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A Letter and Prayer on Father's Day

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We all approach Father’s Day from a different place.  Some of you have fathers who are still living, while some of you have father’s who have left this earth and who are dearly missed.  We thank God for the legacy of loving fathers.

Some of you do not know your father or have difficult relationships with them.  We thank God for being the perfect Father when our earthly fathers let us down.

Some of you are currently fathers, sacrificing daily to take care of your children’s physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. We thank God for modeling through you what it is to be a good father.

Some of you have taken on another’s child through foster and adoption, both formally or informally.  We thank God for demonstrating in you what it is to love someone beyond biological ties.

Some of you are fathers who have lost a child or have been unable to conceive a child.  We thank God for you who carry heavy burdens of loss, and pain, and desire - may you be comforted in their mourning.

Thank you, God, for giving us all of the men in our community who love, nurture, care, support, and guide their families and this community.

In God’s goodness, He gave himself the name of “Father”, “Abba”, to describe to his people the relationship He would have with them.  

  • When our earthly fathers are absent through death or choice, our Heavenly Father is there to fill the void.

  • When our earthly fathers disappoint or let us down, our Heavenly Father models for us what a good dad does.  

  • When our earthly fathers, in their going and coming, seek to know how to parent their children well, God has spoken through the scriptures what a good, good father looks like.

  • When we are burdened for hurting and orphaned children, God shows us what it is to bring the orphaned into communion with a loving father.

When Abraham and Isaac and Elkanah and Manoah and Zachariah all experienced loss or infertility in the Scriptures, we see a God who knew the desires of their hearts - He SAW them all; they were important, and loved, and God was moved to meet them in their mourning.

We see God give spiritual fathers to his Church again, and again, and again, and because of that, we know that any man can be a spiritual father to his brothers and sisters in Christ.  We thank God this Father’s Day for the parental attributes that He uses to shower love on us, His children, and to model for us, as parents and fathers.

To all fathers, thank you for your sacrifices of time and resources.  Thank you for loving your children- whatever those children may look like - biological, fostered, or spiritual.  

As an encouragement to all the fathers out there - know that your Heavenly Father is the best Father. There is only one perfect father, and I hope that gives you some comfort. The best fathers are the ones who look to God and do their best to emulate Him; to learn to be a good father, get to know your Heavenly Father well.


Emily Thien is a part of the community at Common Ground Northeast. She is a wife and the mother of 4 boys. She loves working with women and has a heart to see them become spiritually competent and confident in theology, scripture, and biblical community.

Emily Thien - A Pastors Wife, a Pastor and Wife

United In Christ 3: Christ the Head

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WEEKLY: In Ephesians, Paul compares the body of believers to a human body. It has many parts, systems, and appendages that must work in unison so that the body functions correctly. Each of us is different and each of us have been given a different “gift” of Christ wherein we excel. We are meant to share that gift, equip others with our gift, and work as a united body under one head which is Jesus Christ.

READ: Ephesians 4:1-16

EXTRA RESOURCES:

1) APEST Handout by Pastor Erik.

2) APEST Teaching Video by Jeff Vanderstelt.

3) 5 Fold Ministry Summary Sheet

LISTEN: This week’s worship set!

REFLECT:

  1. How does Paul STRESS unity in these verses? Why do you think he is doing this?

  2. Check out this 5 Fold Ministry test by 3DM ministries. What is your gift?

  3. What is the benefit of diversity and knowing your “gift?”

  4. What is an Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd, and Teacher? Learn more from the resources listed above.

  5. What might happen if we over-emphasize one of the gifts?

  6. What is the result of us being united in our diversity according the scripture reading?

United In Christ 2: Christ the Constant

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WEEKLY: Some divisions come from within a community but others take place because there is an outside force acting upon it. Difficult circumstances, constant changes, and disruptions can break apart a unified group much like a violent storm breaks apart a ship at sea.

God is the unchanging, always reliable, and constant source we can rely upon in the midst of culture shifts, seasons, and dramatic life changes.

READ: Genesis 22: 1-19

LISTEN: This week’s worship set!

REFLECT:

  1. How do we remain stable when pressure and changes are applied to the body of Christ?

  2. What does it mean that God is unchanging? Does it mean God is stagnant? Why or why not?

  3. Why is it so difficult to see God in the context of a storm, circumstance, or life change?

  4. Where do we go to “center“ our lives? Are you going there to prepare yourself for the storm?

United In Christ: Jesus' Prayer

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WEEKLY: There are so many divisions in the midst of our culture today: denominations, ideologies, politics, preferences, doctrines, gifting, values, and the list goes on… Our natural tendency is to group up together with those who already agree with us. It is no wonder Jesus calls His followers to radical unity and places a weight of urgency on this topic. In fact, the very mission of God is at risk!

How do we place the same level of urgency Jesus places on unity without losing our distinct identity as christians?

READ: John 17

GRAPHIC:

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LISTEN: This week’s worship set!

REFLECT:

  1. What is the context of Jesus’ prayers in John 17? Why is this important?

  2. What are your “essentials?“ Write them out on a sheet of paper but MAKE SURE you place UNITY in the list. Where did it land in the pecking order?

  3. Have you ever prioritized UNITY in your theology? Did you prioritize it according to the importance Jesus places on it in John 17?

  4. Does this mean Jesus is calling us to “spine-less theology“ that holds no convictions? Why or why not?

  5. What is at risk if we fail to stay united?

Urgent Message from Erik

Hello Common Ground Northeast Family!

As many of you know, we have LOT of children in our church which requires a large amount of teachers and volunteers in our children's ministry!  If we are unable to secure the positions we need quickly, we will have to shut down our Children's ministry for large amounts of the summer - including this weekend possibly. Currently, we are in desperate need for Teachers (trained leaders with background checks). 

Since we know that many of you are out of town during the summer and, in order to create a rhythm of "rest" over this season, we are utilizing a less intensive curriculum during the months of June and July.  If your children benefit from our Children's Ministry over the summer, we need you to sign up to help for 2-3 weeks (you do not need to commit consecutively over our "rest" period).

Please contact Jody to sign up as soon as possible!

Mental Health & the Gospel Pt. 2

Mental Health and The Gospel Indianapolis Church

WEEKLY: Cases of anxiety and depression are rising in the U.S. Most of us have encountered it personally or through someone we know. What does Jesus offer to those of us who suffer this side of eternity with issues of mental health?

Additionally, mental health can be a difficult topic for the Christians to deal with, but we have often stepped into territory that is not our expertise. It would be a huge disservice to leave Jesus out of the equation. He is called the Great Physician and our Wonderful Counselor!

How do we engage such a sensitive topic from a spiritual/biblical angle without doing damage along the way?

Join us as we take two Sundays to talk about this from two perspectives - clinical and spiritual. If you struggle with anxiety or depression, you are not alone, and the scriptures are not silent. We hope to see you over the next couple weeks as we tackle this difficult topic!

READ: Psalm 88

LISTEN: This week’s worship set!

REFLECT:

  1. What experiences or observations do you have about Christians engaging in issues of Mental Health? Has it been helpful or hurtful?

  2. Does following Jesus mean you cannot consult a counselor, doctor, or therapist? Does consulting a therapist mean you don’t need to bring Jesus into the picture? Why or why not?

  3. Have you consider the spiritual implications of the the enemies voice during your struggle through the flesh, the world, and the enemy? This article gives more information on the idea and how to battle it.

  4. If you currently struggle with depression or anxiety, please contact one of the staff members for guidance. We want to make every resource (clinical and spiritual) available to you as you seek wholeness, healing, and shalom in your mind, soul, heart, and spirit!

Financial Update - May 2019

Charlie Meyer provided our church with an update on our financials this past Sunday, May the 19th. The recording is below the graph.


We have three different easy and secure ways to give. If you’d like to learn how to give, please visit our Giving Page!

financial update may 2019 Common Ground

Mental Health & the Gospel Pt. 1

Mental Health and The Gospel Indianapolis Church

WEEKLY: Cases of anxiety and depression are rising in the U.S. Most of us have encountered it personally or through someone we know. What does Jesus offer to those of us who suffer this side of eternity with issues of mental health?

Additionally, mental health can be a difficult topic for the Christians to deal with, but we have often stepped into territory that is not our expertise. It would be a huge disservice to leave Jesus out of the equation. He is called the Great Physician and our Wonderful Counselor!

How do we engage such a sensitive topic from a spiritual/biblical angle without doing damage along the way?

Join us as we take two Sundays to talk about this from two perspectives - clinical and spiritual. If you struggle with anxiety or depression, you are not alone, and the scriptures are not silent. We hope to see you over the next couple weeks as we tackle this difficult topic!

READ: Psalm 88

LISTEN: Another in the Fire by Hillsong United

REFLECT:

  1. How can we nurture and strengthen Spiritual Health?

  2. Do you believe there is a connection between one’s spiritual health and their mental health?

  3. Do you believe mental illness is the direct result of a person’s sin?

  4. Do you feel your church is adequately and appropriately able to manage your spiritual and mental health needs?

  5. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Many people believe that anxiety and depression is a weakness of faith. Do you believe some mental illnesses can be improved by prayer and faith alone? Do you feel medication has a place in the healing of some mental illnesses?

Mothers Day: Honoring the Mothers of our Faith

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Growing up in the church, I often heard of the “fathers of the faith”.  I could rattle off to you a litany of church fathers (Augustine, Luther, and Tertullian easily come to mind). And, I could tell you at least a little bit about what effect they had on my theology or the theology of the modern church.  

One thing I could not easily tell you about are the “Mothers of the faith”.

This glaring hole in my knowledge of female voices, theologians, martyrs, and advisors in Christianity is no accident. Given the patriarchal landscape through the entirety of history, little access was given to female voices in the shaping of the church. Women, during the formation of the church and in every generation since, have wielded significantly less power than their male counterparts - both inside and outside the church walls.

Powerfully, Jesus contradicts the cultural notion that women have voices that should be silenced. In his first encounter with humans after the resurrection, it was women he physically appeared to, proclaiming the most amazing, radically-changing, undeniably beautiful miracle that this world has and ever will see - the moment of His resurrection.

This Mother’s Day, I could reflect on the joys of motherhood.

Or the burdens of sacrificial love.  

Or the great blessing that children truly are. But you will find that just about everywhere else.

Instead, this Mother’s Day, I long to focus on the forgotten mothers of our faith.  

When I encounter the great cloud of witnesses referenced in Hebrews 12, will I recognize the faces of the women in that crowd? Will I embrace them as the mothers of my faith and my church that they are?  

Below, I have selected just a few Mothers of our faith and provided a few, brief highlights.  Hopefully, it will wet your pallet to study these incredible women and the legacy they have left for all of us in the church, both male and female.


The Martyred:

Perpetua and Felicitas (3rd century):

During persecution in Rome, Perpetua and her servant were tossed into the gladiator arena, where they were gored and beheaded publicly. She was a leader of an imprisoned community of believers, both male and female, who were all executed by Rome.  Since she was a 22 year mother, she was given the chance to renounce her faith and be returned to her father’s household. She did not. Her leadership led to sermons from the likes of Augustine.

The Writers:

Proba (4th century):

She wrote “Centro” in 351, using a well-known, ancient poetry technique where-in the author rearranges exact lines from a well-known book (think the Odyssey). Proba applied this technique to passages of scripture such as the Last Supper.  This poetic skill took extraordinary scholarship and studious work. Her work was used as a textbook for centuries, as it allowed for the Bible to be better understood by the Roman culture.

Egeria (5th century):

Egeria kept a diary, which later came to be known as “Pilgrimage to the Holy Land”.  This diary became important to scholars in later years, as they utilized it in their understanding of church practices, architecture, and biblical sites of her time.  The contents of her diary also established her as a role model for Christian women for centuries.

Church Leadership and Preachers:

Nino (4th century):

Preaching and healing in the Iberian kingdom (modern day Georgia), Nino healed the queen of Iberia from an illness. The queen converted to Christianity and was baptized by Nino.  The king, once against Christianity, eventually converted after a conversion experience like the Apostle Paul’s. He was also baptized and then preached to his own kingdom about the experience.

The Desert Mothers:

Just like the desert fathers, the desert mothers were Christian ascetics that lived in the deserts of Egypt in the 4th and 5th centuries. Believed to include close to 2,000 women. One of which was Paula.

Paula:

Known as a great scholar and good friend to St. Jerome, Paula was also one of his most generous financial supporters.  When Jerome translated the Septuagint and the Greek writings of the Christian cannon into Latin, it was Paula who paid his living expenses and purchased the manuscripts and supplies needed for his work. She also assisted him in the work of his translations, so much so that he dedicated his translations of Job, Isaiah, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, Esther, Galatians, Philemon, Titus, and the 12 minor prophets to her.  

Jerome was criticized for dedicating his work to women. He responded, “These people do not know that while Barak trembled, Deborah saved Israel; that Esther delivered from supreme peril the children of God… Is it not to women that our Lord appeared after the resurrection? Yes, and the men could then blush for not having sought what women had found.”


What a powerful legacy these women have left for us!  

I can only hope that one day, not only will I be remembered as a mother in the physical sense, but in my sanctification, that I will be known as a great spiritual mother for many.  

May we be inspired to become mothers and fathers of the faith, inspired by the sacrifice, writings, and teachings of these incredible women and others like them.


For more information on many of these and many other incredible mothers of the Christian faith, check out these links:

The Junia Project: https://juniaproject.com/women-in-church-history-footnoted-forgotten/

Christianity Today International: https://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2017/september/searching-for-christian-heroines-from-history-look-to-early.html

More about the desert mothers at: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-rebel-virgins-and-desert-mothers-who-have-been-written-out-of-christianitys-early-history

For a fun set of cards to introduce your children to some Mothers of the Faith

https://tiny-theologians.com/product/mothers-of-the-faith/


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Emily Thien is a part of the community at Common Ground Northeast. She is a wife and the mother of 4 boys. She loves working with women and has a heart to see them become spiritually competent and confident in theology, scripture, and biblical community.

Finding Your Way Back 3: Love and Life

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This Week: The longing for love, purpose, and meaning in life is universal. This longing can only be fulfilled inside a relationship with God. You can always find your way back to God and awaken to His love and to living a life that matters!

When we find our way back to God, we will discover our identity as a deeply loved, unconditionally accepted, child of God. In Christ, we find life that is really living! Find your place in the community of God’s sons and daughters as we celebrate, connect, and contribute together.

Worship: As You Find Me

Read: Luke 15:11-31

Reflect:

  1. Is it difficult to accept that God loves you as you are? Why or why not?

  2. What identity statements do the scriptures call you (child of God, holy, Saints, etc)? Ephesians chapter one is filled with identity statements! Which do you accept and which do you have trouble accepting?

  3. Is it difficult to believe that God loves you too much to leave you that way? Why or why not?

  4. Does this idea come into conflict with God’s love being unconditional? Why or why not?

  5. If you want to further your connection, to celebrate, and contribute together, you should check out a our House Church Launch process that helps you become a “Family on Mission.”

Special Announcement from the Elders

Hello Common Ground Northeast,

We wanted to make everyone aware of a staff transition that will be taking place over the next few months. Josh Riddick’s service at Common Ground Northeast started as a short term “fellowship“ to help us engage in the reconciliation conversation. That grew into a part-time position lasting almost 2 years as our Director of Intercultural Engagement and his impact on our community is immeasurable. Here are Josh’s own words about the transition:

Common Ground Northeast Family,

Two years ago I was leaving an extremely difficult church context, pretty beat up by my experiences and walking a bit wounded. I was unsure what vocational ministry looked like for me or how I would enter the church the same way. My heartbeat was for racial justice, and the church that I was brought to Indy to help pastor was not particularly interested in that being my role. In the midst of the transition out of that church and the tumultuous season after, I heard rumblings of a community of faith seeking to start the very dialogues I had hoped to lead around racial justice in the Church. These rumblings were from none other than the leaders of Common Ground Northeast, a church I had heard nothing of. Northeast reached out to me to be part of this shift and help start the conversation. Even though I did not know much about Northeast, I jumped at the opportunity! Two years later, I still am shocked a church in Indianapolis was bold enough to broach these conversations. Not because it is not the right thing to do, but because it is hard and the cost is steep, as it is to pursue the way of Christ.  

The last 6 months or so, I have felt God inviting me into a space of intentional listening. I began to feel my soul start to occupy a liminal space I had not felt prior. There was a clear feeling of transition, away from something and towards something else, and I occupied this middle ground over the last few months. I thought maybe the sleep deprivation from our newborn was catching up to me, but Linds felt it too, as did others who were praying with me. It was in this process of listening to God where we as a family prepared ourselves for a shift, whatever that may be. 

That shift has arrived… it started when I made a career change to begin working at the Central Indiana Community Foundation doing equity work, which has been such an exciting move and an opportunity I am so thankful for. This shift also includes my ministry career. God has been placing some new passions on our hearts and moving us towards engaging in our immediate community in a whole new way. We believe that in order to do this well, we need to make a transition out of Northeast. 

But this transition cannot happen without first acknowledging the beauty of the Northeast community. Y’all have been such a blessing to us! We entered into Northeast at the early stages of our marriage and had so many encouraging voices in the midst our new life together. The Northeast community supported us through Lindsey’s pregnancy and the birth of Jade. The love, encouragement, and tangible support we received in those moments mean so much to us. That love and support is what makes up what I have heard described as the “Common Ground DNA.” This DNA makes Northeast a special place, one that will remain special to us. So even with this transition, CGNE will always be held in high regard. Even after June when we transition out, we hope you stay in touch. We will be praying for you as you continue to wrestle with what it means to be a reconciling community of faith. 

Shalom,

Josh

It’s never easy to say goodbye to someone who has had such a strong positive influence on our identity and values as a congregation. Josh will focus on training leaders through the month of June to continue the Gospel + Race Workshops here at CGNE. We will pray over the Riddick family and commission them out during the service on June 30th. Moving forward, Josh is going to partner with us in hosting the second Reconcile Conference in September as well as consulting with future endeavors of intercultural engagement at Common Ground Northeast. If you have any questions, let us know at elders@cgnortheast.org. Please pray for the Riddick’s as they move into their next phase of Kingdom work!

Grace and Peace,

Common Ground Northeast Elders

Finding Your Way Back 2: Getting Help

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This Week: Our universal longing for love, purpose, and meaning in life can only be fulfilled inside a relationship with God. Regardless of where we are on our journey, we can find our way back to God and awaken to living a life that matters!

When we admit we are powerless to fulfill our longings on our own, we’ll discover there’s help and that help has a name. His name is Jesus. Are we willing to lay it all down and accept that we need help sometimes or will we let pride make decisions for us?

Worship: Letting Go

Read: Luke 15:11-31

Video: Derek Redmond's Emotional Olympic Story

Reflect:

  1. When was a time when you were desperately in need of help? Describe it.

  2. What was so profound about the son’s decision to return? Why was it difficult to return?

  3. What was so profound about the father’s response? What was at risk? Why was it worth it?

  4. What is God’s response to those who return back to Him?

  5. Are you in a place where you want to return home but feel that you can’t? What barriers are causing you to feel this way?

  6. If you are already “home“ pray for someone else that needs to return?

Finding Your Way Back 1: Regret & Longing

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This Week: Often we can catch ourselves wandering and wondering how we are going to draw closer to our Heavenly Father. Whether you are finding your way back to God for the first time or you are realizing your relationship with God has become distant, you always have a way back home.

Along the way, you will encounter barriers. Barriers of time, guilt, pride, and barriers of daily distractions. Sometimes these things cause us to run away from God. If you can overcome these hurdles though, you will see the Father on the other side running toward you with open arms ready to welcome you home! If you or someone you know is looking for a way back, we encourage you to join us as we study the story of the prodigal.

Worship: The Father’s Arms are Open Wide…

Read: Luke 15:11-31

Reflect:

  1. When is a time you experienced longing for something (for meaning, for help, for answers…) and didn’t find it? How did you handle it? How did it affect your life?

  2. Describe a time when you experienced regret? How did you handle it? How did it affect you?

  3. Where will you go to satisfy these longings or regrets? 

  4. Will that draw you close to God or away from God?

The Theology of Earth Day

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Where is it that you go to seek the presence of God? If you are like the majority of Christians, your answer to that question is nature. There is just something about an untouched forest, with its ageless trees, vibrant greens, and gentle wind, that reminds us of the presence of God. I may be crazy, but I believe this was by design. Remember the story of Elijah when God told him to go out to the mountains so that the Lord could reveal himself? Elijah went out to the mountains and he encountered the mountains colliding, an earthquake, and a fire. In each of those phenomenons, Elijah looked for God in the chaos, but God wasn’t there. Instead, God showed up in the gentleness of the wind (1 Kings 19:11-18). Just like us, Elijah sought the presence of God in nature. And he wasn’t the only one! Moses, Hagar, John the Baptist, and even Jesus all had experiences with God in nature.

But why is that? Why are we drawn to nature in such a powerful way? Can I suggest that it is because that is where we came from? In the beginning of the Bible, it is written that God created us using the dust of the Earth. The Earth is not only a part of who we are, it IS who we are! Our entire being was created solely by dust and the breath of God (Genesis 2:7). It makes total sense that we would be drawn to nature to seek God because that is where our relationship with God began! So imagine this; if God loves us so much that Jesus was sent to die so that we could be reconciled with Her, what do you think God’s relationship with the Earth is? I would argue that God’s love for this planet mirrors His love for us: passionately and unconditionally. So then what is our responsibility to the Earth as co-Creators with God?

When I was in 6th grade, I became obsessed with endangered species. I was so passionate about caring for animals and the planet but had no idea what a 6th grader in rural Ohio could do for the planet. I started getting “Save the Whales” and “Plant More Trees” shirts and asked my mom if we could start recycling. I quickly adopted the “tree-hugger” title in my youth group at church and would be playfully mocked by my youth group leader about my love for animals. Never once were my endeavors taken seriously in church and I never really understood why until one day, an elder made it a point to tell me that we didn’t need to take care of the planet. I was baffled and asked why he would say that. He proceeded to tell me that when Jesus returned to the Earth he would bring fire and destroy the entire planet. Looking back, I wish I would have known more Scripture so that I could have humbled that elder where he stood, but 13 year old me was not that advanced. Thankfully, what I lacked in being advanced, I made up for by being incredibly stubborn.  I brushed off the elder’s comments and continued on my way to save the planet, but his words have always been stuck with me. How could a Christian believe that God didn’t care about Creation? Why is it so out of the realm of possibility that God cares just as much about the planet as He does about humans?

I think the scriptures do point to the fact that God cares for the Earth, and I would assume that most Christians would agree that God loves the whole of creation deeply. Where the disconnect seems to be is what our role or responsibility is to Creation. Many Christians would agree that we need to take care of the Earth, but then fail to live that conviction out. God’s Creation is under critical condition. Many scientists believe that the Earth will be at “the point of no return” where we will no longer be able to make up for the harm humans have done to the planet by 2030 (un.org, 2018). That’s only 11 years away. Serious changes have to be made in our current abuse of the planet before God’s “good” Creation will be irreversibly destroyed by humans. I long to see Christians take responsibility to lead this movement of caring for Creation. We cannot claim to love God and love humans and ignore God’s Creation- both the planet and humans are being negatively affected by pollution and climate change. We must repent and reconcile with the Creation- but how? I believe our action starts at home before going global, so I’ve put together the following list of suggestions on how to make your home and lifestyle more Creation-friendly.

  1. Reduce first, recycle second. Recycling is great, but in a world drowning in plastic, recycling is not having a big enough impact to make a difference in our environmental decline. Instead of relying on recycling, try to reduce your use of plastic. Replace your single use plastics with reusable options. Refuse straws in restaurants, take your tumbler to the coffee shop, always bring reusable bags to the grocery store, shop bulk, use bamboo toothbrushes, and don’t purchase anything that cannot be recycled once you are done with it.

  2. Buy used. Consumerism is a killer. 32 billion new garments are produced for the US market each year with 64% of those ending up in landfills (epa.gov). Not only are we filling the landfills with the fruits of our consumerism, but we are also causing air and water pollution through the production of those goods. Buying used, thrifting, and donating can drastically affect the amount of textiles that end up in landfills and the ocean, as well as decrease the factory emission impact on the environment.

  3. Eat more veggies. There is a definite stereotype that just popped in your head when reading that suggestion- I encourage you to challenge that. Meat production is the biggest cause of air and water pollution in America. It is also largely responsible for deforestation as factory farms create space for more pastures and factory infrastructure. The average American eats 2-times the recommended amount of meat a day. We must challenge the overconsumption of meat in order to have a positive impact on Creation. Not everyone feels convicted to be vegans or vegetarians, but I encourage you to limit your consumption of meat to 2-3 times a week or only having meat on the weekends.

Ready for more? Read Between God and Green by Katharine Wilkinson.

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Lindsey is an Indianapolis transplant by way of rural Ohio. Her background and upbringing helped set her a on a trajectory towards ministry, specifically working with those suffering from homelessness. Her heart also has a deep passion for creation care, racial and gender equity, and empowering women to mobilize for social change. Lindsey’s efforts are driven by her love for the Creator and desire to leave the world better than how she found it. She considers it an absolute privilege to be the mother of her spunky daughter, Jade, and the wife of her college sweetheart, Josh.




Holy Week: Easter Sunday

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WEEKLY: As we look to the resurrection to celebrate the victory of Jesus over the death, we also see a way of life that reflects the resurrection story. Jesus calls us out of darkness but He also calls us INTO a new Kingdom that requires us to deny our old selves, to put the old to death and become something new...something resurrected! It’s a continual J-curve of death, burial, and resurrection that recreates us over and over again into the image of Christ. We can choose to follow Jesus’ example or we can strive for that which ultimately leads to death.

READ: Luke 24:1-12; Romans 6:1-7

REFLECT:

  1. What about the Resurrection story has become so familiar to you that it no longer creates wonder your heart? What about it still cultivates wonder?

  2. What does the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesu imply in regards to salvation? How does it serve as a living example for followers today?

  3. What does it look like to live according to Jesus’ “J-Curve” of death, burial, and resurrection as a follower of Christ?

  4. What cross is Jesus asking you bear? What death is Jesus asking you to participate in your life today? Can you see through the cross/death at the resurrection on the other side?

Holy Week: Palm Sunday

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WEEKLY: The crowds laid down palm branches as they shouted “Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!“ Their redeemer was an unlikely King who represented an upside down kingdom and stood against the empires of the day. How do we see our participation, as followers of Christ, today?

READ: Luke 19:28-44

REFLECT:

  1. In many ways, Jesus’ “triumphal“ entry into the city was simultaneously fitting and it was abnormal. In what ways can you recount for both?

  2. Church history has recounted this moment as “Christ Contra Empire” because Jesus lived in contrast and opposition to the world kingdoms. As He entered the city as a “Rival King,“ what was His motivation? How did he rival the existing emperors? Was he like them or different? How? Why?

  3. We often refer to Jesus ushering in the “upside down” Kingdom. What does this mean and how did Jesus’ example stand contrary to that of the kingdoms (or empires) of the world?

  4. How are you engaging in Kingdom existence that was “Contra Empire.“ What participation in the Upside Down Kingdom do you represent? How do you do this in our every day lives?

Stand In Your Love

We are introducing a new song at CGNE this weekend! Stand In Your Love is a powerful song about trusting in God and choosing to stand on His love as a firm foundation in the midst of difficulty, darkness, and fear. Jesus is a rock whose truth is a reality and way of life that we can step confidently upon no matter what our circumstances might be telling us. Jesus has the ability to break chains of longstanding habits and sins in our life that want to keep a hold of us. This is the power of Jesus Christ and this song a declaration of that power and commitment to stand in His love! Listen to the song - pray it over yourself and others and, as we come together this weekend, let’s sing it out as a communal proclamation!

All Worthy of Love: Vision Sunday

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This Week: We are highlighting our partner ministry All Worthy of Love who is a justice focused non-profit that reaches out to men and women enslaved by street-prostitution.  Serena Acker, an elder at Common Ground Northeast, has been working with this organization and regularly volunteers to serve and reach out as a minister of reconciliation.

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All Worthy of Love states, “We work in a three stranded cord; prevention, rescue, and restoration. We prevent sex trafficking through awareness. We rescue victims of trafficking through weekly outreach. We restore victims of trafficking through partnerships with local organizations that offer safe housing and restorative care. We believe all are worthy of love.“

You don’t want to miss this weekend! Please be in prayerful consideration as to how you might want to engage and support this very powerful ministry.

Scripture: Matt. 9:25-26

Listen: Stand In Your Love

Reflection:

  1. What is the Holy Spirit stirring up in you as you consider those who are involved sex trafficking?

  2. Check out these quick resources on the AWOL website. Is there something here that shocks you? Are there any stereotypes or assumptions you need to confront about those involved in trafficking?

  3. How is God asking you to respond to the message of All Worthy of Love?

  4. How can you or your House Church get involved?

Esther Ch. 9-10 - Falling Lots

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WEEKLY: We finish the story of Esther this weekend. While justice has been served to the antagonist Haman, we remember the edict he had put in place has not changed. The Jewish people are still in danger and must find a way to counteract the pending calamite. Esther and Mordecai work together to find a solution and a commemoration and celebration is established so the Jews never forget what God has done.

READ: Esther Chapters 9-10

REFLECT:

  1. How did Esther and Mordecai help the Jews to counter the edict? What is different about the Jews than their enemies or Haman?

  2. Does the story seem to have a “poetic justice” or do you feel the narrative is unbalanced? What makes it balanced or imbalanced?

  3. Has God proven Himself as a sustainer, defender, provider or something else to you or someone in your family? What was it? Tell your group the story and give praise to God for His sovereignty.

  4. What have you done to make sure you don’t forget the amazing things God has done for you? What “Rock of Remembrance“ have you set in place so that you do not forget? Do you celebrate, remember, or acknowledge the deed of God regularly?

Esther Ch. 7-8 - Moments of Justice

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WEEKLY: This week, we encounter a few moments in which we have been anxiously waiting in suspense. Esther boldly and courageously confronts King Xerxes regarding the edict again the Jewish people while exposing the evil plan of Haman. We see the reaction and downfall of the story’s most disliked villain with ironic circumstances. Like our own sin, there are some residual consequences from Haman’s actions that ultimately ends with God’s perfect justice.

READ: Esther Chapters 7-8

REFLECT:

  1. Esther is brave and bold in these chapters. Is there a moment where you’ve had faith to step out bravely and boldly? Have you had the courage to ask God for something really big that you thought wasn’t possible?

  2. We all have sin. Have you ever kept your sin a secret from someone or a group of people only to have it exposed later? How did you react when you sin came to light?

  3. In our world, we witness and/or experience injustices. Sometimes these injustices are solved to our humanly satisfaction and other times we don’t see justice play out the way we desire or not at all. What injustices have you struggled with? How have you seen God work in these circumstances? 

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