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    Entries in devotional writing (9)

    Monday
    Feb272017

    A New Resource for the Lenten Season

    Back in December I signed on with First Methodist Church of Mansfield, Texas to develop a series of Lenten devotional readings that would progress through the Gospel of Luke. Lent begins this Wednesday, March 1. My writings will be featured at First Mansfield's Daily First 15. If you would like to receive the readings in your email inbox you can visit their website and sign up by clicking "subscribe" in the upper right hand corner.

    It has been a pleasure to work with the team at First Mansfield, particularly with Pastor David Alexander. Pastor David has a passion for the local church, for teaching the Scriptures, and for evangelism. It has been good to speak and correspond with him about how best to serve his congregation. Our mutual aim has been for the people of God to be equipped with the knowledge necessary to live faithfully to Jesus.

    Pastor David invited me to join his team in January to film a couple of videos for Mansfield's Lenten sermon series and to speak a little about the devotional series and a small group resource that we developed in tandem. Here is the first video:

    Ben Talks about Super Series from First Methodist Mansfield on Vimeo.

    After working with Mansfield in the fall, Pastor David and his team discovered that people wanted to know who I was, and in an effort to help make a connection, we filmed a second video where I shared a little about my family and vocation:

    Meet Ben from First Methodist Mansfield on Vimeo.

    Many thanks to Pastor David and his team for granting me the opportunity to serve Christ alongside them as a partner in ministry.

    If you have enjoyed reading my stuff and are looking for a resource to help you grow during the Lenten season, I encourage you to visit First Mansfield and sign up for the Daily First 15.

    Through Luke, I hope you meet Jesus, know him a bit better, and follow him in daily life.

    Friday
    Sep092016

    Read Along: New Project Available Monday

    Friends:

    This coming Monday my latest project will be available online. First United Methodist Church of Mansfield, Texas will feature my writings for their Daily First 15, a devotional resource for all people. I really enjoyed writing the entries and took up the task prayerfully.

    First Mansfield begins a six week series of sermons this weekend called "Family Meeting." They will reflect upon their mission, refocus on their values, and align their energies as they move forward into the future. That is a very wise thing to do. I am very thankful Pastor David Alexander gave me the opportunity to write and encourage his congregation as they seek God's next step for their community.

    God works through broken vessels; he also calls churches to greater faithfulness, health, and fruitfulness. My hope is that these next several weeks at Mansfield will be a pivotal moment in their church's rich history, and their people will make commitments that will continue to make a difference for generations to come.

    The devotional entries will follow themes being presented through sermons and in small group settings, but they are accessible to a broader audience. If you would like to follow along please visit the church's website and click the subscribe button in the upper right. The devotional publishes six days a week--Monday through Saturday. My entries will begin on Monday, September 12 and will wrap up on Saturday, October 22.

    Hope you will read along. I hope the entries will help. If so, let me know and feel free to share.

    Yours,

    BAS

    Saturday
    Jan112014

    Biblical, Thoughtful, and Invitational :: Beth Moore's Whispers of Hope

    Photo by pol sifter

    I'm frequently asked how to pray. My first answer is this: "Ask God to teach you."

    That is where my journey began, and God has honored that prayer.

    But in addition to this simple step, it is helpful to have resources. Guides can show us the way, and model for us what it means to pray. One such guide is Beth Moore. For many years, Beth Moore has had a significant teaching ministry. She has written many books. Whispers of Hope: 10 Weeks of Devotional Prayer is a book that centers one's thoughts on the Bible through seventy devotional entries. This book also introduces a simple method for prayer, and provides plenty of space for you to record your requests. Moore clearly presents Scripture and does so with passion, challenging her readers to concentrate one's energy and effort toward cultivating a vibrant relationship with God in Jesus Christ.

    There are many excellent devotional guides, and my own preferences now rest with the works of those saints that are very old. But from time to time, a fresh voice can be helpful for those seeking to hear a word from God. If you're looking for a book to help you grow in your faith, are seeking to learn from Scripture, and need a push to make prayer a daily practice, take a look.

    Beth Moore has been used by God, and I'm confident God will encourage many hearts through this book.

    Saturday
    Nov302013

    Preparing for Christmas :: Two Sources for Advent Devotional Readings

    Photo by himbeerbel

    I think everyone knows that the Christmas season is hijacked by commercialism and consumerism each year, but why should we be surprised? Everyone wants to get in on a good thing. But let's not allow the competing interests to crowd out the true significance of the season. Let's use this as an opportunity to grow.

    Each Advent, Christians have the opportunity to slow down, reflect, act with intention, and deepen their faith. One way to do that is through devotional readings. I recommend choosing one set of readings, and follow along faithfully for the season. If you miss a day, just skip ahead and pick it back up. Focus your energy, go deep, and give your soul room to digest the readings. Then, put the truths you encounter in practice.

    Now, two opportunities.

    First, Bible Gateway has released their list of Advent and Christmas devotions. You can sign up for a variety of newsletters here, topically themed. You can read selections from Scripture that tell the Christmas story, devotional writings based on favorite hymns, or receive links to audio recordings from The Voice Bible.

    As a second option, you might want to follow along with my church community as we move through the Advent season. Members of our congregation will generate short reflections on Scripture, and on Saturdays we will provide ideas for family activities. Follow our blog or subscribe to receive the readings via email.

    You may be aware of another option, and if so I encourage you to share in the comments. Whatever you choose, stay faithful, read carefully, and grow in Christ.

    Wednesday
    Feb272013

    I'm Working on Something New. A Devotional Project.

    Window View: USEK, Lebanon

    Over the past 18 months I've been invited to work on three separate devotional projects, supplementary material for more expansive church curricula. The first project focused on generosity; the second and third focus on knowing the Bible. Each project has been fun.

    I'm glad to announce that I'm working on material for a fourth project. At Church of the Resurrection, leaders have worked for many years to develop and refine curriculum to help people know, love, and serve God. Abingdon Press has been working with leaders at Resurrection to produce video curriculum, leader, and participant guides for the Journey 101 courses, and I've been brought on board to write the devotional materials.

    The first third has been submitted for edits, but I have two more sections to write. I'd ask that you pray for me as I continue to work. I do my best to write with clarity and simplicity, but also truthfully and with some measure of depth. That's a hard balance to strike. Many of the people who will participate in this course will be new Christians, or people who are taking first steps in the faith. That means these short devotionals will  serve as a foundation for what I hope will be a lifetime of discipleship to Jesus. Please ask God to help me write with conviction and in a way that builds up. By praying, my work becomes a community project. Please join in.

    Again, I'm excited to be back at work, creating materials that help people grow toward maturity in Christ. I'm also excited to share this news with readers. I am so thankful for those who take time to read my words, share in my life, and encourage me along the way.

    We're on the tail end of a snowstorm in Kansas City. So today, I'm enjoying the white blanket, drinking coffee, reading, and staying at work. Time to get to back to it. Blessings!