Downtown News

Fall Craft Fair and Bake Sale

[nlcf] is hosting a Fall Craft Fair & Bake Sale to raise money and awareness for various missions opportunities throughout the world!
Mark your calendar for Oct 23rd. The Fair will be held from 8:00a – 2:00p in 130 Jackson. It is never too early to start checking gifts off your Christmas list!!
Crafters are still needed. If you are interested in selling a craft, please contact Jeanette.

Reclaiming our stolen identities… you are cordially invited…

When Jesus was talking about the Kingdom of God, or how much God the Father loves us, he used a lot of metaphors.  Essentially he would do this: “God’s love for you is like this.  The Kingdom of God looks like this…” He did that primarily because God’s love is something that you need to conceptually understand, but that is only the first bit.  You also have to feel it.  You have to be able to picture something that defies explanation.

A bit challenging, eh?

Every now and then we come across stories that are so shocking in the depth of love they describe, they come reasonably close to doing the same thing.  While not at the level of scripture certainly, they do inspire.  They remind us of what we must remember: God’s love isn’t at all like ours, we are just a poor reflection of his love, even in our best moments.

But sometimes those best moments can still be stunning.  And they can remind us all how well and powerfully we are loved.

Today, take a look at an example shared by Floyd McClung in his book, Finding Friendship With God.

During the Korean War, a pastor in a small rural village awoke one morning to find that his young son, his only child, had been killed.  Apparently some soldiers had slipped in during the night and randomly executed a number of villagers in a brutal act of terrorism.

The pastor was beside himself with grief. He had looked forward to his son someday following in his footsteps and becoming a pastor. Now his friends feared for his emotional stability, so severe was the grief he experienced over the boy’s senseless death.  It seemed so cruel, so unjust…

Finally the Korean pastor decided what he must do in return for this act of violence.  He announced that he would hunt down the men who had killed his son and would not give up until he had found them. No obstacle would stand in his way; no hardship would deter him. The grief-stricken father resolved to do whatever it took.

Amazingly, he was able to learn the identities of the two terrorists, slip in behind enemy lines, and find out where they lived.  Early one morning he stole into their house and confronted them. The pastor told them who he was, and that he knew they had murdered his son.  “You owe me a debt,” he said to them.  “I have come to collect it.”

The two men were obviously expecting to be killed in retaliation. But the pastor’s next words astonished them. “You have taken my son,” he said, “and now I want you to become my sons in his place.”

The pastor stayed with them for several days, until he was able to persuade them to come with him. In time he adopted them as his legal sons. He loved them and cared for them.  They became Christians, went to seminary, and were ordained.  Today, those two men are pastors in Korea — all because a father who was willing to do whatever it took to win them, whose love was utterly unstoppable.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away. 39 Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8.38,39 (NLT)

What is so shocking about the story of the Korean pastor is that his love just never seemed to hit the point where it stopped.  As broken as he was about the death of his son, his love kept going.  Though many of us would imagine our love for a son would drive us to act in vengeance, this pastor’s doesn’t.  He simply keeps loving.

We are offered that same deal.  God the Son, Jesus, came to earth to live among us, show us how things can be and then to die and be resurrected to atone for the penalty of our sins.  God the Father was truly devastated as this was unfolding, but his love has never hit the stopping point with us.

You are cordially invited to walk through your life with the God that has amazingly invited you to be in covenant with himself.  He will walk with you, support you, challenge you, correct you, laugh with you, and enjoy you.  And if you are willing to keep walking with him, you will be a part of changing the world.

Only you can decide what your decision will be.

But you will never get a better offer.

Please come back this Sunday to one of our three gatherings to hear how we can very specifically do this.  You won’t want to miss it!

Peace, Jim

Reclaiming our stolen identities…

If you have been keeping up with the series that we have been going through the past two weeks, Identity Theft, you will know what this post is all about.  For those of you that are keeping up online or have been a bit out of the loop, this might help…

Our series is focusing on finding our identities in being in covenant with God and in being sons and daughters of the King.  I won’t go into how amazing those two identities are, but please check out our talks section to get up to speed. (Please note, as we are shifting our website to a new server, there are some glitches here and there.  Unfortunately our talks section has some, please keep checking back!)  A key point of the series is that many of us have allowed those true identities to be stolen, so now we need to get them back.

This past week we talked about the first step in reclaiming our true identity.  And it is pretty straightforward.

The first step in reclaiming our true identity as someone who is in covenant with God is to realize that we need to and can.  We start with a simple realization.  A change of our minds if you will.  We lock into the thought that we are capable of reclaiming an identity that some of us had stolen years ago, and that once we do, we will see God move in some amazing ways in us and around us.

To help in that process, we are having a couple of postings to keep this thought process in mind as we prepare for next week’s focus on specific steps we can take based on where we are in the overall process.  You won’t want to miss it!  But instead of jumping too far too quickly, let’s take some smaller steps that will help us to make both processes more meaningful to our souls.

Between today and tomorrow, read Acts chapter seven.  This is the synopsis of how God had interacted with the Israelites from Abram (before he was Abraham) all the way through the day Stephen was killed.   As you are reading it, reflect on the question, How was God’s interaction with the Israelites impacted by his covenant with them? Spoiler alert…  God proved that he would keep his end of the bargain even when the Israelites didn’t.

He is still like that today.  You can absolutely count on him for two things.  Okay, you can count on him for quite a bit more than two, but let’s look at those two! 🙂  You can count on the fact that if you are not covenantally connected to God, he very much wants you to be.  And also, if you are, you can be certain that he will honor his end of the covenant. In fact, in Romans, Paul was referring to the Jews when he said this under the guidance of the Holy Spirit:  True, some of them were unfaithful; but just because they were unfaithful, does that mean God will be unfaithful?  Of course not!  Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true.” Romans 3.3,4 NLT

God is promising us that he will stick with us and that as we turn our lives over to him, we will discover our amazing calling of being those who have experienced true connection with God and are called to share that opportunity with others.

Try and take some time to reflect on chapter seven and those thoughts.  Then let’s connect again in a couple of days and keep the conversation going.

Please know, I love hearing thoughts that you have.  Please comment back so we can have some web-interaction going!

Peace, Jim

What’s Next?

Would you like to learn how to get more involved in the downtown congregation? Interested in hearing more about the vision, focus, and future plans? Join me for an informal time right after the Sunday Worship on August 29th around 11am at 130 Jackson. You can grab a lunch at one of the local shops and bring it if you would like. I’ll share briefly on our vision and focus as well as different ways to be involved.

Sunday Lunch – Sept 5th

Our next potluck lunch is Sunday, September 5th.  We will conclude our worship gathering by walking right over to 130 Jackson to enjoy a great lunch together.   As a congregation we started these monthly lunches in order to help live out God’s calling for us to have stronger and closer relationships with each other.   Over time, through this spiritual discipline of eating together, we trust God will accomplish this.   This would also be a great Sunday for a new person to experience our community, so consider inviting any of your friends.  Of course, there would be no expectation for them to bring food and I will make that clear on Sunday to all who are new.

Consider cooking something to bring and share!  We will have some crockpots, warmers, and small fridges to store the food, so all you have to do is come to 130 Jackson just a few minutes early to keep the food either warm or cold during the church service.  (There are warmers and fridges in our building).  We will already have drinks available.

Sunday Worship Time Change

Sunday, Aug 15th Worship Gathering is at 10.15 @ the Lyric (instead of 9.30)… we will be joined by the Corps of Cadet’s freshman class!