Sunday Worship Broadcast - July 7, 2019

We continued our worship series, “The Glory of a Resurrected Church.” Galatians 5:22-23 is one of the classical biblical texts on the essence of love. These fruits of the Spirit are different expressions of the essential nature of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love: but is expressed through 8 qualities - joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. What is your love quotient? Come and explore the development of the fruit of love in your life!

Sermon Theme: “The Fruit of Patience: Enduring Love”
Scripture: James 5:7-12
Overview: The fruit of the Spirit is Love: and expressed through patience. Patience must not be confused with fatalism. Rather, it is a perseverance that combines determination with mercy. If patience is a current weakness, you tend to expect results too quickly, which negatively affects both your relationship with yourself and with others. You will mature in love as you learn to give yourself and others time to grow naturally, including making mistakes and learning from them.

Exercises in Patience: Wear other people’s glasses
Perhaps the most important principle of love is to see the world through other people’s eyes. Why do they act the way they do? What influences have caused them to be the way they are? What are their fears, their dreams, their longings? Ask these questions with people you find difficult to relate to. Then ask yourself the same questions. Do you recognize similar qualities in you?
1)  Living with Yourself: If I had to live with someone who was exactly like me, what would I want to change in that person?
2) I am You: Put yourself in the place of someone whose beliefs and opinions are hard to accept. Recall a particular past encounter with this person. Try to understand what their words meant to them.
3) Empathetic Conversation: Make an effort to get into a real conversation with this person about their beliefs and opinions. Only ask questions that will enable them to make their positions clearer. Don’t argue. Try to put yourself and your feelings in the other person’s shoes for the duration of the conversation. Use this dialogue to know them better.

Sunday Worship Broadcast - June 30, 2019

We continued our worship series, “The Glory of a Resurrected Church.” According to extensive international research by Natural Church Development (1000 churches in six continents over a 10 year period), healthy growing churches have a higher love quotient on average than stagnant or declining churches. That research tells us that when the quality of loving relationships is high in a church there is no longer a need to focus on quantitative growth (increased attendance). No scientific methodology can actually measure love itself, but we can measure the practical expressions of love. Galatians 5:22-23 is one of the classical biblical texts on the essence of love. These fruits of the Spirit are different expressions of the essential nature of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love: but is expressed through 8 qualities - joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. What is your love quotient? Come and explore the development of the fruit of love in your life!

Sermon Theme: “The Fruit of the Spirit: Reflecting God’s Love
Scripture: Galatians 5:19-26
Overview: The fruit of the Spirit is love: but is expressed through 8 qualities - joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Which of these fruits are most developed in your life? Which ones are the least developed? Over the next 8 weeks we’ll explore each fruit of the spirit and offer ways to evaluate your fruitfulness.

Start by doing these three exercises every day:

  1. Tell yourself every evening before falling asleep: “I am loved by God.” Repeat this statement 20 times.

  2. Every morning thank God for love. You don’t need to create love—it’s already there for you.

  3. Write the words “You are loved” on 20 pieces of paper or post it notes and place them in all sorts of places where you might stumble over them. Or set your watch timer to go off every hour. Each time it goes off, or every time you stumble over a note, pause for 5 seconds, take a deep breath, and say to yourself “I breathe out all anxiety (or whatever negative feeling you are experiencing at the moment) and breathe in God’s love.”

Sunday Worship Broadcast - June 23, 2019

We continued our worship series, “The Glory of a Resurrected Church.” According to extensive international research by Natural Church Development (1000 churches in six continents over a 10 year period), healthy growing churches have a higher love quotient on average than stagnant or declining churches. That research tells us that when the quality of loving relationships is high in a church there is no longer a need to focus on quantitative growth (increased attendance). No scientific methodology can actually measure love itself, but we can measure the practical expressions of love. Galatians 5:22-23 is one of the classical biblical texts on the essence of love. These fruits of the Spirit are different expressions of the essential nature of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love: but is expressed through 8 qualities - joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. What is your love quotient? Come and explore the development of the fruit of love in your life!

Sermon Theme: “The Three Colors of Love”
Scripture: Galatians 5:2-6, 13-18
Overview: Love. It is one of the most central words of Christian theology, and yet one of the foggiest words on the planet earth. Many Christians who use this term communicate a secular understanding rather than a fully biblical concept. Sometimes it almost seems that as Christians we haven’t even really begun to grasp the full scope of the biblical concept of love, let alone put it into practice. What is the primary problem in most churches that are not growing? Lack of loving relationships. So what is this biblical understanding of love? Throughout the Old Testament, scripture constantly summarizes the essence of God’s character in terms of justice, truth and grace. But we can only practice these three values in love if we integrate all of them into our expression of it. If we fail to do this, though we might still practice justice, truth or grace, we have failed to truly love.

Sunday Worship Broadcast - June 16, 2019

We continued our worship series, “The Glory of a Resurrected Church.” According to extensive international research by Natural Church Development (1000 churches in six continents over a 10 year period), healthy growing churches have a higher love quotient on average than stagnant or declining churches. That research tells us that when the quality of loving relationships is high in a church there is no longer a need to focus on quantitative growth (increased attendance). No scientific methodology can actually measure love itself, but we can measure the practical expressions of love. Galatians 5:22-23 is one of the classical biblical texts on the essence of love. These fruits of the Spirit are different expressions of the essential nature of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love: but is expressed through 8 qualities - joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. What is your love quotient? Come and explore the development of the fruit of love in your life!

Sermon Theme: “Resurrected Community — the antidote to slavery”
Scripture: Galatians 4:21-5:1, 5:13-15
Overview: This week we commence our series on “The Glory of the Resurrected Church”. We start with a passage in Paul's letter to the Galatians that discusses the centrality of freedom in the resurrected community. Paul contrasts a life of slavery with our freedom in Christ, and explains how a community of love helps us move from slavery to freedom. The same ideas apply to both physical slavery and to the internal slavery than constrains many of us.

Our guest speaker, Matthew Clarke, leads an anti-slavery research project in Australia. We look forward to his insights into the on-going horror of modern slavery.

Sunday Worship Broadcast - June 9, 2019

This Sunday we began our new 10 week worship series, “The Glory of a Resurrected Church.” According to extensive international research by Natural Church Development (1000 churches in six continents over a 10 year period), healthy growing churches have a higher love quotient on average than stagnant or declining churches. That research tells us that when the quality of loving relationships is high in a church there is no longer a need to focus on quantitative growth (increased attendance). No scientific methodology can actually measure love itself, but we can measure the practical expressions of love. Galatians 5:22-23 is one of the classical biblical texts on the essence of love. These fruits of the Spirit are different expressions of the essential nature of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love: but is expressed through 8 qualities - joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is but one fruit, love, whose conceptual richness can be expressed through these eight qualities. Such an understanding lends itself well to the all-encompassing nature of divine love as described in Scripture. What is your love quotient? Come and explore the development of the fruit of love in your life!

Sermon Theme: “Pentecost Sunday: The Spirit of Truth”
Scripture: Acts 2, John 14:8-17
Overview: Over the last six weeks since Easter we engaged the topic of living into the glory of the resurrected life. One inherent truth in our resurrection stories is that if you are going to be somewhere, we must fully be there. Our future has nothing to do with getting somewhere we think we need to be. It has to do with the awareness that getting there means being here. Be where you are; don’t always plan the destination; look at where you are; and keep moving. That’s the secret of life. See everything around you in this moment and then you’ll see everything around you tomorrow. And that is the call to the Church of Pentecost, to live into the glory of a resurrected church. That Pentecostal Spirit challenges us to be the sign of God’s reign on earth. But in order to do that effectively first we must first understand the history of the work of that Pentecost Spirit. The reign of God calls for a radical openness to God’s rule. The mission and ministry of the church must remain open to this process so that we may be open to the vision of our true identity in Jesus Christ, and seek to embody the fruits of the Spirit.

Sunday Worship Broadcast - June 2, 2019

We conclude our Easter Worship series, “The Glory of a Resurrected Life” based on the lectionary scriptures from the Gospel of John.
Sermon Theme: “When One is better than Two”
Scripture: John 17:20-26
Overview: Jesus as the human incarnation of God is the most trustworthy of friends. Unfortunately, this experience of God's friendship has been lost. Too often we are presented with the picture of God only as the Father and Judge. This is not a balanced or true picture at all, for God is also our Mother, our Beloved, our Teacher and our Guide. Jesus is our model for Divine Friendship. With Jesus as our friend we can be open and know that in that openness there is a loyalty and an understanding of everything that is within our hearts. This loyalty brings lightness and easiness to all our divine relationships in God. It is said that a friend of God is a friend of all. Friendship with Jesus teaches us and inspires us to be a true friend to others. In true friendship there is respect and co-operation. This creates a unity essential for peaceful coexistence. A true friendship, but especially God's, is a blessing for eternity. Living an individual resurrected life leads to a corporate resurrected community. Unity is the communal path to harmony and covenantal relationship. You have to stay in it to live into it. These strategies can help build Divine Friendship with each other: Be Vulnerable, Pay Attention, Harmonize Your Thoughts, Befriend Yourself, See Possibilities, and Affirm Who You Are…and Want to Become.

Sunday Worship Podcast - May 26, 2019

We continue our Easter Worship series, “The Glory of a Resurrected Life” based on the lectionary scriptures from the Gospel of John.
Sermon Theme: “Word Breakers and Worry Warts”
Scripture:
John 14:22-29
Overview: Our sacred story comes with specific instructions from Jesus. “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words.” The phrase "to keep his words" means to hold onto his words and keep them in your heart and to make them part of your memory. Those who keep Jesus' words are those to whom he makes things clearer, those to whom he reveals himself. This is in part because they do keep his words and are loved by God. To those who do this, Jesus promises that, "We will come and make our home with them." As you keep Jesus' words in your heart, Jesus' spirit will gradually become more present within you. The promise is that those who keep Jesus' words will be the recipients of the gift of God's presence: God the Father and Jesus the Son. It's a promise that they will come and live with us and make their home with us. This is directly related to the process of keeping Jesus words, of holding them in our heart.

And when your worries gets in the way, just bubble pray them away!

Sunday Worship Broadcast - May 19, 2019

We continue our Easter Worship series, “The Glory of a Resurrected Life” based on the lectionary scriptures from the Gospel of John.
Sermon Theme: “What’s Love got to do with it?”
Scripture: John 13:31-35
Overview: Overview: We’ve been exploring through our Easter series the transformative formula for living in the glory of a resurrected life. This formula so far includes two significant concepts that Rev. Anne-Marie Zanzal shared during the first two Sundays following Easter: 1) honest doubt and authentic questioning is the path to deeper faith. 2) In order to experience the agape love of God, we must start with phileo love for each other. Last week I proposed the third part of this formula; 3) Love without action is meaningless. Love God, love each other. It’s that simple. You can’t do one without the other. Today we expand that understanding of love beyond those we know or associate with. We will explore the concept of loving the whole world. Loving those we don’t know, loving those who are outside our realms of living.
1) How do we attract others into our community of faith?
2) How do we experience a resurrected life if we don’t love the world?
Compassion for the other is the means by which we create communities of care. And sometimes that will mean loving those who act in unloving ways.

Sunday Worship Broadcast - May 12, 2019

We continue our Easter Worship series, “The Glory of a Resurrected Life” based on the lectionary scriptures from the Gospel of John.

Sermon Theme: “The Silence of the Lambs?”
Scripture: John 10:22-30
Overview: We are considering these questions throughout our Easter worship series: How might we live into the resurrection from a holistic perspective (where the body, mind and spirit are all connected)? How might we realize all that God created us to be while still confronting the limitations of our human experience? What exactly is God's vision for us to live in authenticity?

 The last two Sundays we covered two aspects of this vision; 1) honest doubt and authentic questioning is the path to deeper faith, 2) In order to experience the agape love of God, we must show phileo (sibling) love to each other. The third aspect of living in the resurrection: love without action is meaningless. Loving the world and each other begins by taking a stand for justice for all people. In the resurrected life we don’t just stand but also take action for those who have no voice. Social justice is a collaboration of body and spirit for the sake of building the kin-dom of God. Are you a silent lamb?

Questions for Reflection:

1)    What social justice are you willing to take a stand for?

2)    When do you take a stand for yourself?

Sunday Worship Broadcast - May 5, 2019

We continue our Easter Worship series, “The Glory of a Resurrected Life” based on the lectionary scriptures from the Gospel of John. Reflecting on the post-resurrection stories of Jesus, we are urged to consider a holistic understanding of what it means to be a human being living a resurrected life. Rather than separating our body and soul, distinguishing between the physical and spiritual as distinct realms of being—the Bible portrays our lives and living as an affirmation of everything that is good about being human, created as we are in the image of God. How might we live into the resurrection from this holistic perspective? How might we realize all that God created us to be while confronting the limitations of our human experience? Come and learn as we grow together into God's vision of authenticity!
Guest Preacher: Rev. Anne-Marie Zanzal
Sermon Theme: “Peter the Perfectly Imperfect Apostle”
Scripture: John 21:1-19
Overview: Honesty is the journey to authenticity.
Questions for Reflection:
What do similarities to you see in this story and  Peter's denial of Jesus?
What do you make of Jesus calling Peter by his old name?
What do you think Peter hears as he does so?
How has the conversation about how to ‘feed the sheep’ played out in our setting?
When has it been simple and straightforward? When has it not been so?

Sunday Worship Broadcast - April 27, 2019

Our Easter Worship Series throughout the next 6 weeks is: “The Glory of a Resurrected Life” based on the lectionary scriptures from the Gospel of John. Reflecting on the post-resurrection stories of Jesus, we are urged to consider a holistic understanding of what it means to be a human being living a resurrected life. Rather than separating our body and soul, distinguishing between the physical and spiritual as distinct realms of being—the Bible portrays our lives and living as an affirmation of everything that is good about being human, created as we are in the image of God. How might we live into the resurrection from this holistic perspective? How might we realize all that God created us to be while confronting the limitations of our human experience? Come and learn as we grow together into God's vision of authenticity!

Guest Preacher: Rev. Anne-Marie Zanzal
Sermon Theme:
“Thomas, the Questioning Believer”
Scripture: John 20:19-31
Hebrews 11-1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Overview: Thomas thought he needed to see and touch his scars to be certain it was Jesus. In his quest for the truth he was not afraid to ask the hard questions which led him to an ever deeper faith. But, in the end, as the story is passed on, he didn’t need what he thought he did to believe.  When Jesus simply stood right before him, Thomas was able to embrace the truth of who Jesus is with all of his being.  The scars told part of the story, but only part of it, it seems. I wonder though. Would Thomas have gotten to that point if he hadn’t asked the questions, if he hadn’t ‘doubted’ first? What do you think? What role has ‘doubt’ played in your journey of faith?
Questions for Reflection:

1)    What questions about your faith do you still need to pursue that you haven’t yet?  Where might those questions lead if you only just let yourself ask them?
2)    What have been the moments in your life when along with Thomas you have embraced your faith simply with the words, “My Lord and my God!”  What brought you to that place in those times?
3)    What have been the moments in your life when along with Thomas you have embraced your faith simply with the words, “My Lord and my God!”  What brought you to that place in those times?                      (credit: dancingwiththeword.com)

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.