I am COVID-tired. I am tired of wearing a mask and seeing the partial faces of others behind the mask. I am tired of Zoom and only being able to connect with others virtually. I am tired of hearing about germs and illness and death. I long for fullness of life.
As I’ve been working through the Psalms most days this year, God has been graciously encouraging and teaching me through His Word. As I start to think about my weekly blog, I ask God to show me what He would like me to write about and to even help me share it. Most often God leads me to something that still is relevant to hospitality. This week’s blog is no different.
Think of an orchestra. Each individual in the orchestra is accomplished and proficient in their particular instrument, yet they come together under a conductor to perform magnificent beauty as they perform together. God has called us individually, and He has called us to be a part of His Body – the Church. We do not cease to be individuals as we are knit together as the Church. Rather, as each of us expresses our uniqueness and our gifts, the entire Body magnifies the glory of God to their immediate community and to the world.
A couple of weeks ago one of my granddaughters and I visited a local bookstore warehouse where all books, other than those for children, are $.98. It was fun to browse. Many of the books were from a different era, but sometimes that just doesn’t matter. One of my favorite cookbooks is by Jeff Smith. He’s been around for a long time, and my favorite is well-worn.
Here is a picture I have in my mind: Each believing mom, dad, child, farmer, teacher, doctor, seamstress, artist, lawyer, musician, custodian, each believing person goes about his daily life bringing God’s light with him whatever he is doing, wherever he is going – loving as God loves, respecting as God respects, showing mercy as God shows mercy – and then coming together as God’s body, each contributing his individual light, to shine God’s Shekinah glory into all the world.
I was in a dealership waiting area while my car was getting an oil change when I heard the word “Latinx” in a COVID-19 press conference. It is not the first time I’ve heard the term, but this time it struck me. LATINX!
This Sunday, we begin a sermon series in the book of Ephesians. In this letter, Paul will highlight several profound truths that shape who we are as believers. We’ll see the themes of God’s glory and the praise that is due him, cosmic reconciliation and a new humanity in Christ, God’s sovereignty and our responsibility, and, ultimately, we see the gospel in this letter and how we are “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called” (Eph. 4:1).
This current moment, perhaps, offers some parallels to the book of Exodus for us to consider. We are regularly faced with the injustices of racism and violence towards African Americans in this country, rolling into mainstream media like the plagues that hit Egypt, one after the other.
Friends, as the Community Pastor, I feel compelled to write in response to the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. This is a post of lament first, reflection second. This is not intended to be a critique of White people or the White Church, although because I am white my experience will inevitably feel this way. My intention is only to represent my own thoughts and feelings.
Among the updates and stories was one in particular that stood out to me. Joo and Ashley Lee shared how they had invited a Japanese family to join them for the International Harvest Celebration the previous night. Ashley has been ministering to her friend for several months now, having developed a friendship through their young daughters.
Who does Jesus say our neighbor is? When most of us think of our neighbor, we think of the person next door. To be a good neighbor, then, is to be peaceful in the cul-de-sac, to smile and nod when you walk by, to volunteer to pick up their mail while they’re gone “if you’re feeling crazy”, and, in general, to be nice and gracious to the people nearest you. But have we considered that Jesus’s teachings on “neighboring” might be better than our own? Check out this article by CHBC member and local ministry partner Andrew White.
So why do so many of us struggle with our finances? Many of the folks I’ve coached on personal finance over the years have shared that they never received much positive financial modeling in their homes growing up. Others had good financial role models growing up, but gave in to the easy money of credit cards in their late teens and 20s and have been playing catch-up ever since.
If we are to reach across the racial divide to bring healing and reconciliation, we must be open and vulnerable; ready to accept the wounds of friends. Unfortunately, not every wound I have received has felt like the wound of a friend.
At this point, I think it’s fair to assume that having made it this far, we’re all on the same page: racial unity and activism should be important to the Church. This means that we need to do something, and like anything else that we do, the moments leading up to the action are the most anxiety-provoking — but after all, “love does” (thanks, Bob Goff).
I don’t frequent Greensboro regularly, but I’m often there with Cru, and – back in the day – for soccer matches, robotics tournaments, and the like. Greensboro is the site of the famous Woolsworth lunch counter “sit in,” where African Americans from NC A&T refused to leave after being denied service in 1960. This was a huge moment in the civil rights struggle of the ‘60s and ‘70s. But I could go in and out of Greensboro, and never give it a thought.
Given this this week’s report from the NC Governor that there is a confirmed case of coronavirus in Wake County, we want to let you know the preventative measures CHBC is taking to reduce the spread of the virus. We are monitoring the situation, and we are consulting with other churches and organizations to follow best practices in taking precaution.
The best Boards all come together with a united purpose to move the action steps along. Our goal of promoting the mission of the church through the work of service is best accomplished when we all discuss with vigor and then fully support the resulting decision.
On Sunday afternoon, 145 members of CHBC gathered to celebrate what God has done in our church over the past year, and to lay the groundwork for our upcoming season.
Some of you know that I love my work with the finances of our church. I love numbers and spreadsheets generally, and I love seeing how our ministries thrive when resources are available. The tool that we use to guide our spending is our operating budget.
Each year, CHBC holds an Annual Business Meeting. This meeting is required by our Bylaws, and is a great opportunity for members to participate in some vital decisions for our church. As well, non-members are welcome and encouraged to attend to learn more about some of the behind-the-scenes things that underlie our life together.
CHBC families packed a total of 730 boxes to share the message of salvation this year. As a collection site, CHBC also collected 1,111 shoebox gifts from around our community.
The carpet has been rolled up. The streamers torn down. All the confetti is still floating around somewhere. Night to Shine is over. Looking back it’s always amazing to see how quickly the actual event speeds by once that first guest hits the red carpet. One minute our guests are being cheered down the red carpet and the next they are leaving the church through a dome of sparklers.
As we kickoff our year of celebration for 50 years of ministry, a common story we often hear is the mutual connection parents have with their college-aged children attending UNC and discovering a thriving Christian community at the Bible Church. Here’s Nicole Wesche and her father, Ken, sharing their bond with CHBC.
For this, the final post from this blog, the “we” is going to change to “I” – this last post is not written by the “building committee,” but from my own viewpoint, myself – Emily Williams. I’m doing this in order to express some personal observations and thoughts, and recognize some people from the project who have meant something to me, personally, as we have worked together. I hope you will stay in your seat all the way to the end of the credits for this movie!
A copy of Dwight Thomas’ ribbon cutting speech given on Sunday, December 16, 2018 at the Building Dedication Ceremony.
It is just amazing to see all that has been happening this past week. The chapel ceiling and flooring and trim, the ceiling tiles in the chapel lobby and connector, flooring downstairs, classroom carpeting, a second (final) coat of paint in many areas … the place is being transformed. Many little things are being done, too, such as putting the faceplates on the light switches and outlets.