The Adventure of Coming Home: “I am always with you” (Week 6)

As we end our series, we look into the verse that ends the story of the prodigal sons. In verse 31, the Father says “You are always with me and everything I have is yours.”

The Adventure of Coming Home: Receiving Your True Self (Week 5)

As we start to wrap up this series, it’s our hope that many of you have been able to take a step towards home. The journey doesn’t end here, though. It’s a lifelong journey, not an overnight one. Listen here.

The Adventure of Coming Home: Discovering Your True Self (Week 4)

This week, we move from the lies of the False Self (we must earn our identity) to discovering our True Self (we can receive our identity). “You are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” Luke 15:31

The Adventure of Coming Home: Unmasking Your False Self (Week 3)

What mask are you wearing? This week, we dig into the hard work of uncovering the parts of ourselves that we like to keep hidden. Often, we don’t even know those parts exist. But our loving God wants more for us than the identity for which we are willing to settle.

The Adventure of Coming Home

“God is at home. It is we who have gone out for a walk.”
Meister Eckhart

The story of the prodigal son(s) in Luke 15 points us to what is true: we easily wander from home. And, when we turn back for home, God runs toward us to welcome every single part of who we are.

This is good news. And yet, turning back for home can be scary. What if we’re not welcomed? What if there are parts of ourselves that won’t be accepted? And what will we find out about ourselves on the way?

To be sure, the journey home is nothing short of an adventure. It is full of risk, uncertainty and…life. Join us as we explore what this parable teaches us about ourselves and the journey home.

The Journey Inward (Week 1)

Bringing Our Whole Selves (Week 2)

Unmasking Your False Self (Week 3)

Discovering Our True Self (Week 4)

Receiving Our True Self (Week 5)

“I am always with you” (Week 6)
Luke 15:31

Additional Resources
“The Gift of Being Yourself” by David Benner

Practicing Spiritual Practices

Transformation doesn’t come from effort alone. We can’t just hope or wish or even try really hard. Instead, we have to train ourselves into a new way of being. We have to practice.

To that end, Join us any Wednesday morning from 8-8:45am at the Garfield Park Nature Center (see map below, entrance is on Jefferson) To begin, we head into different parts of the Nature Center to practice prayer and contemplation on our own. We then gather together after a set amount of time to share any reflections. Any one is welcome any week.

Can’t make it? Below is a growing list of resources we’re using . You can engage with these at anytime, anywhere it works for you. 

  • Download and use the Centering Prayer app (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/centering-prayer/id844280857?mt=8). We use this most Wednesday mornings.
  • Pick up a copy of Seeking God’s Face

Want more info? Email chris@thebranchonline.org

 

Fall at the Branch

The weather has turned cooler. The more relaxed pace of summer seems to be over. Here at The Branch, things are no different. Take a look at some of the things happening this Fall. Join us for one or join us for all. We’d love to have you!

Fall Kick-off Party
When: Saturday, Sept. 16 @ 3pm–?
Where: Oeverman and DeBlaay yard – 2020 and 2030 Madison Ave. SE
What to bring: Sign up here for food, lawn chair, any yard games you love, and blankets/pillows for the outdoor movie
Who: Everyone from the youngest member of your family to the oldest is invited.
Why: For fun! And to connect with each other as the fall season begins

BranchStudents Kick-off
When: Sunday, Sept. 17 @ 5:30
Where: Workman’s home
What to bring: any side dish to share
Who: 5th graders and older, along with their parents are invited to this first meeting of BranchStudents. (Please make other arrangements for younger siblings.)
Why: To learn more about what BranchStudents is all about

Fall Partner Gathering
When: Sunday, Sept. 24 @ 3pm
Where: Seymour Church in Alger Heights
What to bring: nothing
Who: All partners (members) and those who call the Branch home, even if not officially affiliated
Why: To discuss and reflect on the vision God has laid before us; to discern what that means for us corporately and individually
Childcare is provided. Please RSVP here.

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 both personal, relational and moves us towards greater justice in the world.  Join us each week as we not only consider where we are headed as a church, but what God may be inviting each of us to do in the months ahead.

9/10 – reconciled: me

9/17 – reconciled: you

9/24 – reconciled: us

Stories from Sabbatical 8.13.17 (Our response to pain and loss)

*Current Series: Stories from Sabbatical (part 2)*

For three months, the Branch gifted a sabbatical to its lead pastor. During August, Chris will share more reflections from his time away. We’ll also share stories about the ways the time of sabbatical changed individuals and families at the Branch.

Stories from Sabbatical 8.6.17 (The power of story)

*Current Series: Stories from Sabbatical (part 2)*

For three months, the Branch gifted a sabbatical to its lead pastor. During August, Chris will share more reflections from his time away. We’ll also share stories about the ways the time of sabbatical changed individuals and families at the Branch.

Reimagining Scripture

During the month of July we took time to dialogue over passages of scripture (John 6:1-15) so very little of our dialogue was recorded. We’d love to hear your take on the story found in that passage of Jesus feeding the 5000.

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.

Easter at the Branch

How do we celebrate Easter at the Branch (and, for some, the end of a fast)?

On Good Friday, we come together to enter into a memorial of the final hours before Jesus crucifixion. The hour long service starts at 7pm and childcare will be provided for toddler and nursery age kids. Older kids may join us for the service. We hope you and your family will join us for this time of worship.

To celebrate the subsequent resurrection on Easter morning, get here a little early to enjoy a special Easter tailgate with us. Bring your favorite breakfast food to share, we’ll make the coffee. It all starts at 8:30am and we look forward to seeing you there.

 

Racial Reconciliation Training

This spring, we are offering free training aimed at helping address systemic and individual racism and bias. Our goal is “to see and learn about racism in a new and redemptive way, to gain insights into systemic racism through the eyes of faith and Scripture, to see more of the connections between history and contemporary race relations, and to identify organizing opportunities to eliminate racism, both causes and effects, within the body of believers and throughout the world.” Please join us as we pursue reconciliation in this part of the world we call home.

April 22 – Noon to 6pm

April 26 and May 3, 6-8pm*

*While we’d love to have you at all three pieces of the training, you can attend only Saturday if your schedule requires.

To register, simply check our our Facebook event and click “Tickets Available.” We look forward to your presence in our community and welcoming you into the family of the Branch!

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 Vimeo.

Church on the Road

Join us this Sunday (2/26) at 10am as we head to RiverTree to join them in worship and have lunch together. RiverTree is located at 5625 Burlingame Ave.

KIDS: Nursery (0-2) begin the morning in nursery.  Kids 3 years old and up start in worship and then are dismissed 15-20 minutes in.  Parents will find the RiverKids sign in table to their left in the gym.

TEENS: all middle and high schoolers are encouraged to participate in youth group.  These students are released at the same time as the younger kids.

LUNCH: bring a dish to pass!  place settings and drinks will be provided

DeBlaay Sabbatical

We’ve been blessed to receive a grant that allows the DeBlaay family to go on sabbatical this spring, and gives the Branch two incredible opportunities for growth.  Pick up an overview on the kiosk in the cafe on Sunday morning or check out a digital copy by clicking here: Sabbatical Overview.