Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Learning about Love

I made a new friend over the weekend, a PC(USA) Missionary working in northern Africa who for her security will remain nameless. She works in an overwhelmingly Muslim country where, while she can freely worship (her family has been Christian for generations), she cannot freely talk about Jesus Christ outside of the confines of her church.

I learned from my friend that Arabic has many more words for love than English and one of those words, used almost exclusively by Christians, means "Christ like love." A doctor, my friend began to train young, disaffected youth to care for the elderly. The best care, she believes, is Christ-like care, and she began teaching her students to love as Christ loved. She and her staff made it a point to embody compassion, forgiveness, empathy, hope, life, love. They developed a curriculum, using the Bible, Koran and other Arabic writings to teach Christ love.

Not only did the care improve, the lives of the students improved dramatically. They reconciled their marriages. They developed life goals and self esteem. They cared better for their children. They became trustworthy, dependable, committed.

In turn the lives of their clients changed. NOt only were they receiving quality care, but they were receiving Christ love.

We tend to think that the gospel must be spoken to be shared, be articulated to have an affect. We also tend to believe that for the gospel to change a life, a person must articulate their belief in basic creeds or doctrines.

The Apostle Paul reminds us that we can prophesy, do miracles, preach, teach and more, but the greatest and most powerful gift we have is love. My new friend's story underscored this reality. By systematically unleashing on the world hundreds of young men and women, Christian and Muslim, filled with Christ love, she may have done more for the cause of our Savior than the millennia of sermons preached in the churches of her home town.

Sunday's Sermon - Welcome to the Kingdom

On Sunday, Pastor Fritz launched a new sermon series: God's Dream for our Lives, God's Dream for our World focusing on the Kingdom of God as illustrated in Jesus' parables.

About the Kingdom of God, Pastor Fritz says this:
For the last two years I have been studying the concept of the Kingdom of God as it is used by Jesus. In the process I have become convinced that if we really want to understand the heart of our faith, if we really want to have a faith that shapes us and shapes our world, we must understand Jesus teaching on the kingdom of God. And one way to do that is to study Jesus’ parables.
Read the Sermon

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fall Fair 2009

CPC's fall fair is coming up fast on October 17th. Fair organizer Jean Bishop has a bunch of stuff planned to help us get ready. Here's what is coming up.

Crafts Workshops – spend an evening working on crafts to see at the fair. The dates are:
Wednesday – September 30 from 7:30 to 9:00
Thursday – October 8 from 7:30 to 9:00

Apple Picking – We are going to pick apples to sell at the fair. Make it a family outing on Saturday, October 10 – meet at the church at 8:30 am. We will be back by noon.

Baking with Pastor Fritz – on Friday, October 16. Learn how to bake bread, scones, and apple turnovers. If you have a favorite recipe, bring it, and we’ll make that too! Meet at the church at 9:00 am.

Set up for the Fair – Saturday, October 17 at 8:00 am. We will set up as much as we can outside – vegetables, pumpkins, plants, apples, plus craft tables.

Sell vegetables, baked goods, and craft items.

Set up for the Fair Dinner – Saturday at 4:00 pm – set tables

Cook for the dinner – see Janet Neugebauer or Willa Ramsey

Serve the dinner – see June Englese

Clean up for the dinner - see Janet Neugebauer or Willa Ramsey

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

2009 Crop Walk, October 4th

Mark your calendar for 1PM Sunday October 4th. This is the date of the 2009 Western Nassau CROPWALK being held again in Baldwin Park. I've lost track, but I believe this is the 18th or 19th year we'll be taking part.

This is our Community Responding to Overcome Poverty. Hungry people in developing countries typically walk as much as six miles a day to get food, water, and fuel, and to take their goods to market. We walk to be in solidarity with their struggle for existence. We walk because they walk. 25% of the money we raise will go to support the Freeport food center run by the Long Island Council of Churches with the rest helping to fight hunger and poverty around the world including the United States.

Lorne Birch will be available Sunday to sign up walkers with their pledges and to give out sponsor sheets. The sheets are a way to get folks at work, at school, and in your family to support your effort on October 4th.

If you are unable to walk, think about a pledge sponsoring the group from church who will be walking. Hope the weather is great and see you on the 4th.
Don Neugebauer

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sunday's Sermon - Homosexuality and the Church

Last Sunday we closed out our all request summer sermon series with a request to look at Romans 1, a complex passage that, among other things, condemns homosexuality as sinful. I've been struggling with this topic for years and attempted to condense some of my thinking (and my struggle) into the sermon. We will revisit this topic in a couple of weeks as we embark on another year of Pastor's Coffee House, which will begin with a study of Paul's letter to the Romans.

Read the sermon
Read other sermons in the All Request Summer Sermon Series

The many brief discussions I had on the way out the door suggest that we all live in this tension between discipline and grace. Is being a Christian primarily living a strict, disciplined life, following the rules and expecting others to do the same? Or is being a Christian primarily being gracious and inclusive toward others regardless of background and behavior? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sunday's Sermon - The Prodigal Son

All summer we've been working down a list of congregational sermon requests. Last week's request was to revisit the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

Read the sermon
Read past sermons from this summer
View the schedule