A Winter Relief Story As Pam wandered around the Dollar Tree looking for Bingo prizes, she never imagined how God would use one of the items to bring a smile to Nan’s face. No Bingo this year. That was the word passed down from who-knows-where. The Winter Relief guests and volunteers...
Showing items for 'Christian Living'
We asked some Severn Runners how they got connected in our church community through Connect Groups. We thought their answers would encourage you to get connected if you aren't already. Why did you join a Connect Group at Severn Run? I joined to be connected with parents who...
Two years, three months, and 28 days ago I became a Marylander--or at least I moved to Maryland. I had gotten a job, rented a townhouse, put all my belongings on a moving truck, got in my car, and drove 1,121 miles to my new residence. After living in the same state my entire life, I...
You may have heard us say (once or twice) that we believe Life is Better Connected. But the first question people have about getting connected is usually, "Why should I be connected?” Joining a Connect Group is more than joining a Bible study; it is your...
They emerge from beneath the water to party music and the roaring approval of the crowd. If there’s a celebration in the Worship Center, you can be sure there’s an even bigger celebration in heaven. Baptism. A public way of showing that you have asked Jesus to be in charge of your...
The pastor graciously invited the team to his church for refreshments. Joe ducked through the doorway of a shed no taller than 4 feet high and 10 feet long. It had no electricity and the walls were made of mud. He and the nine members of his team sat shoulder to shoulder, crammed into what they...
This summer, the Church at Severn Run was SUBMERGED! The entire campus was flooded. Don’t worry! It wasn’t with water, but with Jesus and kids and a whole lot of laughter! I felt God pushing me to volunteer. I am in school, a mommy, and recently transitioned from working 60+ hours...
A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. (Matthew 12:35) In 2013, John and Mary stumbled upon what is now known as the Saddle Ridge Hoard. In a field they owned in California, a...
Great ideas and resources for summer fun in Maryland.
The weather forecast for the weekend was bleak. You know what they say about Maryland: If you don’t like the weather, wait half an hour and it’ll change. However, the forecast held steady and one thing was for sure—it was going to rain. At the start of the week people were...
Stephen Hord is taking life as a Severn Runner “On The Road” literally. Through the heat, through the pain, through the training, and by running races, he strives to raise a donation of $5000 to Severn Run’s On The Road campaign. This is his story.
About two years ago, Stephen Hord and his wife were praying about finding a church close to their home. Although they drove past the church entrance often, one day God tugged on their hearts about visiting The Church at Severn Run. So they did.
“We walked in and it felt like home so quickly,” Stephen shares. “We even ran into two families we knew.”
Stephen also says that he especially loved the church because we have Run in our name, and the congregation is referred to as Severn Runners.
“There are two activities that I love more than anything else; playing guitar and running,” said Stephen. “I feel most alive and closest to God when I’m out on the road and trails running with praise songs in my ears, (although don’t ask me to repeat that at mile 9 of a race--God is usually carrying me by then!)” he adds. “Long-distance running is such an accurate metaphor for the faith journey…I think this is why it’s one of Paul’s favorite illustrations in his letters to the churches.”
You may have seen Stephen on stage with the worship team, playing guitar. He has been giving music as his offering since coming to Christ. But when he heard about “On the Road” and the church’s mission to become a church of 5,000 believers, he knew he wanted to do more.
“Something was stirring in me to do more, something new, to use my love of running for the Kingdom. That is why throughout the year of 2017 I am running 32 races covering more than 262 miles ‘On the Road for The Church at Severn Run.’”
Because the mileage is the equivalent to 10 full marathons, Stephen has playfully nicknamed this his #yearofinsanity2017.
As we strive to be a church that reaches 5,000 people with the love of Jesus, Stephen has set a goal of raising $5,000 where each dollar represents one person who may or may not know that Jesus loves them.
This hasn’t been an easy endeavor for Stephen. He has fought physical pain, emotional upheaval, and the struggle of keeping his eyes fixed on the task God has set before him.
“Earlier this year, I had a string of difficult races and I even considered throwing in the towel in the middle of one. Then, late in the morning at mile 10 of a half marathon, two visions came rushing into my mind. First, the feeding of the 5,000 reminded me that there are still so many people who are looking to be fed with the miraculous love of Jesus. Then, my mind’s eye saw Jesus carrying the cross. I realized that no amount of temporary pain or discomfort or difficulty that I was experiencing would have stopped Him from his mission. I knew I had to press on. Acts 20:24 says it beautifully. ‘But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly the gospel of the grace of God.’”
God is teaching him so much as he strives to stay faithful to this calling.
“The mantra I’ve adopted is “Run as far as you can, then take another step,” said Stephen. “It’s only by faith in His strength can I do anything. Proverbs 4:12 promises, ‘When you walk, your steps will not be impeded; and if you run, you will not stumble.’” He holds on to that one.
Stephen needs help to reach his goal of raising $5000.
He has been faithful to his running, and he is looking for others who will also be faithful to God’s tug on their hearts. Stephen is asking for prayer from everyone, as what he is doing takes a toll on the body. He is also asking for donations so he can do what God is asking of him and donate a dollar to On The Road for every member and potential member of our church of 5000.
You can follow Stephen on Facebook (@ facebook.com/thumper135) to see when he races and share your prayers and encouragement.
Please also visit this page to donate, learn more about Stephen and see his finish times and upcoming races.
If you are a young adult, you are probably finishing up some kind of school or beginning a new career. You may have grown up in church like my wife, who felt like going to church was “what you did” and rarely thought about what she would do when given the option of how to spend her Sunday mornings.
Once she was in college she knew she wanted to have a strong faith, but she didn't know exactly how to live that out for herself. She and I struggled for a while to find our place in the community of Christ, really until we came to understand how important it was to build real and honest relationships with other Christians and to serve alongside them.
To find your place in the community of Christ, you have to get to know what that community looks like. Start by joining or starting a connect group for young adults (like SMASH, Real World, or YMP). Connect groups are where you can build close relationships with people who will understand what's going on in your life and will encourage you in your walk. You will need those relationships when dealing with the ups and downs that come along with college or starting a career.
You may feel a little lost as you transition from being part of your parent’s church activities to having your own church activities and relationships, but trust me when I say that you are not alone. There are many people just like you who are looking for others to connect and share life with. So look around and find some people who are prayerfully going to Jesus and asking him to lead them into developing a community like that described in Ephesians 4. Invite people to join you if you have to!
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
- Ephesians 4:11-16
At this stage in life you have a lot of new time and freedom. This is the best chance you will ever have to serve in different areas of the church and find where you fit best.
If you are thinking that you want to have a Christ-centered family that does great things in Jesus name, you don't have to wait. That was a big “aha!” that encouraged me to get more active serving. I realized that I did not have to wait to be the head of the family that God wanted me to be--that I could be a part of something whether my family was just me, or me and my wife.
Here at Severn Run we are lucky because there are many teams and ministries where you can serve throughout the year. This is also a great way of getting to know people outside your small group who will also support you and who you can bond with through serving. This is the mature faith that Paul describes in Ephesians 4, that we would each grow together and support one another as the body of Christ.
How were you first introduced to Jesus? It’s a good bet that you learned about Jesus because someone shared with you. They shared their personal experiences and the joy that he brought into their life. That person shared with you because they knew the impact Jesus would have in your life. Something about that interaction stuck with you, and your life began to change.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” - Matthew 28:18-20
Jesus is at the center of everything when it comes to sharing the gospel. It was Jesus that commanded us to go and make disciples. It is his Spirit that fills us and overflows to others. It will be Jesus that convicts someone and transforms their life when they welcome him into their heart. The number one thing to remember about sharing is that it all comes back to Jesus.
He should remain the center of our conversation:
- Ask what they think about Jesus.
- Share your Jesus story-about how Jesus is real and relevant to you.
- Talk about answered prayers, or how you’ve seen Jesus work in your life or the lives of others.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. - John 14:6
Prayer is always a great place to start. Pray for opportunities to share Jesus and know that they will come. We should also pray for boldness in those moments, as it will take some faith to act on those opportunities once they arrive. It can be uncomfortable to open up about your life and how Jesus has changed it. You have to make yourself vulnerable to describe the highs and lows of the walk with Christ, but what makes it uncomfortable is also what makes it so important. Those feelings of triumph and redemption are exactly what we need to communicate. That is real life and what sticks with someone long after.
We can also share Jesus in our every day lives. If we have allowed Jesus to be in every part of our lives then he will always be on our minds and come up naturally. A friend once told me that she thought a coworker was a Christian, so she would often talk to her coworker about their beliefs and what Jesus meant to them. She did not become aware that her coworker had not known Jesus until the coworker told her they had only recently began attending church and accepted Jesus into their life. That's how quickly and powerfully Jesus can transform someone's life once he has been introduced.
As you prepare to follow the command of Jesus to “Go and make disciples,” you can do these things:
- Pray that Jesus will bring people into your life who are seeking him, and for your courage and boldness to share.
- Know how Jesus has made a difference in your life. Think of a time when you knew that Jesus helped you either in a time of peace, a time of trouble.
- Learn how to talk about how Jesus is real to you in your everyday life. Have you seen answers to prayer? That’s something to share. Have you had peace in a time of trial? That’s a story about Jesus in your life.
- Make new relationships, or start bringing up Jesus in your conversations with people you know.
- Be willing to help people when they are in need, this is part of sharing Jesus.
- Love well and believe big!
If you have experienced the love of the Father through the life of the Son, then sharing that love is a natural next step.
Who are you sharing Jesus with this week?
Greater love has no one than this:
to lay down one's life for one's friends.
The greatest love is to lay down your life for your friends.
Certainly we aren't called to die for our friends...are we?
Well, yes. We are.
If we mean to show the love of Jesus to the world then we must die!
We must die to self.
We must lay down our own lives -- set aside our prejudices, our rights, and our own desires -- for a better way.
A way of love.
There is no other option in Scripture.
If we want to live we must die to the desire to put ourselves first.
We must lay down our busy lives for our friends...
- We can lay down our To Do List and help a friend in need.
- We can turn off Netflix and be with our neighbors to start relationships.
- We can set aside our prejudices and instead show empathy and share God's love.
Laying down your life and helping someone else pick up theirs is the beginning of a relationship that shows the love of Jesus.
Laying down your life and helping someone else pick up theirs is the beginning of a relationship that shows the love of Jesus.
And in case you were wondering, God has equipped you to lay down your life. He has equipped you to share his love. He has even put someone in your life who needs to know about Jesus.
What are you going to do?
Love has called your name and gifted you. Love is sending you and offering you the greatest joy of eternity--leading the lost home. Love asks you to lay down your life.
For whom will you lay it down? Who will you lead home?
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
We are often reminded of our “first world problems” on days when things just don’t go right. The drive to work is slow, the bus is late, the coffee tastes lousy, the day of work or school is demanding, the refrigerator isn’t stocked with the favored snack of whatever it is we happen to be craving.
We are grumpy, frustrated, irritated until someone finally reminds us these are first world problems - be grateful! Begrudgingly we agree but continue to count our problems.
Throughout the world there are problems to which we can’t relate. Problems we have no experience dealing with on an everyday basis. Daily problems that are found in third world countries. Places where the one water source is contaminated and is available only after a hike of several miles. A place where the average income is less than a $1 a day. Where education is only available to those who can afford it and are not needed to work at home. Homes are largely constructed of mud - the only available and affordable building material. Transportation is a scarce commodity if one would need to traverse rutted mountain roads. The local communities have been decimated by AIDS leaving children to be raised by older siblings, who are children themselves, or by grandparents.
Pastor Drew, in meeting his sponsored child for the first time, thought to himself, “These children are real.” They are real and they have true third world problems.
Imagine if you were able to provide an education and clean water to a specific child who’s name you know and family you know about. Imagine being part of supporting a community that is able to have sustainable businesses and services that once seemed impossible. Imagine being part of releasing a child from poverty in Jesus’ name!
Don’t just imagine, go do it!!
Compassion International is an organization that can and does make this happen with the support of people just like you. According to Compassion International regarding their child sponsorship programs, “All of our child development programs provide opportunities that encourage healthy development in four areas — spiritual, physical, social and economic.”
The Bible speaks specifically to our role in helping the poor. Proverbs 19:17 says, “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” God doesn’t tell us this because it’s a nice thing to do, he tells us this because he created us and in doing so he knows that joy comes when we give our lives to serving and caring for others.
Jesus modeled this compassion throughout his ministry. Ultimately he told his disciples to, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,…” (Matt 28:19)
We are to go!!
Will you spend time focusing on third world problems and being grateful for your first world problems? Will you pray and search for guidance on how God is asking you to respond? Will you take the steps of compassion as Jesus modeled?
For more information on child sponsorship, go to https://www.compassion.com/child-development-model.htm. For ways to get involved locally go to severnrun.com/get-involved or call the church office at 410-551-6654.