Hearing the Music

Moving

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Collect the stuff. Pack the boxes. Move the boxes. Unpack the boxes. Place the items in their new places. No we are not moving anywhere, but these last couple of weeks our kids have been engaged in moving around town, which means we have been helping out. Moving is perhaps the ultimate transition, both exciting and unsettling at the same time. We experience these transitions throughout our lives. Along with moving, marriage, new schools, new jobs or retirement are a some of the "biggies". But transitioning from summer to back to school, from sleeping to waking, transitions between pandemic restrictions, etc... They are all part of life; exciting, but unsettling.

In the midst of transitions, one the great promises that we have is Jesus' promise to never leave us or forsake us. This is a New Testament reality flowing out of the finished work of Jesus. He has prepared the way for the Holy Spirit to take up residence in our hearts so that whatever transition we are experiencing, God's presence is with us. Assuring.

The idea of God in our midst has been at the center of our study of Exodus. This week is no exception. Throughout Exodus 32 and 33 we will see Moses mediating for the presence of God in the midst of his people, even at the cost of his life.

 

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Memories

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I trust many of you know that bittersweet feeling after a good vacation. On the one hand it is hard to leave a place of rest and refreshment, on the other hand there is a restlessness to get back to purpose and productivity. This is the balance that Addison talked about last week in Exodus 31. I certainly feel that tension as we come back in from a couple of weeks of refreshment, camping in Pentwater. Pentwater is special place for our family. It is where we have been going the entirety of our married life, a place where all of our kids have fond memories. One of the great features about our time away was the activating of those memories. It is has been interesting to see our kids come back as adults and relive those memories: sitting around the campfire, hitting up House of Flavors, digging in the warm sand, tossing the Waboba in the water, even making a beeline for Cosmic Candy. Memory is a powerful force to be reckoned with in our lives.

I mention this because this week in turning to Exodus 32, we are invited to activate the collective memory of God’s people throughout the ages. Contrary to Pentwater the memories are not positive. In fact it is just the opposite, in Exodus 32 Israel turns away from YHWH to embrace the gods of Egypt. In 1 Corinthians 10 the Apostle Paul recounts this specific incident and, centuries later, calls on God’s people to remember so that we may learn to “not desire evil as they did”(cf. 1 Cor. 10:6). Cultivating memory is important. Lazy forgetfulness can literally be deadly. But God is faithful and kind to provide us what we need to remember. I look forward to diving in with you this week!

 

Photo by sarandy westfall

Heading Back to Campus

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We got some school supply shopping lists the other day. Not sure about you, but I can see the summer slipping by and the fall creeping up on us. Soon lots of folks will be getting into rhythms around school and education. Some of those folks are college students. As many of you know we have become the Hub church for Campus Outreach West Michigan. Regional Director Kenny Hayes has been coming to staff meetings at Christ Church for the past year and just recently we had them in town to host some of their staff training. Here is some of that experience from Kenny's perspective, as well as some prayer requests:

As the Campus Outreach Team is gearing up for the new year, they spent two weeks in training with both our pastors and other Campus Outreach staff from Minneapolis and Minnesota. Sam and husband Paul Poteat shared from their experience of pioneering a new Campus Outreach region 17 years ago and their encouragement was a huge wind in our sails. The time spent with Pastor Andrew and Pastor Addison was likewise sharpening for clarifying our vision for ministry in West Michigan. They both informed the CO team on the typical west Michigan student, the culture at large, and spent time dreaming for the next 7 years. In addition to training, the Christ Church staff broke bread with the CO families and a family opened their home for a day of fun and bonding; not to mention we witnessed one unnamed pastor on the slalom skis! Last, a big thanks is due to the several Christ Church families who hosted each of the Campus Outreach staff couples. We could not have made this important time possible without you.

Here are some prayer request for our team:

  • Team unity. We are embarking on this adventure as a new team, please pray that God would knit us together.
  • Our marriages and families. All of us have moved from Illinois, some recently and others a few months back.
  • An accurate understanding of the student body and campus dynamics on Western Michigan. This will help us reach students for Christ.
  • That students hearts will be softened to the gospel of Christ before they even meet us on campus.
  • The relationships we have with some faculty and coaches at Western Michigan would flourish and grow over time.
  • That the relationships with students in Greek life and athletics will continue to be fruitful and expand throughout the semesters.
  • Ultimately that God would be glorified through our work.

Let's join in praying for and lifting up Kenny & Laura Hayes, Xavier & Tia Torres, Chase and Jess Smith, (Sam & Paul Poteat), Jeff & Stephanie Beckett and their families, not to mention the many students they will meet over the coming months.

Posted by Addison Hawkins

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