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Posts Tagged ‘Omaha’

A Piece of Broken Pottery (One Year Later)

 If you watch one episode of evening news, you know our world is broken. And its getting worse. The fixes for the ills are not easy assignments. They are not short term. They are not going to have compensation packages. They will take decades or lifetimes. God is looking for some strong shoulder leaders who will take tough assignments. People who are willing to be attacked. People who will sign up for anything.

–Bill Hybels

When you go to a conference you can be overloaded with new ideas and concepts. You’re entertained by the speakers and presentations. But what is the lasting impact? What sticks with you six months later, after the swell of the conference subsides?

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What is the Meaning of Life? [VIDEO]

I really enjoyed the creative piece for “The Meaning of Life” message today, at the Old Mill and Online Campuses. It was shot in the Old Market, an area in downtown Omaha, NE. People walked by the whiteboard, and in their own expressive ways answered the question of “What is the meaning of life?”

 

The Goodness of God in a World of Injustice

Don’t miss the final Summit 2012 event tonight at 7:00pm in the Student Center at Old Mill.  Bring a friend and bring your questions.  Enjoy our new monthly format for Gathering.

The Goodness of God in a World of Injustice

Many struggle to believe the Gospel because they see the Church making such small impact in our world. Is the Good News really Good News if it isn’t bringing transformation to our communities?

Gathering hosts Josh Dotzler, co-pastor of Bridge Church in North Omaha for a look at what God is doing in our city. Hear Josh’s story of God calling a rising young talent to invest his life in the mission of Jesus right here in Omaha. Josh will challenge you with his passion for the Gospel as he shares his experience of seeing God work through people willing to serve and build his kingdom. Don’t miss this opportunity to see evidence of God’s reality in our city.

 

 

Mine Is Yours (Guest Post)

David Cumming is a 2nd Grade teacher at Franklin Elementary School. I’ve had the joy of working with his students as I’ve volunteered at the school. Besides working at Franklin, David also serves as a leader at the church he attends, Flatland.

Recently, David wrote a post on his blog that I found encouraging and inspiring. I asked him if I could repost it here, and he agreed. In big and small ways, God is working throughout Village One in the lives of the people there.

To read the posts about my journey into greater involvement in North Omaha, click here for Part 1 and Part 2.


My principal recently released the demographic breakdown of our school for the current school year. If you’ve read some of the blogposts prior to this one, you know how proud I am to work in a culturally diverse school. Diversity is the reason I teach where I teach.

Anyway, over 40% of our students are African-American. The second highest percentage is Hispanic (Mexican, Guatemalan, and Honduran). Followed by Asian, Caucasian, Native American, African and mixed race. We’re sort of like Walgreens. We have a little of everything.

Needless to say, we’re diverse.

But like I’ve written about before, there is one common thread that links all of the students together. It’s the chain that bonds them together.

Poverty.

Of our 268 students, 99.6% qualify for our free or reduced lunch program. I’ll save you the long division. We have one student in the entire school that doesn’t qualify for free or reduced lunches. (more…)

Returning to the Scene of the Crime…and Receiving Hope (Part 2)

Winner's Circle Celebration at Franklin Elementary

To read Part 1, click here.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.

-Henry V (Act III, Scene I), William Shakespeare

When I signed up to volunteer and serve with The Partnership for our Kids, something happened that I did not anticipate. A mental battle started to occur within me. I was fighting myself over getting involved in a greater way to support the kids who battle poverty.

Christianity would call this spiritual warfare, and that’s what I would call it.

Within the past year, I was asked to be on the board of directors for a local non-profit that combats poverty and advocates for justice. I heard the pitch, and it was good. A friend of mine was on the board. They do great work. They saw and heard my heart for social justice from afar, and wanted to get me involved in a greater way. I had all sorts of legitimate excuses as to why I couldn’t be on the board and be involved at that moment. I had a third child on the way. I was starting a new role at work. I told them I was interested, but perhaps at a later date. It all made sense in my mind, even though at that time I was wrestling with God pushing me toward an increased social justice involvement.

When is it ever going to be an opportune time? When over the next two decades am I going to have time? More importantly, what am I modeling with that kind of thinking and action? How am I leading with my inaction? What is the example I am setting for my family? What is the example I am setting for others?

I’m glad God is patient with me.

So, I signed up to get involved with The Partnership for Our Kids, and the mental battle started. (more…)

Beyond The Message: Generosity & Poverty

In the latest Beyond The Message video, I sit down with Missions Pastor Craig Walter to talk about generosity as it relates to poverty. Topics we discussed are:

  • The concept of place as fate, poverty, and how it relates to being generous.
  • What can people do to understand poverty better?
  • Breaking down stereotypes, and educating people, so they can get involved in their community.
  • Scriptures that address generosity as it relates to poverty.
  • Ways you can get involved.

To see other Beyond The Message videos, click here.

Returning to the Scene of the Crime…and Receiving Hope (Part 1)

crime: (noun) a grave offense especially against morality

This past August, I wrote about my experiences, from the third grade, when I attended Franklin Elementary and Howard Kennedy Elementary Schools. The post was partly inspired by an Omaha Young Professionals Event where we were given a pitch to volunteer, and serve, in some of Omaha’s inner city elementary schools. They were schools that had a high percentage of students living at or below the poverty line, and they were looking for young professionals to help students at these schools meet various academic goals.

While I sat through the pitch, I was being stirred. Again. Throughout this year, God has been challenging me to get more involved when it comes to social justice matters. The catalyst was reading Tim Keller’s Generous Justice. It was a book where at the end of every chapter I had to put it down, seemingly, because I was overwhelmed by what Tim was saying. Well, I was overwhelmed by what God was speaking to me through Tim’s words. I was examining my own life and wondering what I could be doing to bring justice to those in need.

It’s not that I haven’t been involved or detached when it comes to social justice, by the standards of the world I’m doing well on that front. I find myself challenging the status quo when it comes to perceptions about the city, specifically North Omaha. I press people when I feel like they are using coded language to mask prejudice, whether they realize it or not. I help out with projects, and attend events, that target areas of Omaha in need, support the community and encourage others to do the same. I try to support local businesses and organizations within the city that give back. I try and highlight how a number of us have won the birth lottery, which has given some of us a huge advantage in achieving success in this life. I’ve worked on various projects that have attempted to draw attention to the need that is there in the city, and for the church to get involved.

But, how am I doing by God’s standards? Not good. Am I loving my neighbor the way Jesus expects? No, not at all. This was the conclusion I was arriving at with God. If I wasn’t getting my hands dirty, if I wasn’t involving myself on the ground or in the streets more, if most of my work on this front was strictly communicative in nature, then I would be guilty. Guilty of inaction. Guilty of not leading out.

Guilty of sin.

I should know better, and God wasn’t going to let me get away with it anymore.

There is a growing injustice going on within Omaha and kids are the victims. They are the victims of poverty, family breakdown, violence and injustice. As some of you know, Omaha has the highest percentage of African-American children living in poverty. What good does it do if all we ever do is just talk about these problems? What are we doing about it? What are we doing about it in our neighborhood, and the neighborhood across town? How fair is it to expect kids, who have all the disadvantages, to compete with kids, who have all the advantages?

A few weeks after hearing the pitch to get involved more, I attended Leadership Summit. One of the sessions dealt with tough callings. The words shared during this session weren’t as challenging as the testimonies of the individuals who shared. One of the individuals who shared was Mama Maggie Gobran. She is serving the homeless, that live amongst trash, in Cairo, Egypt. She is doing this in an area where Christians and women face persecution. You observe her life and you will be challenged to ask, “What am I doing?”

That’s not to say if you aren’t doing what Mama Maggie is doing you are wrong. However, probably everyone that heard her story examined what they were doing with their life. I was doing that, but also sensing the stirring to get more involved on the ground. It was inescapable.

When she got done sharing, everyone was handed a piece of broken pottery. Bill Hybels referenced the prophet Jeremiah and how he had a tough calling as a prophet. He read from Jeremiah 19 and how Jeremiah bought a piece of pottery and smashed it in front of everyone in one of his prophecies. The piece of pottery we had was to remind us that we live in a broken world. There are broken people all around us. God is looking for people who will go into that brokenness to minister and serve people. God is looking for people who will make that kind of generational/lifetime commitment to address the brokenness in this world. God is looking for people who will shun the world’s, and Western church’s, idea of success to please God and serve humanity.

I held that piece of pottery and prayed. I knew I was going to be involved in a deeper way within the Omaha community. I was not going to be guilty of the crime of in action.

While still attending Leadership Summit, I signed up to get involved with The Partnership for our Kids and return to Franklin Elementary.

Part 2 to come.

This post originally appeared on Robert Murphy’s personal blog, RamHatter.

Village One Announcement

Around Town

Earlier this month, I wrote about the merger of Core and Coram Deo. In this recent video, Bob Thune and Ethan Burmeister share about what brought the two churches together.

It’s another example of churches and people doing something for the greater good of the community. Something that betters the city of Omaha. It’s not about bringing glory to oneself or to a church.

It’s one reason why I like Christ Community Church’s partnership with Bridge Church. It’s helping out another church that already has influence in its community. CCC doesn’t have the influence in North Omaha that Bridge does, but both churches want the same thing. So why not help Bridge out in reaching and serving the people in its area? It strengthens unity amongst area churches and people, it better serves people in the community, and it’s a tremendous reflection of Jesus.

Churches coming together to represent Jesus and advance the Kingdom of God. Brilliant.

Step Into Village One Delayed Till Next Sunday

Due to weather, Step Into Village One has been delayed one week to September 25th. If you made cookies, you can bring them to the FLC kitchen where they will be frozen to use next week.

We will post more updates as soon as we have them.