Jan 13, 2019
Baptized
(the audio doesn't start until about 15 seconds in)
On Sunday we reaffirmed our baptisms. Baptism is an outward sign of internal reality...that by God's amazing grace we are CHOSEN and called BELOVED by God. 2 words, 2 truths, which when deeply embraced will transform our identities and lives. Give thanks to God this week for your baptism and invite the Holy Spirit to empower you to claim your identity in Jesus!
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  • Jan 13, 2019Baptized
    Jan 13, 2019
    Baptized
    (the audio doesn't start until about 15 seconds in)
    On Sunday we reaffirmed our baptisms. Baptism is an outward sign of internal reality...that by God's amazing grace we are CHOSEN and called BELOVED by God. 2 words, 2 truths, which when deeply embraced will transform our identities and lives. Give thanks to God this week for your baptism and invite the Holy Spirit to empower you to claim your identity in Jesus!
  • Jan 6, 2019Living a New & Glorious Life
    Jan 6, 2019
    Living a New & Glorious Life
    Series: Epiphany
    EPIPHANY - It means revealing like when a light bulb goes off and we now understand something. The Season of Epiphany invites us to see and understand Jesus afresh, anew and to follow therefore more deeply. Simeon is a model for living into an Epiphany life. He desired to be fully devoted to God. He learned how to actively look for where God was showing up. When he saw God showing up/acting, Simeon moved to be where God was working. Lastly he talked about God to other people. What might it look like for you to grow in one of these steps? Are you wiling to take that step? When will you begin your Epiphany journey?
  • Dec 16, 2018Outsiders are Welcomed
    Dec 16, 2018
    Outsiders are Welcomed
    It's never fun to be left out of something good. On Sunday we heard the story of how God is seeking the outsiders and inviting them into relationship. Might there be some friends, relatives, acquaintances and/or neighbors you can "seek" and invite to Christmas Eve worship? Perhaps someone who used to worship with us but drifted away. Christmas is a season when people are especially open to attending a sacred gathering filled with popular songs and hope.
  • Dec 9, 2018My World Gets Complicated
    Dec 9, 2018
    My World Gets Complicated
     Today, we walk through Matthew's account of Jesus' birth and find ourselves in the Story.
  • Dec 2, 2018Hope Arrives
    Dec 2, 2018
    Hope Arrives
    God cares about people just trying to survive, victims of sexual abuse/assault, and people who have made ruinous life decisions. God not only cares about these but also wants to hang out with them, redeem their lives, and partner with them to heal a broken world.
  • Nov 25, 2018Praying in Faith
    Nov 25, 2018
    Praying in Faith
    Series: Formed
  • Nov 18, 2018Praying in Faith
    Nov 18, 2018
    Praying in Faith
    Series: Formed
    Sunday's worship asked what horizon we look to for orienting our lives, for perspective on how we live. James calls us to look to the horizon of Jesus' 2nd Advent/coming. As followers of Jesus, we are called to live our lives in light of this future reign of Christ. It is our reason, our motivation to pursue justice and reconciliation, compassion and development. It is why we love our neighbor locally and globally and even our enemies. It is why we work for clean water and soil, renewable energies that reduce our carbon footprints, and share an overall concern for and love of the environment. The horizon of Jesus' return and reign informs and shapes who we are and how we live.
  • Nov 11, 2018A Better End Game
    Nov 11, 2018
    A Better End Game
    Series: Formed
    We sang and prayed our faith on Sunday. We laughed and celebrated our veterans. We heard a difficult word from James but learned that we are privileged in comparison to the world's population and with that Jesus followers are called to live generously toward our neighbors. Have you had an opportunity to express generosity toward someone this week? Have you learned about an issue of injustice? What can you do about it? Have you discovered a ministry in Grand Rapids that is bringing hope, God's love and transforming lives? Can you partner with them through a financial gift?
  • Nov 4, 2018The Life of Trust
    Nov 4, 2018
    The Life of Trust
    Series: Formed
    The psalmist writes, "My times are in your hands O Lord." Followers of Jesus affirm this and live their lives against the backdrop of deep trust in God's love and purpose for them. May we live each day of this week with a clear assurance of God's redeeming love for us and in response, gratefully offer our lives to Christ and his mission.
  • Oct 28, 2018War of My World
    Oct 28, 2018
    War of My World
    Series: Formed
    The book of James calls us to be formed for Jesus-shaped living. So how does this formation take place? Do we simply push our Avis Button and "Try harder"? No, the deep internal formation that transforms us into the image/character of Jesus is ultimately the work of the Holy Spirit. But we have a role to play with the Spirit. In our Wesleyan tradition, we talk about the Means of Grace, spiritual exercises that place us in a position to receive the Spirit and his work in our lives.
  • Oct 21, 2018Taming of the Tongue
    Oct 21, 2018
    Taming of the Tongue
    Series: Formed
    Sometimes God's word brings us a tough message. Sunday was like that. Our "tongue" can be a spark that lights a forest ablaze! Our words can hurt or heal. And God's people are to bring words of healing and hope. So how are you doing this week? What are you re-posting and forwarding on Facebook? Have your conversations and tones been seasoned with grace and mercy?
  • Oct 7, 2018No Favorites
    Oct 7, 2018
    No Favorites
    Series: Formed
    On Sunday we heard the challenge of Jesus, James and St. Paul to bulldoze barriers that exclude one group and favor another. This is hard for us to do when many of our barriers are assumed and completely justified but also when groups promote a culture that fears the "other". If you'd like to explore how we, the church, can live barrier free, join with other Christians on Thursday, October 25th from 7-9 pm @ Monroe Community Church for The Power of We: How can Christians love Everybody, Always?
  • Sep 30, 2018The Word that Transforms
    Sep 30, 2018
    The Word that Transforms
    Series: Formed
    Sunday's worship exhorted us to become "Hearers of God's word." 5 Quick Picks to increasing our capacity to hear the "word." 1. Pick a time 2. Pick a place 3. Pick a readable translation 4. Pick a book (I recommend the Gospel of Luke) 5. Pick a prayer (Lord here I am, speak to me through your word)
  • Sep 23, 2018Life is Hard & How You Handle It Matters
    Sep 23, 2018
    Life is Hard & How You Handle It Matters
    Series: Formed
     Trials, worry, anxiety...we all experience these. God doesn't "lay" these on us but invites us to see them as opportunities. God can use these to form our character. Key to this "allowing" is seeking wisdom. We looked at 4 ways to do this: Stay Close to Jesus; Let scripture guide; Seek out professionals; Stay in community. I'm hoping your life is smooth sailing but if the winds pick up, and they will, may you turn to the Potter who transforms lives.
  • Sep 16, 2018A New Identity
    Sep 16, 2018
    A New Identity
    Series: Formed
    Identity - who we are - what shapes your identity? On Sunday we discovered how God calls us his new Israel. As such, we are called to be priests, relational mediators, who help people discover and receive a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. In addition we are called to be a "holy nation." That is, we are called to develop a character that reflects the character of Jesus, and we know how people flocked to him. May you be a priest and show Jesus to those around you through your words, texts, tweets, FB posts, deeds and attitudes this week.