An Offering from Bonni: I’m listening…

December 16, 2016
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It’s the most joyous time of the year…or so we are told by the oh so cheerful ads.  I want to feel that joy in the coming of the birth of Jesus. But life keeps interrupting my pitiful prayerful pleadings for peace: there is always something else calling for my attention. And then I think of sweet young Mary, full of grace and absorbing the unexpected joy of being called to be the Mother of God:
“…And Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.” Luke 1:46-47
2012-8-Bird-in-Tree
(c) Bonnie Oden

Luke tells us in his Gospel that she is joyful and accepts this mission that God has given her.  But honestly, woman to woman, can we imagine what kind of prayers Mary was silently praying?  “God, help me explain this to Joseph, to our families…Guide me to peace of mind…Give me real advice on how this is all going to work.”  And then, I do believe, that Mary finally looked to heaven and said to God, “I’m listening, I’m ready, let’s do this.”

Maybe I need to learn to use my prayer moments as time to listen for God’s voice in all the busyness of Advent. It is there to be heard, if I will be quiet and listen.
…Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46
Bonni Brophy King
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An Offering from Elaine: Rejoice!

December 15, 2016
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Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Savior.  Isaiah 45:8

2004-6-Stormy-Sky1
(c) Bonnie Oden
This was one of the psalm responses we used this week in our liturgy.  I love the reference to our Savior coming forth from the earth, a human person.  We are all so familiar with the seasons, the cycle of life: new life, growth, and death or dormancy.  As winter settles in, I know it is only for a time, and new life will soon be seen again upon our earth.
As we reach this time in our Advent season, I pray that you will notice the world around you and how it is changing.  Notice the gifts God has provided and take joy in them, especially the gift of his Son as a little baby.  We hear that message in our carols, read it in our greeting cards, see it in the faces of those we love.  I hope and pray that the world will deeply know the Savior’s love this season, and REJOICE!
Elaine Weber
Spiritual Director
SMI Board Member
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An Offering from Nancy D: Cultivating Joy

December 11, 2016
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Reflection on a collage…

The topic was about “cultivating joy,” something I hadn’t considered. What would cultivating this wondrous gift be like? I felt I could make more progress starting with pictures that might lead me to words, and this was the resulting collage. What did I notice?

EPSON MFP image
(c) Nancy Dunkerley

My eye was drawn to the mortar and pestle, so large and central to the assemblage. Then the dancers– Girl in soft pink costume or delicate tulle, satin shoes…seems pensive. The woman in sexy red dress, dramatic flair.. seems assertive. Then the paints and brushes overlapping with a journaling hand. Then the wine glasses—fruit of the vine and work of human hands… the liturgy says “Let it become for us spiritual drink.” Then the totem pole—symbol of spirit mystery in nature and in us. Then a group gathered… If we are ever to cultivate joy, we seldom do it alone.

The medley of images—Joy, a mix of body and spirit.

Nancy Dunkerley

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An offering from Debra: Joy in being alive…

April 13, 2015
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He is risen, indeed!

I love the beginning of spring.  I love sitting outside with the pups and a cup of coffee, watching the sky lighten, hearing the birds wake up and start to sing, feeling the breeze soften as the day awakens.  I IMG_2365especially love watching the leaves overhead seem to burst forth overnight, their tender, pale green shoots rendering what were stark, bare branches to those bursting with life.  I walk around exhilarated this time of year, singing more often than not.  If I ever thought God was nowhere to be found I must have had my eyes closed.

We’re lucky the Easter season coincides with this miracle of nature.  My Lenten focus on where I have missed the mark gives way to a generalized joy in being alive.  Like the risen Christ, I, too, am raised to new life, filled with a joy and hope and a zeal to follow the blueprint to wholeness and holiness God has so graciously provided.

(c) 2015 Debra Cook

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Spirituality of the Swimming Pool

June 23, 2014
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On a recent Sunday afternoon I took my young grandson to a neighborhood pool.  What was meant to be a fun-filled way to cool off became a sacred moment when I felt a momentary rush of something that could only be described as the Holy Spirit sweep over me.  We are all basking in sunlight that feels like divine light in this moment; the water a powerful symbol of life and cleansing.  We are many faiths and cultures together in one place that is full of light and laughter and life.  We are community as we encourage our own children and feel a connection with those we don’t know.  Life guards are patrolling the water watching over us and reminding us of ways to remain safe while enjoying the water.  We rest as required and those moments of rest are Sabbath moments in a Sabbath day.

Splash!

We are all one in the time we are there.    We are delighting in each other without speaking.  There are giggles and peals of laughter, the din of joy supported by the underlying sprays of water.  The moment is holy as I felt all of this wash over me like a healing and refreshing stream on a hot and dusty hike.  Just for a moment my being was touched by all of this as an experience of oneness with everyone in that pool.  Just for a moment – one joyous moment – when the divine made Itself known, I realized I was living – we were all living and playing – in the divine.  Oh, how God must have been smiling with joy and satisfaction watching us and infusing us with the beauty of that oneness.

 

 

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An Offering from Donnie: New Life

May 19, 2014
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Birth=New Life

Our family just celebrated the birth of a great grandson who just happened to be born on my husband’s birthday!  It was a joyous occasion that we continue to savior as we celebrate this new life.

Little Theodore’s birth gave me a chance to pause and think about new life.  I realized it is not necessary to wait for a birth to celebrate life.  God is forever putting opportunities to see new life in front of me.  Just last week while in Denver, gazing out over 8 inches of freshly fallen snow, I was amazed to see a hummingbird flying in and out of a snowball bush that was drooping low with the weight of the snow.  This creature of God was busy keeping himself alive and giving me the pleasure of witnessing it.

I am reminded of the passage from Psalm 92, “For you make me jubilant, Lord, by your deeds; at the works of your hands I shout for joy.”  Theo’s birth makes me shout for joy and witnessing the hummingbird made me jubilant; my intention in this season of Easter is to look for God’s deeds and works so joy is mine and I’m able to shout!

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An Offering from Lee: Holy Humor

September 16, 2013
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Does God have a sense of humor?

Do you have to be serious all the time to be a good Christian?

Could laughter and joy and maybe even being a little bit silly be part of God’s vision for our lives?

http://www.jesuslaughing.com/free-stuff.html

The famous theologian Reinhold Niebuhr says, “Humor is, in fact, the prelude to faith; and laughter is the beginning of prayer.”

 

Let’s explore this idea together!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 from 10am til noon

at Midway Hills Christian Church, 11001 Midway Road, Dallas, TX,  75229.

$20 at the door.

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An Offering from PJ: Joy

August 5, 2013
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Colossians 1:11, “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy …”

John 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

Psalm 32:11, “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”

I’ve discovered a new band.* No, they don’t produce Christian music but many of their songs are nonetheless happy and easy-to-sing-and-dance-along tunes. The group played together for years, disbanded for a while, then, recently rejoined forces in order to record a new album and tour the U.S., Europe and Australia. I caught their performance on TV, and when their lead singer** belts out the words, his expression is often one of pure joy. His reactions and obvious enjoyment spill over to his audience and make for quite a lively and fun experience.
I realize that’s his job as an entertainer but I got to thinking about Christians. Do we react with joy when doing our job – glorifying God, encouraging and helping others, and simply living everyday life as godly men and women? Or, are we more likely to walk around sad, defeated and disillusioned?
Through the Lord Jesus Christ, we possess overwhelming and everlasting joy, and can offer that to others. This joy isn’t dependent upon audience response or whether or not the music tempo is upbeat; doesn’t rely on human instruments or voices; and doesn’t pass away when the music ends. This joy remains … no matter what!
Next time you feel joy slipping away, remember the Source of all true joy and tune into His Eternal Melodies. Then, pour that joy over unto others!
Singin’ and Dancin’ God Tunes of Joy, PJ
COPYRIGHT ©2013 PJ Gover

*The Mavericks

**Raul Malo

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Let’s Celebrate!

June 12, 2013
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As I watched the Tony Awards this weekend, I enjoyed the singing and the dancing, the congratulating and the celebrating, the smiling faces and the gorgeous dresses.  I thought how much healthier we might be if we celebrated our happiness, our accomplishments, our goodness, our very lives more.

Fireworks

“This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine …hide it under a bushel, no … I’m going to let it shine.”  As school lets out, these words will be resounding in church camps and vacation bible schools. Perhaps we adults should join in this chorus.

“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good work and give glory to your Father in heaven.”  Matthews 5:16.

 

Eunice Cheshire

June 12, 2013

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An Easter offering from Eunice; Choose Life

April 3, 2013
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This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad! Psalm 118:24

Easter Lily

On Easter we are reminded that the disciples found an empty tomb so that now our hearts may be filled with His life. Our Teacher showed us how to rise above anything even death, to walk in His way. Sunday’s Dallas Morning News Metro section featured several articles on page 1 about ordinary people who had achieved extraordinary things in spite of hardships. The News also reported on the Easter sermon of the new Pope Francis. “Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, sadness and bitterness, and that is where death is,” the Pope said. “Let the risen Jesus enter your life. Welcome him as a friend, with trust; He is life!” Like Jesus, let us choose paths of life and joy.

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