Posts in Stories
At God's Table

It happens the same each time: the sermon has just been wrapped up, the band reenters the stage, and the campus minister explains the process, which leaves many wondering how to spell the word intinction.

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StoriesSarah Land
Driving In Circles

“Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” Those were some of the first sentences I learned in Wolof, a language spoken in a fair few places in West Africa. Though it’s been more than 10 years since I spent time working there, I have yet to hear or read that verse without it being replayed back to me in my head in Wolof.

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StoriesKari Freeman
Choosing Faith

I once asked my 9th-grade girls at Edge if Jesus feels real to them. I asked if they felt the bigness of what God did for us in sending the Messiah to die for our messes. I don’t know that they actually understood what I was asking, but I kept going. “It’s one thing to logically know it, it’s another thing to feel it,” I said to them. Then I told them what I so desperately wish someone had told me when I was their age, “It’s OK if it doesn’t feel real to you right now. It didn’t feel real to me for a long time.”

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Worth The Risk

Last June, I walked into Cathy Drake’s Thornton Park home—full of strangers—for a Connect group meeting. I didn’t go because I wanted to make new friends or because I wanted to get plugged into Summit. I went because I thought I should go. I was wrestling with whether or not Jesus is who he said he is and the implications it would have for my life if I chose to believe it. 

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For A Unique Purpose

The Riverside community is a small area that lies in the northern region of the Central Florida area. For years, though most of us didn’t even know exactly where it is, Summit’s staff, prayer team, and I have known it’s name. You see, one of the most consistent prayer requests I can expect to see from the Lake Mary Campus each week is, in one way or another, for Riverside.

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Not Over Yet

The sun is shining, although there’s a chill in the air. The sound of hammering is thick and chaotic. There are ladders and boards, and people milling about everywhere. There’s work being done, by many different hands. A laugh echoes across the property and you see in the faces of those gathered that there’s more being built here than just a house: we’re building a home.

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Joy Down In My Heart

It feels impossible to express the joy the children of Ethiopia gifted me. It feels impossible to express the courage and strength of the women I now call sisters. It feels impossible to tell the story of how I flew across the world with 11 strangers and flew back with the only 11 people who will ever understand why I’ve got the joy down in my heart.

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A Found Belonging

Movies have always been really important to me. In moments of boredom, a movie is a quick and easy cure. In uncomfortable social settings, when my confidence is nothing more than a dog with its tail between its legs cowering in some dark corner of my mind, hearing someone quote a line from a movie I love is an instant bonding experience, one that gives me some ground to stand on.

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Where We Are

“I still can’t believe they don’t have kids that go to this school and this is how they are spending their Friday night! I don’t have friends like that…” That was what a parent told me at one of the events my Connect group hosted at the elementary school in our neighborhood.

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Shines Brightest When Shared

It started as a note on my desk a week before last Christmas, “Becky. Ramp. Ask Dan.” I walked through the office to our Connect Director, Dan, to follow up. Becky had approached him in the Summit Lobby to ask if the church knew of a trustworthy company that could help build an accessible ramp for her elderly parents. A few minutes later, I sent two emails.

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Easter Sunday: Take Two

A lot of people ask me how things are going in our 33rd Street Jail campus, and I enjoy sharing what church looks like on “the inside”. Most people know that we have two church services each Sunday inside the Orange County Jail—one in the men’s facility and one in the women’s facility. What most people may not know is that our entrance each Sunday is never guaranteed.

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One Step Forward

Our first flight on the long journey to Malawi left the Orlando airport at 4 a.m. By the time we landed and settled in at our first stop in Washington, DC, we were already groggy and hungry. A few of us found a restaurant open for a far-too-early lunch and we crammed into a small side booth for one last American meal.

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Just Say Yes

Fast forward to 2016, my year of yes. My husband Scott, two daughters, and I call Summit Lake Mary our church home. We’ve been at this campus for two years now and while it was comfortable for us to sit quietly in service each week, leaving with that high of a beautiful message and crazy good music, God was stirring up some new courage in my heart, a major need for more of him and to be of more service to him. 

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Perfectly and Completely

Yesterday was a pretty great day in the Parker Family. Eleven years ago Brandy and I arrived home with Mulunesh and Samuel. Mulu, then three and a half, wanted nothing to do with me and Samuel had spent most of the thirty some hours of travel sitting on my lap and urinating. We were exhausted, I smelled like a truck stop bathroom, and we couldn't have been happier.

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StoriesJohn Parker
One Big Family

A few weeks before a niceSERVE event, a collection of words goes into the bulletin that says “Mark your calendars! niceSERVE is [insert date here].” As the person who writes bulletins at Summit, I sure want to believe that there are real people out there who actually do excitedly mark their calendars, but I just didn’t know for sure and now I do. 

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Truly and Irrevocably

Stepping into that neon green, loud classroom for the first time was a little overwhelming. Kids were laughing and yelling—some playing at the air hockey table, while smaller groups gathered around the foosball table or played board games on the floor. I was told that I could just observe what happened in The Lodge, and not to feel pressured to participate in discussions. So I kept my distance and watched as fourth and fifth graders danced to songs, played silly games, and learned about Jesus.

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Something New, Something More Beautiful

“Sometimes God asks us to break things, to put things down…in order to create space for him to create something new, something more beautiful…” As I sat and listened to my husband and Herndon Campus Pastor Garry Abbott speak these words to the students during the first large group session of Edge Goes to the Beach this weekend, I couldn’t help but smile.

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A Week of Change

A week of change can be a bittersweet thing.

At home, my plans for the end of last week included soccer practice, Connect groups, and getting the kids to school. Under the threat of a major hurricane, they were replaced with clearing the yard, shopping for storm-supplies, playing board games, and lots of jumping on inflatable mattresses while our family of seven slept in one room together. This was a beautiful, unexpected time with my family… 

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