New Name; New Day

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It has been five years since God called us to plant a new church in the Livonia area. Four years ago we relocated to the Devon Aire Community, and two years ago we purchased the church facility located in the middle of the neighborhood.

Our vision has been to share the Good News and transforming love of Christ with our community. He has specifically placed us within the boundaries of Devon Aire. And we have worked hard to make the neighborhood church relevant once again.

The last several years we have hosted an annual community egg hunt, a trunk or treat, and served coffee/lemonade to our community children’s soccer league. We have partnered with the neighborhood home owners’ association, Devon Aire Civic Association (DACA), to host a corn roast and movie nights in the park. We continue to be committed to our community by hosting the boy scouts and supporting the DACA softball little league.

After much prayers, our congregation agreed to change our name to better reflect our vision. Therefore, we will be unveiling our name change and new sign on Easter weekend. We hope that by adopting the name of our community, the families of Devon Aire will know we are committed to creating a place where God’s love and presence can shine. It is our prayer that you, our community, will be blessed by God and our faith community.

May you have a very Happy Easter! We will see you on the soccer field soon.

Pastor JoAnn Bastien & the (people formerly known as) Plumb Line Community Church

Pulpits, Pews, & Presidents

 

worshipIt’s a new year. And it is an election year. As a lead pastor, this will be my second time navigating the political obstacle course of pews and presidential campaigns. As a church planter, my congregation is filled with people from all walks of the political spectrum; republican, democrat, libertarian, green party, Ralph Nader…it’s colorful to say the least. And, therefore, my position from the pulpit is less about evangelical rhetoric and more about reminding the people that we are to extend grace in the coming months, even more than normal.

I confess I struggle with the traditional evangelical stance myself. I am pro-life. Now wait. Before you delete me from Facebook or applaud my stance, I should clarify what I mean by pro-life.

I believe that God has created all people in His image and all life is precious to Him. And, as a believer, life should matter to me. I believe the life of an unborn child is precious to God. I also believe the life of a person on death row is equally precious to Him. I believe that if I am going to be pro-life, then I should be so across the board.

Therefore, I am against the death penalty and war and euthanasia. I’m against human trafficking and slavery. I’m against oppressing the poor and I’m for assisting the marginalized. I believe we should care for the widow and the foreigner and the exile/refugee. I believe the newborn infant and the teenage mom are precious to God, too.

But here is my problem; I see each candidate and political party and none of them fully reflect my values. The politician that claims to protect the unborn, threatens the life of the refugee. The one who appears to stand for rehabilitation over the death penalty, threatens to bomb my brothers and sisters oversees. The candidate who speaks out against euthanasia, cuts funding from programs to educate the poor. And I am left asking the question which are the lesser of all these evils?

So, in November, you and I will be asked to choose. We will put pen to paper to make a decision about what is most important to us. And we will be forced to choose one good thing over another. Therefore, I don’t think it is fair for us to say that one of us is right while the other one is wrong, as tempting as it may be. Instead, you and I, as believers in Christ, are called to be people of prayer over the next several months. Ask God for guidance when you step up to the polls to choose. Then, when you choose, trust God.

Trust God that, in the end, His plan always prevails. In the meantime, remember that the one sitting in the pew next to you is also praying and trusting God. And we would do well to keep our eyes fixed on the Author and Finisher of our faith rather than the politics of Man.

How Can This Be?

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Triumph. Is triumph possible in the midst of suffering?

It has been a roller coaster of a week. Last Saturday I officiated a funeral for a woman who lost her battle with cancer. Claudia was one of “my list of 10”. Our church had committed to praying for 10 households in the month of December. Ten families for 30 days. At the end of the 30 days, Claudia’s husband called to tell me she had gone home to the Lord.

It was a bittersweet moment. She was out of pain and she was in God’s presence; her suffering was over. Yet, her family was just beginning the journey of grief, loss, and their own suffering.

At the funeral, Claudia’s 5 year old granddaughter sat in the front row with her little feet dangling over the pew. I think we all wondered if she was comprehending any of what was happening. When the pallbearers carried the casket from the sanctuary, little Emma began to weep. They were big tears with sobs coming from the depths of her soul.

We don’t need to know all the details of a situation to experience the pain of suffering. Suffering is an equal opportunist that way. As Christians, we understand the WHY of suffering better than we think. We know…in our heads…that sin entered the world when Adam and Eve fell from grace. And when we ask “why”, it’s really a cry asking ourselves and God “when”.

When will the suffering end? When will You send Your Son to end the pain for good? When will I feel joy again? When will I feel safe again? When will I know…in my heart…that all this is truly working together for good?

The Virgin Mary was visited by the Angel, Gabriel. He told her she would be the mother of the long awaited Messiah; Jesus; Emmanuel; God with us. We have made that story so beautiful. For Mary, it was a terrifying announcement of a life of suffering. She would be mocked and ridiculed. She would be talked about and shamed for her “unwanted” pregnancy. She would hear the cruel words spoken about her “crazy” rabbi son. And she would hold his limp, lifeless body in her arms before they laid him in a borrowed tomb.

We know the end of the story. We have read the Book. Jesus is victorious and Mary’s suffering ends in triumph.

The same is true for you. The promise of Christ’s victory is for all people, and it extends into our time and place. During your season of suffering, hold on to this promise. Good always wins. God always triumphs.

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