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.

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.