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Spiritual growth, growing in your understanding of God and yourself, friendly loving people,
 a home away from home, a safe place to question and explore what your faith means to you, 
is this what you are looking for?  We are a small, community of Christians, nestled in the residential 
area of "old" Walnut Creek. We have a vision and a goal to make the love of God known in our community. 
 We know we are surrounded by people who are searching for more in their lives. Many people 
  are open to God, and are wondering how they can nurture their spiritual lives. We try to provide
 an environment where you and your children can grow in your spiritual lives. Everyone is welcome!

 We value honesty, genuine seeking, tolerance of others who think differently, loving open relationships, 
and an accepting environment that welcomes all people. Our members and friends of St Luke's come from 
many different denominational backgrounds and nationalities. We have a history of being a church that 
seeks healing in all areas of our lives. We live in a broken world and we can find ourselves damaged by
 the harsh realities of life. Prayer for healing, whether it be emotional, physical or spiritual, is offered at 
every service. Spiritual growth is not always easy and without it’s own kind of peculiar pain. It is easy 
 for us to get into the mind set that Christianity is suppose to make me feel better.

Jesus did not come to make us feel better Jesus came to transform us. Our faith is
primarily a way of transformation. As we follow Christ, as we open ourselves up to the
transforming healing influences of the Spirit of God, we change. We become more of who
we were created to be. The real you emerges. The ‘you’ that is not  hidden by fear or
anxiety or control.

Theologians have many reasons and explanations  for our broken state, suffice to say,
most of us would agree all is not well with us nor is all well in our world. Suffering
surrounds us, if not us personally then in the lives of people we meet each day. One of
the mysteries of God is that the Beloved takes our suffering and the suffering of the
world and redeems it. The cross is a good example of how God can take an awful
event and turn it around to bring good out of it.  In a similar way God can take the pains
and discomfort, anxieties and alienation we feel and use this suffering as a kind of
crucible out of which will come healing and wholeness in a way we never dreamed
possible. This is faith. “Nothing is impossible for God.”

When one is new to the faith journey suffering can be seen as, “I am doing something
wrong. I should be happy now that I am trying to follow Christ.” On the contrary, healing
is often painful. Do you remember as a child falling and ‘skinning your knees,’ as they
say in Scotland. I remember falling often, tripping over my feet, running without thinking
and crashing down onto concrete playgrounds. A visit to the school nurse  always
resulted in a cleaning of the wound. This cleaning of the wound was often more painful
that the initial fall. The cleaning was an important part of the healing process. Without
the cleaning all sorts of potential problems could have arisen.

When God cleans our emotional and spiritual wounds it’s painful. It’s painful to see our
wounds. It’s painful to see our fears, our need to control, our insecurity of not being
liked or accepted. It’s wearying to see our resentments, how past hurts influence us
negatively today, but these are the wounds that need cleaned so that we might be
healed at a deeper level than what we have previously experienced.  God uses our
pain and discomfort for spiritual growth. Richard Rohr, in his excellent book, Everything
Belongs writes,

“If we are not willing to be lead through our fears and anxieties, we will never grow. We
must always move from one level to a  level we don’t completely understand yet.
Every step of the ladder of moral development is taken in semi-darkness, by the light
of faith. The greatest barrier to the next level of conscience or consciousness is our
comfort and control at the one we are at now.

Our first response to anyone calling us to truth, greatness, goodness, or morality at a
higher level will be increased anxiety. We don’t say, 'Isn’t this wonderful.' Instead we
recoil in terror and say, 'I don’t know if I want to go there.'At the edges  of medieval
maps was a frequently penciled warning:  'Here be dragons.' We confront these
dragons when we approach the edge of our comfort level. 'He must be wrong. That’s
not true.' That’s our first response when we’re called to a higher level. But if we haven’t
been trained to recognize our fears and to let go of them, we will feed them.”   (page
112)

Confronting ‘the dragons’ in our lives can indeed be a painful and frightening business
but it is all a necessary part of the faith journey. The ultimate result is healing and
freedom we have yet to experience. Lift up your heads and take heart when your
spiritual life is in turmoil God is doing a great work of healing. The wounds are being
cleaned! In our Sunday morning worship we hope to provide a place where we can listen 
to God and open ourselves to God's healing.

If you are looking for a place to worship, just curious, or simply enjoying the Bay area while on vacation, 
come and worship with us this Sunday.  Everyone is welcome! Worship is at 9:00 am  Sunday morning.
            May the presence of Christ be with you! Pastor Glenda





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Sermon from December 2016