You are the Resurrection and the Life, an affirmation and prayer based on John 11

I am resurrection and life 1000x

John 11:25-26
Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

In the midst of
hunger, disease, and great need
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
conquest, prejudice, and oppression
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
water, bread, and wine
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
questions, promises, and prayers
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
loneliness, hot tears, and agonizing decisions
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
betrayal, saving your own skin, and abandonment
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
injustice, brutality, and the misuse of power
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
mocking, torture, and excruciating pain
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
grave clothes, spices, and stone
You are the Resurrection and the Life

*****************************
This affirmation/prayer was inspired by Jesus final hours. It is amazing to me how his situations speak to our modern experience in fresh and relevant ways.

Consider adapting this affirmation/prayer for a group setting by having all present speak “You are the Resurrection and the Life.”

You are the Resurrection and the Life © 2017 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.

Order of Worship for a Spring Healing Service

sprout-seed 4

Pre-Service Set up

  • Helpers to welcome and pass out programs
  • Purple strips of paper in the pews
  • Packets of seeds with a tag containing Psalm 126:5-6. Place the packets on communion rail as a gift to take home.
  • Containers of anointing oil on the communion rail to be used by the prayer helpers
  • Tissues at communion rail and in the pews
  • Table with 4 purple candles and 1 white Christ candle
  • Box of Matches

Feel free to change the music as best fits your setting. In the provided songs, UMH stands for United Methodist Hymnal and FWS stands for The Faith We Sing.

Gathering Music
Quiet music as people arrive

Welcome
ONE:
Welcome. We’re so glad you came.

Why have you come? The reasons for coming are many. There’s so much which is painful in our lives and in our world- so much in need of healing and wholeness. We gather in the midst of suffering to remember- to remember God is good. God is strong. God is near. We are not alone and we have every reason to hold on to hope.

Opening Prayer
ALL:
Merciful God,
In this season of new buds and blooms, we come to you weary and grieving
In this season of fresh fruits and vegetables, we hunger for healing and relief
In this season of sweet spring light, our hearts are veiled in sorrow and shadow
Will this season ever end?

“Yes.” We hear your, “Yes.”
Those who are weary will find rest
Those who mourn will be comforted
Those who hunger will be filled
The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it.

Strike a match and light the white Christ candle

Lighting the Christ Candle
ONE:
We welcome you O Christ, our Savior, Healer, and Hope.
In the midst of our suffering, help us to worship you in spirit and in truth.

Song
I Want Jesus to Walk With Me (UMH 521)

Scripture: Psalm 126, The Voice Translation
Remember when the Eternal brought back the exiles to Zion?
It was as if we were dreaming—
Our mouths were filled with laughter.
Our tongues were spilling over into song.
The word went out across the prairies and deserts,
Across the hills, over the oceans wide, from nation to nation:
“The Eternal has done remarkable things for them.”
We shook our heads. All of us were stunned—
The Eternal has done remarkable things for us.
We were beyond happy, beyond joyful.

And now, Eternal One, some are held captive and poor.
Release them, and restore our fortunes
As the dry riverbeds of the South
Spring to life when the rains come at last.
Those who walk the fields to sow,
Casting their seed in tears,
Will one day tread those same long rows,
Amazed by what’s appeared.
Those who weep as they walk and plant with sighs
Will return singing with joy, when they bring home the harvest.

Message

Candle Lighting
Instrumental underscore during the candle lighting. Stop underscore at the instructions for the prayer time.

Strike a match and light a purple candle

ONE:
This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of truth.
There is no need to hide or deny. God welcomes us as we are.

ALL:
Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. ~Psalm 86:1

Strike a match and light a purple candle

ONE:
This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of lament.
We recognize our wounds and cry out to God.
We accept God’s invitation to express every feeling and question.

ALL:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest. ~ Psalm 22:1-2

Strike a match and light a purple candle

ONE:
This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of courage.
Courage to be honest, to seek help, to comfort one another.
Courage to dare to love and dream again.

ALL:
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. ~ Psalm 28:7

Strike a match and light a purple candle

ONE:
This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of hope.
God is good. God is strong. God is near, leading us to a day without tears and pain, without sin and death. Healing and deliverance are coming; if not now, then on that day.

ALL:
By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance, O God of our salvation; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas. ~Psalm 65:5

Song
I Need Thee Every Hour (UMH #397, 1-3)
The song leaders sing the verses, all sing the chorus

Prayer Time
ONE:
You are encouraged to write your burdens and sorrows on the purple strips of paper and then place them on the table with the candles. Following that, make your way to the rail. Persons are available to pray with you as you stand or kneel. Anointing oil is also available. Please take a packet of seeds with you as you return to your seat as a reminder of the good things God is planting in your life today.

Following the instructions, provide an instrumental underscore during the prayer time.

Offer the following prayer after everyone is seated again following the prayer time

ONE:
Jesus, you are full of compassion, you understand our pain. Our suffering changes our experience of you and our experience of everyday life. We are caught in the midst of remembering happier times, grieving what might have been, and navigating a new normal. In our loss we feel cut off- disconnected, adrift, alone.

Root us in your steadfast love. Plant deep within us in your faithful promises.
Hold us, and all who weep this spring throughout the world-
those who mourn, those far from home, those looking for work,
the lonely, the addicted, the abused and their abusers,
the estranged, the oppressed, the enslaved,
the poor, victims and oppressors of war, the sick and dying.

Shelter and sustain us all with your healing and hope, your peace and light.
We love you, we need you, we trust you,
We ask this in your name Jesus, praying as you taught us…

ALL:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name,
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen

Song
Change My Heart, O God (CCLI Song # 1565, FWS #2152)

Affirmation: For Grace to Bear Suffering
© 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

ALL:
I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings
As Christ bore his for me
With Dignity, Humility, Forgiveness

I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings
As Christ bore his for me
With Compassion, Truth, Perseverance

I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings
As Christ bore his for me
Knowing my sufferings are not like his
And not like others
Yet shared with the universal longings of all humanity
Real and Painful and Deep
No need for comparison, only companionship

I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings
As Christ bore his for me
As Christ bore his for all
All I will ever suffer
All we all will ever suffer
Will be made known, will be made whole
Through his love and self-giving

In this I believe and trust and follow and hope
In this I am made new
We are made new
Thanks be to God! Hallelujah! Amen!

Passing the Peace

Songs
He Has Made Me Glad (CCLI Song #1493; FWS #2270)
I’m So Glad Jesus Lifted Me (FWS #2151)

ONE:
Following the blessing, you are welcome to stay as long as you like. Persons are available to speak with you further about your situation. If it would be helpful, the pastor would be glad to set an appointment with you. You can reach the pastor at…

Blessing

Answer Us, a prayer based on Mark 9:14-29

mark-9-help-unbelief

Prayer based on Mark 9:14-29, Jesus healing a boy possessed by a destructive spirit

Answer us, Great God of Justice,
Lord of Hope
Bringer of Change and New Life
Have mercy
Draw near
Finish your good and generous work

Release us from
the chains of this moment, born of imprisoned years
the distractions and false calls of those who cannot help
the apathy keeping us from seeing, speaking, and caring
the smallness of your Kingdom stealing our courage to try
the slowness of your Kingdom chipping away at our enduring

We believe, help our unbelief
Raise us from our comas to stand with you
Release our petified voices
Deliver us of our demons

You have made us new
You are making us new
You are making all things new

*************
Answer us, a prayer based on Mark 9:14-29 © 2017 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.

Order of Worship for a Blue Christmas Service (also known as a Longest Night Service)

blue-nativity

A Blue Christmas Service is offered especially for those hurting during the holidays. It’s often offered December 21, the longest night of the year. Some come because they are mourning the death of a loved one. Some are far from home. Some suffer from illness, addiction, or estrangement. Some are lonely, struggling financially, or in conflict with another. Some hurt because of the great pain, need, and violence in our nation and world. The reasons for coming are many. We gather in the midst of suffering to remember God is good. God is strong. God is near. We are not alone and we have every reason to hold on to hope.

Pre-Service Set Up
People to greet and pass out programs
Blue strips of paper in the pews
Evergreen clippings place at the prayer rail
Anointing oil for prayer helpers
Tissues at the prayer rail and in pews
A table with 4 blue pillar candles and 1 white pillar candle
A box of matches
Blue tablecloth or white with blue runner for the table

Gathering Music

Welcome
This might include a brief explanation of the purpose of the service

Opening Prayer
One or all praying
Merciful God,
In this season of rejoicing, we come to you weary and grieving
In this season of feasting, we hunger for healing and relief
In this season of light, our hearts are veiled in sorrow and shadow
Will this season ever end?

“Yes.” We hear your, “Yes.”
Those who are weary will find rest
Those who mourn will be comforted
Those who hunger will be filled
The Light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness will not overcome it.

Lighting the Christ Candle
One person says– We welcome you O Christ, Light of the World. In the midst of our suffering, help us to worship you in spirit and in truth.

Strike a match and light the white candle

Song
Suggestion- a soloist singing Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant

Scripture Isaiah 11:1-5, The Voice Translation
One person reads the Scripture
On this humbled ground,
a tiny shoot, hopeful and promising, will sprout from Jesse’s stump
a branch will emerge from his roots to bear fruit.
And on this child from David’s line, the Spirit of the Eternal One will alight and rest.
By the Spirit of wisdom and discernment He will shine like the dew.
By the Spirit of counsel and strength He will judge fairly and act courageously.
By the Spirit of knowledge and reverence of the Eternal One, He will take pleasure in honoring the Eternal.
He will determine fairness and equity;
He will consider more than what meets the eye,
And weigh in more than what he’s told.
So that even those who can’t afford a good defense
will nevertheless get a fair and equitable judgment.
With just a word, He will end wickedness and abolish oppression.
With nothing more than the breath of His mouth, He will destroy evil.
He will clothe himself with righteousness and truth
The impulse to right wrongs will be in his blood.

A brief message of hope is offered based on the Isaiah reading

Candle Lighting
Instrumental underscore- O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Light one of the candles following each passage from Psalms
One person reads what each candle represents
The following passage from Psalms may be read by one or all persons

This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of truth.
There is no need to hide or deny. God welcomes us as we are.

Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. ~Psalm 86:1

This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of lament.
We recognize our wounds and cry out to God.
We accept God’s invitation to express every feeling and question.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest. ~ Psalm 22:1-2

This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of courage.
Courage to be honest, to seek help, to comfort one another.
Courage to dare to love and dream again.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. ~ Psalm 28:7

This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of hope.
God is good. God is strong. God is near, leading us to a day without tears and pain, without sin and death. Healing and deliverance are coming; if not now, then on that day.

By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance, O God of our salvation; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas. ~Psalm 65:5

Song
Suggestion- a soloist singing Cry out to Jesus by Third Day

Instructions for Prayer Time

  • You are encouraged to write your burdens and sorrows on the blue strips of paper and then place them on the table with the candles
  • Following that, make your way to the prayer rail
  • Persons are available to pray with you as you stand or kneel
  • Anointing oil is also available.
  • Please take an evergreen clipping with you as you return to your seat as a reminder of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness

Instrumental underscore following the instructions

Prayer after everyone is seated.
One person praying as they place their hand on the blue strips of paper.

Jesus, you are full of compassion, you understand our pain. Our suffering changes our experience of you and the celebration of your birth. We are caught between remembering happier times and grieving what might have been. In our loss we feel cut off- disconnected, adrift, alone.

Root us in your steadfast love. Anchor us in your faithful promises.
Hold us, and all who weep this holy season throughout the world-
those who mourn, those far from home, those looking for work,
the lonely, the addicted, the abused,
the estranged, the oppressed, the enslaved,
the poor, victims of war, the sick and dying.
Shelter and sustain us all with your healing and hope, your peace and light.

We love you, we need you, we trust you,
We ask this in your name Jesus, praying as you taught us…

Everyone prays
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name,
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen

Song
Suggestion- The Only Real Peace I Have by Allison Speer

Affirmation of Faith for Christmas
Adapted from the poem First Coming by Madeleine L’Engle.

ONE: Christians, what do you believe?

ALL: God did not wait till the world was ready,
till nations were at peace.
God came when the Heavens were unsteady
and prisoners cried out for release.
God did not wait for the perfect time.
God came when the need was deep and great.
God dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine.
God did not wait till hearts were pure.
In joy God came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame,
God came and God’s Light would not go out.
God came to a world which did not mesh;
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh,
the Maker of the stars was born.
We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
For to share our grief, to touch our pain,
God came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

Passing the Peace

Song Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
All singing
Joyful, joyful, we adore thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away.
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!

Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blest,
Well-spring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our brother,
All who live in love are thine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.

Mortals, join the mighty chorus which the morning stars began;
Love divine is reigning o’er us, binding all within its span.
Ever singing, march we onward,
Victors in the midst of strife;
Joyful music leads us sunward, in the triumph song of life.

Blessing
Following the blessing, you are welcome to stay as long as you like. Persons are available to speak with you further about your situation. You are also welcome to set an appointment with the pastor or director of congregational care. (give contact information)

***********
This prayer is printed as a gift for persons to take home.
I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings as Christ bore his for me
With Dignity
Humility
Forgiveness

I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings as Christ bore his for me
With Compassion
Truth
Perseverance

I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings as Christ bore his for me
Knowing my sufferings are not like his
and not like others
yet shared with the universal longings of all humanity
Real and Painful and Deep
No need for comparison
Only companionship

I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings as Christ bore his for me
As Christ bore his for all
All I will ever suffer
All we all will ever suffer
Will be made known
Will be made whole
Through his love and self giving

In this I believe
and trust
and follow
and hope
In this I am made new
Thanks be to God!
Hallelujah!
Amen!

For Grace to Bear Suffering © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Blue Christmas Service © 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- Mary’s Song (Luke 1)

why-we-hope-why-we-sing

Message: Mary’s Song 
Scriptures: Luke 1:46-55
Offered 11/27/16, the first Sunday of Advent, at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

Click Here for the video of Norah and Mr.Dan

Perhaps what we need most is a transforming vision, a vision that’s deep enough, one that can take us from where we are to a new place; one that opens the future up to hope. More than anything, we must become people of hope. – Miriam Therese MacGillis

We have hope because God will right the wrongs.
Mary describes this in terms of reversal.

  • The lowly are raised and the lofty are brought low, so all may know the saving grace of God (vs 52)
  • The hungry are filled with good things and all that is not good is revealed to be empty (vs 53)

This isn’t socialism and it isn’t a sunshine and lolly pops reversal of fortune, this is reversal of future.

  • Sin separates, so God in Jesus reverses it, bringing reconciliation and relationship, breaking down the dividing walls.
  • Sin breaks, fractures, shatters, so God reverses it, mending and re-membering
  • Sin disorders and creates chaos, so God brings order and peace
  • Sin twists a good gift of God into something it was never meant to be, so God reverses it to it’s rightful use. The rightful use of medicine, food and drink, love and sex, buying and selling. The crooked are made straight and the rough places, a plane
  • Sin wounds and sickens our soul, so in Jesus God restores our innocence and brings us healing
  • Sin disintegrates. Everything falls apart. Everything goes to ash. God reverses it. Salvation means wholeness. In Jesus, we become integrated, wholehearted people. People of integrity. God breathes life into dust.
  • Sin brings death. In Jesus we are raised to life- new life, true life, eternal life. Reversal is redemption and resurrection.

From Living with Purpose in a Worn-Out Body by Missy Buchanan
Lord, I need a big dose of hope today.
None of the pie-in-the-sky kind.
Not even a pretty-sure guess.
I need the real kind of hope that brings lightness to a heavy day.
I am tired of gritting my teeth,
trying to swallow the pain that is my reality.
When I look back on my life,
I see how you proved faithful time after time.
There were moments I thought you had forgotten me
only to discover you were holding me so close I couldn’t see.
So if the stubborn pain refuses to subside for a while,
I will still whisper your name in praise.
Refocus my mind on you, Lord. Only on you.
It is there I find hope.

Click Here for the Live Hope, Give Hope December devotion described at the end of the message.

Click Here to check out Incendiary Magnificat by Steve Garnaas Holmes

I long to bear your justice, O God,
to the captives and captors,
to the bullies and the bullied.

I long to balance my life, O Christ,
to be fair and faithful.

I long to stand with
the falsely accused,
the poorly loved,
the cruelly silenced.

I long to speak your justice, O Spirit,
to sing Mary’s song,
to sit with poor shepherds,
to whisper God-with-us,
God-with-us,
Emmanuel.

I long to bear your justice, O God,
to be clothed with mercy
and emboldened by truth.
This is my Advent prayer. Amen.
– Pamela C. Hawkins, Prepare the Way

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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.

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

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.

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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- There’s No Place Like Home (Revelation 21 and 1 Peter 2)

finding-god-in-oz

Sermon Series – Finding God in Oz
The Wizard of Oz is a powerful allegory for so many of our foundational Christian beliefs. Walk with us as we Find God in Oz.

Message: There’s No Place Like Home, a Message on the Now and Not Yet of Heaven
Scriptures: Revelation 21:1-5, 22-26 and 1 Peter 2:9-12
Offered 10/30/16, All Saints Sunday, at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

Excerpt of At the Ballet from the musical A Chorus Line
Up a steep and very narrow stairway to the voice like a metronome
Up a steep and very narrow stairway
It wasn’t paradise, it wasn’t paradise, it wasn’t paradise
but it was home

From Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED Talk, Success, failure and the drive to keep creating
Gilbert is a successful author, best known for her memoir Eat, Pray, Love. It took 6 years of failure before Gilbert was finally published. Why did she continue to put herself through that pain? “I loved writing more than I hated failing at writing. Which is to say I loved writing more than I loved my own ego. Which is ultimately to say I loved writing more than myself.”

Writing is her home. She returns to it again and again in failure or success. “I will always be safe from the random hurricanes of outcome as long as I never forget where I rightfully live.”

Revelation 21 is one of many places in the scripture where we get a glimpse of heaven. Heaven is not a dream due to a bump on the head, it’s real, trustworthy and true. This gives us hope. We don’t get there by wishing on a star, or riding a tornado, or sprouting wings like a bluebird. Our Jesus gets us there – we are saved by grace through faith, not works or magic. If we confess with our lips that Jesus is Lord, believe in our hearts God raised him from the dead we will be saved. It’s about placing our trust in his life, death and resurrection. It’s available for all. This gives us hope, too. -Lisa Degrenia <><

2 Peter 3:13 NRSV
But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

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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.

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