Letter from Pastor John 2/16/18
Dear Christ Church Family,
After a few weeks of vacation on a cruise from Singapore to Thailand to Vietnam, I’m back in the saddle again here at Christ Church. I’m blessed to have such an excellent team surrounding me that the church never misses a beat when I’m away. Because of our online campus, Rosemary and I worshipped with you one Sunday from Singapore and the next Sunday from our cruise ship in the South China Sea. Pastor Ryan’s teaching and the music led by Brian Greene and Milton Zapata were outstanding.
Speaking of our online campus, last Sunday we had 467 people worshipping with us from across the country and around the world. Pastor Tony and his team make our online worship experience welcoming and engaging. Frankly, there is simply no place like Christ Church!
Last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday. We had our annual Ash Wednesday Worship that evening and the church was packed. The Holy Spirit was clearly present as we sang, prayed, heard the Gospel story, and received ashes on our foreheads. The ashes remind us that we are broken, sinful people who stand in need of a Savior.
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent. The season of Lent is a period of 40 days (not including Sundays) when we Christians prepare ourselves to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter. During Lent, many Christians voluntarily give up something as an act of self-denial. Sometimes we give up something that we feel is bad for us, and other times we give up something that we like but is not necessarily bad or unhealthy. The purpose being that when we think about consuming or doing what we have given up, we remember and thank God for the sacrifice Jesus made for us. Many other Christians will spend additional time in prayer and others will fast for one or two meals at least one day a week.
This Sunday begins a new teaching series that I’m calling, “Believe.” The first two words of the Apostles’ Creed are “I believe.” During Lent we are going to be examining the statements of faith contained in the creed. Although the apostles did not write the creed themselves, it is the oldest creed in the Christian church, dating to the second century. All Christians, regardless of the denomination—Methodist, Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Pentecostal or otherwise—accept the statements in the Apostles’ Creed. This Sunday we will explore the first line of the creed, “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.” Who is this God we Christians profess to believe in? What does it mean to believe in God in a culture where atheism is on the rise and statistically fewer Americans profess a belief in God? I’m looking forward to talking to you about these questions and more this Sunday. See you in worship!