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


 

06/25/2018 8:41 PM

Things to Celebrate

06/25/2018 8:41 PM
06/25/2018 8:41 PM

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4)

This week, I thought I might lift up a couple of things to celebrate:

  1. Lee’s arrival has been a lot of fun! You have welcomed him and the Lee family with vibrant energy and thoughtful hospitality. If you would allow me to say it, I am proud of you.
  2. Kelly on the Lawn was a great success! The evening was perfect for it. The food was awesome, the music was excellent, and the fellowship was wonderful. It was relaxing and fun all at the same time. The Holy Spirit highlighted our more playful side.
  3. Vacation Bible School was such an exciting week! I don’t think I saw an unhappy child there, and the live animals at the end of the week were a huge hit. The kids walked away with a better grasp of the stories of Jesus and his ministry, and they had a great time learning.
  4. Finally, the Patriotic Concert was phenomenal! I feel like it gets better every year. Kudos to David Hays, Joshua Hughes, Jordan DeRouen, and all of you who helped make the evening a memorable one. At one point, I looked up and felt tremendous joy over all of the ages up their singing glory to God. It was a blessed occasion.

I once read that you can measure the health of a congregation by how well they play together, meaning how well they share Christ’s joy together. If these past few weeks are any sign at all, I’d say we are the healthiest church in town. I continue to serve as your pastor with great pride and with the hope of many more years together.

06/19/2018 7:42 AM

How We Receive Them

06/19/2018 7:42 AM
06/19/2018 7:42 AM

“Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.” (Romans 12:13)

I don’t believe in labels. Even though I use them sometimes, I don’t believe in them. I don’t believe that challenging the practice of separating children from their parents at the border is a left wing statement any more than I believe saying that, as long as we live in a world of fences, we need keep our border secure is a right wing statement. I don’t believe in those labels. I do believe in the God who sighs at the pettiness of our labeling and is saddened by the divisiveness they create.

This week, the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) issued a statement on the immigration crisis, saying among other things, “As the officials of our government attempt to address the crisis, we cannot afford to tarnish the highest values of our nation.” Some will want to label it. I caution against that, inviting you instead to receive it as an attempt to present the consciousness of the Presbyterian Church to the consciousness of the country. Former First Lady Laura Bush made a similar statement, suggesting that we should be able to do better.

I have watched the conversations on social media, which often make wide sweeping assumptions of “the left” and “the right” and the immigrant families who have come to our border. The “left” did this. The “right” did that. Blame is the name of the game these days, original sin at its best. The truth is that we cannot begin to fathom why someone thinks a certain way. We cannot begin to fathom what is going on in the lives of families who have come to the doorstep of our nation. They may not be aware of how to request legal entrance. We don’t know. All we know is that they are here, and it is messy. How we receive them and how we treat them in the process reveals the heart of who we are as a people. I, for one, believe that putting energy into improving this situation is worth our attention.

As Christians, we err on the side of grace, always, even at our own peril. We are called upon to do so by the One who went so far as to offer up his own life in order to welcome us home.

06/12/2018 1:38 PM

A Fun Sunday

06/12/2018 1:38 PM
06/12/2018 1:38 PM
“If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)
 
Sunday was great, wasn’t it? The whole day was. We welcomed Chris and his family in worship Sunday morning and enjoyed a wonderful reception for them in between services. We also welcomed the following new members: Barbara and Grant Coulson, Kay Flowers, Suzzie Goodell, Katherine Studley, Amanda and Grant Vaden and their daughter Taylor. It is a joy to have them join the CCPC family. Then we capped off the day with a fun evening out on the lawn together, playing games, enjoying one another’s company, and listening to the excellent music of Kelly Vaughn.
 
For the past number of weeks, we have talked about playfulness as an act of faith. I hope you have come to understand it as part of who we are as a church and who we are becoming as a people. Being playful is not just about having fun. It is about how we relate to one another, how we welcome and treat one another, how we hold ourselves in the light of Christ that is our saving grace. In short, playfulness is part of the fellowship we share when we “walk in the light,” as John puts it. Sunday was fun, refreshingly so. May God continue to bless us with that kind of spirit and wholeness. May we grow more and more into the kind of disciples who worship together, share together, cry together, pray together, and yes, laugh and play together.
05/29/2018 11:40 AM

Open Doors

05/29/2018 11:40 AM
05/29/2018 11:40 AM
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
 
One of the things we talked about on Sunday morning was how the book of Acts is a story about the apostles constantly trying to adjust to an ever-widening gospel. More and more they were beginning to realize that this gospel seems to have no boundaries at all. Earlier in Matthew 10, Jesus told the disciples to steer clear of the Samaritan villages. Then in Acts chapter 1, he began talking about how the Holy Spirit will lead them to places they never expected, even “to the ends of the earth,” a big sign of the widening span of the gospel.
 
In order to be receptive to that kind of faith, the apostles were required to keep their door open to the Holy Spirit. Philip wound up preaching in Samaria and giving the Good News to an Ethiopian eunuch because his door was open to Holy Spirit. Peter later baptized a Roman Centurion, a gentile name Cornelius, something he never would have fathomed before, because he was open to the Holy Spirit. Paul, once a persecutor of the church, became one of the faith’s greatest advocates because he was open to the Holy Spirit.
 
What we find in the ministry of the earliest followers is this: they became more open to other people simply because they became more open to God. These two things are mutually intertwined with one another. You cannot be open to God and not be open to others. It is simply not possible. Being playful in our faith, in part, means remaining open to the movement of the Spirit of God in the lives we live. With that kind of spiritual posture, like Philip and the others, we can find ourselves in surprising places and in front of the most wonderfully surprising people.
05/22/2018 7:34 AM

Good Energy

05/22/2018 7:34 AM
05/22/2018 7:34 AM
Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. (Matthew 10:40)
 
On Saturday, Canyon Creek had a robust representation for the Grace Presbytery meeting at First Presbyterian Church in Richardson to welcome Rev. Chris Lee into our presbytery. It was a fun and exciting time together. We took up the entire left side of the sanctuary! Thank you to all who were able to make it. I also heard from a number of you who were not able to come but sent your blessing with us. Chris and his family were very surprised by how many of us were there. The energy of the sanctuary was palpable, which points to a great start in this new relationship. It was a grand welcome.
 
Last night the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee took all of the gift cards you collected for the Lees to their new home, along with some other welcome gifts. Again, another surprise as they become acclimated to their new state and new start. Chris’s first Sunday with us will be June 10th, when we will greet him with a reception at 10:00 a.m. in the Atrium and then return that evening at 6:00 p.m. for “Kelly on the Lawn.” It will be a really fun day!

I’ve always believed that good energy builds on good energy. There is definitely good energy in the air, dare I say “playful” energy. As a new person joins us in our life together, may we build on this good energy by opening ourselves up to the God of new things and new possibilities. Let’s keep the spirit going!

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Join us for worship at 9:00 am and 11:05 am
Weekly Women's Bible Study starts September 12, 10:00 am to Noon. Meet in Room 102.
The Seriousness of Play in Tennent Hall, led by Rev. Christopher Lee. Begins Sunday, September 23, 10 am
Come to our New Member Class, ccpconnects Sept. 23 - Oct. 28, Sunday mornings 10 am, Room 103. Find out about CCPC and get connected!