Our inside-out habits: We pray. We study the Bible. We make friends. We tell our stories. We give ourselves away in generosity and service.
Sometimes, I feel like I don’t quite fit in. I feel different from the people around me. I feel like the kid who plays alone on the playground. I realize that others may look at me and not see that sense of isolation. I know that part of it is due to decisions I have made not to show other people my true self. I also know that part of it is my desire to be somehow different than others around me. I don’t want to be controlled by the trends and opinions of others, God. I want to be controlled only by you. At the same time, I don’t want to stand apart from others, but to belong to something much bigger than myself.
When I move away from my preoccupation with self, God, it occurs to me that if I feel left out and lonely, how much more must some others feel that they don’t really belong. I am welcomed and received warmly, have a marvelous family, and am clearly a part of the social fabric of the community. But there are so many others who have been pushed aside by the church, judged for their decisions or background or makeup, and turn to other places to find a sense of belonging. Surely that isn’t the way you designed it. Jesus searched for the marginalized and welcomed them warmly.
And Lord, I know it isn’t just that others need a place to belong… We need them, all of them. We are not complete without them as a part of us. God, you made each one of them with a particular gift, and without each one, we don’t quite work right. Without all of them, we are missing something. So show us how to welcome all your children warmly, and draw them in to be a part of us.
In the name of the one who welcomed sinners and ate with them, we pray,
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
Next Week is Mother’s Day. I need your help. Would you send me a brief email telling me what makes you love your mother? Or… if you are a mother, tell me what makes you love being a mother? Or…. Who has mothered you, even though you did not grow up in their household?
Next Sunday, May 13, we begin a new sermon series called “Keeping Your Amateur Status.” The word “amateur” comes from the French word meaning “lover.” Do you do what you do because you love it? Do you still approach life and others with passion? Or has life and relationship and faith become just a job for you? The last three weeks of May – Mother’s Day, Senior Sunday, and Memorial Day Weekend, we will challenge ourselves to make a choice to love – love one another, love life, and love God.
“My Child, You Are…” Sermon Series
This Sunday, we conclude our sermon series on what the Bible tells us it means to be a human being. What is it that we want the children of our church to know about themselves? Part of our job as a church is to form a Biblical core identity in each and every person, each and every child of God, no matter the age. Each week, we have been looking at one of four key components of that identity, and reflecting together on how we can help form it in one another. This week, we consider “My Child, You Are…A Part of Us.” How can we make each child of God find a place to belong? Come and join us.
Lots of important things coming up as we head into summer…
- Our Harvey Restoration work continues on Saturday, May 19. Sign up here.
- Consider doing one of our Adult Summer Studies: Equipped to Serve, Bible in 90 days, Bible 101, Financial Peace, and Leadership Lessons for the Second Half of Life. Sign up here.
- Join our Scripture + Shared Summer Bible Reading Program during June, as we study the Psalms. Look here to join in.
- Vacation Bible School is coming and you need to sign up now, and we would love your help. Jump in here.
KEY VERSE FOR THE WEEK
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. –1 Corinthians 12:12
QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION AND REFLECTION
What collective identity are you tempted to claim ahead of your Christian identity? What makes you want to pull away from others?
Sunday, May 6
Dear mighty and loving God, please fill me with your Holy Spirit this day in a gentle, yet powerful way. I pray that I reflect your presence with every person I encounter. Help me to reflect your love and grace. Amen. -Prayer by Steve McCarthy
Monday, May 7
God of wisdom, we pray for our teachers today. We thank you for their hard work and dedication to teach our children. We ask that you would bless them with an amazing end to this school year. We pray that you would show them the fruits of their labor and help them to finish the school year strong. Amen.
Tuesday, May 8
Heavenly Father, as we look around us and see people in need, please help us reach out to those people and help ease their burdens. Help us not forget to pray for them as well. Amen. -Prayer by Jack Browder
Wednesday, May 9
Dear God, Thank you for the many blessings we have received. Each day you give us the opportunity to share your love with those we encounter. Help me to recognize those who are in need of our support. Give us the gift of understanding others and the strength to reach out and help them in any way we can. Give us guidance to live as your son, Jesus, has taught us; to place ourselves as third; God is first, our fellow man is next, and I am third. Amen. -Prayer by Brenda Lary
Thursday, May 10
God, Hold us close while we grieve for the loss of our loved ones. Cry with us as we cry, hurt with us as we hurt, and then give us the hope that one day you will turn our sorrows into renewed joy. Amen.
Friday, May 11
Heavenly Father, we pray for those who are suffering from debilitating depression. Give the doctors the wisdom to properly diagnose them. Be with their loved ones as they try to love them well by giving them what they need. Amen.
Saturday, May 12
Hello Jesus, I pray for my Mommy and my Daddy and my baby brother. Help him to learn how to share better. Amen. -Child’s prayer
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