Living On Mission: South Florida, New Orleans, and London

CROSS UNITED CHURCH: REACHING SOUTH FLORIDA WITH THE GOSPEL

This Sunday, Cross United Church of Lighthouse Point, FL, will be holding its first official service as a church plant! City Church supports Cross United as part of the Send South Florida initiative with the North American Mission Board and the Florida Baptist Convention. Cross United Church is pastored by Danny Slavich, who with his wife, Laura, is committed to reaching the Lighthouse Point community of South Florida with the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Thanks to your generosity, City Church was able to donate funds for yard signs to be made to help Cross United share their presence in their community. These yard signs will be placed around Lighthouse Point in preparation for the launch of the church this Sunday, September 9th! 

How can you be praying for Cross United Church and the Slavich family? 

1. Pray for God to bring people to the launch of Cross United's services this Sunday. Pray for the launch team who have invested in reaching their community for Christ, and for those they will invite to attend church this Sunday. 

2. Pray for a smooth launch, with logistics to be taken care of and for any distractions to be minimized in order to focus on sharing the love of Christ with attenders. 

3. Pray for Danny and Laura and their children as they begin this new journey of planting a church in their community. 

4. Pray that the gospel would be clearly proclaimed and that it would connect in the hearts of many people in Lighthouse Point. 

COLLEGE MISSION TRIP TO NEW ORLEANS

Over Labor Day weekend, a team of college students led by Ryan and Anna Adams traveled to New Orleans to serve at Immanuel Community Church, pastored by Matthew Delaughter. ICC is a church plant that City Church supports financially and through service and prayer as part of the Send North America initiative with NAMB. 

Our college group served with ICC and spent time investing in the church's efforts to reach their community of Treme in New Orleans. Only six hours away, New Orleans is a quick trip to take to participate in serving our "Send City" partner and helping spread the gospel in a place where it is desperately needed. Through the financial generosity of City Church members, over $1,000 was raised to support this team as they were sent to live on mission and serve the city of New Orleans.

In addition to supporting ICC, City Church also supports two other church plants in NOLA: Connect Church of Algiers, pastored by Ryan Rice, and Lakeshore Church, pastored by George Ross. How can you support our Send City churches and the city of New Orleans? 

1. Pray - For the gospel to be shared all across NOLA and for people to be receptive to knowing the truth about God and surrendering their lives to Jesus Christ. Pray for our churches, their pastors and staff, and for the families of these churches as they serve their communities.

2. Give - Material and additional financial needs exist in order to increase the impact and reach of these churches as they minister in New Orleans. Financial generosity also allows short-term trips from City Church to New Orleans to happen! To learn more about specific needs, and how to give, email ashlyn@citychurchtallahassee.com.

3. Go - Plan a short-term mission trip with your City Group, fellow serving team members, or friends! There are many ways to serve at our Send City churches in NOLA, and we can help provide guidance and direction on how to plan a short-term trip for your group. 

LONDON: REACHING A GLOBAL CITY WITH THE GOSPEL

London, England is a city of almost 9 million people, with over 300 languages spoken, making it a true global city. The International Mission Board has identified London as a strategic city for its Global Cities Initiative, with the goal to send working professionals, students, and retirees to London in order to live on mission and share the gospel in everyday life. With an increase of on-the-ground gospel messengers in London, and by partnering with natives Londoners and church plants already growing up in the city, the IMB hopes to see many more people hear the gospel and become followers of Jesus Christ. 

City Church has partnered with the IMB to focus on London as an international send city. Our hope and prayer is to see people leverage their lives for the sake of the gospel in London. How does that work? 

If you're a student, participate in FSU's study abroad programs or an exchange program with a London university. While there, use your time outside of studying to serve in a church plant in London and help make disciples in a city where less than 2% of the population identify as evangelical Christian. 

As a college graduate, consider giving two years of your live to working and doing ministry in London! There are countless networks and connections that allow you to work your everyday job in London with the purpose of serving people in the city and helping others follow Jesus as you build relationships. 

If you're a working professional who happens to travel to London, or if your company has an office in the city, you can leverage the trips you may already be taking to help further the gospel in London. By connecting with church plants, supporting and encouraging missionaries during your travel time, and simply building greater relationships with other professionals in London, there are many opportunities to show the love and truth of Christ to Londoners. 

As a retiree, you may be searching for a way to invest your time and energy in a new season of life. Whether through mid-term trips of 6 months to 1 year, or by relocating permanently to London, you can help make a significant impact on the city. The large majority of western Europeans who identify as Christian are nominal Christians, meaning they do not practice Christian beliefs or fully understand what it means to follow Jesus in everyday life. Using your own spiritual journey and the skills you've gained over decades of work and life can make an eternal impact as you invest in Londoners and share the gospel in your retirement.

In October, City Church will send a team to London for one week to explore a new church plant happening in June 2019. This new church will be established in the neighborhood of Queen's Park, in Northwest London, led by Thomas West and his wife, Elizabeth. You can learn more about this partnership and the vision for this church, at the Wests' family blog: TheWestLondonLife.com.

To learn more about joining in City Church's efforts to reach London with the gospel, email ashlyn@citychurchtallahassee.com. 

 

Swift Creek Teacher Appreciation

Today, our East Campus team provided and served lunch for teachers and staff at Swift Creek Middle School, home of our East Campus! 

We're praying for Principal Sue Rishell and the entire faculty and staff at SCMS, as they begin a new year of leading and investing in students on the east side of Tallahassee. 

As the school year begins, there are two big ways to continue being For The City at SCMS: 

Supply Drive

We're collecting school supplies for SCMS classrooms! All supplies can be dropped off at the Connect Desk at the East Campus through Sunday, 8/19. Requested supplies: 1.5" 3-ring binders; 5-tab paper dividers; Nylon pencil bags.

Mentor Initiative

SCMS is looking for academic mentors for students throughout the week. For more information and to begin the application process, visit the Connect Desk at the East Campus on a Sunday morning! 

Join us in praying for and encouraging SCMS teachers as they begin a new school year! 

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News: Welcoming Joseph Thigpen as Discipleship Pastor

City Church is excited to announce that Joseph Thigpen, of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, will join the staff this month as he transitions into the role of Discipleship Pastor. 

This role is currently held by Craig Stewart, who, along with his wife Jen, has been recommended for appointment as a full-time missionary to Europe with the International Mission Board. Craig and Jen received their recommendation for appointment today, August 7th, and will continue in the process of moving forward to prepare for relocating with their two children in 2019. Craig will spend several weeks "sharing" the role of Discipleship Pastor with Joe, as this transition takes place and Joe completes the on-boarding process at City Church. 

Joe comes to City Church with his wife, Laura, and their daughter, Eliza. Joe and Laura have been married for eight years, and in 2017 celebrated the growth of their family as they adopted Eliza, who is now almost three. Joe holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Birmingham-Southern College, where he played football; a Master of Divinity in Christian Ministry from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; a Master of Theology in Systematic Theology from SEBTS; and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. from SEBTS in Public Theology. 

Joe and Laura have served as members of Imago Dei Church, pastored by Tony Merida, in Raleigh, where Joe also has been a Lay Pastor since 2016. He has provided counsel, oversight, and shepherding to small groups at Imago Dei, along with teaching equipping classes focusing on Christian Ethics. Joe has also served as a Lay Elder. Professionally, he is transitioning from a role as a financial advisor with Fidelity Investments, into a full-time role in vocational ministry. 

Laura has served as the assistant to Charlotte Akin, wife of SEBTS President Danny Akin, coordinating events and special initiatives at the seminary. She writes regularly for influential Christian outlets such as erlc.comBRnow.org, and other sources. She holds a B.A. in English and Sociology from the University of Mobile. 

The elders and staff of City Church are excited to welcome the Thigpens to Tallahassee. Joe's first official day will be Sunday, August 19th. Please join us in prayer for Joe, Laura, and Eliza, as they prepare to relocate and begin a new chapter of gospel ministry in Tallahassee. We are asking God to provide peace and blessing in this important transition, and we look expectantly to a new season in which Joe will assume this role and serve faithfully to continue helping the church grow in making disciples of Jesus Christ. 

We also ask that you join us in prayer for Craig and Jen, and their children, Linc and Kate, as the Stewarts follow God's calling on their lives to share the gospel with the nations. As they pursue this new appointment as career missionaries, we are praying for God's direction and provision, and that many people in Europe would come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior because of the Stewarts' faithful ministry there. Craig will continue serving in his role for several weeks before the Stewarts transition into a season of training before being officially sent to begin their missionary term with the IMB.

As we send Craig and Jen out from City Church, we all share in the experience of "Gaining by Losing," in which we feel the loss of a family who has poured their lives into reaching Tallahassee with the gospel and caring for so many at City Church. We also feel the gain in knowing that they will be building the kingdom of God in a city whose people desperately need to know Jesus. As a church, we pray for more sending opportunities, and trust that God is raising up new leaders to serve here so that we can send more out to share the truth of God's love in Christ with the world.

Members of City Church are invited to attend the Members Meeting on Sunday, August 26th, from 5:00-7:00PM at the Sessions Road campus, where Joe will officially be introduced. We will also spend time praying for and commissioning the Stewarts as they are sent by their home church to take the name of Jesus overseas. 

We look forward to this new chapter and this transition, as we welcome the Thigpens to Tallahassee and prepare to partner with the Stewarts in a new way through international missions and sending. We pray most of all that God would continue to use City Church both locally and globally to make His glory known among the nations.

For the gospel, for the city!

Backpack Drive 2018

Backpack Drive 2018

Leon County Schools start back in just a couple of weeks! 

This year, we're collecting new backpacks and school supplies to support our community partner, Godby High School, as well as Swift Creek Middle School, home of our East Campus. 

Drop off Sundays for supplies are 8/5, 8/12, and 8/19. Donations can be dropped off at the Connect desk at either campus on Sunday mornings, or at the Sessions Road campus anytime Monday-Thursday from 9am-5pm. 

We'll deliver supplies on Monday, 8/13 and Monday, 8/20 at both schools. Anyone is welcome to join us as we support teachers and students and help them begin the school year with the resources they need for a successful year! 

Supply lists: 

Swift Creek Middle School

  • 1.5" white or colored 3-ring binders
  • 1" white or colored 3-ring binders 
  • 5-tab multicolored paper dividers
  • Nylon pencil bags

Godby High School

  • Backpacks
  • 3-ring binders
  • Spiral notebooks and loose-leaf notebook paper
  • Pens, #2 pencils, highlighters, colored pencils, felt markers
  • Glue
  • Pocket folders
  • Ruler
  • Geometry sets
  • Scientific calculator
  • Stapler, staple remover
  • Agendas/student planners
  • 1" notebooks

Purchase a mega bulk school supply kit here.

 

Jessica Coogan: Associate College Director

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We're excited to welcome Jessica Coogan as the new full-time Associate Director of City Church U! Jessica is a graduate of Leon High School here in Tallahassee, and received her undergraduate degree from Florida State University. She recently completed a Master of Arts at Moody Theological Seminary in Chicago, IL, and has moved back to join the team at City Church to serve alongside Hunter Leavine, College Director, in the college ministry. 

Jessica will serve female college students through discipleship and leadership development, equipping and encouraging women to follow Jesus in college. She is passionate about reaching the nations for Christ, and will play an important role in sending college students outside of Tallahassee to share the gospel. Jessica will also help lead regular programming at City Church U, as a support to Hunter and the City Church U team of student leaders. 

Join us in welcoming Jessica, and in praying for this exciting new season of college ministry in Tallahassee! Jessica is excited to continue living on mission in a new chapter in Tallahassee as she leads us to be For the Gospel and For the Campus! 

ORDINARY: WEEK TWO

ORDINARY: WEEK TWO

Series Title: ORDINARY

Dr. David Kirkpatrick - T. Gannon Fellow, FSU Department of Religion, City Church member

Series Summary: In society today, we are experiencing something called "the cult of extraordinariness." The thought of being simply ordinary is offensive to us in today's fast-paced, over-achiever world. This is impacting the Church at large, since for the Christian, following Jesus is counter-cultural. There is a pendulum constantly swinging between enthusiasm for following Christ, and disillusionment at what that actually means. The Scriptures point us to a different story: one of ordinary life. This life consists of steady maturation, gradual growth, and the slow process of becoming more like Christ within the community of the Church. 

Sermon Notes: 

An ordinary Christian has a mission in the ordinary. A life focused on sharing the gospel is not only for a specific group of people ("professional missionaries"), but for every person who follows Christ. 

[Read 2 Corinthians 5:14-6:2]

God wants to give us a new motivation in living a life on mission.

In his letter to the Corinthian church, Paul writes that the love of Christ now compels Christians to share a message of reconciliation. For the Christian, every person is seen in view of eternity, no longer in a worldly perspective. 

Reflection Question: Do you feel the pain of people searching for meaning in their lives? 

The love of Christ working in us begins to turn our inward focus outward, toward the needs of others. 

There is no such thing as a Christian without a mission. In Christ, God is unleashing a healed and whole YOU into the world, to live on mission for Christ. 

How can we practically live on mission? 

1. Practice hospitality when it is inconvenient or not easy for us. 

2. Intentionally build relationships to share the love of Christ with people who are difficult to love. 

3. Do for one what you wish you could do for all. 

All of these opportunities to serve others should lead to Gospel conversations. We cannot simply practice kindness; we must preach the message of reconciliation that is found in Christ, which Paul tells in 2 Corinthians. 

ORDINARY: WEEK ONE

ORDINARY: WEEK ONE

Series Title: ORDINARY 

Series Summary: In society today, we are experiencing something called "the cult of extraordinariness." The thought of being simply ordinary is offensive to us in today's fast-paced, over-achiever world. This is impacting the Church at large, since for the Christian, following Jesus is counter-cultural. There is a pendulum constantly swinging between enthusiasm for following Christ, and disillusionment at what that actually means. The Scriptures point us to a different story: one of ordinary life. This life consists of steady maturation, gradual growth, and the slow process of becoming more like Christ within the community of the Church. 

Sermon Notes: 

In today's world, we're lost in our selfish impulses and impatient desires for more. Repeatedly in the New Testament in the Bible, we are called, in Paul's words, to grow up and put away our childish ways. (1 Corinthians 13:11)

In reality, most of us are not the stars of our own movies. We're called to a life of gradual growth. God, on the other hand, is hardly ordinary, but he delights in working in the ordinary. 

The ordinary Christian life is one of daily trusting Christ, daily repenting of our sins, daily believing the Gospel, daily loving God and our neighbor, and daily proclaiming the Gospel to ourselves, our families, our friends, and our communities. 

Ordinary Christians are worshipers. In the Old Testament, before the coming of Christ, worship was something you did. Worship was offered at a specific place, such as the temple, and included a sacrifice such as an animal sacrifice, to atone for sin, performed by the priest. In the New Testament, as Jesus comes to Earth, worship changes. 

[Read John 4:13-24]

Now we worship in Spirit and in Truth. What does that mean? 

Now that Jesus has come, worship is no longer about a place, a presentation, or a posture...it's about a person. It's about Jesus. 

True worship happens in Spirit and in Truth.

Spirit = the change that happens inside of you, by the Holy Spirit, as a response to faith in Christ and worship of God for who He is.

Truth = worshipping Jesus as He truly is, not who you want Him to be or make Him to be to fit your lifestyle.

Worship is: "moment by moment recognition and response to the greatness and goodness of God." 

[Read Romans 11:36-12:1]

Jack & Jill

Jack & Jill

Jack & Jill went up the hill
to fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down & broke his crown.
And Jill came tumbling after.

Few things are more complex in today's culture than ideas of gender, sexuality, and marriage. However, the Bible is very clear about God's design and purpose for us. Pastor Dean wrapped up a series called Jack and Jill, in which he explored why Jack and Jill went up the hill and were broken, and how God's design for our relationships brings clarity in a complicated world.

Watch all of this 3 part sermon series here:

Fall At A Glance

Fall At A Glance

There are opportunities each week this fall to get connected at City Church through serving, joining a group, or attending a special event. On the blog, you will find important dates and information about how you can take a next step and find the environment or experience that's right for you. 

 

SEPTEMBER

9/1 | Young Professionals Network at Fox & Stag in Midtown - 6:00-7:30pm 

9/2 | Young Professionals Coffee & Connections with Access Tallahassee - Four Points Sheraton Downtown - 8:00-9:00am 

9/11 | City Groups launch week - Click on the CONNECT tab on our website and select CITY GROUPS for more info

9/12 | City Church U College Service - MINISTRIES tab + COLLEGE for more info

9/18 | Baptisms - GROW tab + BAPTISM for more info and to sign up to get baptized

          NEXT Class - CONNECT tab + NEXT for more info and to register for NEXT class

OCTOBER

10/1 | Redemption Groups launch - GROW tab + REDEMPTION GROUPS for more info 

10/10 | City Church U College Service - More info coming soon! 

10/23 | Baptism - GROW tab + BAPTISM for more info and to sign up to get baptized 

            NEXT Class - CONNECT tab + NEXT for more info and to register for NEXT class 

10/25 | City Church U College Connect Event - 6:30pm at Maple Street Biscuit Co. 

10/26 | City Church U College Connect Event - 6:30pm at Maple Street Biscuit Co. 

11/10-11/13 | College Missions Trip - New Orleans, LA - More info coming soon! 

11/13 | Child Dedications - MINISTRIES tab + KIDS for more info and to register your child 

11/20 | Baptism - GROW tab + BAPTISM for more info and to sign up to get baptized 

11/20 | NEXT Class - CONNECT tab + NEXT for more info and to register for NEXT class 

11/21 | City Church U College Service - More info coming soon! 

12/4 | Christmas On The Moon - The Moon Nightclub - More info coming soon! 

12/ 11 | Baptism - GROW tab + BAPTISM for more info and to sign up to get baptized 

Women's Event Media

Women's Event Media

On August 12-13, 2016, women gathered at City Church for a mini-conference style gathering just for women. This time of music, teaching, and connecting with other women was designed to invest in the spiritual growth of women of all ages at City Church and in Tallahassee. 

The Women's Event featured keynote speaker Trillia Newbell, Director of Community Outreach for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission with the Southern Baptist Convention. Trillia writes and speaks on gospel issues such as racial diversity, life, and other current events. She is the author of Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves

To view video media from the Women's Event, select the links below. 

Session One: What God Says About Fear 

Session Two: The God We Can Trust 

Session Three: How The Gospel Unites Us

Session Four: The Gospel And Current Events: A Panel Conversation

For a digital resource to learn more about what God's Word says for women, download this online devotional study which takes us through the Bible's teaching on fear and faith. 

 

Fear, Faith, & Identity In Christ: A Devotional For Women

Thank you for joining us for the 2016 Women's Event! For more information about taking a next step, joining a City Group to connect with other women, or to learn more about growing in your faith at City Church, please search our website under the CONNECT tab or GROW tab. 

 

Backpacks for Godby High School

Backpacks for Godby High School

On the first day of school the halls are full of bustling students, rushing to find their new classrooms, toting a new backpack full of school supplies. However, this isn't the case for all students. We want to change that.

Every year we support our Community Partner, Godby High School, by holding a backpack drive. We want to make sure every student has the tools needed to be successful and start the year off right. With the end of summer comes back to school shopping. While you're out and about we encourage you to pick up an extra backpack and fill it with supplies to help us support the students of Godby High School.

Not sure what to pick up? Here are a few suggestions:

- New backpack (preferably a simple design and color)
- Single subject notebooks
- 3 ring binders
- Pocket folders
- Pens
- Pencils
- Flashcards

You can drop off filled backpacks in our lobby at our Sessions Road Campus every Sunday now through August 14.

A Message from Pastor Dean on Current Events

A Message from Pastor Dean on Current Events

This past Sunday, July 10th, Pastor Dean addressed the church with a statement on recent events, including the killings of Dallas, TX Police, and of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, both black men who died after being shot by police in two separate instances.

Pastor Dean called for racial reconciliation in response to the Gospel, and for Christians to strive for a deeper understanding of one another in light of our shared experience as sons and daughters of God. 

To view his message, originally shared via City Church social media, watch here. 

July At A Glance

July At A Glance

There are still opportunities to get connected this summer through serving, groups, and special events at City Church. Take a look below at some of the happenings that we are excited about in July! 

07.08.16 | Coffee & Connections with Access Tallahassee

8:00-9:00am at Beans at Betton. This networking event is for all young professionals in Tallahassee. Coffee & Connections is hosted by the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce. 

07.14.16 - 07.17.16 | City Church Youth Summer Camp - "Can't Be Stopped" 

City Church Youth is hosting its first ever in town camp for rising 6-12th graders! For more information and to register your student, visit YouthCityChurch.com.

07.25.16 - 07.29.16 | City Church KiDS Camp - "Walk This Way" 

City Church KiDS Camp is back! This summer, we'll follow the Apostle Paul as we look at the life of Jesus and learn how to join Paul in telling others about Him. Registration is free and still open! Visit CityChurchKids.com to register your child. 

07.29.16 | Team Tallahassee Football Kick-Off

City Church is kicking off high school football in Tallahassee with a dinner for public high school varsity football players on Friday, July 29 at 6:00pm at City Church. To serve or learn more about Team Tallahassee serving opportunities throughout the fall, email travis.smith@citychurchtallahassee.com. 

A Trip to Columbia

A Trip to Columbia

Cartagena is a bustling port city located on the northern coast of Colombia. It reminds me of Miami: with enormous skyscrapers overlooking white sand beaches. Only, in Cartagena, donkeys roam the streets and there are more motorbikes than there are cars.

Michael and I landed in Cartagena with the goal to connect with two missionaries and learn how City Church could partner with them and send teams of people for short-term mission trips in the future. Truthfully, we didn’t know what to expect, but our main focus was to try and learn as much as possible about the two men’s ministries and life in the few days we had with them.

We were initially greeted in the airport by Brian Massey, his cowboy hat sticking out through the crowd of taxi drivers trying to hustle us for a ride. Originally from Dallas, Brian has been in Cartagena as a missionary for the International Mission Board (IMB) for over 25 years. Even though he calls Cartagena home now, his unmistakable southern accent is recognizable even when he speaks Spanish.

We spent the bulk of our first day talking to Brian under a mango tree in our hotel courtyard, every now-and-then ducking our heads to avoid the mango’s falling from the branches. We learned that Brian’s primary focus is unreached people groups throughout Colombia, particularly the Zenu Indians. For most of the afternoon he peppered us with his ideas and strategies on how to bring the gospel into Zenu villages and reservations that have never heard it before. At the end of our conversations he invited us to join him the following day for some bible study and leadership meetings at a Zenu village an hour outside of town. Michael and I agreed without hesitation.

The following day with Brian was a blur. We spent the day participating in leadership meetings with the leaders of the Zenu church Brian helped plant. We walked house to house for discipleship meetings; each house offering a cup of coffee as we entered. We met Omar who works 6 days a week as a farm hand and on Sunday pastors the church in his village. For lunch we shared a meal of roasted chicken, yucca, and unidentifiable soup with Brian’s core leadership team, afterwards setting out again for more conversations and house visits.

By the time we got to the car at the end of the day we were exhausted. Two ladies, both in their 80’s, rode with us on the way home. Two of Brian’s earliest converts in Colombia, their stories provided a unique perspective on the ministry happening on the outskirts of Cartagena. Their eagerness to see their families, friends, and neighborhoods know The Lord is something that’ll stick with me the rest of my life.

The latter half of our trip was spent with Alex Rocha. The neighborhood where he lives just a stones throw from the airport, it’s one of the first sights you’ll see in Cartagena, but few would ever tell you to take a closer look. San Francisco has unfortunately garnered a bad reputation. Issues associated with marginalized Colombian communities— violence, drugs, prostitution—have created a stigma for the barrio. The work Alex does seeks to revitalize a part of the city so many have forgotten about.

Alex’s youth center strives to be a safe-haven for many of the kids in the area. A place where kids can learn English, music, dance, and other skills that will help them land job opportunities and break the vicious cycle of poverty and crime in the area. Michael and I got to watch some of the youth who breakdance perform on the neighborhood streets, teach in a few English classes, and play baseball and soccer at a park just down the street. I was amazed at just how many people knew Alex. Everywhere we went Alex had to stop for a few minutes to chat or laugh with someone on their doorstep. It seemed like everyday there were new faces in the Youth Center. The reach Alex is having in the community he is in is remarkable.

Unfortunately we couldn’t stay for Sunday, where Alex has Sunday school for the kids in the area. Alex told us his plans for the future were simple: continuing teaching the youth in the area valuable skills and to one day plant a church in San Francisco. 

Michael and I spent our last morning in Cartagena crammed in a little diner down the street from our hotel, the torrent of motorbikes humming outside as we sipped our last cups of Colombian coffee. Finally, we were able to begin digesting all the conversations we had, the people we met, and start thinking of what lies ahead for City Church and Colombia. We both agreed that our time in this South American beach town felt so short, but we're eager to see what being for the gospel and for the city could mean for Cartagena, Colombia.

Unreasonable Hope

Unreasonable Hope

Since we were children, my husband and I knew we each wanted to marry someone that had a desire to adopt. Fortunately, we both did and as our relationship progressed, we assumed we’d adopt after having biological children. We wanted to wait about 5 years to have any children, but after being married a little over a year, we went on a mission trip to Haiti together and fell in love with the children there. We decided to start the adoption process from Haiti straightaway.

Through a long and difficult process, we learned that to adopt a Haitian child, we had to have been married for 10 years and one of us had to be 35 years old. We were completely devastated. We were really hoping to have a child.

Soon after, we heard about a visiting sponsor program through the Florida Baptist Children’s home where one of the children on their campus would spend one weekend a month with us. Since it was too soon to adopt, we decided to sponsor a teenage girl for over a year through this program. She ended up being adopted and moving out of town. At her going away party, her caseworker mentioned that we’d be great foster parents. We talked more with her about it and it led to us being foster parents for almost 3 years. We fostered six different children (anywhere from 1 month to 4 years old!).

During this time, we were praying for Haitian law to change. We received news that it did 3 years later, when we happened to be living there, but we still did not meet the age requirement. We had moved to Haiti for 2 years and began working in orphan care. Just before we did, we were approaching 5 years of marriage, and decided to start trying for biological children. Little did we know this would be one of the hardest seasons of our marriage. After trying for a year, we saw a fertility specialist who told us that even with the most aggressive and expensive treatment, it was unlikely that we’d conceive. We had already decided that we would rather adopt another child than pay for the most expensive fertility treatment. We began letting go of the idea of ever have a biological child, but wanted to trust God for a miracle. It was so hard. I don’t know if I have ever struggled with my faith more.

I was sad. I was angry. I was heartbroken.

I often wondered what I had done wrong and if God was punishing me for earlier decisions I had made.

I began to go to a Redemption Care Group at City Church and worked through my anger and sadness in a place where I wasn’t judged or given a go-to “Christian answer”. In my Care Group, I was presented with Truth in the most loving way possible. I was specifically reminded of God as Immanuel and that he was with me even in this most difficult time. It was during that time that God started reminding me of this same truth in tangible ways. While the sadness was still there, my anger had subsided, and I was able to talk to God directly about my sadness and ask Him to help me through it. I began to pray for a miracle again, which was scary because there was three years worth of disappointment there. God reminded me that He was in control and that He could still give us a biological child, but He also may choose not to.

We recently studied Daniel in our City Group at City Church, but before that I had read Daniel 3:18 (“But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up”).

This became my verse because I knew God could perform a miracle, but I had to believe that even if he didn’t, He was still good. I had to “fake it till I made it” for a while, repeating this verse over and over again. After a month of doing so, I got the courage and faith to call another fertility specialist to get a second opinion. When I made the appointment, they asked about the last test I’d taken – and it had been a while. I kept the appointment and took a test the next day, expecting what would seem like the hundredth negative, but it wasn’t. It was positive!! I took about 12 more. They were ALL positive! God had given us a miracle!

I knew He could, but wasn’t sure if He would, but He did! I thought that would be the end of struggling to trust God, but there are many things that can go wrong throughout a pregnancy and we had some scares along the way.

My faith and trust in God has grown so deeply and Daniel 3:18 continues to give me strength each day. We just had our baby girl a few short weeks ago and we are officially in the adoption process from Haiti. So we will soon have 2 children that will be a part of our family forever and we are so grateful to God that He has given us these blessings. I used to watch baby dedications, torn apart inside, wanting a child so desperately. Now I can confidently say that this child is a miracle from God! It is really difficult, but remarkable to hope even when doctors or others say there is no point in hoping. Anything is possible with God!

June At A Glance

June At A Glance

What's happening this month at City Church: 

06.16 | City Church YPN - 5:30-7:00pm at Krewe de Gras - Register here

06.17 | Men's Event - Register online by selecting "Connect" and then "Men's Event"

06.19 | Child Dedications - For more info and to register your child, select "Ministries" and then "Kids" 

06.26 | Lord's Supper - Sunday services at 9:00am and 11:00am 

Registration is now open for Kids Camp and Youth Camp!

Kids Camp is designed for rising kindergarteners through rising 5th graders. To register your child for free, or to sign up to serve at Kids Camp, visit the "Kids" page under the "Ministries" tab. 

City Church Youth is hosting a 3-day, in town camp for middle and high school students next month! Cost is only $50, and to register your student or learn more, visit the Youth page under the "Ministries" tab. 

 

3 Next Steps After Easter Sunday

 #TALLYEASTER, NOW WHAT? 

#TALLYEASTER, NOW WHAT? 

Thank you for joining us at Easter at the Civic Center! At City Church, we want to help you connect to the gospel, grow in your faith, and be equipped to make an impact for God, wherever you are. If you came to Easter and are now wondering where to go from here, we've got 3 simple next steps that we'd love to help you take. 

1. Follow Up. If you invited and brought someone to Easter, don't underestimate the impact a follow up conversation can have after hearing the gospel on Sunday. If you need help sharing your faith or talking about how to follow Jesus, visit the City Church "Grow" page for resources. You can also download the 3 Circles Life Conversation Guide to help you share the gospel. 

2. Get Connected. City Church wants to connect people to the gospel in a positive, engaging church environment. If you enjoyed Easter Sunday, come back again this week! We'll be celebrating our risen Savior and worshiping God together every Sunday. For service times and location, visit the main page on our website. Sunday morning at City Church is a great place to find more information about getting connected and taking a next step in your faith.

3. Keep Growing. If you made a decision in your faith or encountered Jesus at Easter, don't stop there. We have resources to help you keep growing and learn how to follow Jesus in your everyday life. Check out the "Grow" tab on our website for more information. Because we believe that growth happens best in community and through serving others, we'd love to help you connect by joining a City Group or joining one of our Serve teams. You can find more information about both of these environments on our website under "Groups" and "Serve." 

To watch a recap of Easter at the Civic Center and read notes from Pastor's Dean's message, check out our Easter Recap post on the Blog. 

Join us on Sundays at 9:00am, 10:30am, and 11:55am at our current campus at 1200 West Tharpe Street. Thank you for being a part of City Church Tallahassee! 

 

Easter at the Civic Center 2016 Recap

Easter at the Civic Center 2016 Recap

Thank you for joining us at Easter at the Civic Center! Here's a special recap video of the service. We'd love for you to share in the excitement using our event hashtag #TallyEaster, and join us next Sunday at 1200 West Tharpe Street as we continue celebrating that Jesus is alive! 

SERMON RECAP

1. The Gospel of Mark tells us that at the site of the empty tomb, an angel tells followers of Jesus to "go, tell His disciples and Peter," that Jesus has risen. Jesus knows and calls His followers by name. 

2. Peter left everything he had, including his job as a fisherman, to follow Jesus. He had a firsthand look at the miracles Jesus performed and the life He lived. Jesus calls us to leave behind our old lives and follow Him. 

3. Peter believed who Jesus was, but something happened to Peter that caused Him to deny Jesus and any connection Peter had to Him. Our deepest pride and sin cause us to deny the truth and forsake God for ourselves. 

4. Peter never imagined he would be capable of denying Jesus, yet he found himself rejecting Jesus and claiming he was not one of Jesus's followers. Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves, and yet He died for our sin. 

5. How can Peter be counted with Jesus after denying and rejecting Him? Something shifted in Peter that caused him to move from denial, to an undeniable belief. When we personally encounter the love and grace of Christ, we cannot deny who He is. 

6. Peter could not deny what he had seen and heard from the life of Jesus. His shame, guilt, and unworthiness could not compare to Christ's undeniable love for Peter. It's often our feelings of guilt and unworthiness that keep us from coming to Christ. 

7. Peter was unworthy. But that is exactly who Jesus came for, and the reason He died. Our brokenness separated us from God, but God had a plan to redeem us and make us worthy through Christ. 

8. His death was the reason Jesus came to earth in the first place. Jesus defeated death, and now there's a blank space in the book of life for each one of us who believe in Him. 

9. Even more than the undeniable truth of Christ's resurrection, Peter could not deny that Jesus knew him, loved him, and called him friend. Adults don't become Christians because all their questions get answered...they follow Jesus when He becomes personal. 

10. We never have to wonder where we stand with someone who is willing to die for us. Jesus lived a perfect life and died for our sin, and now we cannot deny His love for us. 

Scripture References: 

Mark 16:1-8; Mark 14:30; Mark 14:66-72; Acts 4:18-20; 1 Peter 1:3; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 20:15. 

#TallyEaster Prayer Guide Day 21

#TallyEaster Prayer Guide Day 21

Scripture: Mark 2:1 & 2 "A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them."

Encouragement: Wherever the undiluted truth of God's word is being preached, there we will find many gathered. In Acts 13:44, almost the whole city came to hear the word of the Lord.

Prayer: Ask the Lord to draw thousands of people to hear and be transformed by the gospel this Easter at the Civic Center. Pray that one day we will see our goal of having 10,000 people reached on a Sunday morning in Tallahassee. Pray this would put a huge dent in the lost-ness of our city.

#TallyEaster Prayer Guide Day 20

#TallyEaster Prayer Guide Day 20

Scripture: Exodus 17:11 & 12 "So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek revailed. But Moses' hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set."

Encouragement: When we lift up our leaders, we prevail as a people.

Prayer: Pray every day for Pastor Dean that the Lord will uphold, strengthen and guide him in his assignment of leading City Church and preaching the uncompromised truth of God's word. As Dean walks out on stage and sees all the people God has gathered Easter morning, ask for divine power to preach the gospel faithfully and powerfully.