From the Mission Field: Lasma's Story

From Trish Barrett:

Lasma is Entrust’s first national staff member in Latvia. What a privilege I have had to be one of the Women-to-Women Ministry team who helped train her!  Read her story below and thank God for women like her in Europe. 


Usually year starts in 1. January with new thoughts, hopes and plans! But now is moment when I am already one year in full time ministry! This is good moment to evaluate, plan and DREAM. And I realize that often I am not dreaming, because I am afraid of disappointment, if my dreams would not come true! But to DREAM with God is very safe, because when we trust our dreams to Him, they will have perfect flight or necessary fall! 

How about my dreams?
Getting started full time ministry, I did not realize those ways how God will let me participate in His work. I knew only that I am coordinator of discipleship programm "Woman to woman". At very beginning I did not have big dreams, only many little things, what I faithfully tried to do and suddenly those little things became as basic of my dreams. 

1. Big dream - discipleship programm "Woman to woman" training in October. 
We trained 18 women in three different courses: Facilitator training, Develop a discerning heart and Discovery Bible study. Training purpose - that women grow in maturity and are willing to pass it on, what they receive in training - to local churches, where they belong. And I am so thankful that God used this training to bring changes in women lives: minds, charachters and hearts. 

2. Come alongside to women, who are trained in our programm! 
It is blessing to be in a quite small country and to have opportunity to meet in a larger community, beside of training. The first time - retreat before training to encourage and support each other to finish course! Second time in April, when we went on a excursion to Limbazi, where lives one of our trained woman Liene. There we enjoyed time together, conversations, testamonies and beautiful nature. And of course, I am happy to enjoy every moment when I can meet the women personally in a face to face meeting!

3. Team!
I am honored to work in a such a wonderful team, where every of us can use their spiritual gifts and strenghts and discover our weaknesses (that is so significant). This helps to find our place in a team and together search the best solutions for Latvia! 

4. Support different churches in Latvia and share my story!
Lately I had opportunity to visit many churches in Latvia! In November I was in Grobinas church, where I facilitated Bible study to support women from this local church to start small groups. In February I was in a Priekules church to share how works and what provides programm "Woman to woman". In March I visited Jelgavas church where I said the message about Inharitance. Together with Latvian baptist Women ministry leadership team I was in a Valmieras church, where I said message about Jesus and women. And in April I was in Brocenu church, where I shared my story and how works and what provides programm "Woman to woman". Year ago I could not imagine, that God could open the doors for this dream!  

5. To serve in my local church!

I am so thankful to God for my Bible study group, what is gift for me and where we can grow together in Christ and see how Holy Spirit changing our minds, hearts and decisions. This year we studied letter of James and the letter of Paul to the Ephesians.
Special thoughts from women:

  • I found Bible as whole!

  • So great to discuss those topics with husband.

  • I found Bible so alive!

  • Those letters is so practical - how to live and change in the likeness of Christ.

I am thankful for time what I can spend with women and teenagers from my local church in individual meetings - where we talking about life and how to follow Jesus!

These where my dreams, what I experienced together with God in those last 12 months. This was really active time and at the same time - peaceful.

In the beginning of May I have wonderful opportunity to participate in conference of "Entrust".

And there came new thoughts, ideas and DREAMS!

  1. Vision that in all region of Latvia we would have trained, discerned and loving women, who wants to pass what they receive, disciple other women and in this way - strengthen local churches. 

  2. Discover ways how to reach women from Latgales region.

  3. In a period of three years provide training all courses in latvian.

  4. Create supportive environment, that trained women would be able more and more effective serve in local churches. 

  5. Come alongside with support and practical help to start Entrust training in countries of Europe!

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With warm greetings,


2019 Community Lenten Services

Each year, our local community churches do our best to work together, and one way we do this each year is by sharing in Lenten services with one another. Below you will find the schedule for Lenten Services:

  • Wednesday March 6 - Ash Wednesday Service 7:00 pm @ LUMC

  • Wednesday, March 13: 6pm Potluck*, 7pm Worship @ Christ UMC in Baltimore Highlands

  • Wednesday, March 20: 6pm Potluck*, 7pm worship @ LUMC

  • Wednesday, March 27: 6pm Potluck*, 7pm worship @ Lansdowne Christian Church

  • Wednesday, April 3: 6pm Potluck*, 7pm worship @ LUMC

  • Wednesday, April 10: 6pm Potluck*, 7pm worship @ Lansdowne Alliance Church

  • Holy week information forthcoming-WE WILL UPDATE THIS POST WITH INFO WHEN AVAILABLE

*Bring a dish to share

Everyday Church-Week 5

On Sunday (Sept 23) we talked about "Everyday Evangelism". In that chapter of the book "Everyday Church," we read about the "Four Points Of Intersection" that revolve around the four movements of the Story Of God. This is something we covered in a previous sermon series, and what we see is that every person is telling a story, and being able to understand and speak the four movements of God's Story into their story gives us the ability to intersect with their story in a way that can engage them in gospel conversations. Peter says in 1 Peter 3 that we should engage in evangelism "with gentleness and respect" and this is a good reminder for us as we think about evangelism. We must be winsome, but also bold. We must love and care for those that God has placed us in the midst of. The first step in evangelism is prayer. Without prayer, our evangelism will wear us out, and fall flat. But with prayer, we can begin to grow in our love for people and from there we can begin to practice some of the ideas in "Everyday Church". In particular, take some time this week to think thru the idea of "Generative Themes" as described on page 125. This requires learning the cares, hopes, and dreams of those that God has called you to, but this is an important part of the work of evangelism.

Lastly, we must remember that the results of our evangelism are not up to us. We don't bear the weight of the salvation of anyone. Jesus bears that weight, and all we need to continually learn to do is trust in Him.

Jesus promised to be with us as we go and make disciples.

We can trust that His words are true.

He is with us.

Living As Missional Communities-Will we go any deeper?

This is the fourth post in a series of posts about what our upcoming Missional Community gatherings will look like.

As we prepare to launch our two initial MC’s some have wondered if the MC’s will go any deeper than a group meeting in terms of personal spiritual formation and discipleship. While living on mission in the everyday stuff of life is one of the most effective ways for not only mission to happen, but also for us to grow, there is also a need to develop deep relationships and the group setting of an MC is not always conducive to the vulnerability and transparency required to cultivate the kind of accountability and growth that we hope for. To this end, each MC will also contain within it smaller groups of people called DNA groups. DNA groups will usually consist of three people (men with men and women with women) who will decide together on some other regular meeting time and place where they can go deeper together into their life together. The “DNA” in DNA groups is an acronym for “Discover, Nurture, Act”. These three actions are what the DNA group actually practices when they meet.

"Discover” - The group will share what they are currently reading and learning from the Bible with one another, and specifically how the gospel is coming to bear on their life thru what they are learning thru the Bible. The DNA group is also able to encourage one another to be regularly "looking up" as they pursue knowing Jesus more and more thru HIs word.

"Nurture" - After spending time talking about what they have been discovering in the Bible, the group will nurture in one another's hearts the truths that you have just talked thru. This nurturing conversation is a great way for us to care for one another(Look In) and for us to also grow in our own ability to speak the good news of Jesus into the everyday stuff of one another's lives.

"Act" - As the group concludes their meeting time, they will take action together towards repentance and belief. This would most often look like a time of prayer where we repent of the areas of unbelief in our hearts and pray with and for one another to grow in our obedience to the teachings of Jesus. The group also shares how they will intentionally practice this obedience as they are once again sent out into the world.

These groups will be formed over the first couple of months of the MC's beginning to meet. The MC will need time to discover the relationship that may be present in the MC, and then the DNA groups can begin to form as it becomes clear who the DNA groups should be made up of.

Check out the other posts in this series of posts on living as missional communities.

Living As Missional Communities-How often will MC's meet together?

This is the third post in a series of posts about what our upcoming Missional Community gatherings will look like.

One questions several folks here at Lansdowne Alliance have asked is how often MC’s will meet. This is a great question especially when we consider that most of us at LAC have not participated in an MC in our church experience yet. This question also raises another question which is: “How long will the MC’s continue to meet?” Let’s look at each question.

How often will MC’s meet?

The short answer is that typically MC’s meet together during the week one time. As was stated in the second post in this series, this generally is a meeting to eat a meal together and then do some kind of discussion or prayer time together. Having said that, it is not uncommon or “wrong” for an MC to realize that once a week just doesn't work for them, and so they may choose to meet every other week or in some other format. One of the things that makes MC’s unique is that unlike a small group bible study, the main driving force of the MC is the mission that the MC has decided together to pursue. So, for example, lets say the MC decides(by spending time in prayer together and seeking the Lord) that they are called to reach the youth soccer league that some of their kids participate in. This will mean that their MC is going to have times during the year when there will be more active than other times. During those busy times, the MC may decide that meeting weekly is too much. Then in times when their mission is in a season of less activity, they may decide to meet more often together to simply build community with one another. Each MC must be hearing from God about what He would have them doing to reach those close to them, and so each MC has flexibility in this regard.

How long will MC’s continue to meet?

The answer to this is similar to the previous question. Much of the MC’s meeting times will be dependent on the mission they feel God is calling them to. There is no expectation or “rule” that MC’s must meet all year long. In fact, it is important that we have a good theology of rest built into our MC life. We do not want the MC meeting to become a burden! It should be a place that we engage in community in as a way to be equipped and sent out from. This means that there will be at least two times a year when there will be built in breaks from the weekly MC meetings. Once during the winter “holiday” season, and once during the summer, MC’s will take an 8-week break during which there is no expectation that the MC has its regular meeting. Of course, if the people in the MC want to get together, that is great, but there will be a built-in break from the normal rhythm of the MC. This break is built in for a few reasons: First, this gives set start and end dates for people to step into and out of the MC. Sometimes we can feel the weight of the meeting that will never have a break and we can become discouraged. Building in breaks gives a chance for us to take a break and rest from the rhythm of the MC. Second, these set breaks make great times to allow new people to join an MC or to launch a new MC. These breaks will almost function like semesters in an academic environment, and give clear times for new folks to join MC’s. Third, these breaks give us a chance to offer what we will be calling “Courses” during those 8-week breaks. “Courses” will be classes that are more formal in nature and are better suited for a lecture format. These “Courses” will include things like Membership Class, Marriage classes, parenting classes, etc. “Courses” will begin in the summer of 2019, and will hopefully include two courses in that first run.

Check out the other posts in this series of posts on living as missional communities.

Everyday Church-Week 4

Last Sunday(Sept 16, 2018) we talked in 9our service about the “8 ways to be missional” listed on page 91-92 in “Everyday Church”. Here is a blog post where you can read that list as well: 8 ways to be missional.

These 8 ways are great, but on page 90 of “Everyday Church” there is another very helpful list as we think about being on mission in everyday life. Here is what it says:

Here is an exercise to help identify opportunities for everyday mission. Think of all the activities, however mundane, in that make up your life: (1) daily routine (traveling to work, eating meals, doing chores, walking the dog, playing with children); (2) weekly routine (grocery shopping, watching favorite television programs, exercising); and (3) monthly routine (gardening, getting a haircut, going to the movies). You should have a long list of activities. For each one, ask whether you could add: (1) a community component by involving another member of your Christian community; (2) a missional component by involving an unbeliever; (3) a gospel component by identifying opportunities to talk about Jesus.

This is a great exercise and it is strongly encouraged that you take some time this week, sit down with a paper and pencil and work thru the exercise listed in that section of the book “Everyday Church”. As you work thru this exercise, don't be discouraged if you don't see the results you want, but instead see it as an opportunity to experience more of God's grace as you more deeply pursue being in mission with Him in this world!

Living As Missional Communities-What will we do when we meet?

This is the second post in a series of posts about what our upcoming Missional Community gatherings will look like.

Many folks have asked what we will actually do when we meet together in Missional COmmunities. Many of you have experienced small group bible studies, and other forms of smaller gatherings. In some ways, there will be some similarities, but in other ways, MC’s will be different.

The primary purpose of MC’s is not to be a Bible Study class or group. There will certainly be times when MC’s will study the Bible together, or perhaps work thru a Bible study curriculum, or even do a book study.

The primary purpose of MC’s, however is to be an intentional time of living on mission together. One of the simplest ways to begin to cultivate this kind if relationship is to just have a meal together. It may seem insignificant, but if you want to get a glimpse into Jesus’ own life on mission, read thru the gospels and take note of how many times we see Jesus eating with people. One of the accusations made against Jesus was even based around meals. Jesus was accused of eating and drinking with sinners. Also, it is no accident that the most symbolic and important rituals we have in the Church is also a meal. Jesus left us Communion as the way by which we would remember. We also see that very very early on in Church history, what those early Christians did was to devote themselves to the Apostles teaching and the “breaking of bread”. So, eating a meal together takes on all kinds of significance when we consider meals in this light.

So, when MC’s gather together, one of the central thins we will do together is eat a meal. Each MC will decide how that works(pot luck style, at a restaurant, one person cooking each week, etc…) but each MC will be highly encouraged to make eating a meal together a central part of how they live on mission together.

Along with this, the next most central part of living together on mission will be prayer. There may be times when the MC gathers and all we do is eat a meal and pray with and for one another. Prayer is so vital to our lives together. We must pursue and cultivate a community atmosphere where we know one another and are known to the point that our prayers can be deeply personal and therefore deeply meaningful.

As the MC’s mature in knowing the mission God has specifically given to them, they will likely begin to also include other things into their meetings. One of the first things that we will begin to practice together in MC’s is the telling and re-telling of our “Grace Stories”. This is simply the story of how God rescued and redeemed us and what that means for us. Practicing our stories together will create in us more comfort in our ability to share this story with others as we are out on mission, and it will give us an opportunity to listen well to these stories and begin to notice where there are still areas of unbelief in one another’s life that we can begin to speak gospel truths into.

Your expectation as to what MC life will be should be simple: we will gather and eat a meal together. From there we may spend time in prayer or spend time sharing our “Grace Stories” together as we begin to build deeper relationship with those whom we are on mission with.

Everyday Church-Week 3

In this week’s chapter and sermon on Everyday Church, we looked at the idea of “Everyday Pastoral Care”. We saw how this is a practical outworking on the “earnest love” that the Apostle Peter exhorts us to have for one another in 1 Peter 1. In this chapter, we come across four liberating truths that are both good news for when we are being pastored along with being good news for when we are pastoring. The four liberating truths are as follows:

  • God is great, so we do not have to be in control.

  • God is glorious, so we do not have to fear others.

  • God is good, so we do not have to look elsewhere.

  • God is gracious, so we do not have to prove ourselves.

We also see a helpful chart on page 82 of Everyday Church that shows us these four truths along with their contrary indicators. These contrary indicators are what we exhibit when we are failing to believe one of more of these truths:

  • God is great, so we do not have to be in control.

    • Contrary Indicators:

      • You are overbearing

      • You are inflexible or risk averse

      • You are impatient with people

      • You avoid responsibility

  • God is glorious, so we do not have to fear others.

    • Contrary Indicators

      • You avoid confrontation

      • You crave approval

      • You behave differently around certain people

      • You pretend or hide your true self

  • God is good, so we do not have to look elsewhere.

    • Contrary Indicators

      • You feel mystery is a burden

      • You often complain

      • You make people feel a burden of duty

      • You don’t stick at things

  • God is gracious, so we do not have to prove ourselves.

    • Contrary Indicators

      • You take criticism and failure badly

      • You find it hard to relax

      • You are proud or envy the success of others

      • You make people feel guilty

As you read this list and the corresponding Contrary Indicators, where do you see yourself most? The good news is that there is none of us who is perfect. We all have one or more areas where we struggle with unbelief. This is why we need to be in community with others who are on the same pastoral journey.

Take some time this week to talk thru this chart with one of more brothers and sisters in Christ and seek to pastor one another with these truths as you continue to learn to walk with Jesus in everyday life.

Everyday Church-Week 2

Last Sunday(sept 2, 2018) we continued ion our series "Everyday Church" and we looked at "Everyday Community". On page 56 of the book, we read the following:

People are often attracted to Christian Community before they are attracted to the Christian message. This does not necessarily mean inviting people to Sunday services. It means introducing them to our network of relationships in the context of ordinary life: inviting both Christian and non-Christian friends around for a meal or for an evening out.

For many of us, the ideas of "evangelism" and "invitation" are practically synonymous. The problem with this kind of thinking is that it eliminates our opportunity for mission with a lot of people. It also has the problem of allowing us to feel like we are on mission, when we really aren't. Invitation to church services is not the same as evangelism. We are not inviting people to come to an experience, we are inviting people to a relationship with a person who we believe is always with us. Jesus is present with us in the ordinary life situations that we find ourselves in every day, and these are the situations that we also find ourselves in with those who don't yet know Jesus. 

This week as you are living "ordinary life" think of all of the people who you interact within that "ordinary life" who you can begin to invite into your life in a way that will lead to gospel conversations. One of the key factors for this is that you are also pursuing life together with other Christians so that you are not on mission alone. This is where Missional Communities come in to play. MC's are a way for us to intentionally prioritize Christian community in a setting outside of Sunday morning so that we have that place to invite those who don't yet believe to "come around for a meal" or for a game night, or for a night out. MC's allow us to be on mission in community in a way that touches our "ordinary life".

Living as Missional Communities: Where will our first M.C's be?

This is the first in a series of posts about life in missional communities.

As we lead up to the launch of our Missional Communities in the month of October, it seemed like a good idea to write a few posts about MC's and some of the common questions that people have been asking. Over the next few weeks, keep an eye out on the blog for more posts like this one.

The single most common question that has been asked about the launch of MC's for us at Lansdowne Alliance Church has been a very practical one: where will the MC's be meeting? This is a significant question not only for the simple and practical reason of knowing where and when the meeting(s) will happen but also because of the way we will be organizing MC's as a church family. While some churches have organized small group ministries and other groups by affinity, we will be organizing our MC's by geography. The reason is based on what the Apostle Paul said at the Areopagus when he was in Athens. We read the following in Acts 17:26-28

And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.'

What we see in this text is that God was intentional in placing each of us in the geographies that we live in. The reason that we can know that God is not far from those who live around us is that God has placed us to live near those people and He has called us to be His ambassadors who make an appeal on His behalf that those people would be reconciled to Him(2 Cor 5:20)! So as we think about this reality, it seems to make sense to meet as MC's based on geography. This also allows us to maintain the beautiful diversity that the gospel calls us to since each MC will hopefully be made up of people from all walks of life and generations.

So, as we begin this new chapter at LAC, we will have two MC's.

One will be located at Jeff and Amy Simpson's home in Lansdowne:


The other will be located at Rod and Angie Haigis' home in Catonsville.


As you think about how you will engage in MC life, prayerfully consider which of these two locations would make more sense for how you will engage in mission. Of course as we continue in this trajectory, there will be more MC's launched in other locations. For now, however, these are the two groups that will begin to meet in early October. 

In our next post, we will be looking at what a typical MC meeting will look like.

Everyday Church-Week 1

Last Sunday (August 26, 2018) we began a sermon series based around the ideas in the book "Everyday Church". In chapter one of the book, we see some difficult realities that challenge much of the way we think about "church". Listen to the following quote:

One of the common assumptions, when people fail to turn up at church, is that we need to improve the experience of the church gatherings. We need to improve the "product". We need better music, more relevant sermons, multimedia presentations, or engaging dramas. Or we need to relocate to pubs, cafes, or art centers. We need cool venues with cool people and cool music. The problem with this approach is the assumption that people will come to church if the product is better...Our persistent "come to us" mindset suggests that we really believe that people who refuse to come in the front door are beyond the reach of Christ. -"Everyday Church". pg 27-28

When I read these words for the first time, I remember almost feeling offended. I immediately became defensive in my own heart and mind and began to justify and rationalize my reasons for wanting to do things with excellence in the Sunday morning experience. Certainly, we should seek excellence in all that we do, but the fact remains that in my own heart, even if I was not intentionally thinking this, I had kind of written off the folks in my life who did not come to church on Sundays. I had begun to buy into the lie that the quality of the worship service was the power of God unto salvation and not what Paul says in Romans 1:16:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. - ESV

There are people in our neighborhoods, universities, schools, workplaces, and families who desperately need this power of God unto salvation, but they have no interest whatsoever in coming to a worship gathering. Inviting them to church will not be the primary way that they hear this good news about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The primary way that these people, and many more, will hear the gospel is through followers of Jesus who proclaim it to them where they are. This is the mission God has invited us into. This is the mission Jesus spoke of in Matthew 28. This week, and you ponder these ideas, take some time to pray about the people in your life that God desires you to share His good news with. Remember, the power unto salvation is not in your abilities but in the goodness of the news about God! 

Pastor Jeff


Backpacks For Lansdowne

Lansdowne Elementary School sits directly across the street from our church building in Lansdowne. LES is a Title One school, which in its simplest terms means that it is a school with needs that are beyond the needs of a non Title One school. While there are many areas in which we plan to begin to engage with this school, the first and simplest area of need where we can engage as a church family is in providing backpacks for the upcoming school year. This opportunity has opened up to us (along with a few other opportunities, which will be announced soon) in the last week or so, and we want to engage in this need as much as we can before the start of school. Here is how this will work:

  • Sun, Aug 12th, 2018: We announce this need to our congregation during our Sunday Worship Gathering.
  • Sun, Aug 19th & 26th: We collect backpacks during our Sunday Worship Gathering.
  • Wed, Aug 29: We deliver the backpacks to Lansdowne Elementary School.

As you may be aware, MD "Tax-Free Week" kicks off on August 12 and backpacks are part of the qualifying items. We can take advantage of this to purchase extra backpacks with the potential tax savings! Here is the info from the Comptroller of MD Website regarding backpacks:

"The first $40 of a backpack or bookbag purchase is also tax-free"

Check out more info here: MD Tax-Free Week

School begins on Tuesday, September 5th, so our hope is that our backpacks will be available to bless families who have not been able to purchase one for their child as school starts.

As a congregation, I am asking you to consider purchasing an extra backpack or two(or as many as you can!) as you are out during the next few weeks. I am hopeful that we can collect 200 backpacks as a church family. Let's bless the families of Lansdowne Elementary together as a way of bringing the Kingdom of God into our geography!

If you have any questions, please send me an email:

Pastor Jeff

Romans 13 and Immigration

If you are paying attention at all to the news this week, you will certainly be aware, at least somewhat, of the firestorm on social media and other internet sites regarding what is happening on the southern border of the United States. My hope for you as a pastor is that you will do your best to have the spirit of the Bereans that we read of in Acts 17 who, "received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so." We must be a people who are examining everything we hear by the scriptures to see if they are true. 

This brings me to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who in a speech on June 14th, said the following: “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order,”...“Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.”

AG Session was, in that speech essentially defending the current practice of separating children from parents who are being detained for criminal charges. On the surface, AG Sessions is not wrong. God is a God of order and He has ordained laws and government as a means by which evil is restrained in the world. Having said that, Mr. Sessions is attempting to use a small section of Romans 13 in a way that is unhelpful at best. When Paul instructs his readers to submit to the authorities, he gives the reason that this is because they have been ordained by God, and therefore are God's servants. But if a government is instituting laws and policies that are unjust, then we must do what is right even if it is opposed to what the government is saying. Here are two examples that I think are helpful.

In Acts 5, Peter and the other Apostles were explicitly instructed by the High Preist, their God-ordained authority to no longer preach the name of Jesus, and Peter's response was as follows: “We must obey God rather than men"(Acts 5:29) Peter is displaying here the understanding that when a governing authority is seeking to implement laws or policies that are evil, we are not obligated to submit to them because evil does not come from God.

Another example would be on the current debate over abortion. No Pro-Life Christian that I know would make the argument from Romans 13 that AG Sessions made when it comes to abortion. We understand that the taking of the life of an unborn child is evil no matter what the government is telling us and therefore, we stand opposed to any policy or legislation from our government that would allow this to take place. In the same way, there simply no way to justify the unjust separation of children from their parents.

In the same way, there simply no way to justify the unjust separation of children from their parents.

First of all, this destroys the God-ordained order of the family unit in which mothers and fathers are given charge over their children. Secondly, there is far too much evidence of the irreversible damage that this kind of traumatic separation can do to a child. To use children in this way as a deterrent against criminal activity is in itself evil, and we must not allow ourselves to be satisfied that this is our only option.

To use children in this way as a deterrent against criminal activity is in itself evil, and we must not allow ourselves to be satisfied that this is our only option.

I would encourage you to be as informed as you can be on this issue. This is not a simple issue. The law must be upheld, and we cannot ignore the conversation about the wise governing and safety of our borders. As a foster parent, I am also personally aware of the reality that there are times when it is just for the government to separate children form their natural families. At the same time however, we must also not be satisfied with a solution that destroys families when there could be, and should be another solution. 

So, how can we respond? 

My hope in writing this is that you would know where we as a church stand. Again, this is not a simple issue, and there is so much nuance and complexity that must enter a conversation like this. Having said that, we must be clear that the destruction of families is an evil that we must never allow ourselves to tolerate. We must also remember that everyone involved in this issue from those families who are coming to the US, to the border patrol agents, to our representatives, to everyone who you may interact with over this issue are created in the image of God and therefore deserve to be treated with the dignity and honor that is due to them as a human. We must not demonize people or turn people into issues. 

Be prayerful, be saturated in the scriptures, seek the presence of Jesus as you think thru this issue, and then get involved.

A Walk Thru Ephesians-SOAP: Ephesians 6:10-24

Below is the text for the section of Ephesians we will be covering this week. Please take some time this week and SOAP this scripture before coming on Sunday morning to our 10:45 am worship service.

Wondering what SOAP is? Click HERE

Ephesians 6:10-24

The Whole Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Final Greetings

21 So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts. 23 Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

A Walk Thru Ephesians-SOAP: Ephesians 5:22-6:9

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Ephesians 5:22-6:9

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Chapter 6

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Bondservants and Masters

5 Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. 9 Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him

A Walk Thru Ephesians-SOAP: Ephesians 5:1-21

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Ephesians 5:1-21 (ESV)

Walk in Love

5 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,
    and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

A Walk Thru Ephesians-SOAP: Ephesians 4:17-4:32

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Ephesians 4:17-4:32

The New Life

17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

A Walk Thru Ephesians-SOAP: Ephesians 4:1-16

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Ephesians 4:1-16

I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore it says,

“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
    and he gave gifts to men."

9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

A Walk Thru Ephesians-SOAP: Ephesians 3:14-3:21

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Ephesians 3:14-3:21

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.