Faith UMC 2016 Mission and Vision Devotions – February 2016

February 2016

Ministry WITH the Poor

Scriptures, Reflections, & Prayers for Faith UMC’s Mission & Vision

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to (with) the poor…” Luke 4:18

oil_11349cp (1)Last month our attention was elevated to the importance of ministry WITH as opposed to TO. Here we, disciples of Jesus at Faith UMC, continue to move upward and outward in service to the kingdom of God through head, heart and hands…

Disciples of Jesus are all called to be ministers WITH the poor. As such, disciples are called not only to be prophets, liberators, healers, equalizers, and justice-makers, but also to be hospitable and caring brothers and sisters in Christ, who break bread with one another, nurture community, and work together to make this world a place of justice, mercy, and love. (Romans 12:13).

Jesus explicitly told us “the Way” to do this: each person must love and treat others as he or she would want to be treated (Matthew 22: 35-40). Jesus also modeled how to be in ministry WITH  one another, including those who are widows, orphans, little children, prisoners, homeless, outcast, living in a foreign land, sick and disabled, in debt, oppressed, an occupying soldier, and even our enemies. We are called especially to be in ministry WITH society’s most marginalized, “the least of these” (Matthew 25: 45), WITH whom Jesus equated himself. Jesus showed us that ministry WITH means being WITH – being a caring presence, being in loving relationship, standing with, standing in the shoes of, being in solidarity, listening to, learning from, caring about, and respectfully responding to others as we would have them respond to us.

In accepting the call to be in the service of God’s Kingdom of love and justice, disciples of Jesus strive to transcend boundaries that divide people from one another and embrace the call to overcome the us/them, self/other dichotomies that humans have created and perpetuated: the divisions between “haves” and “have not’s,” rich and poor, superior and inferior, and empowered and marginalized.

Transcending boundaries and living “in ministry with” others requires intentionality and does not happen automatically. Living out one’s faith in this manner means taking on the attitude of Christ Jesus. As we come to the season of Lent we will be learning how it is that we are called to reveal the hope that shows up in loving service WITH the poor as we look toward the hope revealed in a God who comes to us, dwells WITH us, dies our death and is raised to new and eternal life inviting us to follow along.

Peace and challenge on the journey with Jesus.
Pastor Cara

How is God calling you to share the Good News WITH others?

February Prayer Focus: “Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
He (Jesus) replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.

Prayer: Anointing God, equip and empower Faith’s Mission Ministries to share your
love in the WITH others. Amen.
Check out this Ministry WITH the Poor video —http://www.ministrywith.org/index.html

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Faith UMC 2016 Mission and Vision Devotions – January 2016

January 2016

Ministry WITH the Poor

Scriptures, Reflections, & Prayers for Faith UMC’s Mission & Vision

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to (with) the poor…” Luke 4:18

This past year the body of Christ at Faith began a five year journey of following Jesus in his essential call as found in chapter 4 of the gospel of Luke. In 2015 we celebrated the Anointed One and claimed our own anointing as the basis for ministry. Followers of Jesus too are “anointed”—anointed to serve as disciples of Jesus, to be his “witnesses . . . to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8), and to serve as God’s co-creators in bringing about the Kingdom of God on earth. We learned that being “anointed” as disciples for the transformation of the world does not imply superiority; in fact, quite the opposite is true.

oil_11349cp (1)In the coming year the body of Christ at faith takes up the first clause of our call as followers of Jesus – Ministry WITH the Poor. The scripture actually says “Ministry TO the poor.” However, I have been chafing against this word “TO” and all it may suggest. “TO” may suggest that those who are offering the ministry are in no way ‘poor’ themselves. “TO” also implies that the best way to address inequities is to flood them with resources from the ‘haves’ to the have-nots.’ “Ministry WITH the Poor” involves ministries of love and justice, where appropriate action is defined and taken in relationship with, among, and by those who are impoverished — materially, spiritually, or otherwise. One way or another, all experience suffering and poverty, all are in need of grace, and all are called to minister to and show grace to others. Guided by love and grace, Ministry WITH the Poor requires mutuality of relationship with, by, and of the poor. Ministry WITH the Poor is fundamental to our Wesleyan roots and integral to the United Methodist Church’s mission:

“to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world
by proclaiming the good news of God’s grace and by exemplifying Jesus’ command to love God and neighbor, thus seeking the fulfillment of God’s reign and realm in this world”  (The United Methodist Book of Discipline 2008, par. 121).

Indeed, Ministry WITH the Poor is a biblical imperative—as much for everyone today as it was for Jesus when he proclaimed: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19; see Isaiah 61:1-2; 58:6-10; Leviticus 25:8-55)

Prayer: Dear God, Be my guide in this New Year. Show me all the ways in which Jesus will act WITH God’s people through me in the year ahead.

Peace and Grace.
Pastor Cara

January Prayer Focus:
“John announced how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed.” Acts 10:38 NRSV

Prayer: God of new beginnings, bless and strengthen Faith’s pastors, staff and ministry leaders.

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Chalking the Door~An Epiphany Blessing

Epiphany

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12

Epiphany StarEpiphany of the Lord, celebrated on January 6th, is the climax of the Advent and Christmas season. The term Epiphany means “to show” or “to make known” or even “to reveal.” In Western churches, Epiphany Day has marked the observance of the coming of the wise men bringing gifts to visit the Christ child (Matthew 2:1-12), revealing Jesus to the world as Lord and King. The original celebration day of the Advent Christmas Epiphany season was Epiphany. This was a celebration of the revelation of God’s light and power in Christ (Luke 2:32 & John 1:1- 2:11).

Jesus is the light of the world!

Thank God for revealing himself to us in Jesus! The wise men followed the star to find the baby Jesus. The disciples learned to follow Jesus. We are called to do likewise and must answer the question, What does it mean to follow Jesus? Make time for Jesus and let God fill your life with his holy light so that his light can shine through you into the world! Our world needs to experience more and more of God’s love. Our world needs to experience the light of Jesus in its darkness.

Chalking the Door ~ An Epiphany Blessing

Chalking the DoorOn Epiphany Day, January 6, start a new family tradition called Chalking the Door. Chalking the Door is a way to celebrate the season of Epiphany and God’s blessing of our lives and home. Chalking the door is a blessing with a short liturgy for marking our homes, usually at the front or main entrance, with sacred signs and symbols as we ask God’s blessing upon those who live, work, or visit throughout the coming year.

The numbers at the beginning and end of the inscription written on the door frame refer to the current year. The picture above was taken at my house in 2015. The letters C M B come from the traditional names for the three kings: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. Some also suggest “Christus Mansionem Benedicat” which means, “May Christ bless this dwelling!”

According to UMC Discipleship Ministries, “We use chalk in this service as an ordinary substance put to holy use. Further, chalk will not permanently mar the dwelling. As its image fades from view over time, those who participated in its original placement will remember it and the purpose for which it was intended. In doing so, they may rededicate themselves to that purpose. After a year passes and a new Epiphany arrives, they will have the opportunity once again to celebrate the themes of this season and once again to seek God’s blessing on their homes and on those who come and go through the home.”

Each of these links are great resources for this family blessing:

http://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/an-epiphany-blessing-of-homes-and-chalking-the door

http:// www.buildfaith.org/2011/01/01/chalking-the-door/

Epiphany is the third season of the Christian year and begins with the feast of the Epiphany on January 6 and continues until the eve of Ash Wednesday, which begins Lent. Epiphany refers to the Star of Bethlehem appearing after the birth of Jesus and to the dove, tongues of fire, and voice of God appearing at His baptism. The liturgical color for Epiphany Day is white. The color for the season of Epiphany is green to signify the growing Church and the spreading of the Gospel. The symbol of the season after Epiphany is the baptismal font, signifying the baptism of new believers in the Gospel.

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Mosaic: Journey through Advent and Christmas~Prayers for the Second Week of Christmas

Mosaic: Journey through Advent and Christmas 2015, Epiphany 2016

Prayers for the Second Week of Christmas January 3 – January 6

Prayers contributed by the people of Faith United Methodist Church and compiled by Faith UMC’s Spiritual Formation Ministry Team.

MosaicCross.AdventPrayers

A mosaic is an artistic expression created from broken pieces brought together and made into something beautiful. In many ways, our congregation is a community of broken people brought together by God’s love and grace to build God’s Kingdom on earth. As you use this resource to prepare for the coming of Christ this Christmas, may you experience the blessing, joy and passion of this mosaic body of Christ. To God be the glory!

This Week’s Scripture Readings:  Matthew 2:1-12, Isaiah 60:1-6, Jeremiah 31:7-14, Psalm 147: 12-20, Ephesians 1:3-14, John 1:1-9, 10-18

Christmastide Prayer for January 3 written by Aiden Cross

Aiden's Advent PrayerDear God,

Thank you for all that you give us, food and shelter. I’m glad I have a good family. I’m glad for all we have.
Amen.

 

Christmastide Prayer for January 4 written by Sam Purses

Dear Father in Heaven,
Two thousand years ago, Jesus came to us in a manger. His presence became celebrated as a light to the world. Just as the Magi followed the light of his presence all the way from their homes in the East bearing gifts welcoming him into their midst, two thousand years later, the risen Christ harkens to us to be fully alive as sons and daughters of the risen Christ.  His presence within each of us is a gift freely given to live and grow in unison with the Triune God.  Each of us is challenged to live the fullness of the Triune life as co-creators of a world that is yet to come, but wholly vested in the Holy Spirit.  Our challenge is to leave future generations the light of the living God that commissioned His son to be born in Bethlehem and likewise sends us forward to carry the beacon of Jesus’ teachings to future generations.  We call upon the same Divine guidance given to Jesus so that we can grow more fully in the life of the Triune God.
Amen.

Christmastide Prayer for January 5 written by Kathy Schmucker

Gracious God,
As memories of glistening decorations, family gatherings, and worshipful celebrations from the seasons of Advent and Christmas begin to fade and my mind begins to lean into the new season that lies before us, I find myself longing for you. I long to come before you with my heart wide open, ready and willing to be obedient to all you call me to in this New Year and new season of Epiphany. But instead, I am shaking and trembling. As the blank pages of a new calendar lay open in front of me, I long to invite you into my heart and allow you to shape me and mold me to be all that you say you created me to be. But I am weary and I feel so unworthy.

Then I hear you whisper into my soul and you remind me that I am loved, I am your child and that you make all things beautiful. You remind me that you can take my stony heart and replace it with a new one and fill me with your spirit so I can walk in your ways. You remind me that from the ashes of our pain, you bring beauty, hope and healing. In and through our imperfections, insecurities and our brokenness you give birth to new life and new possibilities.

Breathe new life into me, O God!

And so I begin to pray those scary prayers. Scary because these prayers invite me to let go of myself and trust completely in you.

Search me God and know my heart.
Break me and stretch me.
Lead me and use me.
Cleanse me and make me holy.
Not so I can be perfect, but so that in and through my imperfections and weakness your light, love and grace might shine.

Let my heart be broken for the things that break your heart, God.
Move me to act with mercy, love, and compassion in all that I do. Help me to make time for you and to listen for your voice in and through all things so that I might be strengthened and filled with your courage and grow ever closer to you.
Help me to seek an epiphany of your glory and love in the world each and every day.

I pray in the precious name of your Son, Jesus, in whom the revelation of Your light, power and love have been revealed, now and forever. Amen.

Ezekiel 36:24-28, Psalm 139, Isaiah 61:1-3

Prayer for Epiphany of the Lord, January 6

Wondrous God,

Thank you for revealing yourself to us in Jesus. Fill us with your
holy light so that your light might shine through us into the world.
Open our hearts and minds to the wonders of your love and grace so that your power and light are revealed to us anew each day. Help us to respond to your anointing to share your light and bring good news to those who need to know your love, grace and peace.
In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

This Week’s Worship Mosaic Symbol.

As you engage in worship during the season of Advent and Christmas, we invite you to create a mosaic as you reflect on the scriptures, prayers, music, and message you experience. Felt mosaic worship kits will be available for use during worship or you can use your own materials at home.

As you create your mosaic we invite you to take a picture and share it through social media with the hashtag #FaithUMCAdventMosaic.
“…they (wise men from the east) went; and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stood over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him. Then they opened their treasure chests and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:9-11

star of bethlehem.mosaicMake a mosaic star.
As you create the star, think about the journey of the wise men and the joy they experienced when they found Jesus.
How might God be calling you to respond to Jesus?

 

http://www.faithumchurch.org

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The 12 Names of Christmas

The celebration of Christmas doesn’t need to end on Christmas Day.  Christmas Day actually marks the beginning of this season! The season of Christmastide begins on Christmas Day and lasts for 12 days leading up to the Day of Epiphany which is January 6th.

Christmastide, the second season of the Christian year follows Advent and is a season of praise and thanksgiving for the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ, and consists of Christmas on December 25 and the eleven days following for a total of 12 days, leading up to the Day of Epiphany. The liturgical color for the Christmas season is white or gold, to represent the purity of Christ’s humanity and the holiness of His divinity. The symbol for the Christmas season is the manger.

To reflect and count down the 12 Days of Christmas, make a paper chain from 12 strips of paper. On each of the 12 strips write a different name for Jesus on the back. Countdown the 12 days of Christmas, from Christmas Day until Epiphany on January 6th by reading a scripture about a name for Jesus on each link of the paper chain.

THE VINE ~John 15:5
THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD ~ Matthew 16:16
EMMANUEL ~ Mathew 1:23
PRINCE OF PEACE ~ Isaiah 9:6
THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE ~ John 14:6
THE BREAD OF LIFE ~ John 6:35
ALPHA AND OMEGA ~ Revelation 1:8
LIGHT OF THE WORLD ~ John 8:12
KING OF KINGS ~ Revelation 17:14
MESSIAH ~ John 4:25
SAVIOR OF THE WORLD ~ 1 John 4:14
THE GOOD SHEPHERD ~ John 10: 11

12 Names of ChristmasAs you read each day’s scripture, wonder together about that name for Jesus and how you experience Jesus in that way. Pray together, asking God to help you see Jesus and your celebration of Christmas in each day’s scripture and name for Jesus.

On Epiphany Day, January 6, start a new family tradition called Chalking the Door. Chalking the door is a blessing with a short liturgy for marking our homes, usually at the front or main entrance, with sacred signs and symbols as we ask God’s blessing upon those who live, work, or visit throughout the coming year.

Each of these links are great resources for this family blessing:

http://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/an-epiphany-blessing-of-homes-and-chalking-the door

http:// www.buildfaith.org/2011/01/01/chalking-the-door/

Epiphany is the third season of the Christian year and begins with the feast of the Epiphany on January 6 and continues until the eve of Ash Wednesday, which begins Lent. Epiphany refers to the Star of Bethlehem appearing after the birth of Jesus and to the dove, tongues of fire, and voice of God appearing at His baptism.

The liturgical color for Epiphany Day is white. The color for the season of Epiphany is green to signify the growing Church and the spreading of the Gospel. The symbol of the season after Epiphany is the baptismal font, signifying the baptism of new believers in the Gospel.

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The Light of the World

A few weeks before Thanksgiving, my husband and I were shopping and came across a really cool flashlight that I felt I needed to buy. A few weeks later, I was looking for a unique light to share with the kids during the Children’s Sermon. This flashlight was perfect!

How many of you have decorated your homes with Christmas lights? At Christmas time we see lights everywhere. In our homes, stores, streets of our neighborhoods. Christmas is sometimes called a season of light.

Light is pretty amazing. Light can even chase away darkness. Have you ever been in a very dark room where you can’t see anything? But then someone lights a candle or turns on a flashlight and suddenly the entire room is lit. The light chases away the darkness and you can see what is around you.

Even a small light can chase away the darkness.

Light of the World 1A few weeks ago, I was shopping and came across this really cool flashlight. It reminds me about Jesus, the Light of the World.

Light of the World 2

This flashlight can stretch and bend and extend light into dark crevices where no other light can reach. Jesus’ love is like this. Jesus’ love has the power to reach into the most remote and darkest parts of our lives and world.

Light of the World 3The end of this flashlight is magnetic so it can pick up things that are lost in the dark crevices into which it is shined. Jesus’ love is like this. Jesus’ love is powerful and draws people to Him. As Christ light shines and is shared in the world, people will be drawn to the love and grace that Jesus brings to to the world.

Jesus, Son of God, was born as a tiny baby. Jesus grew and learned and worked as a carpenter. He helped people and also told people about God.

Jesus said, “I have come as a light into the world so that everyone who believes in me won’t live in darkness.” (John 12:46)

The Bible reminds us that Jesus is the light for all people. Jesus is our Savior whose Light pushes back the darkness. We come to worship and Sunday School and Wednesday Night Faith Connections to learn more about Jesus and how Jesus wants us to live. When we believe in Jesus, we are no longer living in darkness.

“You are the light of the world…let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.”  Matthew 5:14,16

Jesus told people that they were also to be lights in the world.

This includes you.

Jesus wants you to be a light in the world so others will come to know the good news of Jesus.

PRAYER:
Dear God, thank you for sending Jesus to earth as a tiny baby to bring light to the darkness. Help us to be a light in the world for you. Amen.

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Mosaic: Journey through Advent and Christmas ~ Prayers for the First Week of Christmas

Mosaic: Journey through Advent and Christmas 2015

Prayers for the First Week of Christmas December 27 – January 2

Prayers contributed by the people of Faith United Methodist Church and compiled by Faith UMC’s Spiritual Formation Ministry Team.

MosaicCross.AdventPrayers

A mosaic is an artistic expression created from broken pieces brought together and made into something beautiful. In many ways, our congregation is a community of broken people brought together by God’s love and grace to build God’s Kingdom on earth. As you use this resource to prepare for the coming of Christ this Christmas, may you experience the blessing, joy and passion of this mosaic body of Christ. To God be the glory!

This Week’s Scripture Readings:  Luke 2:1-20, 21-40, 1 Samuel 2:18-20, Psalm 148, Colossians 3:12-17, Luke 2:41-52

Christmas Prayer for December 27 written by Teresa Purses

Dear Heavenly Father,
‘Tis the season to be immersed in the flurry of activity that can keep us focused on all things of this world, but amidst our lists and rush…I have seen great love and kindnesses.  Thank you, Father, for those who give hope to those in need both near and far.  For those who send packages to our troops across the sea, to those who share their resources so others can have warm coats, gifts and food, for those who put their coins in the Salvation Army kettles, for those who share their talents to bless others and for all the ways that your love is seen in the lives of your servants. Thank you, Father, for our pastors and leaders who stand in the gap for the marginalized in our community and in our world and work together to create a more hopeful future.  Their commitment is rooted in the deepest HOPE of all…when unto us you sent your one and only SON, JESUS..…you gave equal access for ALL.  LOVE appeared in a tiny stable and changed the world. Help us, Father, to live closer to you so that we can hear the ways we are called to be your faithful servants.  Thank you, dear Father, for loving all of us just as we are!
In Jesus precious and holy name,
Amen.

Christmas Prayer for December 28 written by Maya Griffith

Maya.Advent 2015

Dear God,

Thank you for food, water, life, hope, love, peace, friends and family.
Amen.

 

 

 

Christmas Prayer for December 29 written by Pam Wig

Father God, may You continue to allow Your light to shine through each and everyone of us. As Your children, may we let Your love shine through the brokeness of our lives. You are the One and Only that can make beauty out of the world today. Thank you, Lord. Amen.

Christmas Prayer for December 30 written by Madeline Griffith

Madeline.Advent Prayer 2015Dear Lord,
We are thankful for the three F’s.
(Food, Family, and Friends.)
Amen.

Christmas Prayer for December 31, New Year’s Eve written by Barb Rich

O  Lord my God, thank you for your grace.  I am eternally grateful!  Amen.

 

Christmas Prayer for January 1, New Year’s Day

John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by you or laid aside by you,
enabled for you or brought low by you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
you are mine, and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
Amen.

Consider praying the Wesley Covenant Prayer a part of your daily devotions.

After praying the prayer, take one line each day and meditate on what living a life reflective of this line would mean for you.

Christmas Prayer for January 2

Emmanuel,
May all in our community experience Christ in fresh new ways this Christmas and New Year.

Prayer adapted from Faith UMC’s 2015 Mission & Vision Devotions
http://faithum.weebly.com/faith-devotions.html

This Week’s Worship Mosaic Symbol.

As you engage in worship during the season of Advent and Christmas, we invite you to create a mosaic as you reflect on the scriptures, prayers, music, and message you experience. Felt mosaic worship kits will be available for use during worship or you can use your own materials at home.

As you create your mosaic we invite you to take a picture and share it through social media with the hashtag #FaithUMCAdventMosaic.
“So they (shepherds) hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.” – Luke 2:16-18

Make a mosaic shepherd’s staff.

shepherds staffThe shepherd’s staff reminds us that Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
As you create the shepherd’s staff, thank God for the people who have told you the good news of Jesus.

Think about someone who may need to know about
Jesus the Good Shepherd, Prince of Peace, Messiah.

What happens when you are as excited as the shepherds to tell others about Jesus?

http://www.faithumchurch.org

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