Why we’re doing “Rockin’ Christmas”

Rockin' Christmas“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’” (which means, God with us)” (Matthew 1:22-23 ESV).

Some have been wondering why we’re doing an event that has such a secular feel to it. With a promotional title like “WCC’s Rockin’ Christmas,” a tagline saying, “A Holiday Experience That Will Rock Your World,” and well, the program itself, that begins with secular Christmas music and feels so performance driven… Some are saying, “This doesn’t feel at all like church!”

Our answer: It’s not supposed to feel like church.

We’re not trying to reach “church people.” We’re trying to invite people who celebrate Christmas, but don’t go to church. We want this event to be something that WCCers can invite their family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers to as a gift to them at Christmas. We promise that they will hear Christmas music that is both popular and familiar, all presented with excellence. We hope to entertain and inspire. But most of all, we hope to offer them the greatest gift of all…

… a clear presentation of the gospel within the Christmas story.

Which, by the way, includes the reality that God sent His Son as Immanuel (God with us). Christ Jesus left the eternal worship service taking place in heaven and came to us. He revealed the Father to us by becoming one of us. He communicated the love of the Father to us in a language we could understand. So, now we’re hoping to communicate the love of Christ to our community in a language that they can understand.

Our “Rockin’ Christmas” event is our way of offering the true gift of Christmas to our community. So, when you’re thinking about who to invite, consider that person who celebrates Christmas, but doesn’t go to church. That’s who this event is really hoping to touch.

Whose birthday is it?

gold_frankincense_myrhh“And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11 ESV).

When I asked the children at a Sunday service, “Who gets gifts on your birthday?” Their answer was a loud, “I do!”

Then I asked them, “Since Christmas is the birthday of Jesus, who should get gifts?”

They shouted in response, “Jesus!” The logic was inescapable even for a child.

The gospel according to Matthew reported that Magi came bearing gifts for Jesus. These men were probably Persian or Babylonian wise men, students of the stars and of ancient Middle Eastern writings. Perhaps they had access to the writings of Moses, that king Nebuchadnezzer of Babylon had acquired when he conquered Israel and looted the Jewish temple. Maybe the Babylonian wisemen who were their forefathers had been saved by Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzer’s dream and ever since, the Magi had been students of the Hebrew writings which we call the Old Testament.

Certainly, there is a prophecy concerning a coming king found in the Torah that said a “star will come out of Jacob” and a “scepter will rise out of Israel” (Numbers 24:17). If the Magi were students of these writings, the appearance of a new star over Israel would have led them to conclude that the prophesied Messianic King had arrived.

It seems ironic that these foreigners would travel to the land of the people of the Book looking for a prophesied king, when those to whom the Book and the King truly belonged, failed to recognize his arrival. The Magi traveled a great distance bearing gifts while the people of God went about their daily business unaware of the significance of the season. The Magi brought Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh while the people of faith brought him nothing.

As people of faith today we often make the same oversight. We get caught up in the busyness of Christmas and forget to acknowledge the one for whom the season exists. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can offer Jesus the same three gifts that the Magi did centuries ago.

We can offer Jesus the gift of gold. Gold is a gift fit for a king. We can acknowledge Jesus as the King, the Lord of our lives. We can give him the gift of gold. How? Jesus said if you’ve done it for the “least of these,” then you’ve done it for him. We can show that Jesus is king over our possessions by giving to the “least of these” this Christmas. We can submit to Christ as Lord and King over our time, talent and treasure.

We can offer Jesus the gift of frankincense.  Frankincense is a gift fit for a priest. This aromatic resin was highly valued. The odoriferous substance was used throughout the Jewish temple as a main ingredient in the holy anointing oil, and was burned with the meat offering. Giving Jesus the gift of frankincense means that we acknowledge him as our divine priest, the one who mediates between God and men. We can recognize Jesus as the only mediator between God and humanity.

We can offer Jesus the gift of myrrh. Myrrh is a gift fit for a savior. Like frankincense this resinous exudate was prized for its aromatic qualities. While it had many uses it was especially known as a medicine to relieve pain and a spice employed to prepare the dead for burial. When we offer Jesus the gift of myrrh we recognize that he himself is our sin sacrifice and accept him as our Savior.

Christmas is the season when we celebrate that God “so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.” It is also the season when we can acknowledge God’s gift by giving back to him. Wise men and women still offer him gifts fit for a King, a Priest, and a Savior.

Will you include Jesus on your gift list this year? After all, it is His birthday.

Is your Bible gathering dust?

DustyBible“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

Where’s your Bible? Have you picked it up lately? If you find it, does it have an inch of dust and a couple of water-rings on it where you’ve been using it as a coaster?

“No way!” You say. “I’d never abuse the Bible like that. I keep it in the box it came in when my grandmother gave it to me for graduation. Look, it’s got my name on the front and it still has that new Bible smell.”

Here’s the thing. The Word of God is not the leather binding. It’s not the gold-gilded tissue thin paper. It’s not even the ink (whether black or red). The Bible is not a magical charm to be held up in the air to claim health, wealth and prosperity. Nor is it a talisman to put under your pillow to ward off nightmares and such.

Listen to what C. H. Spurgeon said about the right way to handle God’s Word:

“What is the right way, then, to handle the Word of Truth? It is like a sword, and it was not meant to be played with. That is not rightly to handle the Gospel; it must be used in earnest and pushed home. Are you converted, my Friends? Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Are you saved, or not? Swords are meant to cut and hack, wound and kill—and the Word of God is for pricking men in the heart, and killing their sins. The Word of God is not committed to God’s ministers to amuse men with its glitter, nor to charm them with the jewels in its hilt, but to conquer their souls for Jesus Christ!” – C. H. Spurgeon

The Word of God must be read and heard to have its effect on us. When we read and study the Bible it comes to life in us through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is no longer a dry, dusty book. It is “living and active.”

There are four steps that we can follow to experience its “living and active” effect on our lives:

  • Observation. Open and read the Bible asking questions like: who, what, when, where and how. Write down your observations.
  • Illumination. Ask the Lord to give you light to understand what He is saying. It is His Word, not ours. We don’t want our own multiple interpretations. We want His. Not, “this is what it means to me,” but “thus saith the Lord.”
  • Interpretation. After observing and meditating on God’s word for illumination. Write down what the text meant in the time period and setting it was written. Then, write down the timeless principles that you see emerging.
  • Application. Ask, “How does this apply to me and what changes do I need to make in my life?” This is where the Bible gets its nickname, “The Sword.” Perhaps if the author of Hebrews were writing today, he would have called it a “scalpel,” because God’s Word works like a surgical instrument to reveal and excise sin in our lives.

So, get those Bibles out, blow off the dust, find a quiet corner and read. Ask God to speak to you today.

Visiting the orphan with gospel hope


Visiting a Child Development Center in Kisoro, Uganda

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27 ESV).

This coming Sunday is “Orphan Sunday.” Our church is joining churches around the country by setting apart the first Sunday in November to focus on the plight of the orphan. However, every Sunday could easily be considered “Orphan Sunday,” since we were all once fatherless until we were adopted into the Father’s family.

John Piper calls the doctrine of adoption, the “heart of the gospel.” He sees caring for orphans as an appropriate outworking of the gospel’s work in us.

I think this is what the apostle James meant when he spoke of “religion that is pure and undefiled.” James mentions religion not in the usual sense to describe it as false, but true religion, a religion that is “faith with works.” Perhaps one of the clearest expressions that the gospel has indeed done its work in us, is that we are doing the work of the Father for the fatherless.

But what does it mean to “visit” the orphan with gospel hope? The Greek word translated “visit” is ἐπισκέπτεσθαι (ep-ee-skep’tes-thai). The great Greek scholar, A.T. Robertson, described it as a “common verb meaning to go to see, to inspect, to have a care for, to have the habit of going to see.”

Understanding the word, “visit,” in the context of gospel hope, implies at least three actions:

  1. We can see their affliction as God saw ours. We can open our eyes to the plight of the fatherless in our world just as God saw our affliction. According to a recent UNICEF report there are 210 million orphans in the world. Much of them in Africa where AIDS has orphaned 1 in 5 children. We must stop turning a blind eye and take notice of their need. We can look without turning away because Christ did not turn away from our distress.
  2. We can go to them as God came to us. Certainly “visiting” means not only to open our eyes to their need, but also to go and be with them. God didn’t just see us, He sent Jesus, Immanuel, to be “God with us.” Christ left the glory and riches of heaven to be with us. We must be willing to leave our place of comfort to be with them. In his book, Orphanology, my friend Tony Merida speaks of the impact of going to be with the fatherless: “A burden for orphans often develops by simple exposure to them. If you hold an orphan or visit an orphan, or watch an adopted child grow up in a loving family, then I believe your heart will be moved with compassion.”
  3. We can care for them as God has cared for us. God didn’t leave us as orphans. He made a way through faith in Christ for our adoption as His children. As Jesus said, “I will not leave you as orphans” (John 14:18). We are all called to care for the orphan as Christ cares for us.

What does caring for orphans look like? It depends on how God moves your heart. But be sure of this, God’s heart is for the fatherless and when our hearts are attuned to His, our hearts will beat in rhythm. Here are a few ways you might care for the orphans in our world:

  • Consider adoption. There are 130,000 children available for adoption in the US.
  • Go to visit them with us locally. We partner with the Baptist Children’s Homes, specifically the Kennedy Hope in Kinston, NC.
  • Go to visit them with us internationally. We partner with Caroline’s Promise for our work in Guatemala. We partner with Amazing Grace Adoptions for our work in Uganda. Go with us next summer.
  • Sponsor an international child. We partner with Caroline’s Promise and Compassion to help sponsor at-risk children. For around $35 a month, you can change a child’s life.
  • Pray for the fatherless and the widow. Find out the facts. See the need. Lift up specific prayers to the Father.
  • Give to an adoption fund. Help prospective parents pay the high costs of adoption. Help us set up a fund at our church to help others adopt.

I have seen the face of the fatherless. I have looked into their eyes. They are no longer nameless and faceless. The gospel hope within me moves me to share it with them. Join us.

Let’s visit the orphan with gospel hope.

“My” church vs. “His” church thinking

WCC Ribbon Cutting Day 043011“I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” (Psalm 122:1 ESV).

As Americans, we are so accustomed to having things our own way that it should come as no surprise that we bring this way of thinking into the church. We tend to approach church attendance and church membership with an eye towards what will most benefit us. When we find a church that seems to meet all of our family’s needs, it’s not long before we begin to refer to it is “my church.”

Now this use of the personal possessive pronoun is not really a problem unless we forget that the church is “His church” as well as ours. For the church is not the steeple, it’s the people. It is the body of Christ of which He is the head and we are the members. So, the church is surely ours, but it is also, first of all, His.

Those who grow to understand this “both/and” thinking, that the church is both Christ’s and ours, begin to approach church differently. Here are a few marks of those with this understanding:

  • They bring their worship with them. They come prepared to give their tithes and offerings and to sing His praises and hear His Word. They are “glad” and prepared to go to His house.
  • They serve one – attend one. At WCC we offer three Sunday morning services, making it possible to attend one worship service and volunteer during another.
  • They arrive early. They don’t want to cause a disruption in the children’s classes or the adult worship, so they arrive early to worship and/or to serve in their respective ministries.
  • They leave the best parking for guests. They don’t park near the front door for their own convenience. Rather, they leave the best parking for guests.
  • They check their children into the Reel Deal and Nursery. They are aware that the children’s services are designed for children from the crib to the 5th grade. They are also aware that bringing children into the adult worship can be a distraction. They would never want to cause a seeker or guest to miss hearing the gospel because of a crying baby or disruptive toddler.
  • They take the seats down front. They want to encourage the worship band and the pastor, so they fill in the seats down front. They also want to be as close to the action as possible because they are enthusiastic for worship. (Exception: unless they have to leave early to serve in VIP or other ministries, then they sit in the back to avoid disruption.)
  • They leave the back seats for guests. They recognize that first-timers may feel nervous when they are looking for seats, so they leave the back seats for them. Members should find seats near the front and be willing to fill in the rows without taking all the aisle seats. They would never think of crawling under or taking down the back seat ropes.
  • They turn off their cell phones. They are careful to avoid disruptions, especially during the sermon.
  • They follow the “3-Minute Rule.” After the worship service, they spend at least the first 3 minutes talking to someone they don’t know before hanging out with their usual friends. They want our guests to feel welcome.
  • They make an effort to talk to our Hispanic members. They overcome the language and cultural barrier between our English and Spanish speaking members by reaching out to one another.
  • They always thank our volunteers. When they pick up their children from the nursery and Reel Deal they always thank them for taking care of their kids. They are thankful to our ushers, greeters, coffee shop workers, etc. They want their fellow WCCers to feel encouraged.
  • They hang out before leaving. They spend a little time in the foyer greeting others before rushing away.
  • They have a “Kingdom-focus” rather than a “me-focus.” They do not think of what the church should be doing to serve them better. Instead, they are constantly aware that they are the church and that they want to see God’s kingdom come, rather than their own.

These are a few of the marks of those who recognize the tension between “my church” vs. “His church” thinking. The beauty for those who put “His church” thinking first is that their own needs are not left unmet. In fact, focusing on His kingdom ahead of ours, we discover that our own needs are met along the way.

Can you think of other marks of those who recognize the church as “His” church first?

Fish symbols and generosity

6a00d83524c19a69e2011279660c7428a4-320wi“You will be glorifying God through your generous gifts. For your generosity to them will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ” (2 Cor. 9:13 NLT).

Some years ago I had a conversation with my son about his job at the car wash…

“How did work go today?” I asked.

“Fine.” He replied with his usual non-specificity.

“Any tips?” I asked (He made most of his money on tips at the car wash).

“Yeah, some.” He said. “It was a decent day.”

“Who gives the best tips?” I questioned, hoping for a more inspiring dialogue.

“Well, I’ll tell you who doesn’t tip.” He answered. “People with fish symbols on their car. They rarely, if ever tip!”

“You’re kidding.” I said, hoping he was.

“Nope. If you see a car roll in with a fish symbol, you can be sure they will be the most likely to complain about a spot we missed and also the most likely to stiff you on the tip.” He stated in scientific fashion, like a researcher who had obtained disappointing results.

“That really irritates me!” I exclaimed. “People should either pull those fish off of their bumpers or start giving generously like the Lord they say they follow!”

“Yep.” My son replied, not seeing the need to add to my outburst.

While preparing for this week’s sermon, I remembered this “fish symbol” conversation. As we continue our sermon series on The Seven Habits of Growing Christians, I think it’s important to know that one of the important habits for those who would grow to maturity in Christ, is the habit of graceful giving. Generosity is a mark of a mature Christian.

Don’t you think it’s time that Christians started being known more for their giving than their grumbling? We should be the most generous “tippers” and gracious givers in the world!

So, let’s either start giving generously like Jesus or let’s “reel” those fish in from our bumpers!


This article is an edited version of a similar article I wrote in March 2009.

Tattoos, tribes and true community

6a00d83524c19a69e2010534afdc4e970b-320wi“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Acts 2:42 (ESV)

What makes a true community?

People use the word community to describe all sorts of social groups. But what constitutes a “true” (real, authentic, fully realized) community? If we are born into the same race or family, does our membership in the same tribe equal true community? What if we wear the same colors, tattoo our bodies, endure the same initiation, does our gang become a true community? What makes a true community?

Psychologist and author, Scott Peck, says that most people have only experienced true community in accidental ways and that usually during crisis. He says that most groups that people think of as communities are really just “pseudo-communities.” He believes that true community requires going through a four stage process of deepening relationships and connection.

These four stages are:

  1. Pseudo-community: Where participants are “nice with each other”, playing-safe, and presenting what they feel is the most favourable sides of their personalities.
  2. Chaos: When people move beyond the inauthenticity of pseudo-community and feel safe enough to present their “shadow” selves.
  3. Emptiness: This stage moves beyond the attempts to fix, heal and convert of the chaos stage, when all people become capable of acknowledging their own woundedness and brokenness, common to us all as human beings. Out of this emptiness comes…
  4. True community: the process of deep respect and true listening for the needs of the other people in this community. This stage Peck believes can only be described as “glory” and reflects a deep yearning in every human soul for compassionate understanding from one’s fellows.

Peck’s description of true community as the “deep yearning in every human soul” is what drives us to tattoo ourselves and identify with tribes. We all have a deep desire for true community.

I think God made us that way. He made us relational. He made us to be in relationship with Him and with others. That’s why Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to love God and to love others as ourselves. In other words, God designed us to be in true community with HIm and with HIs people.

The Bible word for this true community is “fellowship.” The Greek word is κοινωνία, koinonia, which can also be translated as “communion, participation, partnership” or literally as “what is shared in common.”

Any community that approaches the level of being “true” always seems to have certain traits in common. The first century church described in the book of Acts was certainly a “true community.” They had four traits in common. These four traits or “devotions” were the apostle’s teaching, the fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayer.

These four traits of true community might be restated as:

  1. A common belief
  2. A common identity
  3. A common practice
  4. A common dependence.

This past Wednesday I gathered with my weekly WCC Community Group. We stood in a circle holding hands and prayed over our meal. We ate together, laughing and talking about our week while nibbling away at our food. We gathered in the living room to discuss that Sunday’s sermon which was about prayer. We read the Scripture and discussed its implications and applications for each of us. After Bible study, the men headed to the dining room to pray while the women stayed in the living room to do the same.

We decided to follow the three points or “movements” of the sermon in our prayers, so each man gave three prayer requests. One was an “inward” confession of a sin or struggle. The second was an “upward” prayer, offering thanks to God for something specific in our lives. And the third was an “outward,” kingdom-come prayer for some gospel need was sensed in our world. A real sense of God’s presence was felt as we prayed.

After the men finished praying, we could still hear the women praying passionate prayers in the other room. When they finished there was a flourish of hugs and handshakes, a gathering of our things and a scurrying out the door as we said “goodbyes” and “love yous” until next week.

If true community, true fellowship, is having all things in common. Then, I think we’ve found it.



This article is an edited version of an earlier one I wrote in September 2008.

Bible memorization and business cards

6a00d83524c19a69e20111688a82d7970c-320wi“… he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law …It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees” (Deuteronomy 17:18-19 NIV).

A few years ago I had a weekly appointment with a friend for breakfast and Bible study. We decided to help each other memorize Scripture. So, week after week we enjoyed breakfast and rehearsing our Bible verses with one another.

You can buy Scripture memory cards and systems from several vendors. They’ve already done the printing for you. You just have to do the memorizing. But my friend and I decided that we should make our own. We figured that the process of making them would help in the process of remembering them as well.

I think it was Dawson Trotman, the founder of the Navigators ministry, that used to say, “Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and the fingertips.” I agree.

We stumbled on the idea of buying perforated business card sheets for desktop printers to use for our Scripture memory cards. They come 10 to a page, so, we’d pick out ten verses we wanted to memorize and then make our own. I still have nearly a hundred of these cards “rubber-banded” together in my top desk drawer.

But more importantly, I have them in my heart.

We’re not the first to realize the importance of copying, reading, and memorizing Scripture for ourselves. God told Moses that every Israelite king was to make a copy of the entire law for himself and read it daily. That way, he could rightly govern God’s people.

I like the feel of these old business cards with Scripture written in my own hand on them. They have stains from breakfast and bent corners from handling. They remind me of God’s Word and of learning together with a friend.


This is an updated version of my blog from February 20, 2009.

Do you use S.O.A.P daily?

Soap“Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23 NIV).

“Daily.” There’s something about daily habits. What we do every day eventually adds up to weeks, months, years, and even a lifetime. Daily habits, while seemingly small and insignificant, add up. Our daily habits or disciplines tend to have a shaping affect on our character.

All of us have certain daily habits. We shower, brush our teeth, comb our hair, drink a cup of coffee, etc. These are the things we do to get our bodies ready for another day. We recognize the need for having clean, prepared bodies and faces before we “face” the public. We use a lot of products getting ready. One of them is soap. Whether it comes in a bar or a bottle, we use soap to help cleanse the dirt and odors of yesterday’s activity from our bodies.

Most of us learned this habit of daily cleansing from our parents. I still remember my mother saying, “Gary, come here! Let me look behind your ears!”

I always had trouble getting clean behind my ears, at least to my mother’s exacting standards. But after years of daily practice, I finally passed my mother’s scrutiny. I don’t know if all mothers are this strict, but my mother was always concerned that someone would notice her son’s dirty ears (Or underwear. Heaven forbid that you were in an accident and didn’t have on clean underwear.).

I wonder if our spiritual lives deserve the same “daily” attention? Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when He said, “Take up your cross daily.” Does taking up our cross, the instrument of dying to the old life, somehow become like the habit of using soap? Having received new life in Christ, how are we to grow up in our salvation? Does this involve certain daily disciplines?

I think it does. While developing spiritual habits or disciplines will not earn grace for us, these disciplines can cause us to grow in our desire and ability to live out of this grace, becoming more mature in our following of Christ.

With this in mind, I offer to you a daily habit of devotion that I learned from Pastor Wayne Cordeiro. He calls it S.O.A.P.

S – Scripture. Read a daily portion of the Bible, listening for God’s voice.

O – Observation. Ask questions like “who, what, where, how, when?”

A – Application. Ask “How does this apply to me?”

P – Prayer. Pray that God would help you apply His Word.

Maybe we could pray, “God, would You look behind my spiritual ears to make sure I haven’t overlooked anything. Reveal any area that I need to bring to the cross in order to find cleansing and transforming life there.”

Using spiritual S.O.A.P. makes for a great daily habit. Who knows what character might be shaped by a lifetime of such daily use?


This article is a reprint of my blog from 2/13/09.

The need to belong

WCC Mission Team with Iglesia Adonai members

WCC Mission Team with Iglesia Adonai members

“Now you are no longer strangers to God and foreigners to heaven, but you are members of God’s very own family, citizens of God’s country, and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian” (Ephesians 2:19 TLB).

Belonging was formally recognized as one of the most profound human needs by American psychologist, Abraham Maslow. In a 1943 paper, he described a “hierarchy of needs” that placed love and “belongingness” in its third tier of foundational importance. Only physiological and safety needs such as food, water, air and shelter were given greater importance.

Maslow’s psychological theory recognized what others had claimed for centuries, that humans have an innate need for belonging. Yet, this awareness of the need does not explain its origin. From where does our need for belonging come?

In the third century, Augustine of Hippo, said, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” Augustine believed that God made us with this desire for connection. He believed we were made by God, for God.

Three centuries before Augustine, Jesus prayed that this divine connection would be restored, not just between man and God, but also between believers. Jesus prayed, “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity” (John 17:20-23 NIV).

This oneness between God and man was made possible through Jesus’ death and resurrection. The sin that separated us from God since Adam’s fall was paid in full by Jesus. Faith in Christ’s work on the cross reconciles us to God and also gives us a message of reconciliation to others. It makes it possible for us to keep the great commandment to love God and to love others as ourselves. It fulfills our “belongingness” need to its very core.

Christ’s prayer is being answered. Those who believe in Him are being adopted into God’s family.

Yet, the three enemies of this oneness remain active. The flesh, the world and the devil, all continue to work to divide and isolate us from God and His family. Their voices are loud. They scream of hatred and racism. They point out our differences and the hypocrisies of others. They urge us to get even and never forgive. They push us to pull away, to abandon, to divorce, and even to kill.


Gary & George

One of the most powerful parts of Christ’s prayer is that “the world might believe” because it would see our unity. That the lonely and the orphaned would see the family of God, loving and accepting one another, and be reminded of the primordial purpose of being made for fellowship with God.

Carlos & Gary

Carlos & Gary

As many of our WCC members traveled on short term mission trips to distant parts of the world this summer, we found more similarities than differences. The culture and color of the peoples in Uganda and Guatemala may have been different than ours, but their hearts were the same. And when we worked and worshiped the Lord together, our sense of belonging to one another was overwhelming. We may have been with them for only a few days, but the deepness of our belongingness can only be explained by the miracle of Christ’s prayer being fulfilled in us.

Don’t listen to the voices that urge you to push away from the table. Get connected. Get right with God and others. Jesus is saving you a seat. You don’t have to be alone anymore. You belong in God’s family with all His other children.