Making Young Disciples During Lent & Easter

Alpha and Omega - Pass It On
Alpha And Omega

Breathe deeply, ask God to provide peace, patience and endurance, and remember why we work and strive every day to build the kingdom of God. Lent Is a season of preparing our hearts and minds for Christ death and resurrection; emptying out so that God can fill up. Advent comes before Christmas, end it tends to be more festive and feels more joyful. Both seasons, however, tend to get too hectic and frantic and busy and it is hard to keep the peace and hope of the season. Like Christianity itself, I see this as backward, but in a good way! God does not value what the world values and conversely, Easter is the season that should bring us much joy, because although Jesus being born as human is a critical point in our history, Jesus dying and suffering so that we can have eternal life is why we are here. Lent, perhaps can never be joyful and festive, because the focus is on repentance and on the struggling walk to the cross. But, Easter is a season, not only a day. Easter Season (50 days beginning with Easter Sunday) deserves at least as much joy and recognition as Advent and Christmas.

So today, I am talking to myself as much as other ministers and pastors. I am speaking to parents and teachers and all those who get busy with the practicalities and duties of the holidays. May we all find those moments to be Mary seated at the feet of the Messiah listening and enjoying the word of God and resist the temptation to always be Martha, hard at work. May we be aware of this tendency to do rather than be so that we can resist. How do we balance the two? Trust me, I am no expert, but I know the ONE who is, and I am praying, come Holy Spirit, come!

I am taking a moment away from work and I hope that this post will calm me and bless you. As I prepare for youth confirmation, Easter and into the summer, may I continue to have the wisdom and ability to take these moments to write and keep this discipline. May be a blessing and not another chore to add to the list.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

Passing On The Faith

Marks of Heroism Brochure, by Christy Ann Clark Speaking on passing our faith down to the next generations, Every summer, Saint Mark LA Host to summer reading program. This year, I have named it Marks of Heroism 2019. We will learn, play and pray together five days a week for six weeks during the summer. Here is the brochure I created. it is one of the fliers and announcements that will be on display after church on Sunday so that more of our church family made yet involved with all that we are doing and all the Holy Spirit is doing through us.

SJudges 2:8,10 after Joshua and his generation died, Israel reverted to their old sinful way.

Judges 2:8.10

ince I’ve been focusing on our youth confirmation so much these past days, it is not a shock that tonight my heart is set on why we as Christian leaders focus on making disciples for Christ. It took me back to the Old Testament, of course. After a faithful generation rose and served, an unfaithful generation often followed and I was thinking of Joshua here. After Moses and Joshua another generation died, but people forgot about God and failed to follow. Maybe that generation dropped the baton and got too comfortable. I cannot say. I’m sur the situation was entirely too complicated for us to assume we know anything. I do know that our example today can help brighter tomorrow for our children, and create a more hopeless world for our children. So I press on. We press it on.

We plant, water, nurture and reap, yet only God can really produce the harvest.

Let us rest well so that will have the energy, endurance, patience and wisdom to keep doing God’s good work, praying and playing with our children, and loving God above all! Amen.

If We Are What We Read, What And Who Am I?

I wonder if I didn’t say anything, would you notice I didn’t post yesterday! Mostly, because my son was out of school, it just slipped my mind that it was even Monday. Still, I got plenty of work done including my worship plan for Sunday, and had dinner with my brother-in-law, who is in from San Franciscot, and the rest of the in-laws. Tacos is always a family favorite though noone makes them quite like Marlon, ask my son! I hope you are all having a great week thus far.

I have to get back to writing these budgets and getting ready for Sunday, but I need it to get to my outlet, which is writing for fun. So, let me talk about a couple of books I am or have read, and influence me.

Festive In Death, by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts)

Festive In Death Book Cover Amazon

Lieutenant eve Dallas is a homicide Lieutenant! She is a victim/survivor of the foster care system around 30 years from now give or take. I don’t want to give away too much of a story in case I’ve wet your intereste, and you’re going to go read this 50 books series! Of course, this is fiction, which allows her to be a super superhero. Nevertheless, she overcomes horrific trauma to become an amazingly dedicated public servant. I can empathize, which is why I identify so much with her and love the series. I, too, grew up in foster care, and it was definitely ugly. I find this example to be both intimidating and inspiring. I can’t figure out if it helps me get to work or if it makes me feel like I’m completely not doing anything. Perhaps both. Still, I’ve read this series over and over again.

I like this book in the series particularly, because it forces Eve to have more balance then she tends to and it forces her to celebrate the holidays, which she would pretty much just let fall by the wayside if it were up to her, or so she’d have us believe. She’s a hard ass, but not brittle. Remember my post of Saturday? If we don’t take a rest, it increases The chances of our being brittle and broken… Well, good thing she has people to give her that same message, because she definitely needs it. My guess is most do; especially if, like me, you’re a Perfectionist/Type A personality.

As Eve gives thanks for Rourke, her husband, I give thanks for Marlon, mine. True LOVE definitely makes a difference and when we find it, we have to hold on tightly especially through treacherous and torturous storms. She is irreverent, belittles even the idea of faith in God and cusses entirely too much… She is imperfect. She lives every day of her life fighting for justice and she definitely knows her WHY. I want that confidence and won’t stop until I have it. Lord, I won’t let you go until and unless you bless me (Genesis 32:26j.

Wrestle with God. God can take it!
Pinterest images for Genesis 32:26

Eat That Frog, by Brian Tracy

Eat That Frog is a book, which has helped me fight my procrastination tendencies. I’m not good at procrastinating, and hate that I’ve developed that habit lately.Eat That Frog Cover

Perhaps it was the image of eating a disgusting frog that first got my attention! I love this book and have quoted from it quite a few times on Facebook and Instagram. When I suffer from anxiety, I list everything I need to do and that leads to inactivity, because then I get overwhelmed and anxious and I start to feel so small! It is a vicious and sometimes seemingly endless cycle. Can I get an Amen!

I was just talking to my husband about the fact that I don’t want to take the bus to the gym, work out, then either walk back from or take the bus back from the gym because it takes too long. I realized though that of course I spend so much time worrying about it and worrying about what I have to do that the time I think I’m saving, I’m wasting anyway! During that time, I’m beating myself up for what I’m not doing, and doing things that don’t necessarily need to be prioritized or… So, I have to remind myself daily and multiple times daily to eat that frog.

Which one? Bryan tells us the biggest one, but when everything is vital and urgent, that can’t be that easy to figure out all the time either. So, I am working on it.

If it’s your job to eat frogs, eat the biggest one. If it’s your job to eat two frogs, eat the biggest one first. – Mark TwainThis quote from Mark Twain inspired the title
  • What do you think? How do you get unstuck?

Finally, I have been titled Sunday’s sermon Indulge Yourself.

Returned to me with all your heart. With fasting. With weeping. With mourning.Bible greeting card for Joel 2:12-13

My sermon will actually be on Isaiah 55:1-9, so this is the background text for a series. Lent is a time to unclutter our lives, clean out the junk and mess and return full heartedly to following Christ. Repentance is not a happy emotion in the way we are used to thinking of it, but in repenting, we enter the abundant life. We are invited to indulge in water and bread from heaven, and unlike physical water and bread, when we partake of these, we never hunger or thirst again. I love this promise and I’m comfortable walking and sitting in the reality of the almost and not yet partial for filament of this promise. As long as I am here on earth, I will hunger and thirst again physically and spiritually. I don’t walk perfectly with Christ all the time and sometimes I feel abandoned. Even knowing that I may be doing things to block my blessings does not lessen the anguish of these moments. So , I cry come Holy Spirit, come!

Let Us Pray

God, thank you so much for sending your son to be born and live amongst us, to die and fight for us and to rise up again that we might have eternal life. Thank you Holy Spirit that you continue to walk with us and sit with us and live with us so that we may have the wisdom, courage and compassion of Christ in the world. Thank you that you continue to help us walk in the way of Christ. Jesus, we love you and we praise you. We give you all the honor and glory. Thank you for your sacrifice and for your perfect example. We are not worthy in our own power, and yet, we continue to try and to be our best, because that is what you ask of us. Amen!

Take A Break or Be Broken

Lake Tahoe momentsSee ya Monday! Did you know that Sundays during LENT are considered mini Easters? Now, I know for some, that means whatever you decided to fast from or whatever new behavior/practice you are trying to cultivate to honor God gets halted for a day, but that’s not the way I see it. Take a weekly break from doing good? No! that can’t be right. The mimi Easter is a day in the midst of the contemplation to remember that the Christian walk is one, above all, of joy and hope. So, enjoy tomorrow and make sure to keep Christ first, center and always.

The water in Lake Tahoe is beautiful! Photo taken by Marlon ClarkLook, I know I first said I intend it to post daily during the season and I do… Except Sundays. Saturdays might be a little abbreviated as well. It’s a family day, many conferences happen on Saturdays, such as today’s young peoples ministry conference, and then there’s preparing for worship on Sundays. If you also work in ministry in some capacity, you know exactly what I’m talking about! So, I am signing off for the weekend. If we don’t give our minds and souls breaks from time to time, we wind up broken and brittle. Take care. This might help. I am sharing a couple of vacation pictures with you as a way to exude peace and joy.

May God bless you and keep you now and forever!

Oh Wait!!! One More Thing

If you are enjoying my blog, please let me know By liking or commenting. Are you reading? Is the blog resonating with you? Do you have questions? Do you have ideas? Do you sense I am walking along this path of discipleship with you? Maybe you’ll take a moment sometime and let me know what’s on your mind. THANK YOU!Lake Tahoe nature scene, By Marlon Clark

Fight With Prayer

Fight for it Friday! This one, I love, because it is important for me to keep up a fighting spirit. Sometimes, we all get tired of fighting! We get tired of having to point out which should be obvious: that everyone deserves to live without fear; to have access to food and water; be able to earn a living wage, especially if they’ve earned a Master’s Degree in their field; have access to education; to not fear being shot by the police as they’re walking down the street, because of the color of their skin and/or their gender…and the list goes on. Justice is something so many of us have to fight for: for ourselves and for others. So fight for it Friday always reminds me to keep going!

Acts Prayer
St. Vincent de Paul

But what can we do? One thing everyone can always do is pray. So many times those prayers open the door to action. Because I love acronyms and the use of this device is helpful for children as well, , I enjoy teaching my students the ACTS prayer.

Let us pray.

Adoration

Living God, Mighty Savior, Spirit who indwells, I love you!

Confession

You are my all and all, and yet, I have failed to live as I ought! I am weak. I gossip about people and used foul language. I lose my temper however I attempt to control my tongue. Fear gets in my way, which proves my faith is not as strong as I wish it were.I need your strength, wisdom and grace. I confess all this and more.

Thanksgiving

I thank you, Lord, that you know my prayers even before I do. I thank you that you are working on my heart and disposition. I thank you for my family and for my new candidacy Mentor. I thank you for the young people in ministry workshop that is going on tomorrow. Since I know what it is to be hungry, thirsty and without clothing or a home, I thank you that I have all of these (even as the lack of rent control and the reality of rent increase threatens ) and so many other blessings. Thank you! You have blessed me abundantly.

Supplication

Oh Lord, open our hearts to see the people around us as we journey with you to the cross. Help us persist and prevail. Help us see the value in the work we do for you and others every day. Please continue to provide the food and water, the shelter and spiritual care we need to survive. I pray tonight for those who live without rent control and in fear of losing their residences. I pray for those tonight fighting drug addiction and violence/impulse control and those who love them. Protect women, children and even men at the mercy of those without compassion. I ask that you give us the courage, knowledge, skills and heart to fight tonight to fight our demons and to stand along side of those who are fighting others. We need you and we need each other tonight tomorrow and forever. In Jesus precious name by the power of the Holy Spirit and giving all glory to God, I pray, AhMen.

I Need A Stronger Lightbulb So I Shine Brighter

Matthew 5:14 this part of the sermon on the mount. The whole sermon is on how to be the light of the world and about God‘s presence with us in the struggle
Bible.com

Greetings of peace and joy! Yesterday (Monday, March 11), I wrote about all of the blessings in my life. Well, a lot of them! I reflected largely on Philippians 4:8 and took that opportunity to list things in my life that are beautiful and lovely and just and right. I tried to beat midnight, but didn’t quite succeed since I was trying to reach my step goal amongst other things. I know! I know! I like to save these blogs for night time, because I am a night owl and because it allows me to reflect on the day, but that means the occasional missing of deadlines. Still, this isn’t a class and I’m sure you’ll indulge me.

I’m continuing to count my blessings and today I am reflecting upon Phillipians 4:9, which is, of course, the image I left yesterday’s post wit. I want to sit in for a while.

I, like Paul, want to set a worthy example so that those who hear from and see me will learn from and follow my example and find price

Whatever You Have Learned

I am a teacher, a mother and a disciple of Christ. In all of these roles, I hope to leave a lasting and positive legacy. As the mother of an 11-year-old, I know, for example, it is so easy for our children to imitate our speech and behavior; especially those we’d rather they didn’t. There is no greater joy and pleasure than when I ask my son to pray and he recited a Bible verse or when praying spontaneously prays l for someone who is suffering, because he has seen his mother and his father do so. But those are the kind of examples we want to leave for our students and children. So, whatever others learn from us that is good, worthy, just in Christ centered, let them do those things. As we journey to the cross, people are learning from us. We are the face in the hands and feet of Christ to billions who don’t know him. That is humbling and honoring at the same time.

Whatever You Have Recieved

See, we don’t really know how people see us and what they receive from us. Sometimes, they tell us or we know, but often we don’t. I have to focus on not letting this raise my level of being Zaidi trusting that this song is I do my best and rely on God, God controls what I put out and what is actually received. My prayer is that people receive encouragement, hope, inspiration and a spirit of determination from me. I hope that my love for Jesus is contagious and I leave that behind it as part of my legacy. Of course, most people close to me received plenty of hugs, kisses and jokes along the way, at least when I’m in a good mood! Whatever you receive from me that is good and godly, receive it with joy and pass it on!

Whatever You Have Heard

This one is why I need to control the words that come out of my mouth and the anger that flies off my tongue. Until then, I can hardl pray that those I influence will hear the grace and peace of Christ through me. Help me, Jesus! Still, I trust The Holy Spirit speaks to people through me, because what is needed is a willing and open heart, which I possess. So as I journey along, May my words become wiser, fewer and more life-giving.

How about you, what do those around you hear from you…for better or worse?

Whatever You See In Me

Now, this one can make one self-conscious. If you hear me, you’re already there and that probably at your anxiety. That simply means that I need to reframe and think about this differently. But I’m afraid people seeing me is most often not actually what they see in me. I often wish I could see myself as I see others: with grace, optimism, giving them the benefit of the doubt and through the land of forgiveness and love. We need to remember the times and people have told us The positive the CNS. m

What’s more though, we must all remember that God looks at us and sees someone worth dying for. If I were to leave these words with a congregation as Paul did, I would mean if you saw in me someone who fights for social justice, someone who reaches out to the stranger and widow and someone who can provide comfort to those who mourn, imitate that. I would want my people to see that I am human and in perfect and also see that that’s OK so that they will except for themselves that it is OK to be less than perfect. I would not want them to see how anxious and I’m sure I sometimes am, but then again, seeing that I am locked in those things yet refuse to be ruled by those uncertainties might give courage and endurance and it in so far as that is the case, have at it!

Lord, you see me and you know me and you left me. May I see, no and that as freely and unconditionally. May this journey to the cross we find me and make me more like you. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Did Thought Management Yield the Desired Results?

Progress not perfection! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. It’s easy for me to point out why I was NOT successful in controlling myself today, but the point is I was not! I mean, I tried! I was more positive than I have been lately, and I still have a ways to go! As I say when giving the pastoral prayer on Sunday, Holy Spirit, breathe in and speak through me. May your thoughts be my thoughts!

Acts of the Apostles is so inspirational and formational, so of course I’m thinking of acts 1:8!

In Acts 1:8, Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit upon his gather disciples so that they in return can speak far and wide of the grace of God and salvation.

Today, as I caved to anxieties over work evaluations, confirmation training coming up, planning for Lent and Easter, getting ready for summer reading program and VBS, I needed the peace of Christ, which surpasses all understanding more than ever, but it doesn’t feel particularly accessible to me at this moment. Good thing my faith in God is not reliant upon my feelings.

So, I will wait and pray and trust. I can’t allow doing the work of the church get in the way of doing the work/will of God and being a woman of God. Holy Spirit, fill what I do and am with you.

Right now I feel like crying out with Jacob, though:

Genesis 32:26 is powerful and it this place how strong we are to be when we approach God for blessings.

The peace, wisdom, assurance, ability and giftedness I need tonight can come by the power of the Holy Spirit. I have the training, the degrees, some of the experience and network, but I need a sign, and tonight, I am praying for and asking for and expecting one.

Obstacles to Thought Management

  • Headaches (orado in your ailment).
  • Stubborn negativity
  • Lack of discipline.

Practice Thought Management: Armor

  • Pray or thank God every time I th ink something like ouch! my head hurts! If nothing else, that will definitely saturate the pain-filled days with blessedness.
  • Catch the stubbornness and refused to allow it tonight. Thank a positive affirmation such ass “I am enough” and make a conscious effort not to the future and argue with those who affirm or complement me. That’s a struggle! Worth it when successful.
  • Believe that /we do, when we do it and why we do it matters. Sometimes, it’s easier or more comfortable, I guess, to convince ourselves that what we do doesn’t matter or can be done by others. It doesn’t matter though, if that is what we are supposed to do, we owe it to ourselves and others to always do our best. So, what are some ways you can pump yourself up when completely unmotivated and feeling completely undisciplined?
  • The road is not easy. How ever we strive, some days, emotionally and physically, life takes it’s toll on us. The key is to acknowledge, except, resolve that tomorrow will be different, and move on. The journey is too important to give up now! I am going on to perfection. Holy Spirit, in your mercy, hear my prayer!

Thank You, God

  • For an open and confessing spirit.
  • Water to drink, falling from the skies and all its life-giving powers.
  • Zoom and voiceover, which made using this phone more possible.
  • That I got my 10,000 steps in as well as my Spanish practice and completed my Bible Study for the day. Now, I can sleep and rest and be ready for a brilliant day tomorrow.

Numbers 6:23–24 is a favorite text are used in benediction/sending the people into the world after worship

Keep your head up, heart open and eyes on the call as we journey with Christ to the Cross and beyond to victory. God bless you.