Gifts and the Giver - January 20, 2019

Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.

Click Image Above to View Worship Guide

Click Image Above to View Worship Guide

~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
February 4, 1968

Snowy Sunday [Online] Worship Gathering - January 13, 2019

What is worship, if not being fully present with God who is always fully present with us? Even though the snow event on January 13 prevented us from worshiping together in our sanctuary, a number of us gathered at 11am through Facebook Live for a brief and simple time of worship, led by Pastor Julie from her living room.

(Email to congregation regarding event: https://mailchi.mp/78a9799da53b/snow-advisory-fbc-facilities-closed-sunday-january-13-online-gathering-live-at-11am)

Epiphany: To Life! - January 6, 2019

Click Image Above to View Worship Guide

Click Image Above to View Worship Guide

When the song of the angel is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers and sisters,
To make music in the heart.

~ Howard Thurman (1900-1981)

This Curious Doorway - December 30, 2018

doorway.jpg

There are particular graces that attend beginnings,
and mercies that wait to meet us when we are setting out into unknown terrain.

Just as we cannot know with certainty what the terrain will hold,
we cannot know at the outset what these graces will look like.

Click Image Above to View Worship Guide

Click Image Above to View Worship Guide

They can take all manner of forms:
a curious occasion of provision,
a seemingly chance meeting that holds a surprising gift,
sustenance that arrives when we need it most,
space to rest and regather.

I think of such occasions as small-g graces
that bear witness to Big Grace, Grace-with-a-capital-G,
the Grace of God.


Flowing out from Big Grace,
graces enter into the details of our lives,
finding their way into the nooks and crannies of our path.

Graces help us begin, and they help us keep going.
They are part of the secret of the journey.
~ Jan Richardson

Love in Four Acts - Act III: Enter the Hero - December 23, 2018

Square.png

There are particular graces that attend beginnings,
and mercies that wait to meet us
when we are setting out into unknown terrain.
Just as we cannot know with certainty
what the terrain will hold,
we cannot know at the outset what these graces will look like.

Click Image Above to View Worship Guide

Click Image Above to View Worship Guide

They can take all manner of forms:
a curious occasion of provision,
a seemingly chance meeting that holds a surprising gift,
sustenance that arrives when we need it most,
space to rest and regather.

I think of such occasions as small-g graces
that bear witness to Big Grace, Grace-with-a-capital-G,
the Grace of God.


Flowing out from Big Grace,
graces enter into the details of our lives,
finding their way into the nooks and crannies of our path.
Graces help us begin, and they help us keep going.
They are part of the secret of the journey.

~ Jan Richardson

Love in Four Acts - Act II: Evil Takes the Stage - December 16, 2018

Square.png

May the sounds of Advent stir a longing in your people, O God. Come again to set us free from the dullness of routine and the poverty of our imaginations. Break the patterns which bind us to small commitments and to the stale answers we have given to questions of no importance. Let the Advent trumpet blow, let the walls of our defenses crumble, and make a place in our lives for the freshness of your love, well-lived in the Spirit, and still given to all who know their need and dare receive it. Amen.

~ Howard Thurman (1899-1981)

Click Image Above to View Worship Guide

Click Image Above to View Worship Guide

Love in Four Acts - Act I: A Promising Start - December 9, 2018

Click Above to View Worship Guide

Click Above to View Worship Guide

  May the sounds of Advent stir a longing in your people, O God. Come again to set us free from the dullness of routine and the poverty of our imaginations. Break the patterns which bind us to small commitments and to the stale answers we have given to questions of no importance. Let the Advent trumpet blow, let the walls of our defenses crumble, and make a place in our lives for the freshness of your love, well-lived in the Spirit, and still given to all who know their need and dare receive it. Amen.

         ~ Howard Thurman (1899-1981)

Love in Four Acts: The Finale - December 2, 2018

Lord Jesus, Master of both the light and the darkness,
send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We, who have so much to do, seek quiet spaces
to hear your voice each day.
We, who are anxious over many things,
look forward to your coming among us.
We, who are blessed in so many ways,
long for the complete joy of your kingdom….
We are your people, walking in darkness
yet seeking the light.
To you we say, “Come, Lord Jesus!” Amen.

~ Mark Neilsen

Click Above to View Worship Guide

Click Above to View Worship Guide

Out of This World - November 25, 2018

Alyssa - sq.png

“If we only had eyes to see and ears to hear and wits to understand, we would know that the Kingdom of God in the sense of holiness, goodness, beauty is as close as breathing and is crying out to born both within ourselves and within the world; we would know that the Kingdom of God is what we all of us hunger for above all other things even when we don’t know its name or realize that it’s what we’re starving to death for. The Kingdom of God is where our best dreams come from and our truest prayers. We glimpse it at those moments when we find ourselves being better than we are and wiser than we know. We catch sight of it when at some moment of crisis a strength seems to come to us that is greater than our own strength. The Kingdom of God is where we belong. It is home, and whether we realize it or not, I think we are all of us homesick for it.”

~ Frederick Buechner

When We Suffer: The God to Whom We Cling - November 11, 2018

When_We_Suffer_2018_square.png

O God, teach me to see You,
and reveal Yourself to me
when I seek you,

For I cannot seek You
unless You first teach me,

Nor find You
unless You first reveal Yourself to me.

Let me seek You in longing,
and long for You in seeking.

Let me find You in love,
and love You in finding.

~ Ambrose of Milan (339-397)

When We Suffer: The Friends We Don’t Need - November 4, 2018

I am reminded of the biblical use of the term saint in the book of Acts. That it applies to each of us. All who are attempting to imitate the Christ in their lives merit the title of "saint." Some do it more fully than others and are willing to let go of more to get the job done.

~ Matthew Fox

   Source: Confessions

When We Suffer: The Truth We Must Speak - October 28, 2018

When_We_Suffer_2018_square.png

“You must keep collecting threads—threads of meaning, threads of hope, threads of purpose, energy and will— along with all the knowledge, skill that every weaver needs.

You must keep on weaving—stopping sometimes only to repair your broken loom—weave a cloak of warmth and light against the dark and cold, a cloak in which to wrap whoever comes to you in need—the world with all its suffering, those near at hand, yourself.

And, if you are lucky, you will find along the way the thread with which you can reweave your own tattered life, the thread that more than any other laces us with warmth and light, making both the weaver and the weaving true—the red thread they call Love, the thread you hold, then hand along, saying to another, ‘You.’”

~ Parker J. Palmer

(from his longer poem, “November 22nd”)

When We Suffer: The First Question We Ask - October 21, 2018

When_We_Suffer_2018_square.png

   “Tell me, ye mighty waters, why did ye sustain the ponderous load of misery?... And God…be not angry with us while we come into this, thy sanctuary, and make the bold inquiry in this, thy holy temple, why it was that thou didst look on with the calm indifference of an unconcerned spectator…?”

~ Nathaniel Paul

An Address Delivered on the Celebration of the Abolition of Slavery in the State of New York, July 5, 1827

Competing Kingdoms - October 14, 2018

“It has long been a matter of serious moment that for decades we have

studied the various peoples of the world and those who live as our neighbors

as objects of missionary endeavor and enterprise without being at all willing

to treat them either as brothers or as human beings.”

~ Howard Thurman, Jesus and the Disinherited

Falling Down and Getting Up - October 7, 2018

J. Pennington-Russell-square.jpg

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken away from a [person] but one thing: the last of the human circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

~ Victor Frankl

Good News for Real People: Gospel for the Discouraged - September 30, 2018

Discouraged.png

God comes to us not where we should have been

if we had made all the right choices in life;

not where we could have been

if we had taken every opportunity

that God has offered us;

not where we wish we were

if we didn’t have to be in the place

where we find ourselves;

not where we think we are

because our minds are out of sync with our hearts;

not where other people think we are

or think we ought to be

when they are attending to their own agendas.

God meets us where we really are.

~ Margaret Silf

Good News for Real People: Gospel for the Unsure - September 23, 2018

Spirituality is about seeing.

      It's about intimate relationship with things

      rather than achieving results or meeting requirements.

Once you see fully, the rest follows.

You don't need to push the river,

      because you are already in the river.

God's life of love is being lived within you,

      and you must simply learn how

      to say yes to that life.

~ Richard Rohr

Good News for Real People: Gospel for the Trapped - September 16, 2018

There are hard things
that I must do today, dear God.
Hard things, but I
should like to do them well,
and bravely as I can.
I ask for courage.
Let me not give up
when things go wrong,
but gladly try another way.
Dear God, be near me through the day
and help me do the hard things well.

~ Edith Kent Battle, “For Hard Things”