Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-22-15

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Scripture: Zechariah 7:9-11
Thus says the Lord of hosts: Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another. But they refused to listen, and turned a stubborn shoulder, and stopped their ears in order not to hear.

Thought for the Day: The Dalai Lama said, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” Too often human beings look into a moment, perceive a situation, and the opportunity to choose kindness appears impossible.  It is understandable when we use only the limited perception of our individual perspective, but when we draw upon God and the larger Body of Christ, suddenly our comprehension extends far beyond what any one person could grasp. Today, allow God and Christ’s body known as the Church to assist you in seeing the potential for kindness when everything within you says, “Impossible!”

Prayer: Provide me your perspective, Lord of Heaven and Earth. Allow my spirit to see possibilities that I would otherwise cross of the list of possibilities.  Amen.

SUNDAY’S WORSHIP
Pentecost & Memorial Day Sunday

Memorial Day

Clara Lewis - Retirement

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-21-15

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Scripture: James 1:2-4
My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.

Thought for the Day: Below, you will see some pictures of our own Jenny Seeto-Hodges. Jenny has completed four marathons in four days.  The cities and times are as follows:

May 17 in Bennington, VT. Finished 4:28:35
May 18 in Portland, ME. Finished 4:29:14
May 19 in Nashua, NH. Finished 4:48:05
May 20 in Warwick, RI. Finished 4:37:38

Today, she is in Hartford, CT, and then Saturday in Buffalo, NY. If you were ever looking for a good example of endurance and testing oneself, this would be a great example. Though it is not just about the running, but how Jenny desires to use her running to bring awareness and raise money for children in Ghana who find themselves in slavery. Mercy Project is the organization that initially inspired her run. Let us continue to pray for Jenny, her BHAG, and her desire to see an end to child trafficking and slavery.

Prayer: Gracious God, we pray for Jenny today as the culmination of training has left her lacking nothing. She is truly prepared to endure the race that was initially inspire through faith. Give her strength in body, mind and spirit that she may complete her goal. Amen.

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Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-20-15

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Scripture: Proverb 4:20-23
My child, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

Thought for the Day: I don’t know if you saw the headline a little over a week ago, but there is concrete that can fix its own cracks. Let that soak in for a moment. As you can imagine, it is not ordinary concrete. It is bioconcrete, and it is infused with a bacteria that becomes active when it is mixed with water. Once concrete is set, the problem occurs when a crack begins and water seeps into the crack. This process, especially with dramatic temperature changes, causes the crack to get larger. But with this bioconcrete, the water reactivates the bacteria and it repairs itself. I’m sure my description here does not do the process justice, but I find it fascinating. I’m sure it is a few years away from us seeing it in commercial use.

Yet the image of self-fixing concrete really got me to thinking about the fractures within the human spirit. Life brings brokenness, and so much of this brokenness goes un-repaired. These cracks in the essence of our being allow for other harmful agents to slip in and widen the fracture. The bioconcrete is often described as self-fixing, but it is really the presence of something else within the concrete that is activated and brings healing. I don’t know if our spirits are self-fixing, but in faith, the Spirit of God is present in us and that Spirit – when activated – can mend even the greatest cracks in our lives.

Prayer: Your Holy Spirit can mend even the greatest of spiritual and emotional wounds, yet it is faith that helps to activate this gift of grace. Draw me close, Loving God, so that my growing relationship with you can bring healing to those places in my life that know great brokenness. Amen.

TODAY–WEDNESDAY

Bobby Hawley Visiting

Noon and 6:30pm

Join in a conversation
around legacy giving

Pie will be served!


Clara Lewis - Retirement

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-19-15

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Scripture: Isaiah 45:19
I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, “Seek me in chaos.” I the Lord speak the truth, I declare what is right.

Thought for the Day: Has anyone ever delivered some sugar-coated hostility your way? At first, you don’t really recognize it as hostility. It might be syrupy-sweet, yet underneath is an intentional (or maybe an unintentional) act of malice that seeks to remain somewhat undetected. Passive-aggressive behavior or rumor sharing are often used to stir the masses, while avoiding direct confrontation. I imagine we all have, at one time or another, found ourselves in such a situation. Out of fear or not wanting to be directly involved, we express our opinions subversively. I must confess doing it, yet such behavior does not seek to really solve the problem. As followers of Jesus and his teachings, we should always speak forthrightly – with love, humility and a willingness to listen to the opinions of others – and always doing so with a genuine desire to bring health and joy to the relationship or the system.

And so that I do not do what I am suggesting we should not do, I need to confess that I am writing this out of a concern for our church. We need to speak forthrightly, and not to just anyone, but to those who have the authority to actually respond. I have been pleased with how often people have sought me out, sharing a concern, only to discover that there had been a slight misunderstanding. Had they not spoken directly to me or a Board Member, it could have created a destructive situation. Though in a time of transition, when there is grief and anxiety about the future – we need to double our efforts to speak honestly and genuinely to the right people for the right purpose. Even the Prophet Isaiah, speaking on behalf of the Lord, invited the people to step out of the shadows where chaos is created.

Prayer: Forgive me, Holy Counselor, for I have unknowingly spoken in ways that do not seek to create healthy relationships. Teach me to speak honestly, to listen with humility, and to always strive to find your truth. Amen.

MEN

Join Together Tonight

Dinner and Study
Cramer Retreat Center
Starting at 6:30pm

WEDNESDAY
Bobby Hawley Visiting

Noon and 6:30pm

Join in a conversation
around legacy giving

Pie will be served!

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-18-15

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Scripture: Psalm 104:30-33
When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground. May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works—who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke. I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.

Thought for the Day: I’m tired, yet I shouldn’t be. Yesterday was one of those wonderfully chaotic days when the church was consumed with activity. There was joy and grief, there was hope and there was despair. Sunday at Cypress Creek Christian Church was a microcosm of life, yet even in the sad and difficult moments, there were these God moments — especially seen among the youth and children of our congregation. We can feel exhausted or heartbroken, yet if we are paying attention, we will see God’s renewing Spirit at work. In those moments, may we sing songs of praise to the One who desires to see all creation restored.

Prayer: O Holy One of Heaven, your renewing Spirit does not reside in heaven, but chooses to move among us and to lead us to hope, wholeness and joy. Enter into our lives this day, mending our broken pieces for the purpose of becoming models of redemption and renewal. Amen.

MEN’S MEETING

This Tuesday Evening
Cramer Retreat Center
6:30pm for Dinner
7:00pm for Study

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-17-15

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Scripture: Galatians 5:13
For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.

Thought for the Day: Are you willing to stop micromanaging and allow a situation to play itself out?  To be honest, I’m not so good at that.  I often like to keep a hand on things which shows very little trust in the gifts and choices of others.  Paul talks about the divine gift of freedom offered to us, but notice how this gift of freedom allows for the individual to choose other than the One who offered the gift of freedom in the first place.  God trusts the ultimate power of the message, but also respects love to the point of providing enough room for us to decline the gift and the giver.  Wow!  That’s incredible.

Prayer: You created humanity with the freedom to accept or reject you, O Loving Creator.  Such a gift offers me room to exert my freedom and truly enjoy the fullness of life when I freely choose to accept your gift.  Amen.

TODAY–SUNDAY

Youth Sunday
Cure Art

Simple Hot Dog Lunch
11:30am – 12:30pm
in the Activity Room

Children’s Musical
12:30pm
in the Forum

Visitation for Burley Cantrell
5:00 – 7:00pm
in the Forum

Elders’ Meeting
5:00pm

Board Meeting
6:30pm

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-16-15

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Scripture: 1st Thessalonians 5:20
Do not despise the words of prophets…

Thought for the Day: I always liked the 911 call where the young girl was notifying the dispatcher that her mom was weird.  I’m surprised my son never made that same call, but in regard to his father.  Had 911 been available in the times of the ancient prophets, I’m confident the dispatchers would have received numerous calls in regard to these weird guys who talked all kinds of nonsense.  Even today, prophetic voices are often dismissed as kooks because their ideas challenge what society has come to believe is acceptable.  The prophetic voice will always confront and challenge our way of being, but that’s why they have the name prophet.  Let us not squelch their message simply because it doesn’t fit our comfortable world. Instead, let us see if its vision of the world is gracious and kind to all of God’s children.

Prayer: Where there is a need to be challenged, O Lord, may you raise up a prophetic voice and a community that will listen.  Amen.

YOUTH SUNDAY
(8:15, 9:30 & 11:00)

Followed by
Children’s Musical
12:30pm

Cure Art

Elder’s Meeting

Sunday at 5pm

Board Meeting

Sunday at 6:3pm

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-15-15

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Scripture: Jeremiah 22:13
Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper rooms by injustice; who makes his neighbors work for nothing, and does not give them their wages…

Thought for the Day: Desmond Tutu said, “If you have chosen to remain neutral in a situation of injustice, you are really not neutral.” Quiet neutrality is what those who are committing injustice desire from the masses. The greatest enemy of injustice is the collective voice of those who have chosen to seek justice even when it is risky. Throughout history, including American history, there have been moments when the masses cautiously remained quiet while injustice was committed. Elie Wiesel – Holocaust survivor and author – reminds us that “we must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” In our Dare to Dream, there are some who are feeling as if God is calling them to give voice to the voiceless. You are in good company as Moses, Jeremiah and Isaiah provided such a voice.

Prayer: O Lord who cares for the weak and forgotten, guide me to where I can speak and act for all those who you love. Amen.

THIS SUNDAY
Cure Art

And The Children’s Choir
MUSICAL
12:30pm on Sunday

Hot Dog Luncheon 
11:30am – 12:30pm

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-14-15

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Scripture: Romans 8:28
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

Thought for the Day: We are bringing our Dare to Dream study to an end, but it is so important for us to keep on going with what we have learned. As I said in my sermon on Sunday, we did not go through this process for the sake of the process; we did not discern because God believes discernment is the final stopping place. This is about discovering something new and acting upon it. Your God-Purpose may not appear to be anything that historians will be writing about years from now, but we do it because God has invited us to do so. It is about participating in something greater than ourselves, and when we are invited to do so, we rarely see the completed project. I think about those who helped to build the Cathedral in Milan. It started in 1386AD, and it was still seeing final touches after 1510AD. How many stone carvers came everyday for their lifetime, yet never saw it finished. It takes both faith and trust, yet when we choose to step forward and act upon our God-Dream, amazing things will transpire…both in our lives and in the generations to come.

Prayer: I want to work with you, O Holy Gift of Inspiration, and though I may not see the work to its completion, I trust in you and your leading. Amen.

Cure Art

And Then Join US

Children’s Musical
12:30pm in the Forum

Simple Hot Dog Lunch
11:30am – 12:30pm

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-13-15

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Scripture: Romans 6:7
For whoever has died is freed from sin.

Thought for the Day: I have met so many people who have received blessings they did not seek.  People have found strength when their own reservoir appeared empty.  There are those who have experienced new life when they felt trapped in the tomb of death.  Grace is a gift, and it comes again and again to set us free from all that would bind us to that which is void of life – void of love – void of hope.  Our baptism becomes our death, and this death leads to our resurrection into a life rich in love and hope.

Prayer: Provide me an experience of your grace, O Giver of Life, that I might enter your new age where love rules and peace reigns.  Amen.

THIS SUNDAY

JOIN US FOR WORSHIP

at

8:15, 9:30 or 11:00am

It is Youth Sunday!

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