Reflections on Faith and Community

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

03/18/2019 7:11 PM

God in the Movies

03/18/2019 7:11 PM
03/18/2019 7:11 PM

Is there any place I can go to avoid your Spirit? to be out of your sight? If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there! If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, You’d find me in a minute—you’re already there waiting! (Psalm 139:7-10)

Sunday evening, the CCPC youth were given an assignment. They may not realize that they were actually given an assignment, but they were. What was it? Look for God in a place you never expected. The youth went together as a group to see Captain Marvel, the latest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For them, I’m sure it simply felt like another fun even together, seeing a popular movie. But next Sunday, Chris Lee will join them to talk about the underlying theology of a movie like that. In other words, they are going to talk about seeing God in the story of the movie.

The psalmist talks like it is not possible to not see God. If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there! If I go see Captain Marvel, you’re already there waiting. Having the eyes of the psalmist is to have the kind of eyes that see God everywhere, even in the most unlikely of places. My grandfather used to talk about “seeing the world through the eyes of God.” So often, we walk out of church and turn off our “God thinking.” We stop looking for God. The psalmist challenges us to do the exact opposite, looking for God absolutely everywhere. I’m sure this Sunday’s conversation will be a good one, but the greater gift it will give is the gift of having eyes that actually look, all the time, everywhere.

 

03/11/2019 8:30 PM

Celebration Sunday

03/11/2019 8:30 PM
03/11/2019 8:30 PM
The bible is full of references to celebration. Celebrating the Passover sat at the center of the life of the Israelites. When King David brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, they celebrated. When they returned home from exile, they celebrated. In the New Testament, the father celebrates when the prodigal son returns home. The first miracle John’s gospel records in the ministry of Jesus happens during a wedding celebration. Celebrating is simply part of the fabric of a life of faith.
               
One of the Sundays I am looking forward to during the Set Free Campaign is Celebration Sunday on April 14th. It also happens to be Palm Sunday, so there will be a lot of things to celebrate. We will have a special Sunday morning schedule, celebrating our life and ministry together alongside the celebration of Jesus’s entrance into Jerusalem. Here is the schedule:
 
9:45    Sunday Classes
10:45  Single Worship Service
12:00  Celebration Lunch
 
Worship is going to be incredible. It will include various musical styles, involvement from all of our choirs, and will no doubt be a packed house. Then, you are invited to join the whole church family for a complimentary catered lunch. Please make sure you RSVP for the lunch. We will continue to send out email invitations to help remind you, or you can simply click here and let us know you are planning to be there.

We have some very special, and spiritually powerful, Sunday mornings coming up. Celebration Sunday is one of them. I look forward to being part of it with you.

03/05/2019 7:37 AM

It Begins

03/05/2019 7:37 AM
03/05/2019 7:37 AM

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. (Luke 4:1)

This year as a church, we are paying closer attention to the church year than we often do. The year of the church is designed to follow the events of the life of Jesus Christ. You might say that with each year that passes, we experience the full life, death, and resurrection of the Christ our Lord.

This week, we begin the season of Lent, a period of forty days (not including Sundays) in which we remember the forty days Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by the devil. Similar to the way in which Advent prepares us for the birth of Jesus, Lent is intended to prepare us for the death of Jesus. We spend the season in prayer and reflection on our own mortality that culminates during Holy Week as we stand at the foot of the cross. It is only then that we are able to receive the great Easter resurrection surprise.

Tomorrow evening at 6:30 in the Sanctuary, we will begin Lent with a service of ashes. I hope you are able to be there. There is something very powerful about the act of having ashes placed on one’s forehead. It communicates mortality in a way not much else can. I can never quite put a finger on it, other than to say that we need to be reminded of our own foibles and humanity just as much as we need to be reminded of God’s great goodness to us in Jesus Christ. Lent encapsulates both of these realities. It begins tomorrow.

02/26/2019 8:09 AM

Sabbath Year

02/26/2019 8:09 AM
02/26/2019 8:09 AM

For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits, but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord. (Leviticus 25:3-4)

From the first chapter of Genesis, rest has been part of the rhythm of a life of faith. God rested, and God wants us to rest. Leviticus 25 also speaks about the Sabbath year, or sabbatical. One would work the land for seven years, then rest for a year, opening up their land to the community for that year. I imagine everyone staggering their Sabbath year so that when they took their year, they could depend on others to sustain them. Over time, the practice of a sabbatical was shortened to more like three months, another good biblical number. Canyon Creek includes a sabbatical for pastors during or after the seventh year. Believe it or not, I completed seven years in 2018.

On February 19th, the Session received my sabbatical plan from the personnel committee and approved it. So, I will be taking a sabbatical this year beginning June 3 and ending August 18. My plan includes time for recreation, rest, research, reading, and renewal. Some of the highlights include a course on music and worship at Brite Seminary in Fort Worth, travel time with family, researching the possibility of a Doctor of Ministry degree in the next 1-3 years, prayer and devotion, worshiping in other churches, reading scripture and other books, and finally some unscheduled time. While I am gone, Rev. Lee and Rev. Dittman will take on shared responsibilities for preaching and weekly administration.

I have never had a sabbatical before, so this is new for me and a bit out of my comfort zone. That, in and of itself, is probably why I should do it. Rest is an important piece in life, and I am grateful to serve a congregation who wants their pastors to be rested and healthy. Thank you so much for that.

02/19/2019 7:54 AM

What a Sunday!

02/19/2019 7:54 AM
02/19/2019 7:54 AM
“Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)
 
On Sunday, our youth led us in worship and did an absolutely wonderful job. God was glorified. One of the things Youth Sunday always does is give me hope for the future. Canyon Creek is blessed with incredible young people. They are authentic, genuine, faithful, caring people who clearly feel called to make the world a better place and who understand what belong to Christ together means. Our preachers: Blake Seutter, Taylor Laredo, Ramsey El-Shahawy, and Emma Webb shared a word from God with us that touched us all. I am so proud of the youth.
 
And then, if Sunday morning wasn’t enough all by itself, we gathered again that afternoon with Grace Presbytery for the installation of The Rev. Ellen Dittman. It was a moment that has been long in coming and was truly a joy-filled service of worship. One of the highlights, of course, was to welcome The Rev. Dr. Stacy Ikard as our preacher. It was simply a wonderful day.
 
In every way, Sunday reminded me of the gift of church. The church as the body of Christ is a people made up of many generations, friends from far and near, and those who have gone before us. Sunday held experiences of each of those elements that make up the church. I found myself thanking God for the wonderful gift of people, followers of Christ who remind us all that we are not alone.

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Be Our Guest ~ Sunday, March 17 and 24. Be sure to fill out a host card at the table in the Atrium.
Palm Sunday, April 14 ~ One Service at 10:45 am. Celebration Lunch at noon. Click to RSVP for lunch.
Friday at 5pm to Saturday at 8am. Kids 2nd to 5th grade. Free!
Join us for worship this Sunday at 9:00am or 11:05am.