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Blog Archives: March 2012

31
March
2012

Truly Human. Truly God.

Daily Reading Luke 9:22     Reflection   Jesus called himself "the Son of Man," a title that was associated with the promised Messiah and also a phrase that means "truly human." In the case of Jesus, both are true—he is the Messiah and he is fully divine and fully human! God became fully human in order to fully heal humans. Jesus tells his disciples something that they have a hard time hearing: he is going to Jerusalem to suffer, to die, and to be raised from the dead. What they could not understand is that Jesus had come to ...
30
March
2012

Can Doubt Exist with Faith?

Daily Reading Psalm 22:1-2     Reflection   Deserted. Abandoned. Hopeless. A cry so guttural, so definitive, so deep. It is a cry that expresses betrayal. "Why O why have you forsaken me?" Who does the Psalmist accuse? God. Embedded within this cry is the perennial problem of theodicy: In the face of suffering, how do we reconcile the idea of an all-good God with an all-powerful God? The Christian faith embraces both beliefs and yet the seemingly blaring contradiction can be troubling. While we may not be able to definitively ...
29
March
2012

Consider Embracing Suffering

Daily Reading Isaiah 52:13-53:12     Reflection   Isaiah speaks of the Messiah who will deliver God's people. His prophecy brings to mind Handle's Messiah; but under the majestic music is the reality of the Messiah's embrace of suffering. Isaiah's first audience is a people in exile, to whom he gives hope for God's ancient promise of restoration. But the text isn't impressive and it isn't triumphant: there's brutal rejection and intense anguish on the journey to redemption and deliverance. For us, the idea and reality of ...
28
March
2012

Refined in the Wilderness

Daily Reading Romans 5:3-5     Reflection   One of the most difficult realities of the Christian life is that suffering is inevitable. In fact, throughout Church history, many Christians have sought opportunities to inconvenience themselves for the sake of the Kingdom, and to become more like the suffering servant, Jesus. Yet we're not supposed to enjoy suffering. In fact, the Bible expects us to groan (Rom. 7) and lament (Rev. 6) for the return of Jesus and end of suffering. But this passage reminds us that suffering is not ...
27
March
2012

Bake Sale for Harmonie - Thank You

The Bake Sale for Harmonie was a success! We raised $4836 to help support Harmonie and her family. Thank you to all who participated.               Harmonie's Story by Jennifer Moless   Not every five year old greets the first day of school with boundless excitement, total confidence, and overwhelming cheer. Harmonie didn't. Although she was willing to grab on to my waist and walk up to Room 9 with us, she did so in wary silence. Right before we entered the room, she tugged on my ...
27
March
2012

The Mystery of the Thorn

Daily Reading II Corinthians 12:7-10     Reflection   In contrast to our culture which does anything to escape suffering, the Apostle Paul gives a different perspective on the experience of suffering. Referring to a thorn in his side, Paul sees suffering as a means of proclaiming God's glory and power. What an interesting reality to contemplate that suffering can be a time of praising God. How paradoxical! What is difficult for many to accept and understand is God's refusal to take away Paul's suffering despite Paul's many ...
26
March
2012

God’s Love is Never Exhausted

Daily Reading Romans 8:28     Reflection   It is easier to believe that God loves us when things are going well. But when things go against us, and life gets hard or scary, it is harder to believe. This text doesn't say that everything that happens in our lives is good or from God. It does promise that nothing can keep God from accomplishing God's purpose in our lives. In the words of Archbishop Rowan Williams, God's love "never exhausts its resources, whatever may happen in the universe in general or in my life in particular......
25
March
2012

A Prayer

  Father God, Help us to care for the children of San Francisco and the world. Strengthen and guide David Starfas, Dan Gannon, Wendi Digerness, Florence Nault, Children's Ministry volunteers, and all of those who seek to bring the children to you through worship on Sundays. We pray for our city. Make San Francisco a place that protects and provides for its children. We pray for our public schools, specifically El Dorado Elementary and Horace Mann Middle School, as they seek to educate and form young minds. We also ask that you would be a ...
24
March
2012

Jesus Satisfies

Daily Reading Galatians 5:22-26     Reflection   In this passage, Paul gives us a glimpse of what life could be like. We could have a life filled with joy, peace, love, patience, and kindness. Who does not want that? When we look at what our life looks like compared to what Paul says it could be, we have the temptation to dismiss Paul. Our hearts long for what Paul calls the fruit of the spirit, and our minds seem to scream, "Give me a break! That can't happen to me." And yet, we know that life has more to offer than what we ...
23
March
2012

A Call to Blazing Holiness

Daily Reading I Peter 1:13-16     Reflection   With minds alert and fully engaged, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus returns. You must live as God's obedient children. Don't slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn't know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, "You must be holy because I am holy."   (A translation by N.T. Wright) This letter is a call to holiness, shaped for ...
22
March
2012

Bake Sale for Harmonie

Adam Osfield Snell
Our community is privileged to come alongside El Dorado Elementary students, teachers, administrators and families in their support for Harmonie—a kindergartner who has been diagnosed with cancer. The response to her illness is a beacon of hope in something absolutely unfair. People have rallied behind this darling little girl and will be raising money by selling baked goodies.   Come show your support by coming to our Bake Sale for Harmonie after each service this Sunday. Part of the proceeds of the sale will help the students host a ...
22
March
2012

Sacrifice = Flourishing

Daily Reading Exodus 20:1-17     Reflection   One of the most misrepresented, misused, and misunderstood passages of the Bible, is the Ten Commandments. Movies have been made, preachers have preached, others have scoffed, whittling the 10 Commandments down and inadvertently the Bible, to merely a "Book of Rules." Have you heard it said that Christianity is no more than a ethical religion aimed to influence and control moral behavior? To many who have journeyed in the Christian faith for some time, this may offend. However, it is ...
21
March
2012

There is a Light that Never Goes Out

Daily Reading Matthew 5:14-16     Reflection   Here Jesus delivers perhaps his most well known lesson: the Sermon on the Mount. And if he's the teacher, the disciples are his students. Discipleship involves sincerely following Christ's commands. In essence, it's about living a life that emulates His life on earth—keeping our every thought and gesture in accordance with His guidance. Jesus instructs us to make manifest the transformative power of our relationship with him—to stand out as a "lamp on a stand...." When we're truly ...
20
March
2012

Hungry for Change

Adam Osfield Snell
Over 200 people from City Church have decided to fast together starting April 1st! In case you were unable to join us Sunday, we heard from a fair trade company, Trade as One, about an opportunity called Hungry for Change—a 5 day challenge that offers the experience of what it is like to live on $2 per day. Our goal is to break the fast together with the Maundy Thursday (April 5) meal. People with conflicts are fasting at other times too, so don't let your schedule keep you from this unique Lenten experience. Accept the challenge by ...
20
March
2012

The Measure of a Heart

Daily Reading Luke 18:18-25     Reflection   "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" In response to this question, Jesus gets at the heart of the issue... the heart. The kind of questions that we ask can be a mirror of the condition of our heart. Where do our questions lead? Do they lead to a deeper understanding, a deeper faith? Or, do they reveal shallowness, even stagnation? The Christian faith is a thoughtful faith. Contrary to what many believe, discipleship does not demand blind obedience, but rather it requires ...
19
March
2012

Consider What It Means to Live as The Creator Intended

Daily Reading Psalm 1     Reflection   Psalm 1 compares a person who is living as he/she is designed to a tree with deep roots. Through its roots, a tree gets nourishment to fully live out its potential. Likewise, we are designed to live according to God's law if we are to flourish as we're intended. I didn't wake up this morning saying, "Today I'm going to follow the advice of the wicked." But when offered a bit of something questionable that doesn't seem all that bad, really, it's easy to think, only this once won't hurt. ...
18
March
2012

Who Am I?

I am a child, wild and carefree.
I run and play,
fulfillment consumes me.
I know that I am safe.
I know that I am loved.
Peace my constant companion,
I am that child. Who Am I? I am one who longs to be accepted.
Bombarded by words and images I must become.
Excitement-Fear-Pressure
I can become what pleases others!
I mold myself, train myself,
every word spoken,
every facial expression responds to my command.
Happiness is within reach,
Victory almost here...
Yet never quite there.
Something within me will not be silent
I must suppress ...
17
March
2012

No Lost Causes

Daily Reading John 21:15-19     Reflection   Have you ever had a conversation you regret? How about an embarrassing moment you brought on yourself? Have you ever crossed a line that seemed irreparable or hopeless? Just days before the incident recounted in John 21, Peter had declared that he would never leave Jesus, even if all the others did, and even if he had to die with Him. It was a big boast, claiming he was more loyal than all the other disciples. However, before morning, he became the only disciple mentioned in the New ...
16
March
2012

Inside County Jail Fellowship

Mark Kuroda
For years, women and men from City Church have had the privilege of bringing small church services to those behind bars. In our effort to bring church into the County Jail, we are developing ways to support people coming out of the jail.   Find out more about CJ Fellowship on the CityHope website >   Images by Mark Kuroda, taken at San Francisco County Jail E-Pod, February 2012                                             Find out more about CJ Fellowship on ...
16
March
2012

Guilty as Charged

Daily Reading Isaiah 53:1-5     Reflection   Isaiah's words are heavy to read. They place the blame for Jesus' suffering squarely on our shoulders. Jesus was "wounded for our transgressions." In a sense, every time we sin, we drive a nail deeper into the hands and feet of Jesus. Every time we reject God, for whatever reason, a thorn digs deeper into Jesus' brow. Crucifixion was messy, violent, and extremely painful. We should rightly be found guilty for our disobedience, and we deserve the punishment of a wrathful, almighty ...

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