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Loneliness

Today’s Reflection

TO BE HUMAN is to know and experience loneliness and, in that loneliness, the longing for connection and communion. Some of the most soulful, simple, and compassionate people I know are financially wealthy and, like me, have a longing for love, friendship, community, and communion. Some of my most generous friends are people with an intellectual disability who have no money and who experience an almost unthinkable vulnerability in our modern world. They, like me, long for friendship and communion.

One of the myths we tell ourselves about money is that money will bring us happiness. Years ago, someone with a lot of financial wealth said to me, “You know, don’t you, that people who have money are neither less lonely nor happier than others? We are just more comfortable.” My superficial response was to smile and nod. When I realized he was not making a joke, I replied, “Tell me more.” We had a short but heartfelt encounter in which he shared some of his loneliness. I could connect with him because I too know about loneliness.

—Henri J. M. Nouwen with Nathan Ball
A Spirituality of Fundraising: Workbook Edition

From page 102 of A Spirituality of Fundraising: Workbook Edition by Henri J. M. Nouwen and Nathan Ball. Copyright © 2019 by The Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust and The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Do you sometimes think more stuff and more wealth will make you less lonely and happier?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.
—Mark 10:25, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Creator God,
Give us vision and mission, so that we may find new life and direction. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Learn more about this week’s featured book, A Spirituality of Fundraising Workbook Edition.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Radical

Today’s Reflection

PRAYER IS RADICAL because it uncovers the deepest roots of our identity in God. In prayer we seek God’s voice and allow God’s word to penetrate our fear and resistance so that we can begin to hear what God wants us to know. And what God wants us to know is that before we think or do or accomplish anything, before we have much money or little money, the deepest truth of our human identity is this: “You are my beloved son. You are my beloved daughter. With you I am well pleased.”

From page 37 of A Spirituality of Fundraising: Workbook Edition by Henri J. M. Nouwen with Nathan Ball. Copyright © 2019 by The Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust and The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Why might someone doubt he or she is beloved by God? How might we as Christians help when someone doubts his or her belovedness?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

[T]he Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
—Luke 3:22, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Creator God,
Give us vision and mission, so that we may find new life and direction. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Learn more about this week’s featured book, A Spirituality of Fundraising Workbook Edition.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Security

Today’s Reflection

MONEY has something to do with that intimate place in our heart where we need security, and we do not want to reveal our need or give away our security to someone who, maybe only accidentally, might betray us. Many voices around and within us warn us of the danger of dependence. We fear being dependent on others because of the idea that dependence is a threat to our security….

The pressure in our culture to secure our own future and to control our lives as much as possible does not find support in the Bible. Jesus knows our need for security. He is concerned that because security is such a deep human need, we do not misplace our trust in things or people that cannot offer us real security.

—Henri J. M. Nouwen with Nathan Ball
A Spirituality of Fundraising: Workbook Edition

From page 29 of A Spirituality of Fundraising: Workbook Edition by Henri J. M. Nouwen and Nathan Ball. Copyright © 2019 by by The Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust and The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Do you fear being dependent on others? Does that make it more difficult for you to truly depend on God?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
—Matthew 6:19-21, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Creator God,
Give us vision and mission, so that we may find new life and direction. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Learn more about this week’s featured book, A Spirituality of Fundraising Workbook Edition.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Identity

Today’s Reflection

EVERY PERSON has the ability to be a minister. We all are called to make love our aim and to bear witness to the power of love in the world. Ministry isn’t only work for “professionals”—that is, pastors, church employees, missionaries, or those who give their lives to serve the least among us. Ministry is the unique way each of us uses our gifts and our energy to share God’s love with the world. This ministerial work can be done at home, at work, or in the marketplace. But before we can do the work of ministry, we first must affirm our identity as ministers, as people who have accepted the call to be servants of love, each in our unique way.

—Henri J. M. Nouwen with Nathan Ball
A Spirituality of Fundraising: Workbook Edition

From page 41 of A Spirituality of Fundraising: Workbook Edition by Henri J. M. Nouwen and Nathan Ball. Copyright © 2019 by by The Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust and The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

In what ways are you a minister to those around you?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.
—1 Peter 4:10, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Creator God,
Give us vision and mission, so that we may find new life and direction. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Learn more about this week’s featured book, A Spirituality of Fundraising Workbook Edition.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Those with Money

Today’s Reflection

WHEN THOSE WITH MONEY and those who need money share a mission, we see a central sign of new life in the Spirit of Christ. We belong together in our work because Jesus has brought us together, and our fruitfulness depends on staying connected with him. Jesus tells us: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). With him, we can do anything because we know that God surrounds us with an abundance of blessings.

—Henri J. M. Nouwen with Nathan Ball
Spirituality of Fundraising: Workbook Edition

From page 26 of Spirituality of Fundraising: Workbook Edition by Henri J. M. Nouwen and Nathan Ball. Copyright © 2019 by The Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust and by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

How does the imagery of the vine and branches affect how you view your relationship with God and others? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.
—John 15:5, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Creator God,
Give us vision and mission, so that we may find new life and direction. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Learn more about this week’s featured book, A Spirituality of Fundraising Workbook Edition.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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I Declare

Today’s Reflection

I RECENTLY ATTENDED a church service where several adults were baptized. As part of this ritual, each one of them was asked to affirm his or her choice to be baptized by declaring several sentences that included the words, “I declare my courage to participate in the building of the reign of God that is in the world and in me.” These words moved me deeply. In that moment, I felt compelled to declare my own courage to participate in building the reign of God in the world.

—Henri J. M. Nouwen with Nathan Ball
A Spirituality of Fundraising: Workbook Edition

From pages 24–25 of A Spirituality of Fundraising: Workbook Edition by Henri J. M. Nouwen and Nathan Ball. Copyright © 2019 by by The Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust and The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

How can you participate in building the reign of God in the world today?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.
—Luke 9:2, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Creator God,
Give us vision and mission, so that we may find new life and direction. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Learn more about this week’s featured book, A Spirituality of Fundraising Workbook Edition.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 6 comments }

Fundraising as Ministry

Today’s Reflection

FUNDRAISING is a subject we seldom think about from a spiritual perspective. We may think of fundraising as a necessary but unpleasant activity to support spiritual things. Or we might believe that fundraising reflects a failure to plan well or to trust enough that God will provide for all our needs. Indeed, quite often fundraising is a response to a crisis. Suddenly our organization or faith community does not have enough money, so we begin to say: “How are we going to get the money we need? We have to start asking for it.” Then we realize that we are not used to doing this. We may feel awkward and a little embarrassed about it. We begin to worry and wonder: “Who will give us money? How will we ask them?” …

From the perspective of the gospel, fundraising is not a response to a crisis. Fundraising is, first and foremost, a form of ministry. It is a way of announcing our vision and inviting other people into our mission. Vision and mission are so central to the life of God’s people that without vision we perish and without mission we lose our way.

—Henri J. M. Nouwen with Nathan Ball
A Spirituality of Fundraising: Workbook Edition

From page 24 of A Spirituality of Fundraising: Workbook Edition by Henri J. M. Nouwen and Nathan Ball. Copyright © 2019 by The Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust and The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What other “unpleasant” or simple activities might we view as meaningful ministry if we look at them from a spiritual perspective? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
—Colossians 3:2, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Creator God,
Give us vision and mission, so that we may find new life and direction. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Learn more about this week’s featured book, A Spirituality of Fundraising Workbook Edition.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 5 comments }

Boldness

Today’s Reflection

SCHOLARS hold many theories about what happens to Paul. … Some think he is released from his confinement in Rome and undertakes another missionary journey that includes a trip to Spain. Most agree that he eventually is martyred in Rome.

The church and the gospel Paul proclaims lives on. The end of this story is yet to be written, and we are part of its writing. … [We] have a voice in determining how this story will end.

May we share the confidence and courage of Paul as we live, speak, and act as witnesses.

—Linda Tower Pevey
We are the Church … Let’s Act Like It: A Study on the Book of Acts

From page 74 of We are the Church … Let’s Act Like It: A Study on the Book of Acts by Linda Tower Pevey. Copyright © 2019 by Linda Tower Pevey. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What gives you confidence and encouragement to live, speak, and act as witnesses?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

For you will be his witness to all the world of what you have seen and heard. And now why do you delay? Get up, be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on his name.—Acts 22:15-16, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Lord, help us be the Church you created us to be. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Since World War II, The Upper Room has been sending copies of the daily devotional to military chaplains (and now to prison chaplains) for their ministries. Between Memorial Day and July 31, we aim to raise $100,000 for this valuable ministry. Please help our troops by giving today.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 4 comments }

Never the Same

Today’s Reflection

IF YOU LIKE John Grisham novels or Court TV, you will love [the] final chapters of Acts. Paul stands trial before three different authorities before making his way to Rome to be heard by Caesar himself. These final chapters also tell the story of how Jesus’ witnesses carry his message from Jerusalem to the very “ends of the earth” in those days—throughout the known world from Jerusalem to Rome—and how the Jewish sect becomes an important and influential presence within the vast and powerful Roman empire and the entire world. Thirty years is all it takes. The world would never be the same.

—Linda Tower Pevey
We are the Church … Let’s Act Like It: A Study on the Book of Acts

From page 74 of We are the Church … Let’s Act Like It: A Study on the Book of Acts. Copyright © 2019 by Linda Tower Pevey. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

In what ways does your church work to transform your community? In what ways might you help transform the world?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

When they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus.—Acts 4:13, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Lord, help us be the Church you created us to be. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Since World War II, The Upper Room has been sending copies of the daily devotional guide to military chaplains (and to prison chaplains) for their ministries. Between Memorial Day and July 31, we aim to raise $100,000 for this valuable ministry. Please help our troops by giving today.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 5 comments }

What You Wear

Today’s Reflection

YEARS AGO, I traveled with two people from my church to Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago to attend a small-group conference. We intentionally arrived a day early so we could attend their mid-week Believers Bible Service. We seriously underestimated the Chicago traffic. As we were driving to Willow Creek, we realized we would not have time to stop at the hotel and change clothes. We had been traveling all day, and we were all dressed in jeans. I was mortified at the thought of attending a worship service in jeans, especially at a church I had never attended. As we drove, we debated: Should we skip it? Should we stop and change and arrive late? Or should we just go in jeans?

After thoroughly considering all the options, we finally decided to go in jeans. It sounds quaint now that we would even think twice or consider skipping worship because we were dressed in jeans. I’ve come to realize that what I wear to worship God is not important to God. It took me many years to give up my—and many others’—tradition of dressing up to go to church.

—Linda Tower Pevey
We are the Church … Let’s Act Like It: A Study on the Book of Acts

From page 52 of We are the Church … Let’s Act Like It: A Study on the Book of Acts by Linda Tower Pevey. Copyright © 2019 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Name a tradition in your church. What are the pros and cons of that tradition? Does that tradition ever get in the way of meaningful worship and service? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles.
—Acts 2:43, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Lord, help us be the Church you created us to be. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Since World War II, The Upper Room has been sending copies of the daily devotional to military chaplains (and now to prison chaplains) for their ministries. Between Memorial Day and July 31, we aim to raise $100,000 for this valuable ministry. Please help our troops by giving today.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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