ACL General

Adult Community Learning | Lent 2019

Sundays, Mar 10 - Apr 7 | 10:00-10:40am | Fellowship Hall

Join in this 5-week Adult Community Learning Series "Worship and Devotion for A Lifetime" this Lent! All are welcome.


Worship and Devotion for A Lifetime | An Introduction


Recently, I learned of a 99 year-old woman, recently deceased, who spent her days walking the halls of her residence singing, “God is so good, God is so good, God is so, He’s so good to me.” Over and over, captivating those she passed by with her simple song of worship.

There are any of many practices that might define our daily life, until we reach the end and someone recalls it in a eulogy, but it seems to me that a life of worship and devotion, just might be the most beautiful human endeavor of them all. Worship is a fortress against the battle within, while devotion turns the heart from the inside to the out, inviting God’s presence to be our constant companion.
Poet Mary Oliver in her poem entitled, “Praying,” writes,

                It doesn’t have to be
                The blue iris, it could be
                Weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
                Small stones; just
                Pay attention, then patch               

                A few words together and don’t try
                To make them elaborate, this isn’t
                A contest but the doorway 

                Into thanks, and a silence in which
                Another voice may speak.

There is no greater resistance to the lies of the deceiver than the heart devoted to God. Rise up in the morning with a leaning toward prayer. Live out the day with a whistling hymn of thanks. Travel through the fatigue of the later day in the satisfaction of ordinary beauty, and rest peacefully into the setting of day into night, the darkness a welcome visitor.

Thank God, thank God, thank God in the morning, thank God at the noon time. Thank God, thank God, thank God ‘til the sun goes down.

From beginning to end, we have been created for praise. Live near to your created self, and turn your eyes up and out, to see the wonder in the day, the majesty in all that God has made, and the endless reasons for gratitude. Then sing it, walk it, speak it, pray it…you are God’s child, dearly loved, and in you God takes delight.

Worship and Devotion for a Lifetime | Schedule


March 10 | The Practice of Public Devotion and Prayer

When you are asked to provide devotions for a gathering, does your skin crawl and your brain malfunction? In this session, Pastor Paul will offer helpful tips and a guide to developing public devotions and prayer, giving participants opportunity to practice, ask questions, and gain confidence in witnessing to their faith in Jesus.

March 17 | Why Worship?

In an era when worship practices are shifting dramatically, Pastors Paul and Ian will engage participants in the deeper questions of who we are before God, and why worship is central to our relationship. St. Augustine said, “Within every human soul is a hole that can only be filled by the love of God.” Worship is where we gather to acknowledge this truth, and to give thanks and praise to our God who fills us.

March 24 | What is Worship?

Across the centuries, Christian worship life has evolved and changed, while basic foundational language and liturgy have remained. Join Director of Worship, David Clarke, along with Organist, John Ferguson, as they inform our understanding of what makes worship for us, highlighting our musical heritage, liturgical practices, and the hearing of God’s word.

March 31 | The Faith of our Forebears

We all stand upon the shoulders of those who have gone before us. In this session, NLC member, Joanna Swanson, will share the story of her father’s faith, Dr. Edgar Carlson, President of Gustavus Adolphus College from 1944-1968. You will hear about her recently published biography of her father’s life, “Bold Visions/Daring Dreams,” and you will have the opportunity to purchase a copy.

April 7 | Prayers at The End of Life: Reflections From the World of Cancer Medicine

Dr. Steve Rousey, NLC member, and Doctor of Oncology, will share reflections on the questions; What are the things people pray about at the end of life? How does serious illness affect how and what we pray for? Dr. Rousey’s words will illustrate prayerful life to the end of life through patient stories and poetry.

Questions? Contact Pastor Paul at 952.929.1697 or