Foster Care Awareness Month

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month, and in our community there is a great need to show the love of Christ to those who are a part of the foster care system. Currently, there are 12,000 children in GA in care and over 300 here in Clarke County.

More than 300 children in our community have been removed from their home because it has been deemed unsafe for them to live there. Since there are not enough open foster homes available for these children, they are oftentimes moved further from their families and friends – making a hard situation even more challenging and scary.

While there is a great need for more foster families in this community, we know that not every family is able to open their homes to children needing safety and love, but we also know is that we are all called by God to care for vulnerable children. James 1:27 is one verse often referenced with this calling, but there are countless more that show God’s heart for children in need.

We all have a role we can play in obedience to this call to enter into the brokenness of others and display the love and heart of Jesus.

That’s where we are here to help you!

We want to help you find your role and show you how to engage the many people who are entering into the difficulty of foster care, bringing light and redemption to it! We have foster families and professionals in our church who play an integral role in the health and well-being of these children.

We want to invite you to come alongside them to offer support and to help meet their needs as they pour themselves out into these children’s lives. There are Care Teams in place that give people the opportunity to serve families who foster, usually once a month, by bringing them a home-cooked meal, providing babysitting, giving date-nights, encouraging their spirits through prayer, and so much more!

Additionally, there are opportunities to support professionals who work each day with vulnerable children – to supply them with materials, support, and encouragement to help them have more to give these children.

We are excited about continuing to support these families and professionals with your help!

We invite you to stop by the information table before or after the gathering this Sunday to learn more about how we can demonstrate the love of Christ to those in our community through this ministry.

If you aren’t able to stop by but would still like to learn how you can get involved, please reach out to Katie Wood (kmw343@gmail.com) or Stephanie Mann (sbrown@chosenforlifeathens.com).

You can also visit chosenforlifeathens.com to learn more about how churches can get involved in orphan care locally.

Subscribe to Our Blog through Email

Easter: A Reality Bigger Than One Sunday A Year

I catch glimpses of the Kingdom. Not the Magical Kingdom where Mickey Mouse reigns supreme, but the heavenly one that Jesus talks about. Cinderella’s Castle has nothing on the transparent streets of gold and pearly gates revealed to John in the book of Revelation, but nonetheless, Disney World is a solid representation of hope for our heavenly home.

Every time our three-year-old sees the classic Disney castle logo in her favorite Princess movies, she reminds us of our promise to her and we say, “Yes, we will take you to Disney World when you turn five,” before she can finish her well-practiced request.

She’s never seen Disney World, but she believes it’s there.

And she longs for it. 

She reminds us of our promise to her with unwavering faith.

I have to think—do I yearn for the heavenly Kingdom like this? Do I daydream about God’s promise to usher us into a face-to-face meeting with Jesus? No. I do the laundry. I put away the groceries before the frozen fish thaws and Ellie has a hanger melt-down. I send out reminders for upcoming events to sell essential oils, but, Oh Lord—do I ever grab my friends by the shoulders and proclaim, “We get to go to the Kingdom soon! Can you believe it?!”

Do I convey the urgency of the gospel with the same zeal I use to convince college students that they just have to see the new Beauty and the Beast movie?

Don’t I want to spend forever with them laughing in the wonderful place that out-rivals any stretch of the Hollywood imagination?

Yes! Jesus, remind us of your Kingdom come.

Remind us that when life’s emergencies seem urgent, your eternal plan is what matters.

We don’t need a logo, a wish upon a star, or a magic spell to remember the Kingdom.

We need Him.

We need His words:

“...knowing that the One who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in His presence.” 2 Corinthians 4:14

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’" Revelation 21:3-4

“...And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” Matthew 28:20

Easter only comes once a year, but the Spirit never ceases to speak the victory over our souls: “Jesus rose!”

This proclamation outmatches any tired tagalong response to our deep concerns. Have you ever heard people relate a relatively flat story and follow up with, “and then I found five dollars”? What a let-down. Sure, five dollars would be nice, but we are promised a Kingdom made of precious jewels, given access to eternity by a King who loved us so much that He paid for our entrance with His life. And as He overcame death, by His power we will overcome life. 

When your friend won’t return your text: Jesus rose!

When you can’t get pregnant: Jesus rose!

When the days are too long to bear: Jesus rose!

Jesus rose.

We might not know when Jesus is coming back, but He will come. There is an end date. We can take consolation that He is with us now, and the future is good. 

The next time Ellie gives us her line about Disney World, I’ll be reminded of the Kingdom that is to come.  “Yes, we will go,” I’ll tell her, “one day, we will see the Kingdom.”

 

Written by Kasey Shuler

Subscribe to Our Blog through Email

What Is God's Will for Your Life?

What is God's will for your life? Making decisions and trusting God

In our lives we have to make all sorts of decisions. Some of those decisions are big and some are small. Some are made very easily and almost subconsciously while others feel impossible. Also, we all go through seasons of our lives where we aren't even sure what we want. So to make a decision that has any real impact on the direction of our lives can be incredibly overwhelming.

Decisions have a tendency to freak us out because what happens if we choose wrong? What if we pick the wrong major? What if you choose to date or marry the wrong person? What if you are going to the wrong church? What if...?

In our Gathering this past Sunday we spent a little time considering Proverbs 3:5-12 and the question, "What is God's will for your life?".

The bible teaches that the best possible life that is available to us is to line our lives up with the way God says we should live. Verses 5 & 6 of Proverbs 3 say it like this; Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not lean on your own understanding, acknowledge him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight. 

What do you think of when you read in the bible, "He will make your paths straight"?

I think it means to continually, and without wavering, be headed toward your goal. Now, that doesn't mean that the straight path is always the easiest one. It just means that it is the best way to get to where you want to go. The problem is that some of the time, and maybe even most of the time, we don't know where we want to go. The good news is that we aren't left on our own to figure it all out. 

This is where trusting God comes in. This is where we all get to breathe out, "lean not on your own understanding". And all God's people said Amen. 

But still we have a question to answer. What does God want for you? What is His will for your life? This is the question Matt answered in his sermon on Sunday. The answer to that question from Proverbs 3 is "we learn the will of God from the Word of God". We learn what God wants for us by knowing, understanding, and relying on His Word.

Trusting God at His Word and not relying on ourselves to have it all figured out is how we free ourselves from the weight of all those "what ifs?". And if God specifically says in His Word "don't try to do this on your own, let me help you" I think it is safe to say that he doesn't expect us to get it right all time. The way forward is to trust God believing that his way is better than our way because he knows things that we do not know, rely on His word, learn his will, and to do the best we can. 

If you are in the middle of a big decision (big decisions are things like job changes, moving to a different city, getting engaged/married, buying a house, etc.) or you have one coming up in the near future, maybe this will help...

Here are 3 questions to help you make those decisions and give you confidence that you are living out the will of God for your life.

  1. Does the Bible speak clearly to this issue?
    • Not all things in the Bible fall into the category of black and white but some do. If you are trying to decide whether or not to do something that the bible clearly says we should do or not do then you don't have to pray about it. You don't need to deliberate about whether or not you should have sex with a person you are not married to or about making a business decision that results in you cheating someone out of money because the bible speaks clearly to those issues.
  2. Does the Bible give me a wise decision to make?
    • Not all decisions in life will have a chapter and a verse we can go to for an answer. For example, although many people would disagree, no one ever decided to come to the University of Georgia because the bible explicitly told them to. But, the Bible does give us principles and parameters around the decisions we need to make.
  3. What's at stake?
    • In decision making we need to ask ourselves what's at stake. If this is truly a big decision you need to live in questions 1 and 2 until you get clarity on how the Word speaks to and informs the decision you are trying to make.
    • If its not a big deal and there isn't much at stake, make a decision the best you can and move forward with confidence.
    • Listen to the voice of God and listen to His Word. Listen to Godly people around you and make the best decision you can. Then trust God with the results.

Here are 2 errors we need to avoid when trying to make decisions, big or small.

  1. Don't go to the Word to hear from God about a decision only to ultimately make the decision on your own. When God speaks you should listen and respond. 
  2. Don't go to the Word with the intent to twist whatever you hear from God into what you want it to say. Many of us become masters of making the bible agree with our own agenda.

How has God used this sermon and Proverbs 3 in your life? Let us know here

 

Subscribe to Our Blog through Email

Reading and Praying the Bible - Using Our Bible Reading Plan

Our church just finished a month long sermon series on prayer. I don't know about you, but part one of the 'Infinitely More' series has me encouraged and eager to pray big prayers to God.

But, it's confession time: I'm bad at prayer. 

And for the sake of clarity, when I say I'm bad at prayer what I mean is that I'm no good at praying. I don't pray as regularly as I should and when I pray it often tapers off much sooner than I would hope. I get distracted, remember all the things I 'need' to do, and I run out of things to say quickly. 

One of the best ways that I have found to combat this and to grow in prayer is to pray the Bible.

Praying the Bible means that as we read we listen to the words of God and respond with what He stirs in our hearts and minds. When we let the Bible guide our prayer and set the tempo of our conversations with God our prayers will be more biblically faithful. When we pray the Bible we don't have to worry of running out of things to say. The Bible will prompt us to pray things we wouldn't think to pray otherwise. 

If we are going to pray the Bible we must first be reading the Bible. There are all sorts of reasons why we read the Bible but our primary motivation should be to enjoy God. The Bible is the inspired word of God. As we read His words we hear directly from Him. We learn about who He is, what He is doing in the world, and what He has done in our lives. Jesus says in John 15:7, "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you".

There is a connection between reading the Bible and praying. Because when we read about God it shouldn't just be an intellectual process, even though, it is right and good to think about and consider the character and nature of God. Our God is relational. He isn't absent. He created us with His image and sent His son to dwell with us. So, when we interact with the Bible we should be stirred to interact with God himself. 

Christians should be reading and praying. And in that we are hearing from and talking to our God because this is the type of relationship He has initiated with us.

But, this is all easier said than done.

Many of us aren't praying because we aren't reading. And, we aren't reading because we aren't praying. God is speaking but we aren't listening to Him.

This is where our bible reading plan comes in. My encouragement to you would be to work this into the regular rhythm of your day. Do it first thing before anything or anyone else is tugging at your time and attention. Make it a habit to read your Bible and to listen and respond to the voice of God before you hear from anything else. What would happen if we went to the words of God before Facebook? What all could God do in and through us if we were more tuned into His voice than the news of who won the game the night before?

But, how do you pray the Bible?

You can pray any part of the Bible but some books and chapters are easier to pray than others.

For example: Matthew Ch. 1 is a list of the genealogy of Jesus Christ before and after God's people were taken from their homes and into exile by the Babylonians. That may mean nothing to you or it may mean a lot depending on how well you know your Bible. But, no matter where you are on that spectrum, you can pray Matthew 1. Praying the Bible is listening and responding to God. You read, and you listen, and you respond in prayer. So, when you read Matthew 1 if you think about how specific it is with each name listed and you are reminded of how God knows each of us specifically and by name you can pray this way,  "God thank you that you know me and that you are with me". Or maybe you read that but struggle to believe it is true. If thats you, pray like this, "God I know your Word says that you know me specifically but I am having a hard time believing that right now because of _________. Help me to believe that is true about me". 

I think some of the easiest chapters in the Bible to do this with are the Psalms. And wouldn't you know it that just so happens to be the book we are reading together as a church this year. 

This week (Jan 29 - Feb 4) our bible reading plan has us in Psalms 10, 11, & 12. Have you read it yet? If so, read it again and listen to what God is saying, then respond in prayer. If not, set aside some time soon to give it a shot. My guess it will help you as it has me.


Leave a comment of what God is saying to you in/through Psalm 10, 11, or 12.

 

Subscribe to Our Blog through Email

New Sermon Series - Infinitely More: Experiencing the Holy Spirit

On Sunday, February 5 we will begin part II of our Infinitely More teaching series. For the next four weeks our hope is to spend time specifically considering the Holy Spirit in hope that God might lead us deeper into living spiritually powerful lives. 

Most of us want to have a rich and vibrant relationship with God and we want to be ever growing in that relationship. However, much of the time it feels like we get stuck and God is distant or absent altogether. No matter what we pray, how much we read the bible, or how many worship gatherings we attend it feels like nothing makes a difference.

In Ephesians 3, the Apostle Paul prays to God asking him to do infinitely more than we could ask or imagine. We believe that God can and wants to do this work in our lives individually and corporately. 

The bible teaches that, for the Christian, God is present with us but he is also alive in us through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Join this Sunday and for the next 4 weeks to ask God to do infinitely more in our hearts, in our church, and in our city. Invite a friend or a neighbor who needs to hear that God hasn't and will never abandon them.

What questions do you have regarding the work of the Holy Spirit that you would like us to answer in this series?

Name *
Name
Questions / Comments

Subscribe to Our Blog through Email

The Hughes: Praying Big Prayers to an Even Bigger God.

This Sunday, we will wrap up our January sermon series 'Infinitely More: Praying Big Prayers to an Even Bigger God'. We pulled that language directly from Ephesians 3:20-21 "Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly (infinitely more) than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." In it we are asking God to do this type of work in our church specifically in the areas of racial reconciliation, the sanctity of human life, the global church, and generosity. We are praying God uses this series to give you confidence to praying big pray of your own.

This is the story of Josh & Lindsey Hughes, a couple under age 30 with four kids (including two foster children) who attribute their expanding family to faithfulness, one big prayer, and a gracious Father behind it all. You might have seen Josh serving on Sunday, been under Lindsey’s leadership for women’s gatherings, or had the privilege of caring for their children in The Grove. The Hughes family is a humble one, but they have seen God do amazing things in their life. I had the distinct joy in speaking with Lindsey about how they got where they are, and ways she can encourage us in following Jesus into the foggy future.   

Kasey: Good morning, Lindsey! How are you this today? What are you doing now?

Lindsey: Oh, good! Its been a morning full of tantrums. I'm currently hiding in the room because they’re playing so well together right now. So if I have to drop the phone and run, that’s why. Big A is dressed up as Snow White, and Judah is loving it. And sweet little A is right here with me. 

Kasey: Haha yes, I totally understand. So, you have two kids of your own. You’ve suffered a miscarriage. You now have two foster children. I know it has been quite a journey getting to where you are now. Was there any specific prayer that started this whole thing? 

Lindsey: It really wasn’t a specific prayer, as much as it was small steps of obedience and a great amount of listening and being sensitive to the Holy Spirit as He guided our thoughts and path. For the last 7 years, since being married, we have been recipients of God’s grace. We have come to know His faithfulness on a raw and basic level. His faithfulness to provide in every way (financially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically). We have gone through seasons of great unknown—been forced to see how utterly not in control we are, and by the grace of God, we are learning to hand back and be openhanded with what is already His. Our entire lives serve the purpose of bringing Him glory, of obeying His calling no matter the cost. Once we reached that point, we were no longer able to ignore or distract ourselves from seeking our role in some of the ‘bigger’ calls of obedience. Nothing is off the table.

Seeking our part in orphan care changed everything we knew as familiar. We were suddenly having to move to a house (that doubled our rent), we had to move the boys into the same room, and a host of other seemingly meaningless details that preceded any actual kids coming into our home. But all of the smaller moments of obedience throughout or lives and our marriage, led us to obey in the bigger moments. Our current lives look nothing like what we've ever pictured, but it has been far better (and far harder) than we ever imagined.

Kasey: What did you imagine?

Lindsey: We never imagined having 4 kids under the age of 4 in the house. Honestly, we just lived our lives a lot differently. Our perspective has shifted from “what can we get out of this life”, to “what are we called to give through our lives.” That has changed everything and I am sure it will continue to.

Kasey: Wow, I need to adopt that phrase for my own life! So, I’m curious. When did you hear the call to foster? 

Lindsey: It was a slow thing. I don’t have a specific day or time that we heard the call. We knew it was a command to care for the orphans. We had talked about adoption (as a very very future thing that could possibly might maybe be for us to do). For a season, starting around January of 2014, every sermon I heard preached or quiet time I would have with the Lord, would have me walking away thinking about nothing else except caring for orphans. During that time, conversations with complete strangers about foster care started happening, statistics and articles about the need for foster parents would catch my eye and leave me in tears with my heart pounding. I didn’t actively start seeking the Lord for our role in it for about 6 months because I thought, “Everyone feels this way, right? Everyone cares about kids like this.” 

But it just kept coming back to mind. So when I finally opened myself up to seek and ask what our role was, there just so happened to be a DFCS foster care orientation the next week. It was no commitment needed, just get some info and see what happens. So Josh and I went. And we kept walking. And we would pause when we felt the Lord was asking us to pause. And then we would move on with the next step when He moved us into it. He shut a few doors along the way, but He opened others. We wanted to make sure it was in His timing. Obedience placed on our timing is still our striving. So 2 years later (almost to the day), we welcomed the first sweet souls into our home. At this point we knew we would need the assurance that it was God who brought us here and not ourselves. I think that really is the only way we have been able to keep going when it gets incredibly difficult—we know we are where He wants us.

Kasey: Whew. That’s good. If a woman came up to you in church and said, “I have this desire. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I know it’s burning within me, and I don’t know what to do with it.” What would you tell her? How can you encourage us to trust God more? 

Lindsey: Give it to the Lord. It is already His, but give it to Him. Seek clarity. Spend time in the Scriptures. Listen. Then, know that Satan will attack. He will use your greatest fears, your weaknesses, your good intentions and will confuse the heck out of you. He will distract you and isolate you. The enemy did very real things to try and deter us. It was (and still is) so important for us to remind ourselves that God is not a God of confusion. He wants us to find, know, seek, and do His will. When we genuinely lay our lives before the Lord and ask Him to grow us in His likeness and in obedience, He will start to bring clarity to your strengths, your weaknesses…the way you were uniquely created to fit into the bigger picture of bearing His image. I have the most beautiful print of Isaiah 26:3 {“You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you”} on a shelf in our living room. Our minds must be stayed on Him. Everything else is secondary. Knowing truth and remembering His promises frees us to pray with open hearts and step into living lives of obedience and compassion.

Kasey: Thanks so much for sharing your story, Lindsey! I know many will be encouraged by your family’s example. I, for one, am strengthened daily by your living testimony. I pray that God will continue His work in you and will bless every little one who has the honor of entering your home. We love you! 

Subscribe to Our Blog through Email

All Life Matters: From Before the Cradle All the Way to the Grave

On January 13, 1984, President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation designating Sunday, January 22, 1984 (and the Sunday closest to Jan. 22 every year following) as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. Why January 22? Well, Because it is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, in which the Supreme Court ruled to make abortion legal in the United States of America.

Every year on (or near) Jan. 22 many pastors and christians make their case for why all human life matters from before the cradle and all the way to the grave. But, just as we should remember the reality of Christmas (Christ's coming), Good Friday (Christ's death), and Easter (Christ's Resurrection) and not simply celebrate these "holidays" once a year, the work of seeing that every human life be seen and treated as sacred is much more than a once a year reality.

If you are a part of Christ Community Church, we covered this topic from the pulpit on Jan. 15 and if you'd like, you can listen to that sermon here.

Also, we want you to know that there are real ways to get involved in this work in our community that greatly impact real people. Danielle Hanneman is a member of Christ Community and works at Athens Pregnancy Center. Their mission is to be a resource for women experiencing unplanned pregnancy by offering them emotional, spiritual, social, medical, and physical support while advocating for life.

We thought it would be helpful for you to hear from Danielle (below) about how to get involved in seeing every human life treated as sacred as well hear Lisa's story (video), a woman helped by APC.

 

This past weekend brought an interesting series of events. On Friday, we witnessed the inauguration of our 45th president. On Saturday, women in Washington and around the country peacefully marched in support of women's rights. And this past Sunday, churches nationwide honored the sanctity of human life. 
One might think that women's rights are inherently at odds with what many refer to as "the pro-life agenda." But I would argue that our agenda, as Christians, is to advocate for and promote abundant life, and that means defending human rights from conception to death. As Matt articulated last Sunday, "A consistent pro-life position in this world says that EVERY life, from before the cradle until the grave, is worthy of life."
What does this look like today? In order to be truly pro-life, we must also be pro-woman. Women deserve better than abortion. I've heard many Christians tell me something along the lines of "Well I'm personally pro-life, but I don't think it's right for me to impose my views on other women or their bodies." Fair enough, I suppose. But (aside from the fact that I don't believe a woman's autonomy over her body trumps a fetus' right to life), there's a major problem with this argument: it completely disregards the physical, mental and emotional health of the woman. By not telling women the truth about abortion, we are failing to love them. And the Bible calls us to love.
Lisa's Story is the perfect illustration of the trauma and destruction abortion brings. I've said it already, but it bears repeating: women deserve better than abortion. 
Women deserve to be elevated and honored, not encouraged to kill their babies. Women deserve unconditional love and support through every stage of their lives, be that celebration or crisis. 
We sang in church Sunday, "I'm no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God." The decision to terminate a life is not one born of hope or grace or truth. It's a decision most women make out of fear, in shame, alone and silent. If we stay silent about abortion, are we truly sending the message that every single woman we meet is a precious, valued child of God?
As Christians, we are called to be pro-abundant life. If you'd like to learn more about what that means and how you can get involved and support women experiencing unplanned pregnancy in our community, check out www.athenspregnancycenter.org or reach out to me at danielle@athenspregnancycenter.org
As a church, let's all aspire to be both pro-women and pro-abundant life.
Danielle Hanneman -
Christ Community Member
Athens Pregnancy Center Development Director

Subscribe to Our Blog through Email

5 Ways to Plan a Purposeful 2017

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23

Its a New Year, but Will It Be Any Different?

This year, I resolve to abstain from chocolate. This is an example of an unrealistic (and preposterous) goal. I do want to eat less junk food, but it’s wise to make a plan that is both both desirable and doable.

It’s well past January first, but don’t worry. There’s still plenty of time to reflect and resolve to do great things and be more conformed to the image of Christ. Lamentations reminds us that we not only get a clean start every year, but every single morning!

Here are a few warm-up exercises to help you pray and plan for this year. I did all of these in order, but feel free to pick just one fit for you.

1. Prayer Mapping 

If you ever get distracted during prayer, this is a great tool to lay out your prayers before the Lord into one big visual. I learned about this method of prayer through Kim Cordes, a leadership coach, and she encourages the prayer mapper to first start out by praying through the acronym PRIME. Then, follow the general instructions through this post on mind mapping, but use it for prayer instead (see prayer mapping examples here). Write “2017” as the word in the middle, and branch out from there. I used mine to pray for the areas of life the Lord has given me: daughter of the King, wife, mom, personal trainer, writer, servant, friend, and neighbor.

2. One Word

After praying through the year, I then pray through one word I want to focus on for the year. I picked the word “peace,” because it is something the Lord has been speaking to me the past few months through reading the Bible, prayer, and through friends’ prayers for me. If you need some assistance picking a word, you can go through the steps here.  

3. Personal Manifesto

Resolutions are wonderful, but generally they are all or nothing. If I make a resolution to not eat sugar for a year and then “accidentally” spill some sugary creamer into my coffee, I just broke my whole resolution, throw my hands into the air and think, “I might as well quit now!”

A personal manifesto is a statement of your core values and beliefs, what is important to you, and how you plan to live your life. It is written in the present tense, even if not everything you state is one hundred percent true about you today, it is a declaration of what you are working to become.

There are plenty of ways to write your personal manifesto, but after doing the prayer mapping and one word, I decided to make mine simple and easy-to-remember: "I will live in peace." For me, it means I will abide in the God of peace, and work to maintain peace within my own body and with others.

4. Categories

Mattox and I sat down to have a “2017 planning meeting” the other weekend. We wrote down the following categories and a goal or two for each of us under each heading. After we communicated our priorities for the year, we pulled out our calendars and matched up what would work for our family and nixed what didn’t. Here’s a sample of the categories we used, but feel free to use your own in a different order.

  • Spiritual

  • Marriage

  • Kids

  • Health

  • Career

  • Personal growth (fun, hobbies, friends, education)

  • Finances

  • Adventure

  • Wild card category

5. SMART Goals

I listed SMART goals last, because I think these are helpful for smaller, short-term goals. I like to figure out the big picture before delving into the details. Part of my manifesto is creating peace within my body, which means building a base of gut-healthy food. Here’s an example of a SMART goal for adding in more probiotic foods into my diet:

  • Specific: I will consume one serving of probiotic food per day.

  • Measurable: I will measure out the serving through the hand portion sizes.

  • Achievable: I will achieve this goal by going grocery shopping once a week to stock up on probiotic foods like kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi.

  • Relevant: Eating more probiotic foods will promote cravings for a healthier diet and decrease hunger for inflammatory food.

  • Time-sensitive: I will start tomorrow and try this goal for at least 30 days.

 

Reflect & Respond:

  1. How do you plan for the New Year?

  2. Do you have a goal, resolution, or manifesto for 2017?

Subscribe to Our Blog through Email

Celebrating Christmas Together as a Family

We want our church to be a community of people who make the real Jesus impossible to ignore in the city of Athens and beyond. 

As good it sounds, that sentence can easily be filed under “easier said than done”. It seems the world we live is growing increasingly deaf to the voice of God and the work of being salt and light (Matt. 5:13-15) isn’t getting any easier. That being said our mission hasn’t changed. God has called his church to the work of disciple making no matter how tough or slow that work may be. 

Some seasons and rhythms of life provide opportunities that need to be taken advantage of. Christmas is one of them. For the non-christian this time of year may just be synonymous with awkward family gatherings, consumerism, and traffic. But for the believer in Jesus it is much more. 

It is a season of expectation and a season of remembering. We remember who our God is and we remember all that he has done for us. We are reminded that our God is a God who keeps his promises. But Christmas isn't just for looking back. It is also a time to look forward in hope that God has made another promise that he will surely keep. Christmas is a time to remember that the Christ has come. And it is a time to look forward with anticipation and hope that he has promised that he will come again.

This is the Jesus we want people to see. The real Jesus. The one who didn’t come with more rules for us to follow as God’s ultimate “you better watch out” but who came to put on display the kindness, mercy, and generosity of God toward his people. The work of the church this time of year is to make this as plain as possible. To leverage whatever inclination the people around us have to this message of remembering and anticipating. To point them to the message of Christmas. A message that says they have something to merry about. A merriment that will last long past any present opened on Christmas morning.

One of the ways we want to do that as a church this Christmas is by partnering with Downtown Academy. DtA is an organization that exists to create an environment to help students achieve success in every area of their lives. They exist to bring hope to families who need it most. This is an organization in our community that we are heavily invested in as a church. Four of the ten staff members at Downtown Academy are members at Christ Community. We also have several church members who volunteer significant time each week with students at Downtown Academy. This video describes our involvement at more detail.

We want to make the real Jesus impossible to ignore this Christmas and we see an opportunity at Downtown Academy that we don’t want to miss. We want to raise $10,000 before our Christmas Celebration at 6pm on Dec. 11 so we can scholarship two students to Downtown Academy. We need your help to do it. Please consider joining us in this work by investing in these families. If you would like to give now you can click the button below and designate your gift as “Christmas Offering”. 

Not sure what to give? Consider giving what you would on a normal month.

Also, come celebrate with us (at 890 Boulevard) what God has done and all that he has promised he will do!

Subscribe to Our Blog through Email

Fall Focus Offering, The Wares, & Acts 29

At Christ Community, there are a handful of seasons each year where we want to come together as a church family to pray and give toward accomplishing specific purposes. One of those seasons each year is in the fall. Last year we prayed and gave toward a September remodel and our church is still benefiting today from the generosity and sacrifice of those who contributed. Thank you for that. This year, we want use our Fall Focus Offering to sew into an existing partnership that we have with Acts 29, a global church-planting network, and Klint & Mary Elizabeth Ware. (Click for more on why we do a Fall Focus Offering.

If you aren't familiar w/ Acts 29, their vision is to be a network of churches that plants churches all over the world and Christ Community Church is a part of that network. If you'd like, you can watch this video to find out more about Acts 29. 

As a part of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network, we give 10% of every dollar contributed to Christ Community specifically toward church planting. We love that we get to be a part of what God is doing in the city of Athens and around the world.

This is where Klint & Mary Elizabeth Ware come in. Before coming to Christ Community in August of 2015, the Wares lived in Flower Mound, TX where Klint served on staff at The Village Church. The Village is also a part of Acts 29. The Wares began to feel called by God to step away from their ministry role at The Village and pursue church planting. Klint & Mary Elizabeth are here at Christ Community to serve as a part of our community, learn, grow, and be further developed in order to plant a church. In order to make this opportunity possible, the Wares raised support from various churches, organizations, friends, and family. Much of what we give as a church toward church planting makes it possible for Klint and Mary Elizabeth to be here and for Klint to serve on staff at Christ Community.

  • We believe that we have been called by God to make the real Jesus impossible to ignore in the city of Athens and beyond.
  • We see in the pages of scripture that God's primary plan to reconcile the world to himself is for the church to point people to the person and work of Jesus Christ.
  • We desperately want to be a part of that work. 

For these reasons, we want our church to come together and raise $6800 in the month of October for our Fall Focus Offering. This will go toward church planting and to supporting the Wares financially. 

Will you help us reach this goal?

  • Contribute to the Fall Focus Offering via the button below.
  • Share this post to help us spread word.  

Not sure what to give?

  • If you are a college student consider giving $25
  • If you are not a college student consider giving $100

Subscribe to Our Blog through Email