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Even though we aren't meeting in person during this time, we are still constantly looking for new ways to connect people to God and one another. Visit clifec.com/schedule to find ways to connect with us throughout the week!

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In response to COVID-19, all of our scheduled in-person events are on hold for now. We will resume or reschedule them as soon as circumstances allow. Just because we’re not meeting in person doesn’t mean we’re not working on ways to continue connecting people to God and one another. Keep an eye on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for important updates!


Daily Devotionals

Spiritual Distancing
Apr 01, 2020

In the fall of 2011, I spent five weeks away from my family in Zambia. Five weeks. For those who have been deployed overseas or have had long-term remote assignments, you understand (probably better than I) how challenging it can be. While we were able to communicate and keep in touch during that time, it just wasn’t the same thing as being under the same roof.

These days, all of us are experiencing this feeling of apartness (and perhaps aloneness) through social distancing. I don’t need to tell you that “air fives” and mock embraces over FaceTime just don’t suffice for the real thing. As my coworker exclaimed yesterday in an online meeting, “When this over I’m going to give each of you a GREAT BIG HUG!”

Hers is a common sentiment. We all yearn for face-to-face contact. Something about being eye to eye and shoulder to shoulder makes our personal connections even more real.

Jesus recognized this truth when he was about to depart this earth, and he knew the impact that leaving would have on his disciples. So he warned them of it beforehand, but he also comforted them and even encouraged them about the impending social distancing:

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
— John 14:1–3

In Jesus’ mind, physical distancing was necessary for a period of time so that his people could repent and be healed of the virus of sin. But he promised this separation would not last forever. And he gave us a Comforter to be at our spiritual bedside to bring us back to health until that day when we finally become who we were made to be.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
— John 14:16–18

The Spirit of truth — of wholeness, wellness and completeness — is both our Helper and our Reminder that we will one day be reunited with him beyond this world of pain and death. As a result, the social distancing we are currently experiencing from Christ does not mean spiritual isolation.

How can we stay connected with Christ if we can’t be with him physically? God’s word gives us the prescription a few verses later when Jesus says:

“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”  — John 14:21

As we work to overcome this virus of sin in our lives, we cannot neglect the spiritual regimen of obedience and faithfulness to God’s word if we hope to be victorious. While there is no vaccine, there is a cure, and it is found only in him:

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
— John 14:6

So don’t wait for the end of Christ’s social distancing before connecting with him. When he finally returns, it will be too late to start down the road to recovery, and the disease of sin will have taken its final, ultimate toll. Rather, accept his diagnosis now, get to know his Spiritual Therapist, and experience true healing in knowing and loving him.

And when this coronavirus social distancing is over, you’ll be in a much better place to reconnect with those you love — especially the One who loves you more than you can think or imagine, virus and all.

Daily Devotionals

Grab On and Stand Steady
Mar 31, 2020

When we are in love, romance movies resonate with us. When we are sad, tragedies hit all the right chords. The same could probably be said with our days of inner rage and watching Liam Neeson give the bad guys their just desserts.

This is also true, at least for me, with Bible stories. There are countless Bible stories that have been regurgitated in every way possible throughout my life, be it through puppet shows, felt boards, coloring sheets or by watching talking vegetables. But the stories that really hit differently are the ones that dealt with the same issues thousands of years ago that I find myself dealing with in today. So get your felt boards out.

Peter Walks on Water

(Not sure if there is a VeggieTales version of this one… I don’t think it would be quite as powerful. Most vegetables are naturally buoyant.)

Not-Very-Buoyant Peter Walks on Water

but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.
— Matthew 14:24–29

Not-Very-Buoyant Peter Walks on Water but Looks Around, Becomes Worried, and Sinks

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me.”

Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
— Matthew 14:30–33

[END SCENE]

Time to put the felt characters down and dive a little deeper. When we were children, we generally just clung to the fact that walking on water is impossible, but Peter did it because faith and because Jesus. Which is a great summary, really. But we are grown-ups now, and it’s time to look at some more key points.

  • “… beaten by the waves for the wind was against them…”
    This was difficult and hard work, the disciples were having a very bad time

  • Jesus came to them.

  • Already swamped with worry about their struggle in the boat, they were terrified when they saw him. They didn’t even recognize Jesus, the same guy they had been following for months.

  • Jesus simply calls out, “Don’t be afraid.”

  • Peter decides to take that literal leap of faith and hops out of the boat to walk on water to Jesus.

  • When Peter takes his eyes off Jesus, he again begins to feel the worry, the burden of a bad time. He begins to sink.

  • Peter cries out to Jesus

  • “Immediately,” Jesus reaches out his hand to save Peter.

  • “Oh ye of little faith, why did you doubt?”

OK, time to resonate. Life is hard for many and, as of late, it’s been very uncertain for most. The waves have been beating against the lot of us. Are our struggles and worries keeping us from recognizing Jesus when he comes to us? After taking a leap of faith, have we looked around and noticed this is a much more difficult time than we had expected? Are we sinking? Well, then cry out! Grab the hand that reaches for you. Throughout the story and through all the waves and terror, one thing remains constant: Jesus was steady and on top of the waves. He gives but two commands. “Do not be afraid” and to “Come”. He’s asking the disciples, he’s asking us, to trust him. Trust the God of the universe who is steady on top of the waves, waiting for you to ask for his help, reaching out for you, so you can grab on and stand steady with him.

Daily Devotionals

God Uses Everything
Mar 30, 2020

A mother was busy making supper in the kitchen and, needing a can of tomato soup, she asked her 5-year-old son to go into the pantry and get one for her. But the light in the pantry was out and he didn’t really want to go in there.

“It’s dark in there and I’m scared,” he said.

She asked again, and he persisted. Finally, she said, “It’s OK, honey. Jesus will be in there with you.”

So, the little boy walked hesitantly to the door and slowly opened it. Looking inside, he saw it was dark, and he started to leave when all at once an idea came. He peeked back inside again and called out, “Jesus, if you’re in there, would you hand me that can of tomato soup?”
— Charles L. Allen, Victory in the Valleys of Life (1981)

What’s the scariest thing you have experienced? Was it ghost stories as a kid? Bad news from your doctor? Something terrible that was completely out of your control? It’s possible that right now you are feeling more scared and unsure than you have in a long time, or maybe ever.

In Acts 26, we witness a terrifying experience Saul (later named Paul) had that would change his life forever:

“On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

“Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’

“‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
— Acts 26:12–18

I’d be terrified if this happened to me. He would be blind for three days until he was healed. But that blindness was an object lesson. Because of that blindness, for the rest of his life, Paul understood that:

  • He had been brought out of darkness into light.
  • He had been delivered from the power of Satan to God.
  • He had received forgiveness and a place in God’s family.

Paul understood that Jesus expected him to help others gain that very same change in their lives. In fact, he realized that was the job of every Christian. Paul wrote to the Christians at Philippi:

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life— in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
— Philippians 2:14–16

Paul was telling them that their job as Christians was to “hold out the word of life.”

Maybe you’re feeling blind too, like you don’t know what it is you’re supposed to do. But I want to tell you something: just because the world has changed, it doesn’t mean that our mission has changed.

You still have very important work to do, church. I know that times are uncertain. I know that you have a lot on your mind — we all do. But we are in this together. This week, live your purpose, and when you start to feel fearful, remember that God uses everything, even this.

Daily Devotionals

What Should We Do?
Mar 27, 2020

In peace I will lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 4:8 ESV

Wow. What is going on? Things are not going well. Have you been to the grocery store lately? There are times when aisle after aisle is empty. Even the canned goods area looks bleak. I have never seen a run on green beans before, and I have been around for a while. I did notice one positive thing on my last trip: we still have a good supply of red kidney beans available to us, so that is good!

But seriously, these are strange days. It actually is scary and worrisome. I am usually a positive person, but it seems that things are out of control right now. Things are headed in the wrong direction. The stock market is having huge drops, many are being told that they cannot go to work, there is a virus among us that is a danger. These are turbulent days.

What should we do? That is an appropriate question. It is a question that has been asked during emergencies all throughout history. In fact, King David asks the same question in Psalm 11:

“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
— Psalm 11:3 ESV

What should Christians, God’s people, do?

When David wrote this Psalm, he was under attack. We are told that his enemies had their bows drawn and their arrows already pointed at him. His kingdom was in dire trouble.

He had some advisers. They told him to run. They told him to flee to the mountains and hide. David was led by God to take another track. David’s word to others and to himself was:

In the Lord I take refuge…
— Psalm 11:1 ESV

David knew that his God was still with him in the middle of his crisis. He knew that his God was better than some hiding place in the hills.

A full reading of Psalm 11 shows us that David understood some basic truths:

  • His God was with him.
  • God was still on his throne and in control.
  • There was no need to run.

David found peace and confidence in his God.

We should do the same. If you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus and have not received the gift of grace that God has offered us, you need to take care of that issue today.

In these times, you need the peace, confidence and power that can only come from him.

Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
— Psalm 33:22 ESV

Daily Devotionals

Power in the Name
Mar 25, 2020

I will call on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, for he saves me from my enemies.
— 2 Samuel 22:4 ESV

Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise!
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.”
— Psalm 66:1–3 ESV

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven! Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness! Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise him with the lyre and harp! Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes! Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals. Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord!
— Psalm 150:1–6 NLT

After talking it over with the people, Jehoshaphat appointed a choir for God; dressed in holy robes, they were to march ahead of the troops, singing, “Give thanks to God, His love never quits.”
— 2 Chronicles 20:21 MSG

There is power in the name of Jesus.

Worship, singing out our praises, crying out to God, ushers us into his presence. A lifestyle of worship focuses the attention of our hearts, the underlying current of our lives, on God. This is the sweet spot of life. It allows peace to reside over me because God is with me! He is always near, but intentionally seeking to praise him with all that I am in all that I do draws him close.

Worshipping God through song is my personal favorite. I would actually say that I have a song on my heart 90% of the time. For me, it keeps the truth of God’s word on my lips and sets the tone of my life. It reminds of who God is. It also anchors me when all around me seems out of sorts. One of the hardest and most amazing times of my life was when I was sitting with my grandmomma during her final days. My favorite moments were the times I was able to just sing her favorite hymns in the room, and when I couldn’t utter the words, I would hum. Her soul was likely already with Jesus. I know the songs that he placed on my heart drew me closer to him and gave me comfort.

So often, worship prepares me for what God is leading me to just like in a service worship prepares our hearts to receive God’s word. Worship prepares us for battle. Worship prepares us to move forward to victory in Jesus! As John Piper says, “Singing to God isn’t just a nice emotional trip to spice up a worship service, it’s an attack against sin and Satan.” One of my favorite worship songs today is Elevation’s Graves into Gardens. I love the entire song! It reminds me that there is nothing greater than the Lord. He meets me with love and grace right where I am every moment of every day, always exchanging his best for what is offered. Here’s a sneak peek at the lyrics to show you what I mean.

You turn mourning to dancing
You give beauty for ashes
You turn shame into glory
You’re the only one who can

You turn grave into garden
You turn bones into armies
You turn seas into highways
You’re the only one who can
You’re the only one who can

Oh, there’s nothing better than You
Oh, there’s nothing better than You
Lord, there’s nothing
Nothing is better than You

Graves into Gardens, Elevation Worship

This song puts me in the right frame of mind and ignites my heart, testifying of who God is and all that he has already done. I want to walk in the power of God, giving him praise and delighting in who he is. God uses worship to empower me and illuminate his word.

We all know that we are walking through days of uncertainty. An old song says, “For I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand.” Worship reminds me that God is in control. He is always worthy to be praised, and he is God.

Coming Events

First Sunday Youth Service
First Sunday of the month, 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Hey, Rockwall 7th-12th graders! Join us on the first Sunday of every month, from 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. We always have free food, lots of fun, and a great group of students to...

Momentum
Every Wednesday, 6:45 PM - 8:30 PM

Momentum is our weekly Wednesday night program for students in grades 7–12. Come hang out as we worship, play games and look at God's Word together! Doors open at 6...

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Kaufman Campus
2918 US-175, Kaufman, TX 75142
Sunday services: 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.

Rockwall Campus
1950 Alpha Dr., Rockwall, TX 75087
Sunday services: 9:30 a.m. & 11 a.m.

Forney Campus
204 FM 1641, Forney, TX 75126
Sunday services: 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. & 5 p.m.

Sunnyvale Campus
610 Hwy. 80 E., Sunnyvale, TX 75182
Sunday services: 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.


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Mailing address:
P.O. Box 3209
Forney, TX 75126

972-564-5433(LIFE)

© 2020 Community Life Church | Forney - Sunnyvale - Kaufman - Rockwall   |   204 FM 1641, Forney, TX US 75126