Clever gardener…

No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. ~ John 15:4

If you have 4 minutes, take a listen to this offering from Our Daily Bread, which includes supportive commentary about Christian Playbook-like efforts:

“When we who believe in Jesus embrace the idea of being as close to Him as a branch is to a vine, our faith is strengthened and enriched.”

This audio commentary also reminds me of this paper a friend recently forwarded. In that paper, Alan Lightman says:

“Don’t we owe all of our children a world in which their contemplative lives are valued and supported? Don’t we owe it to ourselves?”

Lightman encourages us ALL to take time in quiet and share several specific ways we can do so at varying stages in life. You can see these ideas towards the end of the article.

PROPOSED ACTION: review Lightman’s article and for this week, adopt one of the specific actions he mentions [my goal will be to schedule (AKA “build in”) a half hour away from the wired world each day…]

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 22, 2019:


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Jimmy Carter’s Bible Class…

Jimmy Carter started leading Bible study classes when he was at the Naval Academy and has continued ever since. A couple years back, on the drive towards New York City, my mom and I had the chance to listen to one of those. Here is a link with you in case you want to hear our former president talk about his faith: Jimmy Carter bible study

POTENTIAL ACTION: Say a prayer of strength and support for someone who has historically and/or currently inspires you with her/his passion for sharing faith

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 22, 2019:


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The Lord is the strength of my life …

Psalm 27:1 has a wonderful message for those who worry.  And who doesn’t worry, at least from time-to-time?

The quick-hitting Guideposts daily devotional shared that Psalm 27:1 message a while back. It’s especially fitting after our recent CP post on being Overwhelmed

The Guideposts daily devotional ordinarily comes to my e-mailbox early in the morning so it sometimes starts my day off with scripture, a quote, “action” and a little prayer. It’s easy-to-read and usually puts me in a little better place for continuing with Christian Playbook activities. Whether you use an online version or hard copy (I used Alive Now, These Days and others for many years), devotionals are great. Plenty of devotional suggestions are on the Christian Playbook HERE

ACTION: Consider signing up for one or more of the Guideposts online newsletters HERE

As the Guideposts devotional referenced above suggests, may we release our worry and rest in God (and we’ll add: “while still doing our part…”)

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 15, 2019:


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Sometimes humor finds some spiritual components – HERE is a comic with a Higher Power, Peanuts and M*A*S*H theme…

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 15, 2019:


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Overwhelmed…and praying for those who are…

In his picture and text in this Sight Psalms post, David Kepley does a nice job of expressing the Overwhelmed feeling. Many of us have experienced times when we felt there was more than we could handle in our lives.

This brings hurricane Dorian to mind. Our thoughts and prayers have been with those in the Bahamas and many other regions affected by this massive storm. Our hearts hurt for all the difficulties we see, hear and know are part of this.

Looking at Kepley’s picture and words, it strikes me that there have likely been some Septembers when the Bahamas were praying for rains. Then the storms appear as we’ve seen this September – and see amidst these three trees in David’s picture.

It’s similar in our lives – at times we want more of something and then when it arrives it sometimes comes in buckets-full. Reminds me of the old saying “be careful what you ask for, you just might get it!”

ACTION: Let’s hold up the people affected by Hurricane Dorian in our prayers of strength and support. May they, in the midst of feeling Overwhelmed, also find the peace that passeth all understanding…

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 8, 2019:


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Stirring Up One Another…

As we get ready for the new “program year” at churches, it’s a good time to mention one of the best Christian development efforts in my life. For years, a group of MWPC men got together early on Friday mornings for fellowship, prayer and action as part of the FATHERS Team. Ron Rand’s materials gave us opportunities to practice being better fathers, husbands and Christian citizens.

The nice thing is, most FATHERS materials easily would work for a CHRISTIANS team. Here is one of the “daily signals” that participants said each day – and some of us still have memorized – that works for all Christians:

As for me and my fellow Christians we will consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, but encouraging one another, and all the more as we see the Day drawing near ~ FATHERS signal from Hebrews 10:24-25, with CP change of  “Christians” in place of “Fathers”

POTENTIAL ACTIONS:

  • Try saying the “signal” above on a daily basis for this upcoming week
  • If you, your church or small group is looking for study materials or retreat possibilities that “upbuild men, women, and children in practical expressions of their Christian faith” check out Ron’s website http://www.upbuildingministries.org/

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 8, 2019:


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Jesus Loves the Little Children…

Jesus Loves the Little Children… Does this phrase bring a certain song to your mind?

That song is in my mind while thinking of a recent evening gathering. It was a celebration of how one Cincinnati charitable organization, Whole Again, works with organizations to share Christ’s love. Churches, schools and other groups sponsor summer programs that include breakfast and lunch. The witness of loving hundreds of children this past summer was celebrated.

Discussion around our table was filled with ways to share love with children. Helping allay fears. Encouraging prayer. Sharing consequences. Feeding their bodies, minds and spirits.

Inspiring!

Ted Williams – a man known more for his baseball swing than his philosophical tendencies – said something along these lines: a man never stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.

POTENTIAL ACTION: can you find an additional way to love a little child today? I can see you growing taller even while you think that through… 🙂

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 1, 2019:


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Devotionals just where/when you need them…

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”  ~ John Muir in Our National Parks (1901)

Isn’t that imagery fabulous? … peace flowing like sunshine … cares dropping like leaves …

A couple years back, a note from my good friend Bill brought a nice smile and reminder for us all. “Today’s message {from d365.org} really helped me recenter and reminded me to face challenges with faith instead of fear.”

God’s word will be with us at just the right time in any number of ways.

Technology can help our focus on God. Devotionals from d365.org, Our Daily Bread, Christian Playbook or other God-focused websites can provide nice reminders to spend time focusing on faith.

POTENTIAL ACTIONS:

  • consider adding a new devotional to your mix by subscribing to a daily email from one of the sources HERE
  • encourage a friend(s) to subscribe to the same devotional so you can periodically talk about the messages

May your stormy seas become smooth as a carefully-ironed cotton shirt… Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 1, 2019:


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“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”  ~ John Muir in Our National Parks (1901)

The Melting Pot…

Our Daily Bread has an online offering: Christian University. It’s now included that in the STUDY section of the CP.

The Christian University segment on The Melting Pot shares thoughts on world religions, including six principles of relationship of interacting with other faiths (Be Genuine, Respectful, Humble, Fair, Discerning, Discrete.) The 13 minutes of listening, viewing or reading goes by quickly and shares some nice thinking.

Implementing these six principles of relationship with anyone seems like a good idea, especially when we expand this to all of humanity, including those supposedly of the same or similar faiths (or those with no claimed faith at all!)

PRAYER: God, help us in this day to share your love to all people of the earth (rich/poor, believer/non-believer, _____/_____, …) Amen

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, August 25, 2019:


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On a bad day…

HERE is an article with background and then a prayer you might say on a bad day. Julia brings us to this prayer: “Lord, what do you want me to learn?”

Sounds like good advice. Prayer can especially help in the dark times.

Maybe the same prayer can be similarly effective in the good times too? 🙂

PRAYER: “Lord, what do you want me to learn?” Help me to allow the Spirit to move me in that direction… Amen

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Church announcement humorLadies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house… Bring your husbands.


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, August 25, 2019:


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