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Philana’s Personal Perspective on Perspectives

Did you know four thousand years ago God called Abraham to go? Somehow I missed that. How about you? Usually our first thought about “going” is when Jesus commanded the disciples, and us, to:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

Two thousand years before Jesus spoke those words, God commanded Abraham to go.

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3).

Who knew? Okay, Jerry and Scott probably knew since they have been to seminary. Or maybe those of you gifted in Biblical comprehension. Not me! I learned this recently in a Perspectives class. I would call it a premier missions class, but it’s really more than that. This is how perspectives.org describes it, “Perspectives helps believers from all walks of life see how they can get threaded into God’s story of redeeming people from every tribe, tongue, and nation to Himself. It isn’t a class about missions, but a course on how every believer can be intimately woven into the story of God using His people to be a blessing to all the peoples of the earth.”

For fifteen weeks each Tuesday evening, I hung on every word spoken by the guest speakers. I met dear people from area churches that have the same passion as I, to accept the challenge of advancing God’s kingdom and gain confidence in that charge. During the week, I read engaging articles by a wide variety of Biblical scholars, historians, missiologists, and practitioners.

I chose to take the class for a certificate, which resulted in weekly reviews being submitted. Thank goodness they were open-book reviews. (See the comprehension comment above!) For the certificate level, there is also a class project. I choose to interview someone of a different culture and religion. God blessed me richly by connecting me with a woman from Turkey who is a judge, sent here by her country to take English classes so she can better communicate with people during her court cases. God is certainly working on her heart, but that story is for another time. Those fifteen weeks were well worth the time, effort, money, and a little stress of being in class after many years.

In January, College Park Church in Indianapolis will be hosting a new class (Brochures can be found on the Missions Table in the Gathering Space). Will you take the challenge? You can even go as a "Key Reader," no review or project required. Let me know if you have questions or want more info. I am more than happy to share more on my perspective on Perspectives and to help you see how you can be intimately woven into His story.

Posted by Philana Cunningham with

Keeping up with Scott Shelton

Dear ZPC Family,

The Shelton Family, all 6 of us, recently returned from a trip out West during my sabbatical. We visited some Lewis and Clark sites in North Dakota and Montana, then had some fun in Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado. I enjoyed seeing the historical sites where Lewis and Clark traveled, such as their winter quarters in Mandan, North Dakota, and where they portaged their canoes at Great Falls, Montana.

Our kids enjoyed seeing all the wildlife in Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton National Parks. We had lots of sightings of black bears, elk, moose, antelope, bison, bald eagles, and mountain goats. We missed seeing a bull moose with antlers - but oh, well. Claire and I enjoyed quiet moments reading and looking at the Tetons behind Jackson Lake Lodge and at Colter Bay. Our kids enjoyed the rodeo, rafting the Snake River, and hiking.

Part of the joy of being on sabbatical is that I lost track of what day it was several times - relaxing! But it wasn't all relaxing. Some days we tried to do too much - and it was exhausting. One of the things we learned is that with 6 people, there are 6 different opinions on where to eat, what to do, where to go. We learned that we had to negotiate on what to see and do, and sometimes compromise what I might want to do for the good of the family. Part of being a family is give and take, and learning to look out for others. I was reminded that is something we must remember as a church family - to look out for the other person and to care for them - at times setting aside what I might want personally for the good of the family - even for those not in our church family.

Now that our kids are heading back to school, I'm doing some reflecting and reading. I'm reading Tod Bolsinger's book on Lewis and Clark and church leadership called Canoeing the Mountains. I'm also reading two good books on resting, being quiet and being present with God and others. Good lessons for me in all these books. I also made a two day visit to Lincoln's hometown of Springfield, Illinois, and learned more about the great man. I've learned that Lewis, Clark, and Lincoln were all very human as well as heroic. They had flaws and made mistakes, but they stepped out with courage to take on incredible challenges. I'll be sharing what I've learned in a class when I return, including all the great things I learned while traveling and studying in Israel. I'll tell some stories in worship this fall, too.

Another thing I've reflected on recently is church. We've worshipped at different churches and truly enjoyed them all. God was present in all those churches and in warm welcomes we received. But I realize that I miss worshipping with you all - and your warm love to me and my family. So, while I'm still enjoying the time away, I look forward to seeing you all again in September! 

God bless, Scott

Editor's note: Rev. Scott Shelton is the associate pastor for discipleship at ZPC. He has been on Sabbatical since May 15 and will return to us on September 15.

Posted by Scott Shelton with

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