Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Living Tableau- Fasting

Matthew 6: 16 – 18 (NKJV)
16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Pastor’s Notes

Fasting is an opportunity to free ourselves from the distractions that keep us from focusing on our Savior Jesus Christ. Fasting clears us out and opens frees us to seek God’s will in a manner that exceeds our normal habits of worship and prayer. Fasting offers another dimension because we choose to give up something that distracts us from hearing from God. A common fast is that of food. We may elect to skip several meals and when the hunger pangs start, we pray during those times and let God fill us up. It is amazing how we no longer hunger when we are in God’s presence.

There are other means of fasting as well. We may choose to fast spending, drinking, dating, shopping, television, computer games, happy hours, or anything that distracts us from giving our undivided attention to God, the author and finisher of our faith.

What do you love as much as you love God? Fast it over a period of time and see how God moves in our lives and spirit. God wants all of us, not what’s left after we spend precious time with other things, including people. Let’s keep Christ first in our lives by fasting as often as possible for a closer walk with the Lord? Practice fasting regularly.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Living Tableau- Holy Spirit

Acts 2:2-21 (NIV)
2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spiritand began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”
14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 "In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Pastor's Notes

Pentecost is the time to celebrate all of the promises of who Jesus Christ is and the lives He will transform because of His surrender of His will to that of the Father. Because Christ gave up His life, we are able to receive unending forgiveness of our sins and we are extended an opportunity to receive everlasting life.

Jesus promised to not leave the disciples and other believers comfortless. He breathed life upon them, which opened the door for us, Gentiles, to be saved as well. Thank be to God for sharing His only begotten Son with us. Thanks be to God for forgiveness that we have not earned, but has been given to us freely because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

Thanks for leaving the Holy Spirit with us to lead and guide our lives, as we surrender our wills to the wills of our Father in heaven.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Living Tableau- Prayer

1 Kings 3:5 (NIV)
5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

Pastor’s Notes

is the best way to win a battle. Take all our cares and burdens to the Lord and leave them there. God can handle anything that we must face. God does not, however, remove us from the consequences that are necessary for us to face to help us learn and not repeat any adverse situations. It is imperative that we learn our lesson the first time around or we will repeat the situation over and over until we surrender to God.

Prayer is our means of communicating with God. Prayer is effective when we talk, listen and meditate on the scriptures related to our subject matter. As we meditate on scriptures, or be still, quiet and take some deep breaths, we are inclined to hear from God. God wants to fight our battles, however we must have faith, trust, patience and obedience. God is waiting on each of us to depend on Him by using prayer as our first resource and not our last resort.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Living Tableau- Meditation

Joshua 1:8 (NIV)
8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Pastor's Notes

Meditation is being quiet and giving one’s undivided attention to the things of God. It requires slowing down and removing the barriers that may distract us. It may incorporate a long look at God and/or God’s creation. Adele A. Calhoun expresses that Christian meditation opens us to the mind of God and to His world and to His presence in the world. We must let go of all distractions so that we can focus on God, be in God’s presence. Meditation is a method by which we train our minds to concentrate on something and shut everything else out. Meditation is simply putting our body, mind and spirit in the same place at the same time and treasure the results. Let’s strive to keep our minds stayed on Christ and the things of Christ.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Living Tableau- Believe

2 Peter 1:1-8 (NIV)
1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: 2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pastor's Notes

Believe means to have faith and trust in God the Father, Jesus the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Believing that the Scriptures are the inspired word of God and that all of God’s promises are true. God’s promises can be applied to our daily lives as we walk in obedience.

Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).

Faith becomes active as we read and study God’s word. God will speak to us through His word and will give us opportunities to put our faith into action. We must decide if we are devoting our lives to Christ or staying in a state of inquisitiveness. To live a life for Christ requires getting to know Him; to have faith, and then put our faith into action.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Living Tableau

Exciting new stuff going on at the Nest! I was recently asked to be the Worship Chair at our church, Ashford United Methodist Church. The worship chair oversees Altar Guild and Worship Arts (which is me). It is such an honor to be entrusted with the sanctuary’s sacred space and the atmosphere of our worship environment. As the Worship Arts person, I will be decorating the altar, the chancel area, the prayer station and the welcome table. I’ll also be helping our pastor present visual interactive pieces to illustrate special sermons as she sees fit.

My first project has been to illustrate a sermon series entitled, “Living a Life of Worth".  The series covers a different spiritual discipline each week for 3 months. That’s a lot of topics—they’re all different but interrelated, so instead of trying to design something for each one, I decided to create one collage to incorporate them all. It's a sort of visual crib sheet to keep each topic alive week after week and to build a visual representation of all the Christian practices we need to grow in faith. I’m calling it The Living Tableau.

This is my canvas. I draped the altar in green silks (for Ordinary Time) and placed the gold silk as if light is emanating from the Word. The candle is one of the two that our acolytes light. When I add a new item to the altarscape, I also turn the Bible to one of the scripture readings for that Sunday.

I've been having a lot of fun with my new ministry and it's really helped me soak up each sermon.  I think it's pretty neat, so I thought I’d share the Living Tableau with you as it unfolds.  Here's the sermon outline so you can follow along: