This morning, I reflected on the natural beauty of Western North Carolina. I’m amazed by the beauty of this area so I wrote this little prayer.
God free me from my possessions. Help me to see you in natural beauty of this world. Help me to see you in the world through natural eyesight and not a device. Help me to spend time in the present. Amen.
Now go get outside and enjoy Gods beautiful gifts!
Read Philippians 4:4-9 as if you’re reading it for the first time.
Philippians 4:4-9New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Spend time reflecting on what phrases or words stood out to you while reading the scripture.
Read verses 4 – 7.
Reflect on what those verses mean in relation to your life.
Read verses 8 – 9.
Reflect on what you have learned and received and how you have applied those things to your life.
Read verses 4 – 9.
Reflect on the entire scripture and pray as a group.
I led this guided prayer experience at First Baptist Church of Sylva Snow Day Vespers on January 24, 2016.
While I wish I had answers and knew how to solve every issue in this broken, fragmented and unfair world I don’t but I’m reminded of Mother Teresa who said ““Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” While we sit in our cozy warm homes on snow days let us think of those who don’t have warm homes or clothes or enough food. .
As we recognize need in this world help us to learn what we can do to help and provide encouragement. Help us to be a voice with the voiceless. Help us to help the helpless. Help us to share the peace of Christ will all who we come in contact with even when it isn’t peaceful. Equip us to be ambassadors for you. Now God help us to not turn our head when we see need but to stand up and make a change. Amen.
Go make a difference!
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7 NRSV
We’re rooted together at After School as we learn, live and grow together each day as over 40 children come, led by our talented staff they learn about other cultures, learn biblical stories and create community. This unique community brings together children from across our county together with college students who love, nurture and care for them; one parent described after school as a place where her child had access to big brothers and sisters that cared for him. Our After School Ministry is a community that is living, learning and growing together. Thanks be to God for what he is doing!
I shared this with our church on Sunday, January 10, 2016 about our After School Ministry.
To all of my loyal readers and followers thank you for continuing to read my work on here! I hope you all had a great Christmas and will have a great 2016.
Here’s somethings I think we all should do 2016:
- Invest in your local community. Become part of the community you live in and make a difference.
- Spread peace and love. Violence is NOT okay. Mass shootings shouldn’t be a daily occurrence.
- Enjoy the small things. Relax.
- Do something that will make an impact and better the life of someone else.
- Do random acts of kindness for those you don’t know.
- Invest in the future.
- Listen for where God is calling you and respond.
I hope 2016 will be a year filled with rich blessings, growth and unlimited possibilities!
Go in peace and love boldly! Kelly
It with much anticipation that we await the birth of Christ! While we wait, God, remind us of Christ’s presence in each of our lives and how his presence continuously transforms us – how Christ finds good in us, when we live in a world that sometimes lacks hope. Help us to find hope when all we see is fear and terror. Help us to provide opportunities that cultivate a sense of hope in a tragically broken and fragmented world. Help us to hopeful that one day violence in the news won’t be a daily occurrence. Help us to be hopeful about the future and be hopeful that future generations will see the good in all of humanity. Help us to see the needs of this world and focus ourselves on you, God rather than the color of a coffee cup, black Friday sales, or what a Reese’s cup Christmas tree looks like. Help us to recapture what it means to be a hopeful and faithful people as we anticipate the arrival of the Christ child. Amen.
This prayer was shared in worship at First Baptist Church, Sylva on November 29, 2015.
I tend to read two or three books at one time, simply because I like reading and well there are so many good options it’s hard to pick just one book. Currently I’m reading one book on finding God in people and having an authentic faith, the other is about advent and how we should give more and spend less during the year. While both of these books don’t exactly go together I have made them come together in my cluttered brain.
Here’s a few “what-ifs” I’ve scribbled down over the past few weeks as I’ve read both books.
What if we attempted to gain a deeper understanding of our walk with Christ?
What if we tried to find moments Hope, Joy, Peace and Love in our daily life?
What if we quit caring about Starbucks cups?
What if we complained less?
What if we prayed more?
What if we started giving to people all year around and not just during the holiday season?
What if we spent more time with the ones we love rather than being on our device?
What if we tried to find the good in all people no matter how much we didn’t like them?
Today a friend of mine and me were talking about finding time in our busy lives to slow down and find the sacred. Of course, I said I needed to find more time to slow down and experience life rather than just going from one thing to the next. Well here’s a story of how the sacred smacked me right in the face.
Each day I pick up children from two schools for the after school program I direct and yes driving a bus full of children is my favorite thing to do each day! I walked in one school in a rush to get kids, get out the door and load the bus then start our journey back to church. As I was racing around the circle, I heard a familiar voice say “hey, Mr. Kelly” I looked down and it was one of my summer camp kids sitting down completing her math homework, I didn’t have much time to stop and talk to her since one of the after school mentors had a crowd of kids alone and needed to check attendance and load the bus, but I decided to sit down, take a few minutes and catch up with her. She updated me on her life as quick as a seventh grade girl can and then expressed how she missed our church and the after school program, I wrote my number down and told her to have her parents contact me.
Now here’s some backstory on this young lady, during the summer she reaffirmed my distain for middle school girls – the drama, the crying, the attitude, and complaining – I just can’t take it. Ugh. I digress. She came to us at random this summer; I remember talking to her grandmother about her enrolling as I was driving on I-40 headed back to the mountains from Fayetteville. I’m not sure what her full story is but I know it’s full of pain, hurt, distrust and not filled with lots of love. She came to us a scared and unsure about it meant to be Christian. During this summer she developed in ways I never would have imagined but she grew in her relationship with Christ and accepted Christ. While myself and staff takes no credit for helping children come to know Christ we believe it is the spirit working through us and the biblical education we provide children with on a daily basis.
And that’s how the sacred smacked me in the face!
This past weekend I had the opportunity to spend time at Montreat Conference Center. The weekend was a time of renewal and challenge for me. As most of you know I’m a huge introvert, so it was hard for me to be at a conference and around hundreds of people, but I survived.
Anyway let me get to the point. I spent time engaging in conversation with other church workers, Christ followers and hippies that believe in the power of loving one another no matter what you look like. The conference was one to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. speech at Montreat some 50 years ago. I’ll spare you lots of details and political conversation and cut straight to the point and tell you some things I walked away with from this past weekend.
I walked away from this weekend feeling encouraged and challenged to make a difference in my community.
I walked away from this weekend with a better understand of today’s Civil Rights issues and how I must be an agent for justice and change.
I walked away realized that if I don’t rock the boat I’m sinning. Thank you, Leonard Pitts, Jr.
I learned that if I want to be a true change agent I will offend people sometimes and that is part of the process. Thank you, Bishop Yvette Flunder!
I learned that I need to operate in the sphere of my influence to change the world. Thank you, Charles Blow.
My respect for history deepened this weekend, Bishop Vashti McKenzie said “the further you look back the farther ahead you can see”.
I’m grateful for a good and challenging weekend around folks who want to make this world better. I’m committing to become more involved in my local community and advocate change!
What are you doing to change the world?
I spend a good bit of time planning and organizing in my daily work and wondering where I’m headed or asking what’s next. Now lets stop and recognize the fact that I’m not a very organized person, nonetheless it seems like I’m always trying to figure what the next activity or task is before I’m done with the present. Why am I bringing this up?
On one hand I’m mentioning my cluttered brain because I need to slow down and on the other, because I feel awful as to how my cluttered thinking has spilled out into other parts of my life. See this got a little crazy when a few weeks ago when a friend and I decided we would start a group that will read Common Prayer: A Liturgy For Ordinary Radicals -which I’ve gone through in the past – as I’ve skimmed the pages and become reacquainted with the book I’ve realized how often I just speed through my morning prayer time, because I want to do it, but I’m running late and I have so much to do. Those are all good excuses but they are just that excuses. Tomorrow morning I will begin using the liturgy, meaning I will wake up earlier, read slowly, breathe deeply, pray slowly, and allow the spirit to take over my time with God, and as an added bonus, I’ll get to drink more coffee.
I hope you will spend more time with the one who created you. Soren Kierkegaard said, “The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” I want to be changed, how about you?