03-25-19

Prayer for the Week:
Loving God,
We pray that we can all love each other the way you have taught us to love. Lord, I hope we can learn how to sacrifice ourselves and put one another first. I pray that we can learn how to put love first in all things through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Heavenly Father, I pray that someday we will be servants to each other, care and respect each other. We love and pray to you O God for everything in our lives. Amen.

From Youth Sunday
Written by Simone Nelson, 7th grader at CCCC

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03-24-19

Scripture: Luke 10:38-40
While Jesus and his disciples were traveling, Jesus entered a village where a woman named Martha welcomed him as a guest. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his message. By contrast, Martha was preoccupied with getting everything ready for their meal. So Martha came to him and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to prepare the table all by myself? Tell her to help me.” 

Thought for the Day: So what is the proper way of living? Are we to spend our lives at the feet of Jesus, listening to his words? Or are we to be about the work of preparing a meal of welcome? There are few debates within Christianity (within most religions) that have received more energy. In this case, it sounds as if Jesus almost scolds Martha for not leaving the work behind. I’m going to make a suggestion that I cannot fully defend, but I imagine that Jesus is not suggesting that somehow we are all to spend our lives sitting quietly and listen for the voice of Jesus. I believe everything is context, and Martha seems to be complaining to Jesus that Mary is not helping. Does Jesus invite Martha to leave behind the preparation in this moment because it is the right moment to leave behind the work? I think so. And I have a feeling that there will be other moments when folks will be quietly sitting and listening for the voice of Jesus, and they will begin complaining that there is too much noise from those doing work. In that moment, Jesus might just tell those seated to get off their backsides and get to work. Like so much in life, it is all about balance. We might be wired in a way that draws us one way or the other, but we also must find what is the correct balance for us if we are going to remain healthy and faithful.

Prayer: Make me aware of what I need and what I should do. Make me aware, O Spirit of the Living Christ, do know when I need to be doing what I should be doing. Amen.

See You In Worship

You Won’t Want To Miss It

03-23-19

Scripture: Luke 10:36-37
What do you think? Which one of these three was a neighbor to the man who encountered thieves?” Then the legal expert said, “The one who demonstrated mercy toward him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Thought for the Day: Though not original to me, you’ve probably heard me say it a dozen times: The legal expert, who was probably offended by the parable of the Good Samaritan, is asked the question: So, who demonstrated mercy (or it could be translated, who showed compassion)? It sounds like a simple question with a simple answer, and though the legal expert answered the question correctly, he can’t quite bring himself to say, “the Samaritan,” as it sounds like nonsense inside his head. I had a seminary professor say to the class, “If the Jesus message sounds too normal, too mundane, too obvious and commonplace, then it’s probably not the Jesus message.” There are times when I am preparing my sermon, and I think to myself, “That statement is simply too absurd. They won’t buy it at all.” Maybe I’m right. Maybe it is absurd, and for that reason, it might just be the Gospel! And unlike the legal expert, it needs to be said out loud.

Prayer: O Giver of the Gospel, confront me anew with the power, beauty and absurd nature of your message. Amen. 

A Week From Today

Interfaith Event
To Honor First Responders

03-22-19

Scripture: Luke 10:25-26
A legal expert stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to gain eternal life?” Jesus replied, “What is written in the Law? How do you interpret it?” 

Thought for the Day: This is the conversation that will eventually lead to the telling of the parable we call, The Good Samaritan. Jesus was asked a question, and Jesus answered the question with a question. It is a marvelous technique for teaching, and though many of us may admire the technique, we do not use it. We are quick to tell people exactly what they must do to gain eternal life, how they are to do this, when they are to do this, and what color socks they need to be wearing as they follow the 36 step plan that we set before them. Jesus, on the other hand, did none of that. Even when pushed by the legal expert, he told a story – a parable that was more than some dry single meaning allegory. The tendency to impose our beliefs often comes from insecurities around our beliefs. If we can get someone else to agree, then we feel a confirmation. Jesus took an entirely different approach.  He modeled, told stories, planted seeds, listened and gave space for people to discover God for themselves. What a novel concept! 

Prayer: In the same way that you loved me – both in my moments of understanding and moments of complete foolishness – I pray that such love be mine to share. Your Gospel was not only embodied it what you said, but in the space you gave me to explore for myself. Amen.

THIS SUNDAY
Special Sunday

Including Youth Testimonies

03-21-19

Scripture: Luke 10:23-24
Turning to the disciples, Jesus said privately, “Happy are the eyes that see what you see. I assure you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see and hear what you hear, but they didn’t.”

Thought for the Day: There are times when the disciples do not perceive what Jesus is attempting to communicate. There are moments when they appear oblivious to what is right in front of them. But here, immediately before Jesus offers one of his best known teachings (the Good Samaritan), Jesus suggests the disciples have glimpsed something important, something that brings joy, happiness and a sense of blessedness. They have gone into the world and presented themselves as lambs among wolves, an image of sacrificial love that will be fully expressed on the cross. They will soon hear Jesus affirm the two great commands – loving God and loving neighbor – and then Jesus will redefine who a neighbor really is. This new definition utterly destroys every barrier and limitation previously put on a definition of who was acceptable, good and beloved by God. They are hearing this message, but also seeing it unfold in front of them. The beauty of God’s relentless and unconditional love is on display in its fullest, and happy are those who see and hear this glorious news.

Prayer: If for some reason the words and actions of the world tell me I am outside of your love, God, please put before me a messenger through whom I can see and hear the Good News that has and will continue to accept me. Amen.

COMING
March 30


Interfaith Event
To Honor First Responders


Champion Mosque

03-20-19

Scripture: Luke 10:3
Go! Be warned, though, that I’m sending you out as lambs among wolves.

Thought for the Day: I referenced these words in my sermon on Sunday. Once again, Jesus makes no attempt to diminish or dismiss the dangers involved in following him. Growing up, I attended Sunday School every Sunday…no matter what. We learned plenty of Bible stories, but we also heard stories of our church missionaries who were off doing dangerous work in dangerous places. We prayed for them, and we thanked God for their amazing faithfulness. Looking back on it now, I feel as if I was taught that Christianity is dangerous in far away places, but here in America, Christianity is safe and relatively easy. I’d like to think that was not the intention, but over the years, I have spoken to others my age who have expressed very similar Sunday School experiences. I wonder if we have limited or undercut the expectation people have about their faith. “Risk belongs to those beloved missionaries,” we say to ourselves. How often do see ourselves as missionaries in our own backyard, and risk health, relationships, way of life or pocketbook for the Gospel?

Prayer: If I am overly comfortable in my faith, I pray for you to discomfort my comfortableness, O Living Christ who continues to call us to follow. Amen.

TODAY

03-19-19

Scripture: Luke 10:1
After these things, the Lord commissioned seventy-two others and sent them on ahead in pairs to every city and place he was about to go.

Thought for the Day: I feel as if Jesus is telling us, “You can’t do this alone.” At a time when we pride ourselves on independence, and many of us might think of ourselves as lone rangers, depending on another human being is hard. I have recently heard some youth complain about group projects as school. As one of them said, “It’s group in name only.” When the level of motivation is not equal, the responsibility too often falls to one. In the work of faith, there might be times when the weight of the responsibility is too much and we might be the ones letting the group down. In those moments, it is good to be sent out in pairs…if not slightly larger teams. We might bemoan the fact that we have to carry more of the load at times, but if there is equal motivation for the Gospel (maybe not equal maturity in faith or Biblical knowledge), then there will probably be times when our partner is carrying more than half the load.   

Prayer: Keep me connected to other people of faith. Create within our relationships, not only an abiding commitment to you, O Lord, but to one another. We do this out of love for you and our sisters and brothers. We do this in the belief that your Gospel is better proclaimed as we go out in pairs or teams. Amen.

SEE YOU WEDNESDAY