High Culture: Cultural Day 2018

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God has brought people from all over the world to our church, and this past March, most of the cultures that make up Metro Community Church were on full display at our third annual Cultural Day!

For those of you who've never experienced the fun and festivities of Cultural Day, it's very hard to articulate all of the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures exhibited for all of our Metro community to appreciate.

Here is a short video to give you a taste (not literally, unfortunately) of all the food, fun and festivities from the day: 

Big shout out to Deborah Moore (aka Mama Moore), our illustrious Pastor Doug, and all of the volunteers that made this year's Cultural Day happen.

We hope to see you at Cultural Day next year!

Awaken: Winter Youth Retreat

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AWAKEN - this was the theme of this year's Winter Youth Retreat for Metro's middle school and high school students. Inspired by Ezekial 37, the question posed over the weekend was “can these dry bones live?”

Despite the extent of planning, prayer and fasting that our adult volunteers and student leaders did ahead of the retreat, we had to have faith that the Holy Spirit had more in store for our youth than even an ounce of our preparation could allow. And while the reasons and expectations for attending the retreat were as wide-ranging and varied as our youth itself, there was no way we could image the extent to which God showed up!

Can you say, “REAL TALK?” Our guest speaker, Josh Olivero certainly could, and real talk is exactly what he brought during this weekend. He brought real talk preaching from Ezekiel 37 in a relevant way that was not only captivating but enlightening and empowering. He brought real talk teaching from the Word in a way that it was not only indisputable but fully acceptable. He did not hold back. Pastor Josh spoke truth in love as we saw an awakening, a life come to the “bones” of our youth as faithful servants, prophesying into their hearts, minds, souls with real talk.

Of course, a retreat wouldn't be a retreat unless there was a lof fun mixed in. Whether it was playing foosball or ping-ping, shooting hoops, playing silly group games, planning and performing skits, snacking on junk food, or just staying up all night - it was all evidence of the life-giving, frenzied enjoyment that our youth experienced during the weekend.

The retreat culminated in a time of prayer after Josh's final message. He asked the youth to scatter on the floor and instructed the adult volunteers to go around and pray for the youth as they were led. It was a spirit-filled time of intercession when our volunteers were gifted with the opportunity to directly pray for the youth as the Holy Spirit filled the room and moved in an incredible way. Shortly after, the youth were also invited to pray for their friends and fellow peers as God led. As they prayed for each other - the high school kids praying for the middle school kids, and the teachers praying with all of our youth - you saw an inkling of the army of God spoken about in Ezekial 37:10.

Whether it was in the overheard conversations, the discussions in small groups, the laughs had during games, the random acts of kindness displayed, the newly formed friendships, the love shown from elder to younger “siblings,” the inquisitive and/or heartfelt questions asked, the prayers prayed for one another, the worship given to our Lord of Lords, when the question is asked, “can these dry bones live?” the resounding answer is, “YES, LORD! In YOU they can!”

Submitted by Dan Kim

 

 

Ezekiel 37 - The Valley Of Dry Bones

1 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, “ Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. 11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them.14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”

Peaks & Valleys: Women's "Your Story" Night

This was my first time attending the Women's Ministry's "Your Story" Worship Night. I had heard nothing but good things about the first one that had launched in October last year, and I was very excited to experience what God had in store.

The evening started off with worship led by our very own and very gifted Mary King. The presence of the Lord was there as the women sang from deep within their hearts. It was a night of listening to the many beautiful stories of sisters who had been in the valley and some who were still going through it - I saw God's goodness shine through each of them. They chose to believe in His promise and to have a hope that comes from Him alone. The process and battles are always long but it was by God's grace that in their valleys they saw Jehovah Jireh (the Lord will provide), Jehovah Rapha (the Lord who heals), Jehovah Nissi (the Lord is my banner), and the many more names that speak about Jesus' characteristics and all that He has done. They believed that the Lord was good no matter what they were facing and that is exactly what sets us apart as believers - to know that there is a peace that surpasses all understanding that comes from God and God alone. 

When we face our valleys, it is so important not to fall into isolation because in isolation is where we will hear a lot of lies about who we are, about the situations that we are in - shame, depression, guilt, self-condemnation, among others. They start to circle in our minds, eventually overtaking our hearts if we don't stay in communion with the Lord and have a constant circle of sisters and brothers speaking truth and light into our hearts. We are each a part of a whole body, when one part hurts the other parts can feel it. The working parts help nurse the weaker part of the body back to health.

There were many days and seasons where I fought hard against the lies, against the depression, against the voices that told me that I was not good enough. It's been a long time since I have been in those valleys but I still have moments where I feel overwhelmed. But once you overcome the deeper valleys, God equips us with greater ability and a deeper faith to overcome the next time we face hardship - endurance and perseverance are produced in our spirits. Many lessons of life will be learned, wisdom gained, more compassion for others will grow, and His Kingdom glorified when we testify! 

It's never a journey to walk alone, every woman needs to find a band of sisters that will pray with them, cry with them, believe for them when they can't utter a word, and rejoice together when we overcome. No one in church should ever feel alone, but sometimes that loneliness is a product of not seeing from God's heart in the seasons when things are the hardest. There were many strangers in my life that obeyed God's promptings to share a word of encouragement and pray truth into my life when I was so blind-sided by the slimy pit I was in, much like in Psalm 40:2. He set me up on the rock, gave me a firm place to stand, and put a new song in my mouth like He has for these beautiful sisters who chose courage and trust to share their stories. His stories! 

Towards the end of the evening, God placed on my heart Psalm 139 and I felt that he was saying this to the women and myself, "This is what I think of each of you!" When I got up to the front of the room to read, I was overcome with each line I read. The words sank deeply for myself and for the women at the meeting. 

Psalm 139:1-18

1 O' Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.

2 You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.

3 You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.

4 You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.

5 You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!

7 I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!

8 If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there

9 If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,

10 even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.

11 I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—

12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To
you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.

17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God
They cannot be numbered!

18 I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!

Whenever a ministry is about to be birthed, there is the burden of carrying it until it is birthed, and then in the birthing there is more pain, but we know as long as we wait patiently, we will witness the goodness of a new life, a new thing. I am very grateful for what is to come through the Women's Ministry and thankful for our leaders and their yes to God. Praise God for the beauty of Christ that will shine through this ministry!

In Him, 
Suemee Hur

ICYMI: The Metro Q&A Show

Every month, Metro aims to broadcast a mid-week Q&A program, where our panel of pastors and ministry experts attempt to answer your questions live on Facebook.

Our goal with these shows is simply to provide you with an opportunity outside of Sunday services to facilitate and engage in conversation with our leaders around subjects and issues that matter to you and your faith.

Our most recent show was in January, where we had local funny man and lifetime member of Metro Community Church, Anthony Cappola, come on and host the show.

If you missed our last broadcast, you can watch the full recording below...

Got a question, idea or feedback for our next show? Visit https://tinyurl.com/emetroQNA and fill out our simple form.

You can also find all of our previous live shows at emetro.org/live-shows. Enjoy!

Submitted by Timm Chartier
Director of Media & Communications

Net Worth It: Metro Basketball Outing

Last Saturday, February 10, some 30 of us from Metro braved the traffic and rain to descend upon Barclays Center in Brooklyn for a fun family night watching the New Jersey (ahem, Brooklyn) Nets take on “The Brow” and the New Orleans Pelicans. If you don’t know your pro basketball all-stars’ nicknames, then ask a young person or basketball fan around you — they’ll know. Unfortunately, “Boogie” Cousins was out for the season for the Pelicans, along with “Linsanity” (can we still refer to Jeremy that way, LOL?) for the Nets.

Still, it was a great evening of fun, frivolity and rooting for our local team.

For some in our midst of 30+, it was their first professional basketball game.

Jordan (8 years old) said, “I think it’s gonna be exciting because it’s my first basketball game.”

Kaitlyn (8) added, “I’m excited because I’ve never been to a basketball game, too.”

Just as the first quarter wound down, Anthony Davis heaved a half-court shot… and it went in! Crazy. By the end of the evening, he would rack up 44 points and 17 rebounds — that All-Star double-double stud.

Nets shooting guard Allen Crabbe more than held his own, contributing 8 three-pointers (several of them clutch shots) and finishing with 28 points.

We found many reasons to stand and clap, get our groove on during time-outs or breaks, and get wild in order to get attention — especially when the camera operators were giving the fans their brief moments of fame on the Jumbotron, lol. We even screamed our heads off for the Nets’ Team Hype to shoot or throw free t-shirts our way. Alas, we didn’t get any. Several of the kids did get a nice giveaway, as it was Allen Crabbe bobblehead night, lol.

Whether or not you root for the Nets, they certainly kept it interesting by slowly chipping away at what was, at most, a 28-point deficit versus a capable Pelicans team. And when they sent it into overtime, the crowd was definitely into it, chanting “DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE!” and cheering for every made shot that gave the Nets a chance at actually winning this thing.

Unfortunately, the Nets couldn’t keep the lead, and the Pelicans sent the game into double overtime, at which point it slowly became evident that the Nets’ steam had run out. By the time the final buzzer sounded, the Pelicans had prevailed, 138 - 128 in double overtime.

Still, the evening, masterfully orchestrated by Men's Ministry's (M3) own James Lee, and subsidized in part by M3, provided some great memories for the individuals and families at Metro.

A blessed, basket-tastic time was had by all ;o)

Submitted by Wes Nam

Scatte-gory Brained: Single's Game Night

On Saturday, January 20, members of Metro's singles community gathered for a night full of great fun, delicious food, and fantastic fellowship at our Singles Game Night.

Non-stop laughter was heard throughout the night as we enjoyed playing Scattegories and Bible Jeopardy. Categories ranged from Bible trivia to questions about our Metro Staff members, and everybody learned a little bit more about Metro and its members! 

As the newest member of the Metro singles core team, I was able to witness the great amount of effort and prayer that the team pours into each event. Preparing for Game Night was initially a daunting task, but ended up being a breeze due to the support of the core team. 

Our next singles event will be the S.H.A.P.E. spiritual gifts seminar on Saturday, February 17, where we will look into our how God has gifted and equipped each one of us to fulfill our unique life purpose. We're so lucky to have people like Pastor David come and teach us! You won't want to miss out! 

Submitted by Jason Shin 

Thriving In Cyprus: Linda Swanson

Dear Metro,

I’m writing from sunny, mild Paphos, Cyprus where [I’ve been] speaking at the Thrive retreat for women who live and work in this region and around the world. I’ve had the wonderful privilege of speaking on prayer to the group and God has been teaching each of us through our sessions together. The women have been very gracious and generous in their gifts of thanksgiving and affirmation. I am grateful that God is multiplying the little He has placed in my hands to give us a wonderful feast.

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Almost two-thirds of our attendees have security concerns and we are being very careful to not take their photos or share their names or countries of service. I’m humbled by their stories and their willingness to not settle for an easy life, but are willing to follow God on amazing adventures of faith and sacrifice. It is an honor to be with them. 

Metro, you are part of my "sending team" and I could not do what I do without your prayers and gifts of support through the Christmas Offering. I am so grateful for your faithfulness and generosity, too.

The retreat ends [today] and then there will be a few days of debriefing for our volunteer team. I fly home Sunday and Monday. It will be wonderful to be at church soon. I’m looking forward to seeing all of your wonderful faces.

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Lovingly,
Linda

An Act Of (Nursing Home) Worship

The first Sunday of every month, Metro Community Church visits the Actor's Fund Nursing Home in Englewood to provide a time of worship for the home's residents.

Originally founded in 1882, the nursing home is an assisted living and skilled nursing care facility that provides a "warm and dignified place" for 124 performing arts and entertainment professionals from stage and screen to live and enjoy the remaining years of their life in comfort.

For one hour every month, members from Metro "meet Jesus" by coming and serving these wonderful residents - singing hymns, sharing a sermon message and offering assistance as needed.

"It brings calm, joy and a lot of inspiration to the residents," according to Lotte Johnson, who serves as volunteer in the ministry, "The residents look forward when Metro arrives."

If you would like to come, meet Jesus and be a blessing to our elderly neighbors, our next visit to the nursing home is this coming Sunday, February 4 from 2-3pm. Children are also welcome.

For more information regarding our Nursing Home Worship or any of our Justice, Advocacy and Compassion programs, please contact Pastor Sanetta at sanetta.ponton@emetro.org.

One Question For... Pastor David

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The Bible can sometimes be a hard book to read (some might even call it "boring") - Pastor David, what advice would you give to people who struggle to read the Bible?

Honestly, some books of the Bible like Leviticus and Revelation, initially seem irrelevant or weird; but if we understand that the Bible is God's primary means of revealing himself and developing his relationship with us, we may view the Bible as God's sixty-six love letters to us - intended to transform us and our relationships.

We develop a greater understanding of the Bible by being aware of the importance of such factors as literary genres, historical backgrounds, and specific contexts. For example, Leviticus is Old Testament Law revealing God's holiness and his people's sinfulness and functioned as God's early guide to their spiritual formation. Similarly, Revelation is apocalyptic literature written during times of severe suffering, providing hope that regardless of how bad the present situation, God wins in the end. 

Like eating meals, a sustainable, executed plan is necessary for continuing health. Some basic tips include choosing an easier book to start with, having a quiet place to read, and setting a regular, realistic time period and passage length for reading.

As a lover listening attentively to your Beloved, invite the help of the Holy Spirit, your primary Teacher.

If your Bible foundations are not strong, a basic introduction of the book from say, a study Bible will be very useful.

Be flexible, as we all have unique temperaments and relationships with God. Some find a reading or accountability partner helpful.

Finally, remember that our ultimate purpose is not to get a better grasp of the Word of God but for the God of the Word to get a better grasp of us as we grow in our love relationship with him and with others.

Fellas, Food & Fellowship: Men's Lunch & Learn

Let's start by dispelling any pernicious misconceptions and deleterious rumors, alright? The Metro Men's Ministry (otherwise known as 'M3'), is NOT just for married men :o)

More than a few gents asked that as they entered the doors of the Grieco Media Center last Sunday afternoon, only to be met with a flying football (icebreaker accoutrement) and the intoxicating aroma of gustatory delights from Fort Lee's famous Nova Pizza, courtesy of Metro's own Marty Choi. Let's just say that 12 guys RSVP'd, but 21 showed up! THAT's what you call a good problem!

What did we do? Well, a lot of it is privileged information because, if you must know, M3 is like Las Vegas - what happens here stays here.

But what we can share is that we rocked all that food, laughed together, made some great, new connections and shared from the heart. It's always challenging to get guys to open up, but we did so with some icebreakers that made the point through activity and humor that communicating with each other is key to relationships, and that we can't do life alone.

The M3 core team of Paul Ra, Giovanni Rosario, James Lee and Wes Nam shared some key info about the M3 vision (essentially, "transformed transformers") and mission (in short, creating a safe place where we men can learn, love and live out biblical sonship). We then learned about some of the planned activities throughout the first half of the year, and even into October.

Coming up on Saturday, February 10 is a family outing to a Brooklyn Nets basketball game as they host the New Orleans Pelicans. Tickets are $38, so be sure to contact James Lee at jamesjlee@yahoo.com if you would to reserve tix.

We also took questions and crowdsourced suggestions from the guys regarding the types of things that could get more men to come out, as well as connect with each other and help in their faith journey.

We are making plans, fo sho, but the Lord determines our steps (Prov 16:9), so we're leaving margin for our Heavenly Father to guide us.

Pastor Doug - we comin' for you to learn how we can synch up with the Singles!

Pastor Sanetta - we comin' for you to learn how we can support JAC!

Women's Ministry - let's do more cool things like partnering up to do the Christmas Care Baskets for those in need within Metro and Englewood!

As a final point, many people (and more than a few ladies) wondered whether we were REALLY going to engage in a "speed dating" activity. That's for us to know and you to find out, buhahahahahaha!

Submitted by Wes Nam
 

This Is Life & Death: MLK Day March & Worship

My heart raced a bit with anticipation as I approached the steps. Some may say my heart was racing because it was a brutally cold morning. I knew though, as cold as it was, I was excited! 

Okay, I’ll be honest - I was thrilled. Why? It was because I was going to be participating in something I have never done before on this day - I was going to take part, in solidarity, in a march from Englewood's town seat to a service at Ebenezer Baptist Church commemorating the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on what would have been his 89th birthday - January 15, 2018.

I was brought into remembrance MLK’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” that I had read that morning as a bit of a personal tradition, where he spoke of being “cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states,” as the blistering winter cold ran through my body it began to subside a bit with the warming of my heart as I approached the Kingdom-mosaic, wrapped in a tapestry of solidarity and unity that had started gathering outside Englewood Town Hall. 

Poster boards with various statements and signs had been handed out and clergy, lay people, residents, of various local churches communities had gathered and listened as a 9th District US Congressman, Bill Pascrell and Rev. Preston Thompson, of Ebenezer Baptist Church each shared a few words, then Rev. Sanetta Ponton prayed us into our march through Englewood to Ebenezer Baptist Church.

As we began our police escorted march westward on Palisades Avenue, songs such as “We Shall Overcome” could be heard being sung by the marchers and I could not help but reminisce about various aspects of the Civil Rights movement that I had learned over the years through various mediums and trips I had taken, but particularly my trip to Selma and Montgomery, Alabama. 

I remember driving back to the State House, in Montgomery (where the march from Selma had concluded) on Route 80 wondering what it must have been like on that 54-mile march that took 4 days starting on March 21, 1965. What were the marchers thinking? How did they feel? I remember wondering what resolve and determination it took to do such a march. Could I have done that? Would I have done that? I don’t know, especially after the brutality of bloodbath that was experienced on "Bloody Sunday." Yet, I was participating in a March this morning in Englewood that was barely 1 mile long and complaining about the cold. 

We arrived at Ebenezer Baptist Church and had a time of fellowship where we had the opportunity to meet, greet, and get to know people we did not know from various congregations and then we all filed into the sanctuary for worship. We sang hymns and read Scripture and then Rev. Sanetta Ponton got up to preach about the “Beloved Community” that Martin Luther King Jr. so often spoke about from the text 1 Corinthians 12:25-26. 

The Holy Spirit-filled fire and power behind the impassioned message of Rev. Sanetta couldn’t be exaggerated enough as her exhortations, pleas, encouragements and righteous anger pierced my heart and my ears as it did for so many in worshiping together. As she preached I was reminded of aspects of Dr. King’s Letter from prison....

“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly” – Rev Ponton spoke of how we need to suffer with those that are suffering and that whatever pains and struggles our brothers and sister go through we should be affected by it also.

“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.” Rev. Ponton shared, “When the church is silent, PEOPLE DIE!” 

“We must come to see that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation,” she stated that educating ourselves with the injustices that have existed and still do exist is good but not enough. We need to be co-laborers in the struggle. 

“I am coming to feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than the people of good will,” Sanetta laid down the gauntlet and said that she hoped that the MLK service in 2019, will not be a commemorative service but a TESTIMONY SERVICE of all that we have done in our efforts to not be silent but to speak against injustice, hate, racism, in fighting injustice and hurting with our brothers and sisters. 

As a day of marching and worshipping had come to a close, I began to think back on the day and all that I had heard, learned and experienced and asked myself, “What next? Where do I go from here?” and began thinking about how I could get more involved in the struggle, the fight, of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I know that I can keep educating myself but as Rev. Sanetta said it, is not enough. I must play my part in some active way. This is life and death. 

One of the greatest privileges in my life is being a part of Metro - a community that strives to play an active part in the fight against injustice and systematic racism. This is a vital part of the DNA of the Metro ethos. But apart from Metro, social justice is at the very heart of the DNA of Christ. This is why the fight that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought against injustice still needs to be fought today.  

As individuals this must be of “life and death” importance to us in our faith walk. As community that strives towards our vision of “TRANSFORMATION” we must reflect on what the “one” can do as a step toward fulfilling the dream that Dr. King had and the beloved community of unity that Christ so passionately prayed on. 

So, Metro - what will our testimony in 2018 be for what we did in 2017? I pray that whatever the testimony is, it is a glorious one where we have all played vital parts in our community’s efforts towards justice, advocacy and compassion.

Submitted by Dan Kim

A Real Basket Case: Christmas Caring Baskets

Christmas Eve Eve this year was abuzz with activity when 20 people representing the Metro Women’s, Men’s, and Singles Ministries, gathered at the Metro Office to assemble several weeks’ worth of donated food and sundry items.

On Christmas Eve Sunday, these Care Baskets were lovingly distributed to multiple Metro families and to others within the Englewood community who are sick, shut in, or struggling in some way. 

Under the selfless and contagious servant leadership of Deborah Moore, we made quick and easy work organizing and assembling the various canned goods, starches, cereals, fruits, grains, etc. The goal was to try and assemble a Christmas meal for the recipients. 

We had initially thought that we would assemble 10 baskets. However, when all was said and done, we assembled more than 35 baskets! What a surprise, and what a blessing!

Sincere and heartfelt thanks to all of you Metro-ites who donated food and other staples, to those who came to help assemble the baskets, and to those who helped distribute them. And thank you, Jesus, for the opportunity to show love and care to others and give you the glory!

We’re looking forward to another opportunity to prepare and share care baskets again – possibly around Easter. Be on the lookout for opportunities to contribute and join us!

Submitted by Wesley Nam

Pot-Lucked Out: Women's Ministry Brunch

Two Saturdays ago, the Metro Women’s Ministry held its first ever Holiday Potluck Brunch. Women from all life stages gathered to fellowship together over a bountiful spread and spend time getting to know one another outside of Sunday service.

A beading station for bracelet-making and a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) natural hand sanitizer station were available, providing a space for the sisters to get creative and crafty by making their own party favors to take home.

In addition to feasting and crafting, the sisters gathered to share personal stories about their holiday traditions and highlights from the past year. God’s faithfulness in the lives of the women of Metro was reflected in the testimonies shared. There was much laughter and words of encouragement heard throughout the event, and it was evident that the women of Metro love Jesus and love spending time with one another. 

As we reflect on God’s faithfulness to Metro in 2017 and look ahead to 2018, the Women’s Ministry is excited to see what God has in store for the upcoming year. We look forward to more growth and opportunities to be a blessing to our church body and surrounding community. If you are interested in learning more about the Women’s Ministry or attending a future event, please email womens.ministry@emetro.org. We look forward to hearing from you! 

Submitted by Olivia Yi

United As One: Reflections On The Singles Retreat

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“Have a good a weekend, with CHRIST!”  

“Haha, I will!”   

My energetic boss left and I quickly did a run through in my head of what I had to pack and wanted to grab for dinner before heading up to the Poconos for a weekend with Metro’s single community. I looked forward to spending the weekend slowing down and was excited that my brother was joining me.

I arrived late and thought we missed the first session but my streak of luck had begun. I did not miss a minute of Pastor Sanetta’s powerful first message on Jesus forgiving and healing a paralyzed man and the role his friends played in carrying him to Christ. The faith his friends had. The faith that I find myself paralyzed from so often and have been brought back to by the faith of others. 

Throughout the retreat I was reminded of how intimately attentive God is to those who seek him. Pastor Sanetta continued to speak truth and wisdom into areas of my life where I had been struggling, and how she knew I have no idea.  Pastor Doug also set the tone of the retreat with his ability to infuse laughter and joy into his congregation.  

Relatable sermons and impactful leaders can richen your faith but I am learning that a key discipline in living the Christian life is through our brothers and sisters that struggle, shine, and seek with us. During times of small group discussions, we were intentional about engaging for the purpose of being strengthened and schooled by God’s work in each of our lives.

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On the Monday back from the retreat I felt as though I was recovering from a rave party. I sought a weekend of rest but I was exhausted from the sermons that left me contemplative, and from the soul filling conversations I got to share with the people in my cabin and in my small group. The week following the retreat was excessively cold and while this would normally start turning on my innate Scrooge button, I noticed that it hadn’t. The light from my weekend of fellowship was still keeping me warm and I acknowledged again that it is all so true. While at times it’s easier not to invest in others, we are not expected to live this Christian life alone.  Like any other promise of God, fellowship takes work but God provides and surrounds us with what we need when we decide to turn on that switch and seek.  

Submitted by Nhain Lee

An Awakened Recommendation

This month, the Metro Community Church family was blessed with the presence of Daniel Hill, the author of White Awake: An Honest Look At What It Means To Be White. With unceasing grace, humor and intellect, this man of God spent a full week attending Metro gatherings and events to share his framework for the Christian church’s racial reconciliation. One would think he’d be exhausted, but he never seemed to falter and readily tackled questions about God, Christ, racism and the real work of the church. Pastor Hill willingly engaged all comers.

Full disclosure - I didn’t think I’d be impressed by the book. I tend to think that there is very little caucasian people can teach me about race or racism. I’ve been forced to be aware of the social construct of race since I was 6. I’ve experienced racism in just about every type of environment - at school and work, on the street, in church - been there, done that. I’ve studied the sociology of race and racism. Read the statistics. Lived it. What could Pastor Hill possibly say that would be new to me?

For starters, his passion for the Word, which Pastor Hill knows backwards and forward. Utilizing story after story and verse after verse from the Bible to demonstrate his points, my small group found itself hanging onto his every word, mouths agape. It also sent me scurrying to sign up for a daily bible study session. Clearly, I had missed some things. 

In White Awake, Pastor Hill documents the historical beginnings of race and racism with straightforward language, while providing gut-wrenching real-life use cases. The groundbreaking part for me was Pastor Hill’s use of biblical theology to support every point, including his assertion that both race and racism are sinful and dehumanizing sicknesses that affect us all, regardless of color. 

Pastor Hill wrote White Awake with a white audience in mind. I fully support and encourage this audience to read the book and do some soul searching, and allow themselves to be transformed. However, this book should be required reading for any Christian serious about doing the Lord’s work - in all of its uncomfortable glory. I challenge both people of color and white people to read White Awake and not see the way we are all being called to the cross. I dare you to see the imago Dei in all of God’s children.

Submitted by Tera Moore

An Ethnic Oasis

Last Saturday, our volunteers and leaders came together for an "Oasis Huddle" - a special event for our Metro servant's to learn, renew, and connect with God and one another.

Pastor Daniel Hill, author of "White Awake" led us in a powerful lesson and discussion on racial reconciliation. Many were moved and learned theological truths they have never had to wrestle with.

We heard heart-wrenching stories of sisters in our church sharing how painful it was for them as a black person living in our country. Tears were shed in solidarity and passion for justice was birthed for many.

We have a long way to go in this journey of racial healing/unity, but I'm grateful for our tribe of misfits that are striving towards this unity everyday.

Submitted by Pastor Peter

While You're Awake: Live Interview With Dan Hill

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Please join us live on Facebook tomorrow (Friday) at 12:30pm as Pastor Peter interviews Pastor Dan Hill from Chicago's River City Community Church and discusses his new book, White Awake: An Honest Look At What It Means To Be White.

We hope that you will not only watch, but engage in the conversation - asking any questions, or sharing any thoughts that you may have on the topic of race and reconciliation. You can share in real-time during the broadcast itself, or ahead of time by filling out our form below (or go to www.tinyurl.com/emetroQ-A if the form doesn't display on your device)...

If you missed our last live show, Battles Of The Sexes: Round 1, where we discussed gender inequality and injustice - be sure to watch the full recording below!

See you on Facebook Live!

Submitted by Timm Chartier

Gobble-Gobble: Happy Thanksgiving, Metro!

This past Sunday, after Pastor Peter gave us a great reminder regarding thankfulness from Matthew 20, the Metro family gathered for an amazing Thanksgiving meal.

It is difficult to know exactly how many people enjoyed a meal of hot turkey, dressing, potatoes, vegetables, cranberries, and pie but we do know that over 1000 people attended the worship services and almost everyone stayed for the meal!

It was so good to see a lot of visitors enjoying the meal and better still to see people connecting with each other.

Special thanks to the entire team that planned, prepared, set-up, served and cleaned up. Your servant-hearts were evident to all!

If you missed the meal this year, mark your calendar for Sunday November 18, 2018 – we will save a seat for you!

Submitted by Pastor Kevin

A Single Night Of Worship

As the Singles Ministry gears up for their winter retreat in December, our team's conviction was that we should spend a night in worship and prayer; and so, earlier this month, Pastor Josh came and spoke a word to our singles on pursuing God and what comes with being a disciple of Christ. It was a great night spent eating, worshiping, and praying with our people. We hope to see many more nights like this one.

Submitted by Pastor Doug

One Question For... Pastor Peter

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QUESTION: Pastor Peter, you recently returned from a 3-month Sabbatical - what is a Sabbath and why is it so important to our spiritual health?

PASTOR PETER: In our world, rest is an option at best. For most of us, we do not know how to rest because we are such doers. Even in our relationship with God, we are often doers for Him.

A Sabbath is a weekly rhythm of rest from our full-time job. We cease to do work by unplugging from our phones and computers, and plugging into God's presence. The reason why a Sabbath cannot be an option is because it is a day where you can rest so that God can minister to you. God is passionate about ministering to His children, but we do not allow him to because we refuse to rest. A Sabbath allows us to ruthlessly eliminate hurry in our lives so that God can pour into our lives.

In the Old Testament, there are two main reasons why God calls His people to observe a weekly Sabbath: first, it is to imitate God. God created our world in six days and he rested on the seventh day. Since we are created in God's image, it is critical that we do our best to live it out by imitating God. The second reason why God instructed his people to observe the Sabbath is to live out their freedom from slavery. Sabbath reminded the people of God that they are no longer slaves in Egypt. For 400 years Israel had to work every day. They had no rest because they were slaves. Observing the Sabbath reminded the people of God that they are free and worthy of rest.

Sadly today, many of us are slaves at work and we have no issues with it. I believe the devil uses our vocation to enslave us. This is why we need to observe the Sabbath: to imitate God and remind ourselves that we are no longer slaves.

So how do we observe the Sabbath?

  1. STOP: Stop from being in control. Stop work and anything else you can't seem to control in your life.
  2. REST: Do whatever brings you rest. Sleep more if you have to, take walks along nature's path.
  3. DELIGHT: Do things on your Sabbath that brings you delight. For me, I like to cycle on my Sabbath. I love riding my bike and enjoy God's beauty.

I hope you can take a bold step in observing a weekly Sabbath. God will minister to you so that the other six days are meaningful and effective.

Take the step and may God bless you!