Saturday, January 19, 2019
23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
The Bible warns us about false prophets: 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4
How do we know how to worship in truth? We study His Holy Word and learn about the true nature of God and by praying for understanding of scripture and for discernment of worldly messages.
How do we worship in spirit? I was at a large worship conference several years ago and witnessed many different styles of worship. There were 80,000 people from 40 different countries in attendance from a variety of denominations. Having been raised in our quiet reserved worship style I was overwhelmed by thousands of hands raised high and certainly by many around me speaking in tongues! It seemed the hands were raised simultaneously by many during the choruses of the music and my mind began to analyze; so is this truly spiritual or is it a cultural response? I was certainly not going to babble to fit in with the crowd unless the Spirit would move me to do so. I felt conspicuous in my lack of outward demonstration of worship and realized I was so distracted by the cultural differences that I was unable to allow myself to totally focus on Jesus, the object of our worship.
I prayed that God would allow me to worship however He wanted me to worship. It allowed me to be freed from self-consciousness and to be fully enveloped by the massive outpouring of love for the Lord. It was as that point that tears of joy streamed down my face as I surrendered my total consciousness to Him. I was not literally unconscious, but I don’t know how else to explain the spiritual experience.
This life–changing event has given me the ability to know the joy of pure devotion. I don’t believe our physical manifestation of worship is nearly as important as the renewing of our minds. It is not for me to judge others, but I’m sure there is some cultural (worshiping like those around us) and some true spirit within all denominations and worship styles. When we can completely lose ourselves to Him, disengage our egos, put on the attitude of adoration we reach a new level of spiritual connectedness. We worship in spirit.
Dear Heavenly Father, Only you are worthy of our praise. We praise you for your presence in our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. Help us to tune in to your guidance and rest assured in your unending love. Help us to recognize that you are all truth, all spirit, and all love. We worship you with our very lives as we dedicate them to you. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Friday, January 18, 2019
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
So do these scriptures mean I am evil? No, but they do point out that our nature that we were born into this world with is at conflict with God, as a result of original sin. And part of the consequences of that sin is we are always looking for someone else to blame. Adam did it in the garden when he tried to put the blame on Eve for eating the forbidden fruit. With no one else around, we’ll even try to put the blame of our sin on God. Galatians 5:17 tells us that the flesh (our desires) lusts (battles) against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh. Believe it or not, we’re in a tug of war.
This is why we need to be redeemed from the enticing temptations of the world. 2 Corinthians 6:14 asks us “what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion has light with darkness?” God is light, not darkness, and He cannot abide with darkness. God is righteous, he will not deceive or trick us into unrighteousness. Our yielding to God’s righteousness through Jesus gives us the access to those perfect gifts. God is our heavenly father who desires good for us, not hurt and evil. Staying close to God keeps our focus on the good and rightness he bestows on his children who are born of the spirit. Jesus told Nicodemus “Ye must be born again”.
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25.
Jesus, I desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit and not to be pushed around by evil desires. You are the One, O God, who is goodness and light. Bring your light into my life and chase away the darkness. Let me live in the light of your Spirit. Let me live with You. Amen.
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Everyone wants peace – freedom from fear, wars, anxiety and worry, harm. We talk about it all the time, we pray for it frequently. Is peace tangible? Will we recognize it when we have it or is it more probably that we know when we don’t have it. Many in Jesus’ day thought the Messiah would bring that worldly peace, free from Roman conquerors, free from hostile neighbors, freedom from hate, bigotry, and fighting. That didn’t happen. But Jesus talks about a peace that He gives and he leaves it with us.
What is this peace Jesus talks of? Is it real? Can we touch it? Can we use it, buy it, trade it? What is it made of? Can we smell it? Taste it? In Matthew 10:34 he says that he did not come to bring peace on earth. So the peace he is talking about must not be a physical, worldly peace, one that we so eagerly desire, but a peace that comes and works differently. The key is when he says “do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
When we submit ourselves to the love of God, knowing we can’t control the physical things around us, and we can accept that God is caring for us, we can have the quietness in our soul and spirit that we are cherished and nothing can harm our spirit.
The peace we look for in our daily lives is not a bad thing to want, but from the beginning of the world, that kind of peace has always been fleeting. Matthew 6:20 says to lay up treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust corrupt. The peace Jesus talks of is the peace of the Holy Spirit, knowing we are temporal in our bodies, and eternal in our spirits. Jesus is telling us that our spiritual peace – found only in Him – is what sustains us through all the turmoil going on around us. The peace found in Jesus is real, when we have it, it touches all those around us and can be seen in our very countenances.
Dear Lord Jesus, I need your peace in my life. So many trials, so many thoughts, sometimes I’m afraid. I want to find rest and security, free from anxious thoughts, free from selfishness, free to be who you created me to be. I put all my cares on you because I know you care for me. You died to set me free and give me that peace. Amen.
“Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” Ph 4:6-7
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Life allows each of us the opportunity to become ambassadors of Christ. Here in our own neighborhood or far off in a land dominated by an alternate belief. Daily life requires ones interaction with people. We become aware of our similarities: need for food, shelter, good health, etc. We also become aware of our differences, sometimes significant. Society dictates us to become accepting to all, lest we be labeled biased. Have we taken Christ’s words seriously? Can others identify us as Christians by our actions and words? Or do we desire and strive to become more blended into society? A more socially acceptable person? A less identifiable “Christian”? God states that we are to trust in him. Do not let your hearts be troubled. He has a Home already planned for us. Eternity with God to those who believe.
Dear Lord help me to be sensitive to the heart of a stranger. For they may have little to no knowledge of you. They may have become satisfied with their pagan lifestyle. We live in a society that says: If you see the fruit, just take the fruit; Live for the moment; no regrets; and we all die sometime. Life values and goals may at opposite ends. Help me to live a more Christ based life. Guide me to be a visible example. Move me to be welcoming, open, friendly, and Christ like in honesty in all our discussions. Lord I believe in you. I can only imagine the joyous welcome that awaits us upon entry to your glorious eternal kingdom. Amen
1 Peter 5:6-11
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Peter addresses Christians suffering following Christ’s crucifixion and the initiation of Rome’s empire wide persecution. Christians were fleeing, crushed, overwhelmed, beaten and jailed. Torture and devious methods of killing for sport became public spectacles. The Christians believed that Jesus was the Christ and salvation will come. Trusting their life here and forever belonged to God. Faith in Jesus provided the confidence and strength to live under these dark conditions. When we turn to God in humble repentance he will provide in his own time. However our human side questions. How can this be? What will happen to me, my family? Anxiety is a human life response in times of severe hardship, never ending stress and pain. Peter provides assurance that God cares and loves them forever. Cast your anxiety on God.
Dear Lord persecution towards Christians exists. Christians have and will continue to suffer for what they believe. We ask for strength, confidence, patience and hope as we strive to live a faith based life. We strive to live an eternal life with you. What joy we will share in eternity. Help us to treat others with love, compassion, sympathy and humility. We trust and believe in God with all our heart and mind. We can face trials and persecution as Christ did because of his love. Amen
Monday, January 14, 2019
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Paul, imprisoned in Rome, understood the trials and concerns the Christians in Philippi were facing. He writes to tell them to “Rejoice”? Paul teaches that no matter what our surrounding situation and circumstances they do not have to reflect our inner self. The test of our faith is to truly believe that God is in control, no matter the situation. We are sometimes more prone to conclude easier said than done. But Paul provides the pathway.
Our glorious God is always caring and loving and with us. As Jesus was gentle and kind we also must think of the joy inside and reflect that truth to others by our gentleness. We need to hear this, sometimes frequently. We must believe this with all our heart and mind. Life’s situations can frustrate and discourage, we become worn down, tired and begin to doubt, and become anxious. Our minds can take us to places we should not be traveling. We can become unreasonable, exclusive, critical, biased and revengeful. God is providing peace that is not found in our daily lives. It comes from God and that he is in control.
Gracious and most merciful Lord God we see sign after sign that the hearts of your people are moving away from you. Evil abounds and has distorted your word and questioned your majesty. Children know little about you. How dear Lord are we to be joyous? It is most concerning. You created us because of your love for us. Your ultimate love for us was demonstrated on the cross by your one and only son. Jesus died for all of our sins so that by his conquering death we who believe shall have everlasting life. We lift our heart and mind to you and proclaim that you are God. Guide our path and our spoken word as we walk with you each day. Knowing that by prayer petition and Thanksgiving the peace of God will protect us. How glorious how precious is our Lord. Amen
Sunday, January 13, 2019
7 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. 8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Winter doldrums. Gray skies and snow storms. Chilling cold that settles in your bones. There’s a reason our snowbirds head South for the winter. But then I read these words of Moses to Joshua on the eve of crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land. Be strong and courageous.
We can become discouraged in the midst of winter, for it can seem endless. For the people of Israel, they were afraid and discouraged because they had wandered so many years, waiting to find their promised home. Because of the people’s faithlessness, God would not let them enter, and even Moses could not step foot in this new land though God permitted him to see it from a distance. It was like an endless winter for them.
But now Moses was turning over the reins of leadership to Joshua. He told Joshua to be strong and courageous as they entered the Promised Land. Know that God is going before you and with you. God will never leave you forsaken. Do not be afraid or discouraged, no matter what hurdles you will face ahead.
These are good words to hear, whether I am struggling through yet another gray and cold winter’s day, or whether I am worried about something that lurks ahead of me in the future. God is there to lead me, and God is walking beside me with his arm around my shoulders to give me strength. When I know this and can trust God’s promise to be with me, I am confident. I can throw off my discouragement to be filled with courage. I may give God the praise today and every day.
Holy and merciful God, let me grow in faith and trust. Help me know that you are always there. Let me turn to you and wait for your leading when I do not know which way to turn. When I am discouraged or downhearted, keep me close to you. Thank you for listening; help me to listen to you. I give you all praise in Jesus Christ, Amen.
What We Believe
We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only son and our savior, who lived among us to teach us and die for us. He rose again to give us the promise of eternal life in him John 3:16. He gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is God dwelling in us John 14:15-17. We seek God’s word in the Bible, the foundation of our faith. Our mission as a church is to proclaim the good news of Christ to all. We honor Christ through worship and fellowship, encouraging one another in faith, hope and love 1 Corinthians 13:13, and serving our neighbors with compassion and justice.
We belong to the United Church of Christ. As a congregation we are granted the autonomy to govern our local church, and prayerfully make the best decisions we can on how to live out our calling as believers. Each person has the freedom and responsibility of discerning for themselves how faith in Jesus Christ impacts their daily walk and their worldview. We respect one another’s differences because even though we are diverse, we are still part of Christ’s body.
We look forward to welcoming you some day soon. Peace to you in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
10:00 am Worship Service
10:00 am Children's Adventure Hour