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Rekindling Our First Love

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In our “Dear Church” series, we’ve listened in on what the Spirit had to say to the seven churches in Asia Minor. Now we want to listen to what the Spirit might be saying to our church.

Woodland Hills staff and pastors spent time prayerfully discerning what Jesus might say if he sent us a letter today. As a result of that, we will be exploring three themes we feel the Spirit gave to us. As we respond to these words, we want to be both “hearers and doers of the word” (James 1:22), so together, as a whole church, we want to practice taking active steps in the direction the Spirit is leading.

Greg shared this short exercise during his sermon on our week one theme: rekindling your first love. Please consider participating this week!

  1. Make space to think and pray about how God might be calling you to rekindle your love for Jesus and his Kingdom.
  2. Ask God to give you a baby step to grow in this area—something achievable, no more than 15 minutes a day, or an hour a week!
  3. Write this down or put a reminder in your phone.
  4. Send us a text (651-321-3130) or short email (info@whchurch.org) to let us know what your goal is. You’ll remain anonymous, but by sharing some of the things people are doing, we hope to spur one another on!
  5. Share your goal with a friend to help encourage you.

Together, we want to grow and respond to how we believe Jesus is encouraging us to draw closer to him. We hope you’ll join us!

How you responded

We asked you to let us know your goal, so as to encourage one another. Here are a few of the responses we received from the first week:

  • Spend 15 minutes alone with God daily. Fast once a week.
  • Beginning my day seeking direction from the Lord versus scrolling social media.
  • Go on a walk in nature while listening to God, not a podcast.
  • Replace some of the imaginary conversations with my crush with praying to God.
  • Get the book Sacred Rhythms and read it along with my gathering group friend.
  • Stay quiet. No music, no social media, no talking for 10-15 mins.
  • 30 minutes per day of praying and reading or journaling or worshipping.

5 thoughts on “Rekindling Our First Love

  1. Jane says:

    I usually pray and talk to God first thing in the morning. That’s when I feel the presence of the Holy Spirit the most…talking to me, instructing me, and answering questions I have…I’m always amazed. But sometimes I feel like I’m rushing, and I want to get on with my day.
    My goal is to look at this time spent worshiping and praising God, as the most important part of the day. A way to build a strong relationship with our creator.

  2. Shannon says:

    I have found over time that when I whisper Jesus’s name in my mind He keeps a clear space where I am more able to be aware of Him. During the quiet time Greg offered Sunday I sensed that my responsibility is to choose to use Jesus’s gift of free will to ask Him for His leading, and then listen for His gentle clear yes and His gentle clear no, and choose to follow Him.

    1. Jerry says:

      Thank you Shannon excellent thoughts!

      I’d like to add a few thoughts to yours and steal some from Greg on paralleling how Science comes alongside Jesus:

      What the world needs more of is NOT a to-do list but something produced IN you, fruit:

      Peace, as God’s spirit leads you, allows God to breathe through your RIGHT objective single whole territory relatedness, individual unique instances across space-time, ever-changing [BOTH] empathic-living, detached TRANSCENDING observing vertical intensity axis hemisphere.

      LEFT objective abstracted EITHER/OR category/type, context strategy, MAP landscape controlled, serial now separate frames, artificial mechanical while best for pouncing [daily bread] horizontal selectivity axis hemisphere.

      In contrast to Peace, the antithesis, [LEFT] enemies – hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy – acts of the flesh easily, in the absence of RIGHT lead by Spirit control, mislead via the “xenophobia myopic” kingdoms of this world; “allowing the busyness of Babylon to cloud our vision distorting our priorities ending in backsliding”.

      Greg loved everything in the [Making Space] sermon – key point “I call on you to wake up and recognize your life to make space for the radical hospitality of the Kingdom to “xenos” strangers and others”.

      Shalom [WHOLENESS] completeness well-being inner peace, comes from the Prince of Peace, – [NOT GAPS] – an anxiety depressive disorder.

      From 2019 surveys up: 65+ 20.1% – 50-64 29.3% – 25-49 38% – 18-24 49.9%

      Philippians 4:6-9 Do not be anxious; [Greek αγχώδης stressful anti-shalom, divided, inside fractured, pulled apart – making you more vulnerable, fragile easily persuaded, manipulated, controlled]; “xenophobia” about anything;

      [Including politics] – which does NOT give sovereign control – just OUTSIDE control without a personal relationship. The sovereign control job is already taken by the Prince of Peace but from the INSIDE;

      but in every situation; – [already invited don’t have to DO for it]; by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

      Concerning [LEFT] outside control versus [RIGHT inside obedience the one you give way to do the other God works towards fulfilling.

      7 And the peace [Shalom] of God, which TRANSCENDS all, understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds; grieving [WITH] reminding each other or [WITHOUT] hope; in Christ Jesus.

      8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

      You’re Spirit: [RIGHT] leading [LEFT] so the Prince of Peace can breathe through your [RIGHT] His Shalom.

      Think of yourself as a peripheral, unit with a specific talent say-so purpose, connecting with others via a direct In/Out interface through Jesus to a transcendent whole of ALL interconnected purposes.

      The bad news [LEFT] pushes to the front category pieces because it sells. It seems to follow us wherever we go however it is NOT reality, a map NOT the territory, the good news -whatever’s true – Whole is reality!

      Extreme poverty – prior 1800 85% – prior 1994 35% – 2022 8%

      Natural Disasters –early 1900’s 350,000 – early 2000’s 80,000

      Shalom is working!

      We have a propensity to focus on the bad however if we focus on [whatever’s true];

      9 whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. [Shalom]

      Neuroplasticity 1949 The brain is NOT fixed but changes constantly at every level.

      Neurogenesis 1998 Every day you wake up there are new brain cells generated in your head: moldable, changeable, and fresh ready to be shaped, NOT by food or nutrients, but by your thoughts.

      Nurture or NOT!

      Negative thoughts obstruct the body’s natural growth-healing capacities [Shalom] in both the physical [LEFT} and emotional [RIGHT].

      Romans 12:2 do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

      You are part of a formation process with new things coming at you each day. However, whatever you focus on is shaping the microtubule matter in the new brain cells developing in your brain.

      For additional supporting Jesus Science: https://whchurch.org/sermon/getting-off-your-high-horse/#comment-248283

      Topics on: Conformal Physical Cyclical Cosmology theory – Kalam Cosmological Argument – Euclidean: thermal equilibrium, fixed-time correlators – Lorentzian: scattering theory [repelling wave and particle collisions], out-of-equilibrium dynamics, chaos, etc. – Chaos Theory eliminating the Euclidean Laplacian Cartesian fantasy – John Polkinghorne rejecting the notion of only a static block universe of space and time together – microtubules – the Quantum Zeno Effect – entanglement and more!

      By focusing on [whatever’s true] you will be able to transform non-Shalom thoughts to Shalom by [trust and trade] – {LEFT for RIGHT] – renewing of your mind, [NOT you do], but produced in you by God. YOU-ME-US [WHOLE] peace-filled [Shalom]

      John 14:27 I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. [however conditional] So don’t be troubled or afraid – be [Shalom]

      Spirit Wisdom: Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.

      1. Jerry says:

        Got late last night and I was tired so today I’d like to add to my prior comment.

        Crucifying the flesh daily causes old neuropaths to die so new ones can birth and grow.

        On spirit wisdom, I worked with my friend Dr. Al Larson for three years on his website Dynamics of Growth. We installed Google Analytics and were able to track to each given site page who came, at what time, and from what country. Of the thousands of pages on Al’s site, 99% were to one page.

        We were able to reverse-engineer the Google request that got folks to this page.

        What are the three kinds of wisdom?

        The number one hit was: GodMaps- #18 Three Kinds of Wisdom – Al Larson


        All the requests came from Eastern cultures, 66% from Africa.

        From the additional science resource comment, from my last post, on Greg’s sermon “Getting off Your High Horse” Greg commented: – [regarding Roger Penrose’s Conformal Physical Cyclical Cosmology theory and William Lane Craig Kalam Cosmological Argument on singularity] – “it’s a singularity so you can’t talk about time – which bugs the scrap out of me”.

        John Polkinghorne, also bugged, rejects the notion of only a static block universe of space and time together. “We live in a world of unfolding and becoming.” It is important to note that the metaphysical issue of the nature of time and the metaphysical issue of the nature of causality are independent of each other. The block universe does not necessarily imply a deterministic world, since the pattern of events located within its space-time continuum could correspond either to tight determinism or to the operation of a variety of causal principles, including agency.

        Having gone beyond materialism to a world of spirit-matter. Physical matter time measurements are affected by gravitational fields affected by uniform motion and so forth, but time itself, for the most part, is not something that is a physical quantity but is a metaphysical spirit reality.

        The more open that the pattern of actual causal relationships appears to be, the more natural becomes the picture of a world of true becoming. The acts of truly free agents cannot be known beforehand, or the results of truly indeterminate processes.

        From Iain Mcgilchrist’s research on the two brain hemispheres, we need no longer be bugged the mystery is now solved. All of the energy and matter we have in the universe right now is the same amount of energy and matter that has been here since the Big Bang just going through cycles of death and renewal.

        Just maybe God had foreknowledge of a specific talent say-so purpose for each of us with a plan of possibilities we can choose to follow or not.

        From science on death and rebirth:

        All the energy that has ever existed and therefore all the matter that has ever existed was formed in a single spectacular cosmic event. Eph 1:4 “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes”. The dense fireball that erupted in less than a trillionth of a trillionth of a second was a billion trillion times hotter than our sun.

        In the first millionth of a second, the fundamental principles of the entire physical universe emerged, including the laws of gravity and electromagnetism.

        By the first second the universe consisted of fundamental particles and energy. The collision of photons formed protons, neutrons, and electrons, the basic components of atoms. The energy was already converting to mass. Hydrogen atoms formed first since they are the simplest type of atom. Hydrogen atoms contain only one proton in its nucleus which makes it number one on the periodic table of elements.

        By the time 10 seconds to 20 minutes had passed, when the universe had cooled to one billion degrees, protons and neutrons came together forming, primordial images nucleo-synthesis unstable isotopes later decaying, hydrogen and helium elements which would eventually fuel the first generation of stars.

        If the unfolding had been a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of one percent faster, the cosmic material would have been flung too far apart for anything significant to happen. If, however, the unfolding had been a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of one percent slower, the universe would have collapsed upon itself.

        Ten thousand years after the Big Bang most of the energy in the universe was in the form of radiation. For the next three hundred thousand years the universe continued to expand and cool until the amount of energy in the form of radiation and the amount of energy in the form of matter were about equal. This made possible the next major development.

        After the universe aged a little (roughly 300 million years) the hydrogen atoms started to clump together under the force of gravity. As these clumps grew in size, the pressure at the center grew larger. When the temperature reached 15 million degrees F, the pressure caused the hydrogen to fuse its nuclei. This process is known as nuclear fusion. The positively charged nuclei naturally repel each other. However, under high temperatures and pressure, the nuclei are moving fast enough to smash together and fuse. When the two proton nuclei of the hydrogen atoms fuse, they form a nucleus consisting of two protons. Some electrons also combine with protons to form neutrons and neutrinos. These neutrons also bind to the nucleus helping it to remain more stable under the nuclear forces. An atom with two protons in its nucleus is Helium, number two on the periodic table of elements. The fusion process also releases a lot of energy which some of the hydrogen mass converts into light energy. This conversion of mass into energy uses Einstein’s famous equation: E=mc2.

        At this point, the universe had a bunch of large clumps of hydrogen fusing to create helium while releasing large amounts of light. This is what is commonly called a star! As stars age, they then fuse the helium with hydrogen to form lithium which has three protons in its nucleus. This fusion process continues to create larger and larger nuclei. The fusion process doesn’t create the elements in order through the periodic table. The process jumps around. And some fused nuclei decay down to lower elements that were skipped over. Fusion also creates neutrons which combine with atoms to create isotopes which act like atomic cousins. Overall, we can say that a star produces all of the elements up to iron, with 26 protons in its nucleus, and 26 in the periodic table through the fusion process.

        This is the last element that is created. To create higher elements, fusion requires more energy than it produces. As earlier mentioned the star glows because the fusing atoms release energy (E=mc2). However, the amount of energy released becomes smaller and smaller as the atoms grow larger.

        Eventually, at iron, there is no energy released at all. And for elements beyond iron more energy is needed for fusion than gravitational pressure can provide.

        After a star has created enough iron, fusion ceases and the hot burning core begins to cool. Up until this point, the hot core of the star is erupting outwards and preventing gravity from collapsing the star. Now that the star has cooled, the core no longer expands and gravity quickly collapses the star.

        The star implodes with enough energy to immediately fuse some of the atoms into higher elements like Nickel, Krypton, Gold, Uranium, etc. This quick and violent implosion releases an enormous amount of energy that explodes the star.

        The exploded remains of average stars become White Dwarf Stars, like the sun, or novae while large stars (Supernova) clump together with other stardust and give birth to black holes or neutron stars.

        A supernova occurred about five billion years ago in one of the spiral arms of the Milky Way Galaxy. The spectacular, fiery death of this star had repercussions that rippled throughout the galactic neighborhood. The light emitted from the explosion, though short-lived, was brighter than that of a billion stars. What was once a giant stellar object was reduced to bits of cosmic debris. Elements from this fiery eruption collided with a nearby cloud of hydrogen gas and interstellar dust. A black hole formed when this star died and its mass collapsed into a distinct, gravitationally-dense point called a singularity. Tremendously hot fragments began to come together under the influence of gravity, and a new star began to form our Sun.

        As she cooled and began a regular rotation, small cosmic objects called planets began to orbit around the Sun, and in another billion years simple life forms began to appear on the planet Earth. Life on Earth is nested in the life of the Sun. Every second the Sun surrenders four million tons of energy in the form of light. The massive star that was mother to our Sun met with fiery death, her form annihilated by the explosive force of the blast. And yet she exists in each of us, in the cells of our bodies that are composed of her dust. The Milky Way is 1 of 200 billion to 1.3 trillion other galaxies.

        Of the .0001 of material in the universe, atoms, 96.1% are of the first three in the table of elements. Humans are also made up of those same elements elements (96.1%).

        Every element, 2-118, in the periodic table aside from hydrogen, is essentially stardust. Our body is composed of roughly 7×1027, (7 with 27 zeros behind it), atoms. 4.2×1027 of them are hydrogen, leaving 2.8×1027 atoms of stardust.

        Thus the amount of stardust atoms in our body is 40%. Since stardust atoms are the heavier elements, the percentage of star mass in the body is much more impressive. Most of the hydrogen in the body floats around in the form of water. The human body is about 60% water and hydrogen only accounts for 11% of that water mass. Even though water consists of two hydrogen atoms for every oxygen hydrogen has much less mass.

        This results in 93% of the [mass] in our flesh bodies being stardust, ashes of dead stars.

        98% of 60 to 100 trillion cells, and then the 100 trillion atoms within each cell, are replaced every year.

        About 72% of the human body is H2O (liquid water). Every 16 days about 72% of your atoms are replaced.

        Every 16 days nearly 100% of the water is exchanged in a healthy body. Heavy elements like carbon, sodium, and potassium take occupancy far longer perhaps 8 to 11 months. For example, the calcium and phosphorus in bones are replaced in a dynamic crystal growth dissolving process that will ultimately replace all bones in your body.

        Red blood cells live for about four months, while white blood cells live on average more than a year. Skin cells live for about two to three weeks. Colon cells die off after about four days. Sperm cells have a life span of only about three days.

        The lining in the stomach and intestine every 4 days, the Gums are replaced every 2 weeks, the Skin is replaced every 4 weeks, the Liver is replaced every 6 weeks, the Lining of blood vessels is replaced every 6 months, the Heart replaced every 6 months, the Surface cells of digestion, top layer cells in the digestion process from our mouth through our large bowel are replaced every 5 minutes.

        So what’s our problem?

        Again from my last comment:

        Negative thoughts obstruct the body’s natural growth-healing capacities [Shalom] in both the physical [LEFT} and emotional [RIGHT].

        Of the three Spirit Wisdom: Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.

  3. Mary says:

    I begin each morning with my devotional, it propels me into the day, knowing who is in charge. I read/study my Bible daily, it’s a must for me, it reminds me of God’s faithfulness and His unconditional love, it keeps me grounded, it encourages me, it corrects me, it gives me hope, peace and joy. I spend time in prayer; however, I have found it easier to pray for others, but I need to get better about sharing my needs, hopes and dreams with my Father. I have learned over the years that prayer provides an avenue for me to open my heart to God. For I know He is always listening. My grandfather use to say if we could see what happens when we pray, we would never cease to pray. Even when we can’t find the words, He hears us. I have also discovered that a heart of gratitude keeps me humble; God has been good to me! And finally, being generous, in thought, words and deeds. This took years to develop these habits and I never want to go back. Amen

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– Nicole