Call to Worship

Liturgy April 24, 2016

Posted by on Jun 12, 2016 in Call to Worship | Comments Off on Liturgy April 24, 2016

Were you singing along with the wonderful hymn Shirley just played for us?  If you don’t know it,  Here’s the first verse: When morning gilds the sky, our hearts awaking cry: May Jesus Christ be praised! in all our work and prayer we ask his loving care: May Jesus Christ be praised! Which bring us right to today’s Response: Christ makes all things new! When I think about – “All things new” I think of The first night in a new house, A wedding A parallel universe! I think of seeing a new sight –   A volcano or a glacier perhaps! And I think of deep prayer or meditation – The kind that makes everything brighter when you open your eyes. I also think of things we don’t want to take for granted. Friendships Reconciliation Child-like awe The way the sun shines through our stained glass… And I am ever so aware of the creator of newness As we respond together: Christ makes all things new!   Our theme of unconditional giving has me thinking about my expectations. I realize that even as I do things like giving without consciously thinking of a return –I have subliminal benefit-analysis going on. You may have heard me say that everything we do is about priorities.  I do many things without needing a response – but which of those are really unconditional?  For me unconditional is a big word.  Like promise.  Unconditional implies without fail” —  “impossible to disappoint”   —  Unconditional giving focuses on the gift rather than the giver. It makes the whole thing about what the gift can do in the future, not about what the giver has done by giving. Unconditional giving has a “gift that keeps on giving” quality. Unconditional love is like that – Right now Faith Church is poised for    Increased ministry. Unconditional ministry,  Our gifts and our Christ-centered approach holds a promise! Let’s consider the impact our ministries can have once released from our grip.  And let us respond together:             Christ makes all things new!   Free and new Even after we stumble or fall, we can acknowledge the pain and move on – Even after a disappointment or setback, we can be blessed. Peter started over – receiving “water without cost from the spring of the water of life. “ Fresh and new.   [a song, a dawn, a flower, a mystery, a miracle.] Loved. Forgiven. Renewed. Promised. Our next hymn will tell us — Something God alone can see.   And so we respond: Christ makes all things new!   *Hymn of Praise: #707      “Hymn of Promise” Lida’s favorite           In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree; In cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free! In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be, Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.   There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody; There’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me. From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery, Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.   In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity; In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity, In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory, Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can...

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Liturgy Sunday June 12, 2016

Posted by on Jun 12, 2016 in Call to Worship | Comments Off on Liturgy Sunday June 12, 2016

We all like failure-to-success stories, right? With this writing, I choose to highlight a few examples I found which we might recognize  which I think show that failure isn’t always the end of the story.   When you hear “falling upward” you’ll respond God helps us learn from our failure as well as our success.   J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter novels was waitressing and on public assistance when she was writing the first installment of what would become one of the best-selling series in history. The book was rejected by a dozen publishers. The only reason it got published at all was because the CEO’s 8 year old daughter begged him to publish it. – Rowling said  “Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential.” Failing to get angry, being willing to strip away what was not mission-critical, this author chose to persevere. She knew the value of her work. We must know – really know in our hearts – that we are valuable ~that what we do could have a lasting impact, somewhere, somehow ~ When we focus forward, rather than dwelling in the past, our failures will be a stumbling in the right direction. We’ll be “falling upward!” God helps us learn from our failure as well as our success.   It might come as a shock, but the man who became what many would call the best basketball player of all time didn’t make his high school basketball team.  – Michael Jordan says “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” I think that we can learn to focus forward. If we stop looking at last week, yesterday or even three minutes ago,  when we said or did that dumb thing – we won’t be able to focus on our losses. They’ll still be there, in our historical database, where we can remember what not to do again, But we’ll be able to continue with our life’s mission. After all, every moment we are one step closer to God. “falling upward” God helps us learn from our failure as well as our success.   Oscar Wilde, the British play-write and satirist was gay during a time when being gay could get you prison time.       And it did.     Unlike the previous examples, Wilde started out privileged, with successful parents. He ended up being quite famous in his own life, but he died an early death as a direct result of his imprisonment. What is instructive is that he was willing to lose everything ~ and did ~ rather than pretend to be someone that he wasn’t. Failing to let the “norms” of the day determine what kind of person he would be could seem like a failure. Being in prison could be seen as a waste of time – but I admire Oscar for not hiding.   Also, Oscar Wilde never list his wit – and that’s how we remember him. A Wharton School professor, Paul Schoemaker suggests that “Failure is simply a departure from expectations.” I think that’s what is so special about Thomas Edison Thomas Edison was both hearing impaired and fidgety. He only lasted three months in school where his teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He eventually was home schooled by his mom. In talking about his invention of the light bulb, he said:  “I have not failed....

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Palm Sunday intro 3.20.2016

Posted by on Mar 23, 2016 in Call to Worship | Comments Off on Palm Sunday intro 3.20.2016

Did you hear? Jesus is coming! He’s someone really important! I heard he’d ride in on a donkey – but I’m hoping it’s a chariot! We’re having a parade to celebrate! Our word of the day is Hosanna! (we’re not allowed to say that other word just yet.) Want to join in ?               Its magical! The kids have lots of palms to share – You can wave them any time you hear feel the Spirit – and we can respond together: ”Sing and shout Hosanna!”   Palm Parade: OK, kids – bring on the palms.             Don’t be afraid to sing and shout – The adults just ASKED for it! ”Sing and shout Hosanna!” Adults you too – sing or shout – take a walking stick and join the parade!   Does everyone who wants a palm have them now?            Good, good. This is such an exciting day. It’s right up there in the top ten Jesus days. At this point, people waiting in the crowd knew about Jesus They knew about miracles They had heard about a new way to be – The other way – the way of compassion. They were pondering the meaning of his stories And realizing that everyone mattered to him – The sick, the sad, the outcast… And they knew Jesus brought a message of Love everywhere he went. The people in the crowd wanted a glimpse of glory – of the new way of being –        Of the master, the One, There was certainly enough to cause them to respond as we do: ”Sing and shout Hosanna!”   What if there is an “other” way? What if Jesus brings us an alternative – No more gaining respect by force or violence. No more higher class rules, lower class suffers. What if Love Wins? What if this guy Jesus really has a vision? What if what Micah says can rule the world – “Seek justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God.” Want to be a part of it all?? Respond with me:   ”Sing and shout Hosanna      ...

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Taize Worship intro March 13, 2016

Posted by on Mar 16, 2016 in Call to Worship | Comments Off on Taize Worship intro March 13, 2016

“We journey forward with Christ” John 12:1-8   Theme: The Free Way (Prepared for Taize style worship)   This morning, the call to worship is an invitation to journey with Christ in a visual mediation. And our unison response is “We journey forward with Christ”.   The path is dusty, difficult, and long. With each step on the path, notice the pebbles and loose dirt beneath the soles of your sandals. Toughened for the journey, the pads of your feet cushion the impact of the terrain. Though conditioned for the journey, your feet will still ache at the end of the day.   But for now, we walk — You and I together with Jesus. In our breath we create the rhythm of our mantra, saying together “We journey forward with Christ”   See the open road, the arid landscape with low sagebrush and rocky hillsides. Feel the hot sun and the warm, dry air that blows against your face. Squinting to protect your eyes, you can see the city of Jerusalem off in the distance.   And in the foreground is Jesus, leading the way, setting the pace, steady in the rhythm of our walk as we say together, “We journey forward with Christ”.   Everything our senses perceive indicates that this is Jesus’ path. This is his journey.  But our hearts know that this is our path, our journey.   Our path is hard to navigate, to find our way and accept the challenges before us — to make whole our bodies, to make whole our relationships, to make whole our community, serving, giving, living.   The path is stressful, but the way is free. Because we walk, we breathe, we say together, “We Journey forward with Christ”....

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January 31, 2016 Theme: Called Out of Comfort

Posted by on Jan 31, 2016 in Call to Worship | Comments Off on January 31, 2016 Theme: Called Out of Comfort

Today’s Response:   ”God’s love is a comfort. God’s love is a challenge.”   Imagine God came to you and gave you some words. Wouldn’t your first response be “I can’t, I ummmm, I don’t do the public-speaking thing!” ? Yep, that’s what I did. And l that’s just what you will hear in the Old Testament scripture today. I have had a Jeremiah moment, Several in fact. Now that I know the feeling, The discomfort of realizing that stepping out in faith is challenging, I don’t argue with it, well, not as much! I certainly did (and do) argue sometimes with the things I know I should ~ even MUST ~ do. Sometimes I wish I could stay in the comfort zone Skipping the challenge altogether – But I know that we need both… So today we respond: God’s love is a comfort. God’s love is a challenge.   One of our hymns today talks of God “Knowing our past defeats.” It’s pretty amazing to me that God keeps giving me more chances. “Hope for the hopeless” … yeah, A million times over. We’ll certainly have all kinds of experiences in our human lives. When I am uncomfortable, stumbling around, defeated, or hopeless, I need the God of comfort – I need to know there are BIG arms wrapped around me… When God asks me for something I think I can’t do and I realize its “of God” – A God-request – I yearn for a rapture blanket – right out of the warming oven – The God of challenge usually comes with some measure of comfort. In fact, when I let God lead I get both comfort and challenge. There’s comfort in knowing God is leading and there’s a challenge to keep up! In order to do God’s work in the world, We’ll certainly have both comfort and challenge. I dare say, we require both to fully understand  our individual response to God’s nudging. Together we respond: God’s love is a comfort. God’s love is a challenge.   When I think about God’s love, I know that I’ve won the lottery – It’s a never-ending source of love coming at me all the time – What I think I’ve learned is that feeling good about my life And my ministries Isn’t about comfort and not really about challenge either – The most important thing ~~~The critical thing ~~~ is the LOVE… Which gives us both!  The challenge and the comfort. We are here to love, which gives us everything we need – Today we respond: God’s love is a comfort. God’s love is a challenge.   Spark Moment:  On behalf of the Lay Leadership Team I had the honor to be the first to review the sparks Found on our blessing tree after last Sunday’s worship service. The first ornament I looked at had 9 numbers on it. I stopped right there and gave thanks to God for leading us to the huge team effort which became Spark Sunday 2016. It is an exciting thing –  For the ministry team leaders to feel the love – To have your support, to know you care enough about what they care about to take action! There’s still time to spark – no smoldering allowed ! The list from last week is back in the bulletin – and we have some more ornaments – Perhaps it just took your spark a while to ignite? — Some people wrote in a new spark! — go ahead, be fearless!!! If you want to talk about a new possibility… We’re here to listen.  ...

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Liturgy 12-6-2015

Posted by on Dec 7, 2015 in Call to Worship | Comments Off on Liturgy 12-6-2015

Based on today’s scripture reading from Joshua, the call to worship is… “God leads us into the new day!” Joshua 23:1-3, 24: 14-30   We are most alive when we choose; it’s the way God created us.  And the very act of choosing calls us to take ownership of what happens next.   Think about the simple choices that you make in a day… what to wear, what to eat, what activities with which to engage.  Even in the simplest moments these choices give us a chance to own our experiences; to create the day.   Let us ready ourselves to own what we will choose to create in the next 50 years of our church life and say together… “God leads us into the new day!”   Here is the key to making choices— The level of awareness at the point of our choice is everything to quality of what we create.  If we choose out of a reflex, we likely choose what’s closest, easiest, or most convenient. Nothing wrong with choosing the white shirt & black pants, the cold milk & cereal, and to scan the headlines on the front page of the paper that’s conveniently lying on the counter.   But notice how our environment plays a big part in choices that come out of reflex.   Add a little more awareness and we might choose out of our habits, which are environments.  And the best habits are ones that we have created with intention. The fact that we attend church with some regularity is likely a habit that we have created out of an intentional choice to make this place, this faith community, a piece of how we are close to God.   Let us raise our awareness beyond our reflexes and be grateful for our intention to live Christ-centered lives and say together… “God leads us into the new day!”   At this point in our 50-year church history, let us pause and raise our awareness of how we will choose to create the next 50 years.  Let us reaffirm of choice to serve the Lord.  Let us intentionally listen for God’s guidance, and with open-minds and willing hearts, let us own the choice to manifest the Will of God, in this place, for the world, in Christ name and say together…. “God leads us into the new day!”...

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