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News from Spirit of Joy - January 22, 2013

posted Jan 24, 2013, 9:34 PM by Spirit of Joy Christian Church   [ updated Jan 25, 2013, 12:12 AM by Jackson Cobb ]
OK, you weren't kidding about the cold. I tried that trick where you toss boiling water in the air, and sure enough, it turned to a cloud of snow and ice and it sizzled. Yikes! At least we're not in Crane Lake where it was -35 this morning, and that's air temperature, not wind chill. Denny tells me there were days in Alaska when he hoped it would get UP to -35. So, it's relative, yes. Brrr.
Those who weren't here Sunday missed a great treat. Jeff Bauer led the children in an inclusive version of musical chairs, because, as he said, among followers of Jesus there's always room for everyone. And Diane Tran told her powerful life story, weaving it into a call to be salt, light, and love for the world. You can hear her at the church's sermon audio page. Take the time for it this week. You'll be glad you did!
We also opened our new children's worship center in the sanctuary. Parents and kids alike found worship more meaningful, knowing our kids now have a place they can be more engaged in worship. If you know anyone who's been away for a while because we haven't been able to involve their children, let them know it's a great time to get active again.
Jeff and Diane also led the adult study hour with an intro to activism, community organizing, and elections. Everyone wanted more, so we're going to schedule several weeks' more with them to learn how we can each make a difference in public life.
There's a great opportunity Sunday night--yes, January 27. There's an Upper Midwest Virtual Youth Group that meets periodically, and this Sunday there's a special treat. Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, the General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the US and Canada will join the feed to share her faith story and how she got to do what she does. If you're able to be here, let me know and I'll tell you the time as soon as I get the details from Bill Spangler-Dunning, our Regional Minister. Side note: Sharon participated in the Presidential Inauguration Prayer Service this morning at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Four years ago, she was the first woman ever to preach at that service.
Yes, you. You've got a story to tell, and I want you to tell it to our children. Ten, maybe 15 minutes is all it will take. And they'll get to know you, and you'll get to know them. What could be better than that?
Please, keep reading! This is how it will work.
Children's Sunday School starts up February 3 at 9:30. Do you have a story from your life about how it feels to love someone? I want you to tell it to our elementary kids. They'll hear Paul talk about love in 1 Corinthians 13, but since they don't really know Paul, and they do (or should) know you, I want them to hear about love as you experience it. You're not drawing any conclusions, not coming up with a moral like Aesop, but just telling what it was like to be in love. Maybe it was your first crush in Kindergarten, or a pet who stuck by your side no matter what, or how you met your spouse, or how you feel toward your kids. There will be a teacher there to keep the class going. Your job is to own your story and tell it.
You waited too long to speak up, and someone's already telling the kids what love feels like? No problem. You've got other stories. On February 10 you could share how you first learned something you still treasure about Jesus. The kids will hear how Peter, James and John went up the mountain and learned that Jesus is every good word God has ever given them. But they don't know Peter, James and John. They do know you. Let them meet Jesus as you know him.
OK, you didn't speak up in time to talk about love, and you're not sure how to talk about Jesus. Never fear. You've got stories about how your life has turned from something difficult to something good.
February 17 you can tell how you were tempted once to do something you shouldn't do, and how you did or didn't find a way to trust in doing the right thing. The kids will have heard about the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness and how he trusted God, but the story will ring truer to them if you tell how you once faced a real temptation. Keep it kid-friendly! But do keep it real.
Maybe your story is more appropriate on February 24, because there was a time when you were at your wits' end, utterly despairing, and somehow you found reason to hope for a better future. They'll have heard how Abraham and Sarah went from despair at not having any children to hope for kids and grandkids. But it will be more real if they hear how you found hope in your life. Call me. Email. Text. Let me know you'll do this.
Maybe your story is how once you felt completely cut off--you were new to town, no friends, you knew no one. And then something happened. Before long, you felt like you belonged. You went from being a stranger to having friends, from alienation to belonging. Psalm 63 tells how someone felt alienated from God, longing, thirsting even, and then in prayer felt like God invited her to a feast. If on March 3 you can share with our kids a time when you felt like you finally belonged, let me know. The date is yours!
Maybe you've got a story to share about a time when you did something wrong, hurt someone's feelings, did something that you felt awful about, and then were forgiven. You know it's happened to you. On March 10, the kids will hear the story of the Prodigal Son and how his father forgave him when he'd wasted everything. Maybe that happened to you--you were the father, or maybe you were the son, or maybe you were the older brother who couldn't forgive. Won't you tell our kids what that was like for you?
Ok, your story isn't any of these things. You want to tell about a time when you were a child and  so torn apart by grief you couldn't stand it. It was the death of a beloved pet, or a grandmother who used to take care of you, or your best friend moved away, and you didn't think you'd ever be happy again. But somehow in time you found your joy. On March 17 you can tell your story. The kids will have heard Psalm 126 talk about those who sowed in tears but reaped with shouts of joy. But it will speak to them if they know someone's really done it. Is it you?
On March 24, we celebrate Palm Sunday. The kids will hear how some Pharisees tried to quiet the crowds and Jesus said if they were silent even the stones would shout. Maybe your story is about how, against all odds, you found your voice. You realized you had been silent too long and now you had something to say, and nothing was going to stop you. Let me know that you're willing to share your story before someone else takes this date. Our kids need to meet a living example of someone who's gone from silence to speaking out.
Easter, of course, is March 31. It's a special day that calls for a special story about moving from death to life. It may be your story that has to be told that day. Think about it. Something in you that has gone from death to life. What could be better for our children to hear on Easter?
I really do want you to call (651-592-5111), email (, text (651-592-5111), or tell me face-to-face when you see me next which one of these dates you'll tell your story. I know you've got one. And our kids need you. You've been down this Lenten path before, moving from something bad or difficult to a better place physically, emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually. It will help our children if they know someone's on this path with them. And it may just help you to know there's someone who cares enough to listen.
Be in touch. I hope to hear from you soon.