The Church Within Sunday Services

for July 2000

Click a box to go to the Individual Service
#197
7-2-2000
#198
7-9-2000
#199
7-16-2000
#200
7-23-2000
#201
7-30-2000

7-2-2000 Sunday Service of the Church Within #197
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Today's Service is offered by: Pastor Daniel J. Megow

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

Life is a Journey...

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Quotes
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(from: The Urantia Papers – Paper-169 Section-1)
        Jesus was very partial to telling these three stories at the same time. He presented the story of the lost sheep to show that, when men unintentionally stray away from the path of life, the Father is mindful of such lost ones and goes out, with his Sons, the true shepherds of the flock, to seek the lost sheep. He then would recite the story of the coin lost in the house to illustrate how thorough is the divine searching for all who are confused, confounded, or otherwise spiritually blinded by the material cares and accumulations of life. And then he would launch forth into the telling of this parable of the lost son, the reception of the returning prodigal, to show how complete is the restoration of the lost son into his Father's house and heart.
        Many, many times during his years of teaching, Jesus told and retold this story of the prodigal son. This parable and the story of the good Samaritan were his favorite means of teaching the love of the Father and the neighborliness of man.

(from - Ursula K. Le Guin)
It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.

(From: The Tao Te Ching - #41)
Thus it is said:
The path into the light seems dark,
the path forward seems to go back,
the direct path seems long,
true power seems weak,
true purity seems tarnished,
true steadfastness seems changeable,
true clarity seems obscure,
the greatest are seems unsophisticated,
the greatest love seems indifferent,
the greatest wisdom seems childish.

(from: Mary Manin Morrissey)
Along our spiritual journey, every one of us is thrust into the desert.
We find ourselves in a relationship wasteland or financially barren. We feel lost and abandoned, but it is during this time in the desert that God grows our souls.

(From: The RSV Bible - Hebrews 12:11-14)
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

(from: The Urantia Papers – Paper-107 Section-6)
Your path to Paradise is the path of spirit attainment, and the Adjuster nature will faithfully unfold the revelation of the spiritual nature of the Universal Father.

(from: The Urantia Papers – Paper-103 Section-9)
Faith most willingly carries reason along as far as reason can go and then goes on with wisdom to the full philosophic limit; and then it dares to launch out upon the limitless and never-ending universe journey in the sole company of TRUTH.

(A Message From The Hopi Elders - Oraibi, Arizona Hopi Nation)
"There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift, that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water. And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate.
At this time in history, we are to take nothing personal. Least of all, ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

(from: Tim McGraw)
"We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere"

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The Sermon
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Do you ever experience those times when ya KNOW that there's Gotta be an on-ramp back onto "The Freeway of Soul and Spirit" nearby, but you just Can't seem to Find it?

"The Freeway"

        Finally I was ready to begin my Journey. The time had come to begin it, and I was excited and eager to proceed.

        I had recently traded in my old, and not very dependable, Ego on a New Soul.
        The Ego---my "First Set of Wheels" and what I learned to Drive in---was adequate for getting around town, but besides having no Guts, being a fuel guzzler, and unable to attain freeway speeds, it had a consistent tendency toward breaking down if driven for more than a few miles at a time without being serviced. I couldn't realistically take it on an extended trip the likes of which I was about ready to begin.
        The Soul, on the other hand, was a sleek vehicle for truly getting places---I could travel Anywhere with it in Total confidence. It had seemingly Inexhaustible Power on demand, required very little energy to operate, and was Guaranteed Free of Mechanical breakdowns for Life. It was the Perfect Transportation for my Life Excursion... Destination, God.

        I'd been driving my Soul around town for a few weeks---just to get the Feel of it---and even venturing out on the Freeway for my first time to a few of the nearby towns and back again. It was a Dream to navigate, and I was Anxious to begin my Spirit Journey.

        All of my life's experiences to this point were now packed efficiently into the trunk of my Soul---my favorite "book" sitting next to me on the seat to use as a map lest I lose my way and need directions. It was time to go.

        As I smoothly accelerated up the now familiar on-ramp to the freeway, I briefly reminisced about the life I was leaving behind and said a Prayer of Thanksgiving. I was indeed thankful that I was Leaving, but Also thankful for the experiences and lessons which served to entice me on this new Journey.

        The feel of the "Open Road" was Exhilarating and my Soul was a Pleasure to drive. It was almost as if it drove itself. Life was Good!

        I traveled a seemingly great distance on the "freeway" before deciding to pull off and explore a new city. It was a nice place and after getting a little familiar with it I could see why so many people had decided to stay there to live, but I couldn't be satisfied staying there... it was just too much like what I had left behind. I decided to get back on the Spirit Freeway. Backtracking to where I had left the freeway, I discovered that there was no on-ramp there, only the off-ramp. Was there even an on-ramp back to the freeway here? Some trepidation set in as I began to feel a little lost, but eventually after going in circles for a time I discovered a sign which pointed the way to the freeway on-ramp. Slow signals and city traffic jams made it time consuming to get to where the signs were directing me. It seemed like most people drove Egos in town and people driving Souls were forced to go with the Ego flow of traffic, but at Last I was again on an on-ramp to the freeway and the resumption of my quest.

        Once back on the freeway, I experienced a New sense of renewal and freedom. Being past it, the Good memories of my time in the city, those I had before I got lost, began to rise to the surface of my consciousness. That place had served it's purpose in my journey, but I was glad I didn't end up having to Live there.

        I've been on this Journey for some time now... stopped at Numerous cities and towns. I've discovered that at EVERY place you can get Off of the Spirit Freeway to God, Somewhere---no matter how hard and challenging it may be to find---there IS an on-ramp... a place to get back on the freeway.

        Enjoy your time on the Spirit Freeway! Enjoy the comfort and efficiency of your Soul Vehicle! The next off-ramp will be along before you know it and you will be ON it before you realize you have taken it. Fear Not! When you know that the Love of God is your True Destination, and you are Driving in your Soul all fueled up with Faith, you will find Beauty and Goodness wherever you pause for experience... and eventually another On-Ramp that will take you back onto the Freeway.
(a Modern Parable by Pastor Daniel J. Megow 7-2-2000)

Now... I KNOW it's around here Someplace... ;-)

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The Prayer
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Dear God,
        Can You give me some driving lessons? I keep on inadvertently trying to drive this New Vehicle like I did my Old one and the two Just don't Perform in the same way. I'll bet this Soul will Really Get Up and Go once I learn and experience Everything it's capable of Doing!

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

BACK TO TOP

7-9-2000 Sunday Service of the Church Within #198
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Today's Service is offered by: Pastor Daniel J. Megow

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

Did you ever think it might be fun to star in a movie or theater performance? What if the Greatest, most Well Known Producer/Director called you up and asked you to take the Starring Role in one of his/her Productions? What would you Do?

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Quotes
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(from: The Urantia Papers – Paper-133 Section-7)
The human mind early begins to manifest qualities which are supermaterial; the truly reflective human intellect is not altogether bound by the limits of time. That individuals so differ in their life performances indicates, not only the varying endowments of heredity and the different influences of the environment, but also the degree of unification with the indwelling spirit of the Father which has been achieved by the self, the measure of the identification of the one with the other.

(from: The Urantia Papers – Paper-48 Section-7)
The weak indulge in resolutions, but the strong act. Life is but a day's work--do it well. The act is ours; the consequences God's.

(From: The RSV Bible - Psalms 111:7-8)
The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy, they are established for ever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.

(from – William Shakespeare)
“Life is a stage”

(From: The Tao Te Ching - #63)
Act without doing;
work without effort.
Think of the small as large
and the few as many.
Confront the difficult
while it is still easy;
accomplish the great task
by a series of small acts.

(from: The Urantia Papers – Paper-16 Section-7)
        Moral acts are those human performances which are characterized by the highest intelligence, directed by selective discrimination in the choice of superior ends as well as in the selection of moral means to attain these ends. Such conduct is virtuous. Supreme virtue, then, is wholeheartedly to choose to do the will of the Father in heaven.

(from: The Urantia Papers – Paper-99 Section-4)
After all, it is what one believes rather than what one knows that determines conduct and dominates personal performances. Purely factual knowledge exerts very little influence upon the average man unless it becomes emotionally activated. But the activation of religion is superemotional, unifying the entire human experience on transcendent levels through contact with, and release of, spiritual energies in the mortal life.

(from: The Urantia Papers – Paper-5 Section-5)
Eternal survival of personality is wholly dependent on the choosing of the mortal mind, whose decisions determine the survival potential of the immortal soul. When the mind believes God and the soul knows God, and when, with the fostering Adjuster, they all desire God, then is survival assured.

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The Sermon
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Ring... Ring... Ring...

"Uh... Hello?"

"Hello My dearest child. This is God."

"God? Wow! Um... what can I Do for You?"

"Child, I've written this Play, and I want You to be In it."

"Me? YOU want Me to be in it? How could You want ME to be in it?"

"Because I wrote this Play for You."

"Oh... Well... uh... gee... um..."

"Let Me describe it to you. Just listen to all of it before you give your answer. OK?"

"Well... Yeah... OK... Sure."

"Alright my little one, here's the deal."

        "Life is the stage. The Play is called "Your Life!" The Playwright, Producer, Set Designer and Director for this Performance is Me, God.
        "You, the actor, have been Commissioned, by Me, to Play the Leading Role in this challenging Performance of "Your Life"... You are the ONLY actor in "Your Life" who is in Every Scene of Every Act, but of course, I "The Director" am Everpresent during this never-ending Play.
        "Some will play Important and Key Roles in "Your Life" and even continue to appear in the majority of the scenes for age upon Age to come, but alas, they can be no more than Supporting Actors in "Your Life" because they each have Their Own Leading role in the play I've written for them.
        "Others will play smaller but Significant Parts in "Your Life"... their role, to Set the Stage for the following Acts. They may be only in a few scenes, or they may even be in an entire Act or two, and then appear in no others.
        "There will also be a lot of Walk-On parts played by countless other actors... many will not even have any lines. They may even seem insignificant to you, but Trust Me, they are Not. Everyone in "Your Life" has a valuable Part to play in it.
        "You will have No Lines to memorize. In fact, if you Try to use memorized lines, they will trip you up more often than not. Your greatest lines will be those that come from Deep Within you... Un-rehearsed and Spontaneous.
        "Part of your role will be as a Supporting Actor, or Stage Setter, or walk-on actor in the plays I have written for others, but at NO time should you forget that You are playing the Leading Role in "Your Life" Only. Also remember, No One Else can play Your Part FOR you, nor can You play Their part for Them... but you Each can play your Own parts side-by-side and in Loving Harmony. That is Always acceptable, and Encouraged."

        "I wouldn't be calling you to Play this part if I didn't think you were absolutely Perfect for it, of course. You need Only be Yourself.
        So now. What is your answer Dear Child? It won't be an Easy part to play, mind you, but it WILL be Eternally rewarding... That I Promise you! The choice is yours. Will you take the part?"

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The Prayer
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Dear God,
        May I always listen to and follow Your Direction.

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

BACK TO TOP

7-16-2000 Sunday Service of the Church Within #199
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Today's Service is offered by: Pastor Daniel J. Megow

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

Thank you from the Bottom of my Heart to Everyone who has contributed toward the $4,500. purchase price of the Back-Hoe Construction Tractor needed for the creation of Church Within's "Light and Life Retreat Garden". So far, we have received just over $2,725. in pledges. It's All Adding Up! I can not thank you all Enough!!! Of course that's still $1,775. short of the $4,500. goal, so we are still in need of loving (tax-deductible) Help if anyone else is able and willing to share in this part of the Garden's Unfoldment.

Thank you Beloved Brothers and Sisters! You are helping to make "The Light and Life Retreat Garden" a reality for future generations to come. God Bless You!

199 Consecutive Weeks of Church Within Sunday Services. Can you Believe it? It seems like only Yesterday that I was struggling over posting our very first Service... Where has the Time gone? So VERY Much has transpired since that day... don't ya Think?

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Quotes
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(From: The Urantia Papers – Paper-92 Section-7)
        Primitive religion was largely a material-value consciousness, but civilization elevates religious values, for true religion is the devotion of the self to the service of meaningful and supreme values. As religion evolves, ethics becomes the philosophy of morals, and morality becomes the discipline of self by the standards of highest meanings and supreme values--divine and spiritual ideals. And thus religion becomes a spontaneous and exquisite devotion, the living experience of the loyalty of love.

(From: The RSV Bible - Ephesians 6:4)
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

(From: Random House Webster's Dictionary)
dis'ci·pline (-plin), —n. 1. training to act in accordance with rules. 2. a regimen that develops or improves a skill. 3. punishment inflicted by way of correction and training. 4. behavior in accord with rules of conduct. 5. a branch of instruction or learning. 6. a system of rules. —v. 7. to train by instruction and exercise. 3. to bring under        control.


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The Sermon
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Being a Discerning Disciple of Discipline's Disciplines Discloses Discoveries of Discretion that Discourages Discrimination in the Discovery of the Discernable Disciplines Disclosed in Discipleship, and when Discretely Discoursed with the Disciples Disciplinarian in Discriminating Discussions of Discipline, Discontinues the Discomfort of Discouragement and Discontent.

"The Garden of Discipline"

        An eager new Monk who's name was Will, approaching the Teacher on his third morning at the Monastery, said, "Master, show me the way to become a Teacher and Master myself one day?"

        Looking the Novice Monk directly in the eyes, the Master returned, "You must be disciplined first young one."

        Having grown up in a family where discipline was what you received from the end of a large stick, the youngster, not really knowing what he had done to deserve it, defeatedly asked, "So where am I to get disciplined then Master? I might as well get it over with as quickly as possible."

        Aware of the novitiate's interpretation of his words the Wise Elder Monk, rather than correcting it, unemotionally replied, "You must go then immediately to the Garden and tell the head gardener that you are there to receive discipline. Approach me again in One Week."

        "But Master..."

        "Go now." was all that the Teacher said before turning and walking away.

        Resigned to the inevitable the Novice, not yet knowing where 'The Garden' was, asked directions from the first passing monk, who's name he did not yet know.

        "I am Andrew. The Garden of Discipline? ...so Soon, Will? Only your third day with us, and Already you are ready for Discipline?" the monk said as if astonished.

        Hanging his head in shame Will said, almost in a whisper, "Please, just tell me the directions if you will brother."

        Watching him walk in the direction of the garden, Andrew, having been a monk for a few years already, thought to himself, "There must be something special about Will that already he is ready to learn the Secret of The Master Discipline!"

        "I thought to get Away from this here!" Will complained to himself as he approached the entrance through the vast and impressive stone wall which seemed to surround The Garden of Discipline, "Is this to be my Lot in life then Lord?" And then his thoughts wandered, "I wonder how long it took them to build this Huge Wall, and where could they have gotten all the Rock for it?

        He was at least Somewhat relieved when the Head Gardener showed him an acre patch of Rocky weed infested dirt and told him to "Make a vegetable garden out of this area as Productive and Lush as the rest of the garden. It is Your task alone. When the Master says you are finished, your discipline will be complete."

        "Good God," Will thought to himself, "This is an Impossible Job! What a Rotten way to be Disciplined! Maybe a Beating would have been Better..."

        "All the tools you will need are over there in the shed. You'd better get started. You have Much to do and a Great Lesson to learn." prompted the Gardener.

        Grumbling on his way to the shed, Will whined, "Yeah... this'll teach ME a lesson alright! Don't let the Master think you are interested in His job!"

        The Wall ended exactly where his acre began (at least now he knew where the Stone wall came from). The ring of the pick and shovel on stone made him muse, "Yup. This is Much worse than getting a beating!"

        Day after day he toiled and at the end of the week he couldn't see that he had accomplished much of Anything yet. The Master had sent word that he was to meet with him after the day's labor. "Will he Chastise me for getting so little accomplished?" Not that Will could think of any Worse punishment than what he was already Doing.

        The Master greeted him saying, "I see your section of the wall is already begun. Good work. Discipline is working upon you. Come and talk with me again when your Wall is finished. You are dismissed."

        Months that seemed like Years passed and his Wall was looking pretty good, even if he Did say so himself. Only 20 feet longer and a couple of feet higher and it would actually be Finished! It wasn't as easy to find the larger rocks as it had been. He now had to dig fairly deep to find enough to complete the length of the Wall. The smaller stones would suffice to build the Top of his Wall, and come to Think of it, they would be lighter to Lift Too!

        The last Stone that the younger but stronger monk could find in his Whole acre was the one that completed his Wall. Surveying it, he was Proud of what he had accomplished. He had never Built a Rock Wall before. It Looked good and He felt good. It was time to go talk with the Master again. "Maybe the Master will let me do something Else now Instead of that Garden."

        "Of course," the Master said when Will asked, "It is time for you to learn another lesson about Discipline "You may go work at our Dairy for a season." Go tell the Dairy Master that you have finished building your Wall and that I have sent you to him. He will have a job for you. Come back when he says that you have finished the job and I will assign you another task."

        "What did he Mean, 'It is time for you to learn another lesson about Discipline'? Did I ask the wrong Question again?" Will concluded, "I guess it can't be that bad feeding and milking Cows."

        The Dairymaster or course handed him a shovel and put him in charge of shoveling and disposing of all the Cow Manure.
        "Oh Crap!" Will let escape.
        "Truly." said the Dairymaster.
        Knowing that he couldn't get out of this, the slightly wiser Novice asked where he should dispose of all of the dung.
        "Why, use the wheelbarrow and take it over to the Garden of Discipline of course. And spread it evenly over the dirt behind where you just finished your Wall." said the Dairymaster with a sparkle in his eye.
        "But that's over half a mile Away!" protested Will.
        "Indeed," said the Dairymaster, "You had better get started then."

        It was a Filthy, Smelly job. At the end of each week for 2 months the Monk asked if he was finished yet, only to receive the answer, "No, not Yet." So he stopped asking. For the Next 2 months he barely even thought about the work. He just shoveled and wheeled, wheeled and shoveled. One day the novice discovered that the acre, His acre, had no more room to spread manure. The next wheelbarrow load would have to go someplace else. Upon relaying this information to the Dairymaster, he was told, "Your job is finished here. Go again and see the Head Master."
        "Praise the Lord!" Will exclaimed.
        "An Excellent Practice." the Dairymaster said with a grin.

        Many years later the Master---peacefully and contentedly biting into a Huge, Sweet Tomato from his Productive and Lush 1 acre Garden that he had come to Love and Appreciate so much---remembered back to the day the old Master had said to him, "Well Done. Now use your shovel to turn all of that manure into the soil. Then come back and see me again when you have finished."

        The same day he had recognized that he would Never be finished with his Garden because of his Love for it, he smiled and thanked God Sincerely for the time he had spent shoveling manure, and digging up rock, and building a Stone Wall. That was the day he fully Grasped the Meaning and Purpose and Value of The Discipline. That was the day that he himself became a Master.

(by: Pastor Daniel Megow 7-16-2000)


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The Prayer
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Dear God,
        Help me to Discipline my Discipline.

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

BACK TO TOP

7-23-2000 Sunday Service of the Church Within #200
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Today's Service is offered by: Pastor Daniel J. Megow

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Church Within's "Light and Life Garden Retreat"
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In Mid-June we had our first Official Visitor. Since then we have had an almost continuous stream of Week, Weekend or One Day Guests Visit our ever evolving "Light and Life Garden Retreat" and we have hardly yet Begun! Come Visit us, come Stay with us, come Share with us. You are Safe and Welcome and Loved here. Drop in Anytime for Dinner, Fellowship [Overnighters Welcome]!

Here's the current "What's Happening" in the quest for the Construction Tractor we need to build our Retreat site:

Original Price:                        $4,500
Total Pledged so far:         $3,125.
Total Received so far:         $2,475.

I just talked to the Tractor Owner on Thursday Evening to let him know how we are doing, and to ask him if he could put the tractor on "layaway" for us so as not to miss out on this marvelous opportunity. [Nothing was final until that point because we did not know if we had any chance of meeting his asking price.] He was impressed with how much had been pledged and already received in less than two weeks and told me to go ahead and keep the money in the bank until we had the full amount, and that he would take it off the market and consider it Ours unless we told him differently. So we have a little more time than I had thought. He Also said, that as soon as we reach $4,000. in-hand, to bring it to him and he'll finalize the deal!!! He Dropped the Price another $500. as His contribution!!!

That means we only need another $875. in Pledges ($1,525. sent and received), and the Garden Retreat Has a Tractor to assist in it's creation!!!

You are making it all Possible my Dearly Cherished Sisters and Brothers! I thank you, Church Within thanks you, and All who will benefit in the Future of the Light and Life Garden Retreat thank you!

Oh! and when I sent the somewhat tongue-in cheek "Drive the Tractor?" post to you all, and said that contributors could dig a hole to plant a fruit tree, I somehow neglected to write that you could Use the Tractor you contributed toward to dig the hole for the fruit tree (that part was not in jest). Hope ya didn't think I meant you had to dig it with a pick and a hand shovel. ;-) We also talked about putting a permanent sign by 'your' tree that says: "This Fruit Tree was Planted in the Light and Life Garden by: [Your Name]" Let us know if that's OK with you when you come to visit and "Drive the Tractor".

Contributions may be sent to:
Church Within
2650 S. Millsap Loop
Post Falls, Idaho 83854

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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.

Two Hundred Weeks! It seems like Forever, and at the Same time, like No Time at All. I think I'll start this 200th Church Within Sunday Service by drawing an "Angel Stone" from the bag...

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Quotes
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(From: "The Angel Stones Oracle" ©1999 of Church Within)
Stone #7 - OUTER CIRCLE
        You have achieved the Outer Circle of attainment in some earthly lesson. This is a Great accomplishment, for you have come a long way through many trials and difficulties to do so. Now is a time to rest and enjoy and build up the necessary strength for the next learning adventure, which surely will come in due time. You have earned a momentary respite from the material struggles of Life. It is your time to reflect upon lessons learned, and to appreciate where you are and how far you have indeed come.
        Take extra care at this time not to take on as your own, the difficulties and struggles that are intended for someone else's growth. They will deplete your own energies and deprive another of the opportunity for strengthening theirs. You can not reasonably expect personal progress while one or both of your feet are straying upon the path of another. Keep your focus patiently and with peaceful resolve upon your own process, your own path, and calmly await the unfolding of your own next lesson.

(from – The Tao Te Ching - #29)
There is a time for being ahead,
a time for being behind;
a time for being in motion,
a time for being at rest;
a time for being vigorous,
a time for being exhausted;
a time for being safe,
a time for being in danger.
        The Master sees things as they are, without trying to control them. She lets them go their own way, and resides at the center of the circle.

(from: The Urantia Papers – Paper-147 Section-8)
"'Is not this the fast I should choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the knots of heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share my bread with the hungry and to bring those who are homeless and poor to my house? And when I see those who are naked, I will clothe them.'"
        "`Then shall your light break forth as the morning while your health springs forth speedily. Your righteousness shall go before you while the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then will you call upon the Lord, and he shall answer; you will cry out, and he shall say--Here am I. And all this he will do if you refrain from oppression, condemnation, and vanity. The Father rather desires that you draw out your heart to the hungry, and that you minister to the afflicted souls; then shall your light shine in obscurity, and even your darkness shall be as the noonday. Then shall the Lord guide you continually, satisfying your soul and renewing your strength. You shall become like a watered garden, like a spring whose waters fail not. And they who do these things shall restore the wasted glories; they shall raise up the foundations of many generations; they shall be called the rebuilders of broken walls, the restorers of safe paths in which to dwell.'"

(From: The RSV Bible - Job 11:13-19)
"If you set your heart aright, you will stretch out your hands toward him. If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in your tents. Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure, and will not fear. You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away. And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning. And you will have confidence, because there is hope; you will be protected and take your rest in safety. You will lie down, and none will make you afraid; many will entreat your favor.

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The Sermon
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I think that the most Important place in the Whole World, is the place where one can be Safe... a place where they can Safely Be THEMSELF!

I think that the Most Important People in an individual's life, are the people they can feel safe With... People that allow and Encourage them to be themselves... People that they can Safely tell their Inner feelings and aspirations to... People that they can share their Soul and their Spirit with, without fear of judgment or recrimination... People that Love and Accept Love.

        Do You have a Place, or Places like that... where you feel completely Safe... where Control can be Given to God, and Loving Self-Control is the Rule?
        Do You have People like that in your Life... people that you can so Naturally just share Anything with... that you don't have to try and think up something significant to say about insignificant things with... that you can Open your Soul to?
        Do you have the Desire and Courage to Allow yourself to feel Safe... Safe to Be YOU Wherever you are and with Whomever you are with?
        These are Important things for a Healthy and Happy and Fulfilling Life

        It's Not too Easy in this world though, IS it? We are daily inundated with news examples of world-wide danger and disaster, and of people who are cruel and who hate and who Take Advantage of others. We hear about it on television, the radio, the internet... in movies, commercials, literature, magazines, newspapers... Even in many churches... 'till we begin wondering, WHERE IS THE GOOD???         Is there NO PLACE I can be Safe... NO One I can feel Completely Safe and Accepted with? Must I Live in Fear and Isolation all the time?

Well I'm here to tell ya that there IS such a place for those who will find it... a Place of Peace, of Love, of Fulfillment... of Safety. It is the Kingdom of Heaven Within You. It is the Place where you can Be With God at any time you choose. It is the Place that will Always Surround you and Protect you when you consciously invite it to and when you, in Faith, Allow it to. It matters Little if Others are there---YOU are there and God is Always there. But When YOU are there, you can discover the Others that are there Too, With you. You can Never be Truly Isolated or Alone in that Place. It is a Place where the Currency is Love and the Attitude is one of Unconditional Acceptance. It is a Place of Devotion, and Dreams and Ideals. It is a Place of Hope, and Trust, and Satisfaction. It is a Place of Caring and Compassion and Service. It is a place of Respect and it is a Place of Safety.

The road to it lies Within you... Hopes and Dreams are the Vehicle...Faith and Trust are the Fuel... and God is your Everpresent Guide. Only Fear will keep you from traveling it.

Fear Not! Be Safe! Live in the Kingdom of Heaven right Here, right Now. You are God's Child, it is your Home, and As such, you are Deserving of it. And besides that, you Meet the Nicest People there!

I Love it when I'm In that Place and With those People... Don't you?

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The Prayer
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Dear God,
        Thanks for Your Guidance. You've Never steered me wrong when I've followed Your Directions.

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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7-29-2000 Sunday Service of the Church Within #201
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Today's Service is offered by: Reverend Gerdean Bowen


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Church Within's "Light and Life Garden Retreat" ********************************************
Update:

Construction and Landscaping work were at somewhat of a standstill this week due to 90+degree temperatures during the daylight hours (at least it gets down into the 60's or less at night-WHEW!), but the vegetation seems to be enjoying it alright---the Elderberry trees are already well into developing their fruit, the Wildflowers are still blooming, and we harvested our first meal from our Vegetable garden that Gerdean planted for us!

Many of you have requested that we keep you all posted as to our Tractor acquisition progress so...

Here's our current standings with the "CASE 580 Construction King"
tractor (Back Hoe) for building the Church Within "Light and Life
Garden Retreat".

Total Tractor Price:                $4,000.

Total Pledged so far:         $3,595.

Plus 4 additional pledges for unrevealed amounts.

Total Received so far:         $3,195.

That means we only need to receive another $805.!!!

Your Generosity is Truly Magnificent and Inspiring! Thank you all so Very much for being such an integral part of the building of Church Within's Light and Life Garden Retreat!

Contributions may be sent to:
Church Within
2650 S. Millsap Loop
Post Falls, Idaho 83854

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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.

Life is Good when it is lived For and With God!

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Quotes
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Used throughout Today's Sermon---
(from: The Bible - Proverbs 31:10-25)

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The Sermon
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THE THEME: A Virtuous Woman

"A virtuous woman who can find?
For her price is far above rubies."

I am inclined to say that I was not raised in a religious household, that Jesus only visited our house when we said a prayer over dinner when company came. God never visited, either, except when Grandpa swore. But somewhere back there I must've got some influence because I can remember this scripture as plain as day and as I think about it, I remember Grandma singing hymns as she washed and rinsed laundry by hand in the two old galvanized tubs set up outside in the front yard, and as she hung them, wrung out, on the line. I was just a little girl.

"The heart of her husband trusteth in her,
And he shall have no lack of gain."

I guess that means she isn't going to mess around on him and spend his money recklessly.

"She doeth him good and not evil
All the days of her life."

Somehow I imagine this as being sweet and gentle or at least wise and diplomatic and not smart-mouthed and lippy, giving him grief. And not just "him" as if to say the husband was everything there is, but "doing good and not evil all the days of her life" in all circumstances! I have had the misfortune of encountering what I call "two-faced" women and they are a real vexation to the spirit. There's hardly anything worse than being betrayed by what you thought was a friend.

"She seeketh wool and flax,
And worketh willingly with her hands."

This is my idea of a good time. Really! I was taught as a little girl, at my grandma's knee, to help out. My Mom has an old home movie of me when I was four or five, showing me in my braids and plaid dress, standing on a box in the kitchen at the ironing board, ironing her panties. I loved to help her bathe my baby brother and share in that responsibility, folding diapers, holding up the clothes pins so she could hang the clean ones out to dry. Being helpful and working willingly with my hands has given me pleasure all my life.

"She is like the merchant ships;
She bringeth her food from afar."

Well, I don't know about that. I do know I like to try out new recipes, and not just eat the same thing, the same thing, the same thing day after day. I like to try out not just new foods but new music and different styles of clothing and I love to try out other people's languages. I like the variety of life. I'm not afraid to inspect and admire things that are new. I wasn't always that way. I remember when I was little, maybe 7 or 8, and we were visiting somebody far away. Like New York or something. And we were in a strange kitchen with very strange smelling foods and my nose was twitching as if it had encountered something unpleasant; my mom shook me and told me to stop being rude, that this was somebody's home and to be respectful of other people's ways. So I want to thank my Mom for encouraging me to be open to new things.

"She riseth also while it is yet night,
And giveth meat to her household,
And their task to her maidens."

Well, I gotta admit I don't know too much about this as I have never found much joy in getting up while it's still dark and, thank God, I've never really had to, but I know there were generations of women who did get up in the middle of the night and who still do and generations of men who appreciate it. Getting up and putting on the coffeepot to perk, stoking the wood-burning stove -- or even turning up the furnace! -- and maybe packing a lunch pail for the hubby and for the kids to take to school. What a treasure trove of memories and values I have found in this scripture. It is full of my past, filled with memories of what life was like "down home" when I was a little child.

"She considereth a field, and buyeth it;
With the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard."

Yes, I have done this. And, Lord, it doth feel good! I love the land. I love the feel of the good earth and the way the soil responds to being turned over with a spade. I love the earthworms and the lady bugs that tell me this is fertile soil. It is a miracle to me every year that lima bean seeds know exactly how to grow up to produce baby lima beans. I like to watch and study where the morning sun comes up and where the afternoon shadows fall, so as to give the best sun, but not too much, to the tomato plants. And I like to reach as far as I can with the water hose so that the art of gardening stretches far out into the field.

"She girdeth her loins with strength,
And maketh strong her arms."

I love to pull weeds. Not little tender weeds, but big weeds, arms full of weeds, like a threshing machine, and then to use the pitchfork to move the piles of weeds around. It makes me feel like a painting by Winslow Homer. I like to pound nails and saw wood by hand and turn the soil with a shovel. I once built an 8' x 8' shed using 2' x' 4's for the frame, 4' x 8' plywood for walls and solid plank flooring, that you stepped up into. It had a pitched roof with shingles, a window, a door. I dug an irrigation ditch to water the fruit trees I planted in the holes I dug and I built an arbor for the grapes I planted. I love the land. I've lived all over the country and can't make up my mind which part is most beautiful.

"She perceiveth that her merchandise is profitable:
Her lamp goeth not out by night."

Yeah, well, it's not so bad as all that. I've never been without electricity! I've always managed to have a job or some kind of wherewithal that enabled me to pay the bills on time. In fact, I can get downright upset if something happens that I get billed for something I didn't buy or that I already paid for. "She perceiveth." I love that. "She perceiveth." Oh, boy, do I ever! I probably perceiveth more than the Lord bargained for! My imagination runs wild sometimes and I get more out of reading between the lines than I do the black and white parts, but, that has allowed me to perceive that my stuff is good stuff. And it helps me to feel that I am a virtuous woman, even though you've not truly acquired any virtue until your acts make you worthy of it.

"She layeth her hands to the distaff,
And her hands hold the spindle."

I don't mean to imply that it is more virtuous to sew by hand than to use a sewing machine, or that it is more virtuous to do your own mending than to buy something new, but it is satisfying to make things, whether they are clothes or a garden, a painting, a musical medley, a shelf of canned beets, a home, a child, a marriage, a family. It's satisfying to make good decisions and think good thoughts. It's exciting even to think that I can co-create with God some of the things that I think he would like to see more of in this world, like the fruits of the spirit, loving service, merciful ministry, stuff like that.

"She spreadeth out her hand to the poor;
Yeah, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy."

The women in my family, all the way back, have called on people when they are having hard times and take them food or help out around the house and I've had some of the best times in my life when I've opened my home to folk who were in transition, so my virtue goes to sharing. But "Reaching forth her hands to the needy" requires careful consideration. Too much help spoils the urge to do for yourself. "Needy," after all, is a value judgment. It's a very personal thing. And, like the fruit of the spirit "loving service" if it's done out of a sense of obligation, then isn't a service at all, nor is it virtuous. Or if it's a way to get one over on somebody, that isn't virtuous either. Being "beholden" to somebody . . . is a delicate place for a soul to be -- coming or going.

"She is not afraid of the snow for her household;
For all her household are clothed with scarlet."

Wow. She really likes her family, to be clothing them with scarlet, for to me, as I "perceiveth" it, she is saying they are rich. They are wealthy in her care for them. They know not want. They can hold their head up. She is like the mother hen who tucks all her little chicks under her wing and keeps them sheltered and safe, loved and contented. The security of being in her presence is enough to shut out the cold of isolation and loneliness. What a woman! I see her as having broad shoulders to hug you with, a sturdy bosom that tells you life is abundant and good, a soft and solid lap to sit her little ones on while she tells them stories and introduces them to the wonderful world of words and worlds beyond. Clothed with scarlet thus, what a wondrous opportunity to spend the winter season with her, snug and safe, warm and good as home baked bread.

"She maketh for herself carpets of tapestry;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple."

There's a great poem that has gone around the block a few times that is told by this wonderful old lady who says, "When I am old I shall wear purple!" as if to say we don't allow ourselves to be so outlandish as to wear purple until we can blame it on senility. I don't want to wait until I am old to be regarded as wise, to be respected. I don't want to be discarded as useless when I have lost my sex appeal. I want to be all that I can be all the days of my life! You have to be yourself and be the best that you can be and then let the chips fall where they may.

"Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sitteth among the elders of the land."

As well he should. It has been said that behind every successful man is a woman. A virtuous woman! He is counseled by her wisdom, fed by her abundance. He doesn't have to hide his head in shame because she is such a shrew as to be an embarrassment to anyone. She is not a gold-digger or a manipulator. This virtuous woman creates the kind of home that gives rise to those who "sitteth among the elders of the land", helping civilization to flourish, making decisions that will benefit humanity, that will foster global peace and prosperity. He will be "known in the gates" because in his own home his voice is listened to, his thoughts are appreciated and his wisdom is adhered to.

"She maketh linen garments and selleth them;
And delivereth girdles unto the merchant."

I'm going to do that, too. “I have a great idea, honey.” “Another one!?!?! Oh, no!?!?!? What is this mess all over the livingroom floor?” “It's a new inspiration I got, darling! I'm going to make garments and sell them. I'm going to advertise them and wear them into town and start a new fad. I love it! Anyway, they're comfortable. No buttons, no zippers, no elastic, no tight waistbands. Much better to wear during daily meditations. Loose fitting for working in the garden. Or anytime. Just lovely flowing garments that will make me feel like a queen. And you can wear one too and feel just like a king. Or more like Jesus in his robes, with his apostles.”

"Strength and dignity are her clothing;
And she laugheth at the time to come."

When I wear these clothes that my grandma gave me by telling me about this scripture and by living the life she did, bearing the hardships as she did with grace and fortitude such that I didn't even know we had any hardships, yodeling as we walked the mile and back to the mailbox and singing hymns while snapping string beans, I am humbled by the strong and dignified heritage that runs in my genes and in joy I "laugheth at the time to come."

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The Prayer
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        Thank you God, for the goodness You are, and for joy in simply being.
        Thank you for helping me "perceiveth" that You are in every fiber of my life, in every vestment. As your child I am indeed clothed with heavenly garments.
        Thank You for my mate, for his nobility in sonship, and for my friends and family who "shall not want" because You provideth all our needs. Truly my cup runneth over . . . and so does my zucchini in the garden. If I have any virtue, Father, it is because of the loving kindness of Your children, human and divine, who have molded me into the person I am. In grateful appreciation of the human example of Your son, Jesus the Christ, who taught us to know and love You as Our Father, I lift up my voice and glorify Your holy name. Amen.

Reverend Gerdean Bowen
of Church Within

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