Friday, December 24, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Praise God for the greatest gift of all, His son Jesus, the Christ!

Covenant class will not meet this Sunday, December 26. We wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Please join us in Elrod 311 on January 2, 2011 when we conclude the Adam Hamilton study "When Cristians Get It Wrong."

Friday, June 12, 2009

Study of the Gospel of Luke

Beginning this Sunday, June 14, we will begin an in-depth, textually-based look at the Gospel of Luke. Luke, arguably more so than the other 3 Gospels, tells the story of Jesus Christ as a story for the entire world. Beginning with the story of John the Baptist, Luke presents God's message of salvation that is overtly directed as Jews, Gentiles, indeed all of Humanity. As a class, we will seek to understand the context and purpose of the Gospel by discussing each passage of text to discern its purpose in the First Century and its power in our lives.

Please join us for this study and discussion each Sunday at 11 am in Rm 311 at Clear Lake United Methodist Church.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Case for Christ

We are currently about halfway through a 6 week study of Lee Strobel's book "The Case for Christ". From Amazon: Retracing his own spiritual journey from atheism to faith, Lee Strobel, former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, cross-examines recognized experts with tough, point-blank questions: How reliable is the New Testament? Does evidence exist for Jesus outside the Bible? Is there any reason to believe the resurrection was an actual historical event?

The study is video-based with lots of discussion in between segments, and you don't need to have read the book, so feel free to come by and take part in the study, hope to see you there!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Series: Christianity and World Religions

Christians (and all people really) have a tendency to be so enthusiastic about our beliefs that we might be quick immediately dismiss the beliefs and practices of other religions simply because they are not overtly label as "Christian". While we certainly have an obligation to test the spirits (1 John 4:1), might we be able to learn something about God through other religions? What is to say that God might not use anything, even the practices and beliefs of non-Christians, to teach us something about God, ourselves, or even our beliefs? Additionally, it stands to reason that in order to evangelize and spread the Good News to non-Christians, it is important for us to have a basic understand of the other religions vying for the attention and spiritual lives of non-believers.

"Christianity and World Religions" is a 6-week study by Adam Hamilton that attempts to give Christians a healthy understanding of world religions and what they believe. It aims to help us better understand the issues and obstacles we may encounter when attempting to spread the Word of Jesus Christ to people of other faiths. We must be sensitive to those issues, even when we disagree, if we want to even have an audience with those people. It also gives us some insight into the values of others, perhaps lending some understanding into how we can value ourselves and our relationship with God. The Covenant class is currently spending 6 weeks learning about some of those issues. Through this study, we hope to gain an understanding about what other religions value and hold to be self-evident. We believe that this will better equip us as Christians to bring others to Christ, while acknowledging that God may use other religions to teach us about him.

This Sunday will be our third week on the study. Having already had an introductory session and a session on Hinduism, we will learn about the history and beliefs Buddhism, paying specific attention to the significant similarities and differences with Christianity. Afterwards, we will discuss Islam on August 31, Judaism on September 7, and Christianity itself on September 14. We hope you will join us!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Series: Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

We have been blessed to have local pastors that take an active interest in the lives and spiritual education of our church. Personally, I've been able to personally get to know each of the CLUMC pastors, and they each provide unique and valuable resources to the spiritual development of the church. Rev. Harold Travis is one such pastor, and he will begin a 5-week study of the book Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations. Rev. Travis is a wonderful, friendly person with no pretensions and plenty of things to teach us.

The book, however, focuses on what we as a congregation can do to edify, glorify, and unify each other and the community we live in. The great thing about this is that the entire congregation will be studying this book concurrently. Obviously, the church leaders want us all to get on the same page regarding how we think of ourselves as individual Christians as well as a unified congregation, which I think is a great idea.

From the 5 Practices website:
The Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations
  • Radical Hospitality
  • Passionate Worship
  • Intentional Faith Development
  • Risk-Taking Mission and Service
  • Extravagant Generosity

These words capture the core process by which God uses congregations to make disciples - congregations offer the gracious invitation, welcome, and hospitality of Christ so that people experience a sense of belonging; God shapes souls and changes minds through worship, creating a desire to grow closer to Christ; God's Spirit nurtures people and matures faith through learning in community; with increased spiritual maturity, people discern God's call to help others through mission and service; and God inspires people to give generously of themselves so that others can receive the grace they have known.

These fundamental practices are so critical to a congregation's mission that failure to perform them in an exemplary way results in congregational deterioration and decline. By repeating and improving these practices, churches fulfill their mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

God wants our hearts

This Sunday in Covenant (11am, Rm 311), we will be watching a 12-minute Nooma video about what we do as Christians and how it's congruent (or sometimes incongruent) with what we believe. Discussion will follow.

From the DVD cover: "Why do we do the things we do? Why do we go to church or give money away? Because we're supposed to or because we think God needs it? Do we honestly put on our best clothes for an hour once a week, stand and sit at all the right times, and sing all the appropriate songs for God's sake, or because it'll make us look better to the world around us? We're tired of all the empty rituals and routines. And so is God. God hates it when we call ourselves Christians but ignore the things he really cares about. He hates it when we go through hollow religious routines out of some feeling of duty or obligation. God doesn't want the meaningless rituals. God wants our hearts."

Here's a preview:

Friday, February 15, 2008

Turning Toward

This week in Covenant, I plan to lead a discussion of what helps and hinders our ability to glorify God in our marriage. The Bible speaks quite a lot about the relationship between a husband and a wife, and a consistent theme is that we are to honor, love, and support each other. While that's all well and good, the Bible is not always specific in how we should go about doing that in the midst of the normal stressors of our culture, our families, our jobs, and our lives. It certainly is not always as easy as we think it will be when we say "I do".

John Gottman's book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, will serve as the primary practical basis for the class, but we will also look to the Bible for the general themes that should dictate the direction of marriage. One of those themes is Turning Towards. Gottman describes this, which is number three of his Seven Principles, as the moments when one partner makes a bid for connection to which the other partner positively responds. This is what Jesus modeled for us throughout the Gospels. By following His example in our marriages, even during times of conflict and hurt, healing can occur and the relationship grows. Covenant will explore this Sunday (11:00 AM, Rm. 311) how this process works or fails to work in our marriages.