Dear Enews Friends,
Yesterday, you heard how much I am looking forward to this weekend's services. Now, hear what Steve and Heather have to say:
A few weeks after I joined staff six years ago, Bill challenged us to read Matthew 25 aloud during a service. The entire congregation declared, “I was in prison and you came to visit me.” I’ll never forget the moment right after reading it when Bill said, “What keeps me up at night is not what the Bible says not to do; but what the Bible says to do!” That experience became one of the catalysts for us to set aside a weekend service each year to bless and love the incarcerated. This weekend is going to be a deeply moving service! Our worship and creative teams have been hard at work to help lift up this value before Bryan Stevenson—the New York Times best-selling author of Just Mercy—comes to share a powerful message that will stir our hearts for justice. Then we’ll roll up our sleeves together and pack Christmas gifts!
Here’s Heather to tell you a little bit more about this:
This weekend, we get to be part of a holiday blessing! We will pack Christmas gifts for every man and woman incarcerated in Illinois, and this year we will be sending gifts to Louisiana State Penitentiary (also known as Angola prison) as well. If you have never been part of it, you have to come and experience the beautiful sight of thousands of people working together simultaneously to assemble these gifts. It's an easy process, so everyone can participate. The energy in the room is always a highlight for me. It is joyful chaos to see so many people working hard at one time to bless those who are often forgotten at Christmas. They won’t be forgotten this year, but we need your help. Invite some friends to help us assemble 70,00 gifts!
After we pack these gifts, we will have a chance to stand and pray that every single prisoner who receives one will feel seen, known, and loved by God. Please do whatever you can to be there this weekend. Let’s live out Matthew 25 together!
Bill, Heather, and Steve
P.S. One of the best parts of this weekend is that it catalyzes our prison ministry that happens all year round. You'll hear more about it this weekend and discover ways you can get involved on an ongoing basis.
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