Our Forney, Sunnyvale, Kaufman and Rockwall locations are now open for limited-capacity Sunday services by reservation only. We're also taking reservations for our preschool and children's services!
If you are unable or not quite ready to join us in person on our physical campuses, we encourage you to join us at our online campus! We will be streaming the 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. services at clifec.com/live, on Facebook Live and on our YouTube channel.
For a full statement from our co-pastors about our phased reopening strategy, visit clifec.com/update!
And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.” As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
— Nehemiah 1:3–4
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.
— Proverbs 3:27
Nehemiah got terrible news about the state of Jerusalem, and it moved him to tears. It’s important to know that the story doesn’t end with him crying about what was lost. That part of the story is not the ending. It is the beginning.
After this, Nehemiah prays and comes up with a plan to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Then he goes to Jerusalem and leads the people there to rebuild those walls.
That’s what makes the story of Nehemiah exceptional. He didn’t just feel bad about the state of the world. He had a burden on his heart, he prayed about it, asked for God’s help, and then did everything in his power to fix it.
He did not stop at feeling bad. He observed a need, and he met that need. That is a powerful example for God’s people today. Too often, we live in a culture that is content to look at the tragedy in the world instead of helping. We satiate our sadness with a social media post. “Praying!” That wouldn’t be so bad except, let’s be honest: most of the time, we don’t even actually pray about it.
I’m not saying that you are going to be called to help in every situation. But I know there will be things that speak to your heart and genuinely move you to compassion. At that moment, remember this: Proverbs 3:27 admonishes us not to withhold good, when it is within our power to help. So we must help, even if it’s hard, even if it’s scary, even if it costs you. I also recognize that to help means a lot of different things. Each of us should do what we can. If you can give, then give. If you can organize, then organize. If you can cook, then cook. If you can counsel, then counsel. Use whatever God has given you to help. And yes, if all you can do is pray, then pray continually.
As we celebrate 15 years of service at c|Life, my favorite truth about who we are as a church is that we are compassionate people who lead through service in our communities. One of the most frequently quoted values is “change the world.” Because here is the truth: feeling bad about how much suffering exists in the world is useless, especially if you can help.
Help us honor that value by asking yourself two questions this week:
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.
— 1 Corinthians 10:23
Some sermons contain a phrase so memorable that even years later, you can quickly recall it. One of those phrases for me: “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this repeated in my head. I am convinced that it is straight from the Holy Spirit, given to me because I am a child of God.
The sad truth is that there are so many times that I use my liberty to justify my bad behavior. I say things I don’t need to say, I do things I don’t need to do, and I think things that are too embarrassing to even mention. The justification for me is simple: I’m a grown man, and I can do whatever I want to do. I reason to myself, “I will simply manage the consequences when they come upon me.” The Bible calls that person a fool. Guilty as charged!
Because of God’s grace, the Holy Spirit swoops in to lead me back to the truth: Just because we are completely forgiven and free from the law does not mean it is wise, or even acceptable, to sin. Sin is destructive and inconsistent with our spiritual identities. It destroys our witness, our relationships, and our peace of mind. It can destroy our bodies and our mental health. Can you sin? Sure. But always remember, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. You weren’t spiritually birthed to recklessly flaunt Christ’s victory over sin. Doing so is contrary to everything a member of the family of God should be.
Now read this next part slowly because your eternal destiny may hinge on it. If this truth does not resonate with you, then there is a sober reality that you must confront.
“No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”
— 1 John 3:9–10
If you’re like me, you grew up in an old-fashioned church where King James was a Bible, not a basketball player. People sang hymns like I’ll Fly Away with such zeal that we kids would anxiously look to see if anyone in the congregation would sprout wings and take off. Back then, not only did we learn to speak and pray using King James English, but we learned to read music in the church hymnal and sing out loud with gusto and zest. If, by chance, you do remember those days and will admit it, then it’s safe to say your youthful days have slipped into the rear-view mirror. In all likelihood, you’re an AARP member, and the King James Bible still holds a place in your aging heart. Do you also remember week-long revivals (sometimes two weeks), all-day singings with dinner on the ground, and special events like pack-a-pew Sundays?
For those not familiar with old-school practices in the church, pack-a-pew Sunday was a contest to see who in the congregation would bring the most visitors for a Sunday Service. The winner would receive a prize for their efforts (ordinarily a Bible) and recognition by the church. While pack-a-pew Sundays, like me, are becoming things of the past, they speak to a missing and much-needed element in the church today: a zeal for evangelism, a passion to see those without Jesus come to know and follow him.
I’ll never forget Tuesday-night visitations (knocking on doors and witnessing to whoever would open up) or those spring and summer months when schools had let out, and a host of us crazy church people would go driving through neighborhoods, honking horns, shouting out and tossing candy to announce and invite the community to Vacation Bible School. There were so many things the church would promote and take part in as a faithful response to this biblical mandate:
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
— Matthew 28:19–20 KJV
The mandate remains. It is still my duty as a follower of Jesus to share the good news with others. And why wouldn’t I? Honestly, I question the heart of a believer who has no interest or sees no relevance in sharing the gospel.
With disease and death so prevalent in the news these days, I wonder how many people have left this life without knowing Jesus? How many never heard the gospel? Our methods may have changed over time, along with an ever-changing culture, but the message remains the same: “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 3:2); For “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
I am grateful every day to align with a church whose vision is to connect people to God first, then to one another. Have you made that connection? If not, please email us right away at , and someone will reach out to you soon.
One of the funniest things I look back at now is how I used to react to people when they would ask me for a ride when I first started driving. I felt so honored that someone would want to ride in the car with me when, in all actuality, it’s because they just wanted to get where they were going. But didn’t we all feel like that? Like someone picked us to help them to get them where they were going?
I love the passage of scripture this week’s sermon covered:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
— 2 Corinthians 5:17–21
Isn’t it awesome that God has appointed each of us to make his message known? As believers, God has given us the duty to make the love that Christ shows us known globally. The passage above says that we are ambassadors for Christ. An ambassador is a person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specified activity.
I think that, by this definition alone, we should know how we ought to carry ourselves. We are representatives for Christ, and we must cherish that title and hold it with great honor. We must act as though we are representing Christ in every moment, because we are.
My challenge to you is to be the light to someone and to represent Christ boldly in your own lives!
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
— 1 Peter 4:10
Great teams are made up of talented players who play their positions well and fulfill the assignments given them. Some teams, despite having great players, don’t ever achieve greatness. In fact, they lose to teams whose players are not as talented. As the saying goes, “Great teams beat great players.”
Sometimes players hurt their team. It can happen in different ways. One thing that hurts a team is when the players start trying to do things during the game that do not fall into their area of assignment. The defensive back who thinks his linebackers are not playing well enough and then decides to come flying up and start making tackles at the line of scrimmage often gets beat with a deep pass. An opposing receiver is wide open for a touchdown, right in the area vacated by the “helpful” defensive back. To be clear, we help our team the most when we play our position well.
We sometimes want to focus our attention on what we think others should be doing. Athletic teams sometimes are hurt by this action. Churches can be harmed by this temptation as well.
The Word is clear: we all have been given certain talents. Then each teammate (Christian brother or sister) is called to certain assignments that are to take advantage of those God-given gifts. We help the work the most when we play (with the help of the Holy Spirit) our God-given position or calling well.
God has blessed us with a big team at Community Life Church. Before the pandemic days, we would have around 3,000 in worship attendance each Sunday. How successful will our team be? How do you measure that? I think a start is to turn the crowd into an army: the army of God. Armies are judged on how they perform on the front line. How effectively will we serve as a team of believers to bring honor and glory to our God?
You have been given talents and assignments by God. I have as well. Working together, we can faithfully administer God’s grace in its various forms.