How Should We Pray Devotional: Our Father

The Lord’s Prayer begins with the powerful words, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” In these words, we address God as our loving Father and recognize the holiness and majesty of His name.

This sentiment is echoed in Psalm 8:1 where it says, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” The psalmist recognizes the greatness and awesomeness of God’s name and how it is respected and revered throughout the earth.

Isaiah 57:15 further emphasizes the holiness of God’s name, “For this is what the high and exalted One says– he who lives forever, whose name is holy: ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.'” God’s name is not only holy, but it is also accessible to all who come to Him with a humble and contrite spirit.

As we begin our day and recite the Lord’s Prayer, let us remember the weight and power of addressing God as “Our Father in heaven” and recognizing His holiness and majesty in all the earth. Let us approach Him with humble and contrite hearts, knowing that through His holy name, we have access to His presence and grace.

Dear God, hallowed be your name. We come before you today recognizing your holiness and majesty, knowing that you are the one true God, creator of all things. Help us to approach you with humble and contrite hearts, that we may know your presence and grace in our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Navigating Community Trauma in the Wake of the Tyre Nichols Case

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A friend asked, “How do we address the community trauma of the released audio and video footage” of the Tyre Nichols case? I posted these thoughts and wanted to share them here because the turmoil inside is real y’all:

The build up to the release of that Tyre Nichols body cam video was something a little new and weird. Is that what we are going to do now? When did snuff porn become a mainstream spectacle rather than a fringe debauchery?

I am not sure how to address the community trauma to be honest, but it needs to be at the front of our minds. Everything about this situation is a perversion of the status quo in a way that makes it all extra horrific. It’s like, here we go again, but with a brand new twist.

I guess, when it comes to the healing aspect of it all, I suppose I wonder this: Can anyone truly heal from a wound where salt isn’t just being poured but mashed in and ground deeper everyday?

Perhaps the best we can do in a situation like this is hold each other between the non-violent protests and just whisper “I know. I know, and we’re still trying.”

Why Are Bible-Themed Games So AWFUL? (LVL2 Podcast 1.4)

I was a guest on the most recent episode of Checkpoint Church’s LVL2 Podcast. We discussed why the Bible makes for a terrible video game! Checkpoint Church is a church for nerds, geeks and gamers. Check out all the ways you can connect to us below.

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You Belong

In this powerful sermon, I explore the profound truth that each and every one of us belongs. No matter our background, our past mistakes, or our current circumstances, we are all worthy of love, acceptance, and belonging.

Through a combination of personal anecdotes, biblical teachings, and practical wisdom, Pastor Shane delves into the many ways in which we can find and nurture a sense of belonging in our lives. From building strong relationships with others, to learning to accept and love ourselves, this sermon is packed with valuable insights that will inspire you to take action and start living a more fulfilling life.

Whether you are struggling with feelings of isolation, rejection, or simply looking for ways to deepen your connection to others, this video is a must-watch. So sit back, open your heart, and prepare to be moved by the powerful message of “You Belong.” And don’t forget to hit the like button and share this video with your friends and loved ones, as this message of belonging is one that we all need to hear.

You Belong Here.
#youbelong #youbelonghere #everyone #youarenotalone #youareloved

Artificial Intelligence in Church

Does your church use AI to enhance ministry? How would you know? On their latest podcast, the Virginia United Methodist Conference Connectional Ministry podcast network offers up a spicy discussion on the role of AI engines like ChatGPT in ministry. Join Hunter, Adam, and yours truly in the deep ocean of ethics, copyright, and AI use in the church!

Top 5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Prayer

Prayer and meditation are powerful practices for deepening our relationship with Jesus. If you’re looking to strengthen your prayer life this month, here are five ways to get started:

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Set aside a specific time and place for prayer.
It can be helpful to designate a specific time and place for prayer each day. This could be first thing in the morning, before bed, or any other time that works for you. You might also find it helpful to create a dedicated space for prayer in your home, such as a corner with a comfortable chair or a small altar. I like to wait until everyone else is in bed before I get comfy in my living room chair and pray.

Use a devotional guide or prayer book.
There are countless devotional guides and prayer books available that can provide inspiration and structure for your prayer life. Consider choosing one that speaks to you and using it as a resource for your daily prayer time. I highly recommend the YouVersion Bible app to discover guides and plan.

Incorporate scripture into your prayer time.
Reading and reflecting on scripture is a great way to connect with Jesus and listen for his guidance. You might want to choose a specific passage to meditate on each day, or simply let the Holy Spirit lead you as you read through the Bible. You can find how I do this as I pray through the Psalms.

Experiment with different forms of prayer.
There are many different types of prayer, from verbal prayers to silent meditation to praying through art or music. Try out different forms and see what resonates with you.

Pray with others.
Praying with others can be a powerful way to connect with Jesus and support one another in your faith journey. Consider joining a prayer group or finding an online prayer partner to pray with regularly.

Remember, the most important thing is to be open and receptive to the Holy Spirit as you pray. Trust in God’s guidance and grace as you seek to deepen your relationship with the Divine through prayer and meditation.

Top 5 Ways to Find Jesus This Month

Are you looking to strengthen your relationship with Jesus but not sure where to start? Here are five ways to find Jesus relationally this month that might help:

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Take some time to pray and meditate.
This can be as simple as finding a quiet spot and closing your eyes for a few minutes, or you can use a devotional guide or incorporate your favorite prayers and scriptures. Either way, this is a great way to connect with Jesus and listen for his guidance.

My go-to is to meditate on Romans 12:2: “Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.” Focusing on that passage has made me a thorn in more than one side.

Help out someone in need.
Jesus was all about loving and serving others, and we can follow his example by looking for ways to serve those in our community. This could be volunteering at a kitchen that feeds hungry folks, lending a hand to a neighbor, or just being there for someone who needs a listening ear.

Find a faith community and worship with them.
Worship is a powerful way to connect with Jesus and others, so if you’re not already part of a church or faith community, consider seeking one out. And if you are, make an effort to attend worship services regularly. If it’s an on-site service, be sure to interact with at least one person. If it’s an online service, be active in the comments. One of the great benefits of online worship is the ability to talk through the WHOLE service and be a real part of the whole thing…even more than just sitting on a bench reciting words that you may not mean.

Dive into the Bible.
The Bible is full of wisdom and guidance for our faith journey, so set aside some time each day to read and study it. You might want to join a Bible study group or find a mentor or spiritual director to help you dig deeper. Again, this can be onsite or online. Doesn’t matter. Just get deeper into the stories and themes found in the Bible. They may not all be written for us today, but they can all teach us something worth learning today.

Experiment with spiritual disciplines.
There are tons of different spiritual disciplines out there, from fasting to journaling to silence and solitude. Try out a few and see what works for you. They can be great tools for helping us grow closer to Jesus.

My favorite one is called a breath prayer. It is simple do do. Breath in slowly thinking or saying one short phrase, then breath out with another. My go-to: Breathe in “God of peace.” Breath out “Grant me peace.”

Remember, meeting Jesus relationally is a journey, so don’t worry if you don’t get it right away. Just keep seeking him and trusting in his guidance and grace, and you’ll be on your way.

10 Benefits of Attending an Online Church for Those Unable to Physically Attend

Are you someone who has never been to church, or who hasn’t been in a while? Or maybe you’re just not able to physically attend a church building right now. Maybe you don’t even WANT to! It is said that the longest walk for a person new to a physical church building is the one across the parking lot. Whatever the reason, attending an online church can be a great option for you.

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Here are 10 benefits of attending an online church:

Convenience: Online churches can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, allowing you to attend church services from the comfort of your own home. No need to worry about finding a ride or dealing with traffic.

Flexibility: Online churches often offer a variety of service times, so you can choose the time that works best for your schedule.

Inclusivity: Online churches can be more inclusive for people with disabilities, who may have difficulty physically attending a church building.

Community: Many online churches offer small group discussions and other opportunities for attendees to connect with one another. You can still feel a sense of community, even if you’re not physically present.

Comfort: Attending church online can be less intimidating for people who are new to church or who are returning after a long absence. You can take your time and get comfortable at your own pace without someone getting all up in your face!

Accessibility: Online churches often offer closed captioning or transcripts for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. You can still fully participate in the service, even if you have hearing difficulties.

Multilingual: Online churches may offer services in multiple languages, allowing people from different linguistic backgrounds to worship together. This can be a great way to learn about other cultures and traditions.

Intergenerational: Online churches can be a great way for people of different ages to connect and learn from one another. You can have meaningful conversations with people of all ages, regardless of your physical location.

Diversity: Online churches can bring together people from a wide range of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. This can be a great way to learn about and appreciate different perspectives.

Personalized: Many online churches offer personalized prayer and support for attendees, allowing for a more intimate and meaningful worship experience. You can feel supported and connected, even if you’re not physically present.

As you can see, there are many benefits to attending an online church. Whether you’re new to church, returning after a long absence, or just unable to physically attend a church building, online church can be a great option for you. Would you ever consider attending an online church full-time? Let me know in the comments!

Happy New Year!

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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Are you feeling stuck in your old ways? Are you struggling to break free from negative patterns or habits? Take hope in the words of 2 Corinthians 5:17. When we accept Jesus Christ into our hearts and invite him to transform us, we become a new creation. The old is gone, and the new has come.

This verse reminds us that we don’t have to be defined by our past mistakes or failures. We can start fresh, with a clean slate and a new identity in Christ. So let go of the things that are holding you back and embrace the new life that is available to you through Jesus.

You are not alone on this journey. God is with you every step of the way. Trust in God and allow God to work in and through you. You are capable of so much more than you realize, and you have the power to overcome any obstacle with the help of Christ.

So take courage, and don’t be afraid to step out in faith. You are a new creation in Christ, and nothing can stand in the way of what he has in store for you. #HappyNewYear #VerseOfTheDay

A Few Ways to Have a Relaxing Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of our fellow progressive Christians!

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I know that the holiday season can be a busy and stressful time, with endless to-do lists and social obligations. It’s important to remember to take care of ourselves and find ways to decompress after the holiday. Here are a few easy ways to do just that:

Practice mindfulness and gratitude.
Take a few moments to sit in silence, breathe deeply, and focus on the present moment. Reflect on the things you are grateful for, whether it’s the love of your family, the warm fire in your home, or the delicious food on your plate.

Take a walk outside or sit near an open window (yes in the winter!)
Get some fresh air and enjoy the beauty of nature. Whether you go for a hike in the woods or just take a leisurely stroll around your neighborhood, getting outside can help you feel grounded and rejuvenated.

Treat yourself to some self-care.
Take a hot bath, read a good book, or enjoy a movie or TV show that you’ve been meaning to watch. Do something that brings you joy and relaxation.

Spend time with loved ones.
Surround yourself with people who lift you up and make you feel supported. Having meaningful conversations or simply being in each other’s company can be a great source of comfort and joy.

Get plenty of rest.
Probably the hardest on the list. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and taking breaks as needed. Your body and mind will thank you.

I hope that these suggestions help you find some relaxation and joy during this holiday season. Merry Christmas! – StainedGlaz