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

05/08/2017 7:11 PM

The Great Promise

05/08/2017 7:11 PM
05/08/2017 7:11 PM
Your way was through the sea, your path, through the mighty waters;
yet your footprints were unseen. (Psalm 77:19)
 
On Sunday, the young people of Canyon Creek led us in worship through the creative musical, The Sailor’s Bible. It has become an annual tradition at CCPC that we all look forward to every year. This year, we were presented with three “ship” stories: the story of Noah (Genesis 6), the story of Jonah (Jonah), and the story of Paul’s shipwreck (Acts 27). Each of these stories has a different emphasis that our great actors reminded us of.
 
In the Noah story, we were given a picture of how quickly we judge one another on what we do or what we believe. We all laughed as the cast made fun of Noah and his family for building an ark so far from the water for no apparent reason. The story points out to us our fickle nature and how quick we are to jump to conclusions about someone else.
 
In the Jonah story, Jonah was the one who became the focus of our laughter. Jonah absolutely did not want to do what God asked him to do, and when he finally did do it, he didn’t want it to make a difference. He walked through the whole thing begrudgingly and with a roll of his eyes. It was not only funny, it convicted us. We struggle to do the right thing, especially when it happens to be the hard thing.

Paul’s shipwreck brought it all home. As Paul and the crew were tossed back and forth across the stage by the wind and the waves, we were reminded of God’s great promise that runs through the whole of scripture. In each story, in every instance and circumstance, we are given a God who is with us from start to finish. This is a God who abides through the raging storms and the calm seas of life. God does not leave, ever. That is the great promise, no matter if the reminder comes from a rainbow in the sky or a movement of the heart.

05/01/2017 9:02 PM

We Have Seen It

05/01/2017 9:02 PM
05/01/2017 9:02 PM

This life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us. (I John 1:2)

On Sunday we began a sermon series called “Life Assurance” that will walk us through the 1st letter of John. 1 John is heralded by many as a capstone to the New Testament. Martin Luther once called it the kind of letter that “can buoy up even the most afflicted heart.” In other words, people think highly of it. In the coming weeks, we will find out why that is, but one thing I can tell you right now is that 1 John sets out to assure us of our new life in Christ. John believes deep down that every day is Easter.

We live in a world that appears divided at every turn. We can’t agree on policy. We can’t agree on who should be in office. We can’t agree on social issues. We can’t agree. But, one thing we can agree on, one thing that no one can deny is that none of us will get out of this world alive. Every single one of us holds death in common. This we can be sure of. What we have a harder time being assured of is life.

In a divided world that often feels like it sucks the life right out of your, we can’t help but wonder if we can have life at all. Do we have life? Will we have life? John’s answer to that question comes with a loud resounding “Yes! We have seen it with our eyes and touched it with our hands.” And with that grand statement John begins a letter that is sure to sink its teeth into your heart. Read it this week when you get a moment. I’ve heard that it can buoy up even the most afflicted heart.

04/24/2017 9:49 PM

Future Leaders

04/24/2017 9:49 PM
04/24/2017 9:49 PM

Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray. (Proverbs 22:6)

On Saturday I attended a local fundraiser lunch for the Presbyterian Pan American School down in Kingsville, Texas. PanAm, as it is fondly called, is a “Christian college preparatory school that educates and empowers young adults for leadership in the global community.” It takes students from all over the world, including impoverished countries, and helps open new doors through education and spiritual growth. It is quite a unique place.

During the lunch, we heard from alumni students who went on to further education and are now out in the world. One graduated from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, another Presbyterian affiliated school. He is now working in Dallas. A young lady from Piedras Negras graduated from Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas, a Presbyterian affiliated school my grandfather once served as president and where my mother currently works. She talked about how a group of Christians came to Piedras to build a home for her family and how they helped her apply to PanAm. She is now teaching in Fort Worth, seeking ways to help students in poverty succeed more effectively in the classroom. Each of these people got emotional when they shared their experience of how the scope of their lives has completely changed.                                           

What struck me throughout the entire lunch is how much the Presbyterian Church has helped shape these future leaders. They have been introduced to a life of learning, led in the way of faith, and have not departed from that way. They are the kind of folks who understand what it looks like to build cross cultural bridges. I left that gathering filled with a rekindled hope for the future.

04/17/2017 6:31 PM

Hospitality

04/17/2017 6:31 PM
04/17/2017 6:31 PM
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. (Matthew 25:35)
 
 
 
For the second year now, Canyon Creek has welcomed refugee families from Gateway of Grace along with all our guests from the area around the church. I am so proud of this event for many reasons, the main one being that it, to me, encapsulates what Christian hospitality can look like when a safe space is provided for people to gather. It was fun and relaxing and filled with laughter. It was brimming with new life. Here is what The Rev. Samira Page, Director of Gateway, posted on her Facebook page:
                                                
“This was Gateway of Grace's largest event yet. Easter Egg Hunt for Refugees was a great success. The event was hosted by our great partner church, Canyon Creek Presbyterian, with volunteers and partners from 18 churches across denominations as far as east Texas. We provided transportation for close to 250 refugees, while others came on their own. For many, this was the first Easter in the U.S. It was a great day. Refugees were introduced to Bingo and loved it. Children really enjoyed the egg hunt, the bounce houses, slides, and several other activities. We shared the Gospel and the message of Easter with our refugee friends. Thank you everybody for your love and support. Thank you Canyon Creek! Grateful for amazing friends and partners in ministry.”
 
Way to go Canyon Creek!
04/10/2017 7:04 PM

In the Garden

04/10/2017 7:04 PM
04/10/2017 7:04 PM

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” (Matthew 26:36,39)

One of the truly poignant moments during our recent trip to Jerusalem had to have been the day we went to the Garden of Gethsemane. It sits just across from the outside of the city wall. While there, our group was given ample time to walk around the grove of trees and think about the importance of this place. We were told that, although the trees themselves have grown and regrown, some of the roots may well have been there in Jesus time. Here’s what caught me about being there, though. It wasn’t the fact that Jesus knelt in this same spot years ago or the thought that this is where they came to arrest him. What caught my attention was the loud noise of the cars.

Right next to the garden, just a few feet away, is a modern street filled with cars racing to their destinations. It was quite odd to stand there looking at this ancient site right in front of me while the hum of revving engines and the smell of exhaust filled the air right behind me. There in the place where Jesus expressed those prayerful human words, "Father, take this yoke from me, though not my will but yours be done," there, even today, the realities of the world continue to encroach on and crowd out the holy sound of God. That’s what caught me.

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