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You have exalted above all things your name and your word.

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Tenth Press

The New Vulnerable May 19 ⋅ by Enrique Leal and Gavin Lymberopoulos

For decades, the Lord has steadily introduced Tenth members to vulnerable people in Philadelphia. As we are all now aware, to use a word like vulnerable is now a massive understatement. Before the COVID-19 crisis, Tenth’s immigrants and homeless neighbors lacked basic resources. As we are now more than 75 days into the lockdown, any margin these neighbors built into their life has dissolved and the relationships developed through the efforts of Tenth’s Mercy Commission and other charities are essential. This of course is not a one-sided situation. We as church members live to serve in situations such as this—not because we want people to suffer, but because our Master gives us a deeper wisdom than the world has to offer. We know it is more blessed to give than to receive. Hopefully you are taking opportunities to lean into this blessing through your personal network. As a church, we welcome you to give to our May Project of the Month, which is focused on giving to our homeless neighbors and to SPEAK. SPEAK is an exciting and important ESL ministry at Kirkbride School to immigrant families in South Philadelphia. Before you decide one way or another how to engage […]

Everyone Needs Mercy Apr 28 ⋅ by Laura Layer and Phil Scribano

Jesus  says that the greatest commandment is this: “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, and mind.” And the second greatest commandment is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Our Lord tells the parable of the Good Samaritan in response to the following question: “So, Jesus, who is my neighbor anyway?” In the parable a man is injured by robbers and is left by the side of the road. Two people of high distinction in Israel’s society purposefully pass by him. But a third, a “looked-down-upon” Samaritan, the underclass, a foreigner, takes very compassionate care of him. After telling the story, Jesus asks, “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” Answer: “The one who showed him mercy.” On February 28 Tenth’s Medical Campus Outreach and Renewal Presbyterian Church hosted Opioid Overview: Christian Perspectives on the Current Crisis. We framed our conversation with this parable in mind, one that profiles a human being in need and a human being to respond. It is a beautiful picture of mercy, which may look different in different circumstances. We were reminded that everyone needs neighbors, everyone […]

Changing Apr 17 ⋅ by Gavin Lymberopoulos

We as a church have placed our hope in the “Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” Nevertheless, because of the truly unprecedented nature of this moment, each week the pastors and ministry leaders  have spent time changing. Changing plans. Changing expectations. Changing our strategy. What has not changed is our belief that all of us need to meet with God by the Holy Spirit through word and prayer. So, slowly, week by week we have created as many venues as possible for people to “gather” around God’s grace found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. On the Wednesday before our first virtual Sunday we were strongly advised to cancel our normal services. Roughly a hundred emails later, that decision was made, and the morning and evening services transitioned to a single morning service and an evening devotional from Dr. Goligher. During the second week, small groups went virtual and people started praying for each other over Zoom and the like. We also saw what could be possible for community building during the pandemic as our tech savvy youth, college, and mercy ministries met virtually for Bible school. The icing on the cake, […]

Passion & Resurrection Apr 10 ⋅ by Colin Howland

The immeasurable significance of Holy Week is perhaps best attested by the amount of space given to recording its events in the gospels. From the total of 89 chapters in the four gospel accounts, 29 chapters are devoted to describing what Jesus said and did from Palm Sunday to Easter. Not only this, but each gospel is composed so the reader can clearly understand that there is an inexorable movement in Jesus’ life towards the cross and the empty tomb. For example, Matthew’s gospel reads this way, “From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Matthew 16:21). Luke 9:51 says Jesus “set his face to go to Jerusalem.” John’s gospel refers repeatedly to Jesus’ “hour,” pointing ahead to his death and the glory that would be manifested. This movement toward the death and resurrection of Jesus in the gospels mirrors similar patterns found throughout the Old Testament. Many of these Old Testament patterns may be found simply by asking questions in response to the situations recorded. Who is the seed of […]

Easter Development Apr 9 ⋅ by Travers Oliver

In a previous Tenth Press article, we spoke about the work the Lord is doing through our Global Partners and the two relief projects we’re supporting for our 2020 Easter Sacrificial Offering (ESO). If you haven’t had a chance to read it, you can find it here. In that article we distinguished between relief work and development work. Relief work provides an immediate solution to a pressing need, whereas development work is oriented around a long-term solution, looking to provide communities with the necessary means through which sustainable improvement can be accomplished. Following this model, our three ESO projects working in development ministries are as follows: Children’s Ministries in Colombia In the gospels, one of the things that has often struck me is Jesus’ care for children. In Mark 10 we see the disciples rebuking those who are bringing little children to Jesus, but the text tells us that “when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took […]

Easter Relief Apr 7 ⋅ by Travers Oliver

Each year as we celebrate the Lord’s resurrection at Easter, the Global Outreach Commission seeks out beneficiaries for our annual Easter Sacrificial Offering (ESO). This offering is collected and distributed to those who are working to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the global church in some of the harshest parts of the world. This year we’re excited to announce that after much deliberation and prayer, the Commission and Session have decided to support five ministries that are working in areas of relief and development while also faithfully proclaiming the gospel around the world. We’ll profile two of our relief projects in this article and our three development projects later this week. Relief vs. Development Terminology can be confusing, but Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert give us a helpful clarification in their book When Helping Hurts. They define relief as that which gives an “urgent provision of emergency aid to reduce immediate suffering during a crisis.” Relief ministries are our way of providing immediate care to those suffering as a result of violence, unrest, and unforeseen circumstances, whereas development deals more with long-term sustainability and improvement. Following this model, our two ESO projects working in relief ministries are as […]

SPEAK Mar 17 ⋅ by Ray Withers

On March 3, we presented a gift of chocolates to the adult ESL student who won the contest to name the onsite ESL program. Submissions were numerous and included the following words: speak, learn English, class, program, South Philly, and community. For now, though, I need to back up. Tenth’s Mercy Commission includes the South Philadelphia Immigrant Committee, which oversees an ESL outreach program to the adult community from the Kirkbride School, 1501 S. 7th Street. Most of its students receive English language services. A while back, one of its teachers, Yoon Park, wife of Mercy Ministries assistant, Joe Park, invited IO to offer an ESL program to the parents of the students.   Parents from this mixed community of Mexican, Central American, and Vietnamese immigrants have a heartfelt incentive to learn English. They want to be a part of their children’s education, and learning English is essential. The program takes place on Tuesdays, from 3:15 to 5:00. Volunteer teachers from Christ Church and Tenth lead the adult ESL program and the concurrent children’s homework program. Both programs are necessary for this outreach. We take our program seriously. Launching in February 2019, all ten of our volunteers taught from the online program, ESL Library. This past fall, we purchased two levels of the […]

Unhelpful Help Mar 10 ⋅ by Kyle Mangum

“‘We are in the very bowels of hell,’ I thought to myself.” So said Brian Fikkert, development economist and founder and president of the Chalmers Center of Covenant College, recalling his observation of poverty so dire that surely anything—anything at all—he could do would help alleviate the suffering of the unfortunate souls so afflicted by it. Right? Wrong, argues Fikkert in When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor…and Yourself. In fact, despite good intentions, he made things worse. (To learn the particularly “hellish” backstory, as well as numerous other anecdotes from Fikkert’s unique experience in poverty alleviation, as a professional and laymen, you will have to read the book.) Fikkert’s book is a call to caution against, paradoxically, our noblest impulses. Even the most desperate situations need careful analysis because there can always be remedies worse than the disease. Oftentimes the obvious or immediate solution is the one that exacerbates the situation. Poorly executed “helping” can hurt both the helper and helped in a variety of ways. Misguided assistance can offend, belittle, and deride the recipient; it can distort incentives, create cycles of dependency, and rob them of long-run recovery. For the helper, it can foster […]

Easter Sacrificial Offering Mar 5 ⋅ by Gavin Lymberopoulos and Travers Oliver

Each year as we celebrate the Lord’s resurrection at Easter, the Global Outreach Commission seeks out beneficiaries for our annual Easter Sacrificial Offering (ESO). This offering is collected and distributed to those who are working to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the global church in some of the harshest parts of the world. This year we’re excited to announce that after much deliberation and prayer, the Commission and Session have decided to support five ministries that are working in areas of mercy ministry while also faithfully proclaiming the gospel around the world. Our ESO ministries are operating in the following parts of the world: Colombia In connection with our long standing partner, Rafael Leal of La Roca Church, we’ll provide structural, aesthetic, and material improvements to three facilities providing care for at risk, homeless, and underserved children in Barranquilla and Santa Martha. Egypt Working to build up the local church, this ministry’s goal is to see Christians grow in their faith and have their physical needs met, all while being trained to faithfully proclaim the gospel in their towns. Our contribution will enable their ministry to develop new training centers, raise up new leaders, and meet the physical […]

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