Ecclesiological Etchings: 11-23-13

Blog_Heading566145

Scripture: Leviticus 19:18
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Thought for the Day: Thursday evening I attended the Spring Interfaith Thanksgiving Service held at The Champions Mosque on Old Louetta.  Those of us who attended were treated so graciously by our hosts, and the speakers (Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Jewish) were all wonderful.  There were numerous reoccurring themes, but the most powerful was summarized by the Rabbi who said, “We all believe two basic ideas: Love God, and love your neighbor.  All else is commentary.”  That might be slightly overstated, but there are many places where people of different faiths can actually converse…and maybe, just maybe, find a reason to stop hating and killing.  We can hope…

Prayer: Could it be, Gracious God, that you created some common ground that if, by chance, we are paying attention, we can actually treat one another as you treat us?  Amen.

EVERYONE!
Join us tomorrow afternoon…
Deck_the_Halls_web_1

 

Ecclesiological Etchings: 11-22-13

Blog_Heading566145

Scripture: 2nd John 1:1-3
The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth, and not only I but also all who know the truth, because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever: Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, in truth and love.

Thought for the Day: Bureaucracy has a bad name, and clearly there are examples in government, business and church where the bureaucracy is a significant hinderance to the  fulfillment of the designed purpose.  Yet 2nd John begins with the Title: The Elder.  To our eyes, the English does not reveal much, but in the original Greek, there is something very important.  The word we translate as Elder, is presbyter.  It probably looks familiar, like the name associated with the church not too far from here, Northwoods Presbyterian Church.  In regard to the denomination, the word Presbyterian is describing: A congregational structure by representative assembly of elders.  In the opening of 2nd John, this title associated with the author suggests that a structure is beginning to develop among the fledgling groups of Jesus-followers.  In part, this is why 2nd John is dated to the latter part of the first century.  This early bureaucracy probably developed from the idea that though local congregations have an important ministry in their local setting, there is a greater ministry that can be done when different communities within the larger Body of Christ are willing to come together.  As good stewards of all the resources we (I’m referring to the Church Universal) have, it is important to share and partner.  In doing so, a greater good will reach a greater number.

Prayer: Lead me, O Lord, into relationships that will strengthen the witness we all wish to offer the world—a witness of your amazing love.  Amen.

Join us as we prepare our space…

Deck_the_Halls_web_1

Advent Begins December 1

Hope and Remembrance

Advent 2013

Ecclesiological Etchings: 11-21-13

Blog_Heading566145

Scripture: Ezra 3:10-11
When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments were stationed to praise the Lord with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, according to the directions of King David of Israel; and they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.”  And all the people responded with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid

Thought for the Day: Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, said that “when a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity.”  Here was a man who had experienced something most people could never imagine, and if he had lost his ability to appreciate life and to know gratitude, we’d understand.  What makes Elie Wiesel so amazing is his ability to reclaim his humanity from the evils of the Nazi death camps, and to live his life in a way that continues to help others find their humanity.  The feeling of gratitude reminds us that we are alive, for it is the response we have when another person recognizes our humanity and treat us respectfully.

Prayer: God, whenever grace comes my way, may I be the first to name it and show appreciation for it.  Amen.

Deck_the_Halls_web_1

 

Hope and Remembrance

Advent 2013

Ecclesiological Etchings: 11-20-13

Blog_Heading566145

Scripture: 2nd Corinthians 9:15
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Thought for the Day: The writer and philosopher, Eric Hoffer, wrote: “The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.” I would add, we are brilliant mathematicians when it comes to counting our stuff as we try to compare it to the stuff other people have.  The difficulty comes in counting the simple gifts we have received by no merit of our own.  If you cannot count them as gifts, then you will not be thankful for them.

Prayer: Awaken my senses to the splendid gifts around me, O Source of Life, for I desire to be a person who lives in gratitude.  Amen.

 JOIN US LATER TODAY
Who Is This Jesus

Advent
at
Cypress Creek Christian Church 

November 22
Dicken’s Market — 9am – 5pm 

November 23
Dicken’s Market — 9am – 5pm 

November 24
Decking the Hallways and the rest 
(Decorating the Church) — 4pm 

November 30
FACE Concert: 
Three Priests — 8pm 

December 1
First Sunday of Advent
Service of Hope and Remembrance — 3pm

 

Ecclesiological Etchings: 11-19-13

Blog_Heading566145

Scripture: Proverbs 1:21-23
At the busiest corner she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?  Give heed to my reproof; I will pour out my thoughts to you; I will make my words known to you.”

Thought for the Day: More than 150 years ago, Alexander Campbell (one of our denominational founders) offered an Address on Education in which he did not dodge some of the great tensions between science and faith.   Campbell encouraged public education, an education that was not limited by narrow religious beliefs.  He said, “Physical nature is, indeed, still open to investigation in some of her most interesting and sublime departments.  Astronomy is yet in process of development.  Geology is a new science, still incomplete and imperfect.  The physical constitution of the man has yet numerous mysteries sealed from the most discriminating eyes.”  I am so thankful to be a member of a denomination that from its conception was supportive of education that asked tough questions of both science and faith.  And because of this – schools of higher education related to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) have produced both great scientists who have faith and great ministers who respect science.  During this Thanksgiving season, we are collecting a special offering to support the ongoing work of Universities and Seminaries historically connected to our denomination (including TCU).

Prayer: In my attempt to be faithful, O Lord, I will seek to understand what I do not currently understand…even when it challenges what I previously held as certain.  Amen.

JOIN US TOMORROW

Who Is This Jesus

Ecclesiological Etchings: 11-18-13

Blog_Heading566145

Scripture: Mark 16:15
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.”

Thought for the Day: There are times I need to reread this passage, along with the great commission in Matthew’s Gospel, and Paul’s commitment to proclaim the good news to those who would otherwise not hear it.  There are days when, as a minister, I can get lost in the work of the church and forget the mission of the church.  This mission can take on all kinds of expressions, but at the end of the day, it is about the unconditional love of God made real in Jesus Christ.  I was so proud of a conversation during a meeting of the Cypress Creek Christian Church Elders last night.  The discussion was on humility, and the importance of modeling selfless giving instead of selfish living.  It is difficult to do, but I appreciate their desire to strive toward this lofty goal…not only for themselves, but as a template for the rest of the congregation.

Prayer: Lord God, I have a laundry list of things I want to achieve, but let me continually ask myself if any of them truly serve others before they serve my self interest.  And when possible, Lord, provide me those who can model a selfless kind of life that puts the Gospel above everything else.  Amen.

Ecclesiological Etchings: 11-17-13

Blog_Heading566145

Scripture: Psalm 119:107
I am severely afflicted; give me life, O Lord, according to your word.

Thought for the Day: Five times in Psalm 119, we read the words: Give me life.  It is clearly the longing of the human soul, especially amidst struggle and affliction.  The word describes not simply the beating of the heart, but restoration and the fullness of human existence.  Such a life knows joy, peace, friendship and love.  God is the Source of these essential attributes, and those who are intentional about seeking and connecting with God are much more likely to discover these attributes that define the life for which the Psalmist longs.

Prayer: There are so many difficulties in life, O Lord, yet I do not wish for them to obscure my view of all that is good.  Lead, Loving One, into those experiences where I can begin to understand and embrace the life you offer.  I will still know tragedy and heartache, but I will also know you…the One who is gracious and kind.  Amen.

20101012-2010ThanksgivingOffering

Don’t forget our Thanksgiving Offering

1/2 goes to support our DOC Universities and Seminaries
1/2 goes to grow the Earl Bissex Scholarship Fund

 

Advent
at
Cypress Creek Christian Church 

November 22
Dicken’s Market — 9am – 5pm 

November 23
Dicken’s Market — 9am – 5pm 

November 24
Decking the Hallways and the rest 
(Decorating the Church) — 4pm 

November 30
FACE Concert: 
Three Catholic Tenors — 8pm 

December 1
First Sunday of Advent
Service of Hope and Remembrance — 3pm