Quotes: Speaking Truth

speak truthEphesians 4:25, 29 NRSV
So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another…. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.

When we speak the truth about us we give others permission to do the same.
– Ruth Graham

The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls. – Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

When Jesus came, He shocked, surprised and exposed the system. Are we not called to do the same? – Tim Green, Dean of Religion, Travecca Nazarene University

Let me lay a bit more truth on us: truth and love are not mutually exclusive. Truth isn’t the heavy-handed Papa here to lay down the discipline. Real truth sets free, truth invites, truth locks hands with grace, kisses love, and outlasts all of the fashionable Facebook rants and fear-baiting rhetoric, all of the splinter-spotting by the plank-in-the-eye crowd. – Sarah Bessey, In which I tell you the truth about telling the truth

Most of history has been content with cultural truth, denominational truth, national truth, scientific truth, rational truth, factual truth, personal truth, etc. These are all needed and helpful, but the job of true religion is to detach from them, use them in the largest possible synthesis, and find the Big Truth that is beyond any of these smaller tribal truths. Jesus’ metaphor for this Big Truth beyond our little truths was the “Reign of God” or the “Kingdom of God.” Or we might say “in the light of eternity” or “in the final analysis” or “in the eyes of God.” But these are all ways of moving away from tribal thinking and looking out at life from eyes other than and larger than our own.
– Richard Rohr

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

Designing a Prayer Walk Guide

walk-shoes-walking-feet-grey-gravel-1-1024x534We want to make a difference in our communities. We’re honored for the chance to join Jesus in his saving work. Yet, it’s so easy to try to do it in our own strength. Or worse, to turn a good thing, a great thing, into something toxic.

How can we best approach our serving from the right head place and heart place? Humble, yet excellent and empowered. We can:

  • study demographics and research solutions
  • plan and train well
  • ask great questions, tuning in to the wisdom and hopes of experts and those being served
  • study scripture and pray, tuning in to the wisdom and promptings of God

Praying throughout the process is essential, including a concentrated time of prayer close to the beginning of the event. For this concentrated time, consider a prayer walk- literally walking through the spaces in which the event will be held. As you walk consider those who will serve, those who will be served, and the hopes for outcomes. Claim the promises of God in scripture and call on the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

Click this link for the Day of Hope Prayer Walk 2015
This prayer walk guide was written for a large back to school event at Trinity United Methodist Church Sarasota entitled Day of Hope. The guide includes scriptures, prompts for each space being used in the event, and a list of event partners. We walked the campus, using the prayer guide as part of the volunteer training. Each person walked in silence, at their own pace, using the prayer guide in their own way. It’s my hope that this guide will inspire you to create one for your next initiative. – Lisa <><

PS: Speaking of Day of Hope, our event was part of a much larger initiative by an organization called Hope Kids Community. Their vision is to partner every school in Sarasota county with a congregation- a simple, grass roots, faith based effort addressing the needs of local families. This movement was founded by Pam Hawn, a gifted, humble, faithful follower of Jesus Christ. The 2015 event served over 2000 students, bringing together congregations, businesses, professionals, school personnel and countless volunteers.

We were honored to serve 100 of those students and their families this year. At the event, each student received gift cards for clothing and shoes, backpacks, school supplies, books, hygiene items, medical screenings, dental screenings, vision screenings, back to school photos, family portraits, child ID kits, food for several meals, haircuts, and of course lots of love and prayer. We will continue to build relationships with our families throughout the year.

Click here for a video of photos from our event.

Sermon Recording: I, We, They, Us- Unity and the Mind of Christ (Ephesians 2:1-14)

conscious discipline brainMessage: I, We, They, Us
Scripture: Ephesians 2:1-14
Offered 7/26/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL.

We live in a world of dividing walls built on fear and labeling. Jesus breaks down the dividing walls and brings us near. Bringing us near brings in us a change of heart and mind. We no longer see our neighbors as “them” or “those people.” Instead we see them as an extension of our faith family- as “us.”

Click Here for more information on Dr. Becky Bailey and the Conscious Discipline brain theories and techniques mentioned in this message.

Click Here for the video shown near the end of the message, Remove Labels for Ramadan by Coca-cola.

I look on all the world as my parish; thus far I mean, that, in whatever part of it I am, I judge it meet, right, and my bounden duty, to declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation. – John Wesley, journal entry on June 11, 1739

***********
I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Leon and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9am or 10:30am, or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

© 2015 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Sermon Recording: Blessing to the Nations (Genesis 26:1-6, 1 Peter 2:9-10)

people cross

Message: A Blessing to the Nations
Scripture: Genesis 26:1-6; 1 Peter 2:9-10
Offered 7/5/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL at a service of prayer for our nation.

What is the heart of America?
At our worst: Ambition, Self Interest, Profit at all cost
At our best: Hope, Opportunity, Freedom

At our best, the heart of America is to be a blessing. The Founding Fathers understood this when they ratified the constitution.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Emma Lazarus understood this when she wrote the sonnet “The New Colossus” to help raise money to build the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. Her poem forever named Lady Liberty’s purpose- to be a welcoming mother, a symbol of hope to the outcasts and downtrodden of the world.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the US, understood this when he made a speech at the dedication of a statue of Francis Asbury in our nation’s capital.

“Our government rests upon religion. It is from that source that we derive our reverence for truth and justice, for equality and liberty, and for the rights of mankind. Unless the people believe in these principles they cannot believe in our government. There are only two main theories of government in the world. One rests on righteousness, the other rests on force. One appeals to reason, the other appeals to the sword. One is exemplified in a republic, the other is represented by a despotism…. Our government rests upon religion. The religious movement which Francis Asbury represented was distinctly a movement to reach the great body of the people. Just as our Declaration of Independence asserts that all men are created free, so it seems to me the founders of this [Methodist] movement were inspired by the thought that all men were worthy to hear the Word, worthy to be sought out and brought to salvation. It was this motive that took their preachers among the poor and neglected, even to criminals in the jails. As our ideal has been to bring all men to freedom, so their ideal was to bring all men to salvation.”

In the end it doesn’t matter if America is at its worst or at its best. In the power of the Holy Spirit we – God’s own people – will be the blessing God calls us to be.

***********
I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Leon and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9am or 10:30am, or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

© 2015 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Sermon Recording: Covered or Covered Up, Marriage Equality and a Call to Stay United (Psalm 32)

You can survive on your ownMessage: Covered or Cover-Up
Scripture: Psalm 32
Offered 6/28/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL following a historic week in the life of our nation: the racially motivated murders in Charleston, the removal of the Confederate flag from many public places, and the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality.

In the midst of great change and as followers of Christ, let us continue the discussions opened by these events. The church must be the safe place for honesty, questioning, seeking, listening, and caring.

Let us not hold our tongues. Let us not hold our breath. Let us hold hands in a spirit of unity based on our shared need of Jesus. We can sit in the same pew with different beliefs on social issues. Good and Godly people can disagree about how to interpret the scriptures. That doesn’t make one the villain and one the victim. – Lisa <><

Click Here to go to Humans of New York, the collection of photos and quotes mentioned in the message.

You can survive on your own
You can grow strong on your own
You can prevail on your own
But you cannot become human on your own
~ Frederick Buechner, The Sacred Journey

***********
I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Leon and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9am or 10:30am, or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

© 2015 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.