OUR WORSHIP SERVICES
Transition to new pastor
June 25 - July 9, 2023
June 25 - Guest preacher Rev. Calvin Bloesch's sermon "Feeding the Elephant" comes from Psalm 1 and Romans 5:12-15.
July 2 - Christian Church of Villa Park joins the First Christian Church of Downers Grove in worship via FCCDG's YouTube channel. Of the message, Rev. Rick Hamilton says: This week in worship we are visiting the Gospel of Mark, specifically Mark 4:35-41, where Jesus is sleeping in the back of the boat during a storm. The Disciples awaken him and say "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" Jesus, of course, awakens and calms the storm. It's a familiar story, but one which we will be looking at with a different sort of twist.
My sermon title is "On Being 'Woke'" and while, yes, I will be exploring Jesus being awakened, we will also talk about the somewhat politically edgy term of "Being Woke". We will also definitely explore the fact that Jesus cares that people are perishing.
July 9 - Guest preacher Pastor Susan Steinmiller will preach from John 3:16 and Matthew 22:36-40 on "The Greatest Love of All."
OYEZ - What is the Question?
June 18, 2023
Guest preacher Dave Holston will lead worship. His sermon "OYEZ - What Is the Question?" will come from the scripture passages Genesis 18:1-15, 21:1-7 and Matthew 9:35-10:8.
May 14 – June 11, 2023
“the God of love and peace will be with you.” – 2 Corinthians 3:11
We are not perfect followers, but still Jesus sends us out to the world. The good news of the resurrection must be lived and shared. We are asked to spread the gospel far and wide, to open our eyes and hearts to the good news around us. We are called to step out of our comfort zones, to hear and welcome all, to share and spread the story of all that God is doing.
April 9 – May 7, 2023
“sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles” – Doctor Who
Christ is Risen. What a ridiculous, impossible proclamation. Who could believe that someone dead is alive? We could; we can; we do. And we are transformed. So much about faith seems impossible in the eyes of the world, sometimes in our eyes too. But God is doing new, miraculous things and we believe the impossible.
Called to Become
February 22 – April 8, 2023
God is always calling us. We are always becoming, growing, and being transformed in faith. As we journey together through Lent, we seek to hear how God is calling us now, to acknowledge what holds us back from answering, and to find space to be created anew.
January 1 – February 19, 2023
“the God who gave you birth” – Deuteronomy 32:18
There are many images of God that we encounter throughout scripture. We all have our favorites, the ones that inspire us and comfort us, the ones that we turn to again and again. With the aid of “Mother God” by Teresa Kim Pecinovsky, we explore some familiar and unfamiliar images of God. We find images that comfort and discomfort, challenge and soothe. “Mother God” opens us to new ideas and helps us to see the ordinary in extraordinary ways.
What to Expect
When You’re Not Expecting
November 27 - December 24, 2022
“But about that day and hour no one knows” – Matthew 24:36
During Advent we await the coming of new life. But how do we prepare for this new, unexpected change in our lives? We nurture ourselves and our relationships. We ask questions, open to whatever answers come. We examine who we and the world around us are and what needs to change for life to flourish. We try to be ready for the surprises to come.
October 9 – November 20, 2022
“Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us, and we are called by your name” – Jeremiah 14:9
Where do we look for and notice God’s grace? We say God is always with us and is present in all things, but we don’t always seem to believe it. We locate grace in particular places and specific people. We hold some as godlier examples than others. Are we noticing God’s presence in every place and person or are we omitting important moments and inconvenient witnesses? Can we truly see God’s grace wherever we are?
A New Way
September 4 – October 2, 2022
“I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you” – 2 Timothy 1:6
The world is changing. We are changing. We have a new path to forge. What direction will we choose? It may sometimes seem that we are alone, with impossible choices before us. But God is always with us. We choose to follow or not. Even not making a choice is a choice of sorts. Change is coming. What path will we take?
Imagine a World with More
July 24 – August 28, 2022
“The heavens are telling the glory of God” – Psalm 19:1
As a church, we are in a season of reimagination and renewal. What has been is no longer and what will be remains unknown. Instead of worrying about what’s next or getting caught up in fear of what we don’t have, let us imagine more. In her 2022 State of the Church address Rev. Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens shared, “God's imagination is so limitless that we are called to continually move the stake. We can't think of anything beyond what God can accomplish. We are invited to see God’s love as the limitless and abundant force in our world, or the world we want to create.” Let us dream together.
Help My Unbelief
June 12 - July 17, 2022
“I believe; help my unbelief!” – Mark 9:24
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” – John 1:5
As much as we try to live out the full love of God in the world, there are always places we struggle. Places where it hurts to look too deeply; places so different from what we’ve always known that we struggle to comprehend. But God’s love is never ending, spreading into every crack and bringing light to all darkness.
May 15 - June 5, 2022
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another” – John 13:34
As witnesses to the resurrection, our lives are changed. We are no longer who we were as we embody the Word of God in the world.
Can I Get a Witness?
April 17 – May 8, 2022
“we are witnesses to these things” – Acts 5:32
What is the point of a resurrection if no one knows about it? We are called to spread the news, to be witnesses to the miracles that God has wrought. Death no longer has power. In Christ we have new life. Alleluia!
March 2 - April 14, 2022
“I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you” – Luke 15:18
It has been a difficult few years full of change and loss. Sometimes, it feels like the world and our lives are cracking around us, creating vulnerable fissures in our facades of faithful competence. But as our facades crumble, might we find new strength and possibility? A new way?
January 30 - February 27, 2022
“they left everything and followed him.” – Luke 5:11
How will we respond when confronted with the realities of God’s promises? We love to hear of God’s grace and justice, but it’s not easy when we are told that it means upsetting everything we take for granted, assume is normal. God is doing a new thing, interrupting our lives. Will we listen?
January 2 - 23, 2022
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” – Isaiah 43:1
In the birth of Jesus, we receive the promise of God with us. This is one of many promises, covenants, that God shares with us. Promises are at the heart of our faith and our relationships. They guide and shape us as we seek to live faithful lives together.
Waiting With...Waiting For
November 28 - December 26, 2021
“for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people”– Luke 2:10
We wait and prepare as a community. In this season we are drawn together as people of faith. As we prepare for the birth of our Savior, let us see the ways this promise binds us together. We are not alone in our waiting. We have never been alone. We walk with those who have come before us, who made space in their lives and the world for God to come into our midst.
October 24 - November 21, 2021
“The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.” – Psalm 126:3
Inundated with messages that tell us we don’t have enough, we aren’t enough, God invites us to recognize we have and are more than enough. In a society that tells us if only we have or do just a little more we will finally be happy, we are invited to open our eyes and hearts to see the joy and abundance all around us, to be happy in God.
September 5 - October 17, 2021
“You do not know what you are asking.” – Mark 10:38
Jesus teaches and speaks beautiful words. Words of welcome and love, words of care and openness. But sometimes, Jesus’ words are hard to hear. We don’t understand or we don’t want to understand. We are challenged, made uncomfortable. It doesn’t fit into our worldview. Will we follow anyway?
Bread of Life
August 1-29, 2021
“Jesus took the loaves…distributed them to those who were seated; …as much as they wanted.” – John 6:11
Bread. It is so essential to our lives and our understandings. We use the word in so many different ways and to mean different things. What is this living bread that Jesus promises to be? How will it change us?
July 4-18, 2021
“built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.” – Ephesians 2:22
As people, we like stability, to know what’s next, to have a place to go. But is that what God wants? Where does God dwell and how do we get there?
These questions are a deep part of the story of learning how to follow God as a community, how to worship and praise always looking to God’s dreams and not to our own assumptions about what praising God should look like.
May 30 - June 27, 2021
“Do not fear, only believe.” – Mark 5:36
The Spirit descended upon us and sent us out. We are in a new world, embarking on a new journey. Nothing is exactly like it was before. This is both exhilarating and frightening. We will have moments of joy and pain, confusion and assurance, excitement and loss. These are the growing pains of our faithful lives.
Abiding in Motion
May 2-23, 2021
“you will abide in my love” – John 15:9
Abide. God abides with us. It is deeply comforting, but can also feel stationary. We are here, we can snuggle in. This is our place. But what if our place isn’t a place at all? What if God with us isn’t a location but a lived reality? God abides with us and calls us out, sending us into the world to share all we have seen and heard.
Terror and Amazement
April 4 - 18, 2021
“you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here.” – Mark 16:6
Easter is a time of light and hope, joy and amazement. It is all these things only because it comes in a moment of profound loss and grief, pain and suffering. As disciples, we, like the first followers, encounter a world that is not as God would have it be. We inhabit communities that may struggle to imagine hope. Into our pain, the resurrected Christ comes, showing us a new way, a light in the darkness.
Following the Way
February 17 - April 1 2021
“Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart” – Joel 2:12
God promises to be with us, to be our God, over and over again. And over and over again we find ourselves turning away from God. We allow ourselves to be tempted by power and wealth, by ease and comfort. We pursue paths that take us far from God’s calls. In this season, let us turn onto a new road, leave our old paths, and step into God’s way.
Into the Unknown
January 17 - February 7, 2021
“Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also” – Mark 1:38
The future is always impossible to know. But sometimes it seems more predictable than others. We are in a season of unknowns. Everything around us seems to be changing and the picture of what comes next is hard to imagine. Still, we are called. We are called to follow Jesus, to live as disciples. We are called to proclaim the good news. We are called to let go of where we think we should be and step into the unknown.
Love Made Known
December 27, 2020 - January 10, 2021
“And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory”– John 1:14
Jesus, Emmanuel, is born and the world will come to see. The light of this birth shines into every corner of the world and our hearts. It lightens our darkness and reveals our possibilities. God’s incredible love has been revealed for all to see.
November 29 - December 24 2020
“no eye has seen any God besides you,
who works for those who wait for him” – Isaiah 64:4
As we await the coming of the Christ child with eager anticipation, we remember what it is we are waiting for. We are waiting for God incarnate, the divine taking on human flesh, becoming embodied. For this reason, our waiting too is embodied. Waiting is not an amorphic idea but an active, lived reality. As we hear God’s promise and wait for God’s coming, we practice our hope.
November 1 - 22, 2020
“taste and see that the Lord is good” – Psalm 34:8
There are so many who have formed us into who we are today: people of faith, lovers of God, strivers for justice. These are the people who made us want to be more, to look deeper, to find kindness and compassion within ourselves and others. They are family and friends, strangers and neighbors. They are with us now and they are long gone. They are reminders that who we are and the work we do is not done alone. We are a community, beloved children of God.
October 11 - 25, 2020
“in every place your faith in God has become known” – 1 Thessalonians 1:8
All that we have and all that we are is from God. Yet we often forget that, acting as if we have brought our own blessings and prosperity upon ourselves. We respond as if others have brought their own despair and need upon themselves. All is God’s, but we do not treat it that way. All is God’s, and we are called to share all with God’s world. We are asked to give of our lives to the work of God. Not just moments, but our whole lives. Not just our worship, but our day to day. Not just a few dollars, but all we have.
September 20 – October 4, 2020
“Israel, are my ways unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair?” – Ezekiel 18:29
We talk a lot about justice. People protest in the streets and online in the name of justice. As children, we demand fairness from peers, parents, and teachers. As adults, we demand justice from our government, from the courts, from one another. But, too often, what we really mean by fair or just is that we get our own way. We pay little attention to whether everyone else is getting what they need too. God’s justice, however, sets our own demands aside and calls us to look at the world in a different way. To find true justice where all experience the dignity accorded to God’s children. To find true fairness where everyone has what they need, no more and no less.
August 23 – September 13, 2020
“Owe no one anything, except to love one another… Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” – Romans 13:8, 10
We are the church. We are called by God to be followers of Jesus. But what are we called to do? How are we to live out our faith? These last months have reminded us how deeply we are impacted by the lives of those around us and how we impact them. It has shown us that the discrete circles we’ve created or independent lives we’ve tried to lead are illusory. We are connected and God wants us to be connected. As the church, we are called to participate in God’s ever expansive love, to create and nurture connections in new ways.
Stories That Form Us
July 19 – August 9, 2020
“Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet:
‘I will open my mouth to speak in parables;
I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.’”
– Matthew 13:34-35
The stories we tell about ourselves and our communities shape us; they let us know who we are and how we should live. They tell us truths about the world. In every story we hear deep truths that speak across ages. Yet, sometimes we need to hear these truths in new ways. We need to retell our stories so that we can see their heart again.
How to Save Your Life (by Losing It)
June 21 – July 5, 2020
“Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” – Matthew 10:39
How do we live our everyday lives as people gifted by the Spirit and called to follow the Way taught by Jesus? Every teaching of Jesus seems contrary to the way we understand the world to work. Our relationships will be strained; our priorities upended. But maybe, if we walk this path, we’ll discover God giving us even more.
Sent Out of Ourselves
May 31 – June 14, 2020
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” – Matthew 28:19
This Word was never meant to be held close. It can’t be contained in a house. The Spirit comes and blows the doors wide open. It pushes us out of our comfortable routines so we can be and share the good news. What that means has changed dramatically over the years. How we reach out to others, how we minister, and how we preach don’t look the same now as they did even twenty years ago. But one thing never changes: we are sent, out of ourselves and into the world.
May 3 – 24, 2020
“I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” – John 14:20
God calls us into relationship. In God we find ourselves truly known. We come as a community, the body of Christ, to live out our relationship with God in the world. To live as God calls, we cannot know one another just in passing but must know one another deeply, holding each other as God holds us.
Be Not Afraid
April 12 – 26, 2020
“For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls” – Acts 2:39
Fear can blind us. When our world is rocked, we cling to what we already know. But, especially in the midst of our hardest times, God is there, doing a new thing. Will we let fear box us in or will we open our hearts to God’s hope? In the midst of death, God creates life. Christ is, indeed, Risen.
February 26 – April 9, 2020
“Pray then in this way” – Matthew 6:9
Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. Jesus teaches us a prayer for all times. Yet, sometimes we still struggle to talk to God in prayer, to understand what we’re being asked to do. There are many ways to pray, many types and many occasions. We will explore some common themes of prayer, building tools to truly do as Paul counsels and pray without ceasing.
January 12 – February 23, 2020
“Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” – Matthew 11:3
Some say that faith is the opposite of doubt, that certainty means having no questions. But this is not God’s way. You can trust in God and have lots of questions about life and faith. Faith and doubt side by side, hand in hand. They are not mutually exclusive. Without questions, our faith becomes stagnant, we become so sure in ourselves we lose sight of God. We come with our questions, exploring them together, seeing where the journey takes us.
December 29, 2019 – January 5, 2020
“And the Word became flesh and lived among us” – John 1:14
The Christ child has been born. We spent weeks preparing our lives to live in accordance with this promise. Now we step out in the fullness of the promise.
December 1 - 24, 2019
“Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” – Matthew 3:3
This Advent season we explore what it means to prepare. What it means to ready ourselves to receive a vulnerable child, God made flesh, into our lives and world. What it means to prepare to respond as God wills to the most vulnerable among us. In worship and in devotions at home we will Prepare to welcome and be Christ in the world.
Know Who You Are
October 27 – November 24, 2019
“we strive to worship God in every aspect of our lives” – Design of CCVP
In the midst of everything that changes, we find our foundation in God through Christ. When we forget who we, are we are reminded. We are sought and found. Our names are known. Our mistakes do not define us. We are asked align every part of our lives with our foundation, stepping out into a life centered in Christ in all ways.
Say My Name
September 22 – October 20, 2019
“What is your name?” – Genesis 32:27
Calling someone by name is powerful. It lets a person know they are seen, not as an object, but in their full humanity. God calls each of us by name and knows the very hairs on our heads, but we don’t always give one another the same honor. We are called to speak names truly, to see and know one another. We name Jesus as our Savior and seek to embody that in our whole lives.
Hypocrites and Other Faithful People
August 25 – September 15, 2019
“Am I a God near by, says the Lord, and not a God far off?” – Jeremiah 23:23
Jesus often calls people out as hypocrites, people who say one thing and do another. Sometimes we struggle to hold together multiple parts of our faith, to allow God to guide, to act as we know we should. We are called into a faithful life, to use eyes guided by the Spirit. We are called to encounter divine paradoxes and to step faithfully into complicated situations guided by our understanding of God’s love.
July 28 – August 18, 2019
“Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.” – Exodus 20:8
Sabbath, a time for rest and rejuvenation. A time for slowing down and reconnecting with God. As I end my Sabbatical time, we reflect together on the practices of Sabbath and Sabbatical and what emerges from times of rest, rejuvenation, and reorientation.
Rooted in God
March 6 – April 21, 2019
“stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.” – Philippians 4:1
When we talk about putting down roots, we are usually saying we have chosen to make a particular place our home, to develop the relationships and connections which nurture life. While we may root ourselves in a physical location, our deepest roots are in relationship and community. They are in God. Throughout Lent, we explore the ways we nurture our roots and the ways our roots sustain us, even when we have forgotten they are there. God brings us nourished life so that we may stand firm as beloved children of God.
January 13 - February 24, 2019
“What you worship as unknown, I proclaim to you” – Acts 17:23
Who is the God we follow? What does God have to do with our day to day lives? Together, as a congregation, alongside others in the Chicago area, we ask seven big questions of life and faith, exploring God in our midst
December 2, 2018 - January 6, 2019
“your redemption is drawing near” – Luke 21:28
God draws near to us. A promise is proclaimed. Signs are revealed. The way is
prepared. A baby will be born, God with us. As we anticipate the coming of God in human form, God asks: how will we draw nearer. How do we prepare for the coming king? How do we respond to the child in our midst? How will our lives reorient to the nearness of God?