Encouragement


17
Dec 2018
Draw Near to Justice, part 2

Read Luke 1:46-56   Reflect: God’s justice is different than our justice. It’s about making the world right!  Where do you see God’s justice being birthed this Christmas? in your life? in the lives of others? Reflect & Practice: “Jesus became light for our darkest decisions, peace for our self-centered wars, and love for our life-draining animosity towards others.”  How is this becoming true in your life this Christmas? Practice: Uses images and poems from this week’s bulletin and the Advent Guide this week in your devotional time to draw near to......

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03
Dec 2018
Draw Near to Wonder

Read Luke 21:25-36 There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves.  People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  They they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory.  Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.......

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20
Nov 2018
You Are What You Do

On Sunday, we were challenged to give our thanks, to release our gratitude from within and share it with others.  Here are some ideas from the sermon to help you get started: Gratitude Journal Gratitude jar – like a penny jar! (Look back at them once a year like on New Year’s Day) Gratitude Letters Gratitude phone call Gratitude visit Spend quality time focused on a person you are grateful for Give more compliments Don’t just say “thank you” – say: What I love about you is…” “My wish for you is…”......

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13
Nov 2018
Expect Nothing, Appreciate Everything

Reflect: Look back over the past week or month at some of your negative moments and difficult situations. Where was God in those times? Can you see God’s grace? Reflect & Practice: Each day this week, try to keep a tally going of your positive and negative thoughts. What is the ratio in different relationships and activities? Do you need to work on increasing the positive? If so, put some intentional energy towards cultivating grateful thoughts. Practice: This week, try to write your own psalm expressing your struggles honestly, offering your questions......

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22
Oct 2018
Gratitude within These Walls

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.” (Psalm 122:1) What a beautiful day we had at Hood Memorial Christian Church on Sunday.  Homecoming 2018 was full of joy, celebration, memories, hope, tears, and love. Jason and I want to offer our deep appreciation to everyone who helped prepare for this special day.  Many hands were involved in getting ready for this day.  Members of our church and community spent time and energy sharing in these acts of love: painting replacing ceiling tiles wiping......

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01
Oct 2018
Invest in Love

When Christians want to know what the Bible says about money and stewardship and investments, we typically look to the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25. I cannot tell you how often I have heard this parable used to explain to me how God is displeased when we do not save and invest our money to multiply it. And I have always been troubled by that line of thinking for two reasons: There are so many other passages in the Bible that teach us differently. For example, Luke 18 says: Sell everything......

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05
Sep 2018
Life Is Better In Groups

Last year about this time, we kicked of a series called Freeway and encouraged everyone to participate in a small group during the series. We had great feedback from folks about small groups. In fact, one of our new small groups kept meeting all year long! Many of you have been asking about joining an ongoing small group. So, here we go! This Sunday, September 9 at 6:00 pm, Pastor Joanie and I are hosting a small group kickoff gathering at Hood. Anyone and everyone is invited. Maybe you already are part......

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28
Aug 2018
Breathe

Today, join me in what I call Breath Prayer. I have used this way of praying for about a decade now. I find it comforting, calming, and centering in my life and in my relationship to God. Here is how it works: Step 1: Close your eyes.  Focus on your breathing.  In and Out.  In and Out. Step 2: Say the following phrase as you breath in and out: Breathing In, I breathe in the life of Christ Breathing Out, I breathe out the work of Christ Step 3: Read through the......

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27
Aug 2018
Return to Praise

Honestly, I had a moment tonight.  Things had built up over the past few days and tonight the flood gates opened.  I was feeling sadness missing and remembering my father-in-law.  And as memories came rushing to me and tears fell down my face…my attention kept returning to praise. Over the past few weeks and months we have discussed a lot of “heavy” and challenging ideas, themes, and characters in the Bible: Judas Iscariot, Jonah, Joseph of Arimathea, Anna, Lydia, grief, surprises, and the list goes on.  I think I have been so......

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06
Aug 2018
Light

Tonight I am working on our kitchen remodel installing recessed lighting. I call Nora to come look at the lights and read the name of the fixtures. She runs in to the construction zone, looks up at the lights, and immediately a smile beams across her face. She doesn’t say anything, so I ask, “What’s the name of these lights?” “Nora,” she says with a giggly voice and my smile begins to beam as well. Pretty neat that the lights in our new kitchen share a name with my middle daughter! And......

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