Our tall white steeple and red doors call out to the community that all are welcome to come and feel the love of Christ and the love of our church family. Our worship services are on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. with adult Sunday School at 9:30 a.m. For our youth, we have #OAKZ. Our mission statements are Extending God’s Call – Empowering God’s People – Easing Human Need. We are located at 1576 Chantilly Lane, and our telephone number is 713-682-2556.
December is a busy month for OPC. Here are our highlights for the month:
After Dec. 14th, the handbell choir will not meet again until
Wed., Jan 7th, at its usual time of 5:45 pm.
As I wrote in the January newsletter, Noelie’s Notion for 2014 is focusing on our spiritual health. Each month I asked one of the questions posed by Donald S. Whitney in his book Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health. Our question for December challenges us to reflect back over the year and discover how each of us can improve our spiritual health for 2015. Here is a brief re-cap of each of the questions:
DO YOU THIRST FOR GOD? -- Just as our physical hunger and thirst remind us that we are made to eat and drink, our hunger and thirst for meaning and direction in life reminds us that we are created to need and want God – continually, even if we have not yet put a name on that yearning. To open ourselves to God and acknowledge our hunger and thirst for righteousness means opening ourselves to be changed, to have our desires and our actions changed.
ARE YOU GOVERNED INCREASINGLY BY GOD’S WORD? -- I truly believe God wants us all to read the Bible as God’s love letter to us. God desires to be in a loving relationship with each of us. I think God longs for each of us to respond by saying, “I love you, too. I love you for writing the things you wrote. I love you for confessing your love for me. I love you for taking the time to write. I love you, God.” So start reading your Bible as a means to a stronger relationship with God.
ARE YOU MORE LOVING? -- As children of God, you and I are commanded to show forth the kind of love we see modeled by our heavenly Father and His Son. Jesus says very clearly, “This is my commandment that you love one another; just as I have loved you.” Did you notice that this question is not asking “Are you loving?” but “Are you MORE loving?” In other words, your love needs to be growing!!!! If you are growing in your love for God, for family, for friends, for your church, and for others, then you are growing as a Christian. Love is not a stagnant thing. Your love is either growing, or your love is dying. Love cannot stay constant. Spiritual health is determined by a growing love.
ARE YOU MORE SENSITIVE TO GOD’S PRESENCE? -- If we take the teaching of the Bible seriously, our sensing of God’s presence should be more than just an occasional experience. It should not be unusual for us, wherever we are, to recognize that “God is here.” As we grow closer to God, generally speaking, we should discern God’s presence more readily and more often. When we engage the Scriptures for spiritual transformation, we make it our top priority to listen to God relationally rather than seeking only to learn more about God cognitively.
DO YOU HAVE A GROWING CONCERN FOR THE NEEDS OF OTHERS? -- A spirituality that does not lead to active ministry becomes an indulgent preoccupation with self, and therefore grieves the Holy Spirit and violates the presence of the indwelling Christ. Indeed, to live a spiritual life means to become a living Christ. It is not enough to try to imitate Christ as much as possible; it is not enough to remind others of Jesus; it is not even enough to be inspired by the words and action of Jesus Christ. No, the spiritual life presents us with a far more radical demand: to be living Christ here and now. Being alive in Christ is life as Jesus lived it and now lives it in us through the Holy Spirit abiding in each of us.
DO YOU DELIGHT IN THE BRIDE OF CHRIST? -- This question focuses on our relationship with the church, the bride of Christ. In his book The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith, Timothy Keller writes, “If you want to get to know Jesus better, you will never be able to do that by yourself. You must be deeply involved in the church, in Christian community, with strong relationships of love and accountability. Only if you are part of a community of believers seeking to resemble, serve, and love Jesus will you ever get to know him and grow into his likeness.” Psalm 149:4 says, “The Lord takes pleasure in His people.” Do you?
ARE THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT TO YOU? -- Theologian Henri Nouwen defines discipline like this: “The word discipline means the effort to create some space in which God can act. Discipline means to prevent everything in your life from being filled up.” No matter how much we have grown spiritually, we still need to grow more. Our overarching goal is to be more and more like Jesus and that will not be completed until we are with Jesus in heaven.
DO YOU STILL GRIEVE OVER SIN? -- For someone who is spiritually healthy there should be a struggle with sin and a sense of grief because of sin. As one theologian explained, “It is not the absence of sin but the grieving over it which distinguishes the child of God from empty professors of faith.” God does not require a perfect, sinless life to have fellowship with God, but God does require that we grieve over sin in our lives instead of justifying it. Our sense of sin is in proportion to our nearness to God.”
ARE YOU A QUICKER FORGIVER? -- Your need to forgive is not an issue between you and the offender; it is between you and God. Forgiveness is costly; we pay the price of the hurt and pain we forgive. Yet you are going to live with those consequences whether you want to or not; your only choice is whether you will do so in the bitterness of unforgiveness or the freedom of forgiveness. If we have truly experienced God’s forgiveness, then we will have a readiness to forgive others. Learning to forgive is not something that happens quickly or easily, but it helps to remember that we are being forgiven every day of our lives.
DO YOU YEARN FOR HOLINESS? -- Each of us is called to live a life wholly pleasing to God. The Holy Spirit abides in each of us to help us in this endeavor; but it is up to each one of us to make that conscious effort of pursuing a life that is pleasing to God. What kind of life is pleasing to God? A life that is lived more and more like Christ’s. We are to follow Christ’s example.
If we are attending worship every Sunday to be entertained or if we are not trying to grow in our walk as disciples, then we have missed the point. The point is not just to show up on Sunday, but through worship to grow into spiritually healthy disciples of Jesus Christ. The journey toward becoming a spiritually healthy disciple is not an option; it is an expectation God has of everyone who seeks to be a Christian, a follower of Christ, a disciple. During our New Beginnings Appreciative Inquiry Session, the question was asked, “When you consider all of your experiences at this church, what has contributed the most to your spiritual life?” The initial response to this question was SILENCE. True, some of you had to think about your response to that question, but the silence does indicate that we tend to compartmentalize our spiritual life. One’s spiritual health should be even more important than one’s physical health.
Something to think about and pray about.
In God’s love and joy,