All Parish Bulletin

Scarcity or Abundance?

Our Plan For This Month

We are missing all of you and can’t wait until we can gather together again! In light of the changes starting this month we have made a plan for the rest of May. Click here to see our video response and plans moving forward.


Devotional

In these strange times, we can be swept up into a frantic mindset of taking care of ourselves and hoarding things “just in case”. Over and again, Jesus tells His disciples not to worry and to operate out of a mindset of abundance which is a gift from our Heavenly Father. This gift allows us to give freely to those in need. Scarcity is driven by worry, striving and seeking earthly things. Abundance is fueled by trust in God, abiding and seeking His kingdom first. I love how Matthew records Jesus’ teaching in chapter 6, 

25  “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  26Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?  27And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?   You of little faith!  31Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’  32For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34  “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” 

It is in times of chaos and devastation that we need the church to operate out of a heart of abundance. Scarcity says it is every man for himself, whereas abundance draws us closer together and calls us to share all things in common. This is a constant inner struggle for me because fear causes me to only look out for me and my family. Will you join me in starting each day by seeking first the kingdom of God and asking Him to provide for what we need so that we can turn and be a blessing to others? This 5 minute video by the Bible Project has been incredibly helpful in summing up why we, as children of the most generous God, are empowered to be a lavishly giving people. Click here to view the video.

~Mike Defrees


Family Ministries Zoom Meet Ups

We are enjoying our weekly Zoom meet ups with your kiddos! These fun, engaging video calls give us all a time to see friends and hear bible stories and play games! Click here to get meet up times and weekly curriculum.

Bible Studies

Join an evening bible study via ZOOM. We are currently offering studies on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights at 8pm led by church pastors. For more details and to connect you can click here. We hope you’ll join us!

Sunday Nights @ 8pm Deeper Dive in Proverbs led by Chris Nikkel

Tuesday Nights @ 8pmStudy Through Daniel led by Scott Austin

Thursday Nights @ 8pmSpiritual Practices led by Mike DeFrees

Download Zoom

You can learn how to use Zoom here.

All our Zoom meetings will be held in this Zoom room location.

Covid-19 Needs and Assistance

The Park is still gathering the needs of our community. We have created a way for you to request assistance. If you have a need you can click here.

If you are able to offer assistance to others you can click here.

Stay in Contact

If we can pray for you, please contact your parish pastor directly or send us an email at prayer@theparksa.org.

If you are experiencing any hardships during this time, we want to be there to support you. If you have questions or needs we can help with, email us at info@theparksa.org

Grounded In Him

Devotional

“…continue in the faith, well-grounded and steadfast, and not shifting away from the confident hope that is a result of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed…”

Colossians 1:23

At the beginning of each year, I ask God if He has a word for me. In His kindness, He usually does. At the end of the year, I am always able to reflect back and see more clearly what that word meant for my year with Him. Each year, I get excited about that word, even knowing that usually it’s an invitation into something that will likely challenge me – – sanctify me, lead me into deeper dependence upon Jesus. In January of 2020, I clearly got the word “grounded.” Incidentally, the evening that the Lord showed me this word, my husband had been at Midtown Men’s Prayer, where they had been asked to share their own word for the year. In His sovereignty and playfulness, I bet you can guess the word my husband shared. Yep. Grounded. When he got home and told me about it, I immediately showed him where I had written the same word in my journal during the same hours he had been gone. Wow. It was a moment of clarity and unity. While we obviously didn’t know exactly how that word would play out for us in the coming year, we both had a sense of God making us more “grounded” this year. Admittedly, a lot of our presumptions were based on circumstances. We had recently purchased a fixer-upper in Midtown, the neighborhood we felt so tied to through out church and community. We’d had our third baby in 2019 and felt like this year would be about establishing our new family of five. I’d recently felt called by God to give more attention to my role as “mom.” It all felt like He had been priming us to have a year that would leave us in a place of being more grounded.  But do you know the definition of “grounded?” Mentally and emotionally stable: admirably sensible, realistic, and unpretentious. Wow. In this current moment, nothing feels more important. The world is in chaos, panic, conflict. What does the world need now? What do we, God’s children, need? To be grounded. And what He’s showing me right now is that the ONLY thing we can find our grounding upon is HIM. That’s it. He is faithful. He is good. He is sovereign. He holds it all. Our home renovation project has been put on hold, my husband’s job is slowing, and our 3 small children are in our presence at home 24/7. Our grounding literally cannot be found in anything circumstantial. It can be found in God alone. And I am finding, that it is so good. He’s inviting me to see that He’s the only place we ever could have found true grounding in the first place. So this week, I invite you to find your footing – your sense of grounding – upon Him…in His presence, in His love, in His Word. He has you. I promise … or rather, He promises, which is really the only thing we can stand on right now.

Consider using Ransomed Heart’s “One Minute Pause” app to guide you in grounding yourself daily in the presence of God. Click here to download the app.

~Lindsey Wright


Family Ministries Zoom Meet Ups

We are enjoying our weekly Zoom meet ups with your kiddos! These fun, engaging video calls give us all a time to see friends and hear bible stories and play games! Click here to get meet up times and weekly curriculum.

Bible Studies

Join an evening bible study via ZOOM. We are currently offering studies on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights at 8pm led by church pastors. For more details and to connect you can click here. We hope you’ll join us!

Sunday Nights @ 8pm Deeper Dive in Proverbs led by Chris Nikkel

Tuesday Nights @ 8pmStudy Through Daniel led by Scott Austin

Thursday Nights @ 8pmSpiritual Practices led by Mike DeFrees

Download Zoom

You can learn how to use Zoom here.

All our Zoom meetings will be held in this Zoom room location.

Covid-19 Needs and Assistance

The Park is still gathering the needs of our community. We have created a way for you to request assistance. If you have a need you can click here.

If you are able to offer assistance to others you can click here.

We have continued to been blown away by the generosity of The Park Community Church to help. Any gifts above your normal giving that you can commit to COVID-19 relief is very appreciated.

Stay in Contact

If we can pray for you, please contact your parish pastor directly or send us an email at prayer@theparksa.org.

If you are experiencing any hardships during this time, we want to be there to support you. If you have questions or needs we can help with, email us at info@theparksa.org

Something New

Devotional

Want to chat about something other than COVID-19?


Me too.


Let’s talk about the end of this.


Right here, in the middle, “the end” seems distant; almost invisible (if it truly does exist…just kidding). Isolation is foreign to most of us. It’s uncharted territory we aren’t prepared (or even desire) to explore. “Normal” is essentially nonexistent. The middle is uncertain and (if we’re all being honest) scary. However, it’s here we’re experiencing the revival we’ve been fervently awaiting. We’re being drawn back to the garden (albeit, not ideally). It’s right where we need to be.


“Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in wilderness, rivers in the desert.”

Isaiah 43:19 (CSB)


Do you not see it? Christ is preparing the way NOW. He is stirring the hearts of His people in every nation. We are being united like never before.
For a moment, just imagine when we are reunited with our people (families, friends, church homes, etc.). Are you fearful that reconnection will be a slow process; that embracing one another will be uncomfortable; that what once was will never be again? It’s true that the life we formerly knew is drastically altered…but what is in store for the bride of our Savior is something much greater than we can currently visualize. 


Take time to process through these feelings you’re experiencing. Schedule some virtual face-time with a friend/family member, or make a point to spend intentional time with your significant other. Talk about realistic outcomes and take some deep breaths. 


I know we’re still in the middle of this, but the end is coming, and it’s already been written. We will see a victory, for the battle has already been won. 


If you need some encouragement for where you are right now, check out this song!


He’s here, making a way in the wilderness. Follow Him back to the garden. You need only be still.

~Kinsey Smith


Family Ministries Zoom Meet Ups

We are excited to launch weekly Zoom meet ups for your kids Sunday School classes! This will be a fun, engaging time to see friends, connect with class leaders and other parents! Each week we will let you know what you need to bring to our meet up. Click here to get meet up times and weekly curriculum.

Bible Studies

Join an evening bible study via ZOOM. We are currently offering studies on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights at 8pm led by church pastors. For more details and to connect you can click here. We hope you’ll join us!

Sunday Nights @ 8pm Deeper Dive in Philippains led by Chris Nikkel

Tuesday Nights @ 8pmPracticing the Way of Jesus led by Scott Austin

Thursday Nights @ 8pmLenten Journey led by Mike DeFrees

Download Zoom

You can learn how to use Zoom here.

All our Zoom meetings will be held in this Zoom room location.


Covid-19 Needs and Assistance

As a response to the needs being brought up due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Park would like to gather the needs of our community and help meet them as best we can. We have created a way for you to request assistance. If you have a need you can click here.

There are many ways we as a church family can help each other out. If you are able to offer assistance for others, we will keep a list of services and gifts and match you with needs that come to our attention. To offer assistance you can click here.

We have already been blown away by the generosity of The Park Community Church to step up and help. Any gifts above your normal giving that you can commit to COVID-19 relief is very appreciated.

Stay in Contact

If we can pray for you, please contact your parish pastor directly or send us an email at prayer@theparksa.org.

If you are experiencing any hardships during this time, we want to be there to support you. If you have questions or needs we can help with, email us at info@theparksa.org

Covid-19 Needs & Assistance

As a response to the needs being brought up due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Park would like to gather the needs of our community and help meet them as best we can. We have created a way for you to request assistance. If you have a need you can click here. Please be as detailed as possible so we can determine the best way to assist you. As we are trying to assist as many people as possible with the resources we have this may require us connecting you with an outside resource. 

There are many ways we as a church family can help each other out. If you are able to offer assistance for others, we will keep a list of services and gifts and match you with needs that come to our attention. To offer assistance you can click here.

We have already been blown away by the generosity of The Park Community Church to step up and help. Any gifts above your normal giving that you can commit to COVID-19 relief is very appreciated.

Devotional

As we are all hunkering down in our homes, in the absence of all of the social busyness we find that we now have time – an abundance of time. We have nothing but time. This time can be incredibly overwhelming. We can fill the time with our thoughts, our fears, our anxieties. We can pass the time by checking the news, taking in everyone else’s voices of what doctors, politicians, and city’s of people should be doing. We can waste the time, watching movies. Or we can make the most of a resource of which we are usually in need.

While we wait for life to resume its normalcy, I think we all know that it will not return to normal. How can it? Just about everywhere in the world is physically distancing themselves from each other. We are being told to find shelter at home, to avoid being outside and amongst other people. People are losing jobs. Kids are being schooled from home. We know that the effects of this can and will be large. But they can also be for the better.

In the abundance of time which we now have, I want to ask: How am I grieving the effects of this quarantine? What is breaking my heart and why?

Write them down. Tell God how you feel. Be honest.

Then ask God what he would have you do in response. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. In fact, it probably won’t be. It can be a small thing, like making meals for people who are unemployed or committing to pray for each house on your block. But whatever it is, do it to the best of your ability. We want to be a people who made the most of the time God gave us.

You are incredibly loved. We are with you in Spirit and cannot wait until the day we are together in person once more.


Family Ministry Easter Jam

Easter is almost here! This Sunday, we are excited to share with you an Easter experience for the whole family. It has fun, engaging games for all ages and the story of Easter. We pray that God will use it to bring great conversations about Christ, joy, and fun memories for your family this Easter! Click here to view the video that will be posted Easter morning for you to watch at your convenience

Family Ministries has also created some great resources for you to continue church lessons with your kids. They have provided video reflections, devotionals, story times and family resources for our church family during this time. Keep checking our resources page, our Facebook page or download our app to stay up to date.

Easter Service Live Streaming

Join us this Sunday for the Livestream of our Easter worship service at 10am and replayed again at 5pm by clicking here. We would love for you to post comments on Facebook during the live stream or even host a watch party there.

Bible Studies

Join an evening bible study via ZOOM. We are currently offering studies on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights at 8pm led by church pastors. For more details and to connect you can click here. We hope you’ll join us!

Sunday Nights @ 8pm Deeper Dive in Philippains led by Chris Nikkel

Tuesday Nights @ 8pmPracticing the Way of Jesus led by Scott Austin

Thursday Nights @ 8pmLenten Journey led by Mike DeFrees

Download Zoom

You can learn how to use Zoom here.

All our Zoom meetings will be held in this Zoom room location.


Stay in Contact

If we can pray for you, please contact your parish pastor directly or send us an email at prayer@theparksa.org.

If you are experiencing any hardships during this time, we want to be there to support you. If you have questions or needs we can help with, email us at info@theparksa.org

Connecting Digitally with The Park

Hello Park Church Family,

It is extremely vital for the church to see one another and grow in our faith together. Given our current environment of socially distancing from one another, there are a few things we are doing to connect with each other:

  • Join us on Sundays for the Livestream of our worship service at 10am and replayed again at 5pm by clicking here. We would love for you to post comments on Facebook during the live stream or even host a watch party there.
  • Join an evening bible study via ZOOM. We are currently offering studies on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights at 8pm. For more details and to connect you can click here.
  • In this season of Lent, we want to invite you to continue to engage in the Lent Guide. This resource is packed full of great devotionals and practices for individuals and families. It can be found by clicking here.

We hope to connect with you online soon! If we can pray for you, please contact your parish pastor directly or send us an email at prayer@theparksa.org


Family Resources

Having trouble keeping your kids engaged and busy while you are watching the live stream on Sundays. Click here for a guide to help your family engage during the live stream.

Family Ministries has also created some great resources for you to continue church lessons with your kids. They have provided video reflections, devotionals, story times and family resources for our church family during this time. Keep checking our resources page, our Facebook page or download our app to stay up to date.

Bible Studies

The Park’s regular Bible studies and discussions led by church pastors through Zoom video conferencing are below. We hope you’ll join us!

Sunday Nights @ 8pm Deeper Dive in Philippains led by Chris Nikkel

Tuesday Nights @ 8pmPracticing the Way of Jesus led by Scott Austin

Thursday Nights @ 8pmLenten Journey led by Mike DeFrees

Download Zoom

You can learn how to use Zoom here.

All our Zoom meetings will be held in this Zoom room location.


Stay in Contact

If you have a prayer request, email us at prayer@theparksa.org

If you are experiencing any hardships during this time, we want to be there to support you. If you have questions or needs we can help with, email us at info@theparksa.org

Our Plan Moving Forward

Hello Park Church Family,

With all going on in the world and the fact that we are not able to meet together in person, our church staff has been praying and discerning next steps to continue being the church together. We know that being isolated from one another and kids being home from school takes its toll on us physically, mentally and spiritually. We hope that the ways we are staying connected will be a meaningful and helpful part of your new rhythms.


Digital Church – Sundays @ 10am & 5pm.

Last Sunday we shared a pre-recorded sermon from Midtown Pastor Mike DeFrees for the Oak Meadow and Midtown Parishes (MacArthur Terrace was still able to meet). Beginning this week, all three parishes are moving our meetings to online only. Although this isn’t the ideal way to gather, we believe this is one of the best ways to love our neighbors and that it will be a meaningful chance to worship and realign our hearts together.

We will be streaming a full worship service live from The Impact Guild. In order to stay safe and be within local regulations, only those involved in recording or presenting the service will be present. This service will include worship, prayer, scripture reading and a message. We invite you to join us at 10am or 5pm. The service recording will also be available to watch during the week.


Bible Studies

We are hosting regular Bible studies and discussion led by church pastors through Zoom video conferencing. Though we long to be together in person, using video conferencing will allow us to interact and connect.

Sunday Nights @ 8pm Deeper Dive in Philippains led by Chris Nikkel

Tuesday Nights @ 8pmPracticing the Way of Jesus led by Scott Austin

Thursday Nights @ 8pmLenten Journey led by Mike DeFrees

Download Zoom

You can learn how to use Zoom here.

All our Zoom meetings will be held in this Zoom room location.


Devotional & Family Resources

We will also be providing video reflections, devotionals and family resources for our church family during this time. Keep checking our resources page, our Facebook page or download our app to stay up to date.

Family Ministries will be sharing videos on Monday for your family to watch and join in on for both Preschool and Elementary Families. In addition, our FM team has assembled packets of activities for you to pick up use for those lessons. Pickup will at 2 locations:

  • Oak Meadow Elementary Parking Lot: Sunday 2-3pm
  • Mark Twain Academy Parking Lot: Sunday 3:30-4:30
  • If you have any trouble making these pickup times, contact fm@theparksa.org

Stay in Contact

If you have a prayer request, email us at prayer@theparksa.org

If you have questions or have any needs we can help with, email us at info@theparksa.org

Updated Response on COVID-19

Park Family,

Like me, you are probably overwhelmed with the amount of information about Covid-19. As a church, we want to be a settling and stabilizing presence as you consider the days ahead. Our staff team has been carefully monitoring the impacts of the virus on our local communities. We are continually in prayer and discussion, seeking wisdom to provide a measured response for you, our church family.

Specifically, we are considering the potential impact on those in our parish communities, especially those most vulnerable to health complications from this virus. We are aiming to balance both the protection of our community and our calling to be a source of encouragement and hope in this very concerning time.

We received information earlier today that both NEISD and SAISD are suspending classes for one week. Other local school districts are following similar policies. This directly affects our Midtown and Oak Meadow Parish Services, which meet in public schools on Sunday mornings. With our calling in mind and with the information available to us at this time, we have decided to not gather together for our two Sunday Morning Services at Oak Meadow Elementary (Oak Meadow Parish) and Mark Twain Dual Language Academy (Midtown Parish) for Sunday, March 15. MacArthur Terrace Parish will continue to meet at Northeast Baptist Church on Sunday evening at 5:00 PM. MacArthur Terrace is our newest parish and is small enough to fall under the CDC and San Antonio Public Health restrictions on group size. If you are a regular attender of MacArthur Terrace and in good health, consider joining your community for worship Sunday at 5:00 PM. In addition, we are postponing the Men’s retreat on March 20-21 to a later date. 

It is with a heavy heart that two of our parishes will not be meeting together for Sunday, March 15 services. We remain committed to one another, and so in place of services, we will provide a video of one of our Parish pastor’s sermon as well as discussion questions for your family, Missional Community or Discipleship Core. 

Please take this time to pray for health and wisdom for the world, and it’s leaders. Share hope and be smart. Be faithful in generosity in the weeks to come. Share with your neighbors and support the work of charities in the city. We are not fearful people, instead, we operate on faith and facts. We are confident that our Father in Heaven is sovereign, and He is our advocate. Take this time to slow down, enjoy family and friends, and seek the Lord in smaller communities. 

We will update you this coming week on plans for the following Sundays. Please refer to www.theparksa.org for updates and opportunities to serve SA during this crisis. 

Grace & Peace, 

Scott Austin & The Park Community Leadership


Lent Guide

The Lenten season is 40 days in which the church reflects on the life and death of Jesus. At The Park we are beginning a series on the book of Philippians. The Apostle Paul is writing to the church at Philippi from a prison cell, unsure of whether he is going to be sentenced to death or not. He realizes that his life could end, but instead of responding in fear, he responds with joy and with hope. In just four chapters, Paul mentions joy or rejoicing sixteen times. With the full expectation of his death, he is filled with joy. We want this season of Lent to be one where together we are not just meditating on the things of God, but one where we are practicing them together. In order to help with this, we have created this Lent Guide that includes mediations, prayers, and some practices for us to do together. Some of these practices involve a sacrifice of giving something up. Some of them require us to give blessings to others rather than ourselves. We pray this guide will be a tool for you to fully experience this season. To view a digital copy of the Lent guide and see upcoming services during the Lenten season you can click here.

Men’s Monthly Prayer Nights

The men’s prayer group for Midtown meets on the third Thursday of the month and the Mac Terrace group meets on the third Friday of the month. These are parish specific prayer meetings. To receive more information from a parish pastor, you can click here.

Daylight Saving This Sunday

Daylights saving is this Sunday so don’t forget to set you clocks forward an hour. See you all Sunday!


WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL // Into the Presence of God

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff they comfort me.

~Psalm 23:4

It had been along four days of waiting. Music played quietly in the background but did nothing to ease the sorrow or strain of this vigil. My sisters and I had retreated to our usual spots in the room where we could find some comfort and space while we waited; each with our own thoughts and memories. Each suffering differently even though we were sisters with a shared past. Our mother’s ragged breath was the only other sound in the room. Suddenly there was a gentle knock on the door and in bounds a beautiful Golden Retriever dragging a tall older gentleman behind him, who was caring a tape player. Everything in the room changed the moment Sierra, the dog, entered. He greeted each of us with joyful enthusiasm and even went over and gently sniffed my mother’s hand that hung over the side of the bed. It was as if the sun came out from the storm clouds. Where there had been silence and sorrow there was now laughter and conversation. Everyone was smiling and we all expected that my mother too would soon sit up in bed and take part in this momentary joyful party. Sierra, partner, Mac, asked if we thought my mother would like to hear some old-time hymns and proceeded to pull a chair close to my mother’s bed and pushed the button on his recorder. As Sierra worked her magic on my sisters and I, he tenderly held my mother’s hand and shut his eyes and listened to the music with her even joining in on the chorus. It was such a beautiful moment of presence. These were not strangers in the room…suddenly we were all ushered into the presence of God with a dog, a humble servant willing to share his time with three grieving girls and their mother who was about to leave this earthly plane. There were no miracles preformed, no sorrows removed, just all God’s creatures coming together to help usher a loved one into the permanent presence of God. I will never forget that moment for God’s rod and staff showed up in the form of a dog named Sierra and a gentleman named Mac.

Abba, Please grant that we all may have eyes to see and hearts to receive your comfort and grace during trying times. Help us to stay attune to you and the tasks at hand so that we may be your servants or ambassadors of grace when called on to do so.

Amen


Upcoming Events

March

20th-21st // Men’s Retreat

29th // Lenten Prayer + Worship Night @ Northeast Baptist Church

April

10th // Good Friday Tenebrae Service @ Alamo Heights Baptist Church


Men’s Retreat

Join the men of The Park Friday, March 20th 6:30pm – 9pm  and Saturday, March 21st 8:00am-12pm for a men’s retreat. Friday will consist of BBQ and worship at the home of Scott Austin, and Saturday morning will be a formation workshop at the Impact Guild. Registration is $20 for dinner Friday and breakfast Saturday morning. To register you can click here. Don’t wait, space is limited and you wont want to miss out on this time together!

LENT GUIDE

The Lenten season is 40 days in which the church reflects on the life and death of Jesus. At The Park we are beginning a series on the book of Philippians. The Apostle Paul is writing to the church at Philippi from a prison cell, unsure of whether he is going to be sentenced to death or not. He realizes that his life could end, but instead of responding in fear, he responds with joy and with hope. In just four chapters, Paul mentions joy or rejoicing sixteen times. With the full expectation of his death, he is filled with joy. We want this season of Lent to be one where together we are not just meditating on the things of God, but one where we are practicing them together. In order to help with this, we have created this Lent Guide that includes mediations, prayers, and some practices for us to do together. Some of these practices involve a sacrifice of giving something up. Some of them require us to give blessings to others rather than ourselves. We pray this guide will be a tool for you to fully experience this season. To view a digital copy of the Lent guide and see upcoming services during the Lenten season you can click here.

Men’s Monthly Prayer Nights

The men’s prayer group for Midtown meets on the third Thursday of the month and the Mac Terrace group meets on the third Friday of the month. These are parish specific prayer meetings. To receive more information from a parish pastor, you can click here.

Handling Discomfort


WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL

In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.

~Exodus 16:3-4

How often in our lives do we abandon the present because of its discomfort or difficulty and end up missing the whole point of life. That is exactly what the Israelites were doing in the above scripture. In Exodus 2:23 The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and here remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. How quickly we forget past discomfort! We all handle discomfort badly. We are no different that those early Israelites. We will let faulty memories take over which will then pull us out of the present and into the past where we can recreate our stories and pacify our hearts with fantasy. We can also rush through the difficult present to the future and allow our hopes and dreams to disconnect us from the present moment. Either way, we then become our own savior and our own judge. We will deflect any of the responsibility of our own personal actions that might have contributed to our current discomfort and we blind our senses to the things God might be trying to teach us. We often take over for God and forget that our one task is to have faith in His providence and love for us. We too often begin to complain and turn ugly to ourselves and toward others, including God.We have bought into the lie that life is supposed to be easy and if we work hard enough it will be. That is not at all the case for most people. God has called us to work along side Him in the stewardship of this world we live in and we are to endure what comes with the gift of working alongside of Him. The only way to do that is to practice staying fully present in all things. You could almost insert the wedding vows people often take…be present in having, or not having, for better times or worse times, in richness or in poverty, in sickness or in health and stay fully present until death do us part. Pretty tough vows yet so worth working towards, for in this life we must endure many things and finish the race as He has asked us to do.

Father, even as I write these words, I find myself shrinking back, afraid that I am not strong enough to make it to the end. As those thoughts enter my brain, I hear your spirit gently telling me to breathe and take just one moment at a time. You are more than enough for me and if you are with me, I can do anything you ask me to do. Help me begin again and to just practice paying attention no matter the circumstances that my surround me or the ones that I love. Thank you, Father, for loving me no matter what!


LENT GUIDE

The Lenten season is 40 days in which the church reflects on the life and death of Jesus. At The Park we are beginning a series on the book of Philippians. The Apostle Paul is writing to the church at Philippi from a prison cell, unsure of whether he is going to be sentenced to death or not. He realizes that his life could end, but instead of responding in fear, he responds with joy and with hope. In just four chapters, Paul mentions joy or rejoicing sixteen times. With the full expectation of his death, he is filled with joy. We want this season of Lent to be one where together we are not just meditating on the things of God, but one where we are practicing them together. In order to help with this, we have created this Lent Guide that includes mediations, prayers, and some practices for us to do together. Some of these practices involve a sacrifice of giving something up. Some of them require us to give blessings to others rather than ourselves. We pray this guide will be a tool for you to fully experience this season. To view a digital copy of the Lent guide and see upcoming services during the Lenten season you can click here.


Upcoming Events

March

20th-21st // Men’s Retreat

29th // Lenten Prayer + Worship Night @ Northeast Baptist Church

April

10th // Good Friday Tenebrae Service @ Alamo Heights Baptist Church


Men’s Retreat

Join the men of The Park Friday, March 20th 6:30pm – 9pm  and Saturday, March 21st 8:00am-12pm for a men’s retreat. Friday will consist of BBQ and worship at the home of Scott Austin, and Saturday morning will be a formation workshop at the Impact Guild. Registration is $20 for dinner Friday and breakfast Saturday morning. To register you can click here. Don’t wait, space is limited and you wont want to miss out on this time together!

Men’s Monthly Prayer Nights

The men’s prayer group for Midtown meets on the third Thursday of the month and the Mac Terrace group meets on the third Friday of the month. These are parish specific prayer meetings. To receive more information from a parish pastor, you can click here.

Practicing Presence


WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL

 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. ~Genesis 2:7

As we journey into the practice of being fully present, we begin to notice how easily we are pulled away. We grow uncomfortable or bored and so our minds begin to overpower our spirits again. I am sure God knew that would be a difficulty humanity would face as he made them of both dust and spirit. He knew we, like Him, would need to find balance between the two. Dust (or the physical) is our starting point. It is where our physical bodies and minds are domain, but it is in the spiritual side of us that connects with the unseen aspects of life. It is where love and hope and connection with the Trinity dwells. Most of us, however, have not spent a great deal of time allowing our spirits to take the lead. We were pushed and shoved often tearfully as children into the “real world.” Most of us are really good at functioning at the helter-skelter pace of the mind and often we push our bodies far beyond their physical capacities and then wonder why we are so lost and physically drained. We have lost the balance between mind, body and spirit. It is the spirit that takes over when we sit quietly waiting for God to speak. It is the practice of presence that opens the door to the unseen world that surrounds all of us. It is the practice of presence that allows the body and mind to fall in line with the heart. 

God has always known we would struggle, yet He has continued to walk along side of us as we struggle.  That is what presence reveals to us as we begin to practice it and open ourselves up to His presence with us and with others. 

Mary Oliver poem expresses the struggle beautifully in her poem below.

The Living Together

The spirit says:

What gorgeous clouds.

The Body says: Good,

The crops need rain.

The spirit says:

Look at the lambs frolicking.

The body says:

When’s the feast?

The spirit says:

What is the lark singing about?

The body says: 

Maybe it’s angry.

The spirit says;

I think shadows are trying to say something.

The body says;

I know how to make light.

The spirit says;

My heart is pounding.

The body says;

Take off your clothes.

The spirit says; Body,

How can we live together?

The body says; Bricks and mortar

And a back door.

Practicality is good but not at the expense of the music of all of God’s creation. We were meant to bear the image of God…all of it, not just the sides that we like.

Prayer

Help us Abba to learn to let go and to play at your feet once again. Help us to give to you all of our beings, not just the sides we have been told by the world that they are worthwhile. Let us fall deeply into your arms and just be.

Amen


Upcoming Events

February

26th // Ash Wednesday @ Alamo Heights Baptist Church 7am & 12pm

28th-29th // IF: Women’s Conference

March

20th-21st // Men’s Retreat


IF: Women’s Simulcast Conference

At the IF: Women’s Conference, we will gather on the evening of Friday February 28 and Saturday morning and afternoon on the 29th at Alamo Heights Baptist Church. Registration is $50, which includes dinner on Friday, a light breakfast and lunch on Saturday and snacks throughout! We will watch a simulcast of IF speakers, worship together, and enjoy yummy meals with one another!  Feel free to contact Terri at terri@theparksa.org if you have any questions. To sign up you can click here.

Foster Adopt Month of Love

The month of February is the “Month of Love” so we’re inviting parishioners to send “love” notes of prayer and encouragement to foster families in San Antonio. Prayers and notes of encouragement will be sent to foster/adoptive families across San Antonio, demonstrating the love of God for them and inviting parishioners to intercede on their behalf. It also gives parishioners a tangible way to “care for the orphaned” as we are called to do. Sign up at theparksa.org/fosterlove. You can email the Foster/Adopt Ministry team at fosteradopt@theparksa.org with any questions or for other volunteer opportunities.

Men’s Monthly Prayer Nights

The men’s prayer group for Midtown meets on the third Thursday of the month and the Mac Terrace group meets on the third Friday of the month. These are parish specific prayer meetings. To receive more information from a parish pastor, you can click here.

Sign up to receive email bulletin each Friday.

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