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Esther Ch. 3-4 - For Such A Time As This

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WEEKLY: As we continue in the story of Esther, we are introduced to a new character, Haman, and his evil plot to kill all of the Jews.  Mordecai and Esther fast as Esther prepares to risk her life to save her people and the promised line of Jesus.

READ: Esther chapters 3-4

REFLECT:

  1. Have you ever been put in a situation where you were asked to do something ("kneel down") that goes against your faith and convictions?  What did you do?  How did go about making your decision?

  2. Have you ever had someone falsely accuse you of something? Perhaps twisting your words or intentions?  

  3. Has the Lord ever asked something hard of you, not knowing what the outcome would be?

  4. What does it mean to live "for such a time as this?"

Esther Ch. 1-2 - A Tale of Two Queens

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WEEKLY: Those in the Jewish faith say, “next to the Torah, Esther is the greatest story ever told.“ There is good reason because it tells the movement of God’s hand in the circumstances of one of the Jewish peoples’ darkest moments. Just as a deviant Persian King finds favor in a bold young Jewish woman named Hadassah (Esther), God sets the stage for one of the most magnificent rescues in history.

READ: Esther chapters 1-2

REFLECT:

  1. If you are walking through a difficult season right now (or have in the pas), have you felt the freedom to engage in it properly (mourn, grieve, be angry, or lament)?

  2. Have you walked through a season where you believed God was silent and found out that He was present the whole time? Tell someone about it this week.

  3. How have you seen God moving in your life before you were even aware of it?

  4. How have you been a part of someone else’s story of redemption?

  5. How can you keep trust in God the next time you go through a difficult time in your life?

AWAKE Resources Pt. 3: Imago Dei (2-24-19)

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THIS WEEK: The battle for racial equity has been a hot topic in the culture dominating social media, news outlets, and conversations in America. In the midst of the tension, the church has often been silent, moderate, and complicit as marginalized people groups are under-resourced, forgotten, and mistreated. Additionally, the white church can (and usually does) avoid the topic of the Gospel and Race but this must change.

All people are made in the image of God and carry the dignity, imprint, and beauty of God. History shows us a story wherein the Imago Dei (the image of God) is not always ascribed to all people, especially people of color in America. The ministry of reconciliation requires us to restore the value, dignity, and worth to every single human on earth. How do we move forward from here?

SCRIPTURE: John 4:9; John 4:17-24; John 4:39-41

RESOURCES:

REFLECT:

  1. Where are you at in the journey of Racial Reconciliation? What stage are you in according to Daniel Hill’s 7 Stages of Cultural Identity Development? You can also use the Reconciliation Continuum of Christian Institutions by Peter Cha.

  2. When have you seen racism, micro-aggressions, and jokes made at the expense of a persons ethnicity, etc? Did you act? Why or why not?

  3. Rather than just seeking diversity, we should be dismantling “white supremacy“ in our congregations. How can you participate in this? How can you learn more about “white supremacy?“

  4. What is the next step in your journey toward Racial Reconciliation?

    1. Continue to become educated about “white supremacy“ and Racial Reconciliation.

    2. Get proximate to suffering.

    3. Explore ways to spread the word (through private networks, social networks, and educating others).

    4. Place yourself under the leadership of people of color. Listen, learn, and lean in.

    5. Commit to strong, persistent, and determined action.

  5. What can I do now?

    1. Become more theologically awake.

    2. Refusing to become defensive.

    3. Refusing to be complicit by allowing “white supremacy.“

    4. Actively dismantling “White Supremacy.”

    5. Recognizing White Privilege Faster.

    6. Refusing to leverage White Privilege.

    7. Living in a state of Hopeful Lament.

* Sermon Sources taken from White Awake by Daniel Hill

Lent Devotional

Lent begins on March 6 with Ash Wednesday. We have created a devotional for you, your house church or your family to use during this season. You may choose to utilize this resource on the Sundays leading up to and including Easter, for Holy Week, or for both! If you decide to utilize the prayer pot portion of the devotional, there are a few supplies that you will need before March 10, the first Sunday of Lent.

The Gospel in Color by Jody Lukowiak

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My parents didn’t directly talk to me about race or racism. It wasn’t until recently that I realized the nonverbal cues and actions that I grew up with and how those impacted me and how I had interacted with people of color in my past. With today’s racial division and with our church focusing on the ministry of reconciliation, I longed for a resource to navigate through the conversation with our children.Recently, my sister-in-law shared with me a book called “The Gospel in Color” by Curtis Woods and Jarvis Williams. There is a “For Kids” and “For Parents” book. I read through both and really liked how they share where racism stems from and how Jesus came to reconcile us to Him and to one another. I loved the ideas and thoughts so much that I took some of the concepts from these books and created lessons for our Kindergarten – 5 th grade.

On February 17, our Kindergarten through 3 rd graders experienced a Godly Play style story that talked about sin, the lie about race, how we are all made in the image of God and how Jesus came to rescue us and reconcile us back together with God and with each other. Our 4 th and 5 th graders also experienced a lesson regarding race and reconciliation on the same day. We used Bible stories and language the children are familiar with.


As parents, we need to recognize and acknowledge racial division and have a conversation with our children. If you are a parent, you may have already had a conversation with your child(ren). If you haven’t, the “The Gospel in Color” is a great resource and I encourage you to purchase the kid and the parent book on Amazon and work through the books as a family! I am happy to answer any questions regarding the books or the lessons. Please email me at jody@cgnortheast.org.


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Jody and her husband James reside in Westfield and have attended Common Ground since 2001 and 1999, respectively. They have one daughter, Carlie, who will enter CG's youth ministry this fall. Jody studied accounting at IU and worked for PWC for seven years before becoming a stay-at-home mom. Coming from a family of educators, Jody has always enjoyed working with children and began serving in children's ministry early on at Common Ground. Jody served as the Children's Ministry Administrator before the Northeast area church was planted. Jody enjoys completing puzzles, watching sports, spending time with her nieces and nephews, and traveling to Florida, especially to Disney World.


AWAKE Resources Pt. 2: Considering Perspectives (2-17-19)

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THIS WEEK: The battle for racial equity has been a hot topic in the culture dominating social media, news outlets, and conversations in America. In the midst of the tension, the church has often been silent, moderate, and complicit as marginalized people groups are under-resourced, forgotten, and mistreated. Additionally, the white church can (and usually does) avoid the topic of the Gospel and Race but this must change.

In many ways, throughout history, the church has been closed to hearing different perspectives. In some ways this is good because it helps to affirm messages and ideologies we uphold as “truth.” However, there is a negative side effect as well. We are unable to grow if we unable to be open to listening. The evangelical sub-culture can accidentally create an echo chamber that affirms specific cultural values instead of Gospel values. There are a variety of perspectives that we need to consider, while maintaining a strong sense of discernment, if we want to grow. How can we be open but also discerning?

SCRIPTURE: Mark 7:27-30; Matt. 15:21-28

RESOURCES:

LISTEN: Spotify Playlist

REFLECT:

  1. How homogenous is your world? Do you mainly hang out with people who look like you?

    • Mentors who look like you?

    • Books written by people who look like you?

    • Teachers/Theologians who look like you?

    • Churches who look like you?

  2. Do you see this as a good? Bad? Indifferent? Why or why not?

  3. How does this affect your overall comprehension of people, culture, faith, and even politics?

  4. What are ways you can diversify your influences? Books you read? People you talk to? Etc?

  5. How is God telling you respond to the sermon/study? Ask your House Church or Transformation Group to keep you accountable to following through.

* Sermon Sources taken from White Awake by Daniel Hill

White Awake Book Review

White Awake Book Review by Jeremy Hunter

Two years ago, I committed to beginning a journey toward a better understanding of racial reconciliation.  When I started this journey, I was excited to see what I would learn and how I could help.  When reflecting on my racial reconciliation journey, I was reminded of the adventures of my childhood, which usually involved exploring unknown places in the woods.  I would enter the woods hopeful to find something I had never seen before.  I sought the reward of new experiences, and the confidence that I could gain by climbing over new obstacles.  Another memorable part of these trips was the fear of the unknown; the fear of being lost, the fear of not making it over an obstacle, or even worse, the possibility of being hurt with no one around to help.  That is why I often found boldness in having someone with me who had been there before to show me how to overcome the obstacles, and to lead me to the places they had already been.  A critical point in my racial reconciliation journey came when I read White Awake by Daniel Hill.

My struggles up to that point in my racial reconciliation journey were marked by challenges to understand what I could do, or how I could help.  White Awake became a trusted guide that helped to reorient me toward a new understanding.  White Awake illuminated many common responses that people often experience as they first begin trying to understand systemic racism, paternalistic societal influences, and the intentional and unintentional marginalization of people.  When someone begins exploring these truths, it can be a harrowing journey due to the complexity of the issues, the long-standing cultural influences that cloud the explorer’s vision, and the pain of recognizing the explorer’s inherent complicity as they discover that they have participated in and benefited from systems of oppression.  White Awake became a trusted guide allowing me to navigate these challenging truths with tools and language that could make each challenge a moment of growth in the journey. 

For a white person who commits to racial reconciliation, questions such as “how can I help”, or “what should I do” are common. White Awake provides a map that describes what each step in the journey will be like.  The book provides the reader with the tools to see the effects of racial inequality both within themselves and in the world around them.   For me, reentering the journey of racial reconciliation with a hopeful lament has given me an understanding of how I can respond to racial situations and conversations.  I realized that the value of the journey is marked not only by what you discover around you, but also by what you discover within you. It does not take long when reading the book to understand that reconciliation is not a destination, but rather a lifelong journey.  

The leadership team at Common Ground Northeast encourages everyone in our congregation to read White Awake. The book provides helpful questions in the back to help you process the content as you consider how it might have an effect in your lives.


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Jeremy Hunter is an Elder at Common Ground Northeast. Jeremy and his wife Sarah have attended Common Ground since 2000.  They have both enjoyed being involved in various leadership roles including different House Churches through the years.  During their time at Common Ground they have supported several inner city missions organizations including Area Youth Ministries, Crisis Pregnancy Center, and Pourhouse Ministries.  In their free time, Jeremy and Sarah enjoy spending time with their two daughters, as well as running, swimming, and playing music.

AWAKE: The Gospel and Race (2.4.19 - REPOST)

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THIS WEEK: The battle for racial equity has been a hot topic in the culture dominating social media, news outlets, and conversations in America. In the midst of the tension, the church has often been silent, moderate, and complicit as marginalized people groups are under-resourced, forgotten, and mistreated. Additionally, the white church can (and usually does) avoid the topic of the Gospel and Race but this must change.

If the church is a people who represent the Kingdom of Heaven, and wielding the good news of the Gospel, it should be driven and compelled to fight for racial justice in all its forms. The church is overdue for action and must become awake, impassioned, and engaged in the efforts to see racial justice in America.

FULL SERMON: AWAKE Pt. 1

SCRIPTURE: 2 Cor. 5:14-21; Rev. 21:1-6

RESOURCES:

LISTEN: Spotify Playlist

REFLECT:

  1. How has Western Individualism affected our view of sin, salvation, and the Gospel?

  2. What is the Gospel story and how does it connect to the ministry of reconciliation? How is this different than what you have been taught?

  3. How does the Gospel compel us to engage the fight for racial justice in America?

  4. How is God telling you to get involved and engaged? Ask your House Church or Transformation Group to keep you accountable to following through.

* Sermon Sources taken from White Awake by Daniel Hill

New "Article & News" Page!

Hello,

We want to keep you all as informed as possible. This page is developed to keep an ongoing database or repository of subject matter, resources, and important news that we believe best serves our congregation. Check in with us regularly to keep updated!

If you are looking for former resources and articles from a previous series (OIKOS, Advent 2018), you can access it here in our Articles Archive. Moving forward, all resources, articles, and news will be published here.

Thanks!

CGNE Team

Youth Pastor Search

We are very excited to announce that we are now accepting applications for the position of Youth Pastor at CG Northeast! Our current youth director, Mike Kuebler, has agreed to serve as the interim youth pastor since July. As of today, we have posted the position to fill that role with a long-term candidate.

We are looking to hire either part-time or full-time; the full-time position is dependent upon additional abilities that will complement those of our other staff members and volunteers. Please view the pages below to learn more and apply.

Click here to view the Youth Pastor job description

Click here to apply on churchstaffing.com

2018 Financial Update

Below is a financial update from elder Charlie Meyer from August 26, the final Sunday of our 2018 fiscal year. If you have any questions, you can contact Charlie or the CG Northeast Office.

Lead Pastor Announcement

The pastoral search committee and the elders are so pleased to announce that we have a new Lead Pastor! Erik Thien, his wife Emily, and their four boys will soon be packing up in Phoenix and moving to Indianapolis where Erik will assume our Lead Pastor role. Right now, we are planning for Erik to be in the role around October 15. That date will allow them time to take care of housing both in Phoenix and in Indy, to provide the required notice to Emily's existing employer, to complete some commitments they have in Phoenix, and to move across the country.

In accepting our offer, Erik mentioned how he and Emily have enjoyed getting to know us thus far and how they see our church as a place filled with bold faith, conviction, and a commitment to the Gospel. They are very excited to join us in ministry here and lead us into the next season of our church life. We look forward to having more people meet get to know and interact directly with them after they move to Indy. 

As more details about the transition firm up, we'll be sure to keep you updated.  In the meantime, please join us in thanking God for his direction throughout this entire process.

Sincerely,
The CG Northeast Pastor Search Team

A Special Thank-You to Vanessa Wilkins & Family

It is with both great joy and sadness that we announce Vanessa Wilkins will be moving on from her position as the Director of Youth Ministry. Vanessa has sensed God’s leading in her life over the past few years toward caring for marginalized and orphaned children in our community, and she has therefore accepted a new role as Foster Care Director for the local ministry organization Hands of Hope. Her last Sunday on staff at CG Northeast will be June 3, 2018.

Vanessa and Andy serve our church family in a variety of ways, and Vanessa has done a wonderful job over the past five years in shaping our youth ministry to be a healthy environment for our middle and high schoolers to develop as followers of Jesus. She has trained and cared for our youth volunteers and has been an essential member of the staff and various leadership teams.

The Wilkins will continue to be a part of our church family, and Vanessa and Andy will continue to serve in the youth ministry and in the various other areas of leadership that they currently engage.

Please pray for Vanessa as she makes this transition into a new ministry role, and take a moment to thank her for sharing her passion and gifts and expertise with us and our youth. She will be missed in this role and as a part of the staff team, and we pray that this new season will be as enriching and exciting for her as these last five years have been!

Water 4 Cape Town

Some of our CG Northeast Youth students have created a YouCaring page to help provide resources and education to those suffering from a severe drought in Cape Town, South Africa. We are trying to raise $1,500 for “Water 4 Cape Town”, an organization committed to helping residents manage the long-term effects of the drought. For more information, visit water4capetown.org.

Click here to donate!

2018 Financial Update

On Sunday, February 4, Admin Team leader Charlie Meyer presented an overview of our finances throughout 2017 and also presented the budget for 2018.  To view that presentation, please click here.

If you have any questions, please contact Charlie Meyer (charliemeyer@calclosets.com)

Pastoral Search

Common Ground Northeast has been blessed to have Jeff Krajewski serve as our interim pastor since Summer 2017. Jeff has provided strong leadership, vision and preaching during this time of transition. The plan is for Jeff to provide this leadership until Summer 2018, when we plan for our new lead pastor to be in place.

Planning Center Login

We are excited to announce that we will continue utilizing Planning Center Online for our increasing volunteer needs, information updates, and event registration. Because of this, we want to make sure everyone has an account set up and is comfortable using it!

The website you'll use to log in regularly is http://planningcenteronline.com.

Click here to learn how to log in and sign up for volunteering dates.

Click here to watch a brief instructional video on how to use your Planning Center account.

If you need additional help logging into Planning Center, please stop by the Info Table after our Sunday services, or email Ian Morley (ian@cground.org) or Jody Lukowiak (jody@cground.org).

 

UPDATE: Donations for Salinas

NOVEMBER 07 UPDATE:

The team is about to leave for Salinas! With your help, the YouCaring fundraiser has exceeded both its original goal of $5,000 and its updated goal of $6,000!

In addition, all of the supplies from the Amazon list have been purchased, and will be taken to Puerto Rico with the team.

Our thanks to everyone who participated in order to reach these goals and care for people in serious need of help!


On Vision Sunday, Rico Colon-Romero listed specific donations needed to restore health and power to his hometown of Salinas, Puerto Rico. The city has been flooded and without power for weeks, and the people are in desperate need of food and supplies.

Click here to visit the YouCaring fundraiser page.
Donations will be used to purchase equipment and supplies for families in Salinas.

Click here to view and purchase supplies from Amazon.
Please note the priority level and needed amount of each item.

Supplies and donations can be dropped off at Common Ground Northeast at the following times through November 5th:

TUESDAY - FRIDAY
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

SUNDAY
9:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Toronto Vision Trip Stories

This July, a group from the Common Ground family travelled to Toronto, Ontario for one of our many Vision Trips to that city. In attendance were Jennifer Herrmann and her teenage son Jonah, who were able to "share the love of Jesus by being and seeing," and by paying attention to the people who typically get pushed into the margins of life.

Listen to some of Jennifer's stories here:

(audio may take a moment to buffer depending on connection speed)

Service Time Survey

The leadership and staff of Common Ground Northeast are considering changing our Sunday morning service time to 10:30 AM sometime this Fall, and we are interested in how this change could impact our congregation.

The reason for the change is to leverage Sunday mornings to provide alternative opportunities for learning and connection, especially those not in a house church. Our vision would be to provide periodic classes and experiences (6 weeks Intro to CG, 4 weeks parent training and equipping, etc.) from 9:00 - 10:15 AM on Sundays. These classes would be open to everyone who attends Northeast.

Click here to take the survey!

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