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The Weekly Message



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Grace, Faith and Love

posted Sep 15, 2019, 1:39 PM by web feat   [ updated Sep 15, 2019, 1:41 PM ]

Over and over in the Scriptures, we see examples of God choosing the most unlikely people for an important purpose. And the apostle Paul is certainly a good example. In fact, as one who arrogantly and violently persecuted Christians, he is the last person anyone would ever expect to be transformed into such a humble and faithful advocate for Christ, and used in such powerful ways. But as he wrote to Timothy,

"[Jesus] went out on a limb, you know, in trusting me with this ministry. The only credentials I brought to it were invective and witch hunts and arrogance. But I was treated mercifully because I didn’t know what I was doing—didn’t know Who I was doing it against! Grace mixed with faith and love poured over me and into me. And all because of Jesus.

15-19 Here’s a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I’m proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy." (from Eugene Peterson's "The Message," 1 Timothy 1:12-19)

God has a plan for us as well, and we are offered that same grace mixed with faith and love. The question is, how will we respond?

Click here to listen to the message, and here for other resources. 

The One Who Knows You

posted Sep 8, 2019, 2:51 PM by web feat   [ updated Sep 15, 2019, 1:22 PM ]

Do you ever feel invisible? Do you sometimes wonder if anyone understands you, or even really cares? Most of us have experienced this at one time or another, and for some, it's a feeling that won't turn loose.

But the Psalmist reminds us that there is One who has known and loved us and been with us since the moment we were conceived, before we were even born. There is One who formed and shaped us, and who knows us inside and out.  One who never stops loving us or believing in us. That One is God, and even when we try to run and hide, God is always with us and never abandons us.

Wherever you are in your journey, seek God, and know that God will not only show you the way, but will help you find your most beautiful self.

Click here to listen to the message, and here for other resources. 

A New Way of Seeing and Being

posted Aug 4, 2019, 2:17 PM by web feat   [ updated Sep 8, 2019, 2:54 PM ]

It's easy to talk about being a Christian, but we're called to put our faith into action. As Paul wrote in Colossians,

So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.   [From Colossians 3, lEugene Peterson's, "The Message"]

And living it means recognizing that we are ALL God's children, and that we are called to love ALL as our brothers and sisters - no exceptions.

Click here to listen to the message, and here for other resources. 

Let’s Get Real

posted Jul 28, 2019, 3:49 PM by web feat   [ updated Aug 4, 2019, 2:17 PM ]

What exactly does it mean to pray? We worship a God who loves us beyond our understanding, yet for many, prayer may be limited to turning to God only when we need something, or when we're at the end of our rope. Often the focus can be limited to asking for specific results, with a fixed idea of what God's answer should be. And when the answer is slow to come or not what we expect, we may feel let down or forgotten. We may also feel uncomfortable showing our real selves, or sharing our real feelings.

But prayer can be so much more. 

Click here to listen to the message, and here for other resources. 

Missed Opportunities

posted Jul 21, 2019, 2:23 PM by web feat   [ updated Aug 4, 2019, 2:00 PM ]

It's a familiar passage from Luke:

"As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.'” [From Eugene Peterson's, "The Message"]

Martha was a "do-er," and she took great pride in getting things done. She wanted to give Jesus her best, so she hustled to prepare a good meal, that he might be fed. Somehow, it never occurred to her that Jesus came to feed her, and sadly, she was missing out.

Click here to listen to the message, and here for other resources. 

Just Who IS Our Neighbor?

posted Jul 14, 2019, 3:01 PM by web feat   [ updated Aug 4, 2019, 2:00 PM ]

It's a story we've probably heard many times before. A religion scholar is looking for a loophole concerning the teaching to love your neighbor as yourself, and Jesus responds by sharing the story of a man robbed and beaten, and left to die by the side of the road. Both a priest and a Levite religious man saw him lying there, and both avoided him and went on their way. Surprisingly, it is a Samaritan - one of a group despised and looked down on by the Jews - whose heart is moved to help. He gets the man the help he needs and at his own expense, asking for nothing in return.

As Jesus concludes the story, he asks the scholar:
 “What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”
“The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded.
Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”  [Eugene Peterson's, The Message]

Who is OUR neighbor? 

Click here to listen to the message, and here for other resources. 

Staying on Course

posted Jul 7, 2019, 1:24 PM by web feat   [ updated Aug 4, 2019, 2:01 PM ]

There are times when we can feel overwhelmed, when the challenges we face seem more than we can handle. In those times, it's easy to give up. It's also easy to fall into patterns that go against God's plans for us. It can be easy to judge others, or to fall victim to envy. But Paul offers us good advice in Galations 6:

"Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life."

And let's never forget that in those challenging times, God is always with us.

"So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all..." ("The Message," by Eugene Peterson)

Click here to listen to the message, and here for other resources. 

Living Free

posted Jun 23, 2019, 2:25 PM by web feat   [ updated Aug 4, 2019, 2:01 PM ]

As human beings, we are sadly encouraged to live in fear. We are taught to avoid "The Other," those who are different from us. We are taught that they are "The Enemy." And it is easy to become a slave to fear and these false, divisive teachings.

But as Paul writes in Galations, "In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal."

We are ALL children of God, all created and loved by God. What if we were to choose to actually live that way? That's where the real  freedom is. And it's a choice.

Click here to listen to the message, and here for other resources. 

To See or Not to See

posted Jun 9, 2019, 3:01 PM by web feat   [ updated Aug 4, 2019, 2:02 PM ]

It is near the end of Jesus' time on earth, and he gets a surprising question:

"Philip said, “Master, show us the Father; then we’ll be content.”  “You’ve been with me all this time, Philip, and you still don’t understand? To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, ‘Where is the Father?’"  [from Eugene Peterson's, "The Message"]

There is much we humans don't see in this world, and good deal of it is sadly by choice. As Jesus said, we live in a loveless world, and "a loveless world,” said Jesus, “is a sightless world." 

What are we missing, because we choose not to see?

Click here to listen to the message, and here for other resources. 

Joy in Unexpected Places

posted Jun 2, 2019, 2:33 PM by web feat   [ updated Aug 4, 2019, 2:02 PM ]

It's a wild story. Paul and Silas are beaten and thrown into jail, shackled and placed in solitary confinement. And how do they respond? By praying and singing a robust hymn to God, much to the surprise of the other inmates. 

Then, without warning, a huge earthquake! The jailhouse tottered, every door flew open, all the prisoners were loose. Startled from sleep, the jailer saw all the doors swinging loose on their hinges. Assuming that all the prisoners had escaped, he pulled out his sword and was about to do himself in, figuring he was as good as dead anyway, when Paul stopped him: “Don’t do that! We’re all still here! Nobody’s run away!” ("The Message" by Eugene Peterson)

How is it that Paul and Silas could be so abused, and yet still have joy in spite of their circumstances? And how could they resist the urge to escape to save the life of their jailor?

Click here to listen to the message, and here for other resources. 

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