Fall of Rest–Come and See

August 14, 2015


We live in one of the most frantically charged societies the world has ever seen.  Many live with a “work hard & play hard” mantra. Even our faith walk can become another strained note in a grueling chord of weeks upon weeks piled up.

This Fall, we say “stop”. Let’s take a real time out and explore together what’s on “God’s Heart for Rest”.  What better season than Labor Day Weekend to get started?

We know that practicing Jews living by the letter of the Old Testament Law spent somewhere in the neighborhood of 50% of their “working hours” working, and then spent the other half of their time resting, by God’s decree. We don’t attempt to live under that Law–no one actually could.  But we do want to understand the heart of a Loving God who seems to have so much to say about Rest.

We invite you to a “Come and See” event on Sunday, September 6 at 4 PM.  During our time together, we will share a vision for a Fall of Rest which will run for 8 or 9 Sundays through September and October.   We will also be sharing a Pot Luck Dinner together immediately following.  There is absolutely no obligation associated with coming on September 6.

Just so there is no surprise, this Fall of Rest is part of the Raytown Vineyard Church’s primary weekly gathering.  However, you are more than welcome to join us for this Season whether you are currently looking for a church home or not.  You may be a member or regular attender at another church other times during the week, or you may be completely uninvolved and uninterested in a formal relationship with a church. If you feel led to join us in the Fall of Rest, we will leave it to you and God to figure out the particulars.

WHO: Anyone looking for God’s Rest.

WHEN: Sunday, September 6 @ 4 PM. Worship & discussion followed by Potluck Dinner.

WHAT: A “Come and See” Event to learn more about a 8-9 week Season of Rest.

HOW: We will ask the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s Heart to us individually through the week, and as we gather together, we will share what we have heard.

Questions, Comments, or Concerns? Let us know here:

God Loves the Grieving

May 17, 2015


Today Vickie Mears brought a message on God’s love for the Grieving.  Vickie works in Community Education with Crossroads Hospice.

Vickie brought these examples of Loss/Grief in the Scripture:

  • Hannah – infertility, public shame in that era
  • Job – multiple losses of monumental proportions.
  • Paul regarding his friend Epaphrodituus:  Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. (Philippians 2:27)
  • Jesus mourned over Lazarus in John 11:35 and over Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37-39.

Vickie brought an outstanding message.  Feel free to check it out here.

National Day of Prayer, 2015 (A Guilt-Free Message on Prayer)

May 3, 2015


Thursday, May 7 will be the “National Day of Prayer”.

This week, we took a look at John 17:20-26 and shared a message on the National Day of Prayer, 2015.

If you would like to listen to the message, just click here.

Here are the main thoughts we explored together:

  1. God is UNITY.
  2. God demonstrates our identity to the World through Unity.
  3. God hears Jesus’s prayer for togetherness.
  4. God invites us to pray in Jesus’s name.
  5. God is sending a fresh wave of prayer to the USA.

Here are some questions to ask as we are reading and meditating on the Word:

Who is God?

How does God see me?

How can I pursue God?

National Day of Repentance, 2015

April 26, 2015


Thursday, April 30 will been declared the “National Day of Repentance”.  This will be the 152nd Anniversary of the National Day of Humiliation, Prayer, and Fasting called by President Abraham Lincoln.

This week, we took a look at 2 Chronicles 7 and shared a message on National Day of Repentance, 2015.

If you would like to listen to the message, just click here.

Here are the main thoughts we explored together:

  1. God is complete without us.
  2. God wants us to live in the joy of his unhurried togetherness
  3. God forgives us when we confess our sin to Him. God heals us when we confess our sin to another. God rewires our minds when we repent.
  4. Godly repentance doesn’t come from guilt, but from Godly sorrow over lost opportunity for togetherness.
  5. God is sending a fresh wave of repentance to the USA.

Here are some questions to ask as we are reading and meditating on the Word:

Who is God?

How does God see me?

How can I pursue God?

God’s Plan for Addicts

April 12, 2015


Today Mark French brought a message about God’s Plan for addicts.  Based on his history of seeing hundreds of people through Celebrate Recovery, Mark shared many helpful insights.  We encourage you to listen here.

One of the many highlights Mark shared included this passage, from Isaiah 61:1-4:

The Year of the Lord‘s Favor

61 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
    he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord‘s favor,
    and the day of vengeance of our God;
    to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
    the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
They shall build up the ancient ruins;
    they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
    the devastations of many generations.

God Frees the Broken

February 15, 2015


This morning we shared a discussion based on Mark 5:1-20   Feel free to listen here. And follow along with the notes below:

God sees the torment of the broken.

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle.–Psalm 56:8 English Standard Version (ESV)

For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:17 English Standard Version (ESV)

God doesn’t condemn the broken.

There is a difference between conviction and condemnation.

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’  But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God,be merciful to me, a sinner!’  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14 English Standard Version (ESV)

God recognizes that sometimes freedom is not possible without a miracle.

Why do people not seek healing?

There is a constant tension between the flesh and the spirit. (Romans 7)

 A God encounter will always change you.

The man wants to go with Jesus.

Jesus sends the man back to the City.

This encounter is Jesus only ministry trip to this area.

God’s love always flows to the lowest and the farthest.

And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:15-17 English Standard Version (ESV)

Is this what Simple Church looks like? 2nd Edition…

November 16, 2014


Worship in the “Living Room”

As we do each Sunday, we gather to worship in the Living Room at 10 AM.  This week, we are singing:  Pour My Love on You, Give it All, When You Walk into the Room, and I Love You Lord

Some sit, some stand, some play instruments, and some sing.  Worship is defined by our heart posture.  Nothing more, and nothing less.  There are no “junior members” of our church.

After worship, we ask for an update from our Congregational Sharing and Prayer Time last week.  God has answered our prayer.  There is growth we can see!  We invite others to share about how God has been working this week.

We talk about hip surgeries and losing loose teeth.  About job opportunities and a 9-year old’s prayer in faith that medicine go down easier with Cherry Kool Aid. Our God hears every prayer.  Our God answers every prayer.  There are no “junior members” of our church.

Communion is served by the 3 kids in worship today.  One boy and two girls.  One white and two African Americans.  There are no “junior members” of our church.

During announcements, we point to the basket for offerings.  After the service, there are 4 envelopes in the basket—two are from kids, and two are from adults.  There are no “junior members” of our church.

The Teaching Notes

This week, Donna will be leading the discussion on Mark 2:13-22.  Participating in this group today:

  • 2 ordained pastors,
  • 1 lay pastor,
  • 1 ex-Sunday School Teacher
  • and a Teenager.

Although Donna may have less “Bible knowledge” than other experts in the circle, she loves God and she is hungry for the Bible.  Donna has a template that allows her to lead this diverse group effectively.  Its an inductive study method, and the top of the page looks like this:

Who is Jesus

As we are studying Mark 2:13-22 today, the rows continue down the page, from 16, 17, etc., all the way to 22.

Having a Conversation about the Bible

For starters, we read through the passage of the day together.  Today she has us go in a circle, each person reading one verse from beginning to end.  Then she asks each person to pause on verse 13, and write down any question that we have about that verse that we DON’T know the answer to.  Donna then asks us to share our questions, which leads to a great discussion.

Every single person in the room has questions that we don’t know the answer to—including teenagers and professional pastors with doctorates in ministry.  We are all on a level playing field.  We are all starving souls in search of spiritual food.   There are no “junior members” of our church.

We continue this process, one verse at a time, pausing to discuss and explore previously unfound facets of the light of scripture.  We are all “pupils”.  We are all on pilgrimage together.

Our facilitator for the day has chosen to take one of the word from the passage (wedding) and print off what it says in Strong’s Concordance to share with the group.  She shares a few application points that she has learned. There are no “junior members” of our church.

Next, Donna asks us to go to the top of the 2nd column of our worksheets.  She asks us to identify 1 attribute about Jesus that this verse reveals.  And if there simply isn’t one there, she asks us to default to this question: “what does this verse teach us about God’s character”?  Each participant contributes something meaningful, from High School student to lifelong theological student. There are no “junior members” of our church.

Sharing a Meal

Donna asks someone to pray over our group and the meal and we share lunch.  The pre-teen kids come up from downstairs and mingle with the adults as we share lunch together.  When we share a meal together, intermingled like this, we share life as fellow people, and our hearts are mysteriously brought together by sharing conversation over food.  There are no “junior members” of our church.

We ask someone else to facilitate the discussion next week.  Someone who hasn’t led a Sunday School or a Bible Study in many many years….maybe even never!  “I am not sure I am ready for that.”  “Ok—maybe in a few weeks”.  “On second thought, I can do this.  I can facilitate the group next week”.  Yes, she can!  There are no “junior members” of our church. 

Good Byes

Most people are gone by 1 PM…but we have never “kicked out” anyone.  We leave and go about the rest of our Sundays…on the way out, many hugs and “keep in touch”.

Is this a “successful” Sunday morning church service in a Simple Church?