Oasis for Refugees

If you’re ready to roll your up your shirt-sleeves and get busy serving refugees, look no further than South St. Louis. Over 400 Syrians have been relocated in our city since October, 2015 alone, and we are personally seeing what appears to be an equal number of Iraqi refugees in our work here. Numerous other nationalities are represented as well. St. Louis is home to the largest Bosnian community in the world outside of Bosnia!

Refugees are frequently closed off from the physical community that surrounds around them by the struggle of learning a complex language, adapting to a new culture, and now a polarized political landscape that has caused many to voice outrage over their presence here. Arriving here already traumatized and cut off from family and friends, they live isolated by their circumstances and in poverty.  Nonetheless, we consistently find them some of the most hospitable, hard working and hopeful people to spend time with.

The opportunity to meet felt needs is seemingly endless, but here is where we have begun:

Prayer – At Cornerstone, Tuesdays, 8:30 amimg_0264

Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) or Driver’s Education (car required); assisting in childcare during ESL classes; and sorting & organizing donations. At Oasis InternationalTuesdays, 10:00 – 12:30

Moving and delivering furniture & home visits – Various times, contact us

Serving as a volunteer for events or horse therapy for refugees with PTSD here at Cornerstone – coming in the Spring

We partner with Oasis International for many of these things. Please contact them directly if you have cars, clothing, furniture, household goods of fine quality, or time you would consider donating.

Angry Birds

Angry Birds – Sermon Video and Audio links from North Point Church in Atlanta

Wherever Jesus went, he was followed by tax collectors and sinners—all the worst people in his society. The marginalized, messed-up, and hated flocked to Jesus. People who were nothing like him, liked him. Imagine if, today, people like that flocked to the church. They should. If the church acted like Jesus, they would. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day complained that all these sinners were always around him. They assumed his proximity to these sinners meant that he condoned their sin. But Jesus never worried about being found guilty by association. Instead, he fully embodied God’s truth and God’s grace.

It’s among a crowd made up of both sinners and religious leaders that Jesus takes the opportunity to tell his most famous parable – The Prodigal Son. In the story, found in Luke 15, a man had two sons. One was a behavor; the other was a misbehavor. The misbehavor asks for his inheritance right away, as though his dad were already dead. The man gives his son the money. The young man sets off on his own and squanders the wealth that his father had worked for years to amass. Eventually, he found himself in dire straits. The only job he could find was tending to pigs. He even ate their slop. Humbled, the misbehaving son decided to return to his dad’s home and beg to be taken back— not as a son, but as a servant. Scripture tells us what happened next: “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” (Luke 15:20b–24)

Both the sinners and the Pharisees listening to Jesus understood the point he was making about God’s radical grace—that even when we insult and dishonor him in the worst way, he celebrates our return instead of meeting us with scorn and I-told-you-so’s. The Pharisees in the crowd responded the same way that the man’s behaving son did: with self-righteous resentment that his repentant brother wasn’t met with judgment. But the father in the story explains: “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” (Luke 15:31–32) Regardless of our sin, God could not love us more. Nothing we do can cause him to love us less.


When Gracie Met Truthy

Jesus calls his followers to love the way he loved. But as recorded in the Gospels, there’s a tension in the way he loved—it was messy, inconsistent, unfair, and confusing. At times, Jesus was harsh; at times, he was forgiving. At times, he pointed out sin; at times, he seemed to ignore it. Our temptation is to try to resolve the tension created around Jesus’ love. But if we try, we lose something important, something essential. The challenge for followers of Jesus is to love in the messy, inconsistent, unfair, and confusing way that he did—to hang onto the tension.

When Gracie Met Truthy – Sermon Video and Audio links from Northpoint Church in Atlanta