river, joy is like the rain. Bit by bit the river grows, ’til all at once it overflows. Joy is like the rain. ("Joy is Like the Rain," Miriam Therese Winter, Medical Mission Sisters, 1966)

Back then, I didn’t understand how joy was like rain or clouds, much less what it meant to be “tried by storm.”  (It wasn’t till years later that I realized the laughter was running across my pane, not my pain – but by then I could appreciate the wordplay.)  But time and experience have a way of revealing such things, and I know now that joy is like that gentle, reassuring rain that brings new life.  Joy reminds us, too, that our hope, like the light and warmth of the sun, is never far away even when it is obscured.  And though our joy is tried by storm, Christ is with us in our boat even when we’re being tossed about.  As we mature in our faith, joy grows within us until it overflows.

Joy doesn’t promise us blue skies, calm seas, or a problem-free existence.  But joy finds its source in Christ, the one who is with us in the boat even when our problems overwhelm us.  He is our joy, and he commands our destiny.

Bill Bremmer
Media/Information Team

Giving Out of Poverty and Great Joy

DFJ Updates

At our congregation meeting on March 15, our capital campaign cheerleader, Randy Watts, reminded us (from 2 Corinthians 8) of the churches in Macedonia that gave generously to the church at Jerusalem, which was under persecution. Those first-century Macedonians were under some kind of trial as well. Even so, Paul wrote,

In a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. (2 Corinthians 8:2)

What odd and contrasting elements for the Macedonians to give out of—not wealth, or even middle-class comfort, but (1) extreme poverty and (2) abundance of joy! What kind of math formula is that? That’s like 2+2=5.

Paul also wrote, “They gave according to their means … and beyond their means, of their own accord” (verse 3). They gave beyond what they could afford … willingly.

And he wrote, “They gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us” (verse 5). I love that!

Finally, Paul called their giving “an act of grace” (verse 6) and exhorted the Corinthians, “See that you excel in this act of grace also” (verse 7).

So, like the Macedonian Christians, we can give generously out of

  • Serious trials
  • Extreme poverty
  • Great joy
  • Willing hearts

And also:

  • We are giving ourselves—to the Lord and to one another.
  • Giving is an act of grace.
  • God wants us to excel in this grace.

So …

Lord, thank You for sustaining and rescuing us in our trials. We thank You for the joy that overflows within us at Church of the Apostles. Thank You for the love we have for You and for one another. Would You enable us to excel in this grace of giving? Show each one of us what to give—whether money or something else—and let the resources You have given us flow from willing hearts into this local expression of the Body of Christ to which You have called us. Thank You! In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Jane Campbell
Media/Information Team

Racing Towards Joy

DFJ Updates

There is a saying: Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.

I am sitting at my kitchen table writing this, with my legs propped up on another chair; an ice pack nestled against my left knee. I have just been for a run.

I hurt.

I am the person who doesn’t do running. My way of staying (comparatively) fit involves taking a couple of dogs for a 25 minute walk every day or so. I run up and down the stairs quite a few times a day. Occasionally there will be a short lived bout of using our elliptical for its given purpose - (not just as a convenient structure on which to place my clothes.)

But running?

No.

I don’t do running.

Except now I do. (Sort of)

What changed my mind?

It was because someone said “I am doing this, will you do it with me?”

Usually I would dig my heels in and give the usual “I don’t do running” excuses.

And I tried.

But my friend didn’t give in.

And eventually I decided to try it.

And now, although my knee hurts and my muscles ache, I am glad I started. My friend and I hope to carry on with this running lark, and get better, and get good enough not only to be (and stay) fitter, but also to run a 5K ... and who knows, maybe eventually further. (Just don’t hold your breath on that one)

Sometimes it takes an effort to get started on something. We dig our heels in and don’t want to be bothered. It is far more comfortable sitting on the couch than running that 5K. But once we get motivated. Once someone encourages us and accompanies us along the way, it can actually begin to be fun.

The new home groups for the Destined for Joy campaign will be up and running (excuse the pun) soon. They will provide a fun way to mix socially with others from the Church, do bible studies together, and get to know more about the campaign. Have you signed up? The journey towards the future that God has planned for Church of the Apostles is about to begin.

Time to get up out of our comfy chairs, put on our running shoes and join the race to our destiny ... living the joy of knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior - and sharing the power of His saving grace within the community.

Lynne Harris
Media/Information Team