The Images Of UNITED 2014

Thank you to Lori Oxford for capturing these great moments for us at UNITED 2014! She has more pictures available on her Facebook page.

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The Strength & The Story In Unity

If you missed our combined UNITED service, here is a recap of Pastor Craig’s message, as he posted it on his blog.

© Lori Oxford Photography

© Lori Oxford Photography

Yesterday I had the honor of speaking at our annual United service in Cedar Springs. I shared something I noticed about the New Testament church: These Christians spent a lot of time together, and that togetherness became a source of strength and told a story to the those watching the Christians.

In passages like Acts 2:42-47 and Acts 4:32-35, we see Christians not only worshiping together, but actively involved in living out their faith. Luke, the writer of the Book of Acts, captures something that Eugene Peterson would summarize this way—

“Christians are a community of people who are visible together at worship but who remain in relationship through the week in witness and service.” 

This was not just Christians helping Christians, but Christians helping all the people in their communities. It was Christians who formed the first:

  • Blind asylums
  • Medical dispensaries
  • Hospitals
  • Orphanages
  • Elderly care home
  • Feeding programs for the poor

And this caught the notice of everyone. Aristides wrote to Emperor Hadrian about the Christians—

“They help those who offend them, making friends of them; do good to their enemies. They don’t adore idols; they are kind, good, modest, sincere, they love one another; don’t despise widows; protect the orphans; those who have much give without grumbling to those in need. When they meet strangers, they invite them to their homes with joy, for they recognize them as true brothers…. When a poor man dies, if they become aware, they contribute according to their means for his funeral; if they come to know that some people are persecuted or sent to prison or condemned for the sake of Christ’s name, they put their alms together and send them to those in need. If they can do it, they try to obtain their release. When a slave or a beggar is in need of help, they fast two or three days, and give him the food they had prepared for themselves, because they think that he too should be joyful….”

The Apostle Paul challenges followers of Jesus to constantly be growing in the outward demonstrations of our faith: to live our lives worthy of God’s calling, to get along with others, and to be making every effort to keep the bond on unity (see Ephesians 4:1-3).

With this in mind I have to ask myself: Am I doing this in my home town? Is there a strength and a story of Christ’s love that is told in my unity with other Christians? Am I helping to address the needs in Cedar Springs? What are people saying about Jesus because of my unity and service with other Christians?

TOMORROW!!

united5.pngIt’s finally here!

Here is your checklist:

  • Get a good night’s rest.
  • Bring your Bible, a lawn chair, and a friend.
  • Get to Morley Park early to find a good seat (the service starts at 11am).
  • Sit with some other folks from Cedar Springs that you haven’t met before.
  • Smile!
  • Join the worship team in singing out your praises to God.
  • Take good notes during the encouraging message.
  • Stick around for the free lunch and games for the kids after the service.
  • Keep the feelings of unity going all year long!
  • Mark Sunday, August 23, 2015 on your calendar … that’s when UNITED will happen next year!

All Nations UNITED

The picture the Bible gives us of Heaven is a symphony of continual worship of saints around God’s throne. We are told that those saints come from every tribe, language, and race around the planet.

Those saints’ singular focus is God’s glory. There is absolutely no mention of creed or denomination or liturgy.

Commenting on this, 18th-century theologian Matthew Henry wrote:

Matthew Henry“All true believers wholly ascribe their redemption and conversion, their present privileges and future hopes, to the eternal and holy God. Thus rise the forever harmonious, thankful songs of the redeemed in heaven. Would we on earth do like them, let our praises be constant, not interrupted; UNITED, not divided; thankful, not cold and formal; humble, not self-confidant.”

Please join us at UNTIED next Sunday, August 24, as we join with the saints around God’s throne in our singularly-focused worship.

The Devils Are United

The 19th-century pastor Charles Spurgeon might step on your toes with this one:

C.H. Spurgeon“The devils are UNITED as one man in their infamous rebellion, while we believers in Jesus are divided in our service of God, and scarcely ever work with unanimity.”

UNITED is our opportunity to take step forward in our desire to be unified in our service of God. We want Cedar Springs to see the joy and fulfillment and effectiveness that comes from Christians from all denominations being united in worship and purpose.

Please come join us for our annual UNITED service on August 24 at 11am.

The Strength Of UNITED

“When brothers and sisters in Christ UNITE in the common bond of the Word of God and prayer, they are strengthened in their faith and witness.” —Billy Graham

Join us Sunday, August 24, as the churches in Cedar Springs UNITE in worship, the study of God’s Word, and fellowship. Our UNITED worship service begins at 11am Sunday morning in Morley Park.

UNITED Prayer

Over 100 years ago, South African pastor Andrew Murray penned these words which still ring true today—

Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray

UNITED prayer is a great privilege, and its power waits to be experienced. … if friends believed how effective two or three praying in concert could be; if in every prayer meeting faith in His presence and expectation of an answer were foremost; if in every church united prayer was regarded as one of the chief purposes for which Christians come together—the highest exercise of their power as a church; if in the church universal the coming of the kingdom, and the King himself, first in the mighty outpouring of His Holy Spirit, and then in His own glorious person, were matters of ceaseless pleading with God, who could predict what blessing might come through those who agree to prove God’s promises?

In Cedar Springs, we want to see the blessings that God will pour out on our community when “the church universal” unites in prayer.

Please join us for UNITED on Sunday, August 24, at 11am.