The resurrection changed everything!

Can you imagine how Jesus’ disciples were feeling that weekend? We read, farther head in Luke, that some of them decided to leave Jerusalem. They had believed that Jesus would be the one to redeem Israel from Roman occupation—to throw the bums out. But now Jesus was dead, they had given up, and so, there wasn’t much sense in sticking around. The new kingdom reality they had dreamed of had died with Jesus. So they just walked away. They didn’t yet understand all that Jesus’ death meant, and they certainly weren’t expecting him to return from the dead.

Some of the women, who were followers of Jesus, had gone out to the tomb and found it empty that same morning. They had seen angels, who told them that Jesus was alive! The women had told the other disciples, who also found the tomb empty. But they still couldn’t believe that Jesus wasn’t dead anymore. When they realized the truth, that Jesus really was alive, it changed everything. THE RESURRECTION CHANGED EVERYTHING!

Everything changed for them because this changed the whole world as they knew it. No longer were they tied to the Old Covenant system of animal sacrifices, and ritual clensings. No longer did a high-priest have to intercede on their behalf. Everything, absolutely everything they knew; about who they were, about their relationship to God, about every power and authority they’d ever dealt with, just about everything that people never expect to change, changed for them. THE RESURRECTION CHANGED EVERYTHING!

But how is Jesus’ resurrection good news for us? Does Jesus’ resurrection change everything for us? We can look for some explanation in Scripture. Paul wrote to the Romans about the old life:

We know that the law is holy; but I am not. I have been sold to be a slave of sin. I don’t understand what I do. I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate to do. I do what I don’t want to do. So I agree that the law is good. As it is, I am no longer the one who does these things. It is sin living in me that does them. I know there is nothing good in my desires controlled by sin. I want to do what is good, but I can’t. I don’t do the good things I want to do. I keep on doing the evil things I don’t want to do. I do what I don’t want to do. But I am not really the one who is doing it. It is sin living in me that does it.

Here is the law I find working in me. When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. Deep inside me I find joy in God’s law. But I see another law working in me. It fights against the law of my mind. It makes me a prisoner of the law of sin. That law controls me. What a terrible failure I am! Who will save me from this sin that brings death to my body? I give thanks to God who saves me. He saves me through Jesus Christ our Lord.

So in my mind I am a slave to God’s law. But sin controls my desires. So I am a slave to the law of sin.

Romans 7:14-25 (NIRV)

God has given us new life through Christ, Paul explained this transition when he wrote to the church at Ephesus.

You were living in your sins and lawless ways. But in fact you were dead. You used to live as sinners when you followed the ways of this world. You served the one who rules over the spiritual forces of evil. He is the spirit who is now at work in those who don’t obey God. At one time we all lived among them. Our desires were controlled by sin. We tried to satisfy what they wanted us to do. We followed our desires and thoughts. God was angry with us like he was with everyone else. That’s because of the kind of people we all were. But God loves us deeply. He is full of mercy. So he gave us new life because of what Christ has done. He gave us life even when we were dead in sin. God’s grace has saved you. God raised us up with Christ. He has seated us with him in his heavenly kingdom. That’s because we belong to Christ Jesus. He has done it to show the riches of his grace for all time to come. His grace can’t be compared with anything else. He has shown it by being kind to us. He was kind to us because of what Christ Jesus has done. God’s grace has saved you because of your faith in Christ. Your salvation doesn’t come from anything you do. It is God’s gift. It is not based on anything you have done. No one can brag about earning it. We are God’s creation. He created us to belong to Christ Jesus. Now we can do good works. Long ago God prepared these works for us to do.

Ephesians 2 (NIRV)

Everything changed for us because we get to live a different kind of life. Not a perfect life, not yet, not here, but a vastly different life, one with the Holy Spirit as our guide. That’s something that our Old Testament counterparts didn’t have. There’s a lot we can learn and discuss in Scripture; but if we never take our heads out the Bible, to interact with those around us, we miss the application part of the message. For the Resurrection didn’t just change the pecking-order in Heaven, nor did it just let us off the hook—as so many seem to think. The Resurrection was bigger than that, THE RESURRECTION CHANGED EVERYTHING!

Our old nature has died with Christ, we were in the resurrection with him, our old nature has no place. Jesus’ resurrection gives us victory over our old ways, and power to live in a new way. Those old behaviors are replaced with characteristics of God! Compassion! Faithfulness! Forgiveness! Empathy! We can cry with those who hurt, and rejoice with those who are happy! THE RESURRECTION CHANGED EVERYTHING by giving us the freedom, and the heart, and the authority to do what’s right! Not by saddling us with responsibility—that’s the old way. But rather, by allowing us to be the person we would want to be!

You wouldn’t know that, if you visited most congregations this morning. Oh sure, you’d hear a message of resurrection. But you’ll still hear most of the Church talking about Hell, eternal torment, and a hope of maybe going to Heaven—under the right circumstances; but they’re missing the message—the good news. The message to those Jewish believers at the end of the Old Covenant was that the Kingdom of God was at hand, we talked about that a few weeks back; but the Resurrection message, is really that you now have the power, the freedom, and the ability to do right. To love the Lord you God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind; and you neighbor as yourself. Now go do it!

The Resurrection Homily of John Chrysostom (circa 400 AD)

There was an Archbishop of Constantinople by the name of John Chrysostom, around 400AD. He was an important Early Church Father for a lot of reasons, but what we remember him for, mostly, was his preaching skill. You see, his last name, Chrysostom, was not a surname but rather, a byname; like John the Little, or Fredrick the Old, Chrysostom is Greek for ‘Golden-Mouthed.’ His most famous sermon was a very short message he gave, on Resurrection Sunday.

His little, tiny sermon, sometimes called a homily, is considered one of the best summaries every written on the Resurrection. So much so, that it continues to be translated into every major language, and in the Eastern Orthodox Church, it is traditionally read in church every year. It’s probably never been read in a UCC worship service, so it’s high time we did:

Are there any who are devout lovers of God?
Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival!

Are there any who are grateful servants?
Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!

Are there any weary with fasting?
Let them now receive their wages!

If any have toiled from the first hour,
let them receive their due reward;
If any have come after the third hour,
let him with gratitude join in the Feast!
And he that arrived after the sixth hour,
let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss.
And if any delayed until the ninth hour,
let him not hesitate; but let him come too.
And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour,
let him not be afraid by reason of his delay.
For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first.
He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour,
as well as to him that toiled from the first.

To this one He gives, and upon another He bestows.
He accepts the works, as He greets the endeavor.
The deed He honors, and the intention He commends.
Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!

First and last alike, receive your reward;
rich and poor, rejoice together!
Sober and slothful, celebrate the day!
You that have kept the fast, and you that have not,
rejoice today for the Table is richly laden!

Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one.
Let no one go away hungry.

Partake, all, of the cup of faith.
Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!

Let no one grieve at his poverty,
for the universal kingdom has been revealed.

Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again;
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.

Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.
He destroyed Hell when He descended into it.
He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh.

Isaiah foretold this when he said,
“You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below.”
Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.
It was in an uproar because it is mocked.
It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed.
It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated.
It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive.

Hell took a body, and discovered God.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.

O death, where is thy sting?
O Hell, where is thy victory?

Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!

Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead;
for Christ having risen from the dead,
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!

Happy Easter from BFCC!

Good afternoon! I hope you are all enjoying the lovely spring Colorado weather! Get ready for round two coming in later this afternoon. Attached is our latest edition of Footprints, all the news you need to know about Black Forest Community Church…
A few quick highlights:
  • Jon needs help tomorrow morning (Saturday) from 8-10 am replacing the preschool carpet
  • We need your STUFF for our upcoming garage sale on April 30
  • The UCC-RMC is hosting a Women's Retreat April 22-24
And lot's more! Read, stay warm and join us Easter Sunday to celebrate Jesus' triumph over the tomb. Happy Easter!
Cindy (for Theresa-who is still in Florida, not shoveling her driveway…)

Theresa Palaia

Office Administrator
Black Forest Community Church
6845 Shoup Road
Black Forest, CO  80908

pdf icon 3-25-2016.pdf

Palm Sunday sermonette

With the choir program today, Lance Haverkamp’s message was very short; just a quick look into the history of the events connecting Passover, Palm Sunday, and the Crucifixion:

Has everyone seen the Cecil B. DeMille epic, with a cast of thousands, The Ten Commandments? The is the 60th anniversary of the film, and it’s back on the big screen today and Wednesday at both the Interquest and the Cinemark.

That covers the older half of the congregation, now for the younger half: How many of you can tell me what the very first film from Dreamworks Studios was? Now this goes back a ways for some of you; it’s before Shrek, before How to train your dragon, even before El Dorado. It’s called The Prince of Egypt; how many of you have seen that? Great, well, it’s also the 20th anniversary of the The Prince of Egypt, and it’s available on both Netflix streaming, and Amazon.

Both of these films depict the Passover. Moses relays God’s message, to choose a lamb without spot or defect; and bring it into the house for 4 days. Of course you know what happens, the children play with the lamb, and become fond of it. During this time the families are told to rid the house of leavening for their bread. You may recall that we talked about leavening as a metaphor for sin, when we looked at the parables a few weeks ago.

After those 4 days they were required to slit the lamb’s throat, taking care not to break any bones. We see them dunking a fist-full of hyssop twigs into the the blood of the slaughtered lamb, and ‘painting’ the doorway. This tells the angel of death to avoid, or passover, these houses where God’s people lived. The blood of this lamb saved these people from death. After this the Israelites remember the passover every year with feast based on these events.

Remembrances of traumatic events tend to become ceremonial, and the practices around Passover became ceremonial as well. Every year, when the shepherds notice a particularly healthy lamb, they’d remember to show it to the high-priest. Every year the priest came-out of the North West gate from the city to select the finest lamb for the temple sacrifice. The high Priest would then carry the lamb, and ride back into Jerusalem sitting on a donkey. The townspeople would wave and lay their palm fronds and their coats, as a path to the temple. The priests would spend the 4 days until the feast inspecting the lamb, to assure that it met with their approval.

When Jesus rode the donkey through the city, the residents were there expecting to see the high priest, riding-though with the lamb. While the disciples were usually the last to figure-out any underlying message; many in the crowd realized what was happening, this Jesus who had been healing the sick, casting-out demons, & raising the dead, was taking the place of both the high-priest, and the lamb.

Christ spent those 4 days defending himself from the questions & accusations of the Pharisees & Sadducees, who eventually had Him brought before Pontius Pilate. They were fed-up with this troublemaker who was out-thinking them at every turn, and pointing-out the flaws in their teachings.

Footprints

Good (bad?) Snowy Morning All!

Because I am working from home today, I was proactive yesterday and mailed myself the newsletter so I may forward it to you all in case there were school delays.  Glad I did.  So that is why I am sending you a forwarded message.  The attachment is below in the original email to myself.

Inside this week's newsletter we focus on Easter and upcoming important dates, like the garage sale and volunteering at the National Mill Dog Rescue in April.  Also, please remember this Sunday will be your last chance to donate Easter candy for the kids' annual Easter Egg hunt held after worship on Easter Sunday. Hard-boiled eggs can still be dropped off by Tuesday in the church refrigerator.  Just come to the office and we can get you in.  Also, if you are wishing to order Easter lilies, Monday will be the last day to order.  Please see Cindy Halsey. 

This Sunday is a very important day on the church calendar.  It is Palm Sunday. Please come to worship and experience listening to the Chancel Choir perform during service.  Next week, Cindy Halsey will be taking my place as I will be on vacation in sunny Florida!  Please don't feel bad for me, I think I will be ok. 😉

I will see you all when I return!  For now, have a wonderful weekend and stay warm….Spring is almost here! Yay!

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Theresa Palaia <office@blackforestcommunitychurch.org>
Date: Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 12:41 PM
Subject: Footprints
To: Theresa Palaia <office@blackforestcommunitychurch.org>


Theresa Palaia

Office Administrator
Black Forest Community Church
6845 Shoup Road
Black Forest, CO  80908



Theresa Palaia

Office Administrator
Black Forest Community Church
6845 Shoup Road
Black Forest, CO  80908
719-495-2207

pdf icon 3-18-2016.pdf

Association Round-Up | March 10, 2016

Hi all,
I am forwarding the following RMC information to you as there are links at the bottom of the page for upcoming retreats for youth and women. If you are interested, all you need to do is click on the "begin registration" button.  
Have a wonderful rest of your day!
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Rocky Mountain Conference <connect@rmcucc.org>
Date: Thu, Mar 10, 2016 at 2:22 PM
Subject: Association Round-Up | March 10, 2016
To: churches@rmcucc.org

RMC Association Round-Up
March 10, 2016

Prayer-Flags.jpg

  • ?Metro-Denver Association: Faye Vanderslice of Berkeley Community Church is planning this year's "Nontraditional Prayer Flags Fundraiser for Fun," which will take place at the church on April 17. Faye and others plan to create 300 flags that families can purchase for a very small donation; families can then embellish the flag however they'd like. The fundraiser will benefit Archway Housing (Denver) and Mercy International (Haiti). Please help them spread the word!
  • Platte Valley Association: On April 23, 2016, Christ Congregational Church in Ft. Morgan will host their 2nd-Annual Faith 5K! Their objective with the 5k is to share their faith with the community, offer an activity for health and wellness, and raise funding for their church’s continued ministry. If you're interesting in running the race or donating to the cause, please email Chelbi Contreraz
  • Southeastern Association: This summer, we're offering something new to high-school youth. Specifically, Dan Madrid of Creede Community Church will take 12 youth on a five-day, 25-mile trek in the San Juan Mountains. The "Backpacking with God" hiking trip will begin and end at the church in Creede, and the group will get in touch with God through nature. Learn more on our website
  • Intermountain Association: This Saturday night, Provo Community Congregational UCC will host its Second-Saturday Movie Night! The event will start at 7:30, and attendees are invited to bring a dish to share, potluck-style. The movie will be "The Prince of Egypt," and there will be snacks and drinks available for purchase. All are welcome! 
  • Western Association: Members at Gunnison Congregational Church are bringing  individually wrapped snacks to church each Sunday for low-income elementary school children. Through the church, healthy snacks are collected and sent to the school nurse for distribution. Last year, Gunnison Congregational gave 449 snacks to schoolchildren, and are on target again this year!

?


Register for RMC Spring Retreats

To help us promote these events, please download the event fliers and distribute them to parties who may be interested: 

Retreats.png

Do you have news that you'd like to see featured in the Weekly Association Round-Up?Let us know??
Rocky Mountain Conference of the UCC
1140 W. 5th Ave
Denver, Colorado 80204

TRACK


Theresa Palaia

Office Administrator
Black Forest Community Church
6845 Shoup Road
Black Forest, CO  80908
719-495-2207

A Few Announcements

 Good Morning All!
You may already be aware of the following, but for those of you that haven't heard, we have a few announcements for upcoming events and want to make sure you are in the know.
The first is about Easter lily orders.  Cindy Halsey will be taking orders for lilies and they are $7 each.  You can pay her now until Easter Sunday, but orders need to be made by next Monday, March 21st.  Please email her directly if you would like to purchase one.  All lilies will be displayed on Easter Sunday.
Also, if you love dogs, please consider volunteering your time at the National Mill Dog Rescue.  Our church's day to volunteer will be on April 16, 1-3.   Volunteers must be 13 or older.
And lastly but not least, start bringing in items for the Garage sale that will be held here on April 30th!  
If you have any questions on any of these, please contact Cindy Halsey for details at halsey49@q.com

Theresa Palaia

Office Administrator
Black Forest Community Church
6845 Shoup Road
Black Forest, CO  80908
719-495-2207

Footprints Newsletter

Good Morning!
A lovely morning it is.  Get ready for cooler weather next week. Mother Nature just realized it's still technically winter. But in just one week, it will be spring!  Yay!  
Enough about the weather!  Let's talk about this Sunday.  Our very own Ruth Ann will be taking the pulpit over as our guest speaker. So please come and support her!  She's always so entertaining and full of wisdom!  Inside your Footprints this week you will be able to find out information on donations that we need for the Easter season such as candy and hams.  Also, you may have heard, we are having another garage sale!  So get cleaning and bring your items to the church!  
We will see you all on Sunday!  Don't forget your hams!
Have a great weekend! 

Theresa Palaia

Office Administrator
Black Forest Community Church
6845 Shoup Road
Black Forest, CO  80908

pdf icon 3-11-2016.pdf

Footprints Newsletter

Good Beautiful Friday!
Wow!  The branches on the trees are not swaying for once.  The weather people often say the weather will be "warm,"but when that wind blows, that theory goes out the window.  I hope you all have a chance to go outside today and enjoy the day.
If you have no plans tomorrow, why not sign up for a volunteer opportunity?  Details about helping out at Care and Share are inside, as well as how to sign up for this event.  On Sunday during worship, we welcome Rev. Burl Kreps as our guest pastor.  Many of you already are familiar with him from when he served as our Interim Pastor in 2013.  He will be leading worship and baptizing a baby!  Who doesn't love babies?  Also, Sunday is Communion Sunday!
Also, Easter is at the end of this month!  We need candy and hard-boiled eggs for our little ones who will be doing an Easter egg hunt and decorating the hard-boiled eggs.  Please read inside for more details.  A container will be available for candy donations beginning this Sunday.
Read inside for these and many other events and special dates.  We hope to see you on Sunday at worship!
Have a fantastic weekend everyone!

Theresa Palaia

Office Administrator
Black Forest Community Church
6845 Shoup Road
Black Forest, CO  80908
719-495-2207

pdf icon 3-4-2016.pdf