Make A Gratitude Adjustment

As Thanksgiving gets near we begin to think about what we are grateful for. This is a good tradition. But what if we worked on developing a greater awareness around being grateful and opening our eyes everyday to the blessings that are all around us? Would we find life to be more enjoyable? As the saying goes, “It’s not happiness that brings us gratitude, but it’s gratitude that brings us happiness.”

You are warmly invited to worship this Sunday at 10:30 a.m.

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Love Over Ego, Part 6: Love Wins

In the next part of this story Daniel is raised to high office by the new king, Darius the Mede, but jealous rivals trick Darius into issuing a decree which condemns Daniel to death. Hoping for Daniel’s deliverance, but unable to save him, the king has him cast into the den of lions. Daniel is protected in the den of lions because he was “found innocent”. The next morning he is taken up out of the den and his accusers are thrown into the den in his place (they did not fare so well) The king makes a decree that Daniel’s God is to be respected and honored.
 
Even though our conscience, pictured by Daniel, gets more prominent and stronger, in order for it to strengthen further we will have to endure temptations. Temptations are combats within us between the Lord and the influences of the hells in an attempt to try and break the grip selfishness has on us.
 
When faced with the challenge before him Daniel doesn’t stop going the Lord in prayer, but continues his practice. When we can overcome in temptation, though it is a difficult struggle (Daniel in the den of lions) those hellish influences that had attacked us are removed (like the accusers in the story). Prayer helps in times like these – prayers asked to the Lord to help us to get through temptations. Not all struggles are bad. They can have the effect of strengthening us and building us up.
 
Like Daniel, don’t stop praying. 
 
You are welcome to worship with us Sundays at 10:30 a.m.
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Love Over Ego, Part 5: The Writing On The Wall

The story of Daniel continues now under a new king, Belshazzar. This new king hasn’t learned the lessons of his predecessor Nebuchadnezzar and acts recklessly and selfishly. He throws a decadent party in the palace during which a disembodied hand writes a message on the wall. Belshazzar is completely overcome with fear and calls for his counselors to give him the interpretation of the message, promising them wealth and honor. They cannot interpret the message, however his queen tells him about Daniel’s abilities. Daniel is called in and interprets the dream. The dream tells of Belshazzar, as to his character, being numbered, weighed and found wanting or lacking. He is killed that very evening.

We have all heard the saying, “The writing is on the wall.” This story is where that saying originates. It is a story for us to consider in the context of our spiritual development. Are we taking the messages from the Word, keeping them in our thoughts, taking them to heart and putting them into practice? That last one is the most difficult. This story reminds us  of the importance of moving the teachings past just our thinking and willing and into practice.

Please join us for worship this Sunday at 10:30 a.m.

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Love Over Ego, Part 4: Humility Over Shame

In Daniel Chapter 4 Nebuchadnezzar dreams of a great tree that shelters the whole world, but in his dream an angelic “watcher” appears and decrees that the tree must be cut down and that for seven years he, Nebuchadnezzar, will have his human mind taken away and will eat grass like an ox. This comes to pass, and at the end of his punishment Nebuchadnezzar praises God.

There is a well know saying, “Pride goes before a fall.” We see this played out in the life of Nebuchadnezzar. He is warned in a dream of his fall from power but continues to see the strength and size of the kingdom of Babylon as a reflection of his own greatness and strength. It is all about him. He is driven from his kingdom and lives as an animal for seven years until he awakens from the drunkenness of his pride and recognizes God as the source of all that is good. The Lord’s goal is that we may live forever in a state of happiness. This can’t happen if we are full of ourselves. It may happen that difficult things happen to us (are permitted only because there is no other way) for the sake of the long view: our eternal happiness.

Join us for worship this Sunday at 10:30 a.m.

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Love Over Ego, Part 3: Confidence Over Arrogance

In the book of Daniel, Chapter 3, King Nebuchadnezzar made a ninety foot tall gold image and compelled all to worship the image or be thrown into a burning fiery furnace. Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, given the names Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego by Nebuchadnezzar, refuse to worship any other God but Jehovah. Enraged by their refusal Nebuchadnezzar commanded that the furnace be heated seven times more than usual and that they be bound and thrown in. They were unharmed in any way.

Our ego (Nebuchadnezzaar) continues to try to turn everything and everyone toward itself and becomes infuriated when that doesn’t happen. One of the first temptations we face when we try to resist the promptings of our ego is the desire to turn the truths we know (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) into servants of our ego rather than allowing them to point us toward correcting our behaviors and a life of service toward others. Do we trust the Lord and His Word or do we trust ourselves and our own intelligence? Do we get angry when things don’t go our way and people don’t do what we want?

We will explore this story more fully on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. We hope to see you then!

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Love Over Ego, Part 2: Humility Heals

Do you ever feel like the person in this photo… working really hard on something but it isn’t making any difference? This is what it is like when our motivation is self or ego gratification. The result is frustration rather than gratification.

In the story of Daniel there is a part of us pictured by king Nebuchadnezzar – a tyrant that wants what he wants and threatens and acts out when he doesn’t get it and lives in a state of anxiety about the future. There is also a part of us pictured by Daniel – the part of us that is calm and trusting and can make wise and loving choices when given a chance and given a voice. There is a battle we are engaged in. The battle of which one we will act from and listen to.

Join us this week as we look into how to quiet the tyrant king and let the wise and loving Daniel guide who we are going to be.

See you Sunday at 10:30 a.m.

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Love Over Ego, Part 1: True Identity

We are beginning a six week series on the story of Daniel. It is a story of courage to stand up for what you believe in, to trust in God and the gradual development of a love in our lives that can overrule the ego that wants to control our lives and the lives of others. It is a story of how we can move from the unhappiness that comes when we let our ego rule our lives to the happiness, freedom and joy that comes when we let love from God rule in our lives.

We hope you will join us in person or online on Sundays at 10:30 a.m.

 

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Giving Up Old Habits

They say that old habits die hard. Perhaps it is because some of the habits we have are useful for a while in order to get us moving in the right direction. As imperfect as they may be, they can serve that use. However, at some point, when the Lord sees that we are ready, those habits can be changed or let go of so newer, more truly useful habits can take their place. Habits that are part of our new spiritual character.

Join us Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as we dig into this topic.

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Keep Going: You Are Being Led To Happiness

Life is a journey. The destination is happiness, fulfillment, belonging and being part of something bigger than ourselves–being able to use our gifts to be of service to the greater good.

We know what the journey is like because we have been on it for a long time. We know it has its ups and downs, rough patches and times of peace. And we know we have to keep working at it even when it seems like it is too much to handle or as if we aren’t getting anywhere.

Keep going. Taking it one day at a time. Knowing you are loved and are being led to greater and greater states of happiness, no matter what it might seem like now or along the way.

We hope you can be with us this Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as we gather in worship and community.

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It Is Love That Truly Sees

Bible stories can certainly be unusual, but they are shared because they tell a story of what is going on inside of ourselves. In the story of Jacob we read of him moving a large stone by his own strength and working for fourteen years without complaint all because of the love he had for Rachel.

This story helps us to understand that it is love that motivates us to learn and to work and to understand and to be happy. It is love that helps us to see things as they truly are. And when we are motivated by a love for what is good things start to make sense and life begins to unfold in a wonderful new way.

Join us this Sunday as we continue to dig into the inner, spiritual meaning of the story of Jacob from the book of Genesis.

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