Dear Resurrection Family,
I’m writing you from a ferry traveling back from Orcas Island to the mainland of Washington State. LaVon and I spent Wednesday and Thursday mentoring a group of pastors and their spouses at a retreat with writer and professor Len Sweet (Len preached at Resurrection a couple of years ago). The pastors included United Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Baptists, Pentecostals and non-denominational pastors. This was part of our work seeking to strengthen other churches and was a rewarding time talking theology, the Bible, leadership, family and pastoral ministry.
This weekend we’ll continue our sermons on Jesus in the Gospel of Mark. Did you know that one of the interesting characteristics of Mark’s Gospel is his portrayal of the disciples, who are often portrayed as missing the point? I love this theme because we, like them, at times miss the point. Pastor Scott will preach this weekend’s message and I’m looking forward to it. He’ll share some of the footage we recently shot while on Mt. Tabor – the Mt. of Transfiguration – in Israel. His sermon is called, "Do you still not understand?" And don’t forget to “spring forward” by moving your clocks forward Saturday night.
Last week I mentioned that we’ll have a remarkable weekend in worship on April 7 and 8. A few days before that, April 4, marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death. As a part of our work in pursuing racial justice, we’ve invited Dr. Clarence Jones to speak to us in worship on April 7-8. The 86-year-old Jones was a close friend of Dr. King, and served as his advisor, speech writer, and legal counsel. He is a scholar in residence at Stanford’s King Institute. I met Dr. Jones last summer while speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival and found it inspiring to sit with him and hear him tell his personal recollections of Dr. King.
I’ve invited Dr. Jones to share the message in worship. He’ll share personal stories with a focus on Dr. King’s arrest in 1962 in Birmingham, Alabama. Jones was the only person allowed to visit King, and, on one of those visits, he smuggled out and published King’s most famous letter, the “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” In the letter King addressed white clergy, challenging them and their congregations to be a part of the solution to ending racism, rather than contributing to the problem. Jones will share with us what he thinks Dr. King might say to churches today.
This will be an historic weekend for our church and for the Kansas City area. Those of you who are teachers and college professors may want to let your students know about this opportunity as well – this may be the only opportunity for students to hear from a close associate of Dr. King, since many who worked with him have already passed on.
On Saturday night, April 7, immediately following worship we’re hosting a dinner with Dr. Jones in the Leawood Student Center. At the dinner he’ll share his recollections of the “speech that changed the world” – Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Jones helped write the speech and was sitting behind Dr. King as he delivered it, watching as he set aside much of the speech they had written after Mahalia Jackson, sitting next to Jones, shouted, “Tell them about the dream Martin.” Jones will be sharing from his book, Behind the Dream: The Making of the Speech that Transformed a Nation. Tickets for the dinner are $50 – the dinner and corporate sponsorships are helping underwrite the cost of the weekend.
I anticipate the dinner selling out today. To register for this this dinner please click here.
We have 10 corporate sponsorship opportunities available, helping to underwrite the cost of having Dr. Jones here. A Corporate Sponsorship costs $2,500 and sponsors will receive a table for 8 to the dinner, be recognized at the dinner and listed in a bulletin insert over the weekend. Please click here if your company is interested in being a corporate sponsor of this event.
As we approach Easter, I want to ask for your help. I feel a great urgency about how we will accommodate the crowds this Easter, particularly at 9 and 11 am at Resurrection Leawood. Last year we had 5,500 people attend at 11 am but our sanctuary only seats 3,500 people. It worked because we had use of our old sanctuary, where we seated the overflow of 2,000. This year the old sanctuary is under construction (it will be a great overflow for next year, but it doesn’t help us this year).
We’ll have traditional services in the sanctuary Saturday at 11 am, 5 pm and 7 pm and Sunday at 7, 9, 9:45, 11 and 5. There are three things I’m asking those of you who are committed to our church and our mission of reaching non-religious and nominally religious people: Can you attend one of the services other than 9 and 11 am on Sunday morning? Would you be willing to let us know which service you will attend? And can you volunteer on that weekend?
Let me walk through the six service times we’d like you to consider attending (I’ll preach live at all services except Wesley chapel and we’ll have awesome music at each.)
Can you take a minute to let us know your Easter worship plans? This will help us in our planning. Please go to cor.org/EasterWorship and let us know the service you plan to attend this Easter. If your plans necessitate worshiping on Sunday at 9 or 11 am and you would still like to help make room for visitors, you can share a unique Easter worship experience in one of the heated tents that will be set up on the lawn outside the Sanctuary.
We also need hundreds of volunteers - ushers, greeters, nursery workers and parking lot attendants - to help extend a warm Resurrection welcome to our guests. Go to cor.org/leawood/Easter and scroll down the page to see the ways you can serve and sign up.
You will receive a full schedule of our 2018 Worship Times with music styles this weekend in your bulletin.
Scot McKnight will speak at Resurrection Tuesday, March 20. Scot is a New Testament scholar and seminary professor at Northern Theological Seminary and the author of numerous books and commentaries. I’m excited about Dr. McKnight being with us and look forward to joining him for this event. This is a rare opportunity – don’t miss it! Join us Tuesday, March 20, in the Building C Student Center from 6:30-8:30 pm, and discover how Scripture can speak to us in deeply meaningful ways. Dr. McKnight will be available to sign books after his presentation. Childcare is available. Please let us know you’re coming by registering online.
On Monday of this week I have a book coming out that is important to me and one I hope will help and encourage many people. The book is called Unafraid: Living with Courage and Hope in Uncertain Times. It was inspired by the sermons I preached in January-February of 2017 on fear. I wrote a blog about the themes of the book on the Christian Post this week that you can read here. It is based upon a great deal of research and 30 years of pastoral ministry.
To help launch the book I’m taking vacation over Spring Break to speak in four cities on the theme of overcoming fear. I’ll be doing a dozen media interviews as well. I’ll speak at the National Cathedral in DC on Monday night, at Dunwood UMC in Atlanta on Tuesday, Highland Park UMC at the campus of SMU in Dallas on Wednesday, and at St. Luke’s UMC in Houston on Thursday. I’d like to ask for your prayers that God might use me to encourage and bless those who I’m speaking with. If you have friends who live in any of these cities, please let them know of the events. Click here for the link to the website for these events.
I’m excited about this weekend and will be worshiping online. Thanks for your prayers as LaVon and I travel to DC, Atlanta, Dallas and Houston this week!
In Christ’s love,
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