Feb 16, 2020
When You’re Marginalized
Series: Life
Marginalized, isolated, abandoned, everyone has a story. Whether it is the dominant or micro-culture like the workplace or home people can find themselves cast out and cut off. The story of Jesus is the story of the marginalized being welcomed, embraced, affirmed and restored. "Daughter, your faith made you well; go in peace" are words we need to hear and receive today. What story in your life needs to hear Jesus' words?
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  • Feb 16, 2020When You’re Marginalized
    Feb 16, 2020
    When You’re Marginalized
    Series: Life
    Marginalized, isolated, abandoned, everyone has a story. Whether it is the dominant or micro-culture like the workplace or home people can find themselves cast out and cut off. The story of Jesus is the story of the marginalized being welcomed, embraced, affirmed and restored. "Daughter, your faith made you well; go in peace" are words we need to hear and receive today. What story in your life needs to hear Jesus' words?
  • Feb 9, 2020When You’re Afraid
    Feb 9, 2020
    When You’re Afraid
    Series: Life
    Coronavirus, climate change, health concerns, finances...the list of concerns, global and personal, can be overwhelming. Fear rises up and like a fierce taskmaster it drives us to exhaustion of body, mind, and spirit. This is Elijah's story. But his story has another voice. This voice invites us to remember we are never alone. God is with us. This voice invites us to lie down in green pastures, to be restored by God's presence and love. Elijah, driven and harried, finds himself renewed and able to face the same circumstances that had driven him to despair. So it can be for us too if we listen for the still small voice amidst the clamor of fear-inducing circumstances. Peace be with you.
  • Feb 2, 2020When You’re Broken
    Feb 2, 2020
    When You’re Broken
    Series: Life
    "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions." These words from Psalm 51 are a chapter of David's story. They remind us, sometimes we choose wrong paths. Those paths lead to oppression, darkness and alienation...brokenness. Psalm 51 lets us know, there is a way home. Restoration, reconciliation and flourishing can be found again. In David's beautiful poem he lays out this pathway. Reveal- tell the truth; Repent- turn away from the wrong paths and toward relationship with God; Reorient- wrong paths are created by unhealthy habits. New habits are needed to create new and healthy paths. Primary among new habits is Scripture. Like an artificial horizon or carpenter's level, Scripture reveals objective truth to fashion how we live our lives.
  • Jan 26, 2020When You’re Oh So Right
    Jan 26, 2020
    When You’re Oh So Right
    Series: Life
    Peter, a devout Torah-keeping Jewish follower of Jesus, was fueled by deep convictions. As we walked through his story on Sunday we discovered that God leads us to new and unexpected understandings of faith and life. We sang of a God who opens blind eyes! Peter's story is our story. We dig our heels in, resist...sometimes loudly, insisting, openly or quietly, that God is on our side. Yet God comes and gives us new eyes to see what he is doing. 
  • Jan 19, 2020When It’s Disappointing
    Jan 19, 2020
    When It’s Disappointing
    Series: Life
    Disappointment. It happens to all of us in varying degrees...minor to major. The story of Hagar is a story of disappointment. But her story doesn't stop there. Her story of disappointment is also her story of discovery. Hagar discovered that God hears (Ishmael), God sees (El Roi) and, amidst a culture that discounted her life, God sees ME (Beer-lahai-roi). Hagar's story is encouragement to us. While time and culture separate us, we find common ground in disappointment. We find common ground in Ishmael, El Roi and Beer-lahai-Roi. God hears and sees. God sees you and me. We are valued. God is present with us. We are not abandoned. We are not alone.
    God is with us.
  • Jan 12, 2020When It’s Good
    Jan 12, 2020
    When It’s Good
    Series: Life
    The story of Mary and Joseph invites us to see how God can show up and take life in new and unexpected...even initially unwanted directions. God speaks saying, "Don't be afraid." Mary and Joseph were courageous. They let go of precious things that made life good for them. In faith and obedience they stepped out of their boat and partnered with God in His redemptive work. Let's remember Mary and Joseph as we begin to discuss our future. Might God be calling us to a new and vibrant chapter of life and ministry?
  • Oct 27, 2019Transforming
    Oct 27, 2019
    Transforming
    God desires to transform our lives, to fashion us in his image...a holy character. Holiness is not sour and dour. Holiness can be filled with laughter and dance. Holiness is the good, the fullness of life God created each person to live into and out of. When holiness begins to define our character others are blessed. They see and experience the high quality goodness within God's people. As this holy goodness spills over and blesses others, they are drawn to God's people and to the God who is forming us in his image.
    So how is holiness formed in me? John 15:4,5 calls us to ABIDE, to rest and remain in Jesus. Abiding is the cultivation of a love relationship, to experience Jesus' lavish love for us and to allow that love to form a fullness of devotion to Jesus as the very epicenter of our lives and relationships.
    The simple question on Sunday was, "Do you love Jesus?" Invite the Holy Spirit to form a deepening hunger for more of Jesus, for deeper love and devotion. This is the work of the Holy Spirit within a Jesus-follower's life. May you ABIDE in his presence and love this week.
  • Oct 20, 2019Holy
    Oct 20, 2019
    Holy
    "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, early in the morning our song will rise to Thee." This beautiful hymn is made more beautiful when we understand that God's holiness/purity is beautifully expressed in his Agape/love which desires the best for us and God's Pathos/wrath which directed against anything that harms or hinders us from becoming all that God has created us to be. We were asked to chew on this question: If God's love were to "burn" or "consume" something out of your life that is holding you back, what would it be?
  • Oct 6, 2019Love
    Oct 6, 2019
    Love
     On Sunday we reflected on the story of the prodigal son. 3 quick take-aways to shape our thinking and living in relationship with God, ourselves and others: 1. God welcomes sinners...just think about that and marvel! 2. God is the prodigal. The word means extravagantly excessive and that's exactly how the father responds to the younger son who has made his way home. 3. I am the older brother. Many of us "stayed home" in regards to God. We lived the churchy life, and that's great. But the older son, the good boy if you will, viewed himself as a servant and not a son. He had done his duty as a servant but did not experience the joy of being loved and welcomed as a son. Both boys lived in a type of tragic life. God's desire is for both to come home.
  • Sep 29, 2019Generous
    Sep 29, 2019
    Generous
    On Sunday, we sang and heard about the generosity of God. God does not respond to us as if we have deserved or merited anything from him. God generously pours out, lavishes his grace, love, mercy, kindness upon us. But here's the thing, we often operate out of an "earn it" mentality. If I have not earned it, why would God give me anything...especially his love? The parable of the workers in the vineyard challenges us to see and joyously embrace the incredible divine love, welcome and acceptance which God offers us freely in and through Jesus. As we sang on Sunday, our response is, "Beautiful One I love you. Beautiful One I adore. Beautiful One my soul must sing!"
  • Sep 22, 2019Trustworthy–Guest Speaker Jenn Strobl
    Sep 22, 2019
    Trustworthy–Guest Speaker Jenn Strobl
    Because we tend to compartmentalize our lives, Sunday worship does little to form our lives in the coming week. So can I ask, "Are you pursuing God's trustworthiness?" It's easy to fall into the mold of putting everything on ourselves. "I've got to take care of this. I"ve got to make it happen." And while initiative and hard work are commendable, even desirable, this perspective can easily eliminate the presence, power and love of our heavenly Father. God's desire is to give "good gifts" to his children. The metaphor is both beautiful and hard. How do I lean into trusting God? What does that look like while I'm planning and acting in response to life? Perhaps we can start by resting in God's presence. And in these intentional quiet moments acknowledge God's presence, goodness and trustworthiness. Give thanks for these realities and invite God into your circumstances, planning and implementing. Ask the Holy Spirit to walk with and guide you so that, "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." We can begin this practice and value it because God is trustworthy.
  • Sep 15, 2019Good
    Sep 15, 2019
    Good
    On Sunday we focused on the goodness of God. Tragedies in life are not the judgement of God on you or others. Tragedies happen in a broken creation. But the response of God to such things is compassion motivated by loving goodness. Jesus' response to the man born blind challenges any narrative of a smiting, angry God who balances the accounts. Instead Jesus shows us that God's very nature is good. In his goodness God moves to bring flourishing through liberation, forgiveness, and empowerment. So while I hope your week is going well, if something bad has happened, please know that God is not punishing you. God is audaciously in love with you.
  • Sep 8, 2019Available
    Sep 8, 2019
    Available
    On Sunday, we looked at the story of Jesus, God in the flesh, who invites us to "Come and see." He invites us to walk with him, hang with him, be with him in life. In this context Jesus tells us the true story of God and of ourselves. The challenge is, will we believe and embrace Jesus' story of God and us? The way to being fully human and fully alive is indeed to embrace these truthful and life-giving stories of Jesus.
  • Sep 1, 2019Excitement
    Sep 1, 2019
    Excitement
    Sunday concluded our Summer Series "Looking Forward." We ended on the high note of EXCITEMENT. God is a God who shows up in unexpected places and circumstances to do unexpected and amazing things on behalf of his people and mission. How do God's people respond to this? EXCITEMENT, "God has come to help his people!" Are your eyes, minds and hearts open to this work of God? Or, are you fixed only on the circumstances around you/us? Let's be praying for the Holy Spirit to open us to the new possibilities God is cultivating and inviting us to share in.
  • Aug 25, 2019Embassies of the Kingdom–Guest Speaker Mandy Fowler
    Aug 25, 2019
    Embassies of the Kingdom–Guest Speaker Mandy Fowler
    Kingdom embassies, making our lives, homes and relationships places where people encounter Jesus. This is actually incredible. God wants me/you to be a person through whom God becomes present, real and relevant to others. You/we through our day-to-day actions and interactions become the temple of God, the place where God dwells and is experienced. WOW! What a high calling and privilege we have as followers of Jesus. So let's intentionally invite the Holy Spirit to fill us anew each day this week. Let's sing in our hearts, "Here I am Lord," and freely offer ourselves to be vessels of our risen Lord. Let us examine our days and encounters to see if we have been faithful, confess and repent where we have stumbled, rejoice in grace that cleanses and empowers and rise up each day committed to being Christ's embassy to others.
  • Aug 18, 2019Fatigue
    Aug 18, 2019
    Fatigue
    On Sunday we listened to stories about fatigue. Sleeping disciples overcome with grief. A Martha Stewart of the New Testament feverishly working to create hospitality and in her fatigue complaining to Jesus about the lack of help. Grief and busyness...including church busyness can create weary, tired, bodies and souls. The answer? Sabbath resting. Sabbath is God's gift for renewal. How can you practice Sabbath rest this week? Is there something you can stop doing? Is there a relationship in need of renewal? It's okay to stop. It's okay to say, "No more." It's okay to say "yes" to rest and renewal.
  • Aug 11, 2019Failure
    Aug 11, 2019
    Failure
    Failure, not something we aspire to or want to admit. But the story of God's people is rife with failure and God's redemption. On Sunday, we looked at Peter's dramatic failure, his thrice denial of Jesus. One might expect that that event was the last time we'd hear about Peter for he would be cut from God's team. What we find though is a much larger story. This story reminds us that Christ CHOSE Peter, Christ CHALLENGED Peter, and Christ CALLED Peter to "Follow me." His story is our story as we too confess, "I have not loved you with all my heart nor my neighbor as myself."
  • Aug 4, 2019Fear
    Aug 4, 2019
    Fear
    On Sunday we heard the story of people frightened by change, fearful of what they might loose if God's preferred future happened for God's people. They sought to impede God's vision through ridicule and conspiracy theories. We can find ourselves in their shoes. When change happens, we fear what we might loose, position and status, familiar and favored things, even buildings and a sense of place.
  • Jul 28, 2019Questions
    Jul 28, 2019
    Questions
    God is at work all around us at all times. Will we see his work? Are our eyes open? Are we inviting the Holy Spirit to grow our capacity to "see"? This is the take away we ended on this Sunday. We ask God questions that arise from our anxieties. We ask God to fill in the blanks of life. God invites us to deep trust and dependency, to follow and to see his work unfolding all around us.
  • Jul 14, 2019Hope
    Jul 14, 2019
    Hope
    Biblical HOPE is rooted in the character and promises of God. Abram and Sarai are examples of this. They trusted and set out. They faltered and fell. They questioned and fussed. But always they came back to their need and ours to trust in the steadfast love of God and God's ability, as the Apostle Paul said, "To do more than we could ever ask or dream" (Ephesians 3:20).
  • Jul 7, 2019Vision
    Jul 7, 2019
    Vision
    In Nehemiah's story we find "trail markers" to help us develop a vision for our future. A Holy Disatisfaction with our "rubble." Time given to Serious Prayer. Are we at these points? Does our concern for the state of FUMC move us to intentional intercession for God's Spirit to breath life and vision into our Governance Board and Church family? Nehemiah took the next step. It was Risk-Taking but necessary. He begins to make requests of one in a position of influence who could open doors of possibilities. Lastlly Nehemiah goes to Jerusalem and cultivates Shared-Ownership of the vision God has given him.
  • Jun 23, 2019Urgency
    Jun 23, 2019
    Urgency
    On June 23 we looked at Israel's story of change and uncertainty. Much like them, Faith UMC has experienced change and uncertainty as our worshiping numbers have declined and our overall age has increased. For Israel and Faith UMC a sense of urgency begs us to Look Forward.