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

 

God Surprises

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Well, sometimes I feel like I’ve been there, done that, and I know exactly what is going to happen next.

But is that true? Do we always know how things will turn out? Just when we think we know it all…

 

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When you ask God for help, God might provide it in a way you never even thought of. God is wild like that–you see, God knows each of us inside and out, better than anyone else, and God knows EXACTLY what each of us needs. And God provides.

Skeptical? You’re not alone.

There are times when I think I know everything, when I forget to focus on God and, instead, put myself in charge of everything. And guess what? I make mistakes. God, however, does not make those same mistakes and does the best for each of us. The Bible (“Scripture”) is a guide for life, and one of its most brilliant uses is to show us examples of God’s forever faithfulness. When we doubt, we can see hundred’s of examples in this book. God is faithful through being always present in our lives, always loving us, always nurturing us, and as our eternal guide and strength.

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Here are a few examples of times when God remained faithful AND surprised people:

  • Moses’ entire life [basket road trip  amp; adoption as a baby; God talks to Moses Image result for biblethrough a burning bush & made his staff a snake; includes Aaron and rod; plagues; safe exodus; sweet water and manna; ten commandments] (Exodus 3-15)
  • Joshua and the fall of Jericho (Joshua 5-6)
  • Ruth and Naomi’s new life and legacy (Book of Ruth)
  • David is anointed as King & defeats Goliath; becomes friends with Saul’s son Jonathan (1st Samuel 16-17, 20)
  • Esther becomes queen (Esther 2)
  • Saul/Paul’s Conversion (Acts 9)
  • Cornelius gets the surprise of his life (Acts 10-12)

These are just a few examples, and I didn’t even include Jesus’ actions in this list! What

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–Jesus

are some examples from the Bible when someone was surprised by God? Can you think of a time when God surprised you?

 

So, next time you think that you KNOW what will happen, crack open your Bible and remember that God is full of surprises. As we remain faithful to God, we can count on God always loving, nurturing, caring and protecting us.

 

 

As


Another way we can experience God’s surprises is through hanging out with people who are also seeking God’s guidance and embracing God’s love. (Church is a great place to start!) To attend organized friendship-making, be sure to check the EVENTS page for upcoming events, or read our weekly blog posts.

https://holmeswoodfam.org/events/

Related imageALSO…we have a new page :

BFG Corner

  • Here, you can view the most up-to-date Nursery Volunteer Schedule, Elementary BFG teaching/lesson Schedule, and find out more about the Youth BFG….all in one place! Check it out!

 

Happy Week! Be open to the ways God will *surprise* you!

~Laurel

Epiphany Day!

The twelfth day of Christmas is upon us, so Happy Epiphany! 

We remember the story in the Gospels of the Wise Men (Magi) traveling to visit King Jesus. They disobeyed Herod’s orders to send word back to him when they found the baby, risking their lives to help keep the Holy Family safe. Thanks be to God for the helpers who risk their own security and safety for us to stay safe and have our basic needs met. 

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And welcome to 2020!! We are so excited to spend a fresh, new year with you and your family in 2020. A new year brings up questions:

  1. What happened in 2019 that… I’m really proud of? …I’m ready to let go of? …I learned from?
  2. How will God shape me and how will I grow in this new year? What will happen? 
  3. What are some things about 2020 I can share with God, leaning on God for support/strength/courage/confidence/care?

Using yesterday’s Star Words from Worship (pick one up this week if you didn’t grab one!), use your Star Word and question 3 (above) to start your prayer journey with God this year. When you aren’t sure what to say to God, simply start telling God (out loud, silently, on paper) how you’re feeling and what is forefront on your mind right now. You’ve got this!

As far as your church being there for you…we are! Always. And this relationship goes both ways, as we support each other together. To attend organized friendship-making, be sure to check the EVENTS page for upcoming events, or read our weekly blog posts. 

https://holmeswoodfam.org/events/ 

Related imageALSO…we have a new page :

BFG Corner

  • Here, you can view the most up-to-date Nursery Volunteer Schedule, Elementary BFG teaching/lesson Schedule, and find out more about the Youth BFG….all in one place! Check it out!

 

May God’s love and care for you be very obvious in the new year. And may we all share the love of Christ with others, both as helpers and protectors, like the Magi. Amen.

~Laurel

12 Days of Christmas…and Refugees?

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When I first learned the “12 Days of Christmas” song as a child, I used to love the actions that went with the lyrics. Lords leaping, ladies dancing, drummers drumming…it was all pretty fun and silly.

What I didn’t realize was…

the 12 Days of Christmas are about Jesus…the time period in Christian theology between Jesus’ birth and the arrival of the Wise Men (Magi). December 25/26 to January 6.

The actual events most certainly took longer than 12 days, with a range of between a couple of months to two years, for the Wise Men to meet little Jesus. It is even likely that the Magi’s gifts were used to financially sustain the Holy Family on their long, dangerous trip to Egypt. Instead of merely traveling to Bethlehem to register for a census (which was the first part of their trip), Joseph was instructed by an angel of the Lord to take his family from Bethlehem to Egypt in secret, for King Herod had instructed his army to kill all boys two years or younger who were in or around Bethlehem. It was a very different second leg of their road trip, and it was a really scary time.

Therefore, when we think of the 12 Days of Christmas…

let us remember refugees.

May our hearts and our minds focus on God’s children who are fleeing unrest in their homelands and seeking asylum and safety in a new, unknown place. Jesus and his earthly parents were once refugees, and they were assisted in survival by God through people like the Magi.

How can we serve as Magi (or helpers) to refugees today?

  • Do we have to be wealthy and well-connected? [No.]
  • Do we have to be open to serving God’s most vulnerable in their time of need? [Yes.]
  • Do we need to educate ourselves about refugees, be creative, and work together with reputable organizations and each other to help refugees, like the Holy Family? [Yes again.]

Imagine what the Holy Family would have done without God’s helpers (like the Magi).

  • We are given opportunities daily to learn and share God’s love to some of the most vulnerable and traumatized people today. And there are times when you and I need help from God via others. Let us follow God’s light, like the Magi followed the star, and find ways to love all God’s children, particularly those in such great limbo.
  • Just like the 12 Days of Christmas song, let’s take action and LEAP!

Refugees…starting at the beginning (a very good place to start):

This video is recommended for ages 12+. (Source: https://www.unhcr.org/en-us/teaching-about-refugees.html#words)

Figures at a glance

YES, this can be overwhelming.

However, when Christ followers get together to help others, really wonderful things can happen. It’s pretty awesome. And it’s important to remember–as many suffer around the world–we can be those helpers (like Mr. Rogers talks about), and we have the holy, humbling opportunity to look out and stand up for justice for all of God’s children.

When it seems way too big and too hard…let us remember that Joy comes from God, and helping others grows JOY. When things seem overwhelming, look for ways to remember God is always here to protect and love us. God brings me peace and joy in hard times through people and through music, so here is a bit of joy for your day…

“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your God in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Merry Christmas for 12 days and Beyond!!

~Laurel

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