Fall Short

Fall Short

“For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” There it was. The first verse I was supposed to dedicate to memory during my summer long study on Romans. I was a little annoyed by it. I had memorized this verse when I was about 6 years old. Hello! Awana Bible drill, platinum crown holding Christian club member here! I’m gonna need a little more than a 12 word prepositional phrase to feel challenged.

True Grace

True Grace

David Kaplan sits in a room full of men. The mood is somber, yet welcoming. Heavy, yet free of judgement and shame. He fidgets slightly in his chair as another man shares why he showed up tonight: the struggles he can’t beat on his own, the sins he’s been fighting for ages, and his desire to be known and loved despite how messed up he is; how messed up he feels.

Hurricane Relief

Hurricane Relief

In light of the recent hurricanes, we know that many of us are looking for something tangible to do to care for those who were deeply impacted by the storms. 
 

One After Another

One After Another

Have you ever been a part of something historic and experienced that moment when you think, “Wow, I am so glad that I got to be a part of that!”? I am thinking of truly historic culture defining moments like, the moon landing, the fall of the Berlin wall, the first Free Willy movie, and now Summit’s 2017 Backpack Drive.

For Her: Walking Together

For Her: Walking Together

When I showed up last summer for the first night of For Her, I expected it to be a good opportunity to hear from some of the prominent female voices in our congregation and to hangout with my girlfriends. But I did not expect to feel so deeply understood and seen in a room full of women.

Quick To Forget

Quick To Forget

I’m going to be honest... this spring the Connect group I am a part of did an in-depth study of the book of James chapter-by-chapter. It was amazing. However, when we found out that Summit was doing a summer long series on the book of James there was a little (or maybe a big) moan of “oh man…we just did that!”

               My friend, Maria, is a social worker for an elementary school in a distressed neighborhood outside of Atlanta. At the end of this last school year, a third grade girl was brought to her office after having a melt down. The girl had always been a good student and never had any behavioral problems. The teacher’s aide escorting her in said that the young girl had been found crying in the bathroom clutching her backpack.  That backpack was still held tightly in front of her as the girl held back tears. My friend sat the little girl down and asked her what was wrong. After a few questions and assurances that she wasn’t in trouble, the girl said she had fallen and the backpack had ripped at the seams. Maria, knowing the girl was usually even-tempered, asked the girl why the backpack meant so much to her. That sweet child revealed that her family was living in a hotel, sometimes their van, and her parents wouldn’t be able to get her a new one. In that moment, Maria was filled with a deep grief as she understood that the girl’s backpack was one of the few things that was truly  hers.   We know that there are thousands of children like that little girl here in Orlando. Not having the basic tools to participate fully in classes from day one is a hardship that can warp the normal excitement for the start of a new school year into full blown anxiety.  Lingering on Maria’s story, I thought about the special relationship that children have with their backpacks. All of us who went to school remember owning one and all the ways that we would make it ours. From selecting a cool pattern (when I was in middle school, the blue, green  or  black Jansport) to patches and other decoration, we could always identify ours at a glance. A backpack is a practical tool of the trade for being a student and is one of the few things that will stay constant as so much else might change in a year.  This small but powerful truth is part of why I’m so grateful that we do our  Backpack Drive  and that we are extending our reach to children of resettled refugee families locally.      
   
     “ To us, a backpack is a practical gift, but to a child who often carries such huge burdens, a backpack can be precious. ” 
   
  
      Over the last few years I’ve watched so much coverage on the refugee crisis happening and one thing has struck me in the waves of people fleeing toward safety: the further away from what used to be home, the more likely a family has stripped down to what each person can carry. There are so many battered backpacks, holding what matters most. Sometimes the bag is the only personal possession left and it carries only necessities for survival. Much like the torn bag clutched by a little girl crying in my friend’s office, those sturdy canvas vessels are extremely precious to those who carry them and have lost so much.  As adults, we sometimes forget how it may feel to be as vulnerable as a child. If we’re lucky, our parents had jobs that were secure and we grew up far from poverty, violence, and war. The reality, though, is that when poverty, violence, or war visit a community, children take the brunt of the consequences and have so little power to change their situation. To us, a backpack is a practical gift, but to a child who often carries such huge burdens, a backpack can be precious.                              Our Backpack Drive is wrapping up this weekend and we need your help to reach our goal of 500! If you haven't had a chance to yet, check out the  shopping list,  head to Target (it's OK, we're giving you permission to go to Target), and give a child in our community the opportunity to have something that is truly theirs this school year.    Liz Cronlund is the Community Development Coordinator for Summit Church. If you would like more information about ways you can be a part of serving our city, email her at  ecronlund@summitconnect.org.          

My friend, Maria, is a social worker for an elementary school in a distressed neighborhood outside of Atlanta. At the end of this last school year, a third grade girl was brought to her office after having a melt down. The girl had always been a good student and never had any behavioral problems. The teacher’s aide escorting her in said that the young girl had been found crying in the bathroom clutching her backpack.

Faith Come Alive

Faith Come Alive

When I first accepted Jesus into my heart, I experienced a supernatural peace that defied all logic or understanding. It went to the very core of my being and I knew that there was a God who loved me and that my sins and guilt were washed clean.

My Do-Not-Do List

My Do-Not-Do List

I often viewed Christianity as simply one giant do-not-do list. Stay away from doing X, Y, and Z and you’ll be in favor with God. I suspect much of the outside world views Christianity in this same light as well.

IJM Orlando Prayer Gathering

IJM Orlando Prayer Gathering

At the IJM Orlando Prayer Gathering, we got to hear about the work that’s happening to end slavery and we had the opportunity to pray for some specific issues IJM is facing around the world. Whether or not you were able to make it, these are the things that were prayed for and we will continue to pray for.