Happy Wednesday, FCC! Just a few short days and we all get to gather together to worship God together. I'm looking forward to seeing you all!
Starting with this edition of TheUpDate, I will add a section focused on our five-year strategic plan. Today, I would like to begin at the beginning (it's a very good place to begin), with a reminder of what we are working toward in our strategic plan. Our strategic plan is focused on creating a discipleship culture with an evangelistic ethos. Our mission is to make more and better disciples of Jesus, so we want our church culture to be focused on discipleship. But often discipleship can become internally focused, so disciples seek to grow deeper but not multiply. That is why we want an evangelistic ethos as well. One aspect of our mission is to make better disciples, but the other aspect is to make more disciples.
This plan leads us to three goals together:
FCC's leadership is seeking to focus all our efforts to developing a discipleship culture with an evangelistic ethos.
We are hearing great stories of God doing extraordinary things through the ordinary ways of discipleship. We would love to help equip you to disciple others and experience God's life transforming power. To that end, please accept our invitation to attend our As We Go Discipleship Workshops.
The next As We Go discipleship workshop will take place after both services in the Refuge Room on Sunday, March 18. Pastor Tim Prince will be covering the root-to-fruit tool and how to use it in your own life and in discipleship relationships. The workshop is free and there’s no need to register.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
On Sunday, March 4, Pastor Tim Prince preached on Philippians 2.1-11, closing out our series entitled Just Like Me (You can view or listen to the sermon and the series online). In the sermon, Pastor Prince talked about how the secret is out. What secret? The secret is that we are flawed, deeply flawed. This is the secret we try to keep from others. We can rationalize it in our heads (no one is perfect), but when it comes down to it, we don't like others knowing that we are flawed.
But in coming to Jesus, we acknowledge that we are flawed. We are sinners. Saved by grace, but still sinners. We must acknowledge this to follow Jesus, because it matches what we know to be true about ourselves, and also, because Jesus' whole mission was to die and rise again for our sin.
How great is our sin? It took the death of God's perfect Son, Jesus of Nazareth to die in our place on a Roman cross. The death of Jesus, a willing substitute for us and our sin, makes it possible for God to declare us righteous, though we have sinned. God is just and the one who justifies sinners, who trust in Jesus.
As I listened to Pastor Prince's sermon, I was reminded of a John Newton quote (the author of “Amazing Grace”). Newton said, “Although my memory's fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.”
As you remember Jesus' humble death on a wretched Roman cross, may you be reminded that yes you are a great sinner, but even more you have a great savior.
This Sunday we begin a new series called Our Only Hope. I am very excited about this series and look forward to what God might do with it. The theme of the series is hope. We are focusing on hope, because we are hope-based creatures. We are always hoping. Paying attention to our hopes and how they motivate us is crucial for life transformation. The first sermon will focus on how hope creates love for one another. We all know that if we love one another, we wouldn't harm one another. If there was more love, there wouldn't be racism, there wouldn't be mass shootings, there wouldn't be theft and a host of other evils.
In all of our calls for love, we forget that though love can be described, and it can be commanded, it has to be created and sustained. And the way it is created and sustained is with hope—an eternal, physical, relational, and spiritual hope.
Please make every effort to hear these sermons, and please consider inviting others to them. If we take in and act on what we learn in these sermons, lives could be transformed and our neighborhoods renewed.
We all live by hope. We are irreducibly hope-based creatures. We are made to hope. If we lose hope, we lose motivation to live. This is why it is so important for us to base our lives on the only hope that fully satisfies. This Easter Series is focused on Hope, and its life transforming power. This will be a very important series to invite others to hear.
March 11 Our Only Hope Awakens Love Colossians 1.3-8
March 18 Our Only Hope Fuels Generosity 1 Timothy 6.6-10, 17-19
March 25 Our Only Hope Strengthens Confidence 2 Corinthians 1.8-11
April 1 Our Only Hope Conquers Death 1 Corinthians 15.42-57
We will offer services at 9 and 11 a.m. on Easter Sunday, April 1. Print invitation cards are available to give to your friends and neighbors, or share this page from our web site through text, email or social media. Pray for who you will invite to Easter services this year. (LifeShaping classes will not take place on Easter Sunday. The nurseries will be available for children through age 5.)
Some topics are so crucial, current, debated and/or divisive, they require focused attention in addition to sermons. Faith Community hosts Faith Forums as an additional way to offer biblical perspective on a variety of culturally relevant topics. Our next Faith Forum is scheduled for Sunday, March 25, and the topic is The Gospel and Immigration. The evening includes a presentation by the speakers followed by Q & A (questions and answers.) This forum is an opportunity to consider a complex issue from a gospel perspective. It is not intended as a response for or against immigration or any related policies.
We’ve invited two experts on this topic as our featured speakers. Liz Dong is the Midwest Regional Mobilizer for the Evangelical Immigration Table. Liz is an immigrant and a recipient of DACA. She lived for two years in intentional Christian community with refugees and immigrants in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Liz is the co-founder of Voices of Christian Dreamers, a Dreamer-led movement dedicated to changing the conversation about immigration in the Church through highlighting biblical teaching, personal stories and other resources. She has a BA from Northwestern University (IL) and is currently working toward her MBA from the University of Chicago. Our second speaker, Matthew Soerens, is US Director of Church Mobilization for World Relief and the National Coordinator for the Evangelical Immigration Table, a coalition of evangelical organizations of which World Relief is a founding member. He is the co-author of "Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis" and "Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate" He has written on the topic of immigration for publications such as Christianity Today, RELEVANT, Sojourners, The Gospel Coalition, and the Washington Post. He is a graduate of Wheaton College and DePaul University’s School of Public Service. Matthew lives in Aurora, Illinois, with his wife and three children. So please save the date of March 25 at 6:30 p.m. for the next Faith Forum.
CHILD CARE will be available during the Faith Forum for children through age 5. If you need child care for the event, please register at fcchudson.com by Sunday, Mar. 18, so we can plan for nursery workers. Thank you!
LEARN ABOUT more FCC events and registrations at fcchudson.com.