Metro East Metro East January Newsletter Another new year has begun. I would like to reiterate what Pastor Curtis said in the email he sent at the end of 2017, as he celebrated what God has done at The Journey Metro East this year. It is easy to miss how far we have come, isn’t it? We need space to pause and notice the change that has happened. While there is much to celebrate, we must also recognize that in transitions such as a new year, there are likely a variety of emotions being experienced within our church family. For some of us the new year brings celebration, as we look back or as we anticipate what is to come. We may be celebrating how our Father has provided for us, delivered us, or has blessed us. But I know that for some of us, the beginning of a new year highlights difficult circumstances, suffering and longings. It is my prayer that as we continue into 2018, that as we celebrate, grieve and/or wait, that we may experience the Power and the Comfort of Christ. His sustaining work on the Cross gives us hope that when we delight and thirst for His provision we are experiencing a taste of what is yet to come. And likewise when we mourn the brokenness encompassing us, we can rest in Him — the one who will provide true comfort, hope and healing. The importance of marking the end of a season and the beginning of the next is found in the space we create to think and reflect on God’s work in our lives. A great account of this is when the Israelites crossed the Jordan into the promised land. At the bank of the Jordan, Joshua says “Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God...Here is how you shall know that the living God is among you....” (Joshua 3:9b-10a). Joshua continued by describing how the people could depend on God as they crossed the Jordan on dry land. It is in this crossing that the Israelites would experience yet another miraculous sign that God was indeed with them during their exodus from Egypt. Following their crossing He then gave instructions that the priests were to grab twelve stones (one for each tribe of Israel) from the dry bed of the Jordan as a reminder of God’s deliverance, “When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ Then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off...” (Joshua 4:6,7). God knew that they needed a physical sign and a regular reminder of the work He had done. Church, we need these reminders of God’s work in much the same way. Even when life seems to bring nothing but challenges that cause God to seem far away, it is by remembering the specific times when He performed miraculous deliverances that will help us to hope and remind us to depend on His continued work and provision. These signs also serve as a protection for us. Our temptation is often to take credit for God’s work in our lives. When we mark God’s work we position ourselves as undeserving, but grateful, recipients of his Grace (Hebrews 10: 32-36)! Therefore, as we settle into 2018 may we consider making time to identify and mark how God has worked in our lives over this past year. Honestly, this practice of noticing and marking what the Lord has done, has been a learning process in my own life and one which I pray for growth in this coming year. I’m grateful for conversations with Rachel and with my Community Group that point me to slowing down and noticing His Hand. I invite you to join me this year in marking where God has brought us. I imagine that, in doing so, we may be led to experience His delight or to worship in new ways! In His Grace, Anthony Metro East Family, As we enter into the new year seeking to enjoy God’s grace, embody His love for one another, and engage our culture with His truth, I want to pause to say thank you. Thank you for stepping up and giving generously to close out 2017. YOU are the church, and your continued partnership is what allows our mission to move forward. I’m excited for all that God will do in and through us this year as we seek to see our city awakened to and transformed by the love of Jesus. I’m grateful for all of you! Pastor Curtis Journey Students is for all students in grades 6th-12th and meets the 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month from 4:30-6:30pm. Please take a moment to read a few words form Josh, our Journey Students Leader! If you have ever read through the Bible straight through from the beginning you may have noticed something odd occurring at the end of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). At the end of Numbers we find the Israelite people on the verge of entering the “promised land”. We are finally at the culmination of a narrative arc that we saw begin in Genesis 12, when God promised to make Abraham into a nation. The end of Numbers sees the Israelite people victorious, on the border of their promised homeland, with only the Jordan standing in their way of the new home. In the last few chapters there is a brief recounting of their history, reminding them how God has brought them to this point. Then we see Moses, who will not be going with them, divide up the land they will soon possess and hand off leadership to Joshua. It is at the peak of this story arc that we get to Deuteronomy. It’s almost as if there is a stall in the narrative. Deuteronomy spends the entire book recounting what we have already read in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers; Israel’s history and covenant with God. What is more interesting is that his is not the only place where the Bible, on the verge of a new great era, stalls and recounts the past. If you have never looked at the Old Testament in its original arrangement, you might not have known that the Scripture that Jesus and his disciples would have known ended with Ezra Nehemiah, and finally Chronicles. Ezra and Nehemiah are the tuning point of a different story arc we see begin at the end of Kings; with Israel taken into captivity, prophet promising a restoration and a future king that will lead them into a new covenant with God. On the verge of this New Covenant the Bible throws in Chronicles, which, in many ways, is a repetition of the events found in Samuel and Kings. This pause is not confined to the Old Testament either. If you look at Matthew it begins with a genealogy, each name a story of the past. Admittedly this genealogy serves another purpose, mainly showing Jesus relation to David. But Luke has no such agenda when, after first recounting the miraculous birth of Jesus, it pauses in the middle of chapter three to give Jesus genealogy; this time tracing Jesus heritage all the way back to Adam. Why does the bible do this? I could show you many other instances in the Bible to begin to help you understand, but instead of recounting the entire research process, I’ll instead jump to the conclusion. It seems that whenever God is calling his people into something new he first reminds them of their past; His faithfulness, kindness, and forgiveness that have led them to this moment. As it turns out human beings after the fall are prone to forgetfulness; we forget what God has done when facing the new thing God is about to do. As a result we doubt Him and disobey. Gods’ solution, in his kindness, is to remind us of his faithfulness. The natural question now is so what? What has that got to do with me? If we are honest we live in a distractible culture with a memory problem. In our quest for new, and better, and more we rarely spend time reflecting on the past. In fact we’ve made it into a virtue highlighting verses like Philippians 3:13 “forgetting what lies behind…” while simultaneously ignoring the countless other verses that urge us to remember all that God has done for us in the past. However; it is important, especially in this season of the New Year with our new resolutions, to first spend time looking back. I encourage you, if you have not already done so, to spend some time alone with God asking this question: How has God been faithful this “week/season/year”? Before entering into what God has for us in this New Year, let us first be strengthened by Gods faithfulness in this past year. Karis House is holding a 7-session Equip Class at The Journey Metro East that will be focused on the science of relationships, child development and strengthening the parent-child relationship. Participants will be given practical tools to care well for children in the midst of big emotions, difficult and confusing behaviors and a growing brain. Attendees will be led through a series of discussion topics in order to construct an understanding of the role of a parent in the flourishing of their family, as well as the role of the family in the flourishing of God's kingdom in our communities. This class is for anyone who cares for children: parents, grandparents, foster parents, Journey Kids volunteers, professionals who work with children and anyone who wants to better understand how to love and care for children well. Due to the layout of the class we ask that you only sign-up if you can attend all of the sessions. We also strongly encourage couples to attend together. Individual: $20 Couple: $35 Childcare will be available for those who register for an additional cost of $15 per child. That cost will cover all 7 sessions of childcare. If you are registering as a couple or wish to reserve childcare, please be sure to include your spouse and children in your registration. Register Our Newcomer's Lunch is more than just a free lunch! It's also a great way to meet the staff team at The Journey Metro East, become more familiar with the church, and hear about ways you can get connected. So whether you've been with us for a few days or several months, you're invited to join us on January 28th, following the 11 AM service. Lunch will be served in the multi-purpose room. Sign up HERE so we know how much food to get! It's that time of the year again! Come one and all to our all-church worship night. We will gather in the sanctuary to worship as one church, read Scripture and spend some quality time together. Please join us on Jan. 31 from 7-9pm! On December 11th, the Restore Network hosted their 3rd annual Christmas party, with 183 foster family members and agency staff celebrating together. We want to give a huge thank you to Journey attenders who donated desserts and items for the family baskets or joined us in serving during the party itself! It was a great night! For more information about the Restore Network. visit www.therestorenetwork.org. Copyright © 2018 The Journey, All rights reserved.