Prayer: Strive (Luke 12.29-32)

StriveFather, you know how I strive
Strive to please
Strive to keep up appearances
Strive to finish the to-do list
Strive to accomplish

I strive even in prayer

There’s a hustle within me to prove my worth
Lord, heal me

Show me the difference between
striving and mission and focus and ambition
They’re all bound up together

I see the passionate faithful
and the apathetic
and those that are clear and still and fruitful

What should I be?
How should I be?
Show me how
Show me how to live
How to trust
How to strive for your Kingdom
Your Kin-dom
that good gift you delight in giving

Luke 12:29-32
Jesus said, “Do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

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Prayer: Strive © 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
by Lisa Degrenia (www.revlisad.com)
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Walk the Walk (Ephesians 4)

sit-walk-stand 

Sermon Series: Sit Walk Stand
Inspired by Watchman Nee‘s book Sit Walk Stand, a study of Ephesians

Message 2 of 3: Walk
Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-6
Notes from a message offered Sunday, 5/26/19 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

Click Here for more information on the Ephesians Reading Challenge
Read the entire book of Ephesians 3 times in 3 weeks

The main theme of Ephesians: Moving with Christ from death to life. Christianity is a movement, a journey of faith.

In his book, Sit, Walk, Stand, Watchman Nee divides the book of Ephesians into three main sections.

  • Sit, chapters 1-3
    • Sitting with Christ, Sitting in Christ, our identity and being
  • Walk, chapters 4-6:9
    • Walking with Christ, movement of faith
  • Stand, chapter 6:10-24

“Walk” is used in the Book of Ephesians

  • Hard to find depending on what translation you use
  • Most often translated life in the NRSV and NIV translations
  • Easier to find in the King James Version and New King James Version (used 8 times)
  • The Ephesians Reading Challenge: Read the entire book of Ephesians 3 times in 3 weeks. It’s 6 chapters long, so read chapter 1 Monday, chapter 2 Tuesday, and you’ll finish on Saturday.

Ephesians 4:1 NRSV
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called,

Ephesians 4:1 NKJV
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,

If a person is really living their faith we say they’re Walking the Walk. What does Walking the Walk look like?

  • Moral, Just, Trustworthy
  • Commitment to Christ
  • Caring
  • Value fellowship/community
  • Passionate
  • Visible joy
  • Makes an impression – like footprints in the sand

Barefoot-Walking on path

Walking the Walk

  • The practical living of faith in Jesus Christ
  • Our life in Christ out in the world by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us and through us
  • Our lives look different because we are walking with Christ. They make an impression.

Ephesians 4:1 NKJV I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,

We display who we are in Christ in our conduct and our choices. It’s for everyone to see. Who we are in what we do. Our being is shown in our doing.       

  • Jesus says, “You are the Body of Christ.” Our faith is lived out in our flesh. Incarnation, skin in the game
  • They will know you are Christians by your love- your loving words your loving actions, your loving choices, sacrifices, generosity, life

Show Me from Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady
Words Words Words I’m so sick of words. I get words all day through. First from him, now from you. Is that all you blighters can do? Don’t talk of stars burning above. If you’re in love show me. Tell me no dreams filled with desire. If you’re on fire show me.

Show that you are a follower of Jesus Christ. Show that the Holy Spirit is at work in you. We leave our former walk/way of living for a new walk/way of living with Christ. We turn, we repent and we become a follower of Jesus Christ. Our life looks different because we are moving in a new direction with a new motivation.

Ephesians 5:1-2 NKJV Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

Ephesians 2:10 NKJV For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 4:1-6 NRSV I, therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

Ephesians 5:8 NKJV For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

Ephesians 5:15-16 NKJV   See then that you walk circumspectly (watchfully, awake, intentionally), not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

This is a life worthy of giving your life to.

mlk protesters win by loveRev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Quote on Loving Your Enemies
To our most bitter opponents, we say: ‘We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. Throw us in jail, and we shall still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we shall still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and beat us and leave us half dead, and we shall still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom, but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.

There is an idea of Christianity that what it means to be a Christian is to be nice, to follow the laws of the land, to attend church, give money to charity, and do some volunteer work.

That version of Christianity does not require the saving power of Jesus’ death and resurrection. That version of Christianity does not require the power of the Holy Spirit living in you and through you.

It can be done in mere human strength. It is humanism. It is Star Trek. They boldly go where no one has gone before because they’ve pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps. They have discovered the technology for it, they’ve learned to be better people who make better choices.

The transformation that happens in a life because of Jesus Christ, because of the power of the Holy Spirit at work, is what Dr. King described. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Christianity is a life so transformed it makes an impression. You walk into a room and people sense the character change in you brought on by the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Christianity is a life that takes our baptismal vows seriously and lives them out

  • I renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of my sin.
  • I accept the freedom and power God gives me to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.
  • I confess Jesus Christ as my Savior, put my whole trust in his grace, and promise to serve him as my Lord, in union with the church which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations, and races.
  • According to the grace given to me, I will remain a faithful member of Christ’s holy church and serve as Christ’s representative in the world.

It is time for a robust, alive faith. It’s time for a faith that does scary things. I want to walk as a child of the light. It’s scary to say this because now you and God can hold me accountable. Ok Jesus, what are you going to ask of me?

And yet, it is what real faith is. I want to be known as a child of the light. I want to be known as a person who walks the walk. I pray you want to be known the same way. This is who you are in Christ. This is the fullness of walking the walk.

Prayer: God we recognize we cannot walk the walk in our own strength. We recognize that it’s so good to just be comfortable. We recognize there’s something bigger and great which you are calling us to. So fill us with your Spirit. Make us alive in you.

Fill us, so it overflows with all we come in contact with. Fill us with your mercy and grace so it overflows as we walk. Fill us with your power so it does abundantly more than we can ask or imagine as we walk.

Lord, we know this filling comes first by sitting in you. We cannot walk unless we sit. We will sit in your presence. We will sit with your Word. We will rest in you and receive so we may walk.

Thank you for teaching us this truth. May our lives bring you glory. May your Kingdom come through us. Amen.

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Walk Sermon © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

 

A Tale of Two Baptisms (Romans 6)

adult background beach blue

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

A Tale of Two Baptisms
Scripture: Romans 6:3-11
Notes from a message offered Easter Sunday, 4/28/19 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

Reading: Romans 6:3-11

Testimony: Timothy’s Baptism in the ICU

Testimony: Towery Boys’ Baptism on Siesta Key

Recommitting to a robust faith, awake, alive, thankful for all God has and is doing for us in our baptism.

We commit to living our baptismal vows:
Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sins?

Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?

Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in His grace, and promise to serve Him as your Lord, in union with the church, which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations, and races?

According to the grace given to you, will you remain a faithful member of Christ’s holy church and serve as Christ’s representative in the world?

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A Tale of Two Baptisms © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Sermon based on Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss (2 Corinthians 5)

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Sermon Series: The Gospel of Dr. Seuss
Message 2 of 6: Green Eggs and Ham

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:14-20
Notes from a message offered Sunday, 1/27/19 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

Dr. Seuss Trivia
1. What is the first Dr. Seuss book to be published? And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. It was rejected 27 times before it was finally published by Vanguard Press in 1937

Top 5 Best Selling Dr. Seuss Books

  • #5           Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (1990)
  • #4           Dr. Seuss’s ABC (1963)
  • #3           The Cat in the Hat (1957)
  • #2           One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (1960)
  • #1           Green Eggs and Ham (1960)

Bennett Cerf, Dr. Seuss’s editor, bet him that he couldn’t write a book using 50 different words or less. (The Cat in the Hat used 225 different words) He took the challenge and came up with Green Eggs and Ham, which uses exactly 50 different words.

The 50 words, by the way, are: a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.

green eggs and ham

Read of Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.

Sam-I-am is…

  • Determined
  • Offering something good, believes it down to his bones
  • In it for the long game
  • Inventive
  • Creative
  • Joyfully Persistent

Joyful Persistence
Have you ever been determined to offer someone something good?

  • Would you, could you buy this house?
  • Would you, could you be my spouse?
  • Would you, could you eat your greens?
  • Would you claim sobriety?
  • Would you could you come to Why?
  • Or drive for Fish, give that a try?
  • Or serve our preschool families?
  • Or come to this week’s POV?

Sam I AmWhat if Green Eggs and Ham represented the Good News? What if all followers of Jesus Christ were as joyfully persistent as Sam? (Dr. Seuss did not intend this interpretation)

  • Would you, could you come to Christ?
  • Repent, be baptized, claim new life?

Sam takes his calling seriously – He goes, goes, goes therefore to make disciples of those who like green eggs and ham. He is convinced they are good. Sam is joyfully persistent in staying in relationship, offering, inviting, entreating. He is an ambassador for green eggs and ham. We are ambassadors for Christ.

What drives Sam to try again and again – what would drive us?

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 For the love of Christ urges us on because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.

We understand resistance. Resistance to try new things, to understand a different perspective, to meet new people, to go to new places. Why does everything have to keep changing?

We know it takes time to open ourselves to something new. It takes many invitations before we say, “yes.” So why do we give up so quickly in offering something so needed and so good, a saving relationship with Jesus?

We know it takes many invitations, so let’s just expect it and do it. Let’s be joyfully persistent so others can know salvation in Christ Jesus.

Reading of 2 Corinthians 5:17-20  So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to usSo we are ambassadors for Christ since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

  • Go therefore and claim your call
  • Share Good News with one and all
  • Listen deeply, share your story,
  • Point to Christ for all the glory.
  • Try and try and try again
  • What’s there to lose, so much to win
  • Would you, could you come to Christ?
  • Repent, be baptized, claim new life?

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Green Eggs and Ham Sermon © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Sermon based on Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss (1 Peter 1)

sermon series dr seuss 1110 x 624

Sermon Series: The Gospel of Dr. Seuss
Message 1 of 6: Horton Hatches the Egg

Scripture: 1 Peter 1:3-7
Notes from a message offered Sunday, 1/20/19 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

Why are Dr. Seuss books classics?

  • Rhythm and Rhyme
  • Inventive Illustrations
  • Universal Themes
  • Modern Parables- Stories with a deeper meaning. Those deeper meanings are often Biblical truths.

horton hatches the egg bookReading of Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss

Horton makes a courageous commitment. He remains faithful to that commitment even when doing so leads to

  • Frustration
  • Inconvenience
  • Pain
  • Sickness
  • Ridicule
  • Sacrifice
  • Threat of death
  • Sold into slavery

What breaks my heart is the return of Lazy Mayzie and her reclaiming the egg she abandoned. The story has a happy ending (Elephant Bird!) Even so, Horton would have remained true even without reward. He’s courageously committed.

“I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent!”

Does anyone do this anymore? Have you ever made a Horton level commitment? What prevents you?

  • What if I commit to the wrong thing?
  • What if I miss out on something better? I’ll be trapped!
  • I’ve got plenty of time to make a commitment later
  • What if the commitment impacts the way I want to live my life like it did Horton?
  • As Lazy Mayzie says, “It’s work, how I hate it, I’d much rather play!”

Commitment is easy to come by when it is superficial, doesn’t cost us anything, temporary, or new. (How are those New Year’s resolutions going?) Commitment takes work. The work is to keep at it- day after day, year after year after year.

Eugene Peterson wrote a book entitled A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. It’s hard but it’s worth it.

Keys to Making a Horton Level Commitment. (Adapted from 5 Keys to Commitment by Ryan Dunn)

1) Define “The Why”, the deep reason for the commitment. I am committed to my sobriety because… I am committed to my marriage because… I am committed to starting this business because… I am a committed follower of Jesus Christ because…

2) Remember “The Why.” Keep it in front of you, especially when the commitment becomes hard work and sacrifice.

3) Live the commitment moment to moment. I’m going to eat healthy for the rest of my life. No! I’m going to make the best next faithful choice. Little choices add up to a big and lasting commitment.

4) Expect some failure. It will happen. Choose to fail forward: practice forgiveness, learn from the failure, keep showing up.

5) Don’t go it alone. We need the gift of each other and we need God.

Who can you think of who’s made a Horton level commitment? Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Theresa, Billy Graham, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. We think of the super saints. Ordinary people can make a Horton level commitment as well.

Have you made a Horton level commitment to Jesus?    

When we decide to believe in Jesus without making a commitment to follow Him, we become nothing more than fans.- Kyle Idleman, Not a Fan

Reading of 1 Peter 1:3-7. “The Why” of making a Horton level commitment to Jesus.

  • His great mercy
  • New birth
  • A living hope
  • Jesus already made a Horton level commitment to us in his coming, homelessness, ridicule, torture, death, and resurrection
  • an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. No situation or evil can touch it.
  • Salvation and Heaven
  • God’s protection

This is why we rejoice and keep to a courageous commitment in the midst of suffering and trials for the sake of Christ.

Have you made a Horton level commitment to Jesus? You can. Anyone can.   

  • Not a nominal Christian- in name only
  • Not a CEO (Christmas Easter only)
  • Not a commitment of convenience
  • Not a fair-weather Christian
  • Not a fan

WORSHIP RESOURCES
For Courage to do Justice by Alan Paton
O Lord,
open my eyes that I may see the needs of others;
open my ears that I may hear their cries;
open my heart so that they need not be without succor;
let me not be afraid to defend the weak because of the anger of the strong,
nor afraid to defend the poor because of the anger of the rich.
Show me where love and hope and faith are needed,
and use me to bring them to those places.
And so open my eyes and my ears
that I may this coming day be able to do some work of peace for thee.
Amen.

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Horton Hatches The Egg Sermon © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.