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.
 


Choose Gratitude

May 1, 2020
 I know every good thing I have comes from God.
 
Here’s what it says in the Bible: “Every good and perfect gift comes from… Where? …above.” (James 1:17) You are such a good congregation today!
Christmas Day 1944. The soldier climbed out of his foxhole. The temperature was below zero. The snow creaked beneath his feet. Each breath sent a cloud of frost into the frigid morning air. The forest around him was quiet … unnaturally quiet.
Suddenly, there was the high screech of incoming artillery. Instantly, the air was exploding around him. Trees shattering. Men screaming. Bullets slicing the air. It was the bloody World War II Battle of the Bulge and he was in the dead center of it. He dove for the ground and, as the artillery shells exploded around him, he thought: This is it. The last Christmas I’ll ever have. I’ll never make it home.
Well, he was wrong about that. Boy, was he wrong! He made it home, became a founding member of this church, raised a beautiful family, and shared 71 more Christmas Days with them.
And on a Christmas Day … 71 years later … he died … at the age of 93. Back in 1944, the old fighter said, This is it. The last Christmas I’ll ever have. I’ll never make it home. On Christmas Day … 71 years later … he finally made it home. He looked around heaven and said: I’m home! Home for Christmas.
You know, he once said this to me: “Jeff, I cheated death back then. I don’t know why I lived and the guys around me died. The way I see it, now every day’s a bonus.”
Do you see that, too? Every day’s a gift. Every day’s a bonus. And every good thing I have, every good thing you have, comes from God. God gives life to bless you … health to strengthen you … friends to support you … family to love you … church to encourage you. Every good thing you have comes from God. We need to understand that God is completely good; He is constantly good; He is unchangingly good. God cannot be less than good. God will never not be good. Everything our God does is good and once we embrace that, it changes our attitude. Instead of an attitude of entitlement, we embrace an attitude of gratitude. The way I see it, every day is a bonus and every good gift comes from above.


A Great Work

I don’t know who this is going to speak to today … I don’t know who’s feeling this, but …

 
  • I’m visualizing maybe a young mom … and you’re trapped in the house by this virus. Sometimes you feel exhausted, just wiped out.  And I hope you’ll hear this, you’ll feel this, because maybe you’re wishing you could do other things with your life right now.  And I hope you realize that this season won’t last forever.  And this just might be the best time you ever have to make some memories with those kids that will last a lifetime.  And you can show them your faith and your strength and how your family can’t be broken.  And guess what?  What you’re doing right now is a great work.  Embrace that great work.  This season will pass, but the mark you make on those kids will never pass …. Young moms.  You’re doing a great work.
  • I’m visualizing someone trying to pay off debt … and it is a slow dollar by dollar uphill climb and the hill feels so big. But whenever the enemy tells you that you’ll never make it, that it’s not worth it, just say, “You get off my back!  I’m doing a great work.  I’m doing what God has called me to do for my family and for my future” ….  You’re doing a great work.
  • I’m visualizing someone trying to love someone. Maybe its your child and you just can’t seem to reach them.  Maybe it’s your husband and his heart is just so hard.  And you feel like giving up.  You feel like walking out.  But I want you to say, “I’m not going to give up on this relationship.  I’m not going to walk out when this gets messy” …  You’re doing a great work.
  • I’m visualizing someone battling addiction … It’s a fight every day. And these days you can’t even go to a meeting, because of this virus.  So, you call your sponsor.  And talk it out.  And you know you can live one day at a time and you can make it through this day.  You say, “I’ve been clean 90 days and I’m going to make it to 91” …  You’re doing a great work. 
  • I’m visualizing someone with a real heart for something, a vision for something, and you want to make a difference. And it seems like you take two steps forward and three steps back.  But you don’t give up the fight.  You’re going to stay in the game, because you know you haven’t lost until you quit ….    You’re doing a great work.

Let’s bow our heads and go to God.  Let me ask you this: What is it that’s got you feeling tired … like giving up … like just throwing in the towel? 

Is it this virus?  Is it your health?  Maybe it’s your finances right now.  This is a crazy time and I know so many of you have lost your job.  Maybe it’s that addiction that won’t stop whispering in your ear, pulling at you.  Maybe you’re just so tired of staying home – not getting out for school, for work, for friends. 

Let me just say this.  As the voice of Jesus, the Lord of Love:  You’re doing a great work.  Don’t give up. 

Just pray: Dear Lord Jesus,  Help me take it one day at a time.  Help me keep working until the job is done.  The truth is, I’ve come to see that I can’t do it by myself.  I wasn’t designed for it.  I need You in my life. 

Lord, I bring my whole self to You right now.  I want to trade my weakness for Your strength, my weariness for Your energy.  I want to trade my anxiety for Your perfect peace, my chaos for Your calm confidence.

And on day, when I breathe my last breath in this world, I ask You to take me safely to heaven, where You’ll have a home waiting for me. 

I pray this in Your name, Amen. 



April 10, 2020

Join us for CVC this Easter Sunday! Watch us on the website at clcsouthwick.org, or on our Facebook page starting at 8:00 am. Interact live with Pastor Jeff and all your church family all morning long!


Prayer for Troubled Times

Dear Jesus,

 

These are difficult days.  We are in uncharted waters.  The good news is: We’re in the boat with you.  We may be in uncharted waters.  There may be dark clouds overhead.  The wind might be against us.  But we’re in the boat with you.  And, so, we’re not going to sink. 

 

Lord Jesus, I ask You to stretch out Your tender hand and just place it on the shoulder of anyone who needs reassurance.  May they feel Your presence in the storm, your nearness, in an almost tangible way.  Lord Jesus, may they feel You say these words, deep inside their heart, “Peace.  Be still.  My peace I give to you.  I will never abandon you; I will never forsake you.”

 

Now, everybody, think about your own prayer needs … What do you need in your life the most right now? …

 

Lord Jesus, make that – that very thing – come true for them.  Provide for them.  Meet their needs.  Strengthen them.  Calm their uncertainties.  

 

We pray in the Name of the Lord of Love, Amen. 



March 3, 2020

CHURCH EVENTS
 
Acoustic Café Nights At the Daily Grind 3/20 3/27
Secret Sister Final Day 3/22  
Palm Sunday 4/5
Maundy Thursday 4/9
Good Friday 4/10
Easter Sunday 4/12
 
 Wednesday Evening Bible Study
New topic this month—we will focus on Prayer. The group meets every other Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. at the Daily Grind beginning March 4. We all participate in the study and have open discussions about what we read. We welcome everyone who wants to learn or share their knowledge. (Facilitated by Lisa Lemon.)
 

Easter Decorators Join us Saturday, April 11 from 10:00-2:00. We’ll decorate the church for Easter Sunday!  Please contact Kathy Elias with any questions at 569-5151, ext. 15.