About Us

Metro Christian Fellowship is an evangelical charismatic church on the south side of Kansas City, Missouri. Our worship services embrace heartfelt worship, expression of spiritual gifts, prayer for the sick and teaching from the Bible. Visit us at our website.

10 Questions: Jessica Siems

Q: Where were you born?
A: Westminister, California

Q: What is your middle name?
A: Christine

Q: What is your favorite chip?
A: I have yet to discover it.

Q: Favorite season?
A: Autumn

Q: Coke or Pepsi?
A: Pepsi!

Q: Your childhood dream job?
A: Teacher

Q: Favorite item of clothing?
A: Light Jacket

Q: Favorite Sandwich?
A: Green Turkey @ Planet Sub

Q: Breakfast Food?
A: Cereal

Q: Dream vacation spot:
A: Rome & Ireland

A Catlett Christmas Mystery

It was probably our hardest year financially we had ever had. I was 35 and 2 years walking with Jesus. Dana was 10 and Jason 5 and it was time to tell them there would be nothing under the tree this year. They really didn’t seem to think it a big deal but Nancy and I were hurting inside at the thought of an empty Christmas. We had taken what money we had and bought the necessary $5.00 gifts for the family gathering.

This year as we gathered over at Mom and Dad’s I took Dana and my 10 year old nephew in the back bedroom and taught them how to present the Christmas story to the family. They were so excited to tell it and did such a wonderful job you’d have thought they had been doing it for years. My Christmas first Christmas present came as they were telling the story and I watched the expressions on the faces of my Dad, Mom, sister, brother, in-laws, nieces and nephews. They all listened intently and erupted with applause when they concluded. I was so proud of them and finally at peace with Christmas.

It was just before midnight when we finally returned home. I unlocked the front door and Nancy and the kids rushed in to get out of the cold. Nancy, as was her habit, turned on the Christmas tree lights first thing. And there we were all staring at all the gifts under the tree. “Mom, Dad you were just kidding us that there would be no presents this year” Dana exclaimed with great enthusiasm. “Can we open them now Dad”, Jason wanted to know. “Lets make sure there for you guys before we open anything”, I said. Sure enough their names were on the gifts, all 10 of them, 5 each. Then they started shouting as they had even found a present for Mom and one for Dad. Nancy and I just stood there dumbfounded each holding our present. We each had two pair of socks. Neatly tucked away in each pair was a hundred dollar bill. Four hundred dollars, four pair of socks, ten gifts for our children, and very nice gifts at that to complete a Christmas I shall never forget.

So how did they get there you ask. Well, Nancy and I had the only two keys to our house and they were both with us. Both doors and all the windows were securely locked. We were with our entire family the whole evening. How did they get there……... you tell me. Merry Christmas

-Randy Catlett

10 Questions: Randy Catlett

Q: Where were you born?
A: Grand Island, Nebraska

Q: What is your middle name?
A: David

Q: What is your favorite chip?
A: Fritos

Q: Favorite season?
A: 65 to 70 degrees and sunny

Q: Coke or Pepsi?
A: This stuff will kill you, drink green tea

Q: Your childhood dream job?
A: Didn’t have one

Q: Favorite item of clothing?
A: Jeans & T-shirt

Q: Favorite Sandwich?
A; Hamburger [pickles, lettuce, tomatoes]

Q: Breakfast Food?
A: I love breakfast food

Q: Dream vacation spot:
A: New Zealand


Here is the way that Michael Sullivant's most recent blog post ends:
I am weary of "super-preachers" who are striving to create "super-Christians" and "super-churches". I have too often witnessed the personal breakdowns that have come with this agenda through the over 30 years of being in vocational ministry. I believe that simply being a graciously born anew follower of Jesus the Christ is awesome enough for any human soul. At least it is for me. Is it for you?
You can catch the the whole post here.. it is a short post and really worth reading!

The Year of the Longest Nights

Tomorrow we are having a longest night service at church. It is a time where we remember both persons and events that have been a part of our lives in the past, but that are now changed or gone. In preparing for this longest night I have been thinking about my year and the thought crossed my mind: this has really been the year of the longest nights for my wife Ann and me.

January started with the first of four Multiple Sclerosis relapses that Ann experienced. Here are a few excerpts from what I wrote on my blog back in January:

I have to admit that I do not feel strong spiritually right now. I am forced to trust the Lord in a way that I have had to do on several other occasions. I am again reminded that I can only flow with the Spirit at a heart level ... I can only be at peace when I give up control of this situation.
Again in July.. after Ann had got to where she could again walk with a cane.. another relapse came and I penned these thoughts:

Life has its way of intimidating us doesn't it. Nebuchadnezzar can show up in all sorts of ways. Sometimes he shows up overtly demanding that we bow to the things that we know we should not bow to, but sometimes he shows up so subtly intimidating us to bow in thoughts and attitudes. This is where I am challenged today as I watch my wife back in a wheelchair and struggling physically from MS. I find Nebuchadnezzar standing over me today intimidating me ... telling me to bow to a subtle worship of fear, self-pity, hopelessness and despair. I find something rising within me saying, like the guys in Babylon:

O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of Multiple Sclerosis; and He will eventually deliver us. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not bow to feelings of fear, self-pity, hopelessness and despair. This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.
August and September followed with MS relapses that were progressively worse. In October I wrote this:

Sometimes following Jesus takes us on a journey that is both hard and heartbreaking. Reading Jesus words to Peter so resonates with me this morning. It reminds me that sometimes our path takes us to places "where you do not wish to go". I am in such a place in this season of my life. I have had to take a month long sabbatical from work and church because of the difficult circumstances of my wife's hospitalization.. been almost 3 weeks now.. still struggling.. trying to walk again.. in physical therapy.
Sitting here, at the end of the year, I recall what the Lord spoke to me last month:

If God didn’t cause it then it can be changed.. I don’t have to have a fatalistic view of the future.

The past is Satan’s playground, the future is the Lord’s.. the invitation is to play in God’s playground.. it is an invitation to hope!
That is where I am today.. experiencing the new normal.. letting go of my expectations and embracing Hope.. our Blessed Hope.. the Lord Jesus himself.. the invitation is to hope again.. won't you join me in accepting that invitation?

-Bob Edwards

10 Questions: Carolyn Aldridge

Q: Where were you born?
A: Duluth, Minnesota, eh?

Q: What is your middle name?
A: Elizabeth, (as in "Queen")

Q: What is your favorite chip?
A: Baked Lays Cheddar Cheese

Q: Favorite season?
A: Summer.. no.. spring.. no.. fall

Q: Coke or Pepsi?
A: Diet Coke with Lime

Q: Your childhood dream job?
A: Oceanographer

Q: Favorite item of clothing?
A: Pink Turkish Robe

Q: Favorite Sandwich?
A: Toasted Ham Salad with T,L & G O

Q: Breakfast Food?
A: Whole wheat pecan pancakes & real syrup

Q: Dream vacation spot:
A: Western USA Road Trip

Christmas Choices

It's almost the time we have chosen to celebrate Christmas. I love the lights especially at night, I love baking, I love drinking hot cocoa to warm me up and I love watching Christmas movies because somehow there is always a happy ending. I can do without the snow. I do love to watch it fall and sit on the trees but I hate walking or rather sliding in it. It is the time when most people seem happier, gifts are exchanged, carols are sung and there are numerous parties and family gatherings.

It is not only a time of tradition and commercialism... you know… the manger, the wise men, Mary, The Christ child…It is a time that we celebrate a choice; God's choice to intervene into humanity. God's choice to love instead of condemn displayed in a very tangible way.

It seems I'm in a time of pondering and questioning because what pops into my head is "God would you do it again for me?" Understand I do not mean a repeat of sending Jesus to be born as a baby and die on the cross. That has already been done and the purpose accomplished. What I mean is would He intervene in my life. Would He reveal Himself in tangible ways? Would He give me eyes to see and a heart to receive?

I realize that I too must make a choice….A choice to lay down cynicism and skepticism and exchange it for Faith and trust. Easier said than done…but "His name shall be called Emmanuel…God with us" (me).

Letiah Fraser

Thanksgiving Meal: An Answer to Prayer

When I first heard from my father-in-law about the Thanksgiving dinners that we were giving away as part of our outreach there was one family in particular that came to mind. I knew that God had presented me with this opportunity to reach out this family in their time of need. They just had their forth child, a little girl, and were struggling to provide for the other three growing pre-teen boys. They receive some state assistance but that isn't always enough. In fact, the state just informed them that their current residence, a two bedroom duplex, isn't sufficient for them; their newborn can't share the parents bedroom once she turns one. As I created a bond with the mother I realized that there was more than prayer that I could do for them. I offered the dinner to them and immediately the mother began to cry. She said that she had been praying that God would provide some food for them and that this was such a blessing. Thank you Metro for making a difference for this family.

Natalia Catlett

Phyllis' Christmas Story

I have a beautiful nativity scene that I inherited from my mother-in-law. She won it in a 25 cent raffle. The ceramic figurines are all antique white and I have a blue light shining through the back of the stable.

In December 2001 as I was setting it up, I was praying that I would focus on the real meaning of Christmas rather than all the 'to do' things that I so easily get caught up in. As I was standing there looking at Jesus in the manger, words started coming, so I wrote them down:

He's the reason for the season. Jesus is the reason for the season.

The Magi came from the east following the star. The shepherds came from the fields tending their flocks by night. They came to behold the King born to all the world that night in Bethlemen.
He was a babe in a manger, but He was a King, mighty in power and awesome in wonderful deeds to men. He lives forever, this King of ours. Earthly nobility can't touch Him. For He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. And His Kingdom will have no end. It endures forever and ever.

Holy is this King and mighty is His glory. It shines forth from the Heavens to all who would but see it. It will one day fill the earth as the waters cover the sea.

Oh, that all men could see and understand He's coming back again to claim His chosen ones that they may be with Him always and forever established with Him in His glorious Kingdom.

How bright and beautiful that night when He was born to a virgin to be worshiped and adored by all who would come to see Him bringing their gifts of love.

Thank you, Father, for your wonderful gift to the world in our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus.

-Phyllis Pesch

10 Questions: Yutaka Kawase

Q: Where were you born?
A: Tokyo, Japan

Q: What is your middle name?
A: Do not have one

Q: What is your favorite chip flavor?
A: Plain

Q: Favorite season?
A: Spring

Q: Coke or Pepsi?
A: Neither

Q: Your childhood dream job?
A: Chemist

Q: Favorite item of clothing?
A: Gloves

Q: Favorite Sandwich?
A: Steak

Q: Breakfast Food?
A: Oatmeal with Fruit

Q: Dream vacation spot?
A: Spacious Mountaintop Retreat

An Edwards Christmas Memory

My dad had a Christmas family tradition that drove me, my sisters and brother crazy. He would make us wait to come down on Christmas morning.. we could only come downstairs when we heard the music playing.. sometimes it would be Rudolph.. sometimes it would be a Christmas Carol.. sometimes I think that it would be Hawaiian music.. my dad loved Hawaiian music.. we just couldn't come down until it played. I remember waiting at the top of the stairs thinking that he would never play the music.

Fast forward about 20 or so years later and yes.. you guessed it.. I continued that tradition with my children.. of course the music was better.. but my kids still moaned and groaned as they waited. Some of my sweetest memories are espying them as they excitedly sat waiting at the top of the stairs for the music to start.

-Bob Edwards

A Sanchez Hawaiian Christmas Memory

We were invited to spend Christmas in Hawaii with older friends, who were devout Catholics. Tony and I were not Christians yet. We were young parents with two young children in tow.

Even though it was Hawaii I expected that we would have a tree with my special ornaments at Christmas. When we arrived in Lanai we were told that there were no Christmas trees on the island because of a strike. I had packed bread dough ornaments to decorate our Hawaiian Christmas tree. However, because of the tropical weather I unpacked long stretched out pieces of dough, dolls from around the world with no heads and arms. We had no Christmas tree and no ornaments. The only tree we saw all week belonged to a young woman at the local fabric store. We developed a friendship over a few days as Tony ordered some custom Hawaiian shirts. She had a small scraggily dry “Charlie Brown” tree.

On Christmas eve we went to midnight mass at a beautiful little white church with our friends. It was an amazing island service. A conch shell was blown and men, woman and children dressed in Hawaiian clothing and flowers walked in a processional to the front of the little church. A man dressed like a Hawaiian king carried the “Christ child” to the altar where he raised the child to God before placing him in a manger. It was one of the most moving Christmas eve services I have ever been too.

After church we went to the little fabric store, the young woman gave us her tree on Christmas Eve. We went to our condo decorated it with shells and homemade ornaments. It was a very special time with our family and friends. I always remember the memories of this long-ago Christmas.

-Livie Sanchez

Kelli's Funny Christmas Memory

One year after our traditional midnight mass, I was putting my youngest sister to bed. I told her we had to hurry because Santa was already on his way and we couldn't be up when he arrived.

She said, "Oh, Kelli, I don't believe in Santa. But, don't tell Mom cuz she still believes in him!"

-Kelli Dennis

10 Questions: Tammy McDonald

Q: Where were you born?
A: Kansas City, MO

Q: What is your middle name?
A: Lea

Q: What is your favorite chip flavor?
A: Plain Ruffles

Q: Favorite season?
A: Summer

Q: Coke or Pepsi?
A: Sweet Tea

Q: Your childhood dream job?
A: Professional Barrel Racer

Q: Favorite item of clothing?
A: Jeans and flip flops

Q: Favorite Sandwich?
A: Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato

Q: Breakfast Food?
A: Coffee & Granola Bar

Q: Dream vacation spot:
A: Any NT site or hot sunny beach

How Can We Find God's Will?

Pastor Michael Sullivant recently posted some great thoughts about finding God's will on his blog. Here is the way that his post (that bears the same name as this one) starts:
1 Thes 5:16 Be joyful always; 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

As a spiritual director and teacher, I often have the experience of people asking me about how they can come to discover God's will for their lives. Actually, it is the most commonly asked question that I encounter among God's people. There is much to say about divine guidance. However, I believe the place to begin to get our bearings is not to fret about discerning the details, but to create the kind of atmosphere around our souls, our lives and our inter-personal relationships in which the Holy Spirit is free to express Himself--His "natural habitat" if you will.
Read more on Michael's blog.

A Bailey Christmas Memory

Christmas 1999. Brennan's (our firstborn son) first Christmas! We joined Amy's family and left town for Mount Shasta, California where we had reserved rooms in an old inn. It was amazing to have Christmas with a little baby that was so enamored with the lights and shiny bows. There was something wonderful about being a daddy at Christmas ... something amazing and new. I will never forget the moments of wonder at Brennan's arrival and the blessing that he was to Amy and I. Even his name means "gift from God" and that Christmas I felt like I had received the best gift ever.

--Jim Bailey

10 Questions: Jim Bailey

Q: Where were you born?
A: Turlock, CA

Q: What is your middle name?
A: Charles

Q: What is your favorite chip flavor?
A: Terra Chips

Q: Favorite season?
A: Definitely spring

Q: Coke or Pepsi?
A: Dr. Pepper

Q: Your childhood dream job?
A: Fire Fighter or Missionary

Q: Favorite item of clothing?
A: Shorts and sweatshirt

Q: Favorite Food?
A: Thai, Pizza, BBQ, anything with friends

Q: Breakfast Food?
A: Coffee & Bagel

Q: Dream vacation spot:
A: Swiss Alps or Patagonia

A Tale of Two Cities

During the months of June 2006 and June 2007 I lived in orphanages in Ukraine. This had been something I had dreamed about doing for five years before it finally happened. The first year was the most wonderful experience of my life. Jesus revealed Himself to me in so many ways through Misha, Tonya, Dima, Bogdon....

Deep, everlasting heart connections were made during that first trip. At any time I can close my eyes and see so vividly the faces of those young lives that have ultimately changed my own life. I can hear their laughter, feel their arms squeeze me in hugs and see the earnest desire for the truth in their eyes as they asked questions about Jesus. I will never forget their stories even though they are not written down on paper because they are etched in my heart...they mingle with my own story...

Throughout the month my teammates and I were privileged to watch the seeds of life, joy, redemption...be planted in the hearts of 120 precious lives. I saw that Bogdon has hope for life as he drew pictures of houses surrounded by blue skies, picket fences and great big trees. Olieg has hope for redemption because the transforming power of the word of God in Ps. 27:10 took root in his heart. Misha was able to experience a few moments of pure child-likeness as we sat together for over an hour and I simply held him. The Lord showed Dima that even though he has been rejected many times during his ten years of life, that is not the end because He is loved so much by a God who sends people from his own country and far away to receive him simply because of who he is....I could write like this for days about those kids in an orphanage in Berdychiv...

I went to an orphanage in Neeperderzhinschk (I'd almost guarantee that's not how it's spelled and don't even ask about pronunciation!) this past June. I began the process of this trip knowing that there was a possibility that I would not return to the orphanage in Berdychiv...and I thought I was okay with that. I thought that I understood what that would mean for me, for my heart. I thought that I could build up enough excitement about being able to go again, excitement about being able to bring the love of Jesus to more orphans, I thought that I could use the excitement to drown out the pain of finding out that I would not be seeing those same kids again. It didn't work.

The kids I encountered this past June were very different kids. Their lives were very different. In some ways I would even venture to believe that their lives were more difficult. My kids from 2006 were completely abandoned. My kids this year...they went home for weekend visits, relatives would show up when they felt like and then come drop the kids back off when they felt like it...nothing was stable, nothing was secure ...their lives were chaotic. On day one they wanted to know how much money I had been paid to come spend time with them, they wanted to know when we were leaving and as the days went on many of them became increasingly aggressive as I ran out of tangible things to give them.

That month I saw small glimpses of the Lord, enough to give me the hope I needed to be able to pray. One of the older boys chose to stay at the orphanage instead of go home for his weekend visits because he wanted to be around us as much as possible. One day my little Vova would threaten to use sticks and rocks to hurt my friend Amanda and I and the next day he sat on a tree stump and colored with me for 30 minutes. During our birthday party I watched Roma come back inside to sit alone in a corner and look at each of the gifts he had been given with astonishment in his eyes.

I held out hope during that entire month that maybe, just maybe, we could take a trip across the county of Ukraine (the size of Texas) and I could see my kids from last year...That didn't happen. And now, here I am, nearly six months later, still so vividly seeing the faces of my 2006 kids and struggling to remember the names of my 2007 kids.....

Berdychiv was wonderful. I was changed. I will never be the same. Neeperderzhinschk was rough. I was changed. I will never be the same.

Jesus, please teach me to love as You do. Teach me to love even when I am hurt. Teach me to love even when my love is not reciprocated. Teach me to love even when I don't feel like it, when I don't want to. Most of all, please teach me to love simply because I am loved by You.

-Yvonne Stiles

Check out our Ukraine mission team scrapbook here.

What Happens When a Christian Dies?

I’m dying. I don’t say that because I’ve just returned from the doctor with a fatal diagnosis, whether of cancer or heart disease, but I’m dying. So, too, are you. With each passing moment, no matter how vigorously we exercise and how nutritiously we eat, we are deteriorating physically. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “our outer nature is wasting away.” Nevertheless, and for this we praise God, “our inner nature is being renewed day by day” (v. 16).

But death is approaching, for some faster than others. Yesterday I attended the funeral service of a dear friend who lived only fifty years. She left behind a loving and faithful husband and a teenaged son. Much was said at the service about where she is now and what she is experiencing, all with a view to encouraging those present who must now face life in her absence.

So where is my friend? What is it, precisely, that she now sees and feels and experiences, or is she, as some would argue, “asleep”, unconscious, lifeless in the grave until the second coming of Christ? The most explicit answer to this question, in all of Scripture, is found here in 2 Corinthians 5:1-10. We will devote several meditations to a serious consideration of this most important issue: What happens when a Christian dies?

I’ve witnessed a lot of death in my family in recent years: my father-in-law, a cousin, one uncle, and three aunts have passed away. All were Christians. Like you, I want rock-solid, revelatory assurance, not merely speculation, about where they are. Twice in this paragraph Paul speaks with unshakeable confidence, declaring that “we know” (vv. 1, 6) what has happened to them and where they are.

It’s important that we read 2 Corinthians 5:1 in the light of what has preceded in 4:7-18. Paul writes, “For we know that if the tent, which is our earthly home, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (5:1). The “tent” or “earthly home” (5:1), i.e., the physical body, is one example of the many “transient” things “that are seen” (4:18), just as “the building from God” (5:1) is one example of the “eternal” things “that are unseen” (4:18). Similarly, the “destruction” (5:1) of the earthly body is simply the ultimate outcome of what Paul described as his repeated encounters with death or his carrying about in himself the dying of Jesus (4:8-12).

What is this “building from God” that is ours following physical death? Among the many possible answers, four are most frequently suggested.

Some argue it is a reference to heaven itself, or an abode in heaven (cf. John 14:2), perhaps even the New Jerusalem. Others say it refers to the body of Christ, i.e., the church. On the other hand, it may be a reference to an intermediate body, i.e., a bodily form of some sort suitable to the intermediate state but different from and only preparatory to the final, glorified, resurrected body (cf. Matt. 17:3; Rev. 6:9-11). The fourth option is to see here a reference to the glorified, resurrection body, that final and consummate embodiment in which we will live for eternity.

There are two fundamental reasons for embracing the fourth option and understanding Paul as referring to the final resurrection body (cf. Phil. 3:21). First, the “building” or “house” in v. 1b stands in a parallel relationship with “home” in v. 1a. Since the latter refers to our “earthly, unglorified” body, it seems reasonable to conclude that the former refers to our “heavenly, glorified” body. Secondly, the description in v. 1b (“not made with hands,” “eternal,” and “in the heavens”) is more suitable to the glorified body (see especially 1 Cor. 15:35-49). Paul’s point would be that our heavenly embodiment is indestructible, not susceptible to decay or corruption or dissolution.

The major objection to this view is Paul's use of the present tense, “we have a building from God” (not “we shall have”). This seems to imply that immediately upon death the believer receives his/her glorified body.

But this would conflict with 1 Corinthians 15:22ff.; 15:51-56; and 1 Thessalonians 4-5, all of which indicate that glorification occurs at the second advent of Christ. Furthermore, frequently in Scripture a future reality or possession is so certain and assured in the perspective of the author that it is appropriately spoken of in the present tense, i.e., as if it were already ours in experience. Thus Paul's present tense “we have” most likely points to the fact of having as well as the permanency of having, but not the immediacy of having. It is the language of hope.

It has been argued that perhaps Paul uses the present tense because the passing of time between physical death and the final resurrection is not sensed or consciously experienced by the saints in heaven; and thus the reception of one's resurrection body appears to follow immediately upon death.

But against this is the clear teaching of Scripture that the intermediate state is consciously experienced by those who have died (as we will soon see in 2 Cor. 5:6-8; cf. also Phil. 1:21-24; Rev. 6:9-11). It is clear that the deceased believer has “departed” to be “with Christ” (Phil. 1:23) and is therefore “with” Christ when he comes (1 Thess. 4:17). It would seem, then, that some kind of conscious existence obtains between a person's death and the general resurrection (this is why we refer to this time as the intermediate state).

Even though Paul appears to envision the possibility (probability?) of his own physical death, he still has hope that he will remain alive until Christ returns. Thus he writes:

“For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened -- not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee” (vv. 2-5).

In these verses Paul speaks of his desire to be alive when Christ returns, for then he would not have to die physically and experience the separation of body and spirit, a condition he refers to as being “naked” (v. 3) or “unclothed” (v. 4). Paul's perspective on life and death may therefore be put in this way:

It is good to remain alive on this earth to serve Christ (see Phil. 1:21-26).

On the other hand, it is better to die physically and enter into the presence of Christ (see 2 Cor. 5:6-8; Phil. 1:21b, 23).

However, it is by far and away best to be alive when Christ returns, for then we avoid death altogether and are immediately joined with the Lord in our resurrected and glorified bodies.

Here in v. 2 (which is repeated and expanded somewhat in v. 4) Paul mixes his metaphors by speaking of putting on or being "clothed” with a “building”. But it is more than simply putting on a garment: it is putting on of a garment over another. The heavenly body, like an outer vesture or overcoat, is being put on over the earthly body with which the apostle is, as it were, presently clad. In this way the heavenly, glorified body not only covers but also absorbs and transforms the earthly one (see Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Cor. 15:53).

If he remains alive until Christ returns he will be found by the Lord clothed with a body (the present, earthly one), and not in a disembodied state (v. 3). To be without a body is to be “naked”. Clearly, Paul envisaged a state of disembodiment between physical death and the general resurrection (cf. "unclothed" in v. 4).

But what assurances do we have from God that he will in fact supply us with a glorified and eternal body that is no longer subject to the deterioration and disease we now experience? The simple answer is: the Holy Spirit! Paul’s statement in v. 5 is a reminder “that 'the earnest of the Spirit' is not a mere static deposit, but the active vivifying operation of the Holy Spirit within the believer, assuring him that the same principle of power which effected the resurrection of Christ Jesus from the dead is also present and at work within him, preparing his mortal body for the consummation of his redemption in the glorification of his body" (Hughes).

For the Christian, death is not to be feared. For we know that whatever illness or debilitation we experience now, whatever degree of suffering or hardship we must face, there is promised to us by the Spirit a glorified, Christ-like, transformed and utterly eternal abode, a body in which there is no disease, no pain, no deprivation, and no decay.

“The best case scenario,” Paul seems to say, “is to be alive when Christ returns. That way I could transition instantaneously from this ‘garment’ (my current physical body) into that glorified ‘vesture’ (that is and will forever be my resurrected body). I don’t want to get ‘undressed’ but to put the garment of eternity over the garment of time in such a way that the former redeems and transforms the latter. But in all things I yield to the timing and purpose of God, and rejoice in the assurance, the rock-solid guarantee from the Holy Spirit, that physical death is not the end but the beginning.”

“Therefore encourage one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:18).

-Sam Storms

Sam is a longtime friend of our church. You can read more of Sam's work on his Enjoying God Ministries website.

We Are Thankful

Today, on the spur of the moment, I asked a few members of our Metro family to name one thing that they are are giving thanks for this week. Here are the responses I received:
I am so thankful to God for my husband, Marvin, who has cared so lovingly and faithfully for me in my physical hardships. -Eileen Ellsworth

I am thankful for my family, our health and the new edition of our son-in-law that the Lord has given us this year. -Tammy McDonald

I am thankful for my new home in Greenwood, MO and that I did not have to move 2 times this year. -Debra Branstetter

I am thankful that our children Alicia and Paul have strong Christian lives and excellent college schooling even though we have had significant financial challenges as they grew up at home. -Clark Pickett

I am most thankful for friends who are home to me.. no matter where I am living. -Letiah Fraser

I am thankful for God’s hand of protection in the life of my son Matthew as he has served our country in the Army this year in Iraq. –Bob Edwards

I give thanks for my wife Nancy, and that our God is a God of restoration. -Steven Hoelscher

I am thankful for the wonderful 2 daughters-in-law, Rebekah and Caitlin, and the great son-in-law, James, that God has provided for the joy and blessing of my oldest 3 children, Luke, Lisa and Sam...we are a happy and growing family. -Michael Sullivant

I'm thankful for the way the Lord provided for my mother this year after my father's death. -Myron Thomas

I am thankful for the very real ways in which God leads and guides us today. His direction has been key to my life this year and He has never failed to give perspective and direction each time I needed it! -Jim Bailey
Please leave a comment and tell us about one thing that you are thankful for.. and have a Blessed Thanksgiving!

-Bob Edwards

Ann Marie Glotzbach

Ann Marie Glotzbach, 50, of Overland Park, Kansas passed away at home on Nov 16, 2007 from a progressive neuromuscular degenerative disease. Memorial services will be held at 11:00am on Mon. Nov 19th at Colonial Presbyterian, 9500 Wornall Rd, KC MO. Visitation will be held from 4:00p to 6:00p on Sun. Nov 18th at Colonial Presbyterian.

Ann lived a remarkable life of faith, hope and love. She was known for her passion for God, her pursuit of truth and her commitment to relationships. Ann was a wise and caring woman.

Ann was born March 27, 1957 in Kansas City, MO. She was raised in Prairie Village, KS and attended Cure of Ars elementary school and Shawnee Mission South high school.

Ann graduated from Kansas University in 1979 with honors. She worked as a CPA at Arthur Young for five years and then took a job with Hallmark Cards until 1991. Ann served as a Pastor for the last 12 years with Metro Christian Fellowship and Crossroad Community Church. The focus of her ministry was leadership, healing, women, caring for the sick and small groups.

Ann was married for 27 years to Bill Glotzbach and had 2 children, Michael and Laura. She is survived by her husband and son and also by her mother, Mary Jo Gorman, by her sisters, Terese Gorman, Cathy McDermott and Beth Gorman and by her brothers, Pat Gorman, Dennis Gorman and Richard Gorman.

It is hard to find the words to express our sadness at Ann's passing. She was a person of great joy that served Jesus so well at our church. We will miss her but we take hope in knowing that we will see her again. I have shared a few thoughts about suffering and hope on my blog.

-Bob Edwards

The Ivory and Gold Tablecloth

Following is a sweet story from my email inbox. It was originally written by Howard C. Schade for the December 1954 issue of Reader's Digest. It is a fitting way to get an early start on the upcoming Christmas season.

-Bob Edwards

The story is told of a brand new pastor and his wife, that arrived in suburban Brooklyn in early October excited about their opportunity to reopen a church. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve. They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, and whatnot. And on Dec 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished.

On Dec 19 a terrible tempest - a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days. On the 21st, the pastor went to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high. The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home.

On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.

By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later. She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder and hangers to put the tablecloth up as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area. Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was as white as a sheet.

"Pastor," she asked, "where did you get that tablecloth?" The pastor explained how he had found it at the flea market. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were her initials, and she had made this tablecloth 16 years before, in Austria. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. She was captured, sent to prison and never saw her husband or her home again.

The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home, feeling that was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.

What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve! The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return. One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood, continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn't leaving.

The man asked him where he had gotten the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike? He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety, and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home again.

The pastor asked him if the man would allow him to take him for a short ride. They drove to Staten Island, to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier. He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman's apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.

Homecoming: Imagine the Possibilities

The greatest challenge we face in building deep, meaningful relationships and community with others is our own independence. We love to live life on our own terms. However, God has put us into a world where lasting happiness and fulfillment can only be realized in context to interdependence. Consider Romans 12:5 -

“Since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.”

The Bible often refers to our spiritual life as a walk when it says:

Just as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him. (Colossians 2:6-7)

It’s not good to walk alone. Thankfully, we don’t have to. We have the ability to reject independence and embrace interdependence. God had interdependence in mind when He put no less than 30 “one another” scriptures in the New Testament. He knew we needed help on our spiritual journey.

As we allow God to position us within community, we have others to walk with us so we don’t live in loneliness. We have others to work with us so we don’t live in fatigue, as well as others to watch our back so we don’t live in defeat. Finally, we have others to weep with us so we don’t live in despair.

You should be like one big family, full of sympathy toward each other. (1 Peter 3:8)

Not if but when those ‘category five’ storms of life come into our lives, we need people who will stand with us. With each step we take on our spiritual journey towards experiencing authentic community, God calls us to deepen relationships within our church family and reach out to the community around our church family.

“You are standing together side by side with one strong purpose--to tell the
Good News.” (Philippians 1:27)

Sure, God could do this on His own; but He’s decided to do it in partnership with us. He says:

“You have been My partners in spreading the Good News about Christ.” (Philippians 1:5)

You may be wondering, “What can I do to participate in Homecoming?” Not to sound cliché, but in the spirit of our theme, “Imagine the possibilities!” Step away from the crowd and, in this fall season, invest some time in a small group or ministry. People can get lost, hidden, and abandoned in crowds. What God loves to do with crowds is pull out 3, 5, 7, or 10 people and create small groups and safe havens where fragile, broken people like us can be known by name, love and be loved, celebrate and be celebrated; and serve and be served.

Homecoming is a season to invest in the people we love. We can do this by praying together, serving their needs and sharing the good news of what Christ has done for us.

“You are… God's instruments to do His work and speak out for Him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference He made for you” (1 Peter 2:9)

Consider inviting a friend, co-worker or neighbor to an appealing spiritual event, like your life group or a dinner in your home. The woman at the well did this after she had a powerful encounter with Jesus. The bible describes her reaction this way:

Then leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (John 4:28-30)

And they came out of the town and made their way toward Him. If you read the whole story you will find that the disciples were in the midst of their everyday routine and missed out on this great spiritual event.

Don’t be so busy this fall that you miss out on what God has for you. Explore your home in Christ and your home within the Metro community. Take part in our interactive ministry fair, a one-stop-shop to help you get connected and discover more of your home in Christ. God created Metro for you and with you in mind. We invite you to Homecoming to find out how and where you fit in!

-Jeff Dwiggins

Incredibly Blessed

To My Dear Metro Family,

I have been a part of Metro Christian Fellowship for many years, and have always felt at home. But when I was sent to Africa as a missionary by my Metro family, it put me in a different type of relationship. I have been so incredibly blessed by the love, support, and prayers of all of you. I hope you know how important your prayers and support have been during my time in Africa.

I want to thank you for sending Randy Catlett to visit in July. His presence and encouragement did mighty things in boosting our team, and especially in helping me through a difficult time. I also want to thank you for all the lovely gifts and supplies that were sent. I don’t know if I can find the words to describe how it lifts spirits – not only mine, but the African’s – to know that there is someone on the other side that is thinking of us. Randy’s visit made it clear to the people in Abidjan that they have family in Kansas City that love them and care about them.

Many of the items sent have already been given away. The school supplies are being saved, and will be given away in October, when the children go back to school. The toys were given to children in the neighborhood, who often end up playing with trash that they find on the street. To have something new and exciting and different just made eyes light up. One of the greatest moments in life is seeing the eyes of a child shine with joy. More than half the medical supplies have already been utilized. Often, people come to the front door of the house, asking for help. They have heard that someone lives there that can help. That person is Jesus. And Jesus chooses to use broken vessels like you and me to do His work. So, thank you for assisting in this task.

This part is specifically for the person who sent the book, “ A Closer Walk” by Cathryn Marshall. Whoever you are, it was a total God thing. I have read it twice already, and it has ministered tremendously to my heart and given me strength and courage during a time when I had very little. Whoever you are, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I hope you know that God used you mightily to minister to me.

As many of you know, I am home for a bit. I arrived the middle of August, and will be here to get things organized and restructured to return. Have no doubt – I am going back. But while I’m here, I would love to get to know you better. Just as I have stories of African friends to share, I want to share with the African’s of my family here. If you would like to get together, I would be excited to share what the Lord is doing in West Africa. I’m open to individual families, small groups or whoever wants to listen. I can be reached at fathersdaughter@msn.com. May the Lord bless you and keep you and may His face shine upon you.

I love you all dearly,
Maria Little

Check out our pictures of Randy's visit to see Maria.

Teaching old dogs new tricks

There is an old adage that says,"you can't teach an old dog new tricks." I probably believed this to be true most of my life, that is until I reached fifty years of age. You see most of my life I considered FIFTY to be "old" and far past the learning curves of life. When I turned fifty i had to, of course, reconsider my belief in this. We have a dog named Phoebe, my wife named her, and when she was a puppy we taught her three tricks, SIT, ROLL OVER and SPEAK. Today she is about 7 1/2 years old and can still do the 3 tricks. About a year ago I decided she should learn to shake hands (paws). For nearly 6 months I tried everything to get her to do this but to no avail. She would simply sit there and look at me like I was some kind of idiot and refused to learn the new trick.

Today I am rapidly approaching 61. Most 20 year olds would consider me acient, older than dirt, fossil like. It's true my body has a few more aches and pains than it did a few years ago but in my mind I feel like I'm 30 and in the prime of my life. But, some things have come hard for me, such as the computer. When computers first became popular I refused to join in the merriment and continued doing things the old fashioned way. What's wrong with 'writing' a letter? Email, you've got to be kidding!! Well after some time, unlike my dog, I began to learn the computer.

Just as I was getting my computer skills sharpened along came the cell phone. Who in the world would actually want to carry a phone with them?? That's nuts!!! Now I not only have a cell phone but it's a world phone that I can talk on anytime anywhere. Who would have ever 'thunk' it?

All of that leads me to this, BLOGGING. This is my second attempt at writing this same blog. The first one went somewhere but nobody can tell me where it went. I hit the 'submit' button thinking I had accomplished yet another trick but only to find it disappeared. So if it doesn't work this time my blogging career may come to an abrupt hault.

So, can you teach an old dog new tricks? Hmmmm................

-Randy Catlett

If you have something that you would like to share with everyone via a blog post please send an email to me with your blog text.

Little Lambs Orphanage Ministry

June 2007 saw another team from Metro partner with Little Lambs based in Ukraine. The team of six found themselves in a city orphanage on the eastern side of the country where they would spend the entire month. The unpronounceable town of Dniprodzejinsk was an eight hour bus ride from the capital city of Kiev. They were going to give the kids much more than a summer camp experience. In a country where the number of orphans continues to rise, those involved in this ministry seek to reach as many of them as possible with the love of Jesus. These precious children may have never known the love of another person. Many are starved for affection and visibility. The American team gets to partner with a Ukrainian team along with an interpreter to share their lives and above all that of Jesus. Birthday parties are planned, olympic games are organized and a carnival is set in place. These are events some kids never experience. Jesus is shared in these happy moments, through the telling of Bible stories, eating the same meals as the children, and tucking them into bed with prayers and songs. Jesus is their great hope, and He can bring joy and healing in the midst of rough circumstances.

-Jessica Siems

Check out our Ukraine scrapbook here.

The Gift of Administration

Pam (pictured right at her doctoral graduation), a fellow Metro-ite, writes some of the best stuff on her blog. Today Pam writes about The Gift of Administration. Here is how her post begins:
I like it when people write what I already believe and wish the rest of the world believed as well.

I came across this article in Leadership, written by a pastor who found a lot of success and then found a lot of burn-out. He said lots of interesting things throughout the article and I would recommend it to you, but found this quote hit one of the things I have pondered long and hard over:

“Now I still don’t believe that just by being slick enough with your methodoloy that it obligates the Spirit to act. But while organization doesn’t make a church grow, lack of it can kill an authentic work of the Spirit. And that had been our experience.”
I recommend reading the whole post here.

-Bob Edwards

Running Into the Darkness

The Lord has been so Faithful.

I see him move daily here. It has been so awesome being in the Holy land where Yeshuah walked, Swimming in the very same water he walked on. The Lord allured me into the desert and spoken tenderly to me. He has slain me with thirst.

I have fallen in love with the people everyday. Especially the Arabs, It has been so provoking being here, Ive already learned so much its hard to express in words, Today I went to the biggest Muslim orphanage--its also a mosque, it was very scary going in--but Heidi Baker once said--"Run into the Darkness!!!" who else will? and I prayed for those children, cheek to cheek. I loved them.

The lord has been Moving and shifting something in the spiritual atmosphere and everyone knows it.

Its not just about what denomination you are--charismatic, baptist, etc...who really cares about raising your hands and dancing in worship anymore?

People MUST wake up! and realize that there is something bigger going on, God has something bigger on his mind than we realize. he loves to move when we reach out of our comfort zone and give to the broken, love the unloved-rejected. Speak to the ones are the outcasts--and love the unsaved who are blinded by their own fear and brokenheartedness. This is how Yeshuah loves to move, when we break down the doors of apathy and fear.

That is Christ in me.

Nikkie Riley

Nikkie Riley has been a part of our Metro Youth for a long time. She graduated last year from Blue Ridge Christian School and joined us on “Quest High Sierra 2006”. She is currently traveling the Middle East, spending time seeking the Lord and living out of her backpack!

Cote D'Ivoire

Rubbing elbows with some of the earth’s most precious people is always a privilege. And such is the case when I recently visited Abijan, Ivory Coast. Maria Little is one of Metro’s missionaries, a nurse by profession, and has started a medical clinic in Abijan. Through this clinic God has touched the lives of many people through healing with medicine, miracles, and sharing the Gospel. Maria spent 3 months living right in the middle of the slums where the Lord opened many doors for her to share the love of Christ. I met many Pastors and leaders there who though are the poorest of the poor radiate the love of Christ everywhere they go. They are indeed precious and it was indeed my privilege to hang out with and learn from them. Maria will be coming home for a 6 to 12 month stay to raise more support and tend to some personal matters. While she’s here please take time to get to know her.

Blessings – Randy Catlett
See Randy's pictures here.

Walking in the Light in South Africa

Our team met with several different groups within the Walk in the Light Ministry, one of which was a very lively group of ladies who meet once a week to knit. During one of our meetings with the knitting group, a teenage girl named Thandeka pulled me aside. She was very interested in learning more about AIDS because, as she explained to me, she is living with someone who is HIV-positive. I began to give Thandeka advice about how to care for this person, a girl named Mbali, and said that if Mbali was still sexually active, she should cease. At that point, Thandeka interrupted me: "I don't think you understand. Mbali is only 8 years old." Thandeka went on to explain that when Mbali was 4, she was gang raped by a group of men, at least one of whom was HIV-positive. The police have supposedly found the man responsible but have done nothing to bring him to justice.

To make matters worse, Mbali's mother abandoned her at 2 weeks and cannot be found. Because her birth mother is not acting as her guardian, the South African Department of Home Affairs will not issue Mbali's birth certificate. And without a birth certificate, Mbali cannot receive the ARV medication she needs to give her a longer and healthier life. As Thandeka and her aunt wept and begged me to do something to gain access to a birth certificate for Mbali, I realized that I had never felt more helpless in all my life. I was also filled with rage over the incredible injustices done to this innocent little girl.

I have been researching the AIDS pandemic for over a year now. I have friends who are living with AIDS. Even so, I am constantly amazed at how fighting the effects of AIDS in Africa is far from a simple matter. AIDS is deeply enmeshed with issues of culture, government, and family dynamics, among other things. I feel as if I am only beginning to see what a complex issue it truly is. And my prayer is that the two weeks we spent in Pietermaritzburg have somehow served to turn the tide in at least one person's life, if not an entire community. It is reassuring to know that Walk in the Light is committed to continuing this community-changing work every day.

-Allison Hennessey

Check out the South Africa Scrapbook

The Sacrament of Daily Good

I had breakfast with ministering friend Phil Maslin a few weeks ago. He is an artist and produces beautiful work in several mediums. One is photography and he has turned some of his photos into greeting cards he sells at a few local outlets or gives to friends. While we met, he gave me a set and as I looked at them I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the cards, and equally overwhelmed that he would give away something so beautiful. I was holding a flower of his heart grown through great love, talent, and labor.

Then I thought, rather than hide his flowers because he can't make a lot of money off of them or become famous, he was giving them for whatever blessing they could be to the recipients. I realized: "Wow, this is how much of the good is done in the world-not in some world-changing action that divides history, like Jesus' death and resurrection, but also in the daily, year-after-year, hardly noticed, acts of love people do!" I was overwhelmed thinking of all the good that Phil has accomplished bit-by-bit and piece-by-piece through years of giving beauty to his friends. The cards symbolized many acts of kindness, integrity, service, confessions, and thoughtful conversations with his friends. As we talked, I learned that he was studying a book, Irresistible Influence, to learn how to better love the people he knows.
None of us will change the world by some heroic act or stunning teaching, like Jesus, but-like most of his original followers: farmers, carpenters, barbers, homemakers, bakers, tax collectors, soldiers-we many, we happy many, incrementally change the world of the people around us with good and beauty, and that is a great good.

Her full nature . . . spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. . . . the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs. (Dorthea in Middlemarch by George Elliot) Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers (Paul, Galatians 6:10). . . . let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven (Jesus, Matthew 5:16).

While praying recently, it struck me that almost all of our friends are doing all the good they know how to do. I was overwhelmed with the beauty and preciousness of that. I would name all your names, all you Georges and Joans and Toms and Marys and Dorises and Ruths and . . . and . . . but I cannot because the list is too long-plus, I would weep.

John Gilman

Freedom, Joy and Hard Work

I knew I was signing up for exhaustion when we paid for a 17 hour bus ride to Phoenix, Louisiana to rebuild "Katrina Houses". Freedom and joy surprised me. Hanging out with fellow bus brethren brought lots of laughter and sharing. Arriving tired and too-close-to midnight, joy hit my heart again when I found our air mattress filled and inside the tent that the Beaver family set up earlier for us.

Eating with the crowd of Christians under the canopy Sunday morning, freedom began to ring as Don Stedman and other leaders explained our job choices. They stressed that relationship building with residents and praying in the tent "tabernacle" were as important as roofing and mucking!

I chose to attend the service in the little Baptist church next to our tent city. The contrast of our work clothes to the Sunday-best of the congregation didn't stop them from grabbing our hands during the circle prayer time. An older gal helped me with my poor rhythm as we all swayed back and forth.

I worried a bit as I walked to the little house on blocks where I would join my husband Neut in sheet-rock work. Could my tendinitis elbows do this? Joy! I discovered a niche for me, mudding and taping that involved no lifting or pulling. When meal times or the snack car came I was weary -yet without a single elbow pain.

The next morning I woke early and promised myself the luxury of using the church's flush toilets if I got up to help with breakfast. (Small joys.) What fun to prepare eggs, bacon, fruit and biscuits with a group of gals (and Devin!) before the sun came up.

Overalls on, I headed back to the small white house to work but I took the freedom to hear more of Joyce's story. (She is the 71 year-old owner.) We sat between her small cave of a Fema trailer and the kitchen steps by her old home. Joyce drawled on, "When I heard dat Katrina was headed for our river, I knew the whole gulf'd be flowing up it: so I started puttin' stuff up high in my house to save it. My suits were already up when I saw da suitcase and I tol my gran' daughter: 'Get those down and put 'em in dis case.' Now, they laughed at me at the shelter 'bout bringin' suits (some never worn!) but after Katrina I axed them: 'Where's yor navy suit?' 'Cause ya see, we all wear navy suits when we usher at church."

Joyce shared many stories with me those three days. Scary ones like her sons surviving on top of the school roof for days. Sad ones like deeply missing her twin sister who died last November -not living to move back into her house where her wheel chair would have room to move. Amazing ones like the tree her grandfather planted surviving the flood. Crazy ones like re-construction people charging exorbitant prices to repair houses and doing a shoddy job. Happy ones about her children and grand children's lives.

That afternoon freedom gave me permission to break away from my exhausting labor to nap and then spend time in the prayer tabernacle. The leader needed a break so she left me "in charge". A group of children came in to color their prayer and giggle. Olga, a little older, scolded the others. "If Mrs. __ was here she'd shoo us out." I pondered her words and my possible duty to "shoo". The thought of Jesus' words "Let the children come to me..." convinced me to put up with the noise.

Another time that I was in the tabernacle a resident from down the road hobbled in. She made the sign of the cross, listened to the Bible reading and joined her prayer to our spontaneous intercession. As I helper her crippled knees navigate the step to leave, she confided, " I'd heard about this 24/7 prayer tent an' when I was invited to dinner I decided to come in here and see for myself."

One evening during group worship I glanced up at the levy and saw the top of a ship all lit up like Disneyland. As it glided silently by I wondered if that party-boat held the joy that our star-lit community worship had in Jesus.

Too soon the silver bus was pulling up to be loaded. We joined the youth in the final litter patrol. There was Joyce under her "grandfather's tree". Neut and I hurried over to hug her good-bye. She sat there as the big bus began the trip back to our intact, lovely homes.

Sally J. Williamson

Children and the Word

I can remember sitting on my mom’s bed every night for our “quiet time.” It all started when I was 4 years old and my brother’s were just little. I, being the oldest was to set the example in all the years to come of what it looked like to be attentive to Jesus during these times. I would use all sorts of tactics to make sure my mom didn’t know that I was really in to what was happening. There was the “I’m asleep” approach as well as the I’m bored “look”.

My mom kept talking and forging ahead with the nightly example of what it looks like to spend time with Him. We were able to see modeled through her how important it is to know Him and the truth that you can’t know Him without spending time with Him. She was faithful for several years and never wavered based upon our emotions or seeming desire to listen.

As I grew up and started to mature in Him, I would recall these times fondly. What happened in these times with Jesus and my mom were priceless. I heard His voice for the first time. I had a spirit of fear leave. I had the foundation of scripture laid down under me. And most importantly I learned to make and keep my appointments with a God who adores me.

So for all of you parents who feel like your kids are bored or falling asleep during your quiet times, it might very well be code for “keep going”

Jen Parker

Connecting with the Father

On the cabinet that hangs over my desk, I have a bunch of pictures of our missionaries from different parts of the world such as India, Nepal, Thailand, China, Guatemala, Africa and the Middle East. It’s fun to come in early in the morning and greet them and begin to pray for them.

But seeing there pictures every day is also a reminder to me. Every one of them has an intense prayer life, devotional life and a steady diet of reading God’s Word. They really have to rely on God to get them through their day, every day. They live in nations that don’t like Americans especially Christian Americans. Most of them live on a less than adequate income. They live where you can’t drink the water and the electricity is not dependable, where the temperature often climbs to 120 degrees or higher and raw sewage flows down the streets. Some live where car bombs explode with regularity or where religious wars never cease and tension fills the air.

When you live in these different kinds of situations your awareness of God and your dependence on Him becomes very real. But what about us here in Kansas City? Shouldn’t we also have an intense prayer life, devotional life and steady diet of reading God’s Word? Well maybe our need isn’t as great here. We can drink the water right out of the tap or turn the AC on when it gets too warm. We truly are blessed in America. As blessed as we are in this nation, is our need for God any less than our missionaries?

Reading through the Bible in 90 days has been a real ‘eye-opener’ for me. It was so good to read it straight through as a story. I actually read it in 42 days because I just couldn’t put it down. Knowing His story is really important if we’re going to share it with others. It’s also important because it points out how much we need Him in our lives. My day just seems to go so much better when I start it out communicating with my Creator. Whether it’s by praying, doing a devotional, singing songs, reading the Word or all of them combined it just makes my day better.

If you’re not connecting with the Father on a regular basis I want to challenge you to go there. I believe you’ll be glad you did. So let me leave you with these words from Ps.119 verses 9-16.

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, O Lord; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.”

Randy Catlett

Songbird Restoration

A word for Metro given to Bill Parker, shared on Sunday, Feb 18, 2007 during morning worship.
During worship I saw a lady worshiping and praising the Lord. I knew this lady and knew of her brokenness in life, issues in her heart, shame, weariness and need for healing from hurt in her life. She had gone through rough seasons. As she was worshiping, I saw this brilliance of the Lord come over her, and what came from shame became a garment of light, a garment of praise. It was just brilliant. As I saw this the Lord showed me that this woman represented Metro. The past seasons that we’ve gone through and the barren times even and just how we’ve gone through rough seasons … the Lord’s going to take our shame and where we’ve been and He’s going to begin to give us light and He’s going to give us a garment of praise, and hope, and peace.

Then that light I saw became a candelabra. It became a single candle at first and then it became many candles. The Lord said, “I’m going to restore the candle of the Lord to the nations for Metro.” I felt like that candle represented many things. I felt like the Lord said, “I’m going to make this a candlelight (which is prominence & favor) church again.” We have a purpose beyond just Metro in the city. We have a purpose to the nations.

As I was asking the Lord what that was, He showed me that He’s restoring the prophetic flow in our church. I saw a big stream coming down a mountain side. As this stream came down I intuitively knew that this was the stream in Revelation and Ezekiel or Isaiah which has life and healing in it. This stream flowed into a large pond or small lake in which the middle of the lake was a rock, right dead in the middle of that lake, and I felt that was Christ. He’s been put in the center of our church. Around the rock was almost like a pond. I felt like the Lord said, “I’m restoring also my presence. I’m restoring my presence to my church. Out of that presence, out of my presence I’m going to restore healing and deliverance in the church, the anointing of healing and I’m going to bring that to the nations.”

Then I felt like the Lord also showed me that as we’re doing worship on stage, “I’m also restoring the songbirds back to Metro.” I felt that’s the prophetic worship and that anointing to go deep into the Lord and come back out.

So I just wanted to share these things and hopefully that’ll encourage you.

Grandpa's in Taiwan

We decided to celebrate the Jewish holiday Purim by doing the 3 things Esther & the Jews did – feast, give gifts & give to the poor. On Purim we invited people over for a good meal & wrote cards to encourage each other. After praying several times we felt the Lord wanted us to give traditional Chinese sausages to some of the elderly poor who recycle for "pennies". At first it was hard for us to even know how to give them sausages, because they weren't sure how to "pay us back" since that's culturally expected. So they didn't want to accept our gifts. Upon receiving them they could hardly believe we'd give them a dozen little sausages. They were grinning from ear to ear. It was such a joy. I love the poor. I need the poor. It was by far a highlight so far here!

I met another elderly man while walking with a friend in a nearby park. I noticed Mr. Ruan was limping from a stroke & started praying while still behind him. We caught up & I started talking with him. I've never quite shared like this but here's how it came out: "I have a friend that's a famous doctor. He has healed many people. His name is Jesus Christ. Have you ever heard of Him? Would you like me to ask Him to heal you?" The man responded, "I think I've heard that name somewhere, but can't really remember who He is." Mr. Ruan didn't want us to pray then but agreed that we could ask Jesus Christ to heal him & then come back to the park and see him again.

-Lynn (one of our Metro Missionaries working in Taiwan)

Hiding God's Word

I have vivid memories of my mother, sitting on the edge of my bed, rehearsing my memory verse with me in preparation for Sunday School each week. Today I’ll run into someone at Wal-mart and in our conversation I’ll pull a scripture out of my memory that speaks into their situation.

“Where did that come from?” Isaiah 55:11 says, “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

Even as a five year old, I knew that I was partnering with God, sowing all that seed deep in my heart. But I am still amazed when I see the fruit; when I am tempted or when I am in despair and the Living Word of God echoes the truth into my life! Who I am today is the result of all that scripture sown into my heart . . . how I behave, reason and live. Is the fruit of your life the evidence of God’s Word growing in the deep places?

-Jason Ellsworth

God's Word is Available

I have always had a love for old books. Among other things, I get excited that they have existed before me and are still present, and I get to experience them too so many years after they were bound together. None of these could compare, however, to the enduring word of God. I recently had the opportunity to go see the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are bits of manuscript containing handwritten scriptures that had been stored in clay jars for ages. Standing inches and a pane of glass away, I was fascinated that thousands of years ago these mighty words were carefully preserved, and today I have the opportunity to experience their Truth whenever I choose.

The scriptures are an expression of God, and He fashioned them for us before we existed. I am so grateful. I love joining God in the scriptures. I find that when life gets really busy or I get tired with my days, that is when I most want to soak up the Lord’s words to me. I find inspiration, direction, comfort, Truth, joy, guidance and more. I am amazed by the knowledge that His word is living and powerful, and He has given it to me.

-Jessica Siems

Does God Heal?

Does God heal? This is a good question. I know what the bible says, “by His stripes you are healed”, “He bore all your sickness and diseases”, etc., etc., etc. Ok, I know that I am sounding kind of cynical. But tell me, doesn't the Bible say “lay hands on the sick and they will recover”? And, “call the Elders of the church and anoint the sick with oil and the prayer of faith shall heal the sick. What if…what if I do all of this and still no healing? What if I confess, confess, confess and still no healing? What if I believe with all that is in me to no avail? What if I believe with the faith of a mustard seed and still… no healing? Where does that leave me? Where does that leave you? Or even better, where does that leave God?

Is God a man that He should lie? Then what is up with this deal? Do I know people that have been healed? Yes! Even I have experienced healing personally, but why not more? Why not every time I ask? I was faced with this dilemma recently… again! I sat at home “confronting” God, “why do you tell us to do this stuff, you know, pray for the sick, and you don't do your part?” And I felt He led me to Habakkuk 3:19a

“The Sovereign Lord is my strength;”
What do you mean? The Sovereign Lord is my strength? I am asking about healing. I felt He said read it again. The Sovereign Lord is my strength…again, the Sovereign Lord is my strength…again, the SOVEREIGN Lord is my strength…again, the SOVEREIGN Lord is my strength… Sovereign, Sovereign, Sovereign. Oh, I get it!

Lord, You are Sovereign! You do things differently than I would do them. Your ways are higher than my ways, your thoughts are higher than my thoughts. You know the big picture, you know the heart of man, you know the secret places of each of us, you know how to refine us and make us in your image. You know how to be glorified in our lives, or in our death. Who am I to tell you what to do? So, what do I say? Lord, You are Sovereign and I will believe your Word for healing and continue to pray and believe for it, but also, I will trust You in all your ways. What will you do?

-Tammy McDonald

On Reading the Scriptures

Before I knew the Lord, I somehow got it into my head that the Bible was an ancient mystical book that no ordinary person could understand--maybe it was the old English that intimidated me! I imagined that there might be some enlightened souls hidden away in far off and benighted places who might possibly be able to decode its secrets. What a shock I encountered when, at 18, I began to read the Bible (beginning with the New Testament) and discovered how it spoke so clearly and incisively into my heart and mind--even the KJV came alive to me. (Fortunately, I had studied a bit of Shakespeare in High School and had learned to comprehend a bit of Old English.)

After my birth from above and having received the power of the Spirit into my life, I literally began to drink in the passages of the Bible. I suddenly realized that there was an invisible Companion hovering over me and speaking within my heart regarding the meanings of the texts that I was reading. He was acting like the Author Himself! That was well over 30 years ago that I began this love affair with Scripture and I am still amazed by the grace and truth that grips my soul when I study it with a heart that is willing to learn and obey.

I love to read the Scriptures with others and then share our impressions and insights and questions with one another. There is something special about the public reading of the Bible and its stories. We don't get enough of this anymore, since we all have our own personal copies and the ability to read it silently. I'm not much on liturgies, but I secretly hope that we, as a congregation, might think about ways to weave the public reading of the Scripture into our gatherings--large and small. With all the voices in this world that are clamoring for our attention, it's so refreshing to hear "the Word of the Lord." Let's keep reading our Bibles--even as the 90 Days comes to a close!

-Michael Sullivant