We have passed by Mother's Day on the calendar, and so in this part of the country, we are seeing gardens come to life! The Garden Center at your local home improvement store is as busy as it gets, gardeners are getting their seedlings in, and even the least inclined among us gives thought to putting out a tomato plant or two. And we know that only what is planted, nurtured, and fed will produce good things. The same is true of our own inner life. Only what we plant, nurture, and feed every day will grow in us. Will it be good fruit or something sour or misshaped? The Holy Spirit invites us to produce good fruit every day. What are you growing in your spirit? Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Hi9r2xni6g

Everyday Faith: Nothing to Prove

Life is hard. We all face countless demands and pressures every day. Many of these are from other people, and sometimes they come from our own selves. We live in a world where are called to do more, be more, produce more, have more. As followers of Jesus, we struggle to balance all of the doing with the desire we have for a faith that brings peace, calm, and contentment. We feel called to prove that we are worthy and that we bring value to the world and the lives we interact with. Jesus simply calls us to himself. Take heart, with Jesus we have nothing to prove. With Jesus we already have and are enough - every day... Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6ak_k5wDfM

When called to a specific or unusual activity, the invitation might encourage you to "dress accordingly!" If you are helping a friend clean out an old, abandoned shed, to keep you from ruining good clothes they might encourage you to "dress accordingly." When the CEO is going to be at a work function and your own boss wants everyone to look sharp, they might ask you to "dress accordingly." When living as followers of Jesus and each day has the potential to bring a unique or challenging situation, how are we to 'dress?' Scripture has some good advice for how to always be ready, and it's as simple as putting on the right clothes. With Jesus, it's easy to always be "dressed accordingly." Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvsSPhBORxs

How often do we find that we are lacking what we need for the moment? We need another hand to hold the board while we nail it. We are not tall enough to reach the top shelf of the cabinet. We don't have the knowledge or skill we need to fix what is broken. We are too sad, too heartbroken, too much in despair... too human... to handle the situation before us. We all have moments of feeling like we don't have what we need to handle the current crisis. And by ourselves, we might not. But with Jesus and others, we do. The saying... "We may not have it all together, but together we have it all," reminds us that we have everything we need to make it through the rough times and "live a life that pleases God" (2 Peter 1:3 CEV) today, everyday, together. Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=047R95-A2XA

There is a saying or an idiom for every situation. Some are just fun. Some provide helpful wisdom... - If you want to fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. - Stop and smell the roses. - Get your ducks in a row! - Teamwork makes the dream work! If we will but employ the best of these, our everyday lives can be more effective and productive. But what wisdom would Jesus impart to us to help us be more fruitful and faithful followers of his on an everyday basis? A vibrant and meaningful everyday faith means moving through the world like Jesus. An everyday faith begins to make a difference every day when we routinely ask ourselves, "What would Jesus do?"... Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j39mv235hQw

We may still be enjoying some leftover Easter candy and the lilies we picked up at church or the grocery, but the big day is behind us. Easter, the highest, holiest day on the Church calendar is already a memory. So now what? Followers of Jesus spend the majority of their time outside of the church building and outside of faith formation practices (such as prayer and Bible reading). Most followers spend as much as 98% of their week NOT doing religious stuff. We spend most of our time at home, at work or school, with family, friends, colleagues, and more. And where is God and our faith in all of these other hours, activities, relationships and pursuits? God and trust in God's goodness (faith) is found throughout each and every day, if we will but look. Faith is found in our joys and cares, in our challenges and conflicts; faith informs our thinking and our action; faith has the power to infuse our days with joy and our activities with purpose. Faith is simply an ongoing encounter with God through Jesus. Everyday Faith is just as holy and special as Easter Sunday. Maybe more so... Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=verjZTUDuYU

Jesus Is ... Alive!

When pain, heartache, and death cover you in their shroud of darkness and silence, it can be so very difficult to imagine a way back to the light and to life. You feel like those flower bulbs that have been shut up in the earth over the winter months - dead, cold, lifeless. But just as surely as spring always comes to this part of the country, so life returns to those bulbs. And on some warm day, often when we least expect it, life breaks out of the ground, and the green shoots up, and a flower blooms! Winter doesn't reign forever and new life emerges from the silent bulb each spring, and there is hope that our darkness and silence will end, too. On this Easter, we celebrate Jesus' victory over death. The tomb is empty! Jesus is alive! And not just Jesus, but us, too! Jesus' victory is not just over his death, but over our darkness and silence, as well. Happy Easter! Jesus is alive - and so are we! Worship Link : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dEoA0Ir2bI

It is jarring how quickly life can turn from great to grim. A single phone call, an instant in a moving vehicle, or one brief conversation can change everything. The pain, the heartache, the grief can take us from very high to very low very quickly. But we are not alone in our anguish. Jesus himself experienced this same thing. In the matter of a few days, Jesus went from receiving the adoration of the crowds as he paraded into Jerusalem, to being arrested, to suffering a painful death on the cross. On this Palm Sunday, we walk with Jesus from celebration to silence and wait for the dawn of hope and new life. Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oennF4Azmec

We sometimes wonder if we’ve got the right gifts for the job of loving as Jesus loved, serving as Jesus served and entertaining strangers. God uses whatever gifts we have to share God’s grace and hope with others. A spiritual gift is abilities given to us by God, and carried out through us by the Holy Spirit.Our repeated patterns of hospitality create habits that shape our character. If we're going to be people of hospitality, we need the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to use every gift that God has given us to make the difference, to make the impact. Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lY8tzHeQiuA

Simple Kindness: Christian hospitality is the active desire to invite, welcome, receive and care for those who are strangers so that they find a spiritual home and discover an unending life in Jesus Christ. When we build a relationship with someone they cease to be a stranger. We should notice that the actions Christ desires us to perform are not beyond our ability. The simple act of sharing a meal has implications for our eternal reward. Spending our time with those in need matters a great deal to Jesus. After all, he committed all of his time to the needs of the world. He wants those who serve him to share in this same attitude... Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_KJFdcbpXo

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