Church Within Sunday Services

for August 1998

Click a box to go to the Individual Service
#97
8-2-98
#98
8-9-98
#99
8-16-98
#100
8-23-98
#101
8-30-98

8-2-98 Sunday Service of Church Within #97
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Welcome
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Greetings my Dearest Siblings, and welcome once again to The Church that is Within.

Today I got the strong "bump" to draw a "Rune" to start off today's Service. I don't know why, but I'm learning not to ignore those "Angel Bumps" or intuitions, or whatever you want to call them. Let's see if it has any significance.

The first of today's quotes is the "reading" from the Ruin that I drew...

Now if you'll excuse me for a moment, I'm going to spend a little time in the Silence to see what emerges. Care to join me?


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Quotes
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(from: "The Book of Runes")
#18 - flow / water / that which conducts (Laguz)
        Unseen powers are active here, powers that nourish, shape and connect. The attributes of this Rune are water, fluidity, the ebb and flow of emotions, of vocations and relationships. Laguz fulfills your desire to immerse yourself in the experience of living without having to evaluate or understand. It speaks to the satisfaction of emotional needs, to the awakening of the intuitive or lunar side of your nature. For while the sun strives for differentiation, the moon draws us toward union and merging.
        This Rune often signals a time for cleansing: for revaluing, reorganizing, realigning. A Rune of deep knowing, Laguz may call you to study spiritual matters in readiness for self-transformation. Success now lies in contacting your intuitive knowing, in attuning your own rhythms. A Rune of the self relating rightly to the Self, Laguz signifies what alchemists called the conjunctio, or sacred marriage. In fairy tales, it is the end where the hero and heroine live happily ever after.

Reversed glyph: A warning against over reach, excessive striving; a counsel against trying to exceed your own strength or operate beyond the power you have funded to date in your life.
        Laguz reversed often indicates a failure to draw upon the wisdom of instinct. As a result, the intuitive side of your nature may be languishing, leaving you out of balance. What is called for now is to go within, to honor the receptive side of your Warrior Nature.

(from: The Urantia Papers - Paper-16 Section-6)
        "In the local universe mind bestowals, these three insights of the cosmic mind constitute the a priori (ed: "a priori" = deductive) assumptions which make it possible for man to function as a rational and self-conscious personality in the realms of science, philosophy, and religion. Stated otherwise, the recognition of the reality of these three manifestations of the Infinite is by a cosmic technique of self-revelation. Matter-energy is recognized by the mathematical logic of the senses; mind-reason intuitively knows its moral duty; spirit-faith (worship) is the religion of the reality of spiritual experience. These three basic factors in reflective thinking may be unified and co-ordinated in personality development, or they may become disproportionate and virtually unrelated in their respective functions. But when they become unified, they produce a strong character consisting in the correlation of a factual science, a moral philosophy, and a genuine religious experience. And it is these three cosmic intuitions that give objective validity, reality, to man's experience in and with things, meanings, and values."

(from: the RSV Bible - Romans 5:4-5)
and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.

(A Zen Parable)
The students in the monastery were in total awe of the elder monk, not because he was strict, but because nothing ever seemed to upset or ruffle him. So they found him a bit unearthly and even frightening. One day they decided to put him to a test. A bunch of them very quietly hid in a dark corner of one of the hallways, and waited for the monk to walk by. Within moments, the old man appeared, carrying a cup of hot tea. Just as he passed by, the students all rushed out at him screaming as loud as they could. But the monk showed no reaction whatsoever. He peacefully made his way to a small table at the end of the hall, gently placed the cup down, and then, leaning against the wall, cried out with shock, "Ohhhhh!"

(from: the Tao Te Ching - #33)
Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.

If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.
If you stay in the center and embrace death with your whole heart,
you will endure forever.

(A Sufi Parable)
        "Mulla, Mulla, my son has written from the Abode of Learning to say that he has completely finished his studies!"
        "Console yourself, madam, with the thought that God will no doubt send him more."

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The Sermon
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        OK, Lord. You gave me all these quotes for some reason, now what do You want me to do with them? Er... I mean, what shall We do with them? OK... OK... How may I assist You in giving today's "sermon"? Huh? Whadda ya mean "Shut up and listen" ? Oh. You said "Be Still and listen." Be still used to mean shut up to me, so naturally I... OK, OK, You don't have to repeat it... I will now Be Still and Listen for Your "still small voice" within.

[after a 10 minute stillness pause]

        "In God's Will, I place my Faith." That's what I heard. "In God's Will, I place my Faith." Just like that. What does that mean to you? Or should I be saying, What does it mean to me?

        Well... here's what it means to Me then. Having Faith in God's Will means to me that I no longer need struggle, as in with, my own will verses God's will. I am quite certain that what God wills for me is far superior to anything that I might be able to conceive to will for myself. That doesn't mean I have given up my free will or anything like that... just that while I am pursuing my own will, I am actually seeking to discover God's will. And I do not fear any longer that it will be opposing my own will, because I no longer wish to "tell" my Parent what is best for me. I have found that it works Far Better to just Ask what is best, follow up on All things that enter into my Path, and then accept what manifests without personally trying to Force anything to happen.

        Often I follow paths which Seem right... and then dead end abruptly. That used to cause me to get all upset and feel like I had Failed. Well, when I threw all my energy into the apparent failure, I was missing the actual Gift of the experience. Each time now that I follow something that feels like an intuition towards some goal of mine, I look for a Gift or something that may be a piece of the greater goal if in fact not the actual goal itself. I always find one now.

        Disappointment no longer has the hold on me that it once did. I can't think of anything to be disappointed about anymore. If something doesn't happen the way I think I want it... So What! Does it really make any difference to anything but my ego? "Ha! You make me Laugh ego!" God knows my Soul's True desires, and everything that I need to grow up into my Greatest Potential... my most Satisfied Self. And that is Exactly what God wishes for me. Why... I'd be foolish to try to Force something that is not in God's flow now... wouldn't I? Wouldn't I?

        Life without disappointment is really Cool ya Know?! I don't know why I put up with the other way for so long. I guess 'cause it was familiar and it kept me too busy to actually realize how miserable I was. It felt safer knowing what to expect even though I didn't like it... and I thought, wouldn't I miss having something to complain about? Living without disappointment doesn't mean that I don't still get frustrated from time to time, but now, any kind of prolonged frustration shows me that indeed there is a better way to seek. It is far more exciting and exhilarating to take a fresh step into the unknown avenues of Faith in God's Grace, than it is to go around and around in the same circle all the time.

"In God's Will, I place my Faith." Did it have any additional meanings for you?

        Well, it doesn't look like the quotes seeped in there very much does it? OK then, I think I'll try taking a line that feels significant to me from each of them, and try putting them together into one short message just to see if it can be done. I'd hate to waste them after all. ;-)

Here it is:
"a rational and self-conscious personality" "of the self relating rightly to the Self" "is by a cosmic technique of self-revelation." "What is called for now is to go within" . "knowing yourself is true wisdom" , "mastering yourself is true power" , "because nothing ever seemed to upset or ruffle". "hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us" and "God will no doubt send him more."

Hmmm... That sorta works... ya Think?

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The Prayer
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Dear Ever Loving Source,        
        Your Way, Your Will, is Fun when I choose to allow it! Why did it take me so long to realize that?

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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8-9-98 Sunday Service of Church Within #98
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Welcome
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Greetings my Dearest Siblings, and welcome once again to Church Within.

        For the most part, I like to use quotes from a Wide variety of sources in my Sunday Services. I believe there is great Beauty, Truth and Goodness to be discovered in every Religion, Theology and Philosophy. Are they not All examples of humanity's attempt to discover the Original Source for God's sake? Indeed they are for God's Sake! ;-)

        Well, this not being an ordinary morning ;-), my stillness time with my Creator somehow led me into a rather interesting experience of quote finding. Most, but not all, of the sources I quote from are already on my computer, so when I find quotes that I think I may like to use someday, I save them to a Quotes File for another time. While searching for something entirely different this morning, I kept unexpectedly finding ones that grabbed onto my Soul and would not let go. So... I saved them of course while I kept on searching for one in particular. 2½ hours later... I had a number of quotes I liked and still hadn't found the one I wanted. I put them all together in a single document to see which one I wanted to use today, and they kind of fit all together like the pieces of a puzzle into a picture. I had no inkling of this while it was happening, but there it was in front of me and I was loath to take the pieces apart once I had seen them together. It was funny though... there still seemed to be one piece missing. Going back to search for the missing piece and in a search again for something entirely different, I immediately stumbled upon the quote I had originally been searching for from the beginning. Funny... it turned out to be the missing piece and is the first of today's Quotes.

        So while I DO like to ordinarily quote truths from a variety of my Favorite Sources, This week I use only one of the many.

Here's the Picture I saw...

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Quotes
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(The Urantia Papers - Paper-160 Section-5)
        If something has become a religion in your experience, it is self-evident that you already have become an active evangel of that religion since you deem the supreme concept of your religion as being worthy of the worship of all mankind, all universe intelligences. If you are not a positive and missionary evangel of your religion, you are self-deceived in that what you call a religion is only a traditional belief or a mere system of intellectual philosophy.

(The Urantia Papers - Paper-100 Section-6)
        The marks of human response to the religious impulse embrace the qualities of nobility and grandeur. The sincere religionist is conscious of universe citizenship and is aware of making contact with sources of superhuman power. He is thrilled and energized with the assurance of belonging to a superior and ennobled fellowship of the sons of God. The consciousness of self-worth has become augmented by the stimulus of the quest for the highest universe objectives-- supreme goals.

(The Urantia Papers - Paper-155 Section-6)
        Never forget there is only one adventure which is more satisfying and thrilling than the attempt to discover the will of the living God, and that is the supreme experience of honestly trying to do that divine will. And fail not to remember that the will of God can be done in any earthly occupation. Some callings are not holy and others secular. All things are sacred in the lives of those who are spirit led; that is, subordinated to truth, ennobled by love, dominated by mercy, and restrained by fairness--justice.

(The Urantia Papers - Paper-155 Section-5)
        And for a long time there will live on earth those timid, fearful, and hesitant individuals who will prefer thus to secure their religious consolations, even though, in so casting their lot with the religions of authority, they compromise the sovereignty of personality, debase the dignity of self-respect, and utterly surrender the right to participate in that most thrilling and inspiring of all possible human experiences: the personal quest for truth, the exhilaration of facing the perils of intellectual discovery, the determination to explore the realities of personal religious experience, the supreme satisfaction of experiencing the personal triumph of the actual realization of the victory of spiritual faith over intellectual doubt as it is honestly won in the supreme adventure of all human existence--man seeking God, for himself and as himself, and finding him.

(The Urantia Papers - Paper-191 Section-4)
"You are all the children of light; therefore stumble not into the misunderstanding entanglements of mortal suspicion and human intolerance. If you are ennobled, by the grace of faith, to love unbelievers, should you not also equally love those who are your fellow believers in the far-spreading household of faith? Remember, as you love one another, all men will know that you are my disciples."

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The Sermon
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        So! What did the "Picture look like to you? Of one thing you can be certain. There is no one of us that sees it exactly like another.

        Each of us has an underlying desire to share that which has inspired meaningful experience in our lives. Often out of self doubt, or fear of rejection or for myriad other reasons, we do not. But the Desire doesn't go away, does it? Even though we search for and find excuses why we shouldn't share what is burning within our Souls, the desire to share it survives although many times buried under many layers of "reasons".

        Our individual beliefs that we have accumulated in the course of our lives are "Sacred" to us. They are what have "Worked" for us, or have Inspired us. They are our personal relationship with our Creator. They can be intellectual concepts which have stimulated the inner yearnings of our soul; they may be living experiences of sublime knowing that have been achieved through diligent and honest Faith testing.

        Do you have Beliefs that you are not yet willing to put to the "test" yet? Of Course you do! We All do. There is a certain Safety in saving them for a later time, isn't there? And also in some cases, it is using Wisdom to save them for a time when we are more personally ready for the full experience. It is an Individual thing of course. I may not be ready yet to "faith test" something which You have already experientially made a part of you. You may not be ready yet to "faith test" something which I have already experientially made a part of Me. Either way, should you hold me back or I you? Should you wait for me and postpone your own forward growth because I have not made realizations that You have? I would Hope you would Not! It would Serve neither you nor me nor God to do so. Rather would I learn from you as I watch you live what you have discovered. I may then feel the more confident when it comes time for me to take that Faith Step for myself.

        What are some of the things that you have not yet fully "Faith tested"? What are the "reserves" which you have and what are they based in? We All have reservations about certain things. I would hope that my own core reserves are held on to out of Love rather than out of Fear. I pray that I may be honest enough with myself to actively search within my Soul and discover my True motivation. Because if it is out of Love, then I may know for a certainty that I am traveling in the right direction for me... but if I discover that it is from my own Fears then I must realize that it is keeping me from moving forward in my best way and learn how to approach it with Love.

        Living as if all of our Beliefs at any given point are absolutely True will inerrantly show us which ones are and which ones are not... but only for us. If we fear to discover that a cherished belief may be false, then as long as we hold on to that fear we will not know for sure experientially whether or not it is valid. In A.C. Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes" stories, when asked how he figured out a seemingly impossible case, Sherlock would share that by discovering everything that was Not the answer, what was left Was the answer. He would follow every possible lead knowing that the True answer would be found through discovering which ones were not true. Interesting concept to use with our Beliefs don't ya think? If I am too afraid to find them to be false, then I am still at Least that far away from discovering what is actually True.

"So! What did the "Picture look like to you? Of one thing you can be certain. There is no one of us that sees it exactly like another."

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The Prayer
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Dear Ever Loving Parent,        
        Help me ever to discover new ways of acting through Your Love rather than from my own fear, and help me also to continually search deeply into my own Soul in order to discover which is which.

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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8-16-98 Sunday Service of Church Within #99
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Welcome
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Greetings my Dearest Siblings, and welcome once again to Church Within.

This Weeks Sunday Service, #99, has been prepared and given by Minister, Corporate Treasurer and Member of the Board of Directors, Sheila Jean Burgher.

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Quotes
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(The Urantia Papers - Paper-100 Section-1)
        Religious experience is markedly influenced by physical health, inherited temperament, and social environment. But these temporal conditions do not inhibit inner spiritual progress by a soul dedicated to the doing of the will of the Father in heaven. There are present in all normal mortals certain innate drives toward growth and self-realization which function if they are not specifically inhibited. The certain technique of fostering this constitutive endowment of the potential of spiritual growth is to maintain an attitude of wholehearted devotion to supreme values.

(The Urantia Papers - Paper-100 Section-4)
        But the great problem of religious living consists in the task of unifying the soul powers of the personality by the dominance of LOVE. Health, mental efficiency, and happiness arise from the unification of physical systems, mind systems, and spirit systems. Of health and sanity man understands much, but of happiness he has truly realized very little. The highest happiness is indissolubly linked with spiritual progress. Spiritual growth yields lasting joy, peace which passes all understanding.

(from: the Tao Te Ching - #71)
Not-knowing is true knowledge.
Presuming to know is a disease.
First realize that you are sick;
then you can move toward health.

The Master is her own physician.
She has healed herself of all knowing.
Thus she is truly whole.


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The Sermon
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Hello everyone!!!

        As "Public Outreach Director" of Church Within, it has been my great privilege to share my experiences in taking self responsibility for living healthy (whole).

        Believe me when I say I didn't start off this way, but my willingness to learn how, was the first step in becoming Whole. A change in perception of who I am was the Key to my success. What originally began as bad luck, tragedies, catching dis-ease, even pain, now shows itself to me as Gifts, and Evolution in my Growth, my decision to stop the cycle of experiencing less-than-health, the willingness to expand my knowledge of techniques in healing and to use these tools skillfully is only part of it. Self Love is Essential. Accepting myself as our Loving Father does is Imperative. Giving my will over to our Father and allowing him to do His will is extremely important to healing. Allowing and trusting that my human body is ever so willing and capable of healing itself as long as I maintain Logic-Focus on it's needs, is a great part of the constant challenge to maintain balance, to allow for Natural Healing

        As we are great Spirit beings as well as human beings, we possess within us Father Perfection. Father Perfection is Health (Wholeness). Unfortunately, we live on a planet that is not perfect. From the beginning of our visit here, the day we are born, we are susceptible to misunderstandings of who we are. Mistakenly so, we come to believe we are human first, which gives us the illusion of being separated from our Creator Father. From this we believe in all non-love experiences. Any non-love thought or idea results in non-love experiences such as dis-ease, pain, anger, fear, etc; which brings a cycle of belief in dis-ease resulting in a constant state of un-healthiness.

        Believing that we are whole [healthy] Spirit Beings must come first. Refusing to heal just to experience dis-ease over and over again is not necessary. Re-uniting Mind, Body and Spirit and living the will of our Father is a choice. You must choose Health. You must learn to Love yourself. You must learn how your body is best maintained. You must practice and learn techniques and allow your natural instinct to be healthy to override your bad habits towards illness.

        Love is essential for healing. Self Love as our Father Loves us then, is the key to success in this endeavor.

        I have written an Introduction to my healing classes. It is rather Humorous and at the same time informative. It is called "Welcome to Planet Earth." If you would like us to e-mail you a copy of it, please let us know. It is a part of my Sunday Service to you, but has been kept separate for brevity. I hope you will appreciate the Humor of it.

        Health must be taken with a light and happy heart. There is no room for non-love on this journey of Growth on this wonderful, beautiful Planet Earth.

"Welcome to Planet Earth....."

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The Prayer
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Dear Loving Father,        
        Thank you for my Health. Thank you for all the ways I have found to maintain it. Where there was dis-ease, I have replaced it with You. Where there was doubt, I replaced it with You. Now I know who I am, and where You are.
        Amen.

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

The Creator's Infinite Love, through me, to all of You,
Minister Sheila

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8-23-98 Sunday Service of Church Within #100
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Welcome
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Greetings my Beloved Siblings, and welcome once again to Church Within.

        For those of you who have requested copies of Minister Sheila's "Welcome to Planet Earth" mentioned in last week's Service #99, be assured you haven't been forgotten. I will send them out to you this coming week I just received it yesterday from her.

        I have just today arrived home from a little trip which begun on August 10th. Actually I did have Wednesday evening and Thursday at home in between to do a wedding and prepare for the annual Friday thru Sunday Birthday Celebration camp-out retreat which culminated this magnificent 13 day Journey in Love.

        Anyone who has posted me during that time period, I will begin responding to on Tuesday morning. I may not get out of bed at all, on Monday. ;-)

        Anyways.... Today's Sunday Service #100 is an evening Service due to the fact that I was unable to begin it before 4:00pm PST. Sorry to those of you who look forward to it earlier in the day.

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Quotes
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(A Zen Parable)
        A master of the tea ceremony in old Japan once accidentally slighted a soldier. He quickly apologized, but the rather impetuous soldier demanded that the matter be settled in a sword duel. The tea master, who had no experience with swords, asked the advice of a fellow Zen master who did possess such skill. As he was served by his friend, the Zen swordsman could not help but notice how the tea master performed his art with perfect concentration and tranquillity. "Tomorrow," the Zen swordsman said, "when you duel the soldier, hold your weapon above your head, as if ready to strike, and face him with the same concentration and tranquillity with which you perform the tea ceremony."
        The next day, at the appointed time and place for the duel, the tea master followed this advice. The soldier, readying himself to strike, stared for a long time into the fully attentive but calm face of the tea master. Finally, the soldier lowered his sword, apologized for his arrogance, and left without a blow being struck.

(From: the Tao Te Ching #59)
The mark of a moderate man is freedom from his own ideas.
Tolerant like the sky, all-pervading like sunlight,
firm like a mountain, supple like a tree in the wind,
he has no destination in view and makes use of anything
life happens to bring his way.

Nothing is impossible for him. Because he has let go,
he can care for the people's welfare as a mother cares for her child.

(from: the KJV Bible - Luke 1:76-79)

        And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, when the day shall dawn upon us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."

(The Urantia Papers - Paper-34 Section-7)
        Having started out on the way of life everlasting, having accepted the assignment and received your orders to advance, do not fear the dangers of human forgetfulness and mortal inconstancy, do not be troubled with doubts of failure or by perplexing confusion, do not falter and question your status and standing, for in every dark hour, at every crossroad in the forward struggle, the Spirit of Truth will always speak, saying, "This is the way."


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The Sermon
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        "This is the way."

        I fell in love with Everybody I met during these last two weeks... on the 32 hour bus trip each way as well as at my destinations with friends and family. Somehow, I was given the Gift of being able to discover a beautiful new expression of God's Love within each of them.

        Isn't it funny how we so often try to hide the inner beauty of our Souls from outside scrutiny? How is it that we have learned so to fear the sharing of our God-like qualities we have been Graced with? Do we see only those things within our experience wherein we have failed yet to achieve a relative degree of perfection, and miss all of the truly Beautiful and Good and Loving times that we have participated in an expression of God's Love?

        "This is the way."

        Why is it that people so brutally chastise themselves for making mistakes? Do we not learn and grow from our mistakes? How silly to imagine ourselves "All grown up" and no longer capable of making the innocent mistakes of inexperience. When I can see myself as yet a Little Child in God's endless Family, it becomes easier to forgive myself for those instances wherein I have reacted and still react in understandable immaturity and ignorance.

        "This is the way."

        Pure un-filtered Love is an Awesome and Powerful and Tender and Compassionate and Unselfish and Invigorating thing. It is truly what we all so desperately seek above all else, and so desperately crave in our Souls to share... Is it not? Allow it. Let God express it through you. Practice with God's help until all fear is gone.

        "This is the way."

"Love one another as I have loved you."

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The Prayer
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Dear Ever Loving Parent,        
        Bathe me in the Love that you share with me through my brothers and sisters, and guide me in my own expression of You to them. Be the pilot of my experience now and forever.

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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8-30-98 Sunday Service of Church Within #101
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Today's Service is offered by: Pastor Daniel Joseph Megow

Welcome
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Greetings my Dearest Siblings, and welcome once again to Church Within.

        Well, last week seemed like somewhat of a Milestone for Church Within. It was our 100th consecutive week of Sunday Services. Through computer problems... power outages... weekend conferences... Through monetary desolation... personal struggles... and even through a month of homelessness... Through rain, and sleet and.... Yeah, Yeah, Yeah... so get on with it will ya? ;-) Anyways, somehow... often times seemingly downright providential, we were able every week to provide our Sunday Service... usually it was even on time. ;-)

        OK... so moving on... I was given a little internal reminder this morning that on our spiritual quest to find God, no matter how far we have traveled on the Path of our Personal Religious Experience, we are always at the beginning. Ya know? Like... "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" kinda thing. ;-) Every new insight and AhhHaa immediately evolves our way of looking at and perceiving things. Today, I am different... hopefully better... than I was last month.

        In college, courses are usually given numbers to signify their level... 101 signifying a basic or beginning level of work. This week's service being #101 was the humorous reminder that 100 weeks, while seeming like an incredible journey, is but a fraction of an instant in Eternity.

        In "Church Within - 101", I will be discussing the definition of Religion... at least it is my/a/one definition of religion Note taking is entirely unnecessary in this class, but homework is essential. ;-)

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Quotes
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(from: the Tao Te Ching - #23)
        Express yourself completely, then keep quiet. Be like the forces of nature: when it blows, there is only wind; when it rains, there is only rain; when the clouds pass, the sun shines through.
        If you open yourself to the Tao, you are at one with the Tao and you can embody it completely. If you open yourself to insight, you are at one with insight and you can use it completely. If you open yourself to loss, you are at one with loss and you can accept it completely.
        Open yourself to the Tao, then trust your natural responses; and everything will fall into place.

(from: Paul in the KJV Bible -Romans 8:38-39)
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God...

(from: the RSV Bible - Proverbs 1:2-6)
That men may know wisdom and instruction, understand words of insight, receive instruction in wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity; that prudence may be given to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth -- the wise man also may hear and increase in learning, and the man of understanding acquire skill, to understand a proverb and a figure, the words of the wise and their riddles.

(The Urantia Papers - Paper-103 Section-1)
        The unity of religious experience among a social or racial group derives from the identical nature of the God fragment indwelling the individual. It is this divine in man that gives origin to his unselfish interest in the welfare of other men. But since personality is unique—no two mortals being alike—it inevitably follows that no two human beings can similarly interpret the leadings and urges of the spirit of divinity which lives within their minds. A group of mortals can experience spiritual unity, but they can never attain philosophic uniformity. And this diversity of the interpretation of religious thought and experience is shown by the fact that twentieth-century theologians and philosophers have formulated upward of five hundred different definitions of religion. In reality, every human being defines religion in the terms of his own experiential interpretation of the divine impulses emanating from the God spirit that indwells him, and therefore must such an interpretation be unique and wholly different from the religious philosophy of all other human beings.
        When one mortal is in full agreement with the religious philosophy of a fellow mortal, that phenomenon indicates that these two beings have had a similar religious experience touching the matters concerned in their similarity of philosophic religious interpretation.
        While your religion is a matter of personal experience, it is most important that you should be exposed to the knowledge of a vast number of other religious experiences (the diverse interpretations of other and diverse mortals) to the end that you may prevent your religious life from becoming egocentric—circumscribed, selfish, and unsocial.

(The Urantia Papers - Paper-103 Section-9)
        When theology masters religion, religion dies; it becomes a doctrine instead of a life. The mission of theology is merely to facilitate the self-consciousness of personal spiritual experience. Theology constitutes the religious effort to define, clarify, expound, and justify the experiential claims of religion, which, in the last analysis, can be validated only by living faith. In the higher philosophy of the universe, wisdom, like reason, becomes allied to faith. Reason, wisdom, and faith are man's highest human attainments. Reason introduces man to the world of facts, to things; wisdom introduces him to a world of truth, to relationships; faith initiates him into a world of divinity, spiritual experience.

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The Sermon
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        Religion--- A Big subject, wouldn't you say? Well... to me, Religion is nothing more nor less than "My Personal Experience of, and consequent Relationship with, God." I see all else as Theology or Philosophy. Theology and philosophy are what you Talk... Religion is what you Walk. While I thoroughly enjoy and look forward to discussions of theology and philosophy, while they are indeed avenues for increased knowledge and understanding, if their concepts do not mold how I actually live my Life then they are not really my religion... they are but words and ideas.

        I like to use the analogy of time - Past/Present/Future - when describing my concepts of Theology/Religion/Philosophy. Theology as Past; Religion as Present; Philosophy as Future.

        Theology is the record of the personal religious experience which has already been. It has great value in that it shows us how others have previously discovered God and gives us insight into ways that have already been tried and have worked for others. Each of us has our own Unique theology based on those things in our life which have given us an experiencable understanding our Creator.

        Philosophy is the analysis of personal religious experience, and the theorizing about what may, what could or what will be. It keeps our interest piqued... pulls us onward... leads us toward new discoveries of ourselves and God.

        Religion is our Living Personal Relationship with God. It is not what has gone before or what will be in the future... it is Now... the Present... it is what I live in each and every moment. It is ever growing and ever in motion, because my understanding of God is ever incomplete, and my relationship with God is barely yet in it's infancy. Religion is the recognition of God within all that is True, Beautiful, Good and Loving... within others... and within ourselves. It is Caring about others and having compassion for them as they wrestle with their life struggles. It's about Love and our growing ability to receive and share it. It's about the desire to become more Godlike.

OK.... that's the end of the "Lecture" for today. For your homework this week, Live your Religion and continue to discover your Creator in every waking moment. If you are doing it correctly, it should not interfere with the doing of any of your other assignments... in fact... it should enhance your ability to accomplish All your other assignments.

See you next week...

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The Prayer
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Dear Ever Loving Parent,        
        You are the Source, the Value, and the Meaning of my life. Be with me in every moment to urge me on towards a greater and more mature understanding of You.

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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