Going Deeper

5.13 - 5.18.2024

We want to help you "Go Deeper" by moving Christ a little closer to the center of your life every day. The following resources are provided to help connect the weekly message to your every day life and reveal God's desire to be in relationship with you.


Questions?

Pastor Jim Hoffman

816.523.6788

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  • SCRIPTURE

    • Psalm 32
    • Psalm 51
    • Romans 4:6-8

  • REFLECTION

    A long time ago, I did something that showed a considerable lapse in judgment.  It was something that I felt the need to tell my parents about.  I distinctly remember the two of them being in the kitchen at their house and I asked if I could talk with them.  My dad sat across from me at a small table and my mom stood at the sink.  I confessed to them my stupidity – needless to say, it was not one of my finest moments.  Even though my dad was disappointed, he understood what I was going through.  However, I did not expect my mom to understand.  What I hoped and prayed for was her forgiveness, pardon, and consolation.  Beyond understanding, I needed someone who would comfort me as I tried to repair the wounds I had created for others and myself. 

     

    Anne Bradstreet once said, “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.  If we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”    We need adversity to grow.  We also need healing.  I read another thoughtful quote that has helped me.  It read, “Facing up to one’s errors and being pardoned are important modes of interaction, even today.”  I am not sure that in today’s environment, words could be any truer.  It is as if the art of self-reflection and personal accountability has all but disappeared in our private and public spheres.  Which makes me question how we find meaning and life.

     

    The 32nd Psalm along with the 51st are instructive passages for the human heart.  Whether we like the word or not, sin is a reality.  You can couch it in softer terms like brokenness, failures, or faults but it is still sin.  Sin is the willful act we all commit that violates God’s instructions and will.  It is singular and it is cumulative.  The way we address sin is by confession.  “When we confess our sins to God, [God] who is faithful and just, will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9, NRSVUE)  One biblical thought leader wrote the following:  “To be righteous is not about managing to keep all the rules, to be sinless . . . To be righteous is to be forgiven, to be a witness to God’s grace.”  One of the goals of the Christian journey is the pursuit of righteousness.  It is the journey toward felt grace and a deeper appreciation for the love God has for us.  This experience is supposed to be impactful, life altering, transforming.  I believe it should draw us to live in a new reality driven by a new vision.

     

    Marianne Williamson once said, “Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth.  To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life.  Meaning does not lie in things.  Meaning lies in us.”  On that day in my parent’s kitchen, I learned a valuable lesson – my mother’s love taught me that meaning lies in each of us and that reality was truly worth pursuing.  

     

    I invite you to take time and read each of the scriptures above followed by reflection on the questions below.  Acknowledge the depth of God’s love for you and the call to find meaning in love for God and others.  Lastly, I pray that God bless the reading of God’s Word and the meditations of your heart.

  • QUESTIONS & ACTIONS

    Questions to Consider this week:

    • Monday:  What has been your biggest failure in life?  How have you experienced forgiveness?
    • Tuesday:  How are you practicing forgiveness with yourself and others?
    • Wednesday:  What has been the greatest challenge or adversity you have had to overcome?  Have you managed to get past it and how?
    • Thursday:  When did someone show you understanding?  How did that help you?
    • Friday:  When did someone show you love and forgiveness?  How did that heal you?
    • Saturday:  How will you pursue “righteousness” this coming week?

     

    Actions for the Week:

    • Head:  Name a mistake that you still hold onto and ask for the strength to let go of it.
    • Heart:  Search your heart for places where you are stuck or mired down by the weight of guilt and ask God to release you.
    • Hand:  Look for and engage in meaningful practices that will lead you in the pursuit of righteousness.

  • PRAYER

    God of grace, mercy, and love.  Too often, we move quickly past our mistakes, especially big ones.  We do not want to “own” them or be accountable for them.  Embarrassingly, we admit that we hope they will simply fade away unnoticed by anyone else.  However, as social and public as we are, this is virtually impossible.  Nearly everything eventually sees the light of day, even our misdeeds.  Grant us the power of your Holy Spirit to be strong enough to own our mistakes, to seek understanding, and to journey toward forgiveness.  Use these moments to inform our pursuit of righteousness.  Help us to strive toward a deeper love of self, others, and you.  This is the life worth having and living.  Amen.