Our Hopes for the Future

Hope is the fuel that propels us into the future.

That may seem a bit cliche, or perhaps overstated, but we all know the darkness that settles in when hope is gone.

For the next three weeks we will turn our attention to what is propelling us into the future. We’ll consider what unique role we believe God is asking us to play in helping to renew the world.

Our conversation will take place not only on Sunday mornings, but also on Sunday, March 10th, from 4-5:30pm at the Branch. This afternoon dialogue will make space for further feedback and be the beginning of concrete steps we (and you) can take to help us move towards the future we believe is possible.

If you want to get a sense of the overarching framework for this conversation, we’d love for you to give this a read.

We hope to see you soon.

Peace-Chris

Current Series – January 6-February 10

We all love something.

And whatever we love, we will pursue (i.e. worship).

Now, here’s the thing. We probably all know what we should love. But is knowing enough? (I may know that I should love foods low in fat, but…). Does just having the right information actually lead us to pursuing the right thing?

As we begin a new year we invite you to join us as we consider how to recalibrate our heart’s desires towards what really matters — to those things that are primary — to true north.

What Do You Want? (1.6.19)

The Journey of Advent

The stories leading up to and immediately after Jesus’ birth involve a lot of coming and going. Relatives make the trek to share joy about their shocking pregnancies. About-to-be parents travel to ancestral homes and then flee as refugees. Unexpected visitors arrive from a unknown land.
In the midst of all of these journeys we make one of our own. Yes, Advent involves retracing our steps through familiar stories and images, but it also holds the possibility of discovering new things. Things about ourselves, the world, even the about the Christ who we might be tempted to think we know all too well.
Join us as we embark on a journey through the stories that lead to the one story that shifted the course of history.

December 2 – Mary to Elizabeth

December 9 – Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem

December 16 – Angels to Shepherds

December 23 – Shepherds to Bethlehem
Christmas Eve – The Word to Us
December 30 – The family to Egypt

The Parables of Jesus

Many of the parables of Jesus are well known, even making their way into popular culture. We have “Good Samaritan” laws, and Hallmark continues to turn out stories about a “prodigal” son or daughter who’s finally come home (or so I’ve heard). But as is often the way with Jesus, there is more to explore than we first expected. In other words, these parables are full of surprises. They pack a punch, somehow reaching across the centuries to still challenge us today.
Join us as we open ourselves up to exploring Jesus’ message for us today.
The Parables of the Lost Sheep, Lost Coin & Lost Son (10.21.18)
       Luke 15

Renew: Who are you becoming?

The dominant theme of the Scriptures is one of renewal; of a God determined to create and recreate a world in which peace, justice, beauty and love reign. And our mission as a church is to be a community that is joined with God in that restoration.

And yet, renewal can feel elusive. Brokenness often seems to reign. How do we as individuals step into God’s renewal? And how might our transformed lives be a part of the world’s transformation? What is God’s vision for us? Just who are we supposed to become?

For six weeks we’ll consider these questions, and perhaps be surprised by the answer. For God’s vision is both terrifying and deeply compelling. It is both surprising and exactly what we hope for. Join us.

Series Introduction (9.9.18)

I am becoming a…

…shockingly welcoming host (9.16.18)

…servant in my place(s) (9.23.18)

…generous and genuine friend (9.30.18)

…dreamer and risk taker (10.7.18)

…wise navigator (10.14.18)

Worship with Communidad Cristiana (CCGR)

A few times a year — including this Sunday, September 2 — we join with our brothers and sisters at Communidad Cristiana de Grand Rapids (CCGR). These times of worship have become an incredible blessing – giving us a small glimpse into the larger Kingdom of God. We hope you can join us.

The service will be bilingual with music, prayer, and speaking in both Spanish and English.

Kids will join us in worship for the morning.

Forgotten Stories: Philip (7.29.18)

History offers us a number of heroes. The Bible is no different. Characters like Moses, Ruth and Paul dominate the skyline, and for good reason. Their lives (both the good and bad) are instructive. Through them we see how God interacts with us. But most of the characters in the Bible, and most of the people in the world, are not giant-sized heroes. Most are ordinary people who in their daily lives and choices show us what faith looks like lived out.

Their stories often fly under the radar. Some are even forgotten. Yet, their example is no less significant.

For the remainder of the summer, join us as we look at a number of Forgotten Stories and discover what they teach us about God, our world and our lives. For this first week, we’ll revisit the story of Philip.

Current Series: Forgotten Stories

History offers us a number of heroes. The Bible is no different. Characters like Moses, Ruth and Paul dominate the skyline, and for good reason. Their lives (both the good and bad) are instructive. Through them we see how God interacts with us. But most of the characters in the Bible, and most of the people in the world, are not giant-sized heroes. Most are ordinary people who in their daily lives and choices show us what faith looks like lived out.

Their stories often fly under the radar. Some are even forgotten. Yet, their example is no less significant.

For the remainder of the summer, join us as we look at a number of Forgotten Stories and discover what they teach us about God, our world and our lives.

The Psalms: The Whole Earth is Full of Your Glory (7.8.18)

Psalm 104 and Psalm 8 remind of that God’s glory can be seen in all of creation. We are reflections of God’s glory, a picture of God’s creativity!

Summer at The Branch

Summer. There’s no better time to put your feet up and enjoy time with friends, new and old. Join us as we connect over good food and conversation at some pretty amazing places. Bring a friend. Everyone’s invited.

Every Tuesday, 6:30p: StoryTime in the Park
Join us for FREE BOOKS for all children 15 years old and younger and FREE ICE CREAM for all family members on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. Storytime in the Park in located at 334 Burton St SE at Garfield Park. Children can also listen to captivating read alouds from 7:15-7:45 p.m.

Every Tuesday: 8p: Mountain Biking and Brass Ring
Meet in the parking lot of Brass Ring in Alger Heights at 8pm for an hour of mountain biking on local trails. Afterwards, join us for a drink at the Brass Ring.

June 15-17: Camping @ Fort Custer
Join us for a weekend of camping! We had a great time at Fort Custer last year, so we’re going back! They have mountain biking, swimming, fishing, etc. We’ll share the responsibilities of cooking breakfast and dinner. Lunch will be on your own.

June 22, 6:30p: CREATE Gallery Night!
Whether you’ve volunteered at or sent kids to CREATE or had nothing to do with it at all, come celebrate creativity at our Gallery Night! The art will be on display as well as 2 performances this year. There will also be a silent auction that benefits scholarships for next year’s CREATE. Oh, and there will be ice cream.

July 1: an Afternoon at the Beach
Join us at Painted Sky as Kevin & Mindy Freng host a BBQ at their cottage, which is conveniently located 200 yards from Buchanan Beach on Lake Michigan. We’ll have lunch together then enjoy an afternoon at the beach.

July 15: Pool Party
Nate and Liz Winkelman have kindly volunteered to host an afternoon of food and fun in the pool at their home.

August 24: End of Summer BBQ
To top off the summer fun, Jason & Mindy Law have invited us to their house for a Friday night bbq.

Check out our Facebook page to RSVP for camping or any of our summer bbq’s. For the other events, just show up! We’d love to see you.

Inhabit: Stories (6.3.18)

To wrap up our Inhabit series, we invited 2 couples to share stories about life in their neighborhoods, how they’ve built relationships, and how they’ve influenced the flavor of their neighborhood.

Recycling Needed!!!

We need your recycling! Two of the classes at CREATE will take your garbage and turn them into priceless masterpieces. Some call it upcycling, we call it art. Here’s the list of specific things that our two classes need:

  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Plastic bottle caps (all sizes)
  • Metal jar lids of all sizes (like from salsa or jam jars)
  • Paper egg cartons
  • Number junk (any and all things that have numbers 1-12)
  • Cassette tapes
  • Old toothbrushes (we’ll bleach them before letting kids touch them!)
  • Clean milk jugs
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Shallow boxes & lids
  • Paint of any color

You can bring any of these items on Sunday mornings by June 17, or email teresa@thebranchonline.org to make other arrangements. Thank you!!!

 

Inhabit: Beauty and Awe (5.13.18)

It’s not enough to just see beauty around us. We are also invited to experience that beauty by entering in to the places where God is already at work. Where is their beauty in my neighborhood? What would it look like for me to enter into and experience that beauty? How might God want to re-ignite my imagination?

BranchAdventures: Camping

We’re headed back to Ft. Custer Recreation Area for a great weekend of camping. Head to our Facebook event to learn more and let us know you’re coming.

Inhabit: Regaining our Sight (5.6.18)

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
Henry David Thoreau

What do we see? How easy is it for us to see the less important things? How common, in our context, to become hyper-fixed on what is wrong, broken, dysfunctional? (is this easier? easier to keep our distance through complaint and hopelessness). AND, how easy it is to be distracted or anesthetized? What if we regained our sight for those things that are already beautiful? What if we had eyes to see the mundane, even the broken, as aspects of God’s work among us?

When we regain our sight, it leads to remembering that God is good, which leads to trust, hope and truth.

Navigating Conflict: Our Key (4.22.18)

We learned some Greek this week during the sermon! Sounds a little intimidating, but it’s actually very helpful to understand what Paul was trying to say in Romans 14. What are we doing when we judge someone else? Does that lead to building each other up or to division?

Navigating Conflict: Our Posture (4.15.18)

We continue our study of Romans 14, learning how God calls us to navigate conflict. What is our posture? Do we value being right over being in relationship? Is everything we do out of a desire to honor God? Listen here for a sermon that challenges us to think differently about our posture as we find ourselves in places of conflict.

Navigating Conflict: Our Aim (4.8.18)

This week we started a new series, using Romans 14 to learn how we can best navigate conflict in our lives. It’s all around us and, if handled poorly, leads to destruction and division. But there is a way to navigate conflict so that it brings people together and builds relationships up. In this first week, we ask the question “In times of conflict, what is our aim?” Is our aim to win and defend ourselves or is our aim resurrection: for harmony and building each other up?