Arise and Shine: Annual Theme 2023-24

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and His glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” Isaiah 60:1-3

It’s time to Arise and Shine!

As followers of Jesus, we know firsthand the joy, peace and fullness of life found in Him.

Yet as we look around our world, country and communities, we see brokenness, pain and confusion, and we experience it ourselves.

God’s answer to these troubles has always been the same — Jesus.

In Jesus we are forgiven. In Jesus we are restored. In Jesus we find new life full of joy and peace. In Jesus we find meaning and purpose. In Jesus all things will be made new! That is why God birthed His Church, so those who follow Him experience His love together in community and share Jesus with the world.

In the book of Acts, we find what it looked like for those in the early Church to Arise and Shine. As they modeled God’s love with each other and shared His love with others, lives were touched and communities deeply impacted. Over the next two thousand years, this movement of God’s extravagant love spread across the world, and stories of transformation can now be told in every nation. But it can be difficult to understand how to live in today’s world as Christ-followers, what difference we can make and where to even begin. It’s sometimes confusing, frustrating and heartbreaking.

2,700 years ago, the prophet Isaiah was given life-changing words for the people of Israel who were facing huge challenges in their world. These words provided hope and spoke of the calling upon God’s people to Arise and Shine. Through the birth of Jesus and the gift of His Holy Spirit, this calling is now possible for all of us. Amid these confusing times, we must unite and Arise and allow our world to encounter God’s glory through our words, actions and the wonders He accomplishes as we Shine!

We’re embarking on a yearlong journey to discover what being Church in today’s culture means by traveling alongside the early New Testament Christians. Our sermon series will tie into the themes found in the Book of Acts.

This year, we’ll learn:
• How to arise and re-engage in Christian community for support, encouragement and personal transformation.
• How to be people of integrity as we shine in a world that embraces different values.
• How to rely on the Holy Spirit as we arise to share Jesus with others.
• How to receive strength and care from Jesus as we live for Him.
• How we are called to shine brightly and radiate truth with grace and humility.

What’s Upcoming!
Check out our website for our ongoing ministry events, care activities and groups for youth, young adults, young professionals, men, women, those with special needs and more!

Arise and Shine Catalytic Events

This year, we also have new “catalytic events” focused on strengthening and equipping us. They include:

*NEW!!* Monthly Prayer Meetings
o Throughout Scripture we see God respond to the prayers of His people. With so many challenges in our world, we have a lot to pray for — knowing God will respond as we pray.
*NEW!!* How to Share Your Testimony Seminar
o Our personal story of how we came to know Christ is one of the most powerful tools to share Jesus with others. Come and learn how to share your testimony with ease.
*NEW!!* How to Share the Gospel Seminar
o As followers of Jesus, we’re called to share the Gospel with our neighbors, coworkers, friends and family. But how do we do it? This seminar will provide answers!
*NEW!!* Conversations About Jesus, Sex and Gender
o Join us for a 12-week class on God's design for sexuality and gender. This series is a powerful catalyst for healthy and meaningful conversations about sex, sexuality and gender. This class is ideal for parents with children of any age or individuals interested in exploring this topic further.
*NEW!!* Financial Stewardship Event
o Jesus came to restore and redeem a broken world. The practice of biblical stewardship (how to budget, get out of debt, save and give generously) is an essential part of that redemption.
*NEW!!* Marriage Conference
o Marriages are under increasing pressure. We want to help couples protect and strengthen their marriage, which helps strengthen families, our communities and His Church.
*NEW!!* Happy Hearts Lunch
o This is an inspiring lunch gathering for individuals with special needs and their families, as well as the wider special needs community in our region.

• Trunk or Treat/Fall Festivals
• Women’s Advent Breakfast
• Spiritual Gifts Assessment
• IF Gathering (Women’s Conference)
• Youth Retreat and Missions Trips
• Men’s Breakfast
• Church in Action (Missions) Week
• Summer Kids Camp
• Men’s Thanksgiving Dinner
• And More — See our website and get plugged in!

Dates, times and locations for all events can be found on our website at walnuthillcc.org/events.