Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-31-15

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Scripture: Psalm 32:11
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

Thought for the Day: As you prepare for worship on this Sabbath day, allow these words from the Psalms to guide your spirit. Be glad and rejoice; allow your voice to declare the joy felt in your heart; continue to find ways of standing firm in the ways of God. This is my prayer for you and for me on this last day of May.

Prayer: For all that I have received from you, O Gracious One, I am thankful. Let my life display my gratitude. Amen.

DON’T MISS WORSHIP

8:15 & 9:30–Bruce Preaching:
Known By Who We Condemn
1st Corinthians 4:1-5

11:00–Bruce Preaching:
Trying to Drink Through a Coffee Stirrer
2nd Corinthians 9:11-13


And Then Join Us–
Clara Lewis - Retirement


And Looking Ahead

June 7
Congregational Meeting
9am in the Forum
Noon in the Centrum

To vote on the new Bylaws

 

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-30-15

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Scripture: Jude 1:2
May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.

Thought for the Day: I’ve spent the last 72 hours reflecting on some words from Friedrich Nietzsche. Now let me clarify – I don’t spend a lot of time pondering the thoughts of Friedrich Nietzsche, but the following words caught my attention:

One must learn to be a sponge if one wants
to be loved by hearts that overflow.

We all know the old saying, “He wears his emotions on his sleeve.” As I think more about Nietzsche’s words, it sure appears that a lot of people choose to wear the love of God on the periphery, but never allow it to soak into the self. God’s love overflows the banks of heaven, washing us in a merciful kindness that is beyond description. Yet for it to make a real impact upon us, it needs to enter us and become integrated into our very identity. Instead, there is a tendency to buy the Christian t-shirt or wear the cross neckless as an outer display, without ever allowing our hearts to absorb the message. Be a sponge of God’s overflowing love.

Prayer: I want your love, O Lord, to spill over me and into me. I wish to absorb this gift into every aspect of my life. Amen.

JOIN TOGETHER TOMORROW MORNING
For Worship
at
8:15, 9:30 or 11:00

AND THEN…
Clara Lewis - Retirement


And Looking Ahead

June 7
Congregational Meeting
9am in the Forum
Noon in the Centrum

To vote on the new Bylaws

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-29-15

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Scripture: 1st John 4:18am
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear;

Thought for the Day: This Sunday, we officially offer blessing to Rev. Clara Lewis as she retires after 30 years of ministry here at Cypress Creek Christian Church. Since the average stay at a church is 19 months, her perseverance and patience says a lot about her. Of course, such change brings anxiety and fear. That is true of any situation, but the scripture speaks about the power of love to cast out this fear. Love, in its most perfect form, leaves no room for fear. Clara’s retirement is causing me a little anxiety, but in the three short years I have worked with her, she is one who has clearly taught us and showed us the power of love. Let us practice what she taught us, and when we do, we will be able to enter into Sunday with loving hearts that desire to honor and celebrate her amazing work within this church… while not fearing tomorrow.

Prayer: Let us have receptive hearts, Lord God, for your amazing gift of love. As we make room for it, may it do more than reside within us – may it expand to fill every corner of our lives. Amen.

THIS SUNDAY

In the Activity Room
Clara Lewis - Retirement


And Looking Ahead

June 7
Congregational Meeting
9am in the Forum
Noon in the Centrum

To vote on the new Bylaws


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Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-28-15

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Scripture: Numbers 6:24-26
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

Thought for the Day: This is probably the most well known Benediction used in the life of the church. I heard it every Sunday in my childhood, and though I take a slightly different approach when offering a Benediction, I will use it on occasion.  These words came at a time of transition in the life of Israel. They were used as an example to the priests of how they were to offer a blessing upon others. Though we tend to associate them with the end of a worship service, these words were intended as a blessing in many different settings and situations. The Hebrew word for blessing is Barak, and it can mean a whole host of things. I appreciate the Jewish Rabbi who described blessing to me as those things you desire in your last hour of life – family and friends, comfort, peacefulness within our minds and spirits, a healthy relationship with God, etc. In today’s world, we have associated blessing with money and material items. In that last hour of life, I doubt my mind will consider how blessed I was in regard to my checking account. The actual amount (or the lack there of) will not be of concern.

Prayer: You, Holy One, continue to provide the true blessings of life, yet I am not always aware of their spiritual beauty. I look with skewed vision – to shallow definitions of blessing that are neither comforting or life-giving. Speak to me again, Gracious God, revealing the true blessings of your love. Amen.

Clara Lewis - Retirement

And Looking Ahead

June 7
Congregational Meeting
9am in the Forum
Noon in the Centrum

To vote on the new Bylaws

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-27-15

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Scripture: Isaiah 49:13
Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his suffering ones.

Thought for the Day: Mother Teresa wrote, “Joy is prayer; joy is strength; joy is love; joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.” Joy is powerful, and I think most of us can offer a firsthand witness to that power. You have probably stood in the glow of someone else’s joy, and you found it both magnetic and contagious.  Yet recently I have read a number of articles about the unfriendly church. I wasn’t surprised by people who experienced a lack of friendliness when visiting the church for the first time. What did surprise me was how many people talked about visiting a church and hearing or even being invited into disagreements or arguments about some administrative issue within the church… and this was on people’s first visit to the church. Trust me when I say – church administration is not the joyful image we want people to first experience when they come to Cypress Creek Christian Church. Administrative arguments are joy to no one. I have said before, and I’ll say it again, I don’t want us to talk business on Sunday morning. I want to meet visitors, hear about people’s highs and lows, and pray with those who are needing a little extra encouragement. Unless the building is currently on fire, it can wait until Monday. Let’s be a church that knows the joy of the Lord, and exudes it in all that we do.

Prayer: May the joy I know from being in relationship with you, O Father in Heaven, be the joy that others see and experience through me. Amen.

THIS SUNDAY

Clara Lewis - Retirement

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-26-15

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Scripture: Proverbs 15:1-2
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.  The tongue of the wise dispenses knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.

Thought for the Day: Have you ever had something come out of your mouth that was not well thought out, and before you knew what had happen, the damage was done? Maybe you are much more cautious with your words than most, but for many people, their spiritual filter has large gaps through which painful and destructive thoughts come through without impediment. The Spiritual Discipline of silence is important in building a spiritual filter that slows or even halts what otherwise would require an apology. Times of intentional silence make us comfortable within ourselves, giving time to be more selective with our words. Find a little time for silence in the week ahead, remembering that the spiritual practice of silence is more than just being quiet.

Prayer: Quiet more than my mouth, Holy Word of Grace. Allow me to grow in my ability to reflect on every situation, the people involved, and how best I can embody your Gospel of love. Amen.

MEETING TO DISCUSS
NEW BYLAWS

This Wednesday at 6:30pm

Clara Lewis - Retirement

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-25-15

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Scripture:  Psalm 42:5-6
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.

Thought for the Day: Solomon Bellow, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature wrote that “everyone needs memories.  They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.”  When the Israelites found themselves exiled and far from their beloved Jerusalem, they drew from their memories like a person draws nourishing water from a well.  Some say that in a time of crisis a person clings to his/her memories, but our memories are so woven into our being that there is no clinging to them.  We simply travel down the pathway of our past where we find the life-giving memories that sustain us in the present.

Prayer: Though I do not desire to live in the past, O Lord, may I venture there when necessary to find nourishment at the well of recollection.  Amen.

On This Memorial Sunday

A Few Our Members Went and Placed Flags
on graves at the Veterans Cemetery
(I put the picture of my kid)

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This Coming Sunday

Clara Lewis - Retirement