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!



Thoughts on Contentment

16 03 2010

Hey guys,

Check it out….March is halfway over!  Holy cow!  Does anybody else feel like time is flying?!  We’ve got our first Connections gathering in two weeks, March 28th 3pm-6pm at the Plainfield Hampton Inn.  Plan on coming!  We’ll have a time of worship together, a pretty cool speaker (yours truly), some small group fellowship time, and FOOD!  Don’t miss it!  The other thing to start thinking about is our upcoming College Camp at Quaker Haven.  I know Quaker Haven is a pretty cool place and many of you have wonderful memories of how God worked in your life there.  So we are going to provide a weekend camp for you guys this May.  More details will be coming soon.  The dates will be May 21-23.  Get it on your calendar now!!

Contentment by Mariya Jones

I attended a retreat this weekend, with women from a church my parents have been attending, where we talked about contentment. The lady leading the retreat was using a book called Calm my Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. Mrs. Dillow was a missionary for many years in Asia and Europe and used many of her experiences to teach her readers about how to have contentment in their lives. Our leader told us that contentment is not something that God just grants but is often a result of something that he changes within us. We often feel tired and dissatisfied with our lives or something particular in our lives and want God to change it. But he changes our perspective about things instead of changing that thing we feel so discontented with.

We started by talking about our view of contentment and what that word means. The leader expressed that contentment really means realizing that God is in control.

1 Timothy 6:15

“God is the blessed controller of all things.”

We don’t act content with what we have because we don’t realize that we must submit to God. He is the controller and ruler of everything, even us. As humans we try so hard to maintain control of our lives or even one thing just to feel like we aren’t loosing it. But God asks us to lose it everyday and give it all to him. If we aren’t willing to give him everything in our lives, we don’t deserve it anyway because he gave it to us in the first place by giving us life!

We went on to talk about where we struggle with contentment in our lives. For many of us that is a long list. We don’t realize how often we complain; even about the most minute thing. I was on Facebook looking at statuses and feeling very down. So many people complain in their status about what is going wrong in their day. How many times do we stop to update people on the good things? How many times do we stop to thank God for just dying for us and in turn giving us life? Shouldn’t we be content just for having life and the opportunity to do something beautiful with that life?

Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.”

God doesn’t want us to dwell on the bad things, but to find joy and peace in the good. Finding happiness and contentment doesn’t always come from having a great life. Many people in third world countries are the most kind and joyful people you will meet, despite their circumstances. Contentment is all about our attitudes and the way we choose to see things. If we just follow what God asks us to do, our lives will be more content because we have obeyed him and that is much easier than fighting with him. Can I get an AMEN on that one?!

May you find ways to be content this week!

Praying for you!

To the King!


Thoughts on True Worship: Giving of Ourselves

10 03 2010

Hey guys,

Loving the warm weather?!  Spring is just around the corner!  So is our first ever Connections gathering.  Please plan on attending! 

March 28th


Plainfield Hampton Inn, Conference Room



Small Group/Fellowship Time


Here’s some devotional thoughts for this week from our Young Adult Ministry Assistant, Mariya Jones:

True worship: surrendering to honor God in everything

God has been laying it on my heart recently to give up some things in my life to honor him more fully. I have a hard time with this because I am human and it is our nature to be selfish. I want to make myself happy but I also want to please God in everything I do just like it says in the Bible. The Bible also talks about being a missionary in our cities, countries and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

I hear repeatedly, (especially at the student missions conference Urbana), that we need to learn to be missionaries where we are at before we can be effective ministers in other parts of the world. This is really hard for me because I feel that in order to be relevant to those around me I need to continuously be a part of some kind of community. I feel the need to be a part of some group, to look genuine or in some way “cool” to that group in order to share the gospel effectively with them. This sounds really silly for me to say and write. I often feel confused about how to stay true to my Savior and praise him constantly in all my actions, but still be able to be a part of a group of people who don’t often hear his words so that they can truly hear what he is saying through me.

            God does not want someone who cannot handle the heat of being an outspoken Christian. If we truly want to follow God and be his hands and feet to the ends of the earth, we have to give up everything and follow him to wherever he wants us to go. We must fill our lives with him and do what he tells us no matter how hard we think it is. Luke 14:27

“And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

It’s so hard to die to ourselves constantly and be that morally upright follower of Christ, but it’s something I believe we are continually perfecting throughout our lives.

My prayer for those of us who want to be involved in Connections, is that we can support each other in this continuous reach to be a better Christian and missionary and that we can truly worship our Lord. I hope that our time together will prove helpful in making Jesus Christ our center.

Have a great week!  Praying for you!

To the King!