≡ Menu

Story

Today’s Reflection

STORY IS THE PRIMARY WAY we impart what really matters to the next generation. Stories have the potential to embody biblical and theological content in ways that sink into the imagination, take root, and grow.

– Sarah Arthur
The God-Hungry Imagination

From page 17 of The God-Hungry Imagination: The Art of Storytelling for Postmodern Youth Ministry by Sarah Arthur. Copyright © 2007 by Sarah Arthur. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What stories from your childhood have shaped your faith? Give thanks to God for what you see, smell, feel, and hear. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

David put his hand in his bag, took out a stone, slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead; the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.

1 Samuel 17:49, NRSV

This Week: pray a prayer of thanksgiving every day this week. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Ephrem (June 18).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

Share
{ 4 comments }

Walk Slowly

Today’s Reflection

THE BIBLE’S AUTHORS lived in a three-mile-per-hour world defined by feet rather than wheels or wings. Their world was much smaller, but they knew it more intimately. When I walk, I notice the squirrels in the trees and flattened grass where a rabbit has passed. I encounter smells, textures, and sounds that otherwise I would not notice. I sense more deeply my connection to the natural world around me. When I drive, I see only a blur of people and objects, fleeting and vanishing. Pieces of landscape flash before my eyes in swift succession. The faster I move, the less I experience.

– Thomas R. Hawkins
Every Step a Prayer

From page 36 of Every Step a Prayer: Walking As Spiritual Practice by Thomas R. Hawkins. Copyright © 2016 by Thomas R. Hawkins. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

If you are able, go for a walk today. What of God’s creation draws your attention? Give thanks to God for what you see, smell, feel, and hear. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“[The Kingdom of God] is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

Mark 4:31-32, NRSV

This Week: pray for those who need comfort. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Anthony of Padua (June 13).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

Share
{ 8 comments }

A Guest’s Gifts

Today’s Reflection

MY DAD’S FAVORITE Gospel story — the text of his last sermon — shows Jesus again breaking bread, this time at a friend’s dinner table. That afternoon on the road to Emmaus, he and said friend Cleopas have seemingly happened upon each other, though Cleopas thinks he is walking with a stranger who hasn’t heard the week’s news: about the crucified prophet and now his missing corpse. Even hearing Jesus’ scriptural interpretations, Cleopas remains clueless until the man he invites to stay for supper takes a lead role — picking up, blessing, and breaking the day’s loaf. As recorded, it isn’t Jesus’ profile, gait, cadence, or teaching that prompts recognition. Cleopas notes something unique and sacred in Jesus’ hands. Does he see nail prints? Or something more familiar from earlier days — the way he handles bread? I propose that as Jesus broke bread, host Cleopas recognized the wounds and the gifts of a guest.

God, whether I’m a hostess or a guest, I’m breaking bread with wounded but wonder-working companions. Open my eyes to see the message revealed in their broken or breaking hands.

– Evelyn Bence
Room at My Table

From page 77 of Room at My Table: Preparing Heart and Home for Christian Hospitality by Evelyn Bence. Copyright © 2014 by Evelyn Bence. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Pray the prayer at the end of today’s excerpt. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died.

2 Corinthians 5:14, NRSV

This Week: pray for those who need comfort. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Anthony of Padua (June 13).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

Share
{ 6 comments }

Gifted for Ministry

Today’s Reflection

EVERYONE IS GIFTED for special ministries. Although some people say they aren’t, they may be thinking about talents or natural abilities. Some even excuse themselves from serving in the church because they claim the absence of usuable talents and skills. But the biblical truth is that all Christians have spiritual gifts that carry extraordinary powers and responsibilities.

– Charles V. Bryant
Rediscovering Our Spiritual Gifts

From page 19 of Rediscovering Our Spiritual Gifts: Building Up the Body of Christ Through the Gifts of the Spirit by Charles V. Bryant. Copyright © 1991 by Charles V. Bryant. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What would others say are you spiritual gifts? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord — for we walk by faith, not by sight.

2 Corinthians 5:6-7, NRSV

This Week: pray for those who need comfort. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Anthony of Padua (June 13).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

Share
{ 15 comments }

Growing Gifts

Today’s Reflection

OUR GIFTS AND SPIRITUAL ABILITIES are not given to us fully developed. We must grow into our gifts. When we receive the gifts, however, they already have all the power or energy to fulfill God’s purposes. Yet, we must discover the nature and scope of our gifts. We must grow into our gifts and allow them to fully develop through faithful use. The more we use our gifts, study them, talk about them, and even experiment with them, the more confidence we will gain in using them.


Rediscovering Our Spiritual Gifts Workbook

From page 28 of Rediscovering Our Spiritual Gifts Workbook by John I. Penn. Copyright © 1996 by John I. Penn. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What are your spiritual gifts? What are you doing to use and strengthen them? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses, but our pride is in the name of the LORD our God.

Psalm 20:7, NRSV

This Week: pray for those who need comfort. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Anthony of Padua (June 13).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

Share
{ 5 comments }

Ordinary Missionaries

Today’s Reflection

BAPTISM IS A COMMITMENT to raising ordinary missionaries. It is not possible to enter the kingdom of God as a follower of Jesus and not become a participant in his mission. For one thing, all the teaching of Jesus is about what it means to participate in the kingdom as both citizen and servant. For another thing, being obedient to the Great Commission is itself part of the “everything” we are meant to teach others, from generation to generation.

– Philip R. Meadows
Remembering Our Baptism

From page 22 of Remembering Our Baptism: Discipleship and Mission in the Wesleyan Spirit by Philip R. Meadows. Copyright © 2017 by Philip R. Meadows. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Discipleship Resources. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

How are you a missionary for Christ? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

May we shout for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God set up our banners. May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.

Psalm 20:5, NRSV

This Week: pray for those who need comfort. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Anthony of Padua (June 13).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

Share
{ 22 comments }

Disciple-Making Communities

Today’s Reflection

BAPTISM IS A COMMITMENT to be a disciple-making community. We must remember that Jesus is not addressing a collection of individual leaders but a community of disciples. He is inviting them to fulfill his commission as coworkers with him. Again, his promise to be with them is not an assurance that he will remain with each one individually but that he will abide among them all as a community.

It takes a community of discipleship, gathered around the feet of Jesus, to teach others his way of life. As people on the go, we should be imparting the message and life of the kingdom by starting disciple-making communities wherever we are and wherever our travels may take us.

– Philip R. Meadows
Remembering Our Baptism

From pages 21-22 of Remembering Our Baptism: Discipleship and Mission in the Wesleyan Spirit by Philip R. Meadows. Copyright © 2017 by Philip R. Meadows. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Discipleship Resources. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

How do you see yourself as a part of a disciple-making community? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

The LORD answer you in the day of trouble! The name of the God of Jacob protect you!

Psalm 20:1, NRSV

This Week: pray for those who need comfort. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Anthony of Padua (June 13).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

Share
{ 5 comments }

Practical Mentoring

Today’s Reflection

BAPTISM IS A COMMITMENT to practical mentoring. Jesus said, “Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.” On the one hand, doing this “as we go” means that our teaching wil be rooted in the witness and example of our daily lives. On the other hand, the emphasis is on the word “obey” rather than “everything.” In other words, the real challenge is not merely helping new disciples to understand all the commands of Jesus, but helping them to put his teaching into practiced. The perennial challenge facing discipleship is not knowing what we should do; it is doing what we already know we should do. In other words, the challenge is obedience. Equally, discipleship training is not about slavish legalism to an impossible standarad of values and rules. It is about a way of life that is marked by joyful obedience, flowing from the heart of our new identity as children of God.

– Philip R. Meadows
Remembering Our Baptism

From page 21 of Remembering Our Baptism: Discipleship and Mission in the Wesleyan Spirit by Philip R. Meadows. Copyright © 2017 by Philip R. Meadows. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Discipleship Resources. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

How do you see yourself as a mentor to someone baptized in your church? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.

1 Samuel 16:13, NRSV

This Week: pray for those who need comfort. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Anthony of Padua (June 13).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

Share
{ 8 comments }

Disciples in Mission

Today’s Reflection

BAPTISM IS a commitment to evangelistic mission. Baptism does not make sense apart from the practice of evangelism, conversion to Jesus, initiation into the kingdom of God, and the life of discipleship. But it can be observed that Jesus used the word “Go” in a present continuous tense that could be translated, “As you are going.” From this perspective, it does not mean going overseas on long- or short-term mission projects. Nor does it mean staying to do the same kinds of projects with needy people at home. Rather, it implies that the business of making disciples is something that emerges organically as we go through everyday life and among the networks of relationships we make along the way.

This is what Jesus did, and it has implications for all of us. Wherever we might live, the mission field is on the doorstep of our everyday lives. For some of us, going where Jesus sends will mean leaving home and living with a doorstep that opens onto a very unfamiliar world. But for all of us, going where Jesus sends means crossing the threshold as ordinary missionaries into a world that needs to hear the gospel.

– Philip R. Meadows
Remembering Our Baptism

From pages 20-21 of Remembering Our Baptism: Discipleship and Mission in the Wesleyan Spirit by Philip R. Meadows. Copyright © 2017 by Philip R. Meadows. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Discipleship Resources. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Where are you in mission as a disciple of Jesus? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

Mark 3:35, NRSV

This Week: pray for patience. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Boniface (June 5).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

Share
{ 18 comments }

Growing in God

Today’s Reflection

WE HAVE BEEN EXPLORING what it means to know ourselves as a first step toward spiritual practice. The goal of this self-reflection is to broaden the breadth of our self-understanding so that we create enough spiritual space to deepen our understanding of God. This self-knowledge includes emotions (what we feel), reason (what we think), and attachments (what we want). Increasing our awareness does not mean we overcome or remove these forces; we simply recognize them. Our goal cannot be to rid ourselves of feelings, thoughts, and attachments. Instead we choose to be conscious and mindful of what triggers them and how they affect us.

We have all heard the saying, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” So it is with our thoughts, feelings, and attachments. We should know them and stay aware of them, but we cannot let them define us. Consider the difference between saying, “I am having a sad feeling” and “I am sad.”

Recognizing our current emotional experience is healthy, but we are not our emotions. We are much more than those. We are not our thoughts or desires; we are more than those as well. We strive toward a way of life that does not allow thoughts, feelings, and desires to consume us. We will know ourselves better when we can identify our thoughts, feelings, and desires and take them into account as we react to the world around us.

– Christopher Maricle
Deeply Rooted

From pages 30-31 of Deeply Rooted: Knowing Self, Growing in God by Christopher Maricle. Copyright © 2016 by Christopher Maricle. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Do you agree that self-awareness creates room for growth in God? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.

Mark 3:24, NRSV

This Week: pray for patience. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Boniface (June 5).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

Share
{ 9 comments }