Thursday, April 30, 2009

Have an hour to Give?

Whatever you can give, Interfaith Hospitality needs you!

The Interfaith Homeless Network will be participating in Project Homeless Connect on May 14th at the First Tennessee Pavilion from 9 - 3 PM.

The goal of Project Homeless Connect (PHC) is to offer a "one stop shop" for individuals and families experiencing homelessness or in imminent risk of becoming homeless. PHC combines the efforts of social services, government, volunteers and businesses to bring our community together to create and promote tangible solutions to remedy the homelessness of our neighbors. PHC is a national best practice model that originated in San Francisco and has spread across the United States and abroad.

At least 25 IHN volunteers need to volunteer any amount of time to do intakes with homeless individuals and families. This requires that you meet with homeless individuals and families at the First TN Pavilion and complete a form to assess their needs. It takes about 5 - 10 minutes per individual and family.

There will be a brief orientation to familiarize you with the form. After you complete the form with the families they will be guided to the appropriate service providers on site to receive assistance. We expect over 350 homeless individuals and families.

To volunteer go to www.hboc.org. Click on Project Homeless Connect. After that, click on volunteer registration. Mention that you are volunteering with IHN. Select a time frame from the drop box.

Thanks for any time you can provide.

A Poem for the Day

Leisure

by William Henry Davies



What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Second Life




Wow. Second Life of Chattanooga came to Wednesday Night Supper last night. It was...depressing? I'm not even sure what the appropriate word is to describe the presentation we heard from Patrick Townley and Jerry Redman. Second life seeks to 'end the sexual exploitation of human beings.' Their goal is to bring awareness about sexual trafficking and child prostitution to the Chattanooga area, where this is happening. While we might all be happier to ignore this reality and life in blissful ignorance of the things happening around us, the reality is that prostitution and trafficking are real, are on our doorstep, and present us with an opportunity.

What is the opportunity? Awareness is the first step. I'm not even sure what to do beyond that. I don't have a place in my mind to even begin to comprehend that 12 year old girls are being prostituted. I can't possibly fathom the horror of the fact that a girl will be raped & beaten 30 times in one day. But it's there, it's real, and the first step in the fight against it is awareness.

Beyond that, we are to work for hope. In the Gospels Christ walked among those society had cast aside. Christ called children to himself, holding them up as examples. If all of this awareness saves the innocence, holds the future for one child, then it is worth it. We are to do what we can to protect the least of these.

It was a sobering presentation. But we are called to move forward in hope, trusting that, through us, Christ's light shines in even the darkest of places.

Thanks be to God.

Thursday

Free and giving Lord,
I cannot imagine what eternity is like. I cannot even begin to dream how the Trinity works. I am unable to close my eyes and wonder what lies beyond the edges of the universe.
But I can see your love when it reaches out to the poor. I can feel it when it embraces me in the form of a loved one. I see your joy in the eyes of a child, in the rising of the sun, in the beauty of a flower.
You come to us and make yourself known. Thank you. I will struggle every moment for the rest of my life to understand, but for today, I am merely grateful.
I love you.
Amen.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday

God of Peace and Joy,
Thank you. The list of things I want to thank you for would fill my day, but saying the word is so critical. Thank you. Even when my back was turned to you, you remained with me. You abide with me now, and for that I give you praise and glory. I have been through the valley; at times it seemed like I was dragged through the valley. But I know you were with me then. I don't know why, or how, but I know that you were there, and for that I give you thanks and praise. I weep for the ways I continue to turn myself from you, but I weep with joy that nothing will ever separate me from your love. You are stronger than I know, love more fiercely than I can dream, and treasure each of your children in a way I would do well to emulate. May I be inspired by you, drawn nearer to you, and may I fall in love with you all over again.
Amen.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesday Morning

Precious Lord,
Your mercy pours down like rain. To stand in your glory is like standing in the sun; it warms me to the core. It creates something new within me, some sense of gratitude and wonder. How can I be worthy of such love? How can I be worth your time, your energy, your love? I have turned and ran from you so many times, trying vainly to replace you with empty sensations, material goods, and each time I have found myself crawling back to you, for you and you alone can fill the gaps within me. You and your love, your grace, your mercy, are the only thing I want. May my life be filled with desire for your guiding hand.
I love you more than even I know.
Amen.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday Morning

Living Waters Video (1 of 6)



Gracious Lord,
Thank you for today. Thank you for the opportunity to go into a day that is filled with possibility, potential, hope. Thank you for a night's rest, for a life filled with love, for food upon the table.
Lord, may this day have a pleasing aroma to you. May I not be afraid to dance in the light of your amazing grace, to sing with joy at the wonders you have done. May I claim my role as a Christian and rejoice that I am a precious child of God.
You have blessed me with clean water. May I remember those who go without, who suffer and struggle because they cannot find clean water. May I work, fiercely, to serve them, and do whatever I can to love and reach those who need my help.
May my eyes be focused on others, my lips ready to speak of you, my ears ready to hear your words, and my hands prepared to work for others in your name.
I love you.
Amen.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday

Lord,
How easily we forget the cross. We celebrate our own strength, forgetting that only in your weakness are we ever strong. Only because of your wisdom are we ever bright. Only in you do we have hope and life and peace.
How easily we forget the darkness of the tomb. Only two weeks ago we sat in darkness, between the crucifixion and Easter, waiting.
How easily we forget the empty tomb. So often we believe our joy comes from within, when the truth is that any joy we have should come from you and the glorious Easter victory you won. Our life is about you and your glory! May we join with the rocks and the trees and the birds and shout out in glory, Jesus Christ is Lord!
Amen.

Friday, April 24, 2009

TGIF

Great God,
Green surrounds me as trees and plants spring to life. Flowers have begun to bud and bloom while the air is vibrant with new life. So much is blossoming in the world around me.
Yet I am oblivious to so much of it. I seem to be unaware of your grace as it bounds across the landscape, painting glories I could scarcely imagine without your inspiration. I see the new leaves, but I do not ascribe this to your hand. I merely carry on with my own business, convinced of its importance.
You are the Rock of Ages, the Redeemer and Sustainer of all creation. You are the author of all of life, and as I enjoy your bounty, restore a sense of child-like wonder and grace within me, so that I might joyfully claim my identity that I find only in you.
I love you.
Amen.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday

Holy One, Holy Three,
I stand in awe of your mystery. I cannot comprehend the Trinity, or the way you became man and walked among us. I do not understand how such creativity could mold the cosmos from nothing or place the birds in the air. How did you set the planets in motion, and how do you make miracles happen in my life?
I do not know these answers, but I know your love, for it is written in the skies, in the embrace of a loved one, in a meal on the table, and woven throughout my life, a scarlet thread that reminds me how my sins are white as snow. You are a God of wisdom and strength, compassion and power, grace and mercy. I am your humble, sinful servant, who cannot let go of my own dreams to follow yours. Forgive my weakness, touch my heart, and move me to a place where I hear your words and speak praises to your son, Christ Jesus my Lord and Savior.
Amen.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What would help?

For all those out there who might stumble across this, what would you like to see? What else can be added on here that might be helpful? I'm also examining the New Hope website and hope to make some substantial changes to that in the near future. If you have any feedback on things you would like to see on the website, please let me know, either through email or the comments. Thanks.

Wednesday

Precious Lord,
Open my ears so I may hear the cries of this world for your presence. They are not crying out for me to come and save them; they are crying for you. They need your love and your mercy. They need you. Enable me to empty myself so you may work through me, so that I may be a conduit of your love, grace and mercy. Remind me that this is not about me and my life; this is about you and your kingdom. You are power, love, strength and wonder, and yet I constantly trip over the obstacles of my own pride and selfishness. May I not be a stumbling block for others, but rather a genuine servant of all.
I love you.
Amen.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

An Interview With God







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Tuesday

Gracious Lord,
Teach me your ways. Teach me to be humble and loving, gentle and kind, yet ferocious when it comes to the Gospel. May I live with conviction, filled with passion for the Gospel. May I be your disciple in all things, never turning my back on you, never giving up, never accepting the status quo. May I always retain hope, strive for love, and hold joy within my soul, wearing it proudly and not being afraid of the label 'child of God.' May I acknowledge my name, which is Christian.
Amen.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Are you living your baptismal calling?

video

They tell us to live 'soaking wet', sharing the joy of baptism with all we meet!

Monday

Great God of all there is, was and ever shall be,
May your name cross my lips in praise throughout this day. May my mind not become so ensnared in the tasks to be finished that I forget to lift my heart to you. May my schedule not be so filled with self-centered chores that I do not make time to say a word of thanks. May my attention not be diverted from you.
You should be the first and last thoughts on my mind; I depend on you, like a babe upon its mother. I need you and I love you. Move in my world, so that the wonders I see, the words I speak, the books I read, will be reminders of you, your grace, your love. Create in me a clean heart, one that longs for you.
I love you.
Amen.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Cookie Monster

TGIF

Holy God of Heaven and Earth,
Be my light today. As I struggle to surmount every obstacle before me, be my strength and my salvation. May my thoughts turn to you, focus on you, dream of you throughout my daily movements. May my vision stretch to include your hopes and dreams for me. May my life be open to being used; you have such grand dreams for us, wild hopes and new beginnings; may I be open to hearing your thoughts, to serving your word. I cannot imagine a day without you; speak to me, within my life, so that all of me might go toward serving all of you.
I love you.
Amen.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday

God of every breath,
Thank you for creating me. You moved in love and grace when you formed me and breathed life into my being. Thank you. You have created me and set me in this place so that I might have life, so that I might glorify you. May my efforts honor and glorify you. May my words, my deeds, even my thoughts be done for your honor and glory. May I never forget your selfless giving, and may it inspire me to offer more of myself for you. I have spent my life filling myself with things that point to me; may I find the courage and wisdom to point to you, my God, my love, my all.
Amen.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Egg Hunt

Pictures from the Easter Egg Hunt we held this past Saturday! The weather was less than wonderful, but we had a great time! Thanks to Chris Meulenberg for the pictures.





Wednesday

Holy God--
Perhaps I do not understand the way everything in this world works. I cannot explain how the earth moves through the sky, how the stars shine so brightly, or what lurks outside the universe. Yet I know the beauty that each contains, and I believe it was your hand that hung the stars in the sky. I believe it was your love that brought forward power and grace, and it was your mercy that sent your Son to die for us. Forgive my faults, my weaknesses, my unbelief when I struggle to believe. Give me the strength to admit my weakness and rely upon you for all I need.
Amen.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Prayer Therapy



I love these little Elf-Help books. They're small and simply, but filled with nuggets of wisdom that help me find calm in the midst of life's daily stresses and strains. One of my favorites, Prayer Therapy by Keith McClellan includes such wisdom as 'When your heart is bursting with thanks, just be. God's spirit is praying within you' and 'When your praying becomes dry and routine, keep at it. Parched Earth welcomes the rain.' You can pick them up and page through them, and I can feel myself relaxing with every page.

Tuesday Morning

Awesome God,
Two days ago I celebrated your resurrection with friends and family; we gathered to sing praises to your name, to rejoice in your abiding power over sin and death.
Today I am worried about waking up late, about so much to do, about being overwhelmed by details. Help me to find you in this. Help me to focus upon you, to draw strength and inspiration from your resurrection, so that I do not set it down in order to walk forward but instead carry the memory in my arms, so you are the first thing I see and the first thing I love. May nothing replace you in my vision, lord of my heart and life.
I love you.
Amen.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday Morning

Precious Lord,
Here I sit, in the shadow of Easter, wondering where to go from here. The Easter lilies have been taken down, the organ has fallen silent, and another week begins. May your Spirit guide my feet, organize the folders of my mind, so that I hold onto my Easter joy and go forward as a man resurrected, with a firm grip on life because of the victory you won over death. None of this is my doing--it is your power and majesty, your grace and generosity, that have brought me this far, and they will lead me on. As the winds and storms rage outside, may I be a source of calm in the midst of the whirlwinds, and may I stand strong in you.
Amen.

Friday, April 10, 2009

By His Blood

TGIF

Lord,
On this day, you died for me. On this day, you hung on a cross, between two thieves, reviled and persecuted because of our sin. On this day, my name, just as every other name, crossed your mind. You were suffering, humiliated, and yet you did not call down angels to save you. You laid down your life for your friends, for your children. 'Thank you' seems to pale in comparison. May my life scream my gratitude to you. May I not live in sheltered bliss, unaware of your sacrifice, but may I live in awe and wonder of your amazing love. On this day, and every other, may I remember that your love is stronger than death.
Amen.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thursday Morning

Precious and Holy Lord,
On this day, so many years ago, you gathered with your friends, sitting down for one final meal before an unimagineable ordeal began. On this day, I sat down to eat, with little awareness of your suffering, little awe for your sacrifice. I was focused on myself.
Forgive me.
Forgive my selfish and thankless ways. Forgive my wanderings and imperfections. Forgive my faults and weaknesses.
Remind me of your glory. Prod me with your Spirit so that I recognize your grace, fall to my knees in awe and wonder of your majesty, and live, filled with gratitude, a life that proclaims the wonder of your self-giving love.
Thank you.
Amen.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wednesday

saving Lord,
As we wander the days of this most holy week together, may I take a moment and truly stand in awe of what you have done. You have stood before the Roman Empire and been speechless, aware of how little power they truly hold. You have stood before the crowds and heard their cries for blood, and listened in sorrow, aware that they do not know what they are saying. You have walked the streets with the cross upon your back, mocked and beaten, weak and straining, carrying the sins of the world upon your back. You have hung upon a cross, for all to see, for all to be saved, out of unending love. You have been to hell and back, bursting forth from the tomb to share the good news of death-beating love. You are truly an AWESOME GOD!
Amen.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tuesday

God of ages past,
You have been active in every moment of history. You have been with kings and queens, peasants and soldiers. You have wept as lives have been spilled on a battlefield, and you have celebrated as men and women have served you faithfully. Winds of change have swept across this world time and time again, but you remain, constant, faithful, loving. May I appreciate all you have done. May I learn about the past so that I may realize how strongly you are working in the present. May I be aware of your presence, your constancy, and your love, and may I celebrate that precious love.
Amen.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Monday

Lord,
As this week beings, may I take a moment to inhale your grace. May I calm my mind and center myself around you and your abiding love. As chaos and disorder surround me, may I remember your peace and your grace, your eternal love and the promises you have made to lose us always. This Holy Week, may your will be done.
Amen.

Friday, April 3, 2009

TGIF

Precious Lord,
Guide my feet today. I have read so much about the path you want me to walk. It is straight and narrow, difficult, undulating and treacherous. From that path the view down is terrifying, for there are so many threats, so many temptations, so many reasons to give up and fall. It is dark as well, if I am counting on myself to guide my way. So I ask you, today, to be my light. Be the support beneath my feet, the wind at my back, the sun upon my shoulders and the light that leads me forward. May I have the courage not to look down up instead to look up, confidently walking forward in faith and love, serving you by serving others.
I love you, Lord.
Amen.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thursday

Great Lord,
King of all creation, you have spoken yet another day into being. You have continued to sustain your beautiful creation, and for that I pour thanks out at the foot of your throne.
Awe and wonder. Majesty and glory. May every emotion I have at the sight of your glory be given to you. May I hold nothing back until I have emptied myself before you, so that I might be filled with you. Lord, may the shadow I cast while I am on this earth point to something far greater than myself. May my life testify to the belief I have that each and every one of us is a treasured child of God. May my life point to the grace that is covering every inch of this planet, every moment of our lives. May my moments be filled with love for you and others rather than self. May I love you as fiercely as you have loved this world.
Amen.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Psalm 5:7

'But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house, I will bow down toward your holy temple in awe of you.'

Amen. May we all have the courage to bow in awe!

Garden dedication

To go along with the theme for the day:

Wednesday Morning

Dear Lord,
You have set the highest standard. In Jesus Christ we find a man who was able to live perfectly by the law of love. Everything he did was governed by love--his motives were pure, his actions perfect. He loved you and his neighbors without blame. He sought to serve each individual he met, through healing and forgiving and merely spending time with them. He loved to his own death.
May I seek the same. While I will never achieve this, may I not be afraid to seek to love without abandon, taking every necessary risk so that I am filled with love. May love light my path, guide my feet, and encourage me to spend time with those whom I might otherwise pass by.
Amen.