Practices: The Things We Do to Grow Our Faith // Co-Creating Communities // Kate Murphy

We are made in the image of God–and our God is a creator. 
So we were made to create.
When we think of God creating, our thoughts spring to galaxies and mountains, ecosystems, and cellular systems.
But that kind of creation was complete after the 6th day (and God said it was good).   

After that, God’s creative force took a different direction. God began creating a people–a peculiar people who can be ‘salt-seasoning to bring out the God flavors of the world’ and ‘light bringing out the God-colors of the world.’ A people who are known by their love–for God, for one another, for the least, the lost and the enemy. A people who already live on earth as they will in heaven. A people who are alive together in Christ.

That’s our final communal spiritual practice–creating a community with God, in the image of God.  It’s not something we get or find or buy–it’s something we make together with God. And our part is so simple, so practical, so spiritual–that if you aren’t careful, you can be so busy ‘doing ministry’ you miss it altogether.

I hope you will listen-in as we learn the very unlikely way we co-create community with God.  

Practices: The Things We Do to Grow Our Faith // Holding Healthy Boundaries // Kate Murphy

When Jesus gathered for the last supper with his friends he gave them–and us–a new commandment.  After washing their feet, he told them to ‘love one another as I have loved you.’

So…that looks good on a coffee mug but—how do we DO that? How do you love someone like Jesus loved you when they are gossiping about you? How do you love someone like Jesus loved you when their behavior is harming you? It’s hard enough to try and love Jesus the way Jesus loves us—but loving each other the way Jesus loves us feels dangerous, and that’s on the days it doesn’t feel impossible.  

Many of us were taught that loving someone means being willing to sacrifice anything to keep them comfortable and happy at all costs.  But—did Jesus do that? Sacrifice—yes.  Make people happy and comfortable all the time—HECK no!

If loving one another can’t be measured by how people feel—how can we know when we are being loving in a faithful way? I’ve got a one word answer for you:


I hope you’ll listen in—we’ll learn about setting, articulating and respecting boundaries.  It’s the communal Christian practice that will make our church a lot more uncomfortable—and a LOT more healthy and loving. 

Practices: The Things We Do to Grow Our Faith // Trusting God to Show Up // Kate Murphy

Christ is Risen! 

Now what?  

The days after Easter can be filled with glory and…disappointment.  That’s certainly what Thomas felt.  All of his friends were together in the upper room when Jesus appeared in his resurrection body, filled them with his Spirit and released them for a new era of ministry.  

And Thomas missed it.  He wasn’t there. 

So while his friends’ fear and grief was transformed into joy and hope, his heart was still full of pain.  If anything, his spiritual burden was even heavier because he bore it alone.  Whatever had happened to his friends, hadn’t happened to him.  Whatever Jesus had given to them, Thomas hadn’t received. 

There is no loneliness like the loneliness we experience inside our faith communities.  

This month we are beginning a new worship series called practices–about the habits, customs and traditions that can form us in healthy and holy ways.  On Wednesday of each week, you can look for a short video created by one of our church members about an individual spiritual practice that is giving them life and drawing them closer to the Lord.  On Sundays during the preaching moment, we are going to consider the actions we can participate in together to create a healthy and holy church culture.  We find the first communal practice modeled in Thomas’ story–in the way his community allowed him to tell the truth and belong before he believed.  His friends, who had themselves only recently learned how fully they could trust Jesus, had the courage to trust Jesus to meet Thomas in his doubts.  

As people who love and follow a savior who defeated sin and death for love’s sake, we can trust Jesus with our lives and with the lives of those we love. We aren’t called to believe for one another, resolve one another’s doubts or fill one another’s empty spaces.  We can trust God to be God in one another’s lives.  That’s what Thomas’ friends did–and the story of their faithfulness blesses us still.

Easter // A Story That Defines Us // Kate Murphy

We are formed by our stories; the stories we tell ourselves about the world; the stories the world tells us about ourselves.  We become the stories we believe.

This week is full of our most sacred stories.  The story of the Holy and Innocent one–betrayed, abandoned, denied, falsely accused, unjustly convicted, tortured, sentenced to death, and executed.  It is a story our flesh knows too well.  

But this tragically familiar story is interrupted.  God–author of all our stories–intervenes and creates a new ending, which becomes our new beginning.  Out of sin comes forgiveness; out of violence comes healing, out of death comes life. 

And if it only happened in the life of Jesus, this story would be worth remembering and celebrating.  But the extraordinary twist is that Jesus gives us his Spirit and it becomes our story too.  Our sin can also be forgiven, our lives can also be transformed, we too can live fearlessly–unafraid of suffering or death.

So the question is–what story will we allow to form us?  Will Easter just be a day we celebrate–or a story that defines us?