Beautiful Church Banner

Congratulations to the congregation of Belleview United Methodist Church (located near Ocala Florida) on their 125th anniversary. In celebration, they traced the hand of every person in the congregation. Some of the hands became part of a processional banner. Some became part of an extension which attaches to the bottom of the banner. When the banner is placed behind the altar table, the extension creates an altar table frontal. They even traced the hands of the current and former pastors and their spouses to create a pulpit scarf.
What a great idea! – Lisa <><

Christ Has No Body
by Teresa of Avila (1515–1582)

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.

Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.

Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

Healing Service 2011

God of Promise, God of Hope
A litany of prayer, scripture and song for healing services inspired by the booklet Prayers for Hope: Words of Faith for Difficult Times (Upper Room Ministries).

This litany contains eight scripture promises which are read by eight different readers. Invite persons prior to the service to read or invite persons as they are gathering before the service to read. If they accept, hand them a card with one of the promises printed on it. When it is time for their reading, they arise from their place in the congregation and move to one of several microphones preset throughout the congregation. Choose a variety of persons to read.

Preset small containers of anointing balm or oil on the altar table, one for each anointing station. Olive oil may also be used.

This litany may be offered in place of the sermon or following the sermon.

For a PDF version of this worship resource, click here Healing Service Litany: God of Promise, God of Hope

ONE: Brothers and sisters, let us claim the promises of God, our healer and hope.
God of the darkness and the day,
It is so hard to wait
and to trust that you are present.
Sit with us in the darkness
help us to sleep
calm our anxiety
and bring us to each new day
in hope.
Amen.
*From Prayers for Hope, Words of Faith for Difficult Times (Upper Room Ministries), p. 10

ALL: Psalm 46:1-3, 7 (NRSV)
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.

PROMISE 1
ONE: Claim the promises of God from Psalm 103:1-6; 10-14 (NRSV)
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits—
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good as long as you live
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord works vindication and justice for all who are oppressed.

He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion for his children,
so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.
For he knows how we were made; he remembers that we are dust.

PROMISE 2
ONE: Take comfort in the promises of God from Isaiah 43:1-4a (NRSV, adapted)
Thus says the Lord, … who created you… who formed you…
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you.
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…
you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you….

ALL:
Tender God,
Who embraces us with love,
Through the ages you have told us,
“Fear not.”
Whisper it again in our ears,
Write it on our hearts.
Amen.
*From Prayers for Hope, Words of Faith for Difficult Times (Upper Room Ministries), p. 12

Song:
For a Traditional Service: Spirit Song (United Methodist Hymnal #347)
For a Contemporary Service: Wrap Me in Your Arms (CCLI #4624271)

PROMISE 3
ONE: Receive the promises of God from Psalm 147:3-6 (NRSV)
He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars;
He gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
His understanding is beyond measure.
The Lord lifts up the downtrodden;
He casts the wicked to the ground

PROMISE 4
ONE: Psalm 73:23-26 (NRSV)
I am continually with you;
You hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me with honor.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire other than you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

PROMISE 5
ONE: Hear the promises of God from Isaiah 40:28-31
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.

ONE: There is something deeper than trouble
ALL: It is mercy
God’s amazing grace
Carrying, lifting, holding us in all seasons

ONE: There is something more powerful than despair
ALL: It is mercy.
God’s amazing love
Seeing us through dark nights, waves of sadness, mountains of grief

ONE: There is something longer lasting than pain
ALL: It is mercy
God’s healing touch
Bringing us hope, leading us to joy, teaching us to sing
*Hope in a Difficult Time by Larry J. Peacock, a poem adapted into a prayer liturgy by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Song:
For a Traditional Service: Great is Thy Faithfulness, vs 1 and refrain (United Methodist Hymnal #140)
For a Contemporary Service: Everlasting God (CCLI #4556538)

PROMISE 6
ONE: Accept the promises of God from Philippians 4:5b-7 (NRSV)
The Lord is near.
Do not worry about anything,
but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

PROMISE 7
ONE: Receive the promise of Jesus from John 14:27 (NRSV)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled,
and do not let them be afraid.

PROMISE 8
ONE: Claim God’s promises from Romans 8:35, 37-39
Who will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will hardship, or distress, or persecution,
or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors
through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers,
nor things present, nor things to come,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Song:
For a Traditional Service: We Shall Overcome, verse 1 and 3 (United Methodist Hymnal #533)
For a Contemporary Service: You Hold Me Now, chorus (CCLI #5372151)

PRAYER OVER THE OIL
ONE: O God, the giver of health and salvation, we give thanks to you for the gift of oil. As your holy apostles anointed many who were sick and healed them, so pour our your Holy Spirit on us and on this gift, that those who in faith and repentance receive this anointing may be made whole; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
*by Timothy Crouch, from a Healing Service in the United Methodist Book of Worship

INVITATION TO ANOINTING AND PRAYER
ONE: Brothers and sisters, receive this invitation.
Are any among you sick?
Call for the elders of the church and have them pray over you,
anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord.
The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise you up;
and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.
Therefore confess your sins to one another,
and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.
The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.
*adapted from James 5:14-16 (NRSV)

ALL: Lord, look upon me with mercy.
Rest your healing hand upon me.
Relieve me of my burden.
Restore me to wholeness and strength.
Revive me in body, soul, and spirit.
Release me to share your infinite love.
Amen.
* Original prayer by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

One or more stations for anointing and prayer are formed at the front of the sanctuary. Those who wish to receive the ministry of healing prayer, anointing with oil, and laying on of hands come forward. They may stand or kneel as they receive prayer. They may come on behalf of themselves, or on behalf of another person, the church, the community, nation, or world.

Song following the prayer time:
For a Traditional Service: Standing on the Promises (United Methodist Hymnal #374)
For a Contemporary Service: Our God Saves (CCLI # 4972837)

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Scripture quotations are taken from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Compilation © 2011 Nicole Sallee and Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Day 15: Psalms of Nature

Sunset on the Crystal River by Tammy Gray

Today’s Reading
Psalms 50, 105, 147, 148

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
Praise the Lord from the earth … fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command! – Psalm 148:7-8

Observation
Psalm 148 feels like a grand procession of creation, each wonder coming forth to adore their Creator. The order of the procession takes its cue from Genesis 1, a movement from the heavens down to humanity.

  • First the heavens far beyond our galaxy (vs. 1)
  • Then the heights along with the glorious inhabitants of heaven. (vs. 2)
  • Next our shining neighbors in the sky: sun, moon and stars. (vs. 3)
  • Then the atmospheres, home of clouds and precipitation. (vs. 4)
  • Now follow the creatures of the seas (vs. 7) and the full extent of weather (vs. 7-8.)
  • Regal mountains, noble trees and all manner of animals (vs 9-10)

The splendor of creation is joined by the fullness of humanity- powerful and humble, men and women, young and old – in a love song praising the Maker of All. (vs. 11-13)

Application
It’s time to get out of the office and back out into the blessing of nature.

Song of the Silent Snow by Martina Carnesciali

Prayer
One winter, while we were living in North Carolina, it snowed. I sat for a long time in silence at our bedroom window watching the soft flakes float to the ground. It was facinating to me. I grew up in Florida and had only seen snow a couple of times in my life. The perfect peace of that experience birthed the snow verse of this hymn. As I began to think about other natural experiences, the other verses came to be. – Lisa <><

God Who Brings the Cleansing Rain
by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Meter 77.77
Suggested tune: THE CALL (United Methodist Hymnal #164)

God who brings the cleansing rain
saturate our thirsty bones
with the milk of mercy sweet
with the blood that brings us home

God who rules the fiery sun
kindle now our brittle hearts
set ablaze our tender lives
forge our ways till sin departs

God who rides the winds of change
anchor us against its wrath
set our face toward holy ends
fix our walk upon your path

God who sends the silent snows
quiet us against your breast
cover us with hope-filled wings
whisper soft your word of rest

God who steps into our time
Take away this needless fear
Turn our lives to songs of praise
Play us for your world to hear

© 2010 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.
Lisa is especially interested in collaborating with someone to set this text to music.

For another original hymn text on this theme entitled Bless Christ Through Whom all Things are Made, click here

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You are invited to join me on a summer adventure through one of the most beloved books in the Bible, Psalms.  To download the Summer in the Psalms reading plan, click here Psalms Reading Plan

As you read, you are encouraged to use the SOAP Method for keeping a spiritual journal, as taught at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. For more information on this simple and powerful way of engaging the Word of God, please click here http://www.lifejournal.cc/ or use the simple instructions provided in the reading plan itself.

I look forward to reading your comments and to all that Jesus will do in you and through you as you seek him this summer. – Lisa <><

PS- For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page. http://pastorblog.cumcdebary.org/?page_id=1529

Day 14: Psalms of Music

Psalm 150 by Robyn Sand Anderson

Today’s Reading
Psalms 66, 149, 150

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! – Psalm 150:6

Observation
Psalm 150 is the ultimate psalm of worship and praise. I long for worship with this much freedom and joy. Look at all the examples:

  • Praise God within the church and out in the community (verse 1)
  • Praise God’s deed, God’s power, and for who God is. (verse 2)
  • Praise God with instruments (verses 3, 4, 5)
  • Praise God with song and dance (verse 4)
  • Praise God boldly and joyfully (verse 5)
  • All creatures and creation are called to praise the Lord. (verse 6)

Application
How can I be more joy-filled, creative and free in praising God?

Prayer
Joyous Lord, you delight in all you create. Fill us with your joy and hope. Unshackle every voice and foot and hand. Liberate every instrument and paint brush and potter’s wheel. Awaken and inspire the hearts and souls of your people. Free us to sing and dance and play and create in praise of your glorious ways, from this time on and forevermore. Amen.
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You are invited to join me on a summer adventure through one of the most beloved books in the Bible, Psalms.  To download the Summer in the Psalms reading plan, click here  Psalms Reading Plan

As you read, you are encouraged to use the SOAP Method for keeping a spiritual journal, as taught at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. For more information on this simple and powerful way of engaging the Word of God, please click here http://www.lifejournal.cc/ or use the simple instructions provided in the reading plan itself.

I look forward to reading your comments and to all that Jesus will do in you and through you as you seek him this summer. – Lisa <><

PS- For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page. http://pastorblog.cumcdebary.org/?page_id=1529

Day 13: Psalms of Mercy

Divine Mercy by Stephen B. Whatley

Today’s Reading
Psalms 13, 28, 86

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
Show me a sign of your favor, so that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame, because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me. – Psalm 86:17

Observation
In this passage, the psalmist is again being pursued by insolent ruffians who have no respect for him or God. The psalmist displays his devotion to God, asking God for mercy (to be spared from judgment or harm) and for favor (to be shown partiality over the godless attackers).

Application
Job 34 reminds us that God shows no partiality based on wealth. Acts 10 reminds us that God shows no partiality based on culture or race. Ephesians 6 reminds us God shows no partiality based on social position. (example is slave and master)

Does God show partiality to the devoted over the godless? If so, how do we refrain from falling into a consumer mindset trap, of only loving God for what we get in return?

Prayer
God, You are my Help and my Comforter.
Even so, help me to love you for you.
You are my Shield and Savior,
Help me to love you for you
You are my Sovereign and Maker
Help me to love you for you
You are my Healer and Hope,
Help me to love you for you.
Keep me far from any mindset which cheapens our relationship.
Remove all that twists or divides.
Draw me to the purity of your heart,
through the grace of Jesus Christ my Lord,
in the transparency of the Holy Spirit, my Companion. Amen

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You are invited to join me on a summer adventure through one of the most beloved books in the Bible, Psalms.  To download the Summer in the Psalms reading plan, click here Psalms Reading Plan

As you read, you are encouraged to use the SOAP Method for keeping a spiritual journal, as taught at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. For more information on this simple and powerful way of engaging the Word of God, please click here http://www.lifejournal.cc/ or use the simple instructions provided in the reading plan itself.

I look forward to reading your comments and to all that Jesus will do in you and through you as you seek him this summer. – Lisa <><

PS- For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page. http://pastorblog.cumcdebary.org/?page_id=1529

Day 12: Psalms of Meditation

guard-heartToday’s Reading
Psalm 119:9-16, 41-48

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
How can young people keep their way pure? By guarding it according to your word. – Psalm 119:9

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. – Proverbs 4:23

Observation
In the scriptures, the heart is far more than an organ which pumps blood. It is the core of one’s being; the throne of our deepest desires, imaginings and beliefs. Many things vie for that royal seat: self interest, notoriety, security, wealth, fear, things, love… Whatever or whoever wear’s the crown of our heart rules the rest of us.

Christians chose to place God on the throne of their heart. The difficulty is keeping God there. Not because God runs away, but because we offer our hearts so easily to others. The psalmist reminds us to guard our hearts from inferior rulers, to be persistent and intentional about seeking the One, True Living God. How do we do this? By meditating and treasuring God’s Word. Look at all the practical ways the psalmist offers to do this: seeking, focusing (not straying, fixing), cultivating a teachable spirit, declaring, delighting, meditating, remembering. In short, meditating on God’s Word is more yummm than ommmm.

Meditation is the devotional practice of pondering the words of a verse, or verses of Scripture, with a receptive heart, allowing the Holy Spirit to take the written Word and apply it as the living word to the inner being. – Campbell McAlpine

Application
God draws near but does not force the issue. We have the freedom and responsibility to draw near to God in return.

A young brave was filled with internal conflict. He went to the chief of the village and told him that he felt as though he had two wolves inside of him all the time. One of the wolves was brave and strong. He was filled with goodness and light for everyone and everything around him. But the other wolf was hostile, angry, and intolerant. It was always seeking to hurt everyone and everything around it. The young brave explained that some days one wolf was stronger, and other days the other wolf seemed to be winning. “Can you tell me which one of these two wolves will eventually win out and gain control?” he asked the chief. “It’s quite simple,” replied the wise old man. “The one that gains control and wins will always be whichever one you feed.” – Native American Story

Prayer
Welcome Sovereign, take your rightful place on the throne of my heart. For you alone are just and true, steadfast and merciful. With you alone is the wellspring of life and grace. All others will fail me. I know because I have followed far too many. Forgive my foolish and wandering ways. Banish them from my being. Teach me to stand watch over my heart, to fix my eyes on you and your ways. Help me to feast on your word and to delight in your wisdom, for only then will I treasure you as you treasure me. Amen.

For a worship resource entitled Seeking Christ, the Word of God click here

For an excellent resource on how to meditate on God’s Word, click here

***********
You are invited to join me on a summer adventure through one of the most beloved books in the Bible, Psalms.  To download the Summer in the Psalms reading plan, click here Psalms Reading Plan

As you read, you are encouraged to use the SOAP Method for keeping a spiritual journal, as taught at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. For more information on this simple and powerful way of engaging the Word of God, please click here or use the simple instructions provided in the reading plan itself.

I look forward to reading your comments and to all that Jesus will do in you and through you as you seek him this summer. – Lisa <><

For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Day 11: Psalms to God's Justice

Psalm 120:7 "I am for peace, but when I speak they are for war." From a French publication of paintings by Benejou Rabinowicz based on the Psalms entitled Benn.

Today’s Reading
Psalms 7, 26, 82

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous, you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God.
– Psalm 7:9

Observation
In Psalm 7, the author is in deep trouble- pursued and persecuted by lying, scheming enemies so strong and violent they are compared to ravenous lions. In great need, the psalmist turns to God for sanctuary and salvation. Save me! Deliver me! Rise up, O Lord against the fury of my enemies! Let the evil of the wicked come to an end!

What’s so amazing about this psalm are the pauses for self reflection in the midst of the pleas for help. Reread verse 3, 8, and 9. See the psalmist asking, “How have I contributed to this conflict? Is this an appropriate consequence for my actions or am I just getting caught in the backwash of other people’s sin? Judge me and test me, too.”

It’s logical for us to want God to save us from our enemies, but it takes real spiritual maturity to pursue the lessons of God’s discipline for ourselves as well.

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.- Martin Luther King, Jr.

We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice,
we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief.
Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now.
You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

-The Talmud

Application
Praying for God’s justice applies not only to others, but also to us.

Matthew 7:12
Jesus said, “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you;
for this is the law and the prophets.”

Prayer
Righteous Judge, Seer of seers, test my mind and heart. Help me to recognize my destructive ways. Make real to me my contributions to conflict. Thank you for your gifts of discipline and discernment. In your great mercy, deliver me from myself as well as those who wish me harm. Fill me with your Spirit. Empower me to end injustice in your Name and for your Glory. Amen.

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For a Reader’s Theater version of Psalm 7, click here

You are invited to join me on a summer adventure through one of the most beloved books in the Bible, Psalms.  To download the Summer in the Psalms reading plan, click here Psalms Reading Plan

As you read, you are encouraged to use the SOAP Method for keeping a spiritual journal, as taught at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. For more information on this simple and powerful way of engaging the Word of God, please click here or use the simple instructions provided in the reading plan itself.

I look forward to reading your comments and to all that Jesus will do in you and through you as you seek him this summer. – Lisa <><

PS- For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.