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:

Welcome: All You Need is Love

For some people, it's fun to throw a nice party. For some, to plan an interesting guest list, set a nice table, and plan special food is the epitome of hospitality. To be remembered for a lovely event is thanks enough for their efforts that welcomed others into their presence and home. In the Gospel of John, Jesus welcomes people into his "home," his dwelling place and relationship with God. He does it not with a lavish setting and fancy food. He does it on his knees as he washes the guests' feet. To welcome and love like Jesus is a tall order. But the Beatles taught us just how easy it really is... All You Need Is Love. <3 Worship Link:

There is power in securing our own destinies. We like to be the planners of our futures, the decision-makers for our next steps, and the authors of our own stories. Even as children this was our tendency. We made up our own rules for playground games and we liked the books in which we could pick the ending. To be in control makes us feel safe and gives us a sense of security. To that end, we also stockpile supplies, money, and resources. If a little is good, more will be better - and safer! As we've explored some of Jesus' parables in this series, "Go & Do," we've discovered that parables allow us to choose our own ending. We get to decide how Jesus' stories will end in and with us. When we discover that Jesus loves us, how will that change us? How will that love show up in where we go and what we do? When we discover that we are more blessed in relationship than when we are isolated, who will we go to? What will we do to be a blessing and be blessed in friendship and connection? And this week, when we discover that we are blessed with far more than we will ever need, what do we do to bless others with that abundance? This week we write the ending of our own giving story as we seek to bless others out of our own blessings. Worship Link:

Who we believe these days has become quite a topic of consideration. Is your news source really a news outlet, or is it... something else. Who do you trust to speak truth, provide reliable information and advice, and have your best interests at heart? Most of us won't listen to just anybody. And those we trust the most are those with whom we have a shared history and know the best. And if we have good news to share, a blessing to pass along, or wisdom to impart, who might listen to us? It will only be those with whom we have a trusted relationship. God blesses us with connection not solely for our own benefit, but also for the benefit of those around us. When we share what we have with those we know and love, the entire community benefits. We are connected not to build ourselves up, we are connected to care. Worship Link:

In nearly any given situation, it’s natural to ask ourselves, “What is required of me?” In a new job, we want to know the expectations and responsibilities. In a social setting, it’s helpful to know if we are in a casual situation or if we are in a more formal setting where our very best manners are called into play. Maybe we’re new to town, or a school, or a neighborhood… How are things done here? What is expected of me to be a good citizen, succeed in class, or be a caring neighbor? The Bible, our faith tradition, and our personal biases contribute to what we believe is expected of us as followers of Jesus. But maybe the best place to discover this is from Jesus himself. And, as much as we’d like to know precisely what the basic expectations are in certain areas of our lives, Jesus calls his followers to generosity and compassion in all areas. Jesus doesn’t ask us to just meet a list of do’s and don'ts, check off just so many boxes, or just believe certain things. Jesus asks us to give him our hearts, our relationships, and our physical and material lives - everything. To be a good steward of the abundant blessings and grace Jesus has poured into our lives, is to let Jesus have his way with our lives and possessions. Jesus expects more than our presence in church and a few dollars in the offering plates; Jesus expects us to go and do like he did… living and loving, generously, faithfully, and with an abundance of mercy and compassion. Worship Link:

Where Love Leads

Could you have guessed ten years ago what your life would be like today? Even looking back over the last year, would you have thought that you would be living where you are today, doing the things you are doing today, and have the priorities that you have today? Life can be uncertain, and like our GPS apps leading us through construction, we are constantly recalculating. The Old Testament story of Ruth is a story about a family and their lives that take many unexpected twists and turns. They face difficult times, hard decisions, loss, hunger, and financial hardship. They live for a time as aliens in a foreign country and on the margins in their own hometown. Throughout though, they discover that the protection and provision of God is present and powerful, leading them always toward God's plan and purposes. We may not always know where we're headed, but when God goes before and with us, we always know where we are - safe in God's loving care. Worship Link:

Maybe you’ve heard children boasting on the playground about how brave or strong or smart they are. Undoubtedly, someone will eventually call another to, “Prove it!” Words only go so far; eventually we all want proof of the amazing things we claim to be true. Followers of Jesus are often bold to praise a generous, loving, gracious Friend who is always there, never lets them down, and is faithful in season and out. The world looks at our claims about Jesus, and rightly demands, “Prove it!” A faith that lives only in words and worship is a flimsy faith, indeed. But a faith that shows itself through action is a powerful, active faith that easily ‘proves’ a present, caring and compassionate Lord. Worship Link:

Love Like Jesus

Today's Worship Experience: Love Like Jesus - No Exceptions You don’t have to look very far or very long to see that the world can be a harsh place. Hatred, division, bad behavior, and violence are around every turn. The news gives us a steady diet of chaos and conflict. Popular TV shows and movies bring the worst of it right into our homes. It is so pervasive that we despair at being able to overcome any of it - with either our words or our actions. But the world that Jesus came into was just as broken as ours is today. And he came with a strategy for overcoming the hate, hurt, and dysfunction. Jesus’ plan - love. And he left that plan for his followers to carry on. Loving like Jesus is not easy, but it is pretty simple. We just need to look to Jesus himself for our example. Just as Jesus has loved us, we are called to love others. And by this, the world will know. Worship Link:

Let Them See You

Sometimes it's quite obvious when we look at someone who they are and what they do. The person in a white coat in a medical building is obviously the doctor. The man or woman in the blue uniform at the scene of a car accident is obviously a law enforcement officer. The person wearing the apron behind the counter at your favorite coffee shop is obviously the barista. Sometimes it's less easy to identify the people around us. When we're lost it's hard to know who is the friendly, helpful person in view that we can go to and ask for directions. When servers in the restaurant all wear the same uniform, it can be hard to identify which one has already been at your table. In a crowd of people, it's nearly impossible to know who is the accountant, the cashier, the writer, the teacher, or the lawyer. And how do people know who you are? And especially who you are as a follower of Jesus? You don't likely where a sign on your chest or a logo on your hat identifying you as "Christian." Jesus said people would know his followers by the way they are with others; that people would know his followers by the way they love and the way they shine. Like a light on a stand and a city on a hill, the world knows we belong to Jesus by what is reflected in our words and actions. With the JJ Weeks Band in "Let Them See You," we pray, "God, let them see you in me." Worship Link: Downloadable Lenten Devotional

Here in Chapel Connect during July we are taking a deep dive into the stories of several biblical superheroes. Today we meet Rahab and discover that Superheroes of the Faith don't always make a grand entrance and save the day. Sometimes they are simply faithful to the small task given them on any particular day. Today we also learn a strategy for getting more out of our Bible reading. Use the following three questions to find more meaning and gain insight in the Bible stories you read: What does this story say about humans, about humanity? What does this story say about God? What does this story say about God's relationship with humanity? Chapel Connect Link: