Ecclesiological Etchings: 06-30-13

Scripture: Acts 7:47-49
It was Solomon who built a house for the Lord.  Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made with human hands; as the prophet says, “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest?”

Thought for the Day: One more time I am left feeling a bit queasy after reading a section of Barbara Brown Taylor’s book, An Altar in the World.  She writes these little snippets that leave an ache in my gut as if I had just finished a plate of bad oysters.  Taylor has concerns when people of faith decide to construct a church building.  “Do we build God a house so that we can choose when to go see God.  Do we build God a house in lieu of having God stay at ours?”  No one consciously sets out to do these things, but I remember serving on the New Church Development Committee, and having an eye opening conversation with a member of one of our new churches who had been empowered to find the perfect location.  He said, “I want the church to be close enough to my house to get there without too much hassle on Sunday morning, but far enough that I don’t get called when there is a problem.”  I’m pretty sure he said it as a joke, but I wonder…I wonder how many of us want to be connected to a church so long as it isn’t a hassle, and we can keep God well contained.

Prayer: Wherever I might encounter you, Lord, help me to see that you remain so much more than any one space could contain or reveal.  Amen.

TODAY’S WORSHIP

Combined Service at 10:30am
(Special music begins at 10:15am)

PICNIC LUNCH TO FOLLOW

 …and don’t forget
The Special Offering
For the Nursery Remodeling

Nursery-Offering

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Ecclesiological Etchings: 06-29-13

Scripture: 1st Corinthians 14:26
What should be done then, my friends? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.

Thought for the Day: We come together, not to rid ourselves of our unique gifts, but to amplify and intensify the ability of this collective body.  We do so to build up the individual members who have committed themselves to the body of Christ, but to also reach beyond the collective body to build up the lives of others.  As we prepare to worship tomorrow in one service, let us be mindful of the amazing gifts being brought together in the Centrum.  Let us be aware of how the spirit desires to strengthen us for the purpose of building up those who have yet to find themselves inside the Christ community where God’s transformative love is shared.  I think it will be an amazing time at 10:30am tomorrow – Cypress Creek Christian Church’s combined service…a time when the many shall be one, or at least unified for one purpose.  Don’t miss it!

Prayer: Use my strengths, O Source of All Good Things, to uplift my sisters and brothers.  And use the gifts of my brothers and sisters to undergird my areas of weakness.  Amen.

TOMORROW’S WORSHIP

Combined Service at 10:30am
(Special music begins at 10:15am)

PICNIC LUNCH TO FOLLOW

 …and don’t forget
The Special Offering
For the Nursery Remodeling

Nursery-Offering

Ecclesiological Etchings: 06-28-13

Scripture: John 14:28 (the Message)
“You’ve heard me tell you, ‘I’m going away, and I’m coming back.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I’m on my way to the Father because the Father is the goal and purpose of my life.”

Thought for the Day: Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, wrote: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”  I don’t know if I’ll have one day when I will have completely figured out the ‘why’, but there have been numerous moments in which I have seen the answer a bit more clearly…and it has a lot to do with God’s act of selfless love in Jesus Christ and the invitation for me to do likewise.

Prayer: God of the Universe, I give thanks that you are concerned about me and all the me’s of this world.  Guide us to that place where we can better understand our purpose in this universe.  Amen.

Don’t forget…

JUST ONE SERVICE THIS SUNDAY
10:30am
(special music at 10:15am)

ALSO

Taking up a Special Collection

Nursery-Offering

The Nursery

Ecclesiological Etchings: 06-27-13

Scripture: John 8:31-32
Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.

Thought for the Day: Yesterday, I saw a news article online entitled: School Blocks Girl from Football, says Boys May Have ‘Impure Thoughts’.  Let’s think about this for a moment.  What middle school boy isn’t already having impure thoughts?  I think we can assume that to be a rhetorical question and move on to the real question of why exactly would a school use that as an excuse.  Now the young lady was attending a ‘Christian School’, and though some might suggest a higher level of morality, I would suggest it is folks looking for an excuse…for whatever reason.  This young lady was, from the opinions of many, a very good football player.  Yet like so often happens, people create some pretty lame excuses to maintain inequality.  I think we have seen this recently on a much larger scale.  It’s one thing to have an opinion on a certain issue, but some of the explanations for maintaining inequality have been nothing short of embarrassing.  It is nothing new.  People have often used the Ghostbuster Scenario (Dr. Venkman tries to create the worst case scenario, “Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!”).  As I have said quite often lately, we can agree to disagree.  But when one side feels as if it is losing, that does not give that side permission to pull out the absurd in hopes of creating mass hysteria that has no foundation in truth.  The truth will set us free, and so we must always be seeking the truth while using the pathway of truthfulness.

Prayer: Merciful Creator, assist me as I speak the truth even when it is painful and does not help my point of view.  Amen.

IMPORTANT

THIS SUNDAY
June 30

One Worship Service
at 10:30am
(Special Music Begins at 10:15am) 

All Church Picnic
Follows Worship

Old Stories

THIS SUNDAY

Preaching on the Hagar Story
Genesis 21-8-21

Ecclesiological Etchings: 06-26-13

Scripture: Luke 6:31-32
Do to others as you would have them do to you.  “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them…”

Thought for the Day: Okay, I promise this will be the last Shane Claiborne quote…at least for a while.  In his book, Irresistible Revolution, Claiborne wrote, “Only Jesus would be crazy enough to suggest that if you want to become the greatest, you should become the least. Only Jesus would declare God’s blessing on the poor rather than on the rich and would insist that it’s not enough to just love your friends. I just began to wonder if anybody still believed Jesus meant those things he said.”  I don’t want to point fingers or make uninformed judgements, so I’ll speak from the vantage point I know best…my own.  In recent weeks, I have found myself singing a song in worship only to come across a line that flowed from my lips but didn’t comfortably sit in my heart.  Oh it sounded beautiful and admirable, but just because I was singing it didn’t necessarily mean I was going to do it.  Jesus suggested a lot of really crazy stuff, and I wonder just how seriously I believe it…or maybe I believe it, but don’t have any desire to make the needed changes in my own life to see it occur.  Christianity would be a lot easier if I were living alone on a deserted island (in that mythical world of deserted islands).  Think about it – practicing the Christian faith is extraordinarily difficult when I have to do it with people whose opinions and ideals and ethics are different than mine.  It’s tough to be a Christian, and anyone who tells you otherwise hasn’t yet tried to be a Jesus follower in any significant way.  With that said, know that God’s grace is there to both encourage us when its tough, forgive us when we fail, and celebrate with us when we have a little success.

Prayer: Merciful God, help me be kind, gentle and loving…and I’ll start with the goal of the next 10 minutes…and if that works, I’ll seek your help on the next 10.  Amen.

IMPORTANT

THIS SUNDAY

June 30

One Worship Service
at 10:30am
(Special Music Begins at 10:15am) 

All Church Picnic
Follows Worship

Ecclesiological Etchings: 06-25-13

Scripture: Isaiah 16:3-5
Give counsel, grant justice; make your shade like night at the height of noon; hide the outcasts, do not betray the fugitive; let the outcasts of Moab settle among you; be a refuge to them from the destroyer.  When the oppressor is no more, and destruction has ceased, and marauders have vanished from the land, then a throne shall be established in steadfast love in the tent of David, and on it shall sit in faithfulness a ruler who seeks justice and is swift to do what is right.

Thought for the Day: I mentioned Shane Claiborne in my sermon on Sunday, a guy who is often saying provocative things.  As I was looking at some of his writings, I came across an equally good thought.  Claiborne wrote, “The more I get to know Jesus, the more trouble he seems to get me into.”  I wonder if we have too many good mannered and polite Christians.  I’m not suggesting we be rude or ill-tempered, but have we missed many good opportunities of prophet-like living because we were too concerned about looking the part of a respectable and refined Christian?  The desire to appear reputable has probably, at times, outweighed the will to be faithful.

Prayer: There’s going to be moments, Lord, when the world will need a strong prophetic voice.  As much as I’d rather quietly blend into the crowd of other respectable religious people, I know you may need me to be a bit of a trouble-maker.  I don’t wish it, but if so needed, give me the courage to step forward.  Amen.

 

IMPORTANT

THIS SUNDAY
June 30

One Worship Service
at 10:30am
(Special Music Begins at 10:15am) 

All Church Picnic
Follows Worship

 

Ecclesiological Etchings: 06-24-13

Scripture: 1st Corinthians 13:4-6
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.

Thought for the Day: In their book, “If God is Love,” my friends Phil and Jim pointed out the importance of viewing faith as a journey.  “Discovering salvation was a process rather than an event allowed me to be patient with myself.  I no longer lived in constant fear of making a mistake.  I recently had the joy of watching my niece, Madeline, take her first steps.  Her mother was sitting a few feet away, holding out her hands, smiling and encouraging her to come.  Madeline took one very hesitant and wobbly step before collapsing to the floor.  Laughing, her mother swept Madeline into her arms, celebrating her first step.  Her response is God’s response…Why is it that when children are beginning to walk, we celebrate their every step…but when men and women begin their spiritual journeys, we often point out their every failure and ignore their tentatives steps?  This is not the divine response” (“If God is Love” by P. Gulley and J. Mulholland, p.43&44).  The patient love we are invited to embody along this journey of faith was modeled for us by God, and even when we fail, God will remain patient with us.

Prayer: O Loving God, train me in the patient life so that others may come to experience for themselves what it means to have someone who loves them for who they are.  Amen.

IMPORTANT

THIS SUNDAY
June 30

One Worship Service
at 10:30am
(Special Music Begins at 10:15am) 

All Church Picnic
Follows Worship