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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

An Inviting Church Community

At our last Leadership Council meeting I spoke to the Council about our activity as an inviting church. Since becoming the pastor here at Crooked Creek I have been involved in several local community theater productions around the city. Aside from absorbing a lot of my free evenings it has presented an opportunity to minister to a community of people who I believe are being overlooked by too many faith communities. Listening to my fellow cast-mates I have been overwhelmed as the stories they have shared of neglect, abuse, racism, intolerance, and out right dismissal. They have been treated harshly, ridiculed, threatened, and ignored.
And they have been very wary of local churches. Afraid of being judged, condemned, or rejected most of these people would never consider that part of the answer to their life struggles could be found in a loving relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I have been amazed at how quickly they have responded to a simple showing of love, care, or affection and believe that these simple offerings have led to positive changes and adjustments in their life.
It is truly a humbling experience to attempt to share this Love of God for another person to discover how quickly and thoroughly some can cling to this small hope of grace and acceptance. I am excited to see how this acceptance is leading these same people to take great strides in their own personal lives and in their relationship with Christ.
And it leads me to wonder what others are doing to help establish God's Kingdom...what are doing to share this love and acceptance. To whom are we reaching out? And are we reaching out with the desire to communicate God's love or with a desire to fill the pews at our church?

LOST and the Church

The television show LOST has captured the interest of many viewers over the past six years. The series finale, which aired on May 23rd, has polarized fans. The Sunday school class I teach at Crooked Creek Baptist Church hasn't focused specifically on LOST (yet!). But we certainly have focused on issues which have polarized Christians every bit as much as the LOST finale has polarized fans. And some of those topics are ones that LOST itself has explored: the meaning of existence, the nature of good and evil, the relationship of Christianity to other religions, and the afterlife.

I thus thought it appropriate to post on this topic, both to invite LOST fans in the Indianapolis area to a church that makes room for those sorts of conversations, and to share with friends at church (as well as anyone else who is interested) links to things I have written and interviews in which I am quoted commenting about LOST.

USA Today: "God, the Devil and TV's 'Lost'"
MTV News: "'Lost' Finale: Experts Talk Impact Of Religion On The Island."
E! Online: "Can the Lost Finale Satisfy the Fans?"
Journal Sentinel: "To The End, Fans Lost in TV's 'Lost'" and "Lost Theories Revealed" 

I have also blogged extensively about LOST for the past several years on my own personal blog, Exploring Our Matrix.

Whether you are a LOST fan or not, Crooked Creek Baptist Church welcomes you to join us for worship, and for conversation about interesting and important topics!

Special Guest Speaker for June 6 service

Crooked Creek Baptist Church welcomes special guest speaker, Rev. John R Amick. A graduate of Western Carolina University, NC, in 1969, John earned his Master of Divinity from Southern Baptist Seminary, KY, in 1973. Active in American Baptist Churches USA ministry since 1972 in Indiana and New York, John has served as Area minister in NY 2003-2009. John has been married to Joy Witek Amick since 1997.
John is the father of 2 children, Cathy and David, grandfather of four healthy little boys and a new baby grand daughter as of May 25. John and his wife Joy, are both members of Crooked Creek Baptist.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sunday School Discussion Starters on Immigration

On Sunday May 30th, Rev. John Amick will be leading Dr. McGrath's Sunday school class. The topic will be immigration, and to provide a starting point for discussion, Rev. Amick has provided links to relevant documents which may provide a starting point for conversation on this topic.

Letter Addressing Immigration and Immigration Reform (American Baptist Churches USA)

Immigration 2009 (National Association of Evangelicals)

A Bipartisan Call for Immigration Reform (Evangelicals for Social Action)

Immigration Reform (Church World Service)

Immigration Reform Agenda (America's Voice)

Christians For Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Articles on Immigration at Ethics Daily (Baptist Center for Ethics)

Handbells

What a beautiful addition to the service the handbells were yesterday at church! While I love to listen to John Logan's organ prelude, it was so wonderful to hear the bells ring through the same time. It certainly set the tone for worship yesterday. I wonder if anyone realizes the ministry that these bells serve? Besides being beautiful to listen to two of our ringers are not members of our church. This means that every time these two visitors join us its an opportunity for us to minister to them, and not just in music. It does not mean that we are recruiting them for church membership (I know at least one of them already has a church home) but we are doing what we can for their Kingdom participation.
And this is important for us and for our ministry. If our primary goal is to build Christ's kingdom then church membership has to be secondary at best. And when we provide opportunities for people to serve through handbells, Vacation Bible School, or other ministries, we boost participation in God's Kingdom.
I am grateful to the leadership of Sylvia Gormley and the rest of the handbell choir for their ministry to our church family and for their ministry that reaches others as well!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Joshua's Vision Gospel Group for May 30

Crooked Creek Baptist welcomes special performing artist Joshua's Vision to worship Sunday morning, May 30.

In the Bible Joshua used music to tear down the walls of Jericho. Joshua's Vision from Alexandria, Indiana wants to continue that idea by encouraging a life-long commitment to Christ.

Joshua’s Vision is Andrea Hughes, Bryan Hughes, and Coy Hutcherson. With a commitment to God’s word first and close vocal harmony second, Joshua's Vision has been thrust in to the core of the gospel music world. heir goal is to help tear down the walls of personal struggle, sadness, and resistance to God’s healing hand. Joshua's Vision believes that a relationship with Christ is the only way to live eternally with our God in heaven. They pray their music reinforces the joy and grace that His Word can bring.

In their short time together, they have been blessed to perform with Gaither Music Friends Woody Wright and Stephen Hill as part of Woody and Friends concerts. They have appeared on stage with such notables as Jim Hill, Triumphant Quartet, and The Blackwoods. Joshua's Vision was also honored to be invited by Gloria Gaither to be a part of the Gaither Fall Festival as a featured performing group in 2009. We continue to be humbled by the doors God has opened as our ministry grows.

Joshua’s Vision performs Christian favorites AND original selections. Their uplifting music is a combination of accompanied and a cappella music. The music of Joshua’s Vision also breaks down the walls of generation gaps. In addition to touching all age groups, this trio has gained a positive reputation for the genuine delivery of God’s message through them.

For more on Joshua's Vision, please visit their website at:
joshuasvision.com

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fireside Club Outing

The next luncheon gathering for the Fireside Club will be on Thursday, June 17 at 1:00 p.m. at the Grindstone Charley's in Speedway, IN. Interested participants can sign up in Rainbow Hall. Those requesting a ride can indicate on this form and will need to meet at the church at 12:30 on this date.

Vacation Bible School

SonQuest Rainforest, the Vacation Bible School program at Crooked Creek Baptist will run from Monday, June 28 through Thursday, July 1 from 9:00 a.m until 12 noon. Registrations for children kindergarten through 5th grade can be made by contacting the church.

Stewardship Offering from Don Scott, Area Resource Minister

June 1 and 8 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Please register by Thursday, May 27 at the church or via email at crookedcreekchurch@att.net

Freed up from Debt...Getting Out and Staying Out of Debt

The greatest challenge and the fiercest enemy of personal financial freedom is not a recession or a declining stock market. Both are cyclical, expected, normal periodic financial events. Instead, an individual's biggest problem or the proverbial "elephant in the room" is personal consumer debt. "Freed-Up from Debt" is a biblically based two session workshop that provides the basic tools necessary to get out and stay out of debt. More than "how to's" this resource helps you examine your heart and motivations around money, while giving you the steps you need to take to get free from the emotional and spiritual bondage debt produces.

Please bring to the workshop the details of your debts (these will not be shared) such as you most recent credit card statements, student loans, vehicle loans, etc.

Because our church believes that money and its use is a spiritual issue, we offer this workshop free of charge (except for a nominal workbook fee) to persons who may be struggling with debt and its accompanying issues.

Don Scott
Associate Executive Minister
American Baptist Churches of Indiana and Kentucky
1350 North Delaware Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46202
Telephone: 317-635-3552, Ext. 228
FAX: 317-635-3554
www.abc-indiana.org

New Ladies Sunday School Class

Would you like to learn more about the women in the Bible? Are you fascinated by the relationship of Ruth and Naomi? What do you know about Deborah, Lydia, or Priscilla? Have you heard of the Shiprah and Puah, the Witch of Endor, or Jepthah's daughter? What lessons can these women teach us today about ministry, business, care giving, matriarchs, sacrificial giving, etc...? Come with your different versions of the Bible and let us look at these often untold stories of the Women of the Bible. Join Rev. Joy Witek Amick each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. for this exciting and interesting study (meet in the former Keys Classroom)