On Our Knees

TODAY'S WORSHIP EXPERIENCE: Love Like Jesus: On Our Knees Have you noticed, except for the most bitter cold days here in the Midwest, most of us don't wear coats anymore? On any given day in February, we move from our climate-controlled homes to our heated garages to get in our warm cars. We drive to work or school or the store, park close, and dash inside to take care of business in a comfortable setting. On the way home, we pick up dinner or the cleaning at the drive-thru and arrive back in our warm garages without having suffered more than a very few moments of the uncomfortable cold. We highly value our comfort and go to great lengths to maintain it. Jesus, on the other hand, doesn't seem the least bit concerned with his comfort - or ours. Jesus is much more concerned that everyone always knows that they are loved, welcomed, and wanted in the family of God. As we love like Jesus we will find ourselves in uncomfortable situations with uncomfortable people. But be encouraged, Jesus shows us just how to loving there, too! Click the link: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/1/#inbox/FMfcgxwLtGlccpjCRzJlSZfXcscjwxvb?projector=1

With Intention

Our lives are full - and our days and weeks even more so. Most of us are overscheduled, overcommitted, and overly distracted. Jesus led a full life, too. He came to "bring good news to the poor... proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19). That's quite a "to do" list! But Jesus also made time in his day and room in his heart to love whoever happened across his path. Because of the margin Jesus built into his days and weeks, he met, loved, and served people who would otherwise have gone unnoticed and unloved. To Love Like Jesus is to pay attention, and to love with intention... even when we don't think we have the time! Worship link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgQKObsVge4

Don't Count the Cost

As a child or a teen, maybe you received wisdom from adults in your life such as... - “Nothing good ever happens after midnight.” - “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you, too?” - “When you hang out in the wrong places with the wrong people, you will soon do the wrong thing.” Thoughtful advice, especially for young people developing friendships and learning how to navigate peer pressure and complex social settings. But as maturing followers of Jesus, Jesus invites us to consider such wisdom and relationships through the lens of love. Jesus often found himself with the marginalized and the outcast. And he often paid the price for such associations. Love always costs us something, but the good news is that we don't have to count the cost. Jesus has it covered. Worship Link: https://youtu.be/yreUZtxKf0c

Enemies Included

'Enemy' is a pretty strong word that many of us have relegated to the "not polite to use" category. We don't like to think that we have enemies. And maybe we don't have enemies in the sense of military opponents, but we are at odds with any number of people who have hurt us. We would love to just write these people off. It seems easier to let the hurt and animosity build a solid wall between us and them. And while carefully considered boundaries in one's life and relationships are healthy, we are still called to love - even and especially our 'enemies.' The good news is that we don't have to do this out of our own resources. Jesus provides the love we need to love even those who hurt us. Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuc9uMfRlJE

Love Like Jesus: Everyone, Always

Have you noticed, except for the most bitterly cold days here in the Midwest, most of us don't wear coats anymore? On any given day in February, we move from our climate-controlled homes to our heated garages to get in our warm cars. We drive to work or school or the store, park close, and dash inside to take care of business in a comfortable setting. On the way home, we pick up dinner or the cleaning at the drive-thru and arrive back in our warm garages without having suffered more than a very few moments of the uncomfortable cold. We highly value our comfort and go to great lengths to maintain it. Jesus, on the other hand, doesn't seem the least bit concerned with his comfort - or ours. Jesus is much more concerned that everyone always knows that they are loved, welcomed, and wanted in the family of God. As we love like Jesus we will find ourselves in uncomfortable situations with uncomfortable people. But be encouraged, Jesus shows us just how to loving there, too! Worship link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhWpUKPDXRo&feature=youtu.be

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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkrN0WY35-I&feature=youtu.be

Within Us All

God is love. Love is within all of us. Join us in today's worship experience! Worship link: https://youtu.be/mizoXcg4Dro

Serve with Love

Life is complicated. Just take a look at your calendar and your to-do list. Appointments and obligations overlap each other. There aren't enough hours in a day or days in a week to accomplish even a portion of the tasks you'd like to (need to?) get done. Work requires more of you than you have to give. Spouses, children, parents and friends all want something from you. Add to everything the strain of living and working in the 'COVID Era,' and life is busy, stressful - and complicated. Your spiritual life doesn't have to be. An encouraging, life-giving, uplifting faith is really very simple. The early church gave us a simple model for a life of faith with Jesus that offers hope and power for living, even in today's complicated world. This simple life of faith includes connecting with God through worship, growing in faith through study and relationship with Jesus, and ultimately showing God's work in us through loving acts of service. It's really very simple - connect, grow, serve to discover and share a life-changing, life-giving faith. Worship link: https://youtu.be/OSk-gyBLmZo

Choose Love

Love is not a feeling, love is Jesus. Worship link: https://youtu.be/BNXb2pXkxnc

Frustrations abound when people around us don't think like we think and do things like we would have them be done. And we might (jokingly) exclaim, "Wouldn't the world be a much better place if everyone just thought and acted like me?!" Of course, the world would not be a better place if that were the case. In fact, it might be that the world would come to a screeching halt if we were all alike! If we were all engineers, who would create the music and art that inspires us? If we were all teachers, who would grow the food and make the clothes we need. It takes everyone doing what they do best for us each and all to enjoy a functioning, safe community. And the church is no different. If in the Body of Christ (another name for the church) we were all stellar administrators, who would lead the worship music and prepare the worship space and Communion elements? What if we were all the best at keeping the building in good order and fixing broken things, who would welcome newcomers, visit the sick, and teach the children? As it is, in God's wisdom, God has created each one in the Body of Christ to bring, do and be, what only that person can bring, do and be. God has created each one with special and unique abilities and gifts designed to benefit the Body and ultimately the world. What part are you in the Body of Christ? We aren't complete without you! Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSAGN-sJFD4

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