Thursday, December 31, 2009

Including God In Our Plans For 2010

Years ago I was told "If you fail to plan you plan to fail." From the perspective of getting something done successfully, planning is important. The bigger the project, the greater the task of planning.

But deciding what we are planning to do is perhaps more important. Some of the best advice I ever received was "Do the right thing." Now that advice covers a lot of "how" I should behave - it also touches on "what" I should do.

What are the "right things" that we should do in 2010?

There is a part of me that is a "driver." You know, "Lead, follow or get out of the way!" That part of me was from the old school of "There are those who make things happen, there are those who watch things happen and there are those who wonder what happened."

Notice that it sounds like a lot of "me" "making" "things happen?" That driver approach grates on others who wait for God to show them what things "He wants" to "happen." They have a point. The apostle James writes:
"Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."(James 4:13-17, NIV)
Probably there are some who go to the other extreme and sit on their hands unless God yells at them to do something. That has not usually been my problem. Three lessons for me from this passage of James are:

1. It works best when I am listening and looking for God's leading me to do what He wants done.

2. What God wants is sometimes revealed by just "doing the right thing" or as James said, "knows the good he ought to do." Funny, but the more I do the right thing, the more opportunities seem to emerge.

3. James doesn't diss those who are "drivers" or "planners" or, as some might view them, "control freaks" - as long as we are submitting to God, not just seeking our own wills or becoming proud and boastful about our plans and goals.

I used to work with a pastor who had a great sense of timing. I remember discussing with him a problem that was emerging and often he would say, "Let's pray about that and ask God to make it clear what we should do."

Generally a week or two later something would happen that enabled us to address the issue in a way that could bring resolution. It seems to me that James is saying that working with and for the Lord takes both the willingness to listen and to act.

I am excited about 2010. We are becoming engaged with feeding, clothing, housing, visiting, equipping and even getting jobs for the poor. We learning how to share the good news of Jesus Christ with people. We have been working with a great group of people to sponsor and support activities that give young people and families the chance to network and build friendships outside of their local congregations. We're printing and getting ready for Web distribution the first of a series of booklets that congregations can use for discipling and evangelism.

God willing, we will have a great experience in 2010 following the lead of Jesus Christ and making things happen that God wants done.
Thanks to so many of you who have opened doors for us, created opportunities, provided financial support for the outreach to our community and shared your gifts and talents by working along side of us.


Guy Swenson - or 317-707-5026

Monday, December 21, 2009

Connecting Kids to Christ

One of my biggest joys each month is doing our kid's camp in "the neighborhood." We work in a poor neighborhood nicknamed "Stringtown" near downtown Indianapolis that our congregation adopted this past summer our congregation during our annual "Camp Outreach."

This past Sabbath we had 42 people - 29 kids and 13 adults - experience the Biblical account of the last two days of creation in story, crafts and activities. For many, our kid's camp is their first encounter with God, Jesus and the Bible. For others, their parents appreciate the chance to reinforce sound teaching with their children in a loving environment.

One mother whose kids attended our "First Outreach" during the summer just heard about our monthly kid's camp. She loved the experience then and not only did she bring her 5 year old daughter, she brought her 2 year old son and she stayed for the whole time.

Next month we begin a new series on "Super" Heroes of the Bible. We are learning how to connect with these children and families. It has become an enriching experience for all of us.

Guy Swenson

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Turning a Blessing Into Thanksgiving

Most who read this know that our little congregation helps out in an inner city neighborhood. One of the men we work with lives in a home he inherited from his father. He has been marginally employed for years and his house has slowly fallen into disrepair. He has volunteered his trade skills in helping others in the neighborhood, so when we heard that his toilet bowl was broken, and had been for a long time, we bought one and gave it to him.

It cost about $60. Then for a couple of days my friend didn't show up for work projects. It was like he disappeared.

What he was doing was fixing the bathroom, cleaning up his house and for the first time in years, my friend hosted Thanksgiving at his house for his sister and family. They brought the food - he provided the place.

Having a pretty much busted toilet was something he could tolerate, but he was ashamed to have his family over.

Ever notice how one little thing after another can add up and can become overwhelming? Sometimes receiving a little blessing ignites hope - and a little hope shines brightly in a darkened world.

In this case, a little blessing turned into Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Children's Ministry This Week

On Sabbath, November 21 we will be conducting our monthly children's ministry at Ana's House (The Lord's Pantry), 303 N. Elder Street, Indianapolis, IN. Setup is at 1:00 PM and the kids will be there from 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM.

In September we had 26 children attend and last month we had 39 kids come. We're going through the days of creation and it is a lot of fun to see young minds beginning to learn about the loving Father in Heaven and Jesus His Son. Many of these children have had no experience with the Bible.

Call or email if you need more information!

Guy Swenson

Friday, October 30, 2009

We have had a busy week and are looking forward to the Sabbath. From the beginning, God intended for His people to focus both on work and take time to rest. We participate in the Sabbath when we cease from our labors - and take time to enjoy our family, our friends and share time together focusing on God our Father and Jesus Christ.

We will be meeting at the MTC office location at 2:30 PM on October 31. This week we're exploring the experience of doing good for others - and having them kick you in the teeth. It is a challenging experience about which the Apostle Peter had something to say.

Guy Swenson
317-707-5026 or

Friday, October 23, 2009

Traveling Sabbath

This Sabbath, October 24, members of our congregation are visiting sister churches and those of other denominations. No Common Ground services will be held in Indianapolis this week.

Over the next several weeks will be preparing for our next "Kids Camp" outreach, scheduled on 11/19. Last time we had 39 kids from the westside neighborhood. If you are looking for a ministry opportunity with children, contact Keri Seelig at or 317-707-5026.

Guy Swenson

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mission to Children in Indianapolis

We've returned from our annual church festival celebrating the prospect of the return of Jesus Christ as King of Kings and the time pictured in Ezekiel 37 of all people who never knew of Jesus being resurrected and given the opportunity to become a servant of God.

This Sabbath, October 17th, our local congregation will have its meeting at the Lord's Pantry at Anna's House in Indianapolis. We will be working with neighborhood children with our "First Outreach" program. We really enjoy spending time with these fine young people.

We've also been in touch with Lemuel Vega, who has a remarkable prison ministry. Through a pastoral friend with the Seventh Day Adventists, I was invited to work with Lemuel at the Plainfield, IN correctional facility this summer. We preached to about 1,000 offendors over a period of three days. Remembering prisoners and helping them to find the way to become free in Christ is something that Jesus preached. Lemuel has a need for financial support and participation in his meetings with prisoners. Contact me if you have an interest in Lemuel's ministry.

For more information, contact me at 317-707-5026 or

Guy Swenson

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

We are into the fall festival season. Our local group will enjoy our Sabbath study, songs and snacks at 2:30 PM on September 26th at the MTC office, 7545 Rockville Road. We celebrate the Day of Atonement on Monday, September 28th. Services will be held at the same location at 2:30 PM.

Why observe the Holy Days? Jesus, the apostles and the New Testament Church of God observed these days as reminders of God's plan of offering salvation to the entire world and bringing lasting peace to the nations. For Christians, each Holy Day has a special meaning, beginning with the Passover depicting Jesus as the Lamb of God. With the exception of Pentecost, institutional Christianity has lost the meaning of these days and the blessing we receive by observing them.

What has replaced the Holy Days that God revealed and Jesus observed? Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, days venerating saints and even Halloween have become the center of "Christian" holy day/holiday observances. In doing so, they have eclipsed some of the hope, meaning and values that Jesus wants to share with His disciples.

Jesus and the New Testament apostles used the Holy Days to give hope and direction to the disciples. You are invited to join us in celebrating that same hope!

Guy Swenson

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Reaching Kids in Our Community

Our children's outreach on September 12 went remarkably well. About 30 children and parents from the community came. The sign posted at Anna's House was "Camp Outreach Is Back!" In our 2009 Camp Outreach we added "First Outreach" for the children of families who came to work and the neighborhood children.

Most of the neighborhood children don't know the basic Bible stories and values. We are investing one Sabbath afternoon a month with them. Julie Malloy from the Lord's Pantry at Anna's House has been enormously supportive. Reaching a new generation with the Good News of Jesus Christ and the hope of the Kingdom of God is important to us as a congregation.

Julie told us that kids were showing up at 9 AM asking if it was time for Camp Outreach.

Our next outreach is October 17 at 2:30 PM. Some pictures follow.

We are now entering the fall Holy Day season. Many Christians have never experienced the joy Jesus and the apostles shared on the Holy Days. These annual festivals mark major milestones in God's plan of salvation. Beginning with Jesus as our Passover we are reminded each year of our Father in Heaven's grace extended to us personally and ultimately how God will bring eternal life to all those who will submit to Him. The next Holy Day is the Feast of Trumpets on September 19th. Our congregation will be joining a sister church in Cincinnati for services.

If you want to contact Common Ground Christian Ministries, call 317-707-5026 or email Guy Swenson at

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Camp Outreach and Our New "First Outreach"

This week, September 5th, we are traveling and will not be hosting church services in Indianapolis.

On September 12th we will be hosting an outreach service at the Lord's Pantry, 303 N. Elder Street at 3 PM. In this day of ministry we have invited the neighborhood children to a reprise of our "First Outreach" ministry we conducted in their neighborhood during Camp Outreach.

Following the young people's service we will share a snacks with the children and their families.

Contact us at 317-707-5026 for more information or by email at

Some pictures from this year's "Camp Outreach" we'd like to share: