Monday, December 14, 2015

UNEXPECTED Poem from this Past Weekend

Many have asked for the poem I read this past it is!

The Most Unexpected People God Will Come for This Christmas
By Kimberley Suchta

For the hopeless.
For the hurting.
For the ones trying to hold it all together… He is coming.

For the outcasts.
For the misunderstood.
For the ones who have no Christmas party to attend… He is coming.

For the ones with no voice.
For the ones who are searching for someone to love.
For the ones whose marriages are falling apart… He is coming.

For those who feel like heaven is out of reach.
For those fighting to forgive after being betrayed.
For those learning to trust again… He is coming.

For the tired mom whose Christmas tree isn’t up yet and who has yet to light an advent candle.
For the woman whose arms ache for her child.
For the man struggling with his porn addiction… He is coming.

For the soul hiding inside of those thirty extra pounds.
For the single widow standing in a crowd of couples.
For those sinking in their depression… He is coming.

For those so numb they can’t feel his love.
For those swimming in anxiety.
For those who’s life knows no peace or goodwill… He is coming.

For the man sitting in prison for murder.
For the girl who carelessly gives herself away.
For those who have no frankincense or myrrh, but just filthy rags to offer… He is coming.

For those running to the outstretched arms of the Father for the first time.
For those running to the outstretched arms of the Father for the millionth time.
For those masking their sorrow with a smile… He is coming.

For the teenager counting her Instagram followers.
For the awkward middle school kid who just doesn’t fit in.
For those searching for the understanding eyes of a friend… He is coming.

For those battling the fear of the unknown.
For the refugee boy laying lifeless on a beach attempting to reach freedom.
And for his father who grieves… He is coming.

For the frightened man finding comfort in the weapon he carries.
For those who have been left by the people they thought would never leave.
For those doubting God’s goodness… He is coming.

For those who are the most difficult to love.
For those who are fighting to love again.
For those who despite all of this…keep believing anyway… 
                                                                       He is coming.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Exciting Staff News!

Exodus 13:21 (NIV)
By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.

God still speaks and moves in our lives. The only question is will we listen and follow?

In the Old Testament, God led his people from a place of slavery to a place of freedom. Individual lives and entire families - in a moment and for generations - were CHANGED as a result of their obedience to God’s call. The Lord led Israel by reminding them to stay focused on him and when he moved, then they should move as well.

I am thankful God still speaks. God still stirs. God still moves people in response to His call and His plan and, as a result, lives and generations are forever changed.

A little over a year ago as a leadership team, we felt God stirring to invest ourselves more heavily in forming community connections for one another within the Cypress family. A place to connect with others. A place to share life. A place to grow closer to Christ, but to do it shoulder to shoulder, not alone.

We found ourselves getting excited about this emphasis on group life, and then we focused our prayers on the Lord helping us to find the right person or persons to lead this initiative. After several months of praying and discerning, God has proven faithful once again.

God has been stirring two people who are new to this area of ministry, but not exactly new to Cypress.

  • I am very excited to announce Kathy George is going to be heading up our GroupLife team. God had been stirring in Kathy’s heart for some time that he had something new awaiting her. Through a series of confirmations, the Lord made it abundantly clear this was the right role for Kathy and the right leader for Cypress.

    To read about this transition in Kathy’s own words, see her note below to the Cypress Kids families. Kathy also shares what the plan looks like moving forward with leadership regarding the Cypress Kids team…very exciting!

  • Dave Kujawa, known as “Kujo” to some, will be rejoining Cypress’ ministry team. Dave was the youth pastor here for nine years, before heading to Michigan to help another church and pursue different ministry endeavors. Again, through several God ordained and orchestrated conversations, it is very clear the Lord has moved and opened doors for Dave to come join the ministry team at Cypress. Dave’s first emphasis will be to join men in the church and help us get better connected to other guys and to Christ.

  • Ashley Brooks will be rounding out this team. Ashley has been a part of our GroupLife team since June. She began her time with us as a one-year resident in our Next Wave Internship/Residency program and proved to be the type of person you want on your ministry team for more than just a year.

 Be praying for our GroupLife team as we work to see God move in our midst. Pray for those who will develop for the first time and others who will be strengthening their connection with Christ and others.

The best is yet to come!
Pastor Ken

From Kathy George:
Living life with Jesus is always an adventure. We never know all the plans Jesus has for us but we know He can be trusted.

During the last few months I have had a restlessness that I have only experienced one other time in my life. That was when I left the corporate world and pursued full-time ministry. In the last few months, I have been feeling a very strong tug on my heart to once again step out of my comfort zone. I couldn’t imagine what God was up to. I won’t take you through all the details – but through many, frankly odd circumstances – God showed me the reason for my restlessness.

Our vision at Cypress is Come, Connect and Change. Over the years we have landed on different vision statements – but this one especially grabbed my heart. I was particularly drawn to the purpose of people connecting for the sake of life change. That is what this “Jesus Adventure” is all about – lives being transformed…people becoming new!   

Pastor Ken and our leadership team are excited about this new movement of God and have encouraged me to pursue this new adventure and so I am moving into the role of Group Life Director – where I will be leading adults in finding those meaningful connections within our community.

What does all this mean for Children’s ministries? God has been preparing our kids team to take the reins. During this same timeframe, God has been tugging on Angie Young’s heart to take on more in the Children’s department. Angie will be co-leading with Heidi Kelly and she will be taking on a lot of my responsibilities.  For all you Star Wars fans – I will be their Yoda. We have an amazing kid’s team!  

Most of you know by now that our oldest son, Nathan, unexpectedly passed away on November 18. He was excited for my new adventure because he knew first hand the importance of connecting with people through the instrument of small groups. He was passionate about people hearing and knowing Jesus Christ. Some might think this is a time to pull back but because of Nathan’s adventurous spirit – while this was all in the works before he left us – I feel more certain now than ever about taking on this new adventure. 

Thank you so much for allowing me the privilege of serving you and your families for the past 19 years. I am looking forward to continuing walking this spiritual adventure with you. 

Miss Kathy

Thursday, December 3, 2015

How can one person possibly make a difference in this world?

We’ve been talking a lot in recent months about the threefold nature of why we exist as a church. We’ve even gone to the lengths of boiling down our purpose into three easy to remember words: COME ~ CONNECT ~ CHANGE.

We want to live in such a way as to compel people to simply COME as they are to see and experience all of who God is for them.

We believe it is all about right relationships with God and others in this thing called life. So the second thing we long for is to see people CONNECT…connect in meaningful ways that draw them closer to Christ in a personal relationship and to also draw them out of isolation and into transforming friendships.

The third word in our mission is what makes it complete- CHANGE. Anything short of the experience of this means we have not completed our work…and that is to see Christ facilitate LIFE CHANGE as only He can! As our lives are changed, we long to see marriages and families change. As families experience real life change, we long to see our local schools and communities change and eventually we realize we are simply doing our small part to help change the world for Jesus…one person, one life, one conversation, one act of kindness at a time.

Christmas is without question the most likely time of the year when people who do not generally go to church are open to attend. The number one reason why they might attend…because someone they know INVITED THEM!

We have been and will continue to pray that people will be invited and feel compelled to COME to one of our Christmas services this year. We pray that when they arrive, they will CONNECT in a special way and feel welcomed, all so that one day they will respond to the greatest gift the world has ever known…the love, grace and hope of Jesus Christ. We pray that through that, their life and purpose may CHANGE in ways they never even dreamed possible.

You really do play an invaluable role in one of the greatest celebrations and miracles this Christmas season - that of a truly changed life for Christ.

Please do your part:
  • Extend simple invitations
  • Pray the Lord does what only He can do

Join us this weekend as we kick off the Christmas season with a service of music and celebration – A Weekend in December!

Merry Christmas,
Pastor Ken