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Freedom and Responsibility

As we begin the summer months of our Fourth Days with opportunities to celebrate our freedoms as well as spend relaxing days on vacations, it’s also a good time to reflect on where we are on our life’s journey as well as take inventory of the daily decisions we make to set our course forward with family, friends, and others we come into contact with. I am reminded of Paul’s reflection on freedom and the associated responsibility to make wise choices in the letter he wrote to the Galatian churches. While the political and social context of the Galatian Christian’s lives were substantially different than the ones we are privileged with today, Paul’s direction and challenge is as relevant to us as it was to them.

‘For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”’ (Galatians 5:13-14).

Who is our neighbor? How will we be Christ’s hands and feet to that neighbor? How will our Fourth Day actions with our neighbors bring us closer to a life filled and lead by the Holy Spirit?

Regards,

Don Holt
Central Texas #109, Table of St. Paul

New Emmaus Position Applications Now Available Online

The International Emmaus Office has new service opportunities, including an LVE Community Trainer. Those who are interested in the new positions can gain more information as well as position applications at http://emmaus.upperroom.org/news/282

If you apply for the LVE Community Trainer position, please send your completed application by July 12th to info@lvemmaus.org in addition to sending a copy to the International Emmaus Office.

During the July 15th LVE Board of Directors Meeting, we will review Community Trainer Applications for the requested LVE Board approval.

Blessed by LV84

Loudoun Valley Emmaus’ Fourth Day reached another milestone with LV84 (Women’s) Walk to Emmaus that took place at the 4H Center in Front Royal on Thursday, May 18th through Sunday, May 21st. Many were blessed as they prayed, made splash agape or offered snack agape. Some prayed and served as Day Servants, others prayed and served as Resident Outside Support servants. Many were blessed as they began praying months ago to invite and subsequently sponsor fellow church members and friends whose lives would benefit from a 72-hour time of learning, reflection, and sharing with fellow believers about their daily Walk. Others were blessed as they prayed together as a team over several meetings as part of their preparation to serve in the Conference Room. Some paused in their daily routine during the 72 hours to pray for those serving and those receiving in the Conference Room. Everyone in the Loudoun Valley Emmaus Community was blessed because 16 new Loudoun Valley Emmaus members stood up to share their faith and their call as a first step in their Fourth Day lives.

St. Mark introduces Jesus’ feeding the five thousand in Mark 6 as follows. The disciples asked Jesus to dismiss the hungry crowd so they could find something to eat at the end of a long walk home. Jesus responds with a simple, clear directive, “You give them something to eat” (v37).  When we obey the call to share who we are and what we have with our fellow church members and friends in response to the authority and guidance of the Holy Spirit, our Fourth Days are abundantly blessed just as Jesus, his disciples, and the crowd were blessed in Mark 6.

Regards,

Don Holt
Central Texas #109, Table of St. Paul

A Time to Pray

In a few days, a group of ladies will come together at the 4H Center for another Walk to Emmaus weekend. Some of those ladies will be present due to a friend’s encouraging invitation. Others will be present to enable and lead the group. All will be there to intentionally step away for 72 hours from their daily lives and responsibilities in order to review and reflect on their relationship with Jesus Christ in their daily lives in a manner similar to the way Cleopus and his friend did as they walked from Jerusalem to Emmaus with the resurrected Christ on the first Easter (Luke 24:13-25).

This is an opportunity for the greater LVE Community to stop and remember what we learned on our Walk to Emmaus and it’s impact on our daily priorities.

It’s also an opportunity to engage in one of the key spiritual gifts God has given each of us; prayer. Please pray daily for this group. Please join LVE’s Prayer Vigil by clicking on the Prayer Vigil link below and selecting a time when you will stop and pray for LV84:

http://3dayol.org/Vigil/GetVigil.phtml?pvid=13467&commid=390

Two Areas of Service

We’re preparing to move from the last week of Lent, Holy Week, when Jesus purposefully faced his fiercest enemies in Jerusalem and prepared his closest disciples for the agony of Good Friday followed by the victory of Easter morning. In the spirit of Jesus’ close fellowship with his disciples, please consider two areas of service:

First, your Board decided to collect a special LVE offering in April – an offering for those international Emmaus members praying and planning the formation of new Walk to Emmaus communities in Africa. As the International Emmaus Office points out, this effort is one of the Central African church’s response to the terror of ISIS and Boko Harum they encounter in their daily lives. You can give your offering through LVE’s Gathering offering – just note on your check or note on the envelope “UR Gift”.  Alternatively, you can go to the Upper Room website http://emmaus.upperroom.org/leaders/gift and make an online donation.

The other opportunity to serve as Christ’s hands and feet is to prayerfully support Karen Brooks, Catharine Guest, and Kristy McMaster as they form and lead the LV84 Conference Room Team and LV84 Outside Support Team. During the April 22 Gathering, we will review several tangible opportunities to serve LV84: sign up for 30min time segments on the LV84 Prayer Chain; provide snacks; and create agape for the LV84 pilgrims and team. Your anonymous expressions of love and prayerful support through letters and splash agape provide tangible evidence to pilgrims and team members as they make their Walk. Please look forward to LVE emails with team member’s and pilgrim’s names. If you don’t see these emails by the end of April, please email Gail Haddock (LVE Board Secretary) at info@lvemmaus.org.

Finally, please remember we will meet on the fourth Saturday this month, April 22, for our monthly LVE Board and LVE Gathering:

  1. Consider arriving around 4:30 at the next Gathering to share your fourth day experiences and color table mats with fellow believers. This simple spiritual exercise is a great way to get to know other LVE members and to share God’s personal love with others.
  2. Invite and bring friends to Loudoun Valley Emmaus’ monthly Gatherings. If someone has an interest in The Walk to Emmaus or you believe that someone should have an interest, the easiest “next step” is to bring them to our Gatherings. Plan to arrive with those friends and an extra dish to the Pot Luck Dinner which starts at 5:30pm, then accompany those friends into an hour’s singing, praising, and sharing at the Gathering (6:30pm until 8:00pm).

Regards,

Don Holt
Central Texas #109, Table of St. Paul

Lent: Letting Go to Move Forward

Jesus said, “I am the way [piety], and the truth [study], and the life [action]”                  (John 14:6)

The three themes of piety (giving our hearts to Christ), study (giving our minds to Christ), and life (giving our hands and feet to Christ) serve as three pillars that support our Fourth Day lives.

For those of us who follow the liturgical calendar, we are about to move into the season of Lent; 40 days of spiritual preparation in anticipation of the miracle of Easter. How do we prepare for Easter? During Lent, we prepare by giving something(s) up that tie us too closely to this culture’s life in order to intentionally make space in our lives to listen to God so we can follow Him more closely (I think that’s the core idea of piety).

There are numerous Lenten prayer and devotional guides to guide us as we wrestle with who God wants us to be in this very confusing culture (that’s Study). I have been attracted to guides centered around Psalms; a God-breathed collection of prayers that challenge me to be honest with God about myself. The Psalms set a high value on personal honesty while praying; as honest as David was when he was in despair, found in sin, and in moments of praise and worship for God’s grace in his life and in the life of his people.

I believe this time of preparation is enhanced when I intentionally share my spiritual progress (or lack thereof) with one or more fellow believers and then listen as they share where they are on their journey. I’ve also found that sharing my victories, doubts, and confusion with fellow believers and listening to them gives me greater insight into God’s direction and comfort from His presence as expressed in the words of those I am sharing with.

Please remember the following persons and LVE opportunities:

  1. Pray daily for Merv Greenwood and Karen Brooks as they form their respective teams for the upcoming Walk to Emmaus weekends.
  2. Consider arriving around 4:30 at the next Gathering (March 18th at Mt. Olivet UMC) to share your fourth day experiences and color table mats with fellow believers. This simple spiritual exercise is a great way to get to know other LVE members and to share God’s personal love with others.
  3. Invite and bring friends to Loudoun Valley Emmaus’ monthly Gatherings. If someone has an interest in The Walk to Emmaus or you believe that someone should have an interest, the easiest “next step” is to bring them to our Gatherings. Plan to arrive with those friends and an extra dish at the Pot Luck Dinner which starts at 5:30pm, then accompany those friends into an hour’s singing, praising, and sharing at the Gathering (6:30pm until 8:00pm).

What does it mean to give our hands and feet to Christ?

Jesus said, “I am the way [piety], and the truth [study], and the life [action]”.

 John 14:6

The three themes of piety (giving our hearts to Christ), study (giving our minds to Christ), and life (giving our hands and feet to Christ) serve as three pillars that support our Fourth Day lives.

What does it mean to give our hands and feet to Christ?  St. Paul, writing to the Corinthian Christians (1 Corinthians 12 – 14), makes some very bold statements.  He tells us that the Holy Spirit equips us with spiritual gifts so that we can serve one another.  From my perspective, this means there is no Sunday worship without weekday service to others.  The other point that comes so clearly is none of us are equipped with all God’s gifts and abilities; each one of us is uniquely equipped to, “play the position”, the Holy Spirit assigns us.  Among other things, that means there are fellow-believers out there who the Holy Spirit has equipped us to meet their needs… and there are fellow-believers out there who are equipped by the Holy Spirit to meet our needs.

So how do I discern the gifts and abilities the Holy Spirit has equipped me with?  Gwen Hess, LVE’s Assistant Community Lay Director, suggests you start by taking the UMC’s Spiritual Gifts Assessment (http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/spiritual-gifts-online-assessment), then prayerfully ask God for your, “next steps” or what you will do with what God has shown you.  As with any self-discovery process, there are bound to be questions.   Consider talking with your pastor.  Consider sharing your reactions and questions with a fellow-believer you trust and will be accountable to.  Finally, look for opportunities to exercise the gifts God has given you.  In other words, Play Your Position.

Please remember the following persons and LVE opportunities:

  1. Pray daily for Merv Greenwood and Karen Brooks as they form their respective teams for the upcoming Walk to Emmaus weekend.
  2. Consider arriving around 4:30 at the next Gathering (Feb 18th at Pender UMC) to share your fourth day experiences and color table mats with fellow believers.  This simple spiritual exercise is a great way to get to know other LVE members and to share God’s personal love with others.
  3. Invite and bring friends to Loudoun Valley Emmaus’ monthly Gatherings.  If someone has an interest in The Walk to Emmaus or you believe that someone should have an interest, the easiest “next step” is to bring them to our Gatherings.  Plan to arrive with those friends and an extra dish at the Pot Luck Dinner which starts at 5:30pm, then accompany those friends into an hour’s singing, praising, and sharing at the Gathering (6:30pm until 8:00pm).

Regards,
Don Holt
Central Texas #109, Table of St. Paul

Next Steps

Jesus said, “I am the way [piety], and the truth [study], and the life [action]”.

John 14:6

The three themes of piety (giving our hearts to Christ), study (giving our minds to Christ), and life (giving our hands and feet to Christ) serve as three pillars that support our Fourth Day lives. As we start the new year of 2017, I invite you to join me in asking/praying for specific steps in these three areas to continue our growth as Christ’s hands and feet in our personal lives and in the life of Loudoun Valley Emmaus.

The key “next steps” for me are:

  1. Pray daily for Merv Greenwood and Karen Brooks as they form their respective teams for the upcoming Walk to Emmaus weekends in May.
  2. Prayerfully inventory the spiritual gifts and abilities God has graced you with and ask where the Holy Spirit is leading you to invest those gifts and abilities in 2017. If you haven’t already, talk to your church’s Pastor about your prayers with respect to your church’s ministries. Loudoun Valley Emmaus has many opportunities to be “Christ’s hands and feet” across the Community’s monthly activities. Please contact me or Gwen Hess (2017 Assistant Community Lay Director) about your interests and questions.
  3. Invite and bring friends to Loudoun Valley Emmaus’ monthly Gatherings. If someone has an interest in The Walk to Emmaus or you believe that someone should have an interest, the easiest “next step” is to bring them to our Gatherings. Plan to arrive with those friends and an extra dish at the Pot Luck Dinner which starts at 5:30pm, then accompany those friends into an hour’s singing, praising, and sharing at the Gathering (6:30pm until 8:00pm).

Regards,
Don Holt
Central Texas #109, Table of St. Paul