Happy United

It was a great day in Cedar Springs Morely Park yesterday! Churches from across the city came together at our annual UNITED service to celebrate Jesus Christ.

Here are a few pictures from Lori Oxford (if you’d like to see more, click here to go to Lori’s Facebook page)—

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Mark August 31, 2014, on your calendar for next year’s UNITED service.

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 24, 2014 on your calendar … that’s when UNITED will happen next year!

Nice To Meet You!

This is article, by Craig T. Owens, a pastor in Cedar Springs, appears in the Cedar Springs Post this week —

Here’s my submission for the most obvious statement of the year: It’s a lot nicer being with people you get along with than it is being alone or with disagreeable people.

Probably not much to argue about that statement, right?

So if that’s true, why are so many people lonely? Why do the number of people calling themselves “alone” and “unhappy with life” continue to rise year after year?

Smiling facesPart of the problem is that we’ve gotten rid of so many places where we used to meet others, and we’ve replaced face-to-face time with screen time. We watch others’ victories on TV, we admire others’ vacations on Facebook, he laugh at others’ jokes on Twitter, and we live others’ lives at the movie theater.

C.S. Lewis said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one!’” But this requires us spending time with a potential friend.

Albert Camus observed that a friend is one who can sing your song to you when you’ve forgotten the words. But this means spending lots of time “singing your song” with your friend.

In the Bible we read, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1). That’s the theme for this year’s UNITED service. UNITED is a huge church service in Morley Park where all of our churches come together, face-to-face, and celebrate God and the friendships He has given us. It’s a place where you can sing side-by-side with other Cedar Springs friends.

Won’t you join us this Sunday, August 25, at 11am? Perhaps you’ll meet a new friend, or deepen a relationship with a current friend. Someone is waiting for you to step into their life, and I’ll bet someone wants to step into your life too! Don’t rob yourself or your friend of a chance to banish loneliness!

Unity Brings God’s Blessing

Jesus told His followers that everyone would be able to tell that they were His followers by the way they loved each other.

Not the way they preached.

Not the way they “did church.”

Not by the songs they sung.

Not by how much money they gave away.

Heart on BlackBut by their love.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

One Bible scholar, commenting on this passage, wrote—

“One of the reasons why God cannot bless us is the lack of love in the church. When the body is divided, strength is diminished. Only when believers stand as one body—one before God in the fellowship of love one toward another, one before the world in the love that the world can see—will they secure the blessing they seek from God.” —Andrew Murray

By being a part of UNITED, you will send a message to Cedar Springs about how powerful the love of God is. And you will also “secure the blessing” we all seek from God.

Join us THIS SUNDAY, August 25, at 11am in Morley Park.

All Nations

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.” (emphasis added)

Please join us at UNTIED on August 25 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 25 at 11am.

Red Blood Cells

The Bible talks about the Church in terms of a human body. Each part of the body, the Apostle Paul writes, is necessary for the whole body to be healthy (see 1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

It’s easy to understand that with some of the obvious parts, like an arm, or the brain, or the stomach. But what about some of the less obvious parts of the body. What about a lower level of pyruvate kinase?

red blood cellsPyruvate kinase is an enzyme which is involved in the final stage of the production of red blood cells. Without this enzyme, the red blood cells don’t have as much energy, and they end up falling apart while trying to carry life-giving oxygen throughout the body. This results in a condition called anemia, where the human body simply runs out of energy while trying to do even the simplest of tasks.

On the spiritual level, it’s possible for the Church to be anemic.

Unless every member of the Body of Christ is doing his or her part—even if it’s something as obscure and unseen as being the spiritual pyruvate kinase enzyme—the whole Church can be robbed of the energy it needs to carry out its mission.

Our theme for UNITED this year says, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1). Indeed, it’s not only good and pleasant, it’s healthy  when all of God’s people are doing their part in the Body of Christ.

Please join us on August 25 for UNITED.