This is Us

We are the church, whether we are gathered or scattered--each one of us, a part of the body of Christ, wherever we go, whatever we do.

So, where can you find us, and what are we doing?

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This is Anderson and Ligiane Vieira and their two kids, Antonela and Giovana. The first time the Vieria family walked through the doors at Five Oaks was at Fall Fun Fest last year. They were invited by their friends, the Gill family. Anderson and Ligiane had been living in this area for about three years prior to this, attending another very large church. Both being from Brazil originally, they were missing the smaller size of their church in Brazil, with its family focus and emphasis on doing life in community. Anderson and Ligiane have since returned to Five Oaks and now worship here regularly. They love that in Five Oaks Kids, for example, their kids are known by name, just like at their church in Brazil. They are currently enrolled in our Story of God class and are looking forward to the growth that comes with that. Moral of the story? Don’t be afraid to invite that new (or long-standing) neighbor to Fall Fun Fest with you! Anderson says to let your friends and neighbors know what we do well: families, living life in community and small groups, helping new folks, both kids and adults, feel welcome and as though they belong.

When Evil Enters into our Stories

Have you ever lied or cheated?

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Maybe it didn’t seem like a big deal, or maybe it seemed like the only way out or through a circumstance you were facing.

All of us at one point or another in our lives have been faced with the choice to lie or cheat. Many of us, most of us, have fallen to the temptation for one reason or another.

Many times it starts innocently enough with something we want, or perceive that we need. Maybe it’s a promotion, a test we want to pass, a relationship we’re drawn to, or a goal we’ve been working toward.

Once we start down this path, it quickly becomes a slippery slope as our focus narrows to our own ambition of getting what we want for ourselves.

We think and reason in a way that identifies issues, decisions, and even people as a means or an obstacle to the end we seek. When we begin to see people as an obstacle to the “thing” we want, we are eerily close to going even further to silence or eliminate people from our way. Another way of saying this is that we make the people in our way the problem.

This weekend we see this expression of selfishness and evil enter into the story in the book of Esther. At first glance it seems like something stuck in the history of humanity. Upon further study, we will discover that this same evil exists in our culture, in others around us, and even in ourselves.

This is a heavy chapter in the book of Esther, but it is one in which, in the context of the story of God, we will discover a good God who is at work even in the face of evil.

Photo by Joël de Vriend on Unsplash