Serving with DAIS - Hope Amidst Hurt

As many of you will recall, our church and preschool community lost a dear friend and teacher in August of 2014 when Ashlee Steele’s husband killed her.  In the weeks and months following Ashlee’s death, many community members and organizations rallied around preschool teachers, families, and church staff as we grieved and navigated our way through this tragedy.  One those organizations, Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS), has provided many opportunities to learn more about domestic abuse (the ultimate form of which is homicide).  I’ve participated in workshops for faith leaders and helped facilitate teaching sessions for teens and youth group leaders; DAIS led a training for church staff here in 2015; and in September I completed 34 hours of advocate training at DAIS in order to join their crisis response team, whose members volunteer weekly to provide victims with listening and support, access to community resources, and assistance with safety planning.  

 

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and I’m sharing all of this with you because domestic abuse is a significant problem, a community problem, that requires a community response.  Did you know that domestic abuse affects 1 in 4 women, and 1 in 7 men?  Approximately 1 in 3 teens will experience some form of dating violence before they become an adult.  Abuse is not always or only physical -- it can be verbal, sexual, and emotional as well.  Children from homes where domestic abuse occurs can also suffer serious consequences even if they are not directly abused.  We all know someone who was or is a victim of domestic abuse, and we can all learn how to help.  

 

If you have questions about domestic abuse in general, about your own safety, or about the safety of a loved one, please call the DAIS Help Line (608-251-4445 or 1-800-747-4045) or to talk to me or another trusted staff person at the Church.  We want you to know that we are here to support you, and that suffering from abuse is never your fault.  


Please join me in praying regularly for victims of domestic abuse in all its forms, and consider participating in the community response to domestic violence in one of the following ways:

Learn more by attending an upcoming DAIS Community Education Event or their fall fundraiser:

What Does It Mean to Support a Survivor?

Wednesday, October 26, 5:30-7:00pm
DAIS, 2102 Fordem Avenue, Madison
RSVP online abuseintervention.org/about/events or by calling 608-251-1237

Dress for DAIS Fashion Show

Thursday, October 20, 6:30pm
Overture Center Main Lobby
abuseintervention.org/fashion-show

 

Power of One

Participate in DAIS’ Power of One campaign, which aims to shift the conversation in Dane County fromviewing domestic abuse as a women’s issue to a community issue, and engages men in our community through education, awareness, and social change. More details are on their website (abuseintervention.org/powerofone).

 

Become an Advocate

Consider becoming an advocate (regular volunteer) with DAIS.  The next New Advocate Training will take place in February 2017. 

Become a Host

Host a workshop, training, or presentation at your workplace or community group: email Faye at fayez@abuseintervention.org or visit abuseintervention.org/about/education for more information

 

Fear

Fear. A small word that has a strong influence on how we live our lives. As I have been listening to others, reading social media, and watching the news, it has become so clear to me how prone we are to living in the grip of fear. Here are just a few examples of where I have been seeing fear show up: child starts a new school, another child doesn’t get the desired teacher, finances, politics, loss of a job, health issues, broken relationships, changes in our jobs/church/homes/etc., transitions with family members,  uncertainty about the future; I could go on and on.

We don’t always see our responses to these situations as fear, however. We experience a multitude of other emotions, often failing to see the underlying fear that is driving our responses and behavior.  That underlying fear, and the mis-beliefs that accompany that, show up in a variety of ways.

  • We strive to over-control the people around us and environments we are in.
  • We make assumptions of others.
  • We pull back and stop taking risks.
  • We idolize safety.
  • We resist and challenge those who don’t see things as we do.
  • We speak harshly to and about others.
  • We seek our own interests above the interests of others.
  • Our ability to trust those around us is greatly diminished.
  • Anger and frustration become our go-to emotions.
  • We aren’t able to listen well and relationships suffer.
  • We push our emotions and fear onto those around us.

This is just the short list.   I would challenge you today – if you notice any of the above responses in yourself – to consider what are your underlying fears? What beliefs are you holding on to that are prompting the fear?

There is an alternative. Fear will come. Our broken, human nature is one that is prone to believing lies, and being trapped by the fear brought on by those lies. However, our response is under our control. 1 John 4:18 reminds us, “Perfect love drives out all fear.” On our own, fear will control us. It will sneak in and consume our thoughts and behaviors. Thankfully, we are not on our own. We are loved with a perfect love by a Savior who eagerly comes to our rescue. Let us learn to trust in His perfect love and grow in our dependence on Him. When we rest in the author of perfect love, and lay our burdens on him, we are freed from fear. (Ps. 34:4).

1. Acknowledge and confess the fear

2. Consider: What would it look like to trust Jesus in this situation that is causing this fear?

3. Move forward confident that God is in control and works for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28) Hear and respond willingly to God’s call and be free to experience the blessings that come with freedom from fear.

This week, would you spend time reading Psalm 46? I’d love to know what God reveals to you as you spend time in His Word this week!

 

Pastor Jeff and Amy's Sabbatical

Sabbatical-from the root “Sabbath” - an extended period of leave from one’s customary work, especially for rest and renewed clarity.

The board along with the Church, staff have approved a 6-month sabbatical from November 1, 2016 through April 30, 2017 for Pastor Jeff and Amy Meyer.

Over the past few years, Pastor Jeff has wondered openly if his leadership at the Church is still effective.  After 18 years, there is a growing desire, on his part, to take some time to consider if his voice as a leader is effective and whether or not he is the right leader for the Church as we move forward into the next season of our journey together.  We are confident that God will speak and grant the Meyer’s the clarity they seek for the next chapter of their life together in ministry.

We also believe strongly that this would be a unique time for clarity and listening to God’s voice in each of our lives.  We would ask each of you, who are part of this family we call the Church, to consider how you will respond to God’s call and mission to connect people to life in Jesus, because you do belong to Him.  We trust that we will experience leadership growth during this season as more people discover what leadership skills God has given them to be used more prominently to share in Jesus’ mission as the Church.

Pastor Jeff will continue his work with Auxano and the Pastoral Leadership Institute (PLI) over the course of the sabbatical, and we trust God will refresh him and bring him back to the Church in such a manner that will allow all of us to discern how best we can make a Kingdom impact together.  Staff unanimously selected our Youth Director, Emily Powers, to serve as interim leader during the sabbatical.

More information regarding the specifics of Pastor Jeff’s Sabbatical can be found in the links below.

Gary Robert's thoughts on Pastor Jeff's Sabbatical

Sabbatical Leadership Structure, Contract and Goals

If you have questions you can contact the Chair of the Board, Peter Huebner, at peterhue@centurytel.net or Pastor Jeff at jmeyer@livelifetogether.com.

 

lifeGroup

 

At the Church we live life together in lifeGroup. Small groups that meet weekly in each other's homes. We WELCOME our friends and neighbors, share a meal and share our lives. We WORSHIP, grow in the WORD, pray and care for each other. Together we serve our neighborhood and community as a WITNESS of Jesus' love. Authentic biblical community requires deep connections. Our connection to other people is at the heart of our Christian experience. Though we often experience worship in a large setting with many other people, authentic connections happen most effectively in smaller groups where there is opportunity for dialog and relationships.  In lifeGroup, people at all different stages of their spiritual journey grow together in Christian fellowship as they worship, experience God, minister to one another, and serve together in their community.

 

We have been focussing on lifeGroup over the last few weeks learning about the Gifts that are given and received as we gather together.  lifeGroup is one of the places that you can engage as a follower of Jesus, one of the places you can invite a friend to join you. Let’s review what the gifts are that are given and received in lifeGroup: The Gift of Prayer … Promise ... Participation … Presence ... Penitence … Perseverance … Partnership … Persistence …  Patterns …  Praise … Purpose and People.  WOW…  that is a lot of gifts! If you missed one of the sermons or the lifeGroup Scoop video, you can watch here.

 

Which gift stands out to you?  Which one have you had the pleasure of giving and receiving?  Which gift seems to be missing currently in your lifeGroup?  

 

Extend the gift of invitation.  Receive the gift, and say yes!  Connect to a lifeGroup today!

 

Pass it On – Part 2: Learn It

It’s been a few months since Part I: It Only Takes a Spark was printed.  How did it go?  What was the harder to show love to your neighbor, or to answer if they asked why?  Did they end up doing something nice for you?

It seems pretty common in discussions about what God has blessed us to do, how He has gifted us specifically, that people have a hard time answering about themselves, even though they can easily point to qualities they admire in others.  The same seems to hold true when I try and think of what part of my following of Jesus seems “good enough” to share with other people (put that kind of thinking out of your head if it’s there).

So, instead of convincing you about the many ways God has blessed you, or trying to say that discipleship is a two way street, so you both learn together (which is true, but doesn’t make getting over the starting hurdle any easier), let’s reverse the question. 

 

So here is Pass it On - Part 2: Learn It

  1. Find someone who does something well that you want to do.
  2. Ask them to show you how they do it, and to teach you to do it for yourself.
  3. Actually learn it (do it and practice it).
  4. Pay attention to how they discipled you, and what you can learn about discipling from this experience.

I could (and probably will someday) ask any of a number of people I know who quickly turn to God in prayer to show me how.  Recently a friend said he was on a journey to practice discerning the work and voice of the Holy Spirit.  It sounded really cool to me, and moved me right away to want that for myself.  So, I’ve asked him if he could show me what he’s doing.  Over the next few months, I’m just going to join him in the way he is practicing and learning, and we’ll see what happens.

Maybe someday someone will ask you to show them how you spend time quietly with God, because they have seen that pattern in your life and wish they could have the same.