Friday, March 28, 2014

Weekly Victory News

Some people loved him. Some people hated him. Some people didn’t know what to do with him. That pretty much sums up the reaction Jesus received after he preached his first sermon, in his hometown. This Sunday we’ll talk about how it all went down as we watch another clip from the movie Son of God based on events from Luke 4:16-30. I hope you can join us!

Soccer Camp News – If you want to kick off the summer in an awesome way for your kids, then sign up for our 7th annual Soccer Camp. This year, camp is June 17th-20th at the Polonia Soccer Club from 1pm-4:30pm each day. It’s for kids ages 4-11. Soccer camp features learning soccer skills, practicing through drills, daily scrimmages, and tons of soccer fun! In addition, we have a great daily break for a snack, some music with the band Fide, and learning all about Moses and God’s grace. This camp really does have it all!

You can register here today! If you have any questions, please contact Cassy.

Operation Jesus Cares Spring Project – For the OJC Spring project this year, we will be raising money to purchase a MyTeamTriumph running stroller. The stroller will serve a dual purpose: first, it will be used in all the events MyTeamTriumph participates in for the Milwaukee region. Second, we will use the stroller to take the members of the Coventry Group Home (Kathy and Debbie's group home) for runs/walks in their neighborhood once the weather warms up. The cost of the running stroller is $2,600.00. Please consider donating towards this project so we can continue to make a difference to those with special needs in our community. You can use your OJC envelopes to make donations during the weekly offering. You can also donate easily online by designating to the OJC fund.

Things Moving and Shaking – Thursday night there was a meeting of the minds between Korb-Tredo architects, Catalyst Construction, and our building task forces—the design task force and the finance task force. (Thank you, Thompsons, for again opening up your home and hosting all of us.) We’re honing in on what our needs are, what the costs are, what our financial resources are, and what our timelines are. We’re discussing vision and philosophy of ministry. We’re exploring potential grants. We’re pushing each other to be flexible and creative in how we use potential space. Because there are so many working parts to this project right now, we don’t have anything to present to the congregation quite yet. More info to come! Stay tuned.

Sheep Squads
H eart for Jesus?
O pen to Friendship?
S pace to Gather?
T ime to Serve!

Willing to HOST a Sheep Squad? Whether or not you've participated in a small group before, think about how you can show love and foster friendships in Christ. Contact Daniel Tomczyk at dan.mel.tomczyk@gmail.com or 414-367-8009 to learn more.

Sunday Morning Bible Study – Last but not least, consider joining us this Sunday before church at 8:09 for Bible study in theater #6. We’re picking it up in John chapter 10 and it would be a great place for any of you to come in fresh. Don’t worry if you’ve never been to Bible study before. We’re all just learning together. We’ve got a Bible for you too if you don’t have one. Just come!

Sermon audio podcast of my sermon last Sunday

Last Sunday’s service recorded on Ustream

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben

Friday, March 21, 2014

Messiah Madness



It’s that time of year. March Madness has begun! Did you fill out your “Warren Buffet bracket” for your  chance at winning a billion dollars? Maybe you heard but as of this morning, only one day into the tournament, there are just 0.2 % of all brackets filled out left perfectly. Why? Because some of the bigger name teams, some of the higher seeded teams, lost like they always do. If you’re an Ohio State fan for example, you’re probably not feeling so happy today about your team. And if you’re part of the 81% of America who picked Ohio State (like me but not my wife!) to win their opening round game against Dayton yesterday, then your chance at a billion dollar perfect bracket was spoiled after the very first game of the tournament.

Now it might sound like a strange segue from here, but this Sunday we’re going to watch another clip from the movie Son of God and see how there was a time when it was sort of like “Messiah Madness” in the life of Jesus. People got excited about Jesus possibly being the Messiah after he miraculously fed the 5,000. Yet we’re going to also see how many of those people who got so excited about him being the Messiah were left feeling disappointed when it became clear that he didn’t meet their Messiah expectations. Fans of Jesus started jumping off the bandwagon until only his true followers remained.

Are you a fan or are you a follower of Jesus? This Sunday we’re going to talk about the important difference between the two. You won’t go home disappointed. I hope to see you at Showtime this Sunday!

Soccer Camp News – If you want to kick off the summer in an awesome way for your kids, then sign up for our 7th annual Soccer Camp!! This year, camp is June 17th-20th at the Polonia Soccer Club from 1pm-4:30pm each day. It’s for kids ages 4-11. Soccer camp features learning soccer skills, practicing through drills, daily scrimmages, and tons of soccer fun! In addition, we have a great daily break for a snack, some music with the band Fide, and learning all about Moses and God’s grace. This camp really does have it all!!!

You can register here today!  If you have any questions, please contact Cassy.

Operation Jesus Cares Spring Project – For the OJC Spring project this year, we will be raising money to purchase a MyTeamTriumph running stroller. The stroller will serve a dual purpose: first, it will be used in all the events MyTeamTriumph participates in for the Milwaukee region. Second, we will use the stroller to take the members of the Coventry Group Home (Kathy and Debbie's group home) for runs/walks in their neighborhood once the weather warms up. The cost of the running stroller is $2,600.00. Please consider donating towards this project so we can continue to make a difference to those with special needs in our community. You can use your OJC envelopes to make donations during the weekly offering. You can also donate easily online by designating to the OJC fund.



Sermon audio podcast of my sermon last Sunday

Last Sunday’s service recorded on Ustream

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben

Monday, March 17, 2014

Life Without Grace


I saw this picture on Twitter last week and thought it was the perfect way to end my sermon on Luke 18:9-14 yesterday. Classic, isn't it? The title? “Life without grace.” This is really life without Jesus. It’s what religion is like too without a right understanding of who Jesus is and what he’s done. It’s just a moral pep talk. A bunch of, “Try harder. Do better. Grow stronger. Change that behavior. Come on, more effort! Carry those responsibilities. Lift those burdens. Let’s see some results. Let's go, you can do it!”

And the thing is, maybe you sort of can…for a time. Or you think you can anyway. You’re determined. You're gonna lift that bar. But eventually you’ll wear out. Or you'll realize you can't. You will fail. Miserably. Repeatedly. And when you do here’s what happens. You'll be temped to take weight off the bar, to ease up a little on God’s righteous requirements, to make it easier for you so you can feel better about yourself. "See, look at me. I can lift this." Or else you will try and compare yourself to someone else who seems to be lifting less than you so that you can feel better about yourself. That's what the Pharisee did. But remember, that doesn’t work with God.

Amazingly though Jesus helps us see that there’s another way. God doesn’t take the weight off the bar. He lifts the bar for you. Not with you. For you. That’s what Jesus did for the tax collector. That’s what he did for you when he went to the cross. He bore in his body the full weight of all your sins until he cried out, “It is finished.”

If you understand this - how amazing God’s grace is and what Jesus Christ has done for you - then doesn’t it also change how you look at others? When you see others struggling to lift the bar in life, a bar that’s impossible for them to lift on their own, the last thing you’ll want to do is add more weight on for them like the Pharisees. And you don’t have to help them find someone who seems to be lifting less than them to make them feel better about themselves. You can simply tell them about Jesus—the sinner’s friend. You can point them to the one who lifted the weight of all our sins. He gives us grace because he lifted the bar in our place.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Victory News - The Sinner's Friend

This Sunday we’ll take a look at a scene from the movie Son of God where Jesus called a tax collector named Matthew to follow him. I think it’s one of the most powerful scenes in the movie. We’ll see vividly portrayed how Jesus is the sinner’s friend and as we compare it to the Bible we’ll learn from a poignant story Jesus once told about how we too can go home blessed by God. I look forward to seeing you this Sunday and sharing this message!

Soccer Camp News - I’m happy to announce that our annual soccer camp (our summer VBS outreach event) this year for kids ages 4-11 is going to kick off the summer instead of wrapping up the summer. The dates for our camp are June 17-20 from 1-4:30 pm each day. I’m super happy too that the fellas from the band Fide will be returning to help lead the camp and playing for worship on Sunday the 22nd. Registration will be on our website very soon! Postcard mailers and flyers will be provided soon also to help you share the word. As always there will be all kinds of opportunities for you to volunteer and help—everything from donating snacks to coaching a group of kids.

Milwaukee Bucks Faith and Family Night. Despite the fact that it was “Spring ahead” night last Saturday, I sure had a good time at the Bradley Center. We had a group of 30 go from VotL which I thought was great. I especially enjoyed all the kids that we had cheering wildly and dancing for the last place Bucks J. But they did play hard in the second half and made it a good game anyway. So I’d say the Bucks game was good, but the Mercy Me concert afterwards was great. I was surprised by how many people stayed for the concert even with the late night, but the band certainly made it worth sticking around for.

Things moving and shaking. A couple meetings took place this week as our building design task force has been working diligently to gather input from various ministry groups within our church and sharing it with the architects from Korb-Tredo. Right now they are working on a site plan and schematic design for what would be our phase one project. Pretty soon we ought to have a working site plan map and floor plan to show you all for your feedback. Right now we don’t know exactly what our timeline for beginning construction is. We’re still on an accelerated timetable but there is the design part of the process, the financing part of the process, and the approval part of the process with the city and the state so there’s a lot to happen yet as we go along.

Also this week there was an initial meeting of people for an overhaul of our church website. There is actually a lot that needs to go into planning for a great church website so it’s good to start this process.

Bible 101 – Thursday I wrapped up another Bible 101 class. That means Bible 201 will be starting right on its heels on Thursday evenings starting March 27th. In a couple weeks I’ll be looking to begin a new Bible 101 group probably meeting on Tuesday evenings once I finish with my Tuesday group.

Sunday Bible study - takes place starting at 8:09 am every Sunday morning before worship in theater #6. Grab a cup of coffee, find a Bible as you come in, and join us! All are invited.

Sermon audio podcast of my sermon last Sunday
Last Sunday’s service recorded on Ustream

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben

Friday, March 7, 2014

New Series Starts This Sunday!

Last week we had our “church and a movie” Sunday. We had a super turnout of over 250 people for church plus 160 who stayed to watch the movie Son of God. Thank you especially to those of you who provided childcare during the movie to make it possible for quite a few more people to attend the movie. I think that really speaks to the heart of our church that we had volunteers who took the initiative and said, “We have to do this. It isn’t about us. We want to give other people the opportunity to see the movie so they can be impacted by its message about Jesus.”

To that end then over the next couple weeks leading up to Easter, I’ll also be showing clips from the from the movie Son of God in church during my sermon series, comparing them to corresponding Bible accounts, and helping you learn more about Jesus. Why did he have to die? What is the meaning of the resurrection? What is the message the apostles were supposed to proclaim? And why was it worth dying for?

Those are some of the questions we’ll explore as we begin our new series this Sunday about Jesus called, “Who is He?”

Milwaukee Bucks Faith and Family Night. We’ve got 29 people all set to go to the Bucks game at the Bradley Center tomorrow night followed by a concert by the Christian band, Mercy Me. I’m looking forward to it.

Church Media U Conference. I had registered for and was all excited to go to this conference down in Chicago on Wednesday. However I didn’t end up going because I came down with a fever instead in the middle of the week. I look forward to catching up with Nancy T from our church who did get to go though. I’m especially interested to learn more about how to incorporate environmental projection in a worship space.

Things moving and shaking. Monday night we had a long, productive initial meeting here at the parsonage between the architects we’ve chosen to design our future ministry center, Korb-Tredo architects from Milwaukee, and our Building Design Task Force. Preliminary things such as process, timeline, budget, and vision were discussed. Much more information will be communicated in the next couple weeks. This is very much the beginning of a journey that we’re all going on together with God as our guide. As we get further along in the process our building design task force will be reaching out to all our areas of ministry and all our members for input.

Bible Quest.  The BQ Leadership Team met last night to discuss their ministry needs, ideas, and dreams for the future of kids’ ministry in our own space that we get to design. I look forward to seeing how we can incorporate an innovative kids’ area as part of our future ministry center. I think we’ve got a great group of people who understand the importance of a healthy kids’ ministry and have some exciting ideas for the future.

Bible 101 – We are having a lot of fun in the Thursday evening Bible 101 group right now. Last night we learned about faith. We also learned that there are 4 left handed people in the group who all ended up sitting next to each other. Like I said, we have fun in Bible 101!

Sermon audio podcast of my sermon last Sunday

Last Sunday’s service recorded on Ustream

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben