Happy New Year! Welcome to 2022.
You made it to another year…
Before we look ahead to ‘22, I want to share with you a quick update regarding our Christmas Eve offering…
As of today, $85,379 has been received to go towards The Life Center and Three Rivers Local Schools’ “Jacket Cares” initiative.
The lives of countless students and families in our community will be transformed because of God working through you and your generosity! I am so humbled to be on mission with a group of misfits like you. We GET to wake up every day and GET to be used by God to bring HOPE to those in need all around us. What a blessing!!
Speaking of HOPE - I received this message from the Kumler Family on Christmas Eve…
Merriest of Christmases to you, Kelly, and family. Christmas Eve service made our dinner conversation and YOU made a stocking letter (sorry that Alex calls you Tizzy). Many blessings, so glad you and Kelly are a part of our Whitewater family.
Alex's Christmas Stocking Note - Dear Big Man… I would like the present of HOPE (like Tizzy said). I know Christmas is to celebrate Jesus, and I will always keep that in mind, but I also love getting to open some good gifts and spend time with family. (Everybody does).
Alex, I hope you received a little HOPE for Christmas… and a few good gifts.
Our family had an excellent Christmas. We were able to have my parents stay with us, we celebrated Christmas together in a new home, we got to see the Spiderman movie, and I got a really cool t-shirt. We celebrated Kelly’s birthday on New Year's Eve… 29 never looked so good on her!
I hope all of you had a great Christmas and were able to bring 2021 to a close in a healthy way.
Some of you are still recovering from the Bearcat loss… take it from a Browns fan who has lived with disappointment for over 40 years, there’s always next year.
This is going to be a year like no other.
2021 tried to one-up 2020 to see which one could be the biggest dumpster fire... but I’m proclaiming today, that we are moving forward and leaving '20 and '21 in the past. We are looking ahead to a year of promise and favor that God has in store for all of us.
Whitewater family, this is going to be a year to remember.
If you are joining us for the first time or you’re hanging out with us again after being with us for one of our Christmas Eve services… welcome home. This is the perfect time for you to be joining us as we embark on a year like no other.
We’re all in this together…
2022 will bring the succession of our Senior Pastor, David Vaughan, who has been your leader for almost 20 years.
2022 will bring the official hand-off to me as I lead us forward into a new chapter for Whitewater.
2022 will bring new opportunities and strategic partnerships to bring HOPE to as many people as possible in the tri-state area and beyond.
As I was praying over this coming year, the word PREPARATION was revealed to me. As I processed through that, Joshua 3:5 came to mind… Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.
Consecrate yourselves… purify yourselves… set yourselves apart… get yourself ready… prepare yourselves… for the Lord is about to do amazing things among you!
This is my scripture for the year. I invite you to join me in praying through this scripture and what it may mean for you.
I’m praying through what it means for me and my family personally, as well as what it means for Whitewater.
What would it mean for you, for the lord to do amazing things among you? What are the amazing things you are praying through?
Have you put them before the Lord… the only one who can make the impossible possible?
What does it mean for us to prepare ourselves… to consecrate ourselves… to set ourselves apart… so we are ready for what God has in store?
We are inviting you in to be a part of this year of preparation. That’s why this teaching series we’re starting today is called INVITED.
We’re inviting you into RELATIONSHIP.
You are INVITED into a relationship with a God who loves you, no matter what. Seriously... no matter what you did last summer or last night, God loves you, he is for you, and there is nothing that can separate you from his love.
Through his Son, Jesus, we are inviting you into relationship and not religion.
John 1:14 - So the word (Jesus) became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.
I love the Message version of this verse: Jesus became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.
Jesus stepped down from his throne and moved into our mess to offer relationship with him. Jesus invites you into intimacy with him to restore and refresh your soul.
In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus shares this… “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly."
In 2022, we’re inviting you into relationship… are you in?
We’re inviting you into COMMUNITY.
You are INVITED into a community of misfits that are broken, lost, and lonely… but we’re together. Misfits that are committed to healing, being found, and being loved as we grow together as disciples and disciple-makers.
Growing together in biblical community as it’s laid out for us in the book of Acts, when the early church began.
Acts 2:42-47... All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
This is community. This is what the church was always meant to look like. And this year, we’re intentionally digging in and inviting you into this type of community of misfits.
A couple of our misfits, Bill and Mandy Hall posted this on Facebook. I thought it was both heartbreaking and inspiring all at the same time. Mandy wrote this…
Raised Catholic, I asked Bill to attend midnight mass. (Even though they attended Christmas Eve here, she said she needed extra Jesus that night. So they went to midnight mass at one of our local Catholic Churches....)
She writes: We’re not dressed up, totally normal attire. Busy day wrapping presents and Jesus doesn’t care. I warn Bill, and tell him "don’t worry." We are just here to praise God. We sit in the back, people glancing at us. Don’t care. I’m singing.
We sit after the opening message and a rude guy in front of us turns around and says to Bill… “Take your hat off. You don’t wear a hat in church.” (If you know Bill he always has a beanie on!)
I look at the guy and say, “It’s his first time here.” Bill politely takes his beanie off. The Christian in me comes out and I say, “You don’t get to judge people, we’re in church.”
The rude guy says, “It’s my church!”
So, I say, “We will not be judged here- Merry Christmas!” And we walk out! Quickest midnight mass ever!
So thankful to be a misfit at Whitewater Crossing! We love you, Jon & David. We are truly blessed to have found our home with JESUS at Whitewater!
I love Bill and Mandy so much… I love their hearts.
And it HURTS my heart that on Christmas Eve… or at ANY church service… someone would care more about telling someone how they should and shouldn’t dress, more than showing them the love of a King who would sacrifice his life for a broken world. I don’t know who that man is listening to, but it isn’t Jesus. I would love to meet this man and invite him into relationship not religion.
Hat or no hat, you are welcome in this community.
In 2022, we’re inviting you into community? Are you in?
We’re inviting you into MISSION.
You are INVITED into God’s Kingdom Mission… the greatest cause the world has ever known.
Matthew 28:18-20... Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
We have been called to go and make, not sit and soak.
You are invited to roll up your sleeves and step into the messiness of life transformation. To learn how to train up the next generation of disciple-makers and send them out to do the same. To be trained as kingdom warriors of love and light, to take the gospel of HOPE to all people. This is what Jesus has commissioned us to do… in our backyards and around the world.
Acts 1:8... You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
This is our mission… to be his witnesses, telling everyone about Jesus’ message of HOPE… to bring Heaven to Earth in our relationships and families, in our communities and cities, and around the world.
In 2022, you are invited into MISSION… are you IN?
David and I are going to unpack all of these invitations and what it means for you and all of Whitewater over the next five weeks.
And at the end of the five weeks, we will be asking you to RSVP to this invitation.
We will literally create a moment at the end of our services here on campus and online, where we will ask you to put your name on the line and say YES, I’m in, or “I have questions” or “not at this time." All of us will fall into one of those three responses, and that’s ok.
As we embark on a year like no other, we want to know who is with us, so we can encourage you along the way... so we can empower you to be able to do things you never thought possible... so we can equip you with whatever you may need to share the message of Hope to all people by all means possible.
I want you to seriously consider this invitation. Pray about it. Seriously. Don’t take it lightly.
This invitation into relationship, community, and mission will transform your life. It will turn everything upside down.
It requires a heart that is willing to be authentic and love authentically. Hands and feet that are willing to be radically generous with all that they have. Arms that are willing to stretch out wide to all people. And minds that are focused on the next generation of believers that we may never get to meet until we’re all called home to Heaven.
This new year, come with us as we love people seriously.
Join arms with us as we follow Jesus into the unknown as we HELP people find HOPE and a HOME in Jesus.
This is who we are. This is what we are all about and where we’re going.
Whether you’ve been hanging out with us for 50 years or 5 minutes… YOU are INVITED.