message archive

Audio recordings of messages from Sunday and some Tuesday Recovery Gatherings are archived here for downloading or streaming. You can browse current year messages below from most recent to oldest, or select a category for specific years or one of our “boxed sets,” message series on specific topics.

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Stark Raving Honesty

Dave Brisbin | 11.20.16
When a person gets up to accept and award or honor, whether a politician to a movie star, I’ve always wondered what exactly is meant when he or she inevitably says they are “humbled” to accept this award. That statement can be authentically heartfelt and can mean many things, but if we really break down what humility means, is it really humble? What is humility and why does Jesus hold it as such a primary value? In Jesus’ stories and parables, it is obvious to scholars that he is tapping into the ancient Jewish tradition of the “anawim…” those who are poor and lowly, meek and gentle, those who have been oppressed and marginalized to the point that they have nowhere left to turn except directly to God. 

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Jesus was born anawim to anawim parents, and what he’s really pointing to is that we are all really anawim, completely dependent on God for every breath, if we would only see the truth. And that is the real point: that as AA puts it, humility really is stark raving honesty—the ability to see ourselves as we really are. Completely dependent and imperfect, yet completely loved and accepted at the same time.

Changelings

Dave Brisbin | 11.13.16
Nearing the end of a year of almost constant change, worn out, ready for some sort of plateau or break in the action, the realization reaffirms that there is no plateau. There is no time in life that change isn’t constantly in process. Sit for a few minutes and watch the shadows move across your living room—subtle reminder of just how fast things are really moving in our lives. Most of us don’t like change, but if we’re not changing and moving, we’re not part of the action of God’s spirit, which is always in motion, always bringing change. 

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How can we know if we’re resisting change in our lives? It can be pretty sneaky the way resistance creeps in and takes over our character, but there are three clues implied in scripture that we can use to apply to ourselves and see whether we’re free to blow about with God’s wind or if our heels are leaving dark skid marks behind us.

Wedding Party

Dave Brisbin | 11.6.16
Walking my daughter down the aisle on her wedding day was just about everything I could have hoped for in such a moment. She was absolute beautiful in her dress, her mother and I love her groom, the setting and preparations couldn’t have been better. But even in a perfect moment such as this, I was of course aware of fractures between families and family members that had remained either unresolved or unspoken for years, and yet as the evening unfolded, there were moments of reconnection and reconciliation that deepened the experience. I couldn’t help thinking of all the mistakes we’d all made over the past twenty five years, all the hurts and resentments, anger that somehow led to this perfect moment of reconnection. 

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We need to look again at our notion of sin and failure if we’re ever going to see what Jesus is telling us about Good News and the shape of the Way to his Father. Julian of Norwich, a medieval contemplative writer and visionary tells us that “sin is behovely,” meaning useful or necessary to the experience of God’s love. Is there a place in God’s plan even for our sins and failings? Paul seems to think so as he guides us away from law and into the realm of radical grace.

Paradox: Living in Both/And

Frank Billman | 10.30.16
The Bible contains many mysteries or seeming paradoxes as it seek to describe our relationship and walk with God. Unfortunately, many of us who have been in church for a while have learned the “answers” to these mysteries. How do we re-enter a state of awe and amazement if we feel we have the answers to all the questions? How do we embrace the statement by Brennan Manning who said, “I wouldn’t want a God I could comprehend?” How will we ever be able to accept God’s unconditional love and unmerited grace—which are the greatest mysteries of all—if we can’t find a way to rest in the unexplainable?

Wax On, Wax Off

Dave Brisbin | 10.23.16
Why does Jesus speak in such paradoxical terms? Why is he always taking the world as we know it and turning it upside down, inside out, and backside front? There seems to be a way of seeing life from the Father’s perspective that turns it all around in a way that is essential to our spiritual growth and identity. Some people call this moving from a first half of life to a second half of life spirituality. The first half of life dealing with the external tasks and details of accomplishment and acquisition, of identity building from the outside in, and the second half learning to see the deeper task within the task, the universal task that builds identity from inside out. 

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Second half spirituality understands that while the external task is ultimately unimportant in itself, the process of doing it, and doing it well, accomplishes an inner task that is eternally important. Just as the master in the Karate Kid makes his student wax cars in a very specific way—it’s not well-waxed cars that are the goal: it’s the ingrained movement, the muscle memory gained for a very different purpose that will take the kid where he really wants to go.

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Everyone is recovering from something… Admitting this is the first step in spiritual life, because any unfinished business in our lives–trauma, unforgiveness, fear-based perceptions–fosters compulsive behavior and keeps us from connecting spiritually and emotionally.

Since we’re all recovering, we accept everyone right as they are—no expiration dates or deadlines. We don’t tell anyone what to believe or do. We present points of view that we hope will engage seekers in their own journey; help them unlearn limiting perceptions, beliefs, and compulsions; give opportunities to get involved in community, building the trust we all need to find real identity, meaning, and purpose. In other words, to engage the transforming Way of living life that Jesus called Kingdom…non-religiously understood from a first century Hebrew point of view.

 

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Embedded in the fun and laughter of each of our gatherings and events is the connection and accountability as well as the structure, discipline, and opportunity for service that authentic community is all about. We help create programs for physical support, emotional recovery, and spiritual formation that can meet any person’s needs. Such programs work at two levels: first to address a person’s physical and emotional stability—clinical, financial, relational,professional—anything that distracts from working on the second level: true spiritual formation centered around the contemplative way of life defined by an original Hebrew understanding of the message of Jesus.

Rather than telling people what to believe or think, we model and encourage engagement in a personal and communal spiritual journey that allows people to experience their own worthiness of connection and acceptance, to find the freedom from underlying fears that brings real meaning and purpose into focus.

 

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Seeing ourselves as a learning and recovery community that worships together, the focus isn’t on Sunday morning alone, but on every day of the week as we gather for worship, healing and support workshops, studies, 12 step meetings, counseling and mentoring sessions, referral services, and social events. We maintain a food pantry for those needing more support, a recovery worship gathering, and child care for those with little ones.

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