The First CMM Times of 2012

The First CMM Times of 2012

February 10, 2012  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on The First CMM Times of 2012

Our first CMM Times issue for 2012 is our ‘Back To School’ edition. Like school children all around the world, we too need to frequently enroll in classes on how to live loving and life-giving lives. As such our feature for the month is ‘The Jesus School‘, which reminds us how to live life and love others ‘The Jesus Way’. Below you will find a download link for this issue of CMM Times, as well as a link to the archives with all the previous CMM Times releases.

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Access previous issues

Growing Community the Jesus Way

Growing Community the Jesus Way

February 5, 2012  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Growing Community the Jesus Way

We have changed the name of “Wednesday Church” to the “Jesus School”. Why? What is in a name after all? Well, to be Church is to be Christ’s body. It is to live as Christ lived — to think, speak and act like Christ as well as to even die and rise again like Christ. In other words to embody Jesus in all things. Now I don’t know about you but I am nowhere near doing that — but in my more fearless moments — I long for that more than anything else. The way I see it is that I may call myself an astronaut all I like — I may even worship the moon and stick pictures of rockets on my bedroom wall and even dress in an astronaut suit — but that does not make me an astronaut. All I am doing when I call myself an astronaut is — well — calling myself an astronaut. Similarly we may call ourselves “Church” but that does not make us Church. Church is a Christ-centered community doing life the Jesus Way — risking being loved and risking loving.

The “Jesus School” reminds us that we will always be students of Jesus and never graduates!

Jesus will be our subject – week in and week out. Quite often we will be going through the gospel text for the previous Sunday.

Our prayer will not only be “Open my mind to understand your ways Jesus”, but also “open my heart to love you more.” We will study together — reading the texts — commentaries about the texts. Bring a bible and note book and let’s go on a journey together. It is for everyone — I promise you every one of us will have something to give and receive. School starts at 7 p.m. every Wednesday — or 6:30 p.m. for 30 minutes of silent-sitting.

Let the term begin, Alan

Picture: ‘WE’ — stands for West End — which is a marginalised suburb in Birmingham Alabama, USA. The Community Church Without Walls started an urban garden which was for me an amazing sign of the Kin-dom, Alan.

Introducing CMM Times

Introducing CMM Times

February 2, 2012  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Introducing CMM Times

In 2011 we introduced a magazine-styled newsletter called CMM Times to serve as another tool for connecting with and engaging our community. In it we document the happenings in the life of our community, current outreach programmes we’re involved in, teachings, and opinion pieces. In many ways it serves a similar role to our website as we need to be mindful that not all members of our community have the resource to access online services.

Up until now, CMM Times has only been made available as a print newsletter. Now each issue is available for download. Click here to access any issue released to date.

Joyful and just generosity

February 1, 2012  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Joyful and just generosity

At CMM we believe that we are born in the image of a very generous God who lovingly shares with us everything that has been created. We also believe that we are called to partner God in mending our universe by generously giving back what God has already provided so abundantly. We may choose to do this through CMM or any other organisation or individual or initiative. It is not important where we give but it is very important that we give. In order to become more like God, we are encouraged to give justly and joyfully so that we can help God mend our universe!

Remember …

“The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it, for the Lord has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers.”  Psalm 24:1
Everything belongs to the Lord. We own nothing.

“There will, however, be no one in need among you … give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so … open your hand to the poor and needy.” Deut. 15:4,10,11
Everything of the Lord’s is to be joyfully and justly shared. 

“How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?” 1 John 3:17
Sharing reveals God’s love in us.

As difficult as this may sound it is actually what each of us is born for – and here is why:
• God is joyfully and justly generous
• We are born in God’s image
• We are therefore born to be joyfully and justly generous.
We are on the journey from the image of God to the likeness of God!

Covenant love

Covenant love

January 29, 2012  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Covenant love

Marriage vows are probably the only words that come close to the words of the Covenant Prayer that we will be praying today. To declare both Marriage vows and Covenant prayer one needs more than courage — one needs to be in love! For it is only love that casts out the fear that Marriage vows and Covenant prayer easily provoke.

Like Marriage vows the Covenant prayer expects faithfulness regardless of circumstances. In other words, we commit that our relationship with God is not going to be determined by riches or poverty, sickness or health. In other words, our relationship with God is not a contract that we negotiate with terms and conditions looking after our interests. Rather, it is freely giving-up our own interests because we are so in love that we are willing to trust — and trust fully and forever.

The one great difference between the Covenant prayer and Marriage vows is that we can confidently leave out the “till death us do part”. And this is no small gift. Knowing that we do not have to fear death sets us free to risk loving even more boldly and generously. We are set free to even risk giving our life. Now I know this sounds dramatic — and I guess it is — but it is also very natural and obvious. Think of how a parent would risk their life for the wellbeing of their child. Again we see how love casts out fear — even fear of death.

If we are going to grow in this kind of generous and self-sacrificial Covenant-love towards God we would do well to remember that this is a Covenant PRAYER. Prayer is intimate love-making with God. So before we make decisions to do this or that regarding the Covenant we could commit to making time for prayer trusting fearless action will flow out of this loving intimacy.

Peace, Alan

A Call to be Construction Workers

January 25, 2012  |  Videos  |  Comments Off on A Call to be Construction Workers

Why we are called to do the often thankless work of re-routing the traffic of society and life.

Donkeys for Jesus

January 22, 2012  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Donkeys for Jesus

You have often heard me say that Jesus needed a donkey to get around the city of Jerusalem and Jesus needs donkeys to get around our city of Cape Town.  Using the analogy of a donkey to remind us that we are called to be at Jesus’ service — to help him “get around”.  To be a worker — humble and persistent (I will leave out stubborn!).

This Wednesday the 25th you are invited to attend a CONGREGATIONAL MEETING to hear afresh the vision we have at CMM and to hear of the many opportunities for each of us to enroll as a donkey.

Please receive this as a personal invitation. EVERYONE is encouraged to attend. If you need transport let Adrienne (at the information desk at the back) know.

One of the signs of a mature Christ-like community is that the “regulars” do not attend for their own sake but for the sake of others —ever making the circle bigger — preventing an inner circle. This is a very important shift. As Jesus said if we want to save our life — we will loose it, but if we are willing to give it up — we will have it giving to us. If we come to worship just for ourselves — we will loose it’s real significance — but if we come open to attend to the needs of others then we will “find it”. In this we discover the great truth that our real need is to care for the needs of others — but we will only learn this mystery of the Gospel when we do so. Yes, some things can only be learnt in the doing.

A CONGREGATIONAL MEETING also allows for free discussion about our life together — raising any issue that happens to be on your heart. If you have any “topics” you would like to discuss please let Adrienne (at the welcome desk at the back of the sanctuary) have them.

Looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday, Alan

Image credits: Håkan Dahlström

Alan’s Travels

January 20, 2012  |  Videos  |  Comments Off on Alan’s Travels

Alan has been away teaching and preaching across North America. Below are links to what he has been up to.

St. Olaf College Chapel Service: Video stream

Trinity United Methodist Church: Audio stream
_ _ _ _ _ _

Image credits: UggBoy_UggGirl

Silence & Service

January 15, 2012  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Silence & Service

Normally by this stage in January things are getting back to normal as we find our routine again after the holidays. While the year is still flexible in its youth I encourage you FIX time for silence and service into the pattern of your living.

Silence is a magnifying glass into the soul, i.e. the very essence of who we are. Silence is necessary if we are going to really be attentive to our life and world around us. And attentiveness to life is really the essence of any meaningful spirituality.

Service is the privileged moment for us to attend to God’s dream for this suffering world.

Silence and service need each other. Silence without service can be little more than naval gazing while service without silence can lead to a thoughtless exhausted frenzy. Silence and service should feed off each other as much as they should lead into each other.

One small moment for silence is from 9 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. on a Sunday before worship. And then there are so many opportunities for service following the silence. To find out about all these opportunities we will be having a congregational meeting on 25 January at 7 p.m. in our Sanctuary. I look forward to seeing you.

 Peace, Alan

The work of Christmas never stops

The work of Christmas never stops

January 13, 2012  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on The work of Christmas never stops

The New Year has begun and so has the work of Christmas.

 

The Work of Christmas

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.

Source: Howard Thurman, The Mood of Christmas