Defining Reality

On Sunday we looked at Psalm 139 and saw how the psalmist rejoiced in the Lord’s nearness as the defining reality in life. In this joyful song, the poet reminds us: God is near you. God pursues you. God has always known you. God rescues you. The psalm is extravagant in its good news!

With these verses still fresh in my mind, I've noticed this week how quickly I let other things define reality for me. Rather than accepting the nearness of God as what is most true - the reality by which everything else must be interpreted and understood - I instead allow whatever is applying the most pressure on my emotions define what is true. Approaching deadlines, uncertainty about certain things in the future, disheartening headlines have all competed with God's faithful presence over the past few days.

We can get frustrated when I realize that these important but relatively small things have replaced God's presence as what defines reality for me. How can we be so fickle? So easily distracted from the joyful nearness of Christ?

But the gracious God who comes near to us through the grace of Jesus and the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit, is the same God who remains near to us despite how often we get distracted. This means that even our moment of frustration with ourselves hold the potential for joy: God is still here! God has not abandoned us to the distractions and idols that seek to distort reality! God is not going anywhere!

And so we turn, again and again. Countless times each day, prompted by the Holy Spirit, we turn away from anything that would warp reality and repent to the patient and loving God who stands ready to tells us again of what is most good, beautiful, and true.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain. - Psalm 139:6
On Sunday we announced a few staff updates. After serving as our church administrator for a few years, Krystle Kim is taking a full-time role with a local nonprofit. We're going to miss her on our staff team, but are so thankful for her leadership over these years. She'll continue to serve on the New Community Outreach board as the treasurer.

We're thankful that, in addition to her role overseeing Sunday mornings, Amy Calkin will now be taking on Krystle's previous responsibilities as our administrator.

We also officially welcomed Pete Blodgett as the new Director of Children and Family Ministries. Pete has hit the ground running and has been a great addition to our staff team. Pete is currently fundraising for his part-time salary. If you know anyone who'd like to give to this vision you can direct them to e-give.

Please keep Pastor Michelle in prayer as she is beginning her research for her Ph.D. dissertation. There will be some Sundays this fall when she is observing other multi-racial churches for this project. Pray that the work would go smoothly and that the end result would benefit the kingdom of God.

Lastly, in a couple of weeks Maggie and I get to travel for our 20th Anniversary! (Shout out to my parents for keeping the boys while we're away. 😀) Would you pray that this will be a time of refreshment and rejuvenation for us as we celebrate the gift of our marriage?

- Pastor David

PS There are some really good things coming up this fall, so please read the calendar below!

Community Prayer Requests

1) Permanent Facility: One of our ministry priorities this year is to discern the next steps toward purchasing a facility for ministry and corporate worship. Pray for our leaders as they work to understand how this process will work as we move forward.

2) The KEY Program at Dyett High School: The New Community Outreach Knowledge Empowers Youth (KEY) Program will begin later this month with freshmen and sophomores. Pray that the right students will be connected with this community.

3) Elected Officials: Pray for our aldermen, Sophia King and Pat Dowell, and their staffs as they represent our neighborhoods on city council.
Your generosity helps our ministry flourish. Please see this fact sheet to learn more about how to give or visit our website to give online. Thank you!

Calendar & Opportunities

Educator Commissioning | Sunday, September 15
We'll be praying for our teachers during the worship service as they start a new school year. Invite any educators to join us who'd like to be prayed for!
Men’s Gathering | September 15
There will be a Men’s Gathering on September 15 at the Dodsons’ home. Email Karlos with any questions and for directions.

Congregational Meeting | Sunday, September 22; after service
We will meet to discuss our ministry priorities in 2020.

Strides for Peace Celebration Potluck | Sunday, September 22; 1:00PM
Everyone who participated in the Strides for Peace Race Against Gun Violence is invited to a potluck lunch in the Dodson's back yard. We will celebrate the significant fundraising we were able to do for New Community Outreach and recognize the team that raised the most. Watch your inbox for more information and email Amy if you don't receive it by this Sunday.

Prayer/Worship Nights | Fridays October 18 and November 15; 7:00PM
We'll meet together to spend time in prayer and worship at the Ministry Center (3627 S. Cottage Grove).

Human Trafficking Awareness 5K Walk/Run | October 29; 10:00AM-2:00PM
Save the date for Chicago Park District’s End Human Trafficking 5K Walk/Run Fundraiser at Oakwood Beach on October 19, 2019.  Register here. (Registration fee is $35, Activity Code 271754)

Open AA Meeting | Thursdays; 7:00-8:00 PM
Sponsored by The Chicago Area Service Office of Alcoholics Anonymous, the meeting is open to all who desire to stop drinking and is held in Room 425 of Mercy Hospital (2525 South Michigan Avenue; 312-567-2000).

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