Blessings and curses of technology…

Written a few years back, this poem (HERE) shares some thoughts on blessings and curses that technology provides the faithful.

As we continue in life today, may God…

Help us make effective use

of what tech avails.

Social media, phone and pix;

sharing love, which never fails.

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

 


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, March 24, 2019:


Know someone who might like receiving messages like this?**  If so, forward this message to them and they can sign up HERE


DevotionalPraying handsSingendes Quartett3StudyMobius strip

Lenten Prayer by LP (in written and audio form)…

In the early 2010s, Rev. Dr. LP Jones prepared and shared the prayer below with the MWPC community as part of his weekly newsletter column. He granted us permission for use of this with the Christian Playbook community.* It is also available to listen to HERE

This week, our focus is on the first paragraph…

  • is the Lenten road feeling long?
  • are you feeling God’s reminder that confession is freeing?
  • remember to embrace those new beginnings from God’s forgiveness

Lenten Prayer* – Rev. Dr. L.P. Jones

Guiding God, we are traveling the Lenten road. We are ready for it to end. We prefer celebration to reflection and self-examination. On the table, pulpit, and lectern, we prefer pure white, festive red, hopeful blue, or gentle green to Lent’s pensive purple. We know our sins are many, but why must we confess them so often? Remind us, gracious God, that you call us to confession not to burden us, but to free us. Help us to offer you every fear, failure, and sin, so that your forgiveness can calm and cleanse us and your steadfast love can draw us to new beginnings.

We thank you, God of wonders, for countless blessings. We thank you for those special people whose embrace, friendship, and accepting eyes ease our burdens and heighten our joys. We thank you for the songbirds who greet the dawn with exuberant melody. We thank you for the ability to laugh: to laugh at ourselves when we are mistaken; to laugh with our friends when we take ourselves too seriously; to laugh for the pure pleasure it brings. We thank you for eyes that see familiar friends and a new face in the crowd, savor a peaceful sunrise or sunset, and note a hand in need of our touch and open arms waiting to receive us.

Because we are so blessed, help us to respond faithfully to life and its goodness. Because people and relationships are so important, help us to look beyond ourselves and share our plenty with those in need. Help us to build a community known for the risks it takes to help others experience your loving presence. Because life can be so abundant, help us to be a community as joyous in our celebrations as we are committed to service in Jesus’ name. Because not everyone sees your blessings so readily, help us to comfort the bereaved, accompany the lonely, offer hope to the despairing, and reach for a better world for all.

We pray for all whose needs and concerns touch our hearts. We pray for those in need whom we cannot or do not see. We pray for new members and those preparing to receive baptism. We pray for all making difficult decisions. We pray for those enduring illness of body, mind, or spirit, and those who struggle to hope. We pray that we will complete our Lenten journey by seeing our brokenness borne by and entombed with Jesus, which will prepare us to hear anew the almost unimaginable proclamation that the tomb is empty, Jesus is risen, and life and love prevail. These and all our prayers we offer with confidence, for we bring them in Jesus’ name. Amen.

SUGGESTED ACTION: Consider making this prayer part of your regular, Lenten practices…

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

* ever-so-slight alterations made so the original Holy Week prayer applies throughout Lent


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, March 24, 2019:


Know someone who might like receiving messages like this?**  If so, forward this message to them and they can sign up HERE


DevotionalPraying handsSingendes Quartett3StudyMobius strip

Small groups provide great support …

Times together in small groups of 4-12 people can enrich our Christian lives substantially. Wonderful discussion about our faith and our families can ensue. One beautiful aftermath is when we get back together years later it is still so comfortable.

If you or someone you know is looking for discussion materials to use with another couple or small group, Serendipity booklets and other resource items are HERE. In addition, if a small group of men want some materials, please check out the FATHERS Team materials (Upbuilding Ministries.) And, of course, an internet search can yield plenty of possibilities too.

Enjoy the day in your times with God (and small groups of believers,) filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, March 24, 2019:


Know someone who might like receiving messages like this?**  If so, forward this message to them and they can sign up HERE


DevotionalPraying handsSingendes Quartett3StudyMobius strip

Love Lifted Him…

In this Guideposts article, Casting Crowns lead singer Mark Hall describes his feelings of wanting to keep his cancer diagnosis private. He and his family quickly found out the value of letting others know.

SUGGESTED ACTION: Since most of us can’t count on thousands of fans making contact, we all can do our part to lift others up. Do you know someone going through cancer or other challenges right now? Maybe a card, call, text or other contact can happen today or this weekend?

May the Spirit fill each of us today with unexpected joy and action!

P.S. Love Lifted Me is a song that shares some wonderful messages. Lyrics and the tune are HERE


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, March 17, 2019:


Know someone who might like receiving messages like this?**  If so, forward this message to them and they can sign up HERE


DevotionalPraying handsSingendes Quartett3StudyMobius strip

Child of the Wind …

This past weekend, the Lectionary included Christ’s temptation story with the devil. It seems appropriate then to point us to this story called Tempting Alternatives, written by Ron Johnson (formerly of Cincinnati and now living in Michigan.)

When you have 15 minutes today or later this week, it’s definitely worth a read to enjoy Ron’s prose and consider a few of the reflection questions. For instance,

“This story warns us how easy it is for those who are passionate about doing good to end up as agents of evil.  History is littered with the names of devils who thought they were saving the world.  How can we recognize the path of destruction when it looks like precisely the way we must go?” 

May we increasingly experience recognition of good paths…

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

P.S. Have a friend who might like to receive messages like this?**  If so, forward this message to them and they can sign up HERE


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, March 17, 2019:


Know someone who might like receiving messages like this?**  If so, forward this message to them and they can sign up HERE


DevotionalPraying handsSingendes Quartett3StudyMobius strip

Something to “take on”…

How’s the Lenten journey going after a few days? Still looking for something to “take on for Lent?” This Guideposts short contains a really nice perspective-building  idea.

Bet we all have a few folks in our lives who deserve a – “I wanted to write to tell you how much I appreciate you. You really bless my life!” – note…

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, March 10, 2019:


Know someone who might like receiving messages like this?**  If so, forward this message to them and they can sign up HERE


DevotionalPraying handsSingendes Quartett3StudyMobius strip

Loose the bonds…

As we begin the Lenten journey for 2019, Christian Playbook will be focusing on the book The Rising (by Wendy M. Wright) and various other devotional materials about loosening the bonds. For Ash Wednesday, part of the focus in The Rising is on this text from Isaiah:

“Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to your God? Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house, when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own family?” ~ Isaiah 58:5b-7

In The Rising, Wendy talks about many fasts and non-violent protest that have been done in history. Whether done as one or with many, such efforts can bring substantial changes for an individual, communities and/or our world!

POTENTIAL ACTIONS:

  1. Today, consider finding a church that does an Ash Wednesday service and spend the time worshiping in person
  2. Consider “taking something on” or “giving something up” for the Lenten season

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, March 10, 2019:


Know someone who might like receiving messages like this?**  If so, forward this message to them and they can sign up HERE


DevotionalPraying handsSingendes Quartett3StudyMobius strip

Breath Prayer…

As editor of Alive Now for several years, Beth A Richardson was great about sharing her faith, talents and passion in many ways. Today she writes a blog called All The Wonders and a recent post about Breath Prayer (click HERE) is worth a read by all you Christian Playbook readers should you have the time and inclination. 🙂

ACTION: Want a little more about Breath Prayers or more examples? Check out the Christian Playbook page HERE

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, March 10, 2019:


Know someone who might like receiving messages like this?**  If so, forward this message to them and they can sign up HERE


DevotionalPraying handsSingendes Quartett3StudyMobius strip

Life’s translators …

In his book Devotions published in 1624, John Donne shares wonderful, deep thoughts including these from XVII. Meditation

“The church is Catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she does belongs to all. When she baptizes a child, that action concerns me; for that child is thereby connected to that body which is my head too, and ingrafted into that body whereof I am a member. And when she buries a man, that action concerns me; all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God’s hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another.”

Wow, those are some packed sentences!

Focusing on “… when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language …” – when the end of life approaches for a cherished member of a faith community, we feel the tearing out emotions. Donne’s perspective – the chapter will be translated into a better language – is rich. Is Donne talking about 1) the passing from earth to heaven and the better place? 2) opportunities we have to take the example and pass it on? or 3) ???

With Donne’s wisdom in mind, may we “make haste to be kind, and be quick to love” on this day…

ACTION: If you have thoughts on this devotional, please reply to this blog or to salong.now@gmail.com, that we might share those with the CP community]

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, March 3, 2019:


Know someone who might like receiving messages like this?**  If so, forward this message to them and they can sign up HERE


DevotionalPraying handsSingendes Quartett3StudyMobius strip

Come – Everything is Ready…

The theme for this year’s World Day of Prayer is “Come – Everything is Ready” and Slovenia is this year’s host country (details are HERE.) Among the materials available include:

  • Worship Bulletin (including discussion questions based on Luke 14:15-24)
  • Action Guide (focus on Democracy. Education. Care for the Elderly. Substance Abuse Prevention. Inclusion of Those on the Margins.)
  • Lot’s of additional FREE information on Slovenia and World Day of Prayer HERE

On this day, we pray for all. As a portion of the worship service benediction (linked above) states:

“Help us to respect the wonders of our nature And to protect them with all our power,  To mutually support one another On the path of freedom, justice and peace.”

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, March 3, 2019:


Know someone who might like receiving messages like this?**  If so, forward this message to them and they can sign up HERE


DevotionalPraying handsSingendes Quartett3StudyMobius strip