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Hi Family!

My name is Jeff. I was born in Arizona, but raised in Wheaton (a suburb about 40 minutes from Chicago). I lived there all my life. When it came time for college, I finally moved out of my parent’s house… traveled 5 minutes away, and went to Wheaton College.

For undergrad, I double majored in Biology and Biblical and Theological studies. That was the time when the Lord grew my desire to care for people through holistic healing. By the end of my freshman year, I really felt called to medical missions. During my junior year, I met Gracie through Anatomy and Physiology class. We were study buddies, and after realizing that we had similar passions in life, we starting dating and eventually got married in June 2007.

Between then and now, I got my master’s in Intercultural Studies (also at Wheaton) and I am currently a medical student at University of Illinois at Chicago (I’m slowly leaving Wheaton). For now, being a student is my main vocation. Being a third year medical student (or an M3), I am mostly done with the grueling book work and now I spend most of my time in the hospital. Each week is different, but for the next two years, I will be going to different units/departments in the hospital to learn and grow as much as I can.

My desire is to care for people by healing holistically like Jesus did- that means providing physical, emotional, and spiritual care. Jesus would meet people in their felt area of need but would inevitably and graciously care for every part of their humanity. I actually think that for him it would be a contradiction in terms to try to compartmentalize human experience the way we do. This is evident in that throughout the Bible, being ‘saved’ often is referring to a physical redemption in addition to our spiritual one. By his wounds we are healed… holistically. Ultimately, we will not experience this in its fullness until Christ’s return and our bodily resurrection, but it is a joy to be used in some small way to proclaim Christ’s kingdom today on earth as it is in heaven. I praise God that my profession is temporary and but a dim reflection of what healing the Great physician will and is bringing!

But that’s abstract (I like this stuff and would love to talk with you about a theology of Healing), what does that mean for me now? I thrive on the academic, mental side of medicine, but I also I love praying with my patients and encourage them with Scripture. It means I see and direct patients to see God’s providential hand in ‘scientific medicine’ (as if this is somehow not God’s work) as well as trust and pray for healing that we can not explain through ‘science’. Furthermore, I often wondered how my passion for music fits into all of this. I often think of how David would play his harp for Saul and the evil spirit would leave. Music has a power for healing that is remarkable. I have begun to sing often with my patients. One sweet old man recently asked me to sing ‘The Old Rugged Cross’ with him. So I printed out the verses, and there in his room, we sung the hymn at the top of our lungs. It brought joy and healing to both of us.

I also try to share Jesus with my classmates and those I work with in the hospital. The Lord has given me some opportunities to share the Gospel. It is not always easy though. For many people in the medical profession, faith in God is ‘unscientific’ and is often times considered to be offensive. Please pray for boldness for me as I try to minister with those the Lord has placed in my life through words and actions! I want to point people to the Great Physician and bring Him glory!

After medical school is residency, which could be 3-5 years, depending on what I decide to practice. So far, I’m leaning toward becoming a family practice physician. As for the long term future, our hearts are for the poor and orphaned, but Gracie and I do not know exactly what/where the Lord has for us. We are just open and willing to go where He wants us to go. We feel called to long term medical missions work and have spent time doing this in Tanzania, China, and Pakistan. We are excited for the doors that are opened through our medical professions practicing in a context where people have not heard Jesus’ beautiful name. We hope to testify to the holistic healing the Gospel brings through word, deed and sign. Medicine cannot be simply reduced to means to an end, but nor is it sufficient in itself. We all will die, but our prayer is that in Christ many will truly live, forever!

Well, I guess that’s all for now. Feel free to write back with thoughts or questions. Thanks for your time!

Peace of Christ,

Jeff

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One Book, One Chicago

Inaugurated in the fall of 2001, the One Book, One Chicagoprogram is launched each spring and fall to cultivate a culture of reading and discussion in Chicago by bringing our diverse city together around one great book. Reading great literature provokes us to think about ourselves, our environment and our relationships. Talking about great literature with friends, families and neighbors often adds richness and depth to the experience of reading.

The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City
Fall 2009

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In celebration of Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett’s bold vision for our city and region, the Chicago Public Library has selected Carl Smith’s The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City for its award-winning program, One Book, One Chicago.

One Book, One Chicago encourages all Chicagoans to read the same book at the same time, offering events, discussions, exhibits and more to enhance the experience. Carl Smith’s remarkable and engaging book will bring people together to learn about our city’s past and to contemplate its future.

The following community discussions based on the book will be happening in the UIC Area:

Tuesday, October 13, 6:00 p.m.
Roosevelt Branch
1101 W. Taylor St.
(312) 746-5656

Wednesday, October 28, 7:00 p.m.
Lozano Branch
1805 S. Loomis St.
(312) 746-4329

If you haven’t signed up yet for Dinners for 8 and would like to, email Minh at minners13@yahoo.com by this Wednesday!

We’re getting rid of the tables and chairs at The Meeting Place! Anybody want them? Email info@immanuel-baptist.net to claim them and you can take them home this Sunday…

Hi there Immanuel!

Anne-Marie here – I’ve been a member of Immanuel for two years, and you may have noticed me gathering the garbage after Sunday services as that seems to be my Sabbath vocation. J My current day job, however, is located in the Loop where I serve as a Product Manager for Apartments.com. This means that I handle all contracts, email communication, and Microsoft reporting aspects for several of the online products that we offer on our site. At first glance mine appears the consummate desk job – sitting in a cubicle in front of two large monitors helping people with money make more money. But I am thankful that in a small way I can be a part of providing economically-priced housing for people, especially during the current crisis. And I am so grateful that the Lord has used me even behind a desk!

As an English major, I originally envisioned myself working for Tyndale Publishing or Christianity Today. But my desire to form relationships with non-Christians (and for a paycheck!) led me to the corporate world, where God has given me multiple friendships that have humbled me deeply, challenged and encouraged me greatly, and afforded me many opportunities to share my faith! The average age at our company of 1500 is thirty – and that’s because the age of the CEOs drive it up! So I am in daily contact with men and women in periods of great transition, many of whom seem ill-equipped by our consumerist culture to even ask themselves for what purpose they are living. I am thankful that God has opened doors many times over a shared lunch hour and during weekend activities for me to turn the conversation towards spiritual questions. And when words fail and reasoning is insufficient, I have the opportunity to show compassion and support through sitting with my friends in silence. Areas in which I have been especially stretched include: rooting my witness in my personal knowledge and understanding of the Lord, rather than a theological approach; humbly – at least, that’s the idea – accepting rebuke from non-Christians; being faithful in menial tasks and taking pride in my work; and constantly turning to the Lord for my satisfaction instead of seeking comfort in the tangible things that I see my co-workers enjoying.

While I believe that God has me where I am now for his purpose, he is also leading me to prepare for a future vocation. The summers that I turned twenty and twenty-four I spent working as a nurse assistant in nursing homes overseas. There were indeed parts of this job that were difficult; difficult enough to send some people fleeing after the first day of orientation. But these were in many ways the most formative months of my life, and what has inspired me to begin my pre-requisites for nursing school. It was while serving on such a basic level the elderly who could not hide their weakness that I first began to truly understand that to be human is to be dependent upon the Lord. I spent every day among people grappling with the reality that although they had perhaps been successful in many areas of life, there was one in which they would be ultimately defeated. Some were angry; some were depressed. Some were very alone and obviously consumed with regret over past decisions or bitterness over unhealed wounds. Despite all this, I found, too, such real beauty, wisdom that had been gained, and such patience and faithfulness that could only be the result of a long, examined life lived in the reality of human limitation. One ninety-eight-year-old friend said once, “There have been so many times in my life when I have said to God – you mustn’t do this, and you mustn’t do that, for it will result in suffering and tragedy. But then, He does it anyway. And it is so good.” Coming from someone who saw the tapestry of her life woven almost to completion – that carried a lot of weight! When I asked another friend of mine if it was hard to be old, she responded, “Oh, no. It is so good to rest. So good to rest.” I am so amazed at the Lord’s wisdom in building in this period of life. I have seen that it is one of painful and frustrating physical and mental decline. But I have also seen that for many, it is a time when – forced to acknowledge their fundamental weakness – they first understand their need for a Savior. And I also believe that it is for those who know him a time when they may rest in the nearness and constancy of the Lord, and a time when they may see the face of Christ in a way that many of us have not – for Jesus also truly understood that he would die. He told us that the kingdom of heaven belongs to the poor in spirit, and I am so grateful that I have had and will have again the opportunity to exercise compassion and learn humility through serving some of the humblest of his children.

Please keep me in prayer as I continue my pre-reqs for nursing school. Science has never been my gifting! Please also pray for me as I research programs, that I would hear, follow, and be at peace with the Lord’s leading. Thank you so much for reading!

Peace in the Lord,

Anne-Marie

Three ways you can be involved:

(1) You can join others from Immanuel at the Stop Child Trafficking Now walk at North ParkUniversity this Saturday (September 26th). Register under “ImmanuelBaptistChurch” here.

(2) You can pledge to support one of the walkers here.

(3) You can pray. The Salvation Army, the Initiative Against Sexual Trafficking, and the Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking are observing the 4th Annual International Weekend of Prayer and Fasting for Victims of Sexual Trafficking September 26-27.

Sign-ups are beginning for October Dinners for Eight!

Are you new to Immanuel and looking for another avenue to get to know others from the church?

Or have you been here awhile and don’t know as many people as you would like?

Or maybe you know everyone but want to socialize outside of church?

Or are you just looking for a good meal with some awesome church folks?

Dinners for Eight is a great opportunity for all of the above!!!

Sign-up before/during/after Sunday service on the fridge

Sign-ups will be going for 2 more Sundays until the end of the month

We’re also looking for hosts to open up their homes!

Note – these meals are designed to be potluck-style so if you’re wanting to host

but are worried about cooking a huge meal all by yourself,

don’t worry about it! Everyone’s chipping in to cook.

If you’re able and willing, please make a note of it on the sign-up sheet.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Minh: minners13@yahoo.com

My name is Tricia and I am currently working as the bookkeeper for The Ancona School. Located just blocks from President Obama’s home in Hyde Park, The Ancona School is a Pre-K through 8th grade Montessori school. Bookkeeping involves keeping a paper trail of all money coming in and going out of the company. To be a good bookkeeper, one must be very organized and focus on details. I really enjoy my job and am amazed that I have this vocation. I never dreamed that I would be in this position because I never intended to have a career.

I grew up in a small town in south Texas. After graduating from high school, the Lord told me that I had to leave. I would have been glad to just stay at home with my parents. So with must fear and trembling, I walked through the open door that he provided – BibleCollege in Dallas. There I began to learn that He was the Potter and I am the clay. He uses the everyday things of our lives to make us into vessels of His choosing.

Once I married my husband, Kevin, the adventure really began. I have learned to expect some sort of change about every 5-6 years. This has caused me to continually turn to the Lord. As I look back I can see how much He has changed me along the way by putting me in situations I would never have chosen for myself.

After graduating from Bible College, we moved from Dallas to Atlanta to be part of a church plant. There I found a job as a part-time bank teller until our first child arrived. We had planned to wait a while to have children – at least until we had saved enough money to buy a house. But God had other plans. So I became a mother and began the process of learning how to be a mother. Sixteen months later, our second un-planned child arrived and Kevin went back to school. This was definitely a time of stretching – a time to say once again, “Lord, have your way. Do with me what you want.”

After years of being a stay-at-home mom, while home schooling our three children, we had an opportunity to help start a Christian school. Kevin had wanted to return to teaching so we gladly moved to Waco, TX. I was offered the position of school secretary and so I took it even though I didn’t really know much about being a school secretary. The first year I learned how to relate to parents, teachers, and prospective families. It also involved learning the school computer software, publishing a weekly newsletter, and keeping track of all student records. Sometime after the second year of school began, I was told that the school board wanted to bring the bookkeeping, which had been done by an outside person, in house. Somehow I ended up getting that work also! The CPA that worked with the school was very patient and taught me the ins-and-outs of bookkeeping.

After being the high school principal for 6 years, Kevin felt that it was time to do something different since our kids were in college or beyond, and things at the school were going well. I realized that God was going to stretch me once again. Sure enough, the Lord opened a door for us work with inner city students at a school in Chicago. So we left our comfortable small-town life and moved to the city. It took some adjustment, but when you know you are following the Potter – what does that matter??

So here I am – the bookkeeper at a secular school, surrounded by a very diverse group of people. We have teachers and parents that are Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Christian. These include people from Africa, Korea, China, India, and Russia, to name a few. All walks of life are accepted including gays and lesbians. Did I plan on being here? I had no idea. But God did and He is still molding and making me into a vessel of His choosing. And so I pray that I will be a light in the midst of all this. But I also wonder – what will be next?? I’m only 51 – there is time for much more!

This week all of our small groups are re-launching and will be going through the book of Galatians!

As we start a new season, we’re asking everyone to make a committment to a specific group and be intentional about coming every week.  Out of courtesy, if there’s a week you can’t make it, please let the leader know ahead of time (call, text, email). 

If you want to get some background and intro for the book, see below:

 

Historical Setting of the Letter to the Galatians

 

The apostle Paul was a church-planting missionary. After he planted a church and left a region, he continued to supervise new congregations through his letters. One of these letters is this Epistle to the Christian churches in the area of Galatia in Asia Minor. Most scholars agree that this letter was written by Paul around 50 A.D. (only 15-20 years after the death of Christ). It is helpful to recognize the following three things from the historical setting which will help us understand this epistle:

 

• This letter addresses a social and racial division in the churches of Galatia.  The first Christians in Jerusalem were Jewish, but as the gospel spread out from that center, increasing numbers of Gentiles began to receive Christ.  However, a group of teachers in Galatia were now insisting that the Gentile Christians practice all the traditional Mosaic ceremonial customs as the Jewish Christians did. They taught that the Gentiles had to observe all the dietary laws and be circumcised for full acceptance and to be completely pleasing to God.

 

• Although this specific controversy may seem remote to us today, Paul addressed it with an abiding, all-important truth. He taught that the cultural divisions and disunity in the Galatian churches were due to a confusion about the nature of the gospel. By insisting on Christ-plus-anything-else as requirement for full acceptance by God, these teachers were presenting a whole different way of relating to God (a “different gospel” 1:6) from the one Paul had given them (“the gospel I preached” 1:8). It is this different gospel that was creating the cultural division and strife. Paul forcefully and unapologetically fought the “different gospel” because to lose one’s grip of the true gospel is to desert and lose Christ himself (1:6). Therefore, everything was at stake in this debate.

 

• The most obvious fact about the historical setting is often the most overlooked. In the letter to the Galatians, Paul expounds in detail what the gospel is and how it works. But the intended audience of this exposition of

the gospel are all professing Christians. It is not simply non-Christians, but believers who continually relearn and reapply the gospel to their lives.

 

 

The Abiding Importance of the Gospel

 

It is very common in Christian circles to assume that “the gospel” is something just for non-Christians. We presume that the gospel is a set of basic “A-B-C” doctrines that Christians do not need to hear or study once they are converted.  Rather, they should move beyond the gospel to more “advanced” doctrines.  But the great declaration of the gospel of grace in Galatians was written to believers who did not see the implications of the gospel for life-issues confronting them. Paul solves the disunity and racial exclusivity not with a simple exhortation to “be better Christians.” but by calling them to live out the implications of the gospel. So Christians need the gospel as much as non-Christians do.  Their problems come because they tend to lose and forget the gospel. They make progress only as they continually grasp and apply the gospel in deeper ways.

 

The gospel shows us that our spiritual problem lies not only in failing to obey God, but also in relying on our obedience to make us fully acceptable to God, ourselves and others. Every kind of character flaw comes from this natural impulse to be our own savior through our performance and achievement. On the one hand, proud and disdainful personalities come from basing your identity on your performance and thinking you are succeeding. But on the other hand, discouraged and self-loathing personalities also come from basing your identity on your performance and thinking you are failing.

 

Belief in the gospel is not just the way to enter the kingdom of God; it is the way to address every obstacle and grow in every aspect. The gospel is not just the “ABCs” but the “A-to-Z” of the Christian life. The gospel is the way that anything is renewed and transformed by Christ — whether a heart, a relationship, a church, or a community. All our problems come from a lack of orientation to the gospel. Put positively, the gospel transforms our hearts, our thinking and our approach to absolutely everything.

 

The gospel of justifying faith means that while Christians are, in themselves still sinful and sinning, yet in Christ, in God’s sight, they are accepted and righteous.  So we can say that we are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope — at the very same time. This creates a radical new dynamic for personal growth. It means that the more you see your own flaws and sins, the more precious, electrifying, and amazing God’s grace appears to you. But on the other hand, the more aware you are of God’s grace and acceptance in Christ, the more able you are to drop your denials and self-defenses and admit the true dimensions and character of your sin.

 

This also creates a radical new dynamic for discipline and obedience. First, the knowledge of our acceptance in Christ makes it easier to admit we are flawed because we know we won’t be cast off if we confess the true depths of our sinfulness. Second, it makes the law of God a thing of beauty instead of a burden. We can use it to delight and imitate the one who has saved us rather than to get his attention or procure his favor. We now run the race “for the joy that is set before us” rather than “for the fear that comes behind us.”

Copyright © Timothy J. Keller, and Redeemer Presbyterian Church 2003

Hi! My name is Katy and I have attended Immanuel for about 2 years. I grew up in ‘The Sooner State’ – Oklahoma, went to the University of Oklahoma – Go SOONERS! – where I met my husband, Chip, when we were both members of the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band. After graduating, I married and moved to Louisville, KY, where Chip was living and attending seminary. Two years later we moved to Chicago and we currently reside in Hyde Park with our dog, Kalbi. We ended up here because my husband is attending graduate school at the University of Chicago (you may remember reading his vocation vignette about studying ancient languages J).

Like everyone, I have many vocations: wife, daughter, sister, and friend. At the moment my paid vocation is as an International Student Adviser at UofC. As many of you may know, I have a degree in Elementary Education, so the fact that I am in this present vocation might seem out of place. Not long after we moved to Chicago the Lord made it clear to me that although I had been teaching for the previous 2 years it was time to consider different employment. With that in mind, I applied to work as a temporary employee at the University and my first assignment was in the Office of International Affairs. Through this assignment I came to realize that God had blessed me with many gifts that could be of use in this office for longer than my temporary assignment. Fortunately, the office posted a full-time adviser position while I was there and I was offered the job. That was nearly three years ago. Some days I struggle with the reality that I am not an elementary teacher to which I felt called for many years, but continue to have faith that in the not so distant future the Lord will make a way for me to use the training that I have received in some way or another.

The title – International Student Adviser – seems to be used to describe a variety of jobs at universities throughout the country. At the University of Chicago, in a nutshell, it means that I advise international students with student visas regarding all aspects of their immigration – from getting their visas in their home country to working in the U.S. after they graduate and everything in between. If it has to do with their immigration, and they are one of my advisees, then they come to me for assistance. Of course, this does not exclude students from coming to me to ask for assistance with any number of issues, but the ones that I am most apt to be able to assist with are in regard to their immigration.

We have approximately 2800 international students (roughly 18% of the student body) representing over 100 countries enrolled on-campus. If you have ever spent much time in Hyde Park, this diversity is something that immediately stands out. There are 4 student advisers in our office, so we each advise about 700 students. Due to the large numbers, it is extremely difficult to get to know the students on much of a personal level. This could be looked upon as a negative, but I like to think of it as an opportunity to touch more people.

My job is service-oriented at its core. Generally speaking, I do not see or hear from a student until they have a question or concern related to their immigration. At times this can get overwhelming, since everyone that contacts me needs something, and often times they needed it yesterday due to lack of planning. But instead of getting frustrated or angered by their poor planning, I strive to provide them excellent service to make their lives here in a foreign country away from their families a little easier. Not to mention the fact that their primary focus here in the U.S. is to attend school and the easier that I can make their immigration issues, hopefully the more they can focus on school. As the Lord shows grace to us daily, it seems the least I can do is show grace to the students that I serve.

Leviticus 19:33-34 commands: “When a stranger (read: resident alien) resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.”

Although, my students normally seek me out when they are in need of something, they are extremely grateful for that service. No other group with which I have worked is as appreciative as the international students I have served for the last three years: they regularly show their appreciation, even if they are not always being told what they would like to hear.

Many times the things I do for them take me very little time, but mean a great deal to them. For example, I have helped countless individuals be able to bring a dependent (spouse or child) to the U.S. to stay with them for the duration of their studies or I have aided students in obtaining U.S. work authorization to accept a job offer. Because of their appreciation, it is very easy to slip into a self-serving attitude; thinking that if I help this student in an efficient manner then I will be rewarded by their response to my service. This is something that is certainly a struggle, but it is my daily prayer that the Lord receives all the glory, honor, and praise for my work.

A verse that has proven to be a great reminder for me to daily live out of the gospel in my particular vocation is the following:

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than your selves” (Philippians 2:3).

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments.

From @immanuelchicago on Twitter

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