A Statement of Love

Brothers and Sisters,

I want to start this letter off first and foremost asking for your grace. We all see and recognize the hurt and pain that is sweeping through our communities right now, and I honestly cannot pretend as though I know what to say. I have no perfect words, I have no personal experience with discrimination, I have no real way of knowing the thoughts or feelings of our black brothers and sisters in the wake of the death of George Floyd and countless others. The only thing I can say right now is that I love you and that all of us at CCEM love you and will support you however we can. 

The mission of CCEM is, “To Connect and Encourage Christians to Confidently Live out their Faith in the Workplace.” I feel so strongly about this mission because of what it means to be a Christian and what it means to live out our faith. Our first core value as an organization is to “Love All People, for All are Created in the Image of God” (Gen 1:27). We believe that the beginning of faith is, and always has been, love (Jn 3:16, 1 Jn 4:8, 1 Cor 13, etc.). I long for a time where we live with love for others, compassion, and empathy. I long for every person to feel special, to know that they are of infinite value in the eyes of God. I long to see everyone living together with joy, happiness, kindness, gentleness, patience. I long for a broader way of living where there is no oppression or hate, but that we are all filled with love.

Discrimination has no place in a life of love. It is not compatible with who God is and it is not compatible with who we should be as Christians. As followers of Jesus, let us not stand silent in the face of hate, but drown out that hate with love. Let us acknowledge that our world is broken, divided and hurting and let us call out to Jesus for healing and wisdom. Let us be the beginning of a cultural change in our company, our community and our world. Let us begin by aligning with the wisdom of David in Psalm 139:23-24, calling out to The Lord, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

To close this out, I would like to say to our black brothers and sisters once again, I love you. I hurt for your hurt, and I long for peace and justice with you. You are wonderfully made in the image of God (Gen 1:27, Ps 139:14), perfect and holy. I hope that our community can be a comfort and joy for you now, and always. In the name of the one who is perfect in love and hope, Jesus Christ, Amen.

 

CCEM Chair – John Dillon

CCEM Core Team,

Samuel Ortiz, Elizabeth Cook, Janet Shaw, Garrett Shaw, Lenette Laurente

Welcome Back!

“There is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience…

Colossians 3:11-12

As we begin to transition back into the workplace, CCEM would like to say welcome back! We recognize that our transition out of quarantine and into the office will be anything but routine and that many of you may have conflicting thoughts and/or feelings on the subject. If so, please know that this is perfectly normal and justified. Each of us is entering this new normal with various personal and professional circumstances which shape our view of the situation. Adding to an already complicated scenario, the current state of our economy, industry, as well as the ongoing social, racial, and political tensions in our communities increases the already heavy burden many of us may be carrying into the office. Thus it is important for us to have a heart for people during this time, and to fervently seek after Jesus for wisdom and guidance.

One item of wisdom that has been on my heart lately comes from Paul in Colossians 3. Paul admonishes us put on a heart of compassion, kindness, gentleness and patience. He asks us to bear with one another (vs 13). In doing so, we model Jesus to each other and our actions can be seen as a form of worship. Furthermore, if we model these same principles to those who are not Christians, we reflect Jesus’s character to the lost, and speak the Gospel message through our actions and our love.

As we return, I ask that we have a heart for our brothers and sisters who may be carrying heavy burdens back into the office. Let us have empathy for each other, show compassion for each other, and help each other. Let us also show that same empathy, compassion and grace to those who do not yet know Jesus, shining His light, and showing them the grace that He shows us. Let us continue to Be The Church to our brothers and sisters, ministering to each other in love and patience. 

Lastly, as always CCEM is here for you. If you have prayer requests or just need someone to talk to, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We love you all and we look forward to hopefully being able to see you in person soon!

National Day of Prayer: 2020

Join us for the 2020 National Day of Prayer! The National Day of Prayer is a national event where people all over the country gather to pray for their communities, the United States, and the world.

Join us as we pray for ExxonMobil, our communities, and more.

This year, we will be gathering virtually via Zoom. You are welcome to invite your household to join!

When: Thursday, May 7th, 2020 at 7:30am

Where: Virtually on Zoom (meeting details to be sent upon registration)

Register at EventX: https://eventx.exxonmobil.com/events/91657b05-cb1d-4af5-b281-fa727eb0586b

Be The Church: Hope in the Words “It is Finished”

Therefore, when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

John 19:30

There may be no more powerful words in all of scripture than these three words uttered by Jesus. A single word in Greek (tetelestai), the expression was actually quite common. Pastor and popular Christian author, Warren Wiersbe, notes, “The word tetelestai is unfamiliar to us, but it was used by various people in everyday life… a servant would use it when reporting [a completed work assignment] to his or her master… when an artist completed a picture, or a writer a manuscript, he or she might say [it].”1 Dr. Edwin Blum, former Professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, highlights the legal/clerical uses of the word, stating, “Papyri receipts for taxes have been recovered with the word tetelestai written across them, meaning ‘paid in full.’”2 When Jesus said this common phrase it took on extraordinary meaning. He had paid our debt in full. Through faith in Jesus, our accounts have been reconciled for good. This is the basis for our hope, the basis for our salvation. 

However, at the time Jesus exclaimed this important phrase there was little rejoicing. Those who had believed Jesus was the Messiah had expected Him to rise to a kingly prominence, overthrowing Roman oppression and restoring Israel. They had high expectations of Jesus and in His death, their world came tumbling down. If this man who could command the wind and the sea, who could heal the sick, and who could feed thousands could be crucified by the Romans, what did that mean for His followers? Hope was seemingly lost, and most of the Disciples went into hiding. It was Friday, but Sunday was coming…

On Sunday morning, everything changed. Their disappointment in lost expectations, their fear of what the future holds, their confused sense of personal identity, all were erased with a second phrase of three words: “He has risen” (Mt 28:6, Lk 24:6, Mk 16:6). Hope was restored and even in the face of trouble, that hope drove the disciples to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. 

This Easter season there are many (both believers and non-believers) who are facing lost expectations, fear of the future, and confusion. The days seem dark and hopes are dwindling. Hold onto the hope of the finished work of Jesus. Hold onto the hope that even though the outcome of this trial is uncertain, our position and identity in Jesus is certain. 

During this time let’s continue to Be The Church to each other, encouraging one another in love and being there to support each other. We have a list of virtual resources that you can consider to keep connected in community with other believers during this time of social distancing. Many churches are offering Good Friday and Easter Sunday services online so that we can still gather together even when we are apart. Furthermore, please let us know how we can pray for you, how we can help you, or if you just need someone to talk to. Finally, let’s show love to those who may not know Jesus, and are losing hope during this difficult time.

 We are here for you and we love you. He is Risen!

  • The CCEM Team

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 384.

2 Edwin A. Blum, “John,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 340.

Be the Church: Virtually Meeting Amid COVID-19

“and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

As we continue to battle COVID-19, we know that now more than ever how important it is to Be The Church to each other. We need to continue to maintain smart social distancing as a way to love our neighbors, family and friends, as well as a way to continue battling this disease. Fortunately, today’s technology allows us to continue meeting together, while not being physically together. 

The CCEM Team wants to provide some virtual resources for you as opportunities to continue meeting together in a safe, socially distant way while at home.

  1. CCEM Bible Studies/Prayer Groups – Many of our Bible Study and Prayer Groups continue to meet virtually through various platforms. If interested, please contact one of our study leads to get the latest virtual meeting information. (Visit Bible Studies/Prayer Groups Page)
    • Alpha has also moved to a weekly prayer call during our time off campus. To get connected with the Alpha prayer call, please contact Garrett Shaw or goto/Alpha.
  1. Local Churches – Many local churches are currently broadcasting their sermons live on Sundays, as well as hosting small groups and ministry events virtually during the week. Check our Churches list for links to various local churches that members of our community are connected with. Visit church websites for opportunities to connect virtually.
  1. Grace Center of Spiritual Development – GCSD is a local organization that offers Bible Studies, Leadership Training, Devotionals, and Podcasts for free. GCSD is promoting a new 2 week live virtual study on Habakkuk starting next Wednesday, April 8th at lunch (information here); as well as a 3 week virtual Biblical Leadership Seminar Series Starting Tuesday March 31, 6:30 – 8:30 pm (information here). View previous GCSD content and more at Grace Center of Spiritual Development Website
  1. Toolbox Lunch – Toolbox Lunches are having a virtual meeting on April 1 with their Executive Director. Learn more about the event here and more about Toolbox Lunches from their website http://www.toolboxlunches.com/
  1. Christians in Commerce – CIC is an organization focused on bringing Christ into the workplace. The have a library of stories of how individuals have reflected Christ at work. Visit their Christ Alive! Testimonies Webpage.
  1. Pope Francis’s Urbi et Orbi: Pope Francis delivers an extraordinary blessing “To the City and to the World” on Friday to pray for an end to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. In his meditation, the Pope reflects on Jesus’ words to His disciples: “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” See more here.

Do you have more virtual resources? Visit the CCEM Facebook Page or Yammer Page and share! Stay Safe!

  • The CCEM Team

Virtual Biblical Leadership Series 2020: Grace Center of Spiritual Development

An extension of the Biblical Leadership Conference held in February, this 3-part series will help you examine closely the lives and leadership styles of six biblical leaders: Moses, Joseph, Nehemiah, David, Deborah, and Elijah.

Get a modern perspective and application from our speakers who come from a variety of leadership backgrounds including the marketplace, church, and the academe. 

For more information, or to register, visit https://info.gsot.edu/biblical-leadership-2020

This Seminar Series is part of the Grace Center of Spiritual Development

Two Week Virtual Habakkuk Bible Study: Grace Center of Spiritual Development


Conditions during the time of Habakkuk were remarkably similar to what we are presently facing. Join Grace Center of Spiritual Development as we discover the process by which God turned this struggling prophet from a worrier to a worshipper!

Bible Study is live April 8th, and April 15th from 11:30am – 1:30 pm. Video recordings available to review after the live session.

𝗥𝗲𝗴𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗼 𝗷𝗼𝗶𝗻 𝗼𝗻𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗼𝗿 𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘄 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴
https://info.gsot.edu/habakkuk

Virtual Toolbox Lunch With Executive Director Tom Douthit

ToolboxLunches.com will be live streaming on the Worldwide Web Wednesday, April 1st at 11:30 AM.

We will be interviewing Toolbox’s New Director Tom Douthit live from Grace School of Theology’s Online Classroom.

Tom Douthit is the Executive Director of Toolbox Ministries which is dedicated to helping men move from success to significance and discover how faith in Jesus Christ affects every area of a man’s life.

To join the meeting on a computer or mobile phone: https://bluejeans.com/227133289?src=calendarLink

Meeting ID: 227 133 289

Phone Dial-in
+1.888.748.9073 (United States)
Global Numbers: https://www.bluejeans.com/numbers

Prior to his role with Toolbox,
Tom served for 31 years as a pastor with BridgePoint Bible Church in Houston (formerly Spring Branch Community Church).

Tom is a longtime Houston resident having graduated from Memorial High School, Texas A&M and Dallas Theological Seminary. Tom has been married to Celia (a Houston native) for 35 years. Celia serves as School Nurse at Bunker Hill Elementary in the Spring Branch School District. Tom and Celia have 4 grown children and 2 grandchildren, all living and working in Houston.

This will be a virtual interview with Tom on the direction and future of the Toolbox Luncheons via BlueJeans Videoconference and FACEBOOK LIVE!

As you might not know we have recently added The Woodlands to the luncheon schedule.

This will make a fourth monthly gathering opportunity in the greater Houston area.

Learn More About Toolbox Lunches
http://www.toolboxlunches.com

Visit Facebook Event Page here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/s/virtual-toolbox-lunch-with-exe/219459122758582/

Be the Church amid COVID-19

My eyes run down with streams of water because of the destruction of the daughter of my people. My eyes pour down unceasingly, without stopping, until the Lord looks down and sees from heaven. My eyes bring pain to my soul because of all the daughters of my city. My enemies without cause hunted me down like a bird; they have silenced me in the pit and have placed a stone on me. Waters flowed over my head; I said, “I am cut off!” I called on Your name, O Lord out of the lowest pit. You have heard my voice, “Do not hide Your ear from my prayer for relief, from my cry for help.” You drew near when I called on You; You said, “Do not fear!” O Lord, You have pleaded my soul’s cause; You have redeemed my life.

Lamentations 3: 48–58

Walking into our local grocery store this week, my eyes were overwhelmed with what I saw. I saw the “daughters of my city” caught in a panic. Meat and produce were picked clean and a roll of toilet paper or paper towels could not be found for miles. While my city had not been destroyed in the same sense Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 B.C. the people of my city felt the waters of circumstance flowing over their heads, and fear began to run wild.

Uncertainty tends to stroke the flames of fear in each of us. As we watch the number of infections of COVID-19 rise globally and the price of oil drop rapidly, uncertainty about the future may cause us to feel as though the waters are rising around us and stones are weighing us down. It is in these times we may even be tempted to question our faith, and ask God, “why?”

The truth is, we do not know why this current situation is happening. We do not know when it will end or if we will be impacted. However, what we can be sure about is that God our Father is there for us. He desires for us to call out to Him and He desires to hold us close in love and comfort. He hears our cries, and knows the anxieties of our heart. He is a good good Father.

My brothers and sisters at ExxonMobil, do not fear. As the waters rise, and the wind blows, Jesus is there in the midst of the storm. I would encourage you during this time of fear to spend intentional, uninterrupted, deep time with Jesus. Spend time in prayer, time in scripture. Facetime with your small groups at church and encourage each other. When fear is on the rise, the light of Jesus, and His church has the power to drown out fear. Let’s be the Church to each other, and let’s be the Church to our community.

If any of you need prayer, or just someone to talk to, we invite you to contact us through our prayer page. Stay safe, healthy, and do not fear; we love you. – The CCEM Team.

Catholic Faith Study – Making Sense Out of Suffering

Dear Catholic Faith Study Friends,
Our next topic will be on the subject of suffering (3 classes, maybe 4, not sure how quickly we will get through the material) based on the book written by Peter Kreeft, “Making Sense Out of Suffering.”
In these lessons we will cover the deep and profound questions we have such as the following:
• Why do I have to suffer?
• If God is all-powerful and all-loving then why does he permit evil to exist?
• Does my suffering have meaning?
• Why do bad things happen to me?
• What is the answer to all these questions about suffering?

When: Thursdays: February 20th, 27th and March 5th

I will send the class notes to the meeting group. Hope you can join us in person or on Skype!

People of all faiths are welcome!

Contact Henry Avila (henry.j.avila@exxonmobil.com) to be added to the distribution list.

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