Archives For Christmas

No matter what your circumstances are saying to you today, our prayer is that each of you experience the presence of Jesus Christ this Christmas.

Immanuel. God with us.

The Creator who isn’t far off.  Who didn’t just record the human experience to playback later (with some eggnog and gingerbread) on some supernatural DVR.

God incarnate. Who became one of us.

“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” – John 1:14 MSG

All your pain.  All your imperfection.  All your ineffective self-righteousness.  Your futile attempts to be good enough on your own.

Jesus embodied our humanity so He could become the embodiment of our redemption.  That’s why this baby named Jesus is some seriously good news.

God is truly with us.

Merry Christmas!

Love,

Erik, Mandy, Emma, Anna, & Austin

A few weeks ago I spent the night in a hospital. It wasn’t an unexpected trip. I was scheduled to have an extended EEG on my brain, a test my neurologist felt was necessary to finally rule out all the serious possibilities for some strange symptoms I’ve been having the last couple of years.

I thought it was just a day trip. Turned out, they wanted me to sleep over.

For 23 hours my head looked like this (you have to admit, the colored wires are festive and do give the illusion of a stronger hairline).

I had to sit painfully still on the bed.  I had to wear ridiculous yellow hospital slippers.  And worst of all, I had to ring Nurse Ratched for a personal potty escort every time my coffee intake reached capacity (hey, it was that or the bedpan).

Good news.

Turns out I officially suffer from ocular migraines, an easily treatable condition typically found in post-menopausal women. So other than my bruised male ego, there was really nothing to fix. They sent me home with a mild prescription (for the impending hotflashes?).

Over those few short hours of inconvenience and humiliation, I gained something I could never have acquired any other way.

Empathy.

The ability to intellectually and emotionally identify with someone else. To know what it’s like to lay in a hospital bed.  To be hooked up to countless machines and beeping monitors.  To wonder if dinner will be edible.  To question if anyone is coming to visit. To worry if everything is going to be OK.

It was a valuable emotional tool to add to my repertoire. But it was only temporary.

At six the next morning I walked myself out.  No seizures.  No tumors.  No surgery required. Just a short, vicarious experience of what it could feel like to own a pair of those shoes.

And that’s what makes Christmas so unbelievably amazing (betcha didn’t see that turn coming, did you?).

Empathy is beautiful, but the God of the universe didn’t stop there. He didn’t just sit in heaven and feel sorry for us.  Our pain. Our brokenness.  He didn’t just momentarily capture our experience like a snapshot to hang on the refrigerator with the other Christmas cards.  He didn’t just empathize.

He incarnated

…a fancy, theological word that simply means “to become in flesh.” Our Creator didn’t just intellectually or emotionally identify with us.  He became one of us.

“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.”  – John 1:14 MSG

He didn’t Skype Himself in.

He didn’t post on our Facebook wall.

He didn’t drop by for a quick photo shoot on His way to deal with more important cosmic business.

He became.

Immanuel.

God with us.

He moved into the neighborhood.

That, my friends, is the truth I’m hanging tightly to this Christmas.

Fifteen to Finish

Erik Cooper —  December 20, 2010 — Leave a comment

In light of all the stellar economic indicators and the financial pressures of Christmas, I know many of you have bags full of extra money laying around you’re just dying to get rid of, right? (Bags of small, unmarked bills with warrants attached to them don’t count).

In all seriousness, this video highlights a project we’ve adopted in a little slum off the coast of La Ceiba, Honduras.  A place that has become very special to us at City Community Church.

If you’re looking to do year end charitable giving, this would be a worthwhile investment.  This project is making a tangible difference in the lives of some amazing kids. Kids who wouldn’t have much hope without you and our partners at Mission of Mercy.

Thanks to a generous $10,000 donation, we only need $15K more to complete the final phase of this center (that also acts as a local church for the community).  If you’d like to help, you can click here to donate online, or make your checks payable to City Community Church (133 W. Market St. #102, Indianapolis 46204).

Just make sure to include “Fifteen to Finish” in the memo line for both online and physical contributions. All donations are tax deductible and can be claimed on your 2010 taxes if postmarked by December 31.

Give a gift of hope this Christmas, and then write it off on your taxes!  “It’s the gift that keeps on giving Clark…”

My Early Christmas Gift To You

Erik Cooper —  December 16, 2010 — 1 Comment

Christmas is a time for unbridled merriment and irrational joy, so today I thought I’d throw a little dose of sober in your eggnog.  Perhaps this post will earn me a visit from three spirits? We’ll see.

What does it really mean to be a follower of Jesus?

As a lifelong “churchie,” that’s a question I’ve really wrestled with.  Is Christ truly leading my life, or am I just trying to get him to come along on my journey? (After all, He is a great travel partner. I hear He has status in all the airline lounges). If you’ve followed my blog even sporadically for any length of time, this is a question you know I’m not afraid to pose.

To follow simply means to go after. To willfully submit.  To listen and respond.  Which led me to write the following question in my journal this morning:

“Is there anything God has already said to me that I’m not listening to, obeying, or that I’m rationalizing away?”

I’m spending the day with this one.  Maybe you want to join me?  It’s my early Christmas gift to you.

(If you behave, I may even let you have another lump of coal for the fire, too).

City Community Church is a rather decentralized church community.

Intentionally.

We don’t believe solely in creating programs and systems to plug you into.  We want you to learn to hear from God and respond to what He’s saying. To you. From the inside out.  Tricky, but worth the challenge.

That said, we do believe in the power of doing things together. NKOTBSB style.  So this year we pulled out all the creative stops and launched CityCom’s 12 Days of Christmas.  I know, I know.  We don’t know where the idea came from either.  Supernatural indeed!

Every day, December 8-19, there’s a simple activity the entire church community (or anyone else for that matter) can do to bring some focus and life to the Christmas season. From reading the Christmas Story in Luke 2, to attending a Christmas party in honor of local foster parents.  From donating a toy to a local children’s shelter, to free ice skating at the Pepsi Coliseum.

Simple. Meaningful. Celebration. (yes, even the ice skating)

Today (day 2) we “travel” to Africa in support of one of our Interact Partners, Global Support Mission. Logon to their action website, KnowThinkAct.com, and make a simple donation (even as little as $1) to a specific need (the stories are there) that could change or even save a life.  Get all the Day 2 details by clicking here.

Here’s the latest video that shows a little of what Global Support Mission is all about:


Feel free to join the 12 Days of Christmas even if CityCom isn’t the church you call home (hey, even if you don’t call any church home).  You can follow each day on the CityCom Facebook or Twitter page, or by logging on to the Interact tab of the CityCom website.

Merry 12 Days of Christmas!