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Colossian Blog
December 2, 2019 | Michael Gulker

Advent Greetings – November/December Prayer Letter

Advent greetings from The Colossian Forum! Since Advent is the celebration of the incarnation of Christ, we thought we would try something slightly more incarnational than our usual email prayer letter. We hope you enjoy this experiment and the video. As always, we welcome your feedback. Please email me at mgulker@colossianforum.org with your comments, suggestions or questions. 

Please join us at The Colossian Forum in giving thanks for:

· You. As we come to the end of 2019, we are so grateful for our partners, participants, Leaders, and supporters, who make our work not only possible but joyful. Thanks to your steadfast commitment and support, we’ve been able to share the gifts of hope and healing with more people than we ever imagined through The Colossian Way. This year, 115 people have become Colossian Way Leaders, and 29 TCW groups have occurred, representing nearly 350 participants. In our Fall Cohort alone, 144 people are running groups (12 on Sexuality). We couldn’t be more thankful for or encouraged by this engagement!   

· Linda Gulker and Christine Pohl, who have volunteered to help us expand our reach on Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is an international movement of generosity, hope, and celebration that invites people to give small donations to organizations they already love. To get involved, please contact Emily Stroble at estroble@colossianforum.org

· A diverse, well-attended Colossian Way Leader Training last month. Christians from all over the country blessed us with their rich stories of personal and spiritual conflict that led them to TCF. We pray they returned home feeling encouraged and empowered to help their churches become places of reconciliation.  

· The opportunity to gather with many of you at our upcoming annual Christmas celebration on Dec. 12. We pray our time together blesses you as it will surely bless us. If you haven’t registered already, please RSVP by Dec. 5th.

This month, please join us in praying for the following:

· God’s wisdom and guidance as we work strategically to expanding our offerings.

· A fruitful experience for those participating in upcoming pilot Leader Training and small groups for our forthcoming Colossian Way series on gender. Their feedback will be essential as we shape the final curriculum.

· A productive Giving Tuesday on December 3. Please watch your inbox, our website and TCF social media channels for special video content, stories, and posts. We invite you to share your stories of impact and generosity with TCF’s hashtag, #ForgivingTuesday!

· Our many friends who faithfully offer their gifts toward our work. We have been uniquely blessed with a $25,000 matching gift to double the amount and impact of donations received before December 31. Each gift supports training leaders in the U.S. and beyond and builds a clearer picture of TCF’s future work in the Church. Please join us in praying for God’s continued sustainment and growth of this vision. If you would like to participate in the match, please visit www.colossianforum.org/give. Should you have questions, please contact Emily Stroble at estroble@colossianforum.org

· Broad awareness for our Political Talk curriculum as we work toward launching our Political Talk curriculum in an election year. We pray it will guide churches nationwide toward hope in a polarized world.

Upcoming Events:

· Please join us Thursday, December 12th from 5 – 8 p.m. for our annual Christmas Celebration! We invite you for fellowship and to receive a “first taste” activity from our Political Talk curriculum launching soon to churches around the country. To help us gauge catering needs, please RSVP by Dec. 5th.  

· The January Series: Moving Beyond Labels to a Christian Dialogue about Creation and Evolution with Todd Charles Wood & Darrel R. Falk. Please join these gentlemen, the authors of our latest book, The Fool and the Heretic, on January 9 as they discuss their unique, Christ-filled journey to love and friendship amid deep disagreement. TCF’s Dr. Rob Barrett will moderate the session. We hope you can join us onsite, at any one of 50+ remote sites, or online for LIVE audio streaming! Be sure to stop by our table as well. We’d love to hear about any conflicts your church is facing. Admission is free.

Thank you for your faithful prayers.

We are comforted and encouraged by your ongoing partnership in prayer.  It would be our privilege to lift up your needs and praises as we gather each morning for prayer.  Please take a moment to email us any intercessions or thanksgivings at info@colossianforum.org.

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Suggested Posts
Advent Greetings - November/December Prayer Letter
| Michael Gulker
Advent Greetings - November/December Prayer Letter
Advent greetings from The Colossian Forum! Since Advent is the celebration of the incarnation of Christ, we thought we would try something slightly more incarnational than our usual email prayer letter. We hope you enjoy this experiment and the video. As always, we welcome your feedback. Please email me at mgulker@colossianforum.org with your comments, suggestions or questions.  https://vimeo.com/376447032 Please join us at The Colossian Forum in giving thanks for: · You. As we come to the end of 2019, we are so grateful for our partners, participants, Leaders, and supporters, who make our work not only possible but joyful. Thanks to your steadfast commitment and support, we’ve been able to share the gifts of hope and healing with more people than we ever imagined through The Colossian Way. This year, 115 people have become Colossian Way Leaders, and 29 TCW groups have occurred, representing nearly 350 participants. In our Fall Cohort alone, 144 people are running groups (12 on Sexuality). We couldn’t be more thankful for or encouraged by this engagement!    · Linda Gulker and Christine Pohl, who have volunteered to help us expand our reach on Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is an international movement of generosity, hope, and celebration that invites people to give small donations to organizations they already love. To get involved, please contact Emily Stroble at estroble@colossianforum.org.  · A diverse, well-attended Colossian Way Leader Training last month. Christians from all over the country blessed us with their rich stories of personal and spiritual conflict that led them to TCF. We pray they returned home feeling encouraged and empowered to help their churches become places of reconciliation.   · The opportunity to gather with many of you at our upcoming annual Christmas celebration on Dec. 12. We pray our time together blesses you as it will surely bless us. If you haven’t registered already, please RSVP by Dec. 5th. This month, please join us in praying for the following: · God’s wisdom and guidance as we work strategically to expanding our offerings. · A fruitful experience for those participating in upcoming pilot Leader Training and small groups for our forthcoming Colossian Way series on gender. Their feedback will be essential as we shape the final curriculum. · A productive Giving Tuesday on December 3. Please watch your inbox, our website and TCF social media channels for special video content, stories, and posts. We invite you to share your stories of impact and generosity with TCF’s hashtag, #ForgivingTuesday! · Our many friends who faithfully offer their gifts toward our work. We have been uniquely blessed with a $25,000 matching gift to double the amount and impact of donations received before December 31. Each gift supports training leaders in the U.S. and beyond and builds a clearer picture of TCF’s future work in the Church. Please join us in praying for God’s continued sustainment and growth of this vision. If you would like to participate in the match, please visit www.colossianforum.org/give. Should you have questions, please contact Emily Stroble at estroble@colossianforum.org.  · Broad awareness for our Political Talk curriculum as we work toward launching our Political Talk curriculum in an election year. We pray it will guide churches nationwide toward hope in a polarized world. Upcoming Events: · Please join us Thursday, December 12th from 5 - 8 p.m. for our annual Christmas Celebration! We invite you for fellowship and to receive a “first taste” activity from our Political Talk curriculum launching soon to churches around the country. To help us gauge catering needs, please RSVP by Dec. 5th.   · The January Series: Moving Beyond Labels to a Christian Dialogue about Creation and Evolution with Todd Charles Wood & Darrel R. Falk. Please join these gentlemen, the authors of our latest book, The Fool and the Heretic, on January 9 as they discuss their unique, Christ-filled journey to love and friendship amid deep disagreement. TCF’s Dr. Rob Barrett will moderate the session. We hope you can join us onsite, at any one of 50+ remote sites, or online for LIVE audio streaming! Be sure to stop by our table as well. We'd love to hear about any conflicts your church is facing. Admission is free. Thank you for your faithful prayers. We are comforted and encouraged by your ongoing partnership in prayer.  It would be our privilege to lift up your needs and praises as we gather each morning for prayer.  Please take a moment to email us any intercessions or thanksgivings at info@colossianforum.org.
Spaghetti, Tools, and Broken Bones
November 27, 2019 | Emily Stroble
Spaghetti, Tools, and Broken Bones
Believe it or not, uncooked spaghetti is an important tool. One of the more unconventional uses for this common pasta is to reach under plaster casts to scratch a pesky itch. If you’ve never had a broken bone, just know that, inevitably, skin under a cast begins to itch. And there is nothing you can do about it. You can’t get inside the cast. You can’t take the cast off. Spaghetti, as strange or silly it sounds, is the best solution. It’s long enough, thin enough, and just strong enough to reach under the cast. It’s the perfect tool. It’s all too easy to forget that healing can be uncomfortable. This is as true of churches and relationships as it is of broken bones. Forgiveness—both that Christ gives us and that we give others—can feel like a cast, holding us together in uncomfortable moments and relationships as we heal. Forgiveness forces us to be with the God or people from whom we had been separated. Being held together isn’t always fun. But forgiveness follows confession and is a powerful, transformative expression of our commitment to and oneness in Christ. It calls us to communion, even with those who hurt us, in the midst of conflicts so often characterized by selfishness, pride, and hate. The Colossian Way embraces the itchy aspects of healing—the difficult conversations, the vulnerability, the confessions, the self-examination, and the truths that make us squirm. You, in joining in the work of The Colossian Forum, have bravely chosen to work faithfully in the heart of the fractures of the church. Because, just as a broken arm or leg is nearly useless, the brokenness of the Church hobbles our Kingdom work and damages our witness. Your gifts help pastors and Christian leaders like Henry Kranenburg, the pastor of West End Christian Reformed Church in Edmonton, Canada, hold together the difficult moments of healing with the cast of forgiveness. Henry’s congregation is engaging issues of sexuality, and The Colossian Way has been a source of encouragement. “I don’t think we have a strong record of working hard to be one [Church],” Henry reflected. “We work harder to define what divides us than what unites us. How do we honor that oneness [in Christ], recognizing that we are not all on the same page?” While looking for resources for his church, Henry attended a local TCF event and was inspired to learn more. Afterward, a generous donor provided several scholarships to TCF’s Annual Conference 2019 for pastors. Henry was one of the recipients and shared how important financial support is to empowering pastors to guide their congregations through conflicts. “It is not just saving a pastor or a church some dollars,” Henry explained. “[It’s] a stimulus to help them think in a way they haven’t before. [Scholarships] become part of an invitation. I might not have gone [to the Conference] without that invitation and missed more than I realized.”   Now, Henry has begun using The Colossian Way, not only in his congregation, but beyond, in his classis, the regional governing body for his denomination. He has seen the focus in his church shift toward the vision of the Church Jesus prays for in John 17:11, “Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” You, our donors, are doing “spaghetti work”—giving pastors like Henry the tools to reach into these difficult, itchy places, where we are held together in the forgiveness of Christ. Because of your kindness and faithfulness, a more beautiful Christian witness extends farther—from pastors, to churches, to communities. Next week, on December 3, The Colossian Forum will with participate in Giving Tuesday, an international movement of generosity, hope, and celebration that invites people to give small donations, often just $5, to organizations they already love, and discover new ways to make a difference, too. By reaching out to friends and family through social media, email, and in-person, you can ignite a brighter light in the Church. Would you be willing to spread the word about The Colossian Forum? Share your stories with TCF’s hashtag #ForgivingTuesday! Keep an eye out for special video content, stories, and posts on December 3! All gifts we receive on Giving Tuesday will be matched by a generous donor up to $25,000. If you’d like more information on Giving Tuesday and how to get involved, please email us at info@colossianforum.org. If you’d like to give a gift to equip leaders engaging conflict in their churches and communities, explore colossianforum.org/give.

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