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


 

08/14/2018 7:45 AM

Be Yourself

08/14/2018 7:45 AM
08/14/2018 7:45 AM

And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best. (Philippians 1:9-10)

On Sunday we began a sermon series on being a purple church, something we have been talking about for a few months now. I am using Paul’s letter to the Philippians as the basis for the series, along with a book by Edwin Friedman titled “A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix.” My hope is that each of us will be challenged as we are invited to take a look at ourselves and how we relate to the world around us.

One of the things Friedman talks about a great deal is something he calls self-differentiated leadership. Here is what he says, “I do not mean an autocrat who tells others what to do or orders them around. Rather, I mean someone who is less likely to become lost in the anxious emotional processes swirling about. I mean someone who can be separate while still remaining connected, someone who can manage his or her own reactivity to the automatic reactivity of others.”

Part of our goal in being a purple church is to be able to become a little more self-differentiated, to learn how to keep the anxiety of the world from having so much power over us. As I see it, this is a very Christ-like goal. One of the things Jesus did so well was remain himself no matter what was happening around him. He listened and stayed connected but never lost sight of who he was along the way. One of the great challenges life presents us with is to remain who we are, no matter how much pressure we feel to be something else. Be yourself.

08/06/2018 10:08 PM

In Preparation

08/06/2018 10:08 PM
08/06/2018 10:08 PM

For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:8)

This Sunday we will begin exploring what being a purple church means. One thing to know is that this is not really something new. We already are a purple church, a place made up of people of different races, different political persuasions, and different understandings of the world. More than something to worry about, that is something to appreciate and lift up as a gift of God. So we will not be griping about the world and how we should fix it. Rather than trying to change others, we will instead be working on ourselves and asking God’s guidance in that work.

I expect this series to be somewhat challenging. We are trying to do something that is hard to do. Dealing with differences is not easy stuff. Looking at our emotions and getting honest about that is never easy. After all, some people spend their entire lives avoiding it. What I can say is that, if we can trust one another enough and trust God enough, then doing this work together might just be a transforming event. You might end up viewing things a little differently.

We live in highly anxious times filled with a great deal of conflict. How we deal with that reality is a huge part of our faithful response to the God who loves us. How we treat others, relate to others, and handle our own emotional well-being while around others is a big deal. It takes courage and faith and hope, and it can make all the difference in the world. I am excited about these next few weeks, and I hope you are too.

See you Sunday!

07/24/2018 8:33 AM

Best Laid Plans

07/24/2018 8:33 AM
07/24/2018 8:33 AM
He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while. (Mark 6:31)
 
People are travelling more than ever before. Each year, the World Tourism Organization reports another increase in international travel. This follows generational trends that point to younger generations spending more on experiences than on accumulating “things.” We are travelling more, and that takes planning. We hire others to plan our trips for us, or we spend hours on end putting the pieces of each trip together ourselves. Then we set out on the trip, assuming everything should go as planned, and when it doesn’t, well, let’s just say we’re typically not happy about that.

Mark’s gospel tells a story about how Jesus and the disciples planned a vacation. They had been looking forward to it for quite a while now, and finally the day was here. The boat was ready. They climbed on board and set out. Everything was going as planned. That all changed, though, when they got off the boat and went ashore. Evidently, word had gotten our about where they were going, and when the disciples hit the shore, scores of people had gathered there ahead of them. Their plans of a vacation were spoiled.

Jesus could have simply ignored the crowds, something he had done on occasion before, but he didn’t. As Mark puts it, “he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.” It is an insight into how we can approach life. Even our best laid plans may not happen the way we would like them to. We can throw our hands up in frustration, or we can be open to the possibilities and look for God’s interrupting hand at work. Sometimes, it’s the interruptions in our lives that can become filled with divine purpose.
07/17/2018 9:40 AM

Purple Church

07/17/2018 9:40 AM
07/17/2018 9:40 AM
Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you. Only let us hold fast to what we have attained. (Philippians 3:15-16)
                        
A few Sundays back, I preached a sermon titled “Stay Engaged.” Click here to listen if you haven’t yet. In it, I shared what I believe to be the emerging call of God upon this congregation. I called us to own the fact the we are a purple church, meaning a church filled with red and blue, liberal and conservative, all kinds of Christians. I suggested that “the only way to be a purple church is to learn how to stay engaged, with God and with one another.” To my surprise, the next Sunday many of you showed up in worship wearing purple. It took me a little while to figure out what was going on (I’m slow like that), but when I did, I saw it as an affirmation that this is something we want to learn more about.

In a recent article, recovering CEO, and CCPC member, Robert Hall stated, “I believe leadership got us into this dismal state and it will take leadership to get us out.” He is talking about the state of our society. I believe that we are being challenged to become the kind of leaders that are in short supply these days. Saying we are a purple church is fine and good, but we now need to begin seeing what that actually means for us. To that end, I am working on a new sermon series titled “Purple Church” that will begin on August 12th. I see this as a beginning, a time when we can start to dig into what being purple actually is. What I can tell you is that the focus is on relationships. I believe it is possible to be in relationship while holding different viewpoints. I believe it is possible to be engaged with one another no matter what color we gravitate to at the voting booth. I believe God is, in fact, calling us to do that very thing.

07/02/2018 11:39 PM

A Call for the Church

07/02/2018 11:39 PM
07/02/2018 11:39 PM
"I am testing the genuineness of your love." (2 Corinthians 8:8)
 
The Corinthian church was one that was dealing with a great deal of conflict. They didn't all see things the same way. They didn't all practice the same things. They were struggling with divisions within the church, and it was starting to show. When Paul wrote to them, he tried to help them steer through the messiness of it all and remain bound to Christ as one people. When we look out our window today, we see a world that doesn't look all that different from the church Paul was writing to: splintered, divided, contentious, and messy. It is becoming an increasingly frightening place.
 
On Sunday, we talked about Paul's posture with the Corinthian church and how the wisdom of his effort to stay engaged and remain in relationship with them is a call upon us today. I believe God is calling Canyon Creek Presbyterian Church into a particular kind of life and commitment together. I believe God is calling us to own the fact that we are a purple church committed to staying engaged with God, one another, and the world around us.
 
When you have a few minutes, I invite you to listen to Sunday's sermon and learn more about it.

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