Reflections on Faith

Dear friends,

In this blog, you will find weekly reflections on life and faith. My hope is that, in some way, they will prove helpful to you in your daily living. May God bless you on the spiritual journey.

Andrew S. Odom
Pastor

10/10/2017 1:48 PM

The Anchor

10/10/2017 1:48 PM
10/10/2017 1:48 PM
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken. (Psalm 62:1-2)
 
I grew up going to worship. Every week my family would pile into the car and head to church. It is a practice that I kept up into adulthood right up until I went to seminary and accepted the call of being a pastor. Throughout my life, worship has played a central role in shaping who I am and what my faith looks like.
 
Early on I can easily say that I was not thrilled to attend church on Sunday. In my family, though, not going was not an option. So, even though I wasn’t all that happy, I went. I had to. My mother was bigger than me. As a teenager I began to appreciate worship more, though I didn’t always understand it. Sill, my friends and I would sometimes devise plans for making it look like we were in church, while actually doing something else. In college, I went less frequently, but I still went. I found a local church where one of the pastors was an old family friend who greeted me with a smile when he saw me. When I showed up, being in worship felt a lot like greeting an old friend that you hadn’t seen lately.
 
I’m now officially a middle-aged adult. Life is pulling at me from all ends. To say that I have any measure of control is laughable. Worship now feels like respite to me, something that I not only long for, but desperately need. In worship I am given time away from the crazy polarized unfair world in order to rest firmly and securely in God’s great big hands of love. Worship keeps me sane.
 
Through each stage of my life, worship has served as anchor. It has been there whether I wanted it to be or not. More importantly, though, it continues to be there when I need it the most. May the same be true for you.
10/03/2017 7:58 AM

You Never Know

10/03/2017 7:58 AM
10/03/2017 7:58 AM
I pray they will be one, Father, just as you are in me
and I am in you. (John 17:21, CEB)
 
Las Vegas. I don’t need to say anything else. The news tells it all, so many people, so much pain and heartache and death, all caused by one person who, for reasons that cannot be explained or reconciled, decided to pull the trigger. Our world is enduring a time of crisis and separation and hardship, a time when despicable things happen that are beyond our understanding. It knocks the wind out of all of us. God weeps just as we do. Jesus prays just as we do. And the Holy Spirit abides with us, but nowhere more closely than with the families whose lives have been upended.
 
In a complete contrast, on Friday I attended a fundraiser lunch called Each Moment Matters benefitting Faith Presbyterian Hospice. Each year at this luncheon, people are recognized for making each moment matter, for making a difference. One of the recipients this year was noted for how he reaches out to everyone he comes across. The story they shared was about how he helped invest in a young man who walked up to his car on the street one day and offered to wash it for a small price. He let him, but he also began helping fund what became an entire mobile car washing business. It changed that young man’s life forever.

I say this often, and we need to keep hearing it. You never know when you will run across someone who is in such a dark place that they are considering doing something horrific. A generous act of compassion from you, even something as small as a single word of hope, has the power to completely change the course of another life. Each moment really does matter, because you never know when God will use who you are to pour grace into the heart of someone else and change the world.

09/25/2017 7:30 PM

The Shepherd

09/25/2017 7:30 PM
09/25/2017 7:30 PM
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.
And I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:14-15)
 
I would like to share a story with you today about a long-time family friend of mine named John Logan who died on labor day and who’s service I had the privilege of being part of.
 
Later in his life, John met a man by the name of Ron (not his real name). Ron was physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially challenged, and he happened to walk into First Presbyterian Church in downtown Dallas one Sunday morning, long after the service had started. He was carrying a backpack and was jingling with all these keys he had dangling from his belt. No home, no family; everything he owned he carried with him. When the offering plate came by, Ron would often take something out instead of put something in. But on that particular Sunday, he ran into John Logan.
 
“Here,” John said to him, “Let me keep your keys and your backpack for you.” That became their routine. Ron would walk in, and John would host him by taking care of his things. Then John gave Ron his number and helped him get a place to live. Ron started calling him five or six times a day. John visited him in jail when he got in trouble and bailed him out more than once. John tried to teach Ron right from wrong. One time Ron called after being admitted to the ER and said, “I’m going to walk home.”
 
“No,” said John, “I’ll come get you.” Ron started walking home anyway, and, of course, got lost. John got him on the phone again and said to him, “Where are you? What corner are you on? Tell me the street signs near you.” He could tell that Ron was looking around, and finally, like a kid who had just successfully completed an assignment, Ron found the first two signs he could and said to him, “I’m on the corner of Load and Unload.”
 
Like a shepherd looking for the lost sheep, or the father welcoming the prodigal son home, John Logan took Ron into his life, like you would family, and never let him go. This world could always use a few more shepherds.
09/04/2017 7:56 PM

Multi-Generational Church

09/04/2017 7:56 PM
09/04/2017 7:56 PM
The Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 100:5)
 
For the past two Sundays, representatives from different generations have shared one of the scripture readings in worship. On Sunday, August 27th, we had readers from the GI and the Millennial generation. Last Sunday, September 3, we had readers from the Silent and the Homeland generation. In those few simple moments of worship, we were given the tangible reminder of a God who spans all the generations.
 
One of the things that makes a church like Canyon Creek unique is the fact that we are a multigenerational church. We have GIs, Silents, Boomers, GenX’ers, Millennials, and Homeland’ers. We have healthy doses of them all. Some might wonder how that is possible. What in the world could keep a community that diverse together? What could possibly make a younger Millennial want to worship alongside an older Silent? The answer, of course, is simple: faith. What keeps us together in all our differences and divergent life experiences is our faith in a God who is present to all the generations.
 
So, when you are in church with us this Sunday, may you look around at the faces of those young and old. May they remind you of a God who, in Jesus Christ, is bigger than us all. 
08/28/2017 8:49 PM

Safe

08/28/2017 8:49 PM
08/28/2017 8:49 PM

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. (Psalm 46:1-3)

These are the words that have been rolling around in my head the past few days. So many people have been affected by Hurricane Harvey, and the water is still rising in places as the rain keeps falling. My brother and his family are among the fortunate. They live in Houston and finally left their home with water pouring in. They walked to their car, which they had moved to higher ground earlier just in case, and they made it a few blocks to a hotel that still had rooms. They are safe.

He finally called me in all the chaos to let me know how they were. “I’m good,” he said. “Rachel is good. The kids are good. We made it. We are safe.” And then he broke down. I knew why. When you stare death in the face and miraculously come out on the other side, you immediately think of everyone else. So many others are not safe. What about them?

I’m sure you received the email yesterday outlining the initial recovery efforts Canyon Creek is part of. There will be more to come. As we respond, I simply have three phrases for you to remember, and they are these. Keep helping. Keep giving. Keep praying. We want them all safe, for God is our refuge, a very present help in times of trouble.

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