In Praise of Mother Nature?
We live in a beautiful part of the world. Even with the devastation of the recent fires, the area is still filled with amazing views and some are speculating that even burn areas will be green with new life come springtime.
The beauty of this region is the reason many of our residents have made the choice to live here - and who could blame them! However, the danger of living in such a gorgeous place is that the creation can easily become our main focus instead of the Creator responsible for it all.
As difficult as it may be for some of us to imagine, there are those who fail to see God in the majesty of our world. But evidence of a purposeful Creator is everywhere for "those who have eyes to see".
A friend of mine shared the following video with me this past week and I think you will find it fascinating.
Join us this Sunday, August 24th, as we take a look at a "Song of Creation" (Psalm 19). In it we find not only God's fingerprints in his creation, but also his full revelation through his Word. I hope to see you there.
On Sunday, September 7th, we'll be launching a church-wide experience in discovering the continuous story of God's love and pursuit of humanity. To aid our discovery, we'll be using "The Story", an abridged, chronological arrangement of biblical passages from the NIV Bible. For those of you who may be new to faith, The Story will give you a holistic and sequential picture of the storyline of Scripture. For you seasoned Bible veterans, the chronological arrangement of texts will help illuminate the way the whole Bible fits together in a single grand narrative. In no way is The Story intended to replace the Bible. We will be using it in the same way you might use a devotional book to gain new insights and perspectives on God's Word.
The children's Sunday School classes will be using the special curriculum so that they will be focusing on the same part of the story as the rest of us will be in Worship. There are age-appropriate versions for the entire congregation and the youth group and some newly formed small groups will focus on the Biblical passages contained in each week's chapter.
On Sunday, September 7th, we will have copies of the materials available for you to purchase. Here are the prices of the different resources:
* Adult hard cover edition (retail $19.99) $10
* Teen soft cover edition (retail $14.99) $8
* The Story for Kids (retail $9.99) $6
* The Story for Children (retail $19.99) $12
* The Story for Little Ones (retail $17.99) $10
We hope that everyone in the congregation will be reading these Bible passages together, so we don't want anyone to let the cost keep them from getting the appropriate book. If you would like to contribute a bit more in order to offset the cost for someone who may have difficulty affording their own copy, you are welcome to. Plan on bringing cash or your check book and make checks payable to "CCC".
Fear of Vulnerability
Life is made up of relationships - family, friends, work, church, God... Unfortunately, relationships between imperfect people become imperfect relationships. How do those imperfect relationships ever have a chance of surviving? The answer is found in apologies and forgiveness. Sounds simple enough -- too bad it isn't.
As I've seen in others and experienced myself, apologizing is difficult and even threatening for some people. When we admit that we were wrong, we're also seemingly losing our place of power in the relationship. Truly saying, "I'm sorry. I was wrong." is taking on an attitude of humility that some people find very difficult. It reminds me of this scene from the TV show Seinfeld:
We all want the upper hand in relationships. But the problem with jockeying for the best position of power is that it's a losing game. Having "hand" is a selfish pursuit and focusing on ourselves will eventually lead to disappointment and pain. No matter what we may think or see in the actions of those around us, the place of greatness is found in humility. (Matthew 23:11)
So that brings us back to saying, "I'm sorry". The first person each of us need to say that to each day is God. Do you find that difficult, too? This Sunday, August 17th, we'll be looking at a song for saying, "I'm Sorry": Psalm 130. Forgiveness is a wonderful gift to give and to receive! I hope to see you this Sunday.
Have you ever read through the entire Bible? Not many of us have. Sure, Genesis goes well and we can make it through Exodus, but usually somewhere in Leviticus we lose steam. And the books of the prophets are hard to figure out -- who are they talking to?
Starting in September our entire congregation - from the toddlers to the grandparents - are going to read and understand the Bible as one continuing story of God and his people. We'll be using "The Story" - a chronological Bible put together by Max Lucado and Randy Frazee. We'll have more information and samples of the materials to you to look at on Sundays with our big launch happening on Sunday, September 7th. In the meantime, you've welcome to check out more information at www.thestory.com.
Do you know the rest of that opening line to one of the biggest hit songs of the last 40 years? In case you don't, here's the famous opening scene of the movie it's associated with:
As John Travolta struts down the street, is there any doubt that he's oozing with self-confidence? After all, who wouldn't be feeling good with those clothes and that hair cut?! With the Bee Gee's anthem playing in his head, there seems to be little doubt that this guy (and his can of paint) are ready for anything - especially the evening's disco dancing competition!
Certain songs have a way of getting us psyched up and ready to face life's challenges. Maybe you have a "go-to" sound track that helps to prepare you for battle - be it a dance battle, a battle on the playing field, or the battle of the bulge in the gym. Music has a way of getting your adrenaline pumping!
This Sunday, August 10th, we'll be continuing our "Songs of Summer" series with Psalm 40 - a Song of Confidence. David was able to face the challenge of some serious foes because he had confidence in God's presence and faithfulness. It's something that all of us need and I hope you'll be able to join us.
Update from Lily Darwood, YWAMDear Church Family,
As many of you know I am in Kona, Hawaii, studying at University of the Nations, YWAM (Youth with a Mission.) I am experiencing God in a way I never thought I could reach. My journey so far has been quick but yet satisfying. I can not explain all of my adventures unfortunately at this time. But I am so overjoyed to show you what I have done when I return home.
If you don't know, I am going to be sharing Gods word in the land of Brazil! I am so excited and fearful all at the same time. The Lord has been shaping my heart and helping me understand the important role I am playing in Brazil. I leave September 19th until November 21st. For the first month I will be deep in the Amazon in a remote village. Preaching to churches and putting on VBS for the children there. We are focusing on the relationship with the people of the village. The second month we will be in Rio, working with a sex trafficking organization that teaches about The Lord.
This experience has been so monumental to my relationship with Jesus. I want it to continue all the way through. So what I am asking of the church is money support. I need about $5000 to go on my mission. But anything is super appreciated and if The Lord puts on your heart that giving to my cause is what he wants for you that's wonderful! But if not I really just ask for prayers and I love phone calls! It would mean the world to me. I would hate for something as little as money to keep me from going on this trip with Jesus. If you would like to contribute to my outreach needs, you can give a check to my mother made payable to "Jenny Darwood" and she will see that it is applied to my account.
Thank you all for all of your love and support! I am so blessed for every single one of you! I miss you all! See you soon!
Please keep Lily, Ellie Palmberg, and all of the YWAM students and staff in your prayers as they face the impact of Hurricane Iselle.
Put on a Happy Face?
Dick Van Dyke famously sang this song in the musical "Bye Bye Birdie". It's true that our choice to think positive can have a big impact on our outlook on life and even turn things for the better. But there's a danger in not dealing with our real emotions in an honest way. Christians have the wonderful presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives who brings us confidence in God's care and the supernatural peace He offers in place of our anxieties (Philippians 4:6-7), but that doesn't mean we don't experience pain in life.
The big problem is when we give into the pressure we feel to "put on our smiley face mask" when we come together with other Christians. It's tempting to not be completely honest about what we're really experiencing since we may feel it's "un-Christian" to be fearful, angry, doubting, and in pain. Where's our faith?
The good news of God's grace and love for us is that he welcomes us just as we are with whatever emotions we're feeling. Our prayers don't need to be "sanitized" - just honestly communicated to God. That's what many of the Psalms do and they include expressions of deep pain.
This Sunday we'll be looking at one of the "songs of pain" as found in Psalm 13. Many people in our community are feeling similarly in the midst of the threats and tragedies of the past few weeks. God promises to not only accept our honesty, but to be with us and bring us through the pain. I hope you'll be able to join us and unite with those in pain.
Thoughts about living as a Jesus follower and life at Community Covenant Church