If you have been to Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon or another 12-step meeting, you have seen the depth of personal connection evident among the people there, their openness with one another. Have you ever thought, “This is what church should feel like”? At least part of the reason church doesn’t usually feel like that is that our worship services often do not require or invite the deep vulnerability that can lead to that kind of connection and transformation. As the church has let go of the need to continually remind us that we are broken—knowing that guilt does not create faith—we also have lost the sense that the need for forgiveness, healing and wholeness is part of our common experience.
But of course that is our condition. We don’t change that by not talking about it. Every one of us is bound by some habit or failure or impossible burden. In a free society, the things that imprison us tend to be things we have taken on voluntarily; the fact that we have chosen them makes them no less confining.
The 12 Steps are a path to knowing God. Not the path, and not a path that will work for everyone. But they are a path—one that might lead somewhere even for people who do not think of themselves as addicted. Starting June 3, our sermon series “Freedom: 12-Step Spirituality for Everyone” will explore that path.
June 3: The first of the Twelve Steps is “Admitting that we are powerless.” Pastor Dirk Damonte will preach on “Why Can’t I Do What I Tell Myself to Do?” with scripture from Romans 7:15-24. Holy Communion will be offered.
June 10: The second step is “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” Associate Pastor Sam Lewis will preach from Mark 10:46-52, the story of blind Bartimaeus.
June 17: The third step is “Making a decision to surrender.” Senior Pastor Kathi McShane will give the message from the story of Jesus calling the first disciples, Matthew 4:18-22.
June 24: This will be a set-aside Sunday, filled with music appreciation and recognition for Pastor Jon Visitacion’s last Sunday at LAUMC. We will also receive a report from the California-Nevada Annual Conference Session that took place the previous week.
July 1: Steps four and five are “Admitting our faults: to ourselves, to God, to someone else.” The sermon will be on “Admitting Our Sin Is What Puts Us in the Light,” from 1 John 1:5-10. Holy Communion will be offered.
July 8: The sixth step is “Change from the inside out.” Pastor Kathi will preach from Psalm 139.
July 15: The seventh step is “Trusting God to do something.” Pastor Dirk will preach on “God Knows What You Need Before You Say It,” using the scripture text from Matthew 6:7-8.
July 22: Steps eight and nine are “Admitting that we have hurt others and making amends.” Pastor Kathi will give the message, using Matthew 5:21-26.
July 29: The tenth step is “Continuing to search ourselves.” Rev. Sam will preach from Matthew 7:1-5.
August 5: The eleventh step is “Seeking God—consciously, intentionally, faithfully.” Pastor Kathi will give the message from Psalm 46:10, and Holy Communion will be served.
August 12: The twelfth step is “Pass it on.” Pastor Kathi will preach on Isaiah 43:10-12, concluding the series.