This is Really Hard

June 21, 2018

Today’s passage is one that we should probably read at the start of every single day. In fact, you might just want to read it through again, one more time, before continuing in this reflection. I’m serious. Read it one more time slowly. Think about the message being conveyed here.

Faith Like a Child

June 20, 2018

Last fall I shared with you the story of the lemonade stand started by two kids in our church. Brynley and Blayde Buck started their lemonade and ice pop stand several years ago in conjunction with their family’s annual garage sale. The first year they raised $46.58 and in the second year, they raised $86.25, which was

Preparing for Interruptions

June 19, 2018

In yesterday’s reflection, I shared that in our readings this week we would again be focusing on an essential practice for cultivating and nurturing the joy we experience in Christ. We looked at how Paul describes and celebrates the mindset and character of Christ in Philippians chapter 2 and I invited you to note

Follow the Pattern

June 18, 2018

We spent last week focusing on the discipline and practice of gratitude. This week I want to invite you to focus on another essential practice for cultivating and nurturing the joy we experience in Christ. We start by looking at the “hymn” we find in Philippians chapter 2

(Re)Name them one by one

June 16, 2018

We finish this week where we began on Monday. We pause to “forget not all his benefits” recognizing our tendency towards forgetfulness. I hope you met our shared goal of naming 50 things you are thankful for over the course of this week. If not, take some time today to finish off that list.

Repeating the Right Things

June 15, 2018

If you haven’t noticed yet, I appreciate repetition. The last two days we looked at Romans 5:1-5 and our reading from today is the same passage that we looked at on Tuesday. It’s not a typo, but rather an intentional decision to look at this text from Tuesday again.

Giving thanks that God is always working for the good

June 14, 2018

Today, we return to the first five verses of the fifth chapter of Romans. Yesterday, we focused primarily on the first two verses of this passage and emphasized the restoration and peace that is now available to all through Jesus Christ. I hope over the course of the last 24 hours you have intentionally expressed your gratitude to God for these gifts.

Giving Thanks for Restoration

June 13, 2018

Remember with me today the affirmations we highlighted from the opening week of this series. In Christ and Christ alone, we have hope. In Christ and Christ alone, we have peace. In Christ and Christ alone we find life to the full. In Christ and Christ alone, there is unending joy.

Worry and Prayer

June 12, 2018

Last fall, during a series on prayer, we looked at the distinction between worry and prayer. I shared these two lists as a way of thinking about what each of these practices cultivates in our life.

Name Them One By One

June 11, 2018

This past weekend, I invited you the think about the importance of remembering all the words to your “Amazing Grace” faith story. I shared my conviction that our life in Christ is crippled when the “now I’m found” loses sight of the “once was lost” part of our story.

Christ in You

June 9, 2018

I wanted to end our first week together with the passage that I shared with you in the opening message of the Summer of Joy series. Remember that Paul is speaking here about becoming a servant of the Gospel - the message about what Christ has done, what Christ is doing,

"Did you catch that?"

June 8, 2018

Do me a favor real quick. Think back to the last time something was shared with you that left you stunned or amazed. I’m thinking about a moment when you could not believe what you just heard. You might have responded by saying, “I’m sorry, but could you repeat that?”

Encountering Christ Today

June 7, 2018

Unless you are brand new to First Methodist Mansfield, you have probably heard Pastor Caesar share one of the songs he learned as a child growing up at Mount Nebo Baptist Church. Caesar has been known to break out in song in the middle of doing a baptism, before leading a prayer or even in the middle of a sermon.

A Great Way to Start

June 6, 2018

If you are new to this devotional resource, you may not know the reason why we call this First 15. I know the rhythm and routines of our lives are varied and unique. My wife Stephanie and I are morning people. Our 14 year old daughter loves the summer months when she can wake up just in time for lunch.

Practicing Being Present

June 5, 2018

In June 1640, Nicolas Herman joined a monastery in Paris. He lived the rest of his life as a member of that religious community, where his main responsibilities included working in the kitchen and performing other menial tasks to support his fellow Monks.