Welcome to Journey

Journey Community Church
welcomes you to join us
each Sunday at the
Herculaneum High School Theater
1 BlackCat Drive, Herculaneum, MO.
 
9:30 am
Donuts, coffee & fellowship
 
10:00 am
Sunday Morning Gathering
Journey Kids 
Nursery 
 
Check our Newsletter section for meeting times/ dates for Journey Preteens and Teens. 
 
Several Journey Groups meet in homes  throughout Jefferson County during the week. Contact us to explore finding a group for your family


Weekly Newsletter

Journey Community News



Not going to vote this year, huh?

So, the third and final presidential debate is in the history books and you are still at a quandary on who to vote for. If you are like me, you have imagined yourself at the polls putting your mark down for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. The thought is not a pleasant one, but your conscience tells you that you must vote. It is just the idea of actually defending how you voted to your family at Thanksgiving. The picture of that scenario makes you want to skip the poles altogether.

I googled “why you should still vote this year” and six or seven selections about the topic popped up. These various sites provide a myriad of reasons to continue to vote this year even if you like neither candidate. These arguments include some sound reasoning for making it to the poles this year, even if it seems futile. The items below are mine and have been bouncing around in my head for several months now.

This is American politics. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the chosen candidates of the two major political parties in the United States political system. The Republican and Democrat parties followed protocol for electing a candidate and Trump and Hillary came out on top. This is the way the system is supposed to work and this is why the primaries are so vital to the process. Yet, the majority of voters don’t even show up for the primaries. Pew Research tells us the only 28.5% of eligible voters turned out for the 2016 primary elections.

[1]

It is this very reason that we don’t have better choices for our general elections. People are apathetic about being involved in the political system and exercising their power for who gets nominated for a certain office. If you do not like politics in America get do something about it and get involved. Don’t back out of the process, but engage and exercise your political influence as a citizen.
It is only four years. I know it seems like the end of the world if either Trump or Clinton enter the White House, but remember, it is only four years. Those four years go fast and most presidents struggle to get more the one item on their agenda passed through Congress in their first term. Like President Obama and “Obamacare,” one or two agenda items at a time is all the president has time for. Think of all the things a president proposes at his state of the union address each year and how many actually take shape. The president’s bully pulpit just doesn’t have the clout it did in say, Roosevelt or Johnson’s day. It takes longer for the head of state to get anything done.

[2]

Sure, the president can make some vital changes in those four years, but even those can be altered or repealed if need be. Remember, the United States president does not make the laws, the United States Congress does. Congress moves much slower than the president, for a reason.
We have had crazier election cycles than this. If you think Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are a hoot, read about political contests from the history books and you will be relieved that our candidates are who they are. Andrew Jackson actually ran for president after killing a man in a dual and his wife was accused of bigamy during his bid for the White House.

[3] You think certain emails and remarks are scandalous, how about murder and bigamy? Teddy Roosevelt was actually shot during a campaign speech and remained on stage to finish his speech. How about having that for talk around the water cooler tomorrow? Douglass said of Lincoln during their presidential contest, “horrid-looking wretch, sooty and scoundrelly in aspect, a cross between the nutmeg dealer, the horse-swapper and the nightman.”[4] So you see the present contest between Clinton and Trump is really just par for the course. It is American politics at its best.

Your vote does matter. Even though you feel you don’t have a viable candidate to vote for remember these three things. You may have to vote for the future and not the individual. No candidate is perfect. Seldom does the candidate you vote for represent all your views and concerns. You not only vote for that person, but more importantly what their influence will accomplish while in office. In this election Supreme Court justices are at stake. It may not be Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton you are voting for, but a good or bad Supreme Court justice. Appointing several key justices will be one of the most important things our newest president will do. This is of vital importance, for these men and women hold the real governmental power.

Also remember, there is more than just a presidential election taking place. Use your disgust to drive you to find out about the other candidates and especially the judges. It is our senators and representatives that make the laws and these folks stay in office, usually, for years. Get to know the backgrounds of these candidates and make your political clout felt even more. Do not forget, many of these men and women are closer to us than the president, which makes them even more accessible and responsive to the will of the people.

This could motivate you to get behind your own candidate next election year. If you do not like the choices you have for the various local, state and national offices this year get involved in a political campaign, join a political party and get behind someone you know personally. Often getting to know a local politician leads to getting closer to the national office holders. You can learn how the process works, make your voice heard more powerfully and really know some of the people you are voting for. This is the way our founders designed our system to work. They meant for every citizen to be informed, involved and to matter in the political process. Instead, we have left it all to the career politicians and forfeited our clout as citizens.

So, you may not vote this year, huh? Hopefully these thoughts motivate you to stay involved. Remember, it is only four years. There is more on the line than just the presidency. This is no different than any political cycle. Getting discouraged and staying home only cripples the system, which depends on your continued involvement. On November 8th , get out and vote!

Pastor Craig

 

[1] http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/06/10/turnout-was-high-in-the-2016-primary-season-but-just-short-of-2008-record/

[2] Light, Paul The President’s Agenda: Domestic Policy Choice from Kennedy to Clinton. p 17

[3] http://www.history.com/news/shot-in-the-chest-100-years-ago-teddy-roosevelt-kept-on-talking

[4] http://www.neatorama.com/2008/01/28/5-nastiest-us-presidential-elections-in-history/



Exodus

A princess goes to bathe in the river and has her heart won by the cries of an abandoned baby.

A bush on fire never burns up, and from it speaks a voice that will change history.

An unarmed shepherd walks out of the wilderness to do battle with the most powerful man on earth.

The people of Egypt turn back their sheets to find frogs in their beds.

The lone cry of a bereaved mother is joined by another and then another and then another until a loud wailing echoes across the land.

A whole nation walks through a sea, with walls of water on either side.

God is put on trial and, when the verdict is announced, God receives the judgment of the court.

Amid thunder, lightening, thick cloud and an earthquake, the voice of God booms across the plain.

In the wilderness, a man argues with God about the future of a people, and God relents.

The glory of God so fills a tent that everyone must evacuate.

There is no shortage of dramatic moments in the book of Exodus. It is a story that has repeatedly captured the public imagination and which has been a favourite of film-makers. Its story of deliverance from oppression has inspired liberation movements from the Pilgrim Fathers and the English revolutionaries of the seventeenth century to the anti-slavery campaigns of the nineteenth century to the civil rights movements in the twentieth century. Its cry of, “Let my people go” has echoed down across the centuries. But in truth, its message is more dramatic than these dramatic moments and more revolutionary than these revolutionary movements. This Sunday we start a journey through Exodus. Please join us as we discover that there is more to this book than just the stories that it tells.



Saving the Day

Parenting can be exhausting to energizing, depressing to up lifting, unknowing to learning, and so rewarding. There always seems to be a new challenge around the corner; which kid is presenting the challenge will determine the kind of challenge. We have the job to be the encourager and the defender, and at times those roles can intertwine and it can be hard to define our stance. You know what I am talking about, those moments when you want to put on your cape and fly in and destroy the enemy that isn’t treating your child fairly! You want to stand up and fix the situation, to protect your kid. We all have been there and I am sure it would make you feel better for a minute, but does that truly help your kid? Truth be known, often it is more helpful to notice these moments are chances to learn how to handle tough situations. If we are always flying to the rescue, our children will be dependent on us rather than learning the skills to handle life as it comes at them. Because let’s face it, life isn’t always the fairy tale in a happily ever after world.

This year my daughter has been struggling with how to handle a teacher, and her first instinct was to see about changing the class and running from the issue rather than handling it head on. Honestly, I can’t say that I didn’t think that was a good idea; then I began to see it as a chance to learn. We sat down and talked with her, discussing different ways she could handle this and different ways the teacher could respond. This was a great lesson of how your response can either reflect light or darkness, and about having a high perspective instead of an in-the-moment perspective.

There are many situations in life when, even as adults, we want to take the easy way out and run from the problem. There are times we seem to face the same situations on multiple occasions, maybe because we didn’t learn the best way to approach the first time. God doesn’t just swoop in and save the day! He teaches us through them to turn to Him and trust Him more, teaching us to depend on God rather than ourselves.

Every challenge we have faced has shaped us into who God is needing us to be, and He will do the same for our children if we also step back and allow it to happen. Parents, let’s stop, take a step back and put the capes back in the closet! We still have to learn to trust God with our kids and instead of standing up to fix things, we need to lead by example giving guidance and kneeling.
 
About the Author: Melissa Winslett serves as director of Journey Kids. 
 


Desertion

If you have ever been abandoned by someone you were depending on, you have endured some of the most painful emotions mankind experiences. It may have been a spouse that left you right in the middle of raising the kids or a coworker throwing you under the bus when a project went south. It could have been a good friend whom you needed desperately during your darkest hour or by chance a parent who left the family right in the midst of your thirteenth year. The emotions connected to situations such as these leaves us paralyzed, bitter and despairing. They can bring life to a screeching halt and cause us to retreat from close relationships. Desertion is one of those debilitating experiences that truly tests our faith.

It is interesting that most if not all of God’s chosen vessels in the scriptures went through the same kind of experience. These people were called by God to accomplish amazing things, but never without first experiencing the feeling that God may have forgotten about them. Let’s think back for a moment. Thousands of years ago a man named Abraham had to wait until he was 100 years old before God made his promise good concerning a son. During those long years of waiting Abraham must have often felt forgotten. What about Joseph? After being sold into slavery by his own family Joseph was all alone in a pagan land where it appeared he would never see his family again. Surely Joseph wondered if God had abandoned him in Egypt. We could mention the three Hebrews in the book of Daniel. After standing up for God to a ruthless king these men were shoved into a fiery furnace to be burned alive. When God did not intervene, but allowed them to be thrown in that inferno surely the three Hebrews thought God may have deserted them. Even in the New Testament people like Paul and Peter were thrown in jail, whipped and left for dead. The feeling of abandonment was their experience also. Before these people accomplished great deeds for God it appears that they had to pass through the agonizing experience of feeling forsaken.

Christ Jesus is no exception. When on the cross, the Lord Jesus cried out, “My God, my God. Why have you forsaken me?” It seems even Jesus was required to walk this path of forsakenness. His experience of abandonment was part of his perfect suffering on our behalf.

When God allows us to experience the emotion of desertion he is preparing us for something special, like the people above. This experience is a purifying trial that tests the metal of our faith and makes us fit for the task before us. At the end of the trial, when God delivers us, faith is no longer a concept but a way of life. After the trial you know faith personally and understand that circumstance never dictates the action and attention of God. You come out on the other side, not worse, but better. You are now ready to face whatever comes knowing that heaven’s silence never means God is inactive, but instead is leading you every step of the way. In the end you will have the assurance of God’s presence no matter what the circumstances are. This knowledge makes you a valuable and indomitable servant of God.

God Bless!

Pastor Craig



Move Toward the Mess

Every once in a while a phrase comes along that covers a lot of territory with just a few words. John Hambrick captures that with the title of his book, “Move Toward The Mess”. John’s book speaks into the essential aspect of the way we want to operate at Journey. Public opinion polls show that Christians are not highly thought of in our country these days. But if we start to move toward the mess, our nation may start to change its mind about us. They might never believe what we believe, but they’d want us as neighbors. They’d want to work for us or have us work for them. Maybe people would start to rethink their views about God and the Church.
 
It has happened before. It can happen again. If all of this is a compelling idea to you then our next sermon series is just what you’re looking for. Move Toward The Mess will be a series that produces opportunities for God to be honored, people to be helped, and possibly renew within us a greater sense of significance.
 
That sounds like a deal to good to pass up.
 
About the Author: Rick Pirtle serves as Lead Pastor of Journey Community Church. 


Never Forsaken

Have you ever gone to God with a need even after you felt he turned a deaf ear? What made you go back? What made you believe God may now help you? These must have been the same questions that went through the mind of the Psalmist when he wrote in Psalm 108:10-11, “Who will bring me to the fortified city…Is it not you God, you who have rejected us…? Why would God help him now? If God rejected him he must have done something awful. Yet this writer finishes his hymn with, “With God we will gain the victory…” Even after feeling rejected he goes right back to God. This is the type of believing we must do if we want to be anything for God.

We live by faith the scripture says, not by sight. If we quit every time it looked like God was against we would never get started. We don’t see God at work very often down here. When we do it is often in retrospect. What he does is far above us and so is what he thinks. To quit because it appears God is against us is prideful and presumptuous. Who are we to determine what God has in mind? How do we know what he is really up to? He often seems to work against us because what he is doing and what he has in mind in not only different than what we’ve envisioned, it is so much better. Even though it looked like God had rejected the Psalmist and his people, the writer of this Psalm gave God just a little bit more credit. He never counted God out.

When Jesus cried out, “My God, my God. Why have you forsaken me?” it looked like it was over. Hanging there as a criminal, in front of the whole Roman world and after he had claimed to be the Son of God. Jesus had put his faith in his father and now he felt as if his father had let him down. However, at the end Jesus cries out, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Even when Jesus felt forsaken he did not quit. This is the same spirit we must have. It is the spirit of overcoming faith.

Listen how the Psalmist begins this hymn. “My heart, O God is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul.” This guy isn’t going anywhere. He has grabbed on to God and he is not letting go. He has made up his mind, no matter how bad it seems or how far away God seems to be, he is not going anywhere. I wonder how many blessings we have missed because we thought we knew what God was doing or not doing.

There is a story about an earthquake in one of the Balkan countries. This earthquake hit an elementary school hard. In one part of the building the rubble fell just right to miss and encapsulate several children. One of the male students had a father who had promised, “If you are ever in trouble wait for me and I will come and find you.” As a day or so passed and the children were still trapped, unnoticed by the rescue workers. This little boy kept telling his schoolmates what his father had said. Little did he know his father was on the outside digging and trying to find him. When the father got close the children heard this boy’s father calling out for him. This young student said to his friends, “See, I told you my father promised to find me if I was ever in trouble…and he did, just like he said.” The children we safe and the father and son had a sweet reunion.

This little story reminds us of the promise of our father who said, “I will never leave or forsake you.” It is promises like this one that we can hold on to. These promises remind us that even though we feel forsaken, even after we have sinned, if we humbly wait on our heavenly father we will get the victor in the end. Remember, we live by faith and not by sight. Hold on to God and his promise. No matter how alone or forsaken you may feel, do not count God out.

 

About the Author: Craig Bodenschatz serves as teaching pastor at Journey Community Church. 



Peacemaking

Recently, when we turn on the news, we are reminded again and again of the chaos and unrest that is being displayed in cities and neighborhoods around the country. Fingers have been pointed and blame has been cast in every direction. Everyone recognizes that there is a problem, but very few arrive at a suitable solution.
 
This isn’t a problem for the cops or the black community to fix, because it’s not a people problem. This isn’t even a problem that the government can fix because it’s not a legislative problem. What we are dealing with is a heart problem, a hate problem, and ultimately, a sin problem. Every problem lands at the feet of sin. The bad news is that we are all plagued by sin.
 
The good news is that there is a cure: the cross. More specifically, Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the atoning sacrifice for all our sin. Jesus is the solution to our sin problem, however it is disguised in our lives. Now, here is the catch – the Church (body of Christ) is the solution’s (Jesus) source to influence the world Today. The Church is empowered by the Spirit of God to display and declare Jesus in every area of our lives. The Church cannot fix this problem from sitting in a pew.  Perhaps tension is at an all time high because the Church has gone under roof instead of into the world, into the streets, into ballparks, and the neighborhoods. We have created a system where people come to us rather than us go to them. But here’s the thing, if we are the children of God, we are called to be peacemakers. Peacemaking doesn’t happen in a pew or even in a building. Peace making happens by walking into the chaos and displaying peace. Peace making happens by staring unrest in the face and declaring Rest through the finished work of Jesus. Perhaps what we are experiencing in our society right now is a result of the Church being more focused on the gathering rather than the scattering.
 
Perhaps we need to start asking the tough questions like, how can we bring peace to the chaos around us? What is our role in speaking rest into unrest? How is God empowering us to display and declare reconciliation to others as Christ has done for us? Let’s ask these questions and then let’s cast vision, pray and answer them, together. After that lets put down our bible and go practice obeying it. Let’s love and serve the hurting. Let’s help free the oppressed. Ultimately, let’s go do for anyone and everyone what Christ has done for us.  
 
About the author: Rick Pirtle serves as Lead Pastor of Journey Community Church.