Growing in Resilience: Turn and Return, based on Isaiah 65.1-5

Growing in Resilience
Day 26, Read Isaiah 65
Reflection: Turn and Return based on Isaiah 65:1-5a, The Voice

Eternal One: I was ready and willing to help before anyone even asked. I was found by people who did not seek Me; I showed My face and said, “Here I am! I am right here!” to a nation which did not call on Me.

I kept extending Myself to a people who don’t care a whit. All day long I opened my hands to those who constantly work against Me, those busy pursuing their own rotten path, inspired by their own rotten schemes.

These people continue to insult Me, right to My face, pursuing other gods, sacrificing in gardens and offering incense on altars made of bricks. They sit among the graves and spend their nights in secret rituals; they eat the flesh of pigs and pollute their pots with unclean meats. They have the gall to say, “Oooh, not so close! I am holier than you!”

We Fall away
Slip away
Turn away
Hide away
Run away
Push away
Go our way
Lose our way

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your Presence?
You Pursue

Woman sweeping
Spirit drawing
Hound dog tracking
Lover calling
Brood Hen gathering
Shepherd searching
Racer enduring
Father waiting… praying… hoping… looking… running… embracing
Our turning and returning

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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. 

Turn and Return © 2016 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

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.

Prayer: The Depth of Your Love

depth-of-love

Divine One, you know us and call us by name.
You search for us, drawing us to your breast when we are strangers and aliens.

We are each and all your beloved.
You name us friend. You name us family.
We wonder and marvel to have as our Lover the Creator and Master of all that exists.

Our Beloved is Love itself.

You know us so well, and love us all the more.
Every longing, every breath, the number of hairs on our head.
We run into your embrace, overwhelmed by your intimacy and grace.

May all know the depth of your love.

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Prayer – The Depth of Your Love © 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.

Sermon Recording- Jacob’s Dream and God’s Great Grace (Genesis 28)

Jacob Sermon Series

Sermon Series – Jacob, Punk to Patriarch
Jacob’s journey to faith and accepting his place in God’s plan is full of schemes, betrayal, and family dysfunction. Yet, in the midst of the mess, God remains steadfast- offering relationship, provision, purpose, and new life. In Jacob’s story, we see our own mess and God’s saving grace for us as well.

Message: Jacob’s Dream and God’s Great Grace
Scriptures: Genesis 28:10-22
Offered 9/11/16 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

Your dreams are both powerful and rebellious. They are not bound by your fears, inertia, pain, or what your grandmother said about you. They don’t have to fit your cramped idea of who you think you are. They don’t have to be reasonable, nor do they have to please your parents, your boss, or the church. They are free to take you to interior places you can’t imagine and challenge the way you run your life—and the way your life runs you.
They can be outrageous, daring, playful, zany, sexy. They speak truth as they point to your particular needs for growth. They highlight the changes you are now strong enough to make. Your dreams are full of parts of you that you have denied, disguised in your own easily decipherable dreamcode. Best of all, your dreams are a venue in which God’s presence can be discerned. Your dreams are free to express your natural human spirituality even if you are turned off to organized religion.
– Tilda Norberg, The Chocolate-Covered Umbrella

The translation used in this message comes from The Five Books of Moses by Everett Fox

The prayer following the message is Turn and Return by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
We Fall away
Slip away
Turn away
Hide away
Run away
Push away
Go our way
Lose our way

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your Presence?
You Pursue

Woman sweeping
Spirit drawing
Hound dog tracking
Lover calling
Brood Hen gathering
Shepherd searching
Racer enduring
Father waiting… praying… hoping… looking… running… embracing
Our turning and returning

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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.

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

Prodigal Son, Prodigal Father, Prodigal God

honore-daumier-the-prodigal-son

Study for The Prodigal Son by Honore Daumier

Day after day, week after week, I’m blessed by the wisdom and beauty of God passed along by Steve Garnaas Holmes on his blog Unfolding Light. Consider subscribing to the goodness.

Steve most often bases his posts on his walks through the beauty of Colorado or on the week’s Gospel reading from the Revised Common Lectionary. As such, this week Steve’s been writing on themes from Luke 15:11-32, most commonly known as the parable of the prodigal son.

These writings have been extraordinary, so I’ve gathered them here with Steve’s permission. May they challenge you and inspire you to more and more embody the wasteful, reckless, extravagant love of our God in Jesus. – Lisa <><

Click here for the Younger Son’s Prayer (2016)
Click here for the Older Son’s Prayer (2016)
Click here for the Prodigal Father’s Prayer (2016)

The word “prodigal” does not mean “wayward,” as many believe (based on our tendency to join the brothers in making judgments). It means wastefully or recklessly extravagant, extraordinarily generous, giving “prodigiously.” The term was meant to refer to the younger son’s lavish living—but it’s really the father who’s prodigal, isn’t it? The father extends generous grace and love to both sons when neither of them “deserve” it.
Steve Garnass-Holmes, Prodigal Father (2013)

Excerpt from Prodigal People by Steve Garnaas Holmes (2013)
The prodigal father extends love and blessing to both his sons. No demands, no qualifications, no judgments, no favoritism. He sets aside any judgment of either son, simply wanting to be in relationship with them. He loves them both, offers himself to them both, and invites both of them to share his joy.

If our Prodigal God is this generous, forgiving and inclusive, how can we be otherwise? If God declines to judge and punish, how can we? Jesus embodies God, giving himself for the sake of the poor, welcoming the outcast, taking his place among the condemned, offering nothing but love and life. And we seek to follow him, to be godlike in the same way.

A Prodigal People’s Prayer by Steve Garnaas Holmes (2016)
O Prodigal God, wastefully loving,
recklessly extravagant with grace,
excessively generous with forgiveness,
liberal with tender mercy and compassion,
lavish with hope and delight:
you shower us with love
that we are not prepared to receive.
You know the hurt beneath our fleeing,
the fear enclosed in our anger
and our clutching of what is deserved.
You embrace us freely and passionately,
free from our past, knowing and healing our pain,
in the present moment, celebrating.

You have recklessly given us your love:
may we spread it wantonly, give it all away,
spend it on the unlovely, waste it on the unworthy.
May we set aside our pride and practice delight.
May we claim again the siblings we have spurned,
and gladly celebrate those we have excluded.
May we offer hospitality to the unlovely,
forgive where it is unwarranted,
and love when it is unreasonable.

In your love may we love lavishly,
without exception or measurement.
Yes, it will break our hearts;
we shall be taken advantage of, and worse—
we shall be crucified, and only your love will remain.
And then for us, who have died and are alive again
you will give a great feast.
By your grace may this life be a reunion,
a celebration, a resurrection,
that in prodigal love we may know your joy,
your giving, dancing, feasting, running, embracing joy.

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Steve Garnaas Holmes retains the copyrights to his work referenced and posted here. Contact him directly for posting and publishing considerations.

Sermon Recording: God’s Grace, Seeking and Meeting

grace sermon series logo

Message: God’s Grace, Seeking and Meeting (message 1 of 3)
Scriptures: Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; Luke 15:4-10; Romans 5:8
Offered 1/24/16, at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

Click for information on Revive Florida and it’s sponsoring organization, Time to Revive.

time to revive bracelet 800x

Romans 3:23
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Luke 15:4-10
Parable of the Lost Sheep
4 Jesus said, “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

The Parable of the Lost Coin
8 “Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9 When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Romans 5:8
God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.

Christ Who Sees the Little and the Lost
from The Awkward Season: Prayers for Lent by Pamela C. Hawkins

O Christ who sees the little and the lost:
the child,
the lamb,
the lost coin.
Widen my eyes with your compassion;
clear my vision with your justice;
soften my gaze with your tears for all who need my prayers today.
Amen.

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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.

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

Prayer: Hold Fast (Psalm 139:5-10)

hand-shoulderPsalm 139:5-10 NRSV
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.
Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.

You, Mighty One, reach out your hand
Words spill from your mouth and worlds and all their wonders are created,
but for us you touch
You form
You choose the grit and slip of mud

Your hand is the tender hand of blessing
the confident hand of the artist
the calloused hand of the laborer
the open hand of welcome
the nail pierced hand of sacrifice
and grace

Your hand is the hand that guides me
I, the little child holding hands with One who knows the way
The hand on my shoulder,
strong and assuring when I am far from it
Holding me fast when I stumble into the darkness
The grip of grace when I careen towards the abyss
Holding me fast
Pulling me back from the pit
of despair
even death

You lay your hand upon me
Holding me fast on the far side of the sea
Holding me fast on the wings of the morning
Holding me fast no matter where I find myself
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me

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Hold Fast © 2014 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.