Hello, FCC! I am writing to you from the Bethlehem Pastors’ Conference in Minneapolis. Our pastors, elders, and various staff joined up with our ministry partners in the St Croix Valley and in our regional district to seek together the Christ-Exalting Gospel Power of the Holy Spirit. It has been a great conference with great teaching, along with some strategic conversations about ministry together in the St. Croix and around the world. Lord willing, I will have some very exciting news to share in coming months about some significant mission opportunities God is giving to us.
13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness
and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
14 in whom we have redemption,
the forgiveness of sins.
How do you view yourself? What is at the basis of your identity as a follower of Jesus? Because of Jesus, grace gets to be the foundation of our self-understanding. It's because of grace that we are saved, and our relationship to God is restored. This grace is also the basis, upon which we move into relationships with others. Because we are recipients of grace, we seek to live out and extend that grace to others.
As the Bible seeks to help us understand our position of grace before God, it employs various metaphors to help us see what God has done for us, so that in specific ways, we can do this with others. Today, the Apostle Paul tells us that we are delivered, or rescued from the domain of darkness, and transferred into Jesus' kingdom. We are rescued. As a Christian, this is a way that you are to look at your life in relationship with God. He has rescued you. To be rescued starts with being in a terrifying position, a helpless position without the strength or resources to get out on your own. And then someone with strength and resources sacrifices and risks to get you out of the helplessness. This is what God has done for us. Because of our folly, our sin, our fears, we were in the domain of darkness. On our own, because sin is in us, we didn't have the resources or the strength to get out of the darkness on our own.
And God, being rich in mercy, has rescued us from the domain of darkness. He has rescued us from sin. In sending Jesus—to live the life we should have lived, die the death we deserved to die, and rise again—God rescued us from the darkness. Because Jesus did what we couldn't do, we are rescued. We belong to Jesus' kingdom now, and we have the forgiveness of sins.
In Christ, you are the rescued. You are the beloved object of a rescue mission. As you let that sink in and shape your identity as a follower of Jesus, consider, as well, how God has empowered you to be a rescuer for others in their need, trouble, and affliction. May God's grace shape our identities and our actions in love for our neighbors.
This Sunday I will be back preaching, and I will be talking about how God has rescued us to be rescuers (from Proverbs 24.10-12). As a specific application from this sermon, we will have Joanne Parks with us from Options for Women in River Falls, showing us opportunities in the St. Croix Valley where we can seek to give rescue to women in frightening and overwhelming circumstances—all fueled by God's grace, because we have been rescued.
We will also have child dedication in the services, so please be on the lookout for visitors. Help them to be welcome, noticed, and loved.
Along with the Just Like Me series, we are asking that everyone read “The Art of Neighboring” during the first quarter of the year. We have copies for purchase in our café area, or you can order your own following the link above.
JOIN WITH OTHER ADULTS ACROSS THE SPECTRUM OF LIFE AT FCC TO:
Gather for a great meal, great fellowship and receive some of our best training!
Want to help serve with meal prep or cleanup for Alpha Community Night? Please contact Gary Nourse at 651.260.7236 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
January is a great time of year to review your FCC FaithBase account and update it with any new information. Did you move this year? Change your name? Add to your family? Get a new phone number or email address? If any of those apply, could you please take a few moments to go online and update your contact info in FCC’s FaithBase. Just visit fcchudson.com, and look for “FaithBase” at the bottom of the screen. Click on “FaithBase” to login to your account. If you don’t have an account, yet, you can start one. Thank you!
Through January 28, we are praying as a church for our neighbors as part of a call to prayer by one of our partners, Converge, called 21 Days of Prayer. We ask that you pray one time a day for your neighbors and for your missional community to love and serve your neighborhood. If you don't have a missional community established yet, pray that God would work to do that. Pray that you would be empowered by God to serve and love your neighbors. Pray that God would prepare your family to serve this spring, summer, and fall, as the weather warms up. Pray for conversions and God to work through and in us to renew our neighborhoods and the St Croix Valley. If you are able, we also ask that you would fast from a meal or for a whole day a couple times during this 21 days. You can learn more about fasting in the article linked here by Donald Whitney, "The Gospel and the Discipline of Fasting."
About Converge: Converge Great Lakes is a district office of Converge Worldwide, which is a network of nearly 1300 churches throughout the US. Converge seeks to help start and strengthen churches nationally and globally.
DINNER + MEETING: 5:30 TO 8:00 P.M.
With the new year, we have a few FCC Staff updates that we’re excited to share with you!
• Jake Pierson's role will shift to overseeing Middle School student ministry as the Director for Middle School Discipleship. This year we have a large group of sixth grade students (around 30) registered for the Wednesday Connection, so we are thrilled that Jake can now give his time fully to helping students grow in discipleship, coach small group leaders to grow in their leadership, and support parents in the discipleship of their children. This change also helps Ben Mc Mullen, Director for High School Discipleship, to focus fully on high school student discipleship.
• We are also excited that we now have a part-time communications assistant dedicated to connecting with students and parents through our various media channels. Janelle Olson, who worked as a volunteer communications intern for The Refuge during the fall semester, is now a part of FCC staff, to bring more focus to The Refuge administration and communications. Janelle is currently in her last semester at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls majoring in marketing communications.
• Donna Reedy’s role as custodian will increase to full-time. With the expansion of our building to include additional spaces, along with our church facilities being used on a daily basis in support of numerous ministries, we have a greater need for maintenance and cleaning, so we’re thankful to expand Donna’s role to help meet these needs in support of ministry.
Thank you, FCC, for your generosity, which supports making these changes!