How easily we speak of love, proclaiming with the scriptures that
"God is love." But do we really know what love is all
about? Every day, in so many ways, we trip and fall when it comes
to "loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and
mind," and "loving our neighbor as ourself." If
that just described you, then say out loud, "forgive me,
In Jesus Christ, God has revealed to us what real love is. Through
the Holy Spirit God lives in us, a presence and a power that makes
love possible. Let’s open the door to his knock and invite him
Based on Psalm 71:1-6
O my God, in your presence I seek refuge.
Like huge rocks that tower above and all around me,
Like a grandparent's arms that enclose and protect me,
You are for me a place of safety and security .
O my God, in your presence I find renewal.
Like a clear waterfall rushing from the towering heights,
Like a refreshing drink in a dry, barren place,
You supply my every need for abundant life.
O my God, in your presence I know peace.
Like the clear surface of a high mountain lake,
Like a calm voice in the midst of turbulence,
You offer me the depths of abiding shalom.
O ever-present God,
Rock of Refuge, Water of Renewal, Lake of Peace,
Protect me from all that would cause harm,
Be for me always my hope and my salvation.
In you, O God, I put my trust -
as a tiny babe trusts her mother,
as a youth trusts a beloved leader,
And I will praise you my whole life long. Amen.
-June Adams Gibble
Minister of Congregational Life
Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren Elgin, Illinois
Returning our Tithes
beginning of a race, the starter says, "take your mark,
get set, Go!" ... When we end our worship with the words,
"Go in peace," are we bringing things to a close or only
just setting off on a race, an "odyssey of the Spirit?"
Think about that as you return your offering. Ushers?
Congregation? "Take your mark, get set, Go!"
Lord, for your graceful, loving presence in our lives, which
propels us forward in the direction you have set for us. Help us
to wisely use what you have given to fuel the race. In Jesus’
name, we pray. Amen.
The worship leader (Mike Hanna) is a big, strapping fellow with a
strong, deep voice. With him sitting next to us up front, we'll
look through the "baby book" his mother made for him
long ago. It's hard to imagine he was once that little. I bet his
parents had all sorts of dreams for him - what he might grow up to
become. Who would've known he'd grow to be so tall (or bald,
oops). Who would've known he'd become a daddy to twins, and then a
granddaddy to who? Michael and John. Right! Who would've known
he'd have such a wonderful speaking and singing voice? (How low
can you go, Mike?) Who would've known he'd become a very good
salesman, and that people would come to count on his word? Who
would have known he also would be a good salesman for Jesus? Who
would've known all this when he was a baby? I bet God knew!
wonder about you. I wonder what you'll become some day. But, you
know what? Each of you are special even today. Think about
Jeremiah. God knocked on his door, calling him to be a prophet
when he was only a boy. "I'm only a boy!" That's what
Jeremiah said. "Only a boy." But God knew Jeremiah long
before he was even a dream in his Momma's heart. And God said to
Jeremiah, "Don't say you are only a boy. I'm going to do some
very special things with you." That's what God said.
That's what I'd like to say to all of you, also. "Don't ever
say you are only a ... boy, a girl. God knows you very well, even
before you were born - just like Jeremiah, just like Mr. Mike
here. And God is going to do some very special things with you.
That is, if you're willing. Who knows, some day you might be
sitting up here with children all around you, looking up to you.
(The seed for this story came
More Little Stories for Little Children,
by Donna McKee Rhodes, ©2000, Herald Press, Scottdale, PA, p. 40
She is Pastor of Nurture at Stone Church of the Brethren,