Advent candles

Lectionary Readings for Christmas Eve: Isaiah 9:2-7, Psalm 96, Titus 2:11-14, Luke 2:1-14 (15-20) for Christmas Day: Isaiah 52:7-10, Psalm 98, Hebrews 1:1-4 (5-12), John 1:1-14 Advent Calendar (Cycle A) and guidance for using the lectionary “How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given.”—O Little Town of Bethlehem Christmas Eve marks the end of Advent…

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Joseph and his walk of faith

Lectionary Readings for December 22, 2013: Isaiah 7:10-16; Psalm 80:1-7,17-19; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25 Advent Calendar (Cycle A) and guidance for using the lectionary “Sooner or later, if we follow Christ we have to risk everything in order to gain everything. We have to gamble on the invisible and risk all that we see and…

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Desert Sand

Lectionary Readings for December 15, 2013: Isaiah 35:1-10; Psalm 146:5-10; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11 Advent Calendar (Cycle A) and guidance for using the lectionary “The desert of which I speak is a desert of the spirit: a place of revelation, conversion, and transformation… It involves being ‘made over’, being made new, being ‘born again’… In…

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Baby Jesus

If you are joining us for week 2, you might want to also access other eReflections in this Advent series: Read Advent 1—The Importance of Waking up Lectionary readings for Dec 08, 2013: Is 11:1-10; Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19; Rom 15:4-13; Matt 3:1-12 Click for complete Advent calendar (Cycle A) and guidance on using the lectionary. “Our spiritual life depends…

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Daybreak

Lectionary readings for Dec 01, 2013. Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm 122; Rom 13:11-14; Matt 24:36-44 Click for complete Advent calendar (Cycle A) and guidance on using the lectionary. “God comes to us like the sun in the morning—when it is time.”—Carlo Carretto, The God Who Comes My favorite time of any day is the pre-dawn moments before the…

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“When we submit our lives to what we read in Scripture, we find that we are not being led to see God in our stories but our stories in God’s.  God is the larger context and plot in which our stories find themselves.”  – Eugene Peterson I can still remember the first time I heard…

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Sabbath in the fall

For everything there is a season… Sometimes on the Sabbath all you can do is settle into the soft body of yourself and listen to what it says. Listen to the exhaustion that is deeper than tiredness the hunger that is for more than food the thirst that is for more than drink the longing…

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beach path

If you are joining us for Part 5, you might want to also access other eReflections in this series, Leading in Rhythm: • Part 1—Beyond the Bondage of Busyness  • Part 2—Rhythms of Work and Rest • Part 3—Solitude and Community • Part 4—Three Moves in Self-Examination “Spiritual leadership springs forth in grace from our very…

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Sunlight breaking through clouds

“Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. He will only do harm to himself and to the community…But the reverse is also true: let him who is not in community beware of being alone.” –Dietrich Bonhoeffer In this paradoxical statement from his book Life Together, German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer articulates one of the…

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sunset

“A Sabbath rest still remains for the people of God…Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest.” —Hebrews 4:9,11 Sabbath-keeping is more than just a day of rest; it is a way of ordering one’s entire life around a pattern of working six days and then resting on the seventh. It is an…

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Dallas Willard

Early yesterday morning Dallas Willard, beloved teacher, philosophy professor, author and spiritual formation guide lost his battle with stage four cancer and entered into the full experience of transformation in Christ’s presence. There is no doubt that Dallas’ passing is a great loss for us and great gain for him. Through the years when people…

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Resurrection of the Lord Acts 10:34-43 OR Isaiah 65:17-25; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; 1 Corinthians 15:19-26 or Acts 10:34-43; John 20:1-18 or Luke 24:1-12 Song of Praise Psalm 118 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His steadfast love endures forever! The Lord is my strength and my song; and he has become…

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Maundy Thursday Exodus 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14; Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-17, 31b-35 Good Friday Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 22; Hebrews 10:16-25 or Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42 Holy Saturday Job 14:1-14  OR Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24; Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16; 1 Peter 4:1-8; Matthew 27:57-66 or John 19:38-42 “Stay together, friends, don’t scatter and sleep. …

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Sixth Sunday in Lent Liturgy of the Palms: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Luke 19:28-40 Liturgy of the Passion: Isaiah 50:4-9a, Psalm 31:9-16, Philippians 2:5-11, Luke 22:14-23:56 or Luke 23:1-49 “The whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is…

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Lectionary Readings for Fifth Sunday in Lent Isaiah 43:16-21, Psalm 126, Philippians 3:4b-14, John 12:1-8 “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”                              …

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Lectionary Readings for Fourth Sunday in Lent Joshua 5:9-12, Psalm 32, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32  “Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord…’”  Psalm 32:5 I have many big dreams, but there is one dream I have…

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Lectionary Readings for Third Sunday in Lent Isaiah 55:1-9; Psalm 63:1-8; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13; Luke 13:1-9 Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let us return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on us, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.  Isaiah 55:6-7…

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Lectionary readings for Second Sunday in Lent (Cycle C) Genesis 15:1-12, 17-28; Psalm 27, Philippians 3:17-4:1a; Luke 13:31-35 Come my heart says, “Seek his face!”  Your face, Lord, do I seek.     —Psalm 27:8 Most years I don’t feel quite ready for Lent with all its demands and disciplines—especially the call to self-denial and fasting. I…

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Scripture for First Sunday in Lent: Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16; Romans 10:8b-13; Luke 4:1-13 The season of Lent derives its structure and its themes from Christ’s forty days in the wilderness, where he fasted, prayed and faced Satan’s temptations.  This was not punishment; in fact he had just experienced God’s public affirmation of his true identity as “my Son,…

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Stations of the Cross

Scripture for Ash Wednesday: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Psalm 51:1-17; II Corinthians 5:20-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 “‘And yet even now,’ says the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart . . .’” —Joel 2:12 Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Church’s observance of the Lenten season—six weeks set apart for the purpose of drawing…

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“I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the Promised Land!” —Martin Luther King, Jr. Is it possible for a leader to have encountered God so richly that no matter what we are working toward here on this earth, we know…

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Lectionary readings:  Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12 Lectionary Calendar (Cycle C) and guidance for using the lectionary This Sunday officially marks the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of the season of Epiphany—the “showing forth” or “the revelation” of God’s presence to unlikely people in unlikely places.  On this…

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Lectionary Readings for December 22, 2012: Micah 5:2-5a; Psalm 80:1-7; Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-55 Advent Calendar (Cycle C) and guidance for using the lectionary In the fourth week of Advent we begin to move beyond waiting and preparation to a deeper sense of the immanency of Christ’s coming. Anticipation is high. The fourth Sunday of…

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Lectionary Readings: Zephaniah 3:14-20; Isaiah 12:2-6; Philippians 4:4-7; Luke 3:7-18 Advent Calendar (Cycle C) and guidance for using the lectionary In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis the Pevenzie children undertake a harrowing sail into darkness –“smooth, solid blackness.”  The hungering dark sapped hope, flooding hearts with fear.  There was no future,…

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Lectionary Readings for December 9, 2012: Malachi 3:1-4; Luke 1:68-79; Philippians 1:3-11; Luke 3:1-6 Advent Calendar (Cycle C) and guidance for using the lectionary The lectionary readings for this second Sunday in Advent tell the story of John the Baptist. The prophet Malachi describes him as the “messenger of the covenant,” the one sent to prepare…

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Lectionary Readings for December 2, 2012: Jeremiah 33:14-16; Psalm 25:1-10; I Thessalonians 3:9-13; Luke 21:25-36 Advent Calendar (Cycle C) and guidance for using the lectionary Apparently American consumerism has reached a new low. As one news article described it, “The gravy was still warm. The Dallas Cowboys were still in uniform.  Thanks were still being given across the…

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The seasons of the church year are meant to teach us something about the spiritual life we need to learn.  Beyond mere information about the spiritual life, they offer us the opportunity to practice some of the key disciplines of the Christian life and to do it together as a community of faith. The Advent season,…

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Twenty years ago, as a young minister in my early thirties, I hit a wall in my spiritual life.  I was exhausted.  I was driven.  I was disillusioned. I had sucked every last bit of marrow out of the dry bones of traditional quiet times, noisy church services, chatty small groups, and Christian self-help books.…

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“If you know you are the Beloved, you can live with an enormous amount of success and an enormous amount of failure without losing your identity. Because your identity is that you are the Beloved… the question becomes ‘Can I live a life of faith in the world and trust that it will bear fruit?’” –Henri…

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Note: The following case study from the NEW Pursuing God’s Will Together is fictitious and yet it is all true.  Everything that happens at “Grace Church” is based on the real life experiences of leadership groups from various churches and organizations, highlighting some of the questions and issues that invite us to embark on the journey…

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Discernment, in a most general sense, is the capacity to recognize and respond to the presence and the activity of God—both in the ordinary moments and in the larger decisions of our lives. The apostle Paul says that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we can discern what…

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Editor’s note:  In this article guest author, Peter Giersch, reflects on his experiences of observing some of the oldest traditions of the Church for celebrating Holy Week.  As he describes the different liturgies and gatherings of the Church that take place during these holy days, we are reminded that Easter is not just a day.  It is…

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Editors note: Last year on Good Friday Christians from around the world prayed together using our Stations of the Cross Prayer Guide. A few of the locations from which people prayed include: Malaysia; Sanabu, Egypt; Heilegenkreuz, Austria; Aberfoyle, ON Canada; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Madagascar; Pretoria, South Africa; Auckland, New Zealand; Hong Kong; Philippines; Suffolk, England;…

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Lectionary readings for February 22, 2012: Joel 2: 1-2, 12-17; Psalm 51:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5: 20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21  Lenten Lectionary (Cycle B) Calendar “Yet even now, says the Lord, repent and return to me with all your heart.” –Joel 2:13 Today is Ash Wednesday—the beginning of the Church’s observance of the Lenten season. Ash…

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Part 3: Martin Luther King series

Part 1: Opposites in Fruitful Harmony Part 2: Inner Strength for Outer Action “Every genuine expression of love grows out of a consistent and total surrender to God.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. One of the most striking aspects of Dr. King’s life and ministry was his commitment to love as the most durable power…

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Part 2: Martin Luther King series

Part 1: Opposites in Fruitful Harmony “Admitting the weighty problems and staggering disappointments, Christianity affirms that God is able to give us the power to meet them.  He is able to give us the inner equilibrium to stand tall amid the trials and burdens of life.  He is able to provide inner peace amid outer…

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Part 1: Martin Luther King series

We shall meet your physical force with soul force.  Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you… One day we shall win freedom, but not only for ourselves.  We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process, and our victory will be…

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Lectionary readings for Epiphany, January 6:  Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2: 1-12 “They set out; and there ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed…

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Dear Friend, God’s richest blessings to you in this New Year! As we begin 2012, my heart is full of gratitude for the faithful support of our friends in 2011. Through your commitment to prayer and generous giving, God has sustained us and enabled us to keep moving forward in response to his leading. This…

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Lectionary readings for December 25, 2011: Isaiah 52:7-10; Psalm 98; Hebrews 1: 1-4,(5-12); John 1:1-14 “The Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 Good is the Flesh by Brian Wren Good is the flesh…

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Lectionary readings for December 24, 2011: Isaiah 9:2-7; Psalm 96; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14 (15-20) “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all…” Titus 2:11 Christmas Eve signals the beginning of the feast of the Nativity—the celebration of God with us.  Advent, the season of waiting, is coming to a close as…

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Lectionary readings for December 18, 2011: 2 Samuel 7: 1-11,16; Luke 1:46b-55; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38 Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Luke 1:38 Most of us don’t think of indifference as being very positive. In fact, we tend to identify…

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Lectionary readings for December 11, 2011:  Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11; Psalm 126; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John…he himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.  The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. John 1:6-9 In…

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Lectionary readings for December 4, 2011:  Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; 2 Peter 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8 “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’” John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness,…

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