For church leaders and elder boards everywhere, the last few months have presented a near-constant array of complex challenges related to shepherding a church during the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest complex challenge is perhaps the trickiest yet: how to prudently resume in-person gatherings.
by Soma college intern Alex Templeton
“You know, we’ve been placing bets in the teachers’ lounge on whether or not you’ll graduate.”
One of my teachers told me this my senior year of high school.
“Most of us are betting against you, and I think they’re right.”
I knew their prediction would probably come true, but didn’t care. Yet somehow months later I proved them wrong and received my diploma, wondering how in the world I made it. I felt I must have had someone on the inside looking out for me. My suspicions were confirmed when I found out a teacher had given me a D when I should have had an F, just so I could graduate.
During my entire time in middle and high school, I had an IEP and received help through almost every class. This on top of knowing a teacher gave me a grade I didn’t earn made me feel that I didn’t accomplish anything and didn’t deserve the diploma. Yet no matter how much I didn’t enjoy, nor succeed in, school, I never second-guessed going to college. I knew I had to go, but I wanted to do it on my own. If I couldn’t finish on my own, I felt would never make it in the real world.
by Jake Wise
Last summer, my wife and I had the incredible privilege of visiting Yosemite National Park with our family. We found ourselves on different pages and in a difficult season as we packed in the car to drive the 29 hours from Missouri to California. Miscommunication and my own sin and heart-idols had brought us to a point of confusion and frustration. In His infinite wisdom, God knew what the beauty of His astounding creation could do for a soul.
by Soma member Daniel Wilhelm.
As I was driving early last Tuesday morning to meet with a friend for breakfast, I was proud of myself. I had woken up at 5:55 am, gotten dressed, and was ready to leave by 6:10 for our 6:15 meeting, only three minutes away from my house. I was feeling good—until less than a mile away from my house I looked to my left and saw the Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu martial arts studio with its lights on and several people inside practicing their defense techniques. I could see two men grappling on the ground, fully dressed in their Jiu-Jitsu uniforms.
At that moment I wasn’t feeling too cocky about my roll-out-of bed, 2-mile drive to eat food someone else would prepare for me.
I would like to tell you that this was the moment of revelation, but it wasn’t. The meeting with my friend was good and spiritually convicting. However, it was on my way back that God truly unpacked what he was showing me.
by Pastor Jon Nelson
A few years ago my mother lost her battle with cancer. While her death was not sudden, it was devastating. Over the following days I walked through a myriad of emotions that affected not just myself but my family also. Grief is a normal response to loss. It is an emotional process that affects people in many different ways. It is normal to feel like you are on an emotional rollercoaster, that your reactions are out of control. Although it is a normal process, it can be quite difficult to navigate, especially as a student. The grieving process can disrupt routines, impact deadlines, and make focusing on taking care of yourself and completing your assignments difficult. Sometimes it can be hard to disclose your struggles to others. You may not want to “burden” them or retell the same story over again. You may worry that you should “be over it by now” and that others won’t understand why it is still bothering you.
For the last few years, we have used the month of January the same way, we use this month as a catalyst to remind us about the importance of robust prayer, giving us a renewed resolve to carry us through the rest of the year. We have chosen to tackled three fairly large topics.
- We’ve looked at racial reconciliation. We tend to do that the weekend before Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.
- Then we’ve tackled the idea of life and what life is and when life begins and how the Christian ought to consider life.
- Lastly, we’ve looked at the unreached peoples or what the Bible would call the nations. All over the world, there are men and women who do not know about the mercy and grace afforded to them in Jesus Christ. Yet we see in the Scriptures that Christ did not die for those who might be saved but for those who will be saved. We pray. We send. We go. And we consider the unreached in the world.