December 8 – 14, 2019

The 2nd and 3rd week of Advent are all about John the Baptist, such a unique and interesting character. Although many of us know and love John the Baptist from a lifetime in the church, i would imagine that if we were to run into him in person then most of us would be quite shocked and uncomfortable. Imagine if a loud and uncouth man covered in animal skins came bursting through our church doors on a Sunday morning….imagine that man yelling at us and telling us to “REPENT” as he munched on some bugs and wild honey. I would imagine that most of us would think he was a loon or a madman.

And yet….that is just the kind of person God uses to announce his coming kingdom. John’s mission and vision are razor honed in on two thing….the coming of God’s kingdom and our need to repent. John cant be bought, bullied, or convinced to tone things down a bit. His eyes are squarely focused on God and what his kingdom was doing.

As we move through this Advent Season, I pray we can achieve even a bit of John’s focus and zeal for the coming of Gods kingdom!

As a reminder, Melissa and I will be out of town this coming weekend celebrating our anniversary. Preston will be leading the service this Sunday. Thanks to him for giving me a day off!

December 1 – 7, 2019

Oh Come….Oh Come Emmanuel….. Such a powerful and haunting song for the season of Advent. The Season of Advent is both beautiful, contemplative, and mournful. It is a season of dualities as well. We remember, prepare for, and contemplate the fact that God really did once come to us a baby in a manger on the first Christmas morning….but we also take time to recognize the world is not as it should be and we can only pray for God to once again come to us. Fleming Rutledge gave her book on Advent the subtitle: “The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ.” We remember that he did come over 2 thousand years ago…and we also pray for the day in which he will come again.

As we move through this season of Advent, may we find solidarity with the Ancient Israelites who, as they were oppressed by the Romans, longed and prayed for a day when God would show up and establish his Kingdom here on Earth. We too can look to the poor and oppressed around us here today, and pray alongside them the great prayer of Advent, “Come Lord Jesus!”

November 24 – 30, 2019

Well, before we even know it Advent is upon us! Advent is a time full of expectations and excitement as we wait for the coming of the King as a baby in a humble manger! We get to join the ancient Israelites in their longing and expectation of a coming messiah to rescue and save their people. People often talk about a “war on Christmas” in our culture, but in truth its really a War on Advent. Even if they don’t actively worship in a church, people love Christmas. Ask them to take sometime of thoughtful expectation however and you wont find the same amount of excitement. The Church uses this time for quiet contemplation as we think about the implications this strange baby king will have for us.

Thanks to Deacon Preston for taking the sermon this coming Sunday. I am excited to hear what he has to say to us as we enter into this Advent Season. I’m especially thankful because I am away with family this week and have some time to unwind and relax. I wish all of you a Happy Church New Years and a blessed Advent season!

November 17 – 23, 2019

Well, when I wrote last week’s sermon and wrote all about Jesus being down here with us in the rubble and ruin, I had no idea what was in store for me on Sunday morning. My morning started with a minor engine fire in my car. As I sat on the roadside, with the car smoking in the background, calling the church to tell everyone I might be late, I found out we didn’t have bulletins. It was moderately stressful morning to say the least. Again, the everyday saints of Christ Church saved the day. Special thanks to Preston for being willing to jump in and lead the service with no forewarning if I didn’t make it to church in time. Thanks to Ross for helping to get readings and everything ready at church. Thanks again to Sherry for being quick on her feet to find appropriate music for us so that we would be able to worship the Living God! As always, I am humbled by the support the Lord has given me at Christ Church.

Thinking of bulletins, last Sunday’s service seemed to go great using the prayer books. I received nothing but compliments for how smoothly things went using the books. It seems it may be time to move towards using them in service on a more regular basis. We are working on a very abbreviated bulletin to use with the prayer books. However, it is important to note that the prayer books aren’t as “New Person Friendly” for a guest joining us for a Sunday service. If we move toward’s using the prayer books, its going to be incumbent on all of us to be welcoming and helpful to any guest that come through our doors. More information will follow come regarding using the prayer books!

This coming week is Christ the King Sunday. In my mind it is one of the most important Sundays in the church calendar. Knowing and proclaiming Jesus as Lord and King of the world speaks directly to how we live our lives in the here and now. When the Greek word from which we get “Gospel” was used in the Ancient world….it meant “Good News.” To be more specific, it was good news about a new king or emperor. So when the early Christians began to talk about “The Gospel” there were clear royal connotations about the proclamation. The Gospel isn’t just about going to heaven when we die, but instead is the royal proclamation that Jesus really is King of the World. I strongly encourage everyone to come this Sunday as we wind down the church year and celebrate the true King of this world, Jesus the Christ!

November 10 – 16, 2019

Last week’s lesson was all about the Resurrection. Those in power always fear the resurrection because it takes away the sting of their greatest weapon, death. To live as resurrection people is to be unafraid of pain, suffering, and even death. In short, faith in the resurrection means that we can be free to be unafraid to lose.

To understand the power of resurrection, we must not forget the power of the cross. We are to be cruciform people, shaped by obedience to Christ and his command to take up our crosses and follow him. That is why Paul tells the Phillipians, “Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God depends on faith; that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his suffering, cecoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”

Father Stephen Freeman once noted that the whole history of the church, its path through time, has been a manifestation of the Cross. The occasional “triumphs” of the church measured in earthly standards come most often in the times when the church is most compromised and unfaithful to the Gospel.

What does that mean for us at Christ Church? Well, to start, we must remember that we are called to obedience and not necessarily effectiveness. It’s easy to get discouraged when a program we employ or a new idea we try out doesn’t appear to bear fruits. I, as much as anyone else, know the feeling of disappoint when something doesn’t work out. Even in our failures, we can have confidence that our Lord knows the same feeling of rejection and apparent failure. Because of this, we can be unafraid of failure which gives us strength to preach the Gospel even if we are rejected or persecuted for doing so. As long as we are obedient to Christ, who knows what fruit we might bear even in unexpected ways! We can be confident that, as resurrection people, we can carry our crosses in quiet confidence that our Lord carries his own beside us…and that is an encouraging thought.

Kyrios Christos, Deacon Dave

October 22nd to November 2nd, 2019

This Sunday is the Sunday after All Saint’s Day (November 1st). Although many of the saints of the church are remembered throughout the year, All Saint’s Day provides us with a dedicated day to call back into our memory those saints who have led the way before us. On that day, as everyday, we honor and remember the example of their lives and deaths. We rejoice in our continued communion with them through membership in the body of Christ.

All Saint’s Day is a great day to learn about a saint we might not be familiar with or to study the written prayers of the saints from throughout church history. It is a great opportunity to remember that as we enter into the worship of the true Lord of this world, we join a long and great tradition of brave and pious men and women that came before us. As we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we get a foretaste of the great victory feast in heaven in which all of the saints will attend.

Christianity isn’t learned or practiced in isolation. Instead, it is a great family with a long tradition and lineage. All Saint’s Day gives us an opportunity to remember this and to celebrate it.

Kyrios Christos, Deacon Dave