Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sex & Stuff, Message One

Sex, fornication, adultery, pornography, masturbation, homosexuality, sexual abuse...if it has to do with sex at all, I probably named it and addressed it in some small way from the pulpit in our first message of our Sex & Stuff series on February 14th.


Here are a few of the notes from message one. Tomorrow is message two.

_________________________

Some people (from other churches) get upset or weird that we are talking about sex in church. I suggest that we pull our head out of the sand, because your kids in the second and third grade are being educated about sex at school! Our spiritual enemy is trying to tell us and our children about sex and we better speak up and speak the truth of Christ on a topic that he cares deeply about.


Godly sex is: Between a man and a woman who are married! SIMPLE ENOUGH?


Now let me complicate it…Unmarried men are sexual beings with sexual feelings. Unmarried women are sexual beings with sexual feelings. Married or not, people have genitals and feelings and desires and temptations. And that—is where it gets tough. (I wish I had better news.)


Great and godly sex starts with Godly thinking and living—between the ears and in the heart-- long before it goes between the legs!


Contrary to the individualistic tone of our society, it is critical to understand that -- YOUR BOD BELONGS TO GOD! Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20


SEX IS STICKY! Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh." 1 Corinthians 6:15-16


Young relationships that “break up” are most painful when there has been physical intimacy. Have you ever known a devastated teenager who had a hard break up? Then, you probably know a teenager that was sexually involved. Because, sex is meant to BOND us together…sex is sticky.


SEXUAL SIN IS MESSY! Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18


Message Two is tomorrow-- will post that later.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Beyond Idols- Touring at CCF

I am getting really, really excited for March 14th at CCF! Look, if you are local--PUT THIS IN YOUR CALENDAR! CCF is holding a double feature day...

Annual International Sunday AND Beyond Idols Worship Tour in the same day!!

March 14th- starting at 9:30am!

International Sunday features a celebration of the more than 35 nations represented in our congregation. And the Beyond Idols is a concert tour consisting of American Idol type contestants from around the world singing to lift up the name of Jesus! This is going to be an extremely special moment in our church.

CLICK HERE for more info about Beyond Idols.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

You are NOT the Body of Christ

YOU are not the body of Christ. WE are! I'm sure that I am not the only one that hears statements like these flowing out of the mouths of (supposed) Christ followers fairly often:
  • My "spirituality" is between me and God.
  • My "religion" is a personal thing that is no one else's business.
  • My walk with God is MY walk with God.
I understand that we are required to make a personal commitment to follow Jesus and that we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, etc. I get that. But, it is my strong sense that the strongly individual and personal faith that most of us live out, is one of the factors that is hindering our impact as the church....not to mention that it isn't Biblical.

I read this statement this morning while reading the book, "Pagan Christianity" by Frank Viola:
The goal of many churches is to bring individual sinners to an individual decision for an individualistic faith. As a a result, the goal of the early church- mutual edification and every-member functioning to corporately manifest Jesus Christ before principalities and powers- is altogether lost.
The size of the mission of God and the depth of love that the Lord has for the lost world, requires an army of believers joining together as the BODY of Christ to accomplish His will. We will not do it alone. But in many ways, we are doing it alone. Which is why we are, by and large, NOT DOING IT!

Walking with Jesus is not a passive spectator sport where you come watch one game a week. No! It's more. So much more.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Florida Bound

We leave today for a needed time away. We are headed to Florida to visit some family and take Davis to Disney World. I will probably not blog too much this week...unless I get some good reading time in--which inspires me to share what I learn. I pray the Lord's blessings on each of you who visit this blog. Even though I rarely know who you are, I do feel appreciation for the community we share here online.

Much Love,

Noah

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Joyce Arata

Death hurts. It has been around longer than any of us, but whenever it strikes, it feels like a total stranger! Yesterday evening, my dear friend Joel called me in a panic. Hs mother had suddenly died. The paramedics were unable to revive her. To add insult to injury, he had slid off the road and into an ice bank trying to get there. We immediately came to him, picked him up and got him to his parents. They think that she likely died of a heart attack.

I am encouraged by this verse today: "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." Psalm 116:15

The death of Mrs. Arata is our loss, but heaven's gain!! Praise God for that!

Joyce and Joe have two children, Joel and Kathy. I do invite you to pray for Joe Arata, Joel Arata and family, and Kathy Coleman and family.

Funeral Information: Monday, February 15th. Viewing, 10am-12pm. Service 12pm. Meal to follow.


Location: Grace Brethren Church on Good Luck Road in Lanham.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Things I Need to Share Today...

Trying to organize my head today and thought I would do it with you...
  • I am really excited to begin our Sex & Stuff series at CCF this Sunday. If the weather impacts us, I will cry! ;-) BTW- CCF'rs, prepare to arrive early if you want a good place to park. Not because I am preaching on sex, but because of the massive snow piles obstructing half our parking spaces.
  • I am also excited to marry Brian Wood and Juanita Hall on Saturday. Great couple. And this will be the 3rd of 3 Wood sons that I have married. Starts to show how long we have been at CCF!
  • In case you have not heard, CCF will be hosting the movie screening of "Lord Save us From your Followers." Click here to check it out. It will be at 7pm on next Thursday, February 18th!
  • We are really getting excited about the "Beyond Idols Worship Tour" coming in concert to CCF on Sunday, March 14th for our International Sunday! It is going to ROCK! Save the date and get your "invite" on! (This only 4 weeks out!!)
  • We are also growing in our anticipation of our "Dwelling, Passion Experience" planned for the Holy Week! It is scheduled for Wednesday night, March 31st at 7pm! Want to be in it? See Angella Foster this Sunday!
PLEASE pray with us that weather stops interrupting our gatherings! Geez!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snowmageddon, Snowdepression!

While watching the news yesterday, there was a segment about how being stranded inside during the snow impacts mental health. I heard the lady use the words "irritable" and "frustrated" but not able to define why. She shared that being stranded in the house for days on end can have a negative effect on our mental health. She even sad that it can lead to increased anxiety and situational depression. Just last night a friend of mine was telling me how upset one of her coworkers was that she could not make it to work, because she "needed to feel needed."

Some of you are just fine with all this snow and all this being stuck! Great! Enjoy it! But, I suspect there may be some of us that are feeling some feelings that we don't much care for. If so, let me offer you a few thoughts:
  • You are normal!! First, if it helps at all, let me confess my own increased frustration and "funk" over the last few days. This is been hard for me. But, we need to normalize stuff more. I think that you are really normal if you are feeling a tad down with all this down time!
  • Routine = Security. Next, it dawns on me that for many of us our routine is attached to our security. If we maintain our routine and rhythm, our lives maintain a sense of normality. When we break that pattern, it throws some things off for us and we all react to that with different feelings. Maybe you are supposed to learn something this week. Don't miss it.
  • Misassigned value? This is HUGE for so many of us. I fundamentally believe that people find their value in the wrong stuff. If we are in Christ, we are called to find our value in him. However, all of us struggle to some degree with finding our value in earthly possession and position. Pay attention to this. Perhaps you think that you are "something" because of your role at work. And this week, you have not had that security to rely on. Maybe God wants to show you that you are "something" because he gave you "everything" in his son, Jesus Christ!
So....rest, relax, and reflect today.

Or...tackle a project or two around the house that you have been putting off! Go for it!

Much love!

PS- Isn't it amazing how the Lord's power allows him to shut a city down with the snap of his finger??

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sex This Sunday

I'm sure that title caught your attention! I am really excited about beginning our series entitled "Sex & Stuff" this Sunday at CCF! I plan to tackle some topics that will need t0 be tackled and say some things that need to be said. Plan to squirm a tad, because you are probably not used to discussing this stuff in church. Oh, well. I encourage you to be present and open your heart to some things that the Lord may want you to hear and to face. He is with us!

I'm coordinating with Pastor TC to have our youth present for this as well. We need to get our heads out of the sand and realize that media is educating our young people about sex in totally inappropriate ways. I strongly believe that it is past time for the church to stand up and weigh in on sex and what it is really all about!!

See you Sunday. Invite someone to join you. If you know someone that thinks that churches are fake...invite them Sunday, and see if they still believe that. We are about to get real.

-Pastor Noah

Sunday, February 7, 2010

You See Bones, I See An Army

Last Sunday, we were blessed with the honor of having Floyd McClung speak in our service at CCF. He brought a fantastic message and some of our Staff joined him at our home for lunch. Great time of gleaning. Floyd is the author of multiple books including the one I read this week, "You See Bones. I See and Army." After reading the first 2 chapters of this book, I ordered 10 copies!! Faaaantastic book!

Here are a few excerpts that I found especially provoking:

  • The institution of the church is more of the problem than its people. Even is spite of the rise of megachurches, fewer people are being transformed for Christ in the Western Church. The way we do church is no longer relevant to the vast majority of Americans.
  • We should NOT be asking: How do we get our church bigger? Or how do we make our church more relevant? We SHOULD be asking: What is church? What is its purpose? And how do we do it?
  • Sunday is not the main event! We spend our time and money and energy trying to make the sacred hour better so people will come and like it. Meanwhile, we live in OT temple theology, create the church around a place and not a people, blow money and resources in a way that should convict, and train all of America that “church” is about going somewhere on Sunday with other people just like you. When in fact, that is NOT CHURCH AT ALL!! Church is about going (not coming) to people not like you (instead of like you). It is about being uncomfortable, not comfortable.
  • We have to take the church (ourselves…people…not bricks) to the world, not get the world to the church. As soon as we “get them out of the world”, we have essentially removed them from the very mission field that the Lord is trying to send them to.
  • The more complicated we do church, the more difficult it is to reproduce. And the bigger and more complicated a church gets the more people and money it takes to win one person to Christ. The church in the book of Acts functioned as a vibrant community, not a weekly meeting.
  • Two million babies die of Malaria in Africa every year while we build bigger buildings. Attractional approaches, better programs, audiovisuals, better parking lots and competing with the church down the street is NOT the heart of church as Jesus intended it!
  • Jesus modeled for us the way to do church: among the people! “As the Father sent me (among the people), so I am sending you (among the people). Church is not for us. It is for God and the lost.
  • There are over 3 billion people on the planet that have never heard the name of Jesus spoken to them one time! Why should some people hear the name over and over and over again while others do not get to hear once?
  • Biblical Maverick as defined by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch: “A true Biblical Maverick acts in a prophetic manner by exposing the lies that the dominant group tells itself in order to sustain its shared illusions.”
This book is stark and eye opening. Made a big difference in my heart. There are some perspectives on leadership that I do not totally agree with, but by and large, this is good stuff!

Opposite Living, Snow Sermon Blizzard 2010

video

Saturday, February 6, 2010

CCF is CLOSED tomorrow (due to natural causes)

Well, as bummed as I am that we will NOT be having service tomorrow, I am quite thankful that the decision is an easy one! We need to cooperate with our local authorities and consider safety and cancel church for tomorrow. Not to mention, it is highly likely that our property will not be accessible.

A few ideas:
  • If you missed a recent message at church, hop on our website and listen to it! Click here to listen.
  • If you have never attended online church, perhaps you want to give it a try tomorrow. It includes worship and teaching and is a growing thing in the U.S. If you want some suggestions, email me, FB message me or leave a comment here and I can recommend some.
  • Spend quality time with your family!
  • Spend quality time with Jesus!
  • Enjoy the change of pace!
Oh, one more thing...what about offering? This winter has been a Pastor's nightmare.

We have a solution!! For our faithful partners and attendees who are committed financially to Capital Christian Fellowship, we appreciate your continued financial faithfulness even in the snow (and so does God)! If it makes things more convenient, feel free to click here and donate through E-giving on our website. All you need to do is click on the blue e-giving link at the bottom of the home screen and it will walk you through it. Thanks for letting the Lord use you!

We love you! Will miss you tomorrow!

--Pastor Noah

Snow on the Ground

Friday, February 5, 2010

Beautiful Snow, Terrible Timing

I am a snow lover! Enjoy it on many levels. But, the Pastor in me is getting really tired of these weekend snow events that threaten and impact our Sunday Worship experiences. Bu-mmer! Here's the deal...we are watching this storm unfold and we will keep you up to date with what we will be doing about Sunday.

I will twitter, Facebook and post our decision about Sunday on my blog by Saturday evening. We will also send a church-wide email through our church database once we make a decision. It will all depend on the severity of the storm, the efficiency of the road crews and our CCF Plow company. Certain element are out of our control...basically all of it.

Let me encourage you to consider something. Over the next few days, there will be a lot of things cancelled and an unusual amount of time freed up. Consider using it to really invest in your family (more than you normally do), spend some time in a book that encourages your faith and spend some time in scripture and with the Lord...maybe even some extended time. God can use this extra time to bring you extra close to him.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Super Bowl Church Cornyness

Quarterback sneak:  People who sit in the rear quarter of the church, hoping to leave before the final song.
 
Sudden death:  Any minister who preaches past noon.
 
Stay in the pocket:  What happens to a lot of money that should go toward the tithe and missions.
 
Blitz:  The stampede for the doors after the service, usually toward a local restaurant (typically provoked by the quarterback sneak).
 
Encroachment:  A particularly well-delivered sermon by an associate pastor during the senior pastor’s summer vacation.
 
The two-minute drill:  A futile attempt to limit the length of testimonies during services.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

WAVA Holding Movie Screening at CCF. "Lord, Save Us..."

The local Christian Radio Station, WAVA will be holding a Movie Screening at CCF on Thursday, February 18th at 7:00pm. The movie, "Lord, Save Us" is a stirring and eye opening look at culture and religious perception. It will open up loads of conversation and thinking.


Here is a synopsis of the film:

Lord, Save Us From Your Followers. Why is the Gospel of Love Dividing America?


If you were to meet ten average Americans on the street, nine of them would say they believe in God. So why is the Gospel of Love dividing America?

Dan Merchant put on his bumper-sticker-clad jumpsuit and decided to find the reason. After talking with scores of men and women on streets all across the nation, and also interviewing many well-known activists in today’s “Culture Wars,” Dan realized that the public discussion of faith doesn’t have to be contentious.

From its opening Talking Heads sequence through its touching look at faith in action,
Lord, Save Us From Your Followers is a fast-paced, highly engaging documentary that explores the collision of faith and culture in America while opening up this important conversation to all of us.

As discussion of religion floods the media, the rhetoric is divisive, hyper, and most often, angry. With humor more common in a comedy-sketch program than a documentary, Merchant brings the sensibilities of someone who is deeply concerned with how his faith is being represented by others.
Lord, Save Us provides a provocative, funny, and redemptive discussion that is sure to continue long after the credits run.

Merchant sits down for interviews with well-known people on all sides of this great divide, including best-selling author William Paul Young (The Shack), comedian/politician Al Franken, former “Religious Right” Senator Rick Santorum, noted “liberal evangelical” Tony Campolo, conservative radio host Michael Reagan, and racial reconciliation activist Dr. John Perkins.

If that’s not divergent enough, other features include Bono, Rick Warren, Bill Maher, James Dobson, George Clooney, Jerry Falwell, Stephen Colbert, Ann Coulter, Pat Robertson, Lewis Black, Tony Perkins, Monty Python, and even Stewie from “Family Guy”… along with many others.

Add to that the nationwide man-on-the-street interviews with “Bumper-Sticker Man,” the Culture Wars game show, the “renaming” of St. Paul to New Leningrad, and a controversial and moving “Confession Booth” at Portland’s Gay Pride celebration, and
Lord, Save Us From Your Followers delves into religious hot-button issues with candor, humor, and balance.

Engaging, unpredictable, and challenging,
Lord, Save Us From Your Followers will change the way you talk about faith!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Eyes of my Changing Heart

Over the last few months, and especially the last few weeks, the eyes of my heart have been widely and abruptly opened to a lot of stuff. To what? Everything! Or at least that is how it feels. If I error as a leader, I error toward sharing too much of what I am feeling and experiencing. I am not too good at secrets (when they are mine). God is doing some very personal and transformational stuff inside my heart these days and I am sure that it will leak out and become evident to some of you. It's stuff that I really couldn't put into words even if I wanted to. But, I thought that I would just share a little window into it. A few (very few) of the things I am experiencing...
  • An increased sense of intimacy with God.
  • Multiple back to back divine appointments and encounters since the first of this year.
  • I can't sleep like I used to be able to. Waking up to be with Jesus at whack hours and not feeling tired during the day.
  • A increasing concern with the ways that we are NOT being the actual Body of Jesus as he intended it!
  • A growing concern that we are NOT being the church the way that the Bible teaches it or the way Jesus intended it.
  • A heavier burden for people who have not met Jesus yet. A sharply rising desire to care for the poor and broken and lost (which I am not doing).
  • An increasing concern over our lack of vision and impact at CCF (compared to our grand potential and resource).
  • Development of Kingdom Eyes that are forcing me to see things differently than I used to. Not some things, but most things. Read more about this HERE!
  • A sense that things cannot remain the same. Broken for more. Called to more. Rejecting complacency that was imminently setting it.
Something is happening. Not sure what. Not sure how. Not sure when. I just know that the eyes of my heart are opening in ways that are forcing me to never be the same again! And so I won't.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” I Corinthians 2:9

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Heavenly Man

The other day, I finished reading "The Heavenly Man". It is the remarkable true story of the persecution of a revolutionary Christian leader in China. The stories of Brother Yun's life stirred me and impacted me tremendously. This book has even impacted how I come to many different practical decisions. To be totally honest, the struggles that Brother Yun faced in following Jesus made some of the Apostle Paul's persecution look light. Brother Yun is still alive living in exile with his family. He is one of the five strategic "Back to Jerusalem" leaders.

2 very interesting facts:
  1. One of the key Christian friends in this book who is imprisoned with Brother Yun is Brother Xu. Brother Xu is also one of the Back to Jerusalem leaders. I met Brother Xu this past Summer on August 20th. It was an honor. But it means even more to me after reading this book.
  2. There is a chance that you can meet Brother Yun himself one day sooner than you think....stay tuned. And prepare by reading this book.
If you want to have your faith increased and to see how easy you really have it, read the "The Heavenly Man" as soon as possible.