World Communion Sunday

World Communion 2013

I want to personally invite you to a special worship service on October 2nd at 11 am. We will celebrate the love God has shown us in our diversity. A highlight of our service will be a special musical offering in Korean by our neighbor church Light Global Mission Church. Everyone is encouraged to dress in clothes that are native to your country of origin. The service will be immediately followed by an international pot-luck. Bring a dish to pass that reflects your heritage.World Communion Sunday 2

 

Prayers for Jesus to Calm the Storms That Remain After Disaster

Jesus calms the storm      Jesus Calms the Storm was the title of today’s Preschool Chapel Time. I selected that story early yesterday prior to the destructive storms that struck Oklahoma. Today I had planned to write an article on membership. It was going to be a well-thought-out theological work that talked of commitment and testimony. Then I turned on the news and was inundated with the horror of lost life and property. I have to say that when talk of third graders losing their lives began, chills and tears were the only reaction my body I could muster. The thought of sending Colin to school, and something like this happening immediately bought up a visceral response. Continue reading

The Not So Low Sunday

easter season banner    The Sunday following Easter is traditionally known as Low Sunday.  This name has theological origins and is used to illustrate the contrast with Easter Sunday.  While there may be these theological and liturgical reasons for the name, history also shows that it is a good summary of attendance.  Frequently, the Sunday that follows Easter is one of the lowest attended Sundays.  This low is highlighted by the stark juxtaposition to  the often swelled crowds of Easter Sunday. 

    For Christ Presbyterian Church I believe we bucked the Low Sunday trend.  This Low Sunday was anything but low for our congregation.  Our congregational meeting and Worship were not only well attended, but also rife with the reality of Jesus’ Resurrection. Continue reading

No More Dirty Laundry: Turning from Negativity to Life Affirming Messages

dirty-laundryI find it amazing how easy it is to get distracted by the negatives in life.  Truth be told, lately I have allowed some of the struggles of life hold more weight than the positives. Some of this is due to the fact that I have been struggling with a nagging sickness that seems to want to hold on to me more than I want it to.  The reality of the mind, spirit and body connection is one that we often only pay attention to when it’s too late.  Yet we know that when one part of our bio-psycho-spiritual being is off, the rest are surly effected.

I also know that we live in a world that celebrates the negative.  We live life surrounded by bad news.  In 1982 Don Henley released the song, “Dirty Laundry.” Continue reading

The Ruling Elder (The final installment in a three part series on the ordained offices of the Presbyterian Church)

Today our discussion turns to the office of what is currently identified as Teaching Elder.  In fact this is a return to language used earlier in the church.  The office of Teaching Elder is the ordained office most commonly called Pastor, but also may be known as Minister of Word and Sacrament, Chaplain, Reverend, Preacher and sometimes with the Preschool kids, “Chapel Man.”  The fact of the matter is that the Teaching Elder, like Deacons and Ruling Elders, are set apart for certain ministries.  We have these diverse titles because the role of a Teaching Elder is unique to the gifts of the person and the needs of the ministry context they serve.  Continue reading

The Deacon (Part two of a three part series on the ordained offices of the Presbyterian Church)

STK-many-hands-prayer-sepiaThis past week in worship we reflected on the words of Paul as he speaks about Spiritual Gifts.  Paul writes to the church in Corinth with regards to how the gifts of the Spirit are given:

      “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”          1 Corinthians 12:4-7

Today as we shift our discussion of the ordained offices from Ruling Elders to Deacons, I believe this is a great place to start.  In this passage Paul is encouraging us to remember that the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in our lives is varied and as such enables us to perform various activities.   This is a critical lesson for us to learn when discerning who is called to the different ordained offices.  Each office calls for different gifts.  Yet they are all brought to life in the shared ministry for the common good. Continue reading

The Ruling Elder (Part one of a three part series on the ordained offices of the Presbyterian Church)

ordination_50521_web   Each year our congregation goes through the discernment process of selecting leaders for our congregation. The nominating taskforce is working to recommend a slate of officers to the Session for the next class of Elders and Deacons. This is perhaps one of the most anxiety ridden times of the year. The nominating taskforce is concerned with not only getting the people to fill spots, but perhaps more importantly, the right people to answer God’s calling. Today, I will discuss the specific calling to be a Ruling Elder.
    A few years ago, Christ Presbyterian Church made a conscious effort to be more fully open to the leading and discernment of the Spirit in this process. In the past, like most congregations, our congregation would approach the selection of Elders by trying to find people who were going to be Elders for specific areas of our ministry. Examples of this would have been an Elder for Finance or Christian Education. In this model, the ability to fulfill a specific role would often trump the spiritual calling to such a leadership role. I’m sure that you have experienced in you life those who are at the top of their field for their ability, but once given leadership, fall apart. Continue reading

“For Crying Out Loud!”

Once again our liturgical year has come full circle as we enter another Advent.  It almost seems unreal that it was a year ago that we were preparing for the coming of the New Born King with our readings, studies and songs.  Yet here we are, ready to embark once again on a journey to the manger.  The prophet Isaiah has some very profound words to describe what we should be doing during Advent.

A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Continue reading

Do you see what I see?

             At times I worry that as the Pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church I might have blinders on. I wonder if the perspective I see from is somehow skewed and leading me to the wrong conclusions.  The past two weeks have done more to affirm my understanding of the Christ Presbyterian community than anything else I can think of in recent memory.

             While at the Evangelism and Church growth conference in St. Pete Beach, Florida, I found a deep sense of God’s work in our midst.  I have to admit that I was a  bit disappointed with the content of the conference.  Much of the information and ideas that were being presented were “old” to me.  As I sat in the plenary and workshops, I found myself feeling underwhelmed because I was looking for fresh insight.  It took a good soak in the Gulf of Mexico to find the morsel that I believe God was seeking me to discover.  As I reflected on my disappointment I found something I wasn’t expecting.  My disappointment turned to affirmation.  I realized that over the past few years, Christ Presbyterian has been employing many of the best practices for congregational transformation.  I found God affirming what we have been doing and that led to a deep sense of joy. Continue reading

Chasing the American Dream vs. Taking Time to be Holy… A video follow-up

This is a video post of “The American Dream” by Casting Crowns.  I have posted this to Facebook a few times but think that it’s a great follow up to last week’s blog post about “Taking Time to Be Holy.”  Being a father, mother, child, neighbor and friend provide many opportunities to share Holiness with the world.  Are we spending our time chasing the American Dream or are we finding ways to have balance and sharing ourselves with those around us.