Devoting Ourselves

Rev. Cliff WarnerCliffNotes, Communications, Coronavirus

Dear Christ Church,

I’m really excited about our DEVOTED focus this fall.

DE·VO·TED . . . pronounced /dəˈvōdəd/

It’s a word we use in the church to talk about the intentions and affections of our heart toward the Lord. Its cousins, “devotions” and “devotional,” refer to daily time with the Lord. The root of the word is “vow,” the love language of promise. To be devoted to the Lord is to open our hearts, naked and fearless, to be touched by the heart of God. To be devoted is to be forever tilted Godward with a loyal love.

Acts 2:42 declares that the first church, “DEVOTED themselves to the apostles teaching and to . . .” and what follows is a beautiful charter for the church, laying out the foundations, purposes, and ultimate affection of God’s people. This is our fall focus at Christ Church. We are fortifying the foundations and setting our affections on our first love. If you missed last week’s introduction in CliffNotes, you can catch up here.

This week, I invite you to action. Step in with us, and invite a friend. Here’s how:

Sermon Series. From now until Advent we will spend eleven Sundays on topics from Acts 2:42-47 that will guide us in our devotion to Jesus.

Small Groups. Every small group at Christ Church will discuss and be shaped by the ancient summary of biblical devotion, the Apostles’ Creed.

Classes. Sign up here for one of the following classes to become a more fully devoted follower of Jesus: [1] a 6-week class on “The Apostles’ Creed: A Guide to the Ancient Catechism” (the same material small groups will use.) beginning September 22; [2] the Alpha Course, which explores questions of faith and meaning, especially geared toward those who are seeking or new to the faith, beginning September 20; [3] Devotional Streams, which looks at different Christian movements and formational pathways throughout the history of the church, based on Richard Foster’s A Spiritual Formation Workbook, beginning September 21; and [4] Gospel-Centered Parenting, which will equip parents for the formation of our children.

Weekly Devotional Guide. Right here you’ll find a weekly guide combining Word and Prayer to track with the theme each week of our DEVOTED series. Set an alarm on your phone to visit this online guide a few times each week, perhaps M/W/F to read scripture and pray in sync with each other.

I believe that, by the power of the living God, something special can happen in our parish this fall despite the obstacles we face during this pandemic. I am praying for us to grow more deep and wide as a God-glorifying group of disciples with an infectious love for Jesus, because we have received his beautiful mercies.

On this anniversary of 9/11, join me in this prayer for our nation.

Hopefully Devoted,
Cliff+

P.S. One last thing . . . Be sure to check out ways that we can PRACTICALLY love our neighbors in the Medina St. neighborhood. See below!

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Christ Church, I’m excited to share this story with you of one way we have been able to partner with a neighborhood school to offer assistance to some families in need. When we heard that AISD was doing the first four weeks of school online, we wondered if that meant that some families with working parents were going to struggle to replace the built-in childcare that the normal school day provides, and we reached out to a couple of our neighborhood schools through their Communities in Schools program directors to see if there was a way we could help. Indeed, we found that at Blackshear Elementary there were five families that were going to have a tough time until the school buildings opened. We were delighted to be able to scholarship these kids to the YMCA’s Full Day Child Care program for these first four weeks, where they will be given support for participating in their own school’s online classes.

We were able to cover the program fee, and the families have carpooled together to provide transportation. There is one more piece of the puzzle with which you can help: In order to provide lunch for the kids each day (M–F) for the next three weeks, we need people to pick up the AISD-provided lunches for these kids from McCallum High School around 10:30am and deliver them to Ridgetop Elementary (where the YMCA program is taking place, an 8-minute drive). The folks who have done this for the first few days of school have said that it is well-organized, takes about 20–30 minutes total, and does not require a large vehicle (the lunches all fit into about 3 brown grocery bags). If you would like to help, see more details and signup here.

–Wes Crawford