From Duty to Desire

January 12, 2017 Victoria Renard Branch Notes

My Freshman year of college, The Lord dropped me (yes, I literally fell) into a community of students crazy for Jesus. It didn’t take long spending time with them to realize there was something radically different about their lives. One night I looked at my phone and one upper classman who had taken me under her wing texted and invited me to come pray with a group of students over the campus.

Why not? I didn’t have anything better to do for the next hour. I ran outside and met up with the group. As people started to gather I could feel the excitement building. An upper classman spoke up to address the group and said, “Thank you for joining us for a night of prayer! We can’t wait to see what The Lord will do in in the next 12 hours of prayer…” Everything was a blur after that as my mind started to go in circles. How in the world can we pray for 12 hours? I was lucky to sit and pray for 10-15 minutes before running out of things to say, and honestly it wasn’t very exciting. But I was already there, in the middle of a packed room, leaving now really wasn’t an option.

As I begrudgingly sat and listened to others pray outloud I was amazed. There was something different about the way they spoke. It was as if they were speaking to someone they knew deeply, someone they loved and cherished. Their words were oozing with life, passion and expectancy of the Holy Spirit moving mightily. Their passionate prayers and lives starkly contrasted to  my dull times of prayer. As the night progressed I was convicted that I had let prayer become a duty rather than a delight. Instead of coming to talk to my Heavenly Father, I had let the time I spent with Him simply become something to check of the list. My spiritual life was dead, because I had let my communication with God be lifeless.

That night I silently repented and prayed, “God I want to know you like this.”

If we are all honest about the number of times we have approached prayer and our time in The Word as an opportunity to encounter the living God, I’d reckon it is a lot less than we’d like to admit. Prayer is hard! One of my favorite theologians, Sam Storms always says, “The easiest thing about praying is quitting!” First of all, and most obviously, we are talking to someone we can’t see. On top of that we encounter so many distractions and have way too many things on our schedule that it seems impossible to fit everything into the time you have already. Also I’d be naive to leave out that many of us have been disappointed and hurt by circumstances in the past when we felt our prayers weren’t answered.

Whether you feel like you have a rocking prayer life, or feel like you are in a dry season, I’d like to invite you to take another step in deepening your relationship with our Heavenly Father through prayer. Every Thursday, beginning January 19, we will be gathering weekly to learn about prayer by diving into The Word, and talking to God together!

I cannot wait to see how our lives, and the lives of those around us are transformed as we sit at the feet of our living God to listen, share and learn to love!

 

Other News:

Please join us January 22-29 as we spend a week in prayer and fasting as a community. Elements of Prayer and Fasting Week include a fasting booklet, Wednesday night prayer and worship at Odd Fellows Hall (223 SW 2nd St, Corvallis OR, 97333) with Doxology at 6 pm (childcare provided) and a drop-in prayer time at the auditorium in our office building (760 SW Madison, Corvallis OR 97333) from 9am-5 pm on Saturday 28th.


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.


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. For those of you that have already tried to RSVP online for the retreat but were told that it is full, we have fixed the website error.


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, January 22nd 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.


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. The purpose of Local Mission Grants is to seek and mobilize people at the Branch toward a unified local mission project and goal. Applications can be found online.  If you’re interested in leading a new local missions initiative, please read application, fill it out and send to Stephen@thebranchcorvallis.org.

Mission’s Weekend

January 5, 2017 Stephen Brucker Branch Notes, General

This Sunday, January 8, is Mission’s Weekend. Every year we take some time out of our usual sermon series and address the topic of missions. This Sunday we are going to talk about God’s heart for the nations as well as hear from a missionary who we’ve partnered with in England. This should be a wonderful time to learn more about God’s wonderful heart for each tribe, tongue, and nation, as well as an opportunity to get to hear some real life stories from the frontline of the mission field.

Moreover, this Sunday we will begin a new ministry at the Branch called the Global Mission Pipeline. 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.

This Pipeline is for anyone who wants to learn more about foreign missions in the context of the local church. So if you are considering moving overseas as a missionary, this Pipeline is for you. If you desire to learn more about foreign missions in general, this Pipeline is for you. And if you feel called by God to be a missionary overseas and want to partner with the Branch in ministry, then this Pipeline is for you.

Finally, following the service you are all invited to some hands on missions training regarding ministry in cross-culture settings in the fellowship hall. Pizza will be provided for dinner for all who attend.

 

Other News:

Each year we spend some intentional time praying for and thinking about God’s heart for all the nations of the world. On Sunday January 8, During our Global Missions Weekend, we have the opportunity to hear from one of our partner missionaries, alongside some hands-on ministry training after the service at the Branch office with dinner. Please RSVP for the training at Stephen@thebranchcorvallis.org.


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. The purpose of Local Mission Grants is to seek and mobilize people at the Branch toward a unified local mission project and goal. Applications can be found online.  If you’re interested in leading a new local missions initiative, please read application, fill it out and send to Stephen@thebranchcorvallis.org.


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.


Please join us January 22-29 as we spend a week in prayer and fasting as a community. Elements of Prayer and Fasting Week include a fasting booklet, Wednesday night prayer/worship at Odd Fellows Hall (223 SW 2nd St, Corvallis OR, 97333) with Doxology at 6 pm (childcare provided) and a drop-in prayer time at the auditorium in our office building (760 SW Madison, Corvallis OR 97333) from 9am-5 pm on Saturday 28th.


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.


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, January 22nd 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.

2016 Financial Update

December 28, 2016 Andy Crowe General

We’re past the first quarter of the 2016-17 fiscal year and headed into the New Year 2017. We continue progressing towards self-sustainment, it’s exciting to see God work!

During the first quarter of this year, our Offering Funds Income (internal giving) has increased 61.51% over this period last year. While our Organization Funds Income and Partner Funds Income has decreased 48.76%. As I mentioned in our last financial update, the Organizational and Partner Fund Income will continue to decrease and it’s important that our internal giving increases in proportion to this decrease. Despite these decreases in Organizational and Partner Funds Income, we’ve seen an overall increase in income of 28.94% across all income accounts.

Below is a breakdown of income mix. Over time we’ll want to see the light green portion getting bigger, while the dark green and yellow portions get smaller:

the-branch-income-by-source

As we enter into the New Year, I pray God continues revealing Himself to each of us. That through His continued revelation we find ourselves more and more awe struck by His generosity, His mercy and His love. And, as an outpouring of our affection for Christ and His work on the cross, we would lay down our worldly desires in exchange for the ultimate desire. That He would be exalted among all nations. He is worthy!

 

Other News:

Each year we spend some intentional time praying for and thinking about God’s heart for all the nations of the world. On Sunday January 8, During our Global Missions Weekend, we have the opportunity to hear from one of our partner missionaries, alongside some hands-on ministry training after the service at the Branch office with dinner. Please RSVP for the training at Stephen@thebranchcorvallis.org.


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. The purpose of Local Mission Grants is to seek and mobilize people at the Branch toward a unified local mission project and goal. Applications can be found online.  If you’re interested in leading a new local missions initiative, please read application, fill it out and send to Stephen@thebranchcorvallis.org.


Please join us January 22-29 as we spend a week in prayer and fasting as a community. Elements of Prayer and Fasting Week include a fasting booklet, Wednesday night prayer/worship at Odd Fellows Hall (223 SW 2nd St, Corvallis OR, 97333) with Doxology at 6 pm (childcare provided) and a drop-in prayer time at the auditorium in our office building (760 SW Madison, Corvallis OR 97333) from 9am-5 pm on Saturday 28th.


Ladies! Save the date for the Branch’s Women’s Retreat on February 3-5, 2017. The cost is $80 and you can pay online, with cash or check. Stay tuned for more information!

What is Christmas?

December 22, 2016 Stephen Brucker Branch Notes

My kids keep asking about Christmas. I’m not sure they understand the gravity of the incarnation of God in Christ. Honestly, I’m not sure I do either. So for those who are prone to get swept away in the commercialization of Christians, this poem is for you.

So what is Christmas?

Is it about family, about reunions, turkey thighs and relational highs, and prolonged goodbyes? Is it about values, festivals, rituals rooted in the past, chucked, and cast, forgotten at last? Is it about red bows and tinseled rows, polka dots, and unending knots?  Is it about giving, about living, about love, or Sleigh bells above? Is it about trees and holly leaves, chestnuts roasting, and mistletoe boasting? Is it a lie, a hoax, that many folks, try to coax, there little eager hypes into obedient types? Is it magic, filled with Santa Clause, and Rudolf paws, naughty and nice, as we hide our vice?  Or is it warm fuzzy feelings, nostalgic winter healings, traditional pew kneelings, or white elephant stealings?

Truthfully, the Christmas season is about a Son, about Angels who were stunned, singing glory to God—peace on earth, for the virgin has given birth. And what humility fashioned that boy, lying in a manger with not one toy, conceived immaculately, God and man incarnate mystery. And people did come, for he was a king and so distant royalty did sing, as they worshipped and knelt, their hearts did melt, as they touched and felt, and gifts they dealt. For this son would not grow old, in his youth he was quite bold, for a few silver pieces he would be sold, though no person could hold, his life was his to fold, for he was God in perfect mold. And though at Christmas he is but a child, on Calvary’s hill a verdict was filed, and the sins of the world did accumulate and pile, as he crushed the cursed wild, drinking the poisonous vile.

You see this is not merely a tall tale, a mere fable in the night, but a story with tension and fight, a story about a Hero who gave up his right, giving the blind back their sight, as the darkness flees by way of the light. Christmas is about sinners saved, because of the Son who obeyed. It’s about guilt pardoned and peace instilled—it’s about hope fulfilled because the Son was killed. It’s about our longings finding their home, the ultimate stanza in our cluttered poem, and the ending to our needless roam. Christmas is good news, and not something we should abuse, for this season is not about us, can we just give up our narcissistic fuss. For this season is about Immanuel—for God came, remembering this our ultimate aim, children of this story we claim, generation to generation we proclaim, in hopes that strangers would one day reclaim…

The message of Christmas is this: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost, and as such we give him our utmost.

Christmas is a season filled with joy, but ultimately because it points to the Divine boy, who was born to die, and died to be reborn.

Merry Christmas,

Stephen

 

Other News:

Advent is the season before Christmas culminating in the celebration of Christ’s birth. Yet, sometimes the meaning and power of Christmas gets lost in the shuffle. Therefore, this Advent we at the Branch are going to seek to spend less on Christmas, so that we can give more away. All donations given to the Branch for Advent Conspiracy are going toward a non-profit serving our Foster Care system in Linn-Benton.


Join us for a 5PM joint Christmas Eve gathering with Hub City and Doxology. We will be celebrating the birth of our Savior at Hub City’s building at 121 SE Lyon St. in downtown Albany. Childcare will be provided.


We will not be having our regular Sunday service on December, 25th. Take this time to enjoy your family and friends on Christmas Day. We will see everyone again on January 1st.


Ladies! Save the date for the Branch’s Women’s Retreat on February 3-5, 2017. The cost is $80 and you can pay online, with cash or check. Stay tuned for more information!

Three Types of Shoppers

December 15, 2016 Josh Howeth General

I’ll admit it. I’ve gone shopping far too many times for no other reason than because it sounded like something fun to do. I haven’t always been this way, and maybe it has something to do with having more and more kids running around,  but sometimes I just need to get out of the house and wandering around a store ironically seems like the most affordable way to spend my hour of freedom.

Most of the time I have a personal agenda when I shop. I know specifically what I’m getting before I leave the house. I know the stores that I’m going to and have already planned out the best order to attack them in. And, while I’m parking I’m envisioning which door to enter through and where exactly in the store these items are so that I can break the world record of fastest and most efficient shopper. (That would be a great record to hold as a man).

There is a third type of shopper too. I experienced this type of shopping once I started driving in high school. My mother would send me down the hill to our local Albertsons to get 10 lbs of extra lean ground beef. I went so often that I’m writing that information from memory. Now there are times where Liz sends me to the store for milk. It’s for some reason usually milk. In these moments I’m not a wanderer and I don’t have a personal agenda, but instead I’m a sent shopper.

If I mix in wandering with being sent, I might frustrate the one who sent me because those items are needed. And if I mix in my personal agenda I might fail to pick up the item I was sent to purchase. (This has only happened a few large handful of times).

Jesus prayed, “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:18) He prayed this to his Father at the end of his life, before he died a criminal’s death to redeem us.

It’s an important thought to engage with in this season of Advent. That the Father sent Jesus into the world. In other words, if the world were a store, the Father sent Jesus not to wander, not to have his own agenda, but to accomplish the things he sent him to accomplish. Christmas isn’t just meant to give us a warm feeling in our hearts that God is with us, although that is massively comforting. It’s comforting and warming because Jesus picked up all that he was supposed to pick up.

But Christmas is also meant to remind us that not only was Jesus sent, but we are now too. God’s agenda to redeem and restore the world hasn’t changed. So, just as the Father sent Jesus into the world, so now Jesus has sent us.

We aren’t wanderers. We don’t have a personal agenda. We are sent. Because Jesus was sent, and has now sent us.

Do you believe that?

 

Other News:

This summer we’ll be sending two mission teams, one to East Asia and another to Haiti. You can find the application online or grab an application at the connect table. The cost is approximately $3,000 and the deadline to apply is December 19th. The Branch will provide fundraising training and theological training in the months leading up to departure. Contact Stephen@thebranchcorvallis.org if you have further questions.


Advent is the season before Christmas culminating in the celebration of Christ’s birth. Yet, sometimes the meaning and power of Christmas gets lost in the shuffle. Therefore, this Advent we at the Branch are going to seek to spend less on Christmas, so that we can give more away. All donations given to the Branch for Advent Conspiracy are going toward a non-profit serving our Foster Care system in Linn-Benton.


It’s time for our annual Twigs Christmas Party! This Sunday, December 18th, during the church service, come ready to eat yummy food, create an ornament, and celebrate Jesus’ Birthday.  All volunteers please arrive by 4:30pm to decorate and set up.


Join us for a 5PM joint Christmas Eve gathering with Hub City and Doxology. We will be celebrating the birth of our Savior at Hub City’s building at 121 SE Lyon St. in downtown Albany. Childcare will be provided.


We will not be having our regular Sunday service on December, 25th. Take this time to enjoy your family and friends on Christmas Day. We will see everyone again on January 1st.


Ladies! Save the date for the Branch’s Women’s Retreat on February 3-5, 2017. The cost is $80 and you can pay online, with cash or check. Stay tuned for more information!

Jesus, The Given One

December 2, 2016 Josh Howeth Branch Notes

“Unto us a Son is given.”

Those words in Isaiah 9 seem to get me every year. It’s such a powerful thought that Jesus wasn’t just born into the world, he was given to the world. Meaning that God opened his hands, so-to-speak, and gave to the world the most precious of all things that He possesses…Himself.

Advent is a time of year where we celebrate that God kept His promise and sent a Rescuer into His world to redeem people for Himself. It’s also a time where we anticipate His coming again, fully and finally to make all things new.

You see, we had devastating needs, namely our need of forgiveness and reconciliation to our Creator. We had no hope to meet those needs with our own or the world’s resources. But God, the only One with the resources, generously gave Jesus to meet our needs.

It’s this gospel story that shapes us into generous people who seek now to meet other’s needs with the fervent praying and hoping that God would meet their deepest need of salvation.

This is why we as a church family are seeking to worship fully, spend less, give more and love all this season of Christmas. We, as well as many other churches across this world call this Advent Conspiracy. I’d love it if you learned more about what we are trying to do as a church this Christmas by visiting our Advent Conspiracy page: http://thebranchcorvallis.org/adventconspiracy

Please slow down this month and spend time reflecting on what God has done for you by giving you Jesus. He gave Jesus to you!

It’s my prayer that as we consider that, we will be shaped by it and therefore consider giving generously this month through Advent Conspiracy so that we can meet real, hurting people’s needs. And all the while we will pray and hope that through our giving and presence He will meet their deepest need. That they will know that Jesus was given to the world for them too.

 

Other Branch News:

Hey ladies! Join us today at 2 pm in The Branch Office (760 SW Madison Ave, Suite 11) for an afternoon of fun, tea & treats. This will be a great opportunity to relax, meet other women in all stages of life at The Branch and lift each other up in prayer. Contact Victoria Renard if you plan to attend, or if you have any questions.


Advent is the season before Christmas culminating in the celebration of Christ’s birth. Yet, sometimes the meaning and power of Christmas gets lost in the shuffle. Therefore, this Advent we at the Branch are going to seek to spend less on Christmas, so that we can give more away. All donations given to the Branch for Advent Conspiracy are going toward a non-profit serving our Foster Care system in Linn-Benton.


Sunday, December 11th. Come ready to hear our adorable kids sing Christmas songs to celebrate Jesus’ birth.


Ladies! Save the date for the Branch’s Women’s Retreat on February 3-5, 2017. Stay tuned for more information!

Thanksgiving

November 23, 2016 Stephen Brucker Branch Notes

 

This week is Thanksgiving.

We’re told to be thankful, many times sharing our blessings around a table, while stuffing our mouths with turkey and mash potatoes. I’ve been thinking lately about my responses I’ve historically given. I’ve spoken of good health, of my wife/children, and even lately about ministry. Those are definitely things I’m thankful for, but should I be thankful for something deeper and more profound?

My daughter came home from school with a paper hat she explained made her a pilgrim. At first I thought I might correct her. But then I realized that she was right. All Christians are pilgrims. We’re all on a spiritual journey toward it’s fulfillment in Christ. And on that journey God grants us with all sorts of things to be thankful for. Some are earthly and others spiritual, but all of them find their source in God sending his Son to save sinners, transforming them daily into His imagine.

This year I think as we go around the table, mouth full of turkey, I’ll share that I’m thankful that God has made me a pilgrim, all because of the Gospel.

I hope you all have a wonderful thanksgiving, filled with laughter, joy, stomach-aches, and thankful hearts at the God who loved us so much he sent his Son as a substitute for sinners.

 

Other News:

Ladies, join us on Saturday, December 3rd from 2-4pm at the Branch office (760 SW Madison Ave, Suite 11) for an afternoon of Tea & Treats. This will be a great opportunity to relax, meet other women in all stages of life at The Branch and lift each other up in prayer. Contact Victoria Renard if you plan to attend, or if you have any questions.


Advent is the season before Christmas culminating in the celebration of Christ’s birth. Yet, sometimes the meaning and power of Christmas gets lost in the shuffle. Therefore, this Advent we at the Branch are going to seek to spend less on Christmas, so that we can give more away. All donations given to the Branch for Advent Conspiracy are going toward a non-profit serving our Foster Care system in Linn-Benton. Type “Advent” in the Other field when giving online or include a note with your offering if using the baskets on Sunday. Contact Stephen Brucker for more information.


Our Twigs program will be performing for us on Sunday, December 11th at the beginning of our normal Sunday service. Come ready to hear our amazing kids sing Christmas songs to celebrate Jesus’ birth.


This summer we’ll be sending two mission teams overseas (East Asia & Haiti) You can find an application online or grab an one at the Connect Table on Sunday. The cost will be around $3,000 and the deadline to apply is December 19th. Contact Stephen for more information.


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.


Don’t forget! All of our sermons are available right here on the blog and on iTunes.

Delightful Communication

November 17, 2016 Victoria Renard General

A little over a month ago I took a road trip to Washington Family Ranch for a Young Life Leader’s retreat. If you have heard anything about the Ranch you’ll probably know that the gravel road to camp is slightly crazy, and has potholes galore. In light of the roads the family I rode with had borrowed a truck to make the trek. As we left camp the tire pressure warning signal lit up. Much to our dismay we watched the air pressure go from 50 to 20 in the span of just a few minutes. As we pulled over and looked at the flat tire we all tried to remain calm. None of us had ever changed the tire on a truck before, and it certainly didn’t help that this wasn’t our vehicle! To top it off there wasn’t any cell phone service.

Immediately we grabbed the driver’s manual and started looking for the tools needed to replace the flat tire. 20-30 minutes later After attempting to lower the tire from underneath the truck bed we accidently broke the tool needed to lower the tire! In that moment of uncertainty (and frustration) we began to pray. As soon as we said, “Amen,” a man with a truck similar to ours stopped, helped us change the tire with his truck’s tools and sent us on our merry way. The appearance of the truck driver, and changing of the tire all happened so quickly that we didn’t realize that help had arrived almost immediately after we had prayed until we were well into our drive back to Corvallis. This answer to prayer came in the form of a pickup truck.

I wish I could say that this isn’t the only time I haven’t immediately turned to God in prayer, but unfortunately this happens frequently. When I lose my keys (for the millionth time), am asked to do project at work, or help plan an event I often jump into action without thinking twice about praying. I would love to say that I am fully dependent on God, but my lack of communication with Him would beg to differ.

It blows my mind that God, the all-knowing creator of the universe, doesn’t just tolerate communicating with us, he delights in it! He wants us to talk to him about the things we are excited and happy about, as well as the things we struggle and are frustrated with. He invites us to ask him for things and to simply be with him. It’s incredible!

Just imagine what our lives would look like if we were people whose initial reactions to the ups, downs and inbetweens of life were to turn to God in prayer both individually and corporately. If we were a community acutely aware of how much we desperately need God that we can’t help, but be in constant communication with him. Would it energize us to pray more fervently for each other, for our city, the nations and in turn share the gospel with others?

May we be a family that delights in talking with our Heavenly Father and waits in expectancy of Him moving mightily!

 

Other News:

The Members’ Forum on November 20th from 6:30-7:30 pm is 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. This month we will be receiving elder recommendations from you, talking about church planting, local missions and Advent. Childcare is also provided for our families. If you are a member, this is a very important time for us to spend together, we hope you will make being there a priority.


Ladies, join us on Saturday, December 3rd from 2-4pm at the Branch office (760 SW Madison Ave, Suite 11) for an afternoon of Tea & Treats. This will be a great opportunity to relax, meet other women in all stages of life at The Branch and lift each other up in prayer. Contact Victoria Renard if you plan to attend, or if you have any questions.


This summer we’ll be sending two mission teams overseas (East Asia & Haiti) You can find an application online or grab an one at the Connect Table on Sunday. The cost will be around $3,000 and the deadline to apply is December 19th. Contact Stephen for more information.


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.


Don’t forget! All of our sermons are available right here on the blog and on iTunes.

Dinner Party: All Nations Welcome

November 11, 2016 The Branch Branch Notes

On November 23rd, the day before Thanksgiving, at Varsity House, we will be hosting our 4th annual International Thanksgiving Dinner. We host this event every year as a church; we gather food, volunteers, and decorations to throw a huge thanksgiving celebration for international students.

Students from all over the world come and experience an American tradition which they have likely never been a part of before. They get to feel the hospitality of the family of God and receive the love and friendship of Jesus through us, His own people. This meal has been a landmark experience for me in the church, and has defined a season of thanksgiving, generosity, and community in my life year after year.

These students come from nations where the Gospel is rarely spoken of. Many come from Saudi Arabia or China, most likely grew up in families where Jesus was not worshipped, and often have never had a conversation with a follower of Jesus. They come from communities without christians, and thus are without Christ. These are some the unreached people from the nations Jesus spoke of when he said “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations” (Matt 24:14)
Have you ever considered your role in Christ’s call to preach the gospel to every nation? Does it seem daunting, overwhelming, out of reach? Here is an opportunity to bring the Gospel to the unreached people of the world, no plane ticket needed, no new language to learn. The nations are at your doorstep, and they want to have a meal with you. Will you join the dinner party?

– Ways to Serve –

  1. Volunteer for setup / tear down / serving at the meal. We are always in need of people to come a couple hours early to help put up decorations, make food, and arrange chairs and tables. We invite you to act as a server during the meal, bringing out food and keeping tables loaded with thanksgiving dishes. Tear down has been a great experience every year; so we also invite you to stay after the meal to help clean floors, wash dishes, and dance the night away (dancing optional).
  2. Volunteer to spread the word to international students. We gather in teams of 2-6 in the weeks prior to the meal to hand out invitations, meet international students, and put up flyers. Send Sarah or I an email for details and come help spread the word!
  3. Volunteer to cook a component of the thanksgiving meal. Whether you can cook a turkey, buy a pack of rolls, or mash potatoes, we are in need of volunteers who can contribute to the meal and help make the dinner itself a delicious success. Contact Sarah for what foods are needed and sign up to bring a dish for a traditional thanksgiving dinner.
  4. Come, make a friend, and share the Gospel! Come to the dinner, sit at a table, meet the international students around you, and share with those you meet the hope you have in Jesus. All are welcome to the event!

– Ways to Pray –

  1. Pray for provision in food, volunteers, and seats. It is always hard to know how many will show up to the dinner. Last year we had nearly 200 come to the meal, so please pray that we will have enough servers, food, and table settings to accommodate the number of people God brings to us that evening.
  2. Pray for Gospel centered conversations and friendships. Each year the dinner tables are filled with gospel conversations, and friendships often blossom from these long talks over a meal. Pray that many international students come to faith in Christ and into a meaningful relationship with a follower of Jesus.

Can’t wait to have dinner with you all!

 

Other News:

The Members’ Forum on November 20th from 6:30-7:30 pm is 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. Childcare is also provided for our families. If you are a member, this is a very important time for us to spend together, we hope you will make being there a priority.


Hey ladies! Join us December 3rd, from 2-4 pm for an afternoon of fun, tea & treats. This will be a great opportunity to relax, meet other women in all stages of life at The Branch and lift each other up in prayer. Contact Victoria Renard if you plan to attend, or if you have any questions.


This summer we’ll be sending two mission teams overseas (East Asia & Haiti) You can find an application online or grab an one at the Connect Table on Sunday. The cost will be around $3,000 and the deadline to apply is December 19th. Contact Stephen for more information.


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.


Even though you might be home for the holidays enjoying Grandma’s pumpkin pie, you don’t have to miss a sermon. All of our sermons are available right here on the blog and on iTunes.