Thursday, October 27, 2016

Humility and Unity

Devotion: Philippians 2:1-4

In our passage this week, it is humility that comes to the forefront. In essence, the Apostle urges the church in Philippi (and the Spirit urges us) to find all of our encouragement, comfort from love, fellowship of the Spirit, affection and sympathy in Christ Jesus. The self-same Jesus who humbled himself to dwell among us and further humbled himself upon the cross when he died for us and for our salvation. We are to come together in, through and with Christ, united in our thinking and our way of life. When we see the humble Jesus at work in us and in our midst it encourages us to humility and unites us together in love.

Humility and unity in the Apostle Paul's letter to the Philippians are a bit of a chicken and egg debate. In a sense, the reader is left to consider if greater humility leads to greater unity or if greater unity leads to greater humility. Of course the answer to both of these considerations is yes. Humility and unity centered upon the humble Son of God, Christ Jesus, our Lord who unites the church as His one body are mutually re-enforcing. Yet, we need to note, at times humility takes the lead and at times unity takes the lead in our life together as a church and in the Scripture.
This is why salvation always points us outward. Too often we treat salvation as a personal benefit, when it is, in truth, a privilege to share the Gospel with others. Humility helps us to understand that we are one body, one church on one mission to proclaim one Gospel that shares our one Lord, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us and for our salvation, once for all.
This week as you go about your daily duties and tasks, look to those around you as Jesus looks to us and seek humbly to be of service and in so doing, bring others into unity with Christ through faith.


Opportunity to Serve

This coming Monday, 5-7 pm, we will host a Trunk-or-Treat event in the parking lot of CPC Omak. What we need are people who want to decorate a trunk, bring some candy (we are anticipated maybe as many as 200-300 trick-or-treaters) and hang out and meet the neighbors. We right now have about 10 confirmed families and could use many more. Come out for a fun night of community building. Sign up at the Welcome Center at CPC anytime.


Shout Out

A big shout out to Josiah and Pearl who filled in at the 11th hour for worship music this last week. It is great to see the talent of CPC used for the glory of God. If you would like to share your talent, the praise team is hosting a meeting this Sunday (10/30/16) after worship!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Suffering and Salvation

Devotion: Philippians 1:27-30

Editor's Note: Given my travel schedule last week I was unable to post a devotion. This week will pick up where we left off.
The Apostle Paul's major call to the Philippians is to be united in and with Christ. This unity is couched in the incarnation of the Son of God (more on that in a few weeks) and is expressed in facing suffering for the sake of Christ with humility and grace. When we are united to Christ, the pain and suffering we experience in this world for the sake of Christ becomes for us a sign of our salvation, even as it serves as a sign of destruction for those who inflict upon the beloved of God (i.e. the Church, see Philippians 1:28).
Suffering is difficult (I know, understatement of the age). In the midst of suffering, therefore, God gave us the gift of community. We stand together for the Gospel, encouraging and modeling a life lived well through faith in Christ Jesus. We share in the suffering of our sisters and brothers in Christ even as we stand firm in our faith. We cannot back down, we cannot retreat, and we cannot compromise when the Gospel is at stake. The truth of the salvation we have in Christ is the one and only truth that can set us free from sin and death. To deny, dilute or deflect this truth is to be complicit in the destruction of others.
Our place is to stand together as a church community, to understand that if we truly stand for Christ we will not only be ostracized, but actually endure true suffering. For a while in our country this was not the case. Christians held the majority and the dominant position in the culture. Now, we can see that a manner of life worthy of the gospel of Christ is not only out of favor culturally, it is quite frankly, condemned as bigoted, hateful and cruel. Yet we must stand firm and encourage one another to do the same. We can no longer avoid conflict because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is at odds with the spirit of the age--the spirit of this age that promises freedom, but gives slavery, that promises fulfillment but leaves empty, that promises truth but tells lies. The spirit of this age wants us to put our own comfort and ease first, meeting our desires and wants first, turning in on oneself. Yet, it is precisely this that traps us in the downward spiral of sin and shame. The Gospel liberates us, reshapes us and truly frees us by turning us away out from the self to the other, putting the desire for God first and seeing that suffering is to be desired for the sake of Christ.
This means we will need one another to encourage and be friends along the road of faith. It also means we will need Christ to be a truest companion in faith as we live for him. For suffering is not a sign of being God-forsaken, but rather our salvation won for us by the suffering servant, Jesus Christ our Lord!

News and Events

  • Trunk-Or-Treat: October 31. 5-7 p.m. we will host a trunk-or-treat in the parking lot of CPC. Decorate your trunk, grab some candy and come spend time in a great outreach event.
  • Wedding Shower: Emily Martin is getting married in November and the church will be hosting a wedding shower for her November 6 at 2 p.m. Ladies, let's surround Emily and Miguel in Christ's love.

Shout Outs

A long overdue shout out for Joe Miller this week. Joe works tirelessly keeping the church's IT up and running. Honestly, if you enjoy any aspect of CPC's electronic presence (from radio to webpage), Joe Miller is the man to thank.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Facing the Trial

Devotion: Philippians 1:18d-26

As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians he was sitting in prison awaiting a trial that could very well result in his death. So, to the modern reader, it will seem very curious that he begins this discussion of his upcoming trial with joy. The Apostle is taking the time to ask the Philippians to pray for him and certainly we too should seek out the prayers of others when we will face trials of our faith, yet it is not the prayers but the result of those prayers that truly helps us through trials in our life. What the Apostle needs and what we all need is the Holy Spirit supplied to us through the gracious hand of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The Apostle is not looking to avoid the time of trial, indeed far from it! He is asking, instead, that Christ is honored in him. Now, in Paul's day honor was everything to men and to be disgraced was more than an insult. Trials at the time were not just about establishing guilt, but also about retaining honor. The Apostle here is moving counter to the culture in that he cares not for his own honor (what others think of him), but only for Christ. This counter-cultural worldview gave the Apostle tremendous freedom in the ancient world. He was not constrained with care for the self at all, trusting himself completely into the hands of Christ no matter what would befall him. This is why the Apostle can look at so serious a matter as death and come away without fear. Indeed, the Apostle wrote:
"For me to live is Christ, and to dies gain." -Philippians 1:21
Much like Job longed for his day in the divine court, the Apostle longed for his day in Caesar's court that he may testify to Christ. Actually, in 1:19, the Apostle quotes Job 13:16, and this may mean that the Apostle is alluding to the whole of Job's comments in Job 12-14
When we face trials in this life we are called to stand for Christ. Too often we try to escape the trial, but the Apostle here is giving us a different way. God, in the Holy Spirit, strengthens us to endure and to give glory to Christ. In this way, no matter the outcome, we know our victory in trial is secure.
The trials will come, will you be faithful to stand for Christ? Ask for prayer and receive the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ and you will.

Shout Outs

The shout out this week goes to Don and Lyn Pearce for heading up the Pray Washington 24/7 effort here at CPC. For the first time we have all hours of the day covered. Thanks to everyone for joining together in prayer!

News and Events

  • On Saturday at 11 a.m. we will join the Lamb family in both grieving the death of Jane Lamb and in taking our comfort in the hope we have in Christ Jesus.
  • During worship Sunday Dave Bishop will be sharing with us his mission trip experience. This is something you do not want to miss!