Advent Pt.3: Shepherds [12.16.18]

THIS WEEK: The life of a shepherd in the first century was humble but it was not easy. Not many people wanted to do the job. It was hands-on while weathering the extremes of nature as you constantly herd, feed, and care for meandering flocks of sheep; it was exhausting! Imagine the interruption, the shock, and the JOY experienced by the shepherds on the night baby Jesus was born. The angel appeared in the dark of night to proclaim the Light of the World - the MESSIAH - had finally been born!

This was not news for lowly shepherds; it was news for royalty, for world leaders, for highest levels of importance on the social ladder! But this is not how God sees the world. This is not the ethic of the Kingdom of heaven and it is not the way God chooses to work in the world.

On the night Jesus was born, would you have wanted to be a shepherd or a King?

READ: Luke 2:1-20

LISTEN: This Sunday on Spotify

Advent Pt.2: Angels [12.9.18]

THIS WEEK: The New Testament gives an account of a young woman named Mary who received an unexpected visitor. She was favored in the eyes of God and an angel told her she would miraculously bear a Son. This unexpected pregnancy would become the most difficult season she would ever have to walk. Still, she had the FAITH to trust in God and it was worth it. When was the last time you heard from God and acted in faith?

READ: Luke 1:26-38

LISTEN: This Sunday on Spotify

Advent Pt.1: Prophets [12.2.18]

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THIS WEEK: The Exile Prophets of the Old Testament promised the arrival of a coming King who would lead God’s people out of bondage and suffering into a new era of victory. Though they had to wait, their message created expectation which gave birth to HOPE. As we begin the journey of Advent this season, ask yourself: where do you get your promise, where do you place your expectations, and in whom is your hope found?

READ: Isaiah 9 and Isaiah 11

LISTEN: This Sunday on Spotify

World Aids Day

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“Where you live in the world should not determine whether you live in the world."

Musician and activist Bono stated this about 14 years during a TED talk. While most of us do not have a connection with Bono, besides the time his album appeared on everyone's iPhone in the mid-2000's (sorry U2 Fans), this is a profoundly true statement. Many of the life outcomes of those living in our world can be determined based off of where someone lives. Access to resources, support, and safety are often a toss-up based off the location of your birth. This is not how God designed the world, this is not how God desires for the world to exist! Every human has the infinite value of being a child of God; every part of creation is beloved and known by God. Yet, many of the systems of our world lack the capacity to see all lives having value and mattering. It is the revolutionary way of Jesus that calls us to live in such a way where we flip that system in favor of the Kingdom of God.

As a church we have a history of putting ourselves in a position to do this, whether it be supporting vision partners across the globe, supporting adoptive families, or pursuing racial equity. The mission of reconciliation is not new to us. Now a new opportunity comes before us, one that requires little to no effort for us to use our God-given tools and positions to advocate for change. On December 2nd we will honor World AIDS Day, a day of remembrance and solidarity with those afflicted with the AID/HIV disease. For years countries have banned together to fight this disease specifically in Africa, many of those years with the United States leading the charge. However, the leadership of the United States is deciding to no longer commit to supporting the fight against AIDS.

This is where we come in! We have a voice, influence, and power along with tens of thousands of other believers to stand up and call our leaders to support the effort to eradicate AIDS. We simply ask you would sign the petitions we will have provided on December 2nd which asks for support for PREPFAR, a bipartisan-supported fund that has been used to save literally millions of lives. Let's stand in the gap for the marginalized and in just a small way help bring the Kingdom that much closer to our reality.

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Josh Riddick

Director of Intercultural Engagement

As You Get Ready for this Week's Gathering (Nov 25, 2018)

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This Week: We will continue our exploration of the meaning and purpose of liturgy. As we think about the liturgical rhythms of life that want to build into our communities, we look to the inception of the church in the book of Acts for ideas. But, whenever you add things to your life, it means examining your current patterns to see if something needs to change.

Read: Acts 2:42-47

Listen: This Sunday on Spotify

Advent Guide Now Available

by Jody Lukowiak
November 16, 2018

Advent is coming! Are you ready? Advent is a time of anticipation and excitement, a time of waiting and remembering the birth of a savior the world desperately needs. Advent begins on December 2 and ends on Christmas Eve. We have created an Advent Guide to help you, your house church or family engage in this season. The guide will give you a weekly devotion as well as step-by-step instructions on how to utilize an Advent wreath throughout the season - a helpful reminder of the reasons Jesus came to dwell among us. We hope this guide helps you take time in a busy season to focus on God’s presence and love.

Click here to download the 2018 Advent Guide

As You Prepare to Gather this Sunday... (Nov 18, 2018)

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by Erik Thien
November 14, 2018

This Week: As we approach Thanksgiving, we are focusing on the meaning and purpose of traditions or, for the Christian faith, liturgy. Liturgical practices are created to lead us toward Jesus - but when they are divorced from their original intent or context, they can take on distorted and even oppressive properties.

Read: Mark 7:1-13

Listen: This Sunday on Spotify

Letter to the Congregation from Pastor Erik

by Erik Thien
November 13, 2018

Hello Common Ground Northeast,

We cannot thank you enough for the hospitality that you've shown as we have transitioned to Indy. Many of you opened up your houses, brought us meals, and even helped us unpack.  The more I get to know you, the more I feel affirmed that CGNE is exactly where God wants our family to be - at this point it is grace upon grace...upon grace! We are humbled and honored to join in with the movement, vision, and values embraced by the community. 

I am excited to say that this weekend is my first sermon as the Lead Pastor at CGNE.  Henri Nouwen says a preacher should be in the habit of "closing the furnace" so that when they open up to give a message, the flame is HOT.  There is a lot that God has kindled in me over the past couple years and I can't wait to share it with you!  

In order to prepare our hearts for the weekly gatherings, I have been working with Pastor Ian to create resources that allow you to begin meditating on the content, reading the scripture, and listening to the songs we have chosen to point our minds and hearts toward God.  Keep an eye out for them via email, social media, or on the site here. 

Join with me in praying for God to make us attentive to the Spirit as we engage with God together and lead our congregation. May we BE the church at all times and in all places as we represent God throughout the week and in our house churches!

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For the King & His Kingdom,
Erik Thien
Lead Pastor