Listening to Grace

Listening to Grace

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 3/5/15

I have been trying to pay attention during this Lenten season. One of the ways that I try to be mindful each year is to seek out new expressions of faith in the Lenten season in music, art, or movies. This year praise and folk music topped my Lenten playlist. I am struck by the hope present in the Avett Brothers’, “Salvation Song.”

We came for salvation
We came for family
We came for all that's good, that's how we'll walk away
We came to break the bad
We came to cheer the sad
We came to leave behind the world a better way

There is something both earnest and honest about the sound. Other people are paying attention, too. The first time columnist Nick Rynerson heard “Salvation Song,” he wept unashamedly. For Nick, it encouraged him to trust Christ as the themes in “Salvation Song” are completed in the good news of Easter. Listen to the song here.

And I would give up everything
No this is not just about me
And I don’t know a plainer way to say it Babe
And they may pay us off in fame
Though that is not why we came
And I know well and good
that won’t heal our hearts

This Lenten season invites us to take stock of our lives. That is difficult because our lives are filled with things that we know “well and good won’t heal our hearts.” May we lay them down in this season and prepare to take up the cross and follow Jesus.

Slowing Down for Lent

Slowing Down for Lent

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 2/26/15

What is your schedule like? If you are like most people, it is packed. Your day planner may have grown from a helpful tool to a horrible boss. This season of Lent invites you to do more than examine your benign vices and half-hearted disciplines. If you are feeling stressed and unable to enjoy life abundant, then the Lenten season invites you to stop.... just stop. Fasting from busyness might be just the thing to bring you closer to God and your family.

Locked In

Locked In

by Cass DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 2/19/15

Last Friday night, Lucy Jordan, Ginger Gilpin, Honey Miscall, and I spent the night at the church at our Youth Lock In. From 8:00 p.m. – 8:00 a.m., 24 youth went on a city-wide scavenger hunt, bowled until midnight, played sardines and other fun games, and had movie time in the Great Room. Special thanks to Lex Horton, Rachel Greco, and Todd Newton, who helped with the scavenger hunt and bowling.

Living a Public Faith

Living a Public Faith

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 2/12/15

It was Saturday morning and the doorbell rang. Chatty Cheryl from next door was the only person I knew who would ring our doorbell that early on the weekend, that is the only person except…that’s right, except street evangelists. Sometimes they were Mormon, sometimes they were Baptist. Each time I had a well-developed line that I delivered as they were launching into their Saturday morning pitch for Jesus. Interrupting them, I would proffer, “Thank you for coming out this morning.” (I wasn’t thankful.) “But, I am a minister from another Christian tradition.” (Yes, this is true, but hard to tell by the old Duke Alumni sweatshirt I am wearing.) “I wish you well today.” (No. I wish you would leave me alone and move quickly off my porch, so that I may resume my Netflix marathon.) Most Saturdays this tried and true script worked. I would say the line and my well-intentioned trespassers would walk off to interrupt the next unsuspecting family eating their brunch across the street.

Telling Our Stories

Telling Our Stories

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 2/5/15

The season after Epiphany is coming to an end. We have been using this time to tell stories and to hopefully reveal narratives of God’s providence, inspiration, discernment, and love. We have gathered on Wednesdays and sung the words of Fanny Crosby’s hymn that have echoed throughout the Great Room: “Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word; Tell me the story most precious, sweetest that ever was heard.”

Bending Towards Beauty

Bending Towards Beauty

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters Newsletter, February 2015

I love evergreens. We are now firmly in February and I need them. Autumn’s passing and winter’s march have left our part of the world drained of color. Gone is the rose that perched in my window, gone is the pastoral green of the hill across the way, gone is the shade provided by the leaves. The whole world seems cold and dark and waiting for something to warm both hearth and hue. In worship, we have reached the season of Lent, a season marked by contrasts of dark and light, virtue and vice.

Be Inspired

Be Inspired

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 1/29/15

If you haven’t heard, there is an expanding controversy concerning contracted game balls from the AFC championship game last week. Eleven of the twelve game balls used by the New England Patriots were found to be under inflated. Critics cried foul. Clamoring fans blamed the climate. Coaches theorized wildly concerning the physics of time and temperature on pigskins and laces. Even physicists weighed in on the conditions required to deflate those balls under natural conditions.
 

An Afternoon with Asher

An Afternoon with Asher

by Ruth DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 1/22/15

It has been awhile since I had a toddler in my house for any length of time, but this past week I got to spend the afternoon with my two-year-old great nephew, Asher. I was in charge of Asher while his mom attended a baby shower here in Macon. I had eagerly anticipated our afternoon together and was excited about spending time with this sweet, energetic, bright-eyed little boy.