The second week of Advent devotions in God is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas from Dietrich Bonhoeffer centered around the theme of mystery. Once again reading these reflections caused me to pause and reflect upon the mystery of God's love for us made known to us in Jesus Christ. That was particularly true when reading Monday's reflection which said: Th...Keep Reading
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CD Release Concert #2 & Christmas Carol Sing Photo Gallery...
CD Release Track Number Ten: He Brought You To Me, (The Story)...
CD Release Track Number Fifteen: My Love, (The Story)...
CD Release Track Number Eight: God Colored Lens, (The Story)...
CD Release Track Number One: The Way Back Home...
By now you probably know that our worship team at Spirit & Life is releasing a full length, 15 song, all original CD on October 14. All of the songs are written by the worship team. This is the story behind “Hear My Prayer,” track number three on the CD. ...
How Christians Pass On Their Faith, The Long List of Resources...
Being a Parent is Intimidating Enough So How Can I Be the One to Pass On My Faith?...
I’ve been a musician just about all of my life. At the age of six my father bought me a full drum set and required me to take lessons and practice every day, seven days a week for at least 30 minutes. I took lessons for three years and in that time probably never practiced for less than 90 minutes a day. Music was my sanctuary, even at age six. By the time I was ten years old I was playing drums in my older brother’s band on nights their regular drummer couldn’t make it, which was most of the time actually....
This year I'm using God is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas as my daily Advent devotional. It's taken from the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was a German pastor and theologian who lived, wrote, and ministered during the build up to World War II. After the Nazi government took control of the state church in Germany, Bonhoeffer operated an illegal sem...Keep Reading
Perhaps the two greatest American songwriters of all time are Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. And what's kinda crazy is that they lived at the same time, were contemporaries, and friends. And they frequently worked together, visited with each other, and hung out. In the mid-1980s they were both on an international tour and they met up at a Paris caf for coffee. Because those ...Keep Reading
The mission of Spirit Life Church is the help others authentically encounter Jesus Christ through worship and small groups for lives of service. As we end 2018 we are asking you to consider what financial commitment you can make to Spirit Life for the upcoming year. It's only fair for us to give equal consideration to how we fulfilled our mission in 2018 as we ask you to...Keep Reading
Over the summer we have been collecting insect repellent to be handed out to the homeless men, women, and children in our community through our community partner Streetlight Ministries. We set a goal for 486 units of insect repellent and we have said that if we meet our goal by August 26th, the church would get to slime me, your pastor. With one week to go it looks like we...Keep Reading
What is the Bible? Is it a collection of ancient stories, laws and myths? Is it writings and musings from a bygone age that helped people cope with the harsh realities of pre-modern life? Is it God's love letter to his children? Is it God's perfect instructions to us meant to govern all our actions and choices, to be followed to the letter? Is it God breathed and useful fo...Keep Reading
In one of his books former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden wrote: "If I were ever prosecuted for my religion, I truly hope there would be enough evidence to convict me." A popular saying is similar: If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict? At the heart of each statement is a belief that our faith should motivate and impact...Keep Reading
Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. Luke 24:13 We are going to be looking at this story of what happened to the two men on the road to Emmaus as a part of our "This is us" series. What happens on the way to Emmaus to these disciples is what happens to a lot of us when we get involved in small groups. ...Keep Reading
This past Sunday we finished our sermon series "How Christians ________" where we looked at a number of different topics we experience in our life and looked at what wisdom Scripture and the church can offer in those situations. Every week we had a resource that inspired the sermon (other than Scripture and Jesus). As we close the series we wanted to have put all those res...Keep Reading
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirableif anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things. How should Christians engage culture? How should Christians consume different things in culture? This is a question we looked at this past Sunday i...Keep Reading
This past Sunday in church we looked at whether Scripture could give us any guidance when it came to parenting our children. I for one need guidance when it comes to being a parent. I have felt unprepared and overwhelmed by the task from day one. And in Paul Tripp's book Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles that Can Radically Change Your Family we found direction, conviction, a...Keep Reading
I was in middle school when two students brought guns into Columbine High School and committed mass murder of their students, teachers, peers. I remember coming home from school on the bus, being by myself in the house, and watching the news. I remember what happened consuming my thoughts for weeks to come. I was in high school when a father and his son shot people in t...Keep Reading
"Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done." Genesis 2: 1-3 This past Sunday we looked at How Christians Use...Keep Reading
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. Christians fight. We do. Christians are people and people fight. What can hopefull...Keep Reading
This blog is a follow up to the sermon from this past Sunday "How Christians Read the Bible." To listen to that sermon, go tohttp://www.spiritandlifechurch.org/sermons I remember a few weeks ago we were all making preparations, running to libraries to get glasses, and in general going a bit crazy for the eclipse. I watched the eclipse from my house, alone. And as the ecli...Keep Reading
[Jesus said,] "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." John 14:15 I thought I'd won the argument. As a kid I wanted to watch the TV show The Simpsons, something that wasn't allowed in my family. But I had recently learned that a neighborhood friend was allowed to watch it and I returned to my parents sure that another kid being allowed to watch this show proved ...Keep Reading
Oliver Wendell Holmes is supposed to have said, "Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer." So I know that a lot of times, perhaps too many times, I begin sermons by telling cute stories about my son Patrick. And he gives me a lot of material. He's a good, sweet boy who knows more ...Keep Reading
This blog post is another reflection about the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why. Our Family and Youth Coordinator, Brenda Amodea, has written a reflection about it on our blog posted here. Brenda writes from a perspective of years spent on the front lines of ministry with young people and immense wisdom gained from that experience. She also references a number of other articles...Keep Reading
In case you missed it, here is the first sermon in our new series "I literally can't even." In the weeks to come we will be looking at the impossible things Jesus tells us to do and relying on Jesus to help us do impossible things. Happy Easter everyone! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! No, I'm not a week late on that. Easter was last Sunday. And Easter is this Sunday...Keep Reading
Christ is Risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia! This past Sunday we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ by taking the thing that was the means of his death and turning it into a symbol of vitality, joy, and life. Christ is alive and wants to live in you. May you experience the victory and new life in Jesus this Easter season. Easter Cross 2017 from Spirit Lif...Keep Reading
Ezekiel 37 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" I said, "Sovereign Lord, you alone know." Finally...Keep Reading
1 Samuel 16 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." Samuel was sent by God to find a new king for Israel and in his search he looked at things that qualified the last person to be king....Keep Reading
Exodus 17 5 The Lord answered Moses, "Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink." So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. Song: H...Keep Reading
Genesis 12 The Lord had said to Abram, "Go from your country, your people and your father's household to the land I will show you. 2 "I will make you into a great nation,and I will bless you;I will make your name great,and you will be a blessing.[a]3 I will bless those who bless you,and whoever curses you I will curse;and all peoples on earthwill be blessed through you."[...Keep Reading
This year during Lent, we are going to be offering mid-week online devotions. These devotions will consist of a piece of Scripture, a song, and a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer'sDiscipleship. These will be available here on our blog and on Facebook, usually on noon on Wednesdays (although this week it is coming out on Thursday). Here on the blog we might include a bit mor...Keep Reading
Our adventures through the Bible series finds us with Moses this week. For our purposes we pick up Moses as a young man shepherding his father-in-law's livestock. He sees a bush that is on fire but the bush is not consumed by the flames. Thinking this is an oddity he goes over to investigate. Then he hears a voice coming from the burning bush: the voice of God. God tells ...Keep Reading
Another week, another adventure reading through the Bible. This week I read through the Joseph sequence of Genesis. Yes that' the guy who wears the amazing technicolor dream coat. It's another familiar story that I've read hundreds of times and yet a new detail caught my eye. Joseph was the youngest of his brothers. But Jacob/Israel, his father, loved him best. And his fa...Keep Reading
I have accepted a challenge from my Bishop calling me to read the whole Bible in 2017. Here is the first in a series of posts about my reflections from reading the Bible and the new insights the Holy Spirit is giving me....Keep Reading
Our Charge Conference is October 23rd at Dumfries UMC at 2 pm. But what is Charge Conference? And who can/should attend? Charge Conference is the annual meeting of the church. There are multiple layers of church governance in the United Methodist Church with the local church, or "charge," at the grassroots level. Churches are bounded within a District (for us the Alexand...Keep Reading
Why do you go to church? Why should anyone go to church? In this day and age, it's not that strange of a question. No longer is it a given that people want to, will, or do attend church. Beyond that, coming to church takes considerable effort. You have to get up, get the kids up, get everyone ready, drive there, all to sit through an hour long service and go home. In the ...Keep Reading
Matt Meisenhelter and I have felt a movement of the Spirit with respect to the preaching rotations between the two campuses. In order to communicate that movement and our thoughts, we've put them down each in our own words. MM: Because Spirit Life UMC had become such an exemplary and exceptionally fruitful new church plant, in 2015 our denominational leadership challenge...Keep Reading
I wonder if Acts 15 could happen in the Age of Twitter. Christians disagreeing is not new. Christians meeting to discuss matters of disagreement is not new. It's happened pretty much from the start. The first members of the Church, the first people to be filled with the Holy Spirit were Jews. Members of God's Chosen People. But then the Holy Spirit started filling Gentil...Keep Reading
Why do you have a blog? At the outset that's probably a good question to ask. Why would a church website have a blog feature? Why would the pastors and leaders of that church blog? Why are we doing this? Why are we contributing precious time that could be spent doing any number of others things that need doing in the church writing frequent blog posts? (At this point I r...Keep Reading