Giving thanks will be the focus of many dinners and conversations in the weeks ahead. To be sure Thanksgiving is both a time of gratitude and reflection. I know that many of these conversations will be with family and friends and that many will be sitting around a table with an "empty chair" for the first time as you deal with the reality of loved ones who have died. In the midst of all of our circumstances God's promise is to love us and be with us. My prayer is that this Sunday in worship you will experience renewal and hope. For the people of God there is no renewal apart from worship. In worship the roots of our souls reach deep and connect with the aquifer of God's grace. Central to our spiritual living is to be in the presence of the community, worshiping God together.
A couple of items to note:
• I am thrilled to share the news that yesterday our own Denia Segrest was APPROVED unanimously to be ordained as a minister of the word & sacrament in our denomination and to join our pastoral staff! This is great news for our church and the Kingdom of God. Mark your calendars for her ordination service —> Sunday, December 17th at 2:00pm in our sanctuary
• This Saturday at 9:00am we will be doing a little gardening/mulch distribution at the church. If you are able to drop by and help we could use it :-)
See you Sunday ~
This week's worship information:
Sunday's Message: Freedom Isn’t Free
Scripture [first text is the focus of the sermon.]:
Questions for Reflection:
For what things in your life is it easy to feel thankful? For what things is thankfulness difficult?
How do you define “freedom?” Do you think there is a difference between the freedom that we are given as citizens of our country and the freedom that we receive in Jesus?
Has there ever been a time where you did not feel [or in fact were not] free? How did that feel and what enabled you to change your circumstance or feeling?
For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.
Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.
And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, ‘This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.’ For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, ‘Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’