The season of Advent, which begins this Sunday, December 2, is an overtly outward-facing time of the year. It means “coming” and reminds us that when God decided to know us, he didn’t merely talk about it from a distance. He reached out to us and came near.Read More
The results of Giving Tuesday are in and I am delighted to report that you gave $213,169. Generous donors matched $100,000 of your gifts for a total of $313,169.
I am overwhelmed by this outpouring of generosity. Your gifts enable us to begin to plan our 2019 ministry year and service projects and places us in a strong position as we move into year end, typically the time of year most churches and nonprofits collect a significant portion of their budget.Read More
Reflecting upon the question “what is the central challenge facing our era?” New York Times columnist David Brooks concluded, “My answer would be: social isolation.” Based on my experience serving as a pastor for over a quarter century, I think he’s correct. We’re a lonely lot. Many of us feel like people don’t really know us, and we long for deeper, safer, more life-giving relationships with others.Read More
According to recent Gallup research, sixty-seven percent of the American workforce is disengaged from their work. This is tragic, not only because of the economic implications this represents for employers and our economy, but also for the individual. We spend so much of our lives at work that when we’re disengaged in our work we’re wasting our lives.Read More
I’m excited to introduce this year’s overarching sermon theme: Knowing and Being Known. Two interlocking ideas animate this theme: the human longing to be known and the gift we’re given to know the supreme being of the universe and be known by him.Read More
This past Sunday marked a monumental moment in the life of City Church. At our first congregational meeting we voted to become a chartered church. Since our launch as a church plant in August 2015, we have been recognized as a mission church rather than a self-governing congregation.Read More
I love Eugene Peterson’s translation of a famous expression of the Apostle Paul: “Let’s face it—if there’s no resurrection, everything we’ve told you is smoke and mirrors, and everything you’ve staked your life on is smoke and mirrors!” (1 Corinthians 15:13-14, The Message).Read More
No one should feel like they’re on the outside looking in at City Church. The church isn’t an elite club or homogenous social enclave. It should be the most welcoming place on earth, a motley mesh of humanity on mission. As the body of Christ, the church is the presence of Jesus in the world.Read More
Memories and music rush to my mind this time of year. Even my earliest recollections of Christmas seem to be paired with a playlist: Drooling over the kitchen counter as my mother bakes her delicious fudge and Bing Crosby croons White Christmas in the background or shouting Feliz Navidad along with Jose Feliciano as my father and I string Christmas lights outside our home. The older I get the more heartwarming these kinds of moments are to me. For many of us no other season of the year is so richly adorned with vivid stories and songs from our past.Read More
Earlier this year I asked our founding core leaders to engage with me in a process of discernment about the denominational future of City Church. Over the next many months we gathered to pray, study, seek wise counsel, and discuss this. We all came to the conclusion that the best long-term fit for City Church is ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians.Read More
Money is a sensitive subject we may be reluctant to discuss with others. Jesus was not. Next to his kingdom, he spoke more often about money than any other subject. Turns out it’s integral to what it means to follow Jesus and live a meaningful life.Read More
“Ah music,” said J.K. Rowling’s Albus Dumbeldore, wiping his eyes, “A magic beyond all we do here!” In my experience music does have almost a magical power. It has the capacity to help us connect with places deep inside our souls. It shouldn’t surprise us, therefore, that one of the most important books in the Bible and Christian practice throughout the centuries is a collection of songs.Read More
As we continue to endure the heartbreaking and devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey upon our city, please join me in praying for those who have suffered loss and those still at risk. May our gracious Savior care for them and be to all of us a “refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain” (Isaiah 4:6).Read More
City Church’s new ministry year begins this Sunday. I’m really excited about our sermon theme for the new year: Stories and Songs. Most of the Bible is written either in narrative or poetry. Our sermons this year will be comprised of both.Read More
I am delighted to let you know that Valerie Tompson has accepted the position of Executive Director at City Church and will begin effective immediately. She will work closely with me to champion the vision and values of City Church, provide overall strategic leadership, and direct the staff in all ministry areas. We are extraordinarily blessed to have someone as talented as Valerie serve our young, growing church in this new role.Read More
I am excited that City Church kids and friends will have the opportunity to experience musical theater camp this summer and gather in a professional theater at the new arts venue in Midtown: MATCH. The kids will be at MATCH all week, and the daily schedule will include acting, singing, crafts and a Bible lesson as they work on the musical Happily Forever After. The week will conclude with a performance by the kids at MATCH at 11:30 AM on Friday.Read More
Lent begins this week with Ash Wednesday and lasts forty days (it’s actually the forty-six days before Easter, but Sundays in Lent are not counted). It’s a season of spiritual renewal and reminds us of Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness. The old English word Lent means spring season. Think of it as a sort of spiritual spring cleaning or spring training. It’s an opportunity to give more focused attention to following Christ.
Curious, isn’t it, the New Testament begins with a genealogical record? Christianity introduces itself to the world with what may appear to be an uninteresting, even boring literary form. Often missed, however, are the provocative elements in Matthew’s record of Jesus’ ancestry. Not only is the mere mention of five women unusual, given the paternalistic subculture of ancient Israel, but the particular stories embedded in the genealogy cryptically provide color, drama, and even juicy scandal.Read More
The results of Giving Tuesday are in and I am delighted to report that you gave $136,750. $75,000 of your gifts were matched by a generous donor, which means a total of $211,750 was raised in a single day from ninety four people, a third of whom made their first gift to City Church!Read More
UPDATE: Thanks to your generosity on #GivingTuesday, we met our matching gift goal of $75,000!
Dear City Church friend,
City Church has a great opportunity today. Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, began several years ago to create a day of giving in the midst of a season of purchasing.
With the election now behind us, I would like to share some things that are on my heart as a pastor.
Our Vote. This has been the most contentious presidential campaign of my lifetime. Equally thoughtful and concerned people came to different conclusions in the voting booth and I respect that. I’m passionate that City Church be an apolitical space. People from across the human spectrum need to be able to explore the possibility of faith and the implications of it without feeling they have to adopt a particular political position. Jesus was, of course, neither a Democrat nor Republican (nor American for that matter!). He said, “My Kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).Read More
Belief is a difficult thing, especially for modern people. This is a basic assumption for us at City Church. We’re not just a community for the convinced but also for the curious and spiritually conflicted as well. We want to be a genuinely safe place for anyone to process their doubts. Starting this Sunday, we’ll explore some of the most common questions people have about the Christian faith in a new sermon series called Why? Questions About Christianity.
“Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless. What do people gain from all their labor at which they toil under the sun?” Many of us likely identify with these opening words from the ancient book of Ecclesiastes. Work occupies a great deal of our lives but often feels empty, lacking in purpose. The Scriptures, however, invite us to reimagine our work as a gift of God through which we glorify God and partner with him in building a culture that promotes human flourishing. This robust vision for the integration of faith and work are at the heart of who we want to be at City Church.
The resurrection of Jesus is the most important event in human history. On it Christianity stands or falls. The Apostle Paul said, “if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Corinthians 15:14). But the case for the resurrection is extraordinarily strong. The empty tomb, widespread eyewitness testimony, and radically transformed lives, like Paul’s, give modern people an objective basis from which to consider the Christian faith. Not only does the resurrection make the case for Christianity compelling, it offers unique hope for people trying to navigate the complexities of modern life. For these reasons and more, Easter is the heart of Christianity.
We pray because we’re human. While we all need moments of solitude, studies consistently show that isolation from others is detrimental to our health. If that’s true interpersonally, how much more so with the One who made us? Prayer opens up communication with God and gives us a lifeline to the world beyond the walls of this world.
I have a confession to make: I’m a doubter. I believe in Jesus. I love him deeply. But, if I’m honest, it’s sometimes difficult for me to believe. Because I wrestle with my faith, I find it wonderfully refreshing that Jesus is not put off by those of us with questions, who struggle to believe.
If you’re like me, it’s easy to have a jaded view of New Year’s resolutions after failing to follow through on them for decades. While there’s nothing magical about the turn of a calendar, a New Year may just give that psychological boost we need to make a fresh start in an important area of life.
As we approach the end of the year, I stand in awe of what the Lord has done to birth City Church. What a remarkable beginning: an extraordinary launch team of volunteers and staff, hundreds of new people who have worshiped with us, a strong spirit of service and community, and the phenomenal music that has lifted our hearts weekly to the Lord in worship. How humbling it is to witness our Savior’s astounding faithfulness. Through City Church he is bringing the beauty of Christ into brokenness.Read More
Since ancient times, Christians in the west have recognized the four weeks before Christmas as the season of Advent. From the Latin Adventus, meaning “coming,” it refers to the coming of Jesus into the world. It is an invitation to reflect on the rich origin of Christmas when the long-anticipated Christ entered the world in the humility of a manger in Bethlehem. It also looks forward to his coming again in great glory when the Prince of Peace will usher in universal and enduring harmony.
Jesus is full of surprises. When he was passing through Jericho one day, he stopped and invited himself over to the home of Zacchaeus, a social outcast. This audacious move was deeply offensive to many who despised the chief tax collector: “He’s gone to be the guest of a sinner,” they scoffed. But it dramatically changed Zacchaeus’ life.
In his book, Beauty Will Save the World, Brian Zahnd suggests, “Christianity that is deeply enchanted by Christ’s beauty…has the opportunity to present to a skeptical and jaded world an aspect of the gospel that has been too rare for too long.”
"What just happened?” That’s what my wife, Ellen, and I kept saying to one another after Sunday’s launch of City Church. We know it’s going to take time for us to fully process what it all means, but for now we are simply stunned and in awe.Read More
Watching Wimbledon, my favorite sports fortnight of the year, and the Women’s World Cup (go team USA) this week reminded me once again of the difference between individual and team sports. On the tennis court you are all alone. It’s up to you. YOU have to figure out how to overcome the obstacles before you.Read More
What a fun night it was! Take a #behindthescenes peek at City Church's event at Saint Arnolds Brewery.Read More
We are delighted to announce that Josh Moore will be joining City Church as our Worship Arts Director.Read More