October 9, 2020

Church Events
 
*Live on the Patio at the Daily Grind, Shea and Company 1-4 p.m. 10-18
*Live on the Patio at the Daily Grind, Rob Skiba 12-2 p.m. 10-25
*Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Donations Due at the Church 11-22
*Thanksgiving Sunday 11-22
 
Food Pantry Volunteers
We are looking for one or more people willing to be our Southwick Community Food Pantry liaisons. They would keep an eye on the amount of food in our collection bin and coordinate a time with the food pantry to deliver the donations. Please speak to Kathy Elias at 413-569-5151, extension 15 if you’d like to help with this important ministry.
 
DAILY GRIND Monthly Specials
Sandwich Special –
-Meatloaf Panini
Meatloaf on Flatbread with Bistro Sauce, Bacon, Cheddar Cheese and optional Grilled Onions
Drink Specials –
-Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea
-Caramel Apple Latte
-Caramel Apple Cider
-Maple Latte
 


Ambassador of Christ

October 9, 2020
 
Who are you representing?
 
When you walk into a room, when you post online, when you talk – who are you representing?
And please don’t give me that pathetic Sunday School answer. “Ahhh, Jesus! Like the Sunday School teacher who says, “What’s gray and fluffy, has a tail, climbs in trees and eats nuts?” And a kid turns to his friend and says, “Gray and fluffy, climbs in trees and eats nuts? Sure sounds like a squirrel, but I better go with Jesus!” Hey, don’t do that. Don’t do that please. Think.
 
 
Who are you really representing? I’ll tell you how it is with me. This is really kind of embarrassing. Don’t leave the church, don’t stop tithing, just pray for me. But it’s like this: I can be like having this great time with my family. And all of a sudden, I think, This will look great on Instagram and Facebook. Everybody get around me and look happy. Here let me hold a grandchild. Perfect. Once I post this people will think I’m human, not just some weirdo pastor. In other words, I having a perfect moment with my family. This meaningful moment. This moment of, This is what life’s all about. And my only thought … my only thought … is, How can I capture this to post it and get lots of likes.
Who am I representing? Who are you representing? The Bible tells you who you should be representing – 2 Corinthians 5:20 – “So we are Christ’s ambassadors!” What are we? Ambassadors! Christ’s ambassadors!
What is an ambassador? An ambassador is the highest-ranking diplomat sent from one nation to another nation to represent the home territory. If you are an ambassador of Christ, who are you? You are the highest- ranking diplomat sent from Heaven to Earth to represent our God. That’s who you are.
Who are you representing?
• When you walk into the room, light walks into the room.
• When you walk into the workplace, hope walks into your workplace.
• When you walk into your own home at the end of a long day, love walks into your home.
You are representing Christ by what you say, how you act, how you post, how you love.


When Life Stinks

September 11, 2020
When Life Stinks
 
Give the fertilizer time to work.
 
There was a young woman who grew up in a very difficult environment. Her father died when she was just six years old, and her mother was on dialysis. When other kids were out playing with their friends or doing cheerleading, she was at home taking care of her mom, running the kidney machine. By the time she was 12, she had to do all the grocery shopping, cook for the family, and get her little brother dressed and ready for school.
It seemed like she was at a disadvantage. But just because something is unfair doesn’t mean God doesn’t have a great future for you … if you give it some time.
This young woman didn’t complain or feel sorry for herself. Despite all the odds stacked against her, she worked hard in high school and got a full scholarship to college. She went on to get her Masters and then a Doctorate. Today she’s super successful in the corporate world and she’s happily married with three kids.
Here’s my question: Why do some people in the same type of situation struggle through life? Why do some people in the exact same situation live defeated, always complaining about their problems – while others overcome the odds and flourish?
The answer is: It’s how we approach life. We all have stuff that stinks; we all have unfair situations, things we don’t like. You can get bitter and discouraged … or you can see it as fertilizer and say, “This difficulty is not going to defeat me; it’s going to promote me. It’s not going to hinder me; it’s going to help me.”
So, the next time you see that person at work who gets on you nerves, instead of getting upset, just smile and say to yourself, “You’re just fertilizer. You stink, but you’re helping me grow.” Just look at them and say to yourself: “You think you’re pushing me down, but you’re really pushing me up.” Say, “I know a secret. It’s all just fertilizer. It’s going to cause me to bloom, and blossom, and flourish.”


August 30, 2020

A Message from Pastor Jeff
 
Dear Friends,
We want you to know that we’re making every effort to help you feel safe and comfortable. 
Here’s some of the things you can expect …
-Touchless distribution of newsletters, outlines, and other items.
-Indoor and outdoor seating.
-Reconfiguration of our seating to provide social distancing.
-Hand sanitizing stations.
-Sanitizing of common spaces before each service.
-And, yes, we encourage you to wear your face mask!
 
Music Academy Update
Our CLC Music Academy offers lessons for all ages and all instruments. Mike Curran currently has openings for private half hour or one hour lessons, in person or on Zoom. What a great opportunity to incorporate music into your child’s curriculum, especially if you’re homeschooling! Maybe you’re an adult who’s always wanted to learn? That’s okay too! Please contact Mike at 413-222-8345 for more information.
 
New Series Starting September 6:
It’s All Good!


Agents of Mercy

August 7, 2020

Okay, time to get down to business.  Folks, the truth of the matter is, God has chosen you to be a part of His network … one of His special agents.  What’s your assignment?  He wants you to be an “agent of mercy” – an “agent of mercy” – to the people around you.   

What’s the best way to do that in today’s world?  Let me put it this way: As the world becomes more unkind, more mean, more crass … we need to become more kind.  That’s what it means to be an “agent of mercy.”

Let me ask you this:  Is the world today becoming more loving or more self-centered?  Is the world today more polite than it was ten years ago or more rude?  Politics … more unified or more divided?  Don’t even get me started!

So here’s the big breakthrough thought for you:  In a mean world, our greatest witness to the world is showing mercy. 

In a mean, unkind world – filled with mean, unkind people – our greatest witness to the world is showing kindness.  Our greatest witness to the world is showing mercy.  Because it’s so unusual, it stands out.  That’s why Jesus said: “Show mercy to others, just as your Father shows mercy to you!”  (Matthew 6:36) Jesus was saying, “I want you to be a special agent – an “agent of mercy.”

Would you say this?  Dear God, I want to be an “agent of mercy.”  So, Lord, help me to start looking and listening for people’s needs.  If I care, I have to be aware.  Help me to see the needs of people at work, at school, with the people I hang around with. 



July 3, 2020

  • Open Arms Child Care Center Now Open                               
  • The Daily Grind Now Open
  • Christ Church Celebrates Fourth of July!                                 7/5         
  • Christ Church Prepares Food for Our Community Table         7/31

    Dear Friends,

    We want you to know that we’re making every effort to help you feel safe and comfortable.  Here’s some of the things you can expect …

    • Touchless distribution of newsletters, outlines, and

          other items.

    • Indoor and outdoor seating.
    • Reconfiguration of our seating to provide social

          distancing.

    • Hand sanitizing stations.
    • Sanitizing of common spaces before each service.
    • And, yes, we encourage you to wear your

          face mask!  😊

     

 



What Holds You Captive?

July 3, 2020

So many people are stuck in the past.  They’re just stuck and they can’t get on with the future because they can’t let go of the past.  If that describes you, here’s what Jesus is saying to you this morning.  “I was sent to announce freedom to all held captive and forgiveness to all who have been imprisoned.”   (Isaiah 61:1)  He’s not just talking about people in a cold cement prison cell.  He’s talking about the emotional prisons, the emotional prisons that we lock ourselves up in. 

  • Some of you right now, you are in a prison of regret. And you just can’t forgive yourself over that thing that happened in the past.  You can’t let go of it.  You’re in a prison of regret, over things you’ve done.
  • Some of you are in a prison of resentment, over things that have been done to They hurt me and I’m never going to let it go.  I’m never going to let another man get close to me, because he hurt me so bad.  I’m never going to open my heart to that again.  I’m never going to stop being a victim.  And you’re in a prison of resentment. 
  • Some of you are in a prison of envy. How come my husband can’t be like her husband?  How come they have a nice house and I’m stuck in this apartment?
  • Some of you are in a prison of worry. What if I get this virus?  What if my work doesn’t get back to normal?  What do I do with my kids if the schools don’t open in the fall?  You worry constantly and you’re sick and tired.  And you get sick and tired of being sick and tired.
  • Some of you are in a prison of addiction, and secret sins and secret habits. And you think: If we ever knew the real you … If they ever knew what goes on when I’m alone.

I ask you today: What holds you captive?  What’s got you locked up inside?  This morning Jesus holds out His hands to you.  And He says, “I have come to save you and not to judge you.”  (John 12:47)  “I’ve come to help you, not hurt you; love you, not judge you.”  I love Jesus!  I want to be like Jesus.  It’s not my job to judge the world.  It’s my job is to point to the Savior. 

Now, look at me.  Let me be absolutely clear.  There will be a Judgement Day.  The Bible is clear about that.  One day you are going to be required to give an account of your life to God.  And that day is going to be a day of fearful judgment … only if you reject the mercy of God.  God doesn’t want to judge you.  He wants to show you mercy. 

  • For you, it can be a day of celebration, of victory, of incredible eternal reward, of unspeakable joy! Joy – not judgment!
  • For you … Well, you’ll probably be an old man or an old woman when die. For you, it will be a day to get out of that wheelchair and dance! 
  • For you, it will be a day throw aside your walker and jump in the air and click your heals!
  • For you, it will be a day to get the keys to your new home and get fitted for your new crown! Joy – not judgement! 

So just go to God.  Right now.  While I’m still speaking.  Go to God and say, “Lord, I’ve messed up.  I want Your mercy.”  And right now, God is instantly washing you clean.  Right now, you are receiving forgiveness for all the times you messed up and freedom to change your future.  And here’s what the Bible says, “Anyone who asks for mercy from the Lord shall have it and shall be saved.”  (Acts 2:21)

Anyone.  That’s me … that’s you … that’s awesome.



Fish and God

June 3, 2020
 
You can look forward to each new day. Why? Because the past is behind you and God is beside you. When you start each day, take the words of Joshua 1:9 and personalize them: “I am strong and courageous.” You’re walking into work: “I can face anything. I will not be anxious or afraid; I will not get discouraged, for the Lord my God will be with me wherever I go.”
The past is behind you and God is beside you. Remember the famous words from the Christmas story? “They will call Him Immanuel – which means, ‘God With Us.’”
In his book The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey talks about when he was a teenager and it finally dawned on him what an awesome thing it was that God is with us. He said he learned about God when he kept an aquarium. Management of an aquarium, he discovered, is no easy task. He had to monitor the nitrate levels and ammonia content. He pumped in vitamins and antibiotics. He filtered the water through glass fibers and charcoal, and exposed it to ultraviolet light.
“You would think,” he writes, “in view of all the energy expended on their behalf, that my fish would be grateful. Not so. Every time my shadow loomed above the tank, they dove for cover. They showed me only one emotion: fear. Although I opened the lid and dropped in food on a regular schedule, three times a day, they responded to each visit as a sure sign that I was there to hurt them. I could not convince them that I was watching over them and caring for them. I was too large for them, my actions too incomprehensible.
“And then it dawned on me: Those fish will never comprehend my actions. In order to be understood by them I would have to become one of them. I would have to become a fish and ‘speak’ to them in a language they could understand.”
And that is just what God did. That’s what the Bible says. The Bible says God is big and powerful and beyond our comprehension. So He became one of us. He lived among us and spoke a language we could understand. Now He has promised He will never leave us. Put the past behind you and God beside you.


May 22, 2020

This just in!
While we will continue our weekly CVC online services, we have been given the go ahead from the Commonwealth of MA to hold services here at CLC!
Starting June 7, we will meet at our usual times right here at church. We will have restrictions, of course, and will have safety precautions in place, but we are excited to celebrate live and in person once again!
See you Sunday, June 7!


May 1, 2020

Join us each week at CVC! Christ Virtual Church can be found on our website at clcsouthwick.org, or on Facebook  @christchurchsouthwick. 
Check in with us regularly there for updates during quarantine. And let us know if we can pray for you or help in a tangible way. Call us at 569-5151 or email Pastor Jeff at jking@clcsouthwick.org.