Thursday, March 24, 2016

Easter Column

Jesus was relationally sad. The night before his death, Jesus shared his last meal with his twelve buddies. He looked them in the eye as he broke the bread for the last time. He held back the tears as he blessed the cup. Peter would soon deny him. Not once. But three times. Judas would betray him. Not just any betrayal. A betrayal that would cost Jesus his life. Goodbyes are never easy. Denials and betrayals are as tough as it gets. Heartbroken.


Jesus was emotionally spent. His trial could not have been easy. The soldiers mocked him. They asked if Elijah was coming to save him. They even spit on him. The very people he came to serve and save ridiculed him. Dejected.

Jesus was physically abused. He took a beating. Nails through his hands. A sharp crown of thorns on his head. He was bruised and bloody. He hung on a cross gasping for air. Broken.

Jesus was spiritually searching. He cried out with a loud scream: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” He didn’t use the word Father. He used the word God. Not close enough to call Him Father. Only close enough to call Him God. Isolated.

And then three days later he rose from the dead. None of the Gospel writers give much detail as to what happened because the details don’t really matter. What matters is that Jesus is alive again.

Heartbroken. Dejected. Battered. Isolated. Alive again.

The betrayal was overcome. The dejection was destroyed. The brokenness was restored. The isolation was overwhelmed. Death was defeated.

We worry about tomorrow. We carry hurts from the past. We wonder if there is more to life. Our busyness consumes us. It seems hopeless that the future will be better than the past. We are sick of being tired. We are slowly dying.

The big stone was rolled away from the tomb. We don’t know if Jesus limped or leaped as he re-entered the world. We only know God raised Jesus from the dead. And we know that God was just getting warmed-up because He has been raising people from the dead ever since.

Our worries. Our hurts. Our fears of dying. Our fears of not living. Our busyness. Our hopelessness. Our fatigue. Our broken hearts. Our rejection. Our dejection. Our brokenness. Our loneliness. God invites us to experience resurrection in all areas of life. He invites us to experience new life so that we can be alive again. Sounds like an invitation worth accepting.

Happy Easter,

Craig

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Holy Week Explained

Worship with us this week.

Maundy Thursday - 6:30 p.m. at Tiburon
Good Friday - 12:00 and 6:30 at the ministry center
Easter Sunrise - 7:00 at church property
Easter - 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 at Millard West


Maundy Thursday 

Maundy is from the Latin "mandatum", the first word of Jesus’ teaching from John 13:34 - "A new commandment I give you, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Jesus was sharing his last meal with the twelve men who would be responsible for taking the Gospel to the nations. No time for small talk. Not even time for good stuff. Only his best words. “I’m going to make this simple. You need to remember this: Love others as I have loved you.” 

Good Friday 

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. What He really gave us, of course, was Himself. He experienced pain, humiliation, and death so we can experience love, forgiveness, and life. The world hasn't been the same since and your world doesn't have to be the same ever again. No single word or collection of words could ever describe this day. So "good" will have to do. 

Saturday 

The other days have a name: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday. Saturday is just Saturday which is more than enough. It was a day of darkness when Satan celebrated victory over God and dominion over the world. In the epic game of chess against the Almighty One Himself - Satan delivered a surprising, come-from-behind checkmate. Hope he enjoys it while it lasts because he gets a surprise tomorrow: the King still has another move. 

Easter

It begins in the despair of the dark caused by the sin of the world and the hatred of many. Fear was widespread. Satan delighted in Christ's death. But it's Easter morning and Satan's party comes to an abrupt ending when he discovers the once defeated man has emerged from the tomb. Christ is alive. It was the day death died. Checkmate. Hope overcomes despair. Light silences darkness. Grace forgives sin. Love replaces hate. Faith calms fears. Life resurrects death. 

The best is yet to come… 

Craig

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Fried Reuben Sandwiches

The fried reuben turned out great.  

Here is what you need.

Marble rye bread
Butter
Slice corned beef
Slice pastrami
Fresh sauerkraut
Thousand Island Dressing
Swiss cheese
Gruyere cheese
Flour
Beer
Lots of canola oil

Mix the beer an flour together to form a batter. Stir it up good.

Place the corned beef and pastrami on a frying pan to warm up. Add the cheese. Cover for a few minutes to melt the cheese. Remove. Butter the rye bread on one side. Place two slices of bread on the flying pan. Brown the bread. Remove. Put Thousand Island dressing on the unbutton side of the bread. Put meat and cheese on one of the slices of bread. Cover with sauerkraut. Complete sandwich.

Dip sandwich in batter. Drop sandwich in hot oil on turkey fryer. Fry for about 60 to 90 seconds.

Dip the deep fried reuben in thousand island dressing for a true culinary delicacy. 

This is a wonderful sandwich without being deep fried.

Dipping the sandwich in the batter.

The frying process.

Straight out of the fryer.

Ready to eat.

Benjamin enjoying the fruits of our labor.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Palm Sunday Prayer

Sunday is Palm Sunday. Here is the prayer we are using Sunday.


Dear God,

It’s Palm Sunday. 

Jesus arrived to a defiant city on a donkey to people shouting “Hosanna.”
   Enter my disobedient heart.
   Replace my pride with humility.
   Release me. Rescue me.

Form in me a deep desire to trust You more fully.
   Give me a faithful obedience to follow You whenever and wherever.
Forge in me the strength to listen to and respond to Your voice.
   May I say “yes” to Your plans and promises.
   May I say “no” to the competing shallow securities of this world.

Eliminate prideful attitudes that separate me from community with others 
   and distance me from closeness and intimacy with You.
Eradicate my behavior of constantly comparing myself with others 
   and teach me that my worth and value in life is a gift from You.

Rescue me from the double standard of singing “Hosanna” in worship 
   and shouting “crucify him” at work, with friends, and even at home.
Release me from the hypocrisy of worshipping You with my words at church
   but denying You with my actions in the community.

Prevent me from holding on to habits that are harmful to me and hurtful to others.
   Let the destructive parts of my life die and disappear.
Prepare me for resurrection and new life that comes as a gift from You. 
   Let reconstruction begin and make me alive again!

You entered a holy city to people waving palm branches and waiting for a King.
Enter my life to make me holy, victorious, and obedient to the King of all Kings.

Amen.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

David Being Interviewed By a Kentucky News Station

So, David and Amber went to the UK game in Des Moines tonight. The kid always ends up on television some how and tonight was no exception. A station in eastern Kentucky interviewed him and he was happy to share his story.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Seven Mile Miracle - It is Finished

A sermon based on the three last words Jesus spoke before his death: "It is Finished." We looked at how Jesus finished strong and how we can finish strong as well.

Friday, March 11, 2016

An Update from the Building Team

I have some news from the building team. The team has been working closely with our architect, BCDM, since January. We close all our meetings by praying together. And before that the last item for discussion is: What do we need to communicate to the congregation? Here are the communication items from this week’s meeting.


1. The primary task of our meetings and discussions has been developing and finalizing the schematic design of the building. The master plan gave us a general picture. The schematic design will provide the details. It has been a great process so far and I’m excited for you to see the results. We are hoping to have the schematic design completed by May 1st.

2. The team will be interviewing three construction companies the next month. Are firms are local and come highly recommended. The interviews should be complete by mid-April and we are aiming to have the construction company hired by May 1st. 

3. The team is considering two options for our phase one construction. The two options are nearly identical with two exceptions: Option 2 has a larger gathering area and a large group area for children. Many in the church felt these two items were critical for the future success of The Water’s Edge. Your building team has listened. Both options will be priced. Costs and benefits will be considered. Our church leadership is committed to not going in to debt to a degree that our ministries will be adversely impacted. 

4. The most common question the team is getting is: “When will we break ground?” At this time, the building team does not know when we will break ground. We are hoping to have a response to this question by May 1st. Currently the team is working on zoning and other permits with the city of Omaha, finishing the schematic design, and finalizing a loan with our lender.

5. We are also hearing the question: “Will Pastor Craig’s sabbatical slow down the building process?” At this time, my renewal leave shouldn’t have any effect on the timeline for the building project. We are working hard to complete many items by May 1st, so my sabbatical might actually help expedite things a bit!

What can you do?

1. Pray. Pray hard and often. This is an amazing project and will be a blessing to us and out city. 

2. Keep your pledge current for the From the Ground Up Campaign. If you haven’t made a pledge yet, I would be happy to talk to you! Additional gifts at this point would be a huge blessing.

3. Ask questions and share ideas. Ron Christensen, our business administrator, is a great resource. Any of the eight people on the building team are happy to listen and respond. I always welcome conversations too!

The best is yet to come…

Craig

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Distracted

A prayer for all those who are distracted.


Dear God,

I’m distracted.

Distracted by comparison.
Distracted by worry.


Connected to computers and cell phones.
Connected to calendars and chores.

Disconnected from others.
Disconnected from You.

Let me sit at Your feet.
Become my one true and holy passion.

Amen.

#PrayersFromTheWatersEdge

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Spring

Perseverance doesn't make noise or draw attention to itself.
It is most likely a gentle whisper that says:
Keep trying until you break through and blossom.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Monday, March 7, 2016

Sermon: Thirsty for More of Life

I looked at the Scripture passage where Jesus said: "I am thirsty." I also looked at the story of Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well.

It is a message for all those who are thirsty for more of life.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Basketball Buddies

David and his buddy, Clark, after the last basketball game of the year.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Daily Morning and Evening Prayer

Here is my attempt at two prayers to be prayed early in the morning and late in the evening. This pattern of prayers seeks to honor an ancient and sacred tradition where followers of Christ seek to give the first and last moments each day to God. I encourage you to take a few minutes daily and pray them consistently for a few weeks. Be open to what God is wanting to do in you and through you.


For the Start of a New Day

Dear God,

It is a new day. One You have made.
I am so grateful for this life You are giving me!
Let me see today’s possibilities. 
Fill me with faith and joy.

I pray for focus when You want me to be still.
I pray for patience when things don’t go my way.
I pray for courage when You lead me to be bold.
I pray for forgiveness when I make mistakes.

When life gets to be too much – refresh me with Your grace.
When I face challenges and decisions – instruct me with Your wisdom.

Make it clear when I should listen and when I should speak.
Bless me with opportunities to serve, to grow, and to love. Let me be a blessing to others.
May my life today reflect Your goodness.

Amen.

For the End of a Day

Dear God, 

The sky is dark and night has arrived. 
I’m tired. I come seeking sleep. 
Bless me with rest for my soul, mind, and body. 
During these quiet hours, restore me to peace and harmony. 

I thank You for today. 
   For Your provision of my physical needs. 
   For the people I share life with. 
   For the trials that are making me stronger. 
   For everybody and everything I take for granted. 
   And, for Your grace and Your presence in my life. 

As I lay down I give myself to You. 
   I give You my failures. Teach me to learn and help me keep moving forward.
   I give You my fears. Erase the worries from my mind. Help me be brave.
   I give You my hurts. Heal me and make me new again.
   I give You my dreams. Align my vision for life with Your will. 

In peace I lay down to sleep, for you alone will keep me safe. –Psalm 4:8 
You will watch over me and won’t slumber or sleep. –Psalm 121:4 
Prepare me for tomorrow. 

Amen.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016