The Daily: Thursday July 31, 2014

The_Daily_v1-lr

How can your church family be praying for you today? Leave your requests in the comments below.

Today’s Lectionary Readings: Psalm 17:1-7, 15 (NRSV, The Message); Isaiah 14:1-2 (NRSV, The Message); Philippians 4:10-15 (NRSV, The Message)

I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:12-13 (NRSV)

I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. Philippians 4:12-13 (The Message)

Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry; give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit.     Psalm 17:1 (NRSV)

As we approach Sunday and the story of Jacob wrestling with God, I am reminded of the intimacy that scripture portrays as available to us in our relationship with God. Like the Psalmist, have you ever cried out to God? Like Jacob have you wrestled with God?

I imagine God’s greatest desire is to engage Him, engage Her at whatever place and way we are able to do that. Of course, the promise is we do that with the understanding that, as Paul states, “Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.”

In our prayers: Joan Jones,  Mark Stanford (you can help contribute to Mark’s living expenses while he is out of work here.), Carol and Karen Lewis are back in the US!

 

Click links below to read these daily devotionals:

uccdevotionallinkupperroomdevotionallinkdailyworddevotionallink

The Kingdom of God is Like…

The Daily: Wednesday July 23, 2014

The_Daily_v1-lr

How can your church family be praying for you today? Leave your requests in the comments below.

Today’s Lectionary Readings: Psalm 139:13-18 (NRSV, The Message); Genesis 35:16-29 (NRSV, The Message); Matthew 12:15-21 (NRSV, The Message)

Jesus, knowing they were out to get him, moved on. A lot of people followed him, and he healed them all. He also cautioned them to keep it quiet, following guidelines set down by Isaiah:

Look well at my handpicked servant;
     I love him so much, take such delight in him.
I’ve placed my Spirit on him;
     he’ll decree justice to the nations.
But he won’t yell, won’t raise his voice;
     there’ll be no commotion in the streets.
He won’t walk over anyone’s feelings,
     won’t push you into a corner.
Before you know it, his justice will triumph;
     the mere sound of his name will signal hope, even
     among far-off unbelievers.        Matthew 12:15-21 (The Message)

Is the passage from Isaiah actually referring to Jesus? Or did the Gospel writers shape their stories of Jesus to match the prophecies?

I don’t know which. However, I am captured by this description. Wouldn’t it be great to have someone like this description at work now? Would we listen to someone like this now? We seem to like our leaders walking over people’s feelings and pushing people into a corner.

How can we, individually and corporately, incorporate these characteristics, put them into practice?

In our prayers: Joan Jones,  Mark Stanford (you can help contribute to Mark’s living expenses while he is out of work here.), Carol and Karen Lewis – on mission trip in Zimbabwe

 

Click links below to read these daily devotionals:

uccdevotionallinkupperroomdevotionallinkdailyworddevotionallink

The Daily: Tuesday July 22, 2014

The_Daily_v1-lr

How can your church family be praying for you today? Leave your requests in the comments below.

Today’s Lectionary Readings: Psalm 139:13-18 (NRSV, The Message); Genesis 33:1-17 (NRSV, The Message); Galatians 4:21-5:1 (NRSV, The Message)

Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you..  Galatians 5:1 (The Message)

Galatians 5:1 is one of my favorite single verses in all of scripture. I think it best to always err on the side of freedom in matters of faith. Of course, freedom can be scary. The rules are so comfortable sometimes – even if those rules include circumcision, the issue at hand in Galatians 5. We understand rules. Freedom is so…so…free.

Interesting that this morning’s passage includes Galatians 4 leading up to Galatians 5:1. I see what Paul is getting at here, and it’s a great illustration. Abraham’s child with Hagar, Ishmael, was the product of his own trying, striving. His child with Sarah, Isaac, was the promised gift of God. However, especially in light of the current state of the Middle East, I can’t help but remember that Hagar, Ishmael, Sarah and Isaac are real people. Viewing Ishmael as somehow less than Isaac and, as a result, the Arabs as somehow less than the Jews may be part of the problem with the current unrest in Israel/Palestine.

Freedom means freedom for all of us, that freedom bumps into each other sometimes. How do we work through this?

 

In our prayers: Joan Jones,  Mark Stanford (you can help contribute to Mark’s living expenses while he is out of work here.), Carol and Karen Lewis – on mission trip in Zimbabwe

 

Click links below to read these daily devotionals:

uccdevotionallinkupperroomdevotionallinkdailyworddevotionallink

School Supply Drive 2014

schoolsupplydrivebanner

We are once again collecting school supplies for both North Grade Elementary School. This school serves a largely disadvantaged student population and every little bit helps. Please consider picking up some of these items during your next trip to the grocery or discount store and bring them to church with you this Sunday:

  1. 12 – # 2 Pencils
  2. 24 – Crayons
  3. 2 – Glue Sticks
  4. 1 – Box of Tissues
  5. 1 – Pink Eraser
  6. 8 – Broad Tip Markers
  7. 1 – Pair of Fiskers Scissors
  8. 1 – Pencil Case
  9. 1 – Wide-Ruled Spiral Bound Notebook
  10. 2 – Pocket Folder
  11. 12 -Pencil Crayons
  12. 2 – Pkg Wide Ruled Loose Leaf Paper
  13. 1 – Pkg. Washable Felt Markers
  14. 1 – Pair Scissors
  15. 10 – Duo-Tangs
  16. 1 – Pkg. Lined Paper
  17. 1 – Pkg. Plain Paper
  18. 8 – Lined Notebooks
  19. 2 – Blue Pens
  20. 1 – Red Pen
  21. 1 – Ruler
  22. 1 – White Glue
  23. 2 – 1″ Binders
  24. 8 – Subject Dividers
  25. 1 – Scientific Calculator
  26. 1 – Geometry Set
  27. 1 – Pocket Dictionary
  28. 1 – Pencil Sharpener
  29. 3 – Highlighter Pen
  30. Composition Books
  31. Copy Paper

The Daily: Monday July 21, 2014

The_Daily_v1-lr

How can your church family be praying for you today? Leave your requests in the comments below.

Today’s Lectionary Readings: Psalm 139:13-18 (NRSV, The Message); Genesis 32:3-21 (NRSV, The Message); Revelation 14:12-20 (NRSV, The Message)

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
     you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
     I worship in adoration—what a creation!    Psalm 139:13-14 (The Message)

The messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.” Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people that were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two companies, thinking, “If Esau comes to the one company and destroys it, then the company that is left will escape.”  Genesis 32:6-8  (NRSV)

What a fantastic reminder in The Message’s translation of Psalm 139. “Body and soul, I am marvelously made!” Yeah I am!

And because the Psalmist recognizes that he is marvelously made, he offers his praise to God, his maker, the one who knows him. It’s a continuous cycle of praise.

In this passage from Genesis, Jacob reaps what he has sown in tricking his twin brother Esau. Even though God has promised Jacob divine presence and blessing, Jacob can’t shake the dread of meeting his brother whom he has wronged. It seems the consequences we often face aren’t due to God’s judgement, but from what we put ourselves through when we realize we have caused another harm.

In our prayers: Joan Jones,  Mark Stanford (you can help contribute to Mark’s living expenses while he is out of work here.), Carol and Karen Lewis – on mission trip in Zimbabwe

 

Click links below to read these daily devotionals:

uccdevotionallinkupperroomdevotionallinkdailyworddevotionallink

Searched, Known, and Named

 

Where and when have you experienced the presence of God in your life? Share with us in the comments!

You can find this week’s bulletin here, and the sermon notes here.

In this week’s focus scripture, Jacob encounters God in a dream. Jacob is journeying alone after fleeing from his brother Esau. His interaction with God in the dream brings Jacob closer to God. He renames the place of the dream Bethel, which means house of God, to show its significance.

This week, step inside a church or different churches or visit another sacred space to pray or spend some time meditating on God’s presence in your life.

The Daily: Tuesday July 15, 2014

The_Daily_v1-lr

How can your church family be praying for you today? Leave your requests in the comments below.

Today’s Lectionary Readings: Psalm 142 (NRSV, The Message); Jeremiah 49:7-11 (NRSV, The Message); Ephesians 4:17-5:2 (NRSV, The Message)

and do not make room for the devil.  Ephesians 4:27  (NRSV)

Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.      Ephesians 4:21-5:2

The passage from Ephesians this morning is a wonderful reminder of the invitation offered to us to live differently, to be imitators of God. Mary Luti’s thoughts in the UCC Still Speaking Devotional describe it as the opportunity to engage in “civil disobedience.”

In our prayers: Joan Jones,  Mark Stanford (you can help contribute to Mark’s living expenses while he is out of work here.), Carol and Karen Lewis – on mission trip in Zimbabwe

 

Click links below to read these daily devotionals:

uccdevotionallinkupperroomdevotionallinkdailyworddevotionallink

Tension and Presence

Thanks Candy!

candycheckCandy Von Sparkle presented the Community Dinner with a check for $1415, the proceeds from her fundraising event in June. The proceeds came from sales of “Our Hearts Desire” jewelry as well as other vendors along with a fabulous dinner provided by Ristorante Antonio South. Special thanks to Candy and everyone who helped for a great evening and a amazingly generous donation.