Church Within Sunday Services

for July 1998

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#93
7-5-98
#94
7-12-98
#95
7-19-98
#96
7-26-98

7/5/98 - Sunday Service of Church Within #93
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Welcome
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Greetings my Dearest Siblings,
        Welcome once again to the Church that is Within.

        This Weekend, the 2nd through the 5th, I will be attending the Northwest Teaching Mission Conference on "Unity... Diversity... Family" at Bogus Basin near Boise ID. Consequently, I will not be here "live" on Sunday to do the Sunday Service. As our other three ministers will also be in attendance, I am posting This Weeks Sunday Service on Thursday prior to our departure.

Have a Safe and Wonderful Weekend!
from All of us at Church Within.

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Quotes
*******
(from the song: "My Father's House" by Kenny Loggins)
All my life a voice inside
Has whispered "set me free"
All this time
Has it been
You or
Me?

(from: "The Varieties of Religious Experience" by William James 1901-1902)
Quoting St. Augustine:
        "The new will which I began to have was not yet strong enough to overcome that other will, strengthened by long indulgence. So these two wills, one old, one new, one carnal, the other spiritual, contended with each other and disturbed my soul. I understood by my own experience what I had read, 'flesh lusteth against spirit, and spirit against flesh.' It was myself indeed in both the wills, yet more myself in that which I approved in myself than in that which I disapproved in myself. Yet it was through myself that habit had attained so fierce a mastery over me, because I had willingly come whither I willed not. Still bound to earth, I refused, O God, to fight on thy side, as much afraid to be freed from all bonds, as I ought to have feared being trammeled by them."

(from: The Urantia Papers - Paper-157 Section-6)
        Thus did Jesus exemplify in his life what he taught in his religion: the growth of the spiritual nature by the technique of living progress. He did not place emphasis, as did his later followers, upon the incessant struggle between the soul and the body. He rather taught that the spirit was easy victor over both and effective in the profitable reconciliation of much of this intellectual and instinctual warfare.

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The Sermon
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        SELFHOOD / THE CHILD / EGO

        ADOLESCENSE / INDEPENDENCE / DISCORD

        ADULTHOOD / MATURITY / SOUL

        He whom we call St. Augustine, wrote about the recognition of his Soul Self and it's distinction from his Ego Self [as I define Soul and Ego] when he wrote, "The new will which I began to have was not yet strong enough to overcome that other will, strengthened by long indulgence."

        You feel that don't you? The struggle between Fear and Love... between Habit and Purposefulness... between Human Desires and Spiritual Needs... between Selfishness and Generosity... between Reacting to and Responding to... between... well... between Ego and Soul? Of course you do. It would be more the unusual if you did not... Don't ya Think? Funny how the actions of "that other will" stand out so predominantly in our minds and we forget how frequently "the new will" actually functions throughout our day.

        And then St. Augustine said, "It was myself indeed in both the wills, yet more myself in that which I approved in myself than in that which I disapproved in myself."
        Everyone who searches for and appreciates Truth, Beauty, Goodness and Love either has, or one day will experience these two apparently separate selves in a seemingly unending duel with each other. This is when Soul Identity has reached the 51% participation mark, when unselfish Love is expressed over 50% of the time in ones life. All of a sudden, our ego identity recognizes it no longer has complete control over what happens anymore. Up until this point, ego had been satisfied in believing itself the source of all the Good experiences in life. But now it Must recognize the Higher Self and the Power that is held within it's Love. Ego then begins to adamantly emphasize every instance in human memory wherein failure and fear of some sort have been felt. It will do just about anything at this point to make sure that it is not altogether forgotten... Yeah right, AS IF. ;-) So Hey! If you're struggling with old issues... Rejoice!! It is our Spiritual Adolescence playing it's part in our growth towards Maturity. It shows that your Soul is now strong enough that ego considers it a threat! Sure, ego has a vast arsenal of weapons at it's disposal and won't hesitate for a moment to use them, and Soul has but One weapon that it may use in this conflict, but Soul's weapon is the Ultimate Weapon... and when used is indomitable. Soul's weapon is Compassionate, Selfless, Healing Love. Eventually ego will succumb to it, because in reality it is what ego has so long desired. But mind you, it will not succumb willingly.

        Soul has finally won, in fact transformed the struggle into an exciting Journey of Growth and Discovery, once it fully convinces ego that choosing God's will always brings the most satisfying and the most painless results. It is when Ego finally discovers for itself, lovingly tutored by Soul, that giving full Control to God is not losing, but the Highest most Gratifying Experience of Winning.

        The cognizant Choosing and unqualified Accepting of God's Will is the certain avenue of escape from the fearful bondage of self judgment and remorse, into the Joyous Freedom of recognizing one's self as God's own Beloved Child.

        Doesn't it seem like Adolescence just drags on forever sometimes?

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The Prayer
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Dear Ever Loving Source,        
        Be ever patient with me. I mean well. But then... I guess You would know that already. Wouldn't You? Well then... teach me to be patient with Me. That is my greatest struggle.

       Love,
          Your Kid


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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7/12/98 - Sunday Service of Church Within #94
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Welcome
********
Greetings my Dearest Siblings, and welcome once again to the Church that is Within.

        Ministers Jill, Sheila, Tom and I had a thoroughly Wonderful time at the "Unity--Diversity--Family" Conference last weekend. The Music and Poetry was Superb and brought frequent tears of emotion. The setting was rather Awesome to say the least. The experience of that many people together in one place so Thoroughly In God's Love with each other cannot be adequately described. Whew... 80+ Talented, Passionate, Devoted, Diverse children of God, in Unity as Beloved Family.

        There are some Families that all work together in the same business... the Family Business. Their Diversity is in the unique personality they contribute to the common cause. In other Families, each works independently of one another in their personally chosen field, their paths are Diverse... yet they still contribute to a common cause. The Family I met at the Bogus Basin Conference was more like the second family type. Each working their own "job"... sharing their own talents, their own passions in their own unique ways... many different spokes of the same wheel with God at the Center of all.

I kinda Like it that way personally. ;-)

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Quotes
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(from: The Urantia Papers - Paper-166 Section-3)
        "But fear not; every one who sincerely desires to find eternal life by entrance into the kingdom of God shall certainly find such everlasting salvation. But you who refuse this salvation will some day see the prophets of the seed of Abraham sit down with the believers of the gentile nations in this glorified kingdom to partake of the bread of life and to refresh themselves with the water thereof. And they who shall thus take the kingdom in spiritual power and by the persistent assaults of living faith will come from the north and the south and from the east and the west. And, behold, many who are first will be last, and those who are last will many times be first."

(from: the RSV Bible - Matthew 20:16)
"So the last will be first, and the first last."

(Tolstoy as quoted from: "The Varieties of Religious Experience" by William James 1901-1902)
        "I remember," he says, "one day in early spring, I was alone in the forest, lending my ear to it's mysterious noises. I listened, and my thought went back to what for these three years it always was busy with---the quest for God. But the idea of him, I said, how did I ever come by the idea?"
        "And again there arose in me, with this thought, glad aspirations towards life. Everything in me awoke and received a meaning.... Why do I look farther? a voice within me asked. He is there: he, without whom one cannot live. To acknowledge God and to live are one and the same thing. God is what life is. Well, then! live, seek God, and there will be no life without him....

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The Sermon
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When do you turn to God for answers?

        Do you do it First... for Guidance... Before making decisions that affect your life? Or, do you do it Last... after nothing else seems to work? If you think about God more than just once or twice a week, it's Probably some of Both... right? Well... maybe...

        Even though as far back as I can remember I've always had some sort of relationship with God, for some reason She/He was always the Last one I would turn to for help in making good decisions. Most often it was seeking Help out of the consequences from the decisions I had unthinkingly made on my own. Ain't that a Kick? [translation: "Is that not Funny?" ;-)] Here I had God, the Perfect Parent, eager to help this child to learn and grow, and instead of asking for Divine Guidance in how to proceed... I'd run back whining over the skinned knee I had gotten when blindly tripping over stones in my path saying: "Make it all better God." The Parental Arms were always there to hold me... comfort me when I thought to seek them, but the "skinned knees" of Life do take time to heal. Geez... just like a little child. Really! Hmmm... Yeah... Well... I guess that's part of being a child isn't it?

        Anyways... I don't trip now as much as I used to. At one point I got this Bright Idea to try asking God for help with a situation before it really became a problem... And a BIG THUNDERING VOICE SAID... nothing at all that I could hear. But somehow... after asking... I knew what the more Godlike decision would be. I Chose that decision... that time. The consequences were far more comfortable than if I had done otherwise. Each time I would try turning to God for guidance First, which still wasn't all that often yet, the results of my decisions were always for my greatest benefit although not always struggle free. Growth is a struggle, and certainly God wants us to Grow... Don't ya Think?

        Over time, I've been trying to cultivate the habit of Turning to God First rather than Last. Still it is not something that I just naturally do as a matter of course, but it is becoming much easier to remember now. The more I think about God... make God a part of my life... share my life With God... the Easier it becomes and the better I Feel about myself and others and the world. No. Life is not without it's pains. Growth is at times painful. But now the pain is no longer caused by "wounds". Now it is more like the pain from exercise or exertion. I know when the pain recedes that I will be stronger for it.

        I don't remember who it was that told me about a certain "Turning to God First" exercise that they use, but I sincerely thank them for it. It's been really helpful to me each time I've used it. The Exercise is this. At the beginning of your day, for some of us that's after or during our first cup of coffee ;-), say "OK God. How can I best Love, Serve and Grow? What is Your Will for me today? What are the Gifts of Life that You are offering me today if I will but see them as such?" Sounds like a fairly simple exercise doesn't it? Alright now... the rest of the exercise is... Expect and look for God's answer in the events of your day and through the people you come into contact with. Do it like a Treasure Hunt. If you get into ANY situation where you're not absolutely sure of what to do or say, immediately ask God to guide you through it and then just let it unfold without getting attached to any particular outcome. That's the whole Exercise. Just try it yourself for a full week and see what happens.

Turning to God First rather than Last... Hmmm... What a concept!

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The Prayer
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Dear Ever Loving Source,        
        What would You have me do today? How can I best Love, Serve and Grow? What is Your Will for me today? What are the Gifts of Life that You are offering me this day if I will but see them as such?


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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7-19-98 Sunday Service of Church Within #95
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Welcome
********
Greetings my Dearest Siblings, and welcome once again to Church Within.

So what is Grace anyways?

        Is it something some people say before meals? Is it poise and fluidity and elegance? Is it the name of my mom's lifelong friend? I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it is indeed these things, but… Grace is more than that. Grace is… Grace is….. well, let's explore it a bit today, shall we? Before we start though, I do know one more thing offhand about Grace. Like the song says… it's "Amazing".

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Quotes
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(from: The Tao Te Ching - #16)
Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace.
Watch the turmoil of beings,
but contemplate their return.

Each separate being in the universe
returns to the common source.
Returning to the source is serenity.

If you don't realize the source,
you stumble in confusion and sorrow.
When you realize where you come from,
you naturally become tolerant,
disinterested, amused,
kindhearted as a grandmother,
dignified as a king.
Immersed in the wonder of the Tao,
you can deal with whatever life brings you,
and when death comes, you are ready.

(from: The Urantia Papers - Paper-91 Section-8)
        God answers man's prayer by giving him an increased revelation of truth, an enhanced appreciation of beauty, and an augmented concept of goodness. Prayer is a subjective gesture, but it contacts with mighty objective realities on the spiritual levels of human experience; it is a meaningful reach by the human for superhuman values. It is the most potent spiritual-growth stimulus.

(A Zen Parable)
        Word spread across the countryside about the wise Holy Man who lived in a small house atop the mountain. A man from the village decided to make the long and difficult journey to visit him. When he arrived at the house, he saw an old servant inside who greeting him at the door. "I would like to see the wise Holy Man," he said to the servant. The servant smiled and led him inside. As they walked through the house, the man from the village looked eagerly around the house, anticipating his encounter with the Holy Man. Before he knew it, he had been led to the back door and escorted outside. He stopped and turned to the servant, "But I want to see the Holy Man!"
        "You already have," said the old man. "Everyone you may meet in life, even if they appear plain and insignificant... see each of them as a wise Holy Man. If you do this, then whatever problem you brought here today will be solved."

(from: Webster's New World Dictionary )
grace n.. 10. Theol. a) the unmerited love and favor of God toward man b) divine influence acting in man to make him pure and morally strong c) the condition of a person thus influenced

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The Sermon
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        Ya know, The whole Idea of grace is pretty fascinating to me and really, all I can do is tell you what Grace means to Me and how it feels to me to experience it. What made me think about grace this morning in the first place is, this past week I've had and heard about some experiences that seemed very similar to the definition of grace I used from Webster's. So here's the "nutshell" version of the experiences. While doing something Loving, unasked and unselfishly for another, the other indicates that your being there has been an answer to a Prayer. Then you realize that it has also answered one of your own prayers as well. I must have heard 5 or 6 different accounts of similar experiences this week, as well as having two very personal ones myself. Things just seemed to happen fortuitously and in synchronicity to create the opportunity for the events. In retrospect, the only word that came to mind for me to describe it was Grace. It was this overwhelming feeling that everything was working together for Good and for Love. Kinda brought new meaning to the term "Being in the State of Grace." for me.

        What it made me think of at first was how God answers prayers. It has really started to become obvious to me from my experience, that the Majority of the answers to my prayers come through the unselfish actions and loving interactions of other people. Unselfish Love is Godlike, so when I experience it from another I see a reflection of God in that person. [It's much easier to see it from the outside in, than from the Inside out isn't it? ;-)] So anyway, those times when someone relates that you have been an answer to a prayer?… well… if God answers prayers, and if you're ever being the answer to one of them, then… wouldn't you be in reality letting God answer prayers through you? It sure Feels good when that happens, doesn't it? Wouldn't it be Great to feel that way all the time? Is it even possible? Well… I know I feel it a lot more than I used to… and the more I act unselfishly and out of Love for another, the more I seem to feel it… IS it Possible to feel that way all the time? Seems to me worth the effort of finding out. Doesn't it to you?

        The opportunities are always around us if we but seek them out… if we choose to be a part of them… if we are willing to act from a sense of unselfish and unconditional Love. Those opportunities and everything that goes into creating and maintaining them is what I call Grace.

        Good "Karma" would be another way of expressing my understanding of Grace. The concept of Karma, very basically, portrays that "What goes around, Comes around." If you go about being in Love and Goodness, it is Grace that affords the opportunity for the outworking of Good Karma… for it to come back around to you. Grace is as Omnipresent as is God for it is OF God.

        God WANTS us to be in a constant State of Grace and it feels Good to be there, I'd like that too. Well… I guess I'll have to keep working on it… seeking it… being open to it. Who knows. Maybe someday I'll get to live in that State permanently… from what I've seen of it, the "landscape" is Magnificent… maybe someday…

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The Prayer
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Dear Ever Loving Source,        
        Use me whenever you wish, and whenever I am able, as an instrument in the answering of Prayers. There is no greater Privilege and Honor that I can possibly imagine. Keep me ever refreshed and energized from the Well of your Infinite Grace. You have my dedication to Your Cause. Help me now to overcome those things within myself which inhibit the full experience of participating in it.

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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7-26-98 Sunday Service of Church Within #96
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Welcome
********
Greetings my Dearest Siblings, and welcome once again to Church Within.

How well do you know your Creator?

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Quotes
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(from: The Urantia Papers - Paper-12 Section-7 )
"Do not allow the magnitude of the infinity, the immensity of the eternity, and the grandeur and glory of the matchless character of God to overawe, stagger, or discourage you; for the Father is not very far from any one of you; he dwells within you, and in him do we all literally move, actually live, and veritably have our being."

(from: "The Tao of Pooh" - by:Benjamin Hoff)
        "When we learn to work with our own Inner Nature, and with the natural laws operating around us, we reach the level of Wu Wei. Then we work with the natural order of things and operate on the principle of minimum effort. Since the natural world follows that principle, it does not make mistakes. Mistakes are made---or imagined---by man, the creature with the overloaded Brain who separates himself from the supporting network of natural laws by interfering and trying too hard."

(from: The Tao Te Ching - #81)
True words aren't eloquent;
eloquent words aren't true.
Wise men don't need to prove their point;
men who need to prove their point aren't wise.

The Master has no possessions.
The more he does for others,
the happier he is.
The more he gives to others,
the wealthier he is.

The Tao nourishes by not forcing.
By not dominating, the Master leads.

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The Sermon
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        A long, long time ago, when our world and it's civilization were in their infancy, God ran into a little problem. Not that it was really a problem for God, mind you, the problem was only ours. We were incapable of fathoming the fullness of the Divine Source of All. Our ignorance and immaturity made it humanly impossible. So the problem God faced was, "How do I reveal myself to my Children? How do I let them know who I AM?" No One people, much less person could even begin to comprehend Her/Him in Full and yet, God wanted to be truly Known... not just on the surface, but Intimately... Completely. "If I give each on my children the knowledge of All of me, then none of them will ever have an intimate understanding of Any part of me."

        From this author's perspective, God faced a Real Dilemma But then, I'm just one of the children, so what would you expect? Anyway, here is what God, in Infinite Wisdom did. Mankind was well nigh separated into relatively small pockets of divergent civilization. In one, God seeded the concept of His/Her Absoluteness... the All that Is... the Un-namable, Un-knowable... the I AM. To another was given the perspective of God as the Beauty and Grandeur and Power in Nature. Yet on another was bestowed the "personal" view of an All Powerful and Just Ruler... and on another, of an all Loving and Merciful Parent. To every civilization was given a different piece of the Whole in hopes that they would each learn as much as possible about their own unique part. God knew that one day the separation of all the different peoples would no longer exist, and that eventually as human comprehension evolved and increased, humanity would at some point grow enough to realize that to Really understand, they would have to find all the pieces and figure out how to put them all back together again.

        The civilizations grew and along with them, their individual concepts of God grew stronger and more definite. As the boundaries of distance between them diminished and societies started interacting with each other, they discovered they had different understandings of God. Unthinkable! Each was So sure that they had THE CORRECT UNDERSTANDING and that consequently the others must be somewhat if not completely wrong. "How could the others NOT be wrong about God since their beliefs are so very different from what I have experienced?" The boundaries of physical distance became boundaries of philosophical and theological distance. The original Truths that each were given, rather than being united into a more complete understanding of God, were entombed in doctrine and dogma and inflexibility. Wars were fought over it. People died defending the fragment of Truth that they held on to so dearly. Couldn't they See? Obviously not. Was their ego so unavoidably overpowering that they were blind to the pieces of Truth held in trust by others? Obviously so... and little has changed over millenniums.

        What about the present generation of humanity? Are we ready yet to begin seeking and finding the different Pieces of God wherever they may be and to try putting them together into a more enlightened and Whole understanding of our Creator, or will we yet continue on in immaturity and incompleteness? Will we bury ourselves in One Book or keep trading book for book for book forever? Could this be the generation that the world and God has been waiting for? God, I Hope so!

But then, this was all just a fictional account... or Was it?

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The Prayer
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Dear Ever Loving Source,        
        Help us to find You. Help us to quit trying to limit You. Help us to Know You and Love You as You know and Love us.

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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