Service every Sunday @ 11:00 am

40 Days of Giving – Intersection between joy and service

“I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.”   ― Kahlil Gibran

Joy is a hope usually equated with happiness, yet as Kahlil Gibran points out, joy is a state of being as well as a state of mind.  When we move outside of our own needs and wants, to serve others, then the possibilities for joy are beyond our dreams!

40 Days of Giving – “The place where your treasure is…”

“The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be´- Jesus

Jesus, on the hillside with hundreds, and even thousands of people, described the different types of treasures someone can gather.  Part of the message describes things that can be eaten by moths, corroded by rust, or stolen.  ADT, car alarms, or locks, can only do so much if the things we treasure can become outdated, break down, or disappear.

Money, jewelry, cars, and houses, are part of everyday American life.  So what is a treasure?  Jesus considers treasure something larger than items to be consumed, worn, or stored.  Today, I look around and take an inventory of the beautiful things, whether in nature, memories of events, people, and relationships that remind me I am alive.  Like Jesus said, “It is obvious, isn’t it?  The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.”   During these 40 Days of Giving, enjoy the valuables all around, but when it comes to treasure, make sure you gather and share something that will last much longer.

(Scripture references from The Message interpretation of Matthew 6:19-21)

40 Days of Giving Meditations – “You can give without loving, but…”

“You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving” –  Robert Louis Stevenson  

These words from another century from writer Robert Louis Stevenson have been re-spoken, reprinted, and re-organized, yet the message is very similar – giving without love is common.  We receive receipts without love from merchants.  Yet when we love, giving takes on an entirely different meaning.  Pop music is a type of social barometer especially when it comes to ideas about love.  Songs tell the stories of giving and taking, loving and marrying, cheating, and leaving, though usually not in that order or all in one song.  Yet if this all we hear about love, focused solely on intimate relationships, then it is difficult to consider the love needed to give without pairing with another person.  Love is broader than an object of affection to receive gifts.  Love is related to giving because one’s passions are connected.  What kind of passions do you have?  Equal rights, animal rescue, ending poverty, assisting addicts in recovery, youth, ending ignorance, addressing gun violence, or other issues?  We know that as individuals these issues are overwhelming.  Yet, our ability to participate and give relies upon our ability to express love.  Today, identify your passions.  Name them.  Choose one and offer a gift of yourself out of love.

40 Days of Giving Meditations – “It’s not how much we give…”

“It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving” – Mother Teresa  
In our modern days, giving typically occurs during seasons or for a “special” occasion or purpose such as a birthday, anniversary, graduation, or other big events.  Magazines and bloggers offer giving guides, advice, and suggestions and maybe even a Pintrest board!  The moment of deciding “if” I should give is followed by “what” and “how much”.  Mother Teresa offers another option asking “how much love” enters the equation.

May our hearts be shaped not by what, or how much we give, rather may we pour love into each action, and let our giving reflect the depth of our loving.  Amen.

40 Days of Giving Meditations “Give, and it will be given to you.” – Jesus

 

Some hear the teaching of Jesus in Luke as a formula to get rich, or a strategy to receive extra blessings.  If you can imagine for a minute what Jesus’ life was like: a person without a permanent home, traveling from place to place, and surrounded by friends who all worked together to support each other.  Jesus was not sporting the finest of what could be purchased.  He was not hanging out with powerful leaders.  Usually the powerful leaders were trying to hunt him down, and not for a nice meal and conversation!  Jesus gave, but also was open to receiving gifts from others.

The principle of giving is the first part of a lesson that teaches us how to receive gifts.   Sometimes we are great at giving things and volunteering time.  Yet, in our time of need we want to be self-sufficient and not ask for help, then feel disappointed when others do not notice our need for help.

Learning to give, in a spirit of generosity, opens each of us to a life of reciprocity.  This means, we are in relationship with other people, real relationship, not just giving to get.  We are open to accept gifts from others.  Those gifts, when they arrive, come as the teaching of Jesus continues to describe, as gifts that “will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” Luke 6:38

When the motive is to be generous, then we can accept the gifts which come our way with a new openness.

40 Days of Giving

40 Days of Giving

7 Sundays, 1 Mission: Be ME
Because YOU are what makes this community aChurch4Me!

“No one has ever become poor by giving” – Anne Frank  
Today marks the beginning what many within Christianity call Lent, the 40 days before Easter.  Often this is a time of fasting, or giving up of something.  Over the centuries the time of fasting has become a series of choices, such as eating fish on Fridays and giving up a habit or type of food during Lent.

While there may be activities in our lives that could be modified to enjoy and healthy and whole life, in our busy lives, we may be in the need of beginning new practices which enrich not only ou
r selves, but the entire community.Today, you are invited to participate in something different:  “40 Days of Giving.”  This c

 

ampaign encourages each of us to find new ways to give, that we hope continue year around.  Sometimes we want to give of our timetreasures, and talents, but ask, what is the best way to begin?

40 Days of Giving will cover 40 Days and 7 Sundays, and there is only One mission:  Become the church that allows each of us to “Be Me.”  Be creative, Be justice, Be faithful, Be open, Be LGBT, Be straight, Be community, Be me, because all of these parts build the very upon the values we sh

are as aChurch4Me MCC.
Every day, you will receive via email a quote, or thought, on giving.  The message will inspire you to Become a person who gives of time, treasures, and talents to God, each other, and ourselves in all that we do.

Over the next 7 Sunday’s, a reflection on the blessings of giving will be offered by various members of aChurch4Me MCC.  Each of us has unique circumstances, and the ways we can give of our time, treasures, and talents vary.  This is why during these “40 Days of Giving” we will explore ways to integrate every part of our lives as a spiritual practice through giving.
During these 40 Days of Giving, I encourage you to deeply consider ways in which you may b

e able to give on a regular basis, such as volunteering during the week or on Sunday, offer assistance to another person as needed, take better care of your own self, make donations of items to the Lakeview Food Pantry during our March food drive, or begin giving financially on a regular basis either in
person or setting up an online bill pay option.  This option allows you to set the date and amount of your financial gifts and allows the bank to send the funds through a check to aChurch4Me MC
C.
It is our prayer as a community that during these 40 Days of Givingeach of us discover that giving is much more than money!  This is the same wisdom that is said so well by the young Anne Frank, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”
When each of us give or ourselves in multiple ways, according to what we have been

 given, then aChurch4Me MCC will Be that light of hope for others, just as it has b
ecome for you.  Never forget, YOU are what make this community aChurch4Me.May this journey demonstrate the abundant blessings of giving!
aChurch4Me MCC Stewardship Team:  Hank Barfield, Rich Fattes, Georgia Lacy, Gordon McCoy, Eugene Thomas, and Pastor Rachelle Brown

spiritualityunplugged

Spirituality Unplugged

It is time to pull the plug on the myths strangling Spirituality!  Everytime an article, blog, news report, or new book says they are “Spiritual but not Religious” the cord of religion is wrapping even more tightly. Is there a difference between Spirituality and Religion?  Absolutely!  Thousands of years of tradtion trail behind the word religion.
If you are ready to unplug, this is the right time.  The cord still strangling the entire conversation is a logic which relies upon either/or thinking.  Afterall the main problem with religious tradition is the right/wrong, inside/outside, formulas which when applied to real people and real lives fails every time.  Just like “religion” the word “spirituality” is gasping for fresh air.  Often when people begin to speak about Spirituality the next portion begins a series of practices or formulas which qualify as Spiritual.
The new definition is a lack of definition. Deep thinkers are beginning to realize the question, “How?” is replaced with “Why?”  This actually makes real sense.  By asking “How?” the temptation is to establish a new set of boundaries within which regulations dominate in the place of liberation so many long to experience and express.  Beginning with “Why?” addresses the more significant issues of being human.
One of the values which guide aChurch4Me MCC is Spiritual Growth, described as setting aside assumptions and dogma we seek to use our gifts and experiences.  Yes, we can be spiritual while we think, love, search, reform, transition, identify, and challenge titles or labels.  Begin with questions, explore, and grow in Spirituality unpluged and breathing in the both/and of human experience which flows and flourishes in the midst of change.

Hear each week’s reflection on Spirituality Unplugged:

Spirituality Unplugged: Hope

Spirituality Unpluged: Included

Spirituality Unpluged: Love