Dear Resurrection Family,
As I write these words, I’m listening to the thunderous sound of waves crashing against the shoreline from our hotel room in Laguna Beach, California.
As part of my sabbatical I wanted to walk the beach in this beautiful place, praying and listening for God’s voice. We decided we would spend three days here celebrating our 39th anniversary and 31 years as your pastor (I started my tenure as your pastor this week in 1990).
More on marriage and a couple of keys to making marriage last at the end of this note, but first, some news from around the church.
This weekend we’ll continue our sermon series looking for the gospel messages in recently released motion pictures. Pastor Scott Chrostek will be preaching this weekend, illustrating his message from one of the most loved passages in Paul’s letters, Romans 8:37-39, with clips from last year’s Disney/Pixar award winning film, “Onward.” Onward was the 2020 People’s Choice Award for Family Movie of the Year. The animated film tells the story of two brothers (elves) on an extraordinary adventure facing seemingly impossible obstacles, a story that illustrates Paul’s words noting that we are “more than conquerors” through our faith in Christ and that “nothing can separate us” from God's love.
The message will speak to everyone and will be a great one for families to enjoy together. The gospel in film sermons we do each year are also designed to be an easy way to invite friends who don’t usually go to church. Invite friends to join you in person at one of our five locations, on television or online. Click here for a list of how to join us for worship.
We’ve got a “Great Adventure” planned for children K-5th grade July 18-23! VBC will focus on the Exodus story and God’s care for the Israelites as God liberated them from slavery in Egypt and during their journeys in the Sinai on their way to the Promised Land.
This year we have in-person VBC at all of our Kansas City locations, as well as an online VBC for those who live outside the area. For more information and updates visit our website. If you haven’t registered your kids for VBC you can do that now by clicking here; and if you can join the fun as a volunteer, you can also sign up on the website!
Contact Gail Gunnerson if you have VBC questions! We also have VBC programming for early childhood kids if they have a grownup who is volunteering during the week.
Flourish Furnishings will be accepting donations of furniture and household goods at Resurrection Leawood this Saturday, June 5, from 9–11 am. Please go to the website to see the list of items needed and accepted. To donate, drive up to the truck in the circle drive on the south side of Building A and our volunteers will assist you.
If this date doesn’t work for you, mark your calendars for July 11 and 12, when the United Methodist Women (UMW) will be accepting donations of furniture and lamps for their annual sale on July 15 and 16.
This Wednesday, June 9, our Community Justice team begins a 4-week class on Wednesday nights at 6:30 pm where we’ll explore issues of race, scripture and what it means to be in relationship with one another – in the Beloved Community envisioned by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The class is offered in-person at Leawood (Building B Foundry) or streamed online. You can sign up here to register.
Our monthly Serve Saturday is June 19. We’ll have hundreds of opportunities to serve in the community in a variety of ways. Registration is required to ensure proper social distancing, and some opportunities fill up quickly. I encourage you to select where you want to serve and register now to make sure you get your spot.
On Saturday, June 19, you can also to join the Community Justice and Serve Saturday teams for a Juneteenth celebration with our ministry partner, Avenue of Life. Juneteenth is a National holiday that commemorates the 19th of June in 1865 when the last slaves were finally emancipated after President Lincoln‘s January 1, 1863, Emancipation Proclamation. Resurrection volunteers will join with Avenue of Life from 9 am - noon, to help set up for the afternoon celebration.
Details on the celebration are here. You can sign up to serve that morning at Avenue of Life, or serve at one of the other locations and then join the celebration in the afternoon. Here is the link to sign up to serve.
In 2015, Dick and Sylvia Hawk donated the building and property of their restaurant, the Gaslight Grill, to the church. This was a legacy gift they wanted to leave to the church, understanding at some point it would likely be sold and the proceeds used by our Foundation.
The restaurant continued to lease the building until they closed due to COVID in 2020. A team from the church explored options of converting it to ministry space or selling the building, and determined that the sale or lease of the building with proceeds being used to fund mission and ministry was the best option. If you are a part of Resurrection and you have expertise in commercial real estate or commercial property management, I’d like to invite you to join me for an open house at the Gaslight Grill to solicit your feedback and insights on whether the building should be leased or sold. We’ll be meeting at 2 pm on Friday, June 11.
To RSVP, or if you have questions, please reach out to Debi Nixon, the Resurrection Foundation Executive Director at email@example.com.
Dick and Sylvia Hawk’s incredible generosity, whether the building is sold or leased now and sold later, is one example of how a legacy gift can impact the ministry of the church into the future. Each year Resurrection receives legacy gifts from members who have died but who, when they were living, made a planned gift to the church. These gifts make possible ministry that would not be funded by the budget and have a continuing impact on the lives of people.
Our Resurrection Foundation just released their annual Impact Report. You can view it using this link.
LaVon and I just completed a revision of our wills and estate plan, designating a significant part of our estate to the Resurrection Foundation after our deaths. It brings us joy to know that, long after our deaths, we can continue to be a part of changing lives, strengthening churches and transforming the world. Our Board actively hosts Estate Planning Seminars and is available to connect with you individually. For more information or details, please contact our Foundation Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was 39 years ago tomorrow that LaVon and I married, just a week after high school graduation. Some of you have never met LaVon.
On June 5, 1982, when we nervously said our “I will” and “I do,” we could not have imagined what the future would hold. The years since then have included challenges, adversity and sacrifices. We’ve had times of frustration and conflict. That’s how life works. But it’s not those things I remember and focus on, but instead the many adventures, the companionship and joy.
Our faith has played a huge part in our relationship. We pray for each other every day. Every morning on my knees I pray that God will use me to bless LaVon and care for her well. We see our role as husband and wife as a ministry and calling from God. What we read in scripture, we seek to practice towards one another. And when we fail, as inevitably we do, we remember Jesus’ call to forgive.
In almost every wedding I’ve ever officiated (over 300 now), I share these words from Paul which have guided my own thinking about marriage:
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)
Though written as a general call of the Christian life, this passage strikes me as holding the keys to making marriage work. In the verses that follow Paul calls us to gratitude, a final key to making marriage last.
As I close this note, if you’ll indulge me, I want you to know that I’m so thankful to God for LaVon, and thankful to LaVon for her love and companionship these 39 years. I still think she’s the most beautiful woman in the room when I see her. I feel safe, secure and deeply loved when I’m with her. And there’s no one I’d rather spend time with than her. And it is her companionship, support, sacrifices and encouragement that has made it possible for me to serve as your pastor these last nearly 31 years.
By the way, it struck me that the film Pastor Scott’s is drawing from in his sermon this weekend, Onward, is a not only a metaphor for the Christian life, but for marriage too, with adversity and seemingly impossible challenges, yet when Christ is our companion on the journey, we find we are more than conquerors.
Off for a walk on the beach!
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