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Ash Wednesday starts in two weeks, Wednesday, March 6th. Please use this lenten devotional to prepare your hearts and meditate on the life and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, before we celebrate the resurrection of Easter. This portion is found in the Seasons liturgical calendar we sent out a while back. 

Sunday Recap for February 17, 2019:
Real Faith Works

Mission Highlight: Every week we focus on a region where we can be intentional in bringing the gospel to the community we live in. We often highlight the different parts of San Francisco and  the  neighbors we are called to love and serve. Thank you Christina for sharing about your community, District 1.

District 1 starts right in this area where our church is and goes all the way down Geary to the ocean and includes the Golden Gate Park, The population facts that I am about to read include the diverse families, working singles, and students of the nearby USF and UCSF campuses- but they do not include the homeless population living throughout the par. However they are definitely a part of the community as it is not uncommon to see regulars make themselves at home on the streets.  
  • Population is 50% white 40% Asian
  • 50% of the homes are family households
  • 56% speak English in the home, 30% Asian languages, 9% European 5% Spanish
  • 22% have some high school education, %23 some college education, 34% have college degree 21% have a graduate degree
Christina shared about living just a few blocks away from church where we had the gas explosion fire last week.  Fortunately no one was hurt and damage was minimal, but it was a blessing to see how the community came together to help each other out.  Emails and messages were going across neighborhood forums on how to help the restaurant that burned down as well as the occupants of the houses that were damaged.  Among them, she knew believers who were intentional in their love and concern for the community but so many more were helpers that she did not know personally. Her heart was challenged to understand that God uses these times of crisis for His people to come out and meet others in their needs and take every opportunity to share the gospel of Christ. My hope is that we all who make up Christ church as the Christian neighbors here, would be known to the community as the first responders for people in times of spiritual and physical need.

Then Christina prayed for the people of District 1, including Outer Circle, which serves people living in the park, taken over by our sister church Citizens. Let's continue to get to know, pray for, love, and serve our city and our neighbors for Jesus!
This Week's Sermon: “Real Faith Works" (James 2:14-20, 26)

There is a distinction in James between real faith and false faith. Listen to see how real faith works in obedience to Christ.

Main: Real Faith... Works.

Sermon Slides / This sermon series: The Way of St. James
-If you haven't already, please take the anonymous Christ Church survey in the cafeteria after service. We will have some iPads and laptops available, or you can just sit with some snacks provided on your phone. It's a way for our leaders to get an honest snapshot of our church to help us grow spiritually. 

-Next Sunday, February 24th, will be our first Theology Uncorked, where we will meet at The Plough and the Stars at 5pm. 

-The Spain Mission Trip will be at the end of June this year. We will have an information session on Sunday, March 3rd at 5pm at the Jantz residence (an email should have gone out). We would like the team to be finalized on 3/17, so please come to find out more. Here is the form if you missed it. 
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In case you missed Mission and Vision Sunday on January 20th, the recordings and brief summaries are up here. Please have a listen to them if you missed it!

Sunday Recap for February 10, 2019:
Love Without Prejudice

Mission Highlight: We have accepted the invitation to lead an English Camp in Spain, and it will take place from Monday, June 24 to Friday, June 28, with a couple days before and after for travel. The base cost will be $1,500, but please don’t let cost deter you, as fundraising at our church has been very effective. We would like to present the team before the congregation on March 17th, and so have a team set in about a month. An email will go out with interest forms.

Most Spaniards are agnostic; many are atheist. Evangelical Christians make up less than half of one percent of the population. It is no surprise most Spanish Evangelical churches are few, very small and struggling to survive. In Spain, Protestant churches are seen as weird cults that are not to be trusted. An English camp is an effective way for the church to reach out to the local community and fight some of these misgivings against Evangelical churches.  By offering something the locals want, English instruction, for extremely cheap at high quality, without the bait and switch, helps the community get to know the church and for the church to get to know them.  By merely having the neighbors inside church walls and witness that we Christians are normal and friendly, is a huge help to the local church and their mission there.  After we leave, the church then continues to build on the reputation and relationships that we helped them start or deepen.
 
In the months leading up to the trip, we will prepare our hearts and minds for the work, and also prepare all the curriculum, materials, and visual aids. Together with Steven, we are still deciding whether to do another English camp geared to children in Vilafranca or an English camp for a wide range of ages in Barcelona. If we do the one for children, we can re-use some of the curriculum from last time, but it could definitely benefit from some improving. If you have any experience in teaching English language learners, please contact us!
 
It will be a great opportunity to help the church in Spain reach their neighbors, because it is extremely difficult to do so there, to be connected with the missionaries we support and the other missionaries we get to meet there, to encourage Christians in Spain, to be aware of God's global kingdom, and deepening relationships with other team members from our church.

Then we prayed for God to raise up a team from our congregation and to equip, unify, and prepare us and the church in Spain, so that Jesus might be known to be God. Let's continue to pray for and the team and ask God if we are being called to go. 
Question #6: How can we glorify God?
 
Answer: We glorify God by enjoying him, loving him, trusting him, and by obeying his will, commands, and law.
This Week's Sermon: “Love Without Prejudice" (James 2:1-13)


“Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial ‘outside agitator’ idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.”
 
       — Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, 1963
 
Main: Prejudice is incompatible with faith. Jesus is the only way forward.

Sermon Slides / Sermon Application Questions
This sermon series: The Way of St. James
Don't Forget!
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  • Youth Group Discussions every Sunday after service, 12:00 - 12:30pm Older youth welcome and encouraged to join us in the "Chill out" section of the Cafeteria!
Have any questions, comments, thoughts to share? Please email us!
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In case you missed Mission and Vision Sunday on January 20th, the recordings and brief summaries are up here. Please have a listen to them if you missed it!

Sunday Recap for February 10, 2019:
Love Without Prejudice

Mission Highlight: We have accepted the invitation to lead an English Camp in Spain, and it will take place from Monday, June 24 to Friday, June 28, with a couple days before and after for travel. The base cost will be $1,500, but please don’t let cost deter you, as fundraising at our church has been very effective. We would like to present the team before the congregation on March 17th, and so have a team set in about a month. An email will go out with interest forms.

Most Spaniards are agnostic; many are atheist. Evangelical Christians make up less than half of one percent of the population. It is no surprise most Spanish Evangelical churches are few, very small and struggling to survive. In Spain, Protestant churches are seen as weird cults that are not to be trusted. An English camp is an effective way for the church to reach out to the local community and fight some of these misgivings against Evangelical churches.  By offering something the locals want, English instruction, for extremely cheap at high quality, without the bait and switch, helps the community get to know the church and for the church to get to know them.  By merely having the neighbors inside church walls and witness that we Christians are normal and friendly, is a huge help to the local church and their mission there.  After we leave, the church then continues to build on the reputation and relationships that we helped them start or deepen.
 
In the months leading up to the trip, we will prepare our hearts and minds for the work, and also prepare all the curriculum, materials, and visual aids. Together with Steven, we are still deciding whether to do another English camp geared to children in Vilafranca or an English camp for a wide range of ages in Barcelona. If we do the one for children, we can re-use some of the curriculum from last time, but it could definitely benefit from some improving. If you have any experience in teaching English language learners, please contact us!
 
It will be a great opportunity to help the church in Spain reach their neighbors, because it is extremely difficult to do so there, to be connected with the missionaries we support and the other missionaries we get to meet there, to encourage Christians in Spain, to be aware of God's global kingdom, and deepening relationships with other team members from our church.

Then we prayed for God to raise up a team from our congregation and to equip, unify, and prepare us and the church in Spain, so that Jesus might be known to be God. Let's continue to pray for and the team and ask God if we are being called to go. 
Question #6: How can we glorify God?
 
Answer: We glorify God by enjoying him, loving him, trusting him, and by obeying his will, commands, and law.
This Week's Sermon: “Love Without Prejudice" (James 2:1-13)


“Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial ‘outside agitator’ idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.”
 
       — Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, 1963
 
Main: Prejudice is incompatible with faith. Jesus is the only way forward.

Sermon Slides / Sermon Application Questions
This sermon series: The Way of St. James
Don't Forget!
  • Sign up for the online newsletter! You can go to christchurchsf.org/#newsletter!
  • Youth Group Discussions every Sunday after service, 12:00 - 12:30pm Older youth welcome and encouraged to join us in the "Chill out" section of the Cafeteria!
Have any questions, comments, thoughts to share? Please email us!
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Sunday Recap for February 3, 2019:
A Pilgrim's Identity

Mission Highlight: This Sunday, we dedicated Saul, Juni, Mia, and Theo to be raised in the Lord. The primary purpose of this baby dedication ceremony is to pray for our parents and children and to publicly remind each other of the responsibility and privilege that we have as parents and as a church community to minister the love of Christ to the children in our midst. It is our prayer that every one of our children will understand that they are image bearers of God, created for relationship with God, and that no amount of brokenness and sin can keep them from the love of God which is in Jesus Christ.

We want to teach, remind, and show our children that Christ loves them so much that he laid his life down for them. We want them to understand that there is power in the forgiveness, redemption and renewal we have in Christ. That their identity is not what the surrounding culture tells them it is. That their identity is secure in Christ and that God has a claim on their lives. That the greatest thing they could ever hope for or need in life is the unconditional love of their Heavenly Father. We want them to know that they are dearly loved by their parents, families, and church family. We want them to put their trust in Christ and live for him. That is what this baby dedication ceremony is about. As the Psalmist reminds us, “Children are a gift from God.” What a blessing it is to have so many gifts from God to pray for today.

The parents affirmed their desires that with the aid of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, that they would raise their children to know Jesus, to depend on grace, to prioritize God's kingdom and strengthening the faith of the family, and as parents to reflect the love of our Heavenly Father. The congregation affirmed our desire that with the aid of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we would serve, pray for, support and encourage them in this. Praise God for these children, and may God be with us!

This Week's Sermon: “A Pilgrim's Identity" (James 1:19-27)
 

“One of God’s most celebrated characteristics in the Old Testament is his particular concern for those who are most helpless. Moreover, because he shows that kind of concern, he expects his people to do the same. In Deuteronomy 10:18-19, Moses says, ‘He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.’ And that description of God is followed immediately by this command: ‘Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.’ The point is simple but crucial: The people of God should be like God.”
   — Greg Gilbert, James: Knowing the Bible
 
Main Idea: Let Jesus shape you.

Sermon Slides / Sermon Application Questions
This sermon series: The Way of St. James

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  • Youth Group Discussions every Sunday after service, 12:00 - 12:30pm Older youth welcome and encouraged to join us in the "Chill out" section of the Cafeteria!
Have any questions, comments, thoughts to share? Please email us!
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Sunday Recap for January 27, 2019:
Don't Be Deceived

Mission Highlight: Thank you John Hawkins for sharing the Mission Highlight about Leadership Edge. He shared about how Christ kept things simple and as he left, his last words were the Great Commission, including the command to teach others to observe his commandments. Leadership Edge is a 25-year-old nonprofit designed to equip our church in their spheres of influence to lead others, to train mentors, to live God-honoring lives. 

They have equipped 400 people to live out personal vision statement with operations across country and volunteers in Dallas, Durham, and San Francisco. They train mentors through live web based training, read through seven training modules, and then meet as a community online for four 75-minute sessions. Carter, a member and elder candidate at our church, did it a few years ago and connected them to Christ Church.

The Great Commission isn’t just for older Christians or Christians that have been Christians for a long time, but for every Christian. Leadership Edge helps us to better "teach them to observe all I’ve commanded you." There will be a session in February, either on the four Wednesdays or four Saturdays, all free of charge and with no commitment to go through the training. John then thanked us for being Bible believing church, and that he thinks of us and prays for us. If you are interested in learning more about Leadership Edge or its upcoming session, you can email them or email us!
This Week's Sermon: “Don't Be Deceived" (James 1:9-18)
 

“Christian maturity is not indicated by the infrequency of temptation but by the infrequency of succumbing to temptation.”
  — Douglas Moo, The Letter of James
 
“To be human is to be animated and oriented by some vision of the good life, some picture of what we think counts as ‘flourishing.’ And we want that. We crave it. We desire it. This is why our most fundamental mode of orientation to the world is love. We are oriented by our longings, directed by our desires. We adopt ways of life that are indexed to such visions of the good life, not usually because we ‘think through’ our options but rather because some picture captures our imagination…”
  — James K.A. Smith, You Are What You Love
 
Main Idea: Ask God to shape your desires.

Sermon Slides / Sermon Application Questions
This sermon series: The Way of St. James

Don't Forget!
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Have any questions, comments, thoughts to share? Please email us!
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Sunday Recap for January 20, 2019:
The Pilgrim's Wisdom

This Week's Sermon: “The Pilgrim's Wisdom" (James 1:5-8)
 

“But James is not trying to encourage believers to stuff their doubts deep within and to drum up an emotional feeling of certainty, but to commit themselves. Faith for James is a single-minded commitment to God that trusts in God because God is God. Thus faith remains resting in God despite doubt and holds on through testing.”
 
      — Peter Davids, James: Understanding the Bible
 
“The only love that won’t disappoint you is one that can’t change, that can’t be lost, that is not based on the ups and downs of life or on how well you live. It is something that not even death can take away from you. God’s love is the only thing like that.”
 
    — Timothy Keller, Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering
 
Main Idea: You need wisdom.

Sermon Slides / Sermon Application Questions
This sermon series: The Way of St. James

Don't Forget!
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  • Youth Group Discussions every Sunday after service, 12:00 - 12:30pm Older youth welcome and encouraged to join us in the "Chill out" section of the Cafeteria!
Have any questions, comments, thoughts to share? Please email us!
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Sunday Recap for January 13, 2019:
The Way of St. James

Mission Highlight: This Sunday, we heard updates from our ministry partners in Spain--the Phillips family: Steve, Naime, Sebastian, Stephen, naime, and Sofia. Christ Church has been partnering with the Phillips family for eight years now, and two years ago, Christ Church sent a team of 13 people to help at a church they have been serving for 18 years in Vilassar de Mar. They serve in Catalunya, an autonomous community in Spain; an extremely beautiful place with delicious food and warm people. Traditionally, Spain has been a Roman Catholic country. Today however, it is one of the most secular countries in Europe. Most Spaniards are agnostic; many are atheist. Evangelical Christians make up less than half a percent of the population. It is no surprise most Spanish Evangelical churches are very small and struggling to survive. Few of these churches have solid preaching and teaching ministries. There is a great need for church revitalization and for planting new churches in unreached areas.
 
The church the Phillips served and we visited in Vilassar de Mar grew enough to be made up of the local community, and the Phillips family have now been sent to Good Shepherd Church in Barcelona. Steven’s words: “The Good Shepherd Church is a small but enthusiastic community of believers that seek to be the light in Barcelona. The congregation is made of people scattered throughout the city... What I love most about this call is that the opportunities for proclaiming the Gospel each Sunday are truly great. Since I have begun, not a Sunday has gone by without a visitor joining us and most of them not from an Evangelical background. My desire is to preach the gospel as clearly and compellingly as God enables and to pray for much fruit.

"Good Shepherd Church meets in a church building originally built to be a multi-faith chapel during the ‘92 Olympic Games. It now belongs to the Roman Catholic Church, but we are able to use it for our services and other activities for 50€ a month. It is a gift.  And because it is used for mass earlier on Sunday mornings, we regularly get visitors in our service thinking they are coming to mass.  This affords us a wonderful opportunity to preach the Gospel to people that would probably never visit an Evangelical Church. 

"We definitely have challenges as well as opportunities.  Our family does not live in Barcelona, so I need to come up with creative ways for us to cultivate a shared life as well as to engage in mission.  We are also very small in number right now.  Please pray for growth.  A bit like you guys, we meet in a large space which is a blessing, but we need to trust in the Lord to fill it. 

"One of the ministries I have launched is a Bible study method where we divide people into groups of 3-4, follow a reading plan, post our thoughts on a WhatsApp group, and meet up in person periodically. Currently we have two groups with a third starting next week. (The second picture shows a local non-believer Steve is doing Bible study with, whom he met from building human castles with, a Catalonian tradition)

"I am very thankful for the involvement and support of my family. My wife makes coffee & cake each week and welcomes newcomers.  Stephen helps me lead worship playing guitar & piano (not at same time).  And Sebastian regularly reads Scripture and is helping me launch a book club that will meet up once a month and help people cultivate a Christian mind. Sebas will be leading the discussions. 

Lastly, we want to thank Christ Church for partnering with us now for so many years.”

 
Please
email Steve if you would like to receive mission updates from the Phillips family. Also, Christ Church has been invited to lead another English camp this summer in Vilafranca, the city where the Phillips family now lives. Let's pray for wisdom and discernment if we are to answer the call, and if so, that God raise up people in the congregation to be sent.
 
Then we prayed for the Phillips family, Good Shepherd Church, and the people of Spain, as well as guidance on the English Camp and to live on mission here in the Bay.
Question #1: What is our only hope in life and death?
 
Answer: That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ.
Link to this Week's Sermon: “The Way of St. James" (James 1:1-4)
 

Pilgrim (parepidēmos) tells us we are people who spend our lives going someplace, going to God, and whose path for getting there is the way, Jesus Christ. We realize that ‘this world is not my home’ and set out for ‘the Father’s house.’…Jesus, answering Thomas’s question ‘Master, we have no idea where you’re going. How do you expect us to know the road?’ gives us directions: ‘I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me’ (Jn 14: 5-6).”
    — Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction
 
Main Idea: Life looks different with Jesus.

Sermon Slides / Sermon Application Questions
This sermon series: The Way of St. James

Don't Forget!
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Sunday Recap for January 6, 2019:
Revealing Glory

Mission Highlight: Thank you Steve for sharing about his district, District 11, and for leading us in prayer for it. Once a month, we share about different districts in San Francisco, because in order to love our city, we must know it. Here are some facts:
  • District 11 is the most populous district in San Francisco at over 85,000, on the southern border of SF with Daly City, and includes the neighborhoods of Excelsior, Ingleside, Oceanview, Merced Heights, Ingleside Heights, Mission Terrace, Outer Mission, Cayuga, and Crocker Amazon.
  • District 11 is estimated to be 50% Asian, 28% White, 28% Latinx, and 6% African American.
  • 47% of adults over 25 have a high school degree or less, and 20% of adults over 25 have graduated college. 
  • About 52% were born overseas, with 70% of households speaking languages other than English at home. 
  • However, District 11 has the highest rate of home ownership, with owner-occupied homes at 62%.
  • District 11 has the highest percentage of households with children--37%, over twice the city-wide average of 18%. 
  • However, due to many factors, there is much demographic change taking place in District 11, with older, established families decreasing and new people moving in.
Some of the churches established through District 11 are Daring Faith Celebration Center, Trinity Church, A Place to Meet Jesus, along with many other churches. Christ Church also has two Community Groups in District 11. 

Then Steve led us in prayer for District 11, for revival and renewal, and for people to desire truth and something more. We also prayed for the churches and schools in District 11. Let's continue to know, love, and serve our city as ambassadors of Christ. 
This Week's Sermon: “Revealing Glory" (Titus 2:11-14)


This Sunday, the Feast of Epiphany, Jeff preached about the revealing, or epiphany, of God's glory through the grace revealed through Christ, the grace revealed through us to the world, and the hope of grace to be revealed in the future. 
 

Sermon Slides / Sermon Application Questions
This sermon series: Stand Alone Sermons
-Mission and Vision Sunday: January 20th, 2019. Shorter service and lunch provided. We will be going over our Mission and Vision for 2019. We hope you can make it!
-Next Welcome Lunch: Sunday, January 27th after service. New to Christ Church? We'd love to treat you to lunch and get to know you and be known by you, answering any questions you might have. Please email April if you are interested!
-Save the Date: Women's Cookie Exchange: Saturday, February 9, 2019. We will be sending out an Evite, and if you are interested but not on our email list, please let us know!
Don't Forget!
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  • Youth Group Discussions every Sunday after service, 12:00 - 12:30pm Older youth welcome and encouraged to join us in the "Chill out" section of the Cafeteria!
Have any questions, comments, thoughts to share? Please email us!
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Sunday Recap for December 30, 2018:
Fit For Travel

Mission Highlight: Our Commissioning Prayers are a part of a series of our Mission Highlights where once a month, we pray for those working in a specific industry, recognizing that all followers of Jesus are sent wherever we go (John 20:21John 17:18), including the workplace.”

Thank you Jeremiah for sharing with us about the unique spiritual challenges and opportunities in the Entertainment, Sports, Media, and Advertising, specifically in marketing. He shared about the challenge of a job that can feel mercenary and make others discontent, or provide an escape from life. Due to the field's immersion in social media with its over-curated success stories, it is also tempting to feel inadequate or measure oneself against unrealistic standards. The hustle and burnout culture also pull one away from family and necessary rest. There is challenge to maintain honesty and integrity when promoting products if the organization does not act that way, and to endure the casual and presumptive slander against Christianity. 

Spiritual opportunities included using authority or visibility to show Christ's love and lead with compassion and integrity, to work with high-profile figures to have a positive influence on their brand, and also to have genuine connections with coworkers, many of whom do not meet many Christians, by listening without judgment. There is also the opportunity to everything to God's glory 1 Corinthians 10:31.

Then Jon-Paul prayed for all of those in this industry sending them out in Christ's name. Let's continue to meditate and act on the fact that we are sent out as God's representatives wherever we go, by his Spirit and grace.
Question #51: Of what advantage to us is Christ’s ascension?
 
Answer: Christ physically ascended on our behalf, just as he came down to earth physically on our account, and he is now advocating for us in the presence of his Father, preparing a place for us, and also sends us his Spirit.
This Week's Sermon: “Fit For Travel
(Psalm 51:1-12)

"David was not content just to get back on the road to God, he wanted to continue to travel the road with God...David desired something more than God's pardon. He desired inward renewal."

This sermon series: Stand Alone Sermons
Don't Forget!
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Sunday Recap for December 16, 2018:
The Pilgrim's Joy

“The world lies in the power of the evil one. The world does not recognize the light that shines in the darkness. It never did; it never will. But there are people who, in the midst of the world, live with the knowledge that he is alive and dwells within us, that he has overcome the power of death and opens the way to glory. Are there people who come together, who come around the table and do what he did, in memory of him? Are there people who keep telling each other the stories of hope and, together, go out to care for their fellow human beings, not pretending to solve all problems, but to bring a smile to a dying man and a little hope to a lonely child? It is so little, so unspectacular, yes, so hidden, this Eucharistic life, but it is like yeast, like a mustard seed, like a smile on a baby’s face. It is what keeps faith, hope, and love alive in a world that is constantly on the brink of self-destruction.” -Henri Nouwen
Mission Highlight: Former member Michelle and her husband Marc from Hands at Work (HAW) were visiting from Zambia. Thank you both for sharing a word from God with us. This year, they had the opportunity to travel to other countries HAW serves, including time together in Mcheneka with the Christ Church team. They expressed their gratitude for our love, support, and prayer, which enables them to do what they do there.

They wanted to share a central themes that has guided and shaped them. They shared the story of Gogo (grandma) P, (pictured) whose witness to faith, hope, and love had a profound impact on them. They met Gogo P in the Congo, and her life is marked with profound loss, tragedy, and suffering. She lost many of her own children: three died and the others ran away, unable to cope with the suffering. She currently cares for 3 beautiful granddaughters who were abandoned when both their parents ran away. Gogo P depends on her neighbors each day simply to provide the food she and her family need to survive.
 
They sat and listened as Gogo P shared her life, and they desperately searched for and failed to find words of comfort to share. They sat in silence for a little while and we prayed. From that, Marc began to share in faith about the mystery of God’s presence in the midst of our suffering and the brokenness of our lives. They noticed a shift in Gogo’s expression, and she excitedly launched into explaining her experience of Christ’s steadfast love and faithfulness and the hope and strength that she draws from it. She witnessed to them and they celebrated together who our Lord is.
 
Though Gogo was sharing from the valley of the shadow of death, they thought of Isaiah 61, as the prophet speaks about how God’s people shall be oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display His glory... and that they shall build up, repair, and heal the devastations of this world. We had the pleasure of sitting with a planting of the Lord. You don’t need to go to Africa to find oaks of righteousness. The Lord has planted them all around His church. In fact, we here are oaks of righteousness, if we choose to follow Christ. We want to live worthy of that calling.
 
It is easy to be overwhelmed by the chaos, darkness, suffering and loneliness in our world, but by God’s grace, we are also able to experience love and hope around us, though not in the big splashy ways we may want to see it. God’s steadfast love and faithfulness meet us in our everyday lives, if we are open to Him as we share our stories and lives together. In this season of Advent, this is what we practice once again, to wait for God as He breaks into the ordinary, bringing light into darkness. As followers of Christ, we are called to witness to that as we love and serve others in humility and compassion.

Then they led us in prayer, thanking God for his love, faithfulness, and presence,  and for his Son who was sent for us, the poor and marginalized. We prayed for the courage to give witness to his presence, faithfulness hope, and love. He asked that we might walk more closely to him in our suffering. We prayed for Mcheneka, the Care Workers, Care Givers, and the Children, for those hurting in our city, and everyone that was gathered, that we would feel his presence and be used to build up and repair the devastations around us.
Praise God for our new members that were publicly affirmed, Will, Grace, Kendra, Daniel (in absentia), Viriginia, Kevin, Sharon, Steffen, Vanessa, and Cory (in absentia)! They affirmed their intention, with God’s help, to live loving and holy lives that reflect Christ; to maintain unity with and mutually encourage others in the body as they serve together; to commit themselves to growing in the truth of God’s Word, and to pray for our church and all in it, as well as those who have not yet put their faith in Christ. Toby, on behalf of existing members, affirmed the commitment of all to love, encourage, teach, admonish, comfort and exhort them to grow in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ and His Word.
Question #50: What does Christ’s resurrection mean for us?
 
Answer: Christ triumphed over sin and death by being physically resurrected, so that all who trust in him are raised to new life in this world and to everlasting life in the world to come. Just as we will one day be resurrected, so this world will one day be restored. But those who do not trust in Christ will be raised to everlasting death.
This Week's Sermon: “The Pilgrim's Joy
(Psalm 133)


“God has willed that we should seek and find God’s living Word in the testimony of other Christians, in the mouths of human beings. Therefore, Christians need other Christians who speak God’s Word to them. They need them again and again when they become uncertain and disheartened because, living by their own resources, they cannot help themselves without cheating themselves out of the truth. They need other Christians as bearers and proclaimers of the divine Word of Salvation ... Their own hearts are uncertain; those of their brothers and sisters are sure … the goal of all Christian community is to encounter one another as bringers of the message of salvation.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together           
 
“A community of faith flourishes when we view each other with this expectancy, wondering what God will do today in this one, in that one. When we are in a community with those Christ loves and redeems, we are constantly finding out new things about them. They are new persons each morning, endless in their possibilities.”
 
Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction
 
Main Idea: A Pilgrim will find Joy in the Unity of Christ

Sermon SlidesSermon Application Questions
This sermon series: Restless
Help spread holiday cheer and support children in your community by donating a brand new toy to The Salvation Army's Christmas Toy Drive! Each year, The Salvation Army serves approximately 3,000 children from low-income families throughout San Francisco by opening a Toy & Joy Shop for the parents to be able to shop for their children and help their kids to have a wonderful and memorable gift: sftoyjoy.com If you have any questions, ask Sonny
-Jon Brackett, our church-planting resident pastor, has family that lived in Paradise, the town that was destroyed by the fire. His grandmother has lost her home and her shop, which was her source of livelihood. The GoFundMe is to help her rebuild her life, and every bit will count!
Don't Forget!
  • Sign up for the online newsletter! You can go to christchurchsf.org/#newsletter!
  • Youth Group Discussions every Sunday after service, 12:00 - 12:30pm Older youth welcome and encouraged to join us in the "Chill out" section of the Cafeteria!
Have any questions, comments, thoughts to share? Please email us!
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Sunday Recap for December 9, 2018:
The Pilgrim's Peace

Mission Highlight: Thank you Louisa for sharing about the Rohingya refugees. The Rohingya are a Muslim people living for centuries in Buddhist Myanmar. They are denied citizenship and there have been waves of mass exodus over decades of persecution. It is the world's fastest growing refugee crisis (according to the UN). Louisa has been working for two years as a Rohingya community organizer, mainly working with women, building literacy and relationships and church planting. If we want to get involved, there are Rohingya refugees being relocated to the United States, and her hometown has 30-35 Rohingya families and she would appreciate if you let her know if there are any in the Bay area! She asked for us to pray that the American church can reach more Rohingya locally, for rich relationships to blossom with the ten Rohingya women she is working with, for the Rohingya church plant, and peace for the Rohingya both now and eternal. If you are interested in learning out how to get more involved, please email us and we can connect you with her!
Question #49: Where is Christ now?
 
Answer: Christ rose bodily from the grave on the third day after his death and is seated at the right hand of the Father, ruling his kingdom and interceding for us, until he returns to judge and renew the whole world.
This Week's Sermon: “The Pilgrim's Peace
(Psalm 121)

“Pilgrim tells us we are people who spend our lives going someplace, going to God, and whose path for getting there is the way, Jesus Christ.”

-Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

Main Idea: A pilgrim finds peace in Christ.

Sermon Application Questions
This sermon series: Restless
Help spread holiday cheer and support children in your community by donating a brand new toy to The Salvation Army's Christmas Toy Drive! Each year, The Salvation Army serves approximately 3,000 children from low-income families throughout San Francisco by opening a Toy & Joy Shop for the parents to be able to shop for their children and help their kids to have a wonderful and memorable gift: sftoyjoy.com If you have any questions, ask Sonny
-Jon Brackett, our church-planting resident pastor, has family that lived in Paradise, the town that was destroyed by the fire. His grandmother has lost her home and her shop, which was her source of livelihood. The GoFundMe is to help her rebuild her life, and every bit will count!
Don't Forget!
  • Sign up for the online newsletter! You can go to christchurchsf.org/#newsletter!
  • Youth Group Discussions every Sunday after service, 12:00 - 12:30pm Older youth welcome and encouraged to join us in the "Chill out" section of the Cafeteria!
Have any questions, comments, thoughts to share? Please email us!
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Sunday Recap for December 2, 2018:
The Pilgrim's Hope

Mission Highlight: Thank you Daniel and Kendra for sharing the Mission Highlight on San Francisco's District 10. District 10 includes Bayview-Hunters Point, Visitacion Valley, Potrero Hill, and Dogpatch. Bayview/Hunters Point is oftentimes marred by criminal activity. Laymen stats said this neighborhood used to account for a third of murders in the city. Historically, two things have contributed to this: Hunters Point was once a booming commercial shipyard before serving as a naval base in WWll. But when the Navy decommissioned it in 1974, the district began to die down. Bayview had no direct transit lines connecting the district to the city center until 2007. The area's isolation from the center of SF contributed to a slumped economy.

But, in the midst of this, there is a sense of community. Craftsman and Wolves is one of the newest businesses to start there. The owner has said of the community that “Everyone's really passionate, everyone's scrappy, and everyone wants to help each other.” Dan and Kendra have lived in District 10 now for about 6 years and Visitacion Valley, being smaller in size, is one we’ve only been to a handful of times. The area is a largely family-oriented working-class neighborhood. And, it is roughly defined by McLaren Park.
 
The neighborhood is extremely diverse. When visiting (our favorite!) Grocery Outlet there you see a lot of Asian, Hispanic, African American, and White families shopping side by side. Some people say it has some of the safest streets, but there are areas of high crime especially near Sunnydale, the largest project in SF. Dogpatch/Potrero is where they live. Arsicault may have the best croissant in the nation, but Neighborhood Bakehouse boasts the winner of the best croissant in SF. Breweries and coffee HQ’s are here too with the Warriors next door along with some of the best views of downtown. As they say, it’s always sunny in Potrero. Though here we have front row seats to the turmoil caused by displacement and poverty. The projects are two distinct cultures of mostly African Americans and then Burmese immigrants who do not understand much English live alongside each other in uneasy harmony literally next door to million dollar homes.

Then they led us in prayer for District 10: Father, we recognize the wealth interposed with poverty & violence that make up District 10. Thank you that over the years you have appointed leaders and changed the area to decrease the violence. We pray for for Malia Cohen as District 10 supervisor for wisdom and that as she plans, your Spirit would be determining her steps so that we can flourish as a community together. We know that even so, our systems are still broken and we need your love to be shown by the Church in District 10 so we see can see each other as children of God. We confess that we have not loved each other as we should. We pray for courage and faith to see each other as image bearers. We pray for the residents of District 10 that as change comes that both new and old residents would look to Christ. We pray that God would sustain the many rooted and church plants and Christian nonprofits: Huli Huli, Old Skool Cafe, We Are Church, RedeemerSF, BayCity Church, Valley Christian Fellowship just to name a few.

Let's continue to pray for and love and serve our city in the name of Christ!
Question #48: What is the church?
 
Answer: God chooses and preserves for himself a community elected for eternal life and united by faith, who love, follow, learn from, and worship God together. God sends out this community to proclaim the gospel and prefigure Christ’s kingdom by the quality of their life together and their love for one another.
This Week's Sermon: “The Pilgrim's Hope
(Psalm 120)

 
“The designation of [Psalm 120] as a pilgrims’ song provides a context for its interpretation. It is a poignant expression of pilgrims’ pain over the world from which they come. It puts that world in sharpest contrast to the peace they desire and seek in coming to Zion.” 
-James Mays, Interpretation: Psalms

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” 
-C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Main Idea: A pilgrim will find peace in Christ.

Sermon Slides /  Sermon Application Questions
This sermon series: Restless
Help spread holiday cheer and support children in your community by donating a brand new toy to The Salvation Army's Christmas Toy Drive! Each year, The Salvation Army serves approximately 3,000 children from low-income families throughout San Francisco by opening a Toy & Joy Shop for the parents to be able to shop for their children and help their kids to have a wonderful and memorable gift: sftoyjoy.com If you have any questions, ask Sonny
-Jon Brackett, our church-planting resident pastor, has family that lived in Paradise, the town that was destroyed by the fire. His grandmother has lost her home and her shop, which was her source of livelihood. The GoFundMe is to help her rebuild her life, and every bit will count!
Don't Forget!
  • Sign up for the online newsletter! You can go to christchurchsf.org/#newsletter!
  • Youth Group Discussions every Sunday after service, 12:00 - 12:30pm Older youth welcome and encouraged to join us in the "Chill out" section of the Cafeteria!
Have any questions, comments, thoughts to share? Please email us!
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Sunday Recap for November 25, 2018:
Power and Forgiveness

From left to right, top to bottom: Amanda and Andrew's first visit to C in 2015, second visit in 2018, Caregiver with the kids, including C

Mission Highlight: Thank you Amanda and Andrew for being the last teammates to share about the our trip to Mcheneka in May. Amanda shared about Kausiwa*, the 13 year old child in the green dress in the first photo, and her family they met in 2015. Her mother had passed away, and the father was not there, so she, her brother, her sister Faye*, and her sister's baby were living with her aunt. Kausiwa has been a part of our ministry partner Hands at Work's program for 9 years, receiving a warm meal, access to healthcare and education, and weekly Holy Home Visits from a volunteer Care Worker, who gets to know the children and their families and their needs and share Jesus with them. The day they visited in 2015, they remembered how energetically and eagerly Kausiwa helped their family set up a water project in their home when their aunt was injured and in pain, scrubbing the barrel with her head inside. Kausiwa was so full of life and joy.

Three years later, this last May, they visited again, but they could only see Kausiwa briefly because she was in school. They visited with Faye, and some neighborhood kids who came to see the uzungu, or white people (second photo). They learned that Kausiwa had to leave school at 13 to take care of her ailing aunt, who has since passed away. Thankfully Kausiwa was able to return to school, but now Faye, in her early 20s, is responsible for her teenage sister. Though Kausiwa is now two years behind, she still has the energy and big dreams to become a teacher. This wouldn't have been possible without the help of the community-based organization that came around Kausiwa and identified her as one of the most vulnerable children in this community, to provide her basic needs and relational support.

In the third photo, Sarah is on the left, and Kausiwa is, the Care Worker with HAW (third photo) and Kausiwa is in a yellow jacket on the right, along with the other children Sarah is responsible for. When asked for a prayer request, Faye asked that we pray that Kausiwa finish school and get a job to lift their family out of poverty, a huge burden on a 16 year old's shoulders. Amanda asked us to pray for this family and families like them, reminding us that "God is at work, but there is still work to be done."

Then Andrew shared about how we could make a difference for kids like Kausiwa, by praying for these vulnerable children as they don't always have a family structure around them to pray for them. Also to pray for the Care Workers (last photo), who sacrifice every day to care for these children. Andrew shared how a Care Worker, Malia, praised God for the people around the world who knew what they were doing, supported and prayed for them, showing that they do rely on and appreciate our prayers and support. Andrew pointed to the most recent community update, to help inform our prayers. We can also support financially (use the drop down menu to specify Christ Church - Mcheneka). Though as a church we support two staff leaders at HAW, it is our individual donations that go to helping the children. Also, please be on the lookout for get-togethers where we share more about Mcheneka and ways we can pray. 

Then he led us in prayer thanking God for the way he works through his body, churches united in America and Africa who long to see his love shared to the most vulnerable people, children who have no one to watch over them or ways to feed themselves. We thanked God for the Care Workers in Mcheneka who sacrifice and decided to follow Jesus acting as his hands and feet, bringing love to this community. We asked for help in being obedient and diligent in our prayer and support. 

*names changed to protect children's identities
Question #46: What is the Lord's Supper?
 
Answer: Christ commanded all Christians to eat bread and to drink from the cup in thankful remembrance of him and his death. The Lord’s Supper is a celebration of the presence of God in our midst; bringing us into communion with God and with one another; feeding and nourishing our souls. It also anticipates the day when we will eat and drink with Christ in his Father’s kingdom.
This Week's Sermon: Power and Forgiveness
(Genesis 50)

 
“The wicked advantage themselves by disadvantaging others, but the righteous disadvantage themselves to advantage others.”
Bruce Waltke, Righteousness in Proverbs (2008)
 
“But in the family of the just man who lives by faith and is as yet a pilgrim journeying on to the celestial city, even those who rule serve those whom they seem to command; for they rule not from a love of power, but from a sense of the duty they owe to others — not because they are proud of authority, but because they love mercy.”
St. Augustine, The City of God (426 A.D.)
 
Main Idea: God is always working for good, even through evil and brokenness.


Sermon Slides /  Sermon Application Questions
This sermon series: Rivalry and Restoration: The Story of Joseph