Out with joy

2015 COVER


Psalm 105:37-45

Question:
What wilderness are you stuck in right now? What might it look like for God to bring you out of that wilderness? What form will your gratitude take?

 

Prayer:
There are broken parts of my life, God. I am separated from others and from you because of my own sin. Forgive me. Guide me to a place of healing and restoration. Release joy from me like water freed from the rock in the desert. I remember and give you praise. Amen.

 

~ Jonathan Shively, Executive Director, Congregational Life Ministries

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Lent Devotional written by Craig H. Smith, district executive for the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren and ordained minister. (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Craig’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

Hearts rejoicing

2015 COVER

Psalm 105:3-6

Question:

How does remembering how God has worked in your life elicit joy for you? What expressions of joy will others recognize in you today?


Prayer:

God, give me your strength. Inhabit my remembering. Warm my heart. Receive my joy. Amen.

 

~ Jonathan Shively, Executive Director, Congregational Life Ministries

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Lent Devotional written by Craig H. Smith, district executive for the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren and ordained minister. (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Craig’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

Happiness

2015 COVER

Psalm 32
Prayer: Holy God, we look to so many things for our happiness. We give into the images of peace and joy paraded before us on screens billboards. Yet, we know that nothing compares to the joy of your grace. In the distracted state of our lives we lose sight of your forgiveness. Open our hearts that we might celebrate the joy of the forgiveness that comes even before the words are on our lips. Amen
Question: What keeps you from the true joy of God’s forgiveness?

~ Joshua Brockway, Director for Spiritual Life and Discipleship

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Lent Devotional written by Craig H. Smith, district executive for the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren and ordained minister. (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Craig’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

Parting Words

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1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

To ponder:
Sometimes we place such high expectations on ourselves and others as Christmas approaches! We strive to decorate our homes, prepare tasty holiday treats, and finish shopping for everyone on our lists even as we carry out our everyday tasks and responsibilities. No wonder we are stressed to the max some days. As we continue to prepare for Christmas, may we take Paul’s words to heart: rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances. The Lord Jesus Christ is coming!

Prayer for the day:

God of wholeness and well-being, help us remember what is truly important this Advent season and keep us ever full of joy, prayer, and thanksgiving as we prepare for Christ’s coming. Amen.

 

~ Kim Ebersole, Director of Family Life and Older Adult Ministries

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Advent Devotional written by Sandy Bosserman, a former district executive and ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren. (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Sandy’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

Seed and Sheaf

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Psalm 126

To ponder:
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, our hearts are heavy with the suffering of our sisters and brothers around the world, especially with what is happening in Nigeria. In the midst of our questioning “Where is God in all of this?” the psalmist reminds us to recall the miracles God has worked for God’s people. This Advent season, we are to hold on to the promise of Immanuel—God with us—as we pray for God to bless God’s people again so that our tears may turn into shouts of celebration, joy, and laughter.

Prayer for the day:
Companioning God, we remember the great things you have done for us and ask that you continue to bless your people. Deliver our sisters and brothers from pain, suffering, danger, and death. Fill their hearts and souls with your love and peace that they might know your presence and protection. Lord, hear our prayer. Amen.

~ Kim Ebersole, Director of Family Life and Older Adult Ministries

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Advent Devotional written by Sandy Bosserman, a former district executive and ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren. (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Sandy’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

Actors in a supporting role

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Luke 5:1-23

Question for reflection:
The earliest pregnancy announcement that I can remember happened when I was about ten years old. My much older brother was dropping off my five year old nephew early one morning to be watched by my mother. I recall him taking off my nephew’s coat, standing up and saying to our mom, “Oh, by the way, you are going to be a grandma again” and walking out the door. My mother and I then started to squeal together and hug my tired nephew who was not at all thrilled by the early morning noise.

When something exciting happens to us, whether it’s the announcement of a baby, a new job, or a small child waking up on Christmas morning, we usually show our feelings of joy and thankfulness with our voice. I imagine that it was hard for Zechariah to have to remain silent because after all this time he was going to be a father. I’m thankful for my ability to rejoice and share with others, especially during this advent season.

What are you having a hard time staying silent about during this holiday season?

Prayer for the day:
Dear God, thank you for the ability to express our joy and excitement in many various ways. Amen.

~ Laura Whitman, Special Projects Coordinator

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Advent Devotional written by Sandy Bosserman, a former district executive and ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren. (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Sandy’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

Prelude to Joy

LENT_real_rest_FRONTPAGE 
Mark 6:11-44; Mark
14:22-25; Luke 24:28-31


Prayer for the day:

Lord Jesus, your prayers brought life. With your blessing the simple meal fed thousands, and with similar words you gave thanks and offered us all the bread and cup of life. We confess that all too often we overlook our own prayers of blessing so that we might get to what we think really matters. Turn our wandering minds back to your blessing so that we might see joy in the fullness of your grace. Amen.

Question for reflection:
What are your practices of giving thanks or offering a blessing?

~ Josh Brockway, Director for Spiritual Life and Discipleship

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Lenten Devotional written by Duane Grady, pastor of Cedar Lake Church of the Brethren (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Duane’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

Carry the light

2013 Advent good_news_hi_res   Matthew 2:9

Prayer for the day:
God, help me follow you today, trusting as you lead, grateful for the calling, joyful in the journey.


Question for reflection:

Where is the Christ star guiding you today, and as you enter this new year?

~ Jonathan Shively, Executive Director, Congregational Life Ministries

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Advent Devotional written by Tim Harvey, pastor of Central Church of the Brethren (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Tim’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

Silence amid chaos

2013 Advent good_news_hi_res    Matthew 2:10

Prayer for the day:
O Jesus, light of the world. In you, God broke the hold of darkness on the world of the principalities and powers. The child brought near the salvation of God, and our hearts flowed with joy and thanksgiving. Amen.


Question for reflection:

What experiences have filled you with joy and gratitude? How did you see God in those moments?

~ Stan Dueck, Director for Transforming Practices

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Advent Devotional written by Tim Harvey, pastor of Central Church of the Brethren (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Tim’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

Nothing is impossible with God

2013 Advent good_news_hi_res  Luke 1:34 – 38

Prayer for the day:
God of wonder, help us to wake up to the unexpected blessings you provide and accompanying joy – and express your faithfulness to others in ways that would ring clear to their hearts.

Question for reflection:
How do you respond to the miracles that start to nudge us from just below our radar to a place of transformation? What stories can we share with ourselves and others to build trust in the One who loves us insatiably?

~ Randi Rowan, Program Assistant, Congregational Life Ministries

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Advent Devotional written by Tim Harvey, pastor of Central Church of the Brethren (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Tim’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.