Filter By:
Showing items filed under “Sally Bias”

Guiding my feet into the way of peace

Editor's Note

About the author: Sally Bias has been attending ZPC for 21 years. She has served on staff at ZPC since 2003. She has three children: Carly, who is a sophomore at IU; Celia, who is a senior in high school; and Carter, who is in 8th grade (and Peyton, who is 8 or 48 in dog years).

About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring traditional Advent themes of hope, joy, peace, and love. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpc advent to 39970. Advent booklets are also available at the ZPC Welcome Center. We welcome your comments and questions each day.

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE: LUKE 1:67-80

This year for Advent, we have been looking at themes of hope, joy, peace, and (next week) love. As I was reading the scripture for today, I recognized all of these themes throughout Zechariah's prophecy. In yesterday's devotional, Kira did a great job giving an overview of what's going on in the beginning of Luke chapter 1.

So now that John the Baptist has been born, Zechariah looks forward at his son's life and how it will impact generations to come. He also prophecies about a savior coming from the house of David. There are so many hopeful, joyful, and peaceful things about this scripture. I remember the pregnancies and births of each of my 3 children and can only imagine the hopefulness and joy Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth must have felt at the promise of a son long past when they thought it was possible. 

I wonder what Zechariah and Elizabeth thought their son's life would be like? They must have been committed to God's plan for John – that he would be the profit of the most high. Their son probably was a source of great hope, joy, and even peace for both Zechariah and Elizabeth. But did they know what preparing the way for the Lord would actually look like? Were they aware of how John would spend his days? (Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Matthew 3:4) Or did they know how their son would die? (Herod sent and had John beheaded in the prison. The head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, who brought it to her mother. His disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went and told Jesus. Matthew 14:10-12) There doesn't seem to be much hope, joy, or peace in these particular verses.

When they considered the whole of their child's life and death, did they have a sense of peace knowing what Zechariah had prophesied? That their child would walk before the Lord giving knowledge of salvation, baptizing people in Jesus' name, giving light to those sitting in darkness, and guiding feet into the way of peace (Luke 1:76-79)? 

I like to tell myself that I would be able to have peace if I were a profit and knew ahead of time what was coming. But I've come to the realization that simply knowing what's to come does not give me peace about it. For example, when I know I need to have a difficult conversation with a family member or friend, I don't have a sense of peace knowing that it's coming. When I remember that God holds me in the palm of his hand and he sent his son, the Prince of Peace, so that I may have a relationship with him, this makes it easier to do what needs to be done regardless of the cost or even the outcome.

And this gives me peace.

Prayer:

Father God,

Thank you for the ways your remind us you are with us and how much you love us. Please help this knowledge impact everything about us. 

Amen.

Posted by Sally Bias with

Celebrate with gratitude

May 31 marked the end of the ZPC fiscal year. For the first time ever, we ended with more than a $100,000 surplus! Sunday, June 10 was a great day of gratitude as we reflected on God's work in the last year and how people’s lives have been changed through the power of Christ. We heard from Molly Dzurisin, who is one of ZPC's covenant children. Molly, who is a 2018 Zionsville High School graduate and lifelong ZPCer, shared how her faith has grown and, in turn, has impacted others.

Watch Molly's Testimony. 

 

Additionally, we heard from Ryan and Emily Elmore, ZPCers whose home group has shaped their experience of ZPC as well as their discipleship. Just as Jesus chose a group of disciples in which to pour his life-changing love and grace so too do we believe that it is in gathering as groups of disciples that we experience the love and grace of Jesus. 

Libby Pollak and her 10-year-old daughter Ellie shared how serving Christ by serving the homeless has given them the opportunity to experience Jesus in ways they never anticipated. It is a beautiful reflection of what we discovered during our sermon series on James which is that being shaped like a disciple only occurs as we practice our faith. By opening up our building (for 3 weeks this year!), we've hopefully been part of changing the lives of those in our community as well as being shaped more and more like Jesus.

Watch the Pollaks' testimony.

During the last part of the service we learned the ZPC Session has decided to give away half of this year's surplus. 

Listen to Senior Pastor Jerry Deck's comments.

As a a recap, we are giving Youth For Christ $18,000 to pay for their initial summer program in the Juvenile Justice Ministry (JJM). Director of JJM Chase Yarborough was present at our celebration service. He told us that 70% of youth offenders will return to delinquent centers or prison; however, that number drops to 20% for those who are in programs like JJM! What a joy that we get to partner with them in this ministry and to help make a difference in the lives of young people. 

Additional Information about JJM:

We also are giving Str8Up, a ministry we partner with in Northwest Indianapolis, $9,000 for summer scholarships for inner-city kids. This money will allow over 65 kids to experience the love of Jesus and Christian community during a 3-day camp.

Finally, we are giving $27,000 to The Outreach Foundation to help build a retreat center in Syria that will serve as a respite for Christians who have experienced physical, emotional, and spiritual trauma over the last several years. Many Christians in Syria have chosen to remain there to be a witness of Christ’s peace, love, and grace. In the midst of that, we hope this gift from ZPC reminds them they are not alone and they have not been forgotten.

Additional Information about The Outreach Foundation's retreat center in Syria:

In a letter to our congregation, Senior Pastor Jerry Deck said, "Please know how grateful I and the Elders of ZPC are for your willingness to give so freely. It is because of your generosity that we as the Session of ZPC felt compelled to give away half of the surplus that we received as a testimony to the reality that just as we have freely received, so too must we freely give." 

Posted by Sally Bias with

123456