Ecclesiological Etchings: 02-06-16

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Scripture: Zechariah 8:16
These are the things you should do: Speak the truth to each other; make truthful, just, and peaceable decisions within your gates. 

Thought for the Day: Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” I find those words to be the source of some uneasiness. There are times when choosing not to speak seems to be the safest approach; there are times when choosing not to act seems to be the savvy approach. We can feel pretty justified in our decision, but then for Bonhoeffer to equate evil with a lack of faithful effort causes a great deal of uneasiness.  May both Bonhoeffer and the Prophet Zechariah challenge us to speak the truth about justice and peace even when it might cause us to risk and go against the grain. 

Prayer: Continue to teach me your truth, O Lord, so that my words and deeds are a reflection of your just and peaceable ways. Amen.



My Bag of Excuses

TOMORROW

Transfiguration Sunday
Mark 9:2-10



Messages Image(656930417)

CONSIDER BRINGING
A CANNED GOOD OR TWO
TO CHURCH ON SUDNAY



NEXT WEDNESDAY

CCCC - Evan - Ash Wednesday Banner



 

Wednesdays During Lent

Starting February 17

Reading Adam Hamilton’s Book on John
Order it on Amazon
805332

Ecclesiological Etchings: 02-05-16

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Scripture: Mark 9:2-3
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them.

Thought for the Day: Significant things happen when people visit the mountain top.  Three disciples joined Jesus on a journey to the summit (what’s called the Mountain of Transfiguration), but what they knew of Jesus was broadened because they were willing to make the trip.  Too many people walk in the valley assuming they have Jesus pretty much figured out, and so invitations to go to the mountain are declined.  But even those who walked daily with Jesus for a couple of years were wowed by what they glimpsed on the mountain.  The valley is safe and predictable, and too often faithful people postpone their excursions because they cannot imagine anything novel being revealed.  Don’t get me wrong, the valley  is important.  It is where we live and serve, but time on the mountain expands our capacity to do that living and serving in more faithful ways.

Prayer: O Holy Guide, on this Transfiguration Sunday, lead me to those lofty places where I can more fully appreciate the relationship I have with you – lead me to those lofty places that will inspire me to live more faithful in the valley. Amen.

THIS SUNDAY

Transfiguration Sunday
Mark 9:2-10

My Bag of Excuses



 

Next Wednesday

Ash Wednesday 2

 



 

Wednesdays During Lent

Starting February 17

Reading Adam Hamilton’s Book on John
Order it on Amazon
805332

Ecclesiological Etchings: 02-04-16

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Scripture: 1st Timothy 4:13-15
Until I arrive, give attention to the public reading of scripture, to exhorting, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders.  Put these things into practice, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress.

Thought for the Day: When you are reading scripture and come across the word, Elder, do not think of it in terms of age. As a young kid, I looked at those people serving at the communion table every week, and I thought they were old…thus associating Elder with elderly.  I think all of our current Elders at CCCC, though a great range of ages, would prefer not to be thought of as elderly. The word in the Greek that we translate as Elder is the word prebuterion, which is where our Presbyterian friends get their name.  It describes an assembly of leaders, and though the root word presbus can describe an older person, the emphasis is more on the gifts, insights and wisdom of the individual.  This coming Sunday, we will recognize and bless our 2016 Elders.  They are not to be understood as the elderly among us, but as those whose gifts, insights and wisdom will help shape the spiritual life of our congregation.

Prayer: Holy God, you have given each individual a gift to be used for the sharing of the Gospel.  This day, we give you thanks for those who are called as Elders in the life of the church.  May your grace work through them as they cultivate and encourage the gifts of the entire faith community.  Amen.

NEXT WEDNESDAY

Ash Wednesday 2

 



 

Wednesdays During Lent
Starting February 17

Reading Adam Hamilton’s Book on John
Order it on Amazon
805332

Ecclesiological Etchings: 02-03-16

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Scripture: Proverbs 25:21
The desires of the lazy will kill them, because their hands refuse to do anything.

Thought for the Day: The King James Version uses the word slothful instead of lazy. I’m not too sure which word is more dramatic in its ability to make the point, but the word slothful tends to indicate more of an unchanging characteristic. A sloth is not going to suddenly become a kangaroo or a leopard. As much as I may like the word slothful for its harsh nature, I tend to think we as human beings are not ultimately defined by our laziness. Change is possible, and with the encouragement of the Spirit, industrious and effectiveness can become some of our most defining characteristics. This Sunday we are talking about putting aside our excuse bag and seeking the ways of Jesus immediately. The time is now and the world needs a now kind of people.

Prayer: The desires of the faithful and hopeful shall seek your dreams, O Lord, and will assist in making them reality. I desire to be among the faithful and hopeful. Amen.

My Bag of Excuses


TODAY

Wednesday Study

Last Session: Embracing Forgiveness
Noon & 6:30pm


Born to be Wild Flyer Feb 26 2016

Ecclesiological Etchings: 02-02-16

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Scripture: Psalm 42:1-2 (CEB)
Just like a deer that craves streams of water, my whole being craves you, God. My whole being thirsts for God, for the living God. When will I come and see God’s face?

Thought for the Day: Richard Rohr wrote, “Religion is one of the safest places to hide from God.” Rohr appears to hit a home run with these words. Modern day Christianity has formed itself around ideas of feel-good psychology, junk science and pious religiosity that does not resemble the life of Jesus at all. Much of tv church and pseudo-Christian bestsellers have attempted to attach wealth or some political allegiance or self-serving social agenda to the humble and self-sacrificing Jesus of scripture. Much of this makes it rather difficult to encounter the God revealed in Jesus – the Holy Mystery of Love which is too easily eclipsed by the insecurities and fears that we hold. Don’t allow your religion to become the place where you hide from that which you fear. Instead, seek the God who desires to liberate you from your fears and insecurities, the God for whom your whole being craves. 

Prayer: Though my life is often controlled by the very things from which you desire to save me, O Lord, I will follow the thirsting of my spirit and drink from your life-giving waters. Amen.

SUNDAY’S SERMON

Transfiguration Sunday
Mark 9:2-10

My Bag of Excuses

 


Flyer _ 2016 final 1

Registration Sunday

Ecclesiological Etchings: 02-01-16

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Scriptures: Exodus 20:8
Remember the Sabbath day and treat it as holy.

Thought for the Day: Yesterday morning, I sat in my home church sanctuary (First Christian Church of Lincoln, NE) as I was visiting my mom to celebrate her 85th birthday. A few minutes before worship, I pulled up the LiveStream of Cypress Creek’s service and was able to watch a few minutes, but I thought it would be a bit tacky to continue to watch one service on my iPhone while sitting in another service. Last night, I received the link to the services from Larry Lipton (CLICK HERE) and watched. I was so blessed by the words of Cindy Holster, Cindy Rhodes and Shirley Cantrell. I applaud the commitment they brought to this project along with the other participants. THANK YOU! In listening to their messages, it made me realize how my time with my mother and family has been Sabbath for me. When rest is treated as necessary and holy, the whole self has a greater opportunity of growing in ones relationship with God.

Prayer: For the Sabbath experiences that come my way, O Merciful God, I am grateful and pray that I will take advantage of them. Amen.



 

Ecclesiological Etchings: 01-31-16

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Scripture: John 15:13
No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends.

Thought for the Day: The story is a few days old, but most of you probably heard about a school principal who pushed children from the path of a school bus. In her choice to save others, she lost her own life. Just rereading the article, I find myself very emotional. But what bothers me more is where the article sat on a list of news stories among four separate media outlets. It ranked fifth and seventh and not even on the main page of two. If the article was on the main page, it was below articles about political bickering, sporting events and celebrity nonsense. A person who is described as an outstanding educator makes a choice to put children above herself in the ultimate way. She makes a choice that caused her death, yet it falls way down on what our culture considers important or news-worthy. There is no greater love than to give up one’s life for a friend or school children or even a complete stranger. Let us celebrate and honor this life.

Prayer: For all who give so generously of themselves each day, O Lord, we are thankful. And for those who put the interests of others before their own, may their example become our culture’s heroes. Amen.

LAITY SUNDAY

A GREAT SUNDAY
FOR CYPRESS CREEK



 

Ecclesiological Etchings: 01-30-16

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Scripture: Isaiah 25:9
It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

Thought for the Day: As we continue through this 25th chapter of Isaiah, I am struck by seven rather simple words: It will be said on that day… There is a lot of hope within those words – and that’s because what will follow in the remaining words of vs. 9 has not yet been realized. As someone is preparing for surgery, such as a knee replacement or removal of cataracts, I have been known to say, “Well in a short time, I believe you’ll look back on this moment and think it was a great decision.” In most cases, I am correct…it might be days or weeks or months. I can say that because my experience has told me it to be true, but there are other times when we do not have the personal experience to back up our words. It is a statement of faith and faith alone. What stands out to me in this passage are the pronouns that are used. They are all plural – our, we and us. Some might suggest that it is nothing more than a communal delusion, but a community that believes in the saving and healing work of God tends to find them. That doesn’t mean a group of people will always get what they want in the way they want it, but at the core of God’s being is found One who desires to see us rescued from our brokenness and brought into wholeness. And when a community is faithfully looking for such a thing, I believe God finds a way of bringing those gifts into the community.

Prayer: Though it may not be perfect – in fact, it might be rather mucky – but you, Gracious God, seem to find creative ways of bringing salvation and healing into some pretty difficult and dark situations. Thank you for being the source of my faith. Amen.



Don’t Forget About Sunday Worship

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

Laity Sunday



 

Ecclesiological Etchings: 01-29-16

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Scripture: Isaiah 25:7-8
And the Lord will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; he will swallow up death forever. Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.

Thought for the Day: Recently I was sitting with some church folks and we were joking around. Someone intended to say that God just might smite you for thinking that way. Smite is a word often associated with the fire and brimstone of some angry god, but instead of saying the word smite, the person said smitten. Just an extra ’T’ and the addition of an ’N’, and boy does the meaning change. As you begin to read this section of Isaiah, “And the Lord will destroy…,” I believe there is an expectation of where the passage is going. People assume God is going to strike down (smite) all those sinful people, but as you continue to read, that’s not the case. God destroys the shroud that hangs over humanity. God swallows up death forever and comforts those who grieve. Too often we are expecting a God who is going to smite the world, but what we find is a God who is smitten with the world. 

Prayer: In your love, O Lord, I am challenged to change my ways. I do not fear your smiting power but choose to live within your Spirit that is smitten with me despite my many flaws. Amen.



 

Are you praying for your church?

A church built on prayer will do things
it never imagined it could do.



 

Ecclesiological Etchings: 01-28-16

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Scripture: Isaiah 25:6
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. 

Thought for the Day: This is one of the early images where we find the breathtaking word ALL. As I’ve said before in a devotional – my colleague in ministry, Rev. Glen Miles, continually reminds us that the word we translate as ALL means ALL. In this eschatological image – in this expression of the fullness of time – there is a welcome feast on the mountain of the Lord that has seating for all…for every last one of us. In our world defined entirely by unyielding boundaries that we have created – boundaries that determine who is in and who is out, who is good and who is bad, who is a child of God and who is not – God shakes apart every aspect of that mindset with a single word. We may disagree with one another. We may be at odds with others in regard to some topic, but instead of categorizing the opposing opinion and the person who holds it as evil or demonic or ungodly, maybe we should picture that person’s place at the feast of the Lord. I may still disagree with some folks, but it is hard to toss them aside as nothing if I realize that I just might be seated next to them at the great banquet feast.

Prayer: God of the amazing and unconditional ALL, I give you thanks this day. My gratitude spills forth as I embrace my inclusion within your ALL. Amen.

 

 



 

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