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The hustle and bustle of preparing for Vacation Bible School and Day Camp is full of the "A" in our real faith. "A" is Abundant Acts of love and service. From a pre-schooler to a few grandmothers, people have been streaming in and out of the doors getting ready for this highlight in youth ministries. And if that wasn't enough, the following week brings another highlight in youth ministry as we send a mission team to Maumee, OH.

This is part of the ebb and flow of congregational ministry that our lives together make possible. Our acts of abundant love can be small (the pre-schooler kept out of his mother's way!) and one of the grandmothers was delivering food for next week while another grandmother was helping put up decorations with a soon-to-be-high school student. They can be big (like the doctors in our congregation working to heal broken bodies and beat cancer). No matter how big or small the act of abounding love, God is with us, in the midst of our service, and even giving us the holy nudge to act.

The Scripture for Sunday is the story of the Good Samaritan. Pastor Katie will help us understand this parable from several perspectives. You will be invited to join in the worship service and speak, with the lector, the words of the lawyer. Do you identify with any of the characters? Perhaps you are the person barely hanging on to life. Maybe you are the Levite or the priest. Are you a Samaritan, despised by society, yet willing to live with the heart of gold? Maybe you are Jesus being the prophet and urging others on to a God-centered life. Maybe you are the crowd hearing this from Jesus and trying to make sense of it all. Wherever you are in life, there is a place for you in this story. Be in the story and grow your faith, your R.E.A.L. faith.

Sunday's lessons are about the fierce warrior Naaman (2 Kings 5) and the sending of the seventy (Luke 11). Both stories about about people do great things. But both stories are also about people doing simple things.

For Naaman, it is the simple act of washing in the full faith the God can perform the miracle he so desperately seeks. Afterall, Naaman could do mighty acts, but he found it hard to do the simple act. Sometimes God doesn't need us to go out and save the whole world. Sometimes God needs us to go do the simple tasks he sets before us and allow those simple acts change lives.

For the seventy, they were simply sent. Some of them accomplished great deeds. Some of them simply set a household at peace. I'm getting to know a little bit about peace as this is the word my wife chose for her Epiphany word and it is her contemplation word all this year. Peace is elusive. Yet this simple gift when I receive it does so much to focus me back on WWJD (What would Jesus do).

Pastor Tim will help us in connecting some of the space between Naaman and the Seventy on Sunday or next Wednesday. We can be the great warriors who are simply sent to accomplish simple tasks like peace or reassuring one another of the love of God for each of us, the precious children.

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Dear Friends

What would you do if someone said, “Today belongs to you! You are free to do whatever you want to do today!” In our passage this weekend, we are going to dig deeper into the passage from Galatians 5:1, 13-25. Even with a quick glance, you will see there seems to be a list of dos and don’ts! These are not conditions, but a list of ways to celebrate living in the freedom with Christ. There are specifics as to the defeating ways to live life as if we are completely without the grace of God through Jesus Christ and with the passion of the Holy Spirit.

God desires to be connected to you, to your story in your everyday and in your forever. Our God is in the midst of our day, engaging, us and is present in joys and our sorrows. When you and I feel connected to God we are more likely to share the Good News of God in our own lives, the joys and the sorrows.

We are in the midst of conversations about R.E.A.L. faith in a real world. R.E.A.L.: Relate, engage, act, and love. We are putting words around the verbs to explore and define who we are to God and how God longs for us to be with one another.

This week whether you join in on Sunday morning, online, or on Wednesday evening together, we will explore what it means for engaged people to engage people! You are invited, you are welcome, you are known by God who wants and will always engage in a relationship with you now and always. This Good News sets us free and compels us to invite, to welcome, and to engage with one another!

Please see the latest Sign up Genius list for Vacation Bible School and Day Camp 2022. The Youth Mission Trip list will be up soon but you can get a jump start on that list as well as they need snacks, paint brushes, paint rollers, paint plastic tarps, and your prayers!

Blessings to you all,

Pastor Katie

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