Faith UMC 2016 Mission and Vision Devotions – March 2016

March 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


Written by Paulette Baker,
Faith UMC Lay Leader, Stephen Minister, Camp Read-A-Lot Coordinator

IMG_3413I had just returned home from the Sensory Sensitive service at church on the day before Easter. As I was standing in my kitchen, I happened to glance at a window on my porch. The sunlight had cast a perfect cross on the window panes. How fortunate I felt to be in that exact spot at that exact time. No coincidence, I’m sure. There are so many signs of God’s love surrounding us, and this one gave me peace and reassurance. As I reflected on this incident, I thought of how easy it is for us to share a sign of God’s love with others. A simple act of kindness—a random act of kindness—may easily be interpreted by another as an act of love. We can all reflect on times when such an act made a huge impact on us. We all have the power to pass this on to others.

Being kind to family is natural. Being kind to friends can be a necessity. Being kind to colleagues at work may be an attempt to look smart and witty. But, being kind to strangers is an act that will set you apart from every other person because it shows that you have a malice-free heart.

Don’t ever underestimate the power of simple acts of kindness. It won a frail old lady named Mother Teresa the Nobel Peace prize. It armed a monk named Dalai Lama the support to fight for the freedom of a nation. Don’t mistake people who are always kind as fragile or weak. Kindness is actually a mark of acute inner strength…the mark of a person who will go to any lengths.

It takes a big heart and a brave soul to drive someone’s troubles away. Everyone promises to offer help tomorrow, but very few can step forward to help today. Those who dare to act right now, rather than later, know the real meaning of kindness.

Just like how a single stone can create many ripples in calm waters, your act of kindness can have a ripple effect on someone’s life. There is no such thing as big or small when it comes to measuring kindness. Even in the slightest doses it can bring about joy and happiness.

I have made the butterfly a sign or symbol for me…to serve as a reminder that, above all else, we should always try to be kind. May you do the same.

March Scripture Focus: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.” (John 13: 34-35)

oil_11349cp (1)Prayer: Heavenly Father… Allow us to serve others with a joyful heart; never keeping score; always giving and never expecting to receive. Allow us to give of our talents and our goods, to give of our time and energy, to give of our hearts and our souls. Help us understand the needs of others, never criticizing, never demeaning, never scolding and never condemning nor judging. Lord, you have been so gracious to us, always loving, forgiving and restoring; never gloating over our defeat, even when we are wrong. Father, keep a condemning spirit far from our hearts and further from our lips. Allow us to serve others as You serve, with gentleness, compassion, and tenderness, never diminishing the worth of another, choosing to extend mercy to the brokenhearted, like You have repeatedly shown it to us. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Posted in Devotions, Ministry Team Resources, Spiritual Formation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Holy Saturday Easter Vigil, Walking in Hope

Journey into Faith - Learning, Loving, Leading at Faith UMC

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?


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…

View original post 369 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lego Wailing Wall and Butterflies: A Lenten Prayer Experience

The Wailing Wall in Jerusalem is a special place where people come to pray and leave their prayers in the cracks of the stone wall.wailing wall.bevmoore

Wailing WallAs Faith UMC’s Wednesday Night Faith Connection Kids learned about the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, they created a wailing wall from Legos for Lent.

Throughout Lent everyone who came to Faith UMC could write prayers on special paper and place them in the cracks of the Lego Wailing Wall. Just as the written prayers placed in the wall in Jerusalem are treated in a special way, it was important that the Lego wailing wall prayers were also tenderly and lovingly cared for.The prayers would be folded into a symbol of Easter.

Wailing Wall PhotoFaith’s children chose a butterfly. A butterfly is a symbol of Easter because it begins life as a caterpillar and changes into a chrysalis where it appears to be dead. An amazing change or transformation is actually happening inside the chrysalis and out of the chrysalis comes a beautiful butterfly! The prayers of our congregation folded into butterflies would be a visual reminder of how our prayers are transformed by God’s love.

butterflies.lent2014All the butterflies in our worship service on Easter morning were made from the Lego Wailing wall prayers. Isn’t that a beautiful way to celebrate Easter?

Butterflies.EasterSunday.Faith UMC

As people arrived for worship, they were mesmerized by the beauty of the butterfly prayers flying over our heads as we gathered to celebrate Christ’s Resurrection.
Butterflies.Easter.FUMC2 Isn’t this a beautiful reminder of how we, like a butterfly, are all made new in Jesus?


Posted in Holy Week, Lent, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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 —

Posted in Devotions, Ministry Team Resources, Spiritual Formation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Devotions, Ministry Team Resources, Spiritual Formation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Chalking the Door~An Epiphany Blessing


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: 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.

Posted in Discipleship, Family Connections, Spiritual Practices, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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.


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.


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.

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?

Posted in Advent, Christmas, Devotions, Spiritual Practices, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment