Friday, February 22, 2019

A Generous God

I would say that it is good to be back from sunny Costa Rica, but that might not be entirely true…

However, it is also not entirely untrue. It is good to be back engaging with sisters and brothers in the work that God has called us to at Christ Church! It was good to interact with women and men coming for Bible Study on Monday night. It was a joy to sit together with the Session, now including Bryan, Sean, and Bryant, and pray for the people that God has given us to care for, and seek his wisdom for the work he has called us to in GR. We were reminded that as we experience our limitations in serving and leading this congregation, we come to a God who is generous in dispensing what we need, because his character is to give good gifts to his children (cf. Matt 7:7-11).

As you may have taken note of already, we hope to share with you some of the things we have been seeking the Lord’s wisdom on this coming Wednesday at 6:30pm at a Session Soundings Live (i.e. town hall style discussion). The first topic we want to bring you up to speed on is the happenings with the proposed facility expansion. We have had a couple of slow downs in moving the project forward. Thankfully, it looks like we are now at a place to present the project in anticipation of calling a congregational meeting for March 27 to officially vote on the project. The other tyopic we would like to share this coming Wednesday has to do with staff roles and responsibilities now that Bryant is on board.

We are so grateful that we have a Father in heaven who dispenses wisdom to those who seek it. We are grateful that we can seek him as a body and know that his heart is generous toward us. We will be reminded of this truth as we look into the nature of the King whom we approach in prayer through the lens of Luke 18:1-8 this Sunday.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Snow Days

       Unless one learns how to relish the taste of Sabbath while still in this world, unless one is initiated in the appreciation of eternal life, one will be unable to enjoy the taste of eternity in the world to come… The essence of the world to come is Sabbath eternal, and the seventh day in time is an example of eternity. (Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath)

Well, that was quite a spate of weather this week! I hope you enjoyed your snow days off from school, church, work, etc. Snow days, while an inconvenience in some ways, are such a gift of unexpected time: time to rest, bake cookies, clean a closet, go into your prayer closet, talk with friends or family, take a nap, read a book, watch a movie, etc. In other words, snow days are a wonderful picture of God’s gift of Sabbath.

Author Peter Scazzero practically and helpfully talks about the Sabbath principle as follows:

Stop. Sabbath is first and foremost a day when we cease all work — paid and unpaid. On the Sabbath we embrace our limits. We let go of the illusion that we are indispensable to the running of the world. We recognize we will never finish all our goals and projects, and that God is on the throne, managing quite well in ruling the universe without our help.

Rest. Once we stop, we accept God’s invitation to rest. God rested after his work of creation. Every seventh day, we are to do the same (Genesis 2:1 – 4).

Delight. After finishing his work in creation, God pronounced it, “very good” (Genesis 1:31). This was not an anemic afterthought — "Oh, well, it’s nice to be done with that" — but a joyful recognition and celebration of accomplishment. As part of observing Sabbath, God invites us to join in the celebration, to enjoy and delight in his creation and all the gifts he offers us in it. These innumerable gifts come to us in many forms, including people, places, and things.

Contemplate. Pondering the love of God is the central focus of our Sabbaths. What makes a Sabbath a biblical Sabbath is that it is “holy to the Lord.” We are not taking time off from God; we are drawing closer to him. Sabbath is an invitation to see the invisible in the visible, to recognize the hidden ways God’s goodness is at work in our lives.

In a busy world where we are often on the run to obligations of various sorts may we learn to embrace God’s weekly snow days - His Sabbath.