The Messenger: April

Letter from the Editor

When I was 19, I moved to Sharjah, which is a tiny, very conservative emirate in the United Arab Emirates, in order to study Arabic. I had completed a year and a half of my undergrad in Virginia, and although I regularly attended Intervarsity’s Friday Night Fellowship, it was purely social and my relationship with God was non-existent.

Growing up in a Christian home and attending a religious school, Christianity was all I knew. In my high school world religion course, other religions were presented as dead religions – religions that were significant in the past, but that ultimately were not practiced today. (more…)



A Career from the ashes

Have you ever felt like your career has gone up in smoke and there is nothing left but ashes? Have you ever lost the passion you had for your work and found you were going through the motions just to earn a paycheck?

Have you found that your career has those Good Friday feelings of loss, but the joy of Easter hasn’t shown up yet? Have you ever faced a lay-off from a job and struggled finding a new one?

I have. (more…)



Meal Packing: A Mustard Seed

Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.” Luke 13:18-19

Jesus’ resurrection reminds us that the Kingdom of God is already breaking into our world! And just as the disciples and many others experienced a taste of that kingdom with Jesus, we have moments in our lives when we experience God’s promises. Maybe we see a little of the promise, like the little mustard seed, and begin to see how that will grow, flourish, and bring life in its branches. In that kingdom we are all brothers and sisters – rich or poor – in every part of the world. (more…)



What men want

A few years back, I walked out of my therapist’s office completely distraught. In that moment, it felt like all the pain I’d ever experienced (including the loss of my mom to Multiple Sclerosis, a broken engagement, more vocational misfires than I could list, and a lifelong battle with depression) had reappeared to collectively bully me.

Leaving her office in desperation, I did something I’d never done in my 30-something years of life: I called a friend to ask for help.

Not a mentor. Not a counselor. Not a pastor. Just a regular old friend. (more…)



Centurion Moment

Surely this man was the Son of God! Mark 15:39

This quote comes from a centurion who was standing watch at the crucifixion of Christ, according to the account of Mark. He was the commanding officer of the soldiers who mocked and laughed at Jesus while He was up on the cross. He stood by while his soldiers insulted Jesus and most likely joined in on the fun. If he didn’t, then he did nothing to stop it. Have you ever been part of a similar scene? Have you watched some one being abused and done nothing to help or maybe even joined in? (more…)



Marriage Transformed

I was two years old. My father decided the whole marriage and dad thing was too tough. So he took off. He was supposed to meet my mom to sign their tax return and never showed up for the appointment, or ever came home again. To say this left a mark would be an understatement, and yes, it still hurts. As I grew up, I decided I would be an amazing husband and father and would never do what he did to us.  (more…)



Re-Organization: Aligning with Purpose

We are in the middle of a major shift in our culture and things around us are changing almost daily.  As I look at where we have come from and where God is taking us, I can’t help but ask, “God, how can we continue to get on board with You as You call us to partnership to bring revival?” In the light of this culture shift we as a staff have been working with session to shape our vision through the year 2020. (more…)



Thank you, Lars

Walking through the Upper Campus building on Sunday mornings is an inspiration thanks to the playful colors, friendly faces, singing, learning and laughter.  We are grateful to Reverend Dr. Lars Rood for his love, leadership, and vision to help that happen every week. (more…)



Called to Suffer

It was nearly a year ago when I traveled to the Holy Land for the first time along with several other area pastors. Ever since Jesus called me to church ministry, I have wanted to visit the places where He walked, taught, healed people, was crucified, and rose again. I was tired of looking at pictures and hearing second hand accounts; I wanted to see it for myself. (more…)



Middle Winter Camp

On February 6 over 40 BelPres middle schoolers and leaders loaded up a bus and headed to Camp Casey on Whidbey Island. Our theme for the weekend was drawn from Romans 1:6, Ephesians 2:9, and other passages that speak of “belonging” to the family of God. For most middle schoolers, they are just trying to fit in and find a place where they belong. Our goal for the weekend was to remind students that God loves them and that He has welcomed them into His very own family—where they belong.

There were a number of fun activities such as games played in and around the historic Fort Casey; one of the highlights of the weekend was the Saturday Night Talent Show. A number of students had fun showing off their talent in front of their peers, which included singing, magic, gymnastics, and more. (more…)



Messiah

HANDEL, ARR. MOZART

Sanctuary Chorus and Festival Orchestra

Clara Rottsolk, soprano

Cheryse McLeod Lewis, mezzo-soprano

Ross Hauck, tenor

Jonathan Silvia, bass

Scott Dean, conductor

Through scripture and some of the world’s most revered and beautiful music that has stood the test of time, Handel’s iconic masterwork reveals a portrait of Jesus like no other composition in the history of music. (more…)



The Secret Service of Rev. Norm O’Banyon

I can tell you now that I may run out of space while telling you all you need to know about Rev. Norm O’Banyon, this month’s Secret Servant.  But a quote from his wife, Kathy, sums him up pretty well, “He’s the most wonderful man in the world!” Now that’s a supportive spouse! They seem hand in glove and Norm makes it clear that they are a team in everything. (more…)



Birth Announcements April 2015

Esther Michal Stan
Born 2-24-15 to
Jessica and Kevin Stan

Carter Allen Ziegensuss
Born 1-23-15
to Jocelyn and Matt Ziegensuss

Kalliyan Sugita Hun
Born 12-8-14 to
Marisa Prior and Johney Hun

Walker Dare Jones
Born 1-11-15 to
Kristen and Wesley Jones

The New Baby ministry seeks to greet new babies in our church community with the love of Christ. If you know of a family who is due to have a baby or adopt a baby in the coming months please contact Jenelle Mullet,  jmullet@belpres.org, so we may include them in this ministry.