Month: March 2021

Celebrating the Women of Scripture: Phoebe

For our last blog celebrating the influential but lesser-known women of scripture, we are going to take a look at Phoebe. Like Junia, Paul also acknowledges Phoebe in Romans 16. He writes:

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me.

As an influential church leader, Phoebe was “the benefactor” of many people, the Apostle Paul included. Why does Paul commend Phoebe to the Romans? It is likely that Phoebe was the one who carried the letter to the Romans and explained its contents to them. Paul reminds the Romans that she is a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. When Paul points out her position of leadership to the Romans, he is asking them to accept her authority, and listen to what she has to say. As the letter carrier, Phoebe would’ve stood before the group, read the contents (many of the hearers would have likely been unable to read), and explain what the text meant …

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Katalasso Serves the Vulnerable

For the estimated 44,000 people in York County without health insurance, a trip to the doctor can be yet another bill they cannot afford. But at Katalasso Family Health Center, each patient is seen as someone valued, unique, and made in the image of God. “If you’re human and you have need, we’re going to serve you,” says Director of Development Steve Kurtz.

In its 8-year history, Katalasso has seen over 3,000 unique patients; 60% of those come from outside York City, 40% from within. Their uninsured and underinsured patients are seen by a group of 25-30 volunteer doctors and nurses. It is these volunteers who inspire Kurtz. “They come in totally donating their time.” Healthcare providers spend a lot of time with patients to build a relationship of trust. Where a traditional doctor’s office limits the span of an office visit, it is common for doctors at Katalasso to spend 30 minutes one-on-one with a patient, listening to their needs.

Many patients are managing routine heathcare issues like diabetes and high blood pressure. These underlying conditions made the population Katalasso serves much more likely to suffer complications from COVID-19.

They have recently started offering counseling services as well. Julie …

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Celebrating the Women of Scripture: Huldah

We are continuing our celebration of Women’s History Month by looking at influential women in scripture. You can read more about Junia here and Priscilla here.

In the Old Testament, there was a king named Josiah. He was a good king, who wanted to do what was right in God’s eyes. While working in the temple, Josiah’s men discovered the book of the Law—the Scriptures—and read a stern warning to those who don’t follow God. Josiah was rightfully concerned about what he read and wanted more information about God’s will.  In 2 Kings 22, Josiah sends his men to inquire of the Lord:

 Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.”

Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Akbor, Shaphan and Asaiah went to speak to the prophet Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the

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Celebrating the Women of Scripture: Priscilla

We are continuing our celebration of Women’s History Month by looking at influential women in scripture.

In our last post, we took a look at Junia, a prominent woman in the early church. In that same chapter (Romans 16), Paul mentions another female church leader, Priscilla. We are first introduced to Priscilla and her husband Aquila in Acts 18. They had to flee Rome when Claudius ordered Jews to leave. It’s not clear if the two were followers of Jesus before they met Paul. But later in Acts, we see that they traveled to Syria with Paul. Paul stayed with them in their home and helped them learn more about following Jesus.

Priscilla was key to helping Apollos, a scholar, learn more about Christ. In Acts 18 we read:

Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him

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Celebrating the Women of Scripture: Junia

Happy Women’s History month! Scripture is full of examples of amazing, influential women leaders who loved and followed God. I wanted to highlight a few women in scripture that don’t get quite the same attention as Mary, Esther, or Ruth. First up, we’ll take a look at Junia.

We meet Junia in Romans 16:7, in a section of the book where Paul, the writer of the letter, is sending greetings. He writes:

“Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.”

What high praise! Paul himself commends Junia for being esteemed among the apostles. The text doesn’t tell us the relationship between Andronicus and Junia; they may have been a husband/wife team, or just two people who had served together. Clearly, they had suffered for representing Christ, since Paul notes that they had been imprisoned with him. When Paul writes, “They were in Christ before I was,” he’s probably making note of Andronicus and Junia’s Christian maturity. Even Paul, who we now know as a great Christian apostle, seemed to look up to Junia.

Chrysostom, an early church father, wrote of …

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Moving Ministry Serves Those In Need

While Living Word assists ministries that provide tangible needs like food and housing, we also serve in ways that are a bit more surprising. Our Moving Ministry is one of those surprising ways to serve. The Moving Ministry serves those who are in financial crisis due to illness, loss of job, divorce, etc., or who are physically unable to move themselves.

Our receptionist, Nancy Fowlkes, shared this story about the Living Word Moving Ministry:

“I need to take just a moment to share with you another reason why I love this church. A couple of weeks ago, I received a call from a social worker at York Hospital. She heard that we have a moving ministry that might be able to help one of her patients. He was currently staying in a shelter anneeded to be out. She had secured an apartment for him through the York Housing authorityThis gentleman had no family support, and no one to help move his few meager belongings. I told the social worker more about our moving ministry. She was surprised and happy to learn that we offered this, and she

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Worship at Living Word – Part 2 (Guest Blog by Chris Smith)

Missed Part one? Click here for yesterday’s post.

Recently, Pastor Brian Rice shared a message on worship as part of our series “I Saw Heaven Opened.” In his message, Pastor Brian talked about the priority of worship for the church and how the book of Revelation reveals the heavenly pattern of worship. Basically, when every created being sees God for who he really is – and what he’s doing – the only appropriate response IS worship – passionate, reverent, grateful, communal worship. 

Over the years at Living Word we’ve been blessed with a strong culture of communal or corporate worship. Corporate worship is what the church does every week when it gathers together to sing, pray, receive God’s Word, and fellowship with one another (Heb. 12:24-25). As individuals we can and should worship God during the week through personal acts of praise and the way in which we live (Rom. 12:1-2)However, God’s design is that his people regularly come together to worship, and from the beginning, when Christians gather, they sing. I remember my first time leading at Living Word over 13 years ago. What struck me

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Worship at Living Word – Part I (Guest Blog by Chris Smith)

Today, Worship Pastor Chris Smith shares the values that guide worship at Living Word.

Over the years, Living Word has been blessed to have worship leaders who combine their musical and spiritual gifts to effectively lead the gathered church in worship through song. These leaders have also modeled wholehearted engagement as they seek to raise the temperature of worship and invite others to come and encounter God with them.

Recently, one of our long-time worship leaders, Ryan Lewis, felt God calling him to step away from worship, leading him to pursue a career in the marketplace. I’m so grateful for Ryan’s ministry with us and how he helped lead our worship ministry these past several years. Pastor Brian Rice shared with me that in the 40-year history of Living Word there have been at least a dozen people who held a worship leader role (usually on staff, but occasionally as a ministry partner). We have definitely evolved and adapted over the years as styles change and God brings new leaders for new seasons. We know that in the years ahead God will continue to raise up new worship

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Fearing Failure

For many of us, this week marks the one-year anniversary of when our lives radically changed due to COVID-19. It’s been a strange year. It has been a year where we haven’t quite known how to measure our effectiveness. All of the ways that we used to measure success have changed. It might be a year where we have felt like failures.

Last year, in January, I decided to create an annual report. And so, I collected a bunch of statistics from our staff. Together, we created a snapshot of 2019 at Living Word. We included a bunch of important statistics, like baptisms and memberships and people who were involved in our ministries, and we had some fun stats like the number of donut holes and cups of coffee we’d served.

It probably doesn’t surprise anyone that we did not produce a report for the year 2020! Maybe we should. We could measure things like Zoom calls we’d all made or the number of times we’d reached out to members of our community who are home-bound or feeling isolated.

Since COVID-19, many of us have taken on new roles at work and home. I’ve taken on a new role here …

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YoungLives Expands Ministry During COVID

Amanda Smith of York City YoungLives was used to gathering the teen moms she serves in large groups for weekly gatherings and parties. Then, in March 2020, COVID changed much of what she does. “Ministry is still going strong,” Amanda says, “of course it looks a lot different than it used to.” Since they can no longer meet in large groups, they gather in smaller numbers which gives, “an opportunity to get to know the girls more intimately,” Amanda adds.

YoungLives provides teen moms with support, encouragement and resources as they parent. COVID nearly doubled the number of moms that Amanda serves. “Because of the pandemic, they had nowhere else to go, so they showed up for things. It gave leaders a chance to connect outside of school.” Smith has been providing tangible items for the girls and transportation as well. During quarantine, Uber and buses were closed, so YoungLives staff and volunteers have been driving the girls and getting to know them better in the process.

Listen to Nadia, one of Amanda’s YoungLives attendees, talk about how her life changed after getting involved with YoungLives.

YoungLives received $10,000 from the Christmas Eve …

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