One New Service Time

On Sunday,November 5, we will set our clocks back 1 hour and return to 1 service at 10 AM!

As I shared last Sunday with our entire church family: although we have continued to grow over the last several years, it is simply not working to divide our children’s ministry up between two different services. We are committed to providing age-appropriate discipleship while also building deep, joyful friendship among our children.  They will greatly benefit from this change!

How can we make the transition well?  It’s going to be a little “tighter” in the seats most Sundays, so the theme of “drawing near” seems quite fitting : )

  1. Draw near to God– continue to make weekly worship with the people of God a priority in your life… deepen your friendship with God… seek His face.
  2. Draw near to One Another– literally!  We will need to sit close to one another and closer to the front of the room to keep as many open seats as possible for those first time visitors!

This theme of drawing near to God is everywhere in our fall study of the Exodus journey entitled Wayfaren.  Indeed, as we will see this Sunday, God wanted them to be close to Him.  The wandering in the desert was meant to teach them a simple truth- we need the presence of God more than we need anything else.  Relational proximity was the most important thing— not geography.  And thanks be to God, because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the Cross, you and I can draw near to God and one another.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. 

Hebrews 10:19-25

Looking to the Past, Confessing in the Present

The Exodus story in the Bible teaches us a hard truth: You can take a people out of slavery in a second, but you can only take the slavery out of a people through a journey. But like the Israelites, we grow tired of the journey, and as we will see this coming Sunday, we are tempted to grab hold of old, familiar idols (like golden calfs in Egypt) when we feel that God is not providing what we desire in the present moment.

Like the Israelites, we struggle with sin even after God has shown himself to be so good and faithful— giving us deliverance from slavery.

It takes honesty before God and one another to be the kind of people that speak of sin as a present struggle. In my own struggle with present sin, I found a friend and fellow wayfarer by looking back to the past— a Christian leader in the 4th Century named St. Augustine who penned his own story and struggle with sin in a book called The Confessions.

An attentive reader of The Confessions will note St. Augustine’s struggle with sin before and after conversion are quite similar. In fact, even after his conversion experience in Book VIII, he cries out in disgust of his inability to live in a way consistent with his sincere belief that God is all his soul needs. He continues to struggle with sexual lust, worldly ambitions, and the like. His will was half crippled—“as part of it rose up to walk while part sank down.”

Conversion was a very real experience which brought about transformation in his soul; however, it did not immediately remove the weight of all sin. The term weight is utilized throughout the book to describe the burden sin places on the Christian’s journey. What does Augustine do about the sin that weighs him down after conversion? He learns to throw the excess weight overboard—to put to death whatever belonged to his earthly nature. What is more, he learns to do so by developing a lifestyle of confession before God.

One of the modern church’s chief heresies is her prohibition against speaking of present sin. We welcome and encourage people to testify to the power of God in saving one’s struggle with past sin— but we blush when some courageous soul transgresses the boundary of the present tense.

Our inability to confess to one another and God about ongoing struggles in life reveals how far we have departed from the faith of Augustine. He understood that brokenness over sin is a lifelong process. It was ten years after his baptism and two years after becoming Bishop of Hippo that he penned The Confessions! Long after his conversion experience, Augustine never stopped crying out to God: “Do not, I entreat you, do not abandon your unfinished work, but bring to perfection all that is wanting in me. So then, when I confess not what I have been but what I am now, this is the fruit to be reaped from my confessions…”

Where are the saints today who are willing to pray like this? We must concede that to wallow in the past tense is to not tell the whole truth, for our struggle is still very much present and we need God’s grace today as much as we did yesterday.

Conversion is not a once-and-for-all destination but an ongoing journey of repentance and confession. Thus, we cry out to God today, “I tasted you, and I hunger and thirst.” Notice the shift in tenses. To speak of present sin is to proclaim our hunger and thirst for God. Oh how we need to discover the discipline of confessing in the here and now.

Join us on Sundays this fall as we continue our journey in Exodus— and learn to discover how to be a Wayfaren People— those who journey with God— those who turn from their idols and worship God alone.

Book Review: The Turquoise Table

photo via Unsplash

At Church of the Resurrection, we desire to reach out to others in our community and meet them where they are comfortable, on their turf. We refer to this as the Third Table (read more about Our Vision here: http://www.churchoftheres.com/our-vision/). This can often seem daunting; how do you fold in friends and neighbors in a natural way?

Texan and mother Kristin Schell wondered this, too. Like many of us, her schedule was already pretty full with social commitments, community events, school carpools, church programs, and the general hustle and bustle of daily life. Amid the chaos, she came up with a simple solution: a picnic table (painted in a bright aqua hue) positioned prominently in her front yard. All the activities that they were used to doing in the backyard moved to the front yard. Within 30 minutes of moving the table to the front, a neighbor wandered over and introduced herself. From then on, homework was done in the front yard at the table; the table became the place to drink coffee in the morning and juice boxes in the afternoon. Soon, the turquoise table became the place to catch up with friends, chat with neighbors, grab a coffee, or eat a snack.

Schell details the magic of the turquoise picnic table in her book the Turquoise Table. The simple act of relocating a picnic table was the catalyst for developing community in her suburban Austin neighborhood. Schell details the story of her table, its effects in her neighbor, and efforts to be “front yard people” in the book and on her blog. In the end, this small change had big results.

So, check out the book and Schell’s ideas. And as summer draws to a close, as it cools down in Texas, and as picnic tables go on clearance, you may want to paint your table turquoise and move it to the front yard.

Learn more about the Turquoise Table and get ideas for fostering community in your neighborhood on Schell’s blog: http://www.kristinschell.com .

The book Turquoise Table is available via the links below:

-Hilary Dawson

I Am the Lord Your God

Photo by Bhavyesh Acharya on Unsplash

I am the Lord your God,
I go before you now
I stand beside you
I’m all around you
And though you feel I’m far away
I’m closer than your breath
I am with you
More than you know

I am the Lord your peace
No evil will conquer you
Steady now your heart and mind
Come into my rest
And oh, let your faith arise
And lift up your weary head
I am with you
Wherever you go

Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m everything
Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m your everything

I am your anchor, in the wind and the waves
And I am your steadfast, so don’t be afraid
Though your heart and flesh may fail you
I’m your faithful strength
And I am with you
Wherever you go

Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m your everything
Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m your everything

Don’t look to the right or to the left, keep your eyes on me
You will not be shaken, you will not be moved, oh

I am the hand to hold, I am the truth, I am the way, hey
Just come to me, come to me cause I’m all that you need

 

– by Jenn Johnson and John Hendrickson

 

 

Events & Announcements

photo via Unsplash

Throughout the summer, Resurrection has had a single Sunday service. We return to the two services schedule on August 20th. The first service begins at 9am; the second begins at 11am. Mark your calendar to note the change. Resurrection Children’s Ministry and nursery will be provided at this service.

Save The Date! Join us on Sunday, September 10th as we kick-off another season of Mesa groups. More details to come. Interested in joining a Mesa group? Contact Jarrett Davis at jarrett@churchoftheres.com for more information.

Open Harvest is a food pantry serving neighbors in need in Denton County. Church of the Resurrection has long been involved with this ministry. To learn more about this ministry and opportunities to get involved, please contact Chris Gregory at chris@doconomics.com.

Common Ground Community Garden is looking for volunteers for this ministry team—green thumb not required. Please contact Vanessa Bailey to learn how you can help make the community garden a success. No gardening experience is required; we’re looking for joyful hearts and willing hands. We need help with simple tasks like tending the beds and harvesting the crops. Visit the garden before or after services to see what we’ve done and what is growing. You can learn more about Common Ground Community garden here.

Our community at Church of the Resurrection continues to grow. Make sure you stay connected by providing and updating your contact information. It’s as simple as emailing Cindy Matthews. Updated directories are available each month in the lobby.

Did you know…during our time of communion in the service, a prayer team is available to meet and pray with you? Exit the sanctuary through the back door near the kitchen and classrooms.

Other events and activities can be found on the Community Calendar.

 

 

 

Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

photo via Unsplash

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we
are born to eternal life.

Amen.

-attributed to St. Francis of Assisi

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