Author: Davey Walker
I write this with a heavy heart. Our family will be moving this Monday to Portland, so that I can be a resident at Hinson Church. Over the last few years, it has been apparent that I need some further pastoral training and I am thankful to have the opportunity to learn and study under their guidance.
With that said, I just want to say how grateful I am for the past 5 years, in which I’ve had the privilege of being your Associate Pastor. It is and will be, one of the great honors and privileges of my life. Memories flood my mind and overwhelm my emotions at what a wonderful church you are. I love you all and trust God that you will be cared for by the pastors/elders while you follow Christ.
Thank you for caring for my family, for supporting us, and for your friendships. August 6th will be our last Sunday worshipping with you all and I look forward to seeing you and saying goodbye.
And if you give me but a few more minutes of your time, I’d like to say one more thing. I don’t know what is on the horizon for any of you, but I do know that God is in control, God is good, and God will comfort you. I don’t know what will come around the next bend, but I do know that Christ with accompany you through life’s twists and turns. I don’t know the future in particular, but I do know the future in general, and that future is bright, and glorious, and heavenly.
Some nights I sing to my children. I’ll gaze in their eyes and sing, “He’s got the whole world in his hand, He’s got the whole world in his hand, He’s got the whole world in His hands, He’s got the whole world in His hands”. Nothing could be truer. He’s got each and every one of you in his hands and so I leave with that wonderful comfort.
Christ is such a wonderful Savior. And each and every day, it is incumbent for us all, to gaze into his beautiful face and worship him as Lord. That is where true joy and happiness reside.
I am excited for this next season in the Branch’s life. Josh is coming back from sabbatical in early August, new interns will be coming in September, and as always, new freshman faces and new members will be part of our church. The future is bright.
So let us all say, like a Saint of old, “no retreats, no reserves, no regrets”. Let that be our anthem, as we know Christ and make him known.
I love you all,
Stephen and Lisa Brucker
A teaching on Acts 20:13-38 by Stephen Brucker.
A teaching on Acts 19 by Stephen Brucker.
For some time I have been meditating on John 8—the woman caught in adultery. I pray that you’d be encouraged, as we realize how amazing the grace of God in Christ is in our lives.
There was a common woman in an uncommon world;
waking up one morning in controversy that swirled;
she was set to taste the rubble of her impending doom;
Shameful thoughts covered her heart with utter gloom;
no inn would heed her room,
the undertaker dug her tomb;
and all she could wish was a return to her mother’s womb.
She stood and faced the angry mob,
tears would not form;
though she wanted so desperately to sob.
She was guilty, with nowhere to hide;
the comfort of a night, her identity hid in a man’s side;
in the embrace of a man her body with certainty died.
She knew what she had done, the secret was flung;
then hung and judgment in one accord sung.
Her justice meter went wild,
she was the only one on trial;
yet it was she they brought their laundry list to file.
So she closed her eyes, swallowed her last breath;
gazed toward hell, and awaited her death.
But then a shadow grazed her feet;
stones fell with rhythmic beat;
while she stood face to face to meet;
the end of her life, yet the beginning of another.
The kind Man stood, gazing at her soul;
her heart beat fast, yet judgment not His goal;
reshaping her hole, erasing the litany of her sinful toll.
Her mind began to thirst, the dam in her heart began to burst;
and she fell upon her face, humbled at His embrace.
He could have said anything and she would have followed;
but He would not let her wallow;
there in the sorrow of her impeachable gallows;
a new beginning she needed to swallow.
She’ll never forget His face, the infinite grace;
which challenged a hostile race;
and in a moment, He was gone without a trace.
He spoke five words;
and she, in that moment heard. “Go and sin no more”.
Forgiveness she wouldn’t ignore;
His words she shall ever ben lore.
Our mission at the Branch is to be in awe of the gospel, to embody the gospel and then to give our lives away because of the gospel. There are many ways we give our lives away as the Branch, and in this season, we are excited to partner with the city of Corvallis and invest in Cloverland Park thorugh Restore Corvallis.
This Saturday from 9-12 we will be serving Cloverland Park to restore it thorugh weeding, putting out barkdust and more.
One of the exciting things about this, is not just that we will be working at the park, but also, that we will be working alongside people in the community.
This past week, Andrew Glaspell and others have been passing out flyers and rallying people in the community to come help with this service project. Please be praying for them and for those who come to serve alongside our church. This is a great bridge to meet new people in the community over the shared value caring for all that God has made.
So if you are available, we’d love to see you at Cloverland Park in Corvallis this Saturday from 9-12, to live out our mission, love our city, and see Christ magnified.
The majority of the time we use the word “worship” we are using it correctly but also too simplistically. Typically, the word “worship” is confined to songs that proclaim praises and truths about God. And by no means are worship songs an inaccurate idea of worship, but worship is so much more than simply singing. Over the last 5 weeks we have been focusing on expanding our understanding of worship from a midday series we have called Worship 101. As our series is coming to a close (we have only one week left), I have been encouraged to see how my own view of worship as well as others has expanded.
Over the last 5 weeks we have studied how worship is more reflective of the life of a follower of Jesus than it is a “worship service.” We have engaged in discovering how we worship God through scripture, prayer, liturgy (how we order a service), song, and our gifting. Next week, we tackle the topic of worship through unity and church discipline. I have loved each week as it truly has challenged my mindset on worship. I have been struck with the question, Is my view of worship too simplistic and thus stunting my relationship with God? Have I put worship into a box far too small?
If you have followed Jesus for any significant length of time, you have probably been told something along the lines of “All of life is worship.” We read verses like Romans 12:1 that state, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Through these last 5 weeks, I have truly begun to see the truth and beauty of that statement. As I read scripture, I praise God as I engage with his narrative of love, sacrifice, redemption, and restoration. As I pray to the Lord, I worship him for who is he and what he has done, is doing, and will do. As I gather with the church, I worship the Lord through the preaching of the Word and proclamation of his character and deeds through song. As I use the gifts God has given me or see the gifts God has given others, I praise him for his body and how he has intricately and uniquely made every one of us to proclaim his image and character. As I receive discipline or discipline others, I worship God for his restorative nature and desire for unity. When we truly see the greatness and grandeur of God, worship is the response.
God is calling us to live a worship filled life. Worship is not an event but an action. A.W. Tozer says, “We must never rest until everything inside us worships God.” I urge you brothers and sisters, take that statement to heart. Are we resting? Or we are actively giving ourselves to worship the Lord in all that do?
Revelation 4:8 – “Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and it so come.’”
I love going overseas. There is something about the smells, the new sounds, and the new culture that make everything exciting. A few years ago, I was in Turkey and I remember how refreshing it was to try new food and get addicted to chai tea as we looked out at the Aegean sea and took in all the sights.
But more than that, going overseas does something to my soul. It makes me yearn to see the gospel advance. It creates in me a great sense of my own inadequacies and dependence on God. And it fuels my heart in desiring to see God worshipped among each and every people group in the world. I love going overseas. And each year, I love to debrief with those who go on short-term trips at the Branch and hear all that God did in and through their lives.
As such, on Friday, May 12 at 6 pm, the Branch will host its annual Stumpies. The overall purpose is to raise financial support for those going on short-term trips this summer, pray for them, while in the context of laughter and community. If you pay online its $5 or $7 at the door. There will be entertainment and dessert.
Please make it a point on coming. Not only to support 13 members who are going to East Asia and Haiti, but also to connect with one another with laughter and encouragement. There is free childcare and the event will be hosted at Grant Ave. Baptist Church. If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!” (Psalm 95:6) Let us worship! What does that mean? What does it look like to truly worship the LORD? Is it singing praise songs to God? Or is it more than that? Is it a personal interaction with God or something done corporately? Is it an action we do or a lifestyle we live?
Honestly, many of us have too small of a view of worship. We typically limit worship to our Sunday gatherings when we sing “worship” songs or the occasional worship night we attend. Yet, we all cognitively know that worshipping God is more than just our singing and our Sunday gatherings. Yet often, worship in our lives is limited to those experiences. Worship is a matter of our heart expressed through a lifestyle of holiness. We want to expand our understanding of worship to see that it goes far beyond lifting God up through song. Worship happens on the personal level as well as a corporate level.
For the next six weeks we are going through walk through some of the different ways in which we worship the LORD. Though it will not be an exhaustive study on worship, it will broaden your understanding of worship and grow you in your love to worship God through these various elements. Together, we will look at worship through scripture, worship through prayer, worship through song, worship through liturgy, worship through our gifting’s/work, and worship through unity/Church discipline. Each week we will spend about an hour together learning how to worship God more wholly. There will be teaching on what these different components look like individually and corporately. Worship is both individual and corporate and growing in our understanding of this will change us individually and corporately as our lifestyles of worship continue to grow. Each week entails some teaching on the topic and then implementation; we need to put into practice what we learn.
God truly is worthy of our praise and worship. He is worthy of more than the 4-5 worship songs we sing on a Sunday. He is worthy of us honoring him with extravagant love and extreme submission. Worship should be more than an action; it is a lifestyle.
We will begin Worship 101 this coming Thursday, April 27 at 12pm at Davey Walker’s house [224 NW 26th St, Corvallis, OR 97330 – Sigma Phi Epsilon]. If you have any questions, please contact me at email@example.com.
This week we will be canceling community groups and we will all meet at the Christ Church on Wednesday (April 12) at 6 pm. Why you might ask? To grow in our ability and effectiveness in make Christ known.
There is an old Navigator tool called the Wheel. You can google it sometime, but overall the tool depicts 4 aspects of the Christian life—Pray, Bible Reading, Community, and Evangelism. Over the years, I’ve shared this illustration for it encompasses four aspects of a healthy Christian’s life. After I finish sharing the Wheel and describe each element in detail, I inevitably ask this question; “which one of these four disciplines is most lacking in your life.” Honestly, I’ve only received one answer—evangelism.
Even the word “evangelism” is hard to say. Furthermore, if you’re anything like me, then you struggle with what I’ll call cowardly lion syndrome, fearing people to the expense of declaring the gospel to them. Which is why training like this is so important.
Though we will not discuss every element of mission during this training, there will be much talk about how to live faithfully in Corvallis, capitalizing on opportunities, and loving our neighbors with the hopes of seeing God work in their lives to the extent that we get to see them transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of his beloved Son.
So please make it a priority to come on Wednesday. Childcare is provided. John Winder from the Navigators will lead us in this training, and there will also be a time for Q&A at the end. Invite your friends, or anyone who might be interested in this training. If you have any questions please let me know.
Community groups will be canceled the week of April 11. As a result, we hope that you can use the time you would have spent in your community group and join us for a training on missional living and evangelism. John Winder, our friend with the Navigators, will be leading us in a time of training as we explore how our lives can more faithfully intersected with non-Christians. Invite your friends or anyone who could benefit from it. We will gather at 6 pm at Christ Church and childcare will be provided.
Now accepting applications for our Branch Internship! We at The Branch are deeply rooted in a strong desire to provide a spiritually enriching and educational environment where you can explore your call, not only into vocational ministry, but also God’s call to be ministers in all areas of life. Our 11-month internship focuses on three different areas: personal ministry, spiritual development, and Branch specific ministries. If you are interested in learning more about the internship or applying for the internship, please contact Davey. Your application is due by April 15th.
Join us for corporate prayer every Sunday afternoon from 3:00–3:30pm in the Twig’s area at Christ Church (Formerly The River Center) as we intercede for our church and the city. Come for the whole time, or just drop in for a moment.
Join us on Good Friday (April 14th) when we will be gathering together for a night of worship and reflection centered around the crucifixion of our Savior Jesus at our sister church, Hub City’s facility on 2nd and Lyons street in downtown Albany. Childcare will be provided and the service will start at 6pm.
Ladies on Saturday, April 22, we are going to take an in depth look at what it looks like to stand firm in the Lord by taking up the whole armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-20. We will meet from 9:30am-12pm at the Branch offices (760 SW Madison Ave) for an incredible time worshiping together in word and spirit! Contact Victoria Renard for more information.
On Saturday May 6th, the men at the Branch are invited to a day of rafting down the Clackamas river, followed by dinner. The cost for the event is $70, which includes rafting and all meals. This is a good event to bring your friends (christian/non-Christians) and enjoy some adventure and fun. Sign up online and if you have any questions email Stephen.
Our Community Forum is for members of The Branch to come together, share a meal, hear about what’s going on in the life of our church and to dream and pray together about the future. Our next forum is on Sunday night, April 30th immediately following the Sunday worship gathering. Please mark your calendars for this very important night together. Every forum is important, but this forum will be extremely important as we will be sharing about various changes and sending opportunities we are going to be encountering this year. Please contact Josh with any questions you might have. (541-224-1476)
The Global Mission Pipeline is simple—it’s a training program to help equip and cement a foreign mission DNA within an individual. Within the program, you’ll read books, walk with a coach, write papers, and be exposed experientially to ministering cross-culturally. If you’d like more information please contact Stephen.
We are asking members of the Branch to apply for Local Mission Grants, which seek to come alongside member’s ministry ideas/endeavors with financial support. If you have questions or would like to talk to someone about Local Mission Grants simply fill out a connect card and drop it in the basket. If you’re interested in leading a new local missions initiative you can find the application online, fill it out and send it to Stephen Brucker.
Branch Brunch is a time to get to know more about our church and ask questions. This class is also a requirement to become a member. Our next Branch Brunch is scheduled for Sunday, April 30th at 10:30 am. If you are interested in attending please email Stephen Brucker.