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!

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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.

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

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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.

Church as Healer and Redeemer

Healing Touch by Frank Ordaz

The church taught me that though racism steals, kills and destroys,
the church can partner with God to restore, resurrect and heal.
Christena Cleveland, Everything I Know About Reconciliation I Learned in the Church

At the time, I had nothing going for me. Well, I had killer abs, but that really was about it. I was an angry, hostile, but ultimately just kind of injured young woman. But for some reason, Suzanne Lynch saw more in me – something no one else (most especially myself) could see. She dared to think I was something more than the mess I was in the moment. She believed that I was not irredeemable – that I was more than the sum total of my mistakes. And in the end, that whole Suzanne taking in Nadia thing was like, I don’t know… emotional venture capitalism on her part.
Nadia Bolz-Weber, A Eulogy of Sorts…

I think Christians have yet to learn the pattern of redemption. It is evil undone much more than evil ever perfectly avoided. It is disorder reconfigured in our hearts and minds— much more than demanding any perfect order to our universe. Much of the Christian religion has largely become “holding on” instead of letting go. But God, it seems to me, does the holding on (to us!), and we must learn the letting go (of everything else).
– Richard Rohr

It’s worth any sacrifice
however great or costly,
to see eyes that were listless,
light up again;
to see someone smile
who seemed to have forgotten
how to smile;
to see trust reborn
in someone
who no longer believed
in anything
or Anyone.
-Dom Helder Camara

Matthew 10:1
Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. … These twelve he sent out….

Apostle by Steve Garnaas Holmes
The word apostle means “sent.”

We are not given a mandate to judge
or an obligation to convert.
We are not required to argue religion.
We are given power to heal.

We need not muster up the strength.
We are given authority.
Christ is in us to heal.

May I be a healer today;
may I set free those who are bound
by spirits that diminish life.
May I cast out fear with love,
cast out greed with wisdom,
cast out anxiety with calm,
cast out anger and bitterness with deep listening,
cast out hate with forgiveness.

May I bear your spirit of peace,
the authority of blessing,
the power of love.
May I be a healer today.

Prayer: Jesus, You Break the Chains

zach-williams-chainbreaker

Isaiah 58:6 The Voice
What I want in a fast is this: to liberate those tied down and held back by injustice, to lighten the load of those heavily burdened, to free the oppressed and shatter every type of oppression.

Jesus, what you want is what you do
You, the Victorious One
You, the Key to every prison
You do not merely release the captives
You break the chains
You destroy the dungeons

Come again Mighty Savior!
Take our strongholds and give us freedom
Take our numbers and give us names
Take our sentences and give us life

Open the doors of our souls with deliverance
Break the walls of our relationships with grace
Release our voices in witness, thanksgiving, and praise
We, the once enslaved, now bearers of your liberation
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Amen!

Jesus, You Break the Chains © 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- Mary’s Song (Luke 1)

why-we-hope-why-we-sing

Message: Mary’s Song 
Scriptures: Luke 1:46-55
Offered 11/27/16, the first Sunday of Advent, at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

Click Here for the video of Norah and Mr.Dan

Perhaps what we need most is a transforming vision, a vision that’s deep enough, one that can take us from where we are to a new place; one that opens the future up to hope. More than anything, we must become people of hope. – Miriam Therese MacGillis

We have hope because God will right the wrongs.
Mary describes this in terms of reversal.

  • The lowly are raised and the lofty are brought low, so all may know the saving grace of God (vs 52)
  • The hungry are filled with good things and all that is not good is revealed to be empty (vs 53)

This isn’t socialism and it isn’t a sunshine and lolly pops reversal of fortune, this is reversal of future.

  • Sin separates, so God in Jesus reverses it, bringing reconciliation and relationship, breaking down the dividing walls.
  • Sin breaks, fractures, shatters, so God reverses it, mending and re-membering
  • Sin disorders and creates chaos, so God brings order and peace
  • Sin twists a good gift of God into something it was never meant to be, so God reverses it to it’s rightful use. The rightful use of medicine, food and drink, love and sex, buying and selling. The crooked are made straight and the rough places, a plane
  • Sin wounds and sickens our soul, so in Jesus God restores our innocence and brings us healing
  • Sin disintegrates. Everything falls apart. Everything goes to ash. God reverses it. Salvation means wholeness. In Jesus, we become integrated, wholehearted people. People of integrity. God breathes life into dust.
  • Sin brings death. In Jesus we are raised to life- new life, true life, eternal life. Reversal is redemption and resurrection.

From Living with Purpose in a Worn-Out Body by Missy Buchanan
Lord, I need a big dose of hope today.
None of the pie-in-the-sky kind.
Not even a pretty-sure guess.
I need the real kind of hope that brings lightness to a heavy day.
I am tired of gritting my teeth,
trying to swallow the pain that is my reality.
When I look back on my life,
I see how you proved faithful time after time.
There were moments I thought you had forgotten me
only to discover you were holding me so close I couldn’t see.
So if the stubborn pain refuses to subside for a while,
I will still whisper your name in praise.
Refocus my mind on you, Lord. Only on you.
It is there I find hope.

Click Here for the Live Hope, Give Hope December devotion described at the end of the message.

Click Here to check out Incendiary Magnificat by Steve Garnaas Holmes

I long to bear your justice, O God,
to the captives and captors,
to the bullies and the bullied.

I long to balance my life, O Christ,
to be fair and faithful.

I long to stand with
the falsely accused,
the poorly loved,
the cruelly silenced.

I long to speak your justice, O Spirit,
to sing Mary’s song,
to sit with poor shepherds,
to whisper God-with-us,
God-with-us,
Emmanuel.

I long to bear your justice, O God,
to be clothed with mercy
and emboldened by truth.
This is my Advent prayer. Amen.
– Pamela C. Hawkins, Prepare the Way

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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.

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

Sermon Recording- Meeting Your Match (Genesis 29)

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: Meeting Your Match
Scriptures: Genesis 29:1-30
Offered 9/18/16 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

Something is going on in Jacob’s life. He’s learning to love and sacrifice for another person. He’s gaining an honest work ethic. When he’s deceived by Laban he takes the high road, maybe for the first time in his life. He could have killed Laban, he could have rejected Leah, he could have run home taking Rachel with him. Instead, Jacob stays husband to Leah (who’s been cruelly used by Laban) and works another seven years for Rachel. Could Jacob be connecting his pain to the pain he caused his brother and father? Could he be learning empathy as well as love? Could it be, when Jacob awoke from his dream, God also awakened him from the selfish, manipulative nightmare of his early years?
– Lisa Degrenia <><

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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.

Sermon Recording- I Thirst

crucifixion pierce flow thirstSermon Series: Final Words from the Cross
The Scriptures record Jesus speaking 7 phrases as he hung upon the cross- important and powerful final reminders of who he was and what it means to follow him.

Message: I Thirst
Scripture: John 19:28-29
Offered 3/20/16, Palm Sunday, at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

Click Here for a blog post with my poem I Thirst, which is referenced throughout this message.

I Thirst
Holy Jesus, our Lord and our God, is thirsty as he hangs on the cross.
This is not an everyday dryness that is easily satisfied by turning a faucet,
This is a deep, deadly thirst few of us have known.
A burning, raging thirst of exposure and dehydration

By this time in His torture, Jesus’ body is a festival of pain

  • Cramps sweep through his muscles, knotting them, and yet he must use them to lift himself to breath
  • His back, bloody and open down to the bone from the scourging, scrapes against the craggy tree every time he moves
  • The lacerated veins and crushed tendons of his wrists and ankles throb with incessant anguish
  • There’s a deep, crushing pain in the depths of his chest (it’s his pericardium slowly filling with fluid). As the heaviness closes in, his heart struggles to pump what little is left of his thick, sluggish blood.

Each variety of misery goes on and on and on, increasing with every moment that passes – hour after hour and he’s nearing hour 6.

How does he choose to describe this?
How does he describe the reality of his pain and passion?
He says– I Thirst

He could have quoted Psalm 22 again, the one that begins, “My God My God why have you forsaken me…”
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast;
My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws
You lay me in the dust of death.

But that is too much.
All his swollen tongue can say is… I thirst

Yes, Jesus is physically thirsty, but it’s more than that.
To thirst is also to long for something that is essential.

It’s this thirst, this longing that is consuming him
Is he longing for revenge?
Longing for companionship?
Is he longing to come down from the cross? No
It’s his longing that’s keeping him on the cross, in the place of pain and sacrifice

What are you thirsty for? You ever had a thirst that kept you somewhere painful?
A longing that consumes you?
Stuck in the past because you long for the good old days
Unable to put down roots because you long for a more perfect place
Never enjoying the moment because you’re longing
to finish the project  – finish school – finish the treatment – finish looking for true love

To thirst is to long for something that is essential.
Is what you are thirsting for essential?
If you get it, will it satisfy you?
Or like cool water on a hot day will it meet the need only for your to need more soon

Consider Gollum in Lord of the Rings. He stays in the place of pain thirsting, longing for the ring. But it never satisfies.
Our longings can become distorted, even destructive
We can long for things that do not matter do not last
Our longings can steal our time, our attention, our money, our relationships, our life
At their worst, they get twisted into compulsions or even addictions

Jesus says, “I thirst.” But because it’s Jesus we know it is a perfect, holy longing.
(longing can be good, beautiful, and worthy of the place of pain)

What is so essential to Jesus that he’s allowing it to consume him?
He’s longing for righteousness (fancy church word alert)
that crossed-shaped, right relationship with God, others, yourself, your stuff, the earth.

I thirst
I thirst for you – because you cannot drink the bitter cup I must drink
I thirst for you – because I desire that none should be lost
I thirst for you – so that you may drink of me, the living water

Jesus, the Living Water, flows because he drank the cup and is now being poured out

Only a few hours before, Jesus gathers his closest followers for a meal, he raises a cup and says, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”

Only a few hours before, as Jesus was being arrested, Peter drew his sword; but Jesus told him, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

Jesus drinks the cup and pours himself out on the cross … I thirst, I thirst for you

Jesus’ thirsting, his essential consuming longing, is for righteousness and that we would drink deeply of it- so that he would become in you, me, and all who believe a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.

Only a short time before, Jesus talks with a man seeking answers in the night
Be born again of water and the Spirit

Only a short time before, Jesus talks with an downcast woman at a public well
Drink the water I give you and never thirst again

Only a short time before, Jesus cries out in the midst of a festival
Let anyone who is thirsty come to me
Let the one who believes in me drink
Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water

Holy Jesus, our Lord and our God, is thirsty as he hangs on the cross.
Not the everyday dryness that is easily satisfied by turning a faucet,
but the deep, vital thirst all of us may now know because of his saving work
The cleansing, satisfying thirst for righteousness
Take the cup- drink deeply

2 Corinthians 5:21
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Psalm 63:1         
O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

Psalm 42:1-2 NIV             
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

Matthew 5:6 NIV            
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Resources for this sermon
Final Words From the Cross by Adam Hamilton
Listening at Golgotha by Peter Storey
Dryness and Darkness, Thirst and Desire: Why Lent Matters a sermon by Bishop Ken Carter based on Psalm 63

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I Thirst © 2001 Lisa 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.

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.