Growing in Resilience: Unbroken Spirit, based on Isaiah 44.3-5

praise-and-worship-worship-danceGrowing in Resilience
Day 5, Read Isaiah 44
Reflection: Unbroken Spirit, based on Isaiah 44:3b-5

I will pour my spirit upon your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring. They shall spring up like a green tamarisk, like willows by flowing streams. This one will say, “I am the Lord’s,” another will be called by the name of Jacob, yet another will write on the hand, “The Lord’s,” and adopt the name of Israel.

We claim your promise
You pour out your unbroken spirit
You shower down unending blessing

Your family is fruitful and multiplying
Like the stars in the sky
Like the sand on the shore

Your promise is real
It is true
Even when nothing seems to be working
Even when our hearts are too heavy to perceive it

You pour out your unbroken spirit
Calling to the east and west
New siblings shout, “I am the Lord’s!”
From the north and the south
New kin claim your unfailing name

Your people will never perish
From generation to generation
Your grace endures

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Click Here for more on the Growing in Resilience Reading Plan sponsored by Bishop Ken Carter and the Cabinet of the Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. 

Unbroken Spirit © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Sermon Recording- Persecuted People (Acts 5.12-42)

Sermon Series Website What is Church

Sermon Series: What is Church?
Message 6 of 6: Persecuted People
Scriptures: Acts 5:12-42
This message was offered Sunday, 5/27/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

Why do we come to Jesus? What are we looking for?

  • Forgiveness
  • Comfort
  • Healing
  • Hope
  • Life, everlasting life
  • Love
  • Meaning, purpose, to be part of something greater than ourselves

The same was true for the earliest followers of Jesus

Acts 5:12-16
This is what it looks like when the people of God are on Fire, Full of the Holy Spirit, faith-full in word and deed

  • V 12 Many signs and wonders- People are experiencing transformation, healing, deliverance on such a scale it must be God. The city was different because of the love and good works of the faith-full.
  • V 12 All together-  working together as Body of Christ
  • V 13 Held in high esteem- known in the community, reputation for love and good works both in Jerusalem and the surrounding towns
  • V 14 More than ever believers were added to the Lord. The first followers were making disciples of Jesus Christ. They were fulfilling the great commission. (Matthew 28:16-20)

When you come to Jesus are you looking for adventure? Are you reading to join Jesus in healing the sick, bringing good news to the poor, releasing the captives, battling evil, and changing the world?

In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The Lord’s prayer also includes “Deliver us from evil.” There is a cost to fully following Jesus. When you battle evil, it’s going to fight back.   

Sermon Subpage Header roman prison

A story of the brave Christians in Cuba

Verse 13 says, “None of the rest dared to join them.” Even though the Christians were doing great things by the power of the Holy Spirit. Even though they were respected by the people, it was still dangerous to publically associate with the Christians.

17 Then the high priest took action; he and all who were with him (that is, the sect of the Sadducees), being filled with jealousy, 18 arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison.

There’s an old question to check your commitment to Jesus. “If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” There was no doubt Peter and the Apostles were followers- preaching, teaching, healing, caring for the poor. They were loud and proud. They were battling evil and evil is going to make them pay, first by imprisonment.

God provided for their escape. Did they run, no! Even though they were just arrested, they kept preaching and teaching publically.

Reading Acts 5:19- 28
Jewish leadership is jealous of so many people coming to faith and the Christian’s high regard of the people. The Jewish leadership is scared. They fear the crowd will believe Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah, that they killed him, and the crowd will now stone them for it.

In verse 28, the apostles are accused of filling Jerusalem with their teaching. What would it be like if Sarasota were filled with the teaching of Jesus? Siesta Key?

What kind of effort would that take? Every single one of us equipped to share the gospel, testify, pray with people, invite people. Every single one of us, and all the other Christians in town wanting to do it, brave, courageous. Every single one saying, “This is the most important thing I do because this has eternal consequences.”

Reading Acts 5:29-39
They take a stand for Jesus then they start sharing the Gospel with the Jewish leadership! The leaders’ main mission is to protect the word of God, the temple, the worship of God from false Messiahs. Gamaliel reminds them that if Jesus is the Messiah, what the apostles are doing cannot be stopped. You could actually be fighting against God. If not, it will fail and fade.

Here we are over 2000 years later still following Jesus. The Gospel did not fail or fade. This gives us the courage to share it. If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

39b They were convinced by him, 40 and when they had called in the apostles, they had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 As they left the council, they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name. 42 And every day in the temple and at home, they did not cease to teach and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah.

Why do we come to Jesus? What are we looking for?

  • Come to Jesus for the adventure
  • Come to Jesus. Take up your cross. Suit up, warrior. Get in the game.
  • Come to Jesus. Battle evil. Change the world.

Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. Yes, it’s risky. There is a cost, but it’s of God. If it’s of God- nothing will be able to stop it.

Renewing our Commitment to Christ, His Mission, and Church
1. Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sin?

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

3. 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?

4. According to the grace given you, will you remain faithful members of Christ’s holy Church and serve as Christ’s representatives in the world? 

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean 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 9:00 am or 10:30 am, or join us live on our Facebook page at 9:00 am Sundays or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

sermon © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Sermon Recording- People on Fire (Acts 2.1-4)

Sermon Series Website What is Church
Sermon Series: What is Church?
Message 5 of 6: People on Fire
Scriptures: Acts 2:1-4
This message was offered Sunday, 5/20/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

Happy Pentecost!

Matthew 3:11, NRSV   In preparing the people for the coming of Jesus, John the Baptist promised, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Acts 1:5-8 NRSV, selected verses   On the day in which he ascended to heaven, Jesus promised, “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now…. you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 2:1-4, NRSV   Ten days later, Jesus fulfilled his promises. “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven, there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.”

2 Timothy 1:5-7 NIV   Paul later counseled Timothy, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”

Prayer by Gene Barlett: Set my soul afire, Lord, set my soul afire. Make my life a witness of Thy saving power. Millions grope in darkness, waiting for Thy Word. Set my soul afire, Lord, set my soul afire.

Sermon Subpage Header Fire

Excerpt from Tongues by Steve Garnaas Holmes

  • What if God is still doing Pentecost?
  • What if God wants to say something through you? Is it getting spoken? Is it getting sent?
  • What if you are the Word God is trying to get out?
  • What if you are the language in which God expresses love?
  • What if there are ways, even beyond your own knowing, that others hear God’s good news through your life?
  • What if God gives you everything you need to do this?

The Power of the Holy Spirit isn’t just for long ago, it is a gift that comes again, again, again. It is God’s divine, empowering presence generation after generation.

  • Moses and the Burning Bush
  • The Pillar of Flame leading the people from slavery through the wilderness to the promised land
  • The Dancing Tongues of Fire on the heads of the faithful at Pentecost
  • Francis/Clare of Assisi
  • Susanna/John Wesley
  • Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, Dr. King
  • It’s in you, a gift for all who believe

Draw close to the fire
Being “on fire” = focused, all in, achieving, in the zone, unstoppable

This is what it means to be followers of Jesus, to be the church, we are a people on fire

Brennan Manning Quote: The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make brand-new creation. Not to make people with better morals but to create a community of prophets and professional lovers, men and women who would surrender to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within, who would live in ever greater fidelity to the omnipresent Word of God, who would enter into the center of it all, the very heart and mystery of Christ, into the center of the flame that consumes, purifies, and sets everything aglow with peace, joy, boldness, and extravagant, furious love.

This, my friend, is what it really means to be a Christian. 

Between Acts 1:5-8 and Acts 2:1-4, the 120 followers of Jesus gathered together and prayed for 9 days together. They drew close to the fire. They were “men and women who surrendered to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within… who entered into the center of it all, the very heart and mystery of Christ.”

Illustration of the coal and the fire

Draw close to the fire
The Fire of God

  • Consumes falsehood, sin, self-centeredness, apathy, fear
  • Purifies our motives
  • Lights us up. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.”
  • Empowers us to live and to act in faith

Draw close to the fire

Prayer by Gene Barlett: Set my soul afire, Lord, set my soul afire. Make my life a witness of Thy saving power. Millions grope in darkness, waiting for Thy Word. Set my soul afire, Lord, set my soul afire.

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean 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 9:00 am or 10:30 am, or join us live on our Facebook page at 9:00 am Sundays or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

sermon © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Sermon Recording- Family of God (Ephesians 2.11-19)

Sermon Series Website What is Church

Sermon Series: What is Church?
Message 4 of 6: Family of God
Scriptures: Ephesians 2:11-19
This message was offered Sunday, 5/13/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

God’s Vision- Why we do what we do
God is love. We are called to share that love and the hope we’ve found in Jesus Christ with all people.

God’s Mission- What we do
Making Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World

Our Values- How We Accomplish God’s Work 
We are Christ-Centered

  • We place our trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Leader

We value hospitality

  • Far more than friendly or welcoming. Belonging, acceptance, openness

We value genuineness

  • Honest with God, each other, and our community Transparent, real, down to earth

We value respect

  • All persons are made in the image of God. The dignity of all and for all

What do you think the missing value is? We choose to be family to one another

  • We are better together
  • Commitment to deep community, mutual support, caring, collaboration, Servant-hearted living, faith in action
  • For many of us, our church family is more of a family to us than our biological family

Family at its worst

  • neglectful, distant, false naming, betrayal, dangerous/abusive

Family at its best

  • safety, belonging, nurture/growth, identity/truthful naming

diversity handsRead Ephesians 2:1-19

  • Without Christ, we are outsiders, outcasts, orphaned, strangers, aliens
  • Without God, there is no safety, no belonging, no nurturing or identity rooted in the eternal

What Christ does by his death and resurrection. Notice all the birth images:    

  • Verse 13, Jesus brings us near by his blood. His blood makes us blood.
  • Verse 14, in his flesh he has made both groups into one
  • Verse 16, Jesus creates a new humanity

Notice all the death images

  • Verse 14, the broken body of Christ breaks down the dividing wall
  • Verse 16, hostility is put to death

An extended quote from Prodigal Brothers by Steve Garnaas-Holmes (Luke 15:11-32)
The failure of our love—distancing ourselves from God and one another— is at the heart of our sin. In our self-centeredness, we break our family bond with God and with others, as if we’re not related. It is not just of our disobedience that we repent but of our distance, our refusing to get close to God and to others, including those whom we judge…. The righteousness that we need is not obedience. It’s a loving relationship—and this is not our own doing; it is the gift of God. In repentance, we pray toward both God and neighbor, “I am not on my own. I am yours.”

The message includes the story of St. Francis of Assisi being disowned by his father. Francis finds family and belonging with Jesus and his followers.

Prayer: Make us your children
Heavenly One, Your reach extends to every person, every nation, offering grace, forgiveness, wholeness, and hope. A saving embrace drawing us to you and each other.

Make us your children: grateful for a place in your family, humble before your love and generosity, faithful in honoring and welcoming all, joyful in sharing what we have found in you- safety, belonging, identity, a home of nurture and growth and sending forth. Amen.

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean 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 9:00 am or 10:30 am, or join us live on our Facebook page at 9:00 am Sundays or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

sermon and prayer © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Sermon Recording- The Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12.12-27)

Sermon Series Website What is Church

Sermon Series: What is Church?
Message 3 of 6: The Body of Christ
Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
This message was offered Sunday, 5/6/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

body of christThe human body is …

The image of the church as the body of Christ reminds us of

  • The blessing of our diversity (1 Corinthians 12:12-14). It’s about unity, not uniformity.
  • The truth of our dignity, every part, all parts are part of the body (1 Corinthians 12:15-20)
  • The reality of our mutual dependence, our interdependence, all are important, all are needed. When one suffers or is victorious, we all are. (1 Corinthians 12:21-27)

We have not come to compete with one another.
We have come to complete one another. – Bill McCartney

Click here for the video testimony of Rev. Claire Wimbush, an Episcopal priest with spastic cerebral palsy.

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean 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 9:00 am or 10:30 am, or join us live on our Facebook page at 9:00 am Sundays or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

sermon © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Sermon Recording- The Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5.21-32)

Sermon Series Website What is Church
Sermon Series: What is Church?
Message 2 of 6: The Bride of Christ
Scriptures: Ephesians 5:21-32
This message was offered Sunday, 4/29/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

The Wedding Vows
I, _________________, give myself to you to be your husband/wife to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, forsaking all others until we are parted by death, recognizing the promise of life everlasting and love everlasting. This is my solemn vow.

The Church as Bride of Christ: Problems with metaphor

  • Difficult for those who’ve been disappointed by marriage – Never married, divorced, betrayal, abusive marriage
  • Difficult for men to relate to “bride”
  • The phrase “Bride of Christ” not found in the scriptures but there are plenty of passages which use the metaphor

bride outsideAll metaphors break down. Bride of Christ remains a powerful reminder of our relationship to one another and to Christ

Read Ephesians 5:21-32 NRSV

21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.

  • Be subject = Voluntary, free choice, submission, our power under the authority of another, cooperating, collaborating
  • Ephesians 5-6 describes the mutual submission of husbands and wives, children and parents, slaves and masters

How?

  • Previous verses discuss being filled with the Holy Spirit by singing Psalms, Hymns, Spiritual Songs & giving thanks to God the Father in name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Trinity, the fullness of God, First Creed)
  • Out of Reverence to Christ- We submit to Christ as His followers out of reverence for Christ first submitting to us. Jesus made the ultimate submission in his life, death, and resurrection.

Notice verses 22-27

  • The Love of our Lord Jesus Christ is deep, pure, sacrificial
  • Look what Jesus gave up to make us his own. Compare with Philippians 2. Poor, homeless, misunderstood, glory to humility, abused and tortured, obedient to the point of death, even on a cross
  • Jesus making us his own- making us holy, set apart, like in marriage the couple is set apart only for each other

Vs. 26 Cleansing with the washing of water by the word

  • The powerful presence of Jesus in the sacrament of baptism and in his Holy Word- Cleansing, new birth, water for growth, Jesus’ tears, Jesus washing feet

Vs. 27 Jesus presents the church to himself in splendor radiant

Remember, you are both beloved and the light of the world. Jesus, the Bridegroom, presents us like a Bride unstained, unwrinkled, unblemished, innocent which literally means unwounded. By his stripes, we are healed. He took the wounds that we might be unwounded.

28 In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church.

We leave our earthly labels and tribes to be at one with Christ

  • This isn’t head knowledge, it’s down to the bone, the blood, skin in the game, an intimate union
  • This is a relationship of devotion, fidelity, one spouse, one Lord. Jesus first loved us that he may be our first love

Let us, the Church, the Bride, recommit to Christ the Bridegroom, using the Wedding Vows

We give ourselves to you Jesus, to be your Bride, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, forsaking all others, knowing we are not parted by death, recognizing the promise of life everlasting and love everlasting. This is our solemn vow.

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean 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 9:00 am or 10:30 am, or join us live on our Facebook page at 9:00 am Sundays or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

sermon © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Sermon Recording- Living Stones Built Into a Spiritual House (1 Peter 2.4-10)

Sermon Series Website What is Church
Sermon Series: What is Church?
Message 1 of 6: Living Stones Built into a Spiritual House
Scriptures: 1 Peter 2:4-10
This message was offered Sunday, 4/22/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

In this metaphor from 1 Peter, Jesus is the Cornerstone, at first rejected but later recognized as The Foundation for our salvation and the salvation of the world.

This message includes an extended discussion of the marble used by Michelangelo to carve his David. It was rejected multiple times before it became a masterpiece in the master’s hands. Michelangelo David bust detail

As Jesus’ followers, his Church, we are living stones built into a spiritual house.

  • We become the meeting place with God, individually and especially together.
  • We take on our true identity and calling as Jesus’ chosen, royal, holy priesthood. make sacrifices worship and pray and serve proclaim/testify
  • We recognize and testify that we are God’s children and that we’ve received the mercy of God. What we receive we can offer to others.

Look what God can do

  • the rejected are now wanted
  • the abandoned are now chosen
  • those who have been named too flawed become a masterpiece
  • those who are lost and wandering in inky darkness come into the marvelous, shimmering light of Jesus

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean 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 9:00 am or 10:30 am, or join us live on our Facebook page at 9:00 am Sundays or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

sermon © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.