Church Within Sunday Services

for April 2000

Click a box to go to the Individual Service
#184
4-2-2000
#185
4-9-2000
#186
4-16-2000
#187
4-23-2000
#188
4-30-2000

4-2-2000 Sunday Service of Church Within #184
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Today's Service is offered by: Minister Jill Mary Megow

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Welcome by: Pastor Daniel
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Greetings my Beloved Sisters and Brothers, and welcome once again to The Church that is Within.

Ahh Where does the time go? This year's Winter Season appears to be history. Seems like only Yesterday we were preparing for New Years, and now it's time to start thinking about preparing for Gardens. I Love watching new growth... don't you? I Especially enjoy being a Part of New Growth! [as long as it isn't my waistline ;-)]

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Quotes
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(A Childhood Quote from My Brother)
Spring is Sprung,
the Grass is Riz',
I Wonder Where the Flowers is?

(A Zen saying)
Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.

(from: The Urantia Papers – Paper-176 Section-2)
"And now concerning the travail of Jerusalem, about which I have spoken to you, even this generation will not pass away until my words are fulfilled; but concerning the times of the coming again of the Son of Man, no one in heaven or on earth may presume to speak. But you should be wise regarding the ripening of an age; you should be alert to discern the signs of the times. You know when the fig tree shows its tender branches and puts forth its leaves that summer is near. Likewise, when the world has passed through the long winter of material-mindedness and you discern the coming of the spiritual springtime of a new dispensation, should you know that the summertime of a new visitation draws near.

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The Sermon
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Well now. We're beginning to get days with peek-a-boo sunshine and billowy white, cumulous clouds. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm ready to come out of winter hibernation. With that in mind, I had cause to think about, “What is that elusive inspiration that hits me at the beginning of spring?” Do you get it, too? All of a sudden feeling alive again? Like, just out of the blue? It is a miraculous shift for me. How 'bout you?

Ah, inspiration. I think it is one of my favorite words, favorite concepts. Perhaps what I love Most about it is: It is So Subjective. There is No pat definition. You know, This is what “inspiration” means according to Webster's Dictionary, and there's no need for further discussion—black and white/cut and dried—ya think? The only thing I Do know is that, for me, it is spiritual at the core.

I have asked myself this past week what has inspired me, brought me vibrantly alive “all of a sudden.” Is it “simply” springtime? And in my silent wondering, I had to laugh at myself. There is Nothing simple about springtime. And Yes, it is a re-awakening experience. Oh, the joy of smelling something new in the air. It is refreshing, invigorating, to be able to take a deep breath and not have your lungs feel frozen. I've been like a kid again. I stand at the sliding glass doors and swing my arms back and forth, do a little tippy-toe dance, twirl around and giggle delightedly. I feel as young in my heart as the “new-green” blades of grass that are shooting up out of the old growth. I am inspired to grow some more, personally! Yes! I want to be a carefree child, observing and getting excited over Everything my Father brings to my attention.

This infusion of life from observing spring vibrantly and excitedly pushing through last year's old growth is filling me with the desire to imitate it. Tis' time once again to push up through my old-growth adventures of last year—which in fact have prepared me for this very moment—and gingerly peek out and see what God has in store for me this year—and then burst forth with vigor and sureness of who I am as His child. How excited I feel with this inspiration to Seek the new, the challenging, the rewarding, in places I have never sought to seek before. My hibernation is over. I am bursting forth with new life, new energy, new hope, with God's Will for me at the helm. Gee it feels great! Hope you are experiencing your personal “spring”, too.

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The Prayer
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My Beloved Eternal Parent,
        Thank you so much for this awareness of the freedom of being childlike, fearless in my excitement to discover your world around me and your world within me. Free to BE YOU in every thought, word and deed. I love you!

Father's Love and Mine,
Minister Jill Mary Megow


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4-9-2000 Sunday Service of Church Within #185
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Today's Service is offered by: Pastor Daniel J. Megow

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Welcome by: Pastor Daniel
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Greetings my Beloved Sisters and Brothers, and welcome once again to The Church that is Within.

Our Beloved Friends, Gerdean and Angus Bowen, arrived Safely in Coeur d'Alene Idaho this past Thursday and we are Absolutely Delighted to have them with us. Their move from Pennsylvania was exhausting, but they are recuperating nicely. We should be moving into our new place together (the future Church Within Retreat Center), within two weeks. Thank You God!!!

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Quotes
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(A Quote from: Albert Einstein)
Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.

(Quote from: Thomas Edison)
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.

(from: the Tao Te Ching - #44)
Fame or integrity: which is more important?
Money or happiness: which is more valuable?
Success of failure: which is more destructive?

If you look to others for fulfillment,
you will never truly be fulfilled.
If your happiness depends on money,
you will never be happy with yourself.

Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.

(from: The RSV Bible - Job 11:13-18)
"If you set your heart aright, you will stretch out your hands toward him. If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in your tents. Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure, and will not fear. You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away. And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning. And you will have confidence, because there is hope; you will be protected and take your rest in safety.

(from: The Urantia Papers – Paper-5 Section-1)
The great God makes direct contact with mortal man and gives a part of his infinite and eternal and incomprehensible self to live and dwell within him. God has embarked upon the eternal adventure with man. If you yield to the leadings of the spiritual forces in you and around you, you cannot fail to attain the high destiny established by a loving God as the universe goal of his ascendant creatures from the evolutionary worlds of space.

(from: The Urantia Papers – Paper-196 Section-3)
Moral evaluation with a religious meaning--spiritual insight--connotes the individual's choice between good and evil, truth and error, material and spiritual, human and divine, time and eternity. Human survival is in great measure dependent on consecrating the human will to the choosing of those values selected by this spirit-value sorter--the indwelling interpreter and unifier. Personal religious experience consists in two phases: discovery in the human mind and revelation by the indwelling divine spirit.

(from: The RSV Bible - Deuteronomy 31:8)
It is the LORD who goes before you; he will be with you, he will not fail you or forsake you; do not fear or be dismayed."

(from: Buddha)
Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

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The Sermon
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Ten things I have learned/discovered about Failure:

1] Mistakes are not failures, they are simply mistakes.

2] Your human body may fail you, but Never will your Spirit do so unless you abandon it.

3] Fear of Failure is, more often than not, what causes it.

4] The Only time one Truly fails, is when they have irrefutably Given Up trying.

5] If you fail to learn the "Lesson" from an experience, you will continue to attract similar experiences until you DO learn it.

6] Failure is something that is Always in the Past, and the Past is the best place to Leave it.

7] True Success is inevitably preceded by numerous APPARENT failures.

8] All of the things you may have Thought to be failures in pursuit of a goal turn out to have been the "stepping stones" once you Reach the goal.

9] Ego Loathes failure and as a result Clings to it; Soul refuses to recognize failure and thereby avoids it.

10] If you Sincerely and with Everlasting Determination, seek to find God, it is Impossible for you to fail.

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The Prayer
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Dear God,
        You Never cease to Amaze me!

You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal
Parent,

The Creator's Infinite Love, through me, to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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4-16-2000 Sunday Service of Church Within #186
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Today's Service is offered by: Pastor Daniel J. Megow

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Welcome by: Pastor Daniel
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Greetings my Beloved Sisters and Brothers, and welcome once again to The Church that is Within.

Ya Ever look real hard for something and then have someone show you that it's sitting right there in front of you? "Why... if it was a Snake, it would'a Bit me." Funny how often things like that happen, Ain't it?

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Quotes
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(from: The RSV Bible - Luke 6:20-23)
And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. "Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. "Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh. "Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

(from: Sitting Bull)
"I am a red man. If the Great Spirit had desired me to be a white man he would have made me so in the first place. He put in your heart certain wishes and plans, in my heart he put other and different desires. Each man is good in his sight. It is not necessary for Eagles to be Crows.

(from: The Urantia Papers – Paper-130 Section-5 -- Jesus)
        “You have come out from among those of your fellows who choose to remain satisfied with a religion of mind, who crave security and prefer conformity. You have elected to exchange your feelings of authoritative certainty for the assurances of the spirit of adventurous and progressive faith. You have dared to protest against the grueling bondage of institutional religion and to reject the authority of the traditions of record which are now regarded as the word of God. Our Father did indeed speak through Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, Amos, and Hosea, but he did not cease to minister words of truth to the world when these prophets of old made an end of their utterances. My Father is no respecter of races or generations in that the word of truth is vouchsafed one age and withheld from another. Commit not the folly of calling that divine which is wholly human, and fail not to discern the words of truth which come not through the traditional oracles of supposed inspiration.

(from: The RSV Bible - Psalms 107:8-9)
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to the sons of men! For he satisfies him who is thirsty, and the hungry he fills with good things.

(from: The Urantia Papers – Paper-130 Section-5)
One day when Ganid asked Jesus why he had not devoted himself to the work of a public teacher, he said: "My son, everything must await the coming of its time. You are born into the world, but no amount of anxiety and no manifestation of impatience will help you to grow up. You must, in all such matters, wait upon time. Time alone will ripen the green fruit upon the tree. Season follows season and sundown follows sunrise only with the passing of time. I am now on the way to Rome with you and your father, and that is sufficient for today. My tomorrow is wholly in the hands of my Father in heaven."

(From: Spiritual Warrior, The Art of Spiritual Living – John Roger)
        "Impatience is part of our negativity, distracting us from our here-and-now life. So, what do you do with your impatience? You don't do anything with it, because impatience is doing something to you.
        All you have to do is observe it."

(from: The Urantia Papers – Paper-84 Section-8)
The hunger of the soul cannot be satisfied with physical pleasures; the love of home and children is not augmented by the unwise pursuit of pleasure.

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The Sermon
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"The hunger of the soul"
What IS the hunger of the Soul? You've felt it... Haven't you? That inner need for something True... something Beautiful... something Good?

"The hunger of the soul"
What is it that Satisfies it? What is it that is Able to satisfy it? Can Anything satisfy it?

"The hunger of the soul"
The first thing that comes to My mind with the term: The hunger of the soul is Love. Each of us, I would be willing to bet, has an almost insatiable hunger for Love. Love's kind of a given when discussing Soul Hunger wouldn't you say? You can call it a hunger for Acceptance or a hunger for Respect, a hunger to be Noticed for who you Are, a hunger to be considered Important in some way... All of these are variations of the Hunger to be Loved.

Why do we so often neglect or refuse to Accept Love, or to Give it even when we are truly Starving for it?

"The hunger of the soul"
Let us not for get that inner hunger for Truth. It may manifest as a hunger for knowledge, a hunger for discovery, the hunger to KNOW, to Feel the "Rightness" of things, the Truth. Yes... truly do our Souls hunger for Love, but just as surely our Souls hunger for Truth.

Is there Ever a good reason to avoid Truth... or to Limit it... or to deny it? Truth is such a Wonderful thing to Find, an Exhilarating thing to Embrace... why should it be something we would ever Compromise?

"The hunger of the soul"
Now Beauty... There's a pretty much Universal Hunger, wouldn't you say? Doesn't your Soul feel a certain Peace and Tranquility when you are amidst Nature's beauty? Isn't your Soul fed by the Beauty of good Art, of Masterful Music, of Work Well Done? Yes... truly do our Souls hunger for Love, and for Truth, but equally significant is the hunger for Beauty.

There are few who will avoid Beauty knowingly, but it doesn't seem so uncommon to be too busy to recognize it or to pass it by without noticing it, does it?

"The hunger of the soul"
Then of course there's Goodness. Kindness is good. Compassion is good too. Caring for others, being in Service, Sharing what you've been Given, having Self-Respect... Those are all Good. I don't know about You, but My Soul sure feels nourished when I see Goodness... am Around Goodness... am Practicing Goodness. You too? Yeah... I Expected as much.

What is it that is so enticing about horrible things? What is it about pain and suffering and destruction and chaos and fear that fascinates us so? Are they Really so Attractive? Do they bring us the Satisfaction that we seek? You'd think we would spend more time looking for Good, wouldn't ya? Some things about being human just don't seem to make Sense, Do they?

"The hunger of the soul"
Satisfy it by developing your Own Personal Relationship with your Creator.

Feed it with Love... with Truth... with Beauty... with Goodness.
...or not. Only You can make the choice... no one Else.

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The Prayer
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Dear God,
        You are the Source of my Nourishment. It is from You that I truly experience lasting satisfaction.

You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal Parent,
The Creator's Infinite Love, through me, to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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4-23-2000 The Easter Sunday Service of Church Within #187
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Today's Service is offered by: Pastor Daniel J. Megow

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Welcome by: Pastor Daniel
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Greetings my Beloved Sisters and Brothers, and welcome to the Fourth Annual Easter Service of The Church that is Within.

Today we will Celebrate the Ordination of Two new Ministers of Church Within... Angus and Gerdean Bowen. They have Officially and Satisfactorily Completed the Church Within's requirements for ordination and we Welcome them to our Ministry with Open Arms and Excited Souls! You'll be hearing from them in weeks to come.

What does Easter mean to you? Here's a little history of what it has meant to Me....

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Quotes
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(from: The RSV Bible - Matthew 28:6)
He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.

(from: The Urantia Papers – Paper-189 Section-4)
It was about half past three o'clock when the five women, laden with their ointments, arrived before the empty tomb. As they passed out of the Damascus gate, they encountered a number of soldiers fleeing into the city more or less panic-stricken, and this caused them to pause for a few minutes; but when nothing more developed, they resumed their journey.
        They were greatly surprised to see the stone rolled away from the entrance to the tomb, inasmuch as they had said among themselves on the way out, "Who will help us roll away the stone?" They set down their burdens and began to look upon one another in fear and with great amazement. While they stood there, atremble with fear, Mary Magdalene ventured around the smaller stone and dared to enter the open sepulchre. This tomb of Joseph was in his garden on the hillside on the eastern side of the road, and it also faced toward the east. By this hour there was just enough of the dawn of a new day to enable Mary to look back to the place where the Master's body had lain and to discern that it was gone. In the recess of stone where they had laid Jesus, Mary saw only the folded napkin where his head had rested and the bandages wherewith he had been wrapped lying intact and as they had rested on the stone before the celestial hosts removed the body. The covering sheet lay at the foot of the burial niche.
        After Mary had tarried in the doorway of the tomb for a few moments (she did not see distinctly when she first entered the tomb), she saw that Jesus' body was gone and in its place only these grave cloths, and she uttered a cry of alarm and anguish. All the women were exceedingly nervous; they had been on edge ever since meeting the panicky soldiers at the city gate, and when Mary uttered this scream of anguish, they were terror-stricken and fled in great haste. And they did not stop until they had run all the way to the Damascus gate. By this time Joanna was conscience-stricken that they had deserted Mary; she rallied her companions, and they started back for the tomb.
        As they drew near the sepulchre, the frightened Magdalene, who was even more terrorized when she failed to find her sisters waiting when she came out of the tomb, now rushed up to them, excitedly exclaiming: "He is not there--they have taken him away!" And she led them back to the tomb, and they all entered and saw that it was empty.
        All five of the women then sat down on the stone near the entrance and talked over the situation. It had not yet occurred to them that Jesus had been resurrected. They had been by themselves over the Sabbath, and they conjectured that the body had been moved to another resting place. But when they pondered such a solution of their dilemma, they were at a loss to account for the orderly arrangement of the grave cloths; how could the body have been removed since the very bandages in which it was wrapped were left in position and apparently intact on the burial shelf?

        As these women sat there in the early hours of the dawn of this new day, they looked to one side and observed a silent and motionless stranger. For a moment they were again frightened, but Mary Magdalene, rushing toward him and addressing him as if she thought he might be the caretaker of the garden, said, "Where have you taken the Master? Where have they laid him? Tell us that we may go and get him." When the stranger did not answer Mary, she began to weep. Then spoke Jesus to them, saying, "Whom do you seek?" Mary said: "We seek for Jesus who was laid to rest in Joseph's tomb, but he is gone. Do you know where they have taken him?" Then said Jesus: "Did not this Jesus tell you, even in Galilee, that he would die, but that he would rise again?" These words startled the women, but the Master was so changed that they did not yet recognize him with his back turned to the dim light. And as they pondered his words, he addressed the Magdalene with a familiar voice, saying, "Mary." And when she heard that word of well-known sympathy and affectionate greeting, she knew it was the voice of the Master, and she rushed to kneel at his feet while she exclaimed, "My Lord, and my Master!" And all of the other women recognized that it was the Master who stood before them in glorified form, and they quickly knelt before him.

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The Sermon
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(from: Church Within - Easter 1997)
        Why are the Resurrection and subsequent appearances to many so important that even 2000 years later, the large portion of Mankind Celebrate them? Is it because He survived Mortal Death? Many would say so. But to me the true significance is that Jesus showed us, that WE can survive mortal death. If we faithfully choose Father's Will to the best of our ability of recognizing it, we need no longer fear for nor doubt our OWN survival of this life in the flesh.
        Already we have survived this Life in the flesh, already have we begun our life in "The Kingdom of Heaven" once we choose in our Soul to accept Father's Will over the will of our own limited human Ego... once we stop telling God what we think we need and joyfully accept that which He offers us... Once we have realized that God's Will for us is so much more Grand than we could ever imagine for ourselves.

(from: Church Within - Easter 1998)
What is the Significance of Easter?
        If you ask little children, I would bet that the overwhelming 1st response would be The Easter Bunny, eggs and candy. Truthfully, it would have been mine as a little child. Ya know... When I ponder back, I bet Easter is what instilled in me the joy of seeking and finding. Oh I did Love searching for treats that I knew Must be there, hidden somewhere by some invisible being if only I looked in the right places... he never made it impossible to find, just difficult. The seeking and finding was Glorious! Still is. Now that I have grown up, somewhat ;-), I get that same exact feeling when I am actually looking for truth, beauty and goodness. I Know they are there... if only I look in the right places. Hmmm... perhaps that part of Easter does have a touch of significance to it after all too. We have been told: "Seek and you shall find." Why shouldn't it be as fun as it was on Easter?
        I think I was 8 or 9 the first time I thought of the Resurrection of Jesus Before I thought of the Easter Bunny and the search for goodies... and I was brought up in a very religious Catholic home. Up to that point, the significance of the Resurrection was more than my young mind could grasp. But all of a sudden I thought about Jesus surviving mortal death. I thought that was more significant. Quite frankly, I didn't think much about redemption of sins at that age, what Really touched me was that He was "out there" somewhere and I could talk to him and he would, if I was sincere, listen to me. I could be in Communion with him because of his Resurrection! Ya know... that's Still the most significant thing about Easter to me.

(from: Church Within - Easter 1999)
        Who is your Father? Your Dad? Today, when so many are especially focused on their spiritual beliefs with the celebration of Easter, I hope you will take time to ask yourself that question and find your Very Personal answer... your Own Personal Resurrection.
        All faiths, all doctrines genuinely seek to help you know your Father in Heaven. Your Father knows where you are this morning, and He is with you. He Loves You!




"Church Within - Easter 2000"

        An interesting thought came into my mind just now. I was sitting here trying to find something Significantly Different to share with you this Easter Sunday---the Last three Easter Services covered everything I had been Thinking about already, I found out---and I was drawing a blank. "Why can't I Find anything Fresh?" I thought. The word "Find" kinda' struck out at me. I used to be pretty good at finding things, or I should say finding "Hidden" things. Misplaced things I Still have trouble with. ;-)

        Anyways, "Find" kept going through (and keeps going through), my mind... so I think I'll Go with it and see where it takes us, K?

As a little child (age 1-9):
Easter was about finding my Easter basket that the Easter Bunny had hidden filled with candy and eggs and treats beyond my imagination... and going to church of course. (We'd go to church all week for different services, but this one was the Biggie... the Finale... Easter!)

As an Older little child (age 10-13):
Easter was about finding my Easter basket that Mom and Dad---enjoying their Role as the Easter bunny---had hidden filled with candy and eggs and treats beyond my imagination. I still enjoyed church on Easter Sunday. Mom and Dad were in the church Choir, and other than Christmas, Easter was when they sang their Best and most Soul reaching Music. I paid Lip Service to the "Resurrection" aspect---I already believed it, so kinda' took it for granted.

As a teen:
Easter was about finding ways to be with my friends on that day, and at the same time not hurt my Parent's feelings in the process. Wake up... Go to Church... Easter breakfast and goodies with family an then... "Gotta Go mom. See ya Later!" Resurrection? Oh yeah. I'll think about it later...

First few years away from home:
Zzzzzzz... RING... Zzzzzzz... RRING... Zzzzzzz... RRRING... SNORT... Huh? "Oh, Hi mom. Yeah, Happy Easter to You Too! Uh... yeah... I'll be there... um, What time was that again? Oh yeah... I'm plannin' on goin' to church... I'll find the time." Zzzzzzz... Zzzzzzz... Zzzzzzz...

First Married:
Easter Eggs and Candy again... Easter Sunrise Service Too... Both families... find Friends later tonight...

With Children:
Oh BOY! Now I get to be the Easter Bunny!!! Childlike joy Renewed while watching a child find treats... later...

"...and Easter is Really about celebrating Jesus rising up again on the third day after he died."

        "Then Why are there Easter Eggs?"

"Well, you've seen little chicks coming out of an egg... I think the eggs are about new life... and Jesus showed us that there is New Life after we die."

        "Then Why is there Easter Grass and colored candy?"

"I think they're to celebrate the coming of Spring and all the new growth. New Grass and Flowers and Leaves start coming out from what looked like it had died in the winter."

        "Then Why is there an Easter Bunny?"

"Maybe to remind us that there is someone Good and Wonderful that we cannot see with our eyes that puts good things in hard to find places for us to Find."

        "Then Why can't we Celebrate and have Easter Every day?"

"That's a good Question."

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The Prayer
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Dear God,
        I'm starting to remember all of the good things you placed along my path that I have already found. Thanks! Correct my Vision that I may be able to Find Every One of them.

You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal
Parent,

The Creator's Infinite Love, through me, to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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4-30-2000 Sunday Service of Church Within #188
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Today's Service is offered by: Minister Gerdean O'Dell Bowen


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Welcome by: Pastor Daniel
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Greetings my Beloved Sisters and Brothers, and welcome once again to The Church that is Within.

Last Sunday evening at Sunset in North Idaho, Gerdean and Angus Bowen were Ordained as our Newest Ministers in the Church Within. We are Truly Blessed that they are with us!

It is an Honor to Present, The First Church Within Service of Minister Gerdean...

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The Sermon
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“He is risen.”

Every year after Easter the words “He is risen” find their way onto the rosters and into the minds of those who care about the Resurrection. And every time I think about the risen Christ I marvel at his demonstration of what will be our destiny also – to rise from death to Life, from darkness to Light – and wonder what I can do to be of service to the concept. I think about the concept of “rising up” and recognize that it doesn't only apply to rising from the literal dead, but rising also from the lethargy of indecision, the burden of guilt, the spirit of infirmity, the yoke of oppression. Like Jesus, my earth ministry involves setting spiritual captives free.

The Book of Matthew tells the story of a paralytic being brought to him, “lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” – he then said to the paralytic, "Rise, take up your bed and go home." And he rose and went home.

Another story depicting the Master's ministry is told in the Urantia Papers on Page 1835-6. It says, “At the conclusion of the service Jesus looked down before him upon an elderly woman who wore a downcast expression, and who was much bent in form. This woman had long been fear-ridden, and all joy had passed out of her life. As Jesus stepped down from the pulpit, he went over to her and, touching her bowed-over form on the shoulder, said: "Woman, if you would only believe, you could be wholly loosed from your spirit of infirmity." And this woman, who had been bowed down and bound up by the depressions of fear for more than eighteen years, believed the words of the Master and by faith straightened up immediately. When this woman saw that she had been made straight, she lifted up her voice and glorified God.

The paralytic man and the bowed-over woman may be not much different than many in this day and age who are paralyzed by fear or crippled by emotional infirmity. Do we have the authority to forgive sins or to heal illness? I think we do.

Last evening several of us sat around talking about ministry and wondering why our healing techniques were not as effective, or at least not as quick, as the Master's. A visitor counseled:
        “The Master, when he was here, was of such a nature that even those who were able to reach out and touch his robes were able to draw from him sufficient energy as to bring about permanent effects in their bodies, minds and spirits. And they thus brought on their own miracle because of their faith in him. In truth, each of you is able to develop the same healing strength as Jesus. Each of you is also a child of God, a valid living son of God, but you do not believe it. You yourselves limit your own ability to perform exactly those kinds of miracles that would also happen to people when they reached out and touched you because of your energy, your faith, because of the presence of God within you. You limit yourselves. You curtail your own gifts. You are called upon to begin to heal yourselves of this most unfortunate malady of subscribing to yourselves lesser capacities than you are innately born with as sons and daughters of God.

We CAN forgive. And in forgiving, there is healing. We CAN release the spiritual captive, by illuminating truth, beauty and goodness. And in spiritual liberty, there is healing. We can Rise in celebration of the gift of Life.

This is my Epiphany every year when I see that sign on the church billboards: “He is Risen.” I consecrate myself anew to strive, to rise up, higher, better, more joyous, more open, more willing so as Not to curtail the gifts, so that I do Not subscribe to myself lesser capacities than I am innately born with as a daughter of God. I refuse to be oppressed, even by my own limited thinking.

This wonderful work, “Still I Rise,” by Maya Angelou speaks to the spirit of spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical freedom:

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise

I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise
I rise.
I rise.

One last thing -- I am reminded of one of my favorite mota: “Few mortals ever dare to draw anything like the sum of personality credits established by the combined ministries of nature and grace. The majority of impoverished souls are truly rich, but they refuse to believe it.”

What joy there is in that poem! What resiliency! What triumph! What a reward comes from embracing Sonship. By accepting the responsibilities of my material life and my spiritual life, by combining the ministries of nature and grace, I have Arrived! I have Risen! I AM!

*******************************************
The Prayer
**********
Father God,
Keep close to me, so that when you direct me to something I am qualified to do, I can hear your instructions.
Keep me close to you, so that when I follow your instructions, the work will be close to the mark.
Thank you for helping me Rise to the Occasion.

Minister Gerdean O'Dell Bowen

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