Who is Cyrus?

Several folks have asked me about the title of the last sermon in our sermon series. “Who is Cyrus?” they ask. Cyrus the Great was the King of Kings, the Emperor of Persia.



…is NOT Cyrus the Great. This is Xerxes, Emperor of Persia, attempting to conquer Greece. He was a relative of Cyrus the Great.

Only, it’s not really Xerxes, either. It’s a Hollywood interpretation of the comic book 300. But I share it because this is how movies depict villains.

In the Bible, Xerxes marries Esther, and she helps save her people from a plot to kill them. When we want to show Xerxes as a good guy, we show him like this:

Xerxes & Esther in One night with the king 2006 film

I share these images, though, because how we portray god-like emperors today is relevant to how we understand the word Messiah, or Christ, one who is anointed or chosen by God to be a champion of God’s people.

This is Cyrus:



…and this Sunday at 4:30, we’ll talk about how this non-Jewish anti-hero came to be called a messiah.

Love Your Neighbor

Being a disciple is all about learning how to love God and love your neighbor. Every week during communion we pray to God, “that we may be, for the world, the Body of Christ, redeemed by his blood.” We’ve got two great opportunities to put your love of neighbor into action this month!

The first is a picnic at Bessie Estelle Park on Saturday, Sept. 20 from 2-7 PM. Bring a potluck dish, lawn chairs, and/or a yard game. The second is Magic City Miracle, on Sunday, September 28. Saint Junia is sponsoring several projects around the city. You can sign up for both of these events below.

Picnic at Bessie Estelle Park 

Saint Junia and Church of the Reconciler are partnering to host a picnic this Saturday, September 20, from 2-7 PM. We’ll meet at Bessie Estelle Park, at 901 8th Avenue S. Here is a map.

If you can provide a dish or a yard game, click this link to sign up and tell us what you will bring!

Dave is building a wiffle ball launcher for the occasion. 50 mph top speed. Yeah, baby!

Magic City Miracle is Here!

More than a thousand people volunteered for last year’s Magic City Miracle, and we’re looking at doing it again this year. Even cooler is that 10% of the people who participated were not affiliated with a church. We invite everyone to join in what God is already doing!

Saint J is sponsoring projects at four sites around the city: Girls, Inc., Ruffner Mountain, Magic City AIDS Walk, and Social Venture in Woodlawn. You can sign up online here (though not all the projects are listed yet).

There are already 900 people signed up. Sign up soon if you want a T-shirt, and invite a friend!

Areas of Discipleship


Bathsheba: The Rest of the Story

Worship this past Sunday was AMAZING, but you don’t have to take my word for it—you can view the video archive here.

This upcoming Sunday is the second in our series “Bad Guys and Anti-Heroes,” and I’ll get to share how Bathsheba is like Olivia Pope (from the TV series Scandal). The powerful men in their lives may actually be the least interesting thing about them. Both are clever—sneaky may be a better word. But I look forward to sharing how these antiheroes become heroes.

Come and invite a friend!

Supplies for Girls, Inc. This Sunday (August 10)

Girls Inc Wish List

Girls Inc. has been a gracious host for us during our first year! Let’s be a blessing to them as well. They have a wishlist for the upcoming 2014-2015 school year. If you can pick up some of these items (or have some around the house) it would be a great help to them. Thanks!

  • Multicolor construction paper
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Legal notepads
  • Post-it flipcharts
  • Copy paper
  • Scissors
  • Sharpies
  • Markers
  • Dry erase markers
  • Highlighters
  • Multicolor card stock
  • Rechargeable batteries – Size C
  • Washable paint
  • Board games (new or used)
  • Card games (new or used)
  • Cloth for sewing
  • Wii games (new or used)
  • Eating utensils (forks, knives, spoons)
  • Aprons
  • Dish towels
  • Pot holders
  • Gardening tools
  • Jump ropes

Stump the Preacher (August 3)


Do animals go to heaven? Why don’t we see miracles more often? How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

A couple of times a year, I like to do a Q&A worship service I call “Stump the Preacher!” I do this not because I have all the answers, but because I think one of the best ways to  learn is by listening to each other’s questions. Questions often teach us more than answers!

Submit your burning theological questions, biblical confusions, and philosophical paradoxes to me via email (dave at saintjunia dot org), ask me on Twitter, or write it on an index card this Sunday. We’ll select a handful of questions to use during the service. The more questions we get, the better it will be. Come and bring a friend!

Online Worship and Bible Study

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 4.33.14 PM

We’re beefing up our online media presence over the summer! We know lots of people travel and want to keep in touch during the summer months. You can tune in live to our live stream to watch Saint Junia’s worship service on Sundays at 4:30 PM, or our Wednesday morning Bible study at 6:30 AM.

If you can’t watch the live service or Bible study, you can always watch the archive, or even better, subscribe to our RSS feed for video or audio podcast!

I plan to create a “best of” series of short videos and lessons over the summer as well, around two or three minutes each, that you can share with friends to let them know about Saint Junia and help spread the word. You can comment, send me prayer requests, ask questions, or suggest topics to me on Twitter.

If you’d like to support the expansion of our online presence, your gifts are always welcome! We’d like to continue to improve and upgrade our equipment and services so we can reach more people. Thanks for your help!

Jesus, Robots, and Aliens: Christianity and Science Fiction

Science fiction (and fantasy) often allow us to ask big questions about life and meaning by telling stories. In our June series, we’ll look at both classic and modern scifi, from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” to “Elysium.” We’ll deal with the ethics of genetic profiling in “Gattaca,” and challenge our assumptions about identity and consciousness with “I, Robot” and “Her.”

I’ve been looking forward to this series for more than a year. Come geek out with me as we tackle some challenging questions and watch awesome special effects!

June 1: Geek Culture and the Big Questions

June 8: Could We Change History? (Time Travel, Free Will, and Destiny)

June 15: Do Aliens have Human Rights? (Society and Moral Relativism)

June 22: Do Cyborgs Have Souls? (Identity, Consciousness, and Salvation)

June 29: Are We Alone in the Universe? (Meaning and Purpose)

Worship happens on Sundays at 4:30 PM at Girls Incorporated in Crestwood. I look forward to seeing you there!