Pursuing Peace- Messages, Reading Plan, Book Discussion

Sermon Series pursuing peace 1110 x 624

Depart from evil, and do good;
seek peace, and pursue it. – Psalm 34:14

As followers of Jesus Christ, we’re called to foster peace in the midst of evil, controversy, and conflict. Grow your understanding and skills in peacemaking through our upcoming Sunday messages, Bible reading plan, and book discussion sessions.

Sunday Messages
September 9
Cultivating a Heart of Peace
Matthew 5:43-47; Genesis 1:26-27

September 16
Recognizing a Heart of War
Galatians 6:13-18; Luke 18:9-14; Matthew 6:1-6

September 23
Out of the Box
Mark 6:30-34; John 8:1-11

September 30
Helping Things Go Right
1 Samuel 24; Ephesians 4:1-6

Bible Reading Plan
How does this passage reveal the nature and will of God?
What is the big idea and why is it important?
Is there an example to follow or avoid?
Lord, help me apply the truth of this passage to my life today!

September 2-8

  • Genesis 1:26-27
  • Ezekiel 36:26
  • Matthew 5:43-47
  • 1 John 4:7-12
  • John 14:15-27
  • Micah 4:1-5

September 9-15

  • Galatians 5:13-26
  • Galatians 6:13-18
  • James 4:1-10
  • Luke 18:9-14
  • Romans 12:3-5
  • Matthew 6:1-6

September 16-22

  • Mark 6:30-34
  • Matthew 5:1-16
  • Psalm 51
  • Romans 12:9-21
  • Mark 14:3-9
  • Matthew 7:1-5, 12

September 23-29

  • Luke 10:25-37
  • 1 Samuel 24
  • 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
  • John 8:1-11
  • Luke 15:11-32
  • Ephesians 4:1-6

book anatomy of peaceBook Discussion Sessions
Read The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict by The Arbinger Institute. If you live in the Sarasota FL area, come to one or more of our book discussion sessions. If you live outside the area, consider forming a discussion group of your own.

Sunday, September 16 at 4:00 pm
Panera on Bee Ridge & Cattlemen

Thursday, September 20 at 9:00 am
Caribou Coffee & Einstein Bagels
Corner of Bee Ridge and Tamiami Trail

*******************
Pursuing Peace © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use these resources with proper attribution.
Please leave a comment for permission to publish this work in any form.

Prayer for Violent Times

call to prayer and action

It breaks my heart to be posting this prayer yet again in the face of another mass shooting. The school shooting in Parkland, Florida marks the 29th mass shooting in the US in 2018, in just 45 days.

Yes, we need to pray.

The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)

But we must not stop there. James 2:14-17 reminds us

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.Prayer changes things and changes us. It calls us, leads us, and empowers us to join Jesus in his saving work.

It is time to pray and to act
To seek God’s wisdom and empowerment to respond
To call on God for peace
and to care for bodies before they are zipped into body bags.

This Lenten season I invite you to break from the usual custom of fasting or other form of self-denial and, instead, to fast from apathy. That means you set aside all your noncaring attitudes and move closer to the caring love of God. Even in its mildest form, apathy is a spiritual illness. The cure for apathy is also a spiritual one. … We must move from prayer to action.
– George Hovaness Donigian, A World Worth Saving

How are you responding in prayer and action? – Lisa <

Psalm 46:1 NRSV
God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in times of trouble

God our Refuge, calm our hearts when evil abounds
They run to lonesome places, screaming an alarm
Calm our hearts so we can find you above the fear

God our Strength, calm our hearts when evil abounds
They race to revenge, pounding with anger
Calm our hearts so we can hear you above the hammering

God our Help, calm our hearts when evil abounds
They rush to human strength, grasping for control
Calm our hearts so we can hold to your way, your truth, and your life

Calm our hearts so they may beat in unison with yours
So healing may flow over bodies and spirits broken by the chaos
So hope may fill families and communities devastated by violence
So compassion and peace and unity may rise up among all people

God our Strength, our Refuge, our Help
We entrust our lives to you
We step forward with you in your saving work
Amen

**********

Prayer for Violent Times © 2013 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.

Honorable, a prayer based on Romans 12.16-18.

broken mended pot bowlBased on Romans 12:16-18, The Voice Translation 

Heavenly Father, I am unworthy of the grace and favor you extend. Yet, you name me and move in me so I may be all you aspire. My heart and hands are open to receive and be.

Finish your work in me. Create in me an honorable soul- honest, principled, generous, virtuous, noble.

Bring together this failed clay in integrity, able to hold together harmony and peace in our broken world. Make me whole, able to bear your will and truth and mercy. Re-member me, now a surer vessel of your Spirit, surrendered to your every hope and purpose.

Hallelujah, to the One who heals!
Hallelujah, to the One who redeems!
Hallelujah, Amen!

***************
Honorable, a prayer based on Romans 12:16-18  © 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 for Violent Times

pulse-orlando-shooting-001Psalm 46:1 NRSV
God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in times of trouble

God our Refuge, calm our hearts when evil abounds
They run to lonesome places, screaming an alarm
Calm our hearts so we can find you above the fear

God our Strength, calm our hearts when evil abounds
They race to revenge, pounding with anger
Calm our hearts so we can hear you above the hammering

God our Help, calm our hearts when evil abounds
They rush to human strength, grasping for control
Calm our hearts so we can hold to your way, your truth, and your life

Calm our hearts, so they may beat in unison with yours
So healing may flow over bodies and spirits broken by the chaos
So hope may fill families and communities devastated by prejudice and violence
So compassion and peace and unity may rise up among all people

God our Strength, our Refuge, our Help
We entrust our lives to you. Amen.

**********

Prayer for Violent Times © 2013 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 for Difficult Conversations based on Matthew 15.11

speak truthBased on Matthew 15:11
It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth that defiles.

Jesus, Word of Life, open my lips
Release from me what is of you
Save me from all that defiles and degrades.
Save me from words as weapons
A heart at war

Inspire and guide my words as I have a difficult conversation with ________ today.
We need you.

Lord, open my lips
Release from me what is of you
Let loose what is good and full of truth
Words ringing with your grace and hope
A witness to your mercy and deliverance
An invitation to reconciliation and new life
A call to choose you and your ways and the common good

Lord, open my lips
Release from me what is of you
Send forth your word and your kingdom shall be born in us
Amen

Recommended Resource

*****
Prayer for Difficult Conversations © 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.

A Prayer to Practice the Golden Rule (Matthew 7.12)

key to life verticleMatthew 7:12
Jesus said, “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you, for this is the law and the prophets.”

Consider using this as a daily affirmation.

A Prayer to Practice the Golden Rule
by Eusebius of Caesarea, fourth-century bishop

May I be an enemy to no one and the friend of what abides eternally.

May I never quarrel with those nearest me, and be reconciled quickly if I should.

May I never plot evil against others, and if anyone plot evil against me, may I escape unharmed and without the need to hurt anyone else.

May I love, seek and attain only what is good.

May I desire happiness for all and harbor envy for none.

May I never find joy in the misfortune of one who has wronged me.

May I never wait for the rebuke of others, but always rebuke myself until I make reparation.

May I gain no victory that harms me or my opponent.

May I reconcile friends who are mad at each other.

May I, insofar as I can, give all necessary help to my friends and to all who are in need.

May I never fail a friend in trouble.

May I be able to soften the pain of the grief stricken and give them comforting words.

May I respect myself.

May I always maintain control of my emotions.

May I habituate myself to be gentle, and never be angry with others because of circumstances.

May I never discuss the wicked or what they have done, but know good people and follow in their footsteps. Amen.

Thank you Rev. Magrey deVega, Senior Pastor of Hyde Park United Methodist Church in Tampa, who introduced me to this prayer in his blog post.

Anointed for Peacemaking, a prayer for unity (Psalm 133)

anointed-oil-pour-on-head

Based on Psalm 133

How good is your unity, O Lord
How rich
How abundant
How merciful

Flowing down over our heads
as blessing and balm
as wholeness and hope

Flowing down over our faces
our eyes, ears, lips
now consecrated for peace

Flowing down over our collars
our shoulders now bearing one another’s burdens
bearing crosses not weapons
Your compassion not strife

Flowing down over our hearts
a holy ordering and ordaining of our desiring

Flowing down over our souls
You alone on the throne, blessed Savior
our Deliverer and Reconciler
the One who makes all one

Flowing down over our hands
instruments of conflict no more
grabbing and hoarding more
now open in welcome
sharing
holding all things sacred.

How very good is your unity, O Lord
How great and glorious your peace
Bring to fulfillment your perfect will
Amen!

********
Anointed for Peacemaking, a Prayer for Unity  © 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.