Oct. 16 Gathering: “The Dreams You Encourage Them to Have”


This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord.

–Jer. 29:4-9 NIV

In the midst of the most contentious political season in recent memory, it’s often hard to live out Jesus’ call to peace and forgiveness. We’re so wrapped up in our fear of what might happen if this candidate or that one gets elected, it’s hard to have any sense of objectivity.

To make matters worse, our social media is often an echo chamber where we only engage with people who agree with us, and we unfollow or unfriend those with contrary opinions. We suddenly find ourselves thinking we don’t really know people we thought we knew well because they support a candidate we despise.

Then there’s the national media, which seems intent on stirring our discontent in the interest of creating controversy to boost ratings. And even though the election will be over in just a few weeks, few of us expect that the vitriol will die down. It’s hard to imagine a way forward.

But there’s a little passage from the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah that might prove helpful. Writing to expatriate Jews during their exile to Babylon, Jeremiah urges the people to make peace with their enemies. He even goes so far as to suggest that they will prosper as their captors prosper. And he has a warning for those who might try to benefit from sewing strife.

What might it look like for us to seek the best for our political opponents? How can we imagine prospering under leadership we so deeply disrespect? And what about the dreams we encourage the “prophets and diviners” of our day to have?

Join us this Sunday, Oct. 16, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company for a deeper look into Jeremiah’s 2,500-year-old prophesy and how it might help us navigate the difficult political waters of 2016.

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

 

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July 10 Gathering: The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)


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This Sunday we’re starting a new summer series where we’ll focus on the Gospel readings from the common lectionary for each week of our gatherings. This week’s text is Luke 10:25-37, the story of the Good Samaritan.

While this is certainly a familiar story–both within the church as well as within the culture–it bears some examination. At the heart of the story is the question of what it means to love our neighbors. But there are also questions about how to apply the original cultural/historical context to our present time, what truly loving our neighbor really looks like in a practical way, and how we move beyond theoretical love to active love.

During this summer series, we’ll examine each week’s passages in our usual facilitated discussion format (as opposed to a more formal “Bible study” format), which means lots of room for questions. This should be not only an exciting time for our community to deepen our spiritual formation together, but also a great opportunity to invite new folks who want to learn some new and deeper ways of looking at scripture.

Join us Sunday at the Marietta Brewing Company as we discuss this week’s passage and kick off our new series!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

June 19 Gathering: Breaking the cycle of violence


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In the wake of last Sunday’s mass killings in Orlando, communities of faith across America have been seeking ways to respond. Through prayer vigils, calls for justice, and other acts of support, churches have been at the forefront of our collective expression of grief.

And while those responses are appropriate and helpful, it seems eventually we always find ourselves plowing the same ground of identifying and arguing over where the blame lies for these heinous acts. Whether we fault immigration policies, gun culture, mental illness, or some other factor, our quarrels end up consuming us and, ultimately, nothing changes.

But what if there’s something else we can do? Rather than arguing over where to place blame, can we really do anything to change things? Can faith communities play a role in reshaping culture away from violence as our default response?

In essence, that’s the heart of Jesus’ kingdom announcement. That death and violence no longer reign.

But can we actually live that life? And, if we can, what might it change?

This Sunday at New Wineskins we’ll talk about how faith communities can lead the way toward not just individual redemption, but cultural redemption. Join us at the Marietta Brewing Company as we discuss ways to break the cycles of violence in the world around us.

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

Feb. 28 Gathering: A Radical Reorientation


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Creative Commons. Some Rights Reserved.

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matt. 4:17)

Lent is a season of repentance. As we prepare for the unbearable pain of Good Friday and the overwhelming joy of Easter, Christians for centuries have viewed the six weeks building up to those events as a time for a sort of spiritual housecleaning. We give things up to symbolize our desire to strengthen our faith.

But what if “repenting” has less to do with behavior modification and more to do with a whole new way of being? What if it’s not so much about the bad habits or sins we need to give up, but a radical reorientation of our lives?

This week at New Wineskins, we’ll talk about repentance in a way you may not have thought about it before. And we’ll look at how this season of Lent can be for us a season that’s less about self-denial and more about abundant blessing.

Join us this Sunday, Feb. 28, at the Marietta Brewing Company for good food, good friends, and good conversation!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

October 11 Gathering: Jake Kaufman Returns!


Jake Kaufman

Jake Kaufman

This Sunday, Oct. 11, we are thrilled to welcome Jake Kaufman back to New Wineskins to share stories of inspiration from his most recent blog series, 15 Stories in 15 Weeks (#15Stories).

A Mid-Ohio Valley native now living in Columbus, OH, Jake is a full-time writer and speaker who prefers his beer from a can. His blog, jkstories.com, is a diary of  seeking God in the face of doubt and finding faith despite the often-harmful trappings of religion.

Jake first visited New Wineskins in July 2014 as our first-ever guest speaker and is excited to join us this week as our first-ever two-time guest speaker!

Join us this Sunday, Oct. 11, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company to join Jake in a conversation about stories and how we live them.

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

May 31 Gathering: Listening to the Prophets


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pond5.com

The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.

Ephesians 4:11-13 (NRSV)

Contrary to popular belief, the main job of the biblical prophets was not to predict the future. Their primary purpose was not to make seemingly nonsensical statements that could only be understood in their later fulfillment through the gift of hindsight.

The role of the prophets was first and foremost to be a critic in their own time and place. To point out where Israel had wandered from its purpose, to show the way back, and to warn of the inevitable consequences of following an ultimately destructive course. Only then did they communicate God’s promises to restore the nation following a period of exile and suffering.

We tend to think of the prophets as people from an ancient time who no longer speak into our lives today. And yet, the apostle Paul insists that God gifts some to be prophets within the church. Does that still hold true today?

If so, who are the modern-day prophets? What are they saying? How can we listen to them?

This week at New Wineskins we’ll take a look at the tradition of prophecy in the church and discuss how the prophetic voice is still speaking to us as we navigate our current times and circumstances. Bring your questions and be prepared for a lively discussion!

Join us in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company this Sunday, May 31, and be part of the conversation!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

May 17 Gathering — Less = More: A story of abundance


Photo courtesy of Ginny McKinney

Photo courtesy of Ginny McKinney

We’re all about story here at New Wineskins, and this week we’re thrilled to welcome a great storyteller with an amazing story to tell!

Ginny McKinney, a recent newcomer to the New Wineskins family, will be our guest speaker at this week’s gathering. You won’t want to miss her incredibly inspiring (and really, really interesting!) story.

Ginny was born and raised in West Virginia. She has spent her adult life first in England for two years then Colorado for the last forty. In March 2013, she and her husband (whom she affectionately refers to as Mr. Virgo) set out to buy a travel trailer for some retirement fun. They were standing in the fourth one, picking out which one they wanted, when he had a heart attack and died.

Within two years, Ginny has sold her Colorado house, purchased a 24′ camper and a pickup truck, sold or given away 95% of her possessions, and hit the road. She documents her journey daily on her Facebook blog, Marshmallow Ranch, with a growing number of devoted followers. She speaks to groups about empowering widows to live adventurous lives with the premise that “Just because HE died, doesn’t mean YOU did!” Her book should be published within the year.

Ginny divides her time between WV, CO, and someplace warm with sand and little umbrellas in the drinks.

We hope you’ll plan to join us to hear Ginny talk about living through tragedy, downsizing life, and living abundantly. It’s sure to be a dynamic topic for discussion!

Join us in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company this Sunday and be part of the conversation!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm