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5 Things to Know About Parking at Central

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We love our location right in the heart of St. Louis. We aren't north county or south, nor are we downtown or west county, but right in the middle of our wonderful metro area.

While being in Clayton has many advantages, space is at a premium. This can sometimes make parking a challenge. To help remedy this situation, we are currently constructing a two-level parking garage for our guests and members, located just south of our sanctuary building.

As with anything new, there will be a period of transition. We've assembled the following "FAQ" to help make your next visit to Central easier.

Q: When will the garage be open?

A: The current schedule is for the Student Center to be substantially complete by May 30, the garage by the end of July, and the site work by mid- to late August. Most of the site work will need to be completed in order for the Student Center and garage to be accessible and usable. We are hoping to pick up some time now that we have good weather. As you know, things can change with projects of this magnitude, so watch this space for updates.

Q: May I park in the neighborhood until the garage is ready?

A: Effective June 1, the answer will be “no” Monday through Saturday. On Sundays, you may park in designated areas in the neighborhood from 8am to 1pm. As always, please be observant of all parking signs, and be sure to leave plenty of space around our neighbors’ driveways.

Q: Will a shuttle bring me from a remote lot to the church?

A: Yes! On Sundays shuttle service will operate between Central and the remote parking locations. During the week, shuttle service may be available for certain larger events. Please check the events section on our website (centralpres.com/resources/calendar) or contact the church office at 314-727-2777 to verify shuttle service for events taking place Monday-Saturday.

Q: Where are the remote lots located?

A: There are three remote parking locations: In the Central Christian School garage (700 South Hanley Rd.), at the northeast corner of Hanley and Clayton (site of the former Schnucks store), and at 7930 Clayton Rd, behind the former Layton’s restaurant.

Q: My child is in PEEPs. Will I still be able to park on Biltmore when I drop her off or pick her up?

A: Yes, but only in the designated drop-off/pick-up zone. Basically, you will only be able to park your car in front of Central-owned property. Once the garage is completed, PEEPs families will be able to park in the garage and have direct access the nursery through a new rear entrance.

Posted by Jeff Brown

Observing the Season of Lent

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Traditionally, the Lenten season is the entire forty-day period during which the church prepares for the celebration of Easter.  When it first emerged in church history, Lent served primarily as a time of intense instruction, fasting, and prayer for converts to the Christian faith in the days leading up to their baptism.  The practice of observing forty-days probably arose in Alexandria, Egypt in the third century as an imitation of fasts by Moses and Elijah as well as Jesus’ forty days of fasting in the wilderness following his baptism, which was celebrated on Epiphany (January 6) by Christians in the eastern Roman empire.  Following the council of Nicea (325 A.D.), the forty days of Lent were shifted to the period leading up to Easter, which became the annual day for administering baptisms in many churches.  This pre-Easter observance of Lent quickly became the universal Christian practice.  Eventually Lent became a discipline observed by the whole church and not simply new converts.

Lent is a season of reflection and self-examination, of self-denial and repentance, of reconciliation and spiritual growth as we meditate on the life of Jesus and his call for us to follow him as his disciples.  During Lent, almost all churches that follow the annual church calendar hear readings and sermons from the gospels, which tell us of Christ’s humiliation and suffering as he sacrificed himself to serve a fallen and broken world even to the point of death on a cross.  In those gospel readings, we also hear Jesus’ summons to take up our own cross and follow the path of suffering service for the sake of God’s kingdom that he first followed on our behalf as the Suffering Servant-King. 

For Jesus, this path led ultimately to his crucifixion for the sins of the world, and thus Lent culminates in Good Friday when we recount and reflect on the event of Jesus’ death on the cross.  The color purple symbolizes Jesus’ royalty (seen in the purple robe he wore as he was mocked by Roman soldiers), and the spirit of penitence that should characterize our lives as followers of this king.

While this all might sound depressing and negative, the purpose of Lent is actually quite positive and liberating.  Lent can viewed as a spiritual “spring cleaning”: a time to let Jesus inspect our lives and take a spiritual inventory.  It is a time to focus on cleaning out the sinful attitudes and habits that hinder us from following Jesus and establishing new habits and practices that enable us to experiencing the abundant life that we can find in loving and serving God.  We should, of course, repent of our sins and seek spiritual growth at all times, not just during this season.  Observing Lent simply provides a regular and corporate structure for a sort of annual retreat that gives a special focus to examination and repentance in our lives as individuals and as a church body.

As we strive to heed Jesus’ call during Lent, we must remember that our motivation and strength to follow the Lord is the hope of Easter.  Lent’s journey ends not at the cross on Good Friday but at the empty tomb on Easter.  We worship the risen and reigning Lord Jesus, and we now look back on Jesus’ death not merely as a matter for sorrow but even more as the victory of Jesus our Champion over the brokenness of the world.  And because we are united by the Holy Spirit to the resurrected Jesus, the conqueror of sin and death, we can face our own sins and weaknesses with faith and hope.  In Jesus, we know that we are forgiven and accepted by God, and we have hope for real healing and transformation in our lives.

For more information about the season of Lent and for resources to assist you in worship and spiritual growth during this season, see the Lent page under the Liturgical Calendar tab at the top of this page.

Posted by Mike Farley

Rest

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What does it mean to rest? We all know we need it, even crave it, but typically struggle with how to find it, acting like we are too tired to rest. Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28-30, although encouraging in concept, appear so abstract that we are not even sure what he means (please note I use the “we” intentionally). He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” How do we get to him? What do we have to trade our heavy burdens for to get his much more manageable yoke? Wait, what’s a yoke?

We took the opportunity to have this discussion a couple of weeks ago on the Student Central Ski Trip, and the result was an encouraging thing to be a part of. Imagine a room full of students, ranging from age, gender, and schools, engaging with one other, vulnerably digging down into their own hearts, and confessing a disconnect between their belief and practice when it comes to making time to spend with God and making that the place to find rest. The obstacles to them finding rest was not the surface things, like a busy schedule or a pressure to say ‘yes’ to things they do not want to do, but rather something much, much deeper. It turns out many of them believed God loved them, but struggled to believe that he liked them, and that was enough to keep them off their knees and out of the Word.

Can you relate to that? Do you agree that, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so,” but are not sure that God likes you and wants you hanging around? In my own life, this lie creeps in when I feel I’ve fallen so short of his standard and accumulated so much filth because of my callous heart and lack of spiritual discipline, that it angers God that I even thought I could approach him. I say things like, “I will wake up extra early tomorrow and read Leviticus, then, once I do that, I can pray again.” Ridiculous right? I submit, however, that I am not alone. What’s your story?

Allow me to point us Hebrews 4:16, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” The very heart of the Gospel is grace, which is true for those of us in Christ for eternity, and every, single day. The beauty of the Gospel is that we are loved, liked, approved, and welcomed into God’s presence, not because we are worthy, but because we are in the one who is worthy, and that is Jesus Christ. Our souls find rest when we come to God, not with what we think you offer and have accomplished, but rather when we come in the confidence of the person and work of Christ.

Posted by Jeremy Blythe

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