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A Note from Pastor Steve - Late April 2016

"We can say with confidence,
'The Lord is my helper;
I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?'"
- Hebrews 13:6
​​
Hi, friends. As I write this, ​during this fifth week of Easter, our area is just ​drying up from some significant hail and thunderstorms. Last Tuesday night, I heard what I believe to be the loudest and longest clap of thunder that I've ever heard. It reminded me of a time in my life when I was terribly afraid of thunderstorms.

When I was in the first grade, we lived in the southern part of the Kansas City area (or, more accurately, it was the southern part of Kansas City back then), just south of I-435. One night our dinner was interrupted by the neighbor from across the street, who was pounding on our door because her house had been hit by lightning and was ablaze. While she and her family escaped safely (including two kids, a goldfish, a turtle and two hamsters) and many of their belongings were preserved, the house was destroyed.

For many years, the slightest sound of thunder would frighten me. I was afraid that what I had seen would happen again. But, as I grew, I became more comfortable with thunderstorms. I accepted that they are part of nature and the damage I had witnessed was a rare occurrence.

In some ways, this seems a lot like how many of us feel about telling others about Jesus's presence in our lives. We are afraid. We have seen situations where the sharing is unwelcome. Perhaps we have shared the seeds of our experience a few times, but they have fallen on rocky soil. Eventually, though, we can grow more comfortable with the process and we grow to understand that being willing to talk about our faith is part of the Christian nature. The more we offer some expression of how our lives are affected by the love and grace offered to us, the more comfortable we will grow, and the more the fear will become a distant memory.

Peace,

Pastor Steve

May 2, 2016 - 10:31 am

Sometimes the good news is bread.

"Sometimes the good news is a story about Jesus. Other times, the good news is bread."

 

A classmate of mine, Muchengetwa, told me that after a preaching class during my junior year of undergraduate studies in bible college. It has served as a good reminder to me in all the years since. I was reminded of that lesson again recently when I was at the Revolution site one evening. I left the building and immediately pulled my hood up against the cold and started complaining to myself as I shoved my hands in my pockets. And then I realized that some of the neighbors I had spoken with on the lower level would spend the night outside.
I looked at the dash in my quickly-warming car: 28 degrees.

 

Sometimes the good news is communicated in our stories and songs. We'll have several opportunities to pronounce the good news about God putting on skin and moving into the neighborhood through story and song in the next several weeks. But sometimes the good news is bread. Or in our case warm gloves and hats. Or simple toiletry items. This year there will be angel trees in both locations. You can pick up an ornament from the tree and read what it suggests we might give to our neighbors in need and bring the listed items back to the tree. This is not complicated or inventive. But I do believe that it's good news.

 

You could also be good news by helping with the Thanksgiving meal on Thanksgiving Day (appropriate huh?) served at Keystone. Recently we received a phone-call in which a woman from the Waldo neighborhood wanted to make certain the meal would take place. She mentioned that she and her husband were in their eighties and did not have the ability to go elsewhere and did not have family coming to them. The meal at Keystone would be their Thanksgiving Dinner. She was so appreciative. She even offered to bring a pie. Sometimes the good news is a place at the table.

 

We have so many incredible things happening at both locations in the next several weeks. In this newsletter you'll read about Sound to Sight, our art and worship event (you'll be so glad you came by the way), hanging of the greens, coffee and carols and our Christmas Eve services. There will be four(!) opportunities to celebrate Christmas Eve with your church family this year. We are trying to make opportunities for everyone to experience that service regardless of holiday travel plans. Please join us for what is truly one of the more memorable worship gatherings of the year.

 

Sometimes the good news is a story or a song. Sometimes it's simply being together, doing good and knowing that good has been done for us.

 

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Jared

November 16, 2014 - 11:33 am

This is definitely NOT about the Royals...

I’m going to do my very best to avoid writing in praise of the Royals in this pastor’s note.  It’s cheap and unimaginative to make a theological or spiritual point using the Royals’ past three decades as an extended metaphor.  I know this to be true.  Must. Avoid. Temptation.

 

I’ll keep it at a few sentences.  I’m a huge Royals fan.  Somehow my dad became the only Royals fan in a family (eight siblings!!!) of Cardinals fans.  We listened to Royals games on the radio together, Denny Matthews narrated summers of my childhood.  I’m thrilled to be in Kansas City at a time in which the long-suffering suddenly become the celebratory.  It’s good.

 

If anyone would like to hear me speak much much much longer about the Royals and make wildly over-grandiose statements about nostalgia and baseball let’s do lunch and regal each other with tales of heartbreak and absolute euphoria at long last. 

 

In addition to the Royals amazing run (I’m not doing well at avoiding that topic huh?) I’ve loved KC in October thus far because of the obvious beauty throughout the city.  I haven’t had anything pumpkin spice flavored as of yet, but I too can be suckered by the romanticism of Autumn.  I chose to speak on death in October because of the evidence of one season giving way to another during this month.  Sometimes we see it happening gradually; and at other times it seems to happen over night.  Greens slide into or explode into oranges and reds in October.  It seemed a fitting time to address death.  Some of you have mentioned to me that the messages haven’t felt as though they were “on” death at all, but on death and resurrection.  That sounds about right.  I never want to suggest that death is anything less than cataclysmic, but the story of Christian faith always invites us toward resurrection.  This weekend the Candace Shaw will be bringing a message on the resurrection of Jesus.  It’s a message that’s honest, accessible and powerful.  I’m so excited for you to be a part of it.  We get to celebrate at the end of October with our fall festival at Revolution on the 26th.  If you’d like to help out with that or place your chili against other chili artists please sign up on the green card this weekend.

 

November kicks off the holiday season in earnest in every church and at Keystone and Revolution we’ll celebrate often, both in traditional and inventive manners.  On Sunday November 2nd members of Revolution who recently traveled to Ferguson Missouri will share their reflections on that experience.  They will present video and pictures, but most important will be their stories.  Please join us at 6:30 that evening at Revolution to learn more about a defining issue of our time. 
On November 14th Revolution will host Sight to Sound: a Night of Art and Worship.  Musicians from the Keystone and Revolution bands will bring awesome music and artists in the congregations will display and create art in the Revolution sanctuary as we celebrate the presence of God with us.  Please mark that Friday evening on your calendars and invite friends.  There will be childcare available at both of these events. 

 

Of course there will also be the hanging of the greens and caroling and preparations made for advent and Christmas (all things which your Pastor loves, so, be prepared). 

 

Finally two favors I would ask: if you are willing to share some opinions about prayer with me please shoot me a Facebook message or an email at jaredawheeler@gmail.com.

 

Also, if you have an outdoor nativity scene (like the ones you put on your lawn) you should send me an email as well…don’t worry, you’ll find out why. 

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Jared 

October 16, 2014 - 5:52 pm

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