November 30, 2009

Something Big Is Coming (message resources 29 Nov)

Posted in MCC resources at 3:50 PM by alexlozada

As prelude to MCC’s upcoming “Fear Not!”, Ben spoke about “Something Big Is Coming.” Message notes and small group study guide – which credits this  Christianity Today 2012 movie review w/ discussion questions (good resource for small groups). In the message, Ben mentioned Herod’s Temple, this wikipedia article includes the pic Ben used, along with other engineering marvels.

November 24, 2009

Persecuted Christians

Posted in cross cultural mission at 10:33 PM by alexlozada

One of my favorite bloggers, Seldom Wrong Never In Doubt, posts his comment on a Wall Street Journal article on the unregistered churches thriving in spite of religious persecution in China. During the holidays, I sometimes read emails from a Bible college friend from years gone by who is a (covert) missionary teaching  English as a foreign language in China. The militantly atheist Communist government allows Westerners to come to China to teach English because its the language of international commerce and technology. My friend even uses passages from the Bible as language translation exercises in the classroom, but for safety’s sake her emails must always “code” her references to the faith we share. I enjoy her brilliant creativity in finding ways to pass along prayer requests and praises in phrases that a Communist censor can’t decipher. When I’m tempted to take for granted not just the material blessing but the freedom to worship that American Christian enjoy, I try to remember my brothers and sisters in chains in China who have so much in common with the Pilgrims of the First Thanksgiving, and with the early Christians.

November 22, 2009

Thanks-living (22 Nov message resources)

Posted in better disciples at 7:02 PM by alexlozada

Today’s notes cover both the message and worship because the music, Bible reading, and prayer tightly integrate with the theme of thanking God with our whole lives. I’m guessing most small groups don’t meet this week, but just in case, here’s a brief study guide.

This is the official YouTube video from Gateway Worship of song MCC used in worship today, “New Doxology.”

November 17, 2009

Untouchables: Homosexuality (message resources)

Posted in better disciples at 4:22 PM by alexlozada

Ben Cachiaras and Ethan Magness closed MCC’s Untouchables series with a dialogue message on Homosexuality. Because my family and I were away (enjoying the Eastern Christian Convention in Hershey, PA), I downloaded the message, then listened and typed some notes to accompany the small group study guide.

November 11, 2009

Remembering Heroes

Posted in better disciples at 6:22 AM by alexlozada

Today is Veteran’s Day, and I’m remembering a powerfully moving ESPN article from the week of the World Series about National Guardsman,  NYPD officer,  Yankee fan, and hero Deon Taylor. Veterans Day posterMy Maryland friends often tease me about obnoxious Yankee fans, but I think they’d agree that veteran Taylor would have been one they wouldn’t have minded sitting with at the new Yankee Stadium or Camden Yards. Sadly, we’ll never have that opportunity.

The article mentioned the Wounded Warrior Project. Though I don’t know the director of Christian Military Fellowship personally, I did attend Cincinnati Christian University with his son – this CMF (different from Christian Missionary Fellowship, one of the missions MCC supports directly). For a perspective on ministry from within the armed forces, Christian Standard’s Brady Dupray interviewed Colonel Gene “Chip” Fowler about his experiences and insights as a chaplain.

November 8, 2009

Untouchables: Suffering (message resources)

Posted in better disciples at 4:29 PM by alexlozada

Ben Cachiaras continued MCC’s  series Untouchables (topics the church doesn’t want to touch) with today’s message “Suffering.” This link is for either mp3 audio download or livestream. For small groups, you can download a study guide and/or message notes. Ben mentioned the story of Christian musician Steven Curtis Chapman and the tragic death of his daughter Maria. Here’s a Christianity Today interview w/ him in which he shares about his family’s suffering and recovery.

Here is a video of the song “I Will Rise” from today’s special music during Communion.

November 7, 2009

Three Flavors of Celebration

Posted in culture, NYC, personal at 11:37 AM by alexlozada

Heather & I celebrated the 80th birthday of a MCC friend last night – certainly the largest (by attendance) birthday party I’ve ever attended 🙂 Among the many humorous and touching tributes to a woman of God who has blessed many around her, MCC’s senior pastor Ben Cachiaras closed the evening with a blessing to her in the form of the Apostle Paul’s prayer from Ephesians 3:14-21.

Earlier yesterday, at a slightly larger gathering 150 miles north Yankee fans celebrated the team’s World Series victory with a parade. Though I’m an avid Yankees fan, I didn’t make any of the 1996, 1998-2000 parades; I think I’ll reserve my crushed-in-a-sea-of-millions NY experience for one of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades 🙂

Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi celebrated victory in a very different way, by helping a stranded motorist on the Cross County Parkway – I’ve driven the Cross County and he’s compassionate & brave, even if not quite to the degree of another traveler who stopped to help someone he didn’t know. I remember following him from his first days as a Yankee, including my joy at learning more about Girardi’s strong but not overly-confrontational faith.

November 1, 2009

Untouchables: Poverty (message resources)

Posted in better disciples at 7:25 PM by alexlozada

MCC’s Pastor for Community Outreach (and soon to be campus pastor for our March 2010 Bel Air campus) Luke Erickson spoke this on “Poverty” – part two in our Untouchables series used.  Mountain small groups (or other interested individuals) can download a rough draft of small group study guide and the message notes I wrote while listening.

I’ve also uploaded a copy of the information sheet Luke referenced that lists “next step” opportunities to help the poor, either locally or globally. Luke mentioned the book Same Kind of Different As Me, which I wrote about earlier in the year.