Camino de Sueños (Path of Dreams): An Event in Support of the Dream Act

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Join us for an evening of art, stories, worship, and action as we stand in solidarity with DACAmented youth affected by the president’s ending of the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Come hear the stories of resilient young people and their families and be inspired to take action on their behalf. At our event we will take time to write down our dreams for the these young people and their families on cards that will be delivered to Congress on December 5th.

Camino de Sueños events are being organized across the nation as part of an initiative being led by the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA). Noel Castellanos, the President of CCDA, will be our guest speaker! Other speakers include DACA-recipient Brenda Diaz, the Common Good Elementary Program Director, and Steve Pavey, photographer, anthropologist, and activist. The event time is 6:00-8:00pm on Thursday, October 26th.

Childcare and Spanish interpretation will be provided.

This event is being hosted by Embrace Church and Common Good.

 

To stay up to date check out the FB event page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1491458564234770??ti=ia

 

Above art: Steve Pavey and Marco Saavedra

Unete  a una noche de arte, historias, adoración y acción mientras nos solidarizamos con los jóvenes de DACA que fueron afectados por la decisión del presidente para terminar el programa DACA(Acción diferida personas que llagaron  de niños). Venga a escuchar las historias de los jóvenes resilientes y de sus familias y que se inspiren para tomar medidas en su nombre.

En nuestro evento nos tomaremos un tiempo para escribir nuestros sueños para estos jóvenes y sus familias en tarjetas que se entregarán al Congreso el 5 de Diciembre.

 

Los eventos de Camino de Sueños se están organizando en todo el país como parte de una iniciativa liderada por la Asociación Cristiana de Desarrollo Comunitario (CCDA). Noel Castellanos, el presidente de CCDA, será nuestro presentador invitado! Otros presentadores incluyen Brenda Diaz, receptora de DACA, directora del programa de Common Good Elementary, y Steve Pavey, fotógrafo, antropólogo y activista.

La hora del evento es de 6:00 a 8:00 pm el jueves 26 de Octubre.

 

Se proporcionará cuidado de niños y interpretación en español.

 

Este evento es organizado por Embrace Church y Common Good.

BIG Announcement!

We have a BIG announcement to share!

On October 8th we are starting a new worship service on Sunday evenings in Spanish! Pastor Guillermo will be coming on board as a pastor on our ministry team. Along with his family and friends, Guillermo will work with us to further expand our ministry among Spanish-speakers in our community.

This is wonderful opportunity for Embrace to go deeper into ministry and loving our neighbors. Our diverse family is growing! Know that this will not be a separate church – we will be one church on the same mission to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our community. We can't wait to see what God does through Iglesia Abrazo de Dios (Embrace of God Church)!

Stay tuned for more details over the upcoming weeks!

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Declining Church Membership in America

As I walked through Spain on the Camino de Santiago last year I saw many beautiful churches. In every city, town, and village we found a church right in the center. I got the sense that these churches were more like museums showing off artifacts from the past rather than Spirit-filled communities seeking to follow Jesus. The overwhelming majority of Spaniards claim to be "Christian," yet from the outside it appears that following Jesus isn't top priority.

In America, our churches may be a bit more crowded with people, but we are on a similar path. Church membership is declining in America, churches are closing, and people are searching for answers. Many people may be in church on Sundays, but following Jesus doesn't seem to be a top-priority.

Tomorrow I'm preaching on the Parable of the Sower found in Matthew 13:1-23. There may be some answers in this challenging story told by Jesus.

 

Stanley Hauweras writes:

"Why we are dying seems very simple. It is hard to be a disciple and be rich...The lure of wealth and the cares of this world produced by wealth quite simply darken and choke our imaginations."

"Too often those who propose strategies to recover the lost status and/or membership of the church do so hoping that people can be attracted to become members of the church without facing the demands of being a disciple of Jesus."

"The church in America simply is not a soil capable of growing deep roots."

"A church that is shrinking in membership may actually be a church in which the soil of the gospel is being prepared in which deeper roots are possible."

 

The church gained power, status, and wealth in this nation, but I'm not convinced it did us much good.Perhaps these things produced some bad soil incapable of growing deep roots?

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Love over Judgment

Three years ago when I started at Embrace I made a decision: I'm going to love people more than I judge them. I can't imagine standing before Jesus in the last days and hearing him say to me: "John, I wish you had judged people more." If I'm wrong, I rather be wrong on loving people too much than judging people too harshly. 

 

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Baptisms! 🎶The old me is dead and gone🎶

In T.I.'s song, "Dead and Gone," Justin Timberlake sings:

Ohh, I've been travelin' on this road too long

Just tryin' to find my way back home

The old me is dead and gone, dead and gone

And ohh, I've been travelin' on this road too long

Just tryin' to find my way back home

The old me is dead and gone, dead and gone.

This is what practicing resurrection is all about.  Sounds awfully similar to Paul in the New Testament, "I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race."  Paul makes two things clear Philippians 3:10-14:

  1. In order to experience resurrection we must die with Christ.
  2. Living the resurrection life is a journey; it's not going to happen overnight.

Baptism is the beginning of this journey.  It marks a shift in a person's life.  This shift is a radical conversion, meaning "to the root."  Giving our lives to Christ means that we are changed to the root of our existence; new roots mean new fruit.

This past Sunday Estella, Angel, and Brisa were baptized at Embrace.  Their mom, Olga, joined the church alongside them.  The three girls are sisters, yet they all decided separately they wanted to be baptized.  They've learned about following Jesus at Common Good, Embrace, Aldersgate Camp, and Asbury.

Sunday was full of resurrection joy. The three girls went under the water, signifying that the "old me is dead and gone." Then they rose up from the water as if they were rising from their graves to a new resurrected life with Jesus. Praise God for new beginnings and fresh starts!

 

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