Online, In Worship, In Study 
Worship: 10:30 am in September      Study: 10:30 am on Tuesdays
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you may abound in hope." (Romans 15:13)
FOR YOUR REFLECTION: Do you remember the first time you witnessed or experienced compassion? I do! It was my sophomore year of high school and sadly, one day, it was revealed that one of my classmates was pregnant. Not an unusual occurrence in my school but still, great food for gossip. On top of that, the girl was a shirttail relative, which made the news even more dramatic for me. I remember bursting into the house, running up to the stairs to the kitchen where my Mom always waited for us, loudly blurting out the news: "Mom, Jennie's pregnant!" I thought she would be righteously shocked. I'll never forget my mother's response. She stopped whatever she was doing at the kitchen counter, turned around with wet eyes and said, "Poor Jennie. That's just a baby having another baby. We need to be even more kind to her now." My mom demonstrated true compassion.   
From the book, A Fearless Heart: "Compassion is a sense of concern when we are confronted with another's suffering and feel motivated to see that suffering relieved. Compassion is what connects the feeling of empathy to acts of kindness, generosity and other expressions of altruistic tendencies." Practicing compassion roots us deeply inside the part of us that suffers, too, and would want someone to show kindness and acceptance to us. Compassion reminds us that we, too, are vulnerable, so when it is shared, we find relief and joy.
FROM THE BOOK OF JOY "We fear compassion because we are afraid of experiencing the suffering, vulnerability and the helplessness that can come with having an open heart. People are afraid of being taken advantage of, that others will become dependent on them and that they won't be able to handle others' stress. Empathy is simply experiencing another's emotions; compassion is an empowered state where we want what is best for another person." (Page 259)
QUESTIONS FOR EXPLORING JOY: For you, what is the greatest challenge in showing compassion? For whom can you find great compassion? 
ACTION STEPS: If you find yourself in a place of judgment or fear this week, attempt to make the choice to show compassion. Practice a "random act of compassion" by reaching out to someone who is suffering or in pain.
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