⛪ Share Your Church Service!

Every week, share as much or as little of your service with one another! It’s a great way to share your church with other people, or get some sort of church service if you don’t have one of your own!

This week my church was talking about the Methodist movement of John Wesley, and how he used to be an Anglican priest and professor at Oxford. He saw problems with how a lot of Christian thought seemed stagnant, and sought “revivals,” where Christians can emphasize passion and learning, using your mind and your heart alike to renew their faith and take it further. Reason and faith are important parts of Christianity.

The pastor also emphasized the need for a Christian revival even today by sharing a story of a woman who was shunned from a Christian camp and asked to not return unless she broke up with her girlfriend. She later ended up leaving Christianity because she kept being told she wasn’t welcome, so she believed it. Experiences like this are pretty common nowadays, judging by polls I’ve seen, and we, as a church, need to really wrestle with this issue.

Also, the pastor emphasized that we shouldn’t have a “spiritual life” and a “normal life,” but rather, that everything is spiritual. Faith should pervade everything we do! John Wesley challenged his congregation to take Christ’s love even further, asking them to love their enemies, even “enemies of God,” as much as their own souls. It’s a tough task, and Oxford wasn’t a big fan of such “critical” sermons, even if they were, at their core, an invitation to grow even stronger in their faith.

Kinda meandering, but all interesting and important stuff, I thought!

I listened to a broadcast from one of our church leaders who talked about a few things we’ve learned from the pandemic. One of them that really stood out to me was that we should strive to make our homes places of holiness, refuges from the world, and centers for learning about Christ. Someday we’ll be back to meeting regularly with our congregations in our regular church buildings, but even then we should remember the importance of making our homes a place where we can feel the Spirit of God.

Today was Good Shepherd Sunday, and the gospel was John 10:11-18, where Jesus talks about how he is the Good Shepherd. The priest then preached about how this was a very relevant analogy in Jesus’ time, but over time, as society became less agriculturally centered, the idea of a Shepherd has been romanticized by things like paintings of a shepherd boy sitting on a green hillside under a blue sky watching his flock grazing. Raising sheep turns out to be a very difficult business, and it especially was in Jesus’ time. A truly “Good Shepherd” was hard to come by, and was worth his weight in gold. A shepherd has to stay out with his sheep in rain or shine and always has to be on the lookout for predators and poachers. Sheep are also not the most attentive, and can easily get themselves into danger. A Good Shepherd also knows every single one of his sheep, and can tell them apart from each other. With all the time shepherds spend with their sheep, they form a strong bond with them, and will care for them no matter what, not because of duty, but because they truly have a connection with their sheep. A Good Shepherd has no preferences for his sheep, he will take care of every one of them, from his most well-behaved to the one sheep who always runs away when you look away. And that’s why we call Jesus the Good Shepherd. He truly cares about us, his flock, so much that he was willing to give his live for our salvation.

This week we continued the sermons on John Wesley and the origin of the Methodist Church!

He was so dedicated to God, that he created a rigorous regimen, following almost robotically in his devotion. He did a lot of good with it, but still, it became needlessly taxing. Such as hosting 5:00 AM prayer services every day of the week and refusing communion on Sunday to anyone who didn’t go every day. This was a point where this “methodism” wasn’t serving faith, but impeding it. It was pushing him from others, not toward God.

And then when his “let’s be single together” not-girlfriend ended up getting engaged to someone else, he got so mad he ended up in jail. So… he eventually escapes back to England, a bit of a failure. But as he returns there, he starts to realize the ways he’s been going about things, however, well-meaning, have been pushing people away from him, his church, and ultimately from God.

Also, a random (probably paraphrased) quote from the service I appreciated:

“God does not hurt us or bring us pain. God brings healing through us so a hurting world can know grace and peace.”

This week was Mother’s Day and Senior Sunday at my church! :open_mouth:

The sermon was about how part of grace is not just forgiveness, but also perseverance, the drive to always move forward and bring change. God never gives up on us, and we should never give up on us either!

But most of the service was high school seniors talking about their great experiences with our church, youth group, work trips, and stuff like that!

This week was about evangelism! The traditional focus of Methodism was on not the words of your faith, but your actions (methods, if you will). “Do no harm, do good, and observe God’s ordinances” were the center of missionary life. The pastor compared that to how it’s not enough to just not be actively racist (do no harm), but also that you must actively oppose racism (do good).

I also really appreciated the verse for the week (James 2:4-18): “What good is it, my siblings, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a sibling is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.’”

Today’s service was about 2 Kings 5, an Old Testament story of God’s mercy. An enemy of Israel sends a general to Israel at God’s command, so he may be cured of leprosy. But he refuses at first, fear and doubt (and a bit of arrogance) keeping him from being willing. But he was convinced to go, and he was cured. This enemy of Israel, because of his virtue all the same. And he dedicated himself to God.

I appreciated how in two different places in this verse, Naaman wasn’t adherent to “the letter” but his faith and desire to do good was seen as more important to God. One, he wasn’t an Israelite, and actually his country was in bad relations with Israel, but God saw him as worthy anyway. Two, he recognized that he was needed for his (presumably old or handicapped) master to undergo his pagan worship, and Elisha, God’s prophet, did not shun him for that. He recognized that Naaman was only to bow to God, but that in that case he was merely helping his master with his physical weakness, even if it were in his own false worship.

Today’s sermon was about how we are made in God’s image…divinely created and declared good!

This was the start of a sermons series on fear in the Bible! The pastor mentioned that “Fear Not” is an extremely common phrase in the Bible, and it was for a reason. People needed to be told not to fear because people were very afraid. This can vary by time and culture! The pastor made a connection that in the last 30 years in the US, the crime rate has decreased substantially, yet the perception of danger and crime has gone up. When we fear, God wants us to trust Him, and recognize that our problems do not get solved when we perseverate on our anxiety. Our feelings are not something we can control, but we can control how we react to uncertainty. God sees to the needs of plants and animals. And He cherishes us that much more. We can do what we need to do (address fears, solve problems, get professional help, ask for help from friends and family, etc.), but beyond that, we should trust God and remember He has things handled!

We had a discussion about miracles. What is the purpose of miracles? Have miracles changed since biblical times? What are some of our favorites miracles from the scriptures? What miracles have we recognized in our own lives?

One of my favorite miracles from the Bible is the story of Elijah and the widow, whose meal and oil lasted her and her son until the famine ended. I like it because it was very personal; only the widow and her son witnessed it. Also, it was in response to her faith. She was asked to give what she had to the Lord’s prophet, and only after she did so was she blessed with more than she started with.

This week’s service was about fear, and how it can lead to us to distrust or even openly hate others, and how prejudice is incompatible with loving God (1 John 4:20-21). Yet perfect love can cast out fear, and through trusting God and, consequently, trusting our fellow humans, we can do work to overcome our prejudices (which we do, 100% of us, have).

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

The pastor also mentioned that even in the face of hate and adversity against us, we should still do the right thing. And quoted C.S. Lewis in saying that to love others is to make yourself vulnerable. To fail to love is safe, but in that safety is a heart of hate and indifference, shut off from God Himself. When we do not love, we create our own Hell.

This week was about fear and loneliness! It started with the story of Ruth and Naomi, and how emphatic Naomi was for them to be together.

Even through physical distance, through isolation, and anything like that, we are all still on body of Christ. The Holy Spirit connects us to one another, and when we pray, we’re praying together. Not to say faith is a magical substitute for human interaction, but when we are in God, we are never truly alone.

Our service was about the fear of The Lord. My pastor likened a healthy fear of God to fear of a chainsaw (you might be a redneck if…). We have a healthy fear/respect for our safety when using a chainsaw because we know how powerful (and destructive) it is, but that shouldn’t stop a person from using such a wonderful tool. He said many people avoid God, fearing loss of their own control over their life, but that likewise stops them from knowing how wonderful God is. He also talked about fear and love for God being compatible with each other. As a christian matures, he is grieved when he sins, not grieved for fear of punishment, but because he loves God and desires to please Him. A heathy fear of God humbles us, teaching us about his perfect justice and how we can’t contribute to our own salvation even a little bit. That further strengthens our love for God, knowing more about his sacrificial love for us.

I prefer seeing the “fear” of the Lord like more like awe than fear. “Fear” isn’t a super great translation!

The service from this week talks about what kind of life that God wants for us. That to be faithful means to take risks and be willing to go rather than stay still. It features a new children’s story to drive the message.

You can watch it here: Do You Want a Better Life - YouTube

This week Tom and I went to an Episcopal church together, my first time going to church in person for over a year! The church was absolutely beautiful, and the service was really nice!

The sermon was over John the Baptist and how he was an important prophet, and yet how his message was still not that of Christ. He paved the way for Christ’s message, and yet Christ emphasized inclusion beyond even what John the Baptist did.

Today’s service was about Communion (aka the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist) and the act of breaking bread together! In sharing a meal and learning with other people, we should actively seek to serve those who need help.

I couldn’t attend in person because of work but they had different foods in place of the usual bread and wine.

What was it? :open_mouth:

The church Tom and I went to twice here interestingly doesn’t do wine right now (COVID-19 I assume) but it does bread! Well, those little wafers.

They had mostly muffins and brownie bites

I had to miss church because I had to work, but I watched my old church back in Iowa’s service tonight!

The sermon was about change, and how we need to not just see how our church used to be, but also how our church can be. Things change, and yet, at the core of it, the important parts of what make the church the church stay the same.

One Biblical example the pastor offered was when Paul preached to the Athenians, and was taken aback by their love of idolatry. But he didn’t fall back into the familiar, but rather allowed himself to experience Athens, and even speak with their philosophers. And in the process, he was able to share God with them. For their own part, they also had to experience the core of their faith being the same. Paul acknowledged a shrine to an unknown god, and from there shared with them who it was truly in worship to. He didn’t ask them to throw away everything familiar to them, but rather, recognize the stable core in their belief, even if change was needed to accept Christ!