Blog

December 2016
December 2016

By

Carrie Wheeler

Liturgy. We use this word every Sunday at All Souls, but I’ll be honest…it was many years into my tenure as Worship Director before I had a desire to know more about all that is represented in the liturgical calendar. For so long, for me it was mainly dates on the calendar, traditions to uphold and colors to  change on the pulpit vestments.

Webster defines liturgy as “a rite or body of rites prescribed for public worship.” In the book You Are What You Love, James K.A. Smith describes liturgies as being “love-shaping rituals.” He says: “To be human is to be a liturgical animal, a creature whose loves are shaped by our worship. And worship isn’t optional.” We would all recognize that there are rival, life-shaping liturgies everywhere. One of the main reasons to meet together for worship is to counter-form the cultural “liturgies” that have captured our hearts.

Christmas is a season full of traditions and “liturgies.” One of the traditions of the church where I grew up in Kentucky ...



October 2016
October 2016

This week, we are extending Sunday's Global Update by posting different updates from our Global Partners.

As we mentioned on Sunday, most of our partners are All Souls individuals and families who used to live in Decatur, enjoying our great food and small-town feel in the big city, worshipping together with us at All Souls on Sunday mornings. Even though they are now living and serving across the globe, their lives still hold many things in common with ours. They still have many of the joys and struggles that we all have living in this broken and beautiful world.

Today, we are sharing a recent post from Kris Reid, an All Souls member who lives life now in Uganda. She and her husband started a nonprofit called MPAKA and are doing incredible things together for the community where they live. But one of the other rich gifts Kris also gives is the way that she articulates the struggles of parenting a child with special needs. Here is her post about the incredible ...



October 2016
October 2016

Yesterday morning, Tafanie Van Wyngarden gave an update about Global Missions. We are extending that update by posting different newsletters from our Global Partners this week.

Please keep these friends of All Souls (several who have gone out from our own All Souls family) in your prayers this week.

And, thank you for supporting these partners through your faithful generosity to All Souls!

 


 

The latest news from All Souls members, John and Julie Bowles, now serving in Thailand:

Please pray for Thailand.

You may have heard the news that the King of Thailand has just passed away. King Bhumibol Adulyadej was 88 and reigned for 70 years, making him one of the world's longest reigning monarchs.

He has been called the "heart of the nation" and many think of him and refer to him as their father. To say there is and will be mourning is an understatement.

Please pray for so many hurting and the future direction of this kingdom.

To see more pictures of Thailand's beloved monarch ...



March 2016
March 2016

By

Large Wheatfield

“Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.” Rabindranath Tagore

There is a great temptation to allow our lives to be dominated by fear. Fear of external things, outside of our control. Fear of our own beliefs and doubts. Fear of the unknown. We are told each day that there are new things to fear...things we once trusted, places we’ve been...there is now a reason to fear them.

There was a period shortly after I graduated college when I stopped reading the news. I had to. I couldn’t handle the daily reports of depravity. I couldn’t handle another report on TV that graphically showed another tragedy. It wasn’t a reaction or statement toward modern news media as much as it was a reaction of feeling so tired of the brokenness.

The temptation to give into these things and live in a constant state of fear is always lurking in the back of my heart. What would I have thought watching Jesus ride into Jerusalem on a donkey? 'Is ...



March 2016
March 2016

By

Large Wheatfield

Luke 23:26–43

The crucifixion of Jesus
As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, ’Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, “Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!” Then ‘“they will say to the mountains, ’Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’” For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?’

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals - one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, ’Father, ...



March 2016
March 2016

Large Wheatfield

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Romans 12:15 NIV

I sat there as she told me about how her ex-partner used to beat her black and blue; how he once kicked her in the head so much she ended up in a coma. She shared how the cocktail of prescription drugs she now took as a result of the abuse was robbing her of sleep and the ability to think straight. She was overwhelmed and exhausted.

"God, what on earth do I say?!"

I’d met this lady through my work with Christians Against Poverty (CAP). Her abusive relationship had left her financially and emotionally bankrupt. Praise God she had found us and was beginning to get help with her debts, but right now things were still tough. I believed that God had a plan for her but to say it out loud in that moment just seemed so trite. I had no idea what she’d been through, or what I could say to ease her pain. I just felt so useless.

But then I felt the Holy Spirit encourage me to ...



March 2016
March 2016

By

Large Wheatfield

Have you watched Steph Curry play basketball or Ronaldinho’s mad soccer skills? (If you don’t know who I’m talking about, go Google either athlete, but don’t hurt your finger scrolling). When we see this kind of unique, unparalleled talent, we marvel because our attempts to emulate them fall so incredibly short. If we were asked to hit game-winning, three-point shots consistently in front of thousands of fans, we’d throw our hands up in submission. Simply no way to do that with our abilities, training, and background.

And the same is true with many of Jesus’ miracles: turning water into wine, walking on water, sending demons out of a man. This is God incarnate walking among us and performing miracles reserved only for him. At the end of the day, you could hear a sportscaster saying, “that’s just Jesus being Jesus.”

But as we head toward Easter, the human experience of Jesus is palpable–and therefore incredibly convicting. In fact, it’s in this week ...



March 2016
March 2016

Large Wheatfield

In one of his last teachings Jesus talks about what will happen to the sheep and the goats when he returns in glory. He invites the "sheep" who cared for him to enter the Kingdom of heaven. They ask:

"Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?" Then the King will say, "I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me." (Matthew 25:37–40 MSG)

The "solemn truth" is that on this coming Good Friday, we will reflect on Jesus’ thirst. We can see the sour wine jar, the hardened soldiers, the haters, the vinegar. But he wants us to look at things differently. He wants us to see him in the overlooked and ignored, this and every day. Jesus loves the lost; he thirsts for them.

...


March 2016
March 2016

Large Wheatfield

Luke 23:26–43

The crucifixion of Jesus

As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, 'Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!' Then

'"they will say to the mountains, "Fall on us!" and to the hills, ‘"Cover us!"'

For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?"

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed.

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals - one on his right, the ...



March 2016
March 2016

By

Large Wheatfield

John 19:23-27

23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said, “They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” So this is what the soldiers did.

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

A PSALM ON CALVARY

Verses 23 to 25 of this passage are about more than just the unthinkably demeaning act of Christ’s executioners divvying up ...



March 2016
March 2016

By

Large Wheatfield

John 19:23-27

23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said, “They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” So this is what the soldiers did.

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

In this passage, Jesus sets up provision for his mother. The new family that is established here is not exactly on bloodlines, but on something ...



March 2016
March 2016

Large Wheatfield

Luke 19:1–10
Zacchaeus the tax collector
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a sinner."

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."

Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek ...



March 2016
March 2016

By

Large Wheatfield

“When we submit our lives to what we read in scripture, we find that we are not being led to see God in our stories but our stories in God’s. God is the larger context and plot in which our stories find themselves.”

-Eugene Peterson

I am an extrovert through and through. I love people, I love stories, I love laughing – anything that involves being together with a group of people gets me excited.

In a conversation with a friend this week, we were discussing our church and what it looks like to be a welcoming place; a place that brings in hurting people and gives them the space to interact with the gospel in a real and authentic way. As we were talking I had one of those "a-ha" moments…one of the painful ones that you don’t really enjoy but you know is necessary…

Most of my life I have been all about "building community." I really desire to see people come together (especially around food!) and share in life together – the joys, the excitement, the ...



March 2016
March 2016

Large Wheatfield

Luke 19:1–10
Zacchaeus the tax collector
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a sinner."

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."

Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek ...



March 2016
March 2016

Large Wheatfield

Luke 19:1–10
Zacchaeus the tax collector
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a sinner."

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."

Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek ...