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October 23, 2013


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CONTENTS

Of faith and fire

Speak: Give voice to the promise

Worth dying for

Christ Our Shepherd Church
Christ Our Shepherd Church
of the Brethren
in Greenwood, Ind.

Christ Our Shepherd Fall 2013Burning the mortgage document.

Christ Our Shepherd SanctuaryCelebrating God's faithfulness at Christ Our Shepherd Church of the Brethren.
Photos by LeAnn Wine

Of faith and fire
A reflection by LeAnn Wine

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us" (Romans 3:1-5).

On a rainy Sunday in September, a small fire burned outside Christ our Shepherd Church of the Brethren in South/Central Indiana District. The flame was an offering of thanksgiving with the body gathered around celebrating and thanking God for a calling that would not be set aside, despite many trials. After 24 years of payments, the congregation was burning its mortgage.

Christ Our Shepherd has hope that existed almost 30 years ago, in the vision of a church plant in the southern Indianapolis area. It’s a hope that grew from meetings in a garage, to a funeral home, and then to an empty lot where a building for worship and fellowship was constructed.

The congregation funded its new church building with a mortgage. While this was a necessary step for Christ Our Shepherd, the debt became a difficult burden over several years. The congregation struggled with low membership and made arrangements to have the loan extended and to make interest-only payments. The members had to reach out to the district, denomination, and other congregations for help. But they kept at it, dedicated to their practice of good stewardship of gifts, finances, and assets.

The congregation also experienced God’s continued care throughout difficult times. Damage from a storm and the resulting insurance reimbursement helped make needed roof repairs. An estate gift came at a time when bills were stacking up. Both struggles and signposts from God are part of their story.

Now, with debt fully paid, this steadfast congregation can discern new vision for ministry. Pastor Wayne Grumbling summed up his hope for the future: “I believe God is going to ask a lot of us, and it’s going to be worth it.” May it be so for all of us.

The Church of the Brethren celebrates with Christ Our Shepherd and all congregations dedicated to the good stewardship of gifts from God. Congratulations! It is an honor to partner with you in ministry.


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Advent Offering ad 2013
www.brethren.org/adventoffering


Speak: Give voice to the promise

What would Advent be like if we were
bursting at the seams with praise?

What if we were totally unable to keep
from shouting out the good news
of God’s promises fulfilled?

Let’s prepare the way of the coming Christ
by living into the kingdom of God right now,
sharing the peace of Christ,
speaking, giving voice to the promises of God.

The Advent Offering is a special opportunity to
support ministries of the Church of the Brethren.

Learn more at www.brethren.org/adventoffering .


Andy Murray 1- NJHC 2013
Andy Murray speaking atNational Junior High Conferencein June.
Photo by Glenn Riegel

Ted Studebaker in Vietnam- featuring Andy Murray
Andy Murray's "Brave Man from Ohio" is included in the "Ted Studebaker in Vietnam" CD sold byBrethren Press.

Ted Studebaker - ABC News video
Learn more about Ted Studebaker.

Worth dying for
A reflection by Josh Brockway

I have always loved hero stories. Growing up, I liked the cartoon superheroes on TV who worked for good and caught bad guys all in a 30-minute program. But there was one story that stuck with me on a deeper level—one that, in a way, haunts me still.

I first learned of several historic Brethren heroes as many Brethren kids did: through the lyrical story-telling of Andy Murray. His tapes often played on family road trips between Illinois and Ohio, and singing along I learned stories of Anna Mow, Dan West, and a courageous young man from Ohio. Being from Ohio, myself, I couldn’t help but look up to him, but it was Murray’s refrain about “making something” that gave Ted Studebaker hero status in my mind.

Give me a shovel instead of a gun,
and I'll say so long for now,
cause if I die, I'll die making something
instead of tearing something down.

Ted’s story crystallized my objection to war as a young man. But now that I am older, it is less about his decision to be against war that makes him stand out to me, and more that he stood FOR something else. Studebaker’s witness for peace was a stance for which he was ready to die.

Jesus' taught that nothing was greater than love, and that greatest love was known in the laying down of one's life for a friend. Are there people, values, commitments, ideas, or perspectives that we hold so dear that we are willing to die for them? Are there things for which we would set aside even our livelihood?

If so, how can we hold those convictions with humility? I wonder if the answer is found in our willingness to let go of power, privilege, and even life itself.

Building rather than destroying, prayer over force, conviction held in humility—all of these speak of a heroic way of living that is still meaningful to me years after singing about it as child. These beliefs are energizing—so powerful that the only way to keep them is to let go of illusions of power, force, and certainty. This, I think, is what Jesus was talking about when he said that love had nothing greater than to give up life. This is the marker of a true hero.

—Josh Brockway is director of Spiritual Life and Discipleship for the Church of the Brethren.
To support this and the many other life-changing ministries of the church, visit
www.brethren.org/give .

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Collin and Kim S. with their sons Micah and Zachary
Collin and Kim S. with their children Micah and Zachary serving as church planters in Northern France.



“We pray that God will bring us into contact with those individuals whose hearts are ready to receive Him. You can pray for us, for effectiveness in our work. You can pray for safety for us and our family as we live in a very lively neighborhood. You can pray for God's Spirit to move in northern France and for many individuals to come to know Him.”

—Collin and Kim S. in Minute for Mission
on October 7.


Stewardship staff says

Do you have a story about how you and your congregation practice stewardship?E-mail it tomgarcia@brethren.org!

eBrethren: Stories of Brethren Stewards,is produced every other week by the Church of the Brethren's donor communications team. Send feedback to
mgarcia@brethren.org
or call 847-742-5100 ext. 361.

Thanks for reading!
Watch for our next issue onNovember 6, 2013.


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