November 22, 2020
Dr. Cheryl Bridges Johns looks at Exodus 35 and shares a message about the Creator Spirit ("Veni Creator Spiritus"). During this Covid season, the church has had to be creative. The Creator Spirit that inspired the many hands to fashion and craft the tabernacle in the time of Moses -- a portable and tangible place of habitation for the presence of God -- continues to inspire us to create beauty out of chaos through the variety of work we do. We have an opportunity to call on that Creator Spirit to provide wisdom to participate in those new creations using the skills we've been blessed with. Exodus 35:30-35.
Dr. Johns shared a song by Graham Kendrick called "Creator Spirit (Veni Creator Spiritus)" at the end of service. Here is a link to that lyric video: https://youtu.be/l2VWG0n26K0
You can find sheet music, a lead sheet and a chord chart for that song at Graham Kendrick's website: https://grahamkendrick.co.uk/songs/graham-kendrick-songs/other-recordings-new-songs/creator-spirit
Dr. Johns' most recent book can be found here: https://amzn.to/3pRLviN
November 15, 2020
Josh shares a message from Jeremiah 29 (not just the verse everyone knows) and Hebrews 12, inviting us to reexamine how we practice our faith. We've been given a rich history from which to draw but often settle for bumping into Jesus when we can. The life of St. Patrick and the Christian community he was a part of illustrates a different way to walk out what the writer of Hebrews describes for us as children of God. Jeremiah 29:1-14; Hebrews 12:1-17.
November 8, 2020
Kara shares her heart for community looking at a passage from Mark 2. There, a paralytic man's friends lower him through a roof to receive healing from Jesus. The man's faith was strengthened and his life transformed through the faith of his friends, and it offers us a glimpse of what it means to live in community with our friends and neighbors. Choosing to be rooted in community is the way towards a deeply formed spiritual life. Mark 2:1-12; Acts 2:42-47.
October 25, 2020
Josh continues our discussion of the prayers of the season (POTS) asking the question, "What does Jesus say that community looks like?" Using a passage from Matthew where Jesus is talking about unclean spirits in a house and then in front of his mother and brother, refers to the disciples as his mother and his brothers, we get a glimpse of what Jesus wants to do in our lives and how his view of us invites us into a community that, among other things, eats together, shares responsibility, holds each other accountable, and is faithful to each other until death. Matthew 12:43-50; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; John 14:26; Mark 11:17; 1 Corinthians 10:17.
October 18, 2020
Josh continues our discussion of the prayers of the season (POTS), bridging between "Clear Paths for Formation and Discipleship" and "Community, Belonging and Connectedness." We live in a culture that touts individualism, and it is easy to succumb to that in our daily lives. That pursuit leaves many Americans as some of the loneliest people in the world. Jesus calls us to Christian community which provides a path to a collectivist mindset that prioritizes the group over one's individual interests. 1 Corinthians 10:1-17; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10.
Josh provided a quote from Lucy Shaw: "The pace of life and our preoccupation with unimportant things take so much of our attention. The significant things, like taking time to develop friendship, to read and pray, to listen to God -- these all get sacrificed on the altar of good works and Christian busyness."
October 11, 2020
Josh continues looking at our prayer of the season related to spiritual formation and asks: "Where does spiritual formation happen?" We see in the life of Jesus and his disciples a rhythm of Jesus getting away in silence and solitude and living in community repeatedly. Jesus invites us on a journey, asking us to share our desires with him and to tell him what we want him to do for us like blind Bartimaeus. But spiritual formation is more than that one-on-one relationship with Jesus. Spiritual formation encompasses at least three things: community, vulnerability and accountability. Psalm 23; Mark 10:49-52; Matthew 4:18-22; 1 Corinthians 10:17.
October 4, 2020
Josh opens our series of messages related to our most recent Prayers of the Season (POTS). Spiritual formation offers an opportunity to discover how Jesus wants to interact with us. We are invited to keep company with Jesus. We aren't invited to follow a list of steps to arrive at formation. We journey. The point is the journey -- not the destination. By sharing our deepest desires with Jesus, he can reveal how he wants to walk with us through that, what he wants to show us about ourselves, and where he wants to take us. Matthew 4:18-22; Matthew 11:28-30; Philippians 3:4-14.
Josh shared an acrostic from Adele Ahlberg Calhoun to help us step into spiritual formation. What desire grabs your heart when you read these things?
Open myself to God
Relinquish the false self & idols of the heart
Share my life with others
Hear the word of God
Incarnate Christ's love for the world
Pray to God
September 27, 2020
Kara shares a message from Philippians, illustrating how humility and honor operate in the Kingdom of God. Paul writes to the church in Philippi speaking of the assurance that comes in and through Christ: encouragement, love, participation in the Spirit, affection, joy, unity, etc. And yet, we see often in the Church, a group of people who struggle to honor the differences among each other. Kara reminds us that in the example of Jesus -- who became a servant for all -- we have the proximity we need to find the humility to count others more significant than ourselves and the support we need to deal with the costs of denying ourselves. Philippians 2:1-13.
September 20, 2020
Josh shares a message from Matthew 20 about Jesus' parable of the generous landowner. We see the landowner find people to help with his vineyard, and he selects people who may look the part and those who may feel unworthy of inclusion for the labor. And he pays them all the same day's wage. Unsurprisingly, some grumble at the apparent "unfairness" of the decision. But why can't we be happy for what someone else got when we've been provided for as well? Luke 24:32; Colossians 3:14-16; John 10:14-16; Matthew 20:1-16; Jonah 4:1-11.
Josh shared a quote from Frederick Buechner: "Don't start looking in the Bible for the answers it gives. Start by listening for the questions it asks."
September 13, 2020
Josh shares from Matthew 18 and Jesus' teaching about forgiveness. Jesus is trying to explain to the disciples how crucial forgiveness is to the Kingdom. This is how Christian community is built. We have to understand what we have received from Jesus in the way of forgiveness and grace, and if we have that understanding, we will offer the same forgiveness to others. Matthew 18:21-35.
Josh shared three quotes about forgiveness:
1) Anne Lamott (in Traveling Mercies): "Withholding forgiveness is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die."
2) Nora Gallagher: "Forgiveness is a way to unburden oneself from the constant pressure of rewriting the past."
3) Henri Nouwen: "Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all people love poorly, and so we need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour increasingly. Forgiveness is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family."