Ethan realized he couldn’t be perfect on his own. He needed Jesus. While he was still in middle school, he started talking about the duality in his life with his Surge leaders, which alleviated much of the stress and shame. His Connect group embraced his vulnerability, which fostered an environment of trust and openness. Being able to confess and discuss his thoughts and feelings lifted a burden off of Ethan, and it freed him up to start praying and really listening to God.
But there is no double meaning to Jesus’ words. He tells Judas that Mary did exactly what she was equipped for—what he equipped her for. She did exactly enough. Jesus fills in the gaps between Mary’s small action and Judas’ harsh words. And because she didn’t let the standards set by Judas hold her back, Mary’s story speaks to me all these years later.
Yes, life might be easier if we could simply void out our emotions. But that kind of life wouldn’t be true life, would it? It wouldn’t be the kind of kingdom living that God invites us into. If God created emotions, then we can trust that they are good and serve a purpose. So what are we to do with them? It has been my experience that when we fully acknowledge our emotions, and entrust them with another person, we are on our way to holy feeling.
…he began searching for answers. He started praying again. He prayed asking God if he’s really there and if he’s really listening. “It developed into, like, I’m talking to someone that I know,” Austin explains. God used Austin’s prayers to pick him up piece by piece.
Spending quality time together is very important to the VonRabenaus. They’ve enjoyed many a family vacation—sometimes up north to see snow, sometimes across town to visit Disney, but usually to the beach. And they’re excited to add Family Camp to their wide repertoire of traditions.
In our study of Galatians, we have been looking at Paul’s defense of the gospel and his call to the believers in Galatia to not add anything—no rules, no laws, no additional steps—to their simple and profound faith in Jesus and in his death and resurrection. … I was reminded of the false gods that I and many believers that I know are tempted to serve again out of laziness, frustration, or just our plain self-centeredness.
Tecla refuses to be merely a product of her circumstances but has taken ownership of her life and lives from her identity as a child of Christ. She expresses this contrast of circumstance and true identity in her art.
It’s still scary to trust God sometimes. Committing to be a partner at Summit doesn’t mean my relationship with God is perfect and life is super easy now. There’s no switch on the control panel that makes everything great; there’s no autopilot. But I can sit knowing that he is for me and never against me.
The Edge Retreat was all about identity and why it’s important to tell your story truthfully. So after the retreat, we asked the students how they would introduce themselves to the author of their biography and what it means to them to know that God is the author of their story.
She realized that her debt was trapping her in the day to day struggles. She wasn’t able to look ahead to the future because she was placing so much effort on managing her finances today. This was just not the life she wanted—not for herself and certainly not for her daughter.
We had no idea what to expect, but we knew we weren’t committing to this alone. As our friends and family found out about the opportunity, they rallied around us and offered to help welcome Martin in any way they could. A member of our Connect group put it this way: “Your ‘yes’ is not just a ‘yes’ for you—it’s a ‘yes’ for our community.”
Like most of us, Sheri longed to live in a world where she is loved, she isn’t alone, and where goodness proves to be more powerful than evil. But what would that require of her? Since humanity was first exiled from the Garden of Eden, God has longed for his people to be restored to glory, free from the snare of sin and death, and living in his presence. What would that require of him?
2018 focused on the life of Jesus—who he is, his actions, and his teachings. During this year in the life of Jesus, we were challenged to follow the Gospel Reading Plan, a tool to use to learn more about his life.
This year, the entirety of the offering collected at Candlelight Services will be given to One Lamb in Nairobi, Kenya. One Lamb began in 2011 when Ciru Mutura was called to meet the needs of vulnerable children. The organization works toward ending the exploitation of children due to poverty in their communities. One Lamb’s programs give these young girls resources and skills to benefit their lives while also sharing the truth of God’s grace and love.
We asked a handful of artists at Summit—designers, painters, photographers, and writers—to take a simple prompt, “Jesus works miracles,” and to use their medium to express it. To take a truth about Jesus and use some of their God-given materials to share it with the world. Just as God uses his creation to reveal himself more fully to each of us, we, as image-bearers of God, can choose to use our creativity to show the world who he is.
When people ask me about my trip to the Dominican Republic, it’s hard to come up with a response that best fits the description I’d like to give. Most of the time I end up answering with “it was cool” or “it was super fun,” but these statements hardly cover all that I want to say.
Why do we care when someone is hurting? Why do we care when a child goes hungry or a single mom can’t make ends meet or when people are mistreated? Why do we care? The Bible has an answer for those questions and it comes in the first chapter of the first book. Genesis 1 says that people are unique in creation as being made in the image of God.
The cold winter day started just as every day did for John Smith—with an early morning run. This morning in particular, it was out at Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs with an old friend, a former high school athlete, who still calls John “coach.” The pair used to see each other every day when John was the track and cross country coach at Ocoee High School, but these days they only see each other about once a year.
In a couple of months, I get to marry the man God had in mind when he thought me up. I delayed announcing the engagement on social media, partly because I wanted to relive the joy of announcing it in person as many times as possible and partly because I didn’t know what to say. I always have something to say, but the thought of making the happiest announcement of my life to 1,500 of my closest friends left me speechless.
On April 29th, 2018, Nikki Blanton walked into the water at Bethune Beach and—moments before she was baptized—her eyes filled up with tears. Nikki, who grew up in South Africa and attended an Anglican church every Sunday, explains that while she had a foundation of faith growing up it “always kind of felt like it was out there, not in here.”
In Ephesians 1:17, Paul tells the Ephesians he prays for them as follows, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” There you have it: Father, Son and Holy Spirit all working together for the Ephesians’ (and our) benefit.
Of course Jesus was a storyteller. He is the one who created us for story. He knew we would need stories to pass down his wisdom from generation to generation. He knew we would need stories to build depth of relationship in community. He knew we would need stories to make sense of this broken world.
When I first learned that Summit would be producing Godspell, my response was simple. I Googled it. Sure, I had heard the name “Godspell” before and had a general idea of what the show was about (God…?), but beyond that I didn’t have much to go on. For anyone who, like me, missed the memo on this popular, almost 50-year-old musical, the premise is simple. Based on the Gospel of Matthew, Godspell follows Jesus and a small group of friends as they bring his teachings to life.
For the few years my husband Josh and I have been attending Summit, there’s been a backpack drive. Last summer was the same as previous years. Walk into Sunday service, take a postcard in the shape of a backpack with a nifty list on the back of what to fill in it. We love the idea of helping our community, especially children, but it can be expensive to do on your own.