A prayer by John Zulauf, January 24, 2021
I pray that you would draw us to repentance as your church from holding to “the Gospel and…”
For the Gospel and our favorite political figure.
For the Gospel and our comfort.
For the Gospel and our preferred tax policy.
For the Gospel and our ideology.
For the Gospel and our plans.
For the Gospel and our ideas of what revival is.
That we might know You and You crucified.
That we might not mix the Good News with anything else:
not with patriotism,
not with ethnicism,
not with party,
Not with class, or race, or sex, or anything else.
But just You.
You lifted up.
You risen again.
You delivering us from everything that you wouldn’t desire us to be.
Lord, draw us to repentance from the “and“. That we wouldn’t speak of You and… That we wouldn’t speak the Gospel and…
Even if the “and” is ourselves or the things we’re so proud of or the things you gave us.
Deliver us from the “and” I pray.
Can you think of any famous last words? Perhaps Julius Caesar’s “Et Tu Brute” or Groucho Marx’s “This is no way to live!” Often, a person’s last words can reveal what’s most important to them. Before Nathan Hale was hanged by the British Army, he declared: “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” When Jesus was crucified, he made seven statements that revealed his heart, his divinity, and his humanity. During this season of Lent, join us in remembering the famous last words of our Savior.
- The word of Forgiveness: Luke 23:34 “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”
- The word of Salvation: Luke 23:43 “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
- The word of Relationship: John 19:26–27 “Woman, look, here is your son! [John,] Look, here is your mother!”
- The word of Abandonment: Matthew 27:46 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
- The word of Distress: John 19:28 “I am thirsty!”
- The word of Triumph: John 19:30 “It is completed!”
- The word of Reunion: Luke 23:46 “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”
Kids these days seem to have a language of their own: “I’m low key simping for that girl over there, no cap. She’s such a Heather and that fit is fire but she seems a little extra, what’s the tea?”
I beg your pardon, what did you say?
Sometimes we can forget that, as church people, we have our own lingo that may be confusing to newcomers. We’re “born again” and “covered by the blood”. We pray for “traveling mercies” and “a hedge of protection”. Some words or phrases are silly or can even be based on poor theology while others represent deep truths that we’ve forgotten.
In this lighthearted new series, we explore how the words we use can be a barrier to communicating the good news about Jesus and to reconnect with the profound truths that we have become casual about. Join us Sundays at 10am on Zoom or in person.
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When I received an email announcing that the Vineyard’s regional “Un-Conference” was canceled I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of disappointment. This was yet another event to add to my list of things that I missed over the summer. But Marshall and I felt determined to not let that time go to waste (he had already requested the week off from his other job), so we took it as an opportunity to invest in some much need self care and space. One night we packed up a picnic and found a cozy spot in a park–which sounds great, but this park closed at sunset and I had drastically underestimated how early the sun would set. Even though this was a night meant to de-stress and relax I found myself getting more and more stressed about how dark it was getting so quickly.
I sometimes find myself not ready to move forward as the season changes, stuck on the things that I’ll miss–stuck on the conferences that got cancelled, the shorter days, the dying leaves. Though autumn ends some things, it also brings new things with it: warm apple cider, cozy campfire nights, beautiful fall colors. Looking back I wonder how many small moments of joy, how many mini victories I have missed because I was looking at the wrong thing.
Are you giving your mini-victories as much attention as you give your mini-setbacks?
The changing season provides a good opportunity to explore where you are feeling stuck. What things are you grasping onto that are holding you back? What would happen if every time we felt disappointed we asked God “where are you moving?” I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss out on anything that God is doing. So, goodbye summer along with all the things that I missed; and hello fall with new adventures just waiting to be discovered.
Lord, I ask that you take my heart and make it yours. Share your excitement about new things with me, show me where you are moving. I don’t want to remain stuck, so I give you authority over the things I cling to. I want to walk with you, celebrate with you, share every moment with you instead of staying stuck in the past. Thank you for the goodness you have in store for us and the goodness we have already received. I love you Lord. Amen.
– Marissa Smith
Relationships are the atoms, the building blocks of communities. The Bible is the story of the relationship between God and us. Everything makes more sense through that lens. Getting better at relationships with each other helps us to be better at our side of our relationship with God (and vice versa). God describes his relationship with us in a lot of different ways. Sometimes he is our father, other times our lover, or brother, or friend. In each case he is the perfect model of what a healthy partner looks like. Growing closer to God means relating to him in all these different ways and letting him transform our relationships with others.
Listen to the full message
Your religion is worthless if you do not bridle your tongue and you deceive your heart. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. We must be hearers and doers, not one without the other.
– James 1:22-27
At the Loveland Vineyard, we aim to simply:
Love God, and Love People.
As a church, we engage in three different kinds of activities:
- Worship (Love God)
- Community (Love People through relationship)
- Service (Love People through action)
We are so blessed to have such a strong legacy of authentic, Spirit-filled worship and small-group based communities as well as a tangible impact on our community through our Food Pantry and other programs. We believe God is leading us to build on this foundation and focus our service activities in three key areas:
Serve the Needy
Join us for Serve Day July 11, as we join thousands of Christians around the world in loving our communities. We will meet at the Loveland Vineyard at 7:15 AM before walking over to House of Neighborly Services. There is still times to sign up to volunteer below!
As we navigate this unprecedented time, our mission remains the same: Love God and Love People. With so much still unknown about COVID-19 we believe the most loving thing we can do for our community is to be cautious, follow health guidelines, and provide options. We don’t anyone to feel excluded or left out because of concerns of getting sick or spreading the virus to others. Here’s our current plan:
Sunday Morning Service
- Option 1: Host or join a home church group
The church as a whole has a rich and diverse history, going all the way back to the disciples meeting within homes. We want to revisit our roots, and put a spin on home church. With modern technology, we have the ability to be a part of a home church while still being connected with the larger church body. This style of meeting won’t be necessary forever, so let us not miss out on the opportunity to try something new!Who do you miss getting to see? Who do you want to “do the stuff” with? Invite your friends over on Sunday morning, and join in on our Zoom service together.
- Option 2: Join via Zoom on your computer or phone
See this link for setup and dial in information. We are working to make the online experience as good as possible and will be maintaining this option as long as we need to.
- Option 3: In person at the church building
Please help us keep in person attendance low. If you are able to watch on Zoom from your own home, we ask that you continue to do so to make the building available to those serving on Sunday morning (eg. sound and media crew, band members, speakers etc.). We also want to give first priority to those that can only participate in person. Many people are in the high risk category that also don’t have access to a computer or internet. As per county guidelines, masks are required for your protection and the protection of others. If you are unable to wear a mask due to medical reasons and cannot join via zoom, the family room will be available.
- Option 4: Listen to recorded messages
We would love to see your smiling face on Sunday! However, if you are unable to make it, you can stay up to date with what’s happening by listening to the messages and through the weekly newsletter.
Food Pantry and Clothes Closet
- Hours: Tuesday through Thursday from 9:00am -12:00noon.
- Pre-packaged groceries.
- Now all of our food will be pre-sorted and packaged, including our produce section. If you are unable to use an item from your box or bag, offer it to someone else you know that may be in need. We are unable to re-use items from opened boxes at this time.
- Verbal Questionnaire
- We already keep our forms to a minimum, but will be making small changes to keep everyone safe. Everyone coming in will be asked to verbally answer answer our questioner, and our volunteers will write it down for our records. This is to reduce contact with shared surfaces like pens and clipboards.
- Social Distancing Conducive Layout
- We are now monitoring the number of people let inside the building at a time. We have also rearranged our lobby, maximizing the distance between people. We ask that everyone be respectful of space and keep the recommended distance from each other.
Larimer County is now permitting gatherings of up to ten people. This is a great time to join or start a small group. We do suggest considering outdoor activities as these are lower risk (and the weather is so nice!). Even if you don’t have a formal small group, this is a great opportunity to build relationships with others by inviting them over for a cookout.
Prayer and Other Ministry Needs
Email email@example.com or call 970-667-8668 (leave a message after hours) with your prayer requests and our prayer team will pray for you throughout the week. You can also email or call to set up a prayer appointment (which can be in-person or over Zoom).
“I have a confession to make. These last two weeks I have been really scared. Scared of saying the wrong thing, scared of making others feel uncomfortable, scared of people leaving. Now Marshall and I understand that we won’t always be perfect; but we can promise to do our best, pursue love and seek truth. I’ve had conversations with many of you where you said that we could expect to make mistakes, and that that was okay. Mistakes are learning opportunities and we have a loving and supportive community to help us grow. But I think an important part of making mistakes is taking responsibility and acknowledging any resulting hurt. So, this morning I am standing here before you and I am owning my mistakes. These last two weeks I was scared and I was silent which prevented me from fulfilling my role as an ambassador of Christ. But I promised you that I would pursue love and seek truth. I didn’t speak up last week, but I will today. I promised to learn from my mistakes; this is what I learned.” -Marissa Smith
- In the words of the Vineyards National Leader Phil Strout; “Being against racism and being anti-racist are two different things.” (you can read the full letter here.) It is not enough to not cause harm, or not be part of the problem. Instead we are called to be a healing and reconciling community. We must learn to be welcoming to others, not just open; there is a difference. As a church we don’t want to only speak out against tragedy, mistreatment and death, instead we want to be a body built to uplift minority life.
- We must make listening a priority. Our heart hurts this week as we hear hundreds of people’s stories. Stories of hurt, pain and suffering. Stories of loss. Stories of injustice. People are tired, people are discouraged. It feels like everyone has something to say, but no one to listen to them say it. Isn’t it our job as Christians to listen, to hear other’s stories? Isn’t the point of the gospel to become a part of other’s people stories, people that we normally wouldn’t associate with? Rachel Conner, a vineyard pastor, writes; “Jesus’ gospel was an inclusive one as we see in Acts 10. Jesus’ gospel calls us to solidarity, peacemaking and partnership with each other. This is where the message of the gospel could change the world. Let’s remember Ephesians 2:14-16 “Christ is our peace. He made both Jews and Gentiles into one group. With his body, he broke down the barrier of hatred that divided us. He cancelled the detailed rules of the Law so that he could create one new person out of the two groups, making peace. He reconciled them both as one body to God by the cross, which ended the hostility to God.” (you can ready the full letter here.)
It’s hard to listen. It’s easy to tune out, to ignore, to construct a simple, tidy narrative that puts everything in a neat little box that we can file away. We just want to shut it all off and go back to my quiet life. But the family of George Floyd can’t shut it off. The family of De’von Bailey can’t tune it out. The family of Michael Marshall can’t ignore it. Do you know those names? Have you listened to their stories?
Listening to each other matters. We need to be a reconciled reconciling community. This is a Core Value we spoken just a couple months ago; it is hanging up in our front lobby. ‘We are a people of the Kingdom of God who Reconcile others with God and all of creation. Therefore, we are committed to becoming healing communities engaged in the work of reconciliation wherever sin and evil hold sway. We seek to be diverse communities of hope that realize the power of the cross to reconcile what has been separated by sin.’
- As ambassadors of Christ, our words matter. Rich Nathan writes “After all, we claim to believe in Jesus who is the Word of God. And we claim to believe in the Bible, the Word of God written. It matters what we call things… Injustice always mislabels things. We perpetuate injustice whenever we call things by the wrong names.” (you can read the full letter here.) It is an injustice when we call all Muslims ‘terrorists’ or all people of color ‘thugs’ or all protesters ‘rioters.’ Words matter. To quote Phil Strout again, as he sums this idea up so well, “So let us continue to hold high the words of Scripture in our churches, serving our communities as leaders actively modeling what it means to see God’s image in everyone (Gen. 1:27), love our enemies (Matt. 5:44), consider others better than ourselves (Phil. 2:3), live as peacemakers between people (Matthew 5:9) and to stand in the gap (Ezek. 22:30) as intercessors for our towns, cities, and nation” (you can read the full letter here.)
- Unity is crucial. Everything and I mean everything today is viewed through the lens of partisan politics. Let us be clear. We are not pushing for either a republican or democratic agenda; we do not identify as republican or democratic. We are on the side of Jesus, the side of compassion, forgiveness, reconciliation and love. The only agenda we have is the truth of the gospel. We hope that we can focus more on what we have in common than the things that try to tear us apart. Let us not be so distracted by our political identities that we lose sight of our true identity in Christ. We might not all agree on exactly what to do, but I hope we can agree on the goodness of the heart of God. So for now, we partner with Him in wiping away tears and working to heal the wounds of our brothers and sisters across the nation. Let us be quick to listen to the voiceless, and let every word we speak be that of love and compassion.
The Loveland Vineyard stands with victims of racial injustice. Please prayerfully consider what loving actions God is calling you to do moving forward.
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