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

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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

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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.

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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.

Prayer for the Discouraged

Ploughman With Woman Planting Potatoes by Vincent Van Gogh

Ploughman With Woman Planting Potatoes by Vincent Van Gogh

Jesus
You give the gifts
You make the way
Encourage all who our discouraged, including your beloved [NAMES]
Grant them persevering faith
Open their eyes to all the blessing and grace surrounding them
Open their ears to the truth of their talents and calling
Open their hearts to the hope
that this season of planting will bring forth beautiful and lasting fruit
The harvest is coming
Keep their hand to the plow
Amen

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Prayer for the Discouraged © 2015 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