Faith UMC 2015 Mission and Vision Devotions – July 2015

July 2015

This Is What Anointing Looks Like

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

Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presences of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward.” – 1 Samuel 16:13 NRV

 As a youth within this amazing church body, I couldn’t help but relate myself to this scripture. David, the youngest of all his brothers was called by God and anointed to do His will. Neither Samuel, nor any of David’s brothers assumed David was the one God was calling for.

As of about two years ago, I started to become very active within our church community. Beforehand, I felt since I was just a youth, I couldn’t make any significant impact in the church. My only involvement was attendance most Sunday mornings and some youth-based participation. Then, I began to feel God calling me to do more; to make a difference.

oil_11349cp (1)I spent time in prayer, asking God how He wanted to use me. It was through that spiritual connection with God that I answered my call- to anoint others after personally being anointed. I had the blessing to serve as a Leader for the Wednesday Night Faith Connection’s program where I worked with younger students who were just beginning their journey of faith.

Through this experience, I had the blessing to impact many young lives and show them that the youth play an important role in the foundation of our church body. God calls each of us for special purposes; it doesn’t matter our age, our race, our walk of faith, etc. God will anoint us and use us in ways we never even dreamed of.

The spirit of the Lord is now and forever upon us.

Prayer: Lord, Teach me to love unselfishly, teach me to share without counting costs. Teach me to adore You without restraint, giving my all and to follow Your will. Let me see You in every person I meet. Just let me see the beauty of life every day, appreciating the sunrise or a bit of the rain, knowing that in all these You are always there.

Before there was anything, you molded us and breathed life into us. You called us by name and anointed us with a purpose. Allow us to fulfill our purpose and to anoint our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. It is in your name we prayer, Amen.

AJ Brokaw, Youth High School Graduate, Wednesday Night Faith Connections Leader

July’s Prayer Focus: O Lord, use us through Camp Read-a-Lot to anoint children and youth with your loving care.

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Faith UMC 2015 Mission & Vision Devotions – June 2015

June 2015

This is What Anointing Looks Like

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

“They brought wellness to the sick, anointing their bodies, healing their spirits.”  Mark 6:13, The Message

oil_11349cp (1)This passage from the book of Mark describes what happened when Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs. Jesus instructed and empowered the disciples to proclaim that people needed to change their hearts and lives. As they brought wellness to the sick, anointing their bodies and healing their spirits, the name of Jesus became well-known.

This summer our congregation is called and anointed to reach out to our community in Christ’s love through VBS, Camp Read-A-Lot, Created By God, Youth Mission Trip and Middle School Mission Week.

Picture a cup of cool water in your mind and imagine how it feels for your thirst to be quenched by the water.

Refreshed. Renewed. Replenished. Re-energized.

“I assure you that everybody who gives even a cup of cold water to these little ones because they are my disciples will certainly be rewarded.”  Matthew 10:40, 42

water_7530cnAs a cup of cool water refreshes our bodies, the love of Christ refreshes and renews our lives. This is the heart of what we will be sharing at Faith UMC in and through our summer ministries. We will share a cup of cool water that comes in the form of games, music, literacy and reading, Bible  adventures, science experiments, self-esteem and sexuality discussions, service and mission projects. We will make the name of Jesus known as we reach out in love to the kids and families whom God sends to us this summer. We will be anointed, spiritually strengthened, refreshed, and nourished as we experience spiritual renewal and healing in and through our summer ministries and missions.

Look for Jesus’ anointing and spiritual healing in the ways you share a cup of cool water this summer.

Prayer: Gracious and loving God, thank you for the privilege of sharing your love and grace with others. Equip and empower us to bring wellness and anointing to others so that your name will be made know. Amen. 

Kathy Schmucker, Spiritual Formation Director

June’s Prayer Focus: Loving God, strengthen and  bless Vacation Bible School and the  Youth Mission Trip.

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Faith UMC 2015 Mission & Vision Devotions

May 2015

This is What Anointing Looks Like

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

You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” Hebrews 1:9

God anointed his only begotten Son with the oil of gladness. He filled him with joy. Pentecost is May 24th this year. The day Christ fulfilled the promise of God to send an advocate to be with his disciples. (John 14:26) (Acts 1:8)

oil_11349cp (1)To be filled with the Holy Spirit; Emmanuel (God with us) (Matthew 1:23). The truth of this promise is the most awe inspiring, humbling, joyous reality there is, it boggles the mind. The power of the Holy Spirit working amongst the children of God was most strongly revealed to me on my first Emmaus retreat. It was the beginning for me. The beginning of true love. The power that I felt amongst the followers of Christ as they turned the event over to the guidance of the Holy Spirit was life changing.

Jesus Christ alive in us; all the gifts that God gave his only begotten Son, shared with us, brought to life in us. Every single one of us is a walking miracle, proof of the resurrection, limited only by fear or low expectations. We give into sin because we are human but because of Jesus we are forgiven. If we lay down the burden of our sins every night, if we pray for the Spirit to shine his light on our dark places and destroy our shadows we can rest quietly and wake up whole and full of God’s Spirit. Each day is a gift of love, of grace. If we cling to this promise we become stronger in the Spirit and we grow towards fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives.

We are the church, the living body of Christ. We are anointed with the oil of gladness.

Prayer: Sweet Jesus awaken is us the the fruit of your Spirit so that we may attract others to the joy of being cleansed by your grace, loved by you just as we are so that we can grow to be just as you are, transformed by your Holy Spirit within us. Amen

Lorrie Goss, Spiritual Formation Team Co-Leader

May’s Prayer Focus: Anointing God, may gladness come to our families bringing laughter and new life.

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This is What Anointing Looks Like ~ April 2015 ~ Scriptures, Reflections, and Prayers for Faith UMC’s 2015 Mission and Vision

April 2015

This is What Anointing Looks Like

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

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me……. Isaiah 61: 1

What does it mean: that the Lord has anointed me? Does it mean that I have been especially chosen? Does it mean that I have been especially blessed? Does it mean that God has something special that He wants me to do?

oil_11349cp (1)I believe that it means all of the above and that it is not just ME. He means ALL of us. We are all special in God’s sight and we all have a very special job to do.

I would like to share a special story from last Easter. Our oldest daughter, Shannon, was running her fourth Boston Marathon. She had crossed the finish line the year before about two hours before the bombing (a blessing in itself). In 2014 the race was actually on Easter weekend and we were attending church at The Old South Church located at the finish line. Each of the runners in attendance was presented with a hand knitted scarf. People from all over the world had knitted the scarves to wrap love around the runners and to encourage them to not be afraid. They had been anointed by God to do that knitting. It was something special that God wanted them to do.

I know that the knitters were blessed because Shannon was able to contact the lady who made her scarf and they have become very close friends.

God anoints us ALL. God anoints us all in very different ways. It could be in knitting a scarf, it could be in reading a story to a child, it could be in fixing dinner for a friend who is ill. The point is that WE are blessed when we are anointed and what could be better than to have the Spirit of the Lord upon us?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank You for all of the ways that You bless us. Please help us to bless others in any way we can.

Sharon McConnell, Faith UMC Sunday School Teacher

April’s prayer focus: Risen Lord, anoint us and our community each day to know your love and grace in new and deeper ways.

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Holy Saturday Easter Vigil, Walking in Hope

Scripture tells us that during the crucifixion darkness came over the land.

The sun had stopped shining.

The moment Jesus breathed his last breath the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

The earth shook and the rocks split.

 Ayear0819gcJesus taught His disciples, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise. But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.” Mark 9:31-32

Then it happened – their Lord was betrayed, tortured, killed!

Did they now understand Jesus’ teachings? Or did they begin to doubt and question? Shrouded by grief and despair, what do the disciples do now?

Shocked…..confused…..frightened…..hopeless…..helpless

Are you familiar with any of these emotions?

Can you imagine what the disciples experienced at Jesus’ death? They had submitted their lives to this man and watched with horror as he submitted to death.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this, was it?

When Jesus said he was going away, surely he didn’t mean it would be like this. What happened?

 WAITING in ANGUISH AT THE STONE-SEALED TOMB

When have you experienced these emotions? When has your faith been shaken?

What unimaginable & unbearable situations have rocked your life?

  • Someone you love dies.
  • A car accident takes the life of a teenager.
  • Your spouse is unfaithful.
  • A young woman is raped and murdered.
  • A baby dies.
  • Your job is terminated.
  • A friend betrays you.
  • Destruction: Fire, Tornado, Earthquake, Flooding, Tsunamis, Hurricane
  • Addiction: Drugs, Alcohol, Gambling, etc
  • Suicide
  • Divorce
  • An eviction or foreclosure letter arrives in the mail.
  • The diagnosis of life-changing illness such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Cancer, Autism, Heart Disease, Disability, etc.

When have you walked in the valley of the shadow of death and longed for green pastures?Do you believe God knows your pain? Do you believe that Jesus understands your suffering?  How do you make it through the dark nights in your life? Where is your hope when all hope is gone? Do you believe God’s promise to be with you ALWAYS?

Do you believe your Savior will NEVER fail you? Even when it seems that all hope is gone?

HOLD ON…..There is HOPE!

Jesus is the Light of the World! Light overcomes the deepest darkness!  In Christ we have victory over death!

Spend some time praying about the doubts, despair, questions, tragedies, hardships, suffering you are facing in your life. Where do you place your hope and faith?

Spend a moment reflecting on the symbols of Christ’s crucifixion: the cross, crown of thorns, nails and hammer, the stone sealing the tomb.

Nothing was able to defeat Jesus! Not even death!

Thank God for the HOPE that is yours in Christ! Praise God for the hope and promise we have because our Savior lives!

Light a candle and watch how the light illuminates the room. As the light fills the room, so may our hope. Each moment carries us closer to the ultimate triumph of God. As the light grows, so will our joy.

REJOICE, knowing that you walk in hope!

OUR SAVIOR LIVES! CHRIST IS RISEN! ALLELUIA!

Kathy Schmucker, Spiritual Formation Director, Faith UMC

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Experience Holy Week 2015

holyweek_3791cp (1)Holy Week is the last week of Lent commemorating the events of Jesus’ last week before His death and Resurrection. It is a week to remember Jesus in a special way. Beginning with Palm Sunday, we follow Jesus throughout the week to the celebration of the Passover where Jesus washed his disciple’s feet and instituted the Sacrament of Holy Communion, to his arrest and death on Good Friday, culminating in his rising from death on Easter Sunday.

Holy Week is the most sacred and important week in the Christian year.  It is a special time for us to remember Jesus’ actions, explore and reflect on his message, and discover ways to live as his disciples. It’s a time to share the mystery, passion, and love of our Lord with our families and friends and experience His love and grace personally and in community with others.  It is a time to give thanks to the One who loves us so much He sent His one and only Son to be the sacrifice for our sins so that we might have eternal life!

Below is a daily devotional scripture reading to guide you in your journey through Holy Week. Click on the link to download or scroll to the end of the page to read right here.

Journey Through Holy Week

Clink on the links below to download resources to help you experience this sacred and holy week with your families.

Resurrection Cookies

Empty Tomb Biscuits

Celebrate Jesus Week – Suggestions for families, including ideas for those who are traveling during Holy Week: http://worshipingwithchildren.blogspot.com/2013/03/celebrating-jesus-week-lent-is.html

Observing Holy Week in the Home:  http://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/observing-holy-week-in-the-home

Resurrection Eggs: http://www.thissimplehome.com/2012/03/homemade-resurrection-eggs-printable.html

How to Make a Cross Out of a Palm Branch:http://www.goodtrueandbeautiful.com/2010/03/make-cross-out-of-palm-branch/

http://www.kidssundayschool.com/Gradeschool/Crafts/1craft08.php

Prayers for the Days of Holy Week:  http://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/prayers-for-the-days-of-holy-week

Holy Week Scriptures:  http://alivenow.upperroom.org/2015/02/15/2015-holy-week-scriptures/

Lenten/Holy Week Prayers: http://alivenow.upperroom.org/2015/01/23/lenten-prayers-2015/

Helping Children Observe Lent and Holy Week: http://www.growproclaimserve.com/articles/308/2013/02-22/helping-children-observe-lent

Visit Faith UMC’s website, www.faithumchurch.org, for information about Holy Week services and activities. Click here for Faith UMC’s Easter Holy Week 2015 Flyer

May God richly bless you as you journey with Christ through Holy Week!
Kathy Schmucker, Spiritual Formation Director, Faith United Methodist Church
 

Journey Through Holy Week

Palm Sunday – Read Mark 11.  Jesus triumphantly enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey where he was greeted joyously by the crowd.

Holy Monday – Read Matthew 21:12-13.  This day is traditionally remembered as the day when Jesus chased the money changers out of the Temple.

Holy Tuesday – This day is remembered as the day that Jesus preached and taught in Jerusalem.  Look through the Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John reflecting on some of Jesus’ teachings.  Read about the greatest commandments in Matthew 22:34-40. Show love to someone today.

Holy Wednesday- Read Matthew 26:14.  Also known as Spy Wednesday, the day when Judas Iscariot agrees to betray Jesus.

Maundy Thursday – Read John 13:3-9, Matthew 26:26-28, & John 13:34-35.  This day is also called Holy Thursday or Great Thursday.  The word Maundy comes from the Latin word for command, derived from Jesus mandate to love one another as He has loved us.

This day celebrates the Last Supper Jesus had with the disciples. After washing the disciple’s feet, Jesus celebrated the Feast of the Passover, instituting the Sacrament of Holy Communion.  Afterwards, while praying in Gethsemane with his disciples, Jesus was arrested.

Good Friday – Read John 19:16-18.  On this day we remember the crucifixion, when Jesus died on the cross for our sins.

Holy Saturday – Read Luke 23:50-55.  The day after Jesus died when his body lay buried in the tomb.  Because this day was the Sabbath, the women couldn’t go to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body until the next day.

Easter Sunday – Read John 20.  This is the third day from the day when Jesus died.  The day that Mary Magdalene and Mary discovered that Jesus is alive! Filled with joy, they ran to tell others.  We are commissioned to do the same.  Christ the Lord is risen today!  Alleluia!

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Liturgy of the Hours – An Ancient Spiritual Practice for Today’s Busy Lifestyle

“Evening, and morning, and at noon will I pray, and cry aloud;
and he shall hear my voice.” -Psalm 55:17

Faith’s Lenten Vespers service included a representation of the ancient spiritual practice known as the Liturgy of the Hours. As disciples of Christ we are called to practice basic spiritual disciplines. John Wesley, founder of Methodism, called these spiritual practices Means of Grace. Engaging in spiritual practices might even be thought of as keeping an appointment with God.

Liturgy of the Hours is a spiritual practice also known as the Daily Office, the Divine Office, Praying the Hours or Fixed-Hour Prayers.  No matter what name is used to describe this spiritual practice, the purpose of this spiritual discipline is to consecrate time, all time, as God’s time. Below is additional information about this spiritual practice that you may want to consider exploring in your personal devotion time.

Liturgy of the Hours is rooted in the Jewish tradition of fixed daily prayer and has been adapted by Christians over the centuries. Monastics in the Benedictine tradition are largely responsible for integrating the Daily Office into Christian daily life. Traditionally, the Daily Office consisted of praying seven times a day starting with Vespers at sunset.

The prayer times practiced by Benedictines are:

  • Night prayers known as Vigils
  • Waking up prayers, Lauds
  • Prayers for beginning work, Prime
  • Giving-thanks prayers in mid-morning, Terce
  • Noon-day prayer of commitment, Sext
  • Mid-afternoon prayer, None
  • Evening prayer of stillness, Vespers
  • Going to sleep prayer of trust, Compline

Many of us will look at the list and feel overwhelmed. But the beauty of this spiritual practice is that we can begin where we are.  Begin by identifying one fixed time of prayer during your day, perhaps morning. Then add one more prayer time, perhaps in the middle of the day as a reminder that time is a gift made for God, work, and relationships with God and others. This intentional time of prayer doesn’t need to be long. It can  simply be a minute or two to stop and turn to God in the midst of your day.

Fixed-hour prayers help us to develop regular and consistent patterns of tending to God throughout the day. Praying in these fixed hours is a way of honoring an intentional moment with God. You may want to consider setting a timer to remind you of your intention to pray.  As we make time to stop and pray throughout our busy days, prayer and time with God becomes a priority in our lives. We may even begin to realize that God is with us when the busy demands of our daily lives cause us to feel frantic and overwhelmed. Praying fixed hours helps us to turn our hearts to God throughout our day and begin to cultivate an awareness of God’s presence in all time and all things.

Prayers for fixed hours can be spontaneous or liturgical. We can pray scripture, memorized prayers, or simply pray what is on our hearts.  Suggestions include: The Lord’s Prayer, praying the Psalms, the Shema or Greatest Commandment, singing a hymn, intercessory prayer for family, friends, church, and community, praying a breath prayer or walking a pocket-sized labyrinth with your finger. The Upper Room magazine Devozine offers some suggestions and resources for praying the Liturgy of the Hours at http://devozine.upperroom.org/spiritual-practices/the-liturgy-of-the-hours/pray_11847

Remember that this practice is not so much about praying in a certain way as it is about making intentional time in your day to spend in God’s presence a priority for your daily living. May God bless you as you seek to draw closer to Christ throughout your day!

Kathy Schmucker, Spiritual Formation Director, Faith United Methodist Church

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