Building to Share – Daily Guide
“Like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house….to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
1 Peter 1:5
Attached is a daily guide of personal stories, devotions and prayers shared by the folks here at CCB. Words to ponder and perhaps inspire plans for the future of CCB.
We pray this Capital Campaign will be a “faith building” opportunity for all of us.
Let us pray……….
Sunday, October 23rd
Building Our Hope Gratitude Sunday – Part 1
Luke 17: 11-19 (New International Version)
11Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[a] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Monday, October 24th
“What makes you think that you don’t limp?”
Why I Need Church More than It Needs Me
Molly Baskette- UCC Daily Devotion
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that God may teach us God's ways and that we may walk in God's paths." - Micah 4:2
I am getting to find out whether I am a good person, living a good life, without a church. I left the church I was serving a couple of months ago. There is still a month before I start my next gig, another church. I am a free agent. I can sleep in on Sunday mornings and wake to pancakes and the New York Times. I don't have to fight my teenager to get out of bed and get dressed to be on time for worship.
It's wonderful, to wake without panic that the sermon is not done. It's a gift, this unstructured time.
But I've noticed something. I'm more irritated in traffic, judgmental in line at the store, inclined to be imperious and rude on the phone with customer service reps. Without church, I feel myself crumpling into my innate selfishness and pride, exposed as the narcissistic shrew I really am.
Turns out, I need the structure of religious community to be a better person. It's not that I'm a hypocrite, pretending to be better than I am when I am in my role--I am actually a better person when I have the full weight and positive inertia of other Christians also trying to be better people around me. Church is the scaffolding around the weak structure of my character.
Or maybe a better metaphor is that the church is a splint, straightening a spirit that might otherwise be bent or broken. Our UCC sage, William Sloane Coffin said, "It is often said that the Church is a crutch. Of course it's a crutch. What makes you think that you don't limp?"
God, I'm lamer than I thought. Thank you for giving me a way to walk in strength and a people to walk with, despite my weakness. Amen.
Tuesday, October 25th
please guide us………….
Dear God –
As our church is one that strives to follow You, please guide us as we move forward in our campaign to make our church more accessible to all. Please help me, as I seek to follow You more closely, to be open and accepting of all who are different from me. In Jesus’ name I pray.
Wednesday, October 26th
Leaning on God
Starting my day out with God every morning is not a habit I always practiced. It began when I felt like my entire life was in a state of upheaval. I was searching for a rock to anchor myself to and for direction for the right way to get through it all.
Over time, I realized that my marriage of more than 20 years was falling apart. This was difficult to accept as I thought that marriage was for life. Besides, we had a family to raise together! My world was shaken up, and I needed a road map to help me navigate this new territory.
I went to the only rock I knew of - the God I had always believed loved me and would be there for me. But how could I find Him???
I sat down, closed my eyes, and asked God to give me a scripture that I could turn to. God did NOT disappoint! Each day, a new scripture came to my mind. On many of these days, when I turned to that chapter and verse, the words seem to jump off the page! It felt like they had been written just for me and were always exactly what I needed to hear!! I was absolutely amazed at how beautifully God spoke directly to my heart, through his Word.
John 15 (about staying close to Jesus) and Isaiah 61 were especially meaningful. These verses gave me hope:
“Instead of your shame, you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace, you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and an everlasting inheritance will be yours”.
What an awesome message! It gave me strength and encouraged me to move forward in a Christian way, secure in the knowledge that God “had my back”!
I still start every day reading God’s Word. It does not always speak to my heart like it did during that dark time in my life, but that is because I am not as needy as I was then. However, I ALWAYS learn something that gives me comfort, reminds me of His ways, or helps me see some aspect of my life in a different way. It is always rewarding to me, and I thank God for showing me how to seek Him and hear from Him in this meaningful way. I challenge you to give it a try!
Thursday, October 27th
Thanks and Joy!
Psalms 9: 1-2
“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.”
New Living Translation
“I’m thanking you, God, from a full heart, I’m writing the book on your wonders. I’m whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy; I’m singing your song High God
“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.”
New International Version
Friday, October 28th
“Times of Transition”
(excerpted from Devotions by Chris)
Transitions in life are hard. They mean that one part of your life’s story is over and a new one is about to begin. They are the space between where faith is tested and fear fights to creep in. They are a temporary no man’s land that we have to walk through in order to grow. As we walk through them, it’s hard to see what’s coming next. The territory is so unknown … that we put our attention and focus on the transition rather than on where we’re being transitioned to. We question God’s providence in our situation during these times.
* * * * * * * *
As I’ve thought about all of that, I started wishing God would give us the warnings about transitions approaching in our lives and the [reasons] behind them. As I prayed about it, God reminded me how many times Jesus told the disciples what was going to happen to Him in Jerusalem and why. They never heard a word of it and were shocked [that night] in the Garden of Gethsemane. They entered a time of transition between having Jesus walk with them daily and having the Holy Spirit coming as their guide. Like us, they were confused, frightened, and wondered where God was in the transition.
God speaks to each of us daily. He says things we ignore or don’t want to hear so we block Him [from our minds]. We use our selective hearing when He speaks of things that scare us. The disciples heard Jesus tell them about the transition, but they weren’t listening. Even when we know a transition is coming, it’s still natural to be scared. We’re afraid of change. The last few years have taught me that change is necessary for growth. When we fight it, we fight growing,… we fight the future God had for us and we fight God’s will. Our times of transition help prepare us for the change. They grow our faith and trust in God’s plan for our life. It’s something we can only see when we take the time to look back.
…God has something greater for you on the other side of this time of transition. It may take longer than you expected but, hang on. The reward will be worth it. The growth you will experience will be like no other time in your life. Don’t give up in the time of transition. Hold strong to your faith and trust God to see you through.
6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
(Philippians 4:6-8 NIV)
Submitted by Mark Lyon
Saturday, October 29th
May our collective vision show clarity and good articulation in its being explained. May its being carried out exceed all our expectations.
Sunday, October 30th
Building Our Hope: “Living With Honor, Bolstered By Prayer”
Prayer/Book of Remembrance Sunday
2 Thessalonians 1:1-4,11-12 (The Message)
1 1-2 I, Paul, together with Silas and Timothy, greet the church of the Thessalonian Christians in the name of God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ. Our God gives you everything you need, makes you everything you’re to be.
3-4 You need to know, friends, that thanking God over and over for you is not only a pleasure; it’s a must. We have to do it. Your faith is growing phenomenally; your love for each other is developing wonderfully. Why, it’s only right that we give thanks. We’re so proud of you; you’re so steady and determined in your faith despite all the hard times that have broadsided you. We tell everyone we meet in the churches all about you.
11-12Because we know that this extraordinary day is just ahead, we pray for you all the time—pray that our God will make you fit for what he’s called you to be, pray that he’ll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something. If your life honors the name of Jesus, he will honor you. Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving himself freely.
Monday, October 31st
Time, Talents and Treasures, Oh My!
I have an odd faith journey – but don’t we all? As a kid and well into my early adulthood I thought that other people had their faith life much more figured out than I did. It wasn’t until later that I realized that everyone is on a journey, and we are all at different stages.
When I joined CCB, I was sucked in (yes, that’s the right term) to volunteering to be on the Christian Education Committee. For those who did the sucking, you know who you are (Kay Marron). At any rate, I was new to the church and had never been on a church committee before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I got invited to a Leadership Event, I found myself in even more murky territory.
Two interesting things happened at this event. First, I somehow found myself in a tangled rope challenge with Bob Brown. Honestly, not going to lie that I was feeling a bit awkward but I’m pretty sure Bob was too. We laughed. We struggled. We managed to get ourselves undone. I remember thinking – “this is what leaders do”? But I went along. I was 34 years old with two little girls. What did I know?
The other thing that happened was Pastor Jen asked us to DRAW our faith journey. I wish I still had the piece of paper that I used to draw on. Here is an idea of what I drew:
- Childhood – a picture of a bible. Basically, a rectangle with a cross on it.
- Childhood – a cloud with a man floating in it (God)
- Teenage – a question mark
- Young Adult – drawing of a church
- 34-Year-Old – stick figure drawing of people holding hands (and maybe tangled in a rope)
You see for me; I grew up in a family that moved all the time. My father worked for IBM, and I moved every 1-4 years. I remember going to church before the age of five at a lovely Methodist church in California, but when I turned five, we moved to Maryland. From Maryland to Alabama to Louisiana, I remember going to church on Easter and Christmas. When we moved to Massachusetts at the age of 12, I found myself wanting to know more. I started to read the bible on my own and memorized the Lord’s Prayer from an old wooden board my mother had found that had the prayer printed on it. When we moved to Philadelphia and then to Japan, I don’t recall going to any church. It wasn’t until I got to college and move to Connecticut that a little white chapel in the woods became an occasional visit during the holidays. Finally, with the birth of my children and a husband who also supported the idea of having a faith family we began going to church more regularly. And that is what led me to CCB. So, when I drew a picture of a bible and drawing of a church…that is what I knew. The concepts of community and fellowship weren’t yet in my mind.
So back at this Leadership Event, I remember folks talking about people who could give their “time, talents and treasures”. This was new lingo for me. But I began to understand, at 34 and a young parent, I really do not have any “treasure” as money was scarce. But, I was able to commit time to being on a committee. I understood “time”.
“Talent” was something else entirely. There are so many ways to share “talent”. Talent can be very obviously, like when the singers and musicians of the church share their ability through music every week. Talent can be understanding that if you are good at cleaning and painting, you should be helping with the Church House committee. And if your talent is caring for children, you volunteer to help with Church School or Youth Group. Over time I have learned my talents - -obvious – if you are loud, you are the perfect person to make an announcement at a meeting. Less obvious, if you are good at herding cats, you step up to organize or do marketing for capital campaigns.
And then there was “Treasure”. As we embark on our capital campaign to raise money for an improved church, one that has improved accessibility for all people and a refreshed space, I know that the future can be better. I think back to the tangled rope challenge with Bob. It was uncomfortable. But we worked together and we got out of the bind. And to this day, Bob and I still giggle about that shared moment. That is what leaders do. That is what a community does. They work together through difficult things to find resolution for a better future. I think back over all the things I have gotten from CCB and there is so much to remember and be thankful for. I am thankful for improved faith and knowing I have somewhere to safely share my beliefs. I am thankful for community and fellowship. I am reminded that I am not alone in my struggles and more importantly that everyone struggles and hopefully they know I am there for them. I want to give my treasure to give thanks for all I have gotten AND for all that is to come. I want to give my treasure so others can walk in our doors to find peace, solace, friendship, shared community, a place to give back and more. Faith journeys are never complete. We are always striving to be more gracious, to be graceful, to be more Godly. Thinking of what we can give back helps to lead us down the path.Blessings my friends!
~ Carol Eagan
Tuesday, November 1st
“I am thankful for all that our church is……..
Dear God –
I am thankful for all that our church is - in my life, and in the lives of others. Please guide us and speak to us as we strive to be good stewards of all You have given to us. Help me to seek You, too, as I strive to be a good steward of all the good things You have given to me in my life!
Wednesday, November 2nd
“Be still and know that I am God”
Cameron Trimble- Piloting Faith an (Almost) Daily Devotional
A Word for the Day………..
I've now returned from a long silent retreat where I was gifted the time to slow down, observe life's twists and turns, and discern where the Spirit is leading me forward. These moments of pause and discernment are essential to our spiritual maturation. I don't know how we tune out all of the world's noise long enough to hear that "still small voice" without moments of deep, sustained solitude.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu once asked the Dalai Lama if it was true that he prayed 5 hours a day.
"Yes," said the Dalai Lama, "I do pray 5 hours a day most days."
"Wow," said Archbishop Tutu. "I only pray three hours a day."
Prayer, meditation, and contemplation are pathways to a new consciousness. The Buddhists call it "beginner's mind." Entered into in the right spirit, contemplation opens you to a genuine surrender that "not my will but Thine be done'' (Luke 22:42). You live in a spirit of prayer when you engage in conscious and loving union with all of creation - the birds, trees, flowers, rivers, oceans, beetles, moss, dogs, lizards, flies, cats, humans…all that is. From this expansive space, you can collaborate with the Spirit in how you most fully live your life in peace.
We seem to be in a rush to "get back" to life as we knew it before. Our calendars are booking with travel, conferences, meetings, and children's sporting events. The pressure to be "on" and constantly responsive is seductive only because it's what we have known.
Let's not go back. Today, I hope you will take time - all the time you need - to be present within yourself. Take a few moments to notice the changing of the leaves and migrating birds. Be still enough to ask of the Spirit, "How might I serve today? Where are you calling me?"
The transformation of the world begins with the transformation of ourselves. Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still and know that I am God." Be still.
Submitted by Wendy Elsen
Thursday, November 3rd
…..thanking God over and over for you……
2 Thessalonians 1: 3-4
You need to know, friends, that thanking God over and over for you is not only a pleasure; it’s a must. We have to do it. Your faith is growing phenomenally; your love for each other is developing wonderfully. Why, it’s only right that we give thanks. We’re so proud of you; you’re so steady and determined in your faith despite all the hard times that have broadsided you. We tell everyone we meet in the churches all about you.”
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. Three fore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.
New International Version
Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing. We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering.
New Living Translation
Friday, November 4th
THAR SHE BLOWS!
It’s a late winter day. The kind of gray day in March when the snow is gone, and the trees are still bare. It’s cold and windy. Mom’s snoozing in her chair and I’m standing at the window of her third- floor apartment in the senior complex, looking down on the courtyard. From this height, the few, stray brown leaves don’t look like leaves. They look alive, and even a bit silly as the wind whips them around, first one way, then another and even in circles sometimes. I chuckle to myself, as I realize that I feel like one of those leaves, being buffeted one way and then another by the crazy winds of life and wonder if I look as comical to God as the leaves to do me.
But I can’t say I’ve been feeling very comical. I wonder if I had paid more attention all along to the wind of the Holy Spirit, that maybe now there would be only a gentle breeze pushing me along.
Being here for Mom on her slow decline, my thoughts and fears and obligations all have me swirling in an emotional tizzy. Perhaps today I can pay attention to the wind of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps today I will focus on just being my mother’s daughter. Not her caregiver, her medical advocate, or her problem solver. Just one of Mom’s loving children. Tomorrow, that wind may send me elsewhere, but no matter… the point is, I’m listening now
Lord, may I have the faith and peace to trust the Holy Spirit Wind.
I’ll wait. I’ll watch. I’ll listen. I’ll pray. I will go where that Wind takes me.
Saturday, November 5th
and as we think about those things…….
Adapted excerpts from an Installation Sermon by Pastor Jennifer Whipple
……….And as we think about those things—discernment and transformation, care and service—and God’s call to us to be about them, we get this great promise of God from the scripture. God says,
“There’s no need to worry about
knowing the proper form for your prayers
or exactly what to say.
I will answer you before you even call to me.
While you are still talking about your needs,
I will go ahead and answer your prayers.”
As we enter into this relationship, I think we know full well that sometimes those prayers will be prayers of thanksgiving and sometimes those prayers will be ones about forgiveness- sometimes they will be prayers about healing divisions and sometimes they will be prayers about celebrating the awesome ministry we will be doing together- sometimes they will be prayers asking for guidance and other times they will be prayers of thanks for God’s voice spoken. No matter what the prayers, I hope that we will stay grounded in the Spirit, in the knowledge of God’s presence that goes before us leading us, and behind us, nudging us along toward this new thing and new time that God is calling us to create……..
My prayer is that we all might be open to seeing this new world that God is working to create and that we might accept the call to be part of that new creation—coming together, using our gifts, following the example of Jesus Christ with courage and deep faith, pointing in all we do toward God who is Love, who is Redeemer, Creator and Transformer.
May it be so. Amen.
Submitted by Wendy Elsen
Sunday, November 6th
Building Our Hope: “Gratitude in All Things”
Gratitude Sunday Part 2
First Letter of Paul to the Thessalonians, chapter 5, verses 4 and 5 and 11 through 18 (from The Message translation):
4-5 Friends, you’re not in the dark…You’re sons of Light, daughters of Day. We live under wide open skies and know where we stand….
11So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.
12-13 And now, friends, we ask you to honor those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!
14-15 Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. … Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other’s nerves you don’t snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.
16-18 Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.
Monday, November 7th
“Olivia Quinsland has hit it out of the park today!
What a lovely reminder to “give thanks”
I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. (John Burroughs)
If you’ve got thoughts, walks, books, and friends, Give thanks.
It’s important to give thanks that when you put your feet on the floor in the morning you’ve got things to do, places to go and people to see.
If you need to clean the bathrooms, it means you have a roof over your head. Give thanks.
If you need to earn a paycheck it means you’ve got a job. Give thanks.
If you need to go to the grocery store it means you have a means of transportation. Give thanks.
If you need to pick a book up at the library, it means you’ve still got all your cognitive faculties. Give thanks.
If you need to prepare meals it means you’ve got food on your table and potable water. Give thanks.
If you need to go to the doctor, it means you have access to healthcare. Give thanks.
If you decide to stop by D&D for a mid-morning mocha latte it means you have disposable income. Give thanks.
If you feel the desire to connect with friends, it means you have community. Give thanks.
When you lay your weary head down at night after being so busy with things to do, places to see, Give thanks.
Perhaps that’s what it looks like to praise God all the time.
Tuesday, November 8th
“Give thanks with a grateful heart”
Lyrics taken from the song “Give Thanks” by Don Moen.
Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He's given
Jesus Christ, His Son
And now let the weak say, "I am strong"
Let the poor say, "I am rich"
Because of what the Lord has done for us
We give thanks
Wednesday, November 9th
The Perfect Beach Trip
— Ecclesiastes 11:4-5
He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap. As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.
How many times have you had the “perfect” beach trip? (Hmmm… really, is there any other kind?) Well, there was that time it rained. Or the time you tried a new beach house and got lost for two hours trying to find it. Or the time your toddler got an ear infection the first full day you were there. Or the toilet in your rental didn’t work right. Or…
Okay, okay. So maybe at the point-by-point level, you’ve never had a perfect beach trip. So how did you deal with the bumps in the road? Did you manage to make the most of the situation, or did you let it ruin your trip?
There are those times we just want — even demand — perfection in order to execute our plans. Planning a wedding. Planning to exercise. Planning a quiet time. The conditions have to be perfect for us to act, or we give up because it’s utterly ruined. Planning, planning, waiting, waiting… the moment has to be exactly right.
And, to be fair, planning and preparation are important. But if we spend our time waiting for perfect conditions, we’re actually wasting our time. The perfection is simply not gonna happen.
Sometimes we have to simply act and trust God for the next step.
If we make a wrong turn because we misunderstood the Holy Spirit, then we trust that the Father will correct our steps. If we make a wrong decision because we ignored Him, we confess our neglect and trust Him for the next step. And there are times He will wait until we act — because growing our trust is far more important than our knowing the end result. We belong to God: our relationship with Him is assured through the blood of Jesus Christ. So if you look ridiculous, are made fun of, or appear to have failed at something that you’ve prayerfully considered — do not fear. Trust God with His timing.
Our time here on Earth is finite. And none of its days is perfect. There are only so many days we’ll spend here — waiting on the perfect one sure seems like a futile way to spend them.
Lord, remind me that if I’m waiting for a perfect moment, that waiting may be rooted in fear. As Your child and Your creation, I will never be a failure, regardless of what the world sees and thinks. Sometimes my own plans will fail, but in a way only known to You, they are still successful — because You remain sovereign. Let this truth give me wings and a willingness to take risks, take chances, and never fear failure. I am grateful and thankful to You always, in all situations. What a great gift it is to take refuge in You!
(Excerpted with permission from Devotions for the Beach by Miriam Drennan, copyright Thomas Nelson)
Submitted by Mark Lyon
Thursday November 10th
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
New International Version
Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
New Living Translation
Friday, November 11th
Seeing God in Toilet Paper
I learned a few things about myself the past couple of years. I know I do not welcome change, but I didn’t realize how much I like to control situations……….
It is March 2020, I am in a CE meeting and we are discussing if we should stop having Sunday School and church in person if the schools close down. To be honest, I was clueless about things up to this point. We all know how things turned out…..
Our household at that time consisted of my sister and brother-in-law, their PREGNANT daughter, her husband, Bacchus (a dog) and me.
Do you remember the toilet paper shortage? I decided I needed to care for my family and keep us well supplied. It became a daily mission for me to shop the stores and I finally resorted to ordering online to be sure we were stockpiled and ready. My loving family, thankfully, just shook their heads and smiled as the boxes rolled in……
As you see in the photo, my online orders were quite comical. Boxes of toilet paper in all shapes and sizes and some even touting “heavenly soft”. I kept hauling it to our basement for storage, very proud of my contribution to the welfare of our household.
Months later as I was in the basement, I found my stockpile. We never needed to use any of it. I felt God smiling down on me asking, ”Do you trust me yet?” No judgment, just care from the One that knows me best. All my quirks and doubts.
I gathered it all up and placed it in the recycling pile. (I assume you can recycle unused toilet paper?) Thanking the Provider for always taking care of my needs.
This is not the end of the story. The next week, I found the toilet paper back where I had stored it. …..still in the boxes and bags. Ready for the next need. Perhaps others have control issues, too….What is it you are having difficulty turning over to God?
(Deep breath in)......... Oh Lord, Thank you for caring and providing in all situations, even those I think I have under control. Help me seek and SEE you in all things….and thank you for toilet paper. Amen.
Saturday, November 12th
“frenzied or calm”
When I am immersed in the moment, frenzied or calm, help me to always find one thing that I am grateful for.
Sunday, November 13th
Building Our Hope: Vision Sunday – Sacrificial Giving
Our Scripture reading today is from the Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 9, verses 5 through 11
(from The Message translation):
5 So to make sure there will be no slipup, I’ve recruited these brothers as an advance team to get you and your promised offering all ready before I get there. I want you to have all the time you need to make this offering in your own way. I don’t want anything forced or hurried at the last minute. 6-7 Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish gets a lavish crop. I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving. 8-11 God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it, He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out. This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.”
Monday, November 14th
“I wonder who we might welcome in the future…”.
“No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here”
UCCB Saint Tom Eaker, God rest his soul, advocated my request to use fellowship hall as a meeting place for a toast master’s group that included wheelchair bound members. Thank you, Tom, for that and much more.
For the better part of 20 years, we met as a group downstairs. I became qualified to transport and assist these individuals. This included tending to personal care needs. News flash! In order, for me to continue, I need to disclose that same sex personal care assistance was not always possible, due to availability, strength, training, and such but it was known and accepted by this population at this time.
There was a woman who I helped regularly. Getting her wheelchair into fellowship hall was easy because the entrance is at ground level, but the bathroom area was tight quarters. We negotiated the tight turn by stepping on her wheelchair’s tilt bar, raising the front of the chair, and pivoting it on its rear tires. Still, we could only get so close to the toilet. So, we would get as close as we could and lock the brakes and unfasten her seat belt. I would get in front of her, she would put her arms around my neck, and she would stand. Luckily, she could stand. Slowly, carefully, inch by inch we would make our way to the toilet and back. Exchanging wisecracks and poetry along the way.
A unifying factor among our wheelchair bound members was that they had an acquired head injury or spinal cord injury. For one person we gave a platform for her to speak when she literally had no voice, at least until she received her mechanical talker machine. The process used cards with different words printed on them. The audience would get the right word by eliminating the wrong words on that card. I was so proud of the respect, silence, and time her audience gave her in anticipation of her speech or talk.
This was before any talk about improving accessibility that I knew of. UCCB was slow to charge a fee to our Toastmasters group. I think it was seen as something of a ministry. In time, we would be charged for use of the facility and that was fine. A part of our yearly dues went back into our club. It was a great place to hold our meetings. We made the most of what we had.
I wonder who we might accommodate (welcome) in the future.
Tuesday, November 15th
“messenger of hope”
Help us at UCCB, to each be a messenger of hope for someone else.
Wednesday, November 16th
A Faith Moment……..
Shared by Richard Nyers in worship - October 2, 2022
The Yankee Fair is coming up soon, which is a special time in the life of our church – for many reasons, fellowship perhaps foremost, as everyone comes together to do their part for the greater good.
For me it will always be tied now to another event in my life. As many of you may know, I have run the Silent Auction at the fair for the past several years. Well, last year two days before the fair my mother passed away, somewhat unexpectedly.
Pastor Jen and others reached out and offered to take over my responsibilities at the booth so that I might return to my family back home in Indiana. I was torn between fulfilling my obligations here and joining my grieving family.
God works in mysterious ways – I couldn’t get a reasonable flight out until Sunday….and I needed to be surrounded by people and keep occupied—so, what better way than through service?
I leaned on the support and caring outreach from so many in the congregation throughout that day at the fair and was able to then leave for home with a sense of peace and accomplishment, reassured of God’s grace and human kindness.
I did return home to my family to commemorate and celebrate my mom’s life. For her funeral service we had chosen the scripture reading of the Wedding Feast at Cana—rather unusual for a funeral—because in the story, though Jesus was the hero, reluctantly performing his first miracle-- turning water in to wine—his mother, Mary, was the unsung hero. While looking out for the reputation of the hosts and the satisfaction of the guests, she prompted Jesus to act, and told the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.”
The priest preached on this and acknowledged mom’s selflessness and hospitality, often being the unsung hero throughout her life. And as our pastors here often do in their thoughtful sermons, he gave us a fresh perspective on Mary’s action and role as mother, encouraging and admonishing her son to do good.
And then he challenged us to think of Mary’s words as not just spoken to the servants, but perhaps, with a motherly gaze directed at Jesus implied (with finger pointing up), “Do whatever He tells you!”
We are here to be God’s hands and do God’s work…sometimes through our own personal adversities, and sometimes with a little prompting, which is why we come together at worship. I am constantly inspired even more by all the unsung heroes here at CCB; when we put faith into actions by our works and support one another on our journeys. We are a Church Family!
Thursday, November 17th
“focus on how I can meet the needs of others.”
Today, I want to be there for the people you have for me to love. Help me to be more sensitive to the needs of those around me. Help me to put my own needs aside, trusting You to meet them, and focus on how I can meet the needs of others.
Friday, November 18th
“Don’t let us turn around now.”
We've Come This Far
Vicki Kemper UCC Daily Devotion
“By faith Abraham obeyed… By faith he stayed… By faith he received…”
- Hebrews 11:8- 11 (NRSV)
The writer of Hebrews is on a roll. He is working himself up to make a point, and it’s a good one:
This blessed path we call life is made by putting one foot in front of the other and taking one risky leap after another—in faith, without a net.
Every time we say “yes” to hope, life starts over again. Whenever we trust the power of love, an entirely different future begins to take shape. Greatness becomes possible when we are willing to become fools.
There are no guarantees, of course. That’s what makes it faith. Still, history suggests that God is faithful even when we are not, that miracles can happen even after we’ve laughed in God’s face.
The road that got us here was paved by flawed people who trusted God’s promise of life abundant. By faith they had received a vision of another, better world, and so they kept going even when they could not see the way forward.
Take a moment today to remember and give thanks for your heroes in faith, both the ancestors who made your sweet life possible and the current companions who inspire you every day. Take another moment to recall the twists and turns in your own journey, taking special note of what happened when you risked everything, and how that ever-unspooling thread of grace kept pulling you forward.
With that in mind, consider again the challenges ahead. Trusting in what is yet unseen, resolve to run the race with perseverance and hope and love.
Trustworthy God, we’ve come this far by faith. Don’t let us turn around now.
Saturday, November 19th
“why I said yes….”
I remember at a Church Council meeting last year where it was discussed we needed to determine when to begin the feasibility study. I voiced a concern that with Covid on an uptick and folks still transitioning to a “new normal” maybe we should wait. Thankfully there were voices of reason and strength that reminded me that it was voted on at the annual meeting and people have been waiting for years to get things moving.
Fast forward to May of 2022, Bryn called me to discuss the possibility of heading up the prayer team for the Capital Campaign. It sounded interesting, but I wasn’t sure that was something I wanted to do. I had other conversations with wise folks, including Tom Melzoni. They shared inspiration, faith in the process and excitement about the future. It was exactly what I needed to hear.
So, I said yes and so did three other prayer partners that make up our prayer team: Sue Waschak, Luke Duval and Pete Lane. I am very thankful for their yeses!!
Pete Lane and I share a favorite hymn:
“Pass It On”
“It only takes a spark to get a fire going
And soon all those around can warm up in it glowing.
That’s how it is with God’s Love
Once you’ve experienced it
You spread God’s love to everyone
You want to pass it on…….”
Thank you CCB friends for sharing your faith, love, and vision with me. God is still speaking and sparking my faith……..and many times through you.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)
Sunday, November 20th
Building Our Hope: “Precious, Living Stones”
Thanksgiving Sunday/ Campaign Pledge Dedication
1 Peter: 22-2:7a (New International Version)
22Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.[a] 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For,
“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.”[b]
And this is the word that was preached to you.
2 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
The Living Stone and a Chosen People
4As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house[c] to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”[d]
7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
“The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”