Author: Allan (page 2 of 334)

Missions Sunday Videos

The Lord blessed us with a really fabulous Sunday at Central. Not only did he provide more than $396,000 through our generous church family for local and foreign missions, he filled us with a true sense of his great faithfulness through the Grand Opening of our grand opening. You’ll find here the two videos we showed to our church on Sunday. The first one is the Revelation 7 reading by our local and foreign missions partners, speaking from different contexts in different languages, all wearing white. The second is the time-lapse of our construction project.

The New Order

“The old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”  ~Revelation 21:4-5

The last two chapters of Revelation contain very familiar descriptions of heaven. These are the phrases that make it into our church songs and our popular lexicon: streets of gold, pearly gates, book of life, river of life, crystal sea, no tears.

There are some descriptions of the City of the Lamb in these verses that are not as familiar. Some of the descriptions are even surprising: coming down out of heaven to earth, the bride, Jerusalem, gates never shut.

These final two chapters show us where all things are headed. We see the ultimate fulfillment of all God’s goals. We get a picture of the finish line. And my favorite phrase is about the old order of things passing away and the new order being eternally established by our victorious Lord.

The old order — the broken way that things run in this world. Sin and death, power and threat, violence and division and strife — that’s the old order of things. That’s the way the world works. We know that’s how it works. But God says I am making everything new!

The old order is grief and loss and heartache and tears; the new order is no more death or mourning or crying or pain!

The old order is wealth and power and poverty and despair; the new order is access to the springs of life without cost — God’s everlasting blessings are free!

Right now the world operates by division and exclusion, racism and discrimination; the City of the Lamb has gates on every side and they’re never shut; it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re coming from, men and women from every tribe and language and people and nation are welcome; everybody’s invited, nobody’s left out, and the doors are always open!

Today we live under constant threat and fear and dread and anxiety; but nothing impure will ever enter the City of the Lamb — no bad people, no night, nothing to be afraid of!

Today we’re all impacted in some way by sickness, disease, and disabilities; tomorrow we all drink freely from the water of eternal life and the tree of life heals us and all the nations!

The old order is isolation and loneliness, separation from God and distance from each other because of our sins and failures and brokenness and guilt; in the beautiful City of the Lamb we will  see his face; his name will be on our heads; God will live with us; we will be his people and God himself will be with us and be our God; and we will reign in perfect love and joy and peace for ever and ever! Amen!

Peace,

Allan

$396,890 and Counting

“My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen!” ~Philippians 4:19-20

We are still riding the wave of Spirit energy and enthusiasm generated by our God’s actions with his people on Missions Sunday yesterday here at Central:

~ $396,890 was generously given to fund our local and foreign missions budget for 2020, far surpassing our set goal of $360,000

~ Amber, Tamara, and Craeceola publicly confessed Jesus as Lord and put him on in baptism

~ Jared Odhiambo, all the way from the Alara village in Kenya, inspired us with his powerful testimony and godly vision

~ Stephanie Goins and Robyn Terrill, from Downtown Women’s Center, honored us with their gracious words

~ The new west entrance, the play space, the coffee bar, Guest Central, and the Central Commons were unveiled to great acclaim with an open house and reception

All of this Sunday morning at Central — proof that our God is working in and through his people for the sake of his Kingdom; testimony to our Lord’s faithfulness to his salvation plans; evidence that the old has gone and the new has come!

As blessings pile on top of blessings, we are increasingly convinced that our Father is keeping his covenant promises to Central and to all of his creation. May he be glorified and may his Son be exalted for ever and ever. Amen!

Peace,

Allan

Um… Snowpocalypse?

There is not supposed to be snow on the Halloween decorations.

Um… It’s October 24

The Dallas Mavericks won their season opener for the first time in forever?
Our construction project at Central is finally finished?
Mary McNeill went 24 hours without eating?
Bernie Sanders unveiled a plan to legalize marijuana nationwide?
The baseball team in Washington DC is winning the World Series?
Adam Gray’s beard now makes sense?

Sorry. Just trying to figure out why it’s SNOWING on October 24!!!

Fasting for the Lamb

Today is our annual Day of Prayer and Fasting at Central in preparation for our Missions Sunday October 27. Our whole congregation abstains from food on this day in order to — all of us together — focus our minds and our bodies on God’s mission for his world and our roles in that mission. Our hope is that we will find a deeper connection to our God today, that we’ll become more aware of and focused on his great mission in the world and our roles in it, and that we’ll be refreshed to enter into that calling with renewed energy and a deeper faith.

Our chapel is set up today with prayer stations and prayer guides to help. I love praying in our chapel on this day. The images of our foreign missionaries and our local missions partners fade on and off the screen — these people we love so much, who have offered their very lives in service to our Lord and his Kingdom. The Scriptures on the screen remind us that our God is reconciling and restoring all of creation and we’re somehow privileged to be in on it with him. The chapel feels extra sacred today as folks quietly come and go.

When our stomachs growl today, we’ll be reminded that we are “Living for the Lamb.” When we say “no” to lunch and  snacks throughout the day, we’ll be saying “yes” to bringing our selfish desires in conformity with our Lord who came not to be served, but to serve. And when we break the fast as a church family tonight with a congregational dinner, we’ll be reminded that we’re all in this together.

Peace,

Allan

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