Joyful Noise…

Jesus said to them, “You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? ~ Luke 5:34

Did Shannon J. Kershner’s commentary about Joy resonate with you? (reminder of that article HERE) Had you seen that picture of Laughing Jesus before?

Shannon’s commentary was a nice reminder of the amount of joy that can come from a group of Christ-followers. One such example is a group we call Joyful Noise Boys. You can see MUCH more about the crew HERE.

One aspect of showing such joy surprises folks. The one sharing joy frequently gets as much or more in return as they give! What a wonderful, renewable resource. 🙂

Give it a try. May we live this day with the joy of Christ in our hearts and in our actions…

PRAYER: God, fill us with joy as though at a wedding celebration with the bride and groom. Amen

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!



Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 26, 2021:



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How Well Do You “Do Joy?”

Jesus said to them, “You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? ~ Luke 5:34

Expressing joy is the focus of THIS 2016 DEVOTIONAL from Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, IL. Written by Shannon J. Kershner, Pastor, it describes a challenge many have experienced on occasion in church. WHERE IS THE JOY?!?  Perhaps the picture HERE is the Laughing Jesus picture Kershner is mentioning?

This picture and devotional reflection is a reminder of two books: Jesus, Man of Joy by Sherwood E. Wirt and The Humor of Christ by Elton Trueblood. Both books provide – as Trueblood’s subtitle suggests – “bold challenge to the traditional stereotype of a somber, gloomy Christ.” If you’re looking for some enjoyable, challenging reading, consider one of these…

May we live this day with the joy of Christ in our hearts and in our actions!

PRAYER: God, fill us with joy as though at a wedding celebration with the bride and groom. Amen

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!



Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 26, 2021:



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Draw near to God…

Draw near to God, and God will draw near to you. ~ James 4:8a

You Are Mine, a song by David Haas, resonates in the context of this week’s Lectionary passages (listen HERE.) We are reminded in the Mark passages about not concerning ourselves with who is first or last, included or not.

In fact, we read that children – the bottom of the social and economic scale in the ancient Mediterranean world – are brought up by Jesus in the center of conversation! “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me,” in Mark 9:37 provides a very real example of how important first and last is to Jesus. All are welcome – no exceptions.

The song lyrics “do not be afraid I am with you” from You Are Mine are especially powerful. Sometimes it is in the most challenging times that we realize that God is already upon us. All we need to do is be still – drawing near to God – and feel that omnipresence.

Given that universal opportunity for power and peace, why does it take so much for so many of us to be still? Perhaps spending time with You Are Mine or a few of your favorite songs will help put you in the right mindset for being still, moving that one step closer to God…

PRAYER: Dear God, in all my days, help me to realize there is no need to be afraid, for you are with me.

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit and the stillness!



Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 19, 2021:



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Do not fret…

Do not fret…it leads only to evil. ~ Psalm 37:8-9 

Know someone who likes to fret? Of a cherished family member, my uncle says: “if you don’t think you’re worrying enough about something, let me know and I’ll contact {insert name here} – – she’ll do some worrying for you!”  🙂

Christian Playbook efforts are made less stressful by friends and CP readers sending materials. This Forward Day By Day devotional (HERE) comes from such a friend (thanks Joan!) The devotional author shares several meanings of the word “fret” including “… to fret is also to gradually wear away or wear down something by rubbing or gnawing.” The author then follows up, in the context of Psalm 37, by saying:

What if the worrying and obsessing that I do over the things I cannot control is the very thing that most wears me down and gnaws at my peace?

Can you relate, or do you know someone who could? Maybe answering this “MOVING FORWARD” question {taken from the Forward Day By Day post HERE} will help? “How can you approach fretting in a new way?”

PRAYER: Dear God, help us approach fretting in a new way, allowing the wearing down to become building up with you!

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit !



Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 12, 2021:



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How the Spirit Can Move Us…

Reviewing past CP postings can provide some nice reminders. This one from 5 years ago…

Three of us arrived at the jail, greeted by 31 men for worship. Early on we did Amazing Grace – it’s a frequent starting tune for worship because most everyone knows it. Yet on this day, virtually no one was singing; a troubling sign, for sure …

A transformation happened over the course of our scripture-prayer-song formatted worship … by the time we were done the men encouraged one another to stand while praying the joys and concerns. The final song – If I Had a Hammer – was enjoyed with virtually everyone singing along, including some dancing with virtually all energized.

A magical hour of worshiping God, fueled by the Spirit, for sure!

That posting closed with these words:

Even on those days when the Spirit doesn’t immediately seem to be working through you, have confidence and persevere, knowing that your love and caring can shine through in the most unexpected ways and circumstances…

We’re experiencing similar worship with our New England Club community right now – OVER THE PHONE (they are in COVID-19 isolation for a few more days!) For some it’s hard to imagine getting inspiration from listening to a worship service while holding the phone up to one’s ear. Yet, that’s been our experience. Allowing the word of God into our lives is the key, however that is received – phone, radio, TV, in-person, YouTube, FB Live, Zoomin’, email, Instagram, podcasts, Twitter, Tik Tok and more – – much more!

Enjoy the day, filled with the amazing Spirit and unbridled love that can come so abundantly to “Jesus people!”

CHURCH BILLBOARD:  In the 23rd Psalm there is peace and calm…



Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 5, 2021:



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Breathe…

“I’ve heard of a coincidence, yet I’ve never seen one”

The quote above, uttered on many an occasion by friend Jim O. is a nice reminder of synchronicity and the Creator’s hand clearly at work in so much of life’s journey.

The last few days have provided such moments of our Creator staying present coupled with the smiles that can come along from such experiences.

  • Chris D. recently mentioned a quote from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (page 247): “I am nearer than you dare believe, closer than the air you breathe”
  • During blessed time with Mark M. similar ideas came up again, bringing to mind the song Breathe by Michael W. Smith. Take a listen HERE if you have a few minutes.

Two good friends. Two blessed gatherings. Two men allowing the Spirit to move through them in deeper-than-many discussions leading to wonderful conversation about the Creator’s work in-and-through our lives.

Where do you find the Creator at work in your life today (possibly masked as coincidence by some?)  The smile of a stranger? The warmth of the sun? A friend’s joyous wager? A child giggling in fun?

ENJOY the air you breathe on this special day, filled with the Spirit!!!

P.S. The song Breathe has been added to our Christian Playbook music site on YouTube HERE. Listening to a few such songs can certainly stir some satisfying smiles…



Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 5, 2021:



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Riding the Rapids…

Riding the Rapids is the title of the Our Daily Bread devotional HERE. Many of us have a kayaking style of going for the rapids, but only with proper preparation and a dose of caution. Maybe that’s why the article resonates so much, with description of preparations for weight distribution, detailed directions, etc..

Which detailed directions would we describe as being helpful while riding the lifetime of rapids as Christians?

  • Finding your community of Christian friends?
  • Developing a daily prayer time?
  • Continuing education and growing your faith?
  • Seeking experiences that allow for incremental strength of character and Christian witness?

May we develop and enhance those detailed directions in our lives this day and in the days ahead…

POSSIBLE ACTION: Ask a friend(s) which “detailed directions” they have found most helpful in strengthening their faith? Which activities would you like to take on or enhance in the days ahead as you continue thinking about “What would Jesus have me do?”

Enjoy the ride, filled with the Spirit…



Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 5, 2021:



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How Lovely is My Dwelling Place…

Perhaps this weekend will offer a reminder of the loveliness of your dwelling place in one or more of the following fashions?

  • Listen to the song How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place HERE
  • Spend a few minutes outdoors, listening for the sounds of nature, looking at the growth occurring around you
  • Pray for all children of God, that they might see God’s loveliness and brightness even in the midst of darker times
  • Perhaps you’ll want to say aloud the following “Jones benediction,”

“Friends, life is short, and there is precious little time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us. So make haste to be kind and be quick to love, for in every act of love and kindness, the God who first formed us, transforms and reforms us, now and forever. And for these blessings, the people of God say … Amen.”

May you have such a joy-filled time(s) this weekend, filled with the Spirit…



Lectionary Texts for Sunday, August 29, 2021:



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Connect More…

Looking for ways to connect with those around you? Guideposts has a great list to get you started HERE.  They’re calling it the Connect Challenge.

Not only are there 20 ideas for connecting, there are articles and details within an idea. For instance, the sub-article for Connection Idea #4 (Icebreaker) is about overcoming social anxiety, especially after so many months of having isolation as a focus!

POSSIBLE ACTION: Try one or more of these challenge ideas over the next week or so. You’ll feel more connected to another person and also likely get some good spiritual food as well…

PRAYER:  Dear God, prepare us to be “the touch of Jesus” in other’s lives today. May your touch and presence find us “just where we are,” that we might extend those same characteristics and efforts to those we are naturally with, and those we seek out! Amen.

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit…



Lectionary Texts for Sunday, August 29, 2021:



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Carebag preparations?

Did you have a similar reaction when reading the last several CP posts?

Most of the thoughts and visiting principles of spreading Jesus’ touch to those experiencing dementia also readily applies to ALL connections we make, regardless of brain health status!

That listing of 101 items brought to mind things to do with some friends currently living in senior communities. Which was a reminder of the Carebag.

What is a Carebag, you may ask. Here’s a description:

Construction workers have toolboxes, doctors have medical bags, so why shouldn’t Christian visitors/connectors carry a ‘go bag’ of their own . . . “CareBags?”

This CP webpage on CareBags shares a prospective list of items for visitors. Based on our recent postings, it now has an augment for those specifically visiting those experiencing dementia.

POSSIBLE ACTIONS: 

  • Assemble a CareBag of your own for the next time you’re doing some visiting.
  • Given your experiences and study, what item(s) would you suggest as additions to the CP CareBag listing? Please send those to salong_now@yahoo.com

PRAYER:  Dear God, prepare us to be “the touch of Jesus” in other’s lives today just as those in New Testament stories felt it. May your touch and presence find us “just where we are,” that we might extend those same characteristics and efforts to those we are naturally with, and those we seek out! Amen.

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit…



Lectionary Texts for Sunday, August 22, 2021:



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