Growing in Resilience: The New is Coming, based on Isaiah 62.1-3

image-beautiful-lady-white-lace-dress-holding-diamond-crown-fantasy-medieval-period-106222770Growing in Resilience
Day 23, Read Isaiah 62
Reflection: The New is Coming, based on Isaiah 62:1-3, NRSV

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake, I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch. The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

The new is coming and everyone will see it
The high and powerful will take notice
Those far away will witness it, too

The new is coming, it will be
Justice shining
Liberation blazing
Light in the darkness
Never overcome

The new is coming
Brilliant
Like jewels in a royal crown
Each chosen, unique, valuable
Carefully, skillfully, beautifully placed
Catching the light of right relationship and hope

The new is coming
Raise your voice, O witness
Shout! Shout, O bearer of Good News
Proclaim the promise: The Eternal is making all things new

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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. 

The New is Coming © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Sermon Recording- Sharing the Gospel (Acts 10.34-48)

Sermon Series: Hometown Missionary
Message 4 of 5: Sharing the Gospel
Scriptures: Acts 10:34-48
This message was offered Sunday, 7/29/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

Summary and reading of Acts 10, the story of Peter sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with Cornelius

This is a classic missionary story from the Bible

  • Peter is well trained. He’s been walking with Jesus for 3 years and is now a leader of the early church. He prays and receives visions from God.
  • Peter has a clear calling from God and has received an in-person invitation to travel to a foreign territory to share the Good News with people from another culture.
  • Peter arrives and is immediately welcomed and accepted. He immediately proclaims the good news in a beautiful, eloquent, and theologically perfect way.
  • The people immediately place their trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. They are immediately filled with the Holy Spirit and baptized.
  • Peter and the believers who came with him stay a few days to further disciple the new believers.

This is like a 30-minute sitcom. Everything works out perfectly with a happy ending. It doesn’t usually work this way.

Often we are one small part of a long chain of spiritual encounters. Every part is important and valuable.

  • Maybe we plant seeds, building relationship, and trust.
  • Maybe we have the change to pray with someone or share a testimony.
  • Maybe we are the ones to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
  • Maybe we are the ones who encourage and disciple a person after they come to faith.

We need to know how to help at every point in the process, including how to share the Good News in graceful and simple ways.

Below you will find the drawings which accompany the explanation on the recording. This method of sharing the Good News is called The Bridge. 

If you want to add scriptures to your explanation, consider using these passages from the book of Romans. They’re often called The Roman Road.

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

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

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

Romans 10:9
If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

For a slightly different version of The Bridge by the Navigators entitled One Verse Evangelism, click here 

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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.

Take a Stand, inspired by Jeremiah 1.17-19

stand up speak out

Extended quote from Ragamuffin Reflections by Brennan Manning
The prophet Jeremiah is a striking example of the Biblical paradox that surrender means victory, that in losing our life we find it. (Jesus Christ identifies with Jeremiah more than any other prophet and quotes him most frequently.) In the year 625 BC, the Lord summoned Jeremiah to a prophetic career. Jeremiah’s immediate response was reluctance. “Alas, Sovereign LORD,” he said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young” (Jeremiah 1:6). He was nineteen at the time. Jeremiah was not the confident, self-assured type like Amos or Isaiah. Sensitive, accustomed to the quiet of small-town life, he was temperamentally unsuited for public life and the harsh treatment that is the customary “reward of the prophets.”

Timid and afraid, Jeremiah had no ambition for such a mission. In no way did he want to preach God’s Word to his fellow Israelites. Nothing pleased him more than to be Mr. Nobody, ignored by the ruling clique of royal counselors and priests. How content he would have been to live in the tiny world of his own heart. And so he remonstrated with God, “Ah, Lord God. I am only a boy.” Each of us can sympathize, because Jeremiah is Everyman and Everywoman.

Take a Stand, a devotion inspired by Jeremiah 1:17-19 (NIV)
The words from scripture are found in regular type.

Get yourself ready!
There are things God leaves up to you
Your part of the preparation
Prayer and study and silence
Clearing out the crap so there’s space for what is coming

Stand up and say to them whatever I command you.
Rise now from the green pasture
From the still waters of comfort and slumber
Preparation leads to action
Sanctuary to Taking a Stand

Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them.
God alone is God
They do not deserve your reverence
Your awe
They are human
Dust and ashes, just like you

Today I have made you a fortified city,
an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land –
against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land.
The call is beyond you
So God makes you more than you
Steadfast
Enduring
Rock and Refuge
Living Stone
Rejected in the Redeeming
Like your Christ
Your Jesus

They will fight
But the battle is the Lord’s

They will fight against you but will not overcome you,
for I am with you and will rescue you,’ declares the Lord.

*******
On this same theme, consider also reading The Stream of Justice, a stirring encouragement to continue our efforts for peace, freedom, and justice. Written by Steve Garnaas Holmes for Martin Luther King remembrances and similar occasions.

Take a Stand © 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.

Stand Up Speak Out graphic by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Prayer- Your Voice, Your Story (Matthew 9.32-38)

voice speak sing proclaim preach

Based on Matthew 9:32-38

I am mute
No words to share
No way to be heard

Jesus, Voice of Truth
You have compassion on me
You heal me
You give me your voice and your story
Glory! Hallelujah!

We are mute
By our own choices
By the choices of others
By circumstances beyond any of us

Jesus, Voice of Grace
You have compassion on us
You heal us
You send us out with your words of grace
with your story of saving love and hope
Glory! Hallelujah!

Jesus, Voice of Hope
We return our voices to you
Use them to bring in your harvest
May everything and everyone
be healed, be held, and brought home
Field to Forever
Glory! Hallelujah!

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Prayer- Your voice, Your story © 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.

Take a Stand, a devotion inspired by Jeremiah 1:17-19

stand up speak out

Extended quote from Ragamuffin Reflections by Brennan Manning
The prophet Jeremiah is a striking example of the Biblical paradox that surrender means victory, that in losing our life we find it. (Jesus Christ identifies with Jeremiah more than any other prophet and quotes him most frequently.) In the year 625 BC, the Lord summoned Jeremiah to a prophetic career. Jeremiah’s immediate response was reluctance. “Alas, Sovereign LORD,” he said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young” (Jeremiah 1:6). He was nineteen at the time. Jeremiah was not the confident, self-assured type like Amos or Isaiah. Sensitive, accustomed to the quiet of small-town life, he was temperamentally unsuited for public life and the harsh treatment that is the customary “reward of the prophets.”

Timid and afraid, Jeremiah had no ambition for such a mission. In no way did he want to preach God’s Word to his fellow Israelites. Nothing pleased him more than to be Mr. Nobody, ignored by the ruling clique of royal counselors and priests. How content he would have been to live in the tiny world of his own heart. And so he remonstrated with God, “Ah, Lord God. I am only a boy.” Each of us can sympathize, because Jeremiah is Everyman and Everywoman.

Take a Stand, a devotion inspired by Jeremiah 1:17-19 (NIV)
The words from scripture are found in regular type.

Get yourself ready!
There are things God leaves up to you
Your part of the preparation
Prayer and study and silence
Clearing out the crap so there’s space for what is coming

Stand up and say to them whatever I command you.
Rise now from the green pasture
From the still waters of comfort and slumber
Preparation leads to action
Sanctuary to Taking a Stand

Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them.
God alone is God
They do not deserve your reverence
Your awe
They are human
Dust and ashes, just like you

Today I have made you a fortified city,
an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land –
against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land.
The call is beyond you
So God makes you more than you
Steadfast
Enduring
Rock and Refuge
Living Stone
Rejected in the Redeeming
Like your Christ
Your Jesus

They will fight
But the battle is the Lord’s

They will fight against you but will not overcome you,
for I am with you and will rescue you,’ declares the Lord.

*******
On this same theme, consider also reading The Stream of Justice, a stirring encouragement to continue our efforts for peace, freedom, and justice. Written by Steve Garnaas Holmes for Martin Luther King remembrances and similar occasions.

Take a Stand © 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.

Stand Up Speak Out graphic by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Prayer: Open Our Eyes, Our Hands, Our Lips

Open to the Light, photo by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Open to the Light, photo by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Merciful God, open our eyes
That we may see you at work
In us
Through us
Around us

Prince of Peace, open our hands
That we may release all that weighs us down
The burdens
The critics
The striving in our own strength

Holy Spirit, open our lips
That we may share the story of your saving love
With joy
With authenticity
With a power beyond our capability

All for your glory
All for you glory
All for you glory
Amen

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Prayer: Open our Eyes, Our Hands, Our Lips © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia.
You are welcome to use this work in a worship or other devotional setting with proper attribution. Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Advent Photo-A-Day: Day 20, Good News

beautiful feetThe thought behind the photo:
A few years ago, a friend gave me this fabulous Christmas tree ornament. I’m not a “shoe person”, but I am a pastor, so it came with a different meaning. Every year as I hang it on the tree, I smile thinking about my friend’s blessing and encouragement. Following Jesus and the call he’s placed on my life brought an unexpected change. I expected to be made new, but couldn’t imagine the great grace of “beautiful feet” from bringing good news.

SCRIPTURE: Romans 10:11-15 NRSV
The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

The December 20, 2013 devotion from http://umrethinkchurch.tumblr.com 
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 11:4-6, CEB
Jesus replied, “Go, report to John what you hear and see. Those who were blind are able to see. Those who were crippled are walking. People with skin diseases are cleansed. Those who were deaf now hear. Those who were dead are raised up. The poor have good news proclaimed to them. Happy are those who don’t stumble and fall because of me.”

John is in prison wondering, “Jesus, are you really the one we’ve been waiting for?” While there, he gets reports of all these great things happening; of prophesies coming true: blind seeing, crippled walking, sick being healed.

Wonder how John is feeling right about now. Is he able to rejoice in the fact that Jesus is doing what was foretold, while he’s suffering in prison?

In this season of merriment, how are we bringing good news to those who aren’t joyful? To those who are bound by things beyond their control or grief too great to bear?

Singing “Joy to the World” or “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” may not be well received by those experiencing pain or loss this season, but perhaps you’re able to bring comfort.

What might that look like?

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Thank you Rethink Church for a great way to make preparing for Christmas more meaningful. Join me and thousands more in setting aside time to reflect, focus, and literally picture the deep themes of Jesus’ birth.

Click here for more information on Advent Photo-A-Day from Rethink Church.

Click here for a master list of links to my submissions. Lisa <><