Reflection and Renewal

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We have celebrated the birth of our Lord and Savior and the Hope, Peace, Joy and Love that comes with Christ!  Now a new year is upon us, but each year runs the risk of being more of the same with no ‘newness’ or changes implemented.  Christ came into this world so that it might be transformed – not stagnant!  During this time in between Christmas and New Year’s Day, I want to encourage you to spend time in prayer on how 2011 might be different than 2010.   In what areas has your life been stagnant and in need of transformation?  How might you live your life more for Christ and less for yourself?

Some United Methodist churches practice a tradition of holding a “Covenant Renewal Service” on New Year’s Eve or Day in which they reaffirm their commitment to God and begin the new year with a reaffirmation of their faith.  In the late 18th Century, after John Wesley conducted one of these services in London, he wrote of it in his diary, “I do not know that ever we had a greater blessing.  Afterwards many desired to return thanks, either for a sense of pardon, for full salvation, or for a fresh manifestation of [God’s] graces, healing all their backslidings” (January 1, 1775).

At the heart of this service is the Wesley Covenant Prayer.  During this week, you might take time memorizing this prayer and writing it on your heart.  Perhaps you could spend each day this week reflecting on a different portion of the prayer while you search within your heart whether or not you are able to reaffirm your commitment to this covenant.  At the end of the week, with this prayer memorized and with your heart in agreement  with this covenant, you might lift this prayer up in its entirety on New Year’s Day as you make 2011 about living your life for Christ.

I am no longer my own, but thine.

Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.

Put me to doing, put me to suffering.

Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,

exalted for thee or brought low for thee.

Let me be full, let me be empty.

Let me have all things, let me have nothing.

I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.

And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

thou art mine, and I am thine.

So be it.

And the covenant which I have made on earth,

let it be ratified in heaven.

Amen.

– Pastor Michael Maroon

Christmas Music

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It’s the week before Christmas and music is everywhere!  Sometimes there is so much Christmas music in the air, we don’t really hear the words any more.  This week, as you prepare to celebrate the end of the journey to Bethlehem and the beginning of God’s gift to us, try using these familiar Christmas songs in prayer to begin each busy day:

Be near me Lord Jesus, I ask you to stay, close by me forever, and love me I pray.
O Holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us we pray. Cast out our sin and enter in; be born in us this day.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell. Oh come to us, abide in us, Our God Emmanuel!


Eternal God, by the birth of Jesus Christ you gave yourself to the world.
Grant that, being born in our hearts, he may save us from all our sins,
and restore within us the image and likeness of our Creator, world without end. Amen.


Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning, Jesus, to thee be all glory given.
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing. Oh come let us adore him.


Silent night, holy night, Son of God, love’s pure light. Radiant beams from thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace. Jesus Lord at thy birth.
Silent night, holy night; wondrous star, lend thy light. With the angels let us sing
Alleluia to our king. Christ the savior is born, Christ the savior is born!


Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her king; let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing.
He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of his righteousness,
and wonders of his love.


We pray for you a wonderful, joyous Christmas filled with the presence of God and the joy of celebrating Jesus’ birth.

– Pastor Michael Maroon, Pastor of Prayer and Congregational Care
– Jennifer Creagar, Assistant for Prayer and Congregational Care

The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection

Letting God Order Your World

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There’s a wonderful daily devotion book by Sarah Young called Jesus Calling.  It’s written from the perspective of God speaking to you based on the daily scripture references that Sarah provides.  You are called to just listen to what God has to say as you go through each daily devotion.  In the introduction Sarah writes, “[the] practice of listening to God has increased my intimacy with Him more than any other spiritual discipline.”  She believes that it is in the listening, more than the speaking, that we grow in our relationship with God.  As I write this prayer tip to you on Friday, December 10th, I wanted to share a portion of today’s (Friday’s) daily devotion (remember to listen to these words as if God is speaking them to you):

Make Me the focal point of your search for security.  In your private thoughts, you are still trying to order your world so that it is predictable and feels safe.  Not only is this an impossible goal, but it is also counterproductive to spiritual growth.  When your private world feels unsteady and you grip My hand for support, you are living in conscious dependence on Me.  Instead of yearning for a problem-free life, rejoice that trouble can highlight your awareness of My Presence…

We often do try to order this world according to our will.  On Christmas Day in Bethlehem 2000 years ago, Jesus was born to begin the re-ordering of things in this world according to God’s will.  As we inch closer to that celebration, continue to spend time prayerfully listening to God in an attitude of letting go of control.  In doing so, may you find yourself more fully aware of God’s continuous and loving presence in your life as you lean on God more and more for guidance, direction and support.  –Michael J. Maroon, Pastor of Prayer and Congregational Care (J-L)

Peace, Hope and Chaos

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Last weekend in worship we lit the candle of Hope as a reminder of the hope that was brought into the world through the birth of Jesus.  This weekend we are lighting the candle of Peace.  The Christmas season can be so chaotic and “peace” is not something that often comes to my mind very easy.  I have to admit, however, I feel a little guilty saying that knowing that there are so many in our congregation who’s chaos is much more real than my perceived chaos.  Many don’t see the hope or feel the peace that Jesus brought into this world.  During your prayer time in this Advent season, spend some intentional time thinking about those persons you know who are steeped in chaos.  Perhaps they lost their job or a loved one, or maybe they have anxiety from a recent diagnosis – whatever the reason, lift them up in prayer and be part of their answered prayer by inviting them to come spend some time in worship as we recall the very real Hope, Peace, Love and Joy that was brought into the world through the birth of Jesus

Pastor Michael Maroon, Pastor of Prayer and Congregational Care Pastorate JKL


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