Live Hope, Give Hope: a Plan to Share the Goodness of Jesus this Christmas

live-hope-give-hope-1

Live Hope, Give Hope
A plan to share the goodness of Jesus this Christmas

  • Helping
  • Offering
  • Praying
  • Encouraging

December 1: Luke 1:5-25
Zechariah and Gabriel
Merciful God, you offer me new life. Help me receive it and believe it.
– Hold the door for people today and say to them what you’d want to hear.

December 2: Luke 1:26-38
Mary and Gabriel
Holy One, reveal my role in your saving work and give me the courage to say yes.
– Do one thing out of your comfort zone for someone.

December 3: Isaiah 9:2-7                
Isaiah’s Prophecy
Lord of Life, fill me with your hope and light!
– Celebrate the season of light. Decorate your home or a neighbor’s

December 4: worship and rest

December 5: Luke 1:26-38
Mary and the Holy Spirit
Power of the Most High, overshadow me and make your home in me.
– Tell three people that they’re valuable and needed

December 6: Luke 1:39-45
Mary Visits Elizabeth
Jesus, fill me with a spirit of hospitality so I may see and welcome all people as you do.
– Go out of your way today to make someone feel at home

December 7: Luke 1:46-56
Mary’s Song
Mighty God, open my lips with a witness to your just and saving power.
– Tell someone how God has changed your life

December 8: Luke 1:57-80
Zechariah’s Prayer
Holy Spirit, complete your saving work in my life and fill my mouth with praise.
– Say thank you to as many people as you can today

December 9: Matthew 1:1-17
Genealogy of Jesus
God of the Ages, help me to believe and respond to your plan, even when your plan is far beyond my imagining.
– Connect with one person today that it’s been too long

December 10: Isaiah 61:1-8            
The Prophet Isaiah
Hallelujah to our Savior, our Healer, our Deliverer!
– Set three alarms to pray for someone’s salvation throughout the day

December 11: worship and rest

December 12: Matthew 1:18-25
Joseph’s Dream
Holy Comforter, you are near when my dream dies.
You are near the brokenhearted. Thanks be to you.

– Ask, “How can I help?” as many times as possible today

December 13: Matthew 1:18-25
God With Us
O come, O come Emmanuel, encourage me with the promise of your steadfast presence and love.
– Make invitations to Christmas Worship Services

December 14: Luke 2:1-7
No Room
Gift of Heaven, order my desiring and my time so I don’t miss you this season.
– Set aside 15 minutes to be quiet with Jesus

December 15: Luke 2:1-7
Jesus Is Born
O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray.
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.- Phillips Brooks

– Belly laugh with someone. Look for laughter and multiply it.

December 16: Luke 2:8-14
Angels and Shepherds
Son of Mary, Son of God, bring peace to all on earth.
– Call someone and sing your favorite Christmas song

December 17: Isaiah 11:1-11          
The Prophet Isaiah
Prince of Peace, break down every dividing wall.
– Take 15 minutes to listen to someone different from you

December 18: worship and rest

December 19: Luke 2:15-20
The Shepherds’ Visit
We welcome you O Christ, long awaited Messiah.
We receive you with joy and pray others will as well.
– Tell as many people as you can that you love their smile

December 20: John 1:1-18
Jesus, the Word of God
Jesus, make me hungry for you and your word.
– Tape a Bible verse to your mirror to memorize this week

December 21: John 1:1-18
Jesus, the Word Made Flesh
Holy Christ, I sit in wonder before your willingness to be vulnerable so we might be saved.
– Make a sacrifice or take a risk today

December 22: Luke 2:21
Jesus is Circumcised
Heavenly Father, mark me, name me, claim me as your child.
– Wear something that identifies you as a follower of Christ

December 23: Luke 2:22-38
Simeon and Anna
Faithful God, grant me a persevering and active faith.
– Send three notes or texts encouraging perseverance

December 24: Matthew 2:1-12
The Star
Bright and Morning Star, lead me with your truth and light.
– Hug someone today and tell them, “God loves you!”

December 25: worship and rest

December 26: Matthew 2:1-12
The Wise Ones
Jesus, what am I really searching for?
– Take a quiet walk with God today asking, “What do you want from me?”

December 27: Matthew 2:1-12
Gift Giving
King of Kings, receive the best I have, with all my adoration and love.
– Make a donation of money or items to a local charity

December 28: Matthew 2:13-15
Run for Your Life
Light of the World, protect all who are displaced by violence and evil.
Grant them a safe home.

– Find a map of the world and pray as you touch each country

December 29: Matthew 2:16-18
Herod’s Genocide
Lord of Life, hear our cry. Rescue your beloved.
Deliver us from bloodshed. End the madness.
– Write 12 notes saying, “You are so loved” and hide them at the grocery store, food court, library, etc. for people to find

December 30: Matthew 2:19-23
Returning from Egypt
Lord of Heaven and Earth, save me from my wandering. Lead me home.
– Pick a special spot in your home to do your devotions in 2017

December 31: Psalm 100
Prayer for New Year’s Eve
Holy Trinity, Eternal One, for the blessings of today, which remind us of the blessings of the past, which point forward to the blessings still to come we give you thanks.

Click Here for an example of how to turn this blog post into a printed brochure

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Live Hope, Give Hope © 2016 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in devotional settings with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Sermon Recording: The Blessing of God’s Word (and why I need it so badly)

Bible engagement study journalMessage: The Blessing of God’s Word (and why I need it so badly)
Scripture: Isaiah 25:6-9
Offered 1/10/16, Bible Sunday, at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

On Bible Sunday we give elementary school age children their first Bibles and rededicate ourselves to the blessing of God’s Holy Word. This day was especially wonderful because we also dedicated new pew Bibles and songbooks. Click Here for the resource we us when presenting Bibles.

Bible Reading Program 2016
The Five Day a Week, through the Bible Reading Plan from Lower Lights Publications mentioned in the sermon.

Ways to Engage God through the Bible

  • Have a plan- what to read and when/where to read it
  • Bible Buddy- for support and accountability
  • Listening – Audio Bible
  • Highlight
  • Copy a verse and carry it with you
  • Journal
  • Art/doodle a verse
  • Pray the scripture

1 Corinthians 15:54-57 NRSV
When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Revelation 21:4 NRSV
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.

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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.

© 2016 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

2015 Lenten Reading Plan: Gospel of John

2015 Lenten Reading Plan- gospel of john
It is a common practice during the 40 days of Lent to be especially intentional about setting aside time for daily Scripture reading and reflection. This post provides a plan to read through the Gospel of John in 40 days. You will notice Sundays are reserved for worship and rest. You will also notice the reading plan starts on the first Sunday of Lent, February 22, rather than Ash Wednesday. This decision was made so that the post resurrection passages in the Gospel of John are read following Easter.

The plan includes 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

The reading plan is presented in two formats: a checklist/bookmark and an extended version. The extended version includes an action for bringing each day’s scripture reading to life. While this action is appropriate for persons of all ages, it might be especially helpful for children.

To download a Microsoft Word Document of the bookmark, click below
2015 Gospel of John Lenten Reading Plan

To download a Microsoft Word Document of the extended version of the reading plan, click below
2015 Gospel of John Lenten Reading Plan, extended version

Additional Suggestions:
1. Print the bookmark on cardstock. You will get two bookmarks per page when printing front and back.
2. Add your church name, contact information and/or logo
3. Add special events as a reminder and invitation to attend
4. Use either plan at other times during the year by adjusting the dates

A huge thank you to Nicole Sallee and the Community UMC Worship Design Team for their creative help in designing the extended reading plan. – Lisa <><

Prayer: Now and Not Yet (Luke 1:5-25)

Barefoot-Walking on path2014 Bible Reading Plan for Christmas
Day 1 Reading: Luke 1:5-25
Zechariah and Gabriel

Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know that this is so?
– Luke 1:18

Prayer: Now and Not Yet
God of Now and Not Yet,
We race ahead of you,
Wanting answers now
Results now
Actions now
We see you lagging behind,
slow in coming.
Hosanna! Save Now!

God of Now and Not Yet,
We struggle to keep up,
You appear, but we are slow to believe
Slow to understand
Slow to change
Slow to act
Slow to…
You race head, pioneering into unfamiliar places,
Be still so we can keep you caged

God of Now and Not Yet,
Your Kingdom draws near and stretches into forever
Steady our steps
Till the rhythm of our faith
Keeps pace with your faithfulness
Amen

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This post is part of the 2014 Bible Reading Plan for Christmas. Click here for more information, including a list of all the readings.

Prayer: Now and Not Yet © 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.

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

You Found It! A Simple Bible Reading Plan for Christmas 2014

christmas bible reading plan rustic 4Are you looking for a simple way to connect with God this December? You found it! This Bible reading plan will walk you through the timeless Christmas story from the gospels of Matthew, Luke and John. Some of the scriptures are even repeated so you can go slow and go deep.

Set aside time in your schedule now to curl up in your favorite chair with God’s Word this season. Consider sharing this time with loved ones. Read, reflect, remember, rejoice. May your time with God this holy season bring you comfort and joy.

Merry Christmas! – Lisa <><

Click this link for a printable version of this plan.
2014 Christmas Reading Plan

Click this link for suggestions on getting the most from your Bible reading
You Can Read the Bible: Two Approaches

December 1: Luke 1:5-25
Zechariah and Gabriel
Merciful God, you offer me new life. Help me receive it and believe it.

December 2: Luke 1:26-38
Mary and Gabriel
Holy One, reveal my role in your saving work and give me the courage to say yes.

December 3: Luke 1:26-38
Mary and the Holy Spirit
Power of the Most High, overshadow me and make your home in me.

December 4: Luke 1:39-45
Mary Visits Elizabeth
Jesus, fill me with a spirit of hospitality so I may see and welcome all people as you do.

December 5: Luke 1:46-56
Mary’s Song
Mighty God, open my lips with a witness to your just and saving power.

December 6 and 7 for worship and rest

December 8: Luke 1:57-80
Zechariah’s Prayer
Holy Spirit, complete your saving work in my life and fill my mouth with praise.

December 9: Matthew 1:1-17
Genealogy of Jesus
God of the Ages, help me to believe and respond to your plan, even when your plan is far beyond my imagining.

December 10: Matthew 1:18-25
Joseph’s Dream
Holy Comforter, you are near when my dream dies. You are near the brokenhearted. Thanks be to you.

December 11: Matthew 1:18-25
God With Us
O come, O come Emmanuel, encourage me with the promise of your steadfast presence and love.

December 12: Luke 2:1-7
No Room
Gift of Heaven, order my desiring and my time so I don’t miss you this season.

December 13 and 14 for worship and rest

December 15: Luke 2:1-7
Jesus Is Born
O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray. Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.- Phillips Brooks

December 16: Luke 2:8-14
Angels and Shepherds
Son of Mary, Son of God, bring peace to all on earth.

December 17: Luke 2:15-20
The Shepherds’ Visit
We welcome you O Christ, long awaited Messiah. We receive you with joy and pray others will as well.

December 18: John 1:1-18
Jesus, the Word of God
Jesus, make me hungry for you and your word.

December 19: John 1:1-18
Jesus, the Word Made Flesh
Holy Christ, I sit in wonder before your willingness to be vulnerable so we might be saved.

December 20 and 21 for worship and rest

December 22: Luke 2:21
Jesus is Circumcised
Heavenly Father, mark me, name me, claim me as your child.

December 23: Luke 2:22-38
Simeon and Anna
Faithful God, grant me a persevering and active faith.

December 24: Matthew 2:1-12
The Star
Bright and Morning Star, lead me with your truth and light.

December 25: Matthew 2:1-12
The Wise Ones
Jesus, what am I really searching for?

December 26: Matthew 2:1-12
Gift Giving
King of Kings, receive the best I have, with all my adoration and love.

December 27 and 28 for worship and rest

December 29: Matthew 2:13-15
Run for Your Life
Light of the World, protect all who are displaced by violence and evil.
Grant them a safe home.

December 30: Matthew 2:16-18
Herod’s Genocide
Lord of Life, hear our cry. Rescue your beloved.
Deliver us from bloodshed. End the madness.

December 31: Matthew 2:19-23
Returning from Egypt
Lord of Heaven and Earth, save me from my wandering. Lead me home.

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2014 Bible Reading Plan for Christmas © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in devotional settings with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

You Can Read the Bible: Two Approaches

South Sudan Bible Reading by Steve Evans via Wikimedia Commons

South Sudan Bible Reading by Steve Evans via Wikimedia Commons

I. You Can Read the Bible by Steve Harper
One of the biggest mistakes we have made with the Bible is leaving the impression that only scholars can correctly interpret it. Everything is made so layered, nuanced, and complex that many folks instantly feel they lack the “training” and “horsepower” to make it through all the mazes.

So, they either stop trying or they become passive and wait for the “experts” to tell them what’s “right.” But the fact is, the Bible is intended to be understandable! The original languages do contain levels of insight, but their essential meanings are accessible to us all.

Here is a way to make it so in your personal reading and in your conversations with others. Take a passage, read it, and ask:
(1) What is the big idea?
(2) Why is it important?
(3) Where does it presently connect with my life–or–why is it not a part of me?
(4) Should it be part of me? If so, how can I continue (or begin) to put it into practice?

Most Bible passages will “bear fruit” when these questions are applied to them, either in private or in a group. And when you add to your own inductive study the additional resources of concordances, dictionaries, maps, and commentaries, you will find the messages of scripture influencing your life day after day.

II. SOAP
The SOAP Method for keeping a spiritual journal is practiced by thousands of Christians. I first learned of it from Wayne Cordeiro, pastor New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. For more information on this simple and powerful way of engaging the Word of God, click here for the video on their website.

Here’s a brief summary of the process.
S = Scripture
Read the Bible passage for the day. Copy the verse which catches your attention word for word into your journal.

O = Observation
Write a brief description of what is going on in the passage you read.

A = Application
Write about how your life will be different today because of what you have read.
• Lessons to be learned
• Examples to be followed or avoided
• Promises to be claimed and enjoyed
• A character trait of God revealed

P = Prayer
Write out a prayer for yourself and others based on what you read today.

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Click Here for more information on today’s featured image, South Sudan Bible Reading by Steve Evans

Blog Recommendation: A Holy Experience by Ann Voskamp

aholyexperience-logoAnn Voskamp is becoming one of my favorite bloggers. Her posts on A Holy Experience read like hot chocolate- warm, beautiful, rich, yummy. Her emotionally raw reflections are accompanied by gorgeous photography and graphics, plus helpful links and resource lists.

Her Pick of Best Bibles post is a terrific example. You’re right there, curled up with her and her kids as they read the story of Joseph and his brothers, experiencing their excitement and heartbreak. In then end, you’re moved and inspired to act, to pick up a Bible and read it to a loved one.

To send it over the top, at the end of the post, she provides a detailed list of Bible editions which are especially good for reading out loud. Bibles for all ages and situations. Many editions which were new to me.

What are your favorite blogs? What makes them meaningful to you? Share your blog treasure in the comments section below.

Blessings- Lisa <><