Humans of MDC: Corey Shaffer

Corey Shaffer is an OR nurse at Mission Hospital, and has been attending Missio Dei for 4 years. Here, she shares what God has been teaching her lately about grace and the freedom we can find in him.

“Four years ago I moved to Asheville, and it was probably the loneliest time in my entire life, because I had just moved to the hole in the Bible Belt, and it was extremely difficult to find community. Instantly I came to Missio and the first Sunday I was there I made a friend, who then asked me out to lunch, who then became my roommate, and now I have really great community thanks to Missio. I am in Olivia and Nathan Marone’s community group and they have taught me so much. They’re both so knowledge and they’ve taught me more about the Bible in the past 2 years than I’ve ever learned. They’ve continuously spurred me on to keep learning and reading and digging and they really push me to want to know what I really believe.”

“I always grew up going to church. I went to a Christian school that kind of bred me to believe that there’s a book of rules and you have to follow them. No one really touched on grace for me growing up. There wasn’t a lot of grace in my household; it was kind of always this really high expectation, which is good because I continue to push myself and grow, but at the same time I feel like I went into adulthood and I didn’t even know what grace was. Honestly what I feel God is teaching me this year is that we are flawed, and for the first time in my life I’m okay with the fact that I’m flawed and that I have to rely on God’s grace daily. And it’s crazy how much pressure I’ve put on myself over the past couple of years just to exceed in my life, to exceed in my community, to excel in whatever avenue of life I was pursuing. You need to be the best, you need to try harder, you’re not doing enough, and for the first time in my life I realize, no, God made me this way, and its ok to just have a season to just be at peace with him. You don’t always have to be spurring on; if I’m just learning about him and his word and if I’m just being challenged in my spiritual life that’s enough. So I feel like it’s been a freeing season to just know that even though I’m flawed, I’m enough, and that the Lord loves me. He’s not making a list of all the times that I’ve failed, and tallying and holding that against me…It’s taken 10- 15 years for me to realize as adult that Gods doesn’t have this list of expectations, so it’s good to live in that freedom.”

“Gods been teaching me so much to not stack myself up against other people because it’s not good and it’s not healthy. I find myself doing that a lot with my classmates who have graduated from college and I see them and they either have a family or they are going back to grad school or whatever it is, and I find myself stacking myself up next to them. God’s just been saying to me, “No, I have you in this season and I’m gonna grow you in my time, and it’s gonna be slow and its gonna be hard, but I’m with you.” So I guess I’ve been really convicted, even though I’m aware of the fact that God has grace for me and I don’t need to be perfect, but I still struggle with that…. I really think right now I’m just supposed to grow in my faith and grow where I am and invest in people here and love them through struggles. A lot of my coworkers have been going through really hard times and just being able to love them through that and pray for them has been incredible, and I’m waiting expectantly to see what God is going to do through that.”

Missio Dei Church Relocation FAQ

We're gearing up to move to Calvary Baptist Church by the end of the summer. We know that many of you may have questions regarding this move, so we put this FAQ sheet together for you!

Where Is Missio Dei Church Relocating?

We have been invited to lease a portion of Calvary Baptist Church on Haywood Road, roughly ¾ mile from our current location at Hall Fletcher Elementary. We will be leasing the Candler Center, which is a separate auditorium space, as well as the top floor of Calvary’s education building. 

How Did This Move Come About?

We have enjoyed a great relationship with Calvary for the last several years, since we moved our offices here in 2014. Our partnership has increased over time to include shared mission projects and joint worship gatherings at holidays. The leadership team at Calvary graciously extended this offer to us to bless our community and strengthen the relationship between our two congregations.

Why Are We Relocating to Calvary?

There are a number of reasons that relocation is a very positive thing at this time:

  1. Vision & Mission – We believe this move aligns with our call to mature and multiply disciples in Asheville & beyond for the glory of God. We see this facility as an outpost for gospel ministry both in this neighborhood, in our city, and to the world.
  2. Permanence – We want to be a long term neighbor & partner to this community and having a ‘home base’ of ministry is advantageous. We believe our presence here not just on Sundays, but throughout the week will pay dividends in influence with the people who call this neighborhood home.
  3. Stewardship – We want to use every dollar given to extend our gospel reach & Kingdom impact. While there is up-front cost in outfitting the facility for our needs, the long term monthly savings (nearly half) for what amounts to 24/7 access to this space just makes good sense. Additionally, the permanence we will be afforded will free people up for more face to face ministry opportunities.
  4. Room to Grow – Hall Fletcher has recently presented some limitations for future ministry growth, including parking, and access to classrooms for our growing kids’ ministry. Calvary allows us to grow into the space, with plenty of parking, more classroom space, and auditorium space to accommodate growth.
  5. Partnership – Calvary Baptist is an aging congregation but desires to see us work together for the Kingdom. They have limited manpower, but plenty of space. We have plenty of manpower, but limited space. We believe this partnership will prove fruitful for both congregations, and more importantly for the fame of Jesus.

When Will Missio Dei Church be Relocating?

Our hope is to have our first Sunday worship gatherings in the new space on Sunday, September 3rd at both 9am and 11am, then a ‘Grand Opening’ on our 10th birthday, September 10th. Work has already begun to upfit the new space, and with your help, we should be able to get all the rooms ready for ministry over the summer. We will have some ‘training’ days for serve teams in the weeks leading up to the 3rd, and a final worship gathering and move day at Hall Fletcher on August 27th.

Will We Still Partner With Hall Fletcher?

Yes! Though we will be moving down the street, our partnership with HFE preceded our gathering there, and we expect the relationship to grow and flourish. We still plant to serve the school and contribute financially as one of our city partners through our 1 for 1 giving initiative.

Will We Still Have Two Worship Gatherings?

Yes, we will still hold 2 worship gatherings, at 9am and 11am respectively. Though during the holiday season we may be able to fit into one gathering, at our peak attendance seasons (Spring & Fall) we are larger than one gathering could hold. This is true not only for adult space, but kids’ space as well. However, we will have plenty of room to grow by keeping two gatherings, which has been one of the major limitations of our current space.

Will We Have to Set-Up & Tear-Down Each Week?

Yes and no. Meeting in a school for the last few years has meant a significant amount of setup and tear down as a ‘portable’ church. In this new space, all of our kids’ ministry rooms will be permanent, and nearly everything in the auditorium and welcome areas will remain in place from week to week. Occasionally, there will be need to clear the auditorium for another group to use, and we will need to set out signage, etc. weekly. But the majority of our ministry areas will be ‘turn-key’. Praise the Lord!

What About Kids’ Ministries?

Missio Kids is very important to us, and we believe this relocation will likely benefit our children and families the most. Not only will we have access to a playground, but all of the kids’ rooms will be set up permanently for our ministry use, ensuring a clean, safe, secure environment for our growing kids’ ministry each week!

What Else Will Be Different?

Obviously, meeting in a new space will take some getting used to as the look & feel will be different. But most of what we do on Sundays will be largely the same. One change to note is that the kids’ wing will be in an adjacent building on the top floor. We realize this isn’t as convenient as at Hall Fletcher, but the distance is about the same. You will notice other minor changes as well, but the good that is coming and will come from this relocation far outweigh the changes we will endure.

What should I do now?

  • Celebrate – God has presented us with a wonderful opportunity. Let’s give thanks!
  • Pray – Ask the Lord for a smooth transition, for unity in the body, and for continued favor and partnership with Calvary and the neighborhood.
  • Serve – Getting this facility up to snuff for our use will take a significant amount of time and energy. This is an ‘all hands on deck’ moment for us, and we need everyone to chip in and do their part to ensure that we make our deadline at the end of August. There will be a Workday on June 17th at 9am (childcare provided) and we will have weekly signups for specific projects that can also be done during the week. Please consider how you might use your gifts to serve our body and get this facility ready
  • Give - The Calvary space was in quite a state of disrepair after years of not being used, so there are some significant costs involved in the up-fit. Some of you are able to contribute financially to this effort, and we invite you to help us offset these costs.

Check out this facility update video to see the progress we've made in the space and to see what more needs to be done! >>

If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please contact us at office@mdcasheville.org and one of our pastors will get back to you.

Making a Move

About a year ago, Missio Dei began a partnership with Calvary Baptist Church on Haywood Road, and held a combined worship service that brought the two church bodies together in Calvary’s sanctuary. As my family and I walked up to the church and into the sanctuary, I was flooded with memories from my early childhood. My parents and I attended Calvary for a few years when I was very young, and everything looked exactly the same. I remember attending the church's preschool and playing on the playground, attending princess themed birthday parties in the fellowship hall, practicing for the children’s choir in the music suite downstairs, and running around the hallways with my other preschool aged friends. This was the first church my family and I attended, and is where my parents were baptized.

Now, I am 20 years old and my family and I have been attending Missio Dei for about 4 years. My family has grown and changed in many ways since we left Calvary, both physically when my brother was born 9 years ago, and spiritually through the relationships we have made at churches in the area and the Christian school where my parents work. Coming back to visit Calvary was a way to see how much my family has grown by being reminded of where our faith journey began.

Missio Dei is preparing to rent out part of Calvary’s beautiful church building that currently isn’t being used in order to give our congregation a larger and more stable location. This will allow room for the growth of our church and will give the kid’s ministry specifically more classroom space. I can see how God is not only working in our family, but he is working in this city and its churches by bringing believers together to share in the mission of multiplying disciples, in Asheville and around the world.

Recently, we have begun to prepare this new space for renovation, and are currently in the process of clearing out closets and classrooms of items the church no longer uses. This past Saturday, many members of all ages joined together for a workday to scrape paint, move boxes, through things out, and start the cleaning and remodeling process, which will continue throughout the summer.

Please pray for the continuation and expediency of this project and for God’s hand in the process, and give thanks for this wonderful opportunity and for our brothers and sisters at Calvary Baptist Church. If you would like to get involved by volunteering some of your time throughout the week, please email Laura Buckwalter. We have also scheduled an all-church work day for Saturday, June 17th. We'd love to have your help on that day. We will start at 9am, but encourage you to come whenever it's most convenient for you - even if you can only offer one hour! To learn more about the specific projects, click HERE.

Written by Ivy Ingle

Missio(n) to Mtwara

This afternoon, a team of four from Missio Dei will board a plane in Atlanta with their sights set on Mtwara, Tanzania for our first mission trip to Africa. Though the journey will be long, they are excited to participate in this vision trip on behalf of the church! 

There are 3 tiers to our Tanzania strategy:

1. Increasing our relationship with the Mtwara Student Center we partner with through Compassion International. 

In 2014, nearly 100 children were sponsored through Compassion International by members of our church body! We have worked to build and maintain a beneficial relationship with the student center. While in Mtwara, the team will visit the center and learn about their specific needs. They'll be asking questions to learn how we as a church can help meet those needs in the coming years.

2. Building relationships with local pastors to assess their needs for ministry training.

Acts 29 hopes to plant churches globally for the glory of God. The team will be working with local pastors to learn about their current training strategies and offer some advice to improve their ministry. They hope to offer guidance and effective tools for discipling new pastors for ministry. 

3. Exploring an unreached people group (<2% Christian) just outside Mtwara.

The southern area of Tanzania where this people group is located is not well developed. There is no electricity or running water and you can only access these regions during the dry season because the dirt roads are often flooded otherwise. Because of these factors, the people there have likely not heard the gospel. Our team will make efforts to build relationships with the people there with the hopes of building bridges for future ministry there.

Will you pray with us?

Join us in praying for the team and for their work in Tanzania. PRAY:

  • For the health & safety of our team members - David Lindrum, Dillon Ramsey, Bryan Robbins & Megan Trasport.
  • For the Holy Spirit's guidance toward the things God has in mind, to advance his kingdom.
  • For our Compassion kids to feel loved.
  • For greater involvement with t he pastor & church who run the Compassion center.
  • For clear answers to questions like, "Should we & how can we help?"
  • For local pastors to be open & eager to receive training.
  • For persons of peace among the unreached districts of Mtwara & Masasi.
  • For the people & resources needed to: train pastors, plant churches, grow Compassion's footprint, improve the culture & economy.
  • For Sylvester (local pastor), Brian Weaver (contact), their families, & their ministries.
  • For unity on the team & a keen awareness of the Spirit guiding us; instructing, supporting, & loving us throughout the trip.

 

Good News, Great Joy

Take a moment and think back to your childhood. The weeks of anticipation, driving around to look at houses decorated with lights, decorating your tree, baking delicious cookies, and the constant smell of pine. And finally, on Christmas morning, there are gifts stacked under the tree, stockings stuffed with goodies and smiles on everyone's faces.

But for many children around the world, the joy of Christmas and the good news of God's love is something they have never experienced. 

This year, Christmas could be different.

We will be partnering with Calvary Baptist Church to fill shoe boxes for Samaritan's Purse with toys, school supplies, accessories and more. Filling these boxes is fun and the impact of receiving a gift is eternal. 

Samaritan's Purse is a relief and Christian evangelism organization that partners with churches to provide hope and love to children around the world through these shoe box gifts. For many of the children, the shoe box they receive is the first gift they've ever been given. It is such a sweet surprise for them to receive these no-strings-attached gifts! Each box has the goal of:

Sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.

As the children gather to open their gifts, local pastors present the gospel in a fun and engaging way.

Blessing children with hope, joy and love.

The gifts and personal letters inside the box communicate that someone cares for them. These gift-filled shoe boxes demonstrate God's love in a tangible way.

Additionally, these gifts provide an opportunity for local churches to evangelize in their community; by packing and sending a box, you are giving them the tools to do so. 

Our hope is to fill 400 shoe boxes this year! Can you help us achieve this goal? From now until Sunday, November 13th, we will be collecting items to put in each box. You can bring your donations with you to church on Sunday and drop them in a collection bin in the lobby. All kinds of items are a blessing to the child that receives them.

 

For a complete list of shoebox suggestions, click here

We'd also like to invite you to join us for a chili dinner and shoe box packing party on Wednesday, November 16th at Calvary Baptist Church (531 Haywood Road). The dinner will begin at 5:30pm and is $6/adult (kids 12 and under are free). If you plan to eat dinner, please RSVP by Monday, November 14th by filling out a Connect Card. You do not need to come to the dinner in order to attend the packing portion of the evening.

The packing party will begin at 6pm. There is a suggested donation of $7/box to cover shipping costs. To donate, you can write a check to Samaritan's Purse and bring it with you to the packing party to put inside the box(es) you pack. 

With questions, email office@mdcasheville.org.

School Supplies for Greenbrier Elementary

Greenbrier Elementary is located in East Baton Rouge, Louisiana and is one of many schools that was devastated by the flooding there. They have been relocated to a nearby middle school until their building can be restored. As you can imagine, they have many needs as they begin the school year amidst chaos and a lot of heartache. 

Can you help us bless them? 

Hall Fletcher Elementary is collecting school supplies donations from now until September 7th in an effort to support and encourage the students and teachers of Greenbrier Elementary. Here is a list of the items they need:

  • composition notebooks
  • loose leaf paper
  • pencils
  • erasers
  • eraser tops
  • Kleenex
  • glue 
  • crayons
  • markers
  • paper towels
  • hand sanitizer
  • uniforms
  • backpacks
  • copy paper

For a printable version of this list, click HERE

You can drop your donations off at Hall Fletcher M-F from 7:30am to 3:30pm. The drive will end on Wednesday, September 7th. 

Please email laura@mdcasheville.org with questions.

Rebuild: A Study in Nehemiah

Last week, we began our newest series, "Rebuild: A Study in Nehemiah." During this series, we will walk through the story of a sovereign God who delights in using human means to accomplish His plans and purposes. Nehemiah was invited to follow and take risks. He was called to add his few lines to God's story of rebuilding. 

This is where we are invited to step into the story of Nehemiah. We are invited, as Nehemiah was, to find our place in God's great plan to rebuild, renew, and restore all things through His Son Jesus. Rich and poor, pastor or single mom, all of the people of God are invited to participate in the Great Scheme of redemption. As we dig into this book, our first hope and prayer is that you would see the greater Nehemiah who died and rose to rebuild, renew, and restore all things. Our second hope is that you would taste Jesus' love and burden for you, for His church, and for your city. He cares about the broken walls and broken lives. Our third hope is that you would play your role. May you find your place in Jesus' work to rebuild, renew, and restore all things. 

 

 

We've put together this study guide with the hope that it will be a means for intentional study, discussion and life application. You can download the Rebuild study guide HERE.

Behold the King of Glory

For many of us, Lent has become a time to give something up for a little while and eventually fall back into our regular habits. We welcome that very thing back into our daily routine. While we have the best intentions to prepare for Resurrection Sunday, we become distracted.

Simply put, Lent is about forgoing pleasure to make room for joy, namely the joy we find only in Jesus Christ. 

Lent is a time for us individually, and as a church, to follow Christ "into the wilderness." Lent serves as a season to prepare ourselves for the joy of Resurrection Sunday as we dwell more deeply on the sorrow and pain which preceded it, emptying ourselves of lesser things so that we might be filled with the greater things of the gospel, and reminding us that the resurrection only occurred after the crucifixion.

So, during this season of Lent (which begins tomorrow Wednesday, February 10th!) we encourage you to focus on living simply in order to grow closer to God. We'd like to recommend an amazing resource called, "Behold the King of Glory," written by Russ Ramsey for you to use during the 40 days of Lent. It is our hope that you will rediscover your wonder at Christ's sinless life, brutal death, and glorious resurrection. 

"Behold the King of Glory" can be purchased for Kindle HERE, or in paperback HERE.
We will also have 10 copies of the book available for $10 each at the Connect Desk this Sunday.

"Be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead." 1 Peter 1:6 (NLT)

 

How Do You Plan to Grow?

At Missio Dei, we have started the year with a short teaching series called "Thrive" (listen to weeks 1 and 2 HERE). It is our desire for each of you to see great spiritual growth and vitality in 2016 as disciples of Jesus. We all have aspirations, but without some sort of plan, it is unlikely we will see real change. So, we have put together a short 'Personal Discipleship Plan' which was available in print this past Sunday. The plan covers the six key areas of growth we are covering in this series, with a few questions underneath each to help you determine just how you plan to grow this year. We would highly recommend that you work through this plan with others - your Community Group, a small group of friends, your spouse, roommates, etc. because the best growth will come in relationships with others. And let us know how you decide to use it as you strive to grow as Jesus' disciple. 

You can download the plan HERE.

And let us know how you decide to use it as you strive to grow as Jesus' disciple. 

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Welcome John & Cricket!

A couple of weeks ago, we had the pleasure of welcoming John and Cricket Henley to the Missio Dei family! Here's their story:

Both John and Cricket are from Toledo, Ohio. They moved to Asheville in February from Tampa, Florida after being there for 13 years. They have two children, Chelsea and Dewey. Chelsea attends Florida State University and Dewey is still in high school at Asheville Christian Academy.

When did you come to faith? 
Cricket:I was raised in a evangelical Christian family and have loved Jesus since about age 6 when I first asked what it meant to be a Christian. Through many ups and downs along the way, I rededicated my life to Christ in my 20s and have been trying to daily surrender my life to Him. 
John: I was not raised in any sort of Christian home and came to know Jesus in my 20s. His death on the cross for my sins became real and I made a choice to follow Him. 

Why did you join the church?
We joined MDC because of the solid Biblical teaching, the Jesus-centered worship music and the wonderful community of people.

What's been the best part, for you, of attending Missio Dei?
We honestly love everything about Missio! We felt loved and welcomed from the start and are so grateful for such a sweet church family. 

If you haven't yet had the opportunity to meet John and Cricket, we encourage you to do so soon! Since the moment they arrived to Missio Dei, they have had a special impact on each person they encounter. You don't want to miss the opportunity to know this amazing couple! 

How to Celebrate Advent

behold the lamb

For many of us, the Christmas season seems to come and go in a blur, leaving us utterly exhausted. Celebrating Advent is a way of lengthening and intensifying the joy of Christmas. The season of Advent (which begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas day – November 29th this year!) has been celebrated by the Christian church since about the fourth century. Advent is a time for us to slow down and focus our attention on Jesus the Christ’s birth and ministry, as well as his Second Coming, when he will return to redeem all of creation and rule with all power and authority. Since we don’t know the day or the hour of Christ’s return, we are filled with both a sense of joyful expectation and humble reverence, with our spiritual focus being on lives of prayer and preparation.

Many choose to mark the time of this season with an Advent wreath. The evergreens help to symbolize the new and everlasting life brought through Jesus Christ. The wreath consists of five candles; four candles around the wreath and one white candle, the Christ candle, in the center. One candle is lit the first Sunday of Advent, two are lit the second Sunday, and so on. The light progressively reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world that comes into the darkness of our lives to bring newness, life, and hope. For this Advent season, Missio Dei Church will be using the themes of: Expectation (Isaiah 42:1-9), Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38), Proclamation (Luke 3:7-18), and Fulfillment (Revelation 5:6-14).

Another way to mark the season is through the use of an Advent devotional guide. Each day of the season generally contains a reading to help focus our hearts & minds on the implications of Jesus’ coming to “dwell among us” (Jn. 1:14). This year, we are recommending a fascinating book entitled, “Behold the Lamb of God” by Russ Ramsey. In this Advent narrative, Ramsey brings to life the people, the places, and the earthshaking significance of the greatest story ever told—the true tall tale of the coming of Christ.

Behold the Lamb of God” can be purchased for Kindle HERE, audiobook format HERE, or in paperback HERE. Our hope is that God would use these 25 brief stories to deepen and sweeten your adoration of Jesus and help you keep him at the center of your Christmas season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Baptism?

At Missio Dei Church, we celebrate baptism 3 or 4 times a year for those who have trusted in Christ and desire to take their next step of obedience to Jesus. Our next baptism celebration is scheduled for Sunday, December 6th. For those who are new to baptism, questions arise surrounding the meaning of baptism and its implications for the believer. What follows is a brief summary of Missio Dei Church’s beliefs and practices concerning baptism. If you have further questions about baptism or would like to speak with one of our pastors about being baptized on December 6th, email us at office@mdcasheville.org.

What does baptism mean?

We believe the Bible presents baptism as an outward witness of an inward faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.

Christian baptism is an act of obedience to the command of Jesus, declaring the believer's faith in and identification with their crucified, buried, and risen Savior. It is a visible declaration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The believer being baptized is immersed beneath the waters in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, which expresses the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, which expresses the believer's death to sin and the burial of their old life, and then emerged out of the water, which expresses the believer's resurrection to a new kingdom life in Christ Jesus. Furthermore, baptism identifies a Christian with Jesus, the universal churchand the local church.

Jesus commanded that all Christians be baptized. The apostles commanded that all Christians be baptized, which explains why the book of Acts and records of the early church show that baptism was practiced consistently.

We understand baptism to be the sign and seal of membership in the covenant community. Baptism is for all persons as they join the community of the church.

Who should be baptized?

The consistent witness of the New Testament is that someone first believes in Jesus and then is baptized. This is called believers’ baptism. Never do we witness the reverse order where someone, such as an infant, is baptized and then later believes in Jesus.

We see six lines of support for this position in the New Testament.

  1. In the precursor to Christian baptism, John the Baptizer required that people repent of sin before being baptized. (Matt. 3:2Mark 1:4Luke 3:3)
  2. Every baptism in the New Testament is preceded by repentance of sin and faith in Jesus. (Acts 2:38–418:129:18–1910:44–4816:14–1529–3618:819:1–7;22:16)
  3. Baptism is reserved solely for those people who have put on Christ. (Gal. 3:27)
  4. Baptism shows personal identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. This can only happen when someone has trusted in Christ for salvation. (Rom. 6:1–10Col. 2:12)
  5. The Bible does record occurrences where entire households were baptized. (Acts 10:3344–4811:1416:151 Cor. 1:16) In these cases, the Bible also records that each member of these households believed in Jesus and was saved. (John 4:53Acts 18:81 Cor. 16:15)
  6. Both Jesus and his apostles gave the command for disciples to be baptized as an expression of that discipleship. (Matt. 28:19Acts 2:38)

Do you have to be baptized to be saved?

Salvation is solely a gift given to people whose faith rests in the grace of God to forgive their sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus. For example, when the Philippian jailer asked what was required of him to be saved, Paul did not mention baptism but simply said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus.” Likewise, the thief who died on the cross next to Jesus was promised by our Lord that “today you will be with me in Paradise,” though he had not been baptized. Someone can be unbaptized and yet be a Christian who is destined for heaven.

Nonetheless, even though one can be a Christian without being baptized, a Christian should be baptized. If nothing else, Jesus commanded baptism to show in outward sign the inward covenant relationship we have with him. Similarly, married people are married regardless of whether they wear their wedding ring, which is the outward symbol of their inward covenant relationship. But I, for one, am glad that my wife wears her wedding ring.

Baptism is the biblical way in which we show that by the power of the Spirit, we died to our old way of life through the death of Jesus, and live a new life through the resurrection of Jesus, cleansed from our sin in the same way that water cleanses us from filth. Therefore, being baptized does not make someone a Christian. Not being baptized does not cause someone to stop being a Christian. but a Christian should be baptized.

 

 


This post is excerpted from pp 112–119 of Vintage Church, copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois 60187, www.crossway.org

A Gap Year for Jesus

Ivy Ingle & her family have been members of Missio Dei Church for the last few years. Recently, Ivy graduate from Asheville Christian Academy. But rather than go straight to a four-year university, Ivy, with her parents’ blessing, has chosen to take a gap year and pursue an international mission opportunity where she will be immersed in other cultures, learning how other people live, and serving them in word and in deed.

Why did you decide to take a gap year?

When my senior year brought me piles of paperwork for college applications and standardized tests, it also brought me to a crossroads. For the first time in my life I had the opportunity to choose my own path. I could go to college and study for another four years and get a degree which would then find me a career, or I could put all of that on hold and take the road less traveled. For once I had the opportunity to experience something other than school, and learn outside of the classroom, and I wasn't going to let that opportunity get away.

This wasn't an easy decision, as school is a place where I am comfortable, and I had no idea how I was going to spend this year away from it. I prayed for months for God to reveal to me where he wanted me to go and what his will was for this year. Nothing I sought out seemed to work, and for a while I doubted that God would ever reveal his plan. Once August rolled around and I saw all of my friends going off to college, setting up dorm rooms, and meeting new people, it became even more difficult to be satisfied with where God had put me. But I continued to pray, knowing that I had made the right decision, and one day God revealed part of his plan to me. 

How did you decide on joining with Experience Mission?

After many Google searches for gap year programs and mission organizations, I came across Experience Mission, which offers 3 and 6 month Immersion programs. The word immersion caught my eye immediately, because that is what I sought to do. After reading more about the program, I realized that this was exactly what I was looking for.

What will you be doing during your time with Experience Mission?

I have committed to traveling with EM for 6 months in the Caribbean. This journey will begin with a 1 week training session in Indiana, then will move to NYC for a few weeks to help with the Salvation Army and serve the people of Harlem. After our time in the US is done, we will head to Haiti to begin our time in the Caribbean. We will spend 4-8 weeks in Haiti, Jamaica, and Belize, building relationships with the local people, helping in schools and churches, and living out our mission everyday.

What can we do to help & support you as you begin this journey?

I would love for you to be a part of my support team, and to commit to pray for me over the next few months. I must also raise the funds. I am currently working at a restaurant in order to earn money, and I am brainstorming creative ways to raise money through events and sales. I will also need people who are willing to support me through one-time and monthly donations so that I will be able to reach my goal of raising $10,000 by December 12, 2015. This is a HUGE goal, that will cover the cost of the trip, immunizations, gear, and other fees, but I feel that this trip is God's will and I know that he will provide! Every dollar counts, and I would love for you to be a part of what I am doing this year! Thank you in advance for your support through prayer and donations!

To Support Ivy:

Click HERE
For More Information:
Experiencemission.org

2 Reasons Why Serving Others Matters

At Missio Dei, we talk a lot about serving others, and we are always on the lookout for opportunities for you, the church, to get your hands dirty blessing our neighbors. Here are 2 Big Reasons why we do this:

1. Jesus Came to Serve Us

In Mark's gospel account, Jesus says, "The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mk. 10:45). We always see Jesus giving himself away in the gospels, whether in teaching, healing, feeding, even washing the funky, nasty feet of his disciples (including Judas Iscariot - Jn. 13). Ultimately Jesus gave his very life to rescue & redeem us, and as recipients of His grace, we are motivated to give ourselves away to love and serve others for their good & God's glory.

2. There is Joy When We Serve

The Apostle Paul was no stranger to giving himself away for the sake of others, and he did it with a great sense of joy. In Acts 20, he even reminds us of the words of Jesus (not recorded anywhere else), "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). When we serve, when we put others before ourselves and give of our time, our strengths, and our resources, we actually have the greater reward: to feel a sense of purpose and the pleasure of our God.

Opportunities

Since our partnership began with Hall Fletcher Elementary more than 5 years ago, we've been encouraged to see our relationship grow. They have been gracious to open their building to us and giving back to them is just one simple way we can say thank you. There are two opportunities to spend time serving the faculty, students & families of Hall Fletcher next week. 

Fall Fletch Festival

Friday, October 30th / 4-7pm
The school is hosting the "Fall Fletch Festival" for students and their families to enjoy games, food, and Trunk-or-Treat. We'd love to see 10 or so Missio Dei folks there to serve by working various booths throughout the evening.

Building Raised Flowerbeds

Saturday, October 31st / 9am-12pm
Hall Fletcher has a year-round garden program for students, and this Fall, the Garden Coordinator, Rachel Lubitz, is looking for help constructing raised flowerbeds for their vegetable gardens. 

These are both great chances to serve the HFE community. Grab a couple of friends, your family or your Community Group and head to HFE on Friday or Saturday or both! To sign up, or for more information, email laura@mdcasheville.org.

Good News. Great Joy.

Take a moment and think back to your childhood. The weeks of anticipation, driving around to look at houses decorated with lights, decorating your tree, baking delicious cookies and the constant smell of pine. And finally, on Christmas morning, there are gifts stacked under the tree, stockings stuffed with goodies and smiles on everyone's faces. 

But for many children around the world, the joy of Christmas and the good news of God's love is something they have never experienced. 

This year, Christmas could be different.

We will be partnering with Calvary Baptist Church to fill shoe boxes for Samaritan's Purse with toys, school supplies, accessories and more. Filling these boxes is fun and the impact of receiving a gift is eternal. 

Samaritan's Purse is a relief and Christian evangelism organization that partners with churches to provide hope and love to children around the world through these shoe box gifts. For many of the children, the shoe box they receive is the first gift they've ever been given. It is such a sweet surprise for them to receive these no-strings-attached gifts! Each box has the goal of:

Sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.

As the children gather to open their gifts, local pastors present the gospel in a fun and engaging way.

Blessing children with hope, joy and love.

The gifts and personal letters inside the box communicate that someone cares for them. These gift-filled shoe boxes demonstrate God's love in a tangible way.

Additionally, these gifts provide an opportunity for local churches to evangelize in their community; by packing and sending a box, you are giving them the tools to do so. 

Our hope is to fill 300 shoe boxes this year! Can you help us achieve this goal? From now until Sunday, November 15th, we will be collecting items to put in each box. You can bring your donations with you to church on Sunday and drop them in a collection bin in the lobby. All kinds of items are a blessing to the child that receives them.

 

For a complete list of shoebox suggestions, click here

We'd also like to invite you to join us for a potluck spaghetti dinner and shoe box packing party on Wednesday, November 18th at Calvary Baptist Church (531 Haywood Road). Bring a pot of sauce or noodles, bread, salad, etc. to share dinner at 5:30pm. After dinner, we will work together to pack the shoe boxes. There is a suggested donation of $7/box to cover shipping costs. To donate, you can write a check to Samaritan's Purse and bring it with you to the packing party to put inside the box(es) you pack. 

 

Poverty Will Never Determine Your Future

Sunday at Missio Dei, we had the incredible opportunity to hear from Maureen Kaderi, a former Compassion sponsored child from Nairobi, Kenya. Maureen was raised in the 3rd largest slum in Kenya, often going multiple days without anything to eat, as her family struggled to survive on less than $10 a month. At the age of 7, a very skinny and malnourished Maureen was selected to be a sponsored child through a Compassion project in her slum. Not only did Maureen receive food (which she often snuck it home to feed her family), clothing, and an education, she was introduced to the person & work of Jesus. It changed her life. It changed her family’s life.

Maureen, now a college graduate, ministry leader, wife & mother, was released from systemic poverty through the ministry of Compassion, and her sponsor’s faithful gifts and prayers. She & her husband Oliver now operate Mercy House Kenya, which exists to rescue teenage pregnant girls from the streets of Nairobi. “I thank God for poverty in my life, and I never regret being poor, because if I had not been poor… perhaps I would not have received Jesus Christ into my life”, Maureen shared.

Sometimes we become paralyzed when we see the massive needs around the globe, and we wonder what we can do, or if what we do will make any difference. Maureen, and thousands of others just like her, are living proof that your partnership with organizations like Compassion does make a real difference in the world.  Click below to hear Maureen’s story, and consider partnering with Compassion to see children released from poverty in Jesus’ name. 

How did Maureen's story impact you? What is one thing you can do in response?

Welcome Anna Printy!

This post begins a series of posts we're creating as new people join the Missio Dei family through covenant membership. Last Sunday, we had the pleasure of welcoming Anna Printy to the family! Here's her story:

Anna was born and raised in Tallahassee, FL, but spent the last 8 years in Gainesville, FL which feels more like a "hometown" for her now. She first visited Missio a year ago in August 2014 and has been coming ever since. 

When did you come to faith? 
I came to the faith originally in 5th grade, but I did not begin to truly walk with the Lord until college, in 2009, when I became an active member of a campus ministry at the University of Florida.

Why did you join the church?
 I joined the church because I believe in the unity of the Body of Christ, and submitting oneself to church discipline and authority. It was also an official way to pledge allegiance to a particular group of believers, and I want to be as much a part of Missio believers lives as they are in mine. The church body in Missio resembles more of a true and better family for me and membership places an official name on an entity that has already become a reality for me.

What's been the best part, for you, of attending Missio Dei?
The best part about attending Missio is the people. I arrived here a year ago and immediately was accepted by all and warmly embraced in friendship and deep community. I know that I have joined Missio at a time when great change is happening in the body, but I continue to pray for it's growth, diversity, unity, faith, perseverance, dedication to Hall Fletcher and the greater Asheville area. I desire for Missio to truly become what the Lord has called His people to be: a light to the lost, a haven to the poor, and a means to be the hands and feet of Jesus this side of heaven. I am SO excited to be a part of Missio to support and love each other as we expand and grow in Asheville...and beyond. :)

If you haven't yet had the opportunity to meet Anna, we encourage you to do so soon! As you can see she is a great part of family and we're happy to support her in her spiritual growth!


Hall Fletcher School Supplies Drive

While many of us are still in the summer mindset, students and teachers at Hall Fletcher Elementary are gearing up to face early mornings, lessons and cafeteria chaos. Hall Fletcher adopted a balanced calendar last year which means their school year will begin on Thursday, July 16th!

Each year, we hold a school supplies drive to collect the items students need to be successful. The 2015-2016 school year is rapidly approaching for HFE, so we are beginning our drive a little early. From now until Sunday, July 19th, you can bring school supplies to the church and leave them on a table in the foyer labeled "Hall Fletcher School Supplies Drop Off". This is just another way we can bless those in our community who may struggle to provide their children with even the most basic tools for the school year. 

Help us fill Hall Fletcher's supply closets by donating the items found on the following list:

  • Back pack
  • Composition notebooks
  • dry erase markers (4 pack)
  • pencils
  • gallon size Ziploc bags
  • snack size Ziploc bags
  • sandwich size Ziploc bags
  • Kleenex
  • Clorox cleaning wipes
  • Hand sanitizer (one with a pump)
  • Large, medium and small sticky notes
  • Sticky flags
  • Glue sticks
  • Hand held erasers
  • Pencil top erasers
  • Solid color pocket folders
  • Plastic folders with inside fasteners/clasps
  • Crayons
  • Washable Markers
  • Scissors
  • Colored pencils
  • Clip boards
  • Play dough
  • Pencil box
  • Highlighters
  • Loose-leaf paper (wide ruled)
  • 1 or 2 inch 3-ring binders
  • Pencil sharpener (with a cover for shavings)
  • Water bottles (preferably metal or hard plastic)
  • Zippered pencil case
  • Spiral notebooks (one subject)
  • USB flash drive or memory stick 4GB minimum

Download a printable version of this list here

Breaking the Silence About Your Money

The average American is 37 years old and makes $50,000 a year, but has no emergency savings at all.

Only 46% of Americans have a credit card balance, but of those who do the average balance on credit cards is $16,000.

The average student loan debt is $29,000. 

70% of car purchases in the U.S. require a loan. The average loan value on a new car is $27,000 and on a used car the average is $18,000. 

3/4 of Millennials (people ages 18-37) want to have the same cars, clothes, etc. as their peers, but 1/2 of them use a credit card to pay for basics like food and utilities.

1/4 of Millennials make late credit card payments and 1/2 are still getting help from their parents. 

Many people believe that if you pay your bills by the end of the month, you're doing well financially.
 

These statistics are staggering, and debt is a term we are all too familiar with. It can cause extreme anxiety, frustration and discouragement. And if you feel alone, it can be a very daunting thing to face.  Even though we are all aware of the toll debt can take on our lives, it is one of the most taboo topics of conversation in our society. 

We think it's time to break the silence and start talking about our finances. 

You are not alone in your financial journey. We hope to offer you support and bring wisdom into your lives. Through this course, we will help you discover what God says about managing your money. 

It's never too early or too late to learn how to steward your money well.

It doesn't matter if you're in over your head or you're doing OK. It doesn't matter if you make $10,000 or $10,000,000. It doesn't matter whether you are 21 or 51. We all need a plan. 

Financial Peace University will help you learn how to handle money God's way. And guess what? It'll work because God's ways work. 

Learn more about Financial Peace University here and sign up today! 

 

Statistics from The Motley Fool