Thought for the Day: I cannot begin to imagine the challenges that faced Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American female astronaut. What is equally impressive is that she continued with the application process for the astronaut program after the 1986 Challenger accident. In September of 1992, she went into space on what was the 50th Shuttle mission. A number of years ago, I used a quote from Dr. Jemison as a guiding thought during a time of difficulty in the church I was serving. Dr. Jemison wrote, “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.” How often has a great idea, a new calling, a spiritual vision been halted or even squelched by those whose imagination is limited by fear of failure or fear of the unknown. I sort of think the author of the Proverb was encouraging the reader to take care of and nurture the heart, the source of creativity, inspiration, artistry and life itself. If we do not keep a vigilant watch over it, others might just steal its capacity to imagine and dream.
Prayer: Continue to lift and inspire our hearts and minds, O Lord, for we desire to dream your dream, to catch a glimpse of your vision. The world needs a bit more imagination and innovation that seeks to serve your mission of love. Amen.
via WordPress https://ift.tt/3dKimCF
To Listen To The Devotional
via WordPress https://ift.tt/2Nr16rx
Thought for the Day: It is always important to remember who was hearing these words from the Gospel, and where they stood in history. Even the first audience of Matthew’s Gospel would have known of Jesus’ crucifixion. For their ears, Jesus wasn’t telling them to take the lead, to accept the way of the cross – the way of sacrificial love – as if they were to be the prototype. For those in the mid-80’s (50 years after Jesus’ death), they would have heard Jesus’ invitation with an emphasis on the word ‘followers’. To be a follower of Jesus required an individual to take up the cross because that was exactly what Jesus had done. Always remember that any sacrifice we make, or any follower might have made throughout the centuries, is but a response to the one whose love was so far-reaching, so extravagant, that it refused to reverse itself even in the face of death. Remember, follower means follower. We are only choosing to form ourselves after the extraordinary model of love we’ve encountered in Jesus.
Prayer: Again and again, we express gratitude for the love we’ve discovered in Jesus and the love we have met in those who follow him. O God whose love came to earth in human form, we are so thankful for all the amazing examples, guidance and encouragement we have received in our own attempt to following Jesus. In your grace, we will continue this journey. Amen.
via WordPress https://ift.tt/3kgWujB
via WordPress https://ift.tt/2ZK5CDH
Thought for the Day: This is the first couple of verses from our Lenten scripture. Throughout the season of Lent, we will focus on John 12:20-29, and each week we will take a piece of it and explore its meaning within the larger theme: A Whole New Glory. Now the word “Greek” is another way of saying, “Outsider” or “Other.” For Jesus and his Jewish disciples, interaction with the Greeks would have been limited mostly to business or legal matters. There wasn’t much socializing, and even though Jesus had some encounters with Greeks (Gentiles), they were few as compared to his ministry among the Jews. Yet in this situation, these Greeks came seeking Jesus. It feels a little like the story of the Wisemen who were outsiders, but came seeking Jesus (as a child). So many times in ministry, I have heard a member of my congregation meet a first time visitor who did not, for whatever reason, fit the traditional kind of person who would visit our church. And the member said something like, “Why would they want to come here?” I don’t believe Jesus said, upon hearing how the Greeks wanted to talk with him, “Why would they want to talk to me?” The message of Jesus, the message of a love that is unconditional, redemptive and healing, is something insiders and outsiders and no-siders are seeking. It should never be our place to question why someone seeks Jesus. Our response should only be Joy.
Prayer: I honor whoever is moved by your love and mercy, O Lord, and I only pray that I may be an instrument in the facilitation of a growing relationship with the one who embodied those gifts to the world, Jesus Christ. Amen.
TODAY’S WORSHIP SERVICE
via WordPress https://ift.tt/2ZE0eCh
Thought for the Day: What does it mean to seek the strength of the Lord? I assume it means to not only find the source of strength, but to also draw upon that strength when it is found. These words from 1 Chronicles are part of a worship song, of hymn of praise. It is uncertain whether the newly appointed song leader, Asaph, is singing or if David if teaching the song. Yet what’s clear is the seeking of the Lord’s strength is done within the worshipping community. So often people come to me requesting help, wanting to find spiritual strength for whatever they face. There are things we can provide one on one, but community appears to be one of the vehicles God uses for the delivery of strength. I am talking about relationships that have been developed and nurtured over time. Sitting in the pre-surgery waiting room, I have witnessed many times a group of friends, maybe members of the Sunday School class or another ministry group walk into the space. It changes the dynamic of the moment. These are often folks who have a rich history with the individual preparing for surgery and I just watch the temperament and spiritual disposition of the person change for the better. It is as if they are drawing upon the Lord’s strength contained within the community itself.
Prayer: Continue to provide me life-giving relationships where your strength is often stored, transported and shared. Lord, your living presence is most often made real in the community itself, a community based in your love. Thank you for that gift! Amen.
via WordPress https://ift.tt/2ORPYUJ
Thought for the Day: A lot of folks are feeling done, exhausted, frustrated, angry, confused, cynical… and some are feeling all those emotions in the same moment. We all are waking to a new day, yet the source of the irritation yesterday remains very present in this new day. I guess this is where steadfast love and mercy that never ends can be so important. Such gifts stretch beyond whatever we are facing in the moment, and in connecting ourselves to the ceaseless love and mercy of God, we are connected to hope. It is a new day, and though there are still plenty of problems leftover from yesterday, the love and mercy of God meet us in this new day and instill within us a belief that a better tomorrow still awaits.
Prayer: Lord God, I may not see past the difficulties immediately before me, yet I trust you to guide me beyond these difficulties and into a fuller experience of love. Amen.
via WordPress https://ift.tt/2NHmjNm
Thought for the Day: What does it mean for Jesus to be raised by the glory of the Father? Was the brilliance of God like a defibrillator, shocking the life back into the body of the deceased teacher? Maybe in some sort of deeply metaphorical way, but I believe glory is more than some bright light. Yes, it illuminates and warms and brings hope, but I think it’s more of a poet’s way of describing the essence of God. And if God is love, then maybe glory is love. And if you’re like me, you have seen powerful acts of love raise folks from the tomb of their suffering, grief, despair and anger. Spend a few minutes pondering the equation GLORY = LOVE. We’ll be talking more about it this Sunday.
Prayer: You have raised our spirits with your unmerited and amazing love, O Lord. Even the grip of death is set loose by the power of love. Amen.
via WordPress https://ift.tt/3ua1PO7
via WordPress https://ift.tt/3apSr16
Thought for the Day: Like many of you, I am currently without power (as of Monday night late). For the first time today, I have some cell service, so needed to get this uploaded. And funny, the first scripture that jumped to my mind was this one from the arrest of Jesus and Peter’s denial. It was a cold night and they were doing their best to keep warm. There are times when you can take a passage of scripture completely out of context, yet find some good advice. Not only did they create a fire, but I picture them standing around it together. In the cold, there is something about being close to others. And even if you don’t have someone with you, remember how the faith community is forever close at hand. It might not bring warmth from another body, but it brings warmth to the heart as we are one body. A little trite, I know. But I’m cold and trying to type.
Prayer: As one more challenge comes upon us, Merciful God, we pray for a renewed sense of your presence in our lives. With you, there is always hope and strength for whatever we face. Amen.
via WordPress https://ift.tt/37g3IPl
Rev. Bruce Frogge