Meet the Table Leader: Merlynn

We want you to get to know the awesome leadership we have at Desert Springs at our Tuesday Morning Bible Studies. Our Table Leaders study the Word, direct discussion at the tables, and pray fervently for you…EVERY WEEK!!!

MEET THE TABLE LEADER: Merlynn Bergen

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TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF:

I am a nearly life-long believer, now retired.  Earlier I was a psychologist involved in research and teaching at Stanford University’s School of Medicine.  For many years, too, I was the training director, continuing education teacher and care giver for Stephen Ministry in my home church in Los Altos, CA.  I have two grown boys and four grandkids, spread out in middle and western USA.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AT DESERT SPRINGS & HOW DID IT BECOME HOME TO YOU?

I came to Surprise, AZ to be near my mother in 2004.  I joined DSCC in 2005 after a church-search of some months.  The preaching drew me, and the wonderful people have kept me here.  Recently, with my mother now in Glory, I moved to Litchfield Park to be closer to church and my friends here.

WHERE ARE YOU SERVING AT DSCC?

My biggest commitment is Tuesday morning Women’s Bible Study.  I am active in a Life Group, meeting in my home part of the year.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE VERSE & WHY?

Since high school, my favorite verses have been Philippians 4:6-7. “Be careful for nothing but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Of course I learned the verses in my King James Bible.

If you see MERLYNN around, be sure to say “Hi!”

  

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MEET THE TABLE LEADER: DEBBIE

We want you to get to know the awesome leadership we have at Desert Springs at our Tuesday Morning Bible Studies. Our Table Leaders study the Word, direct discussion at the tables, and pray fervently for you…EVERY WEEK!!!

MEET THE TABLE LEADER: DEBBIE EWALD

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TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF:

I am married to Dave; we have been married for 29 years. We lived in the Phoenix area the first time in the late 90’s (1994-1999) and just moved back here in May. We love living here and are thrilled to be back. We have 2 grown children: Josh & Jenna. Josh lives here in the Phoenix area and is married to his wife, Cassandra. They have one son, Whitman, & are expecting a second child. Our daughter Jenna lives in Arlington, VA and is single. She graduated from BIOLA University in 2014.

I am a stay at home wife. Dave works out of our home when he is not traveling. He has spent the last many years traveling with his job, so it is really great to get to be home when he is in town. We enjoy walking in the morning, going to movies, traveling, exploring new & different places, eating out, and spending time with family. I really enjoy being involved with women’s ministries & love being in Bible study.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AT DESERT SPRINGS & HOW DID IT BECOME HOME TO YOU?

Our son has been attending DSCC for several years, and we visited there when we were in town. When we moved back to AZ, we were thrilled to be able to start attending DSCC and call it our church home.

WHERE ARE YOU SERVING AT DSCC?

I am serving at DSCC as a table leader for women’s Bible study. Dave & I also attend an adult Bible study on Sunday mornings and are in a Lifegroup.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE VERSE & WHY?

There are SO many:

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him – 2 Chronicles 16:9 NIV

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord Himself, is the Rock eternal – Isaiah 26:3-4 NIV

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – Isaiah 40:31 NIV

But now, this is what the Lord says – He who created you, Jacob, He who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. – Isaiah 43:1-3 NIV

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! – Ephesians 3:16-21
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made know to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7 HCSB
I chose these verses because they ALL speak to the relationship that I am so BLESSED to have in Him. He is always there for me, helping me, encouraging me, watching over me, protecting me. He knows everything about me and STILL loves me. That is mind boggling to me to think about. I am so very thankful that God desires to have relationship with me, that I am His adopted daughter. It is my prayer that I will desire more every day to spend time with Him.

If you see Debbie around, be sure to say “HI!”

Welcome to Charis Conversations!

255395_3493148531580_1438649888_nOver the past 17 years that I have been involved with Women’s Ministry at Desert Springs Community Church (DSCC), the Lord has grown and changed us in a lot of ways. The ministry originated with a handful of ladies gathering together to study God’s Word and pray for one another. Looking back, we still see our Bible Studies, Events, Retreat, and other programs as a means to establish believing women in their faith. We strongly believe that connecting through grace starts with connecting in relationship with God and connecting in relationship with Godly women. Though our foundation remains the same, we knew that the Lord would continue to grow and change us into the ministry He wants.

Over the last couple years, the Lord really placed on my heart the need for us to grow in the kinds of Biblical relationships that God specifically laid out for women in Scripture. As a result, we felt that our name should reflect our mission, and I have grown to love the passage that has become foundation of this ministry:

Titus 2:3-5, “Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.”

As we examined the Titus 2 passage further, we really felt the character God desires to create in us would be a great way to identify and name our Ministry. The problem we ran into was the English language kept limiting our ability to do this effectively. Oddly enough, it was a godly man that made the suggestion to try the Greek language. He suggested the word, “Charis”, which is a multi-layered word. As we looked up the definition of this one Greek word, we realized its meaning summarized the primary character qualities suggested in Titus 2:3-5.

“Charis” is most often defined as “Grace”, “Graceful”, or “full of Grace”. It also denotes (to only mention a few): “loveliness”, “beautiful”, “kind”, “gentle”, and “loving.”  After we figured out how to pronounce it (no small feat…haha) and with much prayer, we began the process of re-naming our Women’s Ministry at DSCC. The re-branding was revealed in 2012 (almost a year ago) at our Women’s Getaway: “Charis Women: Connecting through Grace.”

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“Connecting through Grace” is the tagline that we feel sums up our mission, our message and our actions. We believe that for us to share our message and live our mission it has to be woven into the fabric of community. Community can only develop as we get connected relationally, and we believe that God designed us as Christians to need deeper relationships. One of the ways community can grow is through mentoring. Lifestyle mentoring is basically learning as we do life together in organic relationships. As “Charis Women” has grown, we’ve been able to launch several programs that would create an atmosphere where those kinds of relationships can grow. “Charis Connections” is our first step towards providing a platform where women can meet in the safety and comfort of homes all over the valley and begin to develop these kinds of Titus 2 relationships.

However, we did not want to stop there. “Connecting with Grace” sounds rather simple, but in real life I believe we face many obstacles that keep us from connecting on this deeper level.  Often, time constraints keep us from going deeper in our relationships. I believe the shortage of time has caused people to do much of their connecting through social media, which is not wrong in and of itself. But we need to be touched by the face-to-face, living-breathing-smiling kind of relationships. Those kinds of relationships can go so much deeper than a phone or computer screen can take us. But these also will require intentionality!

Another challenge to growing deeper relationships is FEAR. It is one of Satan’s favorite roadblocks to our Christian growth. I know I struggle to put myself out there as a potential friend sometimes. What if I get rejected? What if it is just a waste of time? What if it is just uncomfortable? What if I can’t encourage the person the way that they need me to? When these questions torment my spirit, I must remember: FEAR is not from God!! LOVE is the absence of fear. And the greatest example of LOVE that I have is in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He died for ME! If I am loved this much, then I should not fear. If I am loved this much, I have an overflow of love that I should spill on to others. If I am loved this much, I can safely connect with God and others with GRACE!

This is one of the primary reasons for writing this blog. We want to give you another avenue to plug in without fear and see the Lord’s loving work at DSCC. The larger DSCC grows in number, the larger the challenge to communicate with each other effectively. This blog will allow us to communicate and encourage you with greater depth and detail. My hope and prayer is that what you see written in “Charis Conversations” will give us a place to communicate with you clearly, will encourage you to jump into the ministry, and will encourage and inspire all of us to live together in a loving community without fear!

LOVE, Tami