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Progressive Christianity Values Life and Liberty

Briefly this morning I want to explore a progressive Christian notion of God, the Bible, and the after life.  I often speak about God within, between and beyond. I want to re-visit that idea for a few moments. Within you, resides the Inexpressible that is beyond words, concept, and thought. An exquisite bliss resides within you. Within you is the Inexpressible, Indescribable, Ineffable peace that passes all understanding.Most of us only have glimpses of this peace, but at moments of meaning or clarity or self growth or compassion, or a sense of higher purpose, you realize God within.

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Reclaiming Kingdom Before it Comes

You are here to be self-aware, and with your awareness to extend compassion to all that surrounds you, both people and earth. When you are truly aware, you can never be separate from anyone or anything. Any sense that your actions don't affect the whole is a delusion. Any sense that what happens to the earth doesn't affect you is also a delusion.

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Coping With Change

It is time for a change … so that divine order can unfold. Abram’s soul did not incarnate simply to be happy and comforable. His is a much grander destiny.

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Topics: New Thought/New Age. Resource Types: Sermons.

Why Have A Wayshower?

Earth humans enter this glorious stage of transition into the New Aquarian (Golden) Age having had a vast variety of religious and spiritual experiences.Many left the traditional church disillusioned, even angry, and want nothing more to do with the Bible or Jesus.On the other hand, many have never studied the Bible and know little about Jesus.

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We Are Interconnected Within the Divine Plan

 If Jesus Is A Wayshower, What Does He Show Us?Nancy B. Detweiler, M.Ed., M.Div.Part 1 of Series"We Are Interconnected Within the Divine Plan" Christ-centered metaphysicians teach that Jesus incarnated to be a Wayshower, to reveal to us our true natures, and to show us the way back home to full knowledge of ourselves as Jesus' brothers and sisters, Sons & Daughters of God. Jesus taught: "The one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father." (John 14:12) He taught us to call God "Abba," an Aramaic word that translates "our Father" and signifies the level of intimacy we indicate when we use the term "dad." Jesus also offered encouragement to us as we live on the physical plane: "I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world." (John 16:33) Jesus incarnated to show us how to conquer the world with all its error thinking and adherence to non-truth.In order to comprehend the role of Jesus in our lives, we must first understand who he is. We must know that life on this planet extends backward for millions of years. We-like Jesus-first set foot on planet Earth as very advanced Sons and Daughters of our Mother/Father God. As the 1st chapter of Genesis states, we were created in the image and likeness of God; thus, we were spirit beings (without a physical body) who volunteered to come to Planet Earth to experiment with freewill and its various manifestations. Freewill is the capacity to select options for self, then to experience the consequences of our decisions. Some of us made choices that resulted in forgetting our true identities as Sons and Daughters of God. Genesis 2 relates the second creation story in which humanity took on a physical body. In doing so, we lowered our energetic vibration to the 3rd dimensional level (or physical plane). We became enmeshed in forgetfulness and spiritual blindness. We began to feel separated, even alienated, from God. The narrative of humanity being cast out of the Garden of Eden reveals our choice to experience the plane of duality, synonymous with the 3rd dimensional plane. Adam and Eve (representative of those Sons & Daughters choosing to experience the 3rd dimension) symbolically ate of the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil. In other words, they chose to live with an awareness of duality: good and evil, light and darkness, male and female. (Evil is live spelled backwards. Thus, evil is the type of energy that is created when we turn our backs to God.) The Bible is the story of humanity's struggles on the plane of duality and the awakening process by which we are resurrected into full knowledge of our true identities. According to the hidden wisdom now being unveiled to the general public, Jesus is one of the Sons of God that managed to retain an open channel of communication with the realms of Spirit throughout many physical incarnations. Glenn Sanderfur, in his book entitled Lives of the Master: The Rest of the Jesus Story-based on the Edgar Cayce Readings-depicts the soul of Jesus present within several biblical characters, such as Enoch, Melchizedek, Joseph, Joshua, Asaph, and Jesus. The soul of Jesus incarnated as personalities who assumed a leadership role in guiding Earth humans through periods of transition and change. During his incarnation as Jesus, he achieved a level of attunement to Spirit that allowed "the Father" to use his body as a vehicle through which to work and speak. Jesus repeatedly attempted to turn the attention away from himself and onto the Father. "Jesus said to them, ‘… the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.'" (John 5:19) Again, Jesus said, "I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak." (John 12:49) It is essential that we remember these words of Jesus as we get to know him as a Wayshower. The majority of the words attributed to Jesus were actually the Father speaking through him. Not making this distinction is the basis on which many of the misinterpretations of Jesus and the Bible are founded. Thus, for the majority of Christians, Jesus became one to be worshipped; one to whom we could not hope to relate on equal terms. As some have awakened to the presence of our indwelling God, Jesus has been placed on a shelf as no longer relevant. To do so is to deprive self of an inspiring Wayshower. In this series of lessons, we will look at the ways by which Jesus approached life on physical plane in an effort to better integrate Truth into our lifestyles. Jesus explained to the Roman officials ruling Palestine, "For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth." (John 18:37) What is this Truth?The birth narratives, found in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, reveal much Truth about the universe in which we live. Matthew's gospel begins with the genealogy of Jesus. This genealogy is far more than a recitation of family history. It is packed with mathematical formulas that relate universal truths. One easily discernible message is that Jesus incarnated to be an example for all people, not to any one particular race or religion. Jesus' relationship to our universal human family reveals the interconnectedness of all of us. On an energetic level, our individual mission is one that impacts the whole universe. Like Jesus, each of us incarnated to fulfill a unique role-a vital role within the overall universal plan. No human being stands isolated on an island. No human being incarnates with nothing to contribute to the divine scheme of ongoing creation. Each incarnation is organized and planned in cooperation with the group of souls accompanying us. In Luke's gospel, the birth narratives inform us that Elizabeth and Zechariah agreed to become the parents of John the Baptist. Elizabeth conceived after she and Zechariah were advanced in age. In the ancient Middle East, to be barren of children was considered a disgrace for women. Divine timing required that Elizabeth endure this disgrace, just as we often feel that we are enduring more than we bargained for. Divine timing is the means by which the universal plan unfolds. It cannot be rushed. John the Baptist contracted to prepare the people for Jesus and his ministry. His was the soul of the prophet Elijah. Along with his mission of preparing the people, John also planned to pay the debt of negative karma he incurred as Elijah-that of killing the prophets of Baal. This debt was paid when King Herod ordered John beheaded. You and I incarnate to perform a mission and to balance any karmic debts lingering in our energy field. The contrast between Jesus and his relatives-John the Baptist, Elizabeth, and Zechariah-is that Jesus was more consciously aware of his mission at an early age. Some of us let it be known, from the time we are old enough to talk, what we want to do with our lives. Others of us have more trouble attuning to our purpose. But, the bottom line is: all incarnate with a soul plan. Our lives are not random; they are not an accident, regardless of how consciously or unconsciously our parents planned the pregnancy. Our parents are not happenstance. The close personal relationships we experience throughout any one incarnation were planned on the soul level. We have all agreed to meet and sojourn together on this planet for a span of time. Another truth revealed in the birth narratives is the mutual cooperation between beings in spirit and those of us living on Earth. The angels played a major role in guiding Elizabeth and Zechariah, Mary and Joseph in their preparations to bring forth John and Jesus. Archangel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah and to Mary, announcing the forthcoming birth of sons. Gabriel instructed them to name their sons "John" and "Jesus." Names denote the universal mathematical vibration on which the individual will carry out the soul's mission. Even though our parents consciously knew nothing about numerology and the extreme importance of naming a child, their souls carried memories of the plans made before they incarnated physically. They also communicated with our souls while they slept-prior to our entrance into a physical body. The vast majority of us find that our names are indicative of who we are and what we are about. Once in awhile, an individual will discard the given name because it feels so incongruent with who she/he is. Not often. The universe knows intimately each of us and our parents are guided in the fulfillment of that knowledge. The energy vibrations, on which we are functioning during this incarnation, are imprinted in the mathematics of the universe and within the energetic influences of the stars at the time of our birth. Our life plan is imprinted in the palms of our hands; it is revealed in our handwriting. The Wise Men of the East could read the story of Jesus' birth in the configuration of the stars. Our births onto this planet were orchestrated in cooperation with the assistance of the universe. In ways we cannot fathom, we are immersed in the interconnectedness of all of creation.Mary and Joseph were attuned to the world of Spirit. Archangel Gabriel communicated with them in person and through dreams. Both were committed to following the guidance of the angels. Mary agreed to her pregnancy, knowing that those around her would question her fidelity to Joseph. Joseph obeyed the angel's instructions to marry Mary even though he knew his family and friends might not understand. Allowing truth to unfold in our lives, regardless of the external consequences, can be a challenge. Truth is: Allowing divine order to unfold in our lives is the way by which we cooperate with the universal plan. The birth narratives disclose another universal truth. The failure to carry out the agreed upon soul contract by any one of the individuals involved could have interrupted the process. Zechariah could have divorced Elizabeth because she was barren. Mary could have said, "no" to becoming pregnant by immaculate conception. In her day, women were stoned to death for adultery. How were people to know the truth about her? Joseph could have refused to marry her; thereby, creating an unbearable scenario for Mary. John the Baptist could have chosen another life career and failed to prepare the way for Jesus. At any number of stages, Jesus could have reneged on his commitment. All had freewill. Consider the domino effect that could have occurred had any one person revoked his/her soul's commitment.Truth is: This same domino effect happens when we renounce our soul's contract. Those lifelong dreams that nag at you, the inner soul urges that pull you in one direction while your sense of duty and practicality push you in another, those "if only" yearnings that arise in our consciousness when we are free to allow our mind to wander in the ethers-listen to them. Heed their importance in the unfolding of your life's role in the divine plan; follow Spirit's guidance no matter how senseless and frightening it may feel to do so. The innermost part of our being knows our soul's plan-our individual truth. To deny the knowingness that we possess intuitively is to start a domino effect in our lives and in the lives of others. The universe is impacted, to greater or lesser extent, by whether or not we carry through on our soul commitments.What Truth do we learn from the birth narratives? We are an integral part of the whole. Our lives are extremely meaningful and valuable within the universal scheme of things. Using our freewill to choose to renege on our soul's contract with our companion souls might disrupt the life plan of numerous others.Jesus and the stories of his birth proclaim our true worth-every individual is interconnected with all other Earth humans and with our universal family as a valuable part of the overall divine plan. UNITY'S PRAYER OF PROTECTIONThe Light of God surrounds me,The Love of God enfolds me,The Power of God protects me,The Presence of God watches over me.Wherever I am, God is.And, all is well. BENEDICTIONGo forth into the world, knowing that you are a most valuable part of God's unfolding creation. In the prayerful words of the Psalmist: "Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed." (Psalm 139:16)

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Resource Types: Sermons.

On the Road with Jesus

By Stephen Hamilton Wright.   An Easter sermon that de-emphasizes the importance of bodily, physical resurrection of Jesus in favor of a continuing dynamic spiritual connection, that in some ways we do not understand fully, gained great focus and energy on the first Easter.

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Resource Types: Sermons.

It Must Be True (Easter)

Easter has always held a special place in my life and spiritual journey as it holds promise for rebirth, change, growth, and yes, resurection. It is a challenge for many to let go of the belief of a physically resurcted Jesus, but once we recognize the beauty of a spiritual resurection, we can unravel the incredible miracle of having the potential, each day, to re-birth our spirit, to lift it up out of the darkness of despair, fear, and lonliness and merge it with the luminous light of the universal spirit.

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Kindred Spirits in Moderate (Progressive) Islam

The progressive movement in Islam, though small and not well organized, is interested in regaining the true spirit of Muhammad and Muslims through the centuries, a spirit of peace, compassion and mercy. Those we would consider progressive Muslims more often describes themselves as moderate Muslims to distance themselves from the fanatical terrorist wings.

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A Covenant of Love

The Bible is filled with messages of love, so it is not hard to highlight scripture that calls us to love.

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Practicing Gratitude

A poetic, mystical, and humorous look at the practice of gratitude as exemplified in Jesus' commandment to consider the lilies. Includes the poetry of Wendell Berry and William Stafford, as well as a mystical sign that came to the author after a walk around Alpine Lake in the Sierras.

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Resource Types: Sermons.

Giving Thanks for the Good, the Bad and the Surprising

Ian Lawton is pastor of C3/ Christ Community Church in Spring Lake,West Michigan and on the TCPC Executive Coucil. What does it mean to live as if I am surrounded by miracles, even though the kids are fighting, the mortgage is overdue, there seems no end to global conflict and my back hurts? Who should I be grateful to, and for what?

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Jesus Through the Eyes of Rumi, a Sufi Mystic

Occasionally throughout history, someone comes along and moves a religion
from being a pond religion to an ocean religion.  Someone comes onto the
scene and blows the lid off the top of religion, reforming it, transforming
it.  Jesus was one such figure.

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Topics: Interfaith Issues & Dialogue. 8 Points: Point 2: Pluralism. Resource Types: Sermons.
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