Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-31-14

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Scripture: Genesis 47:11
Joseph settled his father and his brothers, and granted them a holding in the land of Egypt, in the best part of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had instructed.

Thought for the Day: Today, May 31, is the 151st day of the year. It is also the day Rameses II took the Egyptian throne back 1270 BC. Rameses II is the Egyptian Pharaoh depicted in the classic movie, The 10 Commandments, as well as the animated movie, The Prince of Egypt. It is thought that he lived until he was almost 100 years old, and because of his age and many accomplishments, he is the usual go-to Pharaoh for the Exodus story. This is probably incorrect, for there were 8 or 9 other Rameses before Rameses II.

The date is probably not what is paramount in the Exodus narrative. It is a story of a people whose circumstance radically changed – from good to lousy to desperate – and the God who heard their desperate cries and worked to liberate them. It is the defining story for our Jewish brothers and sisters, and it is clearly an interpretive lens through which the Gospel writer of Matthew interprets the Jesus story.

Archeology and other historical study are very important to our understanding of the Biblical story, but there are times when the Bible is less interested in giving us a specific context in hopes that we capture the character of God. In this case, a God who hears and responds to the desperate needs of humanity.

Prayer: God of history, you have and continue to communicate who you are through the stories of what you have done. As we glimpse a little more of who you are, may we better understand what it means to be your followers. Amen.

TOMORROW

IS

YOUTH SUNDAY

Come Celebrate our Young People


 

Undergirding Sundays

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-30-14

 

Scripture: Acts 11:2-3
So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?”

Thought for the Day: WHY—It is an interesting word.  It can be the beginning of an inquisitive exploration. It can demonstrate a spiritual appetite that hungers for fresh sustenance and new insights. It can be the first step through a doorway by which we travel into worlds previously unseen. Or – and this is an important ‘Or’ – Or, it can be life-stifling, door-closing, relationship-ending.  It is all in the tone, and though we cannot always tell the tone of the written word, we can probably assume within this text an arrogant, almost rhetorical tone with eyes rolling. Their inflection probably conveyed a sense of disbelief, assuming no value to be found in anyone who was uncircumcised.

It is easy to judge some of the characters in scripture as we view them more as caricatures that look nothing like anyone we know, but is the eye rolling sarcasm we’ve imagined in this passage all that dissimilar to our actions? Has our disapproving and overly critical thinking brought out the wrong WHY?  When we feel ourselves devaluing someone with our tone of voice, stripping them of dignity with the shake of our head, our WHY should be asking the more critical, two part question: WHY is it that God loves this person that I have so easily tossed to the curb, and more importantly, WHY does God continue to love me when I do such a nonChrist-like thing? Those are the questions that are the beginning of an inquisitive journey like no other.

Prayer: Holy God, as I ask Why?, I pray that it is with a joyful yearning to know your grace and know others more fully through that grace. Amen.

THIS SUNDAY

Celebrating Our Youth

YOUTH SUNDAY

 

Undergirding Sundays

 

You are invited to the chapel at 8am this Sunday for a 10-15 minute period of prayer led by two of our Elders. Each Sunday, two of the Elders will offer this opportunity. The time will change week-to-week to accommodate our three services (prayer time at 8am, 9:15 or 10:45am depending on the week). You will NOT be asked to pray out loud, so don’t be intimidated by this opportunity. It is simply to bathe our Sunday mornings at Cypress Creek Christian Church in prayer.

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Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-29-14

 

Scripture: 1st Thessalonians 3:9
How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you?

Thought for the Day: Maya Angelou said in an interview (Beautifully Said Magazine; 2012), “I’ve learned that people will forget what you angelou3-sizedsaid, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” As a poet, Maya Angelou is associated with words…words that would have been forgettable in the hands of most, but the choices she made in arranging those words stirred my heart in ways very few others have. Her death yesterday was a shock to my system, but I must celebrate the gift she was to the world. What she did in her lifetime will be remembered for centuries, but the emotion her writings elicit will remain unforgettable as long as there are people capable of reading. How can we thank God enough for Maya Angelou in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of her?

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for Maya and all those who have been able to introduce us to a part of our souls that we had not previously known existed. Amen.

Undergirding Sundays

 

You are invited to the chapel at 8am this Sunday for a 10-15 minute period of prayer led by two of our Elders. Each Sunday, two of the Elders will offer this opportunity. The time will change week-to-week to accommodate our three services (prayer time at 8am, 9:15 or 10:45am depending on the week). You will NOT be asked to pray out loud, so don’t be intimidated by this opportunity. It is simply to bathe our Sunday mornings at Cypress Creek Christian Church in prayer.

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-28-14

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Scripture: Acts 16:11-14
Setting sail therefore from Tro’as, we made a direct voyage to Sam’othrace, and the following day to Ne-ap’olis, and from there to Philip’pi, which is the leading city of the district of Macedo’nia, and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days; and on the sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyati’ra, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to give heed to what was said by Paul.

Thought for the Day: What were the women doing at the riverside praying? There are a number of theories, though it appears as if the necessary requirement of at least 10 men to have a synagogue was not met. The women, nonetheless, gathered outside the city, and it was there that they prayed. They may not have believed they could do all that was prescribed, but they chose to pray. When we are uncertain of where to begin, I believe the women in Philippi provide us a good starting place…that of prayer.

Beginning this Sunday, two Elders will gather in the chapel for a time of intentional prayer (10-15 minutes). The point of this time is to bathe our Sunday morning experiences in prayer. The gathering time will change week to week, but you are invited to join these Elders whenever possible. Some Sundays, it will be a time of silent prayer. Other times, it will be guided by one of the Elders. Whatever the case, please know that you are invited.

Prayer: Almighty and Glorious King, you are worthy of our praise. Create opportunities this day and every day by which I am able to connect with you anew. Amen.

Undergirding Sundays

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-27-14

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Scripture: 1st Peter 4:10-11 (the Message)
Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything – encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!

Thought for the Day: In the wonderful movie, Forrest Gump, as Forrest’s mother is dying, she says to him, “You have to do the best with what God gave you.” Like a lot of things said in that movie, those words are not terribly profound on the surface, but they demand the attention of our souls. Though we may not always view our gifts as worthy of public attention, there is something of God within those gifts. For that reason, there is enough within every gift to make a difference in the world. It may not have the wow factor some might desire, but when a community of people passes its gifts around, the change will be visible and enduring.

Prayer: Creator God, you continue to create within each person the potential to be the change this world needs. Amen.

 

 

 

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-26-14

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Scripture: Job 18:17
Their memory perishes from the earth, and they have no name in the street.

Thought for the Day: In the book of Job, the main character (Job) is confronted by three supposed friends who are convinced that Job’s great trouble has come upon him because of some horrible sin he committed. Now the author of the book has made it clear to the audience that even God had declared Job to be blameless and upright, yet the friends were working out of an old model–good things happen to good people, and bad things happen to bad people. In chapter 18, one of the friends gives a long list of what will happen to a person who is wicked in the ways of God. Included in this list is the idea that s/he will be completely forgotten, no memory of this individual at all. Amidst all sorts of horrible happening that are described, I find this one to be the most troubling…that is, to have your life leave no lasting impact upon the world. The good news for us is that the friends were wrong, and God does and will remember us. At the crucifixion of Jesus, one of the men being crucified alongside Jesus asked that he would be remembered in Jesus’ kingdom, and Jesus promised that he would see paradise that very day. Never let the judgmental condemn the memory of your existence, for God will remember in grace and forgiveness.

Prayer: With amazing gratitude, O God, I celebrate your eternal memory that bends toward mercy and welcome. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-25-14

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Scripture: Luke 22:19
Then Jesus took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Thought for the Day: You know – Bruce Lee is not my usual go-to guy for quotes, but he allegedly said that the key to “immortality is first living a life worth remembering.” On this Memorial Day Sunday, we will once again take time to remember Jesus at the table, his life of redemptive love, and his self-giving that has inspired generations of saints to live similar lives of sacrifice.  So many amazing lives are worth remembering, yet even those who might not have been as memorable have not slipped from the memory of God. Let us strive to live lives that are worth remembering, but doing so in the knowledge that God’s memory is very gracious to even those of us whose lives are not quite as impressive as that of Jesus or the saints.

Prayer: I come to you with gratitude, Lord, believing that you will remember me for all the good I have done along…and remember me despite all the less than impressive stuff on my life-resume. Amen.

Don’t Forget
To Swing By
Holy Ground
between
10:30 – 11:00am

To Celebrate
The Ministry
of

Rev. Brian Edwards

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Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-24-14

 

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Scripture: Galatians 2:10
They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do.

Thought for the Day: Last Sunday, I mentioned my hero in the faith, Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was serving in El Salvador in 1980 when he was assassinated. Before his death, Romero wrote:

The Church can be the Church only as long as it goes on being the Body of Christ. Its mission will be authentic only so long as it is the mission of Jesus in the new situations, the new circumstances of history. The criterion that will guide the church will be neither the approval of, nor the fear of, men and women, no matter how powerful or threatening they may be. It is the church’s duty in history to lend its voice to Christ so that he may speak, its feet so that he may walk today’s world, its hands to build the reign of God…

The Apostle Paul was asked by the Jerusalem church to “remember the poor,” and Paul’s response sure sounds like a nice way of saying, “Well Duh!” For Paul, the body of Christ had certain things it did or it couldn’t be the body of Christ. I wonder how often we, like those to whom Romero wrote, forget what it means to be the church.

Prayer: For those who desperately need your message, O God of Grace, let us be the body used to bring it to them. Amen.

TOMORROW’S WORSHIP

Memorial Sunday-Web

 

SERMON TITLE: Tag, You’re It


 

And don’t forget

to join us for

Rev. Brian Edwards’
Celebration of Ministry

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Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-23-14

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Scripture: Psalm 88:1-6
O Lord, God of my salvation, when, at night, I cry out in your presence, let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry. For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. I am counted among those who go down to the Pit; I am like those who have no help, like those forsaken among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand. You have put me in the depths of the Pit, in the regions dark and deep.

Thought for the Day: I don’t think most folks need their name on a building or etched in marble for posterity, but there is a yearning to be remembered. Even more so, I believe there is a desire to have a legacy that matters in the bigger scheme of things. The author of the Psalm is probably moving toward the end of life or at least facing something that has brought the issue of mortality to the forefront. There is often a sense of hopelessness in such moments, an overwhelming anguish in regard to what remains unaccomplished. How many people have sat in the hospital bed or in hospice care and spoken about their regrets, a grudge never mended or forgiveness never offered. I believe God’s love is eternal, and it is into that eternity that our life and memories are welcomed, but the angst felt by some as they face their mortality has more to do with what they’ve left behind. Is the world better? Is my sphere of influence a bit more like the reign of God? Did my life reflect Jesus to both my neighbor and my enemy? Regret is a normal emotion, but when we’ve lived our lives with a bold and passionate love for others, regret seems to be pushed further to the edges. As someone told me years ago, “Live your life in such a way that regret is put out of business.”

Prayer: O Eternal God, I desire to make my life worth recording in the heavenly annals. Though it will be far from perfect, I pray that it serves you and those around me with grace and kindness. Amen.

THIS SUNDAY

(May 25)

CELEBRATING THE MINISTRY
of
Rev. Brian Edwards

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Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-22-14

 

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Scripture: 1st Peter 4:10
Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.

Thought for the Day: What exactly does it mean to serve God? Does our service need to gush with proper religious language, the rhetoric of a good old-fashion evangelist?

Recently, I came across the following thoughts from Jon Foreman, the lead singer of the group Switchfoot. He was asked if the band was a “Christian band” because it lacked a lot of the usual Christian language. He responded this way:

To be honest, this question grieves me because I feel that it represents a much bigger issue than simply a couple Switchfoot tunes. In true Socratic form, let me ask you a few questions: Does Lewis or Tolkien mention Christ in any of their fictional series? Are Bach’s sonata’s Christian? What is more Christ-like, feeding the poor, making furniture, cleaning bathrooms, or painting a sunset? There is a schism between the sacred and the secular in all of our modern minds… I can only conclude that our God is much more interested in how I treat the poor and the broken and the hungry than the personal pronouns I use when I sing.

It was the poet Edgar Guest who wrote: “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day; I’d rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way…” I would suggest that Guest’s words written more than 75 years ago are more relevant today than when he first wrote them. So many people around the world hunger to see Christ in the daily living of Christians, yet too many of those people remain hungry

Prayer: Lord, where my faith and your Spirit intersect, make an unmistakable witness of your unconditional love. Amen.

Memorial Sunday-Web

THIS SUNDAY
at
Cypress Creek Christian Church
(8:15am, 9:30am & 11:00am)


 

 

And Come Celebrate

the Ministry

of

Rev. Brian Edwards

10:30 – 11:00am

At Holy Grounds

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