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Life

What are your priorities with your Kids?

In this clip, Lead Pastor Mark discusses the two priorities he has in raising his children.

To watch to the entire message visit vimeo.com/72150206

For more information about Christ Community Church, visit the website at cccomaha.org. You can also watch the service online at CCCOmaha.tv.

Follow Christ Community Church on: Facebook – facebook.com/cccomaha Twitter – twitter.com/cccomaha Instagram – instagram.com/cccomaha

This Sunday, Dr. Jerry Root

120829Root

I’m excited Christ Community Church is having Dr. Jerry Root speak again, this Sunday, at the Old Mill and Online Campuses. Dr. Root is a professor at Wheaton College and an expert on the life of C.S. Lewis.

Back in 2010, I had the blessing to host him for an afternoon and it was a treat. We spent a few hours talking and eating at Dundee Dell. I didn’t want the time to end. (more…)

The Story of a Roadside Memorial

“Daddy, look! A Pinwheel!”

Duncan squealed with glee at the sight of the pinwheel as we waited at the stop light. I looked over and saw the pinwheel, amidst the makeshift memorial for some unknown person. As habit, I said a brief prayer for the unknown victim’s family and friends.

Since moving into our home, in the fall of 2006, I’ve driven through the 132nd & Blondo intersection thousands of times. I stick to the same pattern when driving on it. When heading west on Blondo, people usually get in the left lane since the road goes from four lanes to two soon after the intersection. This can cause backup at the intersection, so people will line up in the right lane attempting to speed ahead of all the cars in the left lane. The cars in the left lane don’t want to be passed, so they speed ahead as well trying to not let the cars in the right lane merge. All while doing this at 40-50 mph in a metal object. (more…)

The Power of Sabbath

About a year ago, I started having my Sabbath on Mondays. The great thing about having it on Mondays was it became a real Sabbath. Before, when it was on Sundays, it wasn’t a day of rest. Because of my work as a pastor, Sundays were always a work day of some sort. Yes, I could rest Sunday afternoons, sometimes, but the Sabbath is suppose to be about an entire day of rest.

You would think this would be an easy principle/law for Christians to follow, but it isn’t. I’m surprised by how many people in the church think taking a Sabbath isn’t a reality for today. I find this odd. Even when I made the switch to Mondays, one individual (who has been a Christian for a long time) asked me if it was really necessary to have a day off during the week. Yes, yes it is. Just because you choose not to take a Sabbath, doesn’t mean I should abide by your faulty thinking. Sunday is a work day for me. If I didn’t take Monday off, there wouldn’t be a day off from work. (more…)

Online Campus: Highs, Lows and a New Streaming Video Provider

The first year of the Online Campus continues to bring highs, lows, and everything in-between.

Two Sundays ago, I walked out of church feeling defeated. Nothing went right with the service. That afternoon, I was determined to set things right. I needed to, because we were getting ready to add additional services, events and classes to the Online Campus.

The streaming video provider was working hard to resolve issues we had been having since mid-July, but it wasn’t working. In August, when it failed for the entire service, I posted an apology video online. My patience was wearing thing. In September, three of the five Sundays we saw failures, of varying degrees, from our streaming video provider. After the last one, two Sundays ago, I made the decision to not use them again. We gave them official notice a few days later. (more…)

When Modern Becomes Tradition

Wednesday is my meeting day. I have five schedule meetings, and then in the evenings I take my boys to Kids’ Clubs. While it can be a grind, it’s nice to knock out a majority of my meetings in one day.

One of my Wednesday meetings deals with Access/Online services. Ryan Shields, Travis Williams and I review the previous Sunday services, and go over upcoming services. We approach it from different perspectives, and it’s been fun for me to hear their takes on worship, church, the gospel and more.

Yesterday, we were discussing a classic hymn, and listening to a modern version of it. I dismissed it. The arrangement was well-done, and it was performed with excellence. I dismissed it because it wasn’t what I was used to with the song. I said that in the meeting, and we discussed whether people would join in with the song. (more…)

A Piece of Broken Pottery (One Year Later)

 If you watch one episode of evening news, you know our world is broken. And its getting worse. The fixes for the ills are not easy assignments. They are not short term. They are not going to have compensation packages. They will take decades or lifetimes. God is looking for some strong shoulder leaders who will take tough assignments. People who are willing to be attacked. People who will sign up for anything.

–Bill Hybels

When you go to a conference you can be overloaded with new ideas and concepts. You’re entertained by the speakers and presentations. But what is the lasting impact? What sticks with you six months later, after the swell of the conference subsides?

(more…)

Answered Prayer (We Have A Minivan!)

ME: (answering iPhone) Hello?
ANONYMOUS: Hey Robert, what are you doing?
ME: Just working on what I’m going to say for baby dedications tomorrow.
ANONYMOUS: You want to go shopping?

Where to start.
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Returning to the Scene of the Crime…and Receiving Hope (Part 2)

Winner's Circle Celebration at Franklin Elementary

To read Part 1, click here.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.

-Henry V (Act III, Scene I), William Shakespeare

When I signed up to volunteer and serve with The Partnership for our Kids, something happened that I did not anticipate. A mental battle started to occur within me. I was fighting myself over getting involved in a greater way to support the kids who battle poverty.

Christianity would call this spiritual warfare, and that’s what I would call it.

Within the past year, I was asked to be on the board of directors for a local non-profit that combats poverty and advocates for justice. I heard the pitch, and it was good. A friend of mine was on the board. They do great work. They saw and heard my heart for social justice from afar, and wanted to get me involved in a greater way. I had all sorts of legitimate excuses as to why I couldn’t be on the board and be involved at that moment. I had a third child on the way. I was starting a new role at work. I told them I was interested, but perhaps at a later date. It all made sense in my mind, even though at that time I was wrestling with God pushing me toward an increased social justice involvement.

When is it ever going to be an opportune time? When over the next two decades am I going to have time? More importantly, what am I modeling with that kind of thinking and action? How am I leading with my inaction? What is the example I am setting for my family? What is the example I am setting for others?

I’m glad God is patient with me.

So, I signed up to get involved with The Partnership for Our Kids, and the mental battle started. (more…)

Returning to the Scene of the Crime…and Receiving Hope (Part 1)

crime: (noun) a grave offense especially against morality

This past August, I wrote about my experiences, from the third grade, when I attended Franklin Elementary and Howard Kennedy Elementary Schools. The post was partly inspired by an Omaha Young Professionals Event where we were given a pitch to volunteer, and serve, in some of Omaha’s inner city elementary schools. They were schools that had a high percentage of students living at or below the poverty line, and they were looking for young professionals to help students at these schools meet various academic goals.

While I sat through the pitch, I was being stirred. Again. Throughout this year, God has been challenging me to get more involved when it comes to social justice matters. The catalyst was reading Tim Keller’s Generous Justice. It was a book where at the end of every chapter I had to put it down, seemingly, because I was overwhelmed by what Tim was saying. Well, I was overwhelmed by what God was speaking to me through Tim’s words. I was examining my own life and wondering what I could be doing to bring justice to those in need.

It’s not that I haven’t been involved or detached when it comes to social justice, by the standards of the world I’m doing well on that front. I find myself challenging the status quo when it comes to perceptions about the city, specifically North Omaha. I press people when I feel like they are using coded language to mask prejudice, whether they realize it or not. I help out with projects, and attend events, that target areas of Omaha in need, support the community and encourage others to do the same. I try to support local businesses and organizations within the city that give back. I try and highlight how a number of us have won the birth lottery, which has given some of us a huge advantage in achieving success in this life. I’ve worked on various projects that have attempted to draw attention to the need that is there in the city, and for the church to get involved.

But, how am I doing by God’s standards? Not good. Am I loving my neighbor the way Jesus expects? No, not at all. This was the conclusion I was arriving at with God. If I wasn’t getting my hands dirty, if I wasn’t involving myself on the ground or in the streets more, if most of my work on this front was strictly communicative in nature, then I would be guilty. Guilty of inaction. Guilty of not leading out.

Guilty of sin.

I should know better, and God wasn’t going to let me get away with it anymore.

There is a growing injustice going on within Omaha and kids are the victims. They are the victims of poverty, family breakdown, violence and injustice. As some of you know, Omaha has the highest percentage of African-American children living in poverty. What good does it do if all we ever do is just talk about these problems? What are we doing about it? What are we doing about it in our neighborhood, and the neighborhood across town? How fair is it to expect kids, who have all the disadvantages, to compete with kids, who have all the advantages?

A few weeks after hearing the pitch to get involved more, I attended Leadership Summit. One of the sessions dealt with tough callings. The words shared during this session weren’t as challenging as the testimonies of the individuals who shared. One of the individuals who shared was Mama Maggie Gobran. She is serving the homeless, that live amongst trash, in Cairo, Egypt. She is doing this in an area where Christians and women face persecution. You observe her life and you will be challenged to ask, “What am I doing?”

That’s not to say if you aren’t doing what Mama Maggie is doing you are wrong. However, probably everyone that heard her story examined what they were doing with their life. I was doing that, but also sensing the stirring to get more involved on the ground. It was inescapable.

When she got done sharing, everyone was handed a piece of broken pottery. Bill Hybels referenced the prophet Jeremiah and how he had a tough calling as a prophet. He read from Jeremiah 19 and how Jeremiah bought a piece of pottery and smashed it in front of everyone in one of his prophecies. The piece of pottery we had was to remind us that we live in a broken world. There are broken people all around us. God is looking for people who will go into that brokenness to minister and serve people. God is looking for people who will make that kind of generational/lifetime commitment to address the brokenness in this world. God is looking for people who will shun the world’s, and Western church’s, idea of success to please God and serve humanity.

I held that piece of pottery and prayed. I knew I was going to be involved in a deeper way within the Omaha community. I was not going to be guilty of the crime of in action.

While still attending Leadership Summit, I signed up to get involved with The Partnership for our Kids and return to Franklin Elementary.

Part 2 to come.

This post originally appeared on Robert Murphy’s personal blog, RamHatter.