Sunday Worship Broadcast - Easter Sunday April 21, 2019

We concluded our worship series "From Shame to Glory: a Lenten journey to rewrite the story of your life" on Easter Sunday. Our worship theme was: “Glorious Day: Redeeming Shame” based on the Resurrection Story from John 20:1-18. Dynamic singing led us into an amazing community celebration. Throughout the series we investigated Jesus' journey to the cross in the Gospel of Luke, informed by the therapeutic work of Curt Thompson's book, The Soul of Shame. We identified the pains and struggles throughout this journey in order to find freedom from the lifelong negative messages that have bound us. Rewriting our stories embraces the healing and wholeness to defeat the shame in our lives. Our Easter story is the conclusion of that journey from Shame to Glory, as we experienced the glory of Christ’s resurrection and discover how to live a resurrected life. 

Sunday Worship Broadcast - Palm Sunday April 14, 2019

Lenten Worship Series: “From Shame to Glory…a lenten journey to rewrite the story of your life”
Sermon Theme:
“Our Healing Cloud of Witnesses”
Scripture: Luke 19:28-40
Overview: Jesus tells us that we need each other. We need a great cloud of witnesses to remind us of who we are, and who God created us to be. But we have to tell our stories to each other in order for them to be rewritten. We have to be vulnerable to each other in order to experience freedom from shame. And that’s how God uses our cloud of witnesses; to help us push shame to the margins of our lives—to put shame to death. That’s what we do for each other every time we gather. We find each other. We see each other. And we remind each other of the story that God tells about us.
Questions for Reflection this Week:
1. Who are the people in your life, living or deceased, who make up your “great cloud of witnesses”?
2. What does it mean for you to “fix your eyes upon Jesus?”
3. Who can you depend on to speak truth to you?
4. Communities of healing are not limited to the church. What other communities serve as places of healing for you?

Sunday Worship Broadcast - April 7, 2019

Lenten Worship Series: “From Shame to Glory…a lenten journey to rewrite the story of your life”
Sermon Theme:
“Shame’s Remedy: Vulnerability”
Scripture: John 12:1-11
Overview: The Greater Story of the Bible is that vulnerability is the character of God. It began in the beginning of creation when we are introduced to a vulnerable God; open to wounding, open to pain, open to rejection, open to death. Only when we see Jesus do we begin to get a picture of a God who is exposed and vulnerable. We all question how much of me can I expose? The more of me that is exposed to another, the greater will be my wounding if I am betrayed. We deeply long for connection, to be seen and known for who we are without rejection. But we are terrified of the vulnerability that is required for that connection. But vulnerability is the state we must pass through in order to deepen our connection with God and others. There is no other way.
Questions for Reflection this Week:
1.  What is your experience with being vulnerable? What are some behaviors you employ to avoid being vulnerable?
2.  What parts of your life to you fear exposing to others?
3.  Consider choosing two or three people to whom you can expose those parts of your life for which you feel shame. Who would they be?
4. What stories/events of your life would you share vulnerably with them?

Sunday Worship Broadcast - March 31, 2019

Lenten Worship Series: “From Shame to Glory…A lenten journey to rewrite the story of your life”
Sermon Theme:
“The Story of Shame You are Living”
Scripture: Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32
Overview: Telling stories is an inevitable characteristic of what it means to be human. We can describe the nature of it, and the different ways that shame can influence our stories, but to understand the story we are actually living in can be hard to identify. If we want to be a part of God’s work in creating goodness and beauty in a world that is becoming more disconnected and disorderly, it is important to know which story you are living in. We already know what story God is trying to tell us. What is keeping you from telling that story?
Questions for Reflection this Week:
1. What stories did others tell about you before you were born? Have those stories had a significant influence on the story you tell about yourself?
2. What story about yourself are you living in? Which parts of that story do you pay the most attention to?
3. Who are the people in your life that you trust enough to tell this story to? What story do they tell about you?

Sunday Worship Broadcast - March 24, 2019

Lenten Worship Series: “From Shame to Glory: a lenten journey to rewrite the story of your life”
Sermon Theme:
“Shame and the Biblical Narrative”
Scripture: Luke 13:1-9
Overview: Shame is not only something that we weave in and out of our own stories, describing it as we experience it, but something that actively, intentionally attempts to shape the stories we are telling. Its game is to dismantle every effort toward goodness and beauty that we desire to co-construct with God. In the very opening of the story of the Bible, God is revealed as the One who creates joy and intention, who longs to have relationship with and be known by humankind. God desires for people to live as God lives, exploring, stewarding and creating in the world; not hiding ourselves from what God created us to be; vulnerable and unashamed.

Question for reflection this week:

1. In what ways does the spread of shame in the Garden of Eden feel familiar to your own life?

2. What tactics do you employ to hide from others? From whom do you hide the most?

3. With whom—on your best days—can you be fully transparent and vulnerable?

Sunday Worship Broadcast - March 17, 2019

Lenten Worship Series: “From Shame to Glory - A lenten journey to rewrite the story of your life”
Sermon Theme:
“Joy, Shame and the Brain”
Scripture: Luke 9:28-43
Overview: The disciples on the mountain peak got the extraordinary, hard news that the transformation of this world for which they lived, breathed and would die, had to start with the transformation of their own humble selves. The message today to us is just the same, and so is the warm invitation from Christ: Come—live unveiled. Live unashamed. Embody the glory and joy of God! In whatever way you choose to live your created purpose, to be God’s joy; it will transform you.
Questions for reflection this week:
1.  What is your experience of joy in your daily life?
2. Who are the people who propagate joy in your life by consistently demonstrating their delight in you?
3. Reflect on a time when your experience of shame inhibited your sense of joy and curiosity. What were the physical, emotional and mental consequences?

Sunday Worship Broadcast - March 10, 2019

Lenten Worship Series: “From Shame to Glory - A lenten journey to rewrite the story of your life”
Sermon Theme: “How Shame Targets the Mind”
Scripture: Luke 4:1-13
Overview:
It may seem quaint that most folks think they have to renounce certain things during Lent. It’s what we have been taught. But that is the way Jesus began his pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Before he could be the true Messiah, he had to discover the sort of messiah he would not be. In affirming God, he first rejected everything that stood in his way of embracing his true identity. On our journey toward Easter we are tackling one of the biggest obstacles to realizing our true identity in Christ; this thing called Shame. And when it comes to combating shame, if we are not aware of what we are feeling, it will have its way with us without us even knowing it. Shame gets its way by targeting the mind, tricking it into believing the same old untrue stories about who we are, or are not. Freedom from shame begins by giving it up as a way of thinking.
Questions for reflection this week:
1.    How well do you pay attention to what you pay attention to? What keeps you from being completely present?
2.    What memories do you have that seem to reflect an experience of shame regarding your true identity?
3.    What role do emotions play in your life? Are you driven by them, or are they tempered by reason, experience and faith?

Ash Wednesday Broadcast - March 6, 2019

Welcome Meditation and Prayer
Gathering Song -
Down to the River to Pray
Scripture Reading - Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
Lenten Reflection - The Ashes of Shame
Reflection Song - Lord, I Need You
Creating Community - Writing our Stories of Shame
1. What features of shame feel familiar to you? (emotional drama,  depression, condemnation, hiding, isolation, low self-esteem, social inadequacy)
2. Can you remember experiences when you encountered these features?Community Response - Releasing our Shame
Imposition of Ashes
Prayer and Release

Sunday Worship Broadcast - March 3, 2019

Lenten Worship Series: “From Shame to Glory - A lenten journey to rewrite the story of your life”
Sermon Theme:
“Our Problem with Shame”
Scripture: Luke 6:39-49
Overview: Throughout Lent we will explore stories of shame in the Gospel narratives from Luke, investigating Jesus’ response to the shame culture of his time. This exploration can help us discern a faith response to our own stories of shame. Whether we realize it or not, shame affects every aspect of our personal lives and vocational endeavors. It seeks to destroy our identity in Christ, replacing it with a damaged version of ourselves that results in unhealed pain and brokenness. When we unpack shame at soul level, it reveals its pervasive nature and neuro-biological roots and provides the theological and practical tools necessary to dismantle it. This worship series will help you identify your own pains and struggles, and find freedom from the lifelong negative messages that bind you. Rewriting the story of your life will help embrace healing and wholeness as you discover and defeat shame.

Sunday Worship Broadcast - February 24, 2019

This Sunday we conclude our Epiphany worship series, “Discovering Divine Direction” with the focus on how relationships in our lives can reveal God’s direction for us.
Sermon Theme: “Mirror, Mirror”
Scripture: Luke 6:27-38
Overview: God wants to speak to you through your relationships; through people in your life. No one is in your life by accident; everyone is there by divine appointment. Sometimes they remain hidden figures in our consciousness, but not paying attention to why they are in your life robs you of one of the ways God gives you divine direction. It’s your job not just to notice them, but to care for them and listen to them. And it often starts with simply hearing criticism from a different perspective. But that can only happen in the context of love. Avoiding conflict is easy to do, but it doesn’t do anybody any good to do so. Conflict isn’t fun, but it helps us grow. Just make sure you address it in love.

Sunday Worship Broadcast - February 17, 2019

Epiphany Sermon Series: “Discovering Divine Direction”
Sermon Theme:
“Turning Wounds into Wisdom”
Scripture: Luke 6:17-26
Overview: There is a great line from the movie Shrek, “Ogres are like onions! Lots of layers.” Emotional pain is like Shrek’s ogre, layer upon layer of tears. Yet like the onion, the more layers you peel back, the lighter it feels, and the greater your relief. If you peel back the pain far enough you discover that it has no lasting substance and less hold on your life in the present moment. And if you can do that, there might actually be something you can learn from the experience. When that happens, pain can be transmuted into happiness.
Remember these tips: 1) Don’t deny that pain exists. 2) Don’t explain pain away with trite truisms. 3) Don’t be so focused on getting out of difficult circumstances that you don’t get anything out of them. 4) Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshipping what’s right with God. 5) Turning pain into praise is God’s work. Lean into it.

Sunday Worship Broadcast - February 10, 2019

Epiphany Worship Series: “Discovering Divine Direction”
Sermon Theme:
“When It’s Too Good to Be True”
Scripture: Luke 5:1-11
Overview:  Today we explore the next love language that God uses to speak to us: promptings. Remember the old adage, Timing is Everything? It’s especially true when it comes to understanding God’s promptings. God is in the business of strategically positioning us in the right place at the right time, but we don’t always recognize it as such. Discerning the voice of God requires an internal clock that perceives God’s promptings. And it’s our reaction to those promptings that leads to supernatural synchronicities: being in the right place at the right time with the right people. We call these synchronicities Kairos time. When we get prompted God kind of sets us up—to be blessed. But you have to obey those promptings. And your obedience to those promptings—whether it’s praying, serving or giving—might just be the vehicle for your or someone else’s miracle. When God gives the vision, God will make the provision.
            What is God prompting you to pray?
                        How is God prompting you to serve?
                                    Where is God prompting you to give?

Sunday Worship Broadcast - February 3, 2019

Epiphany Worship Series: “Discovering Divine Direction”
Sermon Theme:
“Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out”
Scripture: Luke 4:21-30
Overview:  One of the ways that God speaks to us is through opening and closing doors. In short, God speaks to us through circumstances.  Discerning these doors requires us to appraise our situation with supernatural insight…a prophetic perception that enables us to see past our problems and envision possibilities. It’s picking up on what God is putting right in front of us. It’s taking the first step in faith before God can reveal the next step. Mark Batterson’s book, “Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God” suggests there are five tests for discerning God’s will.
Goose-Bump Test - We have no idea where we are going much of the time, but as long as we keep in step with the Spirit, keep chasing after God’s desires, we will get where God wants us to go.
Peace Test - You will know in your heart that it’s the right thing to do. It’s a peace that passes all understanding. It’s not just peace in the midst of the storm; its peace in the perfect storm.
Wise Counsel Test - You have to surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you. Surround yourself with people who have permission to speak truth to you in love.
Crazy Test - By definition, a God-sized dream or door is always beyond our comprehension or abilities. It’s beyond our logic, and our resources. In other words, we can’t do it without God’s help.
“Released-from and Called-To” test. You’ll never be able to walk through the next God door when you’ve got your foot caught in the one God is trying to close. Sometimes you have to let go of what’s holding you back, in order to move forward. The pain of moving out of your past can be too overwhelming to even consider.­­­­

Sunday Worship Broadcast - January 27, 2019

Epiphany Sermon Series: “Discovering Divine Direction”
Sermon Theme: “The Spoken Word”
Scripture: Luke 4:14-21
Overview:  How can scripture and the sacred story bring clarity and security into our places of confusion and uncertainty?

­­­­The Five steps of Lectio Divina (Divine Reading)
Prepare
– Take 30 minutes to read, reflect, and respond to the Holy Spirit’s promptings in Lectio Divina. Light a candle to collect your thoughts and calm your mind. Pray an invitation like, “God, let me hear from you,” or “Holy Spirit, Come” and sit quietly, opening your mind to hearing from God.
Lectio (Read)
– Read a scripture from your devotions or daily Bible reading and listen carefully for any words or phrases that seem to jump out. Wait patiently for God to give a gentle nudge.
Meditatio (Reflect) – Read the same passage a second time, focusing on the points you become aware of during the first reading. Re-read these verses and reflect carefully on where God has nudged you. Then reflect on what you sense God is saying. Don’t analyze the passage. Just ask God to make your focus clear.
Oratio (Respond) - After a third reading, it’s time to respond. Record your thoughts by journaling or write a prayer, talking the opportunity for conversation with God.
Contemplatio (Rest) – Read a final time, and then spend 10 minutes in silent contemplation. This isn’t a time of prayer or meditation — just sit quietly and allow God to work. When your mind starts to wander and dart here and there, bring it gently back to stillness again.

Sunday Worship Broadcast - January 20, 2019

Epiphany Worship Series: “Discovering Divine Direction” - The voice that spoke the cosmos into existence is the same voice that parted the Red sea, and made the sun stand still in the midday sky. One day, this voice will make all things new, but it’s also speaking to you now. That voice is God’s voice, and in Scripture God often speaks in a whisper. Not to make it difficult to hear, but to draw us close. Many people have a tough time believing God still speaks. We’ll learn about the seven love languages of God; each of them unique and entirely divine. By learning to tune in to and decipher each language, you’ll be able to hear God’s guidance in simple as well as life-altering choices.

Rev. Michaela Arnold-Moore preached this morning on the topic; “God’s Prosperity Plan” from Jeremiah 29:11.

Sunday Worship Broadcast - January 13, 2019

Epiphany Worship Series: “Discovering Divine Direction”
Sermon Theme: “The Voice Inside Your Head”
Scripture: Luke 3:15-22
Overview:  How might we hear God speaking through our internal desires?

The Road Ahead
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end. nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Thomas Merton, “Thoughts in Solitude”, Noonday Press, 1956. 

Sunday Worship Broadcast - January 6, 2019

Epiphany Worship Series: “Discovering Divine Direction” - The voice that spoke the cosmos into existence is the same voice that parted the Red sea, and made the sun stand still in the midday sky. One day, this voice will make all things new, but it’s also speaking to you now. That voice is God’s voice, and in Scripture God often speaks in a whisper. Not to make it difficult to hear, but to draw us close. Many people have a tough time believing God still speaks. We’ll learn about the seven love languages of God; each of them unique and entirely divine. By learning to tune in to and decipher each language, you’ll be able to hear God’s guidance in simple as well as life-altering choices.

Sermon Theme: “Following the Signs”
Scripture: Matthew 2:1-12
Overview: What exactly is an “epiphany”? What does it mean when we say we’ve had an “a-ha” moment? It can be different for every person, and it’s difficult to define it for everyone, because… they are a reflection of us. They are all different and unique; no two people's stories are the same. We are all so very different in backgrounds, experiences, beliefs, etc. But at the core of these epiphanies, when you really ask what someone learned or wisdom gained, always boils down to a universal wisdom or truth we can all relate to. It's just like us - we're all so different and unique yet all so very much the same. The goal in talking about our stories, and about epiphanies in particular, is to understand, honor and respect both our differences and our likenesses - and to celebrate them.

 

Sunday Worship Broadcast - December 23, 2018

Advent/Christmas Worship Series - "Let There Be Peace on Earth...and Let it Begin with ME!"
Sermon Theme
: “A Life of Peace”
Scripture: Luke 1:26-55
Overview: Join us for our Christmas worship as we consider thoughts and testimonies on living a Life of Peace
Questions to consider:

  • If peace is the common plea of all humankind, then how do we begin transforming the world? What will you do to promote peace today and every day?

  •  What work can you accomplish that will lead to a lasting peace in your own life?

  • What would the world be like if everyone lived in peace?

  • Is the American way of life consistent with a life of peace?

  • How do you respond to war in the world, and in your own life? Are you spending resources on things that do not promote a life of peace?