Church Within Sunday Services

for December 1998

Click a box to go to the Individual Service
#115
12-6-98
#116
12-13-98
#117
12-20-98
#118
12-27-98

12-6-98 Sunday Service of Church Within #115
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Today's Service is offered by: Minister Judy Girard

Welcome
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Greetings my Dearest Sisters and Brothers, and welcome once again to The Church that is Within.


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Quotes
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(from: The RSV Bible - Matthew 7:7-8)
"Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

(from: The Urantia Papers - Paper-132 Section-6 Para-1)
"Here in Rome also occurred that touching incident in which the Creator of a universe spent several hours restoring a lost child to his anxious mother. This little boy had wandered away from his home, and Jesus found him crying in distress. He and Ganid were on their way to the libraries, but they devoted themselves to getting the child back home. Ganid never forgot Jesus' comment: "You know, Ganid, most human beings are like the lost child. They spend much of their time crying in fear and suffering in sorrow when, in very truth, they are but a short distance from safety and security, even as this child was only a little way from home. And all those who know the way of truth and enjoy the assurance of knowing God should esteem it a privilege, not a duty, to offer guidance to their fellows in their efforts to find the satisfactions of living. Did we not supremely enjoy this ministry of restoring the child to his mother? So do those who lead men to God experience the supreme satisfaction of human service." And from that day forward, for the remainder of his natural life, Ganid was continually on the lookout for lost children whom he might restore to their homes."

(from: The Door Into Summer - Robert A. Heinlein)
        "While still a kitten, all fluff and buzzes, Pete had worked out a simple philosophy. I was in charge of quarters, rations and weather; he was in charge of everything else. But he held me especially responsible for weather. ...regularly that winter, Pete would check his own door, refuse to go out because of that unpleasant white stuff beyond it ...then badger me to open a people door.
        He had a fixed conviction that at least one of them must lead into summer weather. Each time this meant that I had to go around with him to each of the eleven doors, hold it open while he satisfied himself that it was winter out that way, too, then go on to the next door, while his criticisms of my mismanagement grew more bitter with each disappointment....
[Eventually he would go out,] But he never gave up his search for the Door Into Summer."

(from: Leo Buscaglia)
"Love is life.. and if you miss love, you miss life."

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The Sermon
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Everybody has heard of Harry Houdini, the master magician escape artist. He often boasted that he could escape from any jail in the world in less than an hour--if he was allowed to wear street clothes.

A small town in the British Isles took Houdini up on his challenge. When Houdini arrived in the town's new jail, excitement was at a fever pitch as he was taken to the cell. Confidence oozed from every pore as the door was closed.

Hidden in his belt was a 10 inch piece of steel which he used to work on the lock. At the end of 30 minutes his confident look had disappeared. At the end of an hour he was drenched in perspiration. After two hours he literally collapsed against the door. And amazingly, the door opened.

It had never been locked, except in Houdini's head. One little push would have opened it. But since he thought it was locked, he didn't try.

The doors of opportunity are the same. If we think they are locked, we won't try to open them. But sometimes all it takes for them to swing wide open is one extra push.

Are you trying everything you can to open the doors of opportunity in your own personal world? Maybe some of the doors you didn't think you could open are waiting for you to use them. Try believing the door is open before you give up.

Most of my life I have felt like Houdini. Can you see yourself putting lots of effort into something to no avail? And then just as you are ready to give up, something changes and it comes very easily? My path to God has been like that at times. Mostly it is me, the little child, having a temper tantrum and carrying on about how unfair things are. And each time I exhaust myself by going through all the things I think I need to do, I find God waiting there with arms open and I fall into the waiting lap and get engulfed by a huge hug--it's SO easy!

Sometimes the opening of the door is very apparent to me and sometimes it takes one of my brothers and sisters to show me the way. Sometimes I see the glow they possess because they are basking in that hug and it sends me on the way. Slowly I am learning that the path is often not as difficult as I make it. I am learning that when the door truly is locked that there is a reason for it. And, there is always another window or door that is unlocked. I have started to see that when I struggle the most, I have an even deeper appreciation for the love and peace that follows.

The path is love and if I stay focused on that, God is always there, arms waiting. Loving others and receiving love from them; it is as difficult and as easy as that. There really are very few tools required. The Master came to show us the way and if we follow His way, God is always there, arms ready and waiting. What follows is truly transformational.

How about it, are you ready for doors to open? Or, are you still struggling with doors that only look as if they are locked? I think you will find it amazing to discover how many doors are actually unlocked when we seek God's will for us.

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The Prayer
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Ever Loving Parent,
        We are your children. Help us to become more child-like, more trusting and more vulnerable. When we feel lost, remind us to look for YOU. Show us there is always a door that is open and unlocked and within those doors is more love than we can ever imagine. Remind us to stay centered on that TRUTH. Help us to stay focused on the path YOU have outlined for us rather than the path that sometimes looks more attractive to US.
        The door that is locked to one of your children may not be locked to another. It is only in sharing our paths, diverse as they are, that we begin to see the many different ways there are to find YOU in our lives. Thank you for the diversity of paths, each one leading to YOU.

God's love and abundant blessings through me to each of you,

Judy Minister, Church Within

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12-13-98 Sunday Service of Church Within #116
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Today's Service is offered by: Minister Sheila Jean Burgher

Welcome
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Greetings my Dearest Sisters and Brothers, and welcome once again to The
Church that is Within.

Minister Sheila has given me a wonderful gift today... the 45th anniversary of the beginning of my Earth career. Instead of the 6-8 hours I usually spend each Sunday Morning putting the Service Together, I'm getting to sleep in and relax. Thank you Sheila Dear Sister! This is a Great one!

Father's Love,
Pastor Daniel

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The Sermon
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Hello Brothers and Sisters!

        Please excuse me for not having some wonderful quotes to go with this weeks service. I'm sure there is plenty. I have been moved to share with you this week a gift I received from our Loving Father.

        It's not like we haven't heard of these lessons/tools before. I have personally spoke of them numerous times. The lessons here are not new, but the picture/vision I got this time gave me a brand new perspective on them. This vision sorta gave me something to put in my pocket to use daily. I was in a daze for 2 days after this one. This whole vision lasted all of two seconds and contained a life time of lesson in it. So here goes.

        I saw me walking on a treadmill. In front of the treadmill was kinda like a movie screen of life. You know , everything I experience or maybe better put…. The present moment. Now, If I kept walking, the moments/screen of life kept changing. But if I stopped walking, the picture/experience/ moment froze in place. As soon as I started walking again, the moment/picture/experience began to go through its course again.

Lesson...
In order to get through this moment/picture/experience, we must keep going. Take another step to the next moment. When I say step or keep walking, I don't think I mean it literally, but more like, don't hang on to the last moment or the one yesterday or last week or worse yet, someone else's. That would be not walking. The picture doesn't change as long as we are not walking. I also saw how as I experienced each picture/experience/moment, the emotions came into place. Imaging seeing someone at the gym just treadmilling along then suddenly breakout in tears or pistoffness, or smiling or panicking or whatever. You know we really can't see what other peoples' picture screen of life is. All we really see is their reaction to it. That's all we are really doing; reacting to things.

Lesson...
We have a choice as to what reaction (emotion) we have to use in any situation. And If you can imagine everyone, including yourself as treadmilling along life and choosing reactions to their own personal life screen, it puts a whole new perspective on things. For me it has become almost comical. I told John the other day I was feeling a little panicky about something and he told me "O.K. if that's the feeling you chose for today." It hit me square between the eyes. I was able to change my feelings immediately. I was so grateful that he said that. Right then I saw myself on my treadmill with a panic look on my face, stomach in knots, etc. I believe when we really catch on to the fact/idea/tool that we are capable of changing how we feel/react, right now, it makes taking the next step a lot quicker and easier. I also saw how we are all on our own treadmills. We don't share treadmills. They may be situated next to one another, but we definitely have our own treadmills. In fact, I couldn't even see the screen of life of the other person. Just the person on his/her treadmill and their emotions they were choosing at that time. I had no clue to all of the facts of the matter in which the emotions were reacting to.

Lesson...
Keep on my own path. It's great to feel joy, compassion, understanding for another, but really, I can't get on their path/treadmill. I can tell them what tools I used in a similar instance or encourage them to see another perspective, like maybe this vision, but getting caught up with their emotions/screen of life is, well, just acting out their screen of life. The other thing I realized was how detached we are from life. Life is what is on the screen. It is my previous thoughts, free will, personal manifestations, Gods Will that is on the screen. Not me. I am on the treadmill. I am simply experiencing the moment/experience/picture.

Lesson...
Detach Detach Detach. It appears that it is our heavy emotions used in a situation that attaches us to these moments/experiences/situations. I've even heard it said we shouldn't even wallow in our greatness and joy too long. That never made much sense before now, but now I can see why. Even wallowing in moments of joy stops you from taking the next step which may also be filled with a new joy. We must keep on walking. I think the greatest thing I felt about this whole vision thing was FREEDOM. With this vision I felt the freedom of having to stay in an uncomfortable emotion or situation. I felt the freedom to change my mind about things, NOW. I felt the freedom to make choices. And Freedom feels really good.

Wasn't that really Cooooool!!!!!! Hope you can put this one in your pocket too.

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The Prayer
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Oh Great Loving Father,
         Thank You sooooo much for this one!!! Thank you for the opportunity to try it out 2 days later. Father, I pray that in sharing this with my brothers and sister, Your children, I am sharing You. It is taking the next step that I walk to You to do Your Will. It is in living in the present moment that I am being with you. It is in detaching from all other things, that I am choosing You. It is in changing my mind of all things, not of you, that I lay my Trust in You. Thank You Dear Father for Freedom.


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 Jean Burgher

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12-20-98 Sunday Service of Church Within #117
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Today's Service is offered by: Pastor Daniel J. Megow

Welcome
*********
Greetings my Dearest Sisters and Brothers, and welcome once again to The Church that is Within.

Do you have someone on-line that you send our Sunday Services and/or the Stories of the Week to... or would like to? Sign them up if you think they would enjoy getting them every week. If you send me their e-mail addresses, I would be happy to put them on the weekly distribution list.

'Tis the Season... so Today's Service will be about...

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Quotes
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(from: The RSV Bible - Matthew 19:14)
but Jesus said, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven."

(The Urantia Papers - Paper-180 Section-4 Para-1)
        Jesus continued to teach, saying: "When I have gone to the Father, and after he has fully accepted the work I have done for you on earth, and after I have received the final sovereignty of my own domain, I shall say to my Father: Having left my children alone on earth, it is in accordance with my promise to send them another teacher. And when the Father shall approve, I will pour out the Spirit of Truth upon all flesh. Already is my Father's spirit in your hearts, and when this day shall come, you will also have me with you even as you now have the Father. This new gift is the spirit of living truth. The unbelievers will not at first listen to the teachings of this spirit, but the sons of light will all receive him gladly and with a whole heart. And you shall know this spirit when he comes even as you have known me, and you will receive this gift in your hearts, and he will abide with you. You thus perceive that I am not going to leave you without help and guidance. I will not leave you desolate. Today I can be with you only in person. In the times to come I will be with you and all other men who desire my presence, wherever you may be, and with each of you at the same time. Do you not discern that it is better for me to go away; that I leave you in the flesh so that I may the better and the more fully be with you in the spirit?"

(The Urantia Papers - Paper-69 Section-5 Para-5)
Even modern peoples revel in the lavish distribution of Christmas gifts, while rich men endow great institutions of philanthropy and learning. Man's technique varies, but his disposition remains quite unchanged.

(from: The RSV Bible - John 13:33-34)
Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, 'Where I am going you cannot come.' A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

(from: The KJV Bible - John 14:18-20)
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

(from: The NASB Bible - John 14:12)
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.

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The Sermon
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        I had an Interesting Flash of an idea just the other day. It's the Christmas Season ya know, so... I was like, thinking about Gifts and giving... what would they Really like?... what I thought might really bring a little Joy into their life?... we all choose/give gifts because we Care about the person in some way, Right? And then of course, I started thinking about the whole Santa Claus tradition, You Know... loves children of all ages... Jolly guy with a long white beard... gives gifts... can't see him, but as a child ya Know he's There. When you Give a gift from Santa, you're... well, you ARE Santa, don't ya think? We All have a little Santa in us don't we?... at This time of year at least? So...

        I started thinking about Jesus during my Santa Review... seeing's how he's what it's supposed to be all about anyways... Right? OK, so... I Love and Respect All of the great Masters of our planet's history, but personally I have this kind of Special attachment for Jesus. When I was growing up, it seemed like I Always would hear the most about the birth of the Baby Jesus...at the same time as my mind was filled with thoughts of Santa Claus. When I was nothing but a little critter myself, the two seemed inseparable... ya had one, you had the other. I began wondering how Jesus would have enjoyed Santa Claus if he'd been around when He was growing up... OK, so I know he was Hebrew, but this was just one of those wild anything goes kinds of wondering... ya Know?

        So then my mind took somewhat of a shift into thinking about Jesus' life after birth...You Know... and how he loved children... of all ages... Compassionate Loving guy with long hair and a beard... died in his early thirties? I wondered what Jesus would have looked like if he had gotten to be an Old man. He probably would have had Long white hair and a long white beard... probably would still have a lot of adoring children around him fairly often I would think... CONCEPT FLASH!!! It was All so Clear to me all of a sudden. Baby Jesus... jolly old Santa... JESUS IS SANTA CLAUS!! Yeah! Funny thought... don't ya think? So, I started thinking about it some more...

        Tradition has it that an old compassionate loving guy named Nicholas made little gifts he would leave for the children to find on the celebrated morning of Jesus' birth... it sure caught on, didn't it? Well, to me that's a pretty loving, Jesus-like thing to do. The Spirit of Jesus? Hmmm...

        When You are "being Santa"... how does it make you Feel at the time? In spite of the over-commercialization of the gift giving process, when yer doing it, the underlying desire is to bring happiness to someone..."I Hope they will Like this!" There's a certain amount of joyful anticipation in that moment. And then when they open it and it's something you can just tell they really DO like... it Really feels good when That happens.

        When you are being like Jesus... how does it make you Feel at the time? When you think about doing something nice for someone... isn't there a certain amount of joyful anticipation in that moment. And then when you Do that thing and it's something you can just tell they really appreciate... it Really feels good when That happens. Doesn't it?

        Don't ya sometimes wish that the Real Spirit of Christmas could last all year? What if we could each day during the year, be more Loving and Compassionate like Jesus was?

I Wonder... what the world would be like Then?

Hmmm... Jesus is Santa Claus through us? Could be... ya Think?

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The Prayer
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Dear Ever Loving Parent,        
        Help me to be better at Giving and Receiving Your Gifts.
Thanks!

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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12-27-98 Sunday Service of Church Within #118
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Today's Service is offered by: Minister Judy Girard

Welcome
********
Greetings my Dearest Sisters and Brothers, and welcome once again to The Church that is Within.

I hope you all had an inspiring Christmas this year. I most certainly did. It was a day of sharing and Love that I will not soon forget. In fact, I am determined to have another day like that today... and tomorrow... and the next... and... well, you get the picture. Don'tcha?

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Quotes
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(From: the NRSV Bible - Luke 2:6-7)
While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her first-born son, wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

(From: the RNAB Bible - Colossians 3:12- 17)
Put on, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another; as the Lord forgives you, so must you also do, And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

(From: The Urantia Papers - Paper 180 Section 1 par 4-5)
        "You have not merely chosen me, but I have also chosen you, and I have ordained you to go forth into the world to yield the fruit of loving service to your fellows even as I have lived among you and revealed the Father to you. The Father and I will both work with you, and you shall experience the divine fullness of joy if you will only obey my command to love one another, even as I have loved you."
        If you would share the Master's joy, you must share his love. And to share his love means that you have shared his service. Such an experience of love does not deliver you from the difficulties of this world; it does not create a new world, but it most certainly does make the old world new.

(From: Henri Nouwen)
PEOPLE who have come to know the JOY OF GOD do not deny the darkness, but choose not to live in it.
They claim that the light that shines in the darkness can be trusted more than the darkness itself and that a little bit of light can dispel a lot of darkness.
THEY point each other to FLASHES of LIGHT here and there, and they remind each other that THEY reveal the hidden but real presence of GOD.
They discover they are people who heal each other's wounds, forgive each other's offenses, share their possessions, foster the spirit of community, celebrate the gifts they have received, and live in constant anticipation of the full manifestation of GOD'S GLORY.

(From: Meister Eckhart)
We are all meant to be mothers of God for God is always needing to be born.

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The Sermon
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        For many, Christmas is over and folks are already getting back into the normal routine of their lives. Most radio stations have stopped playing Christmas carols and lots of folks carry on with their lives as though little to nothing has happened. But, the Christmas story is only Part One. It makes no sense if you don't pay attention, in the words of Paul Harvey, to " the rest of the story...."

        A teacher of small children once told me of a child who said to her, "Jesus is God's show and tell."

        How simple and wonderful! Jesus IS God's show and tell. That's the best theology of incarnation I've ever heard. Jesus said, if you do not understand me as a little child, you will not be able to enter the kingdom of heaven.

        The child's insight works more powerfully for me than dogma. When I am told that Jesus of Nazareth was EXACTLY like us EXCEPT sinless, I block. If he was sinless he wasn't EXACTLY like us. That makes NO sense. Jesus was like us because he was born like any child, cried like all children do, got hungry and needed to be changed, grew up like the rest of us, asked questions in the temple when he was twelve, lost his temper in righteous indignation at the money lenders in the temple, worked and played like the rest of us and grieved, when at the end, his disciples abandoned him. I WANT Jesus to be like us because he is God's show and tell. If Jesus is God's show and tell, the wonder, the marvel is that Jesus and the Father are one. Not I, says Jesus over and over, but the Father in me, the Father who is such love that he is willing to be in the story with us.

        In Lewis Carroll's, Alice's Adventures Through the Looking Glass, the White Queen advised Alice to practice believing six impossible things every morning before breakfast. How impossible is it for us to think of Jesus, born as a child of a human mother as all babies are born? How can we trivialize such a matter with tinsel and crowded shopping malls and arguments about the humanity of Jesus versus his divinity?

Like the White Queen we must merrily accept the impossible and know that with God NOTHING is impossible. It's more than our puny minds can comprehend. It is precisely why Jesus kept telling us that we must become like little children to understand what a difference this birth makes in our lives. God put on our flesh and affirmed its beauty and goodness and holiness. If we limit ourselves to the possible and the provable, we render ourselves incapacitated by the confines of our minds. Perhaps it is the child within us who is able to recognize the truth of the story - the mysterious, the inexplicable.

        God's story is true. We know that God's story is true because God gave us His WORD - that Word who came to us as one of us. The Word became living truth for us, the only truth that can make us free.

        When was the last time anybody asked you, "do I have your word?" Or when was the last time anybody said to you, "I give you my word," and you knew that you could trust that word, absolutely? How many times in the last few decades have we watched and listened to a political or sports figure on television and heard him say, "I give you my word..." and shortly thereafter that word has been proven false? In the past year alone, how many people have perjured themselves publicly? Sworn on the Bible, given their word, and that word has been a lie? Words of honor are broken casually today, as though they don't matter.

        Small wonder when God tells us, "I give you my Word," few people take him seriously.

        I give you my Word," said God and the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.

        And what does that mean to us? What have we been shown and told? Do we celebrate Christmas because it happened 2000 years ago, or do we bring Jesus to birth in our hearts and our lives? Does Christmas happen each and every day?

When will he come and how will he come among us? TODAY.

        What can we PROVE about Christ's coming in glory? Nothing. It is far beyond the language of limited proof. Indeed, our entire faith rests on a joyous acceptance of the factually impossible. When we celebrate Christmas we are celebrating that amazing time when the Word shouted all the galaxies into being, limited all power, and for love of us came to us in the powerless body of a human baby. We celebrate Jesus alive in us. We celebrate the incarnational reality that we must love and serve as Mary and Joseph did, who made room for Jesus in their lives. We must love and serve as Jesus did, who loved unconditionally and unselfishly, who healed the sick and set folks free from the captivity of their hearts and minds. He came to KEEP God's word of love; to show us love and HOW to love.

        We have much to be judged for when Christ comes again: slums and battlefields and insane asylums, and prisons and the homeless and people who are shunned, but these are the symptoms of our illness, and the results of our failures in love. In the evening of our lives we shall be judged on love. But, the Lord's love is greater than all our hate, and he will not rest until we are all healed, whole and complete, knowing the joy of being co-creators with Him. Isn't it about time we not only celebrate the birth of Christ, but live it as well? Isn't it time to make room in the stables of our hearts for Christ to be born among us and tell the rest of God's story? To live God's rest of the story? Isn't it time to be and live the Word of God, so that our words become enfleshed in the truth of our lives?

Isn't it time for us to join our brother, Jesus, as God's show and tell?

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The Prayer
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Ever Loving Parent,
        Your light is stronger than all darkness. Whether we see a steady light or a flicker, remind us of the power of the light of your Son. Help us to be a people who heal each other's wounds, forgive each other's offenses, share our possessions, foster the spirit of community, celebrate and share the gifts we have received, Give birth to you in our lives and live in constant anticipation of the full manifestation of GOD'S GLORY.

Amen.

Judy Girard
Minister
Church Within

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