E-Seed Week 3 | Monday, October 8 Sprouting in Our Community
Monday, October 8 Is First Christian Church relevant in our community? Are we called to be relevant? On what do you base your assessments? What are the missions/purposes of “the church”? Rank them in order of importance. How well does First Christian Church match your list?
If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever. – Thomas Aquinas
When they want you to buy something they will call you. When they want you to die for profit they will let you know. So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute. Love the Lord. Love the world. Work for nothing. Take all that you have and be poor. Love someone who does not deserve it. – Wendell Berry
The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater. – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality. – John Lennon
Tuesday, October 9 Many churches that are sprouting started out by asking the question: “What need is there in our community that we can meet?” hat community problems might our church be called to address? Take a look at local issues and come up with some creative ways to meet those needs.
I Thessalonians 3:12 – 4:1 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. –New International Version (NIV)
In all of mankind's history, there has never been more damage done than by people who thought they were doing the right thing. Five cents, please. – Lucy van Pelt
The first service one owes to others in a community involves listening to them. Just as our love for God begins with listening to God’s Word, the beginning of love for others is learning to listen to them. God’s love for us is shown by the fact that God not only gives God’s Word but also lends us God’s ear. . . . We do God’s work for our brothers and sisters when we learn to listen to them. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
A man there was, though some did count him mad, the more he cast away the more he had. – John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress
Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer. – Mahatma Ghandi
Wednesday, October 10 What advantages does First Christian have that might facilitate and sustain sprouting in our community? What disadvantages does First Christian have that might hinder our ability to facilitate and sustain sprouting in our community?
Isaiah 58: 6-10 Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. –New International Version (NIV)
In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
So you grab a piece of something That you think is gonna last But you wouldn't know a diamond If you held it in your hand The things you think are precious I can't understand. – Steely Dan, Reelin' in the Years
Thursday, October 11 At the end of 10 years, what should the presence of First Christian Church in the community look like? What are your hopes? Your fears? In the time that you have been part of First Christian Church, what have we done to impact our community – in Wilson and beyond? What effect would you like to see FCC have on the community, near and far, in the next period of time that you are part of this church?
People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent. – Bob Dylan
The Church is the Church only when it exists for others . . . not dominating, but helping and serving. It must tell men of every calling what it means to live for Christ, to exist for others. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Dear God, I am so afraid to open my clenched fists! Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to? Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands? Please help me to gradually open my hands and to discover that I am not what I own, but what you want to give me. – Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life
In whom there is no sympathy for living beings: know him as an outcast. – The Buddha
Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human. – Henri J.M. Nouwen
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. – Mark Twain
You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us. And the world will live as one. – John Lennon
E-Seed Week 2 | Monday, October 1 Sprouting Our Church
E-SEEDS, Questions and Thoughts for Week 2 | October 1 Sprouting Our Church Hello everyone. Here is the second seed: sprouting our church. It is attached below. There are questions and readings to think about for four days. This week, I will think about where my faith journey started, where it is headed and what I might discover along the way. Please make some notes about your answers to the study questions and bring them to the churchwide Sunday School this Sunday at 9AM in the Fellowship Hall.If we share, maybe we can come up with some very special answers.
I hope you enjoyed the video and look forward to seeing you Sunday at 9AM! – Anna Jane Whitley
Monday, October 1 How would you define “sprouting” First Christian Church? Look at the people in our church. Write a profile. Who are we? Here are some things to consider. What is our age distribution? What are/were our professions? What are our interests and aspirations? What problems do we face and what issues are we struggling with? Are there other considerations? How well are the church's ministries and worship opportunities aligned with this profile?
Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else. – Fred Rogers
It is a shame when the church itself is a cemetery, where the living sleep above the ground, as the dead do beneath. – Thomas Fuller
We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it. – Wendell Berry, The Long-Legged House
Something comes along and you have to jump on and do it. You can’t stop until it’s done. – Neil Young
There's something happening here What it is ain't exactly clear … I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound Everybody look what's going down. – Buffalo Springfield, For What It's Worth, 1967
Tuesday, October 2 Think about the unchurched, starting in our neighborhood and then looking beyond. Write a profile. Who are they? What is their age distribution? What are their professions? What are their interests and aspirations? What problems do they face and what issues are they struggling with? Are there other considerations? Are the church's ministries and our worship opportunities aligned with this profile?
Won't you be my neighbor? – Fred Rogers
2 Corinthians 9: 6-10 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. – New International Version (NIV)
Let us begin, brothers, to serve the Lord God, for up until now we have done little or nothing. – Saint Francis of Assisi near the end of his life
What is to be gained if we are so intent in reaching out to the unchurched that we then unchurch the reached? – David Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant: Truth-lovers, Marketers, and Emergents in the Postmodern World It is wonderful how much time good people spend fighting the devil. If they would only expend the same amount of energy loving their fellow men, the devil would die in his own tracks … . – Helen Keller, The Story of My Life
Wednesday, October 3 Research indicates clearly that substantive change is the only thing that will truly accelerate sprouting in churches and organizations. Is First Christian Church really ready to make substantive changes? What changes need to occur? Are leadership teams, ministries and church members focused on sprouting? What would you wish our church to look like when The Planter is 18? What are your hopes? Your fears?
Is life so wretched? Isn't it rather your hands which are too small, your vision which is muddled? You are the one who must grow up. – Dag Hammarskjöld
But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended. – Nelson Mandela
Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure, but of suceeding at things in life that don't really matter. – Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time. – Abraham Lincoln
If you can’t fly, then run, If you can’t run, then walk, If you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward. – Martin Luther King Jr.
Get plugged in at your church. Find a way to invest yourself. Let's change the church's problem from “Where do we find the help we need?” to “What do we do with all the help we have?” The revolution begins now; and it starts with you. – Tyler Edwards, Zombie Church: Breathing Life Back into the Body of Christ
Thursday, October 4 The Gospels make it seem like Jesus was presenting an understanding of God that was very different than what his listeners had, but today we often try to copy other churches and popular religious trends. Are there ways that First Christian Church needs to be different than other churches in an attempt to be faithful to Jesus, and if so, what are some of those ways? In terms of church, is bigger better? If not, what would you say is better, and how should we get there?
Fear of our own depths is the enemy. – James Hollis, The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning in Middle Life
Luke 8: 14-15 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. – New International Version (NIV)
Psalm 92: 2-15 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.” – New International Version (NIV)
Each thing and every person must act out its nature fully, at whatever cost. This is our life’s purpose, the deepest meaning of “natural law.” We are here to give back freely what was first given to us! – Franciscan Friar Richard Rohr
Nothing that we despise in other men is inherently absent from ourselves. We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or don't do, and more in light of what they suffer. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
There are two types of seeds in the mind: those that create anger, fear, frustration, jealousy, hatred and those that create love, compassion, equanimity and joy. Spirituality is germination and sprouting of the second group and transforming the first group. – Amit Ray
E-Seed Week 1 | Monday, September 24 Sprouting Our Faith
Hello everyone. Here is the first seed: sprouting your faith. It is attached below. There are questions and readings to think about for four days. This week, I will think about where my faith journey started, where it is headed and what I might discover along the way. Please make some notes about your answers to the study questions and bring them to the churchwide Sunday School this Sunday at 9AM in the Fellowship Hall.If we share, maybe we can come up with some very special answers.
I hope you enjoyed the video and look forward to seeing you Sunday at 9AM! – Anna Jane Whitley
E-SEEDS, Questions and Thoughts for Week 1 | September 24 Sprouting Our Faith
Monday, September 24 Faith sprouting is all about spiritual exploration and discovery. Have you finished your spiritual exploration/discovery or are you a willing explorer? Are you passively searching (discovering by accident) or actively searching (discovering on purpose)? Over the years, what have you discovered by accident? On purpose? What direction would you like your spiritual exploration/discovery to take, if any? Specifically, what area(s) would you like to explore – where would you like to dig? Why is that area of exploration important to you?
Being pried free of spiritual constraint is the gift doubt brings. The suppression of doubt ensures that we are left with a partial truth, a one-sided value, a prejudicial narrowing of the richness that life has to bring. – James Hollis, Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow Up
By the age of seven, most of us have “left the garden” and have begun to live largely in our minds – looking over at the garden. Before that time, we exist in unitive consciousness, when “the Father and I are one” (John 10:30), or my mother and I are one, as we enjoy in the first months of life. Soon we see ourselves as separate from God, creation, others, and even our own bodies, standing apart and analytical. We no longer know by affinity, likeness, or natural connection (love), but we merely know things as objects out there and apart from us. – Franciscan Friar Richard Rohr
You only need to lose track of who you are, or who you thought you were supposed to be, so that you end up lying flat on the dirt floor basement of your heart. Do this, Jesus says, and you will live. – Barbara Brown Taylor
Life is like a sandwich! Birth as one slice, and death as the other. What you put between the slices is up to you. – Allan Rufus
In the book of life, the answers aren't in the back. – Charlie Brown
Young man, the secret of my success is that at an early age I discovered I was not God. – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Tuesday, September 25 Often, we treat the spiritual life as a way of bliss and satisfaction. But, Friar Richard Rohr has said, “All great spirituality is about what we do with our pain. If we do not transform our pain, we will transmit it to those around us.” What experiences in your life have and are causing your faith to sprout?
And my faith takes me a long way. And I think that our pains, our vulnerabilities, and our insecurities can fuel us to be better. To try harder. To dig deeper. – Mariska Hargitay
At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. – Albert Schweitzer
“I live no longer, not I,” Paul shouted with his one daring life (Galatians 2:20). And this one-man show turned a Jewish sect into a worldwide religion. Paul allowed his small life to be used by the Great Life, and that is finally all that matters. Your life is not about you. It is about God and about allowing Life and Death to “be done unto me,” which is Mary's prayer at the beginning of her journey and Jesus' prayer at the end of his. – Franciscan Friar Richard Rohr
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue And the dreams that you dare to dream Really do come true. – Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of Oz
Wednesday, September 26 What skills/tools must one have to be an effective spiritual explorer? When you attempt spiritual exploration/discovery, what places do you look? How do you test the validity/value of what you find? What obstacles do you encounter when exploring? What reservations might you have about exploration/discovery? What tools can FCC provide to assist you with your digging? When one has let go of that great hidden agenda that drives humanity and its varied histories, then one can begin to encounter the immensity of one's own soul. If we are courageous enough to say, "Not this person, nor any other, can ultimately give me what I want; only I can,” then we are free to celebrate a relationship for what it can give. – James Hollis, Eden Project: In Search of the Magical Other
"Dig deep. Find your way to your soul." – Kami Garcia
Luke 10:1-3 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.” – New International Version (NIV)
Isaiah 61: 11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. – New International Version (NIV)
Lord, give me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the person I can, and the wisdom to know it is me! – Dave Andrews
Thursday, September 27 When you look back at what you've already discovered, where did you find those items central to your faith (or where did they come from)? What is your most recent spiritual discovery? How did you find it? Did it replace something in your spiritual inventory? How has your spiritual inventory changed over the years? What items have you discarded or added? Our ego consciousness – namely, who we think we are, or what we believe real – is at best a thin wafer floating on an iridescent sea. In any moment, we view the world through a distorting lens and make choices based on what the lens allows us to see, not what lies outside its frame. – James Hollis, Living an Examined Life: Wisdom for the Second Half of the Journey
Ephesians 4: 11-16 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves,and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. – New International Version (NIV)
It is only when we welcome such spirits and give them entrance that they may reveal themselves to us. When we open to ask what comes to us, why it has come, we may grow and be enlarged by the dialogue that emerges. When we deny them entrance, they do not go away. They go underground, persist, perseverate, and prevail. – James Hollis, Hauntings: Dispelling the Ghosts Who Run Our Lives
Life is like a ten-speed bike … some of us have gears we never use. – Linus van Pelt
#FCCWILSONNC A Disciples of Christ Congregation
207 Tarboro Street North | Wilson, NC Corner of Vance & Tarboro Streets 252-237-4125