Do you “check in” at church?

February 2, 2011 by  
Filed under What If? blog

Do you check in at church?

It’s a question that has many meanings in today’s ever-connected world.

“Check in” of course, has a virtual meaning. Today, people check-in on Foursquare, Facebook and other location-aware applications using their smartphones. It’s a way to share with friends, family and co-workers details about what’s going on.

Maybe you check in at the movies. Maybe you check in when you go out to eat. But do you check in at church, sharing the event with your family and friends on Twitter and Facebook?

What if we all checked in at church? What if we shared what we do every Sunday morning with those who matter the most of us?

What if we invited others to check in with us?

And what of “checking in”?

Are you checked in when you are at church?

Are you truly engaged, listening for God’s words and ready to take action?

What if we were all truly checked in?

What if we all said “YES”?

January 31, 2011 by  
Filed under What If? blog

What if…

(A personal reflection by Ivy Chapel Moderator Sarah Heend, presented during worship on Sunday, January 30.)

What if we all said yes more often? To requests for help at Ivy, in the community, from our families and friends? From God? What if we looked at new situations as opportunities instead of obstacles? How much would we grow emotionally and spiritually? Personally, this is something that is very hard for me, but I have tried to do it here at Ivy. Or rather I have been pushed by God to do it, sometimes gently, sometimes not so gently.

Looking back to when we joined Ivy, 10 years ago, I never could have foreseen that I would have volunteered to speak today. Just making an announcement before worship used to make me lose sleep. Some of you know how much it cost me several years ago to lead the closing for Vacation Bible School, which meant I was talking in front of the parents as well as the kids. It took some hard praying and a lot of reassurance from many people for me to get up there. But I learned so much about myself, and what I could do that July week.

That led to opportunities to help with the fundraising dinners, to join the choir, and so much more, including accepting the role of moderator when I was asked last fall. It hasn’t been easy to listen to the voice that tells me to accept the challenge. I have spent lots of time praying and worrying, in the middle of the night and all throughout the day. But in the end I have overcome my hesitation, which has allowed me to get so much out of my experiences; it has been worth all the sweat and tears over the years.

If I had said, “No,” to these opportunities I would have missed so much. I would have never realized that I could really do it. I never would have joined the choir and had the opportunity to expand my spiritual growth through music. In the past my anxiety held me back from some things that I wanted to do. And other things I never had the courage to even dream about. When I said, “Yes” to these requests, these calls from God, I was rewarded beyond my expectations. No it hasn’t been easy, and no I am not free of my anxieties about new situations, but it is all a journey. A journey that I am glad I started. A journey I want to continue.

What if we all said, “Yes” more often? Yes to each other, yes to opportunity, yes to God?

What’s your What if?

January 29, 2011 by  
Filed under What If? blog

Thank you for reading the Ivy Chapel “What if?” Blog. In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be publishing thoughts and challenges, questions that, when thoughtfully answered, will help us become the people God wants us to be.

During our Annual Meeting in January, we challenged members of our congregation to pose “What if?” questions to each other. These challenges were written on slips of paper shaped like leaves, and now hang on the ivy vines hanging in the narthex. We’ll be posting a few of these to get the discussion started, along with other inspirational thoughts.

Feel free to comment. Join the conversation. Help us grow, and, in turn, grow your own faith as well.

Thank you.

Welcome to “Growing the Vine” Together

January 29, 2011 by  
Filed under What If? blog

We are the “God is Still Speaking” Church!

We celebrate that God is continuing to bless our lives with daily grace.

Guess what we’ve discovered?

God is inviting us to go on a trip together.

No, it’s not a vacation trip.

This is a vocation trip!

Our vocation, our calling is becoming who God is asking us to be.

As the saying goes, “Life is not a destination.  It’s a journey!”

Our congregation is embarking on a Journey that we’re calling:  Growing the Vine Together.

We are travelling together.  And it’s exciting!

“Still-Speaking” God is saying:  “What If…”

It’s about potential.

The possibilities are limitless.

This “What If…” Journey is about our God-given potential as a community of faith.

There’s a world of difference between “living it up” and “living up” to who God would like us to be!

Our congregation’s “What If…”  Journey is a calling to “live up” to our God-given potential.

This is a process of calling on God to reveal ever more things we can do to support and enhance the life

of this congregation which is a vital instrument of God for carrying out Christ’s ministries.

Ivy Chapel UCC is our spiritual home.  God has provided us with this remarkable church home not solely

for our own benefit.   This is all part of God’s design:  We are blessed, so that we may offer blessing.

We receive, so that we may give.

We have been given much.  God has entrusted us with much.   Related to this, our Savior Jesus

proclaims, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and  from the one

who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”  (Luke 12:48)

“What If…” you and I trust God with abandon?

“What If…” we live with conviction that Ivy Chapel United Church of Christ is Holy Ground?

With the conviction that there are unique and crucial things God fervently wants to accomplish here?

Imagine what could come about!

Where can this Journey lead?

See for yourself.  We pray that you will come and see!

Let’s join together   –   Growing the Vine Together.

Rev. Dan Wilson

Pastor, Ivy Chapel United Church of Christ

“God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work…  Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the Gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with [the saints] and with all others, while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that God has given you.  Thanks be to God for God’s indescribable gift!”

2 Corinthians 9:8,13-15

Trust these words.

Trust in God’s provision.

Trust God.

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