Author: Davey Walker
“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.
As we prepare for another set of applications, interviews, and future interns, I reflect on the fact that it was only 3 years ago that I was the one filling out the application and eagerly awaiting my interview. I remember driving down to Corvallis during Spring Break to meet with Josh and Stephen over brunch at Broken Yoke. I left excited for the potential future…little did I know that after our meeting Josh said, “Yeah, that guy definitely isn’t going to come here.” Fast forward 3 years and now I have the privilege of leading the interns (I guess Josh was wrong). Our internship experience was transformational in my own life and I’m blessed to continue to see it transform the lives of those currently going through the internship.
The Branch Internship is an 11-month commitment. There are 3 different elements to the internship: Personal development, Direct Ministry, and Church Operations. A huge part of our program is about YOU. We want to give you adequate time to spend on personal/spiritual development. We want you to leave more in love with Jesus and more in touch with who you are in Christ and who he has made you to be. Direct ministry focuses on reaching the campus of OSU. It seems like a rather daunting task to reach the WHOLE campus of OSU, so we focus on specific people groups present at OSU. Whether that be Greek ministry, Freshman ministry, International ministry, or something else, we challenge you to create a ministry from the ground up that can be self-sustaining. Though going into the internship this is often the most terrifying aspect, by the end of the year they have found it to be the most joyful and gospel growing experience of their year. The last element of our internship has you play an integral part in the weekly rhythms and existence of the Branch. We give you a behind the scenes view of the functions of the church as well as ministries of the church. The beauty of being part of a smaller church is that your voice actually matters. You can speak things into existence and lead aspects of local and global missions, hospitality, community group, and worship. Your love and appreciation for the local church will flourish.
What I love about our internship is that it is about YOU. Our heart is for your growth, discipleship, and ministry. You are not simply hired help to get things done, but you are part of our intimate Branch staff family. I believe the unity and intimacy of our staff is enough reason to apply for our internship. I also love that our internship is not just for people who want to go into “full time ministry.” As I look at back on our interns we have interns who are in full time ministry, who are in the secular work force, who are active in missions globally, and who are faithfully serving in their local church. Regardless of your future vocational plans, I encourage you to take time to contemplate the Branch Internship. I can guarantee that you will be more equip and ready for wherever the next stage of life brings you.
If you are interested in more information about our internship, I would love to take you out to coffee and chat more in-depth. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would also challenge you to connect with one of our current interns to hear about their experience and what they have learned.
For more information: http://thebranchcorvallis.org/intern
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.
This year 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 Josh Howeth.
In the beginning God said,
“Let us make man in our own image.
We give you dominion over all things.
Commune with us all your days.”
“We want more.”
We hunger for more. Our cravings for more became our demise.
What was once humanity’s dominion has become humanity’s deity.
Our appetites dictate the direction of our lives,
Be it the cravings of our stomach,
Our unquenchable yearning for possessions, power, popularity,
Or our longing for the Spirit of God,
Our appetites expose the desires of our heart.
C.S. Lewis once said, ““It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
We have turned our cravings from Creator to created. We have abandoned a holiday at the sea to indulge in mud pies…from fullness and satisfaction in God to the alluring facades of society. We negate the Bread of Life to indulge in the ever-fleeting pleasures of the world. God is calling us to a holiday at the sea…to have our appetites awakened to His pleasure and His fullness.
For when God is the supreme hunger of your heart, He will be supreme in everything. And when you are most satisfied in Him, He will be most glorified in you.
We desire to set our gaze once more upon the riches of our communion with God, feasting on the person and work of God, to satisfy our souls and gladdened our lives.
IMAGINE…What could happen if college students, stay-at-home-moms, people in the work force, united together as the body of Christ to commit to prayer and fasting for the city of Corvallis, for the United States, for the World.
Our week of prayer and fasting will conclude with 3rd Meal following the service Jan. 29. Please bring a dish featuring either a Soup, Salad, or Sandwich. This will be a great time to reflect about your week and share your prayers with each other.
Branch Brunch has been rescheduled from Sunday, January 22nd to Sunday, February 26th at 10:30 am. If you are interested in attending on the 26th please email Josh Howeth.
Do you want your prayer life to grow and flourish? Do you want to have a better understanding of prayer and or even how to pray? Join us Thursday mornings as we pursue growing in our relationship with God through our prayer lives’. We will spend 8 weeks together discussing the topics of adoration, petition, intercession, perseverance, listening and warfare. Each week will consist of training, discussion, and implementation. We will begin meeting Thursday, January 19th at 9:30am at 224 NW 26th St, Corvallis (Sigma Phi Epsilon). The trainings will be around one-hour long. Contact Davey Walker for more information.
Register today to save your spot for the upcoming Branch’s Women’s Retreat on February 3-5. Ladies you don’t want to miss this weekend filled with worship, friendship, relaxation and fun! We only have space for 26 ladies to participate in this incredible cabin getaway. The $80 registration can be paid online, with cash, or check. Contact Victoria or Julia for more information.
There will be a meeting for all Twigs volunteers on Sunday, February 26th at 3:30 pm at The River Center. Families only need to send one representative to the meeting. Contact Christina Law for more information.
I want to share about something sweet that is on the horizons in my world. As many of you know, I also work for College Young Life at OSU. Young Life has been an awesome opportunity to get to share Jesus with students that you do not often find in the pews or seats of churches on Sunday. Many students have also used Young Life as a tool to have conversations about Jesus with their peers. It has been such a blessing to see people come into relationship with our Lord and Savior.
This fall we have a College Young Life first, Fall Camp. November 4-6 we are headed over to Washington Family Ranch for our college getaway. Camp will have the same feel of summer camp crammed into a weekend. Even better, it will not only be OSU out there but we will have over 500 college students through the pacific northwest including UW, UO, WOU, and PSU. I am stoked for this weekend because everyone there is going to get to hear the gospel. I encourage students to use this weekend as an opportunity to have your friends hear the gospel. We all have friends that we want to know Jesus but know will never come to church with us on Sunday. This is a great weekend to hopefully bridge that gap as they get to hear about Jesus in a setting that is much more comfortable for them.
I whole heartedly believe God is going to do big things this weekend. He is going to change lives and bring people into relationship with him. Students of OSU are going to be changed as they come face to face with Jesus.
I want all the students of the Branch to consider spending a weekend out at the ranch with their friends as the gospel is proclaimed clearly. If you have never been out to experience the beauty of Washington Family Ranch, there is extra incentive to come because there is no other camp like it. And if you are not in college, please lift up this weekend in prayer. The gospel is going to be proclaimed to over 500 college students throughout the northwest. Pray that students come to know Jesus and the overall spiritual climate of the Northwest is changed.
To God be the glory.
Date: November 4-6
Cost: only $99
Where: Washington Family Ranch
Branch Brunch is a great place to ask questions and hear about the purpose and values of our faith community. Our next Branch Brunch will be held on Sunday, October 30th at 10:30 am. This Brunch is necessary if you are interested in becoming a member. If you are interested in attending contact Josh Howeth to RSVP.
The Members Forum is a time for members of The Branch to come together and hear about where we’ve been and where we are headed, make decisions as a church, welcome new members and share a meal together. If you are a member of The Branch please make plans to attend on Sunday, November 20th from 6:30-7:30 pm (immediately following our Sunday gathering.) Childcare is also provided for our families.
Community groups gather together weekly to get to know one another, pray, study the bible and live life together. It’s never too late to join a group so if you didn’t attend one earlier this week you can still do that! You can find a list of weekly meeting locations and times on our website or on the Community Group Map in the back of the auditorium on Sunday nights.
In addition to our Sunday offering baskets, The Branch offers safe and secure online giving. Use this tool to give to international missions, support one of our interns, give your one-time tithe or even set-up a recurring tithe. Use our website or download our App on iTunes or Google Play.
We get it – cold and flu season, midterms, visiting family – sometimes you just can’t be at church on Sunday. Don’t worry, all of our sermon series are available on our website and iTunes so if you miss a week you don’t have to miss out.
And The Best Supporting Role goes to…
We are closing in on one of my favorite events we do as the Branch family, THE STUMPIES. Each year we as a community come together to celebrate what God is doing internationally through The Branch. This year the Stumpies theme is the Oscars. This year’s Hosts for the Stumpies are yours truly and Bobbie Kent-Brakeall.
Our film nominations consist of 14 films made by Branch members. They will all be competing for the Stumpies awards for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Role.
We have the Stumpies every year not only to have fun as a community but to also support the Branch’s summer mission trips. This year we have teams going to England and Thailand. These team members are hard at work preparing mentally and spiritually and raising support for their trips. The Stumpies is a night in which we as a community get to pray and financially support these teams. I know not everyone has the opportunity to go on a summer trip, but through a night like the Stumpies you get the opportunity to partner with these teams. You make these teams able to share the gospel with the ends of the earth. By supporting these teams, you are actively bringing the gospel to England and Thailand.
In years past, we have had a Silent Auction. This year though, in lieu of a silent auction we are asking for an entry donation of $10-$35. While the judges deliberate on the award winners, Stephen will share about the trips and appeal to us to financially contribute to this trips. We have an amazing gift for this year’s biggest donor. I believe this is truly the best gift The Branch has ever given out.
Please join us Saturday, April 30, 2016 for our annual The Stumpies. We are hosting the Stumpies at Grant Avenue Baptist Church and the event runs from 6pm-8pm. Light snacks and drinks will be provided. Childcare will also be provided.
STUMPIES. APRIL 30. 6PM. YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS IT!
Other Branch News:
Please join us for a marriage conference Friday–Saturday May 20-21. The cost is free and includes dinner on Friday and childcare for both days. The event is open to married couples, engaged couples, and even dating couples. Registration will be available soon. Contact Stephen Brucker for more details.
The Branch “Man Camp” is June 24-26. This men’s retreat will be spent camping, enjoying God’s creation, and connecting as a community of men. This event is for men of all ages. If you have any further questions please contact Stephen.
2016 VBS is July 11-15, 9am-12pm. We need approximately 15 adults to serve during the week. Roles include lead teacher, assistant teacher, missions teacher, crafts teacher, recreation leader, and nursery teacher (for worker kids only). Please let Andrea know if you are able to help.
Two weeks ago, over 40 of us from the Branch college community headed over to Breakaway Lodge at the Oregon Coast. We got to spend the weekend relaxing in the midst of God’s beautiful creation (and it was actually sunny for part of Saturday. Praise the Lord) while being refreshed with the truths of the gospel.
This was an extremely refreshing weekend for the college community. We got the privilege of hearing from six of our own college students as they shared about how Jesus has drastically changed dynamics of their lives. We structured the morning and evening session into TED talks. I was blown away by their wisdom and insight. The six students shared on Biblical rest, loving God with your mind, Biblical dating in light of Biblical marriage, intentionality in discipleship, gospel of self versus gospel of Jesus, and God’s providence in missional living. Each talk was both challenging and convicting. I love to see and hear how God doesn’t just bring us from death to life, but he drastically changes the way we live and view life. This weekend was a testament to how good our God truly is. He is faithful and personal.
After each session we spent adequate time in small groups sharing how God spoke to us and challenged us throughout these diverse topics. I love getting to sit down with a small group of guys and hear how God is at work in their lives. I invite y’all to engage with the college students at the Branch and hear what God is up to. God really is doing a good work through these students, and they want to share that with all who want to hear.
It was super cool to see how the students that came on the retreat represented the diversity of the Branch. I loved seeing friendships begin and friendships strengthened. It was a great combination of people new to the Branch as well as people that have been with us since the beginning. God is at work in the Branch. God is at work in the lives of our students. I cannot wait to see how God uses the college students of the Branch to drastically change the culture of Oregon State. Join me as we continue to pray for God to use the students of the Branch to make his name known at OSU.
In Oregon State University as it is in Heaven, I pray.
Other Branch News:
Good Friday location change: We previously announced that we would be meeting at Hub City’s new location in Albany but it looks like that will no longer be the case. We will now be meeting at the Odd Fellows Hall in Downtown Corvallis (223 SW 2nd St) at 6:30 pm on Friday, March 25th. Our Good Friday service is a time for us to unite under the message of the cross and to reflect upon Jesus’ work on our behalf. Childcare is provided. Each church is seeking to provide 2-3 children’s workers for this worship gathering. If you are interested in serving our children on this evening, please contact Josh or our Twigs Director, Andrea Fifhause.
We are one week closer to 3rd Meal. Get ready because it’ll be here on April 10th! For those of you not familiar with 3rd meal, once each quarter we like to hang out after our Sunday Gathering and share a potluck meal together. Contact Jesse Parker if you’d like to bring a main dish, side or dessert. If you can’t bring food but would still like to help by setting up tables or cleaning up after, Jesse can help you with that too!
Being a parent is hard work! Just ask one. Bridging the Gap is our way to mobilize The Branch community to serve single parents in Corvallis. It provides opportunities for us to come along side these courageous parents and tell them in very tangible ways that we care. Beyond that, it is our hope that through these acts of love and service, many families in our city would come to know the hope we’ve found in Jesus. If you’d like to be involved in this ministry please contact Stephen Brucker or visit our Bridging the Gap page for more information.
The Branch has the wonderful opportunity to lead preschool age kids through the truth that Jesus saw people differently. 2016 VBS will be held July 11-15, 9am-12pm each day. We need approximately 15 adults to serve during the week. Roles include lead teacher, assistant teacher, missions teacher, crafts teacher, recreation leader, and nursery teacher (for worker kids only). Please let Andrea know if you are able to help.
We are needing 5-6 people who are interested in being trained to be a Refuge Group facilitator. Refuge Groups are for anyone who needs a safe community to be open about something they are struggling with and want to walk with others towards freedom. Whether you wrestle with doubt, depression, anxiety, sexuality, grief, addiction, etc any where along the spectrum, Refuge Groups are for you. Facilitators are not leaders who feel as if they have conquered some issue in their life, but are broken people who can empathize with others that are struggling and are willing to walk with others in a facilitating way. Please contact Josh by text (541-224-1476) or email to express your interest.
Seniors, are you interested in growing in your understanding of the local church? Are you interested in spending a year of self-discovery and spiritual growth? We want you to intern with us. The Branch’s Internship Program is 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 your life. We are committed to walking alongside Interns, discipling them as they consider Christ and how they might better make Him known. Contact Davey Walker for more information.
Life is busy. So often we are continually on the go and never really take the time to simply rest and reflect. Rest and reflection is so crucial. Through rest and reflection we get to hear God and see how he has/is working. We need to strive to get in the habit of retreating from the pressures and stresses of this world. I am excited to announce that this term the college students of the Branch will have just that opportunity. We will be heading to the Oregon coast to Breakaway Lodge for a retreat March 4-6, 2016.
This will be an amazing weekend where we take a step away from classes, homework, and the social pressures all around us to reflect on what God has done in our lives and listen to His voice. I believe college students are constantly getting the opportunity to hear from older people. Their professors, pastors, mentors, etc. are all a couple steps ahead of them in life. I believe there is a true beauty to get to glean wisdom from those that have already gone through the stages of life we are currently in. Yet often college students miss out on hearing from their peers, especially about what God has been teaching and doing in their lives.
Our winter retreat is all about giving our students a voice. Our students have a story to tell, an amazing story of transformation and intimacy with our Creator. This retreat is focused on empowering out students. Our theme is Rumors of God. We have all heard people talk about what God is up to in the world and how he has changed people’s views on generosity, community, mission, intentionality, etc. Yet, sometimes these things only seem like rumors. We hear about them, but we don’t see them. The desire of these weekend is to reveal that these aren’t just rumors; they are actually present day realities. And the beauty of it all is that we will not be hearing from a pastor or a guest speaker. We will be hearing from you. We will be hearing from college students of the Branch. We will be hearing from your peers. Our seminar section of the weekend will be formatted with TED talks. We’ll get the privilege to hear from six different college students on how the gospel of Jesus Christ has drastically changed different aspects of their lives, and ultimately, how he can change your life too.
I ask you to put March 4-6, 2016 on your calendar. God is on the move in Corvallis. Join us as we share where He is moving.
Other Branch News:
Branch Brunch will be held on Sunday, January 24th at 10:30 am. In order to guarantee that we have enough food for those in attendance, please RSVP to Josh Howeth via text (541-224-1476) or email (email@example.com)
The Week of Prayer and Fasting starts Sunday, January 24th. We encourage everyone to attend our Thursday Evening Prayer & Worship Gathering from 6-7 pm at Grant Avenue Baptist Church. Childcare is provided. This year’s Prayer and Fasting Guide is only available online, which you can find here. It is also available on our app on iTunes or GooglePlay.
Groves are community groups at the Branch that meet weekly to get to know one another, study scripture, sometime share a meal and just live life together. If you are not currently attending a Grove, now is a great time to start. We have groups of all ages, life stages and locations that meet throughout the week. Find one that fits your schedule here or check out our Grove Map by the Connect Table on Sunday night.
Don’t forget to set your alarm early on Sunday, February 7th. Our regular gathering time has changed and will start at 8:30 am. But don’t worry, we will be back to our normal 5 pm gathering time the following Sunday.
This month’s Spiritual Formation Class, Science – Does it Disprove Christianity?, will be held at 11:30 am at the Branch office located at 760 SW Madison Ave, Suite 11. Contact Stephen Brucker with any questions.
We are all dreamers. Even if you are like me and do not remember you dreams, you are a dreamer. Research reveals that on average every night we are dreaming or in a dreamlike state for two hours. We are all dreamers. And we all know that dreaming is not just something we do while we sleep. Not a day goes by where we do not dream in our conscious state. Daily there are moments I find myself daydreaming about future plans, desires, and goals. Yet as I really sit down and think through my dreams I have to ask myself, where do these dreams come from? Are these dreams motivated by the redemptive story of God I have been called into? Or, more often than not, have my dreams been taken captive by the world?
In Rumors of God, a book I recently started reading, I have been challenged with these questions. Have my dreams been taken captive? Is my dream simply a repackaged version of the “American Dream?” Kalle Lasn states, “’Dreams’ by definition are supposed to be unique and imaginative. Yet the bulk of our population is dreaming the same dream. It’s a dream of wealth, power, fame, plenty of sex and exciting recreational opportunities.” I am struck with how I have been captivated by the mass produced and repackaged dreams of culture, not the dreams of God. Like CS Lewis once said, I am making mud pies in a slum because I cannot imagine a holiday at the sea. What dreams captivate your mind?
As we are in the midst of advent, a season all about the hope of the coming Messiah, I cannot help but think of the narrative of Christ. This story is so much better than the story of our culture. You see, Jesus not only freed us from condemnation and sin, he brought us into a better story. His story. “Most of us are trapped in a cultural ghetto. The only things we can imagine are luxury, affluence, prestige, and success. Jesus entered the world to expand our horizon of possibility, to recover the forgotten passions of our heart, and to help leverage our gifts for his dream of restoration and hope. He wants to unleash our imagination.” Why settle for the dreams of the world when our dreams can be fueled by the unlimited possibilities of heaven.
What if our dreams were birthed out of God’s narrative? What if we moved from dreams of worldly success and self-improvement to dreams of restoration and hope? What if we as followers of Jesus dreamed different dreams?
Lord, I ask that you fill our minds with visions of your Kingdom. Unleash our imagination and give us dreams fueled by the unlimited possibilities of heaven. May we taste and see that you are good. You have brought us into your story. Now help us live out that narrative. May our hearts align to your heart, our ways to your ways, and our dreams to your dreams? To you be all glory, honor, and praise. Amen.
Other Branch News
3rd Meal Cookie Swap
Instead of our regular 3rd Meal on Sunday December 20th, we want you to bring a plate of your favorite Christmas cookies, candy or other Christmas treat to share. We’ll provide the coffee, hot chocolate and apple cider.
Twigs Christmas Program
Our wonderful, adorable Twigs will be performing a few Christmas Carols for us on Sunday, December 20th at 5 pm during our regular Sunday gathering time. Special things are bound to happen when you put a group of small children on stage so don’t miss it!
Christmas Eve Service
Join us for our annual Christmas Eve service at 5 pm on Thursday, December 24th at the Majestic Theater in downtown Corvallis. We’ll sing some Christmas carols, hear the Christmas story and a short message. Feel free to invite your friends and neighbors!
No Service December 27th
Every year we like to give our dedicated group of staff and volunteers the last Sunday of the year off from setting up and cleaning up. So this year there will be no Sunday Gathering on December 27th. Please enjoy the extra time with your family, friends and neighbors by fellowshipping, worshipping and serving in any way you like.