The Tools You Need to Stop Procrastinating and Start Focusing on What Matters

You can bravely do the next thing, because God’s got this thing. Perfect Love terminates The Perfectionist Terrorist — which eliminates the Procrastinator — which liberates you, the Presenter…. to unwrap the gift of right now, your one life. – Ann Voskamp

If you haven’t found Ann Voskamp, stop everything and run to her blog right now. There you will find a woman of deep authentic faith, a kind and generous and vulnerable soul whose writings and resources prepare the way for God to move powerfully in your life.

As we step into a new year, it’s my joy to draw your attention to three Voskamp resources which help me focus on what really matters. One I use daily and the other two I use monthly.

Her free daily planning page template is a Godsend. It’s far more than a scheduling page. It’s everything you need in one place for holistic living- meal planning, hydration reminder, exercise reminder, gratitude journal, relationship building reminder, memory verse, to do list … you get the idea. (Click here for an article on this resource from Voskamp’s blog.)

2017 this is the year voskamp (2)

My 2017 Purpose Page

I’ve been using Voskamp’s daily planning page for a couple of years now, but 2017 was the first year I used her Purpose Page and Monthly Cue Cards. (Click here for an article on these resources from Voskamp’s blog.)

Each month you’re provided a prompt to help you focus on what really matters. You can fill out the entire page at the beginning of the year and live into those intentions or fill it out month by month as the Spirit leads. Once you have your focus words, you write a prayer based on the intentions using the cue cards. Be sure to post your intentions and prayers where you can see them regularly.

I chose the month to month pattern in 2017. Looking back on this list at the end of the year, I can see God’s leading throughout the year. I can remember specific promptings from God- doors opening and others closing, the finetuning of perspective. It’s incredible how something so simple can break through the distractions and excuses.

Here’s my 2017 list. I’m seriously thinking of keeping it for 2018 as well.

  1. Embrace Ceasing: Silence, Solitude, Sabbath, Slowing
  2. Engage Injustice: Speak Up, Pray Up, Speak Out, Show Up
  3. Be Healthy: Track Meals, Drink Water, Move, Go to Meetings (I joined Weight Watchers)
  4. Believe God for the Growth: I trust You. Renew a right spirit within me.
  5. Break the Chains: Poverty, Prejudice, Jealousy, Addiction
  6. Daily Grace: Mind, Body, Soul, Heart
  7. Do the New, Hard Thing: Try, Prioritize, Courage, Focus
  8. Let Go of Fear: Not good enough. Not pretty enough.
  9. Learn to Prioritize: No Time = No Priorities
  10. Live Expectant: Faith, Hope, Trust, Eyes to See
  11. Give it Away: Simplify, Downsize, Bless, Generosity
  12. Grow the Seeds: Nurture, Shine Light, Water, Stake Up

I pray these resources are a blessing to you. Leave a comment with your favorite resources or about these resources. May the grace of a new year draw you closer to God, your true self, and the fulfillment of God’s purpose for your life. – Lisa <><

My time, my talents, my calling- a prayer of surrender

srrrender quoteLord, the opportunities of the world stretch before me. Many are good but only a few are best. Many could be my path in you, but far fewer actually are.

My time is a gift from you
My time is precious
My time is short

My talents are a gift from you
They can only bless and influence
when focused and deployed with purpose

My calling is a gift from you
I cannot do all things
Save me from wanting to
and trying to

I surrender it all to you
I trust you

Focus my time and talents and calling for your greatest glory. I am at peace confident in your best purposes for me. Grant me courage to step forward faithfully and leave behind faithfully. Amen

*****
My time, my talents, my calling- a prayer of surrender © 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.

God Calls, Jonah Refuses (Jonah 1)

jonah

Sermon Series: Jonah, a Hard-Hearted Prophet Meets the God of Grace
Message 1 of 5: 
God Calls, Jonah Refuses
Scriptures: Jonah 1:1-3
Offered 7/9/17 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

The message opens with the story of Mandy Harvey, a deaf singing contestant on America’s Got Talent. (Click here for a video.) Mandy tells her story then sings a song she wrote entitled, “Try.” Mandy had every reason to stop trying- to give up on her talents and dreams in music, but she didn’t.

What talent has God given you? What dream has God given you to bless the world?

What’s stopping you from trying? We have a boat load of excuses- I can’t afford it. I don’t have enough education. I don’t have the time. I’m too old/young. I have too much responsibility. It’s too risky.

Beware my friends. There’s tremendous risk in hiding a talent and running from a dream, especially when they’re from God. That’s exactly what Jonah did. God calls Jonah. Jonah refuses and that refusal turn into rebellion.

There are 2 types of calls 
1. “Who I am” call – God blesses and empowers us with gifts, talents, life, purpose, etc. Jonah understood his “who I am” call. Jonah son of Amittai literally means “Dove, son of Truth.” Think of the dove associated with the story of Noah’s Ark. The dove brings grace and good news. Think of the dove associated with the Baptism of Jesus. The Holy Spirit brings the powerful, anointing of God.

Jonah is a faithful, effective prophet of God. Jonah is a gifted, skilled, and anointed seer. Jonah reveals the word and purposes of God to Israel’s king. It was grace and good news that Israel would expand its boarder under King Jeroboam.

2. “What to do” call– a specific mission assignment. Jonah is to “Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.” (vs. 2) It’s a clear message from God of where to go and what to do. God said get up and go! Instead Jonah shut up and fled.

Problem was not misunderstanding. The problem was willingness. Jonah didn’t want to try. Jonah had every reason not to try
1. Nineveh wasn’t a Jewish city with a Jewish King. Nineveh was the magnificent capital city Assyria, a threatening, enemy superpower.

2. Nineveh was 550 miles away. Imagine that trip on donkey or on foot.

3. Jonah had no desire to preach to “those people.” They were enemies and Gentiles and pagans. He didn’t want to be labeled a “traitor” prophet by his own people.

4. God is a God of grace and mercy. God might extend forgiveness to his enemy and Jonah didn’t want that.

5. Jonah didn’t want to ruin his reputation. If he called out against the city and God spared it, his prophecy didn’t come true.

No God. It’s too risky. Too hard. You’re asking too much.

Does Jonah pray? Nope. Does he ask for help? Nope. Does he go? Nope. Jonah buries his talent, abandons his call, and runs away from the presence of the Lord. (mentioned twice in verse 3)

Jonah refuses and Jonah rebels and it breaks his relationship with God.

The Bible is full of examples which inspire us to greater faith and great acts of service. There are also examples for us to look to and avoid. Jonah is one of them.

How often are we more like Jonah than we want to admit? It doesn’t have to be this way. Step out in faith – try. God has tremendous faith in you. More than you have in yourself. God knit you together in your mother’s womb for a purpose. God empowers you with talents, gifts, graces, and experience for a purpose. Jesus died for you for a purpose- that you might be saved AND that you might join him in saving the world. Step out in faith – try

What is in your power to do for others? Do you have skills to teach and mentor others? Are you in a position to help alleviate suffering financially? Are you a great listener? Prayer Warrior? Organizer? Storyteller? Gardener? Share your testimony? Make an invitation? Do you have creative gifts in writing, music, dance, or art? Are you good with your hands in a way that you can offer practical assistance to people?

Step out in faith – try
You are the hope of the world- try

*****************
I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to the tech team and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. Videos of these messages are available on the church Facebook Page.

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.

sermon © 2017 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Prayer for Doing the New, Hard Thing

do hard things

Jesus, thank you for the gifts of time and talent. Thank you for calling and missions, for gracing me with purpose and meaning.

Forgive me for squandering your gifts – for hiding them, abandoning them, labeling them, dismissing them, postponing them for another season.

The time is now. Life is precious and short.

Shower me with your courage to try. Fill me with your perseverance and focus. Flood me with your Holy Spirit, for with you all things are possible.

I am listening. I’m following.

May all I do and say point to your saving love, your steadfast presence, and your empowering hope. Glory to you alone. Amen.

*******
Prayer for Doing the New, Hard Thing  © 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.

The Glory of Your Saving Love (Isaiah 49.6)

light to the nations

The Beacon
Abigail Henrie

It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth. – Isaiah 49:6

This is the glory of your saving love
That you don’t just bless us,
Heal us,
Guard and guide us

That you don’t just forgive us,
Redeem us,
Save and sanctify us

For you that is too light a thing

You make a place for us in your saving work

You call us
Empower us
Each of us
You make a place for us in your family
and a place for us in your plan
that we might have purpose and meaning
that we might experience the fullness of your grace
that we might experience your power and the wielding of that power
Your hope and your hope made real in the world
Your love and your love in action

Glory to you, Most Blessed Savior!
Glory to you, Lord of Mercy and Light!
Glory to you and to the fulfillment of Your Kingdom
in us and in all!
Amen

********
The Glory of Your Saving Love  © 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: Jesus you are praying, you are calling

go send traffic light

John 17:17-18
At the Last Supper, Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”

Jesus, you are praying, you are calling.
Open our hearts to what you want us to do. Guide us in our “yes” and “no” to opportunities that we may choose your sending above all else.

Jesus, you are praying, you are calling.
Open our souls to the mission that is beyond what we can do without you- your vision, your compassion, your presence, your intervention.

Jesus, you are praying, you are calling.
Open our lives to your inspiration and blessing. Sanctify us in your truth. Grant us a double portion of wisdom and unity and courage. Strengthen us beyond ourselves to accomplish the saving work you place in our hands.

For the victory of your love and grace we pray.
For the glory of your name we follow. Amen.

********
Jesus, you are praying, you are calling © 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

*****************
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.