The Church Within Sunday Services

for October 2000

Click a box to go to the Individual Service
#210
10-1-2000
#211
10-8-2000
#212
10-15-2000
#213
10-22-2000
#214
10-29-2000


10-1-2000 Sunday Service of the Church Within #210
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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.

Let's see... Where should we go Today?

How about...

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Quotes
*******
(From: Ralph Waldo Emerson)
I am thankful for small mercies. I compared notes with one of my friends who expects everything of the universe, and is disappointed when anything is less than the best, and I found that I begin at the other extreme, expecting nothing, and am always full of thanks for moderate goods.

(From: Aeschylus)
It is always in season for old men to learn.

(From: The Tao Te Ching - #54)
Whoever is planted in the Tao
will not be rooted up.
Whoever embraces the Tao
will not slip away.
Her name will be held in honor
from generation to generation.

Let the Tao be present in your life
and you will become genuine.
Let it be present in your family
and your family will flourish.
Let it be present in your country
and your country will be an example
to all countries in the world.
Let it be present in the universe
and the universe will sing.

How do I know this is true?
By looking inside myself.

(From: The Urantia Papers – Paper-100 Section-4)
        Religious living is devoted living, and devoted living is creative living, original and spontaneous. New religious insights arise out of conflicts which initiate the choosing of new and better reaction habits in the place of older and inferior reaction patterns. New meanings only emerge amid conflict; and conflict persists only in the face of refusal to espouse the higher values connoted in superior meanings.

(From: Emily Dickinson)
Had I not seen the Sun,
I could have borne the shade.

(From: The Urantia Papers - Paper-100 Section-3)
        Jesus portrayed the profound surety of the God-knowing mortal when he said: "To a God-knowing kingdom believer, what does it matter if all things earthly crash?" Temporal securities are vulnerable, but spiritual sureties are impregnable. When the flood tides of human adversity, selfishness, cruelty, hate, malice, and jealousy beat about the mortal soul, you may rest in the assurance that there is one inner bastion, the citadel of the spirit, which is absolutely unassailable; at least this is true of every human being who has dedicated the keeping of his soul to the indwelling spirit of the eternal God.
        After such spiritual attainment, whether secured by gradual growth or specific crisis, there occurs a new orientation of personality as well as the development of a new standard of values. Such spirit-born individuals are so remotivated in life that they can calmly stand by while their fondest ambitions perish and their keenest hopes crash; they positively know that such catastrophes are but the redirecting cataclysms which wreck one's temporal creations preliminary to the rearing of the more noble and enduring realities of a new and more sublime level of universe attainment.

(From: The NASB Bible - Philippians 2:1-5)
        Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus

(From: Aristotle)
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.

(From: The NASB Bible - John 3:3)
Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.

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The Sermon
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"Born Again."

Most have heard the term. What does it Really mean... being Born Again?

Is it something you earn by merely reading this or that or listening to him or her or going here or there?

Sure, those can be an Entrance... a Doorway... a Gate... to being "Born Again." But is an Entrance, or a Door, or a Gate, of greater value than what is inside? Is not Being on the Other Side the Greater Purpose... the True Purpose? Ya Think?

"Born Again" is More...

Is it a Title you are given when you agree to a certain doctrine?

Some people may consider "Born Again" to be no more than such... but... I don't Think so... do You?

no...
"Born Again" Has to be More...

Being "Born Again" does not Change, or Take Away from, your Personality. Rather, it Re-Arranges it and provides it with Peace and Assurance and Validation.

Being "Born Again" does not change who you are, but instead changes how you See yourself and how you see Others.

Being "Born Again" does not free you from all Difficulties or Struggles... but it Does have a Profound change upon the way you React to them.

Being "Born Again" does not require the Death of self... rather... the Metamorphosis of Self... the Emergence of True Self... the Devotion of Self to Spiritual Values.

Being "Born Again" does not stop you from doing Any of the things you really want to do, but it truly Does Inspire, Influence and become the Motivation for all you desire to do.

Being "Born Again" does not change what you Can do, but it Very Much determines what you Will do.

Being "Born Again" does not eliminate past experiences... rather it gives Illumination to the past and reveals how your experiences have routed the direction which has brought you closer to God.

Being "Born Again" does not require Validation from any other than God.

Being "Born Again" does not cause you to worry about getting to Heaven... it is about doing your best to live there Now.

Being "Born Again" is not about becoming a Child of God... it IS about, through Faith, Recognizing that you already ARE a Child of God, and about Living your Life Accordingly---as a Sincere, Faithful, Loving, Trusting and Devoted son or daughter of God WOULD choose to live life.

Being "Born Again" is a New Life of Wonder, of Adventure, of Wisdom and of Worship.

Being "Born Again" is a New Life of Hope, of Dreams, of Faith and of Trust.

Being "Born Again" is a New Life of Love, of Fulfillment, of Self Respect and of the Desire to Serve All.

Being "Born Again"
It's a Lot More than just words and ideas can portray.
Don't ya Think?

Birthing is an often difficult and painful process... even More so when one Fights it.

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The Prayer
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Dear God,
        Take away my Fight, and put in it's place Your Loving Determination. There is not room in me for Both, and Yours is by Far the more Rewarding Way.

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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10-8-2000 Sunday Service of the Church Within #211
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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.

Jesus said: "Fear Not." Good advice... don't ya Think?

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Quotes
*******
(From: The Tao Te Ching - #46)
Whoever can see through all fear will always be safe.

(From: Franklin D. Roosevelt)
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself: nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

(From: Marian Anderson)
Fear is a disease that eats away at logic and makes man inhuman.

(From: The RSV Bible - Luke 12:32)
"Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

(From: Francis of Assisi)
Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received - only what you have given: a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.

(From: Oliver Wendell Holmes)
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

(From: The Urantia Papers – Paper-130 Section-6)
You are trying to run away from your unhappy self, but it cannot be done. You and your problems of living are real; you cannot escape them as long as you live. But look again, your mind is clear and capable. Your strong body has an intelligent mind to direct it. Set your mind at work to solve its problems; teach your intellect to work for you; refuse longer to be dominated by fear like an unthinking animal. Your mind should be your courageous ally in the solution of your life problems rather than your being, as you have been, its abject fear-slave and the bond-servant of depression and defeat. But most valuable of all, your potential of real achievement is the spirit which lives within you, and which will stimulate and inspire your mind to control itself and activate the body if you will release it from the fetters of fear and thus enable your spiritual nature to begin your deliverance from the evils of inaction by the power-presence of living faith. And then, forthwith, will this faith vanquish fear of men by the compelling presence of that new and all-dominating love of your fellows which will so soon fill your soul to overflowing because of the consciousness which has been born in your heart that you are a child of God.

(From: The NASB Bible - Philippians 2:13-15)
for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world

(From: Marian Anderson)
If you have a purpose in which you can believe, there's no end to the amount of things you can accomplish.

(From: James Thurber)
Let us not look back in anger, or forward with fear, but around in awareness.

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The Sermon
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What are you Afraid of... Everything-Anything-Nothing?

You know?... when you really Think about it, fear is really only an "Indicator." Don't ya Think? Say like... Pain is an "Indicator" that keeps us from hurting ourselves too badly before we take proper notice and care of it, right? Well... Fear (another of those "human survival" things), indicates What? ...that we may be in Danger? Of Course... so that we can "take proper notice and care of it" before something life threatening happens, I would imagine... suppose?

So... Fear, like Pain, has it's Purpose---has it's relative value, so to speak. On the animal survival level, it alerts us to danger so that we can avoid it. On the Soul level, fear indicates an area of life where there is not enough Faith present.

When you experience Pain, your First reaction after the initial shock, is "Ouch" (or some other more Demonstrative expletive ;-), and your Second reaction is most often to Do something about it to alleviate or get Rid of the pain. It's like a "computer program" that comes on automatically... serves it's Purpose until the Pain is gone... and then shuts itself off 'till the next time it's needed. Cool Program, Huh? Ya don't notice Pain when it's not there or un-needed, Do ya? The "program" runs in the background un-noticed until it's appropriate for it to function again.

You ever have trouble with your "Fear Program" not shutting down after the danger is past? Don't ya Hate when that happens? It gets to be Truly Annoying, doesn't it? Fear uses up just about All of your available "Resources" so that your system has incredible difficulty running any of the more Useful and Satisfying programs.

For example, "The Love Program."

When Fear is active, it makes it next to Impossible for Love to operate effectively. Fear masks, and tries to override, all of the Satisfaction that the Love Program can provide. When the two programs are running at the same time, it almost Invariably causes a Crash at some point... and for Some "Un-Godly" reason the Fear Program, when it's active, turns off the "Save" capabilities of the Love Program. [Spirit has an Automatic Back-Up feature that will allow Soul to retrieve the un-saved Love experience, but when "ego" is the primary "Operating System" there is no access to the "Restore Backup" function.]

Oh! And the "Fulfilling Your Dream Program"... now That one can completely Freeze-up if the Fear Program isn't shut down before you open it. FRUSTRATING when That happens, ain't it? Ya gotta Re-Boot and start all over from Scratch again! [Often, Fear corrupts the whole "Fulfilling Your Dream Program" and you have to re-install it all over again when Fear isn't running.] -SIGH-

Did you know that there's an Upgrade available that can automatically turn off Fear after it has served it's purpose? Until I installed it, I didn't have any idea how Essential it was to my overall ability to function. It Revolutionizes the whole Life process! Basically, what the upgrade does is restructure your Faith Directory and change your whole Perspective on Life. The Fragile nature of belief in "things" is replaced by Unassailable Faith in God, and that God Loves you, and Cares for you, and Watches Over you like a Loving Parent watches over their Cherished Child... and that your Soul and your Spirit are Protected and Safe from any real harm Because You Are God's Beloved Child. That is what enables your system to operate without Fear hovering over you all the time. Once you have upgraded, all of your Best and most Noble Programs function better. Without Fear, Courage is enabled and Hope is bolstered... Love can flourish and Dreams can be Fulfilled... Life can be Rewarding and Exciting and have Purpose instead of it being frightening, confusing and hopeless.

Have you installed it yet?

Anyone who Has, Knows that it was Worth the Effort!

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The Prayer
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Dear God,
        Having You in my life makes ALL the Difference in the World!

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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10-15-2000 Sunday Service of the Church Within #212
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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.

What's the hardest thing you have ever had to do?

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Quotes
*******
(From: Gandhi)
I claim no perfection for myself. But I do claim to be a passionate seeker after Truth, which is but another name for God.

(From: The Urantia Papers – Paper-101 Section-0)
        Religion, the conviction-faith of the personality, can always triumph over the superficially contradictory logic of despair born in the unbelieving material mind. There really is a true and genuine inner voice, that "true light which lights every man who comes into the world." And this spirit leading is distinct from the ethical prompting of human conscience. The feeling of religious assurance is more than an emotional feeling. The assurance of religion transcends the reason of the mind, even the logic of philosophy. Religion is faith, trust, and assurance.

(From: The Urantia Papers – Paper-101 Section-2)
        Religion is the faith act of the recognition of this inner urge to divine attainment; and thus is brought about that soul trust and assurance of which you become conscious as the way of salvation, the technique of the survival of personality and all those values which you have come to look upon as being true and good.

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The Sermon
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        I think the most difficult thing that I ever have done in this life was to Finally put it all together to the point of being able to---at least in That Moment---Realize, Accept and Embrace that there was Nothing in this life more Important to me, Nothing in this life that I desired More, than to be True, Good and Loving... to BE what God Wanted me to be, ie: to Do God's Will.

        It was like, "Duh... why on Earth wouldn't I WANT to do God's True, Beautiful, Good and Loving Will in Every Moment?" Every time in the Past that I Had done what I thought God would want me to do, I felt better about the world, better about Myself, and better about Life in General. I couldn't think of any reason that I wouldn't want to Feel that way All the time...

        "If God wants it for me, then By God, I want it for me Too!"; "If I think that God Doesn't want it for me, then By God, I don't want it for me Either!"; "If I believe That is how God would like me to Act, then By God, That is how I WILL Act!" "By God... YES! By, With and FOR God!!!"

        "How Truly Simple... it is Simplicity in Itself!" my Soul realized.

        Whereupon the 'internal dialogue' began and my old self reminded me, "Of course I hope you know that means you'll have to give up all forms of Lying no matter how Trivial or innocent it may seem."

        And I said, "Yes. So? Loving Truth always Feels better Anyways... Doesn't it?"

        "Well what if you make Mistakes? You'll make Mistakes you know... you always Do!"

        "Yes... but I will no longer willingly make them on Purpose! There's a Difference."

        "You Won't be able to Do it!."

        "It's not About whether I Can do it, it's about whether I WILL do it! I CAN and I WILL."

        "You won't be any Good at it..."

        "I Will get Better at it."

        "You know what you'll be giving Up?"

        "I Know what I'll be Gaining."

        "You won't be able to..."

        "It doesn't matter."

        "You'll get Lost."

        "If God knows where I am, and He Does, and I Know that God knows where I am, and I Do, and I seek God's Will wherever I am, then I am not Lost."

        "I HATE feeling lost!"

        "We won't Have to feel lost anymore... when we let God show us the Value in being where we Are."

        "People won't Know me anymore!"

        "They will Get to know you better."

        "What if they don't Like me?"

        "Is it better when YOU don't like you?"

        "No... but..."

        "Then let us Be someone we can Like. Let us be Likable... Lovable... then if someone else doesn't like us we are not to blame. And if they Do like us, then they are liking us for who we Really Are, and That feels better Anyway. Doesn't it?"

        "Yeah... but... what if they Don't?"

        "Yes. And what when they Do?"

        "You think they Will?"

        "You think they Won't?"

        "You think we can Do it?"

        "With Faith and with Love and with God, we can BE it!"

        "You think we should Try it?"

        "No. Instead let's just Do it."

        "How will we know if it Works?"

        "We will know."

        The Inner Debate finally ended that day with the realization that God's Will was Much Better than, and less stressful than, and more Fulfilling than My will had been.

        My life became Better that day... more Peaceful... more Assured... more Compassionate... and more Filled with Love. I didn't Lose Anything, and I Gained Everything.

        "Yes... It was Worth it!"

        "OK... so you were right That time..."

        "The Fear is gone, isn't it?"

        "Well... yeah... I haven't really thought about it, but I guess it Is."

        "And, the Love is there, is it not?"

        "I have to admit it..."

        "And Much more Peaceful?"

        "I suppose... yeah..."

        "God's Will is the Way then... It is My will to do God's Will."

        I think the Second most difficult thing that I ever have done in this life... and must Continue to do until it is habit and I don't have to think about doing it anymore... is to realize that God's Will is something I have to do right Now---in this Moment---in Every Moment. Later isn't soon enough.

        "Always?"

        "Right NOW! Always will Come."

        "I Hope I'll remember..."

        "We will be reminded."

        "We'll make mistakes..."

        "But Never Again will I make them on Purpose!"

        "OK... whatever you want..."

        "Whatever God wants."

        "Yeah, I Meant that."

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The Prayer
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Dear God,
        Make me more aware so that I make fewer mistakes... I'm willing if You are.

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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10-22-2000 Sunday Service of the Church Within #213
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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.

Well... Tomorrow, October 23rd, is the 5-year Anniversary of the Church Within.

It is a dream manifest for me. For me, providing Sunday Services, weekly inspirational stories, spiritual counseling, and periodic quotes and humor are Truly Soul Satisfying.

How about you? Has the Church Within enriched your life through the years? Have we provided inspiration at "the moment" you Most Needed it? Have we cheered you up when you were down? Inspired you to seek to know yourself and love yourself more fully? Inspired you to recognize your God-given gifts? Have we inspired you to give your unique service to others?

We would love to hear from you. The Church Within seeks to always continue to grow in its perceptions of how it can best serve You, Our Readership. You are Our Reason for Being. If time allows, please let us hear from you on this momentous five-year occasion.

Is the Church Within something you would like to see continue to grow? Is it something that has given value to your life? Are the Services something you look forward to? How can we improve what we offer to more fully enrich your lives day to day?

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Quotes
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(From: Abraham Lincoln)
Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my great concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right.

(From: Aristotle)
Whatsoever that be within us that feels, thinks, desires, and animates, is something celestial, divine, and, consequently, imperishable.

(From: Gandhi)
I hold that the true education of the intellect can only come through a proper exercise and training of the body. But unless the development of the mind and body goes hand in hand with a corresponding awakening of the soul, the former alone would prove to be a poor lopsided affair. By spiritual training I mean education of the heart.

(From: Abraham Lincoln)
When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion.

(From: The Urantia Papers – Paper-156 Section-5)
        The God-conscious mortal is certain of salvation; he is unafraid of life; he is honest and consistent. He knows how bravely to endure unavoidable suffering; he is uncomplaining when faced by inescapable hardship.
        The true believer does not grow weary in well-doing just because he is thwarted. Difficulty whets the ardor of the truth lover, while obstacles only challenge the exertions of the undaunted kingdom builder.

(From: Abraham Lincoln)
The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a course we believe to be just.

(From: Francis of Assisi)
Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance. Where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor vexation. Where there is poverty and joy, there is neither greed nor avarice. Where there is peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt.

(From: The Urantia Papers – Paper-156 Section-5)
        "But let me warn you against the folly of undertaking to surmount temptation by the effort of supplanting one desire by another and supposedly superior desire through the mere force of the human will. If you would be truly triumphant over the temptations of the lesser and lower nature, you must come to that place of spiritual advantage where you have really and truly developed an actual interest in, and love for, those higher and more idealistic forms of conduct which your mind is desirous of substituting for these lower and less idealistic habits of behavior that you recognize as temptation. You will in this way be delivered through spiritual transformation rather than be increasingly overburdened with the deceptive suppression of mortal desires. The old and the inferior will be forgotten in the love for the new and the superior. Beauty is always triumphant over ugliness in the hearts of all who are illuminated by the love of truth. There is mighty power in the expulsive energy of a new and sincere spiritual affection. And again I say to you, be not overcome by evil but rather overcome evil with good."

(From: Gandhi)
A weak man is just by accident. A strong but non-violent man is unjust by accident.

(From: Aristotle)
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.

(From: Abraham Lincoln)
Whatever you are, be a good one.

(From: John Lennon)
Imagine...

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The Sermon
***********
I Believe in God Within You and Me
        There to Find if Only we will See
Someone Good and Loving Too
        Someone Beautiful and True
Seeking for each moment We
         Dare to Trust and Be Set Free

But Shame and Guilt from Days Gone By
        And Everything That Made us Cry
Memories of Past Mistakes
        Fear that Our Hearts Again May Break
Can Keep us Chained Afraid to Try
        Imprisoned, Terrified to Fly

Full with Love then Empty Without
        Fearless Faith Challenged by Doubt
Now ya see it - Now ya Don't
        Is it that I Can't... or Won't?
Sometimes I just want to Shout
        What's this Thing called Life About?

And Then Your Answer to my Need
        Is the Sprouting of a Seed
I See You through Another Care
        I Know it's You... I Feel You There
When I Choose to Follow Where You Lead
        Then is my Soul Truly Freed

I Believe in God Within You and Me
        There to Find if Only we will See
Someone Good and Loving Too
        Someone Beautiful and True
Seeking for each moment We
         Dare to Trust and Be Set Free

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The Prayer
**********
Today's Prayer is from Francis of Assisi.
        "O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life."

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


10-29-2000 Sunday Service of the Church Within #214
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Today's Service is offered by: Pastor Daniel J. Megow

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

Where do you find God?

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Quotes
*******
(From: William James – “The Varieties of Religious Experience” ©1902)
        We are thinking beings, and we cannot exclude the intellect from participating in any of our functions. Even in soliloquizing with ourselves, we construe our feelings intellectually. Both our personal ideals and our religious and mystical experiences must be interpreted congruously with the kind of scenery which our thinking mind inhabits. The philosophic climate of our time inevitably forces its own clothing on us. Moreover, we must exchange our feelings with one another, and in doing so we have to speak, and to use general and abstract verbal formulas. Conceptions and constructions are thus a necessary part of our religion; and as moderator amid the clash of hypotheses, and mediator among the criticisms of one man's constructions by another, philosophy will always have much to do.

(From: The Dalai Lama)
Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion.

(From: D.H. Lawrence)
Love is the flower of life, and blossoms unexpectedly and without law, and must be plucked where it is found, and enjoyed for the brief hour of its duration.

(From: The Urantia Papers – Paper-101 Section-1)
        True religion is not a system of philosophic belief which can be reasoned out and substantiated by natural proofs, neither is it a fantastic and mystic experience of indescribable feelings of ecstasy which can be enjoyed only by the romantic devotees of mysticism. Religion is not the product of reason, but viewed from within, it is altogether reasonable. Religion is not derived from the logic of human philosophy, but as a mortal experience it is altogether logical. Religion is the experiencing of divinity in the consciousness of a moral being of evolutionary origin; it represents true experience with eternal realities in time, the realization of spiritual satisfactions while yet in the flesh.

(From: The American Standard Bible - James 1:19-25)
        This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

(From: The Urantia Papers – Paper-101 Section-0)
        Religion, the conviction-faith of the personality, can always triumph over the superficially contradictory logic of despair born in the unbelieving material mind. There really is a true and genuine inner voice, that "true light which lights every man who comes into the world." And this spirit leading is distinct from the ethical prompting of human conscience. The feeling of religious assurance is more than an emotional feeling. The assurance of religion transcends the reason of the mind, even the logic of philosophy. Religion is faith, trust, and assurance.

(From: The RSV Bible - James 1:26-2:1)
        If any one thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man's religion is vain. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
        My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.

(From: The Urantia Papers – Paper-127 Section-3)
        Jesus possessed the ability effectively to mobilize all his powers of mind, soul, and body on the task immediately in hand. He could concentrate his deep-thinking mind on the one problem which he wished to solve, and this, in connection with his untiring patience, enabled him serenely to endure the trials of a difficult mortal existence--to live as if he were "seeing Him who is invisible."

(From: The Dalai Lama)
“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

(From: D.H. Lawrence)
“A man has no religion who has not slowly and painfully gathered one together, adding to it, shaping it; and one's religion is never complete and final, it seems, but must always be undergoing modification.”

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The Sermon
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        While I was growing up, I had very little (if any) contact with religious beliefs outside of the Roman Catholic theology. My Nuclear Family was devotedly Catholic, and my early life was filled with references to God as a Father, Jesus as a Loving Savior, and Angels and Saints as God's Devoted Helpers of Mankind. Never did a day go by without God being somewhere, if not Everywhere, in life's picture. God was someone to love and to worship and to pray to for help... someone to try to please simply because he was so Good... someone that you just didn't want to disappoint, not because of what he would do to you in retribution but, because of how you would personally feel while disappointing someone who Loved you so much. God was someone to be Awed by rather than feared. (Kinda like my Parents... go Figure.)
        I loved and still love those things about the religion of my family.

        In twelve years of Catholic School however, I was taught some things about the beliefs/doctrine/creed/theology/whatever of Catholicism that felt contrary to what I experienced at the family level.
        The concept that all humans are inherently/inescapably evil and sinful just wasn't consistent with the example my family had shown me. They were Good, Loving, Compassionate and Caring People... Hardly evil or sinful. Something didn't Fit right with me here...
        Another thing that always confused my young mind about being Catholic was that, it was almost Always a 'Mortal Sin' you could go to hell for if you broke "The Laws of the Church." But breaking most of "God's Laws" was only a 'venial sin' that sent you to "Purgatory" when you died unconfessed---which meant that you weren't going to hell, but you weren't going to Heaven right away either. Of course, if you got to the church's confessional before you died, the priest could always get God to forgive Any of your sins... but the 'Penance' for breaking a Church Law was always more severe and time consuming than what you got for breaking most of God's Laws. Go Figure... you'd think it would be the other way around, wouldn't ya?
        It may have just been the individual understanding of the priests and nuns who taught Religion class, but the teaching I got from them that Catholicism was "The One and Only True Religion" that could get you into Heaven and that everybody with any other religion was destined for hell seemed unjust to me... not at All like the Parental God of Infinite Love and Compassion and Justice that I experienced in my heart.

I needed something More...

        When I moved out on my own at 18, I met Many Good, Loving, Compassionate and Caring People... and they weren't even Catholic. In Fact, I encountered Good, Loving, Compassionate and Caring People in All the different world religions and systems of belief. Imagine That! It made me want to explore Other religions and philosophies and theologies to see what they were all about. Maybe I'd find the one that had it ALL right!

        The Eastern Religions taught me many valuable things about Life and about Living that helped me to become a better person in every day life. I thank them for that! But I had already experienced God as a Personal and Loving Parent and Jesus as a Friend and someone to try to be like and that was missing from Eastern Philosophy.

I needed it ALL!

        I had met many Good, Loving, Compassionate and Caring People who were Protestant Christians, so one-by-one I tried Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Full-Gospel, Pentecostal and many others. I had Good experiences in Each and every One of them... and some not so good experiences as well. For one thing, I couldn't believe that "the devils power" to influence me was equal to or even anywhere Near as potent as God's power to influence me. And, after knowing God in my heart as Infinitely Loving, Compassionate and Just, I in all honesty couldn't see him as angry, vengeful or jealous, and Definitely not as a father who would require his son to be mercilessly and brutally tortured and killed for sins that others had chosen to commit. "Atonement" just never did, and never will work for me... it's incompatible with Infinitely Loving, Compassionate and Just in my experience.

Just about Every religion I explored, taught that they were the Only Ones who were Completely right and that all the others must consequently be wrong.

Ya know what? It seems to me that they are All relatively Right in some ways, and they are All relatively wrong in some ways as well. The Infinite God is just Too Big and too humanly Incomprehensible to be contained in any one doctrine or creed or book... even in all of them put together.

In the end, I decided to try looking for God in everything, in every place, in every person and in every experience of Truth, Beauty, Goodness and Love. You know what? God's Everywhere I Look now... as long as I remember what and Whom I am looking for.

Don't Ever stop looking... Don't Ever stop Finding.

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The Prayer
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Dear God,
        I'm glad I found You! I'll Never stop Looking because each time I do, I find More of You. You are the Treasure that I Seek!!!

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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