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Oh, Golly, I could see myself doing a 5-hour sprinkler fiasco like that described in Quinn Caldwell’s latest Stillspeaking Devotional.  I’d suggest you read his piece then come back to this.  (“Grass looks great, though; don’t you think?”) 

Although my sprinkler fiasco will be me as the Grandma (please God, someday…  whenever the time is right!) between the praise dancing and the finger painting.  My poor kiddos never got a 5-hr sprinkle from me, we mostly lived in a 3rd floor walk-up!

oa-sprinkler

Anyway, the following excerpts from the devotional explain why Quinn Caldwell can run his inspirational sprinkler on my parched soul ANY OLD time:

I think most of the dry wastelands in which we find ourselves are of our own creation.  We live in wastefulness or wantonness or selfishness or just general jerkiness.  And then when the good water is used up and our friends have all been driven away and we find ourselves dry and alone, we look around, surprised, and claim it’s not our fault.

Luckily, I live in a pretty wet part of the world, and our well refilled itself quickly.  Luckier still, we worship a God who pours herself out in streams of living water on the just and the unjust, and nobody who doesn’t want to need live in a parched land of their own creation for long.

Relentless Renewer,

You give us the water we need and then, after we’ve wasted it, you replenish the source and we can start all over again!

pride sprinkler

Loving Lord,

Remind us to be mindful caretakers of the wonder we call earth.  Let us be daring in our efforts to reduce our carbon footprints.  Let us remember that you’ve been extravagant, relentless, even wasteful in the blessings you’ve showered upon us.  Remind us to sing “Dayenu” (“it would have been enough for us”) every time we see your gifts – the grand canyon, polar ice caps and glaciers, the migration of Serengeti, the great barrier reef, the Victoria and Niagara falls, the aurora borealis, the Amazon rainforest and each sunrise.

Generous Giver,

For all we have, for all we experience, for all we feel, I am grateful.  Lord, I love you so much!

sprinkler

And I dare to pray in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be the Glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2013

Live Inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

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I thank God for my children. Yesterday was my daughter’s 28th birthday and I wanted to talk with God about her and my son.  So I searched the Bible for “children are blessings”. Psalm 37 includes this:

The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in God;

 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him by the hand.

I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.
They are always generous and lend freely;
their children will be a blessing.

Ps. 37:  23-26

Majestic Maker,

I rise in the morning to praise you and do your work, for you are the Almighty Architect of all I know – even beyond what I can see or hear.  I delight in considering how, who, what you are.  I delight in your ways and, even though I’m not a morning person, I spring from my bed to seek your will and your plan for the day.  Your colors, sounds, smells, tastes and sensations all are beauty beyond anything I could have conceived.  Amazing!

leonardo-da-vinci-pregnant

And you gave me the ability to grow another human inside me.  And you gave me one male child and one female child.  And they are smart, capable, funny, beautiful, thoughtful, compassionate and giving humans.  I do delight in you, God.  I surely do!

Generous Giver,

My children have grown into amazing adults.  I am proud of them and I love them more than I ever would have thought possible.  Spending time with them is my most desired activity.  My reason for living is to see what will come for them.

Lord, I bring them both to you today and ask that you bless them as they have blessed my life.  I pray that you will remind them that with you, they can do anything – there truly are no limits to your power.  I pray that even if they aren’t paying attention to you, that you will watch over them closely; keep them safe and remind them to continue to make the best of decisions. Grant them joy, Lord, I beg of you.  Let them be successful, however you and they define that.  Give them enough, Lord – no one needs more than enough, and yet you are so extravagant with us that we are amazingly comfortable.

Keep their heads ‘screwed on straight’, please, Lord.  They’ve done so well this far and yet I know that any of us could lose everything in the blink of an eye.  Both of these people love enormously, observe closely, plan carefully.  Give them the ability to continue their well-lived lives.

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Sovereign Source,

You’ve given so much.  You knew what we would need and you put it and more on the earth for us.  Thank you for phones and Facebook and blogs.  Thank you for the ability to communicate.  Thank you for my life… and Chris’s and Kate’s.  Lord, I love you so much!

And I pray in Jesus’ most holy name,

Amen.

To God be the Glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2013

Live Inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

Somehow, even when we are all in Christ, it isn’t always easy.  Our United Church of Christ states that we are a church of extravagant welcome.  I’ve offered to try to craft a worship service for our next new member Sunday that conveys the message that “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here” — not just tolerated, not just allowed to sit on the side and be quiet, not just come in to service and duck out afterward because you don’t know anyone — welcome.  

I’m having a rough time coming up with ideas that are new and vibrant, yet comfortable enough that people who’ve been members for 45 years won’t be offended and leave in disgust.  As I’ve tried to speak with the pastor, director of children’s ministries, and director of music, I don’t feel as if I’ve hit upon anything that will fill the bill.

See, I believe that God not only allows us to be part of the universe, but that God aches with love for us and wants us to come and dwell together and be in relationship.  How do I come up with an hour’s worth of words, songs, dances, whatever that will convey this?

Ever-changing Energy,

You were the originator of the universe and yet, oh-so-many years later, every morning is new and each day is different.  You are always changing yet always the same.  One day in your presence is worth a thousand elsewhere.  Amazing!  I want only to commune with you, to live in the peaceable kingdom in your eternal joy.

Extravagant welcome

Gracious God,

I come to you this morning, asking for your wisdom.  Send your holy spirit to be with me and with all those in my community at the Congregational Church.  Help Greg, Vicki, Laura and me to craft a service of worship of you and the extravagant welcome we promise people.  Remind us that each of us is just as you want us to be, your valued child.  Lead us, Lord, starting at the beginning place of love of you.  Take us to where you want us to be, whatever that looks like.  Help all of us to realize that each of us have different gifts and different skills and different ways of finding your divinity.  Help us to respect each of these ways, the old and the new, the typical and the unusual.  Help us to find ways to blend them into the most lovely tribute we can imagine.  Send us your spirit of gentleness, to avoid offense, and your spirit of restlessness, to keep us from repeating that which separates us.  Remind us that we are all Christ’s body. As you call us from tomorrow, where you live already, help us to find ways to enjoy your dynamic tension.  To include people in a way that shows your longing for them to come and be in relationship with you, with us, with one another.

WelcomeParty

Loving Lord,

Our building, our people, our computers for composing the words we will offer you together, our hymnals, our voices – all comes from you.  May we be caretakers of your gifts.  Lord, I am grateful for all with which you’ve entrusted me.  I hope to give you glory through my servanthood to your creations.  I love you so much!

welcome balloons

And I pray in the mighty name, Jesus,

Amen.

To God be the Glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2013

Live Inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

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