Come, Grow and Go with us!
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We will be offering the DISCIPLESHIP ESSENTIALS Bible Study again this summer. Some of us have already completed the first half of the study during this Winter Session and we plan on finishing the book along with YOU Summer Session ladies in the 2018 Fall Session (tentatively scheduled for Sept 13th through Dec 12th). We will meet for 13 weeks starting June 6th and finishing up on August 29th. Classes will be on Wednesdays: 10-12 AM and 6:30-8:30 PM *please note minor time change from past classes. Childcare is available upon request. There will be a signup sheet in the lobby the three weeks prior to the start of classes, and I will be there between services to answer any questions you may have. Books will also be available for $15, or you can purchase them on your own. In addition to participating in an excellent study, you will be growing your relationship with Jesus in a safe, fun environment with other ladies seeking to Live, Love and Lead like our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ...AND, we may have cake. If you have any questions, please contact me, Kimberly Clay, at 540-793-3793 (sometime after May 6th).
We are getting ready for VBS June 25-29, from 6:00 - 8:30 PM!  If you would like to volunteer as a classroom leader, prep team, snack team, crafts, or in any other capacity please email Stephanie Browning at

Every week we'll be posting the scripture that will be preached from on the upcoming Sunday right here. That way, you can study and SOAP through it in advance in order to glean as much as possible from the Scriptures as we learn from Mark about the heart of our King.

The Parable of the Sower

4 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of Godhas been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that,

“‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
    and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’[a]

13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word.15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

- Mark 4:1-20

Please continue your prayers for Josh and Becky Gruber and their new daughter Adelaide. She continues to be in the CICU (not NICU). She is having her third open heart surgery today in just one month of life to try and repair a leaking heart valve. Continue your prayers, friends! To read more of their story and join in supporting them, click here. For live updates, check out her Facebook page.

Continue to pray for Jason Christian Bayer as he recovers from surgical removal of a brain tumor. He and his mother are now being moved to an apartment in the Shepherd Center in Atlanta for "outpatient" therapy. His recovery is slow, but he has come a long way! His caring bridge journal with prayer requests can be found here.
Question 19: Who is the Redeemer?
The only Redeemer is the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, in whom God became man and bore the penalty for sin himself.

I could begin this week’s response to the catechism question with a three paragraph theological explanation. Instead I'll start with a story about a friend of mine in Pharmacy School.
I caught Greg doing something unusual every day before lunch. He would open up his door, allowing everyone in the dorm that traveled down his hallway on their way to lunch to see him reclined on his bed reading his bible. Greg practiced this all year despite the ridicule, in hope that someone seeking God would join him. "Why continue doing it?" I asked. Greg explained that when he became interested in Jesus he was intrigued by the question of why it was necessary for Jesus to die on the cross. "God makes up all the rules. Why would He create a system that would cause Him so much pain and lead to His Son's death?" The more he read, the clearer it became. "He could have created us to have robotically loved and adored Him. We would have never sinned." Greg smiled. "But that love wouldn't have meant anything without giving us the choice to love him or not to love Him.” That choice not to love Him lead to sin...and sin led to punishment...and punishment lead to the only option a perfect God had. A perfect God sent a perfect Son to do what only He could do--redeem us. Greg said this act of God stunned him. If God planned this knowing exactly what it would cost Him, then it had to radically change the way he lived. So Greg believed he was placed there in Richmond to bring glory and attention to God, and that getting a Pharmacy education was just a secondary goal.
This was very convicting to me. Like many people my plan for my life was to pursue things like a Pharmacy degree, and a girlfriend in Pittsburgh, and invite God into everything I was doing in life. Greg's view of life was the compete reverse. He was pursuing God and enjoying the direction God was leading him every day. In the midst of this he was inviting the events of his life to join him as an afterthought. Completely different mindset. Interestingly, Greg seemed so much more freed up and joyful and content than almost anyone else I knew. I tell you this story because the catechism question is this:
Who is the Redeemer?  The only Redeemer is the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, in whom God became man and bore the penalty for sin himself.
This statement either leaves you shaking your head in an academic manner as you check off question #19 and plod on to question #20, or it reminds you of the fierce, relentless love that Jesus our Redeemer has for you, and how this knowledge transforms your life. These truths can stir us, delightfully disturb us, and ultimately shape the way we live, or they can just remain stale one-liner questions that don't mean anything more than a memorized answer we can use just in case someone asks us the question. I must admit I look at life differently because of how I saw Greg live 35 years ago in the halls of my Medical College of Virginia dorm hallways. May we all inspire those around us with such authentic love for Jesus our Redeemer.

Steve Forbes
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