You Are The Author of Your Story

This is your mission. There will be changes. Be prepared.

Intellectually we all imagine there will be challenges in life. We just don’t imagine the challenges will be that difficult or last that long. Its very tempting to simply brush them off with an eye-roll, chuckle and a “suck it up, Buttercup” mentality. Super smart people have a name for it: compassion fatigue. Sometimes it’s called ‘disaster fatigue.’ One more illness, winter storm, school shooting or story about a Chicago police commander murdered in the street can send us right over the edge into the ‘I don’t care anymore” abyss.  It can be relationship, work or school related. The symptoms include an overwhelming sense of psychological, mental and emotional paralysis. We get stuck. We don’t feel, don’t cry, don’t care….about anything.

"Sufferers can exhibit several symptoms including hopelessness, a decrease in experiences of pleasure, constant stress and anxiety, sleeplessness or nightmares, and a pervasive negative attitude. This can have detrimental effects on individuals, both professionally and personally, including a decrease in productivity, the inability to focus, and the development of new feelings of incompetency and self-doubt.” (Thanks Wiki)

I did a little research. How do we overcome or heal from this disorder? Each article gave some basic directives like get educated, take time away from the news or be kind to yourself. Blah, blah, blah. It felt like platitudes. A revelation to me that even people who work in these expensive institutes dedicated to investigating the problem don’t know what to do for people or societies who suffer from this problem. I was in Africa seven months ago, mention the word Rwanda. Trust me. Whole societies suffer.

Jeremiah’s story reveals a very personal struggle between a prophet and God. A nation is involved. In order to be equipped to be what God calls us to be—prophet person—and not be crippled all our lives by inadequacy, we need to know supremely these two subjects: God and the world, and to be trained in them thoroughly. In both subjects, first impressions and surface appearances are deceiving. We underestimate God and overestimate evil. We don’t see what God is doing and conclude he is doing nothing.* Despondency set in for Jeremiah. Despondency develops with wrong expectations. He plummeted to the depths of despair after receiving a great call and visions from God. It’s very tough to slug through chapter after chapter of disaster it’s like eavesdropping on a heartbreaking disastrous relationship argument. Read chapters 1-11 for yourself. It’s a great Lenten exercise. Finally, in chapter 12, Jeremiah complained and loudly. God responded in an unexpected way. 

Join us Sunday for worship. I challenge you to put aside your expectations about the world and God. A major break through can happen in an unexpected way when we disconnect from our diminutive,   narrow, restricted points of view to allow the holy, sanctified, God-sized expansion of our heart, soul, mind and strength. This is the invigorating life God longs for us to lead, friends. Let’s get out there and get it!

“I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans. You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water, ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’ I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head.” Job 42:1 The Message

*Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at its Best. Eugene Peterson.
 

Pastor Jen

Excuses

But I said, “Hold it, Master God! Look at me.I don’t know anything. I’m only a boy!” Jeremiah 1:6          The Message

Hold it, Master God, I am.....(.you fill in the blank.)

Excuses. My list is long and often punctuated with exclamation points. I have done my very best to try to avoid God’s direction in my life on numerous occasions. On second thought, I ignore God pretty much on a daily basis. I attempt to do my own thing and continue to struggle. I’m honestly amazed by God’s patience with me. I tend to lose my patience easily and slide into blaming others for most of my blunders when I could easily accept God’s help and the outcomes would be dramatically different.

I find it comforting the ‘Bible Giants’ struggled with God too. I’ve really enjoyed the research and preparation we’ve done for this next series ‘Run with the Horses.’ Jeremiah is my kind of guy. Even though God had previously made plans for him, Jeremiah had some ideas of his own about life, leadership and his faith in God. Don’t we all.

So, this weekend, we meet Jeremiah. Read chapter one. Familiarize yourself with the scriptures. The book is filled with prose and poetry. You will not find a linear story line or dramatic character developments. What you will find is something like journal entries—the internal workings of a man’s struggle with God. You will read authentic grievances from Jeremiah and from God.  I find this book refreshing! I think you will too!


Pastor Jen

Run with the Horses

Things have changed a lot for the church. 

The American Church seems to have lost our savvy with regards to what we have to offer. Many leading strategists are stepping up to provide directives for renewal and reform. But, if the sociologists are right, more and more people are becoming more and more disappointed and disaffected with the church. Some might say, “we’ve lost our market share.”

Serious attempts have been taken to rebrand or repackage church. Since Americans are world class champion consumers, the gospel has to be repackaged and reinterpreted for each generation in order to satisfy their addiction for the new and improved—the bigger and better.

There is a great irony at work which I believe is God’s handiwork. I mean his finger prints are all over this! The more we try to offer the gospel in slick new consumeristic terminology the more disappointed consumers become. The gospel is not a product designed to be consumed. I can’t hold onto it. The gospel doesn’t satisfy what we determine as our need. It is something completely other. It is holy. It is life altering. It belongs to God.

We’re all starved for authenticity. 

There is a reason we scrunch our noses when we sense someone is being inauthentic. We are designed with an internal authenticity meter of sorts. It’s an unquenchable desire for wholeness and for righteousness. It’s like we’ve always known what is good and right and authentic but we’ve lost our way when we wandered out of the Garden. So we search for something—anything—to satisfy our deep need. It’s like we all suffer from an addiction but we don’t quite know what we’re addicted to.

The anti-hero has emerged as someone we look up to. Maybe he knows the way. It’s way easier to identify with him. The film industry has certainly capitalized on him and introduced us to Tony Stark, Bruce Wayne or the weird character Deadpool who all inspire the sarcastically inclined. So, for the next series we will explore this anti-hero phenomenon. We will meet and get to know an authentic anti-hero: Jeremiah.

Dr. Baruch Korman is a biblical scholar par excellence. He’s kind of a big deal and he’s a new Wheatland partner in ministry. He will introduce those of us who worship at the Naperville campus to Jeremiah Sunday. Pastor Roger Jenks will deliver the Fit finale at our Oswego Campus. Either place will offer you an amazing experience. I’d like for you to consider what you truly believe about the gospel, about authenticity and what you require for becoming a fully connected, devoted and generous follower of Jesus. Maybe you’re a lot like Jeremiah. Let’s find out together.

“So, Jeremiah, if you’re worn out in this foot race with men, what makes you think you can race against horses? And if you can’t keep your wits during times of calm, what’s going to happen when trouble breaks loose like the Jordan in flood?” Jeremiah 12:5


Pastor Jen

God Has Uniquely Created You

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you… We have different gifts, according to the grace given each of us.”  (Romans 12:3, 6a)

God has uniquely created you.  Yes, you.  Not only that but God has uniquely gifted you.  Yes, YOU!  

In Romans 12, Paul is urging us to come to a reckoning with who we are and what it is we are called to do.  Be self-aware, he effectively says.  Do some self-assessment.  Discern from the Spirit.  Discover your identity in Christ and your gifts from God.  Then live into them!

The way John Ortberg puts it in his little book Overcoming Your Shadow Mission is: “You and I were created to have a mission in life.  We were made to make a difference.  But if we do not pursue the mission for which God designed and gifted us, we will find a substitute.  We cannot live in the absence of purpose.  Without an authentic mission, we will be tempted to drift on autopilot, to let our lives center around something that is unworthy, something selfish, something dark—a shadow mission.”

Are you living with purpose?  Do you know the authentic mission God has designed specifically for you?

When I was in high school and college, I was wrestling with what I was going to do with my life.  All throughout my academic career I had excelled in the areas of math and science, but I also loved writing and had a keen interest in history.  I believe I could have literally done anything with my life.  I envisioned careers in medicine and engineering.  But something just didn’t feel right.  So I got a second opinion.  I asked God.

And when I turned to God—or as it says in Romans 12:1 when I “offered myself to God as a living sacrifice”—I got a very different answer as to what my unique combination of personality and gifts were for.  I was convinced that I felt God calling me to ordained ministry.  It’s something I hadn’t considered.  It didn’t seem right at first.  But the more and more I questioned it, the more and more I felt affirmation.

As I look back on it now, I still think I could have done anything.  But if I had, I believe my life would have been exactly as Ortberg describes in that quote, my life would have centered around “something that is unworthy, something selfish, something dark.”

Even now I realize that I must continually return to Romans 12:1, and re-“offer myself to God as a living sacrifice.”  Otherwise, I get off track.

It’s never too late.  Offer yourself to God.  God has uniquely created and gifted you.  God has a purpose for you.  Find your fit today.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)

Pastor Derek

Transformation is Possible

Best-selling Christian author Donald Miller said that for the longest time in his life he believed this lie that “life is something that happens to you, not something you can steer and alter.”  “It’s a crazy lie to believe,” he admits, “but one that is so pervasive.”  

Often when I look at my life, complete with my habits, attitudes, perceptions, and routines I start believing the lie too.  Maybe you’re the same way.  Like me, maybe you’re set in your ways, always tripping over the same obstacles.  No matter how hard you try, you’re always the same.  Life just keeps on coming, and it’s never any different.

The truth of the matter is, that is not the way we were made.  “Every healthy thing God created changes,” writes Miller.  “God designed the world so that it is in constant motion, never sitting still, always dying and being reborn.  Everything is changing, all the time.”

Just think about it for a minute… day and night the world is always in motion, always changing.  Winter to spring to summer to fall, a constant cycle of dying and being reborn.  The flowers and trees bloom and then they die off only to be reborn again.  It’s the circle of life.

Then why is it that we convince ourselves we can’t be changed or transformed?  Why is it that we convince ourselves we can’t get out of the same old ruts?

In Romans 12, Paul makes it clear transformation is possible.  “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)

Transformation starts with offering ourselves to God by letting go, surrendering, committing totally.

Transformation continues through the renewing of the mind.

Spend some time leading up to Sunday considering what it might mean to be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  

Spend some time reviewing the prompts/questions from the back of the bulletin this past week:

T-think about what spoke to you?

R-reflect and write down one sentence: what keeps you from total commitment?

U-understand your view of God and how that may impact your ability to entrust your life to Him. Do you understand God to be kind or demanding?

S-strategy is a choice. Start with small steps. God gets you and understands you. Intellectually we know what we need to do but we just cannot seem to do it. Pray the prayer: ‘O, God, help me develop a strategy that I can truly use!’ Ask Jesus for help.

T-take action by writing Romans 12:1-2 on a 3x5 card or on a blank page of your bible. Look at it daily. 

M-motivation is key to sustained changes in our life. Pray for a rooted sense of who God is as a partner for true change. 

E-encourage someone by sharing one thing you discovered God did especially for you in the past few weeks with a friend. Ask your friend what God has done for them.

Pastor Derek

Discover Your Own Trail

I remember it well. I was seated with some of the brightest and best seminarians. I admired many of them like any freshman girl admires the senior class cool people. The discussion was always heated. Differing points of theology tend to rub together to create sparks. During the height of the discussion, one of the more outspoken handsome cool guys disengaged, slid back in his chair in a relaxed position and said, “Look, we don’t need to argue like this—we’re not brain surgeons. What we do isn’t life or death.”

I blew up. “If you don’t think what we do is ‘life or death’ then maybe you should find a different vocation.”

Everything went silent. I was the Freshman. They were the Seniors. Awkward moment #211.

If I had any hopes of being included with the cool people at seminary, those hopes were over. I later heard through the grapevine the same cool people thought I took class too seriously and that maybe I needed to lighten up. I was crushed. I wanted to hang out and be included with them but my zealous nature for the gospel and the local church conflicted with their core value. I stayed true to my convictions. I had few friends in seminary. A reputation was pinned to me after that event I’m not sure I deserved. The loneliness I felt during my seminary years prompted me to develop a less adversarial approach. I sometimes wonder if that really helped me. Reflecting on it now, I think I lost my clarity and voice. I still want to be included with the cool people but the cool people seem to go in a direction I won’t go.

Disciples come in every size and shape. Every disciple follows a discipline. Each disciple takes certain things seriously. We can tell what is important to them by the way they live their lives and on what they spend their energy, time and resources. The Winter Olympics are right around the corner. Consider for a moment what it takes for an athlete to compete at that level and type of discipline required. Here is a great article about an American hopeful Mikaela Shiffin. You can read more about her here: https://www.outsideonline.com/2263506/dont-worry-about-it-and-youll-be-great-said-nobodyan American hopeful

So what does this have to do with being a follower of Jesus? I find some amazing similarities with faith and fitness. Both require discipline and training for the big events. I think we sometimes lose the vision of why we practice the spiritual disciplines. Yes, they are good onto themselves, but our spiritual strength, endurance and perseverance must develop over time. We will face greater threats, more nuanced temptations and we will be called to overcome greater obstacles as we mature in faith.

There is a clear outline in the bible for a Christian disciple in Romans 12. We will study this chapter for the January series titled Fit. My sincere prayer is the Holy Spirit inspires to practice your spiritual disciplines a little more robustly and you take responsibility for your physical health. Small changes over time reap great rewards. Sometimes the very best this life has to offer you is only a few adjustments away. Transformation is possible—if not for you, consider your influence on the next generation.

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1-2 The Message

Pastor Jen

What direction are you headed?

As the new year approaches, what direction are you headed?

Of all the birth narrative characters, the Magi are the most interesting candidates to be included in the redemption story. They were outsiders and unrelated to the nucleus of God’s plan of salvation. They were scientists. They made their way by observation. They discovered insights about life from the natural world. Some scholars believe the Magi were actually educated by the Jews during the Exile years so they understood the magnitude of God’s intervention in the created order by providing a sign the new king arrived for the Israelites.

God intervened in a number of ways in the lives of the Magi but they made the choice to follow the star. The Magi initiated the quest to find what God had done. They travelled a very long way and as they arrived in Jerusalem, they did the righteous thing by delivering the news about the new king born to God’s people. Sometimes confirmation of God’s presence is shocking and terrifying especially when we discover God affirms his directives and plan for our personal lives. His plan is often contrary to our way of doing things. Tension, stress, disappointment even depression can accompany us on our travel away from God. Freedom, faith, confidence and assurance will come alongside us as we walk in the Light of God’s presence.

Herod was a slippery character. He arranged a secret meeting with the scholars from the East. Pretending to be as devout as they were, he got them to tell him exactly when the birth-announcement star appeared. Pretending doesn’t get people very far with God. We may kid ourselves and we can even convince others that we are devout and faithful but God knows the real deal. He knows what’s going on beneath the surface. We cannot pull the wool over the Lamb of God. Be sure to read Matthew 2. Herod’s whole world crashed in around him and his fury affected many innocent lives. The Magi made a crucial decision to not follow the direction of Herod and go the way God told them.

Take some time to reflect about the choices you made during 2017. Consciously consider the direction and pathway you decided to go. When did things go well and why? Were there hidden agendas or did you honestly wait on God to reveal his path for you? Following God isn’t easy. It is sometimes the hardest thing we ever do. However, God is a rewarder of those who follow him. Consider the outcomes of the decisions you made and how those decisions impacted others. Be assured that sometimes God’s very best for you is a camel ride in the opposite direction.

And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. Matthew 2:12 NIV

Pastor Jen

Are You Talking To Me?

I want to ask you a personal question: what way do you prefer to receive information?

It may not seem like an important question to ponder at Christmas but most people complain they don’t get enough communication from their loved ones.  Often, people complain about being out of the loop or in the dark about things. Then, the others involved complain they communicate too much!

We all have preferences whether it’s giving information or receiving information. When we know what our preferred way is, it is up to us to let others know.

For example, my preference is texting. I know what you may be thinking. Here is my rationale. I am often with people all day and into the evening. I can respond almost instantly via text. I can let others know a quick answer or let them know I can follow up with them later. I can send emojis and punctuation that is encouraging or funny and it is brief. I won’t counsel or give advice via text but I will let you know that I valued your communication and will get back to you.

Think about the uniqueness God used as He communicated with all the different characters of Jesus’ birth story. They didn’t all get the angel or the angel choir!

God’s message was given in unique ways to the hearer in a way they would understand. Scripture confirms this by saying faith comes by hearing-hearing the Word of God.

1. Herod received a message he didn’t want to hear—the throne and kingdom he was in charge of was now threatened by a new king. This one would be the king of your heart.

2. Wisemen witnessed something in the natural world that was unnatural. They set out to discover something supernatural.

3. Mary had a one on one interaction with an angel named Gabriel who was a Messenger from God.

4. Joseph received a message from an angel in a dream.

5. Shepherds received a message while they were together working as a community.

Again, I ask you: what’s your preferred way to receiving information? If God communicated with these individuals in unique ways, could he also communicate his message with you in a way you understand and accept?

Merry Christmas. I hope to see you at one of our amazing Christmas experiences.

Pastor Jen

Jesus Emmanuel

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. When Mary his mother was engaged to Joseph, before they were married, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 

Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly. Perhaps he was willing to take on the community scrutiny himself. After all, Mary could relocate and would have his dowry to live on with the baby. He would live as a single man and take it all on himself. As he was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you will call him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 

 Now all of this took place so that what the Lord had spoken through the prophet Isaiah would be fulfilled: Look! A virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, And they will call him, Emmanuel. (which means “God with us.”)

When Joseph woke up, he did just as an angel from God commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he didn’t have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to a son. Joseph called him Jesus.

The scripture from Matthew's gospel moves from the mundane list of family names to the sacred, mysterious and holy event of the birth of the Messiah. He received two names: Jesus, given to Joseph in a dream, and Emmanuel which had been God's promise through the prophet Isaiah years ago. 

God promised his people that his saving presence would be with them where ever they went and especially whenever they were threatened. Over time, sin threatened more than the People of Israel. Sin threatened all creation including each and every one of us. And so, a heavenly messenger stated Jesus' life purpose: to save people from their sins. I believe it is God's greatest desire for each and every one of us to know Jesus not only as the Messiah who saves people from their sin but a Savior who saves us from our own sin. Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus, save us from our sin.

See you Sunday,
Pastor Jen

A Fresh Start is Possible

We’re two weeks in to Our Great, Big, Family Story and we’ve covered 28 generations of descendants of Jesus from Abraham forward.  Where last we left off in the lineage we weren’t in a very great spot.  “Josiah was the father of Jechoniah and his brothers.  This was at the time of the exile to Babylon.”  

Yep, you heard that right.  Exile.  Babylon.  Things are in shambles.  The people have ignored God and his desires.  The kings did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord.  The law was forgotten.  The covenant seemingly abandoned.  The kingdom is divided and conquered.  The Temple is destroyed.  They’re all carted off to a foreign land where they’ll live out the rest of their days.

I wonder what was going through their mind?

I know what I’d be thinking: “God… um, I know I screwed up, but can I have a second chance?  Pretty please?”  

We fail.  We fall.  We falter.  We make mistakes, and do things we regret.  If only we could get another shot.  A mulligan, a do-over.  A second chance to make things right.

Here’s the good news.  The very next line in the lineage of Jesus goes like this: “After the exile to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel.”

After the exile.  Life goes on.  There is a second chance!  It’s easy to miss the significance if you just skim past it like I usually do.  And yet there it is, a perfect encapsulation of the Gospel message two thirds of the way through a long list of unpronounceable names.

Our God is a God of second chances.

We don’t know much about the last fourteen generations immediately preceding the birth of Jesus.  But what we do know shows us just how good this good news is.  The people of Israel return to their land.  The Temple is rebuilt under Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel.  They all give it their best effort to follow the commandments, observe the Sabbath, and love God and neighbor.  They get their do-over.

Were they perfect?  No.  Are we perfect?  Hardly.  And that’s why Jesus is born.  Because God is a God of second chances.  And third, and fourth, and seventy-eighth chances too.  That’s the Good News of Advent.  We can begin again.  We can start over.  

Is it time for you to ask God for a do-over?  There’s no better time than right now.

“The beginning of the good news about Jesus Christ, God’s Son, happened just as it was written about in the prophecy of Isaiah:  ‘Look I am sending my messenger before you.  He will prepare your way, a voice shouting in the wilderness: prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight.’  John the Baptist was in the wilderness calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins.” (Mark 1:1-4)

See you Sunday,
Pastor Derek

Our Great Big Family Story

I’m sure you’ve had those moments in your life when everything is going great, but then out of nowhere the tides turn.  It’s crazy how one instant you can be on top of the world, and then the next you’re plunged into the depths.  

It can happen with the littlest things, an offhand comment from a friend or a co-worker can blindside you and change everything.   Suddenly your day goes from good to bad.  A tiny mistake you make can have the affect of a snow ball barreling down hill and just get bigger and bigger with every passing moment.  Maybe one minute you’re enjoying a lovely family dinner but the next you’re overwhelmed by sadness thinking about the one who isn’t there anymore.  Or perhaps it’s that subtle temptation that draws you in and completely derails all the progress you had made.

And those are just the little things!  That’s not even mentioning the big things that can transpire in life that have the same impact but to the nth degree.  A diagnosis.  An accident.  A death.  The loss of a job.  The betrayal of trust.

In the worst of these moments it can be easy to wonder, “Where are you God?”  “How long will this go on?”

And yet during this season of Advent we are reminded of a great promise.  The promise that God remains faithful in his covenant to us no matter what.  That’s right: No. Matter. What.  

What better news is there for us to hear?  What more could we possible need?

This Sunday we’ll continue Our Great Big Family Story and pick up where we left off in the lineage of Jesus with King David and the line of his successors to the throne.  No story more easily exemplifies the sudden shift that can happen in a storyline than this one.  Yet, this story is also a story of incredible, unconditional, miraculous faithfulness on the part of God in spite of all that goes wrong.

“Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.”  (2 Samuel 7:16)

See you Sunday,
Pastor Derek

Faith Promise

When I first came to Wheatland the Faith Promise initiative was new to me. The whole idea that God would plan to bless me financially so that I would bless the mission of our church was foreign to me. I didn’t really understand what that meant initially. I heard phrases like “God will bless you unexpectedly” or “God will bless you with an unexpected windfall” in order to give it to the Faith Promise initiatives but I truly didn’t believe it. I have received unexpected financial blessings in my life but always used them for things I wanted. I had not thought of giving it away. I had always considered a surprise like that as a reward.

Bill and I prayed the first year. We agreed on a number. We put that number on a Faith Promise card and turned it in on Faith Promise Sunday like everyone else. The next week we received a check in the mail from our mortgage holder for the exact amount we put on the card. We had overpaid something when we purchased our home. It was a refund—an unexpected blessing. Some might call it a windfall. 

At first we were stunned. We were alarmed that we overpaid that much. Then, we felt alarmed that God would be meddling so intimately in our lives. I mean we love to pray for personal healing, relationship issues and stuff that needs prayer. But, when it comes to money, Bill and I usually keep that separate. Like we allow God plenty of room to lead, guide and direct us with our personal lives but not with our money. 

God challenged me and inspired me all at one time. He does that a lot. Why would God care deeply about all areas of my life and not care about our finances? We had been so careful about paying bills on time, saving for emergencies and living within our means we’d become legalistic with our money. I think we gave money the power by thinking too much about it. Moving. Purchasing a home. Selling all we had to move to Oswego. Getting a great mortgage interest. It all worked well for us. But, I think back now, we were trapped by the Money Monster. I remember thinking pretty highly of ourselves that we had done so well. We had lived frugally for so long we learned how to beat the Money Monster all by ourselves. We even compared ourselves to others by comparing interest rates. I usually felt smug as I knew we had the lowest interest rate. We had excellent credit. We were ‘golden’ our agent reminded us.

Friends, generosity is the furthest thing from our hearts when we live like this. Our God is a generous God. He created everything. It’s all his. He ‘owns the cattle on a thousand hills.’ (Psalm 50:10) God created and then he gave it away. Nothing to hold on to. God is generous to a fault some might say. Jesus in his final actions and words expressed God’s truest nature as he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30) Giving is what God does best. We, who are made in his image, become more like him by being instruments of his gifts, grace and generosity.

So, I have a challenge for you as we prepare for our Faith Promise weekend this year. Maybe you’re like me when it comes to praying about personal things and not about your money. Maybe you’ve worked really hard at saving, preparing and caring for your financial needs. Have you become legalistic about your income? Do you account for every penny? Do you say ‘no’ more than ‘yes’ and limit God in how your needs are met? Then, here is the challenge: pray. Sincerely seek God’s direction and voice. Listen: write down the number on your Faith Promise card. Act: turn it in. Then be faithful when you receive. Let this Faith Promise season clear out the frugal clog that’s damaging the system. We must act first. This is faith. This is how we grow. This is how we mature. This is how we do greater things than we would ever have imagined.

So come on, let’s leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ. The basic foundational truths are in place: turning your back on “salvation by self-help” and turning in trust toward God; baptismal instructions; laying on of hands; resurrection of the dead; eternal judgment. God helping us, we’ll stay true to all that. But there’s so much more. Let’s get on with it! Hebrews 6:1-3 The Message

See you Sunday,
Pastor Jen

My Top Five

I felt convicted. It was the kind of conviction that inspired me to act.

I attended the Exponential Church Conference this week at Yellow Box. Church planters and multi-site church leaders from across the nation were brought together for a holy infusion and for a good kick in the pants with regards to getting the gospel message out to those who are in need of it. A question was asked during one of the morning sessions that gripped my heart.

Who are the top five people you are praying to receive Christ as their personal Lord and Savior?

I currently have a list of prayer requests I receive from dedicated prayer warriors at Wheatland. I pray for the people and needs on the list. I pray for our church. I pray to and with God throughout my day. I talk with him like he’s sitting right next to me. Sometimes I argue, kick him in the shin and run away to the laundry room to get him to stop talking. But, truthfully, I haven’t prayed diligently for anyone to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior in a long time.

Paul’s letter to the Galatians is always great salt in my wound when it comes to feeling God’s pain, especially when it comes to lost people. The Galatian church had been set free to receive an amazing gift in the gospel of Jesus Christ but they had been lured away by interesting informational things of this world like great theological debates, rational thinking and fitting into society. Like Paul, I don’t believe Jesus came to inform us. I believe Jesus came to transform us. Paul’s words always cut through the gristle of my mental acuity and linguistic gymnastics. Read this passage but hear the message as one hears a plea from a passenger in your car as you head the wrong way down a one way street:

“How can you be so foolish! You began by God’s Spirit; do you now want to to finish the work in your own power?” Galatians 3:3

The same danger lurks in our hearts and in our churches today as it did in Galatia. Charles Kraft states is this way: We are imitators of the Galatians in the American church. We practice a form of Christianity so strongly influenced by our Western Enlightenment world view that we know little else but to turn to naturalistic, human-technique-centered methods for problem solving, healing or direction. Kraft suggests that our Enlightenment progress, serving a better society and the quest of discovering underlying truth in rational order replaced the awe inspiring work of the Holy Spirit. We traded supernatural experiences for being in control. Reason became king instead of the risen Son of God. 

So what does this have to do with our Faith Promise series or our Wheatland value of Missions?

Everything. We send people and resources all over the world every year. We do that because Jesus Christ calls us to do so. Without a robust mission ministry we would be tempted to go the way of other declining denominational churches that have little or no influence in the world. As for me, and my household, we will serve the Lord! Joshua may have coined the phrase but I want to live it out every day of my life.

Leading people to the salvation knowledge of Jesus Christ has to be the main thing. We cannot fall victim to the 'gods of the age' or begin to feel like there are other things that are more important than the gospel. Discipleship is crucial for each follower of Christ. We work very hard to help Christians grow up in the gospel at Wheatland. That also means staying in vital relationships with people outside our Christian circle of influence and with people who are far from Jesus.

So, during the Advent season, I plan to help us stay focused on the main thing: the gospel of Christ. But, you don’t have to wait for me. Write down the top five names of people that are close to you but far from God. Pray for them daily and when God prompts you to do something like invite them to church or lead them into the full knowledge of Jesus as their Savior, do it!  Do not let one more day go by without adjusting your Christian perspective—that lost people matter to God and are the main thing.

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. Galatians 6:9 NIV

See you Sunday,
Pastor Jen

Beyond

“I’m afraid Jesus is going to call me to leave everything and become a missionary.”

I’ve heard this common phrase among Christians for most of my life. I remember missionaries visiting the churches I attended with my parents during my growing up years. They were from exotic places like Katmandu, Cairo, Dhaka or Algiers. They were nine feet tall, spoke thirteen languages and were so incredible skilled at missionary life they could construct a dwelling place with string and a paper clip. In that abode, they memorized the bible, cooked meals from scorpions or bugs, taught VBS and lead people to believe Jesus Christ as their savior with their whole heart. That’s my recollection of what I knew about missionaries or missionary life until I came to Wheatland.

I’ve travelled to several of our long term mission partners since being appointed to Wheatland in 2013. Bill and I traveled to Jordan to learn more about our efforts with meeting the needs of Iraqi and Syrian refugees. My hunches were confirmed about Christianity in the Muslim world. I learned what a MBB was and how people who follow the rules of cultural Islam can be misunderstood. I discovered many believers in Jesus underneath head coverings both in the Muslim world and in the Jewish world. But, those friends would never tell people about their faith in Jesus publicly.

Bill and I traveled to India with a Wheatland team. We all participated in leading an International Leadership Institute National Conference in Nellore while we simultaneously led a Women’s Conference, Youth Conference, Children’s Conference and Pastor’s Conference. We drove from the coastal city of Nellore through the central part of India to Hyderabad. I became fascinated with the sheer number of people who live in India. I was astounded by their concept of personal space. I saw things on a motor scooter that would shock and amaze you. My personal favorite was a goat wedged between two men. Bill’s favorite was two men balancing four full-sized tires on a moped. We witnessed how our Soy Milk ministry changes the lives of children. I attended the graduation ceremony of a Women’s Sewing School where a woman who could not read or write learned to do so because she saw a way to learn a trade and provide for herself and her children.

I travelled to Tanzania with a a larger Wheatland team. I had the privilege of meeting Mwenge Muyombi during his previous visit to the US. So, I knew the caliber of person we would be dealing with while in Tanzania. He did not disappoint. Neither did Africa. The ministry in Kigoma is supernatural. Widows, orphans and the elderly are cared for and Radio Joy transmits Christian music, programming and world news to almost 2 million people. Wheatland provided much of the financial resources necessary to build a community center that is truly used as a common place for Christians, Muslims and people of other faiths and beliefs.

I know our mission partner in Poland personally. He visits our home and we eat dinner together at least once a year. He is compelled by the gospel to teach leadership essentials to the next generation in Europe. He is also a unique believer, in that, he is Wesleyan in a predominantly Catholic culture. He leads a church that has needed a home for years. Many young leaders look to him for more than guidance. I consider him a spiritual father much like Dietrich Bonhoeffer was to so many of his disciples.

None of our missionaries are nine feet tall. Some speak many languages. I know for sure that none of them would ever build a dwelling place with string or a paper clip. As a matter of fact, our mission partners are regular people who love Jesus Christ and the people the serve. They struggle with personal issues with an ever-increasing faith. They overcome incredible obstacles and some live in fear of their lives. We will have the privilege of hearing from one of our missionary couples this Faith Promise season who continue to work in spite of excruciating personal tragedy. You may know of one missionary’s story of being attacked by a man with a machete in his car and lived to tell without a scratch on his body.

I was inspired by the scripture from Hebrews 6:1.Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God. Wheatland has heard from many of our partners doing outstanding work for the Kingdom of God. I believe it’s time to move beyond the elementary stage of learning about the far off places through videos, pictures and visits from those who serve in the field. I believe God is calling us to go beyond. I am praying you get a Holy Spirit infusion that wakes you up in the middle of the night with your heart breaking for people whom Jesus loves in some distant land in a far away place. I am praying for your life to change drastically and that you alter your life in such a way that a missionary would want to come learn from you how you meet the needs of those you’ve been called to serve. I am praying for God to challenge us all to go BEYOND.

See you Sunday,
Pastor Jen

History of the Stained Glass Window

Have you ever looked closely at the stained glass windows in our Sanctuary and wondered what story they are trying to tell? Well, there is someone very special in our church who knows all about it. Meet Ms. Jan Keeley. It was her grandma and grandpa who commissioned the windows for the church. She has an amazing story about how her family, the Kemmerer Family, helped start the church many years ago

In 1852, the beginnings of our church started in the cozy living rooms of German settlers, like Jan’s great, great grandfather David Brown, Sr. As the humble congregation grew, Mr. Brown donated land in 1861 for a school that also hosted the little congregation on Sunday Mornings. Many years later in 1907, they built a big wooden church, but sadly in 1927 it burned down. The next year in 1928, a new brick church was built on Route 59, and Mr. Brown’s granddaughter Susie and her husband Reuben Kemmerer, Jan’s grandparents, commissioned the stained glass windows, which were dedicated in 1936.

The paintings in the windows each tell part of a Jesus’ story. The Kemmerer Family is a farming family, and the windows represent the complete cycle of farming in a Biblical way.

* In the central window, Jesus is walking through a field of wheat with His disciples as in the account of “The Question about the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:23-28; Matthew 12:1-8)

* If you look closely, you can see thistle weeds growing among the wheat. This reminds us of Jesus’ “The Parable of Weeds”. (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43)

* In the red medallion above, seeds are being scattered as in “The Parable of the Sower” (Mark 4:1-9, 13-20; Matthew 13:1-9, 18; Luke 8:4-8, 11-15), “The Parable of the Growing Seed” (Mark 4:26-29), and “The Parable of the Mustard Seed” (Mark 4:30-34; Matthew 13:31-32, Luke 13:18-19)

* In the left medallion, the sheaf bundle of grain stalks represents the gathering of the wheat and burning of the chaff or husks. (Luke 3:17; Matthew 3:12)

* In the right medallion, the windows depict the “Bread of Life”, which Jesus called himself. (John 6:35, 48)

Back in the days of the old brick church, Route 59 was a lonely country road. As a beacon of hope, the windows were kept lighted at night to help weary travelers find safe haven from a storm. The church door was always left open, and it became known as “The Church with the Lighted Window.”

69 years later, the population of Naperville was booming, and Route 59 was no longer a quiet country road. Plans to widen the road meant that the old 1928 brick church building would be torn down. In 1997, a new church sprang up on the farm of Jan’s Uncle Earl Kemmerer. That’s where we are today, and our address, 1852 95th Street, Naperville, pays homage to the year the early church settlers began congregating in their living rooms. The windows were carefully saved and moved here.

Jan wanted to give her parents a special reminder of the old brick church building. So she built a miniature one of her own. She made every tiny nook and cranny herself, down to the cross from her mother’s jewelry on the tiny pulpit. Of course, even the stained glass windows are lighted replicas of “The Church with the Lighted Window.”

Thank you to Jan Keeley and the Brown & Kemmerer Families for sharing their legacy with us!

Faith @ Work

It’s not just about you…

Being faithful in the workplace is not a cakewalk. Dealing with wildly different personalities, working in a sometimes highly competitive environment, and often facing ethical temptations is a challenge for a Christian to live faithfully. And then there is the uncivil behavior.

Have you noticed that we seem to be living in increasingly uncivil times? Whether it is on social media, on the highway, or in the line at the grocery store, there is a great deal of rudeness that we all experience. And it also happens at work. Have you ever been on the receiving end of rude or unethical behavior in the workplace? Or, more embarrassing, have you been the instigator?

Bill Hybels, senior pastor at Willow Creek Community Church, in addressing the subject of civility in the workplace at the most recent Summit event this summer, gave 10 guidelines for civil behavior by leaders in the workplace.

1.     Set the example of how to differ with others without demonizing them

2.     Model how to have spirited conversations without “drawing blood”

3.     Never interrupt others who are talking and do not dominate the conversation

4.     Limit your volume level and refuse to use incendiary or belittling words that are guaranteed to derail a discussion

5.     Set the example of being courteous in word and deed

6.     Never stereotype

7.     Apologize immediately when wrong instead of denying or doubling down

8.     Form opinions carefully and stay open minded if better information comes along

9.     Show up when you say you’re going to show up and do what you say you’ll do

10.    Set rules of respect for everyone in the organization and enforce them relentlessly

These are good. But, being a Christian in a work environment may be about even more than just being civil or “doing no harm.” Scripture calls us to a higher goal and over the next three weeks we’ll be taught from scripture about how to navigate the workplace both to help it improve and for us to find greater fulfillment. Want to see a difference where you work? See you the next three weeks in worship.

Rev. Roger Jenks

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone."                                                                                                                                                                             1 Thessalonians 5:11-14

Master Plan

"The ones who disappoint you need you the most." Jack Hyles

"Do the right thing." I wish I had a dime for every time someone said that to me. I’d be a very rich woman. Doing the right thing isn’t easy. I’ve had my share of sleepless nights. I’ve wasted countless hours of my days and nights constructing lists of pros and cons. Through lengthy consultations, I’ve exhausted my family and friends trying to discover the mystical answer of doing that which is right. Discovering what is ‘right’ is too often hidden deep below the surface of the well of my selfish desire. I’ve lost more than my temper trying to draw from that well. I settle for the reflection. I am unwilling to give into what is truly required because it costs me more than I am willing to give. So, I cheaply get by with doing that is sort of right, almost right or the worst thing…what I think is right.

So, what is the outcome of my accumulated years of searching for the answer to the enigma of ‘what is the right thing?' How does it apply to the big picture whether I am single, married, widowed or divorced? Is there ever a ‘right’ answer?

Yes. There is always a right answer. You must discover for yourself that doing the right thing begins with self-sacrifice. It is situational. What was right once will not be right now so rules or legislation don’t work. Forgiveness is powerful. Wisdom is expensive. Redemption is God’s handiwork. The Spirit continues to hover above the dark waters of the human heart yearning to do the will of God as the arduous work of creation unfolds uniquely within us and we are fashioned into the men and women God longs for us to be.  

Here is a sneak peak at the early stages of the message for Sunday. 

1. Stay humble before God.

2. Do not act on your human nature.

3. Live with an accountable community of Christian believers.

4. Redemption comes from outside myself.

Read the story of Ruth for yourself. I believe the characters got it right. Their actions were painstakingly and laboriously constructed from the blueprint of our Master Architect. Their choices were part of the master plan and contributed to the redemption you and I receive through Jesus Christ. They affect you and I personally because they did the right thing.

“Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel!” Ruth 4:14

Something Greater

“Do you ever get the feeling that there’s something greater happening here, it’s like our hearts are part of a bigger story.” Matthew West, lyrics to Something Greater

I think most of us get bogged down in the day to day stuff of life and fail to see the big picture. It takes discipline to remove myself from the urgent tasks of the daily routine to get to higher ground and take a look around. The air is clear. The breeze whisks away the fog. I can see for miles above the tree line. Suddenly, the arduous climb toward the top fades into memory as I let go of the challenges and embrace the wide open landscape in front of me.

Marriage can be like a major expedition to a mountain summit. It can be too easy to get overwhelmed in the immediate crux because it’s right there in front of me. I will easily forget the big vision when I get stuck and cannot move forward or backward. The urgent demands are bred from necessity. But, I have to remember that my daily crags are part of a bigger story. I need constant reminding of the big picture. Marriage is more like reaching the summit of a single mountain that belongs to a mountain range. Marriage is never a single narrative. It’s directly connected to a long line of previous peaks, plains, hills and valleys. Those are the people, places and experiences of our life. Whom we encounter is just as important as what we encounter along the way.

We’ve been studying the book of Ruth. We discover the type of person she is in the first two chapters as her Godly character is being formed. Chapter three includes a very dramatic sequence of events that reveal the character not only of Ruth but also that of Boaz. Matthew’s gospel reminds us that Boaz’s mother was Rahab the prostitute. (Matthew 1:5) Scripture suggests Boaz was not married. It alludes to the fact that Boaz was a relative—a kinsman redeemer. He was a respected man of worth. He was an older man. Why did he remain single into his maturity? Why did he decide to make the hill climb solo? 

Tim Keller writes, “My wife, Kathy, often says that most people, when they are looking for a spouse, are looking for a finished statue when they should be looking for a wonderful block of marble. Not that you can create the kind of person you want—but rather because you see what kind of person Jesus us making.”* We are all ‘in the making.’ Jesus is at work making us holy. Remember, God’s ideal in marriage is about holiness. The chisel and hammer belong to him. The most important work is what Jesus does is within us.  We don’t even get to make the marble. He does that too!

As we gather for worship Sunday, we celebrate holy communion. We recall Jesus' arduous hill climb to Golgotha. The achievement on the mountain was preceded by a epic story that included a strategy, implementation and work that stretched across the universe to eventually include me and you. We could call it the grand saga of holiness. That would be too easy because I could leave that story out there like the story of a hill climb and never allow it to penetrate the crevices of my own heart. But, if I allow that grand adventure to seep into my heart, my soul finds refuge. In the broken places, I find Christ. His holiness fills in my vacancy. He makes up for my lack. His grace is sufficient. I remember then, as I gaze across the panorama, that I belong to the great and powerful unfolding drama of God. The person who’s been along the path with me from the beginning was Christ himself, chipping away at the marble creating a masterpiece. It’s good to be at the summit. I can see eternity from here.

“...these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” Isaiah 56:7 NIV

Marriage Myths

Myth: a widely held but false belief or idea.

Myths are dangerous things. They tempt us to believe anything is possible. We succumb to their power to coerce us to think, feel or believe differently. Driven or clouded by body chemistry or emotions, we tend to gauge everything on how we feel about a particular person, situation or occurrence. Myths are dangerous. They deceive us. They allow us to believe in something that isn’t real. I believe the spiritual life is all about becoming real-the real person God intended us to become. For most of us, it takes years of serious work to get to ‘real.’ But, I assure you, the journey is worth it. Just ask the Velveteen Rabbit.

There are millions of us wandering around the globe with painful yearnings that could be met if we spent less time seeking human companionship and spent more time seeking God. The illusive yet longed for love and state of fulfillment are outcomes of a right relationship with God. But, we look for them, as the song goes…’in all the wrong places.” We place an unrealistic heavy mantle onto the person we ‘love’ by expecting them to be our everything and to somehow complete us. We’ve been duped into believing we can find someone perfect that will help fill our emptiness, help define our purpose and destiny or help redeem our imperfections. There are a lot of us out there looking for a savior.

Sometimes the search for a savior is one that takes us down a road toward believing another human being can somehow save us from our current dismal situation. It’s like believing the fairytale we’ve heard a thousand times. A damsel in distress lives a tragic, unloved, unfulfilled life. Suddenly, a threatening situation occurs and she yearns for a Prince Charming to come along and save her. The prince shows up at just the right time and saves her! After a beautiful coronation and wedding, the royal couple rides off into the sunset to live happily ever after. The end.

While this dramatic story line works well for poets, authors and film makers, it’s not a plot line for living a life of grace and truth. Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17) 

This Sunday we unpack some widely held myths about marriage. In their book Fit to be Tied, Bill and Lynne Hybles suggest there are four marriage myths: 1) marriage will end loneliness; 2) marriage will heal one's brokenness; 3) marriage will ensure one's happiness; 4) marriage is for everyone. I know there are many more myths. Honestly, we each inherit a lot of myth variations and deceptions when it comes to marriage and singleness. So this weekend, we’ve invited two well-seasoned professionals to share their insights with us. Pastors Terry Clark and Roger Jenks have years of experience and a wide range of insights to enrich us and encourage us on the road to living the life we’ve always wanted and having a marriage that fulfills every aspect of our hopes and dreams. See you in church.

I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. John 10:8-10 The Message

Singleness

“One clear difference between Christianity and Judaism (and all the other traditional religions) is the former’s entertainment of the idea that singleness as the paradigm way of life for it’s followers.” Stanley Hauerwas

Think about it. Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, was single. The Apostle Paul, the leading theologian who set the bar for how to follow Jesus Christ with your whole life and who set the pace for how the church would thrive in stressful times and in many different cultures, was single. Single adults cannot be seen as less fulfilled or lacking in some spiritual development if the two people responsible for the founding and leadership principles of Christianity were single. Yet, the church and almost every culture on the planet says differently.

Single people are constantly bombarded with statements like the following:

1. As soon as you’re satisfied with God, he will bring that special someone into your life.

2. You’re too picky. No one is perfect.

3. As a single person you can commit all your time to the church, taking care of mom and dad, job, justice issue, mission…(you fill in the blank).

4. Before you can marry someone wonderful, God has to make someone wonderful out of you!

Beneath statements like this is the underlying idea that somehow single people are deprived or live unfulfilled lives. As a pastor, I want to say, “I’m sorry.” I am sorry for what the church has said and done to make you think that you are not enough. I am sorry that the bible study groups tried to set you up on ridiculous blind dates—they were only projecting their own ideas onto you. I am sorry that the church has placed such an overt preoccupation on family, children and legacy without honoring singleness as a gift from God. I am sorry you feel like an outcast in society because within true Christian community you’re valued as a joint heir with Christ regardless of your marriage status.

Single people, you are enough. You were made in the image of God. Jesus died to bring us all into the Kingdom of God. Our Christian hope turns the church community into something profound. Our gospel beliefs create a bond with Jesus and with other Christians stronger than any other connection in the world. Our identity is wrapped up in Jesus. We are all valuable to him. We all sin and need redemption. We all can experience the amazing transformation of deep repentance which includes forgiveness and freedom. Single people, you are capable of having deep meaningful relationships with others. You have capacity to love extravagantly, openly and without regard to your marriage limitations. You are loved and lovable.

This Sunday we launch a new ministry and a new season of relationship building at Wheatland. The Big Picture: Singleness, Marriage and Me is a series that will help us discover together what it means that God created us to be in relationship with him and others. We can learn how to have great relationships whether we are single, married, divorced or single again after the death of a spouse. The Bible begins and ends with a wedding. Marriage is a big deal in the bible. So we will discover together some of the biblical precepts during this series. 'Married People' events launch September 22, 2017. Director of Children and Family Ministry, Chris Rechsteiner, along with Char and Arlyn Brower, are guiding us along the path of “Married People’ as part of Wheatland's Children and Family Curriculum. You can learn more about Married People on our new website: Wheatlandsalem.org. You can also go to Marriedpeople.org for more information. See you in church Sunday.

Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body. I Corinthians 6:19-20 The Message