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Posts from the ‘Community’ Category

Community Groups for the Week of October 1

October 2nd, 2017

Chris Morton

Catechesis

If you want to honestly discuss what you do and don’t believe, then you need to participate in a Community Group this fall.

For the next eight weeks, we’ll be having a discussion we call “Catechesis.” The purpose of the Catechesis series is to discuss how our shared life is birthed out of what the Church has always believed.

According to Michael Frost, “Americans are waking up to the fact that people are sick to death of bad religion.” By, “bad religion” Frost means toxic beliefs that pin people up, and keep them from experiencing the freedom Jesus promises.

Sadly, these toxic beliefs are prevalent in many church communities. There are also political, social and celebrity voices who try tell people what to believe.

If we don’t dig into scripture and history, then we will be at the whim of the voices and agendas in our culture.

What most people do is just keep going. Life is too busy worry about these problems. But the fact is, if we don’t counter toxic beliefs, they creep up on us.

Digging into Beliefs in a Community Group

Imagine having a place where you could say what you really think.

Imagine being able to proudly say “I believe in Jesus, and I want him to take control of my life!”

Imagine being able to proudly say “I am not sure what believe and I don’t like some of the things I have heard the Church believes.”

Imagine a Community Group, where both perspectives, hopeful skeptics and passionate believers, can openly express themselves!

That’s what we hope to cultivate in our Catechesis Discussion Series.

Each week for nine weeks we’ll dig into the topics introduced in the Sunday liturgy. You can listen back here.

Groups will have a discussion guide that will help you to ask difficult questions, and encourage people to honestly share what they think.

If the only thing you get from participating in a Community Groups is a good meal, that would probably be enough.

If the only thing you get from participating in a Community Groups are new friends who you can honestly discuss your beliefs with, that would be even better.

But if you could get a good meal, deeper friendships, and grow in your faith in Jesus, that would definitely be worth it.

Many people will never take the time to truly consider their beliefs. Many people don’t have a safe community to have these difficult conversations. Don’t miss out on this opportunity.

How to Participate this Week

  1. Download the Community Group Discussion Guide. Before you go to your group, you’ll want to take time to read through it. You may want to pray about the questions and journal through them.
  2. Visit or join a Community Group. You can see a full list here.

Catechesis // What the church has always believed

September 27th, 2017

John Chandler


This coming week, we borrow an old word to begin a new discussion series called Catechesis. This ancient term describes how essential Christian beliefs were repeatedly taught to help followers of Jesus understand how to live. For us, this is a season to discuss how our shared life is birth out of what the Church has always believed. Each week, these discussion will begin in our Sunday liturgy and continue into Community Groups.

Week of 10/1 // What is belief?
Often, in our culture, Christianity is known as a set of beliefs. The “faithful” get so particular about their beliefs that churches form and divide around variations in these beliefs. We understand, though, that beliefs matter not because believing all the right things makes us right with God, or define who is in and out. Instead, we recognize that what we believe shapes how we live and love.

Week of 10/8 // What is the Bible?
The Bible is a sacred and historical set of texts at the heart of the Christian faith. Yet it is sometimes held in too high regard as being the only reliable source of truth. What authority should the Bible have in our time, our lives and in our church? How should we approach it as a sacred text while not placing it on an equal plane with God?

Week of 10/15 // What does it mean that God is a trinity?
The word trinity is never found in the Bible, yet for centuries, theologians have understood God to be a relational being of three in one. Why does it matter to the Christian faith that we see God as a trinity? What does this relational nature of God tell us about our own relational nature as humans?

Week of 10/22 // What is God’s relationship with creation?
The question already reveals a bit of the answer here — we understand that God is the creator and still at work in creation. What was God’s intent and ongoing hope for creation? If we believe God is good and perfect, why are humans and the whole of creation full of evil?

Week of 10/29 // What does it mean to be created in the image of God?
While we recognize that God is the creator, we also see that humans were given a special place in creation as those who bear the image of God. What does it mean for humans to be represent God in creation in this way? How does our understanding of this “Imago Dei” help us form an understanding of sin?

Week of 11/5 // Who is Jesus?
To understand Jesus is to understand this mystery of God dwelling on the earth in human form, somehow both divine and human at the same time. But to understand Jesus is to also understand how Jesus is active and present within the Trinity both before his human birth and after his resurrection.

Week of 11/12 // What happened at the cross?
Jesus was crucified by Romans on a hill outside Jerusalem two millennia ago. Christians understand that event to be a pivotal moment in history. We understand the implications of that week to be cosmic and personal — and everywhere in between. How should those events from thousands of years ago determine how how we live today and lean in to tomorrow.

Week of 11/19 // Who is the Holy Spirit?
In the final months before he was crucified, Jesus explained to his closest followers that he would be going away, and that it’s as for the best. After that, he explained, the Holy Spirit would come. So, why is the Holy Spirit so important that Jesus would say we are better off with the Spirit than a human Jesus?

Help us prepare our new Sunday spaces

February 21st, 2017

John Chandler

In March, Austin Mustard Seed will begin gathering for Sunday liturgy in the building of Rosedale Baptist Church. We are thankful for their hospitality, and excited for the opportunity to create a space that best serves our “work of the people.”

Here’s what we look forward to in this new season of Austin Mustard Seed:

  • A space to gather that we can arrange and decorate to best serve our liturgy… and that we can leave setup most weeks.
  • Classrooms of our own that we can furnish and equip to be inviting and safe… and a much shorter walk from the chapel.
  • A snug room for young families to care for their little ones…or maybe just let their kids toddle a bit.
  • Space to grow as we invite others to share in our liturgy… and with a cup of coffee in hand throughout.

But we’ll need some help to make the most of these spaces:

  • We’ve never had classrooms of our own, so we’ll require furnishings and fun stuff for each of them.
  • We’ll make sure to have plenty of new signs to help people find their way.
  • We need some additional equipment and decor to make ourselves at home in the chapel.

We want to raise $10,000 to make the best use of this space. If you are part of our community, we hope you’ll consider participating beyond your regular giving. If you are a friend of our community, thanks for considering how you might join us in this opportunity.

Here’s how you can participate:

  • Use this secure form to give online.
  • Send a check to our mailbox. Please be sure to indicate Rosedale Setup in the memo.
  • Give during the offering in our next few weeks of liturgy. Please put it in an envelope labeled Rosedale Setup so it gets properly designated.

Sign Up By Wednesday for Community First!

January 9th, 2017

Chris Morton

Community First is an innovative new approach to providing housing for formerly homeless men and women.

We’ll join them on Saturday, January 15 from 9am-12pm for their weekly Cowboy Brunch.

Meet at Community First at 9am, do some hard work work in the garden and around the village, and stay for a home grown, home cooked meal!

Everyone who is participating must fill out this new waiver—even if you have served before.

Please RSVP on Facebook or email Jessica Foust to let us know you’re coming.

Share Your Thoughts on the Liturgy Survey

October 11th, 2016

John Chandler

prairiewarblerAs we move towards Advent, we are inviting our community into a Common Life — a shared way of living for the year to come. Because this is an invitation to all to participate, we want to invite everyone’s voice.

This past Sunday, we talked about what liturgy means to our community. We spent time listening to how a handful of people within aMS find value in our weekly liturgy by hearing their responses to three simple questions:

  1. How has the way we do liturgy changed the way you think about church?
  2. How has liturgy been meaningful in your spiritual growth?
  3. Why is liturgy valuable enough to do every week?

And now we’d like to hear from you too. Your words and experiences will be used to help craft the language of our Common Life. Please post your responses to these questions on our Simply Liturgy Survey.

They will be available to the leadership team as the Common Life is drafted. Below the survey, you can read the responses of others, and choose to include yours there too.

Vocation and Midweek Groups

September 1st, 2016

Chris Morton

THE PLACE GOD CALLS YOU TO IS THE PLACE WHERE YOUR DEEP GLADNESS AND THE WORLD'S DEEP HUNGER MEET

What if you and everyone at Austin Mustard Seed discovered how to live fully as the person God designed you to be?

What if each one us was actively engaging in what God is up to in our neighborhoods, work places, and cities?

How might that change our homes, our jobs, and our church community?

Exploring those questions is central to what we’ll be focusing on in our Fall Midweek Groups. We’ll begin Saturday, September 17th with the “Vocation Workshop“, a deep dive into the intersection of personality and Providence.

We’ll follow that with the Midweek Group Scrimmage on September 18, during Sunday Liturgy. On the 18th, you’ll have the chance to join up with one of our freshly “rebooted” Midweek Groups.

Throughout the Fall, you’ll have a chance to share your story with the women and men of your group, and help each other better understand vocation.

But before all that happens, I need your help!

I’ve created a short survey about Groups and Vocation.

By taking a few minutes to fill this out, you’ll help us gather the resources we need to explore this together.

Would you mind taking a few minutes to fill this out before Labor Day?

Third Annual Labor Day Eve Cookout September 4!

August 30th, 2016

Chris Morton

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No work on Monday? Then let’s grill on Sunday!

We’ll converge on the home of Rob and Morgan Garza at 6pm on Sunday, September 4 (12310 Knoll Ridge Dr.). We’ll enjoy a (hopefully) cool night in the back yard to relax and catch up.

Bring your own:

  • Chair
  • Grillable Main Dish
  • Drinks
  • Games
  • Friends

For simplicity and the safety of those with food allergies, we will provide sides and desserts. Please RSVP below so we can have an idea how much food we’ll need.

CLICK HERE TO RSVP ON FACEBOOK!

**Due to life threatening allergies, please avoid bringing items containing peanuts, tree nuts, sunflower seeds, sunflower oil, or even items that may contain traces of these items. Thanks…this will allow all to fully participate and enjoy the evening.**

 

Meet the Leadership Team

July 26th, 2016

John Chandler

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We said in January that 2016 would be an important year in the life of Austin Mustard Seed. As we mature as a community, we are stepping out from the care of those who helped us get started. Two important processes are helping us take that step:

  1. We’ve spent much of the first half of this year forming our own leadership team to help us move forward. (More on that below!)
  2. We’ll spend much of the rest of this year, with the help of the Leadership Team, shaping our Common Life. This will be our shared way of understanding what it means to participate in the life of our church community. We’ll begin to explore that more this fall.

We’re making progress, and I’m excited to introduce our leadership team to you! These four, alongside Chris and John, will begin gathering next month. We will pray, imagine, and ache together as we help aMS grow in maturity, size and presence in our city. (Next year, we’ll add two more to this team of six which will form a team that rotates two members every three years.)

Here are each of the new Leadership Team members, along with some of the hopes they have expressed for our church community as they have gone through the discernment process:

Shane Blackshear:
Shane longs to see us become more diverse: “I’ve become convicted that homogeneity is, at best, unhealthy for a church. AMS could stand to diversify racially, economically, and generationally.”

Ashley Blackwell:
“I appreciate the value placed on rhythms and practices and a shared life for our community. I believe this is done as a means of encouraging intimacy with God and one another rather than a checklist.” Ashley hopes that our shared life will give us “the opportunity for our faith to not just be a compartment of our life but really encourages an awareness of it being the foundation of our lives.”

Kevin Jordan:
Kevin is excited to see us stretch in new directions: “Becoming a church that plants other churches; developing a strategy for leadership development and adult theological education and praxis.”

April Karli:
“Discipleship excites me. I think that this is the most neglected thing happening in the Western church today, and I’m thrilled that we’re already making some attempts at it. … I get excited when I see someone shift in how they think about themselves and their identity as God’s children and begin to grow up.”

Thanks to all who offered your voice to this process. We’re excited to see what is to come in this new season of Austin Mustard Seed.

Men: Drunch is Wednesday Night!

July 5th, 2016

Chris Morton

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Men’s Story Night returns Wednesday, July 6 at 6:30pm, at the home of Shane Blackshear (7212 Meador Lane).

We’ll do two things at Men’s Story Night:

  • Eat Drunch (Breakfast-for-Dinner)
  • Listen to each other

About Drunch

We’re making breakfast-for-dinner! We’ll have the skillets fired up, but we need to bring the foodz! Please reply all and let us know what drunch food you can bring.

Some possibilities include:

  • Pancake/Waffle mix
  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Morning Star Breakfast Patties
  • Biscuits
  • Frittata
  • Fruit
  • OJ
  • Cinnamon Toast
  • Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Refresher About Story Night

Story Night is a chance for one person to share a story, and for the rest of us to practice listening. This is a sacred space where we grow closer, and where we learn to hear the guidance of God’s Spirit.

This video explains what we mean when we’re describing “storytelling.” I’ve also attached a one page description of how the storytelling works.

The Learning Circle from FloodSanDiego on Vimeo.

Two storytellers are needed to share about a recent or powerful moment in their lives that they are still processing. Please email Chris if you can participate.

See you Wednesday!

Let’s do something for the refugees in Fallujah

June 23rd, 2016

John Chandler

A boy crouches down during a sandstorm in a camp for families displaced from Fallujah. (Loveday Morris/The Washington Post)

A boy crouches down during a sandstorm in a camp for families displaced from Fallujah. (Loveday Morris/The Washington Post)

Many of you were with us when Jeremy Courtney spoke in liturgy two years ago. He spoke about his work in Iraq through the Preemptive Love Coalition. We consider Jeremy a friend of our church community and we think their work is the real deal.

He wrote this week asking for help with an immediate crisis they are stepping in to. Families are fleeing Fallujah into the desert with no shelter or sustenance. Here’s an article from yesterday’s Washington Post about the crisis.

As a church we want to come alongside and help. Here’s how:

From our neighboring fund, we are going to match the first $1000 given by this Saturday toward this cause. If you would like to participate, please use the giving page on the church website and indicate Special Fallujah Offering from the dropdown.

Here’s what Jeremy has to say:

The human suffering surrounding us in Fallujah, Iraq is overwhelming. More than 27,000 people have escaped ISIS and landed in our lap in the last 72 hours. It is a massive amount of people who suddenly don’t have homes, are traumatized by ISIS violence, and need everything.

We’re overwhelmed with women and children who’ve been starving for months, now stranded in the desert. The UN is asking us for more than we can give—and we are already providing more food than any other org in the world.

Old women sleeping on the hot desert sand without a tent.

Women shot at escaping ISIS.

More than 24 we know who were maimed escaping through an ISIS minefield.

We don’t have enough food, water, beds, blankets, or tents to go around. We can get it—we just need funds.

The Church has helped us make a tremendous impact since the battle started a few weeks ago. We have unparalleled access to military roads, the Prime Minister, and every other entity we need.

NBC News, PBS, The Washington Post, The New York Times all call on us for intel from the front lines. Our work was on the front page of USA Today a few weeks ago and ABC News is using our work in their nightly news coverage of Fallujah. Everything we are doing, we do in full view of the media for transparency’s sake.

The The Washington Post Baghdad Bureau Chief rode with us today to a militia-controlled area where we work and said:

In 4 1/2 years covering Syria and Iraq I’ve never seen conditions this bad. No tents. No water. No words.

Every gift helps us save lives in a place where food is not just aid, it’s actually a counter-terrorism initiative against ISIS and their malign recruitment efforts.

Our friends here literally cannot wait any longer. Is there anything you and your church could do in the short- or medium term to help us meet this massive wave of 83,000 people?

Thanks all for considering this opportunity for us to be a global church. Please let us know if you have any questions