Events – Folder

What Are You Building?

Wes Head ShotWes Mullins, Senior Pastor

Last weekend, many of us experienced a powerful time of self-renewal and growth at our All-Church Annual Retreat.  One of the central questions that our retreat speaker, Rev. Colleen Darraugh, asked us to consider was, “What do you want to build in your life?”  I know that I have been thinking about that question throughout the week.  It is really asking several different questions.  What kind of person do I want to be?  What kind of life do I want?  What will bring me joy and satisfaction in life?  What do I need to change?  What is God calling me to do or be?

These are big questions that require a great deal of reflection, prayer, and thought.  In fact, when we were explaining to Colleen what we wanted her to do for us at retreat, I asked her to get us started.  I said, “Too many retreats create a false sense of ‘fixing’ us in 72 hours or less.  I don’t want to do that.  I want you to help us start a journey of building the life we want.”

So, whether you attended the retreat or not, I want to encourage you to begin thinking about what you want to build in your life.  As a part of “The Year of Building,” I will be preaching a series this summer and teaching a class this fall (“Creating a Life that Matters”) that will both engage these questions, and I want to encourage you to have already invested some time thinking about what you want to build.  If you spend the next several weeks praying, journaling, and reflecting, I think that you will be well-prepared to engage seriously with this building process.  For those of you who attended retreat, you got a helpful “kick start” to this process!

Life is a process of progress.  As long as we are alive we are in a process of progress, of growth and change.  There is no finish line, save that final transition into the next life.  The goal of this progress is not to achieve perfection but simply to achieve.  The goal of the progress is to progress.  The goal is simply to continue to grow.

The only real danger we must avoid is getting stuck and stagnate, shiftless and sluggish.  Depression can cause this dangerous condition.  So can stress or working too hard.  So, use these “lazy days of summer” to slow down and relax a bit more, let the sun cheer you up by raising your Vitamin D levels, and begin to think about what you want to build in your life.

 

Holy Spirit

Denise Foerch Spiritual DirectorDenise Foerch, Spiritual Director

When I realized I was writing the bulletin article for this week, my very first thought was ‘I can write about the Holy Spirit!  I know about the Spirit, it should be easy for me to throw something together.’  However, it has not been easy.  How could I have thought it would be easy?  I had to scrap several of my initial tries, and finally realized that explaining the Holy Spirit is complex.  It was arrogant of me to think I understood enough about Spirit, that I could explain it in a way that would be meaningful for you.

The only thing I really know about the Spirit, is that we can see the result of her activity in our lives.  Scripture says that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Then Scripture ends this sentence with ‘against such things there is no law’.  What the Spirit produces within us crosses the boundaries of the law.  Spirit urges us to live the heart of the law or rule.  We are guided from within.

I have no idea or understanding of how Spirit produces this kind of attitude and behavior within each of us.  It’s a mystery, as so much is with God.  The process of growing and producing this fruit is between you and God.  We each have been given the ability/power to choose to allow Spirit to tend the garden of our souls.  Daily we choose whether we will allow our inner selves to be pruned, fertilized, and watered by the Spirit.

Take a moment to think about what this would look like for you.  In what ways do you think you need to allow that kind of work to be done in you?  Are there specific attitudes that you are already aware of that need Spirit’s loving touch?  It takes courage and bravery to open yourself to Spirit.  It helps to know that it is love that motivates the Spirit to move within us.  Imagine — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Only love can produce this kind of fruit.

 

Kyle’s Last Lesson for Us

Wes Head ShotWes Mullins, Senior Pastor

Author Jessamyn West once wrote, “You make what seems a simple choice:  Choose a man or a job or a neighborhood—and what you have chosen is not a man or a job or a neighborhood, but a life.”

As we celebrate Kyle’s ministry today and bid him farewell, I am mindful of the ways in which all of us are choosing and building a life each day.  In his relationships with others, Jesus showed great care for who he surrounded himself with and what they did together.  He lived a life of intentionality that was often marked by making unexpected choices that challenged the status quo.

While I don’t think that all of us need to be social radicals to be like Jesus, I do believe that each one of us has a personal responsibility to live our lives with a certain degree of integrity—and that integrity should take its shape from our spirituality, our core beliefs.  If we care about our planet and its future, then the way we make use of water or petroleum-based products and the way we dispose of our trash should matter to us as well.  Are we recycling?  Do we turn off the faucet when we brush our teeth?  Do we try to think, eat, and live locally?  Or, an even simpler example, if we believe that God is the God of all people, do we embody that belief in an intentional way as we go about our lives and encounter strangers and people that are different from us?

We can get so focused on the big decisions in life, like Kyle’s decision to move up to Denver for a new job, that we often miss the many other smaller decisions that end up coming together to constitute a more defining component of who we really are.

So, as we bid farewell to Kyle today and celebrate the changes he is making to build the life he wants, I ask you:  What life are you building with the decisions you are making?  Do you realize you are not just choosing a job or a neighborhood—you are choosing a life?  Are you maintaining awareness that those decisions you are making—even the small ones—are shaping the one and only existence you will have on this earth?  Is it an existence you are proud of?  Is it what you want?

Today, Kyle is stepping out in faith into a new reality, trusting that God is guiding him as he does so.  What can this one last lesson from Kyle teach you?