Sunday Follow-Up: Joining God’s beautiful moment

On Sunday, Pastor Chelsey led us through an exploration of Ecclesiastes 3.1-15, that famous poem about the times and seasons of human existence. Her message, “The Power of Reflection” is available on our church’s sermon website (or in the archives).

We were challenged to use the power of reflection in the moment, not just looking at the past to make a better tomorrow. Instead, through the poet’s words, God is inviting us to join him by looking for what God is making beautiful at this time by reflecting in the moment. Though life is full of experiences that we don’t have a choice about, we do have choices about how we are going to react, think, respond, and live.

Consider these two examples of seeking a better way to live when faced with unpleasantries: “The Spiritual Practice of Making Mistakes” tells the story of a man who found out during a half-marathon that his pedometer was off by two miles, calling into question all of his training and shaking his confidence. “How to Love Meetings” chronicles one person’s approach to using godly wisdom in even the most boring or exasperating times.

After the Lord’s Supper, (so it may not be in the recorded sermon) Pastor Chelsey talked about the times when God is asking us to do something other than what we may want to do; for example, God may be asking you to make peace when all you want to do is war. “Don’t Follow Your Heart!” continues that challenge.

Finally, here’s a short review of a book called Difference Makers: An Action Guide for Jesus Followers. M Scott Boren’s book is described as

“a gift for us ‘ordinary’ Jesus followers whose plate is full… by showing us how to find God and join what he is doing even in the most apparently mundane aspects of our lives…”

 

This post is a follow up to a sermon preached by Rev. Chelsey Harmon at Christ Community Church on Sunday, July 28, 2013 in Nanaimo, BC. The stories and resources challenge and inspire us for godly living in the present moment.

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New on the bookshelf: Deliver Us from Me-Ville

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Deliver Us from Me-Ville by David Zimmerman has been added to the Goodreads bookshelf.

Building on the teachings of Thomas Merton and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, David Zimmerman outlines the journey from Me-Ville to God’s Kingdom that all Christians must travel (and often, re-travel). The good news is, Jesus is the one who comes to Me-Ville to lead the way out!

Each chapter includes ways that the journey changes us, practices we can actively engage in as willing participants on the trip (we aren’t just along for the ride, after all), and “Escape Routes” or spiritual practices to try when we find ourselves back (or headed back) to Me-Ville.

As an added bonus, the book includes discussion guides for each chapter, making it suitable for both individuals and groups to read together.

 

Summer Reading

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This week we’re sharing four different lists of books to explore on four different topics. Since the lists are of non-fiction works, we also wanted to encourage your fiction reading with “4 Benefits of Reading Fiction.”

10 books for Christian Parents

7 books on Faith, Work and Economics

5 books on Singleness

21 books for Twentysomethings

Photo by Alan Levine. Used with permission. Sourced by Flickr.

Making a difference in this world

He has shown you, o mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

-Micah 6.8

That’s a pretty big calling (along with all of the other ways that Jesus transforms our lives!). How do we live out God’s desires without taking over God’s job as Saviour of the world?

There are lots of people who are doing a fantastic job of being devoted in this area. But trying to live up to the likes of Shane Claiborne, for instance, could stop us before we start. Rachel Held Evans offers some helpful encouragement in “How to follow Jesus… without being Shane Claiborne.”

Inevitably, the feeling like you’re not doing enough will creep in because it’s really hard to see progress in such a complex world. “Stop asking the wrong question.”

If you’re really interested in doing aid and service with the right motives, consider reading Tyler Wigg-Stevenson’s The World is Not Ours to Save.
Wigg-Stevenson is a pastor and activist who wants to help Christians move from seeing aid work as a matter of causes to a matter of calling.

If you’re in Canada, also consider checking out the work of Citizens for Public Justice, a Christian organization that works within the interplay of faith, justice and politics.

This post is for adults who are interested in taking seriously God’s calling to justice and mercy, especially in aid work and activism.

The heavens declare the glory of the LORD

On Sunday, July 7th, a group of people gathered to discuss an article from our denominational magazine, The Banner, called “Tomorrow’s Theology.” Because the article argues for some things that go against the tradition and historical teachings of the Christian Reformed Church, we thought it was important to get together and talk. For those interested in continuing to learn about the interplay of Science and Faith, or the Reformed Confessions, the following links should prove as a worthwhile starting point.

Science and Faith links

The Ministry Theorem from Calvin Seminary

Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution and Intelligent Design by Deborah Haarsma and Loren Haarsma (formerly titled: Origins: A Reformed Look at Creation, Design & Evolution). This site provides information about the book as well as links to further reading for each chapter.

Two other articles from The Banner: “Reformed Matters: Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?” and “Speaking of Evolution”

Reformed Confessions links

You can read the Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dort online by going to the Christian Reformed Church’s “Beliefs” page.

The Winter 2013 Calvin Seminary Forum features articles on the history of each of the Confessions.

Articles from The Banner: “The Belgic Confession: A Good Teacher”“Reformed Matters: A Confession to Celebrate” and “Don’t Know Much about the Catechism”

Body & Soul: Reclaiming the Heidelberg Catechism by M. Craig Barnes. Also available is a small group discussion guide and DVD.

Love is a behaviour, not just a feeling

On Sunday, June 30, we had a special worship service at Christ Community Church. We celebrated God’s feast of love, the Lord’s Supper; heard a message from 1 Corinthians 13, “All You Need is Love” (listen on our current series site or in the archives); and witnessed the marriage of two of our members.

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This week’s links are a follow up to that service and are meant to help you live love.
First, be inspired by Caitlin Crosby’s 12 minute TED talk, “Love is the Key.” It includes her singing!

Second, use “10 Tips for Unifying Your Family” to catalyst you to express love to those you spend most of your time with.

Third, ask yourself, “Are You Killing People On Facebook?” (or anywhere online…)
Photo by Camdiluv. Used with permission. Sourced by Flickr.

This post provides inspiration on living a life defined by love. It is a follow up to a message preached by Rev. Chelsey Harmon at Christ Community Church, in Nanaimo, BC on June 30, 2013.