Monday, March 23, 2009

Getting Back to Church

I had the opportunity to get to church yesterday for the first time in several weeks, and the experience was a very good one.

Canyon View Vineyard Church's satellite campus in Downtown GJ has been steadily growing since establishing regular Sunday services in the Roper Music Ballroom at 5th and Rood. As of the beginning of this month they've added a second service, and have also taken the vacant storefront on the 5th Street side of the Roper Music building. Advertising free coffee and Internet service, it looks as though the storefront will serve as a church office and place to "hang out" during the week.

Since last October, Pastor Paul Watson and his staff have been using systematic theology to go through the essential Christian belief structure, and from there glean practical lessons in living from those basic teachings. This week the focus was on James 1:1-27; Paul provided the following talking points to go along with the scripture:
  • Know who you are in Christ. When you know, you will be able to determine what in the world you stand for.
  • Your physical troubles are an opportunity for physical growth. How you respond reveals what you believe about God. God is as interested in your response as he is your circumstance.
  • True and lasting religion is based in Jesus and faith in God. Believe that God has the ability to change your circumstance.
  • Show your faith in God in how you live. People believe what you live, not what you say.
  • Lasting religion makes a difference in people's lives.
This lesson continues to validate, at least for me, why I find this particular church's message appealing. They present their truth in a calm, non-judgmental way. Pretense and ritualistic formality are deliberately minimized; come as you are, for you are one of God's children and deserving of His love, as manifested by His earthly followers.

It's good to see this ministry begin to flourish in the way that it has. Being able to walk there on Sunday mornings is a blessing that I'm going to take advantage of more as the weather becomes more hospitable. I only wish that I had my loved ones next to me.

The church has its' own page on the CVVC website, which will hopefully have more information available on it in the future. Recorded sermons, maybe (hint, hint). In any case, if you're looking for a church to go to in the central valley, it's worth checking out.

On a related note, I was fortunate this weekend to speak with a couple of acquaintances who attend St. Matthew's Episcopal Church. They have a new Rector that has just started, and from the looks of their website and newsletter it seems that the congregation is energized and engaged in God's work for others. It's been about 8 years since I was last there; based upon these chance meetings, another visit is probably a good idea.

Have a blessed week ahead.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yea! I missed you there, I was there...did you go to the early service? I start teaching sunday school next week for a month... I am honored to call that place my church "home" although, the idea is based on the theology that church is not our home, we need to get our booties out on Monday and do the work....