Thoughts and reflections from Liberty’s Pastors

October 18, 2018

Dear Friends:

The classic children’s book, The Phantom Tollbooth, tells the story of a young boy named Milo. One rainy afternoon, Milo receives a mysterious gift of a cardboard tollbooth.  Bored, Milo builds the tollbooth and “drives through” it with his toy car.  Suddenly, Milo finds himself in a strange new land.  At first, he is excited – what an adventure! But as the road stretches out before him, Milo begins to grow bored again and dozes off. Rousing himself, Milo notices there are strange little creatures draped over his car, snoozing on his head and dashboard.  The creatures inform Milo that he is now stuck in a place known as “The Doldrums”.

The “doldrums” is actually an old nautical reference to a “dead zone” — a place where there are no strong currents, and no wind to fill up the sails. Unfortunately, it isn’t just sailors or bored little boys on rainy afternoons who find themselves stranded in the “doldrums.” We Christians can fall into the doldrums — treating our faith as commonplace, content with things as they are. But when we read scripture, we see folks running to Jesus, continually seeking him out, pressing in around him to catch his every word. Listen to Paul as he urges Timothy: “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love….” (I Timothy 6:11) Pursue, says Paul — seek out, seize with both hands, follow after with everything you’ve got.

Milo gets out of the Doldrums by visiting new and exciting places like the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping to it).  Like Milo, I find when I am in the doldrums that getting out of my comfort zone and doing something new awakens my heart.  Getting involved in outreach (Street Church, Kairos Prison Ministry, His Place, Youth for Christ), reading through a new devotional book, teaching or taking a class, going on an Emmaus weekend or joining a small group all re-energize a sleepy faith.  Simply meeting with other believers tends to “jumpstart” our motors and get us traveling new paths of faith.

This is a great time to pursue something new in your spiritual life at Liberty. May all of us visiting the Doldrums discover, along with Milo, that the journey of faith is an incomparable adventure.

Adventuring along with you,
Becky

October 11, 2018

Dear Friends:
A wise parent I know says, “You are only as happy as your least happy child.” Experience tells me that this is true. And as Christians, we are only as happy and secure as the least happy and secure member of God’s family. This is our Father’s world, and part of our job is to be His hands and feet, reaching out to ensure God’s beloved children are well fed, cared for, safe and sound. It’s not an easy job. His children come in all shapes and sizes, colors and countries. Our reach feels so small; our corner of the world so comfortable. But the One who reached out His arms on the cross for us calls us to reach out with our arms open wide to the very least of these (Mt. 25:45).

What I hear – whether from a Liberty member feeding a child at Street Church or His Place Soup Kitchen, caring for a teen through Youth for Christ or the Columbus Court system or as far as El Ovido, Honduras – is that it’s worth it. Maybe even life-changing.

In the words of Teresa of Avila:

“Christ has no body now but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world.
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.
Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

May this be our prayer,
Becky

P.S.: Above is a photo of the Dance Team from our sister church in Honduras!

October 4, 2018

Dear Friends:

Pictured above is the whiteboard in the bedroom of one of our 14-year-old Liberty members, who came home from last week’s worship service and wrote across her board: “Be one of Jesus’ people.” Amen!  As we wrapped up our Called sermon series, we talked about going out the door and into the world as Jesus’ person. Jesus prays, Just as you sent me into the world; I am sending them into the world.” (John 17:18)   We are all sent out as Jesus people – not just 14-year-olds who listen extra well to the message!  A Jesus person is someone who carries the good news and the unfailing love and grace of our Savior everywhere they go.

While I may have preached this challenge, I continue to forget Jesus’ call.  It was this young woman’s note that reminded me to be a Jesus person even when I am sweating it out at the gym or getting grumpy waiting in the doctor’s office for the annual check-up (I get really grumpy waiting!) or at book club or wherever else I may be that does not automatically feel “religious.”

As I reflected on this, I was reminded of a song I learned long ago at church camp in the hills of Virginia.  It went like this:

Hold me Lord I pray and keep me moment by moment… 
Moment by moment I am kept in Your love,
Moment by moment I’ve life from above,
Looking to Jesus ‘till glory doth shine,
Moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine. 

Friends, moment by moment we are His. So, let’s let His light shine!

Blessings,
Becky

September 27, 2018

Dear Friends:

There is an old saying: “God writes straight with crooked lines.”  I love this reminder that out of the mess of our lives, God can make something beautiful.  There are too many days where it feels like my brokenness creates an insurmountable obstacle in my path, or that Wiley E. Coyote has at last gained the upper hand.  And then I see, time and time again, that God can work with anything – even my own sins, fallenness, shortcomings – and wily waywardness. As we are promised in Ecclesiastes, “He makes all things beautiful in His time.” (Eccl. 3:11These truths form a moving Celtic Prayer:

I ask You, humbly, and from the bottom of my heart:
Please, God, would You write straight with my crooked lines?
Out of the serious mistakes of my life will You make something beautiful for You?

Teach me to live at peace with You, to make peace with others and even with myself.

Give me fresh vision. 

Let me experience Your love so deeply that I am free To face the future with a steady eye, forgiven, and strong in hope.

Praise God that He does indeed write straight with our crooked lines.Blessings,
Becky

September 20, 2018

“Immediately, Jesus called them….”  ~Mark 1:20

Dear Friends:

The word immediately appears repeatedly in the Gospel of Mark. From the disciples immediately dropping their nets to follow Jesus to immediate healings at the touch of Jesus, this is a fast paced, action-packed gospel.

It feels like the season of immediately here at Liberty.  So much is happening all over this campus!

Our children are learning about the superheroes of the Bible – like Abraham and Moses.  John is talking about some of the same Bible standouts in his Tuesday evening class (albeit, without much about their super powers!)

Our youth are serving people in need at the Common Ground Free Store, doing everything from serving food to sorting clothing.

We have two outstanding concerts coming up in a few weeks: Our Old Time Gospel Singalong on October 7th, and the Red Band of Love concert on the 21st.

Then there are mission opportunities all around us – Street Church, His Place Soup Kitchen, our Honduras medical work, visiting our sick & homebound, or simply giving someone a ride to worship.

And have I mentioned that we are about to kick off our sermon/small group series on that timeless statement of our faith, the Apostle’s Creed?

Well, I am out of space but not out of great excitement about life at Liberty! It is the season of immediate opportunity for learning, service, fellowship, and faith growth.

Join us!

Blessings,
Becky

September 13, 2018

Dear Friends,

This is a FAQ sheet – a chance to answer some of your frequently asked questions! So here we go!

1.    Who visits Liberty folks in the hospital & when?
Pastors Becky, John, Kyle & Parish Visitor Vickie Doyle visit the hospitals. We each have an assigned day(s) & try to get to our LPC members in the hospital 3x a week. Emailing me about your surgery (even saying don’t visit, if you prefer!) is very helpful. We also visit those in our Nursing Homes at least monthly, and if you call or email, we’d love to visit YOU!

2.    Which Pastor does what?

  • John (P/T): RENEW, Finance, Property, Personnel, Nominating Committee, Associate Pastor Nominating Committee, Session, Long Range Planning
  • Becky (P/T): Worship, Deacons, Fellowship, Communications, Pastoral Care Coordinator, Liberty Early Ed Center
  • Kyle (F/T): Adult Discipleship, Membership, Missions
  • Tanya Karn (F/T): Interim Director of Youth & Family Ministry (Becky: pastoral liaison)

3.  How do I become a part of a committee?
Contact the staff person and we’d love to have you visit a committee and see if you think it is a good fit!  Looking over the rest of our website should help you explore opportunities at Liberty.

4.  Which worship service is bigger?
The eleven o’clock – but the nine o’clock has more church officers!

5. How do I get a prayer name in the Sunday bulletin?
Contact Amy King who will make sure that your loved one is on the daily prayer email, as well as in the bulletin.

6.  Where is the latest Liberty Photo Directory?
It is in your phone – and your laptop!  Connect to the Church Life app and you will be connected to our online digital directory. Photos will be taken THIS SUNDAY, September 16,  after each service outside by on the north end of the Barn (near the Shelter House). We would love to have YOUR photo!

7.  What kind of wood is the new Barn siding and when will it be finished?
Depending on the weather, we hope to finish by mid-October! The wood is sealed western red cedar. The next RENEW project will be the Youth Room.

8.  Has Pastor John ever rooted for any team other than the St. Louis Cardinals?
No Way! He lived in St. Louis for two years as a child, and it has stuck with him ever since! (And yes, I receive Cardinals paraphernalia every Christmas….)

I hope that this is helpful!
Blessings,

September 6, 2018

Dear Friends,

The very first words of Jesus when he and Peter met at the Sea of Galilee were, “Follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.” His very last words to Peter, again at the Sea of Galilee, and after his resurrection, were, “Feed my sheep, Follow me.” (John 21:19) From beginning to end, this is our calling, our mission, our reason for being here on the planet. And from beginning to end, this is the mission of the Church.

Now if you are like me, you tend to think of calling as something that happens to someone else – someone far better qualified.  And it turns out I’m not alone. When God calls Moses at the burning bush, Moses responds, “I am not worthy, Lord.  I can’t lead your people. I’m not even a good speaker.”  When God calls Jeremiah to be prophet, he protests that he is too young. When God calls Paul, everyone protests that he is unworthy! Their reactions are the exact same reactions each of us have when we contemplate any kind of ministry, large or small.

This month in our new sermon series, “Called,” we are taking at look at the experience of the Lord’s call in Scripture, and in our lives today. We are going to look at what it means to be called by God – in the most ordinary and the most extraordinary ways.

“Come. Follow Me,” Jesus said. “I will make you fishers of people.” And at once they dropped their nets and followed Him. – Mark 1:17

Blessings,
Becky

August 30, 2018

Dear Friends,

It is almost Labor Day weekend, and as you can see even our youngest Liberty members are hard at work! (Thank you, Jakob and Charlotte, for serving in our Mission Garden!)

As a child, I never understood why we called this coming Monday “Labor Day” – because no one worked! My parents were home and the family shared a long weekend together, complete with neighborhood barbecues and even the occasional fireworks display over the Chesapeake Bay. Eventually I learned that Labor Day was signed into effect by President Cleveland in 1894, in the midst of economic turmoil and railway strikes. The strikes ended – but the holiday remained.

We Christians can use this holiday to reflect more deeply on the meaning of our work. We often create a false dichotomy between secular and sacred work.  But the fact is, our jobs are not just jobs. As we live as Christians in our workplaces, our jobs become our calling. These are the places where God has called us, where we are to serve with integrity and Christlike values.  Our jobs are a constant opportunity to be a witness to Jesus Christ.  So, while our work may feel secular, it is always sacred.  As the old hymn puts it:

Come, Labor on.

Claim the high calling angels cannot share;

To young and old the gospel gladness bear.

Redeem the time; its hours too swiftly fly.

The night draws nigh.

A bank President in a former congregation kept a well-worn Bible on the corner of his desk, that he read daily. His was a silent witness – but you can bet everyone who came into that office took notice. Our work is more than just dollars and cents. It is a place to live out our faith and point to the One whose call on our lives and our labor is greater and higher than any other.

Blessed to labor alongside each of you,
Becky

August 23, 2018

Dear Friends:

As you can see from the photos, the Barn re-siding is underway! The wonderful smell of cedar is everywhere—and every hour you can see more siding going up. Thank you for making this possible!

As I’ve been watching the progress, I can’t help but think of how our own lives are under construction. After all, scripture tells us that Jesus Himself wants to live in our hearts and homes (see Revelation 3:20). C.S. Lewis explores this analogy—as only he could do—in Mere Christianity:

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

Under Construction with You,
Becky

August 16, 2018

Dear Friends:

I am hoping you saw the excellent article in the Dispatch the other day about faith and lifespan.  Entitled “Scientific Study: Religious People Live Longer”,  the research shows a surprisingly dramatic correlation between being active in a faith community and a longer life. OSU’S own Dr. Laura E. Wallace, one of the study’s authors, found that among the factors that affect one’s physical health, “religion plays a large and observable positive role”. To quote the article, Wallace’s findings “showed that people who had active religious affiliations lived an average of 10 years longer than their non-religious counterparts in Des Moines (where the study took place), and an average of five years longer nationally.”

Now, while I would like to think that it is the sheer stimulation of sermons that is causing this effect, my guess is that being in community is a big part of this health benefit, and that tools like prayer and praise that connect us to the Lord really are life-changing.  I know they are for me!

So, I have a challenge for you this weekend: Invite someone to church. We have Rally Day this Sunday, and Blessing of the Animals next Sunday, so there is lots going on!  Share the benefit and blessing of being part of a faith family with someone else.  It may just make a lifetime of difference.

Blessings,
Becky

August 2, 2018

 

 

Dear Friends,
We have a unique privilege this coming Sunday! We are celebrating two practices that were central to the life of the early church—and are central to our life together now—baptism and communion.

The sacraments are vital to our life together. Baptism anoints us as God’s own. A seed of faith is planted in baptism that is up to this village to water and grow. At Jesus’ baptism, God spoke to him, saying, “This is my Son, in whom I am well pleased.” I think about that blessing every time we baptize one of God’s beloved children (of all ages!).

While baptism is a once-in-a-lifetime event, communion is something we celebrate every month. That’s because communion renews us in faith from the inside out through the very presence of Jesus. As John reminded us last Sunday, we are a forgetful people. So, we come to the table in all humility to remember Jesus’ sacrifice and to experience Christ in our hearts anew. I come to the table often as a “do-over” – a chance to repent of my own forgetfulness and failures and to start over again, by His grace.

Friends, Jesus is with us in all times and all places. But He is especially with us as we break bread together, and as we vow to support a family in faith. Henri Nouwen writes that communion with God “is the deepest desire of the human heart”. May our lives be marked by this life-changing communion.

Blessings,
Becky

July 26, 2018

Dear Friends,
As I write this, we are in the middle of our Vacation Bible School Bus Trip with Moses. Starting the day off with Angie Hurd leading us in singing and Dawn praying, and then all those amazing volunteers teaching and leading games and preparing snacks and crafts – what an incredible blessing.  With 300 children filled with energy and excitement, we just about lift the roof off the place!

And I love that we are all on a journey together with Moses. Is there any more vivid experience of God’s provision in scripture than the Exodus journey?  After God frees the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt, and parts the Red Sea, God’s people are now traveling through the wilderness. They are hungry, and, forgetting the Lord’s recent miraculous interventions, they cry out in fear, anger and frustration. And here is how God responds:“‘I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day.” (Exodus 16:4) Bread from heaven. Just imagine: When the people woke up each morning and looked out of their tent – there was bread, the manna, glistening in the sunlight, God’s gift spread out before them. As the prophet promises in Lamentations 3: “God’s mercies are new every morning.”

I am enjoying the gift of all these children’s smiles every morning at VBS – it is like manna to me, such a blessing. God’s word, your prayers, our worship together is also manna that feeds me each and every day.  May you experience God’s manna, His great mercies, new every morning.

Blessings,
Becky (aka “Pippa Hufflepuff”)

July 19, 2018

FROM THE DESK OF DAWN PARR

“God said to Moses, ‘I AM who I AM.’ And He said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel, I AM has sent me to you’”
~Exodus 3:14

Dear Friends:
Two small words; three simple letters – “I AM.”

The Lord tells us repeatedly in His Word that He is the great “I AM.”  He never added anything else to that statement.  God’s unvarnished, powerfully simplistic, two small words say everything. They assure us that not one miraculous trait defining our God could ever be left out. “I AM,” says it all. The magnitude of that is amazing – HE JUST IS!

“I AM” is in Hebrew, Yahweh, four consonants (yhwh) that make up the phrase. It is the holiest name for God in the Old Testament. To think that the Lord has given us a name to identify Him at all indicates He is personal and has a real relationship with mankind.

God is our loving, kind Teacher. He is our Friend, Savior, and Counselor. He is our Bountiful Provider when we fall on hard times. God is our Divine Healer when we are sick. He is our Mighty Protector who guards us and keeps us safe and free from harm. God is the Prince and Author of Peace.  He is our Deliverer. He is our Dwelling Place. He fulfills our dreams. He validates us. He is our hope and our future. God is our infallible guide on this path of life. He is the very essence of our being, and He is the definition of pure love. He is, after all, our Father, the great “I AM.”

Next week for VBS, Liberty will welcome 300 children through our doors, who will be introduced to the Great I AM. They will travel through the ancient land of Canaan touring the many sites Moses and the Israelites experienced the miracles of God. Stops along the way include: Moses at the Burning Bush, God’s provisions of food and water in the desert, the receiving of the Ten Commandments, and the witness of the Transfiguration of Jesus. All will see God is faithful to His people, providing food and water, laws and life. Through the examples in the Old Testament, kids will understand that Jesus is given to us as our personal I AM. God gave us Jesus to provide us with sustenance, order and eternal life.

Jesus, His identity and nature, claim that He is the Messiah, (before Abraham was I AM – John 8:48-49). He is the One who satisfies, (the Bread of Life – John 6:35). He is the Living Water, (John 7:37-38). Jesus is the Word, (John 1: 1-5); and the Resurrection and the Life, (John 11). Jesus is God in the flesh and that’s what it means when Christ says, “I am.”

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6) In John 6:44, He says, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” This is how we come to God. God never changes, but He does interact with real people, just like He revealed Himself to Moses. He urges us to receive His Son, Jesus Christ, as the fulfillment of our life, the One who can forgive our sins, the One who can give us eternal life.

Please join me in prayer this week to remain mindful that God is active in our lives as we spread the Gospel message. It is our hope that each participant of the Great I AM develops a personal relationship, talks with Him and prays without ceasing. Amen.

Blessings,
Dawn

July 12, 2018

FROM THE DESK OF PASTOR KYLE

“As the Deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for you O God.
I thirst for God, the living God,
When can I go and stand before the Lord?”
~Psalm 42:1-2

Dear Friends:

A few weeks ago as summer began, we published a plan (Remember?) for continuing with the discipline of Bible reading that you developed over this past year during Long Story Short. Simply by reading one chapter each day, you could read nearly 100 additional chapters of Scripture’s big story. A significant portion of the readings come from the Book of Psalms, the prayer book of the Bible.

Have you ever wondered what Jesus prayed? The Gospels tell us that Jesus prayed using the Psalms. In fact, most of the times when Jesus quotes Scripture, he is quoting the Psalms. How about the Apostle Paul? Once again, Paul often quotes the book of Psalms in his letters. For centuries, Christians have seen the Psalms as a treasury of prayers and as a model for faithful prayer in all of life’s circumstances. The Psalms are a gift that can help us learn rhythms of prayer.

The suggested Psalms for this week are Psalms 20-26. If you have ever struggled to get through the Psalms, this may be the week to engage with them. The Psalms for this week cover the full range of life’s circumstances from despair (Psalm 22) to contentment (Psalm 23), from faith (Psalm 25) to hope (Psalm 26).

As you read through the Psalms this week, I encourage you to read them slowly, maybe even out loud. Let the words sink in and connect with your mind and your heart. Pay attention to what arises in your own heart and mind. Reflect and contemplate and find refreshment in these ancient words. In no time at all, if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself praying without even realizing it.

Grace and peace,
Kyle

July 5, 2018

FROM THE DESK OF STEVE BANKS

“We must never despair; our situation has been compromising before, and it has changed for the better; so I trust it will again. If difficulties arise, we must put forth new exertion and proportion our efforts to the exigencies of the times.” ~George Washington

Dear Friends:

Over the past six to eight months, I’ve taken significant steps in an attempt to improve my overall health from a fitness, diet, and spiritual standpoint. Believe what you hear, “it really is a lifestyle change!” I’ve had to sacrifice many things that I loved but knew weren’t good for me. I found that you must work hard and be willing to make permanent changes–not temporary fixes!

The Bible talks about endurance and perseverance from a Christian perspective:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” ~Hebrews 12:1-2 

What I love about this passage is how the author relates a physical race to the race that God sets before us. It makes a very clear message that a Christian’s race is one for life and in order to achieve the eternal prize, there will be sacrifice and hardship along the way. We look at the superstar athletes like LeBron James, Tom Brady, and our own Jack Nicklaus as champions of their sports. However, this passage from Hebrews tells us to keep our eye on the real champion, Jesus Christ! Unlike any professional athlete, Jesus endured pain and suffering (for us) that we can’t imagine, yet He knew all the time what the eternal prize would be. All the way until His final breath.

This week, as we think about the great men and women of our country who sacrificed, endured, and persevered to give us freedom, we can look to our great Champion for our highest goals and ultimate spiritual prize!

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”  ~James 1:2-4 

Blessings,
Steve

June 28, 2018

FROM THE DESK OF PASTOR KYLE

Dear Friends:

This week we are beginning a new sermon series on the Book of James that I’m calling “Working Faith”. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be exploring this brief book—it’s only 5 chapters long—written by the brother of the Lord, and we will try to take in the wisdom James offers us about how to live lives of faithfulness.

James was a favorite of the early church fathers, Origen and John Chrysostom, and it still figures prominently in the Eastern Orthodox Churches. They appreciated James’ practical advice for living as a faithful person in the world and for its insistence that God is generous and perfectly good. As for most Protestants, however, we tend to take our cues from Martin Luther, who famously wrote that James was “an epistle of straw,” having “nothing of the nature of the Gospel to it”.

It’s a shame that we don’t think about the Book of James more often. In James, we will find startlingly beautiful depictions of both who God is and who we are. We will find images and word paintings that play to our mind’s eye. And we will find practical wisdom about what it means to live as a faithful follower of Jesus Christ.

This summer I invite you to join me as we read the Book of James together. Savor its beautiful imagery, be comforted by the good news it gives us about our God given identities, and be challenged by it to grow in your faith.

Grace and peace,

Kyle

June 21, 2018

FROM THE DESK OF TANYA KARN

Dear Friends:
We had an amazing week in Detroit during the recent youth mission trip! But when it came time to leave, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to go. One of the hardest things about these week-long mission trips is leaving. Not only because of the great time we had and the friendships we made, but because we won’t always be able to see the results of the work that we started; we won’t see what happened to the seeds that we planted.

As I was sitting outside two muggy Sundays ago, listening to Pastor Becky’s sermon, I felt like she was speaking right to those of us who went to Detroit. We were able to plant some seeds last week. Not only in the lives of our kids, but also in the city of Detroit.

For example, one of our groups met and befriended a neighborhood boy named Malik. Malik has had a rough life. This became evident the day they met Malik, when he was walking home from school early because he had been suspended. The leaders and kids of this work crew started talking to Malik and automatically felt a bond with him. He began to work alongside our group doing the weed whacking, mowing, tree trimming, and other hard work that they were doing that day. Malik continued to work with our youth and build bonds with them. I was very touched to see the tears from our Youth as we left Saturday morning, not because they were leaving the mission trip, but because they were leaving Malik. Malik changed their lives; he helped them to see a side of the world that they wouldn’t have otherwise seen. And they were able to plant seeds in his life.

I think one of the hardest things about planting seeds is not always being able to see where they will land. Jesus tells us a story in Matthew 13:3-9.

“Then he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.’”

Our part in this is to not only plant the seeds, but then to trust God that the seeds we planted will take root and grow.

Please join me in praying for all the seeds that we planted in Detroit last week: that they will take root, grow, and spread seeds of their own!

Blessings,
Tanya

P.S. The Youth will be sharing about the mission trip to Detroit in THIS Sunday’s service, June 24!

June 14, 2018

FROM THE DESK OF PASTOR JOHN

Dear Friends:

Our RENEW campaign is rolling along. Highlights so far include:

  • Installing new, energy-saving HVAC controls in the Barn. (We will recoup the cost of these in fuel/electric savings within two years.)
  • Surpassing $1 million in RENEW offerings received (through April 30).

Other Renew updates:

  1. The Barn re-siding project is scheduled to start in mid-July (this start date has been delayed due to a problem at the lumber mill out west). Our contractor, Orr Construction, estimates 8-12 weeks to complete the re-siding. Orr will start at the north edge of the east side of the Barn (overlooking the lower parking lot) and proceed clockwise around the Barn and Carriage House. The workers will do the entire installation on each section (e.g. remove old siding, installing the interior spacing material, putting up finished new siding), so that each section will be complete before they move on to the next section. Samples of the actual wood to be used (cut, treated with “shou sugi ban” hardening, and stained) can be viewed – contact Amy King in the Church Office. Orr will be bundling the old siding to sell to vendors, with the proceeds going to RENEW.
  2. I have good news to report regarding redoing internal driving lanes in response to the expansion of Home Road.
    • First, Delaware County has agreed to give us two access points onto the new Home Road (both access points being three lanes wide – one entrance lane and two exit lanes).
    • Second, the County has agreed to assume the entire cost of constructing these two new access points.
    The church still has $91,000 RENEW dollars budgeted for other necessary parking/lane improvements, but this is $47,000 less than what was originally budgeted.
  3. The Youth Room re-freshening project has been re-defined and re-decorating decisions made with input from our Youth. Orr Construction will also be doing this project; at the same time, we will be installing central HVAC in the Administration Building. Work should begin in the Fall.
  4. $65,000 in RENEW mission dollars will enable the complete renovation of the kitchen and dining hall for the His Place food ministry at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Franklin (construction is already under way). Liberty has also pledged another $65,000 towards the construction of Delaware County’s Turning Point shelter.

Thank you for your generous support of RENEW and of God’s work in and through Liberty.

Serving Jesus with you,
John

June 7, 2018

FROM THE DESK OF TANYA KARN
ON THE DETROIT MISSION TRIP

Our Liberty Youth are hard at work through Camp Restore in Detroit! We have a great group of 70 kids, and they have been very eager to jump in and do whatever they are asked to do. A number of our groups are working on clearing out abandoned lots or lots around abandoned houses. This means we are cutting out over-grown bushes and trees and a large amount of weed-whacking and mowing. Most of these lots have weeds and grass almost waist high.

One neighbor we met was Miss Shirley Ann. Miss Shirley Ann came out to see what was going on yesterday and talked to two of our groups.  She was watching a group remove a group of trees that had taken over the front of an abandoned home. She told me that she had been “praying those trees down” for quite some time, “but didn’t know God was going to send a group from Ohio to do it!” She was very thankful for our hard-working groups.

During our lunch break back at the church, we had a community member drive by and yell out her window that we were doing a great job and thanked us. So, not only are these kids making a big difference in the way some of these houses look, they are making a big impact in the whole community.

Not only are our kids making an impact already, they are also being impacted themselves! They are being able to see that they have privileges that not everyone else has. A lot of the jobs being done are in areas where they do not have access to electricity, and therefore are having to use “old fashioned” hand tools and a great deal more physical strength than they are used to using. (This makes them tired, which is quite alright with all of us chaperones!)

I want to thank you all for the wonderful support you are providing to these eager, willing, hard-working kids! Your prayers are keeping us moving and allowing us to make a difference.

From Camp Restore,
Tanya