Monday, December 4, 2017

Happy Advent! Happy New Year!

Yes, Happy New Year! Advent marks the beginning of the church year, not the end. What an awesome way to celebrate new beginnings, with the anticipation of the birth of our Messiah and looking forward to His return.

For many, Advent has already started. But here at St. John's, our Advent series, Name Above All Names, starts this Wednesday evening.  This year's devotion focuses on some of the names and attributes given to Jesus in scripture. Yeshua, Immanuel, Yahweh, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace.



This devotion forms a booklet with a cover, that has a double side for the inside of it, to print on the back of the cover. There are inserts for three Wednesdays, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. There is also a file to print a space for notes on the back of the inserts. We will be using them in church but you don't have to print the note boxes on the back for at home, if you don't want to. There are also a set of ornaments you can print and color to hang on your tree.

Right now I have this Wednesday and Next Wednesdays devotions available, along with the cover, backs and ornaments. I will upload the others as I complete them. As usual, all files are formatted to fit legal size 8.5 x 14 paper.


for file click here


for file click here


for file click here


for Advent Week 1 Yeshua click here
for Advent Week 2 Immanuel click here
Back of weekly sheet notes here



Friday, October 6, 2017

gratitude & grace

Not only is fall my favorite season because of the weather and the pumpkin spice, it is also the time of year when we tend to focus on gratitude. As the holiday season approaches, we start to think about the things we are thankful for. So as the leaves change color and the air becomes crisp, and Thanksgiving is just eight weeks away!, lets take the time to slow down before the Christmas rush and be grateful for what we have.



This is a short, easy, yet profound devotional practice resource I've created. It is simply remembering just a few things a day you give God thanks for. It is called gratitude and grace. There is ample room for coloring, writing in and around shapes and slowing down to reflect. I've included images from Doodle Art Ally and Praying In Color, along with my own wreath design on the front with a short word study and introduction inside.

I thoroughly enjoyed discovering the word connections between grace, thanksgiving and Eucharist, communion. Remembering and reconnecting constantly to our Lord is our joy, which was made complete in Christ. I invite you to spend time giving thanks and experiencing grace. To truly see our living God present in your life and reaching out to you in your struggles.

There are three pages. The cover and inside may be printed back to back or folded to fit inside one another. The third sheet is extra space to record what you are giving thanks for. As always, each document is for legal size 8.5x14 paper.

click here to download

click here to download

click here to download

Here is an example of how to use the word grace from Doodle Art Ally to record your gratitude. This is the word listen coloring sheet that I used in my own prayer time. Feel free to use any of the space around the word grace to write or you may just color as you recall your thanksgivings.



Thursday, August 3, 2017

Tending the Flame Confirmation and Ministry Resources

Here are the tools and resources presented at Tending the Flame workshop Confirmation Faith Books and Other Ministry Resources. The worksheets use writing, drawing and creative interaction in the education and personal faith life of the Confirmands. The congregation of St. John's uses various Visual Faith resources throughout the ministry in order to promote deeper discipleship in prayer, worship, bible study and personal devotion time.



All files are free to download, print and distribute. Please do not alter or package for sale in any way.
Click on the titles below to download.

Being a Blessing

God Action Reflection

Discussion Reflection for Faith at Home

Weekly Prayers Basic
Weekly Prayers side 1
Weekly Prayers side 2

Service Reflection side 1
Service Reflection side 2

Sermon Notes side 1
Sermon Notes side 2 questions

Key for Bible Journaling
Bible Margin Samples

Older Worksheets
Sermon Reflection
Worship Reflection

Sample Sheets
Coloring Page
Illustrated Sermon Note




For more resources click on the Faith Book and Sermon Notes tab above. You can also find information on how to teach Visual Faith under the Visual Faith Resources tab. For a blog post about sharing and using Visual Faith click HERE




Tuesday, July 25, 2017

My Life Manifesto

Over the last several months I have been reading about simplifying life and setting goals. Being constantly in a state of busyness and feeling overwhelmed, has lead me and my family on a search for rest. I've discovered that having a clear vision of your passions, talents and priorities is important.


Thom and Art Rainer challenge their readers to write out their typical day and then list their priorities in the book Simple Life. They also encourage them to explore what are those barriers that keep the reader from their priorities and simplifying. At the end of a chapter the reader must write out an action plan, a mission statement, that helps them to move towards their simpler life. After all, "Time was meant to be a blessing, not a burden." - Rainer, Simple Life.

In Breaking Busy by Ali Worthington, she shares with the reader the fruits of being overwhelmed, how to edit out the distractions in life, and how knowing our worth in God can help us to slow down and find our purpose.


Wanting to have a more focused motivation for my days I wrote out a mission statement and answered the tough questions in both books. It did help to clarify how I wanted to better structure my time, but it still felt off. My intense task oriented type A personality took it as a challenge which lead to my mission statement feeling more of a burden than a blessing. It was not simple and it didn't even crack busy. This was not the fault of the books, though. They are both very well written. This was totally the result of my brain being accustomed to constant chaos.

In addition to reading these two highly recommended books, I had been enjoying my new favorite magazine, The Magnolia Journal. You know, from that ever so loved and popular show, Fixer Upper. I noticed that on the last page of each issue there is printed something they call the Magnolia Manifesto. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a manifesto is "a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer."


OK, now that clicked with me. It made more sense. It wasn't just another 'to do' list. A manifesto gives the reasoning behind why you are doing what you are doing. I needed to keep focused on the who I was, whose I was, why I do and how I do, what I do.

Here is what I came up with based on the priorities and values I affirmed while reading the books mentioned above.

God is my first conversation of the day. He created me, gave me life, and
gave me passions. He comforts me and guides me. He longs to spend
time with me. I want to be more aware of His presence in my life.

I will pray for my spouse and children everyday. I will ask God to guide and
protect them. I pray that they may sense God’s presence in their lives.
May they remember that He is always with them.
I will also pray for the ministry, mission, and town God has placed me in.

My health and well being is very important. Processing my emotions,
eating healthy, and moving my body are how I will care for what
God has given me. When I take care of myself, I can care for
others. I am able to share God’s love.

My relationships are very dear to me. I find joy in nurturing them. 
My spouse is the most important human in my life. It is good for us 
to pray together and go out together.  I cherish our children 
and am privileged to be able to help mold them into amazing 
human beings. Our time together as a family is valuable and is filled with 
adventures, lessons, grace, and love.
My friends are wonderful people. We give each other support
and mercy. It is good to listen and work together.

My community and neighbors are a gift. I want to know them
and bless them, and have a positive impact on them. 

I will use my gifts and talents to the best of my ability. I will show
respect and kindness to others. I will strive to make good decisions.

I know that I am valued and safe. That Jesus has defeated
sin, death and the devil. And God has already WON!

This is my vision. This is who I am. And how I want to live out my days. Maybe a manifesto is right for you to help find focus and simplicity in your life.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Pentecost Sermon Notes

Here are some notes to download and use for Pentecost this Sunday



Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sharing Visual Faith

Once I discovered Visual Faith, which includes Bible Journaling and Praying in Color, I was very excited to share it with others. Visual Faith made such a difference in my personal devotion life. I was able to concentrate better and looked forward to practicing it daily. It did take me a bit of time and searching Pinterest, observing others, and trying different techniques before I found my own style. But even during that time, I couldn't stop telling others people about Visual Faith.

What is Visual Faith? It is the practice of writing, doodling, or coloring as you pray or read scripture. This can be done in a journal, sketchbook, Journaling Bible or coloring book.

If you are new to bible journaling, I would suggest checking out www.illustratedfaith.com

If you've never heard of praying in color, check out www.prayingincolor.com

In order to teach others about Visual Faith, I created some hand outs. There is an explanation sheet for both Bible Journaling and Praying in Color. I also developed some worksheets for the teaching process. The best way to start is to jump in and get some hands on experience. I have now taught 6 different classes and events using these materials and they have worked well.

The explanation sheets are quick overviews that include the process, materials and resources.

 


The worksheets have space available to walk through process of the Visual Faith technique.

 


You can find them free to download under the Visual Faith Resources Tab above. There are quick explanations for using them. I have extra Visual Faith resources including Sermon Notes under the Faith Book and Sermon Notes Tab above.

A lot of people respond very well to this faith practice. It is an engaging process that can be done by all ages and genders. It offers interaction for better retention and an opportunity to respond to what God is teaching you. It is all about the process you experience as you are learning and praying. It is not about a finished work of art. You do not need to be an artist or creative to practice Visual Faith.

Visual Faith has woken up my devotional and prayer life. It has drawn me closer to God! I pray that it does for you and I encourage you to share your Visual Faith experience with others.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Praying the Psalms

At St. John's we are just starting a sermon series on the Psalms. We won't be able to cover all of them but are using the scheduled readings from series A. Even if you are not working through the same readings or series, the free print out can still enrich your devotion time by giving you easy to use steps and space to pray, reflect, or dwell on the Psalms. The book of Psalms is considered the Prayer Book of the Bible. It is a great place to go if you feel stuck getting started with prayer. It is full of praises, adoration, requests, and even frustrations. The print out has a Psalm listed for each week during the Easter season. Take time to dwell throughout the week in that Psalm. Use the blank boxes on the second print out,the inside, to write what you have experienced (or learned) with that Psalm. There is also a praying in color grid from Sybil Macbeth's site prayingincolor.com for you to write, color, or doodle prayers for yourself or others. Many blessings as you explore, pray, and dwell in the Psalms. All pages are formatted to print on legal size paper, 8.5x14.




What the prayer grid on the back cover looks like. Find it in the cover download.