On Labor Day Weekend we began preparing ourselves to launch a year of reading the Bible together through a program called “The Story.” In worship on that day we heard about the deaf and mute man who has his ears opened and his tongue loosened by Jesus, (Mark 7:24–37). We suggested that being opened to the Word of God and the Story of God in the Scriptures is part of the work of Jesus and the Spirit of God in our lives today, so that we can find God’s Story in our story in our lives. The audio file follows.
“Be Opened” a message from Worship at Good Sam on Sept. 6, 2015 from Mark 7:24-37
As WE JOURNEY THROUGH THE STORY IN THE DAYS AND WEEKS AHEAD, we will learn that heaven and earth are woven more closely together than we ever dreamed. All through the story of the Bible we see two parallel and beautiful dramas unfold.
There is the Upper Story. God is real, he is present, and he is working on our behalf. Heaven is breaking into the world more than we recognize, and the story of God’s seeking love, perpetual grace, and longing for relationship with ordinary people is breathtaking.
There is also the Lower Story. We live on earth. We make mistakes, run from God, and resist his overtures of love. Sometimes we get so mired in the Lower Story that we fail to recognize God’s presence breaking into our world. We forget that the God of heaven longs to have a growing relationship, a friendship, with us.
In the beginning of The Story, God walked with his first children in a beautiful garden… in harmonious relationship. At the end of The Story, he will walk with us again, on streets of gold. The question is: What will happen in the pages in between? As we walk through The Story together, we will see how the Upper Story and Lower Story are intertwined. All through history God has encountered, loved, sought, disciplined, and redeemed his children.
God is closer than we think.
Best of all, we can walk closely with him in every situation of life. He is near. He loves us. As we recognize how close the Upper Story and the Lower Story fit together, we will learn to experience God’s love and grace as we walk through our days. We will never walk alone.
God wants to be with us; with you, with me. This is the refrain that rings true through The Story. As you read each chapter this will become clearer and more personal. On this journey, we will grow together and discover that the world is a smaller place than we knew.
God’s story and our story are really one and the same.
Small group discussions can give new perspective and we invite you to explore each chapter of “The Story” with others. Sign up for groups by September 25th. Here’s what’s on tap:
Sunday School for Children and Youth: Sundays at 10 am beginning Sept. 13th
Focus: “The Story” for each age group – Ginger Latyak and SS Teachers
Adult Sunday School Class: Sundays at 10 am beginning Sept. 13th– Drew Hartigan
Tuesday Evening Small Group: Tuesdays at 6:30 am beginning Sept. 15th
Focus: “The Story” in general (kids/adults welcome) – Jason Van Camp
Location: Van Camp’s home in Lexington Park, MD (see Jason for directions)
High School and Adult Small Group: Tuesdays at 6:30 pm beginning Sept. 15th
Focus: “The Story” in general for high school to adult group – Dave Goodrich
Location: Chuck and Ginger Latyak’s Home in Wildewood, California, MD
(see Dave for directions)
Mocha Morning Bible Study: 1st & 3rd Wed. at 9:30 am beginning Sept. 16th
Focus: “The Story for Women” by Carol Stine – Martha Rau
Location: Rau’s home in Lexington Park, MD (see Martha for directions)
Women of Faith Small Group: 2nd & 4th Wed. at 7:00 pm beginning again in April 2016
Focus: “Women of The Story” – Kami Carlsen and Nancy Shoemaker
Location: Shoemaker’s home in Leonardtown, MD (see Nancy for
A workshop to help congregations connect with new people.
Multiple choice of locations:
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10th
9:30 am -12 noon
at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Springfield, VA
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24th
9:30 am – 12 noon
at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Silver Spring, MD
What can you do to help your Church grow? God brings the growth, but our hands work the soil and plant the seeds.
This workshop will help to plan your congregation’s outreach strategy. Expect practical, implementable steps that you can take away that make a big impact. Leave with a plan customized for your congregation to connect with new people. The goal of this workshop is for every participant to leave with 2 – 4 actions they can implement in their congregation that will help connect with new people. Seven strategies and 21 big impact actions will be presented, including how to:
- Make invitations
- Welcome newcomers
- Follow-up with guests
- Help get them connected
- Facilitate friendships
- Form disciples
- Make evangelism a priority
9 a.m. – Gathering
9:30 a.m. – Strategies and actions
10:45 a.m. – Break
11 a.m. – Implementation (small groups)
11:45 a.m. – Readouts
Noon – Adjourn
There is no fee for the workshop but registration is requested. It is designed for pastors, evangelism chairs, committee members and anyone who has responsibilities related to new members and reaching out. The workshop is brought to you by the New & Renewing Missions Table of the Metro D.C. Synod. Register now.
The Rev. Philip Hirsch, Director of Evangelical Mission in the Metro D.C. Synod. He has led two growing congregations in 25 years of ministry.
– See more at: Growing Church Workshop – Metro DC ELCA