Growing in Resilience: Morning by Morning, based on Isaiah 50.4-5

Sunrise over sea

Sunrise over sea

Growing in Resilience
Day 11, Read Isaiah 50
Reflection: Morning by Morning, based on Isaiah 50:4-5

The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens— wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward.

Morning by morning
Like the sunrise
Like manna

Morning by morning you waken and provide
You open my eyes to your presence and desire for this day
You open my ears to your encouragement, truth, and grace
You know my weakness, my weariness
You open me to your sustaining

Morning by morning you waken and provide
Now open my mouth to share what first found me
In every season and circumstance
With every soul along the way

Morning by morning you waken me
My eyes, my ears
My mouth, my heart

Morning by morning you waken me
To You and to all
Like the sunrise
Like manna
Great is your faithfulness!

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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. 

Morning by Morning © 2017 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Prayer: For Yours Alone (Mark 16)

speak witness good news

Based on the short ending of the Gospel of Mark, The Voice Translation
Later, Jesus himself commissioned the disciples to take the sacred and eternal message of salvation far to the East and the West.

Jesus,
Your message is sacred
Holy, Set Apart, Treasured

Your message is eternal
Timeless, Lasting, a Firm Foundation

Your message is salvation
Deliverance, Wholeness, Grace

We bow before your commission to receive and bear your message into the world

Show us when to speak and give us the words
Never for our agenda, for yours alone

Show us what to do and give us the strength
Never for our achievement, for yours alone

Show others we are from you by your power at work through us
Never for our glory, for yours alone

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For Yours Alone © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

You are welcome to use this prayer in a worship setting with proper attribution. Please leave a comment to contact me directly for publishing and posting consideration.

Gratitude and Glory Sightings, a Thanksgiving Message (Luke 13)

thanksgiving-i-chronicles

Message: Gratitude and Glory Sightings, a Thanksgiving Message 
Scriptures: Luke 13:10-17
Offered 11/20/16, the Sunday before Thanksgiving at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

There’s more to thanksgiving than saying thank you, there’s testimony.
Thanksgiving = Gratitude and Glory Sightings

What is a Glory Sighting?
• God teaches you something or reveals something to you
• God answers a prayer (yes, no, wait)
• God is apparent in the midst of a situation
• God gives you the chance to speak or serve

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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.

Soul Tending, a small group experience based on Luke 13:10-17

soul-tending

As you gather, move chairs into groups of three.

Welcome and Centering
ONE:
Welcome. Let’s center by taking a deep breath in, let it out. Breath in, and out. Let’s pray together.

ALL: An Invitation to Christ by Dimitri of Rostov
Come, my Light, and illumine my darkness.
Come, my Life, and revive me from death.
Come, my Physician, and heal my wounds.

Come, Flame of divine love, and burn up the thorns of my sins,
kindling my heart with the flame of your love.
Come, my King, sit upon the throne of my heart and reign there,
for you alone are my King and my Lord.

Gratitude and Glory Sightings
ONE:
1 Chronicles 16:34 NRSV
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.

Please stand and share with the whole group a word of gratitude or glory sighting from the last week. Did God teach you something or reveal something to you? Was a prayer answered or was God apparent in the midst of a situation? Did God give you the chance to bring peace or hope or share the Good News of Jesus?

Persons stand and share

God’s Word for Today
Adapted from Pray as You Go, a daily prayer app (Jesuit apps)

ONE: I’ll be reading the scripture three times. As you listen to the scripture the first time, place yourself in the story. Who are you and what are you feeling?

Luke 13:10-17 (NRSV) Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman
Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God.

But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.”

But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?”

When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.

Pause

As you listen again, what part of the scene is affecting you most? Be brave and stay with that part. Read the passage again and then pause.

Listen to the passage a third time. Discuss your experience with Jesus and listen to what he says to you. Read the passage again and then pause.

Share your experience with your group of three. When your group is ready, continue with the prayer time, spiritual goal setting time, and closing blessing.

Prayer Time
Jeremiah 29:12 NRSV
Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you.

Pray blessing over each other and for each other’s needs
Pray for the needs of your community and world

Spiritual Goal Setting
Care of Soul Question – What devotional practices are you finding most helpful in strengthening your relationship with Jesus?

Fulfilling Your Call Question – What is your mission from God and how are you fulfilling it?

Set a spiritual goal for the coming week.

In your group of three, read the closing blessing together.

Closing Blessing- Psalm 5:11-12, The Voice
Let those who run to You for safety be glad they did
Let them break out in joyful song.
May You keep them safe—
their love for You resounding in their hearts.
You, O Eternal, are the One who lays all good things in the laps of the right-hearted.
Your blessings surround them like a shield.

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Soul Tending, Luke 13:10-17 compilation © 2016 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.

Open My Lips- a prayer based on 1 John 1

speech_bubbles 850x

Jesus
Light of Life, Light of Healing
Light of Relationship and Saving Love

Open my lips as you open my eyes
Open my lips as you open my ears
Open my lips to declare your praise
Your power
Your welcome
Your hope

Open my lips in all seasons
in all circumstances

You reveal, I receive
New life is born

You reveal, I reveal
Your Kingdom comes
Your family increases
as does the joy

Open my lips

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Open My Lips by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia © 2016
You are welcome to use this in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa directly for publishing and posting consideration.

The Widow Meets the Lord of Compassion (Luke 7)

Christ Raising the Dead by Louisa Anne, Marchioness of Waterford 1818-1891

Christ Raising the Dead, a watercolor by Louisa Anne, Marchioness of Waterford

Luke 7:11-16 NIV
Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out–the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.”

Compassion lies at the heart of the authentic Christ-following life. Any spiritual experience – whether it be one of solitude and silence, prayer and fasting, or worship and celebration – that does not result in a deeper concern for our suffering neighbors can hardly be called Christian. The critical test of relationship with the Holy One always involves the quality of our love for those around us. If our communion with God isolates us from the painful realities of our world, inoculates us into an excessive preoccupation with our own well-being, it must be considered suspect. If, on the other hand, it finds expression in greater compassion and a willingness to show care, then it passes the test for genuineness. – Trevor Hudson, A Mile in My Shoes: Cultivating Compassion

The cultivation of compassion is really a process of recovery – of retrieving an inherent capacity that has become, either in the moment or over time, buried and obscured. Jesus’ knowledge, which is grounded in the Hebrew scriptures, tells him that each person is created in the image of God – a God of infinite and extravagant compassion. (See Genesis 1:27; Exodus 34:6.) This image dwells unmarred within each soul. As such, we know how to care. We are wired for connection. We are born to love and to be loved. In truth, our deepest core is naturally compassionate. This compassionate core is our true self – our true face. We are most fully human when we live from this essence. We are most fully our true selves when we love. – Frank Rogers Jr, Compassion in Practice

Jesus disclosed that God is compassionate. Jesus spoke of God that way: “Be compassionate, as God is compassionate.” (Luke 6:36) Compassion is the primary quality of the central figures in two of his most famous parables: the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) and the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). And Jesus himself, as a manifestation of the sacred, is often spoken of as embodying compassion.
Marcus J. Borg, The God We Never Knew, Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Authentic Contemporary Faith

Excerpt of a prayer by Nadia Bolz-Weber based on this scripture
Lord of Compassion, who saw the Widow of Nain, we thank you for seeing us.
Seeing our loneliness and our bravery.
Seeing the times we can’t say what we need to.
Seeing the ones who suffer in silence.
Seeing the moments when we are more than we thought we could be.
Seeing what no one else can or will.

We praise you for seeing as beautiful what we call ugly
and that in your compassion you wipe away all tears.

Reach out once again and wipe our tears and raise us Lord of compassion.
Touch us as you did the wood on which the widow’s son lay dead
and speak those same words to us:
Young man arise.
Little girl, get up.

  • To those who think they are not worthy to be loved
    and medicate themselves with food and booze and shopping, say “rise up”.
  • To us who have been hurt by those who say they follow you say “rise up”.
  • To the proud at heart who think they are not dead say “rise up”.
  • To the ones who care for the least of these and who feel too burnt out to keep going, say “rise up”.
  • To we who are holding onto resentments like our own personal security blankets say “rise up”.
  • To those who hide their failings behind good works say “rise up”.
  • To the unloved child who has no idea that one day they will change the world say “rise up”.
  • To the one who has given up say “rise up”

And when again Lord of Compassion, you have raised the dead…
when again you have made whole that which is broken,
when again you have ripped out my heart of stone
and replaced it with a heart of flesh,
when again you have reached into the graves we dig ourselves
and loved us back to life…

help us, like the young man of Nain to sit up and speak.
Give us the words that are not empty praise or platitudes of piety,
but give us strong words,
as real as the very soil from which you raised us.
Give us the words to speak of you.
And then, as you did the son to his mother, give us one to another.
That when we speak others may hear
and know that you are without question
and without end
the Lord of all Compassion.
AMEN.

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I am grateful for the preaching ministry of Nadia Bolz-Weber. The raw honesty and beauty of her posts inspire and challenge me every time I read them. Click here to go to her blog, Sarcastic Lutheran: the cranky spirituality of a post-modern gal.

Nadia Bolz-Weber holds the copy write to this prayer, including this excerpt.

Pentecost: Power to Witness

Please notify me if you know the artist of this work so he/she may receive proper credit.

Acts 1:8 (NRSV)
Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

We are witnesses. Witnessing is not just something we do; it is something we are. We don’t go to witness, we witness as we go. With every breath we take, with every word we utter, with every action we make, we are witnessing. It’s been said that when Stanley discovered Livingstone in Central Africa and had spent some time with him, he said, “If I had been with him any longer I would have been compelled to be a Christian and he never spoke to me about it at all.” The witness of his life, his being, was irresistible. – William Richard Ezell, God’s Redemptive Plan

Acts 2:4 NRSV
[On the day of Pentecost] All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

In the midst of a generation screaming for answers, Christians are stuttering.
– Howard Hendricks

The Christian’s life in all its aspects – intellectual and ethical, devotional and relational, up-surging in worship and outgoing in witness – is supernatural; only the Spirit can initiate and sustain it. So apart from him, not only will there be no lively believers and no lively congregations, there will be no believers and no congregations at all. – J. I. Packer

Acts 4:29-31 (NRSV)
“Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.

When I live by my own power and strength, relying solely on my natural talents to see me through, then people naturally praise me for how I am living. But when I am living in a way that requires me to depend on the Holy Spirit, people respond by praising my Father in heaven.
– Francis Chan, Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit

This Spirit is not some magical, mysteriously supernatural aura of a dynamistic kind, not a magical being of an animistic kind, but God himself in his especially personal and self-giving aspect: as a power which creates life. The Spirit is God himself, a merciful power establishing his reign over man’s heart, over the whole of man, inwardly present to man and apparent in his workings to man’s human spirit. – Hans Kung, The Church

After the wait, with the power of the Father, the church is unleashed into the world with incredible energy and authority. It is unrestrained by the authorities it encounters; it is unimpeded even by imprisonment. Its impact is “to turn the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). I do not know about you; this prospect and possibility seem remote from the church as I know it . . . except, it is the work of the Spirit! When the church waits and receives, it is emboldened in way that transforms.
Walter Brueggemann, Blogging Toward Sunday

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Click here for the Rev. Dr. Steve Harper’s important insights on the meaning of “Jersusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the Earth,” the locations of our witnessing.

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