Dear Resurrection Family,
I am writing this from 35,000 feet – I left last night from New York to Rome and am writing this about midnight your time from the plane. I’m arriving a day early so I will be rested and prepared on Saturday morning when 650 United Methodists (350 from Resurrection and 300 others from across the country, including 35 pastors) arrive and we begin a study of the life of Paul and his missionary journeys. I’ll be giving five lectures on Paul based on my book, The Call: The Life and Journeys of the Apostle Paul. Lance Winkler is joining me to lead worship.
I’ll be posting pictures from the various archaeological sites we’re visiting on Facebook – if you don’t currently follow me on Facebook, click here to "like" my page and you can read the posts.
This weekend, Resurrection Downtown Campus Pastor Scott Chrostek will begin a two-week series titled “Ordinary” – he’ll preach live at Leawood and each of our campuses will receive Scott’s messages these next two weeks.
For many of us, we feel closest to God during the high and low points of life, when we celebrate and when we turn to God in times of despair. Drawing from examples in Jesus’ ministry, Scott is going to help us explore what it might look like to experience God in our ordinary, day-to-day activities of life.
Please plan to be in worship this weekend. I’m really looking forward to hearing these messages and I plan to join you online. Remember, if you are out of town, you can now worship on-demand – joining a service online at any time during the week.
I’d like to offer a few words about the tragic violence in Las Vegas last Sunday night. From a theological perspective I was reminded once more of three foundational stories in the Bible, each of which is captured in the Resurrection Window: Adam and Eve, turning from God’s will to eat the forbidden fruit, which is immediately followed in Scripture with their son Cain killing his brother Abel (an utterly senseless crime), and this is followed in Genesis 6 with God grieving that he had created humanity because of their inhumanity – specifically, they were perpetually violent. This violent tendency reaches its climax in the Bible when even the religious leaders insist that Jesus be crucified. The Romans took the Son of God and nailed him to a cross.
The point of these stories: violence comes as we turn away from God’s will, God grieves at our inhumanity, and God, through his Son, personally experiences the pain of our inhumanity.
From a pragmatic perspective, the debate over guns returns with each of these tragic events. As usual, little changes – a lot of heat is generated, without much light. It is unrealistic, but I wish thoughtful leaders on both sides of the gun debate might work with investigators to see what might have been done to prevent this atrocity, and what could be done to prevent such crimes in the future. It would seem that we ought to be able to have a system that notes when someone is purchasing a vast amount of munitions and the person is questioned. I’d like to mention once more the sermon from last year on Christianity and Guns. You can view it here.
Finally, once again in this story of tragedy there were powerful pictures of sacrifice and heroism – the worst of humanity seems always to bring out the best in humanity – a picture of hope in the midst of despair.
If you were not able to attend the Stand Together KC event, we recorded it and you can view the event online at cor.org/standtogether. We had approximately 1,200 people who came together to find out more about the kind of events we saw in Charlottesville last month, the people behind them, and to consider what we can do to stand with others in our community and in our lives when they are being harassed, bullied or threatened. It was a good gathering and I want to encourage you to watch the program.
I’d also encourage you to join me in making a commitment to three actions we can each take to counter hate:
One of the themes from that night was the importance of continuing the conversation, breaking bread together and getting to know one another. One opportunity coming up is Kansas City Chief’s Watch Party sponsored by Allies for Racial Justice, a partnership between Resurrection and St. James United Methodist Church. Please register here to share fellowship, appetizers and watch the Chiefs take on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Our annual Blessing of the Animals is Saturday, at 10 am in the outside circle of Resurrection Leawood (Building A). This is a fun opportunity for fellowship and a chance to celebrate all of God’s creation. All pets must be crated or on a leash. Donations will be accepted for Angel Hearts Rescue. Details are the website.
You can drop off furniture and household items in good condition that could be used by someone in our community this Saturday, Oct. 7. My Father's House Furnishings Ministry will have our Holy Haulers in parking lots A3 and A4 at the Leawood Campus from 9 – 11 am this Saturday, Oct. 7, to accept your donations.
My Father’s House serves clients of over 72 metro agencies. Click here for details and to see a list of items needed.
Please don’t miss the opportunity to hear author and theologian Miroslav Volf speak in person at 6:30 pm in the Resurrection Sanctuary. Dr. Volf is one of the best know Christian theologians and authors in the world today and has lectured throughout the world. I serve as a part of Dr. Volf’s Pastoral Advisory Committee for Yale’s Center for Faith and Culture and am pleased to count Dr. Volf as a friend.
I want to encourage small groups to consider attending as well. This opportunity is free and open to the public, but it would help us prepare if you would register online. Come and bring a friend!
Childcare is available with childcare registration.
As construction continues in Building B on the future fellowship hall and classrooms, our teams are exploring what new opportunities can be made available with this renovated space.
One area that is being explored is Wednesday nights. We have a team already thinking about what great things can take place in this space to go along with our kids and youth programming. However, this team needs your help. If you have kids under the age of 18 would you please click here and take 5 minutes to answer this 10-question survey? Your responses will help shape the next steps for our team.
Each year Resurrection partners with Christmas in October to rehabilitate the houses of lower-income homeowners in the Kansas City area at no cost to the homeowners. This year we will be tackling 20 homes on Saturday, Oct. 14, and you can help. No construction skills are necessary, and ages 14+ are welcome. Sign up to serve!
I excited about an upcoming Couples Weekend. Whether you’re planning to get married or you’re 20 years into your relationship together, this is a great opportunity for couples to come together and learn some helpful tools for becoming more closely connected.
Friday night, November 3, 6:30-8:30 pm, you’ll begin with a crash course in communication followed by dinner and intentional conversation. Then on Saturday, November 4, from 9 am-noon you’ll hear from experts on hot topics including conflict resolution, sex and money. KiDSCOR will be open both Friday evening and Saturday with activities for the kids.
Registration is required and space is limited, so register today online.
Last Friday, at the conclusion of Leadership Institute, we hosted a conversation about the future of the United Methodist Church. In United Methodism, it’s been said that there are four categories of people as it relates to same-sex marriage. You’ll hear us talk about those categories in the conversation, and you’ll see that we took a poll of the 1,024 people who stayed for the conversation to see where they came out. The vast majority of people in our denomination come out somewhere in the middle. You can see the results in the full recording of the conversation by watching the video online.
In November there will be a 24-hour gathering in Atlanta for United Methodists interested in the Uniting Methodists movement – both lay and clergy. If you feel like you might be interested, I invite you to register for this gathering. You can find out more about this event, about Uniting Methodists, and you can also sign online to indicate your support for the movement on the Uniting Methodists website.
Please pray for me and for the hundreds of people joining me as we walk in St. Paul’s footsteps.
In Christ’s Love,
13720 Roe Ave.
Leawood, KS 66224
24000 W. Valley Parkway
Olathe, KS 66061
1522 McGee St.
Kansas City, MO 64108
601 NE Jefferson Street
Blue Springs, MO 64014
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