Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pride Parade III – Return of the Bigots

For the third year in a row, Faith Church has been showing the love of Christ in a very unusual place (for an evangelical church). We were at the Michigan (Gay) Pride Parade which ends with a rally on the capital lawn. Due to a family commitment in Traverse City, I couldn’t be there, but we have some great leadership in the Christ In Action (CIA) team.

Last year was fairly peaceful because there were no churches protesting the rally. This year they were back in full force. Notice the photo of the protesters; you will see the police moving them across the road. In the second photo is Pastor Brandon Bruce standing in pretty much the same place.

Our team went over to the protesters to give them water as well only to be called “phony Christians”. That actually helped with the outreach as the parade participants saw that we had at least one thing in common, the bigots don’t like us. It opened the door to better and more conversations.

When Pastor Brandon shared the results of the event with the Faith Church family, he said, “We were right where we needed to be. We were there neither condemning people nor condoning their actions. We were simply sharing the love of Christ, no strings attached”.

I love being part of a church that cares about broken people, no matter which way they are bent.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Small World or Big God?

A few weeks ago, one of my favorite couples here at Faith Church finished up @ MSU and made a move out to Vancouver, BC.  Brennan and Ashley Westerman had been part of one of my small groups and on the worship team.  They also got me hooked on kayaking and were involved in several CIA events.  On their last Sunday I asked, “Have you got a house lined up?”  They told me they were going to be house sitting for a couple who were going on the mission field for one year.  During that time they would find an apartment or house for the future.

Then the last week of May, we had the pleasure of having Jim & Penne Koch of My Father’s House, Jamaica with us for an extended weekend.  We’ve had a relationship with them for four years, but have formalized that relationship into a partnership this year.  Jim and Penne are going to spend this coming year doing more fund raising, but to have the freedom to do so required having someone who could act as house parents in their absence.  Enter Dan & Jennifer Rennert and their four children.

 The eldest four members of the Rennert family went to Jamaica for a week’s visit at the end of the summer of 2008 to meet everyone at My Father’s House and see what it is really all about. They had found MFH on the web and God was tugging at their hearts to get involved.  They decided to take the year, beginning in the summer of 2009 to help at My Father’s House!

 The week after Jim & Penne were with us, I got this e-mail from Brennan. 

 Hey Chris!

A VERY crazy thing happened....

We're in
Vancouver now, and we met with the people whose house we'll be renting.  We've known that they were leaving for a year to be missionaries...we found out exactly where they're going and what they're doing.

Okay, here's the punch line.....

They're taking over My Father's House in
Jamaica!  We couldn't believe it!

I'm just assuming it's the same place....can't imagine there would be more than one with the same name.  So that's pretty nuts.  They said the normal leaders are leaving to do some fundraising, and only coming back when groups come in.


 I related that story to someone and they said, “It’s a small world”.  Yes, I suppose it is, but I think this one can be chalked up to a Big God. 


Remember to pray for Jim, Penne, the Rennerts and Brennan and Ashley.