May 22, 2016 – Heaven or Hell…Which? The Choice is Yours

Rev. Sheila Gautreaux, L.U.T.
“Heaven or Hell…Which? The Choice is Yours”

The Reverend Carlton Pearson led a Fundamental Christian parish of about seven thousand. One Sunday he announced he no longer believed in hell. He had a new belief, a new teaching. This was his deep conviction, but soon his associate minister left, his congregation left, and even his wife divorced him. What could he have discovered for himself to be so willing to do this?

One version of Reverend Pearson’s story says he was at a conference where someone told of a 12 year old boy who ran into a burning building to save his baby sister. When he brought her out he was on fire, but only after seeing his sister was safe did he drop to the ground, and die. The minister telling the story lamented, “What a shame he’s going to hell” because the minister hadn’t had a chance to “save” him.

But I believe Carlton’s epiphany came at his Grandmother’s deathbed. She had devoted her life to helping the people in her community, and he loved and admired her for it. As she lay dying she confessed she was afraid to die, that she new she’d go to hell because for years she had spent her Fridays gambling at the penny slots. Carlton knew there could not be a God who would do that. This was his epiphany.

Our elder brother Jesus NEVER said hell is a place you go to when you die. He never said heaven was either. He said heaven is at hand—it’s right here. You don’t have to die first.

He said the kingdom of heaven is within us. Heaven (and hell) is a state of consciousness. Hell is experiencing anger, fear, hatred, violence, etc., often expressed through criticism, condemnation, and judgment. Because they are states of mind, you can have heaven one day and hell the next.

In Unity we say thoughts in mind produce their kind, but we’re not talking about every single thought that runs through your head. We’re talking about those you focus on. The energy you focus. We contribute to the consciousness we see in our lives and in our world. If you give all your focus/energy to a thought like “I’m unworthy” or “I’m all alone”—if you keep holding that as a truth it becomes the truth. If you hold prosperous, loving thoughts, they will manifest. Seeing is not believing; believing is seeing.

The good news is that we can shift. What if what we are seeing—like ISIS, anger, fear, violence, hatred—what if we have almost reached a critical mass and we’re on the verge of a quantum shift? What if what we are seeing is coming up for healing for this big shift? “Heal me now!” What if we were to stop judging and stop nursing our fears, our terrors? What if we say TODAY I CHOOSE HEAVEN. If we get a big bill from the IRS? TODAY I CHOOSE HEAVEN. If we get a terrible diagnosis? TODAY I CHOOSE HEAVEN. Heaven is a choice; hell is a choice. How much better it is to have choice than to be at the mercy of our fears! All that we see that appears not to be love is a call for us to see the love. The choice is yours!

Play

May 22, 2016 – Heaven or Hell…Which? The Choice is Yours

Rev. Sheila Gautreaux, L.U.T.
“Heaven or Hell…Which? The Choice is Yours”

The Reverend Carlton Pearson led a Fundamental Christian parish of about seven thousand. One Sunday he announced he no longer believed in hell. He had a new belief, a new teaching. This was his deep conviction, but soon his associate minister left, his congregation left, and even his wife divorced him. What could he have discovered for himself to be so willing to do this?

One version of Reverend Pearson’s story says he was at a conference where someone told of a 12 year old boy who ran into a burning building to save his baby sister. When he brought her out he was on fire, but only after seeing his sister was safe did he drop to the ground, and die. The minister telling the story lamented, “What a shame he’s going to hell” because the minister hadn’t had a chance to “save” him.

But I believe Carlton’s epiphany came at his Grandmother’s deathbed. She had devoted her life to helping the people in her community, and he loved and admired her for it. As she lay dying she confessed she was afraid to die, that she new she’d go to hell because for years she had spent her Fridays gambling at the penny slots. Carlton knew there could not be a God who would do that. This was his epiphany.

Our elder brother Jesus NEVER said hell is a place you go to when you die. He never said heaven was either. He said heaven is at hand—it’s right here. You don’t have to die first.

He said the kingdom of heaven is within us. Heaven (and hell) is a state of consciousness. Hell is experiencing anger, fear, hatred, violence, etc., often expressed through criticism, condemnation, and judgment. Because they are states of mind, you can have heaven one day and hell the next.

In Unity we say thoughts in mind produce their kind, but we’re not talking about every single thought that runs through your head. We’re talking about those you focus on. The energy you focus. We contribute to the consciousness we see in our lives and in our world. If you give all your focus/energy to a thought like “I’m unworthy” or “I’m all alone”—if you keep holding that as a truth it becomes the truth. If you hold prosperous, loving thoughts, they will manifest. Seeing is not believing; believing is seeing.

The good news is that we can shift. What if what we are seeing—like ISIS, anger, fear, violence, hatred—what if we have almost reached a critical mass and we’re on the verge of a quantum shift? What if what we are seeing is coming up for healing for this big shift? “Heal me now!” What if we were to stop judging and stop nursing our fears, our terrors? What if we say TODAY I CHOOSE HEAVEN. If we get a big bill from the IRS? TODAY I CHOOSE HEAVEN. If we get a terrible diagnosis? TODAY I CHOOSE HEAVEN. Heaven is a choice; hell is a choice. How much better it is to have choice than to be at the mercy of our fears! All that we see that appears not to be love is a call for us to see the love. The choice is yours!

November 15, 2015 – Saving the Bride and Groom

11/15/15  Rev. Larry Schneider
Saving the Bride and Groom

In good literature there is always a story within a story within a story, and the last one to be told is always about you. The greatest story ever told is one about us. I have two stories for you today. The first is about two beautiful sisters living just beyond town. As siblings often do, they argued one day. Which one was most beautiful? They decided that each would walk through town, and the sister who attracted the most people would be the most beautiful. The first sister, Truth, walked through town naked. People retreated inside their homes, shutting their doors and windows. They were afraid of the Truth, especially the naked Truth. But when her sister “Story” joined her, people came out of their homes to join them both. You always have to accompany truth with story.

My next story is called the Bride and Groom. It is from the Jewish tradition. It refers to the 36 righteous people placed on the Earth by God. A very famous rabbi known for his compassion and “gift of sight” (he could see into a person’s soul) was called to a dying man’s bedside. As he entered he got weak and turned white. Quickly recovering, he went to the man’s side. The old man said he was afraid of dying; he was afraid the scales of judgment would be too light on the side of good deeds. The rabbi asked him to remember a good deed from his past. The man did recall when he was walking into town one day, there was a team of horses running wildly with a bride and groom in the wagon. He slowed the horses and shouted “Jump!” to the bride and groom. They did but the team was out of control and the wagon crashed; the horses perished. But the bride and groom were saved. Then the old man recalled other good deeds he had done in his life. Then the rabbi asked that after he got to heaven, would the old man come back and tell him about it.

A few days after the man passed, the rabbi was again seen to blanch then regain his color. He explained that the first time he had seen into the old man’s soul and saw that he was one of the 36 righteous, so pure that even the old man himself did not know he was one of the 36. This time the old man returned to tell the rabbi that when he got to the gates of heaven, they were closed. Angels brought the scale of justice, but then he heard a team of horses with a wagon coming. As they passed he jumped up on one and rode it right through the gates into heaven!

There are moments when we get a glimpse of heaven, like when we are honest on our tax returns or with the spouse. So when you do the right and loving thing this week, in that moment you will have just saved the bride and groom!

November 15, 2015 – Saving The Bride & Groom

11/15/15  Rev. Larry Schneider
Saving the Bride and Groom

In good literature there is always a story within a story within a story, and the last one to be told is always about you. The greatest story ever told is one about us. I have two stories for you today. The first is about two beautiful sisters living just beyond town. As siblings often do, they argued one day. Which one was most beautiful? They decided that each would walk through town, and the sister who attracted the most people would be the most beautiful. The first sister, Truth, walked through town naked. People retreated inside their homes, shutting their doors and windows. They were afraid of the Truth, especially the naked Truth. But when her sister “Story” joined her, people came out of their homes to join them both. You always have to accompany truth with story.

My next story is called the Bride and Groom. It is from the Jewish tradition. It refers to the 36 righteous people placed on the Earth by God. A very famous rabbi known for his compassion and “gift of sight” (he could see into a person’s soul) was called to a dying man’s bedside. As he entered he got weak and turned white. Quickly recovering, he went to the man’s side. The old man said he was afraid of dying; he was afraid the scales of judgment would be too light on the side of good deeds. The rabbi asked him to remember a good deed from his past. The man did recall when he was walking into town one day, there was a team of horses running wildly with a bride and groom in the wagon. He slowed the horses and shouted “Jump!” to the bride and groom. They did but the team was out of control and the wagon crashed; the horses perished. But the bride and groom were saved. Then the old man recalled other good deeds he had done in his life. Then the rabbi asked that after he got to heaven, would the old man come back and tell him about it.

A few days after the man passed, the rabbi was again seen to blanch then regain his color. He explained that the first time he had seen into the old man’s soul and saw that he was one of the 36 righteous, so pure that even the old man himself did not know he was one of the 36. This time the old man returned to tell the rabbi that when he got to the gates of heaven, they were closed. Angels brought the scale of justice, but then he heard a team of horses with a wagon coming. As they passed he jumped up on one and rode it right through the gates into heaven!

There are moments when we get a glimpse of heaven, like when we are honest on our tax returns or with the spouse. So when you do the right and loving thing this week, in that moment you will have just saved the bride and groom!

Play

November 3, 2013 – Creating Spiritual Partnerships

11/3/13 Mike & Michelle Robbins
Creating Spiritual Relationships

AUTHENTICITY is the first tool for developing spiritual relationships which deepen our own spirituality. It can’t be rehearsed. It’s a phenomenon; it’s right now. It’s not authentic to be afraid to ask for what we need or want and expect others to know. Gay Hendricks, Conscious Loving: most conflict is 2 people or groups arguing for the victim position. In any argument or conflict it only takes one person to say something that is undeniably vulnerable, and it is always something emotional and authentic, like what they feel right now or why. So most conflict can be resolved with only one ten minute “sweaty palms conversation”, when you use your Emotional Intelligence—how do I feel, what do I need? —and your Relationship Intelligence, which is learning how state what you need, and ask what you need to do. It’s like you were learning to dance with a partner.

The second tool is APPRECIATION. Ask “How can I support you?” “What do you need?” “Is there something I missed?” It’s also about the spiritual relationship we have with ourselves. Would you appreciate a little more appreciation? Ask for more. “I would like to be acknowledged.” Sometimes it’s, “I need some space.” And when someone expresses appreciation for you, say, “Thank you.” Really receive it. It’s a gift. Any other reply, even countering with another compliment, does not allow appreciation, nor is it authentic.

In the moment, things often don’t look the way we thought. It isn’t so easy. But to never have conflict means someone is lying. That’s the challenge. However. the more authenticity and appreciation in spiritual relationships with others, the deeper is our own spirituality. Mike was explaining to his young daughter about when, as a young man, he had started a very promising professional baseball career but lost it when he broke his arm. Answering her innocent question as honestly as he could, he said that now he wasn’t sad about it, because then he would never have met her mom and they wouldn’t have her. He said he was actually grateful for it. Realizing it all had led him to his beautiful wife and daughters, he was overwhelmed and moved to tears of deep appreciation. Truth, honesty, vulnerability. Authenticity. Appreciation. Trust that there is a greater intelligence and that things work out the way they should!

Play

November 3, 2013 – Creating Spiritual Partnerships


11/3/13 Mike & Michelle Robbins
Creating Spiritual Relationships

AUTHENTICITY is the first tool for developing spiritual relationships which deepen our own spirituality. It can’t be rehearsed. It’s a phenomenon; it’s right now. It’s not authentic to be afraid to ask for what we need or want and expect others to know. Gay Hendricks, Conscious Loving: most conflict is 2 people or groups arguing for the victim position. In any argument or conflict it only takes one person to say something that is undeniably vulnerable, and it is always something emotional and authentic, like what they feel right now or why. So most conflict can be resolved with only one ten minute “sweaty palms conversation”, when you use your Emotional Intelligence—how do I feel, what do I need? —and your Relationship Intelligence, which is learning how state what you need, and ask what you need to do. It’s like you were learning to dance with a partner.

The second tool is APPRECIATION. Ask “How can I support you?” “What do you need?” “Is there something I missed?” It’s also about the spiritual relationship we have with ourselves. Would you appreciate a little more appreciation? Ask for more. “I would like to be acknowledged.” Sometimes it’s, “I need some space.” And when someone expresses appreciation for you, say, “Thank you.” Really receive it. It’s a gift. Any other reply, even countering with another compliment, does not allow appreciation, nor is it authentic.

In the moment, things often don’t look the way we thought. It isn’t so easy. But to never have conflict means someone is lying. That’s the challenge. However. the more authenticity and appreciation in spiritual relationships with others, the deeper is our own spirituality. Mike was explaining to his young daughter about when, as a young man, he had started a very promising professional baseball career but lost it when he broke his arm. Answering her innocent question as honestly as he could, he said that now he wasn’t sad about it, because then he would never have met her mom and they wouldn’t have her. He said he was actually grateful for it. Realizing it all had led him to his beautiful wife and daughters, he was overwhelmed and moved to tears of deep appreciation. Truth, honesty, vulnerability. Authenticity. Appreciation. Trust that there is a greater intelligence and that things work out the way they should!

March 31, 2013 – Every Time I Love

3/31/13 Rev. David McArthur

Every Time I Love

5 days after 9/11, in an Egyptian coffee shop in Queens, New York City, Labib Salam and his friends were trying to understand it all when 4 young men entered and smashed everything. The police quickly caught all four, but Labib didn’t press charges. He said, “I understand their rage.” Labib and his friends began to clean up, and within an hour the four young men returned to help. In Labib’s compassion and forgiveness, we are reminded of the forgiving Jesus did from the cross. It is an amazing thing.

Resurrection is a little different. It’s an inside job. You can’t do it for someone else. When those four guys went back to Labib, they thanked him for not pressing charges. They grabbed brooms to help and soon were sharing coffee and conversation. Labib and the 4 left as friends the next morning. That’s resurrection!

Jesus’ resurrection was a demonstration of the things he had shown all along. You too have done all those things—feeding the crowds and supporting those needing healing. We do it sometimes “because we gotta”, but other times in a consciousness of wholeness and love. That’s different. Love transforms. It cannot not. Every time I love, love transforms. It does every single time. So you’ve been that demonstration! You are that life—that love. Every time I love, love transforms.

When we really screw up we usually blame others or just run away. The sense of connection is dead. Your compassion is dead. There is only you. But these guys touched the compassion of responsibility and brought back life.  Death is not the end. Those parts of us that are lifeless then are brought back to life. What makes the difference is the love. Every time I love, love transforms.

Sugar transforms the bitter cacao bean into chocolate, and the whole world loves it! Chocolate, as in the chocolate Easter egg, is a symbol if, every time you take a bite, you know love transforms. Make the commitment. Every time you take a bite of chocolate remember, Every time I love, love transforms. It is who you are—the beautiful child of God! And Every time you love, love transforms.

March 31, 2013 – Every Time I Love

3/31/13 Rev. David McArthur
Every Time I Love

Five days after 9/11, in an Egyptian coffee shop in Queens, New York City, Labib Salam and his friends were trying to understand it all when 4 young men entered and smashed everything. The police quickly caught all four, but Labib didn’t press charges. He said, “I understand their rage.” Labib and his friends began to clean up, and within an hour the four young men returned to help. In Labib’s compassion and forgiveness, we are reminded of the forgiving Jesus did from the cross. It is an amazing thing.

Resurrection is a little different. It’s an inside job. You can’t do it for someone else. When those four guys went back to Labib, they thanked him for not pressing charges. They grabbed brooms to help and soon were sharing coffee and conversation. Labib and the 4 left as friends the next morning. That’s resurrection!

Jesus’ resurrection was a demonstration of the things he had shown all along. You too have done all those things—feeding the crowds and supporting those needing healing. We do it sometimes “because we gotta”, but other times in a consciousness of wholeness and love. That’s different. Love transforms. It cannot not. Every time I love, love transforms. It does every single time. So you’ve been that demonstration! You are that life—that love. Every time I love, love transforms.

When we really screw up we usually blame others or just run away. The sense of connection is dead. Your compassion is dead. There is only you. But these guys touched the compassion of responsibility and brought back life.  Death is not the end. Those parts of us that are lifeless then are brought back to life. What makes the difference is the love. Every time I love, love transforms.

Sugar transforms the bitter cacao bean into chocolate, and the whole world loves it! Chocolate, as in the chocolate Easter egg, is a symbol if, every time you take a bite, you know love transforms. Make the commitment. Every time you take a bite of chocolate remember, Every time I love, love transforms. It is who you are—the beautiful child of God! And Every time you love, love transforms.

Play

March 24, 2013 – How Full Is Your Glass?

3/24/13 Rev. David McArthur
How Full Is Your Glass?

A very large crowd spread their cloaks and palm branches on the road shouting “Hosanna!” as Jesus entered Jerusalem. Jesus was demonstrating the Spiritual power He had, and which he was inviting us into. There are times when everything comes together for us beautifully. Even the events that led up to Jesus standing before Pontius Pilate were seen by Jesus to be part of the process of infinite love which takes us where we are to go. He demonstrates this in his answer to Pilate, when Pilate told Him he had the power to free Him or send Him to his crucifixion. Jesus said, “You would have no power over me if it were not given you from above.” As we know, God is good all the time, but the ‘all the time’ is what gets us. When you are in a situation that is filled with only pain, it is not a demonstration of somebody doing this to you. It is a demonstration of love unfolding for your great good.

There is a famous Taoist story about a farmer who had a much admired horse to work his farm, but it ran away. The neighbors felt sorry for him. But he answered, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?” The horse returned, and two wild horses with him. The farmer said, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?” Then his son broke his leg breaking-in the wild horses. The farmer said, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?” When the army came through, they drafted all the young men except the farmer’s son, with his broken leg. The farmer said, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?”

We do get “beautiful Jerusalem” moments where it is easy to see the good. At times it is not so easy, but we can still see the goodness that is always there. Once you know this, it is an amazing gift of peace. Life doesn’t do things to us, but for us. We can take the risk of reaching out to touch others because we know it is there. Every experience is filled to overflowing with that good. Is your glass filled to overflowing? —your life? —your heart? —to overflowing? You have the ability to see it. It is always there. Yes, your life is filled to overflowing!

Taoist

Play

March 24, 2013 – How Full Is Your Glass

3/24/13 Rev. David McArthur
How Full Is Your Glass?

A very large crowd spread their cloaks and palm branches on the road shouting “Hosanna!” as Jesus entered Jerusalem. Jesus was demonstrating the Spiritual power He had, and which he was inviting us into. There are times when everything comes together for us beautifully. Even the events that led up to Jesus standing before Pontius Pilate were seen by Jesus to be part of the process of infinite love which takes us where we are to go. He demonstrates this in his answer to Pilate, when Pilate told Him he had the power to free Him or send Him to his crucifixion. Jesus said, “You would have no power over me if it were not given you from above.” As we know, God is good all the time, but the ‘all the time’ is what gets us. When you are in a situation that is filled with only pain, it is not a demonstration of somebody doing this to you. It is a demonstration of love unfolding for your great good.

There is a famous Taoist story about a farmer who had a much admired horse to work his farm, but it ran away. The neighbors felt sorry for him. But he answered, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?” The horse returned, and two wild horses with him. The farmer said, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?” Then his son broke his leg breaking-in the wild horses. The farmer said, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?” When the army came through, they drafted all the young men except the farmer’s son, with his broken leg. The farmer said, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?”

We do get “beautiful Jerusalem” moments where it is easy to see the good. At times it is not so easy, but we can still see the goodness that is always there. Once you know this, it is an amazing gift of peace. Life doesn’t do things to us, but for us. We can take the risk of reaching out to touch others because we know it is there. Every experience is filled to overflowing with that good. Is your glass filled to overflowing? —your life? —your heart? —to overflowing? You have the ability to see it. It is always there. Yes, your life is filled to overflowing!