Archive for October, 2009

20
Oct
09

Signs

A Reflection from Erica Waysville, age 21.

Visual Arts Student Leader with UMin.

 For most of my life I have been preoccupied with signs. It started out as part of my obsessive compulsive disorder as a young teenager and even though my disorder had long since subsided, it carried over to my Christian faith when I gave my life to the Lord two or so years ago. I felt as if signs surrounded me – a word I heard spoken in casual conversation or read on a screen or in a book, a song I heard on the radio, the way certain places evoked such strong feelings within me; I felt all of these things told me that I was meant for something more. That I had a destiny that was greater than I could ever imagine if only I could interpret them right.

But I was constantly worried that I interpreted those seemingly prophetic signals wrongly. For a long time it consumed me. Perhaps I just imagined that they were meant for me? Perhaps I was looking for something that wasn’t there at all. It got rather disheartening, as I’m sure you can no doubt imagine. I was constantly turning this way and that, trying to catch a glimpse of my future before it passed me by like a speeding subway and I no longer had any say in the matter. “Oh I saw this word on a newspaper that happened to be blown across my path as I crossed the street. It must mean that I’m going to get this job I’ve been hoping for,” or “Oh, this song on the radio at this particular moment in time… it must mean that I am going to start dating this certain guy.” It may seem silly to you, but to me, that was reality. God was sending me secret messages and I was the detective that could decode them.

For a long time, this went on. And I was miserable because of it. I was miserable because all of the signs I thought I was seeing kept letting me down. They never came true. Of course, I am not one to say God does not send signals to people or even to me, for He works in mysterious ways. I certainly do believe that God can and does influence us in perfectly human ways and can lead us in the direction He wants us to go however He chooses. I just think that I took that too far and took every detail, insignificant or otherwise, and let it rule my life. I was determined to keep my path strictly according to these signals. I was planning out my future according to these “signs,” which, in reality, were keeping me from truly living.

Over time as I’ve learned more about Jesus and myself, I’ve changed. I can proudly say that I no longer waste my time looking for things that aren’t there. With God’s help, I’ve broken these shackles from my wrists. The freeness I now know is exhilarating. I’ve realized that if God really wants me to know something, He’ll make sure I find out! I don’t know where my life is going at the moment, where I will be in five years, in ten years, who I will marry, or what job I will have. But that doesn’t matter and I’m not afraid anymore. God’s plan for me is greater than anything I could ever imagine. And it’s the same for all of us. Why waste our time, effort, and sanity by trying to force His hand in a direction it doesn’t want to go? Why keep our eyes on the shapes that the cracks make in the tile instead of looking up and seeing the vast riches that surround us? I can breathe more freely now that I know it’s not all on me to discern where my future is headed.

Life is a pilgrimage; life is an adventure. Turn your back on the earthly reflection in the mirror and don’t let the little things hold you back. As George Hinman said in one of his talks recently, “Jesus Christ is a perfect judge, a noble slave and a loving servant so that we may be free.” Honor that. Taste the salvation, live the salvation. We are free to enjoy the beauty of this world and to pour ourselves out because of His willingness to give His life. We are called to turn away from ourselves and focus on the sacrifice of Jesus. Turning away from our earthly appetites and petty worries and instead giving our love freely to those who need it – this will give us true freedom. This is what I’ve learned.

I have realized that with a true heart and a desire to seek the Truth in Jesus Christ, it doesn’t matter if your feet falter along the way. It doesn’t matter if you don’t always know where you’re going. If you really believe, if you really have faith, if you are really willing to give yourself up, anything is possible. And when the focus is no longer on yourself, that’s when you can become truly liberated. That’s when God will answer prayers and show you where your path leads, in ways that are subtle and ways that are huge. That’s when you will grow. To me this is a comforting thought, and I hope it is to you, too. No more chains – just freedom, with two feet in.

16
Oct
09

A Note from Jeff Aitken, coordinator for the Edge (UPC’s high school group)

As part of our vision planning for this school year at the Edge, UPC’s high school group, we decided to make it a priority to re-assimilate our youth into church-wide Sunday worship. At a large church like UPC we have lots of great opportunities to target and engage specific age groups—which is great, but unfortunately it can segregate our church, which can mean that youth have less opportunity to interact with other generations. And, likewise, people from other generations miss out on the opportunity to interact with youth.  Youth bring so much life to a church, enlivening groups and bringing energy to worship services.

 

When we learned more about the 7pm service, it sounded like a place that would engage students.   We hoped that it would give them a place that wasn’t completely a foreign experience from the Edge while at the same time being more diverse than the Edge:  There was music that youth could appreciate, a sermon (or talk), and an attractive physical atmosphere (lighting, etc). 

When we asked students what they thought about the service, there were some comments of the service being “a little long,” (this is to be expected, of course), but they were also saying things like “I loved the service! It had good music and it was really interesting!” and “the minister made really good points.” (They were talking about George.) The 7 pm service will push our students’ attention spans a little—growing up is tough—but I believe it will help them integrate with the larger church and learn how to be a part of a worshiping community that targets a group bigger than just high school students. We’re very excited that UPC’s high schoolers can be a part of

11
Oct
09

Tell Your Story

Hello Friends,

We are coming up on week two in just a few short hours.  This week is UMin Sunday so we are collaborating with all sorts of UMin folk.  They will be doing everything from readings, to music, commissioning their interns, and serving communion.  To learn more about UMin and the INN click on their link at the bottom of the page.  Come join us for another great night of entering into the Lord’s community.

As this community takes shape we all need to be telling each other stories of what God is doing in our midst.  The vision for this blog is to be a space for us to tell those stories.  That being said, please send us your thoughts, experiences, and story’s about what God is doing at he bonds us together into His Kingdom community.   These can be in any form; prose, pictures, paintings, songs, or any other ways you are inspired to tell the story.  To submit stories email me at kylet@upc.org.  Look forward to seeing you tonight.  I hear Kate is making fresh baked cookies again!

04
Oct
09

7pm :: An Emerging Community ::

Welcome to the trail-head of a journey; welcome to the planting of an orchard; welcome to the to the freshness of a blank canvas waiting to be transformed into a piece of art.

Welcome to you whether you are a first time attender or a long time member.  We are glad you have decided to check out our blog where you can hear the stories of this emerging community at University Presbyterian Church.  This Sunday Oct. 4th at 7pm will be our first opportunity to join together and as one body sing, pray, listen, and eat together; all to the glory of our Father in heaven.

The way we are talking about this service is as a blank canvas.  This is not because we have neglected to prepare but because we value community and collaboration.  We want to invite you to call UPC’s 7pm service home, and as such, join Christ in turning this community from a crowd of people to a family,  from a roof and walls to a home in which Jesus Christ is our cornerstone.  Join with us to put paint on this canvas.

Who are you? What are you called to? Where are you from? Why are you here? When will you be made well?  These are questions that seem to have simple answers but when pushed further they can only be answered in the context of community.  Our Father himself is community; by His Spirit and through his Son, Jesus Christ He invites us into His family, He invites us home.    It is to this community that we at 7pm belong and find our answers to these questions.  It is a community that has history a far back as Adam and Eve and has it’s future in the Kingdom of God.  Will you help us put paint on these walls as we together seek to understand what it means to be the body of Christ?

That being said, thanks for joining us and whether you become a part of our piece of God’s community or another one, know that we value you and pray for God’s fullness in your life.




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