Fishing. Its an image that I have often reflected on these last few months. Not because I have done much of it in my life, but because what I am doing now feels so much like it. It is what Jesus called his disciples to and how he described their mission. “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19)
All of us interact with people across cultures on a regular, sometimes daily, basis. It might be someone from a different race or ethnicity, someone from a different socio-economic background, or someone from a different region of the country. Our ability to function well, or effectively, between different cultures is commonly called "cultural intelligence."
“Do you know anyone with a background in Christian Science?”
This is what I asked CTK Bob Sawyer and Omar Ortiz after they gave a presentation at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis, MO. I attended their event because I have a heart for Boston. Boston houses the worldwide headquarters of Christian Science. I’m the founder and director of a ministry that is sharing the Gospel with people with a background in Christian Science, The Fellowship of Former Christian Scientists (FFCS). Providentially they had just become aware of a CTK member with a CS connection. They were interested in learning more!
What does Cambridge, MA have to do with Kerrville, TX? As someone with Texas roots who lived most of his adult life in Massachusetts, for a long time I would have said “not much.” But now having served in both places and having had that question put to me on more than one occasion, I would say “more than you might think.”
Looking back now on the day I first joined the work of Christ the King Boston, it seems random. The father of a friend of mine in Birmingham, where I was for seminary, had planted a church in New England. I didn’t know this man well, but he connected me to Rick Downs and Bob Sawyer and Logan Keck, who had just begun work church planting in JP/Roxbury. So, having never been to Boston, I arrived on the first of June 2012, in my compact car full of the possessions I needed for a summer, to do an internship with a CTK JP/Roxbury congregation that did not yet exist.
CTK women recently attended “Word-filled Women” training, hosted by the Gospel Coalition at the Chinese Evangelical Church of Boston. The aim of the conference was to encourage and support the growth of Word-based ministry among women in and through the local church, under the leadership of pastors and elders.
Christ the King is a “church for the city” seeking to serve God in worship, serve one another in love, and serve our city by bearing witness to the good news about Jesus Christ in both word and deed.
CTK Stories is exploring how these three elements are worked out on a daily basis. The first in the series was Serving Our City — A Look at the Fields Corner Business Lab. The second in the series looks at "serving God in worship" and how our worship leaders seek to create an atmosphere of worship on a weekly basis in each congregation. Lon Gipe leads worship at Grace South Shore and shares his testimony of faith, as well as his work in planning music at Grace.
It’s one of the few Albanian religious symbols that survived communism. Grandmothers dyed eggs blood red in a simple yet powerful sign of faith and rebellion against the atheism that snuffed out churches, killed priests and imams, and deprived Albanians of faith for 40 years. They did it in hiding, secretly celebrating Easter as they gave them to their grandchildren and families, risking death or interment for their families if caught.
It’s been said that Christianity turns the world upside down. It certainly turns human expectations, really human instincts, about religion or spirituality upside down. C S Lewis said somewhere that being high minded about the Christian faith would domesticate or civilize it beyond recognition. Happily Easter and the three days before are resistant to domestication, unlike Christmas.
On a weekday morning in Fields Corner, Dorchester is bustling with morning commuters walking to the T stop or sitting in traffic on Dorchester Ave. Just next to the popular homeste.stead bakery and café—a cozy spot full of beautiful pastries and plentiful coffee—you’ll find the entrance to Fields Corner Business Lab. Although the sign is unassuming, the energy and entrepreneurship that goes on inside is quite remarkable.
“PER NJE JETE ME TE MIRE” This phrase in Albanian means “for a better life”. It is the reason and hope that drives an individual or family to leave behind family, friends, culture, and language in order to start anew in a city like Boston. As they cross cultures, learn english, work furiously to pay bills and push their children in school this underlying motive moves them forward. They are working, sacrificing, persevering to obtain a better life, a life with opportunity, stability and prosperity.
December 18, 1999, four or five months late, the Downs family of eight with three pets (having left three behind) departed Winston-Salem, NC for Cambridge, MA in two vehicles. The truck with our stuff, courtesy of Jungle Aviation Relocation Services, was already on its way. Our plan was to take two days, stopping to stay with friends in the DC area for one night.
Singer/Songwriter and CTK Alumna Caroline Cobb has recently released a new album, A Home and a Hunger. We asked her a little bit about the album, as well as her memories of her time in Cambridge at CTK.
A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” Samuel got up, went to Eli and said, “Here I am, you called me.” Then Eli realized the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you say, “Speak Lord for your servant is listening.” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The Lord came and stood there, calling as at other times, “Samuel, Samuel!” 1 Samuel 3
Happy Summer! As July gets underway, I am reminded of the blessing of seasons. I am particularly thankful for the change of pace summer brings. Longer daylight, and shorter weeks, upended schedules and flexible bed times.
The past months have been a learning experience for our family. During one of my recent devotions from the Men's Devotional Bible, I read about waiting and patience. Those two words spoke to me and I have been thinking a lot about them.
Waiting is one of the hardest things we ever have to do. We wait in traffic. We wait in the doctor's office (in the waiting room!). We wait to hear news--good or bad.
The last few months, I have been reading and studying Joshua. The battle narratives of the Old Testament often contain rich imagery and lessons paralleling God's working in the church today. It has been a source of great encouragement, challenge and correction for me and has specifically given me great insight in the midst of my transition out of one ministry and the beginning of a new one.
Jonathan and Cara Pardo have been a big part of CTK Music through the years. In addition to making music in several bands and groups around the city, they can often be found playing with the music team at CTK Cambridge. Here is a glimpse into how they got here, their music process and their love for hymns and worship.
Jonathan: Both Cara and I have had similar upbringings regarding music. We’re both singers, went to jazz school, and no longer sing jazz. To be fair, I only went to jazz school for about a year and a half, whereas Cara gave it up after getting an entire degree in it.
Cara: Heeeeeey. At least I have a degree to show all the people in the jazz club that I’m not singing to.
It was Christmas vacation, two and a half years ago. My family and I were leaving the movie theatre at Legacy Place, in Dedham, MA, where we had just watched the movie, ‘The Penguins of Madagascar’. At this particular location, there are escalators that take you from the parking lot on the lower level to the theatre on the second level. After our movie ended, we made our way back toward the escalators. I was at the bottom of this escalator when I realized our older daughter, Mya, was standing at the top. “Oh, hey up there,” I said, with a smile, “C’mon down, Mya.” "No. I’m scared of escalators,” she replied.
What am I doing with my life? What should I do with my life? I had recently moved to Cambridge after accepting a job offer at a consulting firm, and two months in I was questioning the purpose of it all. It was frustrating – neither the miraculous circumstances that had brought me here nor what was supposed to be the ‘honeymoon’ phase of starting an exciting position could push these thoughts away. I
If you watched a silent video of my life, it may have looked familiar. Kid stuff, work stuff, house stuff, church stuff, too light on the marriage stuff. Days, weeks, and weekends were full. I would fall asleep (very) early every night. Two young kids, busy job, no local family—makes sense, right? I was tired. Yep. And, I was hiding.
I remember the moment well. I had just informed my Session that I would be resigning as their Sr. Pastor to become a Boston church-planter for CTK. I had no financial support and no real idea about how to get support, and I was walking away from my job!
A few families from CTK Newton recently used their February vacation week to travel to the Dominican Republic and work with missionaries there. They helped to build a house for a widow that was taking care of her grandchildren with special needs. They also worked with orphans and taught English. It was the first trip that adults took their children to serve with them, and was a great experience for all. Here are some of their impressions from the trip.
My name is Malcolm, and I am a junior at Boston College High School. Christ the King Dorchester has completely transformed my faith in just the short year I have attended. When I was a freshman, my faith had stalled, and my relationship with God did not seem important in my life.