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Feb 4 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Welcome and prayer 01/29/2023

Our guest speaker this week, Mike Stowell, shared some of his life’s stories, emphasizing the importance of faith and trust in God. Because he spoke without notes, we are not able to post any this week. However, we are posting Nancy Lopez’ introduction to the service.

Good morning!       May the Shalom of the Lord be with you.

I hope you know that you can go to our website ( and get the script of the messages from Sunday mornings.  Sometimes I need to see it in writing, letting the message come through my eyes, as well as my ears.   Last week’s message from Jim was like that.  He made a few points that brought an image that I got a few years ago to remembrance; and I want to offer it with you this morning.  For me, it presents a picture of living and serving in the way of love.  Picture – I might have said Pitcher, because there’s a Pitcher in the image.

Many of us would say we’ve got a lot on our plate.  Let’s imagine that a Plate might stand for all our tasks, ways we influence others, you might call it ministry, extended relationships and commitments.  Atop the Plate, sits a Saucer which stands for our personal and close relationships.  You know what a Saucer is, don’t you, the smaller plate with an inside rim that can hold the Cup and its spillover.  So, now there’s a Cup.  The image is called Pitcher-Cup-Saucer-Plate.  Picture it if you will.  The Pitcher represents God, overflowing, ever flowing, abundant love and grace to us, the fullness of His love.  When we put our Cup—the Cup of our life, under His flow, He  pours into us all He intends for us.  As we abide there, His love is pouring into us. 

And as it fills, it naturally fills the cup to overflow on to the Saucer (our relationships) and then the Plate (the places we influence).   You know this is true, right?  We see people filled with anger, resentment, or fear spilling those things on to their Saucers and Plates.  Our privilege is  not just to receive good from God to pass along, but to allow what we receive to do a work in us.  We don’t come with empty cups, but if we allow what we receive from God to heal us from the inside out, then we change the overflow.  Last week, Jim mentioned that Jesus says, “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’  A lot of things have come to us unbidden and unwelcome.  We’re still responsible for our own Cup.

Jesus confronted the false religion of the Pharisees reminding them to clean the inside of the cup so the outside could be clean as well. They had replaced a spiritual life of loving with a religion of purity codes that did nothing to clean the inside of the cup. It did nothing to clean their hearts.

Pitcher-Cup-Saucer-Plate:  I hope the image helps you to see and realize love in flow.

Can we pray?

LORD God, we need Shalom – wholeness, holiness.  Let us be still and make space for You to fill us with love.  We ask that you reveal those places in our Cup that hinder and taint.  Let us realize them and ask for healing.  Continue pouring your love that we might be filled with your goodness, for our sake, and for the sake of others.  We welcome your empowering Presence to create Shalom in us and through us.  Amen

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