Entries by Chris

Vision Series: Reconciled

Reconciliation finds its roots in the Latin meaning to bring back together what has been separated; to make good again. The Scriptures tell us that reconciliation is exactly what God is up to in the world, and we are called to join in that work. The Branch is a church committed to reconciliation that is […]

Missional Community @ Garfield Park

During the summer, join one of our missional communities at Garfield Park on Thursdays from 5:30-7:30pm (come whenever your schedule allows). We’ll have dinner together (bring place settings and something to pass), play and hang out. We’ll also continue to build relationships and support recent refugees who join us from time to time.

Love Over Fear (a story)

Loving the other is rarely easy, and more than often requires more of us than we think we can give. Thanks to Jeff and Sarah for being willing to share their story of how God has been at work in and through them as they chose love over fear.   Verkaik from Chris DeBlaay on […]

Unity, Liberty, Charity: Week 1

We begin this series by looking at Christ’s unmistakable call to unity.  We also work to reclaim the often forgotten truth that there is much more that binds us together than separates us, even in this debate. We also strongly encourage you to engage with these questions and readings this week to further reflect on […]

Current Series: The Places of Jesus

It’s easy to take for granted just how remarkable is the earth-bound rootedness of Jesus.  Consider it:  His feet touched this earth.  He breathed this air. He called this place home.  The places of Jesus both formed him and were transformed by him. Through Lent, we’ll explore some of the key places of Jesus’ life, […]

Merry Christmas!

Over the last month we’ve been humbled and grateful as the Branch has repeatedly been an extension of Christ to the world. Here’s a snapshot of ways in which God has worked through us to spread the Good News: In the last month, our kids gave offerings totaling $175 to purchase 5 pairs of shoes, 3 mosquito nets and […]

Refugee Resettlement

We are helping a Congolese family of six get settled in America after arriving just a few weeks ago.  A major needed item are winter books.  Boots do not have to be new, but should be in good used condition. You can click here to find details of what exactly is needed.  If you are […]

The Good and Beautiful God – God is Trustworthy

This week we look at a second narrative we learn from Jesus: God is Trustworthy. And we review the process by which we change.  Matthew 6; Matthew 26 Homework 1) If you want to recap this message, read chapter 3 from The Good and Beautiful God.  To prep for the message on the 23rd, read chapter 4. […]

The Good and Beautiful God: God is Good

Homework! The sermon on Sunday is only a start. We strongly encourage you to take another step or two this week in order to enter into the process of transformation more fully. Here are some ideas: 1) Read chapters 1-3 from The Good and Beautiful God. 2) Engage in one of these soul-training exercises. SLEEP […]

Our Story: Tools for Week 2 (and week 1)

Every week we’ll be posting some ideas on how you can more deeply engage the Old Testament. Parents: these tools will be written in a way so that you can use them with your kids.  If you do use them with children, it may work well to pick one question/activity per day.  This will keep things […]

Current Series: Love Does

Love.  Is there another word more widely used in our world today?  We say we love hot dogs or Dora, and a short time later pledge our life-long, unconditional love to another.  It’s a word we use to describe our feelings or what we think.  But love, in its fullest, truest sense, is infinitely more.  Love […]

New Stewards

The Branch has three Stewards of Care and and three Stewards of Resources.  Each serve for a three year term, which means that every year one Steward of Care and one Steward of Resources rotates off.  This year, Carrie Elzinga (Care) and Jeff VerKaik (Resources) will be stepping down. The process for adding Stewards begins […]

Lent Reflection Guide

A team of people at the Branch have created a guide for Lent.  Each week has a personal reflection, questions to help process the passage, suggested Scripture for the week and a prayer. You can download the whole guide here: 2016LentGuide Or, if you’d prefer to read it right here, we’ll post each week’s reflection and resources […]

2016 Strategic Plan (part 2)

We’re taking time each week to write in more detail about our 2016 Strategic Plan (i.e. where we are going to focus our energy and resources in the next year).  If you didn’t catch the first post in this series, we encourage you to do so here. Action 2: Offering lavish hospitality and care In the […]

James 3:13-18 True/False Wisdom

  Drew challenges us to consider the dangerous trait of envy, and its alternative: wisdom. Please note: at 35:45 you can hear a detailed picture of how we are going to join in God’s redemptive work in 2016.

10th Birthday! James 2:14-26

The first half of this podcast contains the part of our worship where we looked back and celebrated the way that God has been faithful to us. The message for the morning begins at 21:20.  This includes the sharing of a vision for where we are going in 2016.

2016 Strategic Plan (part 1)

Over the last six months we’ve been doing our best to pay attention to God’s leading.  Both corporately and individually we have been listening for God’s voice and working to notice where God is at work.  The result of that discernment is our 2016 Strategic Plan.  While this plan is not a once and for all roadmap, […]