Church Blog

Nations Nearby | Part 1

October 31 2014 at 12:17 pm 0 Comments

A mother and her daughter were at the mall when the mom silenced her kid by wildly exclaiming, “They’re here!”

The embarrassed teen rolled her eyes, hoping the moment would quickly pass, but it was not to be.

“Listen! They’re here,” the mom repeated.

Moving from humiliation to concern and hoping mom hadn’t completely lost her marbles, the daughter trepidatiously asked, “Who’s here, mom?”

“The nations! Nobody here is speaking English. They’re all speaking something else!”

Chance are, you’ve had a similar experience. If not, just go to the Costco in Gaithersburg.  You will both hear and see that, indeed, the nations are here. People from multiple tongues, cultures and religious beliefs have found their way to Gaithersburg and the surrounding area.

Acts 17:26 and 27 says that God decides just where people should live so that people would seek and find him. So, the people of God (especially in this area!) have an opportunity to befriend and share Christ with the internationals God has sovereign brought nearby.

In efforts to keep these opportunities on our radar, we are creating a monthly series called Nations Nearby. It will explore topics like:

    ● Ways to serve and engage local internationals with the gospel
    ● Utilizing bridges between the church and people of other beliefs
    ● Avoiding barriers to sharing Christ with people of other backgrounds
    ● Culturally appropriate opportunities to leverage in loving our friends in the name of Jesus
    ● and more

May God use this series to encourage us that God desires and is able to use His people to reach them. See you next month!

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Emma Lowe Baptism Testimony

October 20 2014 at 11:49 am 0 Comments

On Sunday, October 19, several youth shared their testimonies and were baptized. Here is Emma Lowe’s testimony:

Hey, I’m Emma Lowe.

I was born and raised in a Christian home, and although I don’t remember the exact time I was saved, I remember it being around when I was nine years old.

As I got older, I did all the things a Christian “should do”: I prayed, went to church, obeyed my parents, but I wasn’t really pursuing a personal relationship with God, and as a result I was always doubting my faith.

I got really depressed mid-way through 2013. I felt like giving up. I was sad, and I felt alone, even though I was not. I felt I had no hope or happiness, when in reality I just was looking for it in all the wrong places.

Then, about nine months ago, on January 24, my brother and I, and our friend Teressa were walking to 7-11, when a car ran off the road and into us on the sidewalk. The Lord immediately took Teressa home to be with him. But I remember, after being hit, laying there and in the first couple minutes, I wasn’t sure if I was going to live or die. I remember laying there and praying to God and apologizing for how I had been living and praying for him to forgive me.

It was then I realized that I did not want my life to end with things being the way they were. I wasn’t the sibling I wanted to be, nor the daughter. I wasn’t living 100% for God and I was putting other things first other than God.

Through this near-death experience and the rehab, and through losing a friend, God has really shown himself to me. God has strengthened my faith like never before. It says in Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” I don’t know why God does the things he does. But I do know that he turns the bad into good.

The Lord has blessed me so much. He has given me a loving family and loving friends. He has opened my eyes, and brought me closer to him. He has filled me with joy, and happiness, and I have hope. I am so grateful for what he did on the cross for me. And I want to live my life completely and 100% for him.

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Leonce Crump Joins Us October 26

October 13 2014 at 9:58 am 0 Comments

All are invited to join us Sunday, October 26 at 10 a.m. to hear guest speaker Léonce Crump, lead pastor of Renovation Church in Atlanta, Ga., speak on the role and importance of diversity in the kingdom of God.

Originally from Louisiana and raised Catholic, Léonce began following Jesus at age 16. Always an athlete and a talker, Léonce outran his first mall security guard (and pregnant mother) at age 3, and spent most of his grade school years talking with his principals on the subject of public speaking during class. He has been in ordained ministry for nine years, is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and holds Masters degrees in Criminal Justice, with a focus on Case Law, Missional Leadership, and is currently finishing his Masters of Divinity at Reformed Theological Seminary.

At Oklahoma he was an All-American wrestler and played defensive end on the Sooner football team. After college he competed to make the world team in wrestling, played professional football for the New Orleans Saints and coached collegiate wrestling. He experienced an extended time of rebellion and running from God during college, but after 22 months of living as though he were not a Christian he surrendered to Jesus and ultimately to God’s calling into ministry.

Léonce pastored in three other churches prior to coming to Renovation Church, and started and led three college and young adult ministries. In 2006 he felt called to plant a church and through prayerful seeking of direction settled on the under-served area of downtown Atlanta. In early 2008 he and his wife moved to Atlanta from Tennessee to begin the process of planting Renovation Church. In 2009 Léonce was assessed and approved as a member of the Acts 29 church planting network and began a partnership with Perimeter Church in Atlanta in their commitment to local church planting.

Léonce and his wife Breanna have two daughters and have lived in the Grant Park community of Atlanta for over four years.

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Members Meetings - October 12 and 26

October 7 2014 at 4:20 pm 1 Comments

members meeting image

Members, please plan ahead for two Members Meetings coming up in the next few weeks.

The first will be held Sunday, October 12, at 6 p.m. to discuss the allegations of the civil lawsuit and the results of the Independent Investigation. Many have had understandable questions over the last two years, and we are eager to communicate.

We have scheduled an additional Member’s Meeting on Sunday, October 26, at 6 p.m. This will provide an opportunity to follow up on any questions you may have coming out of the first meeting. We anticipate that both meetings will go for approximately 90 minutes.

To provide ample time for dialogue, we have also scheduled two Coffee & Conversation meetings on Sunday, November 9 & 23, from 12:15 - 2:15 p.m. We look forward to talking with you there.

Let’s be praying for the Lord’s presence and help as we prepare for these important times together as a church.

Mark Mitchell

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2-A-Day Reflections | Week of September 29

October 3 2014 at 1:31 pm 0 Comments

More information about the year-long, 2-A-DAY reading plan, including the readings schedule, can be found on the 2-A-DAY page.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 | 1 Samuel 4 and 1 Timothy 2

by Tim Harvey

“Let us take to ourselves from Shiloh the ark of the covenant of the LORD, that it may come among us and deliver us from the power of our enemies.” – 1 Samuel 4:3

For there is one God and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. – 1 Tim. 2:5

The Israelites in 1 Samuel 4 were wrestling with an age-old question: How do we bring God’s power and presence to bear on our situation? How can we make sure He is really with us? Their answer was stunningly simplistic: just grab the ark of the covenant – the object upon which God’s glory had rested and that carried the stone tablets of the covenant with Moses – and take it into battle with them. They mistakenly invested the ark with a supernatural, magical power of its own. They failed to remember that this object that God had told them to make was intended to direct them to Him – not just as their Deliverer in times of crisis but as the One who was worthy of their daily worship and obedience according to the covenant made with Moses.

I often find in reading the Old Testament that I’m more like the rebellious (and seemingly clueless) ancient Israelites than I would like to admit. Like them, I wish I had a shortcut to bring the guaranteed power of God into my life when needed. I wish there were something that I myself could do to bring God’s power and presence into my life. And I wish there were some tangible sign that God is really with me.

That’s why I need to hear the truth that Paul gives us in 1 Timothy 2. This chapter is a call to prayer, and prayer requires fundamentally an attitude of trust – trust that God will really hear us, that He cares enough to answer us, and that He will answer us according to His good will. But Paul doesn’t leave us there with just an exhortation to pray and hope for the best. He goes on to make clear the reason why we can trust God in these ways: because we have a mediator between us and God, the perfect man Christ Jesus (v. 5). Because of Christ’s perfect atoning sacrifice, we can be confident that the prayers from our sinful lips do in fact reach the ears of our holy God. Christ’s death on our behalf is irrefutable proof that God loves and cares for us more than we can imagine. And because of God’s love demonstrated in Christ, we know that God will always respond in love to His children. “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).
And that’s better than carrying an ark around on my back any day.

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Pastoral Prayer - Sunday, September 28

September 29 2014 at 6:20 pm 0 Comments

Video above, and text below of Mark Mitchell’s prayer yesterday morning in church:

“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” [Psalm 115:3]

Lord we acknowledge your universal sovereignty and your inexhaustible wisdom as God. You do according to your will among the host of heaven and among all the inhabitants of earth. No one can keep you from accomplishing your purposes and no one can question your wisdom or timing in when you choose to act. The counsel, purposes and plans of your heart stand forever and cannot be thwarted by any human or spiritual activity.

Lord, your Word makes clear that the heart of the king, and by implication every human authority, is under your sovereign direction, and like streams of water in your hand, you turn it wherever you wish. 

Father, in all things, good and bad, pleasant and difficult, in blessing and in trial, you act according to your good and holy purposes and for the glory of your name.

So we worship you and honor you and declare that you are worthy of our complete and unwavering trust.

Father, thank you for bringing the civil lawsuit to an end. Thank you for showing us mercy in the outcome. Thank you for sustaining us as a congregation throughout the last two years and for helping us to trust in you as we’ve waited for this moment.

We acknowledge that this result doesn’t end the difficulty of those who have been affected by the civil lawsuit or the pain of those who have suffered because of sinful and criminal actions against them.

• We pray for those who have suffered physical or sexual abuse. We are grieved by these horrific sins and pray for a deep and powerful working of your Spirit in the lives of these victims and their families. We ask you to bring comfort and peace into their lives. Father, we pray that you would please do for them what no doctor, health professional, counselor or pastor can do. Bring a deep and abiding healing to their souls and fill them with hope for a life of peace through relationship with Christ. Please do this for these dear men, women and children who are precious in your sight.

• We pray for any and all who have been falsely accused in this lawsuit. We ask you to strengthen their faith, act on their behalf, and restore their reputation. We pray that you would keep them from the evil one who may tempt them to anger or bitterness and we pray instead that you would fill them with mercy, compassion, and forgiveness toward those who have sinned against them. We pray that you would enable us to love and support them as a church family.

• We pray for the plaintiffs and their families. We don’t know the totality of what they’ve experienced. We simply ask you to have mercy on them. We pray that you would bless them and do good to them. We pray that in every way they would know and embrace the loving kindness of Jesus Christ. You tell us in your Word that as far as it depends on us, live in peace with all men. We pray that to the extent that peace and reconciliation is possible, that you would bring that about according to your wisdom and power.

• Finally, I pray for this dear congregation. I thank you for each and every one. They are your people, your saints, your loved ones. I bless them and thank you for them. Thank you for their patience and forbearance. Thank you for the support, encouragement, and prayers they’ve extended to us as pastors. These last 2-3 years have burdened and tested us as a congregation. Strengthen us by your Spirit and may Jesus Christ dwell in our hearts through faith and fill our gaze as we behold him in your Word.

Father, you have loved us and called us to be your own from before the foundation of the world. Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd, the Friend of Sinners, and the Head of the Church. We thank you for redeeming us from our sins through your death and resurrection. Holy Spirit, you are our ever-present Helper. You are with us, you strengthen us, and you will never leave us.

Triune God, we bless you, and it is through the strong and compassionate name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

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