Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Today, I was searching my blog for a particular quote, when I ran across a post that I had made back in 2012. It was a response to a colleague who, as a part of an assignment for a "Spiritual Formation" class, had interviewed me about my regular use of written prayers. The specific question that he had asked was, "How does your use of written or rote prayers help you to know God and to grow in your faith?"Ironically, I am currently teaching a class on Spiritual Formation, and I recently recommended to my class their taking a look at the Book of Common Prayer. It is likely that, if I were to be asked that same question today, my answer may include some additional elements, but I think that the original answer that I gave back in 2012 still rings true. And, perhaps it may be helpful for some who, today, may have a similar question about the value of written prayers. - With that in mind, I have copied my original response, below:
Sunday, February 21, 2021
Friday, February 19, 2021
Today, as a part of my praying Morning Prayer, I sang two wonderful hymns that I would like to share with you, the readers of this blog.
The first is by Paul Gerhardt and is translated by John Wesley. (It is on page 499 in the Sing to the Lord hymnal):
Might now begin to glow,
Burn up the dross of base desire,
Scatter Thy life thro' ev'ry part,
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of Lent. - Unfortunately, due to the virus and our weather, the Main Street United Methodist Church, where I serve, is unable to meet together. Therefore, I have prepared a brief video (a little under 20 minutes) for Ash Wednesday as we enter into the Lenten season.
I invite you to join with us, and may God's blessings be with you as we observe a Holy Lent!
Sunday, February 14, 2021
Sunday, February 7, 2021
Monday, February 1, 2021
Here is a video of the January 31 worship service for Main Street United Methodist Church in New Albany, Indiana. - I hope that you will find the message on "The Authority of Jesus" to be an encouraging word!
Sunday, January 24, 2021
Sunday, January 17, 2021
Thursday, January 14, 2021
I will confess that these will seem a bit disjunctive. (If I had not been hacked on Facebook, I would have posted these separately, there.) Nevertheless, the following quotes/thoughts struck a chord with me, today, during Morning Prayer, and I thought I would share them with the readers of my blog.
The first was not really a part of Morning Prayer, as such. However, prior to beginning Morning Prayer, I read today's devotion in the Reflecting God devotional. A part of the format of Reflecting God is that, in the sidebar, it quotes a line from a hymn and a verse or so of Scripture. The hymn that was quoted, today, was Katharina von Schlegel's Be Still, My Soul, and the line was:
Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
This is a timely comfort and reminder. As I read it, I not only think of my own "transitional" time, but I especially think of my son who just headed back to Olivet Nazarene University for his final semester. As he nears the end of his time in college, my son looks ahead wondering where God will lead him as he pursues his call to Music Ministry. - The song reminds us that we can, indeed, be still and know that the God who has guided us thus far will certainly continue to guide us in the future.
The second thing that spoke to me came from the Psalms. In today's Psalm (Psalm 27), we find one of my two "favorite" life verses. Psalm 27:4 says (in NKJV):
One thing I have desired of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple.
As I said, this is one of my life verses. It reflects "an eye single to Your glory" and our identity as the worshipping people of God.
The final idea that caught my attention was actually found in the study notes of my Bible for the Gospel reading. - As I noted, above, I am reading in the New King James Version. Now, typically, I prefer the NRSV. That is the version from which I preach, and it is what I have been used to reading in my devotions for quite some time, now. In the past, of course, I have read through the Bible in various translations, but the NRSV is my translation of choice. - So, why the NKJV?
Well, I decided that for this year, I wanted to read through the Bible using the notes found in The Wesley Bible: A Personal Study Bible for Holy Living*. And, this study Bible was only produced in the New King James Version. So, there you have it! (As a side note, I think it will do me good to change up my reading for this year.)
Today's Gospel reading was the 14th chapter of Matthew. This chapter included the story of Jesus walking on the water, along with His bidding Peter to come to Him on the water. The notes commented on this: "When we ask according to His will, Christ accepts our offer to let Him show His power in us."
I find in this comment a spiritual challenge and encouragement as we have entered into this new year.
These are the three things that stuck out and spoke to me during Morning Prayer, this morning. Perhaps God would use one or more as words of encouragement for you, as well. - Such is my prayer.
*This is not to be confused with The Wesley Study Bible, which a completely different study Bible.
Monday, January 11, 2021
We have just completed celebrating the season of Advent and the arrival of the Messiah. Jesus came fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah:
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
What happens in one part of the world is not isolated but impacts us all. This is certainly true as we reflect upon the pandemic and the ways in which it has touched the whole world. This can also be said of political unrest, which creates uncertainty and destabilization around the globe. It is in these precarious times that God’s people turn toward the sure and certain hope that is found in Jesus Christ.
As followers of Jesus, we seek ways to be loving, forgiving, and charitable. In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He reminds us: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). He continues by telling us that we are called to be salt and light in our world: “… let your light shine before people, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Like the Lord we follow, we are called to be peacemakers and to have a positive impact as salt and light in our world. This cannot be done apart from God’s grace experienced through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, the Board of General Superintendents is calling the global Church of the Nazarene to a week of prayer and fasting beginning on Monday, 11 January. When the church joins in prayer and acts in unanimity with Jesus’ vision, we are assured that God will do what we cannot.
Please, join us each day next week as we focus on the need for spiritual renewal within the Church and for healing the great divides in our world.
Monday — Pray for spiritual renewal and revival to come to the Church.
Tuesday — Pray for peace and opportunities to show Christ’s love to others.
Wednesday — Pray for the persecuted church around the world and for our missionaries.
Thursday — Pray for those who are suffering as a result of the global pandemic.
Friday — Pray for unity among God’s people and for healing across the nations.
Saturday — Pray for those who have yet to come to faith in Jesus Christ.Sunday — Pray for the Holy Spirit to fill us again so that we may be empowered to be Christlike in this world.
Call to prayer and fasting - Church of the Nazarene