June 11, 2017 • June 11, 2017 • David Hammerslag
Our lives can become a frantic rushing from spinning plate to spinning plate. We give each enough attention to prevent a disastrous crash, then we rush off to the next plate that is in danger of falling. We make our lives more and more frantic, hoping that with this one last plate spinning in its place, we’ll be happy and satisfied. Do you ever feel like a plate spinner? We think if we can just manage to keep all the plates spinning -- make sure none of them come crashing down -- then we will be happy and contented. Yet, even when we do manage it, usually for only a very short while, we end up feeling exhausted and unfulfilled. Soon some of the plates will start to slow down and wobble, demanding our attention again. The plates become our masters. We become imprisoned by the need to keep the plates spinning. They command our attention. There's a better way. And Jesus shows it to us.
What's it About?
IT'S BETTER TOGETHER! At Wonderful Mercy, we are committed to ensuring that being a part of our body is more than a Sunday thing. That’s because authentic community—doing life together—was a lifestyle for the New Testament church, a lifestyle that included real relationships. One way we walk this out is by participating in Life Together Groups. These groups provide a fun, exciting, and safe place where folks can… • Learn to develop a lifestyle that includes real relationships • Experience authentic community • Grow as followers of Christ who are being transformed to think, speak, and act more like Jesus • Find friendships that provide support and encouragement to navigate life in emotionally, relationally, and spiritually healthy ways • Help one another hear, process, and discern how to respond to what God is saying to us WHAT CAN I EXPECT? At our church, a Life Together Group usually consists of 7-12 attendees in various life stages who meet on a regular basis. This could be in someone’s home or a central location that works for the group. These communities are about establishing relationships that encourage us to grow spiritually, offer mercy towards one another in our time of need, and, as groups, be the hand of justice in our church, community, and the world around us. Some specifics: • Each Life Together Group strives to embrace and reflect the vision, mission, and core values of Wonderful Mercy Church • Each Life Together Group gathers together on a weekly or bi-weekly basis • Some groups will use established Bible or topical studies (like Experiencing God or Crazy Love), while others will not follow a structured curriculum • Groups will strive to have a maximum of 12 participants so that everyone has the chance to gets to know one another and participate meaningfully in the group We desire to see every member of our church connected in a Life Together Group. We believe participation in a Life Together Group, paired with our worship experience, can be key to becoming a passionate follower of Jesus Christ.
Called By God
December 31, 2017 • Dirk Duhlstine
Our doing should come from our being...being healthy, whole, and holy sons and daughters of a God who loves us just because we are His children. Do you recall a time when you heard God call you? Speak to you? Encourage you? Correct you? Move you in a certain direction? Save you from harm? Let's set our hearts on listening to what God is saying to us, for He loves to speak with His children!
Hope and Dreams
May 7, 2017 • May 7, 2017 • Graeme Sellers
What happens in a time of drought is that as hope declines, dreams contract. They get smaller and smaller and smaller until we only allow ourselves to dream things we believe are doable But when hope takes up residence in us, then hope is a dream factory. Hope is coming upon us, hope that fuels transformation and releases dreams. Even in a time of drought, Father is inviting us to dream again!
Be Swift to Choose Peace
November 20, 2016 • November 20, 2016 • Graeme Sellers
Peace is everything which makes for another’s highest good. Anything that is not God’s highest good for your neighbor, co-worker, countryman is an enemy of peace! So when circumstances and the enemy of our souls conspire to steal the peace of those around us, we must aggressively pursue peace by being with and standing alongside them.
2018 Ministry Theme
Being a part of a faith community—here at Wonderful Mercy or elsewhere—is more than a Sunday thing. It’s more than church attendance, more than placing a window peel on our car, more than agreeing on doctrinal beliefs. To belong to a faith community is to share life together. This life together must be real and authentic. We often confuse being relevant with being real, and real is what the human heart is hungry for. Sociologists tell us that millennials are especially eager for the real thing, but it’s not just millennials who are looking for the authentic. It’s all of us. The invitation to experience real community, to do life together, is a reflection of the godhead itself: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all together, always together. The intimacy that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit enjoy is almost impossible to overstate. It would never occur to Father, Son, or Holy Spirit to go it alone. It’s nowhere on the landscape of possibilities. Why would we, then, made in the image of God, imagine that we have the capacity or freedom to go it alone? Surely such thinking is madness! We have the freedom to be in this thing together—and that’s the only freedom we have. Not that it’s easy or instantaneous. Life together is messy because we are messy. Scott McKnight observes, “Brokenness is part of what it means to indwell the church in the world today. A broken people is, in fact, what we are meant to encounter in the church because the church is sacred space for the flow of God’s grace and love and healing holiness." Where do we discover this remarkable flow of grace and healing? Often it’s in ordinary churches where ordinary people are doing life together: real, true, beautiful, and uncut. It's not the sort of thing that grabs the headlines. But it is the kind of thing that meets the deepest desire of our hearts. So it is that we step into the adventure of learning why God has drawn us to each other at Wonderful Mercy. We might have ended up anywhere—why here, why now, why among these people? And what is on God’s heart for us as we do life together? We invite you to join us as we share life together…on Sunday mornings, in our Life Together groups, and in all the ways that people who care for each other find connection with one another.
Holy Spirit Stories & Surprises
July 30, 2017 • July 30, 2017 • Dr. Kim Engel-Pearson & Mike Bradley
As we embrace a renewed emphasis on Holy Spirit, both his person and work, we hear stories from Kim and Mike concerning how the Spirit has surprised and delighted them with his leading. These stories increase our faith and encourage us to be alert for God — his speaking, moving, inviting — in a time of accelerated activity and increased sensitivity and awareness to God movements around us.
2018 Prophetic Word
One Word: Listen
“Listen carefully and open your heart. Drink in the wise revelation that I impart.” —Proverbs 22:17 tpt Listen. This word is to govern our hearts even as the ministry theme is to govern our actions, and if we will attend to it we will walk in wisdom and joy and contentment. It’s not a new word from the Lord. It is ancient and powerful. From the beginning our listening determined our destiny. Eve listened to the serpent, and so drew humanity into ruin. Adam listened to Eve, and so the fall of humankind was perilous and complete. Noah listened to the Lord, and so the generational line of men was preserved. Listen. Life hangs in the balance. Our life with God is a listening life, as Jesus makes abundantly clear throughout the gospels. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” This phrase appears eight times in the gospels. A variation, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches,” appears seven times in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. The listening life is a life attuned to the unique frequency of God’s voice, a life alert to what the Father is doing and how he is moving at any given moment. When God speaks (and he’s speaking all the time), he only speaks what is real, what is true, what is life. The key is: are we listening? It is not easy to listen to the right voice, for many voices clamor for our attention and demand our allegiance. The chaos and cacophony of everyday life often drown out the voice of God, and we are easily distracted. And when things are hard, when we are traveling the valley of shadows and God feels far away or absent altogether, then listening is grievously difficult. But this may be the most important time of all to be listening, because in that difficult place God is the only one who can tell you what’s going on. Listen. Because listening is what Jesus did and it’s what he is doing now. “But even though he was a wonderful Son,” Hebrews 5:8 tells us, “he learned to listen and obey through all his sufferings.” As a son Jesus didn’t automatically or supernaturally know everything his Father wanted—like us, he had to listen in order learn the pathways of real life. Real life is what Father is offering to each of us. It’s ours—a lovely, beautiful gift from him—if only we’ll listen. Thus our prophetic word as a body for 2018. This is the year we listen. This is the year we truly live.
November 6, 2016 • November 6, 2016 • Graeme Sellers
Faith is believing that what God says and who God is, is the most real thing, the truest thing. As we saw last week, God takes pleasure in the simple fact of us; and at the same time there are actions, qualities, things we do that please him. Having faith is one of them, and it’s easy enough to see why, especially in light of our identity as sons and daughters: because faith is an indicator of our love relationship with God. No wonder he loves faith—not because it’s a badge of spiritual accomplishment but because it opens the door for us, as children, to receive the love of our Father.
Responding to God's Voice
July 23, 2017 • July 23, 2017 • Graeme Sellers
We have a built-in capacity for the voice of God; we are created to hear His voice because we are sons and daughters. We possess the ability to hear the voice of God without ever reading the Bible, without ever attending a church service, without ever uttering a prayer. This is not an aspect that some have and some do not—it is imprinted within you by your creator as a baseline measure of being human. God speaks. So, when He does, what to do next? Move. Act. Immediately. Typically, when God speaks is His timing. It’s never, “Get around to this sometime, would you? You know, when it’s convenient for you.” Understand: the voice of God is not neutral—the voice of God makes a claim on us. Joshua 24:24 “We will serve the Eternal One, our God, and we will obey His voice.” (The Voice Translation)
The Drought Is Coming to An End, Pt. 2
April 23, 2017 • April 23, 2017 • Graeme Sellers
Today we return to an encouraging word that the Lord gave us in early February: "The drought is coming to an end." To say “The drought is coming to an end” is not the same thing as saying there are no more rivers to cross, mountains to climb, valleys to traverse, hardship to endure. It is to say that a long season of loss, lack, and less is coming to an end. Why would God bring it to our attention again? Well, assuming that He is directing this conversation, clearly it’s a matter of some importance to him. And if it’s important to Him it is important for us. At a minimum, he’s telling us to pay attention. It’s easy to lose sight of something once it’s no longer immediately in front of us. Our tendency, once we’ve heard something, is to move on to the next thing. It’s rare that we would take time to consider and then reconsider what we’ve heard, and that's what we're doing today.
July 9, 2017 • July 9, 2017 • Lee Meyer
God-sightings and reports from Pastor Lee's first-ever sabbatical. While on this wonderful journey, Lee sensed God inviting him to reflect Jesus' light in three ways: 1. Learn to go deep in prayer 2. Study and follow in the way of Jesus 3. Risk loving others
Corporate Prayer: The Oneness Principle
December 11, 2016 • December 11, 2016 • Tom Demaree
Tom Demaree, Founder and Director of Pentecost Walk, has prayerwalked over 22,000 miles across the length and breadth of the country, bringing God’s message of repentance-in-unity to the body of Christ by coming alongside pastors and leaders as a brother and a friend. To date, these joint-efforts have touched all 50 states, involving thousands of churches. In this message Tom highlights the role of oneness in corporate prayer.
October 30, 2016 • October 30, 2016 • Graeme Sellers
If we, as sinful and selfish parents, take pleasure in our children why would we think it odd that the Father takes pleasure in us, his sons and daughters, not because of anything we do or achieve, but for the simple fact that we are his? You’re his son, his daughter—he takes pleasure in you! What else would he do?
Learning to Do
Kevin & Marisa Marvin
Meeting time: • 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month • 6:00-8:00 PM (Times may adjust to allow youth group drop-off/pickup as required.) • Service events may be other days/times as determined by the group. Meeting Place: 4150 E. Sierra Madre Ave., Gilbert, AZ 85296 (Marvin's Home) Description: Our normal meetings will include a meal. For our first meeting, we will kick things off with a potluck. Ongoing, we’ll rotate/share the food preparation responsibilities each time we meet. Although most of what we do together will be consensus-driven, we will focus on learning to do life together: praying for each other, caring for each other, and serving others (especially those who are homeless or do not have enough food). The only requirement for the activities that we select is that the activity helps us pray/care for each other/others and/or that the activity helps us learn how do to life together. ***Our group is open to individuals, couples, and entire families.
Why Does My New Life Look So Much Like My Old Life?
March 26, 2017 • March 26, 2017 • David Hammerslag
J. Philippe, author of Interior Freedom, tells us, "What often blocks the action of God’s grace in our lives is less our sins or failings, than it is our failure to accept our own weakness—all those rejections, conscious or not, of what we really are or of our real situation. To 'set grace free' in our lives, and paving the way for deep and spectacular changes, it sometimes would be enough to say simply 'yes'—a 'yes' inspired by trust in God to aspects of our lives we’ve been rejecting." "We refuse to admit that we have this defect, that weak point, were marked by this event, fell into that sin. And so we block the Holy Spirit’s action, since he can only affect our reality to the extent we accept it ourselves. The Holy Spirit never acts unless we freely cooperate. We must accept ourselves just as we are, if the Holy Spirit is to change us for the better."
Thankfulness: A Practical Guide
November 27, 2016 • November 27, 2016 • Graeme Sellers
Gratitude is a choice. It doesn’t just come upon you when Holy Spirit is the mood to bring it. And the more deliberately and regularly you choose it the more it reproduces itself in you. There is no spiritual gift of thankfulness. There is only the practice of it, and we cannot wait for optimal conditions to practice it. If we do we may never start!
A Puzzling Paradox
If God Can vs. When God Doesn't • August 27, 2017 • Graeme Sellers
Here is a puzzling paradox: If God Can vs. When God Doesn’t. Which is it? Is it Psalm 37:4, "If you delight yourself in the Lord he’ll give you the desires of your heart," …OR… "What make you think it’s a good idea to get what you want?" What would the impact be if these two things lived comfortably side-by-side for us, not in conflict or contradiction, but in beautiful mystery?
July 2, 2017 • July 2, 2017 • Dirk Duhlstine
Community isn’t about where we live, but about our connection to one another, about the canvas of our common (shared) life and what we choose to paint on it. This is important because at Wonderful Mercy we believe not in religion but in relationship: a true and meaningful relationship with Father, through Jesus Christ and sealed by Holy Spirit.