An Anthology of reflections, stories, and devotionals.
As we look back and remember how God has been at work in our lives, we are setting out as a church to write a daily devotional for 2018! Think, Ebenezer in book form. We are setting out to do this because God’s people have always been storytellers.
It is why God has given us a church: that we might remind each other of the nature, promises and power of our heavenly Father and live the day differently as a result.
We want to place testimony right at the heart of our community. To tell our stories to each other that we might be encouraged; to reflect on who God is that we might be emboldened; and to pass on the things we have learned that we might be equipped.
We hope to put this in our hands at the end of 2017 so in 2018, we can sharpen each other, and help us hold on to hope and be spurred on towards love.
This is where YOU come in. WE are asking everyone who has been a part of Missio Dei Lincoln Square to reflect on the last few years - how was God at work? What did you learn about his character? How have you been changed by his presence? - and put pen to paper to write a week’s worth of devotionals that would take others on a reflective journey through that week’s theme. We believe we can get enough authors so that is a lot of us :) Don’t doubt yourself and remember, this exercise is going to be good for you to put down on pen and paper the things GOD has taught you over the last few years.
Are you in? You don’t need to be a "writer". We will edit for you and proofread and let you review the edits.
Here’s what we are needing:
WHAT: 3 different 350-450 word devotionals, reflections, stories that can be tied or threaded under one theme.
- Please send your theme in one sentence by September 10th so we can make sure there is not too much duplication.
- Rough Drafts are due October 12th. Feel free to email Brian at [email protected] once you complete your first rough draft if you want someone to look it over to give you feedback and to ensure your on the right track.
Here is an example below of what each week will be like. Each week will have an intro to the Theme, your Name and short Bio and a very brief intro to the theme and a passage for the week. If you can't think of three, start writing one and you may be surprised how the process creates two or three others.
TOOLS: We can email you prompts and advice on structure. One simple tool is to structure the flow from "Me, We, God, Us/You" You'll see something similar in example below or a mixture of those categories.
Week 1: WHEN WE ARE WEAK
Intro bio. (3-5 sentences)
INTRODUCTION (4-6 sentences)
Passage for the week
‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:9-10)
TREASURE FROM TRIALS
Every day we face trials. Sometimes just getting out of bed is a huge effort. Trials can come in many forms, and we don’t ever want them. They may be disappointments, failures, emotional pain, sickness or daily frustrations.
When I was younger I secretly hoped the deal with being a Christian was to avoid the hard stuff; to have a victorious life in which I would be ‘rescued’ out of every bad situation, and if I prayed the right prayers and did the right things I could go through life relatively pain-free. I have since learned that while God’s intentions toward me are always good, trials in this life are unavoidable. I have also learned they are not to be feared and can produce rich treasure in me.
In his letter to the early church James says, “consider it pure joy, my brothers and issters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4) James suggests that we will actually be lacking if not tested by hard times.
I recall a time in life when I felt lonely, weighed down by grief, and disappointment. Through my tears I said, “Jesus you’re all I have. Even if it’s just you and me from now on that will have to be enough.’ As I prayed I had an overwhelming sense of his presence. I knew that he was near and intimately familiar with my sorrow. I also knew that by trusting him in the midst of pain, something was being produced in me: a faith that was deeper and more resilient than before.
While recently going through a stressful time at work, God promoted me to start praying for my boss who I found very difficult. My reaction was to say, “No! They don’t deserve it’. And it was true, they didn’t. But God showed me that neither did I deserve his grace. I had an opportunity to learn to love like he does.
Trials can bring us a variety of ‘treasure’ such as growing in patience, trusting in the face of fear, listening only to his voice, and persevering in prayer despite discouragement. These are no small things. IN fact, these are the things that will make us more like Jesus.
When we seek him in our darkest and weakest times, Jesus brings us joy which becomes our strength. Joy has nothing to do with happy emotions or with my circumstances, but which comes from knowing his love, and brings a deep peace and real hope which sustains our souls.