April 25, 2019
Your weekly news & updates
“Back to Life” Sermon Series
begins April 28th
Synopsis: Are you living or merely existing? If life has become a treadmill of stress, burnout, and sameness then you are not living the life God intends for you. Join us over the five Sundays following Easter as we follow Jesus - the One who came back to life - teaches us how to discover the life God really wants for all of us. 
Congregational News
JOY (Just Older Youth)
JOY Movie Night
JOY Movie Night will feature "Only the Brave" Thursday, April 25th at 7:00 p.m. at The Terraces Clubhouse. This is a powerful drama based on a true story of one of the country's most elite forest firefighting teams., and what happens in 2013 when a massive fire threatens their town.
JOY Road Trip
Reserve your space now! JOY will travel to Abingdon, VA, Thursday, June 13th to the Barter Theatre to see the musical comedy "Church Basement Ladies". Cost is $109 per person, which includes charter bus transportation, play and lunch at Cracker Barrel.  RSVP to Wanda Reynolds by May 1st at 704-483-2723 or  wandareynolds@gmail.com . Invite a friend. Do not have to be a member of JOY to go. All are welcome.
Study / discuss the C. S. Lewis classic, "The Screwtape Letters". We will read book and discuss each chapter using a complimentary study guide. It is an approximate 12 week study beginning early May and continuing through mid July. This group meets on Sunday mornings in WAB 101 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Contact Steve Stephenson at sgstephenson5@gmail.com for more information.
Harbor Youth
“For the first time, I feel like I belong. I want to start the journey and be confirmed.”

“I know enough about Jesus to make a decision and I want to follow Him, here.”

“This weekend was the first time I felt like I experienced God. I want to start the journey.”

These were the responses to the question we asked our Confirmation students on Saturday night of the retreat. The retreat was held at Lake Junaluska, a United Methodist retreat center surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains and lined with lodging: houses, hotels, and motel style rooms. The purpose of the weekend was simple: to culminate our classes with a simple invitation for each student to no only follow Jesus but do so with our faith community. The three days were filled with cheesy songs, laughter, small group discussion, and of course, play. We learned about God’s grace, the importance of partaking in the Lord’s supper, that each of us are “ministers,” and many other truths of the Christian life.

Saturday evening, we snuck away to have our own time of reflection, set apart from the rest of the retreat group, which was about 200 people. The first question I asked was “Raise your hand if you have you never actually been asked whether or not you want to follow Jesus?” Students’ limbs shot up. A little surprised, I backtracked to the very first time we gathered for Launch, when we told each student that this decision, which I believe is the best choice they will ever make, is ultimately theirs. Though the decision is theirs to make, this journey is not one they traverse alone. So each student received a packet of letters, one from their parents, one from their mentor, and one from me.

As they read and pondered the question “Do you wish to not only follow Jesus but do so with each other and in the community of our church?”, the room was quiet. Worship music played softly. Envelopes were ripped open and papers rustled. We reconvened and I opened the floor for any student to share what God spoke. Some students spoke with tears, other with few words, some only with body language, and some chose not to. The thirty minutes we spent together were beautiful. We watched middle school students boldly and courageously share about their personal faith journeys (a few answers of which are at the top of this column). Not every student had decided, which was fine by me. We circled together, hand in hand, in prayer, thanking God for his invitation to life, for the weekend, for our group, and asking for discernment as Confirmation Sunday approaches. Join us Sunday, May 5th as we hold a special ceremony at the 10:45 a.m. worship service in the Sanctuary for these students.