Praise God for Maranatha's first mission trip of the year and second mission trip (and hopefully many more!) to be featured on this blog as our Jamaica Mission Team heads to Jamaica TODAY!
Thank you to everyone who came out yesterday for, what could have been, our biggest anniversary celebration yet! Of course, all glory and praise be to God who has blessed us with so much more than we deserve.
he title of our series, "Here We Stand," is a play on the iconic words that the great German reformer, Martin Luther, may not have actually spoken before the Diet of Worms: “Here I stand; I can do no other” (at least this is what some scholars hold to be true).
Whether these were his words or merely a later insertion, what can’t be denied is Luther’s resolve to stand firm, risking life and limb, after his teaching was decreed by Pope Leo X as being a “poisonous virus.” His experience of amazing grace that brought him into a right standing and reconciled relationship with Almighty God was entirely by faith alone in Christ alone. Upon conversion, his life became a passionate pursuit of writing, teaching, preaching, and translating the glorious truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
First of all, I don’t see myself as a representative of women's thoughts in general, and I understand that my own experiences and struggles might be very foreign to other women. But as a woman, I do want to share my limited insight into something that's usually not associated with our gender as frequently as it is with men. The issue of lust—sexual lust in particular—is commonly considered a big struggle for men because, as many of us have heard, men are generally more prone to be visually stimulated. But this is certainly a sin that women struggle with, too. Maybe we are just more complicated, or shall I say, "complex" about it.
Lust (n.) – a sinful longing, often sexual.
This four-letter word is often the elephant in the room. The consensus is that men, believers included, struggle with lust, which men can act upon through pornography and masturbation . How might we address this?
For the first time since...our last post, we here at GraceNotes are extremely excited for what's in store as we introduce our first ever Blog Series (official name of these segments TBD).
This Wednesday and next, we will be posting a two-part series on LUST.
For our second installment of A Day in the Life, we are so excited to have TWO glimpses into this year's Ladies' Retreat through our sister, Diana Moy's, reflections on what she learned at retreat....AND a special video recap giving us both an inside look into Ladies' Retreat AND an exclusive interview with Retreat Planner, Delimar Freire, and Retreat Speaker, Anna Moore.
This weekend many of our ladies will be spending time together, away from their usual responsibilities and activities. For but a fleeting moment in the grand scheme of things, they will 'retreat' for focused learning, fellowship, growing, eating, praying, and playing. They retreat seeking to be re-invigorated, re-calibrated, and refreshed for what they will face as they return to the day-to-day. And they do so all for God's glory and honor, as well as for their joy which in turn also brings God glory!
A few things I'd like to remind all of us to do in light of this wonderful opportunity:
Next Tuesday, September 15, we will be hosting a prayer meeting at 360 Sylvan Ave. focusing on prayer specifically for North Korea. When it comes to North Korea, not many people know much about its inner workings outside of the fact that it is an extremely isolated country with a man named Kim Jong Un running the show. However, that is not to say that the Gospel is not at work in North Korea nor does it mean that North Korea is not in need of prayer! Today, our Deacon of Missions, Mihye Kim, reflects on her experiences with and what led her to start praying for North Korea.
Today, we are excited to introduce A Day in the Life, a new segment where members of our church community share snapshot testimonies of their life. One of our foundational goals for GraceNotes has always been to connect our readers, both within and outside of Maranatha, to Maranatha’s culture in a Gospel-centered and personal way. We want people to see what we’re like, to know who we are, and to hear stories of how God works in His church and in His people. Romans 12:15 calls us to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep, and the best way to know who to rejoice or weep with is by sharing in each other’s lives.
A Day in the Life intends to give you a deeper look into Maranatha’s culture by allowing people to share testimonies not just of salvation, but of reflections on their joys, struggles, lessons, and perspectives in their everyday lives. As God has grown our church, He has given us a great diversity in ethnicity, career, age, and background, and in this segment, we want to not only highlight this diversity but, more importantly, highlight how God uses each one of us broken sinners in different ways for our good and His glory!
And for our first A Day in the Life, we are so blessed to have our sister, Nancy Yan share a bit about what God has recently been doing in her life.
MGFL Murals is our semi-regular video segment where we give you a glimpse into the culture and people of Maranatha Grace through short testimonials. Our aim is that, over time, you will begin to see a beautiful mural of people who make up our church– people from all different backgrounds and all different walks of life, yet who are all sinners in need of saving grace.
In this week's MGFL Murals, meet Myarka (Mica) Fostine.
A friend once told me, “When God saved you, He didn’t just save you to himself; He saved you into a community.” For my friend that meant that, as a new Christian, I should join a local church. It was great advice, and I followed it. I committed myself to a congregation and attended weekly gatherings where we sang and heard God’s word together. I did that for years and learned so much.
Politics. It's been a confusing subject for me ever since junior high school, when my sisters and I would watch the evening news with our father and discuss it over the dinner table. I knew it was a realm full of strong opinions and heated debate, but I had no idea which opinions were right. Sure, studying it in college gave me tons of information about it, but it didn't do much to help clear up the confusion, or to help me understand what God thought about politics or how I should think about it.
The man in the orange shirt at the 168th street subway stop strikes a response in me, that of sadness mixed with anger as the smell of urine penetrates my nostrils, alongside embarrassment for my own lack of compassion and kindness toward another human being.
...then when I forget about the man, he appears a week later and I react again, in much the same way. Then yes, I forget again.
It’s a beautiful thing to see how God has grown Maranatha from its roots of being a baby churchplant started by a balding, middle-aged, uncultured family man and using him to lead a rag-tag group of much younger-aged men who wore jeans that were all too tight & skinny and listened to John Mayer and Coldplay all the day long.
In this week's MGFL Murals, meet our resident actor, Justin Moy! Justin gets into character... As HIMSELF! He also shares with us how he first found Maranatha and why he decided to stick around to be a part of our church and community.
Constant wakings, whimpers-turned wails, projectile poops — I'm convinced, are part of God's crash course to sanctification. Joking aside, caring for newborns seem to have a way of teaching us how to display God's love when we're tired, busy or flustered. Maranatha member and new mom Cindy Yip writes a lovely entry on how her little one is teaching her patience. Here's her entry:
This past week, like many of you, I witnessed a lot of outrage over the death of a lion named Cecil. Granted, he wasn’t just any lion. He had a name and a lot of fans. I have to admit I was disgusted by the photographs and by the story of how Cecil had been lured, shot, and tracked. I’m no hunter, and I’m not particularly inclined to kill animals (if we don’t count bugs!), so the indignation struck me as understandable, albeit excessive. What struck me as really interesting, though, was not so much the indignation over Cecil, but what seems to me like a relative lack of indignation over other ongoing injustices that are far more deserving of our attention and concern.
My family and I have been attending Maranatha for a little over a year and in that time, we've been blessed by many brothers and sisters over many meals. I've seen how koinónia, the New Testament Greek for "fellowship" or "community", is a vital part of the vision of the church -- the pastors preach it and the members live it.
1806. That year is etched in my mind.
Tucked away in Mission Park is a small monument, a stop on a tour of the campus of Williams College. Unadorned and hardly impressive.
I can still hear the sophomore tour guide’s chipper, rehearsed spiel: “This is the Haystack Monument, which commemorates a prayer meeting held in 1806 by five men who took cover under a haystack during a thunderstorm.” Quaint and forgettable.
Only years later did I learn that a worldwide missions movement was born under a haystack.