The Church Within Sunday Services

for April 2001

Click a box to go to the Individual Service
#236
4-1-2001
#237
4-8-2001
#238
4-15-2001
#239
4-22-2001
#240
4-29-2001

4-1-2001 Sunday Service of the Church Within #236
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Today's Service is offered by: Pastor Daniel J. Megow

Please Freely Share any of our Church Within Services with Any and All whom you feel might Appreciate them. Thank You!

NEW Weekly Feature!!!

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Humor of the Week
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A four year old was at the pediatrician for a check up. As the doctor looked down her ears with an otoscope, he asked, "Do you think I'll find Big Bird in here?" The little girl stayed silent. Next, the doctor took a tongue depressor and looked down her throat. He asked, "Do you think I'll find the Cookie Monster down there?" Again, the little girl was silent. Then the doctor put a stethoscope to her chest. As he listened to her heart beat, he asked, "Do you think I'll hear Barney in there?" "Oh, no!" the little girl replied. "Jesus is in my heart. Barney's on my underpants."


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Light And Life Garden Update
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With our First Spring here at The Light and Life Garden I am being kept extremely busy with Site Planning, Land Sculpting and Tree Management, so if I am a bit remiss in answering e-mails, I apologize.

Now being able to use “The Tractor Within” for something other than plowing snow and ice, I have begun the task of widening the drive into the Property [those who have been here will appreciate that when it's finished]… cutting in a new road/trail/access to the next lower level… grading the Main level for driveways, patios, and parking… and Tree and Stump removal and cleanup. Thank you All who helped us to purchase this tractor for the Light and Life Garden!!! none of this could have been done Without YOU!

Last Sunday I mentioned that I was going up to Hope Idaho to Minister Tom's place for Study Group and to pick up (dig up actually <g>) some new fruit trees for the Light and Life Garden. I brought back 4 Cherry trees, 4 Plum trees and a clump of Pear trees (1-3 depending upon if I can untangle the roots or not). Not having an adequate place to plant them where they would get good Sun and also Beautify the Property, Tuesday I began (with the Valued help of Good Friend and Music Partner Rick Giles) to cut down the dead, dying and infested Pine trees in the acre surrounding our home and office. [40 down… God Knows how many to go ;-)] There is still a lot of “limbing” and log hauling and stump digging to complete, but when the pines were downed I discovered a most Excellent place for the new Fruit Trees to be planted. It's Amazing how a little “pruning” can stimulate and reveal the Perfect places for new Fruitful Growth, isn't it?

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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.

Just for giggles, I decided to add a New Humor Section to the Weekly Sunday Service. The jokes will likely have nothing to do with the particular Sunday Service presented, I just thought it would be fun to do, so I did it. If you have any particularly funny jokes of a semi religious or spiritual nature that you'd like to share, please don't hesitate to send them to me.

Anyways… On with the Service. Being Spring and all, it's started me thinking a lot more about Pruning and Growth and such…

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Quotes
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(From: The Pocatello TeaM 3/23/01 - Teacher Daniel)
The spring is coming to your lovely cities. The earth is beginning to yield to the caress of the sun and the warmth of the air, and the vegetation, the flowers and the trees are all about to bring forth their annual glorious banquet of color, smell and visual beauty; but I tell you, my dears, everyday is spring in the universe. Everyday is as gorgeous and new as this springtime is for you. Know that what I tell you is true.

(From: Sir Winston Churchill)
Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.

(From: The Urantia Papers – Paper-100 Section-1)
Remember, year-by-year progress through an established educational regime does not necessarily mean intellectual progress, much less spiritual growth. Enlargement of vocabulary does not signify development of character. Growth is not truly indicated by mere products but rather by progress. Real educational growth is indicated by enhancement of ideals, increased appreciation of values, new meanings of values, and augmented loyalty to supreme values.

(From: The Kabbalah )
We must learn not to disassociate the airy flower from the earthy root, for the flower that is cut off from its root fades, and its seeds are barren, whereas the root, secure in mother earth, can produce flower after flower and bring their fruit to maturity.

(From: The KJV Bible - John 15:1-2)
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

(From: The Urantia Papers – Paper-180 Section-2)
        Then Jesus stood up again and continued teaching his apostles: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. I am the vine, and you are the branches. And the Father requires of me only that you shall bear much fruit. The vine is pruned only to increase the fruitfulness of its branches. Every branch coming out of me which bears no fruit, the Father will take away. Every branch which bears fruit, the Father will cleanse that it may bear more fruit. Already are you clean through the word I have spoken, but you must continue to be clean. You must abide in me, and I in you; the branch will die if it is separated from the vine. As the branch cannot bear fruit except it abides in the vine, so neither can you yield the fruits of loving service except you abide in me. Remember: I am the real vine, and you are the living branches. He who lives in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit of the spirit and experience the supreme joy of yielding this spiritual harvest. If you will maintain this living spiritual connection with me, you will bear abundant fruit. If you abide in me and my words live in you, you will be able to commune freely with me, and then can my living spirit so infuse you that you may ask whatsoever my spirit wills and do all this with the assurance that the Father will grant us our petition. Herein is the Father glorified: that the vine has many living branches, and that every branch bears much fruit. And when the world sees these fruit-bearing branches--my friends who love one another, even as I have loved them--all men will know that you are truly my disciples.

(From: Ralph Waldo Emerson)
All our progress is an unfolding, like a vegetable bud. You have first an instinct, then an opinion, then a knowledge as the plant has root, bud, and fruit. Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.

(From: The Urantia Papers – Paper-193 Section-2)
Salvation is the free gift of God, but those who are born of the spirit will immediately begin to show forth the fruits of the spirit in loving service to their fellow creatures. And the fruits of the divine spirit which are yielded in the lives of spirit-born and God-knowing mortals are: loving service, unselfish devotion, courageous loyalty, sincere fairness, enlightened honesty, undying hope, confiding trust, merciful ministry, unfailing goodness, forgiving tolerance, and enduring peace. If professed believers bear not these fruits of the divine spirit in their lives, they are dead; the Spirit of Truth is not in them; they are useless branches on the living vine, and they soon will be taken away. My Father requires of the children of faith that they bear much spirit fruit. If, therefore, you are not fruitful, he will dig about your roots and cut away your unfruitful branches. Increasingly, must you yield the fruits of the spirit as you progress heavenward in the kingdom of God. You may enter the kingdom as a child, but the Father requires that you grow up, by grace, to the full stature of spiritual adulthood.


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The Sermon
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The classic “Vine and Branches” analogy has been playing itself over and over in my mind lately for some reason (go figure ;-), and the other day I got this idea of looking at our entire Retreat Garden Property as a Branch on the Vine. As I remove the dying and diseased branches, which happen to at this point be some of the pine trees growing off of it, the more that the Beautiful and Healthy Pines which were hidden and being stifled in their midst are revealed. As the intense competition for water and nutrients and sunlight is lightened by the removal of the Un-healthy, the Healthy and Beautiful can then Thrive and Grow and Fulfill their Potential. They can get Stronger and more disease Resistant, and more Productive because the main Trunk of the branch (the land) is being “Pruned”… more of the Life Giving and Health Promoting Energy can then be utilized to stimulate Regeneration and New Growth and consequently More and Better Fruits.

The parable of the Vine and the Branches scares some people. I know it Used to scare Me a little. That was when I was worried that the Branch that was Me would be completely cut from the Vine because I wasn't good enough. There was Too Much wrong with me… So Far from Perfect that I was unable to see the Good and Healthy “branches” of my life that deserved more attention, more of the Water and Light of Life that was being sucked off by the branches of materialism, guilt, remorse, shame, fear, envy, intolerance, imperfectness, immaturity. I didn't realize at the time that without all those parasitic branches of myself clamoring for my life energy, that the main “Trunk” of my Branch and the auxiliary Branches that produce the more life Satisfying Fruits of the Spirit would then be able to thrive and grow more Purposefully. I was worried that there wouldn't be anything left of the essential Me if I cut out the bad branches.

Then at some point I got to thinking… what if I started pruning out some of my Own dead or dying or diseased branches? Then God wouldn't have to do so much of the pruning For me! If I would pray and ask God to help me with my pruning… to show me which of my branches need pruning the Most and how to remove them without causing other damage… He'd show me the Way I would think.

So I prayed, and what do ya know, my mind recognized a branch that needed pruning… Just like That. Severing it didn't happen “Just like That” of course. There was an ample amount of---“Not THAT one, Are You Sure? But it's going to Hurt! Isn't there an Easier one?”---and so on that temporarily inhibited the process, but eventually I just gritted my teeth and made the cut. Almost Immediately I felt better about myself, felt an unnecessary and stifling Weight fall from me. I hadn't lost any Real part of myself at All! All I had lost was a Parasite of the Real Me! It felt Good to get RID of it!!!

So I prayed again in Thanksgiving and was subsequently shown another branch that needed pruning… Already?… “Not THAT one, Are You Sure? But it's going to Hurt! Isn't there an Easier one?”

Over the years since then I have begun to somewhat realize that Pruning oneself is a never-ending endeavor. Even if we somehow manage to remove all of the unhealthy, energy leaching branches of our Past, Each new Growing Season produces some branches that will one day need pruning in their turn. But then… there is Nothing quite so Rewarding and Personally Fulfilling than the Sweet and Delicious Fruits of the Spirit that are produced after a good healthy Self Pruning.

Isn't it funny how much easier it seems to see where the pruning is needed in others than in our own selves? Most often those branches are the very same ones we haven't pruned from Our Own Branch yet. Funny how that is, don't ya Think?

And yet I Pray again…

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The Prayer
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Dear God,
        Show me how to become more Fruitful. Show me My next branch that needs Pruning. And Thank You for Teaching me… I'll try to be a better learner.

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

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

BACK TO TOP

4-8-2001 Sunday Service of the Church Within #237
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Today's Service is offered by: Pastor Daniel J. Megow


NEW Weekly Feature!!!
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Humor of the Week
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Two men meet on the street.
One asks the other: "Hi, how are you?"
The other replies: "I'm fine, thanks."
"And how's your son? Is he still unemployed?"
"Yes, he is. But he is meditating now."
"Meditating? What's that?"
"I don't know. But it's better than sitting around and doing nothing!"

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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.

Today I think I will talk about the dreaded “P” word again. I think it's OK to talk about it as long as you don't Pray for it… at least I Hope so… ;-)

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Quotes
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(From: Albert Einstein)
Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.

(From: The Urantia Papers – Paper-160 Section-1)
        Prejudice blinds the soul to the recognition of truth, and prejudice can be removed only by the sincere devotion of the soul to the adoration of a cause that is all-embracing and all-inclusive of one's fellow men. Prejudice is inseparably linked to selfishness. Prejudice can be eliminated only by the abandonment of self-seeking and by substituting therefor the quest of the satisfaction of the service of a cause that is not only greater than self, but one that is even greater than all humanity--the search for God, the attainment of divinity. The evidence of maturity of personality consists in the transformation of human desire so that it constantly seeks for the realization of those values which are highest and most divinely real.

(From: Albert Einstein)
Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.

(From: Joseph Rickaby)
A great preservative against angry and mutinous thoughts, and all impatience and quarreling, is to have some great business and interest in your mind, which, like a sponge shall suck up your attention and keep you from brooding over what displeases you.

(From: The Urantia Papers – Paper-99 Section-7)
In the midst of the confusions of a rapidly changing environment mortal man needs the sustenance of a far-flung cosmic perspective.
        Religion inspires man to live courageously and joyfully on the face of the earth; it joins patience with passion, insight to zeal, sympathy with power, and ideals with energy.
        Man can never wisely decide temporal issues or transcend the selfishness of personal interests unless he meditates in the presence of the sovereignty of God and reckons with the realities of divine meanings and spiritual values.

(From: Leonardo da Vinci)
        Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases, it will have no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will then be powerless to vex your mind.

(From: The Urantia Papers – Paper-100 Section-1)
        Religious habits of thinking and acting are contributory to the economy of spiritual growth. One can develop religious predispositions toward favorable reaction to spiritual stimuli, a sort of conditioned spiritual reflex. Habits which favor religious growth embrace cultivated sensitivity to divine values, recognition of religious living in others, reflective meditation on cosmic meanings, worshipful problem solving, sharing one's spiritual life with one's fellows, avoidance of selfishness, refusal to presume on divine mercy, living as in the presence of God.

(From: Saint Francis de Sales)
Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them - every day begin the task anew.

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The Sermon
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        Ever notice how easy it is to be Patient when you are in the process of doing something that you Really Love to do? It's like, you don't even Need Patience really. Every second Counts. Every second has Value.

        I first personally discovered this interesting phenomenon in my early 30's when I was Sculpting Wood. I frequently went to wood carving shows to display my sculptures and enter them in competitions. Invariably I would have a piece that I was presently working on while at the show. One of the most common comments people would make when visiting my table was, “I would never have the Patience to do that.” After thinking about the statement many times over I really Thought about it and realized that my carvings really hadn't taxed my patience at All… hadn't even seemed to Require any patience. I could sit there for hour upon hour carving away little bits of wood totally oblivious to the passing of time, and when I finally would stand back and look at the overall piece, I could notice that I had made significant progress. Most of the kind of artwork I did took well over a hundred hours to complete. Many pieces took me more like 300-400 hours, and yet when they were finally finished it almost seemed like no time at all had passed.

        When I carve, it always feels like God is Right There with me, guiding my hands, revealing new things, showing me the way. I get so involved in the Present moment with God that there isn't any opportunity for consciously Exercising patience.

        In the ensuing years, I began to realize that no matter What I did, If I shared the experience with God while I was doing it, I Loved doing it and I never had to think about having patience… there just wasn't any Room for Impatience.

        I'm starting to realize that if I am being impatient or if I'm not Loving what I'm doing at the moment, it's because I'm not consciously allowing God to be a Part of it, not sharing the present moment with God.

        Wouldn't it be Cool to be so In Tune to, So Connected with, God that there was no longer any need to even Think about having Patience?

        Well… that day seems rather far away, doesn't it? Perhaps we'll just have to be Patient… or better Yet, Practice the Presence of God. Ya Think?

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The Prayer
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Dear God,
        You are the Source of the Joy, the Love, the Fulfillment in my life. Don't let me Ever again Forget it… I feel Miserable when I do.

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

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

BACK TO TOP

4-15-2001 Easter Sunday Service of the Church Within #238
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Today's Service is offered by: Minister Judy Girard

Please Freely Share any of our Church Within Services with Any and All whom you feel might Appreciate them. Thank You!

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Light And Life Garden Update
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We've made a lot of Progress at “The Garden” so far this Spring! I've been concentrating primarily on the upper acre at the entrance and surrounding the residence. The driveway is now double-wide, although still 2/3rds dirt… when it's dry ;-), and can safely accommodate even a motor-home. The first stage of grading for a road down to the second level is completed. It is Fairly Steep and until we get a whole bunch of rock laid over it, it is a one way road… down ;-). Fortunately I needed the Tractor down at the bottom of it for tree planting and stump removal <G>.

Our First Fruits have now been planted and should be productive in a year or so. Already Planted are the bareroots---4 Plum trees, 1 Rainier and 3 Bing Cherry trees, and a 5 variety Apple tree. Next week I will be planting the 2 varieties of Pear tree and 2 varieties of Blueberry bush that we have waiting in line. I have yet to get Raspberries to plant but hope to soon.

Any further fruit planting beyond that, this year, will be done by Visitors.
J

Hope Many of you will get a chance to Visit us this year. The Food is Good, Free, and the Jacuzzi is always Hot.

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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.

A Joyous Easter to you All!

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Quotes
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(From the NASB – Deuteronomy 30:19)
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants.

(From the revised New American Bible - Luke 24: 1-3)
At daybreak on the first day of the week the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of Jesus.

(From the NASB –Luke 24:13-16)
And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. And they were talking with each other about the things that had taken place. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.

(From the NASB John 10:10)
…..I come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

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The Sermon
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Sr. Joan Chittester, a Roman Catholic, Benedictine nun, recently wrote a beautiful reflection on Easter, which appeared in a national publication I receive. Before I offend the non-Christian and/or non-Catholics in the audience, please listen to what she had to say. I think it is applicable no matter which spiritual path you have chosen. If you are on a journey, this message can be applied to you. Many thanks to Sr. Joan's inspirational contribution to this service.

She says: “ The old news about Easter is that it is about the resurrection. The new news may be that it is not so much about the resurrection of Jesus as it is about our own.”

That one statement, followed by her own reflections really gave me reason to stop and ponder. The tomb in which Jesus lay has been empty for a long time. In what tomb do I still reside? Am I more attached to the tomb, to death itself, than I am to life? Do I want to really live? Am I willing to leave behind the burial cloth, the things that bind me in my life, the living death I am sometimes willing to endure and live in this new life which Jesus has to offer?

I come to the tomb early in the morning. I have come expecting to find the body of a beloved friend. I have journeyed to that point. At the tomb, I meet believers and unbelievers; supporters and those who are at best, skeptical. I am shoulder to shoulder with those who have betrayed my friend. And I am deeply aware of the ways in which I have betrayed him myself. I meet those who have journeyed with me and those whose paths are radically different. The journey I have been on has led me to hear the story of the prodigal son, the story of the transfiguration on the mountaintop, the story of the man born blind and the story of the woman at the well. In these, I have heard about loving without regard for the price. I have heard about one's life being totally transformed by just one encounter with this man called Jesus. I have heard the story of the unconditional love of a parent toward two pretty unlovable children and have heard about and experienced my own blindness and heard about the desire to see.

I have heard questions and have questioned myself what it means to follow this Nazarean named Jesus. Do I intend to live my life differently as a result of my encounters with him? Or, do I just continue on my way and follow in name only? The answer has to do with rising out of the tombs of our lives. We often live lives of somewhat empty ritual, become complacent regarding human suffering and accepting of the social sins which surround us and in which we participate. Our tombs of death and destruction are crying to be emptied.

The tomb contains those on death row; it contains those whose lives I have not respected. It contains wars both little and big, conflicts between friends and enemies. It contains the words of hate, prejudice and anger, which are quick to form on my lips. It contains my judgments and those walls I build to protect myself from those with whom I am not comfortable. It contains those children who somehow have learned that it is okay to terrorize and even kill other children. The tomb contains those who verbally and physically abuse others. The tomb contains me and my whole life.

Like the women who go to the tomb, we need to really look at whether, once our lives are touched by Jesus, will we rise and do life differently? So differently in fact that perhaps our friends will not recognize us in our rising from the dead. Why is it that those with whom Jesus was most intimate did not recognize him? Was even his life so transformed that he was not recognizable? What would it take for my life to be so transformed that I would no longer be recognizable to my friends?
        
As a culture we have looked for fullness of life in some very interesting places. It is those same places that have become the rags that enshroud us in death. We have looked to money and status, to our possessions, to drugs and alcohol and food, to relationships and sex, to television and consumerism. We have been blind and adulterous and dead needing to be raised. We find ourselves caught somewhere between the tomb and the stone that has covered it. We want to believe the tomb is empty and that there is more to life than what we have experienced. Yet, we live in a world of racism and sexism and consumerism. We live in a land of prejudice and fear. We have taken as the gospel truth the half-truths our media and even our religions profess to us. We have come to believe that a weekly television show about survival is real and that it represents life. We have taken our creator and made God small and limited like we are. We have become blind and deaf and dumb in an effort to adhere to some doctrine or another. We have missed the point of the resurrection, of the empty tomb, entirely. We run, like the apostles, to see for ourselves because we do not believe those who have gone before us. We do not trust the proclamation of others if we cannot shrink those experiences into our small little boxes of faith and belief. We not only miss the message, but we reject the messengers. We make ourselves the measure of God's love for us and we miss the bigger picture.

Our faith is not limited to our private experience of God. We are called to expand our thinking and our beliefs outside any box. God is bigger than we can imagine. It is that kind of rising to new life which may be far more important than the resurrection of 2000 years ago.

The resurrection to which Easter calls us is our own. We must prepare to find God wherever and whenever God is. We must be prepared to find God in some very unexpected places. To see God in ways we never expected to, to hear God in words we thought we would never hear and maybe don't want to hear. We must open our hearts to fit around God and stop shrinking God to fit into our puny little hearts and minds. We must release the voice and presence of God. We must let God out of the tomb and into our lives. This demands that we let go of those social phobias, which keep us protected from one another. It means that we will reach out to one another –to everyone—to gays and women and men and immigrants and illegal aliens and prisoners and the poor and blacks and yellows and browns and strangers and children. It means listening to those to whom we do not usually listen—to women and angels in particular (those voices that are strangely lacking in most religious traditions). It means emptying tombs and contending with those whose beliefs are different from ours, and with whom it is not apparent that we share anything.

Easter becomes a day of decisions more than a day of celebration. What is to be decided is whether or not we will rise from the deadening grip of this world's burnt out systems to the life-giving time of God's coming again.

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The Prayer
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Loving God and Father of us All,
        You have sent many to us to show us new ways to live. Today we celebrate the life of Jesus, who showed us a radically new way to live. We are called to live filled with life, leaving behind those things that bind us up and keep us from new life. Help us, today, to decide to choose life.
Amen.

God's Abundant Blessings,

Judy Girard, Minister
The Church Within

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4-22-2001 Sunday Service of the Church Within #239
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Today's Service is offered by: Minister Joilin Johnson

Please Freely Share any of our Church Within Services with Any and All whom you feel might Appreciate them. Thank You!

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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.

Isn't it Amazing how often someone will say something that just goes right in one ear and then out the other without making any impression on what lies between them? Today's Beautiful Sermon by Minister Joilin reminded me of how very Important it is to cultivate the art of being a good Listener.

OK everybody… Listen Up…

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Quotes
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(From: The Urantia Papers - Paper-148 Section-6)
No more shall suffering mortals be denied the comfort of knowing the love of God and understanding the mercy of the Father in heaven. While the speech of God spoken from the whirlwind was a majestic concept for the day of its utterance, you have already learned that the Father does not thus reveal himself, but rather that he speaks within the human heart as a still, small voice, saying, `This is the way; walk therein.'

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The Sermon
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The Voice of God

Have you ever wondered what the sound of God's voice might be like? Do you suppose there might be more than one way for God's voice to speak to us? Lets take a minute to think about this…think about the times in your life when you -needed- His guidance... did you do anything in particular to call Him to you?… did it work… did you hear Him?… What was it like?… Is His voice always the same to you? Think about these things and if you'd like to share some of your own unique experiences in hearing God's voice speak to you, I'd love to hear from you.

Now I'd like to give you a few examples of some of the ways in which I believe God speaks to us.

You're in a restaurant… you begin to overhear a conversation, one that sounds as if they are addressing an issue that is deeply personal to you... at first you try to blank out the sounds of their voices, knowing in your heart it would be rude to listen to a conversation not intended for you… however, try as you might, you cannot drown them out…you discover suddenly, that you -must- hear everything they are saying, and you tip your head slightly, the better to hear. As soon as the words you needed to hear were spoken, it's as if someone has suddenly turned volume down… you can no longer hear any of their conversation clearly…

This was God speaking to you, as clearly as if He had tapped you on the shoulder and said “Listen I have something to tell you.”

Another time you're in a doctor's waiting room... you notice a young mother with three children, two toddlers and an infant in arms... she looks tired and very concerned about the baby, who is very clearly the ill child, and her reason for being in the waiting room... the baby is very fussy, very congested, and having trouble breathing... the older children are picking up on their mother's distress and have become restless and whiny... as you take in this scene, you feel a pull from within, almost a tugging to get up and -do- something…you try to ignore it… feeling like a fool, and thinking to yourself, “What can I do… I don't even know these people?… and yet the inner urge to try to help in some way, soon becomes so loud, you can no longer resist it... you discover your feet are planting themselves into the carpet…your knees are flexing… and now you are standing... as you look toward the young mother, you SEE her anguish… you KNOW her pain… and you begin walking toward her, to do the work your Father would have you do...

This was another case of God speaking directly to you, with the added dimension of speaking “through” you as well.

And now, this time you're in your car… waiting at a traffic light…you glance over at the occupant in the car beside you... it is an older woman, whose lined face speaks volumes…as you catch her glance, she quickly averts her eyes... you however, discover that you are intrigued by her face, for within it you see so much of life that has left it's mark on her... pain... anguish... frustration... disappointment... even fear... as you continue to look, you begin to feel that, now familiar urging from within, to reach out to this woman, ease her burden if you can... you continue looking... willing her to return your gaze... and suddenly she does with a sad, almost hopeless look on her face... and now you're wondering what you could possibly do to ease her pain... to lift her spirit... when just as suddenly, you KNOW... as you begin to feel your face stretch out in one of the biggest smiles you have ever made... and then just as quickly, you see your own smile returned, as the weary lines in her face are transformed into lines of hope and Love...

This too, was God's voice speaking to you and working through you.

Another time, you're writing in your journal... trying to find clarity... seeking direction regarding an issue of great import, yet one you have not been able to resolve so far... suddenly, your pen is moving across the page as if by it's own volition... you stop and read what has been written... and discover it is the answer to your dilemma... the direction you were seeking...

This too was God speaking to you.

Another time, you go to a movie trying to find some peace away from the heavy thoughts that have been weighing you down... you have a decision to make, and yet you feel powerless to make a move... you feel as if you will be damned if you do and damned if you don't, for every solution you have come up with thus far, is a lose/lose situation... so in desperation, you seek solace in the movie... getting “into” it as if your very life counted on your concentration... when suddenly, you realize that the main characters are struggling with a life scenario that exactly matches your own... and as you continue to watch, you discover that they have come up with the perfect solution, one that turns an almost impossible situation into one where everyone is a winner!

Once again, God was speaking to you.

Many people mistake the inner voice for the voice of their conscience... a voice they oft times override... yet, I believe they are quite often mistaken and that the voice they hear is none other than the voice of their own indwelling Fragment of God... gently leading... softly speaking... ”follow me... this is the way... Reach out and touch another of my children, that my kingdom may become greater, through you...

You see, I believe that God speaks to us in many different ways. I also believe that He will use any channel that is open to Him. We are taught that “truth” is where you find it… that those with the eyes to see, will see... those with the ears to hear, will hear. I believe both of those statements. I also believe that our heavenly Father seeks to reach us and teach us throughout every day of our entire lives... and yet, I also believe that we have a responsibility in this life, a responsibility to consciously -seek- out our Father... for once we understand... truly understand the power of His “Freewill” gift to us, we begin to understand that NEVER will He impress HIS will upon us... the gift He gave to us was the gift of “choice”... He wants for US to make our own choices in life...

So knowing this... knowing that your heavenly Father continuously attempts to -reach- your mind... your heart... and knowing further, that He -wills- for you to make a choice... He wills for you to -hear- Him... for you to open up your hearts and minds to His ever present voice... how will you chose?

Minister Joilin Johnson,
The Church Within

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4-29-2001 Sunday Service of the Church Within #240
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Today's Service is offered by: Pastor Daniel J. Megow

Please Freely Share any of our Church Within Services with Any and All whom you feel might Appreciate them. Thank You!

NEW Weekly Feature!!!
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Humor of the Week
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        A little girl was deeply involved in her drawing when her teacher stopped and asked her what she was drawing.
        The little girl said “I'm drawing a picture of God's face.”
        The teacher reminded the young one that no one knows what God looks like.
        In a matter-of-fact tone, the little girl responded “They will when I'm finished.”

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Light And Life Garden Update
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        This week we made a Great Deal of Advancement in the Co-creation of our First “Fruits of the Spirit” garden at the “Light and Life Garden Retreat.” The Driveway down “Faith Hill” is now roughed-in and usable… when it's dry ;-). Fortunately it was dry for enough days that I was able to use the Backhoe to dig 20 of the 24 2ft deep post holes for a deer resistant enclosure (to protect all of our Newly Planted Fruit trees and plants from being eaten), and to dig up the stumps and roots that were where our new Raspberry Patch of 17 plants now is. Since we have More than Plenty free logs to use for whatever we wish, I encircled the fruit garden with 4-8 in. thick logs as fence posts. By next Sunday I hope to have an 8 ft. high “field fence” attached to them.
        All of the newly planted fruits are vigorously producing their first leaves and seem to be Thriving in their new environment! In God's time, this 220 ft. in circumference “Fruits of the Spirit Garden” will be producing Plums, Pears, Cherries, Raspberries and Blueberries for Any who come to Visit or Retreat. Fortuitous and Synchronistic occurrences this week have Inspired us to name this first in our series of gardens, “The Faith Garden.”

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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.

What is Your definition of Faith? Is it the same as it Always was or has it changed somewhat over the years as you have experienced more and more of life?

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Quotes
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(From: The Urantia Papers - Paper-140 Section-4)
Moral worth cannot be derived from mere repression--obeying the injunction "Thou shalt not." Fear and shame are unworthy motivations for religious living. Religion is valid only when it reveals the fatherhood of God and enhances the brotherhood of men.

(From: The Urantia Papers - Paper-140 Section-4)
        Strong characters are not derived from not doing wrong but rather from actually doing right. Unselfishness is the badge of human greatness. The highest levels of self-realization are attained by worship and service. The happy and effective person is motivated, not by fear of wrongdoing, but by love of right doing.

(From: The RSV Bible - Hebrews 11:1)
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

(From: Friedrich Von Schlegel)
In actual life every great enterprise begins with and takes its first forward step in faith.

(From: The Urantia Papers - Paper-140 Section-10)
        That evening while teaching in the house, for it had begun to rain, Jesus talked at great length, trying to show the twelve what they must be, not what they must do. They knew only a religion that imposed the doing of certain things as the means of attaining righteousness--salvation. But Jesus would reiterate, "In the kingdom you must be righteous in order to do the work." Many times did he repeat, "Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." All the while was the Master explaining to his bewildered apostles that the salvation which he had come to bring to the world was to be had only by believing, by simple and sincere faith.

(From: The American Standard Bible - James 1:2-6)
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.

(From: The Urantia Papers - Paper-102 Section-6)
        Convictions about God may be arrived at through wise reasoning, but the individual becomes God-knowing only by faith, through personal experience. In much that pertains to life, probability must be reckoned with, but when contacting with cosmic reality, certainty may be experienced when such meanings and values are approached by living faith.

(From: The RSV Bible - Ephesians 2:8)
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God

(From: Richard Cardinal Cushing)
For centuries now we've tried everything else; the power of wealth, of mighty armies and navies, machinations of diplomats. All have failed. Before it's too late, and time is running out, let us turn from trust in the chain reactions of exploding atoms to faith of the chain reaction of God's love. Love - love of God and fellow men. That is God's formula for peace. Peace on earth to men of good will.

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The Sermon
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(From: The Dictionary)
faith (fth) n.
1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, an idea, or a thing. 2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. 3.Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters. 4. The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will. 5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith. 6. A set of principles or beliefs.

        There are quite a number of definitions for the word Faith… not to mention interpretations of what Practicing Faith really means… each with their own particular validity.

        As a young child I thought that Faith was the Organized Religion I followed. “What Faith are you?” “Oh, I'm a ___________.” That's One definition of Faith I suppose but… that definition lead me to think that Faith in a dogma or doctrine was the same as Faith in God.

        Later in life I discovered that I could have a Deep and Rewarding Faith in God Independently of any particular Doctrine or Belief System… Imagine That! I could Still have Supreme Faith in God without having unquestioned faith in a particular religious organization's interpretation of what that means.

        Today, a “secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will” more nearly approaches my present understanding and Practice of Faith. It is my experience that acting wholeheartedly in Childlike Faith is what turns Potentials into Actuals and reveals more and more of the fullness of God's Will. Invariably it requires Patience for Faith to fully actualize something of lasting Value… it doesn't seem to be an instantaneous process. But once the Fruits of Faith are Tasted, the time required for their ripening is inconsequential.

        Faith's Fruits are not produced through inaction nor from thoughts kept safely protected within the confines of the mind.

        Beliefs may change your mind, but it takes Active and Living Faith to change and Enrich the way you live your entire Life.

Faith… ya Gotta' Love it! Faith… ya Gotta Practice it!

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The Prayer
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Dear God,
        Help me to have the Courage and Patience to Forever Grow in my Faith in You.

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

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

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