Back to School Outreach Update

By Roxy Hockensmith, Director of Local Outreach

Over the last several weeks, McLean Bible Church organized the largest back-to-school outreach program in the history of the church. Thousands of backpacks, crayons, notebooks and other supplies filled the church as donations came streaming in at every service. Due to the overwhelming generosity of our congregation we are happy to report that over 4,000 students returned to the classroom better equipped for success. Our congregation responded with an outpouring of donations and gifts. It was a true blessing to see the Lord work through our church and meet a real need in the community.  The end result was nearly 30,000 school supplies collected with an estimated value of over $100,000! Returning to school can be an exciting time for students but it can also be a time of economic burden for the families who cannot provide these basic needs. Through the awesome support of our church family we were able ease this burden for thousands and show the love of Christ in a real and tangible way.

On August 23volunteers helped distribute backpacks, clean up school grounds and pray with families throughout the region. At Hutchison Elementary school in Herndon over 500 people attended the outreach event. Volunteers not only met physical needs by providing backpacks and food, but also spiritual needs by praying with families that attended. Each student who attended this event was given an Action Bible due to a generous donation made by a member of our church. Other locations included 6 Title I schools in DC, the Metropolitan Police Department, various homeless shelters in the region, Bethesda Baptist Church, Independent Church of God in Southeast, Daybreak Ministries, the House and KIPP Schools.

None of this would be possible without the love and kindness of our congregation. We want to thank every person who donated supplies, volunteered their time and partnered in prayer during the weeks leading up to our back-to-school outreach. For more opportunities to serve, please visit our Ministries page at mcleanbible.org/ministries.

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. (Hebrews 6:10)

Overview

Our back to school drive has been a huge success. The generosity of the congregation made a huge impact on the community and thousands of students are now more equipped for success as they begin the school year. We distributed over 4,000 backpacks and thousands of supplies. The total estimated value of the materials distributed was $103,292.50.

Distribution

  1. Backpacks were distributed to the following elementary schools in Fairfax and DC:  Hutchison, Burrville, Nalle, Randle Highlands, Savoy, Malcolm X and Houston.
  2. We also distributed backpacks and supplies with our ministry partners like Daybreak, The House, Bethesda Baptist and Independent Church of God.
  3. Lastly, we gave over one thousand backpacks to the DC General Shelter, Emily Ruckers Shelter and the Metropolitan Police Department.

Volunteers

Approximately 100 volunteers from MBC helped pack supplies, distribute materials, clean up school with DC Beatification Day and show the love of Christ with the community.

Hutchison/Herndon

One true success story of our back to school drive was the overwhelming turn out at Hutchison Elementary. On Saturday, August 23 approximately 500 people in the community came out to receive backpacks and enjoy fellowship. Volunteers prayed with people, organized games for the children, cleaned up the school grounds, distributed action bibles and provided hot dogs for all those who attended. The back to school drive was a success throughout the DC area, however the impact was most evident at Hutchison Elementary.

Additional Statistics

Materials

Cost per Unit

Amount

Total

Backpacks

$8.50

4009

$34,076.50

Crayons

1.80

2510

$5,562.00

Markers

4.00

2210

$11,160.00

Binders

2.00

2210

$5,580.00

Notebooks

1.80

6630

$15,066.00

Scissors

1.80

1105

$2,511.00

Rulers

1.00

1105

$1,395.00

Erasers

2.00

2210

$5,580.00

Pens

3.00

2210

$8,370.00

Pencils

2.80

2210

$7,812.00

Glue

2.00

2510

$6,180.00

Total:

$103,292.50

 

Location

Backpacks

Herndon

200

Hutchison

50

Daybreak

360

The House

100

Bethesda Baptist DC

100

Independent Church DC

100

Burrville

100

Nalle

100

Randle Highlands

100

Savoy

100

Malcolm X

100

Houston

100

Clothing Shop

200

DC General Shelter

400

KIPP

400

DCPD

900

Career Network

20

Food Pantry

20

Silver Spring

20

Access

20

Shelter

200

Elizabeth Ruckers Shelter

100

Other Ministries

219

Total:

4,009

An “Out of this World” Life: Where your mind is, there your life will be also

Have you ever had an “out of body” experience? The closest I’ve come was when I was placed in an MRI tube and told to, “lie down and don’t move.” I now unashamedly testify that I am a self-diagnosed “MRI-phobic.”

The nurse had cheerfully assured me, “If you need anything or need us to stop, just press the button.” But, I couldn’t. It was pure pride. A long-time friend had just told me that his recent MRI experience was a piece of cake. Was I going to admit that I couldn’t go through with it because I was afraid? Not a chance.

Paralyzed by pride and phobia, I was in a place where I didn’t want to be. How was I going to get my mind to be as free as if I wasn’t there, even though my body couldn’t go anywhere?

Counting sheep didn’t work. Quoting verses about overcoming problems, like, “Fear not for I am with you,” just seemed to put the spotlight back on my problem.

But, suddenly, I discovered the key that unlocked the door! My fear fell off, my mind was free!

What was it? I started singing! Not just any song. Praise songs that admired God for who he was and thanked him for what he had done. My spirit soared, and I was “out of this world!”[1]

Singing your way into thinking right
“Out of this world” is the talk-on-the street version of “Be filled with the Spirit.” The person who is filled with the Holy Spirit is a person who is walking and talking like the only completely fearless, joyful, God-centered human the world has ever known: Jesus Christ. How is one filled with the Spirit like Jesus was? Look at what Paul wrote:

“…let the Spirit stimulate your souls. Express your joy in singing among yourselves psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making music in your hearts for the ears of God! Thank God at all times for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And ‘fit in with’ each other, because of your common reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:18-21, J.B. Philipps)

A new frame of mind in a different place
Why is singing plus praise such a powerful punch that pulverizes all things negative? It’s not the act of singing, or even what it does for you (as it releases wonderful feel-good hormones throughout your being). It’s where it takes your spirit and the new frame of mind you get by going there, enabling you to think differently than circumstances dictate.

Paul and Silas had evidently learned how to have an “Out of this World” life.[2] It was on one very painful night that they decided that their way of thinking was not going to be shaped by the place where they landed. The scene wasn’t pretty. Their clothes had been ordered ripped off by judges, they were bloodied, black and blue after being severely and publicly flogged with wooden rods, then slammed into the maximum security cell of an inner dungeon with their feet clamped in leg irons. What was their crime? Paul had commanded a demon to come out of a slave girl. Her owners were livid. They had been making big bucks off of her by selling her service as a fortune-teller.

And, what were Paul and Silas doing in prison? Having a midnight prayer meeting and hymn sing praising God! They were “out of there” in their minds, way before the earthquake came to let their bodies walk out.

Be like them. Get your mind out of its normal way of thinking when in temptation or trial.  Why let fear, failure, frustration, or even being in a funk rule and ruin your life?

Set your mind on the person that you already are in Christ. Singing is an essential way of doing that, taking you to the only place where the real you exists.

“…you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth. For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [the splendor of His] glory.” (Ephesians 6:18-21, Amplified Bible)

Get your mind to go where it’s supposed to be, and you’ll discover what your life was meant to be.  Where your mind is, there your life will be also.



[1] Important note: To make this crystal clear, I wasn’t “hovering” over the MRI tube watching everyone, including myself, in the room, when I say that “my spirit soared.” This is metaphorically speaking.

[2] Acts 16:16-26

Rock Student Ministries Summer Update

By Todd Peters, Director of the Rock Student Ministries

Dear MBC Tysons Family,

We want to share with you what the Lord has done with the students, volunteers and the ROCK staff this summer. The pace was fast and the tempo intense, but it was awesome! I am reminded of a quote from Oswald Sanders in regards to our volunteers, “True greatness, true leadership is achieved not by reducing men to one’s service, but in giving oneself in selfless service to them.” Our volunteers are the best and none of the below would be possible without them. We thank God for them and their service to His people.

Senior High Beach Week

We had 481 people attend Senior High Beach Week this summer. 177 students made spiritual decisions for Jesus Christ. Here are a few comments on what God did in the hearts of the students.

  • A male student is now ready to stop blaming God for the failures of his earthly father. He is now ready to walk with his heavenly Father.
  • One female student is ready to let God love her. She cried out to God and thanked Him for not forgetting her and that she is ready to follow Jesus.
  • A 10th grade student requests forgiveness and is ready to live for God’s Kingdom and not their own.
  • A 12th grade student now understands their real worth and security is found in Christ alone.
  • One student had a prayer of thanksgiving and ended the prayer by asking, “Please don’t let me forget my purpose on the earth, to glorify Your mighty name.”

Junior High Local Outreach

Our Junior High students did a local outreach to the city of Baltimore. 19 students, along with 11 volunteers and staff, shared the Gospel and did multiple clean up projects. They demonstrated the love of Christ by serving other believers in their hometown.

  • A 7th grade student walked away knowing that serving can be fun and rewarding, both physically and spiritually.
  • One young student walked away knowing that the church is more than just the building you go to on Sunday. They now know it is the body of Christ.

Dominican Republic Mission Trip

We had 172 people attend the Dominican Republic Mission Trip. A combination of students, volunteers and staff shared the Gospel with 3,260 people. 215 people made a decision to follow Jesus as Lord and Savior. The medical team treated 465 patients and the surgical team trained 15 local doctors while removing 4 gallbladders.

  • Multiple students were able to lead someone to the Lord for the first time in their lives. They were overjoyed with emotion.
  • A recent graduate played with a little girl and our student got muddy. Our student made a sad face and said she was being selfish about her clothing. The little girl looked at her, wiped the mud from her and placed it on her own shirt. Our female student was broken as she realized the little girl demonstrated the Gospel to her with this simple act.
  • The new hotel manager allowed us to share some music and the Gospel with the staff, but for only 15 minutes. After we finished, he said he wanted more and that he would allow us more time next year to share with the hotel staff. The believers who worked at the hotel said this was an answer to prayer.

Junior High Camp

Our Junior High Camp had 490 people in attendance. 145 spiritual decisions were made to follow Jesus.

  • Multiple young boys are ready to live as young men following the Lord.
  • Both boys and girls are ready to practice forgiveness after understanding the mercy that was granted to them.
  • A 7th grade girl now understands true beauty and worth is found in Jesus Christ.
  • An 8th grade boy is now ready to live for God’s Kingdom and not this earthly one.

It was a blessing to conduct baptisms at each event this summer. We were delighted to see students follow Jesus in public baptism. This in turn challenged many other students to give their life to the Lord. Your ROCK staff is grateful for the honor to serve and we are mindful of the Apostle Paul’s words found in 2 Corinthians 4:1, “Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not give up.” As our church continues to seek the Lord in prayer, may we all return to our first love and proclaim the name of Jesus to this lost and dying world.

For the King,

Todd Peters

To learn more about the Rock Student Ministries, click here.

 

Power At Work: it’s all in what you see

All I wanted at the pet store were a couple of snails for my small aquarium. I got a bonus deal: snails plus a mini workshop on labor relations.

“So, how’s it going today?” I asked the young man who was putting my tiny purchases in water-filled bags.
“Not so good,” he responded.
“Some days are like that for all of us,” I offered, as a way of solidarity.
“Yeah, that’s true,” he replied, but then quickly added, “But, I love my job.”
I looked at him with amazement and exclaimed, “Not a whole lot of people can say that! What makes you love your job?”
“My boss,” he smiled. “She’s always positive, always encouraging me, helps me to do things the right way. She’s awesome.”
“You’re really blessed,” I affirmed.
“Yes, I am!” he said in hearty agreement.

For this employee, loving his job trumped the hassle of his “not so good” days. He didn’t say he loved his job because of the salary or benefits, or the great customers, or tropical fish and snails that he sold. He loved his job because of the way that he was appreciated and treated by his boss.

“Big deal,” some might say. “Who wouldn’t love their job with a boss like that? What if he had a boss like mine who makes you feel abused, misused, disregarded, harassed, and unappreciated?”

If that’s your story, you’re not alone. You’re in the same boat with thousands of others, and you feel powerless to change anything. You can’t even leave. You need the money. You’re stuck!

Well, I’ve got good news. You have power to change the one thing that matters the most in your job: You.

Let’s do an eye exam.  When you look in the mirror, what do you see? The eye of your mind probably sees how you think others see you. When you look at your work, what value do you see? You probably see the same value that others tell you they see.

If that’s how you see things, through the eyes of others, that’s a problem. A really big one.  God wants you to see as he sees. Seeing and accepting as true what God sees is not a distortion of reality. No one can truly live with freedom in a man made house of mirrors.

Consider this. If Christian slaves in the Roman Empire could change the vision they had of themselves and the work that they did, so can you. Let’s step into their world a few hundred years ago.

In their homelands, before they were conquered by Rome and were torn away by soldiers to be sold as slaves in foreign lands, most were known as successful, prosperous people in their trades and lives. Almost overnight, they slipped from that life to a nightmare, working for owners who cared nothing for them, and as slaves doing work they cared nothing about.

Did the slaves of Rome have reason to be angry, resentful, and bitter? I think so.  Over time, dehumanization conditioned slaves to see themselves in dark mirrors: worthless nobodies with meaningless lives until the day they died. They endured dead end jobs and the daily humiliation of doing the dumb, dirty, or dangerous work. And, if you couldn’t do your work, you were dumped, discarded as trash. A horde of other slaves were ready to take your place.

Just as God sent Moses with a message of deliverance to his Hebrew children who were slaves in the Egyptian dynasty, God now sent Paul with a message of freedom to his children who were slaves in the Roman Empire.[1]  Paul’s message hit the slave world with the force of a spiritual tsunami, shattering in one single wave the mirrors of distortion in which they had been seeing themselves. [2]

“Did you hear?” they exclaimed in amazement to each other, “Paul, the Apostle, the ‘legend’ himself, sent a message to us!  He wrote to us from his prison cell in Rome! ”[3]

I can imagine Christian slaves meeting secretly to talk in hushed voices about the message that came to them.

One slave starts with, “Paul said, ‘Brothers and sisters, you’re not a slave of men, doing work that has no meaning; you are servants of the Lord Christ himself, doing his work for him, even with him!’”

Another slave chimes in, And, he said that nothing and no one has the power to change who you are, a child of God who has created you for a life of good works. You belong to Jesus Christ, the Sovereign Lord of the universe. No matter what anyone does to you or where they send you, there you are a servant of Christ who has set you free from all sin and its effects. If you have lousy pay, Christ will reward you.”[4]

There was silence for a moment and a third slave says, “Really? Is this how God really sees us?”[5]

That’s exactly how God saw them and that’s exactly how God sees you. Why not personalize the truth that set slaves free in the spirit of their minds, so that, like them, you can really do your work with the power of gladness?

 I am a child of Almighty God, my Father, and a personal servant of Jesus Christ the Sovereign Lord of the universe.
For him and with him, I am doing the work he has given me to do with the power of the Holy Spirit.

You will experience power at work that you never thought possible. It’s all in what you see.



[1] Paul’s message to the slaves was in his letters to the churches in the prominent cities of Ephesus and Colossae.

[2] This is not to say that all slave owners treated their slaves in this way. A minority of slaves had positions of responsibility in the

family business or the household.

[3] Paul was not writing from some posh office as a philosopher with an esoteric, mystic theory or promoting a feel-good pop

psychology. He was a brilliant theologian, a devoted activist for Christ who took his faith to the streets and, because of his faith,

jailed in a Roman prison. He learned from hard experience that “No person or life situation can take from me the dignity and honor

  that I have from God. Christ, the hope of glory lives in me!”

[4] To the slaves in Colossae: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when

   they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord. Work willingly at whatever you do, as

   though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward,

   and that the Master you are serving is Christ.” (Colossians 3:22-24, NLT)

 

To the slaves in Ephesus“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve  

   Christ. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your

   heart.  Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.Remember that the Lord will reward

   each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.” (Ephesians 6:5-8, NKJV)

[5] We need to remember that while Paul gave specific instructions to slaves, they were also recipients of the truths of his entire letter

to the churches at Ephesus and Colossae. They, like any “free” Christian were given the full benefits of the knowledge of and

relationship with Jesus Christ, as described by Paul in the entirety of the letters.

Getting to the Heart, Part 5

By Mike Kelsey, Campus Pastor @MBCSilverSpring

The Heart Is Always Trusting Something
In addition to our desires, we are also motivated by our beliefs. In fact, our beliefs usually dictate how we handle our desires. This is clearly seen in the account of the Fall in Genesis 3. Eve desired the nourishment, beauty and divine wisdom that would come from eating the fruit of the forbidden tree (Genesis 3:6). But she didn’t eat it until she believed the serpent’s proposal to be more reliable than God’s promises (Genesis 3:1-5).

The same dynamic is at work in our hearts. Our minds are filled with thoughts that have been accumulated from and influenced by different sources: media we’ve consumed, advice we’ve received, stories we’ve heard, classes we’ve taken, experiences we’ve had, sermons we’ve listened to, etc. In the midst of these swirling thoughts is a constant battle for our hearts—a battle for what we will believe, a battle for who or what we will ultimately trust.

This battle is so important to understand because the biblical picture is one in which we are much more vulnerable and susceptible to deception than we often realize.

Deception is Satan’s primary strategy for influencing us (Genesis 3:13; John 8:44).
Deception is Satan’s primary strategy for influencing us (Genesis 3:13; John 8:44).The supposed “wisdom” of people around us can deceive us (Ephesians 4:14). And, because of our sin nature, even our own hearts and desires can deceive us (Jeremiah 17:9; Ephesians 4:22). Practically speaking, we need to become adept at evaluating the beliefs that drive us. Where did a belief come from, and is it true? Even if it is true, does it reflect the whole truth given in God’s Word? What do we believe about ourselves? What do we believe about the things we desire? What do we believe or fail to believe about God? As we begin to ask those questions, we will see that our behavior is an expression of what we really desire and what we really believe.

Here’s one example. A man begins drinking alcohol excessively [behavior] because he is depressed about his prolonged unemployment [circumstance]. What is happening in his heart? Well, we know that he desires a job. But his desire for a job is likely a mixture of more fundamental desires like financial security and self-worth, etc. Let’s go with his desire for financial security, which is partly a desire for peace. He doesn’t want to worry about whether he’ll be able to meet his needs. What might he believe? One possible belief is that without a job, the most reliable way to have peace is to get drunk. Is this true? No. Rather than trusting God for peace (Philippians 4:6-8) and obeying Him (Ephesians 5:18), he trusts alcohol.

God’s Word is always the most reliable source of truth. In every circumstance, God wants us to trust Him by relying on what He has revealed to be true. That means the time we spend reading, memorizing and hearing God’s Word preached is not just religious routine. Our minds need to be constantly saturated with the wonderful truths of God’s Word so that those truths become the predominate influences in our hearts.

Fighting The Darkness with The Light

By Angel Turbeville, Director of Small Groups @MBCBethesda

As I look around at the world we live in, some days it feels like it is totally falling apart. One of the most devastating losses is death due to suicide. Can there be enough hope to break through to those souls struggling to hold onto life itself? I believe there is. I think the church needs to understand a little more, and I hope taking my mask off might help. Depression and the overwhelming darkness and despair that it brings strikes those who claim their salvation in God, just as hard, maybe even harder, as those who do not profess faith in Christ. I know that many in the church want to help, but they do not understand the complexity of how to be in transformational community with those who battle depression. Here’s my take from a heart that knows.

In many ways, I believe the battlefield of the physical darkness of the mind, is compounded for the Christian. Satan knows that if he can make us lose hope, we are rendered powerless from God’s kingdom. Depression is not foreign to me. I have watched many I love battle and even more devastating, stop fighting. I battle. I am a believer. I KNOW Christ. I know His love. I know the power of the cross. I minister to others. I share His hope. I speak truth even on the days when my heart is dark with despair. In the past, I’ve battled waves of anxiety and panic attacks. Thankfully, those have lessened. Because of the devastating depth of how broken my heart is, my past has even included begging God to take me to heaven. I’ve let a few close to me know the level of my pain, but for the most part, I’ve painted on the face I know I’m supposed to have and soldier on. Healing has occurred, but I still have days/weeks of struggles. In those times, eventually God’s light does break through. I’ll go from a heavy cloud of oppression to a realization of the hope that is at work within me. However, despite my constant prayer, God has not totally healed me.

God, in His gentle sovereign way, has taught me how to fight this darkness. I have taken practical steps—I have been in counseling for six years. I have tried medication, but unfortunately for me, aside from helping me through crisis points, this has not been a good ongoing solution. I know the battle is easier if I manage my diet, exercise and sleep. I try to do that.

Spiritual transformation has happened in the light of community. The few who know my battle are the dear friends who consistently love me through the dark. In the past couple of years the most healing has happened because of those within the church that I have been able to trust. They are the ones who persist. They know my patterns. They recognize when I am going into hiding or not being honest about my heart. They call me out. They sit in the despair with me and pray. They check in with me, text me verses, email me and are not afraid of my dark. Some of them have their own struggle and those who know deep pain have been able to penetrate to places that others can’t. However, the friends that most amaze me are those who don’t share this or a similar battle, but still schlep into the dark completely relying on God to navigate the right words or actions.

What are some practical actions you can take if you have people in your life who are battling depression, or for that matter, any pain that you have no idea how to relate to?

1. Be there
Be a consistent presence in their lives. This does not mean lecturing them on how to change their thoughts or refocusing them on “positive” thinking. It does mean pointing them to Scripture that affirms the despair of their hearts. Wrestling through where they are with God and praying with them and for them. My deepest “knowing God” moments have been the times when I have been able to apply the truth of His character to the depravity of my heart.

2. Persevere
In the worst times of despair, we disconnect. The pain drives us into hiding because “no one understands.” We believe many lies including that we are “totally alone” and “no one cares.” Even as believers, these thought patterns creep in. Outside of crisis points, have honest conversations to find out what is helpful when this level of despair hits. Open yourself up to be available via text or phone—anytime day or night. Does this level of care scare you? It shouldn’t. For the believer who is truly battling and seeking God’s work of redemption in their lives, this will not turn into co-dependence. It will be a mark of authentic community and the bearing up of one another’s burdens.

3. Be willing to ask the hard questions 
Understand specifically the trigger points that ignite moments of despair. For those you are in close community with, make sure they are keeping safeguards in place to manage their reactions.

4. Affirm and love
At our deepest levels, God created us for intimate relationship. We need to be free to let go of shame and be embraced by love. Shame comes with this struggle. Satan is whispering the lies of “where is your God right now?”, “you are serving Him and ministering to others, look at the fraud you are right now” and any other lie he can think of in attempt to disable God’s redemptive work. Do not add to the shame with a spirit of condemnation. Identify the lies and answer them with Truth from God’s Word.

5. Pray and rely on the Holy Spirit
Those who deeply struggle with depression and mental illness have needs and thirsts that are insatiable. We can only be redeemed through His Living Water. Our community must be built with those who will not retreat in hurt, but will strive to understand and love through the power of the cross.

6. Recognize when practical help is needed in addition to spiritual
For those who battle this deeply, there is a need for professional counseling and other resources. However, even in those cases, the five points above STILL apply. A counselor is not community for the Christian.

The body of Christ MUST take steps to understand how to engage with one another so that we are living the Gospel victoriously. 1 Thessalonians 5 is a beautiful picture of what the church should be doing. We need to realize that we have not been lost in the darkness of this world, and we need to encourage each other to live as children of light. In vs. 14 the command is given to comfort the “feebleminded”. The word actually means “small-souled” and in context indicates one who is despondent. Are we in close enough community with each other to know the size of our souls? Are our lives prioritized around our agendas or knowing and loving others in a way that is transformational and exhibits a taste of the love we have received through Christ on the cross. Let’s get there. Let’s be patient, know each other at the soul-level, and love deeply as Christ has loved us. Simple statements that call for bold living.

Truth Literally Saved My Life

By Stephanie Green, MBC Staff Applications Analyst & MBC Tysons Attendee

In a recent discussion with a close friend, I realized why I get so concerned about “relational sanctification” (as I would label it). I’ve found that relationships I’m in now can have a way of resurrecting the past, and all of the hurts that have been hiding under its webs. Previously in my life, these flashbacks have been so painful that I didn’t know how to deal with or face the reality of the hurt. For example, in high school, after being stood up on the day of my boyfriend’s prom, I began cutting. Several years later, while in a disastrous relationship with a college boyfriend, I tried to take my life.

These acts of brokenness were fueled by my deeply rooted insecurities. My dad left me waiting a lot, and my mom made me believe that God was going to send a replacement father who wouldn’t abandon me. I was raised by three orphans, two of whom had deep fears of abandonment. My own fears of relational pain and abandonment grew deeper, and my ability to trust faded away.

God is Different
God is faithful to keep His promises and says in His Word that He will never leave me nor forsake me. I’ve been to Christian therapy, and it has helped greatly, but there is nothing else on this earth (or beyond) that can fulfill the promise of God’s eternal love. When I first heard that God’s love was unconditional and everlasting, I was drawn to this message of hope.

Prior to committing my life to the Lord, I heard truth from His Word, but it wasn’t until my last suicide attempt (shortly after leaving college) that I surrendered my life completely to God. I didn’t feel comfortable trusting or believing anyone at that point, but I knew I needed help and prayed: “God if you are real, please help me.”

God Heard Me
He did help me. God brought me away from all that I clung to in order to teach me to trust and know Him as my Heavenly Father.

I wasted a lot of time focusing on Satan’s lies such as “you’re not good enough,” “you have no value or purpose,” etc. But I was literally rescued by Truth. If I breathed my last breath today, and I had to give my final words of advice, with no doubt I would say: “Cling to the Truth of His Word—God is faithful. Believe in the Lord Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. He literally saved my life.”

The Truth Will Save You, Too
Not all of us have traumatic life stories, but we all face the same battle of believing lies from Satan and being deceived. Fight strong, not by trying to control circumstance but by clinging to Truth—God’s amazing truth found in His Word.

If you or someone you know is struggling with similar emotional pain and would like to speak with someone, please call The MBC Counseling Center at 703-770-8670 or the reception desk at McLean Bible Church at 703-639-2000 and ask to speak to the “Staff of the Day,” Mondays-Fridays, 9 am to 5 pm.

Military Operation Kindness Ministry Update

Wayne Fujito, Volunteer Director, Military Operation Kindness Ministry

Dear Members of the MBC at Tysons, Prince William, Loudoun and Bethesda Campuses,

On behalf of the Military Operation Kindness Ministry (OKM) at Tysons Campus, please accept our heartfelt thanks for your very kind and generous responses to the Independence Day Weekend flag campaign for OKM donations and the campus weekend church bulletins which included the Cards for Troops that were either inserted or distributed with the bulletin during 28-29 June.

As a result, during the four weekends in July, we collected an estimated >5,000 lbs of spiritual books, magazines, CD/DVDs, toiletries, snacks, sports equipment and other needed personal items. This translates into approximately 150 boxes for our deployed military members. Additionally, we estimate that at least 4,000 completed Cards for our Troops were collected from all campuses. We are also deeply grateful for the cash/check donations that were made in support of our OKM efforts.

Please pray for our military service members who are deployed worldwide, especially those in Afghanistan who are serving under extremely difficult conditions.

With heartfelt gratitude and in His Service,

Wayne Fujito
Volunteer Director, Military OKM

To learn more about the Military Operation Kindness Ministry, click here or email outreach@mcleanbible.org. Join us on the second Tuesday of each month to pack boxes in the Rock from 7-8 pm.

Prayer Wonder

One nice part of being a child is that awesome things are still a wonder. I’m guessing that you’ve experienced children in your own family jumping up and down like grasshoppers with incredible energy and excitement, as they drag you along to see the smallest of things that adults don’t notice or think amazing anymore. We say, “Oh, yeah, that’s nice.” Kids exclaim, “Wow! Look! That’s so cool!”

Do you and I still think of the statement below as an awesome, amazing wonder?

 “God intently listens to me when I speak to him,
and he personally answers my prayers
as he sees best, because he delights in me.”

Why not take a walk today and ponder that thought?

Prayer for the work of the Lord, we naturally do. But, I’m slowly getting it that prayer is the work.

Imagine sitting across the table from Jesus and having a personal talk about your life, work, and ministry and asking him to provide this or that. Imagine that your meeting with him is literally the direct cause for every effect – everything that happens. Imagine it, because it’s true.

Thankfully, Jesus – the Sovereign Lord, Ruler of the Cosmos, and our Personal Savior – has his own agenda and makes sure that the universe, earth, and our personal lives moves on per the counsel of his own will and for his good pleasure, all without us even thinking about it. Part of the mystery of how things work on earth, however, is that he makes much room in his plan to accommodate the “fervent prayers” of his followers, listening and answering every day. Surely, this qualifies as a wonder.

PURSUING CHRIST

By Rachel Thomas, Director of Discipleship for Women & Ministry Teams @MBCLoudoun

Many of you may be aware of the Alcan Highway. It was built during World War II to connect Alaska with the lower 48 states. Up until the 1960’s, it was all gravel and a challenge only a bold driver with a tough truck would want to tackle. The difficulties of the Alcan Highway in those days are captured in a story told by Ray Stedman, an evangelist in the Bay Area. He told of crossing the border into Alaska and seeing a sign that read, “Choose your rut carefully – you’ll be in it for the next 200 miles.” Choose your rut carefully. That’s good advice for any four-wheel-drive road, and it’s wise advice for life, more generally, because it reminds us that our actions and decisions are not independent of each other.

Every thought we entertain, every step we take, and every choice we make influences the choices we make in the future. What we do and think in this moment is not just about the “now,” but it influences what we will do and think, and who we will be tomorrow and the next day. Repeated thoughts and repeated actions create ruts in our lives that become the path of least resistance; with enough repetition, habits make our decisions for us. Left to ourselves, our habits will master us, and they will be driven by our desires and shaped by our fears. Only Jesus can set us free from those; and once he’s done so, he calls us to follow and serve him. He went hard after knowing us so that we can go hard after knowing him!

We all know we should pursue Christ. But, HOW do we pursue Him? First of all, start getting to know Him. The Gospels and the New Testament epistles are a great place to learn more about Christ.

Prayer is also key! The great reformer Martin Luther once wrote, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” It is how we communicate with the Lord of the universe. It can be done anywhere. Anytime. Why not try turning off the radio in your car on your way to work each morning and spending time in prayer as you’re sitting on the beltway? Or if you take your kids to school each morning, pray out loud with them before they get out of your car.

Journal about what you see the Lord doing in your life. Write down what He has revealed to you through a passage of Scripture. Record prayers that have been answered so you can look back and reflect on the Lord’s faithfulness and goodness in times of trial and hardship.

Be intentional. It doesn’t just happen. Like all good relationships, you have to be proactive in love, word and deed. Spend five minutes reading Scripture from a Bible or an app on your phone. Think about those words. Pray those words. Write them on a card so you see them throughout the day. After you have been consistent with five minutes, try 10 minutes, then 15 and 20.  Pick the best time of your day to give to God. Your quiet time with the Lord doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning. I’m not a morning person; so to give God my first waking moments would not be best. I wouldn’t remember a thing about my prayers or any passage of Scripture that I read. My handwriting would be indecipherable—even to me. Reserve the best time of your day on your calendar so that it is set in stone and trumps all else.

Find accountability. I cannot stress this point enough. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Hebrews 2:13 says, “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘today’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Ask someone from your discipleship group to text you to ask if you spent time in the Word and prayer that day. Do the same for them!

Find a resource that guides your reading, reflection, prayer and application. With all the books, devotionals and apps out there, make sure that the ones you use are grounded in Scripture. Many “inspirational” quick-reads never offer a Bible verse of any kind. You are to know Christ, not a human author’s opinion or feel-good God verbiage. Stay connected to the source—Jesus Christ!

Lastly, don’t get caught up in the snare of compare. Your relationship with Christ will look different from the next person’s. Our standard is not our neighbor or small group leader, but Christ. When we measure ourselves against Jesus, we will always fall short and must continue to strive, as Paul says, “in order that I may attain to the resurrection” (Philippians 3:11-12). This translated literally means “if somehow,” meaning it is not attainable to actually arrive at the final destination here on earth. Paul, this great hero of the Christian faith who wrote the majority of the New Testament and who taught some of the greatest doctrine of evangelism and the church says, “not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect.”  He knew this would be a lifelong process and that he had to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God” (3:14).

Press on to make your relationship with the Lord the most important thing in your life. Getting to know Christ is worth every bit of your intentional pursuit!