Pancakes and 40 Days

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Pancakes…

“There are difficulties in everything except eating pancakes.” Charles Spurgeon

Hello! So Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras) is tomorrow,  and it’s a church tradition to eat pancakes this day (yummm). We get the “fats” out of the house like butter and oil, and the idea is that we simplify and focus on Jesus’ incredible love and sacrifice for us–the Lenten Season.

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Lent, Noah and Moses, oh my!

Lent is really special, and it starts on Wednesday, March 26 with Ash Wednesday. Just like Jesus fasted for 40 days (& Noah and Moses did stuff for 40 days and 40 years), we spend 40 days (6 1/2 weeks–Sundays don’t count in the 40 days) praying and focusing.

Some choose to “give up” something and replace that time or energy (like not watching TV or not drinking coffee) with time in prayer, reading the Bible and generally focusing on getting closer to God. It’s a good idea, if you choose to “replace” something in your life with Jesus for the next 40 days of Lent. Talk to your family or friends about your plan. They can be encouragers during this time.

Image result for king cakeKing Cake-a staple of Mardi Gras and my birthday cake this year

Lent starts on Wednesday, and let’s start our special focus on Jesus by worshiping together at church, the annual Ash Wednesday service. Pastor Allen burns the palms from last year’s Palm Sunday and mixes the ashes with olive oil to make a paste. Pretty neat, right?

 

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Wednesday, February 26: Ash Wednesday Worship at 6:30pm in the Sanctuary

Sunday, March 1: Worship at 9:00am, BFGs (small groups) at 10:15am

  • San Diego Mission Team Meeting #1 (REQUIRED), 11:30am-1:30pm in Youth Image result for mission team meetingRoom (lunch provided)

Sunday, March 8: Worship at 9:00am, BFGs (small groups) at 10:15am

  • Family Ministry Team Meeting, 11:30am in Conference Room #1

Sunday, March 15: Worship at 9:00am, BFGs (small groups) at 10:15am

  • Deacon Council, 11:30am in the Parlor

Sunday, March 22: Worship at 9:00am, BFGs (small groups) at 10:15am

Sunday, March 29: Worship at 9:00am, BFGs (small groups) at 10:15am

  • The Youth host Meet & Greet! (every youth family: please bring a batch of cookies, muffins or a bowl of fruit to share)

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No matter what you decide to change in your daily behavior to focus more on Jesus, be sure and prioritize this change for 40 days–Jesus certainly deserves our focus!  = )

Have an awesome week! Go eat some pancakes. 😀☕️

Laurel

Summer Registration is Coming…

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Summer Plans –Mark your calendars (add to your phones)!

  • Heartland Camp – July 6-10. A five-day, all day camp at church! We will learn, play, share and serve. Water games and others fun will be happening. The cost is $60 per camper, and scholarships are available!
  • Youth/College Mission Trip to San Diego – July 18-24. A 7-day trip to San Diego with Sierra Service Project, working directly with organizations and locals around God’s work in immigration, wealth inequality, and the environment. We will stay in South County Boys and Girls Club, and we will work among Sierra Service Project’s  established, incredible ministries. This will be a life-changing, meaningful, fun trip! 
  • 4D2nd Street Camp – August 3-6. Learn and perform an awesome musical in 4 days! Does it seem impossible? Well, it isn’t! Registration opens soon for this wonderful camp, directed by Pastor Allen.

Registration for Campers AND Volunteers opens up Sunday, March 15!!

Have the most wonderful Thursday ever!

Valentine’s Day: Loving or Lacking?

SPECIAL NOTE FOR YOUTH & YOUTH PARENTS (see below)!

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What are you doing on Friday? (multiple choice)

  • Swapping candy and silly cards with classmates and teachers
  • Going on a date with a special someone or a group of friends
  • Attending an anti-Valentine’s event for fun
  • Nothing to celebrate…it’s just another day

Loving or Lacking?

Valentine’s Day brings out a range of emotions. Sometimes there are feelings of gooey love and the warm and fuzzies for our dear friendships and/or romantic relationship. Other times, we might feel terrible and dread February 14. It’s understandable–this holiday can highlight our feelings of lacking something…lacking popularity, lacking a healthy relationship, lacking close friendships. Sometimes it can be awkward, when you aren’t sure how to express to another how you feel or don’t have the financial or creative resources to gift others. For some of us, we draw our value and worth from a day like Valentine’s Day. (It’s really easy to do!) Full of wisdom, Jesus has something to say about our worth and belonging:

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-Jesus

Valentine’s Day: 2 Things

An awesome blog from Sparkhouse (a publisher that provides materials for our kids and youth BFGs) mentions two crucially important points about our self-worth:

  1. Our true worth is located in our identity as children of God who are created in God’s image, not in the way others feel about us.” Sometimes Jesus was super popular, speaking to crowds of thousands, and those same crowds that loved him turned against him within a week and asked for him to be killed. Even his closest friends abandoned, denied, and betrayed him. If you are lonely, if you’re unpopular, if your friends aren’t acting the way friends should, if people are talking behind your back, you’re in good company. And while things may improve for you in less dramatic ways than they did for Jesus with the resurrection, things will improve.  
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2. “Real love from one human being to another is not about buying someone roses or chocolates.” When we in the church think about love, we may think of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” This is a good place to start—a better place to start, certainly, than the materialistic messages that claim love is all about gifts that people buy for each other at stores. Yet we need to be careful with how we read and talk about a love that “endures all things.” We must have this non-boastful, non-arrogant love for ourselves first and foremost, not to hold ourselves above others but to keep ourselves safe from abuse and to leave situations that become toxic. We are not required to endure these things. (If you are in an unhealthy relationship, please talk a trustworthy family member/pastor/friend.) Equipped with this love for ourselves, we can proceed into healthy, life-giving relationships with each other, honest and real relationships that rejoice in the truth of Christ’s love for all.

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So, as we approach Valentine’s Day, remind yourself and your loved ones that our value is not located in our popularity or relationship status. And it is really important to work toward healthy relationships, recognizing any sort of mistreatment or abuse as something we need to distance ourselves from. A holiday about love should make people feel included and valued, not alienated.

Praying for Wins

Reminder: Game Night this Friday, Feb 7 from 6:30-8:30pm in Fellowship Hall. Bring a game or a snack to share. All are welcome!

Is it okay to PRAY FOR A WIN?

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Chiefs win the Super Bowl!!

The Kansas City Chiefs just won the Super Bowl, and our city is SOOOO EXCITED!!

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With amazing coaches, players and the Chiefs Kingdom’s support, last night was a heart-racing game for our city and broader community. And who doesn’t love a WIN and the mounds of confetti raining down upon the team? #confettiangels When I heard the famous “home of the Chiefs” line during Demi Lovato’s solo of the National Anthem, I got excited! And the game had lots of twists and turns. Finally, after 50 years, IT WAS TIME for the Chiefs to win it all. {Insert giant sigh of relief!}

All of this celebrating is SO GOOD for our communities, for our people, for our bonds with neighbors and friends. We stood united in red and cheered on the same team. What an awesome image. (We’ll see more of it during this week’s parade!)

It all makes me wonder…is it okay to pray for a win in sports?

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Prayer – the request (help), expression of gratitude (thanks) and observation (wow) to God by a person, in order to give glory to God and to draw the person closer to God their Creator.

  • If you are a teacher and you pray to God to help you do well at your job, is that okay?
  • If you are a basketball player and you ask God to help you succeed at your sport, is that okay?

The Bible mentions the word “prayer” over 130 times. This doesn’t count other times when Scripture mentions “seeking God” or “asking God,” or even times when people in the Bible spoke to God (prayer). Prayer is super important! In the Bible, prayer is modeled as an active way to draw nearer to God and to give God glory. No matter what we actually say/think/feel in prayer to God, it’s still a conversation that each of us is having with the God who loves us more than anyone else does. Even when it can feel one-sided, we can look to the Bible for evidence that God is constantly and consistently listening and responding to us.

Back to our original question about praying for a win…

  • So is it okay to pray for a win? Yes, as long as we are giving glory to God in the process.
  • Is it okay to pray for a win for YOU that involves hurting or diminishing other people? Nope, that’s not okay. (See what the Bible says about justice and kindness and ALL being created in God’s image. If we celebrate our own victory that came at the expense of others, we’re actually disrespecting God.)
  • However, when “wins” come in your life, we should ALWAYS give glory to God. (And when times are full of loss, God wants to hear about our struggles, too.)

After all, God invented people who invented football, the snacks you eat all day on Super Bowl Sunday and televisions. God’s pretty amazing. And I think God definitely deserves that kind of Kingdom glory.

So when you pray, ask yourself WHY you’re praying. Do you want God to serve as a magic genie granting you 3 wishes, or is God your life guide? Do you look to Jesus for strength and wisdom, or are you trying to boss him around? It’s really good to check in with ourselves to make sure we’re not trying to be “God;” it’s easy to forget that we need God every second of every day, as our life-giver, Savior and dearest friend.


Coming Up…

  •  Sunday, February 2: Worship at 9:00am, BFGs (small groups) at 10:15am
    Chiefs and Chili – chili cook-off fundraiser for Youth/College Mission!
    • Yesterday was awesome–thank you to all who brought chili and cupcakes! (Jan, Dianne, Tim, Tammie, Shirel, Jackie, Wanda and Greg). Thanks to those who attended and ate all of the chili–we raised $950! Thanks to the mission team and families for a Super Bowl (of chili) event. And thanks to Doug for his silly “Goat Cheese!” joke.
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This Friday, February 7: Game Night (organized by kids & youth!) from 6:30-8:30pm in Fellowship Hall; bring a snack to share (optional) and your table “game face.”

  • We have a couple of kids & youth planning the games, so get ready for some serious fun!

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Summer Plans –Mark your calendars (add to your phones)!

  • Heartland Camp – July 6-10. A five-day, all day camp at church! We will learn, play, share and serve. And we might even ride a horse. Registration opens in March!  The cost will be $50 per camper, and scholarships are available!
  • Youth/College Mission Trip to San Diego – July 18-24. A 7-day trip to San Diego with Sierra Service Project, working directly with organizations and locals around God’s work in immigration, wealth inequality, and the environment. We will stay in South County Boys and Girls Club, and we will work among Sierra Service Project’s  established, incredible ministries. This will be a life-changing, meaningful, fun trip! We have one spot left: flyer and form here.
  • 4D2nd Street Camp – August 3-6. Learn and perform an awesome musical in 4 days! Does it seem impossible? Well, it isn’t! Registration opens soon for this wonderful camp, directed by Pastor Allen.

Pray lots, love a ton and remember to give God glory in all things. = )

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~Laurel

Mystery

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I love this quote by Brene Brown, a social work professor from my hometown, who writes awesome books.

Faith is a place of mystery…

  • We humans don’t have all of the answers, and that is okay, because God is omniscient (all knowing). God knows it all, and we can put our trust in God.

  • Our faith journey is a lifelong process of learning, experiencing and discussing.

  • Unlike haunted houses, mystery doesn’t mean scary. It’s quite the opposite, actually—when we give in to the mystery (stuff we don’t know) about our faith beliefs and this world we live in, we give over control to God to fully take care of us. Through mystery, we allow God to be GOD. (Turns out, God is best at doing God’s job!!)  = )

Coming Up…

  •  Sunday, February 2: Worship at 9:00am, BFGs (small groups) at 10:15am

    Chiefs and Chili – chili cook-off fundraiser for Youth/College Image result for how bout them chiefsMission!

      • Let’s start Super Bowl Sunday off right!! Sign up to bring a pot of your delicious chili or simply sign up to attend and rate your favorite chili. Sign up in your BFG or at the Information Station.

     

  • Image result for game nightFriday, February 7: Game Night (organized by kids & youth!) from 6:30-8:30pm in Fellowship Hall; bring a snack to share (optional) and your table “game face”

     

     


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Summer Plans –Mark your calendars (add to your phones)!

  • Heartland Camp – July 6-10. A five-day, all day camp at church! We will learn, play, share and serve. And we might even ride a horse. Registration opens in March!  The cost will be $50 per camper, and scholarships are available!
  • Youth/College Mission Trip to San Diego – July 18-24. A 7-day trip to San Diego with Sierra Service Project, working directly with organizations and locals around God’s work in immigration, wealth inequality, and the environment. We will stay in South County Boys and Girls Club, and we will work among Sierra Service Project’s  established, incredible ministries. This will be a life-changing, meaningful, fun trip! We have one spot left: flyer and form here.
  • 4D2nd Street Camp – August 3-6. Learn and perform an awesome musical in 4 days! Does it seem impossible? Well, it isn’t! Registration opens soon for this wonderful camp, directed by Pastor Allen.

Image result for embrace the mysteryEmbrace the mystery this week. Look up in wonder at the vast sky and the millions of leaves on the soaring trees today. Be wrapped in the comfort that the God who created the mountains and the oceans holds you in God’s arms every single day.

You are so very loved.

~Laurel

Oops!

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Sorry about that, I got ahead of myself! If you received the last blog post (15 minutes ago) in your email, it was sent a month early! Shrove Tuesday is NEXT month, and I hope you enjoy that post in a month from now, ha.

I hope you are staying warm and dry in this delightfully slushy city today. We can thank God for all of the seasons of weather we receive in Kansas City–a true Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.

 

Coming Up:

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Friday, February 7: Game Night (organized by kids & youth!) from 6:30-8:30pm in Fellowship Hall; bring a snack to share (optional) and your table “game face”

 

Sunday, January 26: Worship at 9:00am, BFGs (small groups) at 10:15am

  • Church conversations #2 during BFG hour (This event is for adults, age 18+, and not developmentally appropriate for kids/teens. Since this is during the regular BFG time, kids and youth can attend their regular BFG classes.)

Sunday, February 2: Worship at 9:00am, BFGs (small groups) at 10:15am

Chiefs and Chili – chili cook-off fundraiser for Youth/College Image result for how bout them chiefsMission!

    • Let’s start Super Bowl Sunday off right!! Sign up to bring a pot of your delicious chili or simply sign up to attend and rate your favorite chili. Sign up in your BFG or at the Information Station.

 

Sunday, February 9: Worship at 9:00am, BFGs (small groups) at 10:15am

  • Church conversations #1 from 11:30-12:30 (This event is for adults, age 18+, andImage result for churches love not developmentally appropriate for kids/teens.)

Sunday, February 16: Worship at 9:00am, BFGs (small groups) at 10:15am

  • Church conversations #1 from 11:30-12:30 (This event is for adults, age 18+, and not developmentally appropriate for kids/teens.)

Sunday, February 23: Worship at 9:00am, BFGs (small groups) at 10:15am

  • Deacon Council, 11:30am

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Have a great rest of the week!

~Laurel

 

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