A Global Call to Prayer + Fasting

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Hello City Church family,
I wanted to write to you concerning our plans for Seek Week in 2016. In the past we have had a week of fasting sometime in January that was directed to & developed by the City Church. Pastor Jack created a daily guide that was prayerfully designed to help us break through to new things that the Spirit of the Lord had for us. As you know, this is a season of transition for our church. Not only in the Lead Pastor role, but for many of our ministries. And of course we are entering into another transition with regards to our church campus.  That being said, it simply has not been feasible for us to develop our own Seek Week program for 2016. However, I believe God still has a plan for us to start this New Year by seeking Him through prayer & fasting. The president of our Foursquare movement, Glenn Burris, is calling our global Foursquare family to fast & pray for 21 days in January.  You can subscribe to this event & receive daily reminders & topics for prayer. This is a great opportunity for us to partner in a global prayer effort. I will share more about this during our Sunday Worship Service, but please read Pastor Glenn’s letter by clicking on the link below & then pray about how God would have you participate.

Pastor Chris

Click here for a PDF the 21-Day Prayer Guide…
21-Day Prayer Guide (PDF)

Click here for a letter from Foursquare President, Glenn Burris, where you can sign up to receive daily email of the prayer guide…
Letter from Pastor Glenn Burris

 

the City Church Pop-Quiz

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The Thank You party for Pastor Jack and Pamela was a HUGE success! Thank you so much for attending everyone! We had a great time, and so did our beloved pastors.
Some have asked to see the City Church Pop-Quiz questions and answers, so here they are, with a few extras thrown in! How many answers do YOU know???

In what year did the City Church begin?
A: 1997

What was the original name of the City Church?
A: River Valley

How many buildings have we occupied?
A: 9

How many can you name?
A:
1. Witt house
2. North Bechelli office
3. First Nazarene Church
4. Pleasant St.
5. Cascade Theatre
6. Ballet Studio
7. First Presbyterian Church
8. 7th Day Adventist Church
9. Bonnyview Campus

What is the “R” word in City Church culture?
A: “Relationship”

What was our mission before Love Grow Serve?
A: C. A. R. E.

What did CARE stand for?
A: Communicate Hope, Advance Discipleship, Restore People & Pathways, Engage Gift Harvesters

What were small groups first called?
A: Life Streams

What is the name of Pastor Jack’s first church?
A: Christian Life Center (CLC)

Who currently attends the City Church that also attended CLC?
A: Brad & Cheryl Fulton

How many people relocated to plant the City Church?
A: 10

How many can you name?
A: Jack, Pamela, Jarred, Katelyn, Megan, Phil, Kristin, Katrina, Sara, Selima

What is the name of our “mother ship” church in Aptos?
A: The Coastlands

How many City Church members do we have that also used to attend The Coastlands?
A: 7

Who are they?
A: Jack, Pamela, Jarred, Tiffany, Dave, Ruby, Katrina

What year did  Pastor Jack & Mike Logan start Qadash?
A: 2005

What animal did Pamela used to collect as figurines, magnets, etc?
A: Pigs (No pig gifts, please)  😉

What kind of business did Pastor Jack own?
A: Drapery

What was the name of the business that Pamela owned?
A: TCBY

What is Pastor Jack’s life verse?
A: Jeremiah 6:16

In what area did Jack & Pamela grow up?
A: Santa Cruz & Watsonville

How old was PJ when he & Pamela first dated?
A: 17! (was that even legal??)

What is the name of Pastor Jack and Pamela’s pastor?
A: Daniel Brown

How many of the 5 Witt middle names can you name?
A:
Jack Curtis
Pamela Gail
Jarred Curtis
Katelyn Elise
Megan Cerise

If you include marriage, in-law relationships, & blood relatives, who in this room is related to Jack & Pam by “6 degrees of separation”?
A: Amber Talavera

How?
A: Katelyn – Josh – Cheryl – Mel – Frank – Amber

What is Pastor Jack’s favorite animal?
A: Trick question… Pastor Jack doesn’t have a favorite animal! But he has a LEAST favorite animal! Which is, of course, cats!

What cumbersome nickname does he have for cats?
A: “Demons in cat suits”

How’d you do???

Seek Week, Friday – Enlarged Faith

It always strikes me as a bit odd that we try to improve conditions in our lives by greater obedience without working on having greater faith.  I suppose it is a result of our dependence on religious practices where we imagine we will somehow gain something from God in exchange for our acts of service or obedience.  This sort of religious thinking has led to a lot of disappointment and huge deposits of works-based righteousness that never really helped anyone with anything.  The starting point of everything in our life in God is faith, and that includes the actions of obedience, love, service and worship.

The Apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4 opens his letter to these believers by telling them how thankful that he is to God because their faith was flourishing (the NASB has it “your faith is greatly enlarged), then as a secondary effect, their love for others had flourished too.  He is commending them because they had a role in this super-growth of faith and love, but he rightly gives thanks to God for what they were experiencing.  God is both faith’s source and object.  He produces faith in us as an internal response to His promises.  That’s why we encourage a regular exposure to the Word of God in hearing it taught and preached and in reading it for ourselves.  Enlarged faith is the blessing that flows out from this exposure.

God is not only the source of our faith; He must remain the object of faith.  We don’t get a good dose of faith from our morning devotional reading and then run through the rest of the day believing that the things we do will be blessed and produce good results.  That kind of faith in specific behaviors or actions leads us to a one-for-one expectation that says “I did this, so I should get this.”  This is what we might call vending-machine spirituality.  If we keep God as the object of faith we learn to trust that at just the right time and in just the right way, He will keep His promises to help, bless and provide for us.

Read through this passage in 2 Thessalonians today and reflect on the size of your faith.  God desires for it to be enlarged so that you believe more and that the steps of obedience you take or the actions of love that you offer toward others are anchored solidly back into Him.  It’s time to leave the puny closets of faith and run in the open expansive fields of a vibrant trust in God.  Seek Him today.  Go back and read the stories of God’s provision to people like Gideon, David, Moses and Esther.  Recall the specific promises that God has spoken into your life in the past.  Your enlarging faith in the One Who spoke those previous promises is critical to the steps you are taking into your future.

“Togethering” Today:  Join together tonight in the Fellowship Hall at 6:00pm for a light pot-luck dinner to break our fast and then a time of worship and ministry following afterward. 

Seek Week, Thursday – Enlarged Hearts

I realize that from a medical perspective that this title for today’s reflection is not a good thing.  The Apostle Paul was not thinking in biological terms when he referred to the way that he had let the Corinthian believers into his thoughts and affections.  Paul was listing all of the things that he and his companions had endured at the hands of the people they had come to serve and ends up appealing to them to not close their hearts to him.  He tells them in 2 Corinthians 6:11 “We have spoken openly to you, our hearts are wide open.”  The KJV translates that last phrase, “…our hearts are enlarged.”

People do all kinds of things that send us reactively into shut-down mode.  The Corinthians, as a result of some difficult things that Paul needed to say to them, had closed their hearts to him and were in jeopardy of rejecting the good that God had sent Paul to do in them and for them.  We have to keep a close watch on the openness of our hearts toward those who take the Holy Spirit-inspired risk to speak honestly with us.  Our self-protection can serve as a great enemy to our spiritual growth and the way that we move forward into God’s plans and purposes.  This might be a good time to pause and think about where we have shut down and shut specific people out.

The other side of this is where we find ourselves under attack or rejected by those we have sought to help.  We reactively retreat from these people and situations to find small and manageable “safe rooms” where we can shut down and shut others out.  This is a common danger in following Jesus into a life of loving and serving others.  People don’t always joyfully receive what we offer to them.  It happened to Jesus.  It happened to Paul.  It will happen to us.  Their reaction to us is outside of our control.  What you can manage is the openness of your heart to them.

Read through this 6th chapter of 2 Corinthians today and think about the way that the actions or inactions of others have impacted the size of your heart.  This is a time for enlargement not retraction.  Not only do people need space in our hearts to be loved and served, the Holy Spirit needs that room too.  Smallness of heart is counterproductive to all that God intends to do in us and most certainly through us.  Pray for the grace to allow others back in.

“Togethering” Today:  Join us for a collective time of prayer and seeking from 12:00 to 1:00pm in the Sanctuary.

“Togethering” Tomorrow:  Join together Friday night in the Fellowship Hall at 6:00pm for a light pot-luck dinner to break our fast and then a time of worship and ministry following afterward.

Seek Week, Wednesday – Settling an Enlarged Land

The promise given to Abraham when God called him from Ur was to establish his family in a land that would belong only to them.  This was a great promise, but there was one problem; the land that would eventually belong to them currently belonged to a number of other nations.  When Moses led Israel out of Egyptian bondage to enter that land of promise, God gave him specific instructions that the possession of this new and wonderful place would require a dispossession of those other nations.  Exodus 34 provides the details of this dispossession, but it was earlier, in Exodus 23:31, where God promised to enlarge the territory that He was giving to them.

The land as presented in the Old Testament is a type of our own souls.  Once held in captivity by sin and Hell, we are liberated and then led into the possession of wild, unsettled places in our souls along with areas that are already settled, but occupied with cultural thinking, values and patterns of life that are different than the life we are called to live within God’s kingdom and under His authority.  The possession of an enlarged territory in our soul includes the same sort of things that Israel was encouraged to face and do.  One Bible commentator I read on this Exodus passage wrote, “There is no possible enlargement without a dispossession of the land that is already occupied.”  We have to recognize the same reality in the domain of our own souls. I speak with people all the time who are living in very small and confined places emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.  The primary reason for this confinement is that there are huge areas of their soul that are still wild and unsettled, or land there that remains unconquered.

Jesus is promising you enlargement.  Are you willing to confront those unsettled or unconquered lands in your soul?  Some of you have given up.  You’ve forgotten the promise.  You’ve contented yourself with smallness and limitations that Jesus never had in mind for you.  Take some time today and ask the Holy Spirit to bring you back to a boundary line beyond which He intends to lead you right now.  I framed that as bringing you “back” because I know that you have stood at that boundary before.  We retreat from those boundaries because the work seemed too difficult, or the current possessors too strong.  Please remember as you stand here again that God’s promise to Israel is still true for you, “…For I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you,” Exodus 23:31 (NKJV).  This is His work first and your work second.  Receive the promise from God that He intends to enlarge the land of your soul.  Trust in the strength of the Holy Spirit to settle wild places and overcome strongly-dominated patterns of thinking, feeling and behavior.  Your action of driving out the nations follows that promise and trust.  Lift up your eyes to a new horizon; God is enlarging your land.

-Pastor Jack

“Togethering” Today:  Join with others for an early morning prayer time from 6:00 to 7:30am in the Café.

“Togethering” Tomorrow:  Join us for a collective time of prayer and seeking from 12:00 to 1:00pm in the Sanctuary.

Seek Week, Tuesday – Enlarged Stability

We find the songs that David wrote primarily in the Psalms.  The exceptions to this pattern need to be given some attention.  In the historical book of Second Samuel, chapter 22, the account of David’s life is augmented with the inclusion of a Psalm he wrote after God had delivered him from the deadly pursuit of King Saul.  This beautiful song is also powerful in the truth concerning God’s strength and help for those who will look to Him with trust and expectation.

Read slowly through this chapter on this day of Seek Week.  I’d like to draw your attention particularly to verses 20 and 37.  In verse 20 David sings of the strength of the Lord to bring him out into a spacious place.  This idea runs counter to typical religious ideas that the ways of God are limiting and restricting and become even more so as you follow Him into deeper levels of faith and spirituality.  No, God’s ways lead us into broad and open places to live.  The difference is found in the kind of freedom we seek.  If you want the freedom to do whatever your external self (your flesh) desires, you will find a wide open path that leads to the gates of Hell (Matt. 7:13).  If you seek freedom from the confinements and uneven path of being chased down by death, you will find a wide open path that leads to life and peace.  We use terms like being “hemmed in” or “in dire straits” to describe places where options are limited.  God’s promise is to bring you out into spacious places.  What would you imagine that to look like in your life right now?

David goes on to describe how the Lord taught him to fight.  One of the most important elements of hand to hand combat is maintaining your footing.  If your enemy can get you off balance, they have the advantage over you.  David refers to two types of stability in verse 34 and 37.  In verse 34, he says that his feet were made like the feet of deer so that he could remain stable on the high and rocky terrain of mountain passes.  In verse 37 he describes the way that God enlarged the path under his feet, ensuring his stability.  These two verses address the work that God does in us and around us.  What is He doing today to make your feet stronger and more agile?  Be assured that He is doing that because He knows that you will find yourself on highly unstable ground.  What is God doing today to level the ground out under your feet?  Be assured that He is also doing that.  We often don’t notice it because we fail to pay attention to the works of God or give Him glory for the path-flattening work He has done in a particular day.

The enemy of your soul is seeking the opportunities when you are in threat of stumbling.  It would be good to reflect today on the fact that Satan is not the architect of our failures.  He is an opportunist.  You can minimize the opportunities Hell has to push you to the ground by receiving the grace that God is bringing to you to strengthen your feet and enlarging your path.

-Pastor Jack

“Togethering” Tomorrow:  Join with others for an early morning prayer time from 6:00 to 7:30am in the Café.

Seek Week, Monday – Enlarged Horizons

Bird on a wire

Myopia is a condition of the eyes that indicates nearsightedness.  In common language we have adapted the word myopic to describe an attitude or limitation of perspective where we cannot see the larger picture.  The proverbial, “Can’t see the forest for the trees” is a myopic condition.  There are large barriers that impose themselves into our lives that tend to confine or shut down our vision.  I love visiting Manhattan Island in New York because of the architecture and the immense size and scale of the buildings there, but you really need to be outside the city to gain any sense of the skyline and placement of structures in relationship to each other.  Even in the widest of streets in that city your sight is limited to a narrow concrete canyon.  Our understanding of where we are and how our current circumstances fit into the larger landscape of our past and future can easily get crowded down into a very small patch of ground just around our feet.  There is hope from God in these closed in spaces.  The image that is projected from David’s words in Psalm 119, “Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light to my path” indicates a ring of light that does not shine 25 feet down the pathway; it illuminates a circle around us exposing more of the path with each step that we take into that immediate light.

In His goodness and care for us, however, God does provide a way for us to make our way to higher ground and catch much-needed glimpses of the horizon.  The promise in Psalm 40:1-4 lets us know that God not only inclines His ear to us, He pulls us up from the pit and sets us up on a rock.  David was faithful in his writing to identify the source of his troubles, and being that he mentions neither a sickness in his body or the assault of an enemy against his life, we are left to conclude that David was in a pit of some inward unsettledness.  We all know what those pits are about.  Pits are “horrible,” as David describes his, because of the confinement of movement and the lack of ability to see anything around you besides the pit.  The solution God offers to us is not just to get our feet unstuck from the mud in the bottom of the pit; He lifts us out of the limitations of vision, clears the skies and sets us on a rock from which we can see, orient ourselves and move confidently forward.  The key to this kind of help is found in the first line of the Psalm: “I waited patiently for the Lord…”  That is the primary posture of our time in Seek Week.

Waiting is not a strong suit for most of us.  If we ask for help or answers, we typically go straight from asking to acting on what we think will help us out of the pit.  Waiting in this passage implies that David was looking with expectation of God’s help for some time before the answers came his way.  This is what we are setting ourselves to do through this week.  Waiting on God’s answers is not a passive process.  We lean into that expectation by asking, reading Scripture and listening for the voice, impressions, affirmations and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Set yourself to pursue that kind of waiting this week.  Spend some time today asking specific questions and meditating on this Psalm 40 passage.  Getting yourself started off on the right spiritual foot will serve you well in getting unstuck from a dark and muddy pit.  Expect that you will be lifted up and set on a better vantage point from which you will be able to see an enlarged horizon.  We need to see where we have been, where we are, and gain perspective on where we are headed.  Trust me, it’s worth the wait.

-Pastor Jack

“Togethering” Tomorrow:  Join us for a collective time of prayer and seeking from 12:00 to 1:00pm in the Café.     

Seek Week 2015 – “Enlarged”

In late November, I was reading the passage in Isaiah 9 that predicted the coming Messiah with the words we used for the child dedication and blessing in our Christmas service, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given.”  In the verses that begin that chapter, Isaiah declares: “You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder” Isaiah 9:3 (NIV).  This word “enlarged” has been coming up in my spirit regularly since that time.  Every year that we have been calling this church to a concentrated time of fasting and seeking, I have provided a framework or guide for that process.  This is not to restrict you from praying or seeking along a different path or in ways that best suit your life and needs right now.  The guide is offered as a way to go about something that many of us don’t regularly do, and in my experience with irregular things, some guidance and encouragement is usually helpful to get us started and moving along.  So I want you to be free to use Bible passages or even some devotional guide that may be helpful to you personally if you so desire.

I do believe that the theme that we follow from year to year is significant to the way in which the Holy Spirit speaks specific things into the life of the whole church as we begin another year, so please at least read through the material I’ve provided.  As much as a Seek Week is beneficial to you as an individual, I believe that this is a process that is significant to City Church as a whole and the common theme, focus and times of common prayer during Seek Week are important to all that the Holy Spirit intends to do in us through this special week.

We are providing this Seek Week guide the day before Seek Week actually begins for a reason.  A concentrated time of prayer, fasting and listening is something that will require a bit of preparation to do.  In the same way that you would plan a trip to go out of town for a few days, I would advise that you take a few minutes and put some preparations in place so that you don’t forget your toothbrush or end up without a place to stay along this spiritual journey.  As I’ve already said, this guide is intended to provide a general theme or roadmap for the week.  In addition to familiarizing yourself with the guide, I would offer a couple additional travel-preparation suggestions:

  1. Plan your stops.
    Our lives regularly fill with activities and responsibilities without much effort on our part, so if you want to create space for stopping, reflecting and seeking, you will have to plan for those times and defend what you have planned. Consider creating a seeking calendar that allows the intervals of seeking like rest stops along a major highway.  You may want to try mixing it up using an early morning on Tuesday, a lunch time on Wednesday and perhaps the last hour of the day before you go to bed on Thursday.  The important thing is that you plan these stops. Otherwise the week will fill up and the sacrifices you have made in fasting and culling out other distractions will be wasted.   Also keep in mind that there are gathering times planned for prayer throughout the week, and breaking fast together with a time of worship and prayer on Friday:
    Tuesday, noon-1:00pm & Wednesday, 6:00am-7:30am in the Café
    Friday, 6:00-Light potluck and prayer and worship service in the Fellowship Hall

 

  1. Decide now what and how you will fast if you choose to do so.

These decisions are never made very well in the moment.  If you find yourself standing at the refrigerator on Monday morning considering what to eat for breakfast and then remember that you were supposed to be fasting, the choice to forego food at that moment will not be as effective as a decision about what and how you will fast through the week that is made on Sunday afternoon.

Some Fasting Guidelines

Fasting is a spiritual discipline designed to remove the comfort that our bodies receive from food and raise the sensitivity of our spirit to the presence and voice of God.  This is accomplished through substituting our regular food intake with Bible reading, praying and journaling.  The overall goal is to experience a genuine hunger for spending time with God.

There are numerous ways to go about fasting.  Some people will fast all five days drinking only water.  Others modify that by the inclusion of fruit or vegetable juices.  Some people will participate in a sunrise to sunset fast each day eating a light meal in the evening.  Still others fast by removing anything but simple or bland foods in the style of a Daniel fast.

We have found great benefits by fasting certain activities and entertainment.  Media not only consumes time, it provides a significant distraction from the matters of soul and spirit.  Often we cannot hear God’s voice as a simple result of having some noise or visual stimulant constantly drawing away our attention.  Please consider replacing time in front of a computer, smartphone or television screen with quiet reading, prayer or worship.  You will be bored at the beginning of the week, but as your spiritual sensitivities grow stronger, you will gain far more than you give up in this area.

A food fast is not suited to everyone.  Pray about your participation and use wisdom in selecting how you will fast.  Those who work in jobs that require the expenditure of significant physical energy will need to provide something for their body to use for that energy, so some food intake may be required to keep up with these demands.  Those who follow rigorous workout routines may need to modify the elements of the fast or adjust their routines in order to do without food.  Also, if you have any known medical conditions or suspect such conditions that may be impacted by fasting, consult your doctor before beginning the fast.

Keep the purpose in mind!

Religious activity that is done for the sake of religious activity has never really helped anyone.  Spiritual disciplines must be pursued with specific purposes in mind so that you don’t end up suffering with a growling stomach for a few days and end the week with an unfed soul.  Think about this in terms of replacement.  Turn off the TV for an hour each evening and replace that activity with some time spent in focused reading of Scripture, praying or worshipping.  Skip lunch a couple of days and replace the time spent eating with meditating on a Bible passage or finding some solitude and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit.  Here are some specific suggestions on making your seeking purposeful:

  • Purposeful Fasting – This may mean fasting food or television, coffee, sweets, etc…  The point is that you select a behavior that most comforts your flesh or distracts your soul and you give that up for a specific period of time.  Then, in the absence of that comfort or distraction, set your heart to seek God by prayer and listening.  Some of you do the single-day sunrise to sunset fasting which is great.  During Seek Week I would encourage you to try to step that up a bit, perhaps fasting food for three or four days.  At the very least, please consider fasting some part of your routine that would free-up time that you would in turn devote to actively seeking God.
  • Purposeful Prayer – Most of us are good at “prayer on the fly.”  Quick prayers that you pray walking from your car headed into a meeting muttering “Oh God help me with this…” as some new or challenging situation is thrown into your day.  What we have lost some capacity to do in our busy modern lives is waiting and lingering in prayer.  I am calling this congregation to a season of seeking.  Each day of Seek Week will carry a specific emphasis in prayer.  Some of these days will include a gathering to pray with or for others.
  • Purposeful Listening – While listening is (or should be) included in any time of prayer, I have separated it for the purpose of emphasis.  The reward of seeking God is that we find Him!  I want to develop the anticipation in our hearts through this week that we will hear from the Lord; biblically, intuitively, conversationally, meditatively, and prophetically hear from Him.

Check in daily next week, Monday through Friday, for directions in prayer and scripture reading.  Let’s Seek the Lord together!

Come to the Manger… by Pastor Dora Clarkson

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Shepherds came.  The Bible says they came “with haste.”  They wanted to see what had happened.  And after they saw the newborn Babe, they began telling everyone they could find what they had seen and heard.  What did it do in them?  They returned to the fields glorifying and praising God.  They experienced wonder, hope, joy, and excitement.  I believe their worship was transformed.

Wise Men came.  They came “from the east,” guided by a star.  And when they came into the house, they worshiped Him and opened their treasures for Him.  What did it do in them?  They experienced joy like no other time.  It was not only joy, but it was exceeding, and great joy!  The Bible says they greatly rejoiced.  I believe their worship was transformed.

To come to the manger, we have to go to Bethlehem–to the city of David–to the city of Kings–to the “House of Bread” (which is the meaning of the word Bethlehem.)  What will we see when we come to the manger?  Why, a feeding trough, of course.  And isn’t that appropriate, for Jesus later said of Himself, “I am the Bread of Life.”  When you come to this manger, you will experience a silent amazement, a moment of awesome wonder, and fall to your knees in speechless humility.  I believe your worship will be transformed.

During this season, I like to bake Cranberry Nut Bread with orange zest.  This bread has red berries it it, crimson, like our sins, and also like the blood which was shed to cover and pay for those sins.  There are nuts in this bread, which were first roasted in the oven, and then crushed.  Our Savior went “through the fire” on our behalf.  He was beaten, whipped, tortured, and crushed for our welfare and healing.  There is a little essence of orange in this bread, which gives it a sweet aroma.  And this makes me think of the great, sweet, wonderful love of the Father and the sweet smell of the humility and obedience of Jesus, as He made the ultimate sacrifice for our redemption.  When I give this bread to friends, or serve it to my family, I like to think they are receiving a gift from the House of Bread, a taste of the Bread of Life.  I want their worship to be transformed.

So, hear the invitation:  Come often to the House of Bread, to the humble manger, the eating place of cattle, and be filled with the Bread of Life–the only One who can satisfy your deepest longings, hunger, desires and dreams.  Don’t fill up on the world’s junk food.  Don’t be satisfied with crumbs from the world’s table. Your worship will be transformed.

Pastor Dora Clarkson

December Letter from Pastor Jack…. Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas!

I trust you are doing well and growing in your faith in Jesus.  I wanted to get out a quick note to let you know about the opportunities that are right in front of us and occurring around the Christmas season.  There are three events approaching quickly that I wanted to highlight.

  • This Saturday at 10:00am there is a Women’s Ministry brunch that apparently includes wearing an ugly Christmas sweater.  To be honest, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a non-ugly Christmas sweater, so that category for me is wide open.   You ladies will have a great time together.
  • This coming Sunday morning at the conclusion of our 11:00 AM service, we will be baptizing people in water. If you want to participate in this spiritually important step of following Jesus, bring a towel, a swimsuit, and a T-shirt that you can wear for the baptism.  It is going to be awesome!
  • That night, at 6:00 we will be celebrating the graduation of students from our leadership institute here in Redding and the first class from the satellite program in Red Bluff. Everyone is welcome to attend, so if you have been curious about what Qadash is and does, this is an excellent way to find that out and support some amazing students as well.
  • On 12/11 Encore will be hosting their Christmas party and white elephant gift exchange. If you are over 45 and have not attended one of these parties, you are missing something pretty fun.

Lastly, I wanted to give you a bit more information on our December 21st Christmas service.  The theme of that 11:00am service is “Unto us… Unto me.”  In addition to some usual components to that service we will be focusing on the gift of children that God has given into families.  God’s gift of His Son presents us with the opportunity of salvation as we receive that gift by faith.  God’s gift of children presents us with certain responsibilities that we accept and dedicate ourselves to do by the power of the Holy Spirit and with the support of the church.  Our plans are to provide a large scale child dedication that includes newborns and children up to age 11.  I know many parents who came to Christ well after having children and did not have the opportunity to make this commitment and offer their children in dedication to God.  We have put something together for parents that will help describe the purpose and process of child dedication.  You can find this by following this web-link https://cc4square.org/child-dedications/ or hard copies will be available in the welcome center beginning this Sunday.  We do need to have an idea of how many children will be included in this dedication ahead of time, so please call the church office to let us know or sign up at the welcome center.

Additionally, in that same service we will be praying over and offering words of blessing over each child in attendance.  This will include all children up to age 18.  Families will stand together and bless each child speaking prepared blessings and spontaneous words over them.  Groups of elder-leaders will be ready to stand in surrogate roles speaking blessing over youth who are in attendance without their parents or other family.  We have put together a simple guide for parents to use in preparing and writing out these blessings over their children.  You can find this by following this web-link https://cc4square.org/blessing-your-children/ or hard copies of this guide will also be available in the welcome center beginning this Sunday.

I believe that is it for now.  Look for another letter from me in the last week of this month that will outline our Seek Week dates and theme for 2015, and information on what I think are exciting changes and developments that we will experience early in the New Year.

Grace and peace to you,

Pastor Jack