In the church calendar, the season between Easter and Advent is known as Ordinary Time. What is ordinary for a church? How are we to live together in such a time as this, which feels anything but ordinary? At Hilliard UMC, we want to spend these months exploring together what God’s dream is for the church, what kind of community God desires for us to be, and to open our hearts to be ready to journey closer to becoming that beloved community. We will begin with a couple of months of exploring the heart of who God is, and then we’ll move forward into a season of dreaming together about the call on our lives to allow God’s welcoming nature to change and transform us — that we might also be open to the ways that others around us might change and transform us, so that we might become closer to the dream of the church than we were before.
JUNE 11 – WHO DO WE SAY GOD IS? – Matthew 16:13-20, Pastor April Blaine speaking
As Jesus walked with his disciples, he asked them an important question: “Who do you say that I am?” The answer was crucial, and it is just as important now. Who we understand God to be often dictates how we live in the world and how we treat one another. As we begin this series, it is crucial that we examine our answers – it matters now more than ever.
JUNE 18 – THE GOD OF EXTRAVAGANCE AND ABUNDANCE – Matthew 13:1-9, Pastor April Blaine speaking
Jesus often spoke in parables, in order to help people think big and broad about the nature of God. The Parable of the Sower is one of the most famous of the parables and speaks of a God who goes and scatters seed everywhere – without holding back – offering the word to every kind of soil.
JUNE 25 – THE GOD OF RELATIONSHIPS – John 1:1-5, 14-18, Pastor April Blaine speaking
Our story of faith speaks of a God who has both existed from the beginning of creation and who also was willing to take on flesh and dwell within us. Everything about this God has been centered on relationships, and everything about this God invites us to do the same with our faith journey.
JULY 2 – THE GOD OF WELCOME – Luke 14:15-24, Pastor Karen Muntzing speaking
This is a God who consistently welcomes people to the table whom others might have failed to remember. This is a God who longs for the outcasts, the rejects, the unloved and unwanted, and this God invites them with honor to the great feast.
JULY 9 – THE GOD OF EXTRAORDINARY GENEROSITY – Matthew 20:1-16, Pastor April Blaine speaking
This is a God who seems to flip things on its head. The last shall be first. The same wage is paid to those who worked at the end of the day and those who were there all day. What do we do with a God of such extraordinary generosity?
JULY 16 – THE GOD WHO DELIGHTS IN THE SMALL – Matthew 13:31-32. All services in Warehouse 839 (no worship in The Sanctuary today)
God delights in bringing big and beautiful things out of the small places in our lives. This Sunday in worship, we will gather in the Warehouse 839 worship space in pods and share stories with one another about the ways in which God has been at work in our own lives in small and big ways.
JULY 23 – WHO DO I SAY THAT GOD IS? – Testimonies from Lakeside
Our youth will share testimonies of who they are proclaiming God to be after their week away at Lakeside Summer Camp.
JULY 30 – GOD’S DREAMS FOR US – Testimonies from Vacation Bible School, 2 services in the Sanctuary – 9:30 & 11am (no worship in Warehouse 839 today)
God has big dreams for each one of us and made us for a purpose. This week, our children will remind us of those dreams and the ways in which we are called to live them out.
AUGUST 6 – CHANGED BY THE OTHER: Jesus & the Canaanite Woman – Matthew 15:21-28, Pastor April Blaine speaking
In this strange encounter between Jesus and the Canaanite woman, we find this beautiful moment of vulnerability where Jesus is, in fact, changed by the power of this woman’s faith. Are we open to allowing others to change us as well?
AUGUST 13 – CHANGED BY THE OTHER: Jesus & the Samaritan Woman – John 4, Pastor Karen Muntzing speaking
Jews and Samaritans did not interact. But Jesus invites this woman to give him water, and in doing so, he offers her the living water that her heart so truly longed for.
AUGUST 20 – CHANGED BY THE OTHER: Jesus & the 4,000 – Matthew 14:32-39, Pastor April Blaine speaking
The feeding of the 4,000 happened on the east side of the Sea of Galilee among the Canaanites. When Jesus saw them, he had compassion for them and laid out a feast, which must have become a place of connection and fellowship. Pastor April will dialogue with Pat Grafton about her years as a nurse and all that she learned about empathy and shared connection.
AUGUST 27 – CHANGED BY THE OTHER: Jesus & the children – Matthew 19:13-15, Pastor April Blaine speaking
When the children were being brought to Jesus, the disciples tried to turn them away, but Jesus welcomed them and received them with grace, ready to encounter all that they offer.
SEPTEMBER 3 – ARE WE WILLING TO SURRENDER? – John 12:20-26 – Pastor Karen Muntzing speaking
Jesus speaks about the power of a grain of wheat that falls into the earth and dies so that it can bear much fruit. What part of our egos, our agendas, and our own personal preference must we be willing to surrender in order for God to bear fruit in our lives? Are we willing to let go?
SEPTEMBER 10 – ARE WE OPEN TO CHANGE? – Acts 10, Pastor April Blaine speaking
It was an extraordinary moment when both Cornelius and Peter encountered the Holy Spirit in a way they never imagined. Their experience opened the door for Gentiles and Jews to begin worshipping and learning about God’s grace together. Are we truly open to doing things in new ways that will make space for more of God’s people to experience the good news?
SEPTEMBER 17 – CAN WE KEEP WALKING THROUGH OUR FEARS? – Matthew 14:22-33, Pastor April Blaine speaking
Jesus believed that his disciples could do what he did, including walking out on the water toward him. When Peter begins to sink, it isn’t because Jesus didn’t believe in him. It was because Peter didn’t believe in himself. As we seek to live into God’s dream for us, how do we keep walking through the discomfort?