Photos from the 2015 Area Assembly

2015 Area Assembly Collage 1 2015 Area Assembly Collage 3 2015 Area Assembly Collage 4 2105 Area Assembly Collage 2

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The Connection Newsletter ~ May 12, 2015

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Mother’s Day Sermon – May 10, 2015 – The Power of Authenticity

“The Power of Authenticity” ~ 2 Timothy 1:3-7

Welcome to the day that we, in the Church, want to honor ALL who have ~ and continue to ~ nurture us into adulthood and beyond . . .

For it is upon this day that it is appropriate for us to think about how much Mothers, Step-Mothers, Grandmothers, Great-Grandmothers, Surrogate Mothers, Teachers . . . and ALL who have invested themselves . . . into us becoming who we are today.
I love the story about the Junior High science teacher who lectured on the properties of magnets for an entire class.
And the next day he gave his students a pop-quiz, just to see how much information the students had learned.
And not wanting to make the quiz too difficult, the first question read like this: “My name begins with an ‘M,’ has six letters, and I pick things up. What am I?”
And half the students wrote, “Mother.”
I’m reminded of the father who was trying to explain the concept of marriage to his 4-year-old daughter.
And so he got out their wedding album, thinking visual images would help, and explained the entire wedding service to her.
And when he was finished, he asked if she had any questions.
And she pointed to a picture of the wedding party and in a very serious way and asked, “Daddy, is that when mommy came to work for us?”

To read more of Pastor Mark’s Sermon, please click here.

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All Things ~ No Things Syndrome

“ALL THINGS ~ NO THINGS Syndrome”
Romans 8:26-39
Sunday, May 3, 2015

In 1973 (few of us can remember that far back), there was a gang of bank robbers that held up the Credit Bank in Stockholm, Sweden.
Although the police interrupted their heist, the bank robbers proceeded to hold a number of bank employees hostage for six long days.
When, at long last, they were rescued ~ the kidnapped victims, who’d been terrorized and abused by their captors, stunned the authorities by demonstrating considerable emotional attachment to their victimizers.
Some of the hostage victims even publicly defended the very ones who’d held them at gun point and threatened their lives.
That’s when we were introduced to a new phenomenon that Swedish psychiatrist/criminologist, Nils Bejerot, gave a name to this bizarre behavior . . . coining the “Stockholm Syndrome.”
It’s not that this “SYNDROME” hasn’t happen prior to 1973 . . . it’s just that it took THIS particular event and a Psychiatrist to NAME IT, to bring it to our attention & understanding.
And, as we know, since 1973 this strange sympathetic behavior – a hostage showing loyalty and concern for the hostage-taker – has been repeated and recognized both by such infamous names as Patty Hearst (anybody over 40 not know that name? Anybody under 40 know that name?) and by WAY TOO MANY domestic, spousal, and child abuse victims.
Mental Health Professionals say that what happens is that captives get their own identity so wrapped up in their captors that ~ no matter how BAD their reality may be ~ it seems better than facing the fear of an unknown, undefined future. <p>
I lift this up this morning because I believe that one of the more dominant DISEASES facing our world today is the “Stockholm Syndrome.”
Not only from a CULTURAL point of view, but also from a SPIRITUAL point of view.
From a cultural point of view, because one of THE MOST ABUSIVE CAPTORS OF OUR MINDS . . . and therefore . . . OUR VERY LIVES . . . can be consumerism and materialism.

To continue reading Pastor Mark’s sermon, please click here.

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A Walk to Remember

“A Walk to Remember”
Luke 24:13-35
Sunday, April 26, 2015

First, I’d like to thank Rev. Renee Hoke for sharing in my absence last Sunday. I know you were blessed because she is such a blessing to us in her service as the Bluebonnet Area Minister.
Secondly, I’d like to thank ALL of you for allowing Mara and I have some time away in the celebration of our 23rd Wedding Anniversary. It was a blessed time to be together!
Many thanks to you all!! <p>
This time away really made me think about a lot of things. One thing it made me think about was . . . I wonder how observant I am.
Have you ever thought about that? How observant do you think you are? How perceptive do you think you are?
I ask that, not just because of today’s scripture text, but also because I recently saw a few episodes on Netflix of a new series entitled “Brain Games.”
This is a series which explains how our brains work, think, retain & recall information. I found it fascinating and challenging.
And it really challenged me in the way I struggle with remembering names ~or~ notice/recognize things of importance.
They had the reigning champion of MEMORY (which I didn’t even know existed), who, among many things, is able to remember the proper sequence of a deck of cards!
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He even went to a theater and introduced himself to 50 people that came into the theater, and was able to recall their names by the time the movie was over . . . fascinating stuff!

To read more of Pastor Mark’s sermon, click here.

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Pictures from Beatrice Reese’s 100th Birthday

This gallery contains 18 photos.

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Chalice Newsletter ~ April 2015

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The Connection Newsletter April 14, 2015

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Wrestling with Doubt ~ Doubting Thomas ~ John 20

I like the story about a little boy, the son of a Pastor, who was outside playing.
He was doing all of the things that little boys do . . . climbing trees . . . jumping out of trees . . . swinging on his tire swing . . . He was rolling around on the ground playing with the dog . . .
And when it was time . . . his mother called him for dinner. And as he and the rest of his family sat at the table, his mother looked at him and said the words I remember hearing often as a child, “Young man, let me see your hands.”
And he did what I typically would do . . . he quickly rubbed his hands on his blue jeans before he held them up to his mother.
His mother looked at them and said, “How many times do I have to tell you that you must wash your hands before you eat?
When your hands are dirty, they have germs all over them and you could get sick!
Now, after we say the blessing, I want you to march back to the bathroom and wash your hands.”
Disappointed, the little boy quickly popped his head down in disgust as the father said the blessing.
After the blessing, the little boy got up . . . headed out to the bathroom . . . but just when he got to the doorway of the bathroom, he stopped, turned and looked at his mother and said, “Jesus and germs!
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Jesus and germs! That’s all I ever hear around here and I haven’t seen either one of them!”

To continue reading Pastor Mark’s sermon, please click here

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What Do You Believe?

“But What Do You Believe?”
John 20:1-18
Sunday, April 5, 2015
When I lived in Henderson, Texas . . . serving as the Pastor of the First Christian Church there, I loved one of the things they did at the Middle school . . . they had a “Mentor” program.
It’s a program where they have people in the community meet with a middle school student weekly for lunch.
One of the members in the Church was a Middle school teacher and asked me if I would be willing to be a “mentor” to one of the children in Middle school . . . I agreed, and after going through a clearance process . . . I met with my student for lunch.
And to get the conversation going, one of the things I liked to do with the student, was to do . . . some riddles.
I thought, I remembered doing these with the Youth at our Youth Camps and they seemed to really get into them, so, I thought, this was a great way to get the conversation going.
So, after some brief dialogue about ourselves, I dove in . . . and would say something like . . . do you like solving riddles?
To which they would usually say: “HUH?” I would explain, and if they said “SURE” . . . I gave them a scenario.

To continue reading Pastor Mark’s sermon click here

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