Devotion and News :: September 23, 2013 - Listen to last week's Live Forward message here.

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit.    Psalm 40:1-2

Waiting is painful.  Waiting in a line can be unbearable.  I am especially prone to feeling this pain.  Recently, as I was painfully waiting for something to happen I started examining why waiting is so difficult.  (Nothing else to do besides stew).  What I discovered is that waiting brings pain because it is a reminder that the world does not revolve around me.  Others need Walgreens too.  Others have to receive new tags at the DMV.   It is a humbling thing to admit that other people have schedules too and that some things take longer than I would like.

What would happen to a person who never had to wait for anything?  They would become a bit of a brat.  We would all acknowledge that we would not want that to happen to us.  What would happen if God was a cosmic wish giver who granted each of our requests immediately?  Probably the same thing.  God does not want our hearts to experience that type of toxicity.

Psalm 40 states "I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry."  The writer obviously experienced a deep sense of longing.  As the writer reflects, he notes that even though God did not answer his prayer immediately he was still convinced that the Lord "inclined" to hear cry.  God "leaned forward."  The result was the writer being lifted out of the slimy pit, which was too slimy to be climbed out of by one's own power.

I believe many people lose faith and stop praying, not because God is not strong enough, but because they experienced that God was not fast enough.  So we try other ways of making it better, which ironically add more pain and more time onto our healing process.

I want to encourage all of you to continue to cry out knowing that God, in fact, hears your prayer.  I encourage you to wait for God, and to wait patiently.  Put all your eggs in God's basket.  Pray even when it is tough to pray and you will be lifted out from your pit.

Wait.  Pause right now and tell God "I will wait for You."

Wait and reach up. The Lord will pull you out.

Live Forward Schedule
Dinner 5:30-6:30pm (Student Center in East Building)
Worship 6:30-7:20 pm (Student Center in East Building)
Small Groups 7:30-8:30pm (In Rooms Announced in Bulletins)

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Steven Blair

Jennifer Ross is our Matthew's Ministry Program Director. Matthew's Ministry is Church of the Resurrection's awareness, outreach and support ministry for persons with special needs and their families.

As a parent and I teacher, I know the value of a good reward system.  Even in the workplace, employees are motivated by rewards (financial and verbal).

As educators and parents, we get into ruts and use the same rewards that lose their effectiveness over time.  When we continue to say “good work”, “Nice job”, in time, it is just noise to the children.  However, when we identify the action that we are praising, it has more meaning.  “I like the way you walked down the hall with your hands to yourself”  is  more meaningful than “nice job” or even “nice job walking”.

With a number of our students, we use intentional verbal rewards, such as, “I like how you shared that toy with your classmate (using their names here)” as so many of our students struggle with sharing.  Another example, “thank you for telling me what you need” rather than hitting or grabbing.

If we keep our verbal praise fresh and intentional, we will reap a greater harvest! Today I wanted to share 100 ways to praise a child.



We talked with Sherree Reece to give you everything you want to know about the upcoming Sacred Steps 5K Run/Walk that takes place on September 28th.  The basic facts: The race starts at 8 am, and it costs $25 if you register before September 25th, and it’s $30 afterwards. All proceeds raised from the Sacred Steps 5K run/Walk will go directly to address the needs of those living in poverty in the Democratic Republic of the Congo(DRC) and all those living in Africa. Sign up and learn more information at

What are the prizes that different participants can win?

If you are in the top spots for yomedalsur age group we have medals that were made in Africa at the Hillcrest AIDS Centre. They are beaded medals with a runner on them. We have gold, silver, and bronze for the three categories. Most years we have a little gift card that goes with it from a donor. In the top overall female and male, we have some top wood carvings that were made in Malawi. One was a cheetah that is going to the top male runner. The other is a gazelle that is going to the top female runner.

How many people do we have signed up right now?

We currently have about 582 signed up. We have about 1,200 every year so we have a lot of people registering in the last week and a half. Last year we raised around $12,000 in proceeds. Our next deadline coming up is September 22nd, which is the cutoff date to receive a t-shirt.

For those in it to win it, what are the average times that have won in the past for each age group?

Female 2 to 14: 21:26           Male 2 to 14: 18:39
Female 15 to 19: 24:00        Male 15 to 19:  22:55
Female 20 to 24: 18:38       Male 20 to 24: 18:17
Female 25 to 29: 22:31        Male 25 to 29: 20:03
Female 30 to 34: 20:47       Male 30 to 34: 16:29
Female 35 to 39: 24:03       Male 35 to 39: 16:12
Female 40 to 44: 21:19        Male 40 to 44: 20:06
Female 45 to 49: 24:21        Male 45 to 49: 18:34
Female 50 to 54: 23:32       Male 50 to 54: 20:04
Female 55 to 59: 23:03       Male 55 to 59: 22:58
Female 60 to 69: 32:27       Male 60 to 70: 22:07
Female 70 and over: 36:17 Male 65 to 70 and over: 25:00
Male 70 and over: 28:00

What projects do these funds go to support?

The proceeds will help provide funds for the church-sponsored HIV/AIDS center where critical counseling services, testing supplies and treatment are offered. We will also provide education on neo-natal resuscitation to save the lives of more babies. The funds will also provide clean water for students, faculty, and patients at the medical university.

What other interesting stories have you seen in previous years?

Last year we had a gentleman who was in his 90’s who was participating in it.

This year we are going to have a live band, Aaron’s Branch.  Also, one of our partner schools is Quindaro Elementary and they have a track team here and members of Resurrection are paying for registration and they are going to come out and run.

Linked here is the route of the course. Any tips on how navigate the course or the race in general?

Start out slow – most racers start out too fast and build lactic acid which will slow them down.  If you warm up before the race, you can start out faster.  If not, you will need to warm up as part of the race.  After the first half mile, you can start picking up your pace.  Your goal will be to run a faster mile 3 than a faster mile 1.

Whether it be training for this year or thinking about ways to get better connected in 2014, how can the TeamRez 5k Health Challenge help you train and get in better shape?

It is a free 8-week training program. You get a weekly email and it has information about eating habits, healthy living, running tips, scriptures and stories. All the feedback we have gotten is it has helped encourage them to stick with the program whether it is hot or it is raining and it encourages people to get out there and run. Learn more about that program here.

More Information:


Editor's Note: Listen to audio from last week's Live Forward message here.

By: Rev. Steven Blair

If my thumb was swollen, I suspect that none of you would tell me it was swollen because I was praying the wrong way, not trying hard enough, or that God was punishing me/teaching me a lesson.  You would likely say "That looks like it hurts and then offer sympathy."  I have learned from Dr. Stephen Ilardi that

A depressed brain is an inflamed brain. 

It is measurably swollen, just like swollen thumb and for the same reason.  An injury has happened and the body is trying to heal it.  I share this with all of you because depression is a physical condition that lies underneath many of our repeated habits and hurts.   There is an event happening at Resurrection this Saturday which explains the biological basis to it.   Dr. Stephen Ilardi is a professor at The University of Kansas and was featured at the TED Talks in Kansas City.  He will be speaking this Saturday Morning from 10:00-12:30pm in the Student Center.   I will be hosting the event with Dr. Ilardi leading it.  You will need to register at   If you would like to register for an 8 week Depression class based on Dr. Ilardi's work, you can register for that class at

The odds are you either have depression or you love someone who does.  I cannot overstate how important and helpful the information Dr. Ilardi has to share.  You can catch a short glimpse here. 

I hope to see as many of you as possible this Saturday morning.

This Thursday we will examine the parts where the Hurt Cycle and Habit Cycle speed up and start spiraling out of control.  Among other details, you will learn about the role of dopamine and how it impacts our behaviors.  We will also look at the practical tools that Jesus offers us to live forward instead of staying stuck.  I hope you can come along Thursday Night. (This week we will have our first FREE catered dinner beginning at 5:30. The meal will be: Beef enchilada casserole, refried beans, spanish rice, tossed green salad, tortilla chips, salsa, homemade churros and sopapillas..  Beginning October 10, catered meals will occur weekly.)

Dinner 5:30-6:30pm (Student Center in East Building)
Worship 6:30-7:20 pm (Student Center in East Building)
Small Groups 7:30-8:30pm (In Rooms Announced in Bulletins)

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Steven Blair

We are celebrating special needs awareness week at Resurrection today and tomorrow. We talked with Matthew's Ministry Program Director Jennifer Ross to get the inside scoop at what all will be happening during worship.

What special activities do we have planned in worship this weekend for special needs awareness week?

Matthew's Ministry participants will serve as greeters, pass out bulletins and in the VIBE service, a participant will read scripture.  Information about our programs and opportunities to serve will be available at the Connection Point as well as a display of new Sonflower Bakery products.

How excited do the children get to have the opportunity to read scripture in worship?

The participants (we refer to them as participants because they are from toddlers to older adults) love to be a part of the worship team.  Getting to sit on the chancel with Pastor Adam and the others and then to take the microphone and read brings them immeasurable joy.  Most love to serve and to be on stage.  They love sharing God's word.

What are some topics that parents can learn about in the upcoming six week parent support group?

On the first night, the speaker’s topic is:  Empowered Advocacy—Communicating with the School System What is Best for Your Child.

As part of the table discussion, we want them to share what they hope to get out of the group and what they would like Listen and Learn to offer.  As we receive feedback, this will help us formulate the future of Listen and Learn.  We will be using the feedback from the participants to help us with future planning.  We see Listen and Learn as the overall ministry and the parent support group as a part of it.

What additional activities do we have coming up at Resurrection for parents of children with special needs? 

Family Night Out on 9/28 is a respite evening for families (parents get a date night while their children are cared for in a loving and safe environment. Future dates: 10/26, 11/9  Weekly Bible studies for youth and adults, Sonflower Ringer Hand bell choirs, Scouting, and the Sonflower Adult learning program.

What are some fun ways volunteers can help out in the Matthews Ministry program?

Volunteers can help on Sundays in one of the Bible study groups as a peer mentor or leader, volunteers are always needed to successfully operate a Family Night Out event (there are a number of service opportunities available from serving as a buddy to a participant for the night to serving food), the Sonflower Adult Learning program always needs helping on baking on M,W and F as well as other activities daily.

Learn more information about Matthew's Ministry here.

We talked with Ginny Howell in missions about the upcoming Up to Serve Mission Fair. The event is a great way to learn more about the serving opportunities available through Resurrection Mission Ministries. You will have the opportunity to hear from ministry leaders about the ways Resurrection's ministries are changing lives and transforming communities. It takes place this Sunday at noon in the Narthex.

What is the purpose of this Sunday’s Up to Serve Mission Fair?

The purpose of the mission fair is to give people just a taste of different serving opportunities available. We have a variety of Beyond Kansas City, local mission and entry points serving opportunities.People can visit with leaders and sign up right there to serve. The whole point is for this to be a sampling of what our mission ministries have to offer.

What are some of the prizes people can win?

Each person will have a mission passport and as they visit different ministry tables and listen to short info sessions, their passport will be stamped after each session. People who get four or more stamps on their passport can turn that card in for a free water bottle or tote bag. With at least six stamps on their passport, they will also be entered into our grand prize drawing  to win one of three prizes: a deposit on an international mission trip ($300 value), a $50 scholarship for a youth mission trip or a chance for their family or small group to serve locally with pastor Adam.

What will the fair offer to families who want their children to be more involved in serving opportunities?

All of the children who come will get a kids mission packet which includes information about how KiDS COR engages kids in serving. There will also be information about mission trips for children and families along with some treats and fun stuff too. At each table, leaders can share information about family friendly serving and what ages are appropriate for specific serving opportunities. We want this to be a fun way  to help kids be aware of what all is going on in the church that they can be a part of.

Is there any additional information people need to know about this Sunday’s fair?

A really important thing to think about is that you can stay as long as you want; we understand that everyone has busy schedules and there is a lot going on at the church too. Confirmation kick-off is at 1:30, and families could join us for lunch after worship, visit a few info sessions and then easily head to the Student Center by 1:30. Even If you feel like you can only come for half an hour then we would still love to have you. We will have an easy, quick boxed lunch available and ministry tables will all be right in the Narthex.

Also, anybody who has been thinking about what it would be like to go on an international mission trip would have the opportunity to talk with leaders who have been to those countries and on several trips. Each of our BKC tables will have trip information and scholarship applications available.


Editor's Note: Check out the Up to Serve event this Sunday to learn more about many of the serving opportunities below.

By Linda Kozacek

As the shadows get longer while the days get shorter, it is easy to tell that fall is right around the corner.  Labor Day is now behind us, and our schools are in full swing.  With school supplies and uniforms successfully delivered to the schools, students have the tools to get the year off to a great start! The staff at each school is busy changing over to the Common Core Standards that have been adopted in Kansas and Missouri, and we are all busy seeing ways in which Resurrection can provide support for students and staff. Sign-ups have begun for tutors, bakers and helpers at large. We appreciate your willingness to help—we could not do this  ministry without a dedicated group of willing servants. Thank you.

Reading programs have also begun as we are working on a variety of ways to promote literacy.  We are excited to announce that author Jarrett Krosoczka visited each of our schools on Sept. 11-12 to get students excited about reading.  Jarrett, author of the Lunch Lady series of books, was the author that Scott Chrostek referenced in one of his summer sermons.  In addition to his presentation, each student was given a new copy of one of his books to take home that day. So much is happening—we are off to a great start.  Read below to see what is going on at each school and find out how you can plug in to this awesome mission that we are on!

Quindaro Elementary School

Liaison Linda Kozacek     ​

Quindaro is off to a busy start, and I need lots of hands to help with the work to be done.  Check out the list for ways to get involved. Most events are not until October, but I need names of interested people now to ensure each event is staffed. There are a variety of tasks, so pick one that suits your needs:

Are you participating in Sacred Steps? Be sure to look for us.  One of the Quindaro staff members coaches a girls track team made up of Quindaro students as well as students from other KCK schools.  16 of them will be running to help support the efforts in the Congo.  Resurrection members have sponsored them by paying their registration fee.  And now these dedicated runners have the chance to help someone else around the world with the gifts that they have—their legs.  Come cheer them on!!

Contact me with any questions.

Linda 913-400-3595

Welborn Elementary School:       

Liaison Ann Carter

Welborn News:



Ridgeview Elementary School

Liaison Jennifer Cutler

An exciting new project will launch Tuesday, September 10th ~ the Ridgeview Pre-School Academy. On the second Tuesday of every month, twenty 4-year-old siblings of Ridgeview kids, and their families, will be invited to dinner, and to participate in special Pre-School Academy activities that promote:

Other service opportunities at Ridgeview:

Read with Me, Lunch Buddies, or Pen Pals - Weekdays, 8:30 to 5:30

Thanksgiving Meals - November

Ridgeview Christmas Shop - December

Ridgeview Elementary, in Johnson County, is located less than 10 miles from Resurrection Leawood - but over 80% of Ridgeview students qualify for a subsidized lunch program, a commonly used federal proxy for poverty in the elementary grades. More than half the students are Hispanic, many receiving ELL (English Language Learner) and Title I Reading and Math services. Ridgeview children MUST succeed in school to break out of the poverty cycle. You will be richly blessed by sharing your gifts, talents and TIME with students at Ridgeview.

Heed God's calling ~ Ridgeview needs YOU.

Contact Jennifer at<> to get  plugged in!

Wendell Phillips Elementary School

Liaison Claire Jepson

August was a busy month for folks at Wendell Phillips as staff and volunteers prepared to begin school.  Cheryl Jorgensen and Mariam Fleming helped me deliver the wonderful abundance of school supplies to faculty and staff.  After the initial requests were delivered, we set up a supply bazaar where faculty and staff could browse and select items which would be helpful in the classrooms.  Hearing the “ohhhs” and “ahhhs” from the ladies as they picked out supplies made me think they were children in a candy store. Many thanks from Wendell Phillips folks for helping them begin the year with extra items to make life easier.

The other big August event was the Ice Cream Social that the church provided to families who attended the Back of School Open House.  As the temperature was hovering around 100 degrees folks really enjoyed the cookies and ice cream after visiting the classrooms.  We served over 180 folks qualifying the evening as a great success.  Many thanks to Miss Cheryl for helping me serve.

The Reading Log program also started up for the year the first week of school.  Students who read at least 100 minutes per week are rewarded with a new book courtesy of The Church of the Resurrection and a small snack such as a granola bar or Rice Krispy treat.  The first week we had 79 logs returned out of a student population of around 260 students.  Last week we had 103 logs returned!  Our Wendell Phillips students are readers! Starting in September students will receive Tiger Bucks (the school’s incentive program where students with positive actions earn “bucks” which can be redeemed for items from the school store) instead of the snack.  Principal Brown is excited to have our program dove tail into their behavior program for the benefit of the students.  I can’t wait to see how many readers we have this Friday.

With a new month starting we look forward to many more positive happenings at Wendell Phillips.  We always welcome tutors and volunteers.  Please consider joining us.

Claire Jepson

Troost Elementary School

Liaison Doug Harris

The 2012-13 and 2013-14 seemed to have blurred together at Troost!  After a busy June with the wonderful “Bless the School” refurbishing, July was busy with final touches and August with a whirlwind of back-to-school activities.  Resurrection sponsored a day of professional development for the Troost staff as the principal met with staff members and began planning for the new year.  Teachers were each given a box of student and classroom supplies to start the year with pencils, crayons, markers, glue, etc.  We then supported “Back-to-School / Meet-the-Teacher Night” by passing out free books and backpacks to students, and serving ice cream to the whole family!  After the first week of school, students in grades K-6 were provided with two free books to celebrate the start of a great new year!  At the end of August, all students who had been at school every day, on time, were surprised with an ice cream treat as we work on increasing our daily attendance rate.

As we move into September we are placing volunteers with classroom teachers, hoping to provide each teacher with classroom support and working with small groups and individual students.  A birthday bulletin board recognizes the students who are celebrating birthdays each month.  Resurrection is sponsoring a visit by children's book author Jarrett Kroscozka this month as we support the school's literacy program.  Another exciting activity anxiously awaited by the students is the construction of new playground equipment!  Scheduled for the latter part of September, children of all ages—plus the neighborhood—are pleased to soon have an inviting playground for recess time, after school, and weekend fun.  A community picnic was held in July on the site to share the news and help develop community support.

Wheatley Elementary School

Liaison Ann Hays

The students at Wheatley School started classes on August 12. They are quickly adjusting to their new teachers and the school schedule.

Wheatley recently received the results of the April MAP testing and is happy to report an increase in test scores for the first time in 4 years.  They have put several new programs in place to help students improve in both reading and math.  One of the programs the church started last year was the reading incentive program where the students read 100 minutes per week and get a free book.  We plan to continue the program starting in September.

All of our partner schools will receive a visit on September 11 or 12 from Jarrett Krosoczka, author of many children’s books including The Lunch Lady superhero series (mentioned by Scott Crosteck in one of his Super Hero sermons).  Each student will receive one of his books thanks to the Church of the Resurrection.

We need several small groups to volunteer to be Room Buddies for some of the classrooms as well as tutors to read with students (especially those in Kindergarten).  Please contact Ann Hays at for details.  We want to make it as easy on the groups as possible to help.  You will make a difference in the lives of the Wheatley students!



We talked with Re:Work director Matt Williams. Re:Work is a new Resurrection program designed for people in their 20's and 30's wanting to explore the intersection of their faith and their work.

What is Re:Work?

Matt: Re:Work is a new group for people in their 20’s and 30’s trying to explore how their faith impacts their work. Work is something that everybody has to do and is the fabric of our society. We spend half of our lives doing it. It isn’t always easy to figure out how our faith interacts with our work life. The reality is work isn’t always fun or easy. It’s trying to figure out what God says about work and not just what our culture says about it.

Talk about the format of the Tuesday class?

Matt: Every Tuesday through Advent we will be meeting from 6:45 until 8:15 in room 221 in the East building. There is going to be three main parts to every week. Part one is when we will have time to hang out at the beginning and meet some people. Part two will be the content portion of the night. Sometimes we will watch a TED talk video and other times I will teach. We will invite in speakers. We might also do interviews or panel discussions so we will mix it up. Part three is where we will be able to break out into smaller groups to talk about the topic of the night. To try to figure out not only what the message means but how to apply it.

How important is the community part of this group?

Matt: We are all wired to be apart of a community. Even the introverts, and I have a lot of that in me. We were made to connect with other people. There is something really powerful to connecting with like minded people and creating this safe and trusted environment where you can be yourself, take your mask off and be vulnerable. Open yourself up to friends and have meaningful relationships.

The community aspect is the main goal of this program. We want to live out our church’s mission where people from all backgrounds are becoming deeply committed Christians. There is something empowering to know that there are other people out there who want their faith to encourage their work. Whether we love our job or hate our job, there are people who can help us understand how our faith interacts with our work and how what we do can glorify God to the best of our abilities.

Can anybody attend this program?

Matt: This program lives into our churches mission where non religious and nominally religious people can grow in their faith and this is a place for them. There is no membership requirements. You don’t even have to go to church. You don’t even have to be a Christian. We aren’t going to hide the fact that we are a church. We believe that faith in Christ can be transforming in your life but at the same time it is going to be a welcoming environment for anybody who wants to explore what it means to grow spiritually.

Learn more at


Listen to last week's Live Forward audio message here.

Hello everyone!   Last Thursday, 190 people came to Live Forward!  A number of you have already shared your positive experiences with me.  One person shared that Healing Hurts Class gave them a chance to talk more openly about their struggle rather than their spouse's struggles.  One man shared how the SMART Recovery class was a great compliment to the excellent 12 Step experience he has also received here at Resurrection.  31 people attended the Essentials Class and engaged that week's topic of Boundaries which related equally to people who were stuck in Hurts or Habits.

It was a great first Thursday, but it is only one Thursday.  This week, we are doing it all again.

Whatever you find yourself stuck in, this program can help you Live Forward.

This week's message will specifically address the Impaired Thinking that allows us to get really stuck.   Impaired Thinking can include the ways we overcompensate for our negative self beliefs, hide from them, or are motivated to create other faulty beliefs.   Some forms of these faulty beliefs can be found on this list of Cognitive Distortions, compiled by Aaron Beck and David Burns PhD's.  We are going to look closer at a few of the items on this list in Thursday's message and then examine how trusting in Jesus' words about us can create a different path forward.  If we knew that we were loved and, in Jesus' opinion, worth dying for, what difference would that make on our daily, run of the mill thoughts?

I would like to encourage you to look through the link above and identify which distortions, if any, you tend to practice.  I am looking forward to seeing you all this Thursday Night.

* Note the changes for this week only

Dinner 5:30-6:30pm (*Wesley Chapel in East Building)
Worship 6:30-7:20 pm (*Wesley Chapel in East Building)
Small Groups 7:30-8:30pm (In Rooms Announced in Bulletins)

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Steven Blair