You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘vision’ tag.

Today’s Stillspeaking Devotional, written by Donna Schaper, is called “Pointsettias”.  As I was reading, the phrase I’m using for the title jumped out at me and I hurried here to paste it and start my notes for my prayer.  And then, to have integrity, I read and reread the entire devotional. 

“Substituting details for depth” …is that when I buy so many Christmas presents for someone instead of spending time with him? …is that when I criticize the grammar and punctuation instead of lavishing in the thoughts behind the writing? …do I decorate for Christmas instead of contemplating the possibility of Jesus coming as a human and changing the world?

What does “prepare for the glory of the Lord by fixing the universe, despite itself” mean? I long to leave the world better than it was when I arrived, yet I have a bit of trouble realizing that sometimes I need to be ‘accepted the things I cannot change’, in Bonhoeffer’s words. I’m good at attempts to improve the large social ills and need to keep working on keeping my side of the street clean in my closest relationships.  Mindfulness, sometimes a difficult practice to keep in place.  

Quinn Caldwell’s All I Really Want has been a wonderful source of contemplation last advent and this. 

Unimaginable One,

I come to humble myself and to worship you, shouting your praises internally while be quiet externally. Your name should echo throughout the universe and I praise you, adore you. You are the almighty, the all mighty, and I am but one of your creations. Yet, you know me inside out. You know my name and speak to me individually through little bursts of inspiration. You are amazing!

Indescribable God

Loving Lord,

Today, I ask that you will heal Steve’s bruises from his fall. He’s feeling better yet plans to stay off the bruised leg today and that’s a little difficult for me to accept (even though I can’t change it). Thank you for the chance that he might work Saturday to make up the hours. 

I ask for the ability to relax my own aching neck and head today. I try to avoid pain medication for fear it will harm my kidneys and/or lose its effectiveness.


Super-giving Source,

Thank you for advent meditation opportunities like the one I enjoyed last night. Thank you for Susan, who loves me dearly. Thank you for my faith community who are extensions of family for me. Thank you for a brain to think. I love you so much!

And I pray in Jesus’ name,


To God be all glory!

Love always,

Melissa Pazen, MSW


39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!


Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power.
    God will rule with a powerful arm.
    See, God brings the reward as God comes.
God will feed God’s flock like a shepherd.
    God will carry the lambs in God’s arms,
holding them close to God’s heart.
    God will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.

~  Isa 40: 10-11

You must see these photos to see why I searched for the Isaiah verses about lambs and sheep.



I love the little lambs, and I am grateful that you hold them close to your heart. Only you could envision moments like this: visions that bring pure joy to the beholder. You are amazing.

Generous Giver,

That’s all; just a little moment with a great shared visual. Thank you for the moment. Thank you for my life.


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!


“… they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart”

 from I Samuel 16:7


Kate is in love!  And she has been for about five years.  Her beloved Will seems also to be head over heels with Kate. 



Kate & Will indulge me with a smile while watching a good old fashioned Demolition Derby (@ Sycamore Speedway). Aug., 2012.

When they had been dating for a while, Kate brought Will to the house so we could meet.  My first thought (forgive me!) was, “she’s SO beautiful and he’s NOT a Ken doll look-alike.”  Isn’t that horrid?  So evil for a supposedly Christian woman! Refusing to act on such wretched thoughts, I listened & talked and got to know this person my daughter esteems.  The light in his eyes when he looks at my daughter is enough to bring tears to my eyes.

Consider that many believe “God is Love”.  Now, replace “the Lord” in the I Samuel verse with “love”.  Now think about how Kate looks on Will and how Will looks on Kate. 

May we all begin to be love when we look on others.  Will you pray with me, please?


Lord of Love,

Yours is the energy that keeps the universe in motion, ever changing.  Your plan for us is love, mercy, understanding and a quest for justice.  You are AMAZING.

Source of inSight,

Help us to look more in than on others.  Help us to remember to keep our perspective pure from pettiness.

Generous Giver,

Your extravagant and relentless love overwhelms us.  It seeps into every pore and every space in our beings, until it overflows. And you never stop.  Thank you.  I am so grateful. 

In Jesus’ name,



Not to us, but 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; live authentically; laugh frequently!

This morning’s Stillspeaking Devotional made me think.  In fact, I believe its purpose was to make us all stop and think… and say ‘yes’.  I try so hard to say “yes” and I sometimes feel thwarted at every effort.  There are days when I feel as if my helium-like positivity is being weighed down by other people’s worries or negative demeanors.  What am I to do, God?


And even those who I thought would embrace change and transformation are grasping at my ankles when I only want to rise and be with you.

If we are supposed to bring your kingdom to come on earth, why are so many so convinced that we cannot rock the boat?

I choose not to quit, but it’s hard to go on when suggestions are met with ‘no’ or the softer but equally blocking ‘however’.  Lord, I need you to show through me.  I alone do not have what it takes to convince others to follow you, but I know that you do.

Give me the courage to stand strong and loving.  Give me the patience to stay balanced and filled with my convictions.


Soften the hearts of the stodgy.  Help them to see that if they will only let you take charge, that all will be well.  Lord, I love you so much.

May your “yes” override our doubts about you and overwhelm us with gratitude and joy.

In Jesus’ name,


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!


© Alison Batley (photo copyright)

Today my congregation hosts a prayer vigil.  We’re in a transition phase, since our pastor of 22 years retired.  The United Church of Christ (UCC) recommends taking time to adjust to leaving the old and envisioning the next pastoral period.  With a lot of help from the internet (amazing what one can find with Google!), I developed a guide for our prayer vigil today.   Among the resources:  

Prayer Vigil Guide for Visioning with the most lovely graphic (above)

Those who wanted a resource for their 30 minutes of solitude in our sanctuary (or elsewhere) have been given the following.  I pray it helps us to think about where God wants to lead us.

Throughout our four-week all church study, we used this little graphical guy doing various things.  I was fortunate to find him praying; it appears he’s likely copyrighted by Leo Blanchette.

orange guy - prayer

I’m posting the resource here, because some may find it helpful in considering their personal or congregational journey ahead.

To God be the glory!

Transitional Ministry Visioning Prayer Vigil

Enter into prayer:  praising God for the many wonderful ways our congregation embodies God’s love.   Praise God if you have grown closer to Christ at our church. Praise God!


We continually remember before our God your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

~ I Thessalonians 1:3

Focus:  on whom God is for you, the purpose God has given you and the purpose for our congregation.


“But what about you?” Jesus asked. “Who do you say I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by God in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of death will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven…”            ~ Matthew 16:15 – 19

Meditate:  on the times and ways in your life when God has guided you and the times God has led our church.


But when the Spirit of truth comes, the Spirit will guide you into all truth.

~ John 16:13

Access the Holy of Holies in ways that work for you:  Listen to music, read, draw, do handiwork or your craft.  Enter into God’s Sacred Space.


… 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.            ~ Phillipians 4:8

Ask:  for spiritual vision for our congregation and spend time listening to God.


Where there is no vision, the people perish.

~ Proverbs 29:18

Pray:  that our church will be led by the Holy Spirit during the envisioning event and that each participant will come with a listening heart to be attentive to what others have  to say.  Pray that all will seek to align our personal desires with God’s vision, and work together to seek God’s direction.


Call unto me, and I will answer, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.

~ Jeremiah 33:3

Ask:  God to guide the participants to discover key areas of ministry focus God would desire for us during the next five years.


For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak.

~ Ecclesiastes 3: 1 – 7

Scripture:   “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

~ Jeremiah 29:11-13

Pray:  for good participation from as many people as possible on March 10 in helping to envision our church’s future.

Scripture: From God the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

~ Ephesians 4:16a

Melissa Pazen © 2013

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

This morning’s StillSpeaking devotional addresses death and its sting.  Donna Schaper summons images of watching carrots grow in order to appreciate what it takes to change, and the time it may take.  Our congregation will be considering change this week-end at a visioning meeting.


Many fear death.  I suspect almost all of us fear pain preceding death.  There are a few of us who look forward to learning what comes after death.  I believe I’ve been promised something wonderful, and I’m eager to see how it pans out.  I remember a sermon that included the thought spurring comment: “What if you were to arrive in heaven and find Hitler standing next to you?”  I supposed it was meant as a conundrum or something to lead me to be sorry for living a life in which I attempt to do good and avoid evil.  My response:  I hope I won’t care.  I’m hoping for a heaven in which I truly will be overjoyed to be there…  and that it will surpass my best times on earth, and I won’t have to go home to get up and go to work or clean the house in the morning.   Perhaps I’ll understand something about how we both got there.  Don’t know about these things now, I’m merely God’s flawed creation.  I’m not supposed to know everything, so I can relax in the knowledge that I don’t.

Somehow, I am reminded of “Spirit” a lovely hymn written by James K. Manley, as he finished his doctoral thesis:


Spirit, spirit of gentleness,
blow through the wilderness, calling and free,
Spirit, spirit of restlessness,
stir me from placidness, wind, wind on the sea.

You moved on the waters, you called to the deep,
then you coaxed up the mountains from the valleys of sleep;
and over the eons you called to each thing;
“Awake from your slumbers and rise on your wings.”

You swept through the desert, you stung with the sand
and you goaded your people with a law and a land;
and when they were blinded with idols and lies,
then you spoke through your prophets to open their eyes.

You sang in a stable, you cried from a hill,
then you whispered in silence when the whole world was still;
and down in the city you called once again,
when you blew through your people on the rush of the wind.

You call from tomorrow, you break ancient schemes.
From the bondage of sorrow all the captives dream dreams;
our women see visions, our men clear their eyes.
With bold new decisions your people arise.

(James K. Manley (20th century), hymn-writer. Published in Everflowing Streams (1981). “Spirit,” l. 1-4 (1978).)

Spirit of Gentleness,

You blow goodness and mercy just as the gentle wind blows ripples on the water.  You are the origin of my every thought.  You send inspiration to move me from my mental inertia.  I worship and adore you.

Spirit of Restlessness,

Stir me from placidness; guide me, I pray of thee, on a gentle but steady course of bringing your kingdom to come on earth.   Set my heart, mind, soul on your loving kindness.  Let me seek only to improve the world for all.  Let me be a calming presence among those in turmoil, helping to bring glimpses of your joy and your glory.

Spirit who calls me to freedom,

Thank you for calling me from tomorrow and breaking the ancient schemes.  Remind  me that my only bonds are those from which I could break through by following you.  Help me to make reality from the dreams of the captives.  Help me to report the women’s visions and encourage the men to clear their eyes and see you.  Help us all to arise and do your holy work.

Spirit who Cried from a hill,

Thank you for whispering to me in the silence.  Thank you for waking me in the night to meditate on you with the sting of my hand ‘falling asleep’.  Thank you for the extravagant blessings you have bestowed on me.  Thank you for a world of freedom in my head, to imagine your world of freedom on earth.  I love you so much.

In Jesus’ name,


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!

This one is also based on reading the Stillspeaking Daily Devotional from the UCC.  What a gift: when God sends a devotional that pertains so well to the tasks we have at hand!  

What God is doing is our story, our hope, and the source of our energy.When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said… ‘Where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and see.'”

John 1:38-39 

Umm, God?

Are you doing it again?  Are you playing with us and showing us the wonderful things you have in store for us?  Are you giving us an inkling of what you can do when you send a scripture passage and a devotional such as this one?  I think you are.  I know it isn’t whimsy; it’s deliberate on your part, and I am tickled by this.  I know only you could do it.  I know there is no other God.  I know that no entity other than you would want to do this.  I think you are so funny and so good to us.  Amazing!

Gracious Grandother,

I bring our congregation to you again today.  My sisters and brothers in Christ do an all but incredible job of embodying your spirit.  Your love lives in our church.  Your energy lives with us, too.  Your compassion is seen often.  Your plan for peace and justice is carried out by our members in the work we do in your name.  And you put me in the midst of these holy people.  I am overcome with joy and gratitude.

orange guy - prayer


Lord of Light,

I bring our congregation’s future to you again today.  If it pleases you, Lord, remind us all why we are together.  If it brings you glory, Lord, loose us from the bonds of our existing ways so that we can evaluate clearly what we are doing that best serves you.  If it pleases you, Lord, let us value our heritage and be true to it, even as we consider new and different ways.  If it brings you glory, Lord, send us visions of what you want us to be…  “that Congregational Church in Batavia…  the one that…”  Let us fill in those blanks, Lord, I pray of thee.


Generous Giver,

All that we see, all that we hear, all that we touch and taste and smell, and all that we know is true, all this has been and will always be a gift from you.  Thank you for light and air and animals, vegetables and minerals.  Thank you for technology and healing.  Thank you for beauty.  Thank you for our church.  Lord, I love you so much!

And I pray in Jesus’ name,


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!

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 313 other followers

Posting Dates

April 2018
« Jun    

Blog Stats

  • 5,373 hits