Dear Resurrection Family,
I’ve been studying what the Bible says about hope this week as I’ve been preparing this weekend’s sermon. There are hundreds of verses in scripture about hope, many for people in seemingly hopeless situations. For the biblical authors, as for us, God is the ultimate source of hope. I love how Zechariah the prophet famously said that God’s people are “prisoners of hope.” We all need hope. If you know someone who could use some hope right now, invite them to join you for worship this weekend.
Last night as I was heading through the Commons at Resurrection Leawood I ran into hundreds of children and their parents in the final rehearsal for tonight’s KiDSCOR Birthday Party for Jesus and the Children’s Choir musical, The Little Drummer Dude. This is a great opportunity for your family, your kids and grandkids to have fun while learning about the meaning of Christmas. From 5:30 to 7:10 pm tonight we’ll have games, a DJ dance party, family photo opportunities, cake and party favors and serve projects. At 7:15 in the Foundry the children’s choir will present The Little Drummer Dude. Don’t miss the fun tonight!
By the way, each weekend during Advent we’re preparing a Christmas ornament for you to decorate and hang from your tree. We’ll have patterns in worship for you to cut out and color, or you can download them at our website by clicking here and printing at home. Here’s what they look like:
If not, we need to hear from you. Your generosity and commitment honor God and they make the church’s ministry possible – all that we do in helping children grow in their faith, in youth ministry, in worship, discipleship and pastoral care, and all of our work serving others in the community happen because of the gifts of your time, talent and resources.
As we prepare the 2020 budget, your commitments are an important part of determining our ministry plans for the coming year. Our hope is that those who are able will take a step forward in their giving this year as we pursue the church’s 2030 vision. Click this link to make your commitment. Next week we begin sending follow-up notes to our members we’ve not heard from yet, so if you make your commitment online today, it will save the church the time and resources that go into sending follow-up notes.
This week I found Frank Gentile, one of our amazing staff, building a nearly life-sized locomotive engine in the basement of the church! It was part of the set for this year’s Christmas at Resurrection performance that begins next week. More than 300 actors, musicians and dancers share the Christmas story through favorite holiday movies in “The Reel Meaning of Christmas” on Dec. 12–15.
I’m really excited about this year’s performance. This has become a part of our family tradition with our granddaughter. When LaVon asked Stella if she wanted to go this year (we’ve taken her each year since she was born) she burst out, “Yes!” and she went on to talk about her favorite part – seeing Simon the donkey walking through the sanctuary. Last year I started offering to purchase tickets for my neighbors and several enjoyed it last year. Seats are still available. Purchase tickets here.
Last weekend in my sermon I mentioned our annual Candlelight Christmas Eve Offering. I want to share a little more information about this offering. Since 2007, we have given away the entire Candlelight Christmas Eve offering to provide hope to children and families living in poverty in Kansas City and around the world.
Amazing things have happened as a result. Children have achieved academic success, families have found fresh starts with homes and jobs, orphans and vulnerable children have become self-sufficient, refugees have received care, families have rebuilt after natural disasters, and health concerns have been addressed through medical interventions and basic needs, such as clean water. This fall the Kansas City Public Schools recognized Resurrection as the Community Champion of the Year for all that you have done in partnership with the school district.
The 2019 Candlelight Christmas Eve Offering will continue to support strategic local and global initiatives in Kansas City and around the world. Two examples of the projects and partnerships this year’s offering will fund are:
Each year I encourage you to consider giving an amount equal to what you spend on your family for Christmas in this special offering. The first time I heard this idea from a friend I thought, "That’s a great vision, but how many people would actually do this?" But LaVon and I decided we would try it. We scaled back a little on what we gave to our kids and family, and we shared with them that in addition to the gifts we were giving them, we were giving to help low-income children in Kansas City and internationally. For me it made our Christmas celebration more meaningful. Not everyone can give in the Christmas Eve offering an amount equal to what they spend on their own Christmas, but hundreds do and nearly everyone on Christmas Eve does something.
We’ll present our offerings on Christmas Eve, but if you are going to be out of town, you can give online (Select “Special Christmas Offering” for the giving type.) or place your gift in the offering plate and note that it is for the Special Christmas Offering. Beginning this weekend, we’ll also have gift cards available that you can present to someone if you give to the special offering in their honor.
Please join the Congregational Care team for a Service of Hope and Healing in the Leawood Sanctuary as we seek to offer you support and encouragement this holiday season. We recognize that many of us face the reality of pain, loss and grief during this time, and we want to offer a space to acknowledge that struggle.
Pastor Dennis Apple will share the story of his grief journey after the sudden death of his son. He will candidly tell his “faith” struggle and how he finally came to a place where he found hope & healing. This will be a special service filled with music, prayer, anointing and a message of hope. If you need additional support from Congregational Care, please call the church office at 913-897-0120 during normal business hours (9 am to 5 pm).
This year we’re officially starting Candlelight Christmas Eve services on Sunday, Dec. 22, at 5 pm. We’ll celebrate the 4th Sunday of Advent at the Saturday night and Sunday morning services on December 21 and 22, but Christmas Eve services begin on Sunday, Dec. 22 at 5 pm.
As you make your plans for Candlelight Christmas Eve, I want to encourage you to consider attending one of our services other than the 3 or 5 pm on December 24 – these are our two most crowded services and last year we had no room left anywhere in the building and people were turned away.
Here is our complete schedule for the Leawood campus:
We rely on hundreds of volunteers to welcome our guests to worship on Christmas Eve. This is a great opportunity for your family to serve together. Register online for: worship hospitality, nursery volunteers, or parking lot greeter.
This weekend we’re adding two global donation opportunities for Christmas projects. We also still have projects to purchase Christmas gifts for children in the Kansas City area. Stop by the JOY tables in the Narthex after worship, or sign up here. This weekend you can serve:
Last week Abingdon Press released my latest book, The Walk: Five Essential Practices of the Christian Life, based upon my Lenten sermons earlier this year. My hope for this book is to help readers to have a faithful and deeply meaningful walk with Christ. The five essential practices are worship, study, serving, giving and sharing. These five practices are found throughout scripture, were modeled for us by Jesus, and have been pursued by Christians across the last 2,000 years.
I’ll sign books in the narthex after each worship service this weekend for those interested in picking up a signed copy as a gift. We’ll have several of my other books available as well.
See you in worship as we focus on hope!
13720 Roe Ave.
Leawood, KS 66224
24000 W. Valley Pkwy
Olathe, KS 66061
1601 Grand Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64108
601 NE Jefferson St.
Blue Springs, MO 64014
8412 W. 95th St.
Overland Park, KS 66212
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