We pray. We study the Bible. We make friends. We tell our stories. We give ourselves away in service and generosity.

I am so grateful for this day. I want to be mindful of the blessings and opportunities which shall come my way –

•       people with whom I can share friendship and joy and even tears

•       the chance to be about something that matters, to pull hard on the plough

•       air to breathe and food to eat and safety to relax

•       serendipitous moments of joy, when a stranger smiles or the sun breaks through

•       ideas which make my heart beat faster

•       but most of all, your presence in my life, God.

You transform every moment, even this very one, into a blessing. Every event, every step, every twist and turn on my journey can be a gift if I experience it with you.
Don’t let me miss it, today. God. Not one single moment.

So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us. 1 Thessalonians 2:8  
Read the whole text for the week here. Our sermon is The Courage to Be Yourself.

In what ways do you find yourself seeking the praise of others? What part of you do you think you struggle to share with others? How has your understanding of “your own self” changed over the years? Are you more honest now than you used to be?

Two things:
First, there is a quote attributed to Oscar Wilde that goes this way “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” God created you in a unique way, and too often we find ourselves trying to be who others want us to be. This Sunday, we will be talking about the courage to share “our own selves” with others.
Second, I really hope you will plan to join a small group during Lent, as we look together at what we believe as Christians. Eric Huffman and I have written a curriculum together, called Start Here, which is based on the statements of the Apostles’ Creed. This has been such a great experience for me to write, and I think it will be good for many of us. Believe it or not, I am a guy for whom the Christian faith starts in the heart, rather than the head. This has been a great experience to understand how we let that faith drift upward from the heart to the head. Go online right hereto sign up.


Sunday, January 24
God, show me what you want me to do, and help me to serve you with complete devotion. Give me the courage to use my God given gifts and talents according to your purpose. Amen.

Monday, January 25
Heavenly Father, I woke up this morning, and you were there. You cared for me during the night. Help me serve you faithfully during this day. Amen. -Prayer by Rev. Bill Denham

Tuesday, January 26 – Personal Prayer Day
Many people are struggling with sickness and poor health. Many people are recovering from surgery or going through rehabilitation. Pray for the people in your life who are undergoing medical treatment. Pray for them by name. Ask God to strengthen them and heal them. Ask God to hold them in his hands and comfort them.

Wednesday, January 27 – Scripture Prayer
May my words and my thoughts be acceptable to you, O Lord, my refuge and my redeemer!” Amen. -Psalm 19:14

Thursday, January 28 – Personal Prayer Day
Jesus tells us the story of the prodigal son whose father prepares a feast upon his return home. Think about your family. Pray for those who are lost and need to return home. Pray for them by name. Pray for all of the members of your family to be united in Christ.

Friday, January 29
God, you have blessed us with a good start to the New Year. Please help us to be faithful to you and to develop our Inside-Out habits as the year continues. Please open our minds and our hearts so that we may hear you speak to us in worship on Sunday. Amen.

Saturday, January 30
God, Give me new life. Forgive my errors, my shame, my guilt, for the wrong that I have done. Forgive me and teach me to forgive myself and others. Amen.