20 05 2010

Hey guys,

As summer quickly approaches here are some thoughts from Mariya about making decisions in a Godly way.


by Mariya Jones

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

In this verse, James is expressing our need for wisdom not only as knowledge, but also as discernment. We must make wise decisions all the time. The difficult part is knowing what the right decision to make is. God tells us that if we just pray and ask Him for guidance, He will grant it to us. God wants us to make good decisions for our lives, but often we fall short and go the wrong direction. If we turn to God and ask him for support and guidance, He will be our wise leader and show us the right path.

In my Bible in the book of 1 Corinthians, there is a table with questions about how we should go about making decisions. It says:

If I choose one course of action:

…does it help my witness for Christ?

…am I motivated by a desire to help others know Christ?

…does it help me do my best?

…is it against a specific command in Scripture and would thus cause me to sin?

…is it the best and most beneficial course of action?

…am I thinking only of myself, or do I truly care about the other person?

…am I acting lovingly or selfishly?

…does it glorify God?

…will it cause someone else to sin?

Before we make a major decision, we must know in our hearts that it is truly what God wants for our lives. We must be certain that He is the center of everything that we are about to do. This will create a stronger relationship with God by realizing He is our rock and provider.

If we become impatient on waiting for the right answer from God, this can be disastrous. Sometimes God’s timing is very different from our own, and part of how He shapes us is by making us wait for His command. God will come through; we just have to trust Him completely. In 1 Samuel 13, Saul does not obey the command given to him by God through Samuel. He doesn’t trust God to care for him and his people, and thus makes a foolish decision. This foolish decision leads to a dire consequence. Samuel informs him that since he did not obey him, Saul’s kingdom will not endure. 1 Samuel 13:11-14

“‘What have you done?’ asked Samuel.

Saul replied, ‘When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Micmash, I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.’

‘You acted foolishly,’ Samuel said. ‘You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.’”

If we cannot trust in the Lord and wait for his clear decision, we will suffer like Samson suffered under the Philistines for choosing to be with Delilah. Have you ever made a decision and later faced the consequences for it? Wait, who hasn’t? We all make mistakes and learn after we have had to suffer the consequences. For some situations, the consequences are small compared to what could have happened. For others of us, the result is something we will live with for the rest of our lives.

God doesn’t want us to take on the burden of making major life decisions on our own. We trust him for guidance and lean on fellow Christians for support. We can’t always do everything on our own. This is why God gave us the church, so that when we find that church family we belong to, we can learn from their wisdom and decision making processes. God doesn’t turn his back on us, even when we make completely wrong decisions. He guides us and all we have to do is trust that guidance and seek it in our daily lives. What is God leading you to do?


To the King!




6 05 2010

Hey guys,

Crazy busy time right now?!  I know.  I had to have foot surgery this past week which forced me to slow down and it was pretty agonizing having to just sit around and do nothing for five days straight.  Too much to do and so little time right?!

Anyway, a great chance for you to slow down and take break is going to College Camp May 21-23.  You need to get registered ASAP.  We extended the registration deadline to May 10th, which is this MONDAY!!!!  So get your registrations in!

Here’s a devo from Mariya:


by Mariya Jones

Recently, I was talking with a friend about answers in life and how we can’t know everything right now. I said that the answers are not obvious to us all the time and sometimes, we can’t know the answers to our most burning questions until we go to heaven. We know that when that glorious day comes and we are in heaven with our Father, we will have all knowledge and understanding. 1 Corinthians 13:12

“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

When we meet our Maker face to face, we will have all the answers. I don’t think it will necessarily be God telling us everything we need to know or even us knowing everything. I think it will be a peace that we don’t need all the answers and just having an understanding. Only God has all the answers and we must trust Him to take care of us. Matthew 11:25

“At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.’”

Knowing all of life’s truths or answers isn’t healthy for our faith. In order to trust God fully, we must lean on Him for understanding. If we understand everything, there wouldn’t be a reason for Him! Just like Job had to trust God after his life seemingly fell apart, we must trust God to keep us afloat in the storms of our lives. We must understand that no matter how hard it gets, God will be our solid rock because he is the one with all the knowledge. Like my Bible’s footnotes say, “To be unshakable, faith must be built on the confidence that God’s ultimate purpose will come to pass.” Sometimes we might not understand what God is doing in our lives until we look back and say, “Huh. So that’s what God was doing and shaping me for during all of that.”

God promises a knowledge when we believe and trust in Him with all our hearts. But the full knowledge will not come until we are united with Him in heaven. What a great feeling we will have then! So this week think about what you have been longing to know or understand and ask God to take that from you. When you are feeling really burdened, give it to God and fully trust that He will take care of it.

Have a blessed day.  Praying for you!

To the King!


Future of the Church

29 04 2010

Hey guys,

Sorry I didn’t get an email out last week.  I was at a leadership conference in California and had so much to share that I needed some time to process.  This was a conference for next generational leaders in the church and business.  I walked away from this time feeling convicted that we can not stand back and watch others define what the Church will be.  God has called our generation to stand firm on Truth, to hold on to the hope that God has a bigger plan, and to speak up when the Church is heading in the wrong direction.

What will be the future of the Friends church?

Is it simply to maintain unity and tolerate diversity?  Or is there something bigger and more exciting ahead?

What structures need to die in order for God’s work to be done and His Kingdom to reign?

A friend of mine posted this video on her blog about the Missional church and what shifts need to happen within the church to change our focus outward.

No matter what the Church looks like…one thing is certain.  The Church needs to have its foundation in Jesus Christ!

So this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
       “See, I lay a stone in Zion,
       a tested stone,
       a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
       the one who trusts will never be dismayed.

I will make justice the measuring line
       and righteousness the plumb line;
       hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie,
       and water will overflow your hiding place.

                        Isaiah 28:16-17

What’s next?!  What is God calling us to do in our generations to bring about the future Church?

I know a lot of you are in the midst of the craziness of finals and other life stuff.  We are excited about our upcoming College Camp at Quaker Haven in May and we want to make sure you all have a chance to come.  Registrations are for this camp are due ASAP and the fee gets more expensive after May 1st.  Since this is probably the last thing on your mind right now, we wanted to extend the registration deadline to May 10th.  So get your registrations in.  Its only $60 until May 10th, after that its $75.  Let me know if you’ve got any questions.

Have a great week!

To the King!


Justice For Such A Time As This!

15 04 2010

Hey guys,

I wanted to share with you some thoughts about justice and how deeply our God cares about those who need justice on their behalf.  I pray as you are finishing up your semesters and getting ready for summer plans that you can keep in mind that God has called us to be His people of justice and that you can pray for clear purpose in bringing His justice into a broken and hurting world.

 For Such a Time as This

by Amber Van Schooneveld

Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?”  I said, “Here I am. Send me.”  Isa. 6:8


Olive is a beautiful woman, with skin like dark coffee and eyes that flash. She is my age, born in the same year, and for some reason this makes me feel a strong connec­tion – as a kid I might have played Hide and Seek in the street with her or sat next to her in math. Olive speaks of her life growing up in Uganda. I’ve heard statistics of poverty before, but those were faceless – they didn’t have Olive’s eyes or her white smile. The statistics are like annoying pebbles the news pelts me with. They fall to the ground and are forgotten.

Olive is different. She isn’t one of the annoying numbers I’m bombarded with. She speaks of her life when she was 6.  I think to myself, What was I doing at 6? First day of kindergarten with my new pink backpack and Mary Jane shoes. Pictures were taken, friends were made, cookies were gobbled. Your basic Leave It to Beaver episode. But at the same time I posed for pictures in my Mary Janes, rebels were spilling over Uganda’s borders. Olive and her family lived in a small village. Someone ran, yelling that the rebels were coming. It was every man for himself. All dashed to the bushes and hid. The rebels swept through the village, killing those they found and burning huts on the way. Fleeing danger then became a regular occurrence for Olive. From the age of 6 to the age of 8, while I was eating Cheerios and watching Sesame Street, she was crouching in bushes, hoping not to be found and killed or, perhaps worse, forced to become a soldier’s bride.

Next scene: 13 years old. I hated 13 – I didn’t make friends easily, and I was made fun of at school because my parents had bought me a leather skirt instead of a suede skirt, which was a must-have. But I was loved and safe and fed, embarrassing leather skirt and all. At 13, Olive had moved to the city with her mother where unrest wasn’t knocking on the door each night. But Olive’s mother had become ill. She was weak and getting weaker. One day Olive came home to bring her mother oranges. She was sleeping. Olive shook her. She didn’t stir. Olive shook and shook, but her mom never woke up. Olive was an AIDS orphan at 13. Fifteen years later, telling the story, she holds her head in her hands as tears drip from her chin and her shoulders shake. This is no statistic; this is a daughter, just like me. This isn’t a number that fell to the ground and was forgotten; this is 15 years of pain. This is a daughter who lost her mother too soon … while I was wishing my mom understood fashion trends better.

Without parents, Olive moved to a little house with seven of her cousins – all of whom had been orphaned. They slept stacked in different rooms. Olive slept in the kitchen with her sister. They scrounged for food. They took care of each other. They got by. The end of Olive’s story is a happy one. Through a relief and development program, she had enough food to eat. She had enough money to pay for school fees. She got treatment when she had tuberculosis. She learned about the love of God and that he has a plan for her. And now she is a proud, tall woman with a master’s degree in social work, helping children with disabilities. She isn’t a number. She’s a story of hope. She’s a daughter. She’s a friend. She’s a treasure of God.

I’m Convinced

The pesky facts of poverty can bounce off of me. It’s all so far away, the numbers are so big that they are just too much to digest (how many is a billion anyway?), and it’s so much easier to just close my mind and move on. But then I think of Olive … and I’m convinced. I can’t stand passively by anymore. That could have been me. That could have been my sister, who has her same flashing eyes. I can scarcely comprehend a life in which my sister and I would have to regularly run from men who are trying to kill us. But at 6, that could have been us; instead, it was Olive. At 13, it could have been me shaking my mother who never woke up. It was Olive. It could have been my cousins­ Sarah, Katie, Greg, Tim, Tara, Chris, Kim – living with nothing and with no one to care for us. It was Olive and her cousins. I told my mom this story, and she trembled. It could have been her baby, her sweet little 6-year-old with a pink backpack and Mary Janes.

I’m convinced because those in poverty, the Olives, are just like me. I saw her. I looked into her eyes. A thin, thin line separates me from her. I’m convinced because I know God loves those I’d kind of like to forget. I’ve read the verses. I know the poor have a special place in God’s heart. I know Jesus is somehow close to them, in them. I know that he wants me to free the oppressed, feed the hungry, and clothe the naked.

Ok, God I’m convinced…What do you want from me?

Such a Time

I could have just as easily been born in Uganda, running from rebels as a tot. But God chose differently. God “determined the times set for [men] and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26-27). God had a reason for placing me exactly when and where he did, as the daughter of a middle-class chiropractor in Aurora, Colorado. It might seem pretty random, but it was not.

Not only that, God also prepared particular good works for me: “We are God’s work­manship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). God has been planning and planning … placing me just so, giving me exactly what he has, that I might find him and that I might do the good he has prepared in advance for me. What exactly that is, I’m not sure yet. But I’m convinced there’s something.

I think of Esther in the Bible. She was beautiful and charming and became a queen because of those qualities. She might have lain back, eaten grapes, and gotten shoulder rubs every day. I’d like that. But Esther chose to believe her uncle when he said, “Who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). “Such a time as this.” Esther’s husband, King Xerxes, had ordered a genocide of the Jews. Esther could have chosen to shut out the troubles of the world, stay quietly at home, and enjoy her very pleasant life. Instead, she used her position of power to speak up for the oppressed, risking not only her comfort, but her own life.

Could it be that God has placed me in a position of comfort and material power for such a time as this? A lack of clean water is killing almost 2 million people a year, 15.2 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS, 1 billion people live in extreme poverty, and 1 million children are trafficked into exploitive labor each year. If ever there was “such a time” – a time that needs God’s redemption, healing, and love – this is it.

I’m definitely not a savior of the world. Esther 4:14 says, “If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance … will arise from another place.” That’s a relief – because it’s not about me. It seems God is on the move, always on the move, ready to raise up relief and deliverance, people who will go for him, who will be his hands. And maybe, just maybe, I am a part of that plan. Maybe God has given me what he has and put me where he has for just such a time as this.

God on the Move

There is a lot going wrong in this world. I can’t change everything. But I’m learning that God hasn’t asked me to. I think there may be one little piece of the puzzle he’s asking me to fill in, one good work he’s asking me to do. Maybe when I’m working on my little piece and my friend is working on her little piece next to me and some church in Massachusetts is working on its piece and some Christians in Rwanda are working on their piece … maybe then God’s great masterpiece will be revealed. My piece may seem small, as if it doesn’t matter, but I’m just one part of the body of Christ. God is on the move to change this world one person at a time. Olive was one small person who was loved by someone. It mattered to Olive. If Olive’s mother had known, it would have mattered greatly to her. And now it matters to the children Olive is helping. What if I could be a part of something like that?

I’m convinced God is asking me to join him. God is on the move to heal, love, and restore, and he’s asking, “Who will go for me?”

Who knows what God will do?

My heart cries out, “Here I am, send me.”

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

Luke 12:48b

What part is God asking you to play?  Why has He placed you here for such a time as this?  How can you be a part of bringing His justice and love to this world?

Praying for you!  Have a wonderful weekend!

To the King!


Importance of Doctrine

8 04 2010

Hey guys,

So I’ve been knee-deep in summer camp planning this week trying to get details ironed out and curriculum written, and counselors lined up.  It’s a fun process and builds the anticipation for a great summer seeing God work through His children up at Quaker Haven.  I know many of you have wonderful memories of your time as a camper up at Quaker Haven.  It’s a special place, a place that God has worked through many generations.

Think about how formative some of those early experiences with God were in your life.

Sunday School

Children’s Church

Vacation Bible School

Summer Camps

After-School programs

AWANA/Pioneer clubs

Mission Trips

Whatever it was, those were times that you spent learning about God.  Times of laying down a foundation for your faith.  There comes a time in your life, usually during your college years, when you have the choice to take that faith you learned as a child and make it your own.  Not the faith of your parents or your church, but a personal intimate relationship that you have with your Heavenly Father.  But if you think about it….that relationship wouldn’t be the same without that foundation you built on as a child.

The Church is currently at an interesting place in history.  We are seeing a shift away from foundational truths, or doctrine, or theology (whatever you want to call it) and a focus more on individual experience and relative truth.  We, as Quakers, value the experience individuals have with the Holy Spirit, but without the context of Truth, doctrine/ theology, and Scripture, that experience can flounder in a borderless realm of feel-good statements and watered down platitudes.

Last month’s issue of the Christianity Today magazine had a wonderful article by Darren Marks called The Mind Under Grace; Why Theology is an Essential Nutrient for Spiritual Formation.  I wanted to share some if with you guys…

Doctrine.  The word conjures in the modern mind a string of negative images: The Inquisition.  Boring professors debating the number of angels on the head of a pin.  Bloggers arguing endlessly while the church flags in relevance in the once-Christian West.  Doctrine is a bludgeon, a curiosity, a rearranging of the deck chairs while the ship sinks.  Vibrant Christians want little to do with it, and instead focus on spiritual disciplines, works of mercy, and authentic Christian living.  Doctrine belongs to the past, when it was used mainly to divide believers…But we have to ask: Is it possible to live out discipleship without  a good measure of heady doctrine?  I see doctrine not as a boundary but as a compass.  Its purpose is not to make Christians relevant or distinctive but rather to make then faithful in their contexts.  Doctrine is a way of articulating what God’s presence in the church and the world looks like.  It can orient us by helping us…major in the majors.

In addition, I believe the crisis of the Western church is not about information itself but about the kind of information we absorb in our churches.  Philosopher James K. A. Smith put it best: “Theology is not some intellectual option that makes us ‘smart’ Christians; it is the graced understanding that makes us faithful disciples”

I’m using the terms doctrine and theology interchangeably.  To be exact, doctrine is more or less settled theology…Doctrine is wisdom that helps us clarify our mission.  Yet we seem decidedly uninterested in such wisdom today, both inside and outside the church…Many complain that the church has become incapable of cultivating Christian habits in its people.  No wonder, when for so many the starting point is not God but spiritual experience.  How can we sustain any spiritual growth if it is grounded in something as transitory as what we feel, individually or corporately?  The decreasing lack of interest in core Christian beliefs is due in part to church leaders who chase after relevance over substance – focusing on the feeling that something is meaningful rather than the truth that something is meaningful.  It is also due to church members who imagine that their experience is the touchstone of truth about God, rather than learning to evaluate their experience in light of Scripture and theology.  Over the years, I have found that the students in my classroom grow in understanding by studying “dusty” and “dry doctrine.  They learn to interrogate their experiences, asking how they may find a “theological experience” or mission.

We, as Quakers, are not opposed to doctrine, as many would claim we are.  Basic Christian doctrine has been the basis of our faith since the very beginning.  In fact, Robert Barclay wrote this in his work Anarchy of the Ranters:

Where a people are gathered together into the belief of the principles of the doctrines of the gospel of Christ, if any of that people shall go from their principles, and assert things false and contrary to what they have already received; such as stand and abide firm in the faith, have power, by the Spirit of God; after they have used Christian endeavors to convince and reclaim them, upon their obstinacy, to separate from such and to exclude them from their spiritual fellowship and communion.  For otherwise, if this be denied, farewell to all Christianity, or to the maintaining of and sound doctrines in the Church of Christ.

So as you are thinking about how your faith has been formed, take some time to think about how important those flannel-board Sunday school lessons or VeggieTales videos were to who you are now in your faith.  How those simple Truths shaped you.  And may you remember to fall in love with the teachings of your youth, that Jesus Christ came and died for you on a cross, and that through His death you may experience freedom and joy.

Plan to revisit Quaker Haven this May with our College Camp.  A great chance for you to reconnect and recharge.  Only $60!

To the King!


Easter Freedom

1 04 2010

Hey guys,

Well spring has sprung, and with 80 degree temps I’m not complaining at all.  You can’t help but find joy in the resurrection of life after the dead winter.  And as we head into this Easter weekend it couldn’t be more appropriate to celebrate the resurrection of creation and of our Savior. 

One awesome announcement I want to make: 

 College Camp 2010!

A time up at Quaker Haven camp for those of you who have graduated from high school and can no longer attend camp as a camper.  The purpose of this camp is to offer a weekend at camp for young adults to worship, play, fellowship, and grow closer to the Lord while exploring the themes of God’s sufficiency and purpose for our lives.  Here are the details:

Who: College Students & Young Adults (High School Graduates-30yrs)

When: May 21-23, 2010

Where: Quaker Haven Camp

Cost: $60 (after May 1st $75)

In order to encourage folks to be a part of our Connections gatherings as well as attend this camp we are offering a $10 discount to those who have attended at least on of our Connections gatherings.  The next Connections gathering is April 25th for those who are interested in being a part of that community.

Plan to attend now!  Brochure is attached.  Let me know if you’ve got questions.

Here’s some Easter thoughts from Mariya Jones:

Excerpt from an e-mail, that was taken from a newspaper printed near Luke Air Force Base in Arizona .
The complaint:   
‘Question of the day for Luke Air Force Base:   
Whom do we thank for the morning air show? Last Wednesday, at precisely 9:11 A.M, a
tight formation of four F-16 jets made a low pass over Arrowhead Mall, continuing west over Bell Road at approximately 500 feet. Imagine our good fortune!  Do the Tom Cruise-wannabes feel we need this wake-up call, or were they trying to impress the cashiers at Mervyns early bird special?  Any response would be appreciated.

The response:   
Regarding ‘A wake-up call from Luke’s jets’ On June 15, at precisely 9:12 a.m . , a
perfectly timed four- ship fly by of F-16s from the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base flew over the grave of Capt. Jeremy Fresques. Capt Fresques was an Air Force officer who was previously stationed at Luke Air Force Base and was killed in Iraq  on May 30, Memorial Day.  At   9 a.m.  on June 15 , his family and friends gathered at   Sunland   Memorial Park   in   Sun City   to mourn the loss of a husband, son and friend.. Based on the letter writer’s recount of the fly by, and because of the jet noise, I’m sure you didn’t hear the 21-gun salute, the playing of taps, or my words to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques as I gave them their son’s flag on behalf of the President of the United States and all those veterans and servicemen and women who understand the sacrifices they have endured.  A four-ship fly by is a display of respect the Air Force gives to those who give their lives in defense of freedom. We are professional aviators and take our jobs seriously, and on June 15 what the letter writer witnessed was four officers lining up to pay their ultimate respects.  The letter writer asks, ‘Whom do we thank for the morning air show? The 56th Fighter Wing will make the call for you, and forward   your thanks to the widow and parents of Capt Fresques, and thank them for you, for it was in their honor that my pilots flew the most honorable formation of their lives.  Only 2 defining forces have ever offered to die for you…. Jesus Christ and the American Soldier.  One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.  
Lt. Col. Grant L. Rosensteel, Jr.

This was one of those chain e-mails that my father just can’t resist passing on. I usually delete them and don’t give it a second thought, but this one stood out. A story like this just can’t be made up and it stuck out since it is Easter time. It is so easy for us to forget how much was sacrificed and this holiday is supposed to represent that. Lately, I have been hearing people talk about how unimportant this holiday is or that it’s not as major as other holidays. I think Easter has been made this way because people have forgotten the sacrifice our Savior made for us all. 

Independence Day in America has also become different. We are celebrating our freedom and all those who helped us become free. Today, people use the 4th of July as an excuse to party and set off as many fireworks as possible. Maybe people celebrated this way in the early days of this holiday, but it has definitely evolved since then. People are quick to forget the lives given on these holidays to free us. Galatians 5:13:

“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.”

God calls us to use our freedom wisely. He paid a high price for our freedom, but our sinful, human nature tends to make us want to use it for our pleasure and not to glorify God. We don’t act grateful to God for the great gift He gave us when we downplay this awesome holiday and act like it’s all about the bunnies and chocolate. These things are fun, but Jesus Christ paid the ultimate charge for the thing He loved the most: you! Don’t you want to glorify him and in some way say thank you for that? Maybe we should do like Paul said and “….serve one another in love.”

I hope you have a wonderful Easter celebration this weekend full of the reality of the resurrection and the appreciation of the freedom you personally have experienced through Jesus Christ.


To the King!


College Camp ’10 Brochure

My Savior On the Cross

25 03 2010

Hey guys,

So the last few weeks we’ve been thinking and talking about worship and prayer and how our lives can be more focused on Christ.  We’ve got our first ever Connections gathering this Sunday, which I hope many of you plan to attend.  And we are kicking off Holy Week.

In the midst of everything going on in your life, are you finding time to worship and pray?  Are you ready to step into this next week with reverence and worship?  Have you taken time to remember, this Lenten season, one of the most important events in history and hopefully in your own life?

Here is a pretty cool video of a sand artist’s portrayal of Easter to remind you:

I remember when Mel Gibson’s The Passion of Christ came out in theatres.  It was such a big deal, so much controversy and excitement.  I went to see the movie by myself and afterward wondered if I’d be able to ever watch it again.  It was a powerful experience for me.  I cried my eyes out.  I remember getting in my car after watching it and Johnny Cash’s version of the song Hurt was playing. 

What have I become?
my sweetest friend
everyone I know
goes away in the end
and you could have it all
my empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
And in the car, those lyrics again brought me to tears.  Etched in my mind were those gruesome images of my Savior being beating and tortured and hung…for me.

I have so many wonderful memories with many of you from my time working for Western Yearly Meeting these last few years.  The ministry God called me to here with you guys, has been powerful and has sustained me in many ways.  I have tried to be honest with you all about what’s going at the Yearly Meeting and given you opportunities to share, cry, be mad, and excited about this Church.   This past summer, Yearly Meeting sessions I know were difficult for many of you.  It was for me as well.  At times it felt like I was watching my Savior being hung on that cross again…being beating, tortured and hung by people who bear His name.

So, through out this past fall I have spent much time in prayer and discernment.  I’ve shared this with many of you but have not had the chance to express this to all of you.  I’ve seen God work in amazing ways in Western Yearly Meeting during my time here (especially through you guys), despite the constant conflict and dysfunction in the organization as a whole.  I’ve been privileged to do ministry along side some truly wonderful people here and all of that has weighed heavily on my heart as I struggled with what exactly my call to ministry with Western Yearly Meeting was to continue to be.  Could I continue to work with integrity and conviction for a Church that does not appear to stand for the same basic beliefs as I do?  As wonderful as it has been to be in ministry with you all, the politics and conflict of WYM have drained me personally in many ways and through this process of prayer and discernment it became clear to me that it is time for me to move on.  On many levels, my ministry at Western Yearly Meeting has switched into a survival mode, meaning that it seems as though without a clear vision for the future and without a clear theological framework from which to ground our ministries, we are merely surviving until inevitable death.  That is not a healthy place to be, for me or for Western Yearly Meeting as a whole.  So, it is with a clear but heavy heart that I am resigning from my position as Christian Education Director for Western Yearly Meeting after our Yearly Meeting Sessions this summer. 

I want to be clear that this decision was not made lightly.  As I’ve been preparing my heart to celebrate Easter, I see those images of Jesus dying on the cross for me again.  That is why I came to WYM in the first place, because God loved me so much that He sent His Son to die for me, and for you, and for everyone in Western Yearly Meeting and beyond.  When this Truth is unable to be heard and silenced within the Body of Christ, I’m sure that God weeps.

So…after Easter I’m gonna start my campus visits again.  I can’t wait to check in with you guys one final time and I know, without a doubt, that God wants to use you and your generation to make His Church a place where His Truth and His joy reigns.

Blessings!  Have a great week and celebrate your risen Savior who hung on that cross for you!

To the King!