Happy Wednesday, FCC! We're about to jump into another missional week of Vacation Bible School (VBS). Next Monday morning, July 16, VBS begins. Right now, leaders are being trained; service teams are getting ready; much prayer is being offered—all that God would be pleased to work in the next generation. Would you please add your prayers to this mission? Pray that God would shine the light of the glory of Jesus into young hearts. Pray that leaders and volunteers would have energy and increasing love for every child God brings our way! I am eager to see how God moves!
As an aspect of our vision and for the advance of our mission, we seek to train and empower missional leaders. This Sunday, we will be commissioning Josh Graham in our worship services. Josh is being commissioned as an elder for the River Falls missional community (MC). Josh was made an apprentice elder last year, and he has faithfully sought to lead, disciple and care for the River Falls MC. In June, the elders of FCC recommended to the members of FCC that Josh be affirmed as an elder for River Falls MC. The membership approved, and now we are ordaining Josh as an elder.
Please be praying for Josh and for the River Falls MC as they seek to advance the kingdom of Jesus, one neighbor at a time, one disciple at a time!
For another strategic plan update read “Spanish Speaking Church in St. Croix Valley” below!
...The Spirit helps us in our weakness.
There are days and weeks, when I feel very weak. I look at all that needs to be done, I see brokenness around me, and I see sin in my own heart. I begin to look at life with a view to my own resources for strength and endurance, and I become even more discouraged, because in myself I don't have the resources needed for all that needs to be done. Throw in a little shame to this, because it seems like life isn't supposed to be this way—there must be something wrong with me. Add to this, that I know I need to pray, but even prayer seems difficult, because I don't know what is best to pray for.
But then I read a verse like Romans 8.26—The Spirit helps us in our weakness. Light begins to shine. “Our weakness” reminds me that it is normal for Christians to experience weakness. Paul himself is included in the “our” of “our weakness.” He didn't know what to pray at times. He knew what it was like to be overwhelmed with the brokenness of the world.
“Helps” reminds me that God is for me, that God is my helper. “Helps” reminds me that I am not to look to my own resources for strength, endurance, joy, and courage. “Helps” reminds me that I am to look to God and his resources. This help is directed even toward prayer, because the Spirit gives us help in prayer. God knows that I am unable to know how to pray at times. And in those moments, God's Spirit prays for me, asking on my behalf, when I don't know how to pray. And God says yes to the Spirit's prayers for me.
“Spirit” reminds me that if I have the Spirit because of Jesus, I have a down payment for heaven. I already have the greatest gift. God's Spirit is dwelling in me. I am never alone. Though I may feel weak and experience weakness, the personal power (The Spirit), who raised Jesus from the dead is in me and for me.
If you feel weak today, if you are weak today, walk your heart through Romans 8.26-32, remind your heart of all the ways God helps us in our weakness. Take into your heart all the powerful promises of our great God. We are weak, but he is mighty!
I will be taking a few weeks off from preaching to focus on preparation for our next series on the Old Testament books of Ruth and Esther, starting in September. I will also be involved in quarterly planning and some vacation, as well. This Sunday, I am excited to learn from one of our elders, Pat Stream. He will be preaching from Proverbs on Healing Anger. We live in a broken world, so we should be angry at sin and the brokenness of the world. But because we are broken, as well, our anger is often over the wrong things and in the wrong proportion. Pat will be talking about how to be slow to anger, as God is slow to anger.
Here is a great resource for understanding and reforming our anger!
In the current sermon series, Proverbs: Seeking Extraordinary Wisdom, we’re talking about wisdom: what it is, how we can get it and what it looks like to live a wise life in the world today. We have a couple of resources available in the café area to go along with the sermon series:
One of the initiatives from our strategic plan is to multiply disciples of Jesus through extension. Our goal with this initiative is local and cross-cultural church planting based on discipleship principles and practices. And, on June 24 at Vision for the Valley 2018, not only did we seek to celebrate God's goodness in planting churches since our last Vision for the Valley, we also looked ahead at opportunities God was giving us. We introduced three areas that we desire to fund and work toward through our partnership with the five other St. Croix Valley LEAD Team Churches. Today, I’m going to outline one of the areas: we desire to see a Spanish-speaking church led by a culturally relevant Spanish-speaking pastor planted in St. Croix County for the 2,500 people in the area for whom Spanish is their primary language. This is different from our previous church plants, in which all efforts led to the launch of a church worship service as a way to attract and engage people with the gospel. In this new model, we are aligning what we have learned about missional community and discipleship with a population in need of the gospel. Also, because they are spread geographically, this requires a different approach. This is an example of “church birthing,” that we outlined with our five-year strategic plan. We have identified a potential pastor to lead these efforts and Vision for the Valley can help us put him in place, working cooperative with the leadership of The Village in Baldwin and The Bridge in Somerset.
We have an update on the specifics about the giving needed to fund Vision for the Valley. The estimated total cost of all three components of Vision for the Valley is $270,000. Would you please pray about how you may contribute to this vision? If all of our current givers from all of our churches in the St. Croix Valley Lead Team gave $325 between now and September 30, we could reach this goal. Think about all the good that can be accomplished here and around the world for just $325! The door is open for fruitful ministry! Please make checks out to FCC and put Vision for the Valley or VFV in the memo section. You may also give online at fcchudson.com. You can learn much more of what has occurred and what we hope will take place through the Vision for the Valley insert, that is part of the summer edition of “Faith Hudson” magazine. Thank you!