Donate to support the Youth in their efforts to raise money for the CROP WALK program. Just note on your donation that it is for CROP Walk, or click the link below to donate straight to our CropWalk page! Check out our youth doing their “virtual” cropwalk during Youth Group!
This year has been a bit different than most of us were expecting. With the coronavirus creating many new obstacles for us, changes in staff and volunteers, and the hiatus on most of our programs being inevitable, we are glad to announce we are bringing back (modified for social distancing) activities for the children and youth at FCC.
Besides a brief hiatus during August and September, we continued to meet for Worship & Wonder via Zoom.
Our fabulous leaders Becky & Martha aided our multi-church effort to put forth a powerful and exciting Virtual VBS this summer in June- we reached more kids this year with this format than we did last year! We created weekly videos, lessons, and packets to bring Gifted- Virtual VBS to the homes of dozens of kids in our community- and something we’ve not been able to do before- to provide the experience of our VBS to kids in other cities and states!
Emily & Kelsey mailed and hand-delivered packages to our children and youth several times during the spring and summer as well as sending out newsletters, surveys, and more.
Now that we are allowing small groups to meet once again, we are able to join together in-person once again. We started our Fall programs off with a Campfire Night- roasting s’mores and playing games. We are using a new curriculum for our Youth, Grow Students, and the current theme is Friendship- Squad Goals. The Youth Group is currently meeting in the Banquet Hall on Sunday evenings, and the Children’s Group, the newly-resurrected & reinvented Young Disciples program- meets in the Fellowship Hall. For more information on these programs or to find ways to get involved, click the links in the navigation under Get Involved!
These Holy Week reflections will be available beginning at 5:00 PM each day through the FCC Facebook page and on the FCC website. The purpose is simple: to invite you to read, reflect and pray. It’s all part of the work of preparing ourselves for what is coming and discovering once more the truth that is found within the most difficult story of our faith.
21 After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. 23 One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; 24 Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25 So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. 27 After he received the piece of bread,[i]Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.”
What is the worst kind of betrayal? Is it the spouse who betrays a partner through an affair? Is it the friend who stabs you in the back when you least expect it, or the boss at work you trusted who suddenly turns on you. Betrayals come in many shapes and sizes and the worst part is that all of us will experience them. When they happen there is at first surprise, and then doubt that what just happened really happened. Then comes the pain, reality sets in as the trust that had been so strong and reassuring gives way to a wound that’s hard to heal.
I don’t know what Jesus really thought about his betrayal by Judas, but the text says his spirit was “troubled.” For three years he had laughed, suffered, taught, walked, and grieved with the men who dined with him that night. Together they had become brothers, family, and trusted companions. You can imagine the surprise around the table when Jesus began saying that one of them would betray him. This was no ordinary night either. Just before talk of betrayal began, Jesus had washed the feet of his friends. He used that moment, as he often did, to teach them about what it means to live as a servant to others.
This would not be the first time Jesus would face betrayal. Peter would go on to deny him three times. The crowds who welcomed him into Jerusalem with palms waiving in the air would demand, a few days later, that he be crucified. And as Jesus hung on the cross his disciples would scatter in fear.
Woven through the many betrayals this week would bring is the same spirit of forgiveness that was at the heart of all that Jesus did. Maybe you have heard about the seven last words of Jesus on the cross. The very first of the seven are those of forgiveness. In Luke 24:34, Jesus looks down from the cross and says “Forgive them father, they know not what they do.”
The God who became our Emmanuel in Jesus understands the many deep pains of life because he has experienced them too. God understands the sting of betrayal and still responds with words of forgiveness. To forgive like this does mean to excuse the betrayer but to release the power that the wound of betrayal can have in our lives. Forgiveness gives the cross meaning and every time we do it, the power of the cross is made real today. If you are still burdened by the pain of a betrayal perhaps it’s time to move toward forgiveness, to release the power this wound has over your life and be free.
Pray: Holy God, give us the power to forgive those who have betrayed us so that we might find the freedom in life to serve you more completely. Amen
John 12:23-26: 23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
How good are you at reading between the lines? Some people just seem to have the knack for picking up on the underlying meaning behind the words of the person who is talking. This can be a handy skill in relationships where sometimes you need to be able to “take a hint.” As much as we want people to be straight up and direct with us, this is not the case in many situations. Relationships can go sideways very quickly without the ability to pick up on hints and read between the lines.
Days before Jesus was betrayed he was dropping hints of what was coming. He was, as he says in verse 24, the kernel that would fall to the ground and die so that many more seeds could be created. His allusions like this were often missed by his disciples. Maybe these clues were so outside of their experience that they couldn’t read them. Maybe the hints Jesus made about his future were too painful to imagine.
As skilled as we can be at reading between the lines, we can be just as skilled at ignoring the things we would rather not admit or think about. The mirror we use to see ourselves and the world is often painted to make it easier to accept. The urge to see things as better than they are is hard to resist. But this week is about facing the hard truth. Jesus said that anyone who loves their life will lose it while those who hate their life will keep it. Time to read between the lines. It may be too much to think about losing our lives or hating them altogether, but we could imagine something we could give up to make more room for following Jesus. Isn’t this where sacrifice begins? Every sacrifice is like the kernel that falls to the ground so that so many more good things can be born from it. What sacrifice could you make this week that would allow something good to be born in your life or someone else’s?
Gracious God, show me the sacrifice I can make this week that will bring new life to others. Amen