This Is Us // Everybody Is Broken // Kate Murphy

The second guiding principle of The Grove is a both a confession and a call to action:  “We are a broken and sinful people who practice forgiving and being forgiven.”

That statement is easy to affirm while seated in the pews on Sundays, but it’s easy to ignore when someone does you wrong.  How do we respond when, despite our authentic desire to live in a loving community, we hurt each other?  Do we shake our heads and walk away to search for a new community more worthy of us? Do we stay but disengage, swallowing our pain and anger and hiding behind masks?

Friends—the love of God is not fragile. It is powerful and robust and well-equipped to redeem our humanity. God has given us a way to transform pain into healing and division into healthy relationship. That way is the process of forgiving and being forgiving.  Listen in and and learn how you can play a part.

This Is Us // Everybody Is Welcome // Kate Murphy

This Sunday, we begin a new year and a new worship series, “This Is Us.” It will be a passionate look at the unique mission of The Grove and the culture we are called to create through the lens of our church’s guiding principles—the core concepts that direct and define our congregation.

Our first principle is, We believe Jesus Christ is Lord—therefore we welcome, include, respect and serve all people.” This isn’t a matter of hospitality—we learn in Paul’s letter to the Philippians—it’s a core requirement of faithfulness to Jesus Christ.

So, listen in and find out why you are welcome and how and why we welcome others, too. 

Christmas: The Glorious Impossible // Holiness Invading the Ordinary // Kate Murphy

Mary—a young, poor virgin of no particular importance or pedigree—is selected by God to give birth to the messiah. And when this messiah comes, he doesn’t come through any of the expected channels. He is not born to wealth or a family the country would perceive as honorable or important.

And, yet, in spite of the unlikeliness and sheer impossibility, Mary says yes to the glory.

But she isn’t responsible for accomplishing anything. She is simply given the gift of allowing God to keep his promises within her flesh.

In this, our hearts can learn that our role isn’t to execute the glorious impossible; our role is simply to look for it, opening our lives to God manifesting his glory in us.

Advent: The Glorious Impossible // Believing in Things That Can’t Be Stopped // Kate Murphy

Our Advent theme this year is The Glorious Impossible because that is what comes with the birth of Jesus—a hope, a peace, a joy, and love that we believed weren’t possible. This impossible goodness is the glory of God—and it is for us, not against us. We don’t have to earn it or make it, God is already lavishly pouring out his presence into our lives. But we do have the power to reject it. That’s the choice Zechariah made…you can read about it here.

God sent an angel to announce the glorious and impossible thing He was about to do in Zechariah’s life. His response?

“No way.” 

He simply couldn’t accept that God would be that good to him. I hope you’ll listen in and find out what stopped—and what couldn’t be stopped—after Zechariah said no to God’s Glorious Impossible. We need to know, because God is still alive and manifesting gloriously impossible things in the world.

Advent: The Glorious Impossible // Refusing to Settle for What’s Easy to Understand // Kate Murphy

Years ago, artist and author Madeleine L’Engle coined a beautiful phrase that describes the incarnation. “The birth of Jesus,” she writes, “is a glorious impossible. It cannot be explained, it can only be rejoiced in.”

So the question for us becomes how do we embrace and celebrate the glorious impossible? How do we reconcile impossibility come by the glory of Christ’s birth? How do we believe in the truth that God promises the impossible and that it is a good and glorious impossible?

The prophet Isaiah’s prophecy declared that there would come a messiah—a righteous king who would rule with justice and power and goodness. He prophesied that under this new king reality would shift. That, “the lion and lamb would lay together”—all so impossible and glorious that it cannot be explained. It can only be rejoiced in.

Listen in to the message from this Sunday as we celebrate Advent—this season that invites us to relive the anticipation and wait for the birth of our savior. We rejoice in the glorious truth that Jesus’ coming far exceeds our understanding of what is possible.

The Holiness of Small Things // Small Sufferings: When a Little Is All We Can Handle // Kate Murphy

If God loves us, then why is everything so bad? Why won’t God fix it? If God is all-powerful, then why is it still not better? 

If we’re honest, these are the anguished questions we all ask in times of deep suffering. This week, our series on the holiness of small things takes an unexpected turn. We’re looking at the Apostle Paul’s thorn in the flesh—a mysterious condition that threatened the health and ministry of the world’s most powerful evangelist. This portion of Paul’s letter to the burgeoning church in Corinth gives us one answer to these universal, anguished questions.

I hope you’ll listen in as we lean into the holy power of small things—even painful small things—to accomplish the glory of God.

The Holiness of Small Things // Small Reserves: When a Little Is All We Have Left // Kate Murphy

This month we’re learning the Kingdom truth that God works through small acts of faithfulness done in great love. We’re learning not to despise or discount a person, a ministry, or a gift simply because it is little. We’re learning not to assume that everything that God does is only ever big.

But we also have to learn to actually trust God with what is small. It’s one thing to give a small portion of what we have to God. But what if a small portion is all we have? What if a little is all we have left? Are we still called to trust the Lord with, literally, what we have to survive?

Dangerously, uncomfortably—scripture suggests the answer is often yes.

This week we’ll learn the lesson of the widow at Zarephath—how having only a little neither excludes us nor excuses us from being the source of God’s abundance in a suffering world.

The Holiness of Small Things // Small Beginnings: When a Little Is All We Have To Get Started // Kate Murphy

This Sunday, we face something about ourselves: we are small.

Yes, God is big. But we are small. And, in America, we think that nothing small is good. We think that only big, popular, powerful things matter. Whether we realize it or not, we think and believe that small is irrelevant; small is embarrassing.

But “God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things, and the things that are not, to nullify the things that are.”

If we despise small, we reject the way of Jesus, and I’ll be the first to confess to you: I struggle with this holy truth.

The world as we know it—its systems, structures, values—is passing away. And God is ushering in a new reality. A Kingdom in which small is holy; small is powerful.

Small things are catalysts for big transformation.

Listen in as we seek God’s revelation on “The Holiness of Small Things.”

Let Justice Roll Down: The Words of Amos // Hope Inspires Our Hunger for Transformation // Kate Murphy

This Sunday, we wrap up our series with the fierce, final words of the prophet Amos. Unexpectedly, these words will be the most difficult to hear. They differ markedly from what came before, so much so that some scholars presume the words must be written by someone else. But I don’t think so. It’s just that Amos dared to do that most difficult thing—proclaim the truth about hope.

The trouble with hope is that we don’t understand it. Hope eludes us. It’s a holy gift we don’t know how to use. We use it to excuse our by-standing and justify our indifference to suffering—our assumption that since God is good, things really can’t be that bad.

But hope wasn’t made to prop up evil. It’s a revelation of God’s unwavering promise to redeem creation—not destroy it. Hope gives us the courage to love life even as it breaks our hearts. Hope gives us the wisdom to discern where and how God is redeeming our neighborhood, even now.

I hope you’ll listen in as we allow ourselves to have hope—not in the way things are, and not in our efforts to control or change them. But in the astonishing goodness of God and his promises.