Archive for March, 2013

Jer 31.33 “Lord I Want to Be Like Jesus, In My Heart” JUMC Easter 20130331

The Tomb is Empty Our Heart are FullBut this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people [Jeremiah 31:33, NRSV]

 
Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch, as you really are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. [1 Corinthians 5:6b-8, NRSV]
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread. While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” and when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence. Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you–that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” [Luke 24:13-49, NRSV]
In Negro Slave Songs in the United States (1953), Miles Mark Fisher suggests that this African American spiritual could well have originated in Virginia in the 1750s, based on this story from Hanover, Virginia, 1756: “A black slave asked Presbyterian preacher William Davies, ‘I come to you, sir, that you may tell me some good things concerning Jesus Christ and my duty to God, for I am resolved not to live any more as I have done. . . Lord [Sir], I want to be a Christian.'” Apparently the story fits well with the ministry style of Davies in Virginia between 1748 and 1759.

Lord I Want to Be a Christian

1 Lord, I want to be a Christian  in my heart, in my heart.  Lord, I want to be a Christian in my heart.  In my heart, in my heart,  Lord, I want to be a Christian in my heart. 

2 Lord, I want to be more loving in my heart, in my heart. Lord, I want to be more loving in my heart.  In my heart, in my heart, Lord, I want to be more loving in my heart. 

3 Lord, I want to be more holy in my heart, in my heart.  Lord, I want to be more holy in my heart.  In my heart, in my heart,  Lord, I want to be more holy in my heart. 

4 Lord, I want to be like Jesus in my heart, in my heart. Lord, I want to be like Jesus in my heart. In my heart, in my heart,  Lord, I want to be like Jesus in my heart.

I would further suggest it might well fit with us in 2013.  It is easy for us to retell the history and story of our faith. Telling the account of Jesus in his final week, final hours and in the accounts of that first Easter Sunday at the empty tomb.But the drams become faith when we open our hearts to God and speak not our minds, rather open our hearts.

Dont be an Idiom.. What do we mean by heart..

We speak frequently and even flippantly about our hearts. Take for example:
  • aching heart
  • after one`s own heart
  • at heart
  • bleeding heart
  • break (someone`s) heart
  • close to (someone’s) heart
  • cross one`s heart and hope to die
  • die of a broken heart
  • do his heart good
  • do it in a heartbeat
  • eat one`s heart out
  • find it in one’s heart to (do something)
  • follow one’s heart
  • from the heart
  • from the bottom of one`s heart
  • go (somewhere) in a heartbeat
  • have a big heart
  • have a change of heart
  • have a heart
  • have a heart of gold
  • Bless their heart
  • have a heart of stone
  • have a heart-to-heart talk with (someone)
  • have a soft spot in one’s heart for (someone or something)
  • have one`s heart set on (something)
  • heart and soul
  • heart bleeds for (someone)
  • heart goes out to (someone)
  • heart is dead set against (something)
  • heart is in one’s mouth
  • heart is in the right place
  • heart is not in (something)
  • heart is set against (something)
  • heart is set on (something)
  • heart misses/skips a beat
  • heart stands still
  • heart to heart
  • heartbeat away from (something)
  • heavy heart
  • in one’s heart of hearts, more correctly, core of ones heart, said Hamlet
  • lose heart
  • near to your heart
  • not have the heart to do (something)
  • open one`s heart to (someone)
  • pour one’s heart out (to someone)
  • search one`s heart/soul
  • sick at heart
  • sin sick heart
  • strike at the heart of (something)
  • take heart
  • take to heart
  • he ate at the buffet until his  heart’s content
  • tug at your heartstrings
  • Warm some one’s heart
  • warm the cockles of (someone’s) heart
  • way to (someone’s) heart
  • wear one`s heart on one`s sleeve
  • win (someone’s) heart
  • with all one`s heart (and soul)
  • young at heart

But today, the idiom of our text is to be known by heart, known within our heart.

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people [Jeremiah 31:33, NRSV]

As Paul writes to encourage and instruct the church at Corinth, he draws in the Passover Tradition of starting with Unleavened bread. How do we know Christ in our heart?

We have to empty the refrigerator sometime… to start fresh.

So our relationship, needs a good old fashion dose of the resurrection of Jesus to wake up what is dead and leading us to death.

Easter is not a day of rest, it is a day to open our hearts to the very Heart of God.

God wants the CORE of who we are, not just a holiday, not just a Sunday. God wants US everyday.

 

This is the power of Easter for us right now.

God has given all, I mean ALL, for your heart.

God wants you to not just know ABOUT him nor only ABOUT the story.

GOD is dying for you.

GOD is living for your life.

This is what EASTER means to us today…  Most likely you have all hear the Good News of the Easter message..

 

SO WHAT? I have ben wrestling with the book NOT A FAN, about being a follower compared to being a fan.

ASK yourself this morning: What does it mean that God wants to be at CENTRAL OFFICE, the CORE, at the CPU, at the beginning and end of you.?

Am I willing to give the Live God, the power of the God’s Spirit? The grace and love of Jesus the steering wheel wherever we go,

If so, than I need to forgive some folks, serve some folks, trust some folks, meet some folks, let go of some folks,

 

In my Heart, In my Heart, Lord I want to be your son, daughter, man/woman, youth, child, YOURs.

This is the Easter Invite..

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Matthew 21.1-17 Fan or Follower? Palms or Power? JUMC 20130324

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1 When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, just say this, “The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately. ” 4 This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying, 5 “Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7 they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.” 12 Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 He said to them, “It is written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a den of robbers.” 14 The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the amazing things that he did, and heard the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became angry 16 and said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise for yourself’?” 17 He left them, went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there. [NRSV]

YOU WERE MADE FOR A MISSION  do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully. [NRSV] 2 Timothy 4.5b

I remember the old TV episodes of Mission Impossible. The agents would receive a small reel-to-reel tape player that would play the message and mission and would begin to smoke and self-destruct. It was a secret mission for the agents alone. The agents had the responsibility to listen tot he mission, choose to accept it or not. And the moment would begin. We are here today to hear the message and accept it, or not. But ours is more than a TV episode. Ours is life or death, for ourselves and others.

The past month we have been looking at the question posed by Rev. Rick Warren in his book, What on Earth am I Here for?

In a Nutshell: Answering this question begins by affirming that life is not about us, It’s about god!
God is equally interested in you and god is concerned about me, God does not have favorites.

In Review

  • We are here as a product of gods love
  • We are here to praise god
  • We are here for fellowship as gods family
  • We are here fo become like Christ
  • We are here to serve gods work
  • Finally we are here because we have a mission, a specific work, task or charge

We are here to tell others what we already know

  • They are here not for themselves rare here by gods love for gods purpose
  • It is out work to show folks how to praise god, when all around us is fallen
  • It is our mission to build a faith family, hopefully our biological family but limited by
  • It is our charge to show the world around us what Christ looks, thinks and acts like
  • It inspire purpose to serve god and not ourselves…

What is the cost commandment from Moses?

No god comes before me… I’m first.
Here we are at Palm Sunday and we can look back at this only as a historical event, or we can see our present in the story as well.

  • Who is on the Jesus parade in Jackson?
  • What might not be revealing God that has God’s name and people attached, in our church and community?

Jesus came into the city of Jerusalem and pointed out where we had made worship about

  • the rules,
  • the money,
  • the business,
  • the divisions,
  • the politics,
  • The rich and the poor,
  • the house of us and not the house of god

He enters the city and would be disciples follow I with the triumphant parade, until he turns things god side up

Disciples see the mission is to turn the world God side up.

i challenge you to hear the parade and celebration when it affects our home, our business, our income, our choices:

  • Who will tell Jackson that God loves them?
  • Who will tell our community they are loved at the core of their being?
  • Who will show those with live, work and play  how to praise God?
  • Who will show hope and faith in the face of fear, guilt and grief?
  • Who will build up the family of God and be present for the family when it struggles
  • Who will show the neighborhoods what Jesus looks like, thinks and acts in our time?
  • Who will inspire others to follow God first

If it is not us, then we have wasted each others time here today.

What on Earth are YOU here for? You are here for this very mission, you have heard it and this message will not destruct. The question is, as God’s agent and disciples, as a Christian and follower of Jesus, will you accept the mission or pass?

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Ephesians 2:10 “We are Here to serve God” JUMC 20130317

MLuther_allbelievers

“We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)

In answering the question: What on Earth Am I here for? We have learned that we are here because

  • God loves us, we are here for God’s pleasure
  • God desires to hear from use, we are here to worship God
  • God wants us to belong, we are here to fellowship with God’s people
  • God wants disciples, we are here to become like Christ
  • Today, we will talk about how God has shaped us for SERVICE.

Are you a minister? If you said no, that not me, then I tell you, you are not a Christian.

I will ask again: Are you a minister? Did some of you say, “maybe..”

That’s an open door to start our conversation.

Everyone who is a follower of Jesus, everyone who is a disciple, a member of the fellowship of God has been shaped and formed and is here to serve.

That is your ministry.

Most simply and clearly we see Jesus’ life as a model of a servant’s life.

He value of his own life is seen in how he lived with others.

The value and meaning of life is not determined by how LONG we live? How quickly we learn? How well we gather wealth or success. God values how we use the life we are given.

Some folks will take many years to come to a place of seeing the power of life is not in the stuff we want, make, buy or claim. Rather full life is seen in HOW we live.

Look at Jesus.

  • When he saw someone who was poor, he didn’t try to end poverty, he gave his time and shared himself with others.
  • When Jesus was with someone who was sick, he didn’t bring and end to all disease, he gave God’s power and blessing and was present with those who suffered.
  • When he was with those who lived by the rules and laws and system, Jesus healed on Sabboth, ate with sinners, broke customs to include women and children, he invited men to leave their homes, businesses and follow him.
  • When Jesus was with someone he was in their presence, even when they did not recognized they were in the presence of God.

We are not called to BE Jesus, but to live in ways that we become LIKE Jesus.

We are not called to be perfect and right, we are made to live life LIKE his lived his life.

In homes and in the garden, in the temple and at the wedding party, at the seat of government and at the feed of children.

One thing to be certain, the moment we realize that God wants us be ministers and we have a plan, you can PLAN for interruptions and the need for a new plan.

The very time we choose to be present in our life and the lives of others, OUR plans will be challenged.

Not challenged by the devil as much as interrupted by the widow, orphan, family member or legal authorities.

This was key for Jesus, but he models that the ministry must be flexible.

My ministry is to inspire, challenge, inform and equip you for your ministry.

If there are those who answered the question, Are you a minister with a “NO” not me, then my work is not done.

How can be a minister?

Jesus called disicples with different talents. Some were good with business, some money, some had connections, some had sales experience, some were parents, spouses, and business partners. Some young, old and others were busy working others intently listening.

Jesus calls us to use the gifts, talents and experience we already have and bring those to the table.

Our life is filled with differing perspectives. We don’t all think alike when it

comes to conservative or liberal,

Krispy Kreme or Dunkin,

Hunts or Heinz,

Early or Late,

wealthy or poor,

short or tall

What we are here to do, is to LIVE a life, LIKE Christ has shown us, with what we have on hand.

Remember the child that shared the sack lunch that fed thousands by the sea? God uses what we bring to the ministry that is at hand.

  • Your ministry might be to bring the sack lunch
  • Your ministry might be to distribute the pieces
  • You ministry might be to clean up after the crowd
  • You ministry might be to go ask Jesus

There are plenty of folks who will send the problems away

Call for the crowds to take care of themselves

Look to limits of what we can provide

These are not ministries; these are ministry killers.

Ok, ok, so I’m a minister, “How do I do, whatever it is I’m suppose to do?”

Look to our verse from Ephesians:

“We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)

God has already provided for the needs in this world. There are minds ready to discover. Bodies ready to give strength, Feet ready to move the impossible. Hearts to love and forgive. Spirits to empower and dream.

God has already been at work bringing us to this moment; this place and time.. what we can do RIGHT NOW is made possible by what God can do with those of us in this very place.

Know God has you here to be a minister

Know Jesus shows us what it looks like to LIVE out ministry in our lives

Know God expects interruptions, questions, mistakes and failure along the way.

Most of all: Know YOU are the handiwork of God for this world, and the world needs God through you.

You are shape to serve God… live the LIFE God has designed for you today.

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Romans 8.28 Created to Become Like Christ JUMC 20130310

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Romans 8.28 “In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” [NIV]

What on Earth are we here for? We are created to become like Christ.

Review: We are..

  1. YOU MATTER TO GOD. Created for God’s Pleasure;
  2. GOD MEETS US IN WORSHIP. Created to worship God;
  3. CREATED FOR FELLOWSHIP. Created to belong (be in relationship with) God’s family:
  4. DISCIPLESHIP. the focus of today is that we are Created to become like Christ

Jesus Calls us to follow. That calls for action.

We can’t follow from our seats.

Get up. and move with the Spirit drives us.

At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, Spirit directs him to the wilderness (being tempted is not sin, trusting things/desires/callings not from God, are sin)

The Spirit moves him through temptation

The Spirit moves him from his private self, to his public self, to what the world’s value and image.

Jesus Draws on the power to spirit to resist temptations and begins looking for disciples.

Calling the disciples: Come Follow Me and I will make you those who capture the hearts and lives of people.

Discipleship is used in a variety of ways..

God used temptation to grow Jesus’ relationship. God does the same for us.

This season of Lent is a time to face the sin, brokenness, failures, mistakes, regrets, and all that moves us away from God..

Disciples move toward God.

Discipleship is helping each other move toward God.

Forgiveness is a power way to bring people to God.

Walking with someone in their weariness and fear is guiding across a tight rope with NOT for someone.

Listening for the talkers and Speaking out for the Shy and Hesitant… the grace for room for others to grow

Teaching, studying-reading-questioning- and testing move us to understanding and preparation for what we WILL face or help others face.

When we lead other people closer to God, we become like Christ

  • The goal is not perfection.
  •          The call is for progress.
  • The goal is not BE Jesus,
  •          The call is let Jesus’s actions be our inspiration
  • The goal is not to be Correct
  •         The call is to not mind being corrected if it brings us closer to God.

You and I are created to disciples, lead others toward God.

Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, these are some of the reasons we are here: Get to it!

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Ephesians 2:19 “Christian Fellowship” JUMC 20130303

Eph 2.19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, [NRSV]

You were made to belong in God's family

You were made to belong in God’s family

As we study Rick Warren’s, “What on Earth am I here for?” We have looked two of the pieces that help answer this question. First we learned that You and I are are planned and made for God’s Pleasure. We were not made by chance and we were not made for our own design and own reasons. We are the product of God’s reason and pleasure. Today we look at the reality that You and I are created for family. Not just any family, God hopes we will choose to be actively part of God’s own family.

As difficult as it might be for some to imaging, not everyone chooses to be part of God’s family. God wants us all. Some people choose other paths and beliefs and that does not make them God’s family in Christ.

The church is not an organization. It is not an institution. The church is not a club or a location or non-profit entity. The church is the spiritual family of God.

Paul writes in his letter to the church at Ephesis 1.5 that God’s unchanging plan is to bring us into family by adoption through Jesus Christ. God wants us to belong and makes a way for us to come into the family through Christ. John 1.12 reminds us that through Jesus Christ we have the privilege of becoming a child of God.

With belonging to the family come family responsibilities: The number on priority of family responsibility is to learn to love everyone else in the family.

I have heard folks say, “I can love them, but I sure don’t like them.” Most often this is not a true statement. If we mean to say. “I can love them, but their behavior makes it difficult for me to be near them.” It can be a true express of our relationship, but it is not a true definition of love.

Jesus called for his disciples to love one another, just as Jesus loves us. He calls us to do this not to make us happy or at peace, but for a reason beyond our own. Prove that your love one another as my disciples so the world will see the power of love and want to join the family as well.

The Christian life is about learning how to love.

Last week I suggested that Sunday’s are a practice day for living the other six. Today I suggest that we think of our church family as a laboratory where we practice and experiment loving someone other than our selves and those in our personal genetic and marriage families.

Christian Fellowship is our lab work for the world to check out.

If we learn to love those in our church family, it will shape the rest of the world, from now own.

Today we will look at (4) four levels of fellowship:

1. SHARING Together
Sharing together, fellowship of sharing.. starts with sharing
sharing conversation, food, shelter, etc.
met together constantly and shared everything

The disciples spent time and stuff together, “in common.”

fellowship takes time and practice
Iti s a choice that we make: choosing to share time and life with other folks…
SMALL GROUPS ARE ULTIMATELY IMPORTANT
Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, let us encourage one another Hebrews 10.25
No church building for 300 years… all met in small groups in homes.
Open you home, and you let people in your life..

We share Experiences/Events and Sorrows  Rom 12.15 Share your joy and sorrow.
When you gather, each one share something sing, lesson, story, prayer, insight, dessert, no one taking over, and you will all 1 Cor xx..14

2. Fellowship of Belonging together
KOINONIA” being committed to one another as we are to Jesus
Fellowship with each other as equal heir, child, person in Christ
Belonging is the difference in dating and being married, watcher vs agent of change.
You are members of God’s very own family and you BELONG in God’s household with every other Christian.
without a church we are an orphan without a home, no shelter, no home.. without other people you can’t do it.
rom12.5 we who are many belong to each other…
Belonging is not OPTIONAL.
The person who loves God must love other believers
Love your spiritual family
Taking the STEP of COMMITMENT of BELONGER, not just follower

3. Third, level of fellowship is SERVING together.
Deepen love in marriage, friendship, start serving God together, partner for a common purpose.
You love grows deeper when you rely on one another.
Example : Combat Veterans… last a life time.. What happen to keep them so connected? Serving together on a common task comes from no where else.
a. God never meant for us to serve alone.
b. We are partners working together for God 1 Cor for 3.9
c. You get more done
d. rely on each others strengths and over come each others weaknesses
e. If we don’t worry about the credit, more will get done Eph 4.16 each part does its work
4. Finally, FELLOWSHIP OF SUFFERING TOGETHER
Most intimate
When you share a heart ache, and walk along side someone without judgement, you will be closer together.
I makes us more human to share suffering
It is unifying
A community after disaster come together to rebuild
SHARE EACH OTEHR TROUBLE SNAPROBLEMS AND IN THIS WAY YOU OBEY THE LAW OF CHRIST
Love your neighbor as your self.
When you serve you do your part but when you suffer together you share your heart.
Help HANDS-ON someone in pain… learning how to love people who are suffering… GRC
Relationship are more important than accomplishments, achievements, success, money,

Life is about learning to Love

Wasting life if we are loving people in pain
Learning to love God : Worship
Learning to love others : Fellowship
PART of CHRIST BODY
if one suffer, all suffer together… if you have a tooth ache, your whole body knows it.
Be devoted like family member
Family lasts forever…God’s family
1 John 3.16 — We know what real love is,..we ought give up our lives for each other.

Our sacrament today is Holy Communion: Where Jesus invites us into this unique relationship once again.

At this table Jesus meetings with fellowship around a meal

We SHARE A loaf and cup

We BELONG because we are invited

We eat to be equipped to SERVE

We remember and share in the Christ’s SUFFERING with our own sin and pain.

Come Join the Fellowship! With Jesus and all the children of God.

Prayer: I’m making a choice to belong to a church and small group.. Im gong to be a belonged not just a believer…

Teach me the meaning of real love.

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