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This Week’s Message

Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.
(James 3:17-18)

This Week’s Message

Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults — unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.
(Matthew 7:4)

That Awkward Moment When You Become Unrecognizable

When you really hear and follow the gospel, you can become as unrecognizable to those around you as Jesus was to his parents when he went to the temple at age 12 “to be in my Father’s house”.

Sermon from January 4, 2015
Gentle Spirit Christian Church
Rev. Paul M. Turner, Senior Pastor
Atlanta, Georgia

Be Bulletproof: New e-book by Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge

Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge has published a new e-book, Be Bulletproof: How to Defend Your Faith, Love Your Enemies, and Finally Make Peace with the Bible. Featuring the first article written on the idea of spiritual self-defense that later became her 2008 book Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians, this 30-page resource contains everything you need to begin building your bulletproof faith including:

  • What spiritual self-defense is (and isn’t)
  • How to answer those who want to argue (or not)
  • How to love your critics (even if you don’t like them)
  • Answers to what the Bible does (and does not) say about homosexuality

Use this form to download your free copy of Be Bulletproof: How to Defend Your Faith, Love Your Enemies, and Finally Make Peace with the Bible.

About the author
Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge was ordained by Gentle Spirit Christian Church in 2003 and currently serves as pastor of Jubilee! Circle in Columbia, S.C. She holds a Master of Theological Studies degree from Candler School of Theology at Emory University and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, Religion Dispatches and The Guardian.

This Week’s Message

It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Creator is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before God in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship God must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.
(John 4:23-24)

Progressive Church: What it Means for Us

Progressive Church: Definitions of progressive Christianity include characteristics such as spiritual vitality and expressiveness, a willingness to ask questions, an affirmation of human diversity, a sincere respect for other faiths, and a concern for the environment.

At Gentle Spirit Christian Church, our culture and values intersect with each of those characteristics in both subtle and profound ways. Perhaps our most striking and symbolic expression of our view of God’s true attitude to us is that when we celebrate the Lord’s Table at every service, we view the Table as an open invitation to all that comes directly from God. Another is that we hold our Sunday worship service outdoors in a public park so that there may literally be no barriers between us and the world.

  • We believe Jesus made his divine sacrifice for all people, without exception, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or any other human-created division of the human race.
  • We are a fellowship dedicated to the spreading the Gospel of Jesus the Christ to all people in an open, affirming and inclusive manner.
  • Our mission is to bring the message of redemption and grace to those people who have been victims of oppression, rejection and misinformation and to assure them they are true heirs in the realm of God.
  • We envision an inclusive church community committed to worshipping God freely in an atmosphere of grace, forgiveness, unconditional love and individual growth.
  • We strive to be a community where each member is viewed as a unique creation of God.
  • We believe in participation in those activities which promote social justice and equality for all.
  • We welcome everyone without regard to ethnicity, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, marital/economic status, physical ability, political affiliation, age, sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. We are open, positive and inclusive.
  • We are an independent Christian congregation where people are encouraged to have a personal relationship with God that is supported, not defined, by the church.

Our core belief is that God has a passionate desire for a direct, unfettered relationship with each of us — and that no one or nothing should be able to get in the way of that.

Our congregation comes from many spiritual backgrounds, but we agree on the following things and invite anyone to come worship with us and experience God’s love in a whole new way:

  • God loves you unconditionally, just the way you are, and passionately desires a relationship with you.
  • No one, no institution, nothing, should come between you and your relationship with God.
  • When you are in relationship with God you can own your faith, and no one, no institution, nothing, should be able to take that away from you.

Join us at a worship service and you’ll see the difference right at the beginning, as we start by greeting each other and saying, You’re in the Right Place.

Why Christmas is Dangerous

Why is Christmas dangerous? Because the message of Christmas is love. And what makes true love, God’s love, dangerous is what it calls us to do in response to it.

Sermon for December 21, 2014
Gentle Spirit Christian Church
Rev. Paul M. Turner, Senior Pastor
Atlanta, Georgia