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If we’re honest, there are parts of us we simply don’t like. We have patterns of thought, ways of relating, or habitual behaviors that plague us. Those closest to us experience the negative consequences of all this, and our relationships suffer. To compensate, we spend a lot of energy hiding our bad stuff and pretending to be further along than we really are.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s a better way - a way that leads to real change - and it is simpler than you might imagine.
Over the month of January, we’ll explore the nature of true growth and change. We’ll learn to face up to the honest truth about who we are and what drives us, even while we learn to draw more deeply on all that has been given to us in Jesus. And we’ll learn a few everyday practices that can lead to a lifetime of personal transformation.
Love. Peace. Hope. Joy. The quality of our lives depend on having these gifts in deep and abiding ways. To not have love, peace, hope, or joy leads to a failure to thrive in life and relationship. It is no exaggeration to say that much of our time, energy, and money are spent in pursuit of these things, even when we’re not consciously aware of it. Every day we’re making decisions based on what we think will bring the most love, peace, hope, and joy into our lives. Simply put, our souls need these things in the same way our bodies need food, water, and air.
And part of what we love about the Christmas season is the way in which these qualities seem to be more accessible or present than other times of the year. The good cheer, the lights, the food and festivities, and the rituals all seem to promise love, peace, hope, and joy. But does this season deliver?
Throughout history, the weeks leading up to Christmas Day have been known as Advent, the time in which we remember the coming of Jesus into the world. This Advent, we’re exploring these themes, looking at how Jesus can bring the gifts of love, peace, hope, and joy in to our lives in a deep and abiding way.
Becoming a strong church starts with becoming strong disciples, and this happens not in meetings and events but in the regular rhythms of life in community - sharing meals, watching kids, celebrating birthdays - doing all the normal things of life as people gripped by the grace of God in Jesus.
To that end, there is no Gathered Worship on November 18th.Instead, we’ll be Scattering to serve our city, participating together in being good news to the place we all call home. Here are some ways to serve:
Christmas Stocking Project // Soma Youth is taking the lead on this project and will coordinate what’s needed to make that happen - but we need your help. Durning the month of November, stop by our Stocking Project table in the foyer on Sunday and pick up a tag from our Christmas tree. We have the opportunity to put together 70 Christmas Stockings for families in their program. Each tag will give you an assignment as to what you can buy to contribute to the stockings. Drop off the items you signed up for by the end of the month OR contact Mateja for pick up.
(UPDATE: 40 OUT OF 70 TAGS HAVE BEEN CLAIMED!)
Thanksgiving Meal // Prepare and serve Thanksgiving lunch on November 18th for approximately 50 guests at the Open Doors Shelter. This would be a great opportunity for 1-2 missional communities to partner in.
(UPDATE: THIS OPPORTUNITY IS FILLED!)
Moving & Cleaning Party // Family Promise has purchased a new building as they expand their 24/7 Open Doors Shelter for families. On November 18th we will help move and clean as they prepare to take occupancy. Approximately 30 youth or adults needed for this opportunity.
Meet at the current facility at 10:00am on Nov 18th - 631 S Richard Allen Court, 99202.
CENTRAL BUILDING CLEANUP
Show up by yourself, with your family or community, and rake leaves around the Central SDA building & adjacent neighbors houses. This is a family friendly service opportunity, a great way to include kiddos in all the action. 20-50 people needed for this opportunity.
Meet at the Central SDA building at 10:00am on Nov 18th - 828 W Spofford Ave, 99205. Bring your favorite pair of gloves, rakes & leaf blowers to help make the work go quick!
We encourage everyone to prayerfully decide how they will gather & serve in our city on November 18th instead of gathering at the church building for worship. Whatever you wind up doing, be intentional and bring someone along with you!
What makes a local church strong? What does it take to be a stable and growing local church that drills deep into our community and reaches wide into world? What areas of theology and practice need clarification and strengthening, so we can pursue gospel saturation through making disciples that can make disciples? Over the course of the coming year, we’re wrestling with these questions, asking God to make Soma into a steady conduit of his word and work in our region and beyond.
Much of our time on Sundays this year will be in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians - not the first place you’d look to find a biblical example of a Strong Church! The Corinthian church is a mess on so many levels - division and favoritism, funky theology, broken ways of relating, sexual confusion, envy and pride over spiritual gifts, and doubt over the reality of the resurrection! It is the opposite of a Strong Church in so many ways, but it will allow us to explore the myriad of ways we can drift from what really matters, in order that we might be corrected and strengthened, helping us deepen our discipleship to Jesus and widen our disci- ple-making in our region and beyond. I’m trusting it will prove to be a humbling, encouraging, and emboldening season of learning for us all.
Over September, we’re remembering the foundations of who we are and what we’re doing, encouraging everyone in the Soma family to revisit our 3 Priorities and our 4 Practices. Our hope is to grow strong this year - deepening our discipleship to Jesus and broadening our reach into the world together, so that our region is saturated with the good news of the gospel. Use this series to set a trajectory for you, your family, and your community this year. Review our Priorities and Practices, and come ready to say “I’m In!” at our 14th Anniversary Party on September 23rd.
Soma Spokane is built on these 3 Biblical Priorities:
The Christian life is fueled by an ever-deepening understanding and sensing of the Gospel message - the good news of God’s gracious personal rescue and eventual restoration of all things through the life, death, resurrection, and return of Jesus.
We are rescued as individuals and placed into Community, called to be God’s church in the everyday - a renewed people with a new identity everywhere we go.
Every Christian is called to the Mission of making disciples of Jesus in ordinary life - we want our region saturated with the good news of the gospel in word and deed.
In light of these 3 Priorities, we give ourselves to 4 Biblical Practices:
Go: Through faith in Jesus, we’ve been given a new identity as a Family of Servants and Missionaries. As an adopted Family, we cultivate gospel community. As ransomed Servants, we engage our city’s needs. As Spirit-filled Missionaries, we reach out with the good news of the gospel. Together we commit to live as a Family of Servants and Missionaries in the regular rhythms of everyday life.
Gather: Our Sunday gathering is a key moment of connection with God and with one another as well as a time to practice living our identity as a Family of Servants and Missionaries. Together we commit to gather regularly to worship and serve.
Grow: A disciple of Jesus is one who is coming to know the gospel, believe the gospel, and live in light of the gospel. Together we commit to take responsibility for our own development and the development of others as disciples of Jesus.
Give: Gospel Partnership with the Soma family includes joyful stewardship of time, talent, and treasure for the sake of our shared mission. Together we commit to give generously toward the needs of the Soma Family and our disciple-making Mission.
Do you have questions about how this works with your season or stage of life? Let’s talk. These practices aim to lead us to freedom, joy, and fruitfulness as we follow Jesus together this year.