Spiritual Nourishment Sept 10

September 9, 2020 

Hello, church! SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY! In person worship resumes Sunday. Don’t forget to RSVP!  

I share here my prayer for the week: 

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen. 

Peace, 

Chess 

Kiva 

Years ago, I was introduced to Kiva when reading the book Half the Sky. Kiva is a micro-loan organization that, in their own words, “empowers underserved people to achieve their dreams by crowdfunding loans and unlocking capital. I recommend you check Kiva out for a couple of reasons. First, you might sometimes think that you don’t know where to start with helping people who need it, and Kiva makes it easy by connecting you directly to people who need help. Secondly, Kiva is more than just a micro-loan organization; they are on the front lines of helping oppressed people rebuild. If you use Kiva’s search and filter features, you can quickly find lots of people who are trying to financially rebuild after years of war, oppression, trafficking, and more. Considering the Bible’s extensive calls for justice, help for the oppressed, and benevolence for the least (Matt 25), Kiva is a great opportunity to get you connected to those who need help in a simple, easy, and even affordable way. Check their about section here to see more about how it all works, and I hope you will consider lending your support. 

Family Activities 

This week our Fruit of the Spirit is Peace.  Here are a couple of resources for you to talk with your kids about peace.  The first focuses in inner peace and the second on peace with each other.  Enjoy!   

As you prepare for this Sunday’s worship 

Included here are the scriptures, reflection questions, and prayers that are thematically matched to our Sunday worship outline. 

Scriptures: Exod 14:19-21, 15:1-11, 20-21; Ps 114; Matt 18:21-35; Rom 14:1-12 

Questions for Reflection: 

Forgiveness is a hard thing. When has someone forgiven you? Is there someone you need to forgive or ask forgiveness?  

Morning Prayer:  

Gracious and loving God, thank you for this day. Strengthen my resolve to love and show mercy throughout the day. Lead my feet to your holy dwelling place, and guide the work I have to do for today. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen. 

Evening Prayer:  

Merciful God, thank you for keeping me in the safety of your arms and for new mercies and the glory you showed through the day. Keep my family and me through the night. I thank and praise you! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen. 

 

Previous Links 

Below are the links to resources I have mentioned in previous emails for your continued reference: 


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Spiritual Nourishment Sept 3

September 3, 2020 

Hello, church! With in-person worship services resuming on 9/13, we would like to know if you are planning to attend (or which other worship options you’re participating in). Please take the short amount of time it takes to fill out this survey 

 I share here my prayer for the week: 

Grant us, O Lord, to trust in you with all our heart; for as you always resist the proud who confide in their own strength, so you never forsake those who make their boast of your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. 

 Peace, 

Chess 

 Carl Spain Center 

In 1960, Carl Spain spoke at the Abilene Christian University Lectureship, delivering a speech titled Modern Challenges to Christian Moralsdirectly challenging the policy excluding African Americans from attending the university. He was criticized and ostracized by many for the rest of his life, but his legacy and mission have endured. Recently, an institute devoted to the topic of race relations within the churches of Christ was created and dedicated to Carl Spain, the Carl Spain Center on Race Studies and Spiritual ActionTheir mission states: “The Carl Spain Center on Race Studies and Spiritual Action was created to honor the legacy of Carl Spain by conducting research on the historical and contemporary role of race and racism in the church and its Christian institutions. The Center heavily emphasizes spiritual formation by utilizing prayer, solitude, biblical meditation, and silence as methods to address racism that is often “spiritualized” in the hearts of Christians.” Their website has gathered helpful resources, videos, and events for any who wish to participate. It is a wonderful, budding resource that I highly recommend you check out – and sign-up for their newsletter, too. 

 Family Activities 

This week’s fruit of the spirit focus is love.  It can mean a lot of different things, but the most important is recognizing God’s love for us.  Hope you and your family enjoy some of these activities.  There is also a memory game to print out and play on all of the fruits. 

 

As you prepare for this Sunday’s worship 

Included here are the scriptures, reflection questions, and prayers that are thematically matched to our Sunday worship outline. 

 Scriptures: Exod 12:1-14; Ps 149; Matt 18:15-20; Rom 13:8-14 

 Questions for Reflection: 

How do you reconcile a God who would “strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals” (Exod. 12:12) with a God who would die for the sins of the entire world?  

 Morning Prayer:  

O God of this and every morning, as I begin this day, call my name; as I step into this day, guide my feet; as I live this day, care for those I love; as I learn this day, teach me your ways. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

 Evening Prayer:  

God of stars and planets, the setting sun ends this day for us as it rises on a new day for others.  For us and for them, be light in every darkness. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 


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Spiritual Nourishment Aug 26

Hello, church! In-person worship is just around the corner, beginning September 13 for those who wish to return. I urge all of you to check out this page on the website so you’ll know what to expect. This document will answer most of your questions, and of course, if you have other questions, please ask.  

Many of you likely have stressful transitions coming up as schools begin again in various formats, work routines might be changing, not to mention continued stress, anxiety, and worry over everything that is going on these days. Please continue to take care of your spiritual health, especially during times like this. Join me in praying for reduced stress, healing for the world, smooth transitions, and hope for the future.  

Peace, 

Chess 

Nomad Podcast 

Historically, trends in Christianity in the US run about 25 years behind the UK. So, the condition of Christianity today here in the US is very similar to how things were 25 years ago in the UK. A good barometer for where we are headed, then, is to take a look at Christianity in the UK today. It is not a perfect model, but it is eerily accurate and a helpful practice. That said, one way you can get a peek into the world of Christianity in the UK is the Nomad podcast. Like most podcasts, there are book reviews, author interviews, and notable guests, but they are discussing Christianity, theology, and history from a very different point of view than we normally get here stateside. It is a highquality podcast that I definitely recommend on its own merit, but also because it could offer us a glimpse into our future and advice from hindsight for today. 

Family Activities 

In keeping with the fruit of the spirit theme, this week is joy. I try not to put personal opinions into these lessons so that each family can make their own decisions.  But I have to share a story that illustrates the idea of joy perfectly. I was watching my granddaughters last summer and there was a big storm, thunder, lightning, pouring rain.  When it was over, they wanted to go outside and play.  All geared up in their rain boots, rain pants and rain coats, they ran around to the front of the house and exclaimed, “Look at the great puddle the rain made for us!” They jumped in that puddle laughing and giggling for close to 45 minutes. Pure joy on their faces. I have a couple of pictures of them that make me smile every time I see them.  Hopefully, these lessons will inspire you and your kids to find joy in the small things.   

 – Linda 

 

As you prepare for this Sunday’s worship 

Included here are the scriptures, reflection questions, and prayers that are thematically matched to our Sunday worship outline. 

Scriptures: Exod 3:1-15; Ps 105:1-6, 23-26, 45b; Matt 16:21-28; Rom 12:9-21 

Questions for Reflection: 

How can your life include a faithful response to Jesus’ charge that his followers must “deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24)?  

Morning Prayer:  

God of lovetoday help us to live peaceably with all. Help us live in genuine love: to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to love you, O God, with our whole heart, mind, and strength. In Jesus’ loving name. Amen. 

Evening Prayer:  

Holy Godbecause you have been with us this day, we have stood on holy ground. Thank you. We know that you will remain with us through this night. Thank you. We know that you will be with us again tomorrow. Thank you. In Jesus’ holy name. Amen. 

 

Previous Links 

Below are the links to resources I have mentioned in previous emails for your continued reference: 

Weekly Lectionary 

Daily Lectionary 

Bible Gateway Reading Plans 

Phyllis Tickle’s, Divine Hours 

The Way of the Heart, by Henri Nouwen 

Breath Prayers 

Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth , by Walter Brueggemann 

The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun 

The Discernment of Spirits and workbook by Timothy Gallagher  

Blog on Prayer Labyrinths  

St. John’s Bible  

Christian Classics Ethereal Library 

Prayers for a Privileged People 

Shattering the Illusion: How African American Churches of Christ Moved from Segregation to Independence by Wes Crawford 

Jesus and the Disinherited, by Howard Thurman 

The Road Back to You by Ian Cron 

thriftychristianreader.com 

Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, by Brian Zahnd 

Dead Sea Scrolls 

What Was Wrong with Cain’s Sacrifice? 

What Is Worship? 

Sacred Places: In Search of Ebenezers 

Backwards: A Dangerous Reading of Matthew 6 

Poem of the Day 

Sacred Texts 

Center for Action and Contemplation 


Read more...

Spiritual Homework Aug 13

August 13th, 2020 

 

Hello, church! Please join me this week in continuing to pray for the health of the world, for the comfort of those who have lost loved ones, for justice, for the future of Christianity, for our congregation as we prepare to resume in-person gatherings, for the education of children and all involved in the process, for God’s mercy upon us all, and for our ability to share the love of God with others. 

Peace, 

Chess 

 

Richard Rohr 

Richard Rohr is a rather polarizing figure. He is a Franciscan priest, author, speaker, and teacher who “is grounded in the Franciscan alternative orthodoxy—practices of contemplation and self-emptying, expressing itself in radical compassion, particularly for the socially marginalized.” But he isn’t for everyone; those who read his works either love it or hate it. Personally, I generally find many of his works very informative and helpful for my spirituality, particularly his bookThe Divine DanceYears ago, he founded a retreat center called the Center for Action and Contemplation, and their website has consolidated all things Richard Rohr, links to books, podcasts, daily email meditations, and much more. I suggest you check it out and consider adding your email to the subscription list for the daily meditations.  

 

Family Activities 

We know that the fruit of the spirit is important for us as adults.  We need to teach our young people so that they grow up knowing how important it is to practice these basic things.  Enclosed this week are several activities centered on these attitudes.  The final activity is a fruit salad to make with your child.  Have fun, show them that the individual things are good, but together they make something great! 

Explanation of the Fruit of the Spirit 

Fruit of the Spirit Worksheet 

Fruit of the Spirit Coloring Page 

Make a “Fruit of the Spirit” Salad 

 

As you prepare for this Sunday’s worship 

Included here are the scriptures, reflection questions, and prayers that are thematically matched to our Sunday worship outline. 

Scriptures: Gen 45:1-15; Ps 133; Matt 15:10-28; Rom 11:1-2a, 29-32 

Questions for Reflection: 

Why do you think Jesus resisted the Canaanite woman’s request? How does this fit with your idea of Jesus’ mercy and love? What changed his mind? How does this influence your faith in God? 

Morning Prayer:  

Merciful God, this day is full of your possibilities for healing and reconciliation, for new beginnings and restored relationships. Unite my heart with your will so that your abundant anointing will flow through me. Send me now with your promised blessings to preserve the lives of those in need. Amen. 

Evening Prayer:  

God of the night watches, guard me from torment, release me from distress. Call me close to you and kiss me with your favor that I may rest secure in you. Amen. 

 

Previous Links 

Below are the links to resources I have mentioned in previous emails for your continued reference. 

 

Weekly Lectionary 

Daily Lectionary 

Bible Gateway Reading Plans 

Phyllis Tickle’s, Divine Hours 

The Way of the Heart, by Henri Nouwen 

Breath Prayers 

Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth , by Walter Brueggemann 

The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun 

The Discernment of Spirits and workbook by Timothy Gallagher  

Blog on Prayer Labyrinths  

St. John’s Bible  

Christian Classics Ethereal Library 

Prayers for a Privileged People 

Shattering the Illusion: How African American Churches of Christ Moved from Segregation to Independence by Wes Crawford 

Jesus and the Disinherited, by Howard Thurman 

The Road Back to You by Ian Cron 

thriftychristianreader.com 

Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, by Brian Zahnd 

Dead Sea Scrolls 

What Was Wrong with Cain’s Sacrifice? 

What Is Worship? 

Sacred Places: In Search of Ebenezers 

Backwards: A Dangerous Reading of Matthew 6 

Poem of the Day 

Sacred Texts 


Read more...

Spiritual Homework Aug 5

August 5, 2020

Hello, church! I hope this finds you well. Please join me this week in continuing to pray for the health of the world, those devastated by disasters like the explosion in Beirut, those who are financially struggling, and for one another as we try to maintain physical, mental, and spiritual health. 

Peace, 
Chess 
 

Ancient Texts 

In the Day4 group we are currently discussing some of the references made in the gospels to other literary works. Perhaps you’ve heard of titles like Enoch, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, and the Talmud, but you might not have realized they are quoted and alluded to often in the New Testament. You are always welcome to join our zoom meeting and discuss this topic with us, but also here’s a few books to get you started in your exploration of non-canonical Judea-Christian texts. First, there’s Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies, which provides intro material and a fantastic verse by verse appendix of allusions and quotations. Second, I recommend The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha for anyone who wants a very complete and thorough collection of texts. Finally, I recommend the site Sacred Texts for free access to many of these texts; use the links on the left to toggle between Christian and Judaism to see most of the relevant titles. 

Family Activities 

We hope you are continuing to practice Bible skills with your children.  Here are three new quizzes for you to work with them on.   

 

As you prepare for this Sunday’s worship 

Included here are the scriptures, reflection questions, and prayers that are thematically matched to our Sunday worship outline. 

Scriptures: Gen 37:1-4, 12-28; Ps 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b; Matt 14:22-33; Rom 10:5-15 

Questions for Reflection: 

Why did Jesus send the disciples ahead while he stayed to pray alone? How do times of turmoil and anxiety affect your trust in God?  

Morning Prayer:  

God of my destiny, thank you for a new day in which your purpose will unfold. Send me now as your servant to succor the suffering and as your disciple to declare the good news of your Son. Help me to remember during times of testing that your word goes ahead of me and upholds me. Amen. 

Evening Prayer:  

Son of God, this day has been crowded with work and service. This evening, bring me alone with you to the mountain to pray. Help me to know your reassuring presence with me through the night hours. May I come to you and rest in you. Amen. 

 Previous Links 

Below are the links to resources I have mentioned in previous emails for your continued reference. 

 

Weekly Lectionary 

Daily Lectionary 

Bible Gateway Reading Plans 

Phyllis Tickle’s, Divine Hours 

The Way of the Heart, by Henri Nouwen 

Breath Prayers 

Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth , by Walter Brueggemann 

The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun 

The Discernment of Spirits and workbook by Timothy Gallagher  

Blog on Prayer Labyrinths  

St. John’s Bible  

Christian Classics Ethereal Library 

Prayers for a Privileged People 

Shattering the Illusion: How African American Churches of Christ Moved from Segregation to Independence by Wes Crawford 

Jesus and the Disinherited, by Howard Thurman 

The Road Back to You by Ian Cron 

thriftychristianreader.com 

Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, by Brian Zahnd 

Dead Sea Scrolls 

What Was Wrong with Cain’s Sacrifice? 

What Is Worship? 

Sacred Places: In Search of Ebenezers 

Backwards: A Dangerous Reading of Matthew 6 

Poem of the Day 


Read more...

Spiritual Homework July 28

July 29, 2020 

Hello, church! We seem surrounded by negativity, and I understand that. There is so much happening in the world that is painful, wrong, and sad that it is hard to keep our focus on anything but the negative side of life. I encourage all of us to make room to grieve and mourn, but I also hope that we intentionally train ourselves to celebrate the good of life as well. Intentionally celebrate one another, your friends and family, and your blessings, big and small.  I hope that my recommendation of poetry below can you help both process the negative and celebrate the positive. 

Peace, 

Chess 

Poetry 

I don’t know about you, but I had more than a few bad experiences with poetry when I was growing up. It was forced upon me at school, and I was expected to analyze, break-down, and not enjoy poetry. I have since checked myself into a self-made poetry rehabilitation program, so to speak, and have found time and ways to enjoy and appreciate poetry, which is very important for spirituality. So much of scripture is poetry, our prayers and hymns are full of poetry, and even the way we talk and think about God is drenched in poetry. I have the book Reading for Preaching to thank for this wake-up call, and I recommend the book for anyone who is interested in exploring how a variety of literature intake expands your theology. But what has helped me most is subscribing to the Poetry Foundation’s Poem of the Day, which will get you one poem a day sent to your email inbox. I don’t like every poem, or even many of them, but the exposure to more poetry has helped me better appreciate poetic portions of scripture, given me new language to use, and every so often I find a poem that expresses a theological truth that I could not have expressed myself. I think poetry is critically important for spirituality, and I highly recommend reading more, even if you already read a lot. 

 
Family Activities 
Here are  couple of word scrambles for our kids.  Work with them on this and then pick your favorite and share with them the story. 
 

As you prepare for this Sunday’s worship 

Included here are the scriptures, reflection questions, and prayers that are thematically matched to our Sunday worship outline. 

Scriptures: Gen 32:22-31; Ps 17:1-7, 15; Matt 14:13-21; Rom 9:1-5 

Questions for Reflection: 

“Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak” (Gen. 32:24). Why do you think God allows times of struggle in our lives? How have times of struggle affected your walk with God? How does your relationship with God affect your view of overwhelming problems in the world, such as hunger, poverty, violence, or injustice?  

Morning Prayer:  

God of daybreak, thank you for holding me through the night and awakening me to behold your likeness in this brand-new day. Go with me now as I walk with you.  Show me the world and its people through your eyes of compassion. Bless me, break me, and move through me to heal and feed those who hunger for you. Amen.   

Evening Prayer:  

O God, tonight I lay my failures, anxieties, struggles, and unfinished business at your feet. Hold me, bless me, and change me as I rest in you. Amen. 

Previous Links 

Below are the links to resources I have mentioned in previous emails for your continued reference. 

 

Weekly Lectionary 

Daily Lectionary 

Bible Gateway Reading Plans 

Phyllis Tickle’s, Divine Hours 

The Way of the Heart, by Henri Nouwen 

Breath Prayers 

Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth , by Walter Brueggemann 

The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun 

The Discernment of Spirits and workbook by Timothy Gallagher  

Blog on Prayer Labyrinths  

St. John’s Bible  

Christian Classics Ethereal Library 

Prayers for a Privileged People 

Shattering the Illusion: How African American Churches of Christ Moved from Segregation to Independence by Wes Crawford 

Jesus and the Disinherited, by Howard Thurman 

The Road Back to You by Ian Cron 

thriftychristianreader.com 

Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, by Brian Zahnd 

Dead Sea Scrolls 

What Was Wrong with Cain’s Sacrifice? 

What Is Worship? 

Sacred Places: In Search of Ebenezers 

Backwards: A Dangerous Reading of Matthew 6 

 


Read more...

Spiritual Homework July 22

July 22, 2020

Hello, church! I continue to pray for all of you, for the healing of the world, and for our future – as undecided as it can so often feel. I also pray for your spiritual nourishment, and in that regard, this week I offer you a deep well of resources that can uplift and challenge you in the form of decades of lectures from Pepperdine and Abilene.  

Peace, 

Chess 

University Lectureships 

For over a century, the individual churches of Christ in this country have been united by lectureship series’ hosted by our various universities. These lectureships provide one of the few opportunities for the churches of Christ to gather together in worship, fellowship, learning, and growth on a large scale. This year’s health challenges have postponed the lectures till next year, so if (like me) you find yourself missing these events, here are some links to recordings from previous years, and if you have never attended these events before, watch a few videos and hopefully you will be convinced to consider attending in the future. 

Pepperdine Harbor (links to each year are on the right side) 

Abilene Summit (links at bottom for video and audio of past years) 
 
 

Family Activities 

Here is a Gratitude Scavenger Hunt for your kids.
 

As you prepare for this Sunday’s worship 

Included here are the scriptures, reflection questions, and prayers that are thematically matched to our Sunday worship outline. 

Scriptures: Gen 29:15-28; Ps 105:1-11, 45b; Matt 13:31-33, 44-52; Rom 8:26-39 

Questions for Reflection: 

Are there dilemmas or relationships in which you feel separated from the love of God? Can you imagine that God might be at work there, bringing life in unexpected ways? What would change if you were to claim the promise that nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord? 

Morning Prayer:  

God of ferment, God of life, as I recall the night’s unsettled dreams as I foresee the day’s demands… come to me in the desires of my heart, in the anger of the excluded, in all I might discount— until I find you everywhere, until your holy love leavens every impulse, for I pray in the name of Jesus, whose surprising call continues. Amen. 

Evening Prayer:  

Joy of my heart, thank you for this day’s unexpected turns: for provision when I was stymied and laughter born of grace. As I rest in your mercy open my heart to your unruly love  and the neighbors you have put in my path. Amen. 

 

Previous Links 

Below are the links to resources I have mentioned in previous emails for your continued reference. 

 

Weekly Lectionary 

Daily Lectionary 

Bible Gateway Reading Plans 

Phyllis Tickle’s, Divine Hours 

The Way of the Heart, by Henri Nouwen 

Breath Prayers 

Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth , by Walter Brueggemann 

The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun 

The Discernment of Spirits and workbook by Timothy Gallagher  

Blog on Prayer Labyrinths  

St. John’s Bible  

Christian Classics Ethereal Library 

Prayers for a Privileged People 

Shattering the Illusion: How African American Churches of Christ Moved from Segregation to Independence by Wes Crawford 

Jesus and the Disinherited, by Howard Thurman 

The Road Back to You by Ian Cron 

thriftychristianreader.com 

Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, by Brian Zahnd 

Dead Sea Scrolls 

What Was Wrong with Cain’s Sacrifice? 

What Is Worship? 

Sacred Places: In Search of Ebenezers 

Backwards: A Dangerous Reading of Matthew 6 


Read more...

Spiritual Homework July 15

July 15th, 2020 

Hello, church! I hope you are well, your gardens are thriving, your vacations are responsible, and your spirituality is thriving. In an attempt to help you with the latter, here’s a few things for you, including some blogs for you to read on the topic of worship that I think will be helpful as we are getting closer than ever to resuming in person worship.  

Peace, 

Chess 

What is Worship? 

Thanks to the incredibly hard and time demanding work of two different committees, the elders, and a lot of volunteers, we are closer than ever to resuming in-person worship. As we get closer to meeting together, several conversations about worship have naturally arisen. What is worship? Is it worship if it isn’t like it used to be? What are the requirements to have a worship service? Is what we are doing on Zoom worship? These are all very important questions, and many of them will be addressed from the pulpit as we resume worship. Today, though, I wanted to link you to a few blogs that are asking similar questions. Some provide answers, but mostly they are raising good questions for your consideration. I hope that you will take the time to read through these and spend time this week dwelling on these kinds of questions with scripture as a talking partner. Texts like Romans 12, the sermon on the mount, the story of Hannah, and many others would be great voices to have while you think through these questions. 

What Was Wrong with Cain’s Sacrifice? 

What Is Worship? 

Sacred Places: In Search of Ebenezers 

 

Day 4 

We start a new series tonight on how ancient texts are echoed in the gospels.  Start time is actually 7:30, not 7 as stated in the Arlington Alert.  Now is a great time to reengage in midweek Bible Study.

 

Family Activities 

This weeks activities focus on kindness 

Kindness Challenge  

God is with you coloring page 

Kindness Coloring page  

 

As you prepare for this Sunday’s worship 

Included here are the scriptures, reflection questions, and prayers that are thematically matched to our Sunday worship outline. 

 

Scriptures: Gen 28:10-19a; Ps 139:1-12, 23-24; Matt 13:24-30; Rom 8:12-25 

Questions for Reflection: 

How has your understanding of the relationship between suffering and faith (or vulnerability and trust) changed over time? What experiences of God’s grace do you need to acknowledge and anoint? 

Morning Prayer: 

In whatever shelter I wake this morningI know this place is holy because you meet me here. As I wash my body and prepare for the day, I remember baptismal waters and the claim upon my life. Wherever darkness looms, Sovereign God, traffic in mercy this day. Traffic in mercy this day. Amen. 

Evening Prayer:  

As darkness spreads over the land, I trust that you move in it. As I yield the night to sleep and dreams, I pray you would remake me into a servant bold, for the sake of Jesus. Amen. 

Previous Links 

Below are the links to resources I have mentioned in previous emails for your continued reference. 

 

Weekly Lectionary 

Daily Lectionary 

Bible Gateway Reading Plans 

Phyllis Tickle’s, Divine Hours 

The Way of the Heart, by Henri Nouwen 

Breath Prayers 

Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth , by Walter Brueggemann 

The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun 

The Discernment of Spirits and workbook by Timothy Gallagher  

Blog on Prayer Labyrinths  

St. John’s Bible  

Christian Classics Ethereal Library 

Prayers for a Privileged People 

Shattering the Illusion: How African American Churches of Christ Moved from Segregation to Independence by Wes Crawford 

Jesus and the Disinherited, by Howard Thurman 

The Road Back to You by Ian Cron 

thriftychristianreader.com 

Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, by Brian Zahnd 

Dead Sea Scrolls 


Read more...

Spiritual Homework July 1

July 1st, 2020 

Hello, church! I hope you are all doing well and not melting in the summer heat. The committee tasked with resuming worship and the elders are hard at work. I ask that all of you keep them and their efforts in your prayers. They love you all dearly and hold your health, safety, and interests close to their hearts. I ask that this week you spend extra time praying for them, for their wisdom, and for their rest as we all look forward to the day that we can resume worship. I also ask that you continue to pray for the world as we continue to live lives affected by the coronavirus.  

Peace, 

Chess 

Sunday Worship

Included here are the scriptures, reflection questions, and prayers that are thematically matched to our Sunday worship outline. 

Scriptures: Gen 24:34-67; Ps 45:10-17; Matt 11:16-19, 25-30; Rom 7:15-25a 

Questions for Reflection: 

What misplaced burdens are you carrying? Where might God be offering you a more well-fitted yoke? Where are your expectations of God and the church unmet?  Where do you sense God moving in hidden ways? 

Morning Prayer: 

As the darkness recedes, open my eyes to the gift of this day; help me to trust you with all that it will hold. In the hours to come, as my plans are interrupted, tune my ear to the sound of your voice, my eye to the movement of your Spirit, my heart to the strength of your desire, that I might glimpse your hidden graces and be strengthened in your service, for I would be your instrument. Amen. 

Evening Prayer:  

Merciful God, I come weary, grateful for the chance to meet you in the silence, eager to be washed again in your claim. Lift from me the burdens I do not easily yield. In your gracious provision, fit me with a better yoke that I might rest as a child secure and rise with a teachable spirit. Amen. 

Bible Maps

Geography isn’t my hobby, and I don’t consider myself a visual learner. I understand, however that many people love maps and are visual learners, and if you are one such person, you should be reading the Bible with a good set of maps handy. Lots of Bibles have a handful of maps in the back, but often not the one I need, or the one I wish existed. So this week I have included a link to A BUNCH of free (and good) maps that are very, if not oddly, specific. It would especially be a good bookmark on your phone so that you can use it at church/on the go. Maps like these are a great way to visualize and contextualize the Bible. 

Family Activities

This week we are continuing to practice our skills in using the Bible.  Here is a fun worksheet on Bugs in the Bible.  Work with your kids to looks up the scriptures and fill in the blanks. We also have a couple of things for the July 4th holiday—a reminder that God is with us whereever we are and an indoor fireworks game.  

Previous Links

Below are the links to resources I have mentioned in previous emails for your continued reference. 

Weekly Lectionary 

Daily Lectionary 

Bible Gateway Reading Plans 

Phyllis Tickle’s, Divine Hours 

The Way of the Heart, by Henri Nouwen 

Breath Prayers 

Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth , by Walter Brueggemann 

The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun 

The Discernment of Spirits and workbook by Timothy Gallagher  

Blog on Prayer Labyrinths  

St. John’s Bible  

Christian Classics Ethereal Library 

Prayers for a Privileged People 

Shattering the Illusion: How African American Churches of Christ Moved from Segregation to Independence by Wes Crawford 

Jesus and the Disinherited, by Howard Thurman 

The Road Back to You by Ian Cron 

thriftychristianreader.com 

Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, by Brian Zahnd 

Dead Sea Scrolls 


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Spiritual Homework June 24

June 24, 2020 

I continue to pray for all of you as we face fears of reopening, a rise in coronavirus cases, political tensions, cries for justice, stress related to employment, financial struggles, and distance from one another. I pray for your health, your sanity, your spirituality, and your future. If there is something that you need, please don’t hesitate to talk to myself or one of the other leaders at church. We want to help however we can. In the meantimeI’ve included the scriptures and prayers for this Sunday’s services, as well as some information on the Dead Sea Scrolls.  

 Peace, 

Chess 

 Sunday Worship 

Included here are the scriptures, reflection questions, and prayers that are thematically matched to our Sunday worship outline. 

Scriptures: Gen 22:1-14; Ps 13; Matt 10:40-42, Rom 6:12-23 

Questions for Reflection 

What is God asking me to return? Why? What might be the outcome? 

Morning Prayer: 

I rise this day in the power of your Holy Spirit, O God. lift up my hands, my heart, and my songs to praise you, O Christ. Be for me today, my Savior, the guardian in my weakness, a friend on my journey, and my aim for all I seek to do. May all who speak to me say, “Peace”; may all to whom I speak hear, “Love.” Give visions of Christ in pied beauty around tables of meeting, along paths of dappling shadows, and in the faces of loved ones and strangers. Whether the day is bright or gloomy, be my light. Then, when the night begins to fall, bid me home—be my home, that I may find my rest  in you, O Three in One. Amen. 

Evening Prayer:  

Be my light, O Creator of light, as evening comes to my home and to me. Let me see your name written in sparkling stars, glowing planets, dancing cosmic wind. Let me hear you pass gently in the cool of the night’s breeze, on the wings of the night-flying creatures. And if there are to be storms this night, so that I shall not see the sky, and a gale howls with fearful threats, let me still put my trust in you, rest in you. Or, because there is a need in the world, rise up as you give me strength to bear witness with heart and hands to the world’s true light, in whose name I pray. Amen. 

 

The Dead Sea Scrolls 

Even if you’ve been hiding in a cave, you’ve likely heard something about the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were also hiding in a cave until they were discovered by a boy throwing a rockbreaking a jar with scrolls inside. While the contents of the scrolls don’t contain an autograph of any of our biblical books, they are a priceless piece of history that has forever changed our understanding of biblical history. The scrolls aren’t all page turners (a large majority are detailed instructions on cleanliness and read like Leviticus), but there are several of the scrolls that contain bizarre stories, messianic expectations, and even treasure maps. The contents of the scrolls also contain some of the oldest copies of Hebrew Bible manuscripts, including a large majority of the prophets. So if you’ve ever heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls but never taken the time to read them, how about now? Here’s the link to a free full text copyOr if not now, at least save this link for the next time they are mentioned. You should always double check when someone references the scrolls and read them for yourself, especially considering many of them turn out to be forgeries 

Family Activities 

In our children’s classes this winter our kids were learning how to use their Bibles to look up scriptures.  Let’s not let those skills get rusty.  Make it a family activity—working together to complete the questions on this activity sheet.   

 

Previous Links 

Below are the links to resources I have mentioned in previous emails for your continued reference. 

 

Weekly Lectionary 

Daily Lectionary 

Bible Gateway Reading Plans 

Phyllis Tickle’s, Divine Hours 

The Way of the Heart, by Henri Nouwen 

Breath Prayers 

Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth , by Walter Brueggemann 

The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun 

The Discernment of Spirits and workbook by Timothy Gallagher  

Blog on Prayer Labyrinths  

St. John’s Bible  

Christian Classics Ethereal Library 

Prayers for a Privileged People 

Shattering the Illusion: How African American Churches of Christ Moved from Segregation to Independence by Wes Crawford 

Jesus and the Disinherited, by Howard Thurman 

The Road Back to You by Ian Cron 

thriftychristianreader.com 

Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, by Brian Zahnd 


Read more...
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