Plymouth Congregational Church

God for All


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Palm Sunday

We are Blessed today to have a Great Confirmation Class of 5 young people being received into the Church and the Fellowship of Christian Faith. Brendan Smith, Karl Burns, Brogan Woodall, Erin Morrison and Kyle Erkonen. Please, if you know them congratulate them on their Spiritual journey!

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I Don’t Really Attend Church (conclusion)

Going to church doesn’t mean I’m going to heaven.

No. Attending church does not mean that you will go to heaven. It also doesn’t mean you won’t (yep, there is your double negative making it a positive).

Going to Heaven… the Home after our Home. The home of the dead.

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Is this heaven????

 

Or this?

The image of Heaven is subjective to each person. According to Dictionary.com Heaven is defined as:

1. the abode of God, the angels, and the spirits of the righteous after death; the place or state of existence of the blessed after the mortal life.

2. Often, Heavens. the celestial powers’ God.

3. a metonym of God (used in expressions of emphasis, surprise, etc.): For heaven’s sake!

YOU DIDN’T ANSWER THE QUESTION!

Bottom line, Heaven is not about whether you attend church regularly, but about how you live your life. So, yes, you can get to Heaven without attending a church.

BUT (isn’t there always a but?)

Attending church, be it regularly or not, helps. We all need those reminders, those connections, to help us with day-to-day life while on Earth. It is easy to be pulled away from God and the life he wants us to live when we are not faced with his servants and scriptures, his values and morals, regularly.

We do forget to pray, and when we remember we can so easily forget how to pray. God’s sanctioned house(s) helps us keep it pure, true, and as He would ask… better demand as our Father.

So, you can get to Heaven but why not have a little help along the way?


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I Don’t Really Attend Church (part 2)

Can I be a member of the God society without attending a house of God?

The simple answer – “yes“.

Oh now before you go getting into an uproar over this answer let’s think about what God’s house really constitutes.

The Creation Story – Bible Story Summary:

Day 1 – God created light. Ah, more on this one later.

Day 2 – God created an expanse to separate the waters and called it “sky”. From blue to gray to black, color filled sunrises and sunsets, the universe over our heads is our sky. Given to us by God he provided a roof of every changing color.

Day 3 – God created the dry ground and gathered the waters (land and sea); also, vegetation (plants and trees). He gave us all we can see, touch, and smell. He gave us sun for cold days and shade for hot. He gave us the ability to have air, beauty and grace. He gave us deserts to forests to oceans and lakes.

Day 4 – God created the sun, moon and the stars. God’s light is the sun and moon, the stars reflections, lightning bugs, and fire. He brings us light created without man-made glass and filaments. God’s light is outdoors, but he gave an inventor (Thomas Jefferson) the ability to harness this light to bring it inside for all of His people to use.

Day 5 – God created every living creature of the seas and every winged bird, blessing them to multiply and fill the waters and the sky with life. He gave life to our planet, our world. The chirping birds to wake us in the morning and the crickets to put us to sleep at night.

Day 6 – God create the animals to fill the earth and Adam and Eve, in his own image, to commune with him. He gave more life, more diversity, to our planet. He brought your brother and sister to this world.

Day 7 – God finished his work of creation and so he rested.

God’s home is not the brick and mortar building you visit only one day a week, but it is the whole world around you. Everyday you wake in God’s house, everyday you work in God’s house, everyday you live in God’s house, sleep and die. So, yes, you can be a member of God’s society without attending a “house” of God, but attending a “house” of God will bring you so much closer to understanding how to live your life in such a huge home, a mansion. Attending a “house” of God will bring you closer to people who share your affinity for His word, His guide, His values, His morals, and His rules.

If you plant a seed, you plant it in the House of God.

If you care for an animal, you are caring for it in the House of God.

If you paint your home, you are painting your home in the House of God.

If you strike your loved one, your strike him in the House of God.

If you lie, you lie in the House of God.

If you murder, you murder in the House of God.

If you are humbled, you are humbled in the House of God.

If you drink, you drink in the House of God.

Attending church is good as you attend church in the House of God.

More importantly… remember…

every breath you take
every step you make
He’ll be watching YOU
because they are all done in the
House of God.


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I Don’t Really Attend Church (part 1)

In a recent conversation on Facebook the following comment was made, “Ya know i don’t go to church but I’ve given a homeless man food more than once. Going to church does not make you all that…..,” This person is right, without hesitation or doubt, going to church doesn’t make you all that.

So why attend church at all if it doesn’t make you all that?

Can I be a member of the God society without attending a house of God?

Going to church doesn’t mean I’m going to heaven.

Why attend church?

It is true that if you do not attend church God will not sending lightening bolts at you. It is also true that church can take up valuable time. It is true that you may not agree with everything that is being spoken. It is also true that you may sleep through a sermon or two. It is true that you should dress nicely, as though you are having an important meeting or first date. It is also true that you should walk in sober and respectfully.

Yes, there are a lot of requirements or requests that are placed upon you for entering the house of God, church. Which are all valid reasons to stretch on Sunday morning, roll over to look at the clock, and think “not today” and “God and I are good”. So you lay in bed a little longer contemplating all that you’ll get accomplished with that extra 3 hours – yard work, laundry, grocery store, taking the kids to the pool or going for a long walk with the dog. Maybe you’ll catch up on the TV shows you recorded and have a late breakfast.

If you cannot tell, I’ve been there and done that. Currently living the dream.

BUT I MISS IT!

What attending brings…

Hope – We are so focused on the everyday that it is easy to get sucked into the black hole of life’s ever revolving drama, then stay stuck in that place losing the light of hope. Our Church family reminds us that hope is not sought alone but in congregation with one another. They will grab your arms and pull you, sometimes kicking and screaming, from the dark shadows of your life into the light of God with love, the power of prayer, and the giving of heart.

Scripture – When we are lost in our life we can forget that others may have walked the road before us, paving the way, tamping down the dirt. In the scripture of the Bible, the word of our Lord, we can find company, comfort, and companionship knowing that once others did prevail before you thus you can prevail too.

Connection – We are designed to want relationships, but to maintain those relationships we need to actively participate and that includes our connection to God. Yeah, you can do it on your own, in your daily acts, but we forget when we are away. We forget how to pray and who to pray for. We forget exactly how deep his values travel within our daily acts. We lose touch with all that God wants to give us because we don’t see Him, hear from Him, or learn about Him as we should. Last time I checked God didn’t have a Facebook account or a bed in the next room. We also miss the connection with others that carry our same belief thus we walk a silent life searching for deeper meaningful relationships, which are available if we remember to put forth our own efforts to connect.

Friendship – A friend in a house of God will be sincere, and honest. You may never see or talk to the person beyond the walls or halls, but while there, sharing space, you are in the company of many friends that will cry with you, laugh with you, carry you when you fall and you can carry when they fall. It is an unspoken commandment of valuing each other within His home that you will put your differences aside and connect without thought. We are human, and humans are who humans are – fallible, judgmental creatures – but within His home we can be different, better people.

God – It is easy to walk outside and say, “today I will live a God faring day,” and then get sucked into the human rat race called life. When we enter into God’s house we are reminded, by the good preachers, that there is more to life than living a rat race, that God designed life to be better but can only accomplish His goals with your participation. We reconnect with God on a level that can be shed like unnoticeable dead skin from our bodies and life. We are creatures of the environment around us, and within God’s home that can be so much better.

Attending church regularly may not make you a better person or maybe it will.

Attending church regularly may not fill your life with people whom have your back or maybe it will.

Attending church regularly may not answer all of life’s problem or maybe it will.

Why not try it for a year and see?

Participate… Be there… Be you… Be with God and others who share this journey

Why attend church? Maybe the better question is Why not?

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Hope (part 1)

“I hope it doesn’t rain the day of the picnic.”

You and I have no control over the weather. Hoping it doesn’t rain is nothing more than wishful thinking. Is Christian hope wishful thinking in the face of all that we can’t control?

“I hope the Chicago Cubs win the World Series.”

They might win it; it’s possible to be sure, even though it’s extremely unlikely. Is Christian hope a hankering after what is extremely unlikely?

“I hope we’ll soon learn to get along together, and class hostility, social conflict and financial exploitation will soon be a thing of the past.”

Anyone who speaks this way is most naïve concerning human nature and utterly ignorant of human history. Is Christian hope childlike naivete with respect to our nature and inexcusable ignorance with respect to our history?

For Christians hope is a future certainty grounded in a present reality.
The present reality is the faithfulness of God.

God’s faithfulness is marked out by major landmarks (promises He has kept). His involvement with His people, an involvement He won’t abandon.

One such landmark is Israel’s release from bondage in Egypt and its deliverance at the Red Sea.

Another landmark is Joshua’s leading the same people into the long-promised land.

The landmark that towers over others, however, and gathers them up into itself, is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Here all the promises of God find their fulfillment. Here the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel and to Israel’s greater Son overflows out onto all flesh, Jew and Gentile alike, out onto all whose faith-quickened seeing acknowledges the presence and power and purpose of God in Jesus of Nazareth. God had promised to renew the entire creation in Christ, liberating the creation from its bondage to the evil one, freeing it from its frustration and allowing it to flower abundantly.

God’s raising his Son from the dead is the decisive moment of this promised liberation and is therefore the landmark of God’s faithfulness.”

What does any of this have to do with hope??? This seems more about faith and the greatest sacrifice. About trust.

Question: How is it that we who are believers affirm this while unbelievers do not?

Believers and unbelievers alike live in the same world, suffer the same pain, undergo the same treachery and turbulence and tragedies.

Believers speak of God’s faithfulness as the ground of their hope while unbelievers see no evidence of faithfulness and no reason to hope.

Then why do believers persist in hope while unbelievers don’t?

Believers continue to hope, continue to insist on a future certainty despite present contradictions, never feel that their hope is misplaced because “God’s love has been shed abroad in our hearts.” (Rom. 5:5)

At this moment believers are aware of God’s love flooding them.

Our present experience of God is itself part of God’s faithfulness to us. This too is part of the present reality undergirding a future certainty.

Hold on a moment? Undergirding? I have never heard of such a word. What does “undergirding” have to do with hope anyway?

Undergirding, according to dictionary.com, is a verb meaning to strengthen, secure or give fundamental support. The security is provided by a rope or chain under and around. An example provided is “to undergird a top heavy load.”

God’s faithfulness in our abilities to live a value filled life parceled in the envelope of hope that all he has given, all sacrifices, will provide us the promised conclusion. Along the journey we continue to hope that the tragedies are manageable, the drama minimal, the rewards full of abundance.

Undergird = Hope

Hope = Faithfulness

Faithfulness = Trust

It is a rope securing all of life together.

In other words there are two aspects to the present reality of God’s faithfulness: one is what God has done for us in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; the other is what God has done in us as the Holy Spirit has soaked us in the Father’s love again and again.

No wonder we look with confidence to the transformation of men and women, nature and universe, as the entire creation is finally healed.


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Resurrection Sunday (part 1) – Video

Sometimes words alone cannot bring together the important of a message, or embody the actual experience of participating in a Sunday service. Yet, there are those times we just cannot find the ability to get to church whether it be a lack of mobility, illness, or exhaustion from a week of living. So for the next two spots I would like to bring service to you. The first video, attached, is approximately 24 minutes in length. The energy of Pastor Bill and the congregation will hopefully move your toes to heart to conscience in the welcoming back of our Savior.