August 1 - September 5, 2021

Open to Healing

September 5, 2021 • Michael Krause

These days it feels like we are starting to get our lives back. We are out and about more than we have been in a year and half. We are seeing friends more, rediscovering things we loved to do before COVID, taking fewer things for granted than we ever have. It seems like we are finally moving past this remarkable experience that we've lived through together. But, before we put COVID in the rear-view mirror, we want to take some time to grieve the painful ways it has affected us, acknowledge the ways it has changed us, and to reflect on who we want to be on the other side of it. Join us as we look backward, look inward, and look forward at the impact that COVID has had on all of us.

Open Invitations

August 29, 2021 • Michael Krause

There is an old joke that says, "A vegan, an atheist, and a cross-fitter walk into a bar... and thirty seconds later everybody knows it." The joke is that when people discover the "truth" about life, as they see it (that life is better fully respecting animals, or being fully free from religion, or fully embracing a lifestyle of fitness) they can't help but talk about it, all the time, with everybody who will listen. The Bible says Jesus came to give us a truly "abundant life." So, how much does that life bubble over into our relationships and conversations with others? What would happen if our lives were open invitations to our friends to consider the beauty of a life with Jesus?

Open Lives

August 22, 2021 • Michael Krause

"Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." With these words, Jesus affirms that our hearts are fully devoted to whatever we most fully invest in. Or, to say it another way, if we were to honestly look at where we devote most of our time, where we pour the best of our energy, how we spend our bulk of our money—it would tell us a lot about the things we actually care about most, about the "kingdom" we are actually spending our lives building. What if being fully open to God isn't just about an hour on Sunday, or where we give a fraction of our income, but about what we do with every moment, every effort, and every dollar? What would it look like to live fully open lives for God?

Open Arms

August 15, 2021 • Nate Dirks

The fear in our world is palpable, and seems to be growing. We talk as though everyone is fighting someone, and "they" are fighting against "us." We say that the political right is "at war" with the left, and that faith is "at war" with science. Some say that our rights are being "attacked" and that our way of life is "under siege." Living under this blanket of fear affects how we relate to everyone else, especially those who aren't one of "us." But what if that is exactly the opposite of how God calls us to live? What if God is inviting us to live out of love, rather than fear? What if God heart of inclusivity means making peace, not war, with everyone? How would our lives and world change if we learned to live with open arms towards "them"?

Open Minds

August 8, 2021 • Jeff Lockyer

You've heard the saying, "Knowledge is power." You've experienced its truth in too many ways to count. The idea is thousands of years old, found in the Jewish book of Proverbs. Even Jesus affirms the idea that it is the truth that has the power to "set you free." That's why, when it comes to our life with God, we make knowing truth such a high priority. It is why we are so eager to understand the Bible, and why we instinctively close ourselves off to anything that challenges our understanding. But what if our unwavering commitment to our current understanding of the truth can actually cut us off from truer truth? What if it isn't being closed, but open, that leads us to truth? How would things change if we learned to keep an open mind in our life with God?

Open Hearts

August 1, 2021 • Michael Krause

Have you ever felt "used" by someone you thought genuinely cared about you? Perhaps it was someone who vowed to love you no matter what, only to walk away when the relationship got hard. Or it was a boss, who professed to value you as a person, yet only ever seemed to take advantage of your enthusiasm. Maybe it was a child or friend, who only ever seemed to care when they wanted or needed something. It is painful to open your heart to someone, only to realize that their heart isn't really open to you. Yet, what if that's precisely how we sometimes treat God? What would it mean for us to genuinely love God, to actually live with open hearts to God?