September 16, 2020
Grace and peace to you in the name of our God and King Jesus Christ!
I missed you guys last week!! It was a hard call to cancel the service because we love it whenever we get the chance to gather and worship together, but, the air quality was just too poor. However, I’m in my backyard right now and I can actually see a beautifully clear rising sun!! Praise God! God willing “and the creek don’t rise” (I have no clue where I got that saying ... I don’t live near a creek!), we will return to our outdoor service this Sunday. Should be a very pleasant 87 degrees! Yahoo!!
The weather is one of the things we love about California! However, there are some other things that many of us definitely do NOT love about California. The evidence of which can be seen in the exodus that is occurring. Again, we are losing two more families to other states! Melissa and Jeremy Farrell will be moving out of state soon. Also, Daniel and Andrea Snider have moved to Colorado! (Although Daniel will remain a part of our finance team. Thank God for technology!) I know what you’re thinking and NO we cannot move the church to another state. It’s called CERES Christian Church! (LOL!) Seriously, we are going to miss these two families and we pray God’s blessing in, on and through their lives. They are our family and will continue to be so ... no matter what state they move to.
I want to take the rest of this letter to talk about the series we began this past Sunday on “UNITY”. Please forgive me if this sounds dramatic, but this might be the most important series of my very young career as a pastor. I’ll repeat something I said this past Sunday:
“I cannot overstate this ... we have an INCREDIBLE opportunity to be a witness for Jesus. We have such a tremendous moment that we can leverage in order to lead this divided society to the saving work of Christ. Can you see it? In the darkness of our cultural divide we have the opportunity to shine the light of Christ through our Unity!! Jesus knows that as the world sees us united in Him and with each other ... they’ll start to get it. They’ll start to believe that Jesus really did come. They’ll start to believe that He really does love His people and them. They are listening to what we say about each other. They are watching how we are treating each other. We cannot afford to be divided. The stakes are way too high!! How high? I put it to rhyme so you can remember it: ‘What’s at stake with our division is the fruition of Jesus’ mission!’”
Why in the world would I take the time to come up with a silly little saying like that? BECAUSE THIS IS IMPORTANT! I want this silly little saying to worm its way deep into your brain! I want you to be able to sense the importance of our UNITY in this moment in time.
But remember, UNITY is not something we have to work to achieve. We are already unified in the person and purpose of Jesus Christ! The calling for us is to maintain our UNITY. And it has to do with how we treat “One Another”. So we are going to spend the rest of the series talking about how we are to behave towards “One Another” in order to maintain our UNITY which will magnify our witness to the world.
This Sunday is week two in the series on UNITY and the title of the message is, “UNITY - Love One Another.” It almost has to start there right? We won’t do the hard work of maintaining our spiritual and relational UNITY if we don’t Love One Another. It won’t happen. But, let me turn up the spiritual temperature on us. Not only can we not maintain our UNITY if we don’t Love One Another ... we cannot even claim to be living for Jesus without loving one another!!
So many of us believe that we are walking in obedience to the Lord because we don’t smoke that stuff, we don’t say those words and we don’t watch that filth. Yet, these same folks can provide zero evidence that they love their brothers and sisters in Christ. They approach loving who Jesus loves as optional. Is it?
Here’s what I want you to do, spend some time this week meditating on John 13:33-36 and let’s talk about it on Sunday!!
“The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.” 1 Corinthians 16:23-24 (ESV)
In service to our God and King,
Pastor Patrick and the Elders of Ceres Christian Church