Freshmen

February 10, 2017 Julia Campbell Branch Notes, General

It was the first week of staff orientation when we were told our ministries for the year. I was nervous, hoping it was something I would be passionate about. I was handed a plain piece of paper with the words FRESHMEN printed in big bold letters.

I clearly remember being filled with excitement! My thoughts raced to brainstorm what it would look like to minister to this specific group of people. I had excitement and expectancy of what freshman ministry, specifically in the dorms, could look like. Things changed when it became time to actively pursue that dream.

Fear paralyzed my actions. Fear of looking like an idiot. Fear of not being liked. And fear of failing. Months went by without any progress. There was even a point where I hoped I would somehow get out of doing it. One day I was journaling, processing my thoughts, and being completely honest with the Lord about how I felt. I realized that all my fear was rooted in myself – me, me, me. I was walking in fear, not the hope I have in Jesus Christ who is sovereign over all. “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” I started praying about freshman ministry more, asking the Lord show me how He wanted to use me and share His desires for what this ministry should look like.

It wasn’t long till I began dreaming of starting a Bible Study in the dorms. I yearned for a place where non-believing freshman could come and experience the gospel, where girls could find community in a dark and often lonely environment, and learn what it means to be a woman after God’s own heart.

The Lord is so faithful! He not only gave me those desires, but provided the people and the place to make it all happen. He did, not me. By the first week of Winter Term, the Lord provided the perfect meeting place close to campus and three believing freshman girls (all who live in different dorms and have different circle of friends) to join in! This week is our fourth time meeting. In total there are six girls who come regularly! I’m blown away by the Lord’s faithfulness in bringing all of this together despite my fears. The Lord had a plan the whole time. And I’m having so much fun being used by Him in this way!

 

Other News:

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, February 26th at 10:30 am. If you are interested in attending 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 from 9:30-10:30 am at 224 NW 26th St, Corvallis (Sigma Phi Epsilon) as we pursue growing in our relationship with God through our prayer lives’. Together we’ll discuss the topics of adoration, petition, intercession, perseverance, listening and warfare. Each week will consist of training, discussion, and implementation. Contact Davey Walker 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.


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. If you’re interested in leading a new local missions initiative, fill out the application and send it to Stephen Brucker.


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 Brucker.

Reflections on the Week of Prayer and Fasting

February 3, 2017 Stephen Brucker General

Last week we celebrated our annual week of prayer and fasting at the Branch.

I’ve never been one to rave about food and I’m about as far away from a foodie as a person could get. Maybe it’s because my Mom used to wake me up at 4 in the morning to drink weight-gainer shakes, which I should have sued for false advertisement, tasting more like chalk than the vanilla goodness it promised on the plastic container.

But then you cut out food during a fast and you realize how easily your heart and desires can be manipulated.

Last week I realized that I had bacon in the refrigerator.  My mind raced backward so that I could remember just what bacon tasted like, felt like, sounded like against my teeth. With each gurgle of my weakly disciplined stomach my heart worshipped the big pig in the sky. I would have sold a finger (probably my right ring finger, it’s the most expendable) for one greasy piece of non-kosher bacon.

My mind raced toward the end of my fast, ‘only 3 more days left’ I said with repetitious fervor. I day dreamed of the finish line, longed for the end, and gladdened my weak flesh as I meditated on a day.

In the midst of my bacon-induced coma, slobbering more than a St. Bernard, God broke into the void and awakened my mind and eyes to what I was doing and so often do. That is, I put my trust and faith and hope in functional saviors.

When I was in high school I dreamed of college, in college I dreamed of dating that girl (you know the one, the girl who’s hopelessly out of your league but you pray it’s God’s will anyway), when I got the girl it was the perfect job, then the perfect spouse, the perfect career, the perfect house, ad nauseam.

Whenever I was in a bind, hopelessly unsatisfied and discontent, I looked to the future for security and joy, knowing that if only I secured the right job, the world would be a better place, I would be invincibly happy.

But God broke into my fasting story and reminded me that functional saviors are foolish idols at best, which fail to live up to their promises. They talk a big game, but once secured, they leave me wanting more, searching all the more for the next thing which would promise to fill my void.

Yet there is one Savior and this Savior says ‘trust in me, turn your eyes toward me, gazed into my victorious life and there you will find a Savior who rescues, redeems, and provides hope and joy in this rollercoaster journey called life’.

Though I might have worshiped bacon, God turned my affections once more toward him, reminding me of my privileged union with Christ and the joy that flows from a hunger greater than food—a hunger for God himself.

 

Other News:

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, February 26th at 10:30 am. If you are interested in attending 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 from 9:30-10:30 am at 224 NW 26th St, Corvallis (Sigma Phi Epsilon) as we pursue growing in our relationship with God through our prayer lives’. Together we’ll discuss the topics of adoration, petition, intercession, perseverance, listening and warfare. Each week will consist of training, discussion, and implementation. Contact Davey Walker 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.


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. If you’re interested in leading a new local missions initiative, fill out the application and send it to Stephen Brucker.


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 Brucker.

Day of Prayer

January 26, 2017 Victoria Renard Branch Notes, General

This week as a community we have committed to praying and fasting for revival. Community groups, families and friends have gathered together to ask our Heavenly Father to stir our affections for him above all else and for our families, friends and the nations to come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior.

As this week comes to a close we are thrilled to be hosting a day of prayer to continue our corporate declaration that The Lord is our ultimate satisfaction. On Saturday, from 9am-5pm the Branch offices will be open for us to walk through prayers of adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication.

We would love it if you would prayerfully consider committing to participate in this day of prayer. It is our hope to have at least 4-5 people praying at all times during the day! This is a come and go event, that can be done at your own speed. Signing up is not required to attend, but if committing to a specific time will encourage you to come you can commit here.

We can’t wait to see how hearts are changed as we come together to sit at the feet of our Heavenly Father and ask boldly for His name and power to be made known.

 

Other News:

Our week of prayer and fasting will conclude this Sunday with Third Meal following our worship gathering. 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 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, February 26th at 10:30 am. If you are interested in attending 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 from 9:30-10:30 am at 224 NW 26th St, Corvallis (Sigma Phi Epsilon) as we pursue growing in our relationship with God through our prayer lives’. Together we’ll discuss the topics of adoration, petition, intercession, perseverance, listening and warfare. Each week will consist of training, discussion, and implementation. 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 25 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.

Prayer & Fasting

January 20, 2017 Davey Walker Branch Notes, General

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.”

Humanity’s response,

“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.

 

Other News:

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.

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!