Prayer- Make Me Complete (Matthew 5.43-48)

love enemies 900x

Based on Matthew 5:43-48

Love your enemies
Pray for those who persecute you
How, oh Lord?

Love your family
Your friends, co-workers, classmates
Your leaders, your neighbors, your competitors…
How, oh Lord?

Love yourself, the Enemy Within
The inner critic, the wounded
The addict, the success, the sinner…
How, oh Lord?

It is beyond me, but nothing is beyond you
In forgiving I reconnect with your forgiveness
In blessing I dive into the deep pool of your provision
In laying down arms I find the war already ended
My heart of peace is your heart beating within me

Jesus, your salvation is wholeness
Make me complete as you are that I may hold and be held
Make me a person of integrity
Molded from my sharp, shattered self
by your everlasting mercy and grace
Amen

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Make Me Complete  © 2017 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Prayer: Steadfast in Your Strength (Ephesians 6:10)

be strong in the lord ephesians 6-10Ephesians 6:10
Be strong in the Lord
and in the strength of his might.

Lord God of Heaven and Earth
I am strong when I stand in Your strength

Help me to live that truth
Reveal it’s fullness
So that I may know that I know that I know
Down in my bones
One with my being
Re-member me
Steadfast in Your strength

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Steadfast in Your Strength by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia © 2016
You are welcome to use this in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa directly for publishing and posting consideration.

Sermon Series Recordings: Pursue Wisdom, based on the Book of Proverbs

Proverbs-SeriesSermon Series: Pursue Wisdom
Inspired by the book Making Life Work: Putting God’s Wisdom into Action and the Bible Study Wisdom: Making Life Work, both by Bill Hybels.

Message 1 of 6: Pursue Wisdom- Intentional Living
Scriptures: Proverbs 2:1-15; Luke 15
Offered 5/3/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

Message 2 of 6: Consider the Ant – Take the Initiative
Scriptures: Proverbs 6:6-11, 20-24
Offered 5/10/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

Message 3 of 6: Integrity – Speaking and Living the Truth
Scriptures: Proverbs 11:3; Proverbs 21:6; Exodus 20:16; Matthew 5:37; Proverbs 11:1; Proverbs 14:25; Ephesians 4:15
Offered 5/17/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

Message 4 of 6: Relationships: Mutuality and Honoring One Another
Scriptures: Proverbs 21:21; 17:6; Ephesians 5:21-6:9
Offered 5/24/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

Message 5 of 6: Anger and Self Control: Reacting vs Responding
Scriptures: Ephesians 4:26-27; Proverbs 21:7; Proverbs 25:28; Proverbs 29:11; Proverbs 30:33; James 1:19-20; Proverbs 19:11; Proverbs 16:32
Offered 5/31/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

Message 6 of 6: Trust God
Scriptures: Proverbs 3:1-12
Offered 6/7/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

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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.

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

#LukeActs2014: Make Your Way (Luke 3:7-14)

Detail of St. John the Baptist by Rodin

Detail of St. John the Baptist by Rodin

Make Your Way
by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
based on Luke 3:7-14

How do we prepare the way in this time and place?

I’ve witnessed the modern day prophets
Dipping your two-edged sword in fear and hate
Divining pure from sin, saved from heretic
Confident in their judgments

There are others, too, who take a different path
Coating your sword with sugar and stories
Tickling our ears with prosperity

We’ve come so far from Brother John
Your blade in hand
Sharp yet washed in the wilderness of prayer
Dripping with Good News
The antidote for our stealthy, venomous existence

“Sever your selfishness so generosity may grow
Cut out the cheating so honesty may flourish
Amputate all falsehoods and threats
That your power may raise the powerless”

This is Your Way
Repentance
Integrity
Compassion
Solidarity

Make your way in us, O God
Make your way in us

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Make Your Way © 2013 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Reading for the week of January 19: Luke 3
Click Here for more information on the #LukeActs2014 Reading Plan

John Day 18: The Gate and the Good Shepherd

Good Shepherd by Daniel Bonnell

Gospel of John Reading Plan
Day 18 Reading:
John 10:1-21

Bringing the Word to Life
Spend thirty minutes in complete silence (no phones, no computer, no music, no TV, no clocks). Listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd.

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
– John 10:11 (NRSV)

Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live, taking the form of a readiness to die. –G. K. Chesterton

Literally speaking, courage comes from the Latin cor, meaning heart. So when I open up to any experience fully, with courage — our whole heart — it naturally opens me up to a deep love. The blind musician Facundo Cabral said it beautifully: “If you are filled with love, you can’t have fear,” he said, “because love is courage.” – Viral Mehta

Observation
Jesus uses the image of a good shepherd to contrast himself with other leaders and “messiahs” who have come before him. The others are faithless (running away rather than protecting) and predatory (stealing, killing, and destroying rather than providing). Jesus is the true shepherd whose flock will know and follow his voice only.

Application
Today’s scripture reading took me on quite a journey. I was first captured in John 10 by the goodness of Jesus- his integrity, selflessness, and sacrifice – all given freely for our benefit. This led me to Daniel Bonnell’s incredible painting entitled Good Shepherd. Jesus’ arms extend beyond the borders of the work just as the sheep extend beyond the sight of the viewer. Jesus’ sacrificial love covers and saves far more than we can see or imagine.

John 10 also led me to Luke 15 where Jesus tells the parable of the lost sheep. There we find the good shepherd searching and searching- again driven by his integrity, selflessness, and willingness to sacrifice. We see the compassion of Jesus and the great joy he finds in rescuing the lost. I wondered what the lost one might say to Jesus as a thank you. This drove me to Psalm 23 with its beloved words of gratitude and trust. Then I began to wonder if there were any other “shepherd” psalms. I was delighted to find the goodness of the Shepherd mentioned in Psalm 119 and Psalm 28 as well. This led me to search for songs of gratitude written in more recent years and to compile what I had found into a canticle (a combination of songs and scripture for worship). It was a lovely way to spend a quiet Saturday afternoon.

Prayer
To see the worship resource that was inspired by today’s reading, click here 

For a worship resource entitled Longing for Heaven which also uses images and themes of the Good Shepherd, click here

Click here for a beautiful reflection entitled The Shepherd’s Voice by Steve Garnaas Holmes.

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For more information on the Gospel of John Reading Plan, click here

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

Quotes: Integrity

integrity2Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.
–W. Clement Stone

The Hebrew words for integrity are tom and tummah. Both derive from a verb meaning “to be complete.” In the ample worldview of the Hebrews, however, human creatures can never attain completion on their own. Wholeness will come only in an ongoing relationship to Yahweh, the creator and source of all our being. Thus integrity embraces far more than just some fixed norm of moral behavior. Integrity cannot be reduced to a set of principles that a person may strive for and then check off as accomplished or well in hand. At its very core, integrity is grounded in a relationship to the living God whose wisdom, justice, and love shall forever exceed our own.
– Steve Doughty, To Walk in Integrity: Spiritual Leadership in Times of Crisis

We aid and influence people simply by being who we are. Human integrity probably influences and moves people from potency to action more than anything else. An elder’s deep and studied passion carries so much more power than superficial and loudly stated principles. Our peace is needed more than our anger. – Richard Rohr, Adapted from Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life

Matthew 5:37
Jesus said, “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

Proverbs 11:3
The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.

Titus 2:7-8
Show yourself in all respects a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, gravity, and sound speech that cannot be censured; then any opponent will be put to shame, having nothing evil to say of us.