Scripture: 1st Corinthians 12:12-14
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many.
Thought for the Day: I love our denomination, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). This weekend, Cypress Creek Christian Church is hosting the Regional Gathering of all the Disciples of Christ churches in Texas and New Mexico. If you join us for all or even part of the Assembly, you will discover the wonderful diversity of our denomination. Back in 1985, I attended my first General Assembly (United States and Canada) where I saw the wonderful diverse beauty of our church, not only in race, but in theology and spirituality. I heard things during that Assembly that stretched me. There were opinions offered that I found troubling, but would later come to understand and appreciate. Since then, the Assemblies have been a chance to expand my divine-window, and to see more of the diverse beauty of God. If you are not currently registered, I invite you to join us for worship on Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 4pm. You don’t need to register for worship. Come and have expanded the window through which you glimpse God.
Prayer: O God whose spirit animates and empowers the varied members of the church, we pray that you will broaden our vision by which we see you. Amen.
Scripture: Luke 15:29-30
But the older brother answered his father, “Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!”
Thought for the Day: Hard work without recognition is not an easy pill to swallow. In most situations, the frustration we might feel has little to do with our need for recognition and praise. The issue is that we want to know that our time, a precious commodity for any human being, is valued. Whether it is your job or your volunteer time, there will be days (weeks or even months) when you will receive absolutely no positive accolades whatsoever. For me, prayer is a helpful tool as God reminds me of how I am a precious and valued part of God’s creation despite what the world might say or not say.
Prayer: Lord, tell me one more time how I am one of your beloved and cherished souls. Amen.
Scripture: Colossians 3:15-16
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.
Thought for the Day: While visiting my grandparents on vacation years ago, I remember walking into the kitchen early in the morning (well not too early) and finding my grandmother humming a tune as she moved from one project to another with surprising agility for a woman her age. Breakfast was coming together for us late risers, freshly picked items from the garden were being cleaned and prepared, a pot of something was cooking on the stove, and some vegetables were being made ready for canning. She greeted me with joy, taking a moment for a quick hug, as she went to get an item from the cupboard. Some people would have used words like upbeat, happy, cheerful or peppy to describe her. Those all fit, but I really believe I was witnessing a spirit of gratitude. Her life was a genuine expression of thankfulness. Who do you know whose life is beautiful gratitude every single day?
Prayer: You have provided me a plethora of amazing experiences to motivate my gratitude, O Loving Lord, and I only hope that others are able to see just how thankful I am. Amen.
as we host
The Regional Assembly
Scripture: Revelation 1:1-2
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place; he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.
Thought for the Day: The opening words of the Book of Revelation speak of “the revelation of Jesus Christ.” The word revelation, in the original Greek of the New Testament, is apokalupsis. It is where we get our word apocalypse, though I’m guessing that most people would not associate of the idea of revealing with an apocalypse. But the original meaning of apocalypse had nothing to do with destruction or ‘the end’ as we tend to define it in today’s world. Instead, it meant to ‘make visible’ or ‘to make known what wasn’t previously known’. The problem is that our modern English definition of apocalypse has been imposed upon that ancient world and totally distorted the original intent of the book. If you are looking for an apocalypse (a final destruction), you will probably find it. If you are looking for God to disclose something not previously seen, you might just find something you had not previously seen.
Prayer: I wish for your holy apocalypse, Lord, a disclosure of what I had not previously been able to see. Amen.
we continue our look
The Book of Revelation
Scripture: Luke 10:33
But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity.
Thought for the Day: This past Sunday, Rev. Chris Fields was with us in worship to share the story of Mercy Project, his organization that works to eradicate child slavery in Ghana. In Chris’ presentation, he referenced the story of the Good Samaritan and the issue of responsibility. It is difficult to admit something is our fault, take responsibility, and act in such a way as to bring resolution and reconciliation. It is far more difficult – some might same nearly impossible – to accept responsibility for a situation of need when we were not the cause of the need. The Samaritan man in the story was not responsible for the injuries brought to the individual traveling to Jericho, yet he accepted responsibility for this human being in need.
It was Helen Keller who said, “Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained.” There is a desperate need within our culture for those who will honestly accept the responsibility for wrongs, injustices or crimes they have perpetrated. As Christians, we must not only accept responsibility when it is our fault, but come alongside those who suffer at the hands of the finger pointers. There is a human tendency to say, “It wasn’t my fault,” yet when an injured human being is lying on the side of the road, it isn’t the right time to call together a Congressional Panel to debate blame and accountability.
Prayer: God of Power, give me the courage to accept responsibility for the needs of my neighbors even when I played no role in their suffering. Amen.
Noon & 6:30pm
Four Week Study
Scripture: 1st Corinthians 6:12 (the Message)
Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims.
Thought for the Day: Have you ever had someone ask you something that in the moment seemed entirely inappropriate? During a recent wedding, just moments before I stepped into the sanctuary to perform the ceremony, the photographer asked for my opinion (his was very clear) on a hot political topic. Not only did the wording of his question assume a specific take on the issue he raised, but clearly he lacked the basic facts. I made the mistake of pointing out that his question was flawed which only increased his desire to have a public debate with the bride just moments away from her grand entrance.
Within Christianity, I believe we should be able to talk about anything and everything. With that said, there are appropriate times and places for certain conversations and debates and there are inappropriate times and places. Being able to know when and where to keep our mouths closed is really important, especially as people of faith. If questions remain in regard to my thinking on this matter, let me reinforce that you should not ask the minister his thoughts on a controversial political issue 45 seconds before a wedding…especially when you are the photographer.
Prayer: God of Heaven, guide me in my conversations with others, and when the next thought is not quite appropriate for the setting, give me the wisdom to talk about the weather. Amen.
Cramer Retreat Center
the Book of Revelation
Scripture: Deuteronomy 32:45-47
When Moses had finished reciting all these words to all Israel, he said to them: “Take to heart all the words that I am giving in witness against you today; give them as a command to your children, so that they may diligently observe all the words of this law. This is no trifling matter for you, but rather your very life; through it you may live long in the land that you are crossing over the Jordan to possess.”
Thought for the Day: In the last two months, we have spoken a lot about crossing over. In this passage from Deuteronomy, the people were still under the leadership of Moses prior to reaching the Jordan River and actually crossing over. Moses is looking ahead to that glorious day, and though he will not be traveling with them, he wants to make sure they understand the responsibility that will be required of those whom God leads to the other side. The Promised Land is not going to consist of one party after another. Instead, this should be understood as a calling and an honor. The life of faith has many crossing over moments, and though there is joy associated with all of them, God isn’t suggesting that we view it as our retirement. There is a whole adventure ahead of any individual or community who crosses over.
Prayer: Gracious God, usher me across whatever barrier stands between me and the life you need me to live. Amen.
(Seniors Better Than 50)
Bus Trip on October 23
Varner-Hogg Plantation Historical Site
Sarah Rabon–Contact Person
Scripture: Galatians 5:1-2
For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Listen! I, Paul, am telling you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you.
Thought for the Day: Paul is passionate about the notion of freedom, though this is not some permission-giving freedom to do anything. To find freedom through Christ is to be freed from a life lived apart from God. This act of grace in Jesus Christ frees us to mirror God’s own life, to joyful choose the humble way of servant love for the sake of others. When Christians toss around the language of how “Christ has set me free,” it is often used as some sort of divine permission to be freed from any personal responsibility. Christ does not want us to live in guilt, but great responsibility comes with this gift of grace that unlocks the chains of whatever it is that has previously enslaved us. The liberating gift we have received should not be tossed aside after we have enjoyed its benefits. Instead, it should be studied and embraced, embraced and enjoyed, enjoyed and offered to others.
Prayer: May the freedom I enjoy by your grace, O Lord, be freedom that others can enjoy because of the life I choose to live through that gift of freedom. Amen.
Be In Worship This Sunday
You’ll be glad you did
If you’ve not turned in your Commitment Cards,
(Seniors Better Than 50)
Bus Trip on October 23
Varner-Hogg Plantation Historical Site
Sarah Rabon–Contact Person
Scripture: Micah 6:4
For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and redeemed you from the house of slavery; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
Thought for the Day: The Prophet Micah reminding the people of their history — what it was that God had done in bringing freedom from bondage centuries earlier, and equally important, the people whom God had sent to guide them more fully into a life of liberation. Why is it that Micah is needing to remind the people of their history? Simply put, the Israelites in their freedom have come to resemble Egypt, the perpetrator of slavery. It’s fascinating how quickly the newly liberated can find their way into power and begin to do the very same things that had enslaved them. In vs. 8, Micah reminds them of their mission and purpose:
O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice,
and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
Those who have known slavery (or their ancestries knew slavery) would always be on the side of the enslaved. Within the larger family of Christianity, many of our sisters and brothers have known or continue to know slavery. Micah doesn’t make a suggestion, but tells his people (and us) what is required — justice, kindness and choosing to walk humbly with God.
Prayer: Let me always be aware of the enslaved, marginalized and weak. Keep their situations before me, so that my concern might reflect your concern, O Lord who has always worked to liberate the oppressed. Amen.
Worship On Sunday Morning
8:15, 9:30 & 11:00
Don’t miss it!!
Scripture: Isaiah 44:8-11
Do not fear, or be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? You are my witnesses! Is there any god besides me? There is no other rock; I know not one. All who make idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit; their witnesses neither see nor know. And so they will be put to shame. Who would fashion a god or cast an image that can do no good? Look, all its devotees shall be put to shame; the artisans too are merely human. Let them all assemble, let them stand up; they shall be terrified, they shall all be put to shame.
Thought for the Day: Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest and the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation. I find his words to be some of the most challenging, inspiring and insightful. Recently he wrote: “All I know is that there is eventually a major equivalence between you and the God you worship. If you are a merciful, forgiving person, then I know you’ve met the real God. If you are narrow, stingy, and fearful, then you are worshiping something that is not God, probably some form of yourself.” Our lives of faith are to move toward God, a life that more resembles the truth that we were created in the image of God and intended to live as a reflection of that God in the world. Yet too often we seek to create a god in our image, living a life that no way resembles that image of the God made real in Jesus Christ. In those moments, all we end up doing is reflecting to the world something that is not of God.
Prayer (based on Isaiah 44:23): Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done good things; shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For you, O Lord, have redeemed all creation. Amen.