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.
Last year I spoke at For Her and it was the most surreal night of my 2017 and I met the Backstreet Boys in 2017, so there was some fierce competition. Female friendships have always been a challenge for me. I worry a lot that I’m too much and yet simultaneously not nearly enough.
My story is one that is all too familiar to many—growing up as a girl from all over, searching for community and meaning in different places, enduring under the hand of someone who was not who he appeared to be, and longing for freedom. I lived a life that, at the time, an outsider would assume was right up next to perfect. But in our home things were rather opposite, leaving the this girl seeking escape. Escape came in the form of moving across the country for college and finding some of that longed-for community. The figurative wounds began to scar over and life began to feel different.
As the Holy-Spirit-inspired historical accounts of four men about the life and death of God’s son, Jesus, the Gospels highlight the tension of varied perspectives. While each Gospel can stand on its own as a reliable account, the authors—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—wrote with different purposes and to different audiences.
Erich Schurga couldn’t believe it the first time one of his fellow Starting Point group members asked the exact question he’d been thinking, but was hesitant to ask. Growing up in a rule-based, Catholic home, Erich thought his questions showed a lack of faith. But in Summit’s Starting Point group he and his wife, Jackie, were encouraged to explore their faith in a conversational environment where no questions were off limits.
I am not very good at prayer, I think because I’m too busy doing stuff—stuff that I think is important and necessary and, well, I just don’t have time to stop and pray. How would I ever get things done?
It looked like a quiet camp site, deep in the woods of Wisconsin, where Lauren and Mark Lanker took a week to journal, canoe, marvel at God’s creation, and actually rest. It was in that quiet that the words they had heard in a sermon almost a year prior finally took root, not only in their hearts, but in their lives. It was there that their need for true and routine rest became more real than the fear of dropping all the plates they continually had spinning. It looked like going for it, even though it didn’t seem possible.
I use to not really like kids. (If you think you’ve accidently clicked on the wrong blog post, you didn’t. This is, in fact, for Team Summer!) I mean, they were fine to be around and I was super glad that other people had them, but when they were in my care, I had no idea what to do. So when a friend asked me if I wanted to join Team Summer in 2012, my gut reaction was “Ummm, no.” But, she asked me to think about it and I told her I would. After some polite nudging on her part, I decided to give it a try.