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July 18, 2024 Newsletter

| Highrock MetroWest, 754 Greendale Ave. Needham MA

Faith, Family, and Fairways

We feature articles, interviews, or artwork by Highrock MetroWest students during the summer. Averie Lee is our student editor. Please get in touch with her through me, Pastor George, if your student would like to submit an article. This week our submission is from Ryan Chang who will be starting his Freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania this Fall. His interests are woven into his faith journey described below. 

Hello! My name is Ryan Chang and my family and I live in Brookline. A couple of months ago, I graduated from high school in Orlando. In about a month, I will be moving into my dorm room at the University of Pennsylvania, joining the D1 men’s golf team, and studying economics, Chinese, math, and law.

Ever since I can remember, my family has been involved in the Church in some way, shape, or form. When I was young, I simply went to church because I had no other choice but for the “fun” time when we were provided with snacks. However, as I grew older, I started noticing the ways Christ worked in my life. One profound moment that cemented my belief in Jesus Christ was the final moments of my beloved grandmother’s life. 2015 was one of the toughest times for our family and me. My grandma, on my mom’s side, was diagnosed with a rare bone marrow cancer. After her diagnosis, she was surrounded by Christians and church friends whom she had never met. The love these strangers poured out to her showed her what Christ is like. Although she didn’t make it in the end, I know she is in a much better place. Right before the heart monitor went flat, she repeated “amen” several times. As I heard that I felt like God’s loving hands touched me. I learned that “amen” is a phrase meaning assertiveness. My grandma was assertive that she wanted to be with God in heaven forever.

Around that time, my family and I had just moved to the States from Shanghai and were searching for a new church. We stumbled across Highrock Arlington. Immediately, my twin sister and I fell in love with the Sunday school and the other kids and volunteers involved. As I continued to experience God’s sacrificial love for me through camp experiences, family, friends, and even strangers, I decided at the young age of 13 to be baptized in front of the congregation during Easter service.

In my wise words of five years ago, I professed, “Even though I’m still super young, I want to show the younger generation how great God is. I want to get more involved with the youth ministry at Highrock. I started learning the guitar two months ago with Ku, the worship leader at Highrock. I want to worship God with my small talent in music. Even though that talent isn’t a whole lot right now, I still want to use it to serve God. Along with that, I want to be in the lives of other kids, showing them just how great God is by explaining what He can do in their lives and what He did in my life.”

Even though I’d love to end this story here and tell you that I’ve succeeded in the things I mentioned above and have been a great Christian, I would simply be lying. Four years ago, during the Covid lockdown, I moved to Florida to attend a golf academy/boarding school in hopes of achieving my dream of playing collegiate golf at a top school. I worked tirelessly, waking up at 5 a.m. to work out, going to school and taking on a rigorous course load, and practicing for 4-5 hours nearly every day. I quickly saw improvements in my game and was happy in Florida, where I made some amazing friends. However, one thing seemed to be lacking in my life continuously. As I became more fixated on my results in golf, school, and my social life, my relationship with God ultimately took a back seat.

In the most crucial summer between my junior and senior years, I felt so close to achieving the goal I had been working so hard for. However, as the summer progressed, my results always seemed to fall short. As my tournaments came to a close, I had a couple of great options to choose from but hadn’t yet gotten an offer from the school I truly wanted to attend (UPenn). I continued having conversations with the Coach (Coach Clay White), and as we got to know each other, I learned that he was also a Christian. With nothing else I could do to improve my chances, we prayed about it. On August 17th, I was offered a spot on the golf team. I felt overwhelming emotions and thanked God for His divine intervention.

Despite this success, I still felt pressure to prove myself deserving of the prestigious spot. The more pressure I put on myself, the worse I played. On top of this, I was dealing with tragedies in my family and my struggles with sin. It was also at this time that I began to hear God speak to me through Coach White. I would call him after my poor results and try to defend my bad play or come up with excuses, promising to do better next time. However, nearly every single time, he would remind me that “there is one person that judges you, and He doesn’t care if you shoot 8 under or 8 over. He wants you to be who He created you to be, Ryan Chang, and to live in His image and spread the Word to glorify His name, not yours or Penn Golf. Don’t let the score you sign for be your identity!”

As I continue to grapple with his reminders, I am beginning to shed the facade I have been portraying. Although I know I will always be tempted by materialistic items/success, I am certain that God is good all the time! Even when everything seems to be going wrong, we can remember the story of Peter walking on water. When we take our eyes off what’s important (God, family, etc.), we begin to drown. But when we fix our hearts on Jesus, there will always be tranquility, even in the worst storms.  — Ryan Chang.

Flavor: Taste of the Fruit of the Spirit

“You will know them by their fruits.” Maybe you’ve heard that phrase before. It’s an adaptation of a famous saying of Jesus. Essentially it means that our character is revealed through the fruit that our lives produce. That doesn’t mean we have to have it all together, or that struggles are somehow a sign of failure. It means that in the midst of struggle our character and faith is often revealed. So what does the character of a Jesus follower look like? Join us this summer as we explore that question and find out what good fruit a life in the Spirit produces!

Please go here for more information, a study guide, and discussion group info.

This Sunday, July 21, Flavor: Taste of the Fruit of the Spirit Series: Kindness. Gal 5:16-25. Pastor Taylor Burgoyne in person.

SoulFood resumes in September.

Burger Brothers, 3 pm - Whenever, August 10, at George & Lori's

Men of MetroWest!

Join us from 3 pm to Whenever on Saturday, August 10, for a swim, burgers, libations, time around the fire, and good fellowship. This is a time to eat, drink, and be merry with guys from Highrock MetroWest.

We’ll meet at the home of Pastor George Cladis, 15 Cricklewood Dr., Leicester, MA (about 45 min drive from Needham). Drinks of many varieties and burgers will be provided but bring your own if you’re particular : ). Come at 3 pm for a sunny swim — we’ll serve food around 5 ish. Here are pics of the property. PLEASE RSVP here so I have an idea of who is coming.

We’ll have fun. See you soon. George

Coming Up at Highrock Church

Whether you’re looking to connect in person or online, there’s always something happening at Highrock!

Grow in your faith through a small group, broaden your horizons with a class, worship with others, volunteer your time, and more.

Check out the “Coming Up” section for all of Highrock Church.

Ways to Go Deeper!

MetroWest Prays on Monday evenings at 8:30 pm by ZOOMPrayer Requests can be sent to the prayer team via this form or contact Foluke Ajayi. The next in-person prayer hour at Highrock MetroWest is on Monday evening, July 29, at 7 pm. On that day, there will be no zoom meeting.

Highrock MetroWest Thursday Men’s Group: Click here for more info.  Note, this group is taking a break. Watch the weekly newsletter for updates. Come to Burger Brothers on Aug 10 for fellowship.

For Moms! The MetroWest chapter of Momsrock meets most Friday mornings at 9:30 am in Fellowship Hall, but is taking a summer break.

Daily (M -Th) Devotional Group for Anyone with Pastor Ryan Marshall – Click for more info.

New Groups! We have newly formed Highrock MetroWest small groups. Contact Pastor George for more information.

Find Daily Devos, Highrock sermons, Highrock Online, and more on your favorite platform! Search for “Highrock Church.” Examples: Spotify, YouTube.

HRMW Feedback Form

Let your church know how to improve worship and ministry to draw people into a deeper life with Jesus.