Sunday, June 25, 2017

Serve With Love

Terry White welcomed us and then invited us to join in pre-service discussions about faith and life. Among other things we received a reminder that the second Sunday in August we will be eating at Cressman's for church.

As we turned to worship Terry read from Psalm 150. We then sang a mix of hymns and worship songs

After taking an offering and spending time in prayer we received the message for today.

Serve With Love

Terry began by reacting to the worship and prayer time, expressing that it's a blessing to experience unity, as a body of believers or as families. He then gave an update on things that are happening with regard to the sale of his house and the transition from what was to what will be.

Through the month of June Pastor White has been sharing a series of messages based on the acronym BLESS. The message today features the letter S, for Serve.

One of the best ways to live is to live as servants. But our natural inclination is to serve ourselves, not others.

Terry cited the TV show Survivor and how many things we do and choose are for the benefit of others or for the benefit of ourselves. The more that is at stake, the more we see what is in their hearts and ours.

Today's text was John 13:1-18, the story of Jesus watching the disciples' feet.

Terry points out how God doesn't ask us to do things that God wouldn't do. In this case we see Jesus humbling Himself, serving, modeling servanthood.

The key verse here is verse 14: "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet."

We're called to serve, and sometimes we do and it feels good. But there are times and situations where it feels like we are doing all the work. Resentment sets in and we wonder thoughts like are we being enablers for bad behavior?

A life of service is a powerful witness.

Terry read from Rich Mullins, paraphrased here: God has called us to be lovers...  Most of us give up ourselves as long as our investments pay off. We even resent those who we pretended to love.

We are called to be the hands, feet and voice of Christ to the world. This is our calling, our responsibility. Matthew 25:31-45. Service is the heart of the Gospel.

We also read Philippians 2:1-8. There's a reason it feels good to do good. It's because we're aligning ourselves with who God is and His purpose for us. It feels right.

We closed with the song Take My Life & Let It Be.... Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Eat Together

Chuck Vanderscheuren welcomed us and then invited announcements before we began a time of worship.

~Thursday June 29 there will be a baby shower for Alicia Benson and Jacoby, 10:00 a.m.
~New Dimensions W.L Group, Wednesday 6:30
~Faith in Fabrics Kickoff, Friday and Saturday September 9 & 10
~VBS was awesome this year with over fifty kids every day and ample numbers of volunteers.

Chuck read a passage from Jeremiah about the prophet's visit to the potter's house, in which God showed Jeremiah this truth:: "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in My hand."

After a time of singing from the blue hymnal an offering was taken with the VBS young people singing a song they learned this week. "I was made for this, built  for a purpose," a truly important message in our post-modern age with its cynical messages that say life has no real meaning or purpose.

Darlene led us in prayer this morning, beginning by reminding us that God is always there for us, even when we don't feel it.

Eat Together

Terry began by sharing the uplift he received from watching everyone serving during VBS this week, the ways they shared and showed their gifts and abilities. It was another way of getting to know our church family better, seeing more than just our faces on Sunday mornings.

The current sermon series is called BLESS, an international evangelism initiative. The Acronym goes like this:

BEGIN with prayer
LISTEN with care
EAT together
SERVE with love
SHARE your story

Eating together is one of the special times in our holidays, a time in which we connect, tell stories, listen to stories. It's a time we share with our families. It's a moment of intimacy and of hospitality.

Pastor Terry turned to Luke 19:5-10 and the story of Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a tax collector, one of the most hated people in the community. Yet Jesus, who saw him, said he would welcome the opportunity to go to his house and dine with him.

We then turned to Acts 2:42-47. Notice how the common things of eating together is listed in the midst of these other "spiritual" activities they share, prayer and teaching.

Eating together is a way we connect.

He then asked us what Hospitality was. Words like caring, friends, welcoming, inviting and sharing were shared.

"One of my favorite authors is Henri Nouwen who said hospitality is the ability to invite people into your home and life without making them keep all their stuff outside." Being able to have them in your home as they are, including the baggage they bring. We need to let them bring who they are into our presence, not make them drop that at the door.

Intimacy is the ability to be close with someone else. We've sexualized it so much that we can hardly talk about it anymore.

Fear is the great enemy of intimacy. The aim of intimacy is freedom so that we're able to have interactions in which we can be ourselves.

* * * *

We love God because He loved us first. That love teaches us that we're accepted as we are. And we're invited to extend that same kind of "as you are" love toward others.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Listen With Care

A dreary Sunday morning brightened when we entered the sanctuary where the walls were decorated for our upcoming week of Vacation Bible School theme, Maker Fun Factory: Created By God, Built for a Purpose.

1. Dawn shared that we want to update our directory. A sheet is being passed around. Update or add your information.
2. VBS starts tomorrow!
3. Pastor Terry shared the news that their house has sold their home, but on the flip side the house they were seeking to purchase fell through. Pray for their next step.

Terry shared from Psalm 31 before leading us into a time of worship.

Karen shared details about the week ahead. In conjunction with VBS there is always a mission for which we raise money, in keeping with providing a vision beyond our own walls. Melissa shared what this year's mission will be supporting: clean water. Kelly then provided details, noting that every 20 seconds a child dies due to lack of access to clean water. Kelly read a letter from an 11-year-old girl from India who described their struggles to have water. The need is great in many parts of the world for this precious resource that we take for granted.

A massive thunderboom wiped out the power just as the children prepared to lead us in a song, We stood to sing but waited as the sound system was re-booted. High energy and a romp filled the church once the music returned.

Cheryl Borndal led us in a time of prayer before Pastor White came forward to share the message.

Listen With Care

Terry began by talking about the Ponderosa Pine he brought to today, to accompany his Azalea. Ponderosas are resilient. In contrast, the Azalea, so beautiful, is tender and not so resilient.

The sermon today was about evangelism and the Gospel. The theme for five weeks uses the acronym BLESS to bring home five points. Last week Terry spoke about the letter B.

B: Begin with prayer.
L: Listen
E: Eat
S: Serve
S: Share

This week is about listening. How well do you listen? How well do you hear what is said by others or by God?

The truth is that we don't listen well. Terry asked, "What are some things that keep us from good listening?"A number of responses followed including:
Thinking about what we're going to say while the other is talking.
Hearing aids.
Sometimes a person wants to talk and we try to fix things instead of just letting them share. Assumptions are a problem.
Changing the subject.

He then shared how there are inner questions many people have and we can hear what is taking place inside others if we become better listeners.

Am I alone in this world? People have a longing for community and friendship as well as purpose. By listening we can affirm people's value, and also help them feel connected to a community.

There are certain questions that rattle around in inside people no matter where they come from. Here are four basic struggles people have questions about:

Is there meaning to life?
Is there any hope in this world?
Do I belong in this world?
Is there anything beyond this?

All this served as a preface to a sermon on John 4, the story of the Samaritan woman at the well.

The disciples had gone into town. Jesus is by a well when a Samaritan woman comes along. He asks for water. She then asks a question, to which He replies in an indirect manner. Terry pointed out that only 3 times in NT does Jesus answer directly. More than 200 times He is asked questions, and Jesus' answers frequently move the dialogue to unexpected places.

We live in an era in which the basic truths of Christianity are no longer a part of our national understanding. Terry shared how missionaries have to approach their work in different ways based on the culture they find themselves in. They are sensitive to where the culture is at and it affects their approach to dialogue.

Ultimately, the basic questions are universal. Why am I here? Is there hope? What is life all about? What comes next after life?

Your assignment this week will be about learning to listen, and finding ways to turn conversations to the Lord, with the aim of hearing what is really happening in people's hearts. Your objective is not to convert people, but to sow a seed. If that person ever decides he wants to come to the Lord, they will know who to come to.

* * * *

Here is the passage from John 4 which Terry read from today.

John 4 (NIV)

Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”