On one of his comedy albums, Steven Wright says, I bought a dog the other day. I named him Stay. It's fun to call him. "Come here, Stay! Come here, Stay!" He went insane.
We can laugh at the absurdity of this scenario, but how often do we struggle with the pull between staying put or being active?
Most of our lives consist of the need to keep active. We need to accomplish the tasks of our jobs and home lives. We want to keep physically fit, so we keep moving - sometimes even using a device to monitor how many steps we've taken in a day. And even in our spiritual life we want to be sure that we're reading, praying, serving, and worshipping so that we can be better Christians.
But, in Jesus' 7th "I AM" statement recorded in chapter 15 of the gospel of John, he says, "I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing."
Remaining sounds a lot like "staying" and that seems counter-cultural to how we tend to live. Maybe that's Jesus' point...
I hope you can join us this coming Sunday, March 26th, as we unpack this idea of remaining connected to the True Vine.
This Sunday we'll also have some special guests with us from our camp.
Chris Dean is the Food Service Manager at Cascades Camp and Conference Center in Yelm, WA. He'll be with us to share a bit about camp and the opportunities we have to participate in their various programs. By the way, this is where our ladies will be going to attend the Women's Retreat this coming Fall.
I've never been a hunter, so I have no experience in tracking an animal. But I've played plenty of games of "Hide 'n Seek" and "Sardines", so I know what it's like to try to find someone after they've hidden themselves.
In John 14, Thomas thinks that Jesus is telling his disciples that he is about to go into hiding and that they should find him. Since I was raised watching Looney Tunes cartoons, I immediately think of the dopey hound dog searching for Bugs Bunny. "Which way did he go, George?! Which way did he go?!"
Jesus' response was another of his "I AM" statements which has become the most controversial thing he ever said:
Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me."
I hope you can join us this Sunday, March 19th, as we unpack this statement. What does it mean for the people searching for spiritual fulfillment and truth? And what does it mean for those of us who are Jesus-followers?
One of the major areas of debate throughout history has been the question of what happens to us after we die. Do we simply cease to exist (as some firmly believe) or is there some form of an afterlife? And, assuming there is an afterlife, what does that look like? Is there a division between the experience of different individuals in which some have a positive afterlife while others have a negative one? And what determines where each person ends up? Is it based on behavior or on faith?
It's an interesting conversation and apologetics (reasoned arguments defending faith issues) can help us to clarify many of these questions. But I think there's an even more pertinent question than life after death: life BEFORE death!
In John 11, Jesus makes his 5th recorded "I am" statement as recorded in John's gospel. In verse 25 he says, "I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying." That's pretty good news and a promise of an afterlife! But Jesus doesn't stop there. In the next verse he says:
"Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die."
Is Jesus saying that his followers will live forever on earth in some immortal state? No, of course not. But he is making a statement about eternal life. It's not something that's put in reserve for us until after this life is over. No, it's a quality of life that can begin right now and carry on into eternity!
I hope you can join us this Sunday, March 12th, as we take a look at the amazing story of Jesus raising his friend Lazarus to life again. It has profound implications for everyone!
It may not look like it outside, but this weekend is the time to change your clocks for Daylight Savings Time. Turn them forward one hour on Saturday evening -- and then you won't be late to church on Sunday!
Crisis Fund Offering
We've had a number of people in need over the winter months and our Crisis Fund is now in need of replenishing. This Sunday we'll have a basket collecting donations which will then be used to help those within our congregation and community who find themselves in financial need. You can make a check out to "CCC" and place it or cash into the basket following the worship service or drop it off/mail it to the church with a designation that it should be applied to the Crisis Fund. Thank you for enabling us to share the love of Jesus in a practical way.
My family and I have had a variety of pets over the years. Dogs, cats, hamsters, birds, fish, hermit crabs -- probably some bugs in a jar for a day or so. Caring for these animals has required some degree of effort and diligence, but other than providing them food and water, the animals pretty much took care of themselves.
I was never a part of 4-H and my exposure to farm animals has been limited to brief visits to Bill and Suellen's place or saying, "MOOO" out the window of the car as we drove past a field of cows. I think Gary Larsen summed up the intelligence of doing that pretty well in this Far Side cartoon.
So, for a typical suburban-raised kid like me, Jesus' statement about being "the Good Shepherd" doesn't hold a lot of meaning. What's the difference between a good and bad shepherd? As it turns out, there's a pretty important difference - and you and I are the benefactors!
This coming Sunday, March 5th, we'll take a look at this "I AM" statement of Jesus as we continue in our sermon series. The more we understand who Jesus claims to be, the more we will understand all the benefits we receive as we trust and follow him!
Easter Season Choir?
Would you like to be a part of a special choral performance?
Lisa Whatley is assessing interest in a seasonal choir that would practice for a few Sundays following our Worship Service and perform on Palm Sunday and/or Easter. You don't need to have a soloist voice, just an ability to carry a tune and a desire to join with others to sing praises to our Savior.
If you're interested or would like more information, contact Lisa at email@example.com or speak with her on Sunday.
Thoughts about living as a Jesus follower and life at Community Covenant Church