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Today is the All Saints Sunday!

The priest talked about great saints who went through really terrible places in their lives, but used those situations for doing good by God and to their fellow humans. Being taken to a Japanese-American internment camp but using the opportunity to minister to those in need, a woman stepping up as a priest for a community when all the men were taken to war… Even St. Thomas, who betrayed Jesus by denying Him three times, became a servant in God’s name and a saint. Saints are important because they help inspire us and provide an example for how we can be more like Christ, and become saints ourselves!

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Tonight’s service in my internet ministry will be about what forgiveness truly means! We will take a nose plunge into how God truly forgives others and what it means to act upon revenge over justice! https://pawsofloveunited.online.church/ Join Us Tonight at 6;30 pm EST!

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Our sermon was titled “It is Well…With My Mind.”

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul reminds them how to be in a relationship with each other. He hopes that their love (agape) grows more and more in knowledge and insight. Wisdom and discernment. He calls us to do the same too!

How do we offer our own prayers of grief when the world is on fire? God wants us all to work for each other’s well-being. We should learn how to be ethical and how to discern when/what the Spirit is talking to us—even in the difficult situations that can arise during Thanksgiving dinner!

You know the song “Dem Bones”, how all the bones are connected, and the chorus ends with “Now hear the Word of the Lord”? Our message today was about how we’re all different parts of the Body of Christ—and how Jacob in the OT wrestled with an angel, physically and mentally, until he told them his name and all its connotations. Jacob | The amazing name Jacob: meaning and etymology

God then identified Themself and gave Jacob a new name: Israel. He retains God. God is upright.

God wants you to be well with your body just as much as with your soul.

This week our service was about the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus’ warning about the sheep and the goats (those who feed the hungry, visitor prisoners, help the needy, etc. and those who refuse to) is not simply about individuals. It’s not just about what we, ourselves, do, but about what the societies we take part in do. The Kingdom of God is not just a place we go when we die. The Bible never says the Kingdom is something we “enter,” but it’s also not something we “create.” In fact, at no point in the Bible is it discussed that humans have any ability to create the Kingdom of God at all. The Kingdom of God is already here, and we do not create it or enter it, we inherit it. God wants us as part of it.

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Our sermon series this year is “How Does a Weary World Rejoice?”

This week’s reading was about Zechariah and Elizabeth. They felt grief from not being able to have a kid in their old age, but the angel Gabriel brought them joy! Joy tries to remind us in our own moments of grief that we are alive and human.

We can get through the weariness together, like when you’re thinking about a long-lost relative and someone brings up a story about them that makes you laugh. Share your joy as you risk your hope and as we await the Christ Child together.

I was at Midwest FurFest yesterday and there wasn’t a Christian panel sadly, so I had to miss church! D: But I’m watching it today online!

Our service today used the passage Isaiah 64:1-9, which emphasizes how all of us are sinful and impossible to clean, yet beseeches God to forgive those sins; It’s nice seeing this in the Old Testament, because even before Jesus’ coming His people were acknowledging that sin is not forever, and that we can be made clean through God! There is a difference between who we are and who we think we are. But God can reconcile the two.

Our priest emphasized that the gospel of Mark doesn’t even talk about Jesus the baby; he focuses on His adult ministry. It’s as if there’s an urgency; Jesus is in motion; He’s working; He’s been let loose, so let’s focus on what He’s doing! Not just on the Christmas Jesus Ricky Bobby is so fond of (reference mine, not my priest’s).

The priest also talked about an example of God still being on the move, working in the world. He passed by a homeless man without helping him, then went to church, felt really guilty, and went back and took him to lunch. He then said “You’re the ordained minister God told me about this morning.” Whoah. :open_mouth: Who we are vs. who we think we are, joined.

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“What, then, will this child become?” — Luke 1:66

This quote doesn’t come from the parents of John the Baptizer, but the community around them. First came the joy that Zechariah and Elizabeth would have a child in their old age, but then came questions and doubts. “Are you sure? You don’t have any relatives named John!” Yet when people asked Zechariah, who was physically unable to apeak, he still wrote “His name is John” and his voice came back!

Closer to our church, the City of Denver is considering buying a nearby Embassy Suites and turning it into a homeless shelter. Some folks want to support neighbors in need, while others are concerned about the safety of the neighborhood. But when we dream God-sized dreams, the answers may come from the voices of those on the margins. Let’s continue to dream big for peace and for our children.

John’s birth seemed so impossible, yet it happened, and people rejoiced and celebrated together!

This morning was our 4th Sunday of Advent service (Christmas Eve service is tonight) but the message was about the songs that Zachariah and Mary sang about the births of their children. These songs aren’t just ancient words for the season but songs for all year round, everywhere.

We can’t just look at the sheet music on the page. We have to perform it so everyone can hear!

St. Francis of Assisi, who said “Preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words,” created the first living Nativity scene on this date 800 years ago!

The final day of Advent, and also Christmas Eve!

Our priest today talked about death. Very sunny. :stuck_out_tongue: He emphasized that death represents a transition, and one we all must go through eventually. But there are smaller deaths, which come with the birth of new life, just as the final one represents eternal life. The pastor represents coming out of the closet as a death of the old, closeted self, but the birth of something better. He also mentions the death of Mary, the faithful maiden, and the birth of Mary, mother of Christ. When we pass into a new season (whether such as Christmas or those in our lives), that means passing up the old, but God has great things in plan even after death, literal or figuratively.

It’s our first post-Christmas sermon!

Our priest talked about how the Gospel writers approached starting the story differently. John, specifically, felt that it was important to give the full story, from the beginning of time (or before). He wanted to emphasize that we are part of God’s ongoing story, the same story as the story of Jesus. Jesus is the light brought into a world, but we can testify to that light. We are not the light, but we can reflect it, and we should make that our goal for the new year (in the secular calendar anyway).

Epiphany is when we begin to follow the light of Christ after it appeared on Christmas. The first people who came to see it where poor shepherds, and then foreigners from a different culture and faith.

People who are “other” than us can teach us that there is joy in the world! We can bless each other!

Today’s sermon was about taking time to be still, rest, and listen to God. Whether it’s for a moment or a Sabbath or the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness.

But we can’t expect prayer to fix everything. Our pastor quoted a 1959 sermon from MLK Jr where he said we should never make prayer a substitute for work and intelligence. We should pray for God to use us for a purpose greater than ourselves.

Our priest today preached about the story of Jonah. God called Jonah to preach to Ninevah, and Jonah refused. And then God calls to Jonah again. This is pretty special, because even in the Old Testament it shows the character of God, that we are given second chances. God does not give us only one chance to do what’s right. We can repent and return to Him. He also emphasized how God can use people, even if they’re not doing exactly what they should, as Jonah shows. So no matter where you are in life, even if you feel you’re not serving Him, He may still call you for some purpose. And you should listen!

Our sermon was about the chronically ill woman who touched Jesus’s garment and was healed. After some of his power had been taken from him, he went into the wilderness to pray, but then Moses and Elijah—his ancestors who represented the law and the prophets—drew near to him and showed him the way.

We don’t talk a lot about mystical experiences, but we should try to make space for some rest and stillness, to daydream and wonder and be open to the Holy Spirit.

Today we went over Philippians 4:4-9, which talks about anxiety and choosing what we think about. The pastor shared how Paul is calling us to rejoice in the Lord regardless of our circumstances. Paul also calls us to show our gentleness to the world, and the pastor explained how this is not a gentleness bound to the law or statutes but rather one based in love, showing us how it is more important to be Godly than to be right. The pastor then shared about anxiety and how it correlates with fear. Paul calls us to not be anxious, which at face value can seem difficult and potentially dismissive, but what he is trying to direct us to do is give our fears willingly to God through prayer and thanksgiving. Our pastor then emphasized that being thankful and praising God for the good he has done is an important part of prayer over our fears. Choosing to be thankful during times of distress is not easy, but choosing to do so helps us focus on who God is and what his promises to us are, rather than on the uncertainties of our fears. Finally, the pastor mentioned how Paul calls us to think about what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable as an extension to his point on thanksgiving. Overall, I thought today’s sermon was great and hit some important things we don’t always talk about in the church setting.

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Today Tom and I are using online services to try out churches we may want to go to and get married in when we move!

The first church’s service was about how Christianity isn’t about isolation. Jesus didn’t travel alone; He had disciples, and they helped each other. Jesus didn’t even carry His literal cross alone. Why should we be expected to carry our figurative ones alone? Having each other, and being there for others is a big part of Christianity. None of us have everything together. We’re just as messed up as anyone else. But we have God and we have each other.

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Today’s sermon was the second in a series: “How DO we become well?"

We become well when we embrace grace instead of shame. When we don’t feel worthy of grace, we make up stories to make ourselves feel better, like when Adam and Eve hid in the garden out of their shame of being naked. But imagine what would have happened if they had confronted the serpent and asked God for forgiveness instead!

You are and will always be God’s beloved! God saw you and said “This is my creation, in whom I am well pleased.” You have no reason to be ashamed of yourself.

Trying another church again!

This week, the sermon (only the sermon was online :frowning: ) was about Judas. The pastor emphasized that the idea of “well, Judas isn’t at fault, the devil made him do it” is faulty, because no influence makes us do anything without any agency. Judas had responsibility in betraying Christ, and doesn’t get to just push it off onto the devil. Neither do we. No “the devil made me do it.” No “well the system is unjust so it’s not my fault I did it.” There can be forces pushing us to darkness, but we don’t have to step into it.

Conversely, the pastor emphasized that despite everything Judas did, he did repent, which, the fact that the Gospels emphasize this, would suggest that he was forgiven. Even when Jesus knew what he would do, He washed his feet. Judas is an example of just how extreme God’s forgiveness and love is. If Judas can be forgiven by God, why can’t you or me? I can guarantee nothing we’ve done can even scratch the surface of what Judas has done. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Today we had a guest speaker talk about how we can use our vocations as worship. The main passage was Ephesians 10, and some of the main points were how God does not require us to work, or for that matter be perfect with our work in order for his will to proceed. Instead, God has certain works planned for us, and we get to choose to participate. He also pointed out that comparing what we do/how well we do it to other people when we are looking at the value of our work is senseless, as God does not rely on our perfection for his goodness. Lastly, he reminded us that it is not what our job is that makes our work worship, but rather the demeanor that we approach it with that makes our work a form of worship.

I liked today’s sermon, and it was good to hear God’s perspective on how we can make our work glorify him, especially as I am starting to approach a transitional chapter in my work life.

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