Goals: Coming in 2019

Goals: Coming in 2019

As we look through Scripture, we see countless examples of God giving people goals to achieve. Goals that help them focus on fulfilling the plans that God has set out. Homes Springing with Life are homes that are focused and intentional about the goals that God has set before them. Our church family is no different. We operate well when we are aligned and moving towards a common goal that God has set before us. Each fall, the Church staff gathers to look at those goals that God is placing on our hearts. We look forward to the big picture, and then narrow that to goals that are a few years out, goals for the coming year, and then our specific focus for the next few months.

 

Our big picture goal is this: We will see 40 well-watered Household Wells in designated regions, bearing Kingdom fruit. We will see people from those Household Wells in focused and intentional 1-with-1 discipling relationships. We will see people identifying themselves as disciples, committed to reaching 1 person, 1 home, 1 neighborhood, 1 region at a time until no one in Madison is thirsty.

 

Sometimes a big picture dream feels really big. We have articulated what we hope to see in the next few years as a step in seeing the big picture goal realized. The 3-year goal is to see a FLOURISHING CONGREGATION, FLOURISHING HOMES, and FLOURISHING INDIVIDUALS. In each of those areas, we have defined flourishing to mean our congregation/homes/selves are built on truth and grace, practice generosity, are emotionally and spiritually healthy, and are connected in community with each other and to their specific regional neighborhoods and communities.

 

In 2018, we focused on Homes Springing with Life as a first step towards seeing that 3-year goal become reality. It has been an exciting year for the staff. We have been celebrating the growth and joy that we have seen in people’s lives. We enjoyed the extra time spent with our church family at our wellness events. And we are confident that the dream that God has given us is becoming a reality.

 

For 2019, we hope to continue building that foundation that will lead towards a Flourishing Congregation, Flourishing Homes, and Flourishing Individuals. Our theme for 2019 will be:

HOMES BUILT on GRACE and TRUTH (John 1:14)

We will place an emphasis on what it means for those areas to have a solid foundation in God’s truth and in His grace, living that out through time in God’s WORD, connected through PRAYER, and generous with LOVE. By the end of 2019, our hope is that each of us can answer the questions:

“How am I following Jesus through WORD, PRAY, LOVE?”

“Who am I helping to follow Jesus through WORD, PRAY, LOVE?”

 
  • We are eager to explore those questions alongside of you. As we prepare for the new year, here are just a few of the things you can look forward to at the Church:
  • We will continue our rhythm of L@ST Sundays. On the last Sunday of each month we will worship together at 9:00am with a potluck afterwards.
  • The Art of Parenting class will be held during 2*22 from January 13th through the end of March. We will kick this off with a screening of the movie “Like Arrows” on January 11th. There will also be an alternate Bible Study led by Pastor Jeff during this time.
  • Spiritual Experiences Night on February 11th.
  • Family Playdate at Legacy Academy during February.
  • Before each Lenten service, we will be offering prayer experiences.
  • A debt reduction campaign to eliminate our mortgage and increase the building maintenance fund.
  • Much of our accounts payable, receivable, and accounting will shift from volunteer positions to the organization N4N (Numbers for Nonprofits). Pastor Jeff will maintain oversight of finances. The bulk of our financial obligations will be streamlined through this central organization.
 

On December 2nd, at Coffee with the Staff, we were able to give an overview of this information, along with some other information about staff roles and what to expect in 2019. You can hear what was presented firshand by going to our facebook page and watching the livestream video from Coffee with the Staff. At the end of our time together that morning, we asked those in attendance to reflect on a few questions. As you go about your week, I’d encourage you to take some time to reflect on these questions as well. Perhaps, through your time of reflection, God may impress on you some personal goals for 2019. The staff and I covet your prayers as we move into 2019. We are so thankful for each of you and your partnership in God’s Kingdom.

 

“Where do you currently see our congregation/your home/yourself flourishing?”

“In what areas in our congregation/your home/yourself need some nourishment?

“What growth have you see in yourself in 2018?”

“What would you like to see for your spiritual health in 2019?”

 
 

Homes Springing With Life Midpoint and Survey

 

Everyday Dependence on Christ

 
August, 2003, July, 2006, August 1, 2006, November 4, 2012, January 5, 2014, September 13, 2015

Those are some of my significant dates. They include my move to Madison to take my first teaching job, my first mission trip, leaving the school district to begin working at the Church, my marriage, and the birth of my children. These are the dates when I understood, more clearly than any other times in my life, what it meant to be dependent on Christ. These are the times when life shifted, responsibility was overwhelming, and the future was unknown – and I had no choice but to surrender to Jesus.  What are your dates? Your experiences? The times when you had to fall before Jesus with complete trust?  My hope is that you have had at least one of those experiences, a time to look back on and say, “Jesus had control and we did ok.”

Unfortunately, those are only 6 dates. There are many, many days and weeks and years between them. Many days of life as “status quo”; days when I felt confident to live on my own power and control. Have I lived those normal, peaceful days with a full surrender and trust in Jesus?  When life is in turmoil or change, when we feel like we have nothing to offer on our own, we fall before Jesus. However, the challenge lies in maintaining that dependence in our everyday, normal lives. Luke 9:23 says, “Take up your cross DAILY and follow me.” I don’t know if you can relate, but I don’t always surrender my everyday to Jesus.

More than anything, I desire my home to be springing with the life that Jesus, and Jesus alone, offers. I want my marriage to be centered in Christ, reflective of His grace, and a place where spiritual health abounds. My primary goal for my children is that they love the Lord and trust Him with all their hearts. I want my friendships to be places where Jesus is central and His love is poured out.  And yet, God has been convicting me of a simple truth – spiritual health begins with me.  I am half of my marriage. It cannot be spiritually healthy if I am not.  My children cannot know spiritual health unless they see it modeled. And my home cannot spring with Life unless I am well-connected to the Life-giver.

And so, Luke 9:23 becomes more important. I must DAILY make the decision to surrender to Jesus. My decisions, my time, my finances, my priorities, my roles as friend and wife and mother and neighbor, must all be viewed first as a daily practice in trusting Jesus.  My relationship with Jesus becomes a first priority, so that I can then place myself, my wants and desires SECOND to what Jesus wants of me. With this perspective, I feel an urgency to be daily sustained by God’s Word, prayer, community, and worship. I am convicted and confess that I place myself and my false sense of control before Jesus.

It’s not easy. Working towards our own spiritual health and dependence on Christ takes humility, patience, compassion, and an open heart. But by God’s grace, I get to take those steps. And I do so in confidence knowing that His ways are better than my own, and that I am a loved child of God. So this week, I will start each day with a simple prayer. Would you join me? “Lord, in this day, teach me to trust you. Open my eyes to the places where I can surrender my will to yours. Sustain me and give me your peace.”

 

Leopold Partnership Update

I’m not sure how you feel about the 2017-2018 school year, but for my family it’s felt like a bit of a whirlwind! As we near the end of the spring semester, I’d like to provide an update on our church’s Adopt-a-School partnership with Leopold Elementary School.

 

I’m thankful for the many ways our church family has been able to show up this school year. From getting involved in the Schools of Hope tutoring program, to providing material needs such as mattresses for a family and snow gear for students, and stocking the school’s ten little free libraries, the Church is letting this school know we care. Did you know we were also able to provide a scholarship for a student from Leopold to go to a national “Safety Patrol” conference in Washington, D.C.? Leopold’s principal told me how thankful they are that we could help make this opportunity a reality.   

 

I’m also excited to share two upcoming ways we get to partner with Leopold. First, their annual one-mile fun run, the Timber Wolf Trample, will be held at the school on Saturday, May 12, at 11:00am. A Parent Faculty Organization representative who runs the event approached our church, as well as Blackhawk Fitchburg, to ask if we could support them with volunteers on the morning of the event and by providing some food and water. What an easy “Yes!” If you’re able to serve that morning, you can arrive anytime between 9:30-10:00 a.m. to help set up the food service area and prepare food, then serve the meal and/or cheer on the student runners. Clean-up after the meal will conclude between 12:30-1:00pm. This is a wonderful service opportunity for young families and anyone else who’d like to help out. Even if you’re only able to be there for an hour or two that morning, your time will be greatly appreciated, and you’re sure to have some fun!

 

Second, in cooperation with the school and the Fitchburg Public Library, as well as some fellow yogis from Perennial Yoga & Meditation, I plan to offer some fun, free yoga classes for children and their families at Leopold Park this summer. The library is coordinating afternoon programming at the park four days a week over a 7-week session this summer (June 18 - August 2); those who are going on Higher Ground’s high school mission trip in Madison may even get to help with this. There will also be a lot of fun ways for families to play together on Tuesday evenings during these seven weeks, and yoga will be one of several drop-in activities in which people can participate. If you can help with this for an hour or two on some of these Tuesday evenings between 5:00-7:30pm -- it’s okay if you have minimal or zero yoga experience! -- or with the Timber Wolf Trample on May 12, please let me know.  

 

Would you join me in thanking God as he leads us to discover and celebrate the many ways we can use our bodies, minds, and hearts to get to know our neighbors and co-create a stronger community?  

 
 

25 Simple Ways to Live Life with Your Neighbors_

25 Simple Ways to Live Life With Your Neighbors

Today I’d like to share with you an article by Pastor Josh Reeves, of Redeemer Church in Round Rock, Texas (www.redeemerrr.org). I love the simplicity of the ideas he shares, and how he encourages us to think of ways we can include our neighbors in some of our day-to-day activities. Here is Pastor Reeves’ short-but-sweet article:

I have found that it is often helpful to have practical ideas to start engaging the people around me. Most of the things on this list are normal, everyday things that many people are already doing. The hope is that we would do these things with Gospel intentionality. This means we do them:

  • In the normal rhythms of life pursuing to meet and engage new people.

  • Prayerfully watching and listening to the Holy Spirit to discern where God is working.

  • Looking to boldly, humbly, and contextually proclaim the Gospel in word and deed.

Below is a list of 25 simple ways to get to know your neighbors. Not all of these are for everyone, but hopefully there will be several ideas on the list that God uses to help you live life with your neighbors:

1. Cook an extra casserole and give it to a neighbor

2. Buy an extra dozen donuts and give them to a neighbor

3. Start a compost pile and allow neighbors to dump their compost

4. Host a coffee and dessert night

5. Organize and host a ladies craft night

6. Organize an effort for neighbors to help care for homebound or elderly neighbors

7. Become a regular at your neighborhood park or pool

8. If you have a skill, let neighbors know that you can use it to help them for free

9. Host a movie night and discussion afterward

10. Start a walking or running group in the neighborhood

11. Start hosting a weekly or monthly play date with other stay-at-home parents

12. Organize a carpool for your neighborhood to help save gas

13. Collect thrift store items from neighbors and offer to take them to the store

14. Have a front yard ice cream party in the summer

15. Start a sewing group

16. Help your kids host a lemonade stand in your driveway (invite neighbor kids to help)

17. Throw a Labor Day block party

18. Start a neighborhood Facebook/Twitter/Google + group, or join Next Door

19. Ask longtime residents to help you learn about the neighborhood

20. Offer to babysit neighbors’ kids so they can have a date night

21. Find out your neighbors’ birthdays and take them a card and baked treat

22. Set up a meet-your-neighbors night with drinks in your driveway or yard

23. Ask your homeowners/neighborhood association or apartment complex if they need help with anything

24. Host a regular Saturday morning breakfast potluck

25. Host a sports game watching party

Missional Tip: Pick one of these ideas and act on it this week.

If you try one of these ideas, let us know how it went by emailing (egumm@livelifetogether.com) or sharing on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/livelifetogether)!