Church Within Sunday Services

for July 1997

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#41
7-6-97
#42
7-13-97
#43
7-20-97
#44
7-27-97

7/6/97 - Sunday Service of Church Within #41
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A Quote
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         Said Jesus: "A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell into the hands of cruel brigands, who robbed him, stripped him and beat him, and departing, left him half dead.
Very soon, by chance, a certain priest was going down that way, and when he came upon the wounded man, seeing his sorry plight, he passed by on the other side of the road. And in like manner a Levite also, when he came along and saw the man, passed by on the other side. Now, about this time, a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed down to Jericho, came across this wounded man; and when he saw how he had been robbed and beaten, he was moved with compassion, and going over to him, he bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine, and setting the man upon his own beast, brought him here to the inn and took care of him. And on the morrow he took out some money and, giving it to the host, said: 'Take good care of my friend, and if the expense is more, when I come back again, I will repay you.' Now let me ask you: Which of these three turned out to be the neighbor of him who fell among the robbers?" And when the lawyer perceived that he had fallen into his own snare, he answered, "He who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said, "Go and do likewise."

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The Sermon
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        "The Good Samaritan" is one of my favorite parables. I always find myself wanting to identify with the Samaritan rather than the priest or Levite... don't you? Why do you think that they didn't stop and help the poor fellow? Could it have been that they just were too busy and didn't have the time? Were they just afraid... or perhaps were they judging the person as unworthy of their efforts? Now that Samaritan... he was someone to look up to... he was truly in service... he was doing what Jesus would have done... don't ya think?

        How often in my life's journey can I truly say that is how I would act in like circumstances? Well... that's how I think I would always act, but would I? Well... If I saw someone beaten and suffering, sure I would... I'm almost positive!

        But what if that person was beaten and suffering, and it wasn't so obvious... ya know... what if they were beaten and suffering by the circumstances of their life... or by the judgments or standards of society. Would I still stop to help them? I would like to think so wouldn't you?

        Why is it that just about every time I see someone who needs help I am in a hurry to get somewhere or just have to do something really "important" that won't wait? Funny how that works isn't it? That guy's carrying a gas can towards the next exit... that lady has a flat tire. Next time, OK? I'm just in too much of a hurry right now. But I would help if I could... You know that, right Lord?

        What if I saw a man standing on a corner one day... who was filthy... with a sign that said he was homeless... was a veteran of Viet Nam. Would I care to know the real circumstances which brought him to this? If I was able to, would I help him? WELL THERE'S JUST TOO DARN ANY OF THEM TODAY... I CAN'T HELP ALL OF THEM CAN I? Have I ever, without judgment, stopped to help even one when I could... maybe not even with money, but with a loving smile or kind word or encouragement? What would Jesus have done?

        How often in my life's journey can I truly say that I would act like the Good Samaritan if I had the opportunity? Not nearly often enough... how about you?

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The Prayer
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Dearest, Infinite and Eternal Source of all, Parent of my Soul,

        Show me the way to do and be Your Will. Help me to care about others and to be in Your Service without judging them first... without any thought of whether or not they might be worthy or could help themselves if only they would. All are Your Children, certainly they are worthy. Remind me that whatever I do for others, I do for You. Guide me in the use of discernment rather than judgment... and always infuse my discernment with Your Divine Mercy and Love.
        More and more would I become like the "Good Samaritan". God, Please help me in this.

Father's Eternal Parental Love,
Pastor Daniel

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7/13/97 - Sunday Service of Church Within #42
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A Quote
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(Psalms 7: 8-10)
         The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me. Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins. My defense is of God, which saveth the upright in heart.

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The Sermon
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        On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your righteousness and your integrity? I used to think that anything over a 5 was OK... now I feel that anything less than a 10 is totally unacceptable.

        These were some of the excuses my Ego used to make for me: "Heck, I'm only human, right...?"; "All I have to do is to keep trying get better, isn't that so...?"; "Little White Lies are OK sometimes, aren't they?"; "Well, it's not hurting anyone else is it?" There are countless others... you can probably name a few.

        I had to sell a car one time. It had 190,000 miles on it... it clunked badly when I shifted into reverse... it needed brakes... a couple of other things didn't work and I had no idea how long it would last whomever bought it. But I HAD to sell it... I needed the money badly. Ever try to sell an old car without telling a few little white lies about it? God gave me a real good lesson with that car selling experience. The first ten people to look at it got less than the full truth about it... just "little white lies" really, I tried to hide as many of it's little problems as I could... nothing major. When asked about any problems, I didn't know of any... none of them bought the car. I was getting desperate! A little small voice inside said to me: "Just tell the truth." "OK" I said, I'll tell almost the whole truth about it... "except for..." The next person didn't buy it either. But... I told the Truth about it... almost the Whole Entire Truth... and it still didn't sell! Again I heard: "Just tell the truth." "Yeah, but..." "Just tell the truth." "I WILL but..." "Just tell the truth." SIGH... "Alright, alright... I'll try it ONCE! OK?" "Just tell the truth." Next person who came to look at the car, I did... the whole truth... every bad and good thing I could think of, including how much I had Loved this car and how well it had served me. He bought the car for my asking price... I would have taken $800. less at that point.

        So my Ego said: "Great! Every time I sell a car from now on I'll just tell the truth."

        Ever make up a story to a loved one because you wanted to do something that you didn't think they would approve of? I didn't think so... but I used to... got to be a habit. One time I wanted to go see my friends and my wife had a "good reason" why I shouldn't. So, I made up a "little white lie" to justify my going. I got to go. The next time I wanted to do something with my friends I just made up a story. There were a few hard feelings, but again I got to go. And the next time... and the next... and the next... Eventually there were hard feelings every time I wanted to go see my friends, so to avoid all the hard feelings, I almost never went to see my friends... and it made me bitter. My Ego said: "She just doesn't want me to see my friends!" It began to fester. Then one day A little small voice inside said to me: "Just tell the truth." My Ego said: "HEY, I'M NOT SELLIN' A CAR ALRIGHT?" "Just tell the truth." "It won't do any good... she hates my friends..." "Just tell the truth." This time I told the whole truth the first time. "I want to go see my friends, OK?" I said. The response was "Why?" ...."Just tell the truth.".... "Well... um... I miss them and just want to see them." I said looking her right in the eye. "OK, Sure. Have fun." SHOCK!!!
...."Just tell the truth."....

        I used to tell "little white lies" to avoid hurting people's feelings. That's OK, right? It's for a Good reason, isn't it? It's not hurting anyone, is it? Isn't it?
...."Just tell the truth."....

        The Ego is masterful at making excuses for lying to itself... for compromising our righteousness and integrity... for causing us untold amounts of grief and discomfort for no good reason.

        Now I ...."Just tell the truth."...! Sure I slip occasionally, old habits die hard... but never intentionally any more. I have alot less pain in my life than I used to... well, Ego caused emotional pain anyways.

...."Just tell the truth.".... It just FEELS so much better!

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The Prayer
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Dearest Eternal Source and Parent of All,
        I know how far I am from attaining Your universal perfection. It is so incredibly vast that I can't even imagine ever becoming perfect as You have asked. At this place in my growth, I can't imagine becoming perfect at anything except maybe in my integrity and righteousness. But even those dear God are beyond me without Your constant help. Be ever at my side... reminding me... guiding me... helping me. I WILL to be perfect as You are... show me the way, one small step at a time.


Father's Eternal Parental Love,
Pastor Daniel

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7/20/97 - Sunday Service of Church Within #43
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The Quote
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(Luke 17:20-23)
And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.

(The Urantia Papers Paper-170 Section-3)
        By teaching that the kingdom is within, by exalting the individual, Jesus struck the deathblow of the old society in that he ushered in the new dispensation of true social righteousness. This new order of society the world has little known because it has refused to practice the principles of the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. And when this kingdom of spiritual pre-eminence does come upon the earth, it will not be manifested in mere improved social and material conditions, but rather in the glories of those enhanced and enriched spiritual values which are characteristic of the approaching age of improved human relations and advancing spiritual attainments.

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The Sermon
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"The Kingdom of God is Within you."

        Powerful statement. Don't ya think? In one way or another, this concept is represented in just about every theological belief system on this planet. Why is it so easy to overlook... or to forget?

         Why is it that we look so diligently for the answers in books... and in creeds... and in churches... and in the experiences of others... and then seldom look for the answers within ourselves and our own experiences? Why is it so much easier for us to trust the words or experiences of someone else rather than our own??? Has any other traveled exactly the same path as we? Is anyone else's life experience more valid... more real than our own? We have often heard it said that to truly understand another we must walk a mile in their shoes. What of our own shoes?

        So many depend upon others to tell them what and how to believe. The other day I was talking to a fellow, a very nice and sincere person, who began quoting out of context Bible verses at me to prove a certain point of his. Having myself read it front to back more than a couple of times, I was somewhat perplexed that this man had grossly missed the point of the verses he was quoting in trying to make his point. Over the course of our discussion, which I was enjoying by the way, he no less than four different times recited number and verse at me that seemed to me to say something quite a bit different than the meaning I had gotten from them. I did not want to stifle his enthusiasm for religion in any way, but I felt it necessary to ask him if he personally had ever read the bible from beginning to end. Somewhat embarrassed, he admitted that he had not... but he went to church every week and bible study twice a week and this is what his minister told him he should believe.

        Unfortunately this is not unusual. For the most part, the vast majority of people follow a second hand religion. They read this book or that book... go to this church or that one. Far too many
rely upon someone else to tell them how to act or how to believe... as if the other must have some grand connection with God that is unavailable to them personally. This is true for almost every doctrinal Theological system known to man on this planet. Sure, it's alot easier and takes alot less personal effort to just have someone else do our spiritual thinking for us, but why then did God give us a mind of our own? Just for the things of THIS world? I don't THINK so.

"The Kingdom of God is within you."
Find it there... and Share what you find.

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The Prayer
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Dearest Creator and Universal Source of All,
        So many places I have searched for You and found but Your shadow or Your footprints. Everywhere have I found evidence of You... seen Your handiwork... recognized Your touch, Your breath, Your Light. I hear Truth and know that You were it's Source. I see Beauty and recognize that it is from You. I experience Goodness and perceive You as it's source. In everything I can find where You have been... help me to always recognize that within others and within myself is where I can find You NOW.
        Your "Kingdom" is Within... help me to remember to live in it rather than to wait for it... that Your Kingdom is not someplace I may go but rather somewhere that I may BE... that as long as I keep You with me I am there already.

        
Father's Eternal Parental Love,
Pastor Daniel

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7/27/97 - Sunday Service of Church Within #44
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The Quote
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(Proverbs 3:11-23)
My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her. The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew. My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.

(The Urantia Papers: Paper-149 Section-5)
        When Jesus was visiting the group of evangelists working under the supervision of Simon Zelotes, during their evening conference Simon asked the Master: "Why are some persons so much more happy and contented than others? Is contentment a matter of religious experience?" Among other things, Jesus said in answer to Simon's question:
        "Simon, some persons are naturally more happy than others. Much, very much, depends upon the willingness of man to be led and directed by the Father's spirit which lives within him. Have you not read in the Scriptures the words of the wise man, 'The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts'? And also that such spirit-led mortals say: 'The lines are fallen to me in
pleasant places; yes, I have a goodly heritage.' 'A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked,' for 'a good man shall be satisfied from within himself. "A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance and is a continual feast. Better is a little with the reverence of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fatted ox and hatred therewith. Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without rectitude.' 'A merry heart does good like a medicine.' 'Better is a handful with composure than a superabundance with sorrow and vexation of spirit.'
        "Much of man's sorrow is born of the disappointment of his ambitions and the wounding of his pride. Although men owe a duty to themselves to make the best of their lives on earth, having thus sincerely exerted themselves, they should cheerfully accept their lot and exercise ingenuity in making the most of that which has fallen to their hands. All too many of man's troubles take origin in the fear soil of his own natural heart. 'The wicked flee when no man pursues.' 'The wicked are like the troubled sea, for it cannot rest, but its waters cast up mire and dirt; there is no peace, says God, for the wicked.'
        "Seek not, then, for false peace and transient joy but rather for the assurance of faith and the sureties of divine sonship which yield composure, contentment, and supreme joy in the spirit."

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The Sermon
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What is it that will make you Happy... Contented... Joyful?

        New Toys... right? The Car... the Boat... a Big Impressive place to live... Awesome Furniture... Maybe it's Clothes or Jewelry that make me happy. Yeah, They all make me happy and content... well, for a little while anyway. There always seems to be that one more thing that'll REALLY do it for me though.
        Well... maybe it's more than just nice or exciting things... happiness from things is kinda like infinity. You can always add one more to it without ever really reaching it.

        Nah... it's Prestige that will do it... other people thinking that I'm important. Yeah, it's all about what other people think about me isn't it? THAT'S what will make me happy and content. Well, it works until I'm by myself anyways... then it doesn't seem to be a whole lot of help. OK, so maybe Prestige isn't the whole answer either.

        AHH-HA! It's Power... that's the ticket to happiness! Umm... then why do people with power seem so miserable most of the time?

        If only I had enough Money I could have ALL of those things... THAT'S IT!!! MONEY!!! If only I had enough Money... I could... I would... WHAT? Be stuck in the biggest dead end venture of 'em ALL.

Sooo... What is it REALLY that will make me Happy... Contented... Joyful?

        It's when others Respect me... Care about me... Love me. That ALWAYS works!!! OK, ALMOST always... except when something REALLY has me down, then that doesn't even work... but it works a heck of alot better than those other things doesn't it?

        I guess ya just can't completely rely on anything or on anybody else to do it for you. For TRUE Happiness, Contentment and Joy... the ONLY things you can count on EVERY time are Self Respect, and God's Love. Self Respect you gotta earn and you gotta accept. God's Love we can't possibly earn... it's probably the only FREE thing in the entire Universe... but we still have to Accept it.

        So how do I earn that Self Respect thing? Doing the Best that I can always makes me feel really good about myself... and I feel really, really Good when I do something totally unselfish for someone else. I respect myself alot more when I can Love someone for exactly who they are without judging them. I guess what it all boils down to for me, is that the ONLY way I can truly have Self Respect is when I can Love Others and Myself the Way that God does... Yeah... that makes me Happy, Contented and Joyful!!! What else really can?

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The Prayer
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Dearest Creator and Universal Source of All,
        I would be more and more like You in every way. Show me the best way to become so every day. I want to be just like You when I grow up.


Father's Eternal Parental Love,
Pastor Daniel

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