Saturday, February 28, 2009


Great Lord--
Make this day all about you and your glory. May my words and my thoughts, my deeds and my dreams, be all about you. May I dance in your grace, sing of your goodness, and spread your love. May I be a follower of you, a witness to love and a caring shoulder. May I praise you!

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

Karl Barth said we are to proclaim the Gospel with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other. I focus a lot on what the Bible is saying; here is a video that explains the credit crisis in a very helpful way. Where is the hope? I believe, that as the body of Christ, it is our job to point to our hope in Christ, not simply in the future, but here, among us, the hope we find in the love of a friend, the kindness of a stranger, and the willingness of our brothers and sisters in Christ to help us find our way forward when we are lost in the world.

New Hope E-News


We’ll have a golfing outing on March 28—talk to Dewey if you are interested in that. A signup sheet will be in the narthex.

The children will be working here at the church on a service day on March 7. Please speak with Gerry Kaller if you have any questions about that.

Interested in giving blood? March 31 is Bloodanooga ’09! They’re targeting 1600 donors in 16 hours.

Pray for…

Those without homes, help or hope


Resources for Lent from the PC(USA)

Christian Filmmakers

The End of Alone

A new movie that looks interesting

Church History Quiz (Answer Below)

Q: What conclusion did Luther come to based upon Romans 1:17?

Text for Sunday, February 22

Mark 1:9-15

The Baptism of Jesus

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’

And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’

A Reading from the Confessions


Our faith and its assurance do not proceed from flesh and blood, that is to say, from natural powers within us, but are the inspiration of the Holy Ghost; whom we confess to be God, equal with the Father and with his Son, who sanctifies us, and brings us into all truth by his own working, without whom we should remain forever enemies to God and ignorant of his Son, Christ Jesus. For by nature we are so dead, blind, and perverse, that neither can we feel when we are pricked, see the light when it shines, nor assent to the will of God when it is revealed, unless the Spirit of the Lord Jesus quicken that which is dead, remove the darkness from our minds, and bow our stubborn hearts to the obedience of his blessed will. And so, as we confess that God the Father created us when we were not, as his Son our Lord Jesus redeemed us when we were enemies to him, so also do we confess that the Holy Ghost does sanctify and regenerate us, without respect to any merit proceeding from us, be it before or be it after our regeneration. To put this even more plainly; as we willingly disclaim any honor and glory for our own creation and redemption, so do we willingly also for our regeneration and sanctification; for by ourselves we are not capable of thinking one good thought, but he who has begun the work in us alone continues us in it, to the praise and glory of his undeserved grace.

The Monastic Moment (from The Monastic Way.)

February 28

Abba Pambo asked Abba Anthony, “What ought I to do?” and the old man said to him, ‘Do not trust your own righteousness, do not worry about the past, but control your tongue and your stomach.’ (Abba Anthony)

Church History Answer

A: That the righteousness, or justice, of God does not refer to the punishment of sinners but rather that the justice of the righteous is not their own, but God’s. The ‘righteousness of God’ is that which is given to those who live by faith. It is given solely because God wishes to give it. It means that both faith and justification are the work of God, a free gift to sinners.
(Answer taken from Justo Gonzalez’s The Story of Christianity, Volume II, pg. 19)



Patient God,
I praise you for all that you are! For I am like a branch, twisting in the wind, always frightfully near to crashing away from the only thing that I am tethered to. With every passing storm I lean away from you, trying to sample the rains that I think will nourish me, forgetting where my real sustenance comes from. Every now and again I realize my life is tied to you, and I cling to you more tightly than ever, terrified of what might happen if I crash to the earth, falling away from you. You are always there. You are steady and reliable, the trunk that holds me up and the source of my life, my energy. You are steady as can be; remind me that I am held by you, and may I find the way that I may sprout leaves that glorify you.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Holy and Awesome God--
You move in ways unexpected, ways unknown, ways we are unprepared for. May your Spirit speak to me and help me understand your will. I am constantly struggling against you, trying to gain some foothold so I might achieve my own ambitions. Quiet my soul and remind me of your eternal goodness and grace. Linger near so I will feel and know your presence and be made calm. You are everything good and hopeful in my life; guide my feet so that my walk will spell out a devotion to you.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wednesday Morning

Holy, Awesome God,
You are inspiring. You are so great and so powerful, and you had no need of creation. You did not need us to be; you simply wanted to, out of love, out of grace. Everything you do is rooted in grace, and even though we sin and turn our back on you, you still love us and seek us out. Even when it might have been easier to cut us off and leave us to our own sin, you seek us out, you save us through Christ, you sustain us through the Holy Spirit. Despite everything we do to you, the constant denials of your Sovereignty, you seek us out and wash us clean in the blood of Christ. You became broken and buried for us, so you could show us your power. May we recognize our own weakness in favor of your strength, our own unworthiness that can only be made worthy through the redeeming love of Christ. May our eyes be wide in wonder, may our arms be open in love, and may our hearts be filled with grace that pours out into the world.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Remind me of your peace. For there are days when all I can think about is chaos. I seem to find it so easy to wrap myself in the watery, undulating waves, and as they toss me about I wonder how I will ever extract myself. Remind me that I cannot. Only you can free me from the whirlpools, only you can calm the roaring waves, and often in ways I never realized. It is not within my capability to straighten out everything in my life, although I often feel as though I am responsible for that. It is, however, within my grasp to listen to your voice, and to work with you as you work through me. Help me hear your voice, O Lord, amidst the chaos of the world, and guide my feet and hands as I wander through my days. Draw me near to you, and remind me of your ever-present grace.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Thank you for wandering through my mind, leaving footsteps in the dew as reminders of your love for me. Thank you for writing your love across the horizon, in the trees and in the blessings of food on the table. Thank you for mercy deeper than the ocean, grace wider than the sky, and consistency that I can trust. This world passes away, but you never fade--you shine like a brilliant star, dazzling white, so that all can look upon you and see grace, love and mercy. May I have the courage and the wisdom to reflect this love as my feet carry me through this day--when others look at me, may they see you and your endless love.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Fill me with your grace, and send me out as your disciple. May I, at all times, remember that I am your child, surrounded by your arms, empowered by your love and encouraged by your Spirit. Though I may fall, you are there. In the winds and the rains, the sun and the storms, you are there. You never fail, never leave, and never forget me. May your Spirit grant me the wisdom to live in such a way that my gratitude to you is reflected.


Friday, February 20, 2009


Dear Lord,
I sit and stare outside at a sunny day, and yet I know how cold it is. I would never know this by looking, and were it not for knowing how cold it is I would enter the world unprepared.
Only because I have received such grace do I truly know how lost I would be, so filled with sin am I. My mind wanders from you, leading me astray from serving you. I might be tempted to look at my life and think that all is well, but inside I know that a battle rages as sin tries to control me and I try to turn my life over to you. Only by reading the Gospel, by praying often, do I truly know how great your power is and what you are calling me to be. I am not at peace, and yet I am striving for your peace.
Convert me again, renew my life so that I may follow you, be washing in the blood, so I may be white as snow.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thursday Morning

Great Lord,
As I breathe in, fill me with your grace. May I draw in the knowledge of your presence and the courage that should come with taking on the name of Christ. As my lungs expand, may my wisdom expand as you fill me with your love and the knowledge of you.
As I breathe out, may I send forth the wisdom and knowledge of you to others. May I exhale and release all the love and compassion I am holding inside. May the stress, worry and concern pour out of me and leave me with nothing but the grace you fill me with.
May I remember this with every breath.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Dear Lord--
Put your words in my mouth, so that when I speak the words will not testify to myself, but to you and your glorious reign.
Put your thoughts in my mind, so that when I think I will concentrate on your kingdom and your love, rather than my own success and accumulation of worldly goods.
Put your actions in my body, so that as my hands and feet move they will reach out and embrace others in love rather than push away those who might threaten my comfort.
Put your voice in my ear, so that when I listen I may hear the words of the Spirit guiding my life rather than the misguided screams of this world, desperate for attention and wealth.
Put your song in my heart, so that my life may be lived completely devoted to you.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday Morning

Great Lord,
Expand my mind so that I might see the world anew. I am amazed by my own ability to narrow myself sufficiently so that I see what I expect. Renew me, amaze me, so that when I open my eyes I see the world not as I expect, but as you created. A world joyful and good, filled with touches that only you could create. God Almighty, you took tender care in creating the earthworm; how much more does your grace spill out upon my neighbor, upon my enemy? How do I receive each one as your child? How do I recognize the good buried within each of us, even as we so often are trying to cover it with our own quest for human glory? Uncover my eyes so I may see, and unburden my arms so I may embrace, your beautiful creation once more.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Presidents' Day

O God--
Whisper sweetly in my ear, so that my soul might hear.
Speak to me words of love and grace, give me strength to run this race.
Empower me to be your slave, telling all of the life you gave.
Change forever my heart within, show me how I might begin
Touch my heart so I may know, guide my feet so I may go
Be the light within my heart, help me sing my lines, my part
King forever, Christ my Lord, I lift my voice with one accord.


Friday, February 13, 2009


Great God--
How do we call upon your name in times of tragedy? What do we pray for? This morning a plane slammed into a house, and the only sound that I hear is a deafening silence rushing into the world as we all wonder why? Young and old, blessed and anxious, all consumed, and we who are left wonder why. How do we pray? What do we pray? Show us your light, so that we may have hope in dark times, so that we may see life when there appears to be only death, so that we may have a rock to cling to as the chaos seems to toss and turn and threaten our life.
Be near. Draw near, like a warm body on a cold night, and comfort us. Be so close that we feel your breath upon us, we know your touch, we do not doubt your presence. Guide us, Lord, so that even if we feel like we cannot move forward we will still be able to huddle in your light, bathed by grace, and cry as you protect us.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Holy and Creating God--
Who are we that you remember us? Who are we, humble creatures, to know your will and your ways? You, O Lord, created the redwood trees, the blue whale and the moon. You, Great God, carved out the Grand Canyon and set Mt. Everest in its place. You, O Lord, hurled the comets into the sky and the planets into orbit. And yet you came and walked in the Garden with Adam and Eve. You spent time with Moses. You guided your people, Israel. You came as one of us in Jesus Christ. As small as we are, we are treasure in your eyes, for you have created us and count us as beloved.
May we remember the treasure we carry within us. May we thank you for this honor and celebrate your goodness with a song within our hearts. May your praise be forever on our lips, in our hearts, and upon our minds.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Good God of Grace and Peace,
Part the clouds today. Part the clouds and pour forward, making your presence known, felt, experienced and treasure by each soul wandering this earth. Part the clouds and come down in love and mercy, so that your peace is felt because peace is a real experience, not merely the absence of war. Part the clouds and show us your face, that visage of goodness and grace. Part the clouds, O Lord, so that we may know you are with us and loving each one of us, watching over us and empowering us.
And as you are doing so, give us the strength and courage to be your hands and feet and help part the clouds around others, piercing their confusion with stories and acts of your love and mercy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday Morning

Gracious and Holy God,
Thank you. If I didn't know you perhaps I would not even realize how far I have stranded from the path you called me to walk. If I didn't know you, perhaps I wouldn't realize that there is something bigger than myself worth living for. If I didn't know you, maybe I wouldn't understand what a rainbow means. You have given me life, added meaning and purpose to my life, and then promised me eternal life with you. Thank you. A thousand times over, thank you. May my entire life be one stretch of thank yous, spoken and lived, to you, my God and King.

Monday, February 9, 2009


O Lord,
May your grace, like the first rays of morning, penetrate the darkness and reveal your presence to me. May your grace, like the first drop of evenings rains, be absorbed into the ground beneath my feet and soak directly into my soul. May your grace, like the songbird's initial call, pierce the silence and announce your mercy and your love. May your grace, like the roll of the storm's thunder, leave no question as to who is God and what is power.
May it be your grace that I rely upon, that I struggle to see, that I pass along to others. May your grace be sufficient for me, and for the love I try and share.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Dear Lord,
You have blessed this day and all that is in it. You move throughout this world, touching each of us with your grace and beauty. Open our eyes to see your wonder reflected in a sunbeam, in a child's laugh, in the way the clouds meander across the sky. Make me aware of the glory that surrounds me and the grace that enfolds me. Move within me, move around me, and help me to move myself so that I go from a place of monotony and routine to wonder and awe, where I am bowled over by your goodness, your grace and your willingness to speak anew each day.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thursday Morning

Precious Lord,
Help me take your hand. I feel so fiercely independent some days, and the reality is that I need to submit to your will. You have made me, fearfully and wonderfully crafted me from nothing. You have set me loose in this place, and prayed that I would choose your will for my life.
I am trying. I am trying to set aside my pride and my insistence that I know what is best. I am failing, time and time again, in my attempts to be humble and accept your will in my life.
Be my courage, on this day, to stand up to my own will and submit to yours.
Thank you, Lord, for this beautiful day, this blessing of blessings. Thank you for the love that surrounds me, for the encouragement that lifts me up, and the friends I rely upon to help me go forward.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Gracious Lord,
You have taken everything that is bad about me and thrown it away, far from me. Help me understand that the path I need to walk is one that goes forward, not one that goes in search of everything you have cleansed me of. I am constantly going in search of these things, trying to find my way back to sin. Teach me and lead me, Lord, so that I may lean on you, rather than fighting to stand on my own, and that you may give me the strength I need to walk into the future you have prepared for me. I love you, Lord.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


You have moved throughout time and offered glimpses of your grace and glory. Your power is written across the heavens and your goodness speaks through the trees and the flowers. All of creation sings its praise to you, and you wrap yourself in the light of the stars.
May I sing of your glory as well. May I humbly offer my life, my song, my human efforts to testify to you, to point to you, to proclaim you, O Lord. You are so much bigger, so much greater, so higher than me, and yet you chose to come to this earth so that I, so that we, might know of your love. May my life, just as the lives of the bears and the bees, be offered to you as a gift of love and thanksgiving.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday morning

Great Lord-
As the rains fall and water the earth, you send grace to water my life. Sometimes I feel parched, dried up, and I wonder if you have forgotten me in my time of trials. Remind me that there is always grace, falling like rain, all around me. Remind me that, time and time again, I am sheltering myself in places where the rain cannot fall, rather than walk, boldly, into the rain and allow you to change me, to convert my life once again. Lord, be my guide and my strength, my courage, so that I may walk freely in the rain, knowing that you will fertilize and tend the soil so that new life may grow in abundance, life that testifies to you.