Ecclesiological Etchings: 09-30-15

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From: An Anonymous Church Member

Scripture:  1st Corinthians 12:27
All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.

Thought for the Day:  One of my favorite songs that we sing in the contemporary worship service is “If We are the Body”.  The chorus goes like this:

But if we are the body
Why aren’t His arms reaching?
Why aren’t His hands healing?
Why aren’t His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren’t His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way

This is definitely a call to action.  If each of us is a part of Christ’s body, as Paul’s says, are we reaching, healing, teaching and moving to show others the way of Jesus?  We may think our kind word to a frustrated cashier at the grocery store means nothing, but she noticed.  All of the collective little things add up throughout the days of the week.

Prayer:  Dear Lord, help me to be continually striving to be your hands and feet to share the good news of your Son.  I know some days I miss the mark, but I know through your Grace, I will be given another chance tomorrow.  In Jesus name, Amen.

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Ecclesiological Etchings: 09-29-15

Measuring

Scripture: 1st Corinthians 12:27
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

Thought for the Day: The following was included in Sunday’s bulletin, but there was a request for a reprint.

It is Jarod’s Story (one of our new church members at Cypress Creek Christian Church)

“I crawled out from the mangled wreckage reaching for the light and feeling more alive than I’d ever felt in my life.”

I’d survived three homeless shelters and a multitude of family issues. But my sights were set on High School graduation and my girl, the only bright spot in my life. Little did I know that her sights weren’t set on me. The break up ravaged my heart and reminded me my life was a shambles. I left her, that final time, broken. On my way home that late April night, a car came from out of nowhere causing me to swerve and roll my truck.

I crawled out from the mangled overturned wreckage reaching for the light and feeling more alive than I’d ever felt in my life. The rescue workers lighting the way couldn’t believe I walked away unscathed and neither could I. A gratefulness that I’d never experienced in my life begged for me to go to church. The next day, at Sunday service, I opened my heart to God’s love. Now, I anchor my life on His word:

Do not fear for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God!

~Written by Jan Nash

Prayer: A simple thank you, Lord! Thank you! Amen.

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Najiyah Maxfield

Ecclesiological Etchings: 09-28-15

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Scripture: Psalm 77:5-6
I consider the days of old, and remember the years of long ago. I commune with my heart in the night; I meditate and search my spirit…

Thought for the Day: Tomorrow is an important day for every couch-potato. It is the 64th anniversary of the first live nationwide telecast of a football game.  As a college football fanatic, I feel as if this should be a national holiday.  For many people, they do not remember a time when there wasn’t at least a few college games available on Saturday afternoon.  For a number of years, I  watched games on a 13 inch Black & White TV that required a pair of pliers to change the channel, but it didn’t stop me from spending many hours glued to the TV.  Of course, there were not too many options so changing didn’t happen very often.

It is funny the things we remember from the past.  I can laugh about that Black & White TV with the pliers close at hand, but there was a lot during those ‘good old days’ that really was good, foundational, and important to the person I became.  The author of the Psalm, during a time of struggle, was reaching back into the past for something to hold. My concern is that many people today do not have anything from their past to which they can cling, and so when crisis occurs, their story is empty and they feel lost.  What I like is how the author of this Psalm reaches back into the larger faith story, and connected himself to the testimony of God’s liberating work in Egypt.  The author wouldn’t have yet been born, but faith connected him to a story that was foundational even when it really wasn’t his personal story.  When we feel as if we do not have such a story, God draws us into a divine narrative which has both a history from which we can find identity and a future in which we can find hope.

Prayer: For your goodness in every generation, O Lord, I give you thanks.  I appreciate  the way you have grafted me into a strong family tree whose roots run deep and whose branches stretch high.  Amen.

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Najiyah Maxfield


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Ecclesiological Etchings: 09-27-15

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Scripture: Revelation 6:12-13
When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and there came a great earthquake; the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree drops its winter fruit when shaken by a gale.

Thought for the Day: I am thankful for science! You probably already know that tonight we will have a blood moon. The Earth will slide between the sun and the moon which will cause a rusty red shadow to appear. And this time, it will be what is called a supermoon which means the moon is in the part of its elliptical orbit when it is closest to the earth… thus it appears bigger. My point is two fold — 1. Don’t miss it!  2. You can understand how people in a different time with very different scientific skills could conclude how such a thing was a sign of some great calamity. But was that really what Revelation was attempting to communicate in the first place? In a time where people’s faith was being challenged and slipping away was a genuine concern, the author offers a cautionary note that even the stars from the sky will fall (a reference to how even the angels could fall from heaven) and overripe fruit will drop from the tree (the lazy folks and spiritually puffed-up will fall from the tree of faithfulness). I don’t believe there is some direct correlation between the blood moon and the faithful falling away, but tonight as you glance at the beauty of the eclipse, be challenged by the cautionary words of Revelation — that we should not take faith and commitment lightly.

Prayer: Continue to challenge me, O God of the Universe, as it is easy to fall into poor habits that lead away from you. Amen.

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Najiyah Maxfield

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Ecclesiological Etchings: 09-26-15

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Scripture: Philippians 1:9-11
And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.

Thought for the Day: The French writer, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, is one of those fascinating characters in history.  Along with writing, he had a passion for flying. During WWII, he joined the forces to free his home country of France, which included flying reconnaissance missions for the resistance.  He died during one of those flights in the summer of 1944.  For a man whose life was surrounded by violence and war, his prose were beautiful and full of life.  He wrote, “…true love is inexhaustible; the more you give, the more you have. And if you go to draw at the true fountainhead, the more water you draw, the more abundant is its flow.”  From the moment of the Apostle Paul’s conversion, he found himself in the abundant flow of divine love.  No matter where he went, he could not escape it.  No matter how much he gave away, it did not diminish its power.  Paul had seen this love spill over the people of Philippi, and in this passage, he prays for them to allow its unceasing nature to spill out into the world and produce a harvest of right-living.  I believe we should hear those words echo in our current time, believing that the more love we give away the more it will be poured into us.

Prayer: Merciful and Kind God, may I never allow a fear of scarcity to limit the outward flow of love.  Instead, let me trust in your copious and generous nature that would never let me go dry.  Amen.

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The Women of Cypress Creek Christian Church
will gather
this Sunday, Sept. 27, at 3pm
for fun, fellowship, discussion and snacks.
All women are invited!

Ecclesiological Etchings: 09-25-15

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Scripture: 1st Thessalonians 1:6-7
And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.

Thought for the Day: Tomorrow is a great day in history.  It was on this day 34 years ago that Nolan Ryan pitched his fifth no-hitter, giving him the most number of any MLB pitcher.  At the time, he played for the Houston Astros, and though I was not a real baseball fan, I remember watching replays of his final out.  I then dug out my baseball glove from the closet and went outside with a few tennis balls (I didn’t have a baseball).  I wasn’t going to be a pitcher or even a baseball player, but the achievement was so inspirational that I felt the need to go outside and throw the ball.  Years later I was talking to someone who remembered that same day, and he recounted an almost identical experience.  There is lots of books and lectures and DVD series trying to explain why Christianity is not growing, and though I’m sure they all make some good points, I think our decline is because we no longer have any Nolan Ryans.  I’m not suggesting we need a pitcher, though to have a professional baseball player toss a few around in the sanctuary might draw some folks.  What I’m suggesting is that Christianity no longer inspires most people.  Is it because there is nothing inspiring?  No, I just don’t think we’re very good at telling the stories of those who inspire us.  The early church did such a great job and those who heard the stories wanted to go out and toss around the proverbial ball.

Prayer: Holy God, may the stories of the faithful become as well known as Nolan Ryan’s record-breaking fifth no-hitter.  Amen.

A Week From Tomorrow
October 3, 2015

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Ecclesiological Etchings: 09-24-15

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Scripture: 1st Thessalonians 5:9-13
For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.  But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labor among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.

Thought for the Day: We often joke that we wish there was a bit more traffic on Sunday morning, but for most of us, our trip to worship on Sunday morning is one of the easiest drives of the week. Religion doesn’t usually produce traffic jams and barricades… unless the Pope is visiting. As you can guess, I’m not Catholic. I have a few theological disagreements with the Catholic Church, but I have always attempted to maintain genuine respect for the many wonderful things “the Mother Church” does. For some odd reason, that has become a lot easier over the last few years. Pope Francis is a rockstar, yet his status is only because of his extraordinary humility and grace. For most of us, recognition breeds arrogance and a hunger for more recognition. Not the Pope — instead, his respected status brings forth another act of humble service; another challenging idea that he is already modeling for us; another word that creates hope and reconciliation. His visit to the United States is a good reminder that we can have some disagreements, and still maintain great respect.  Of course, my disagreements with this Pope are becoming fewer and fewer.

Prayer: For all the amazing witnesses to the Living Christ, I give you thanks, O Lord My God. Amen.

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