Book of Jonah

the entire book of Jonah.  It is a short book of only 4 chapters.   Approach the book as if you never heard the Sunday School story of Jonah and the whale. Read it as if you have never heard the story.  (At you can read it or listen to it being read to you.)

JOURNAL QUESTIONS  (to be done before our meeting)

1.  What are your first impressions?

2.  At different junctures, stop and ask what do you think will/should happen?

3.  What did you notice that you never saw before?

4.  Write a character sketch of Jonah from Chapter One

Reflect over the next few days on Jonah 1:1-3

A place to experience ordinary living in a sacramental way.

December Spiritual Focus

Advent Jesse Tree

The season is a busy time but let us expectantly draw aside and remember the greatest gift ever give, Jesus the Christ, Son of God, Savior, Wonderful Counselor.  
We have two suggestions to help make this season memorable.

The Jesse Tree
The Jesse Tree is really an Advent Tree where ornaments are made and hung that depict the expectation of Jesus from the Old Testament and his coming into the world.  In Isaiah 11:1 we read "A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots."   Rooted in this scripture, the Jesse Tree is a means to tell the story of God’s faithfulness over 4,000 years of history that is.

     A website for experiencing a Jesse Tree
       A 25 day journey includes a Bible text, devotion that
       can be read to the family, and a short action point of 
       the day.  This is online or it can be printed out.  It 
       also includes printable ornaments you can use to
       make a Jesse tree with your family.

A Daily Reading
If you would rather have a daily reading program, may we suggest Christmastide.
Christmastide: Prayers for Advent Through Epiphany from The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle 
    Christmastide is a book that gives experience in praying
    the hours during the Advent, Christmas and Epiphany 

Merry Christmas and Peace on Earth

Spiritual Focus for November

Giving Thanks
An attitude of gratitude 

November is a time for cool crisp weather and  leaves changing from green to red, orange and yellow.  It is a time for football, raking leaves and fires in the fireplace.  It is also a time for turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie.  But most importantly it is a time when we take time to “Give Thanks.”  Our nation sets aside one day to give thanks.  However, as people of God, we should have a continual attitude of gratitude. 

This month we want to be more intentional with our attitude of gratitude.  Keeping a gratitude journal is one way to do this. Another way would be to spend your drive time talking to God about all you are thankful for.  You could also write God a Thanksgiving letter.  Is there a person whose friendship you are thankful for?  Is there a teacher who placed in your heart a love or curiosity that has become your vocation?  Write them a letter.  Look for opportunities to be grateful.

We are usually pretty good at thanking God for the biggies, such as the gift of his Son, or the healing of a loved one.  But we also need to remember to thank Him for the little things, like getting all green lights on the way to work, or chocolate. 

Let's also remember to thank Him for the things we take for granted, such as sunshine, and good stable earth beneath our feet.

Here are a few more things you can consider adding to your thankfulness list:

1.    Give thanks for the Triune God, His character and His deeds.

2.    Give thanks for the your family and their impact in your life.

3.    Give thanks for the friends God has put in your life, and for those individuals known and unknown that He has put in your path.

4.    Give thanks for God’s creation, and for those “things”, big and small, that god has put in your life. 

5.    Give thanks for the gifts and talents God has given you, how He has developed your character, and the miracles He has performed in your life.  It will be easy to see the significant miracles, and you should give thanks for those.  But you should also pay attention to those other small coincidences in life that could also be God at work.

Spiritual Focus for October

Worshiping through the Psalms

Our Spiritual Focus for the month of October is Worshiping through the Psalms.  The Book of Psalms has been called the Hymnal of both the Jewish and the Christian faiths. The Psalms are hymns of praise, songs of thanksgiving and poetry of the heart that date back at least to the time of David.

Richard Foster and Julia Rolle, in their book, A Year with God, Living Out the Spiritual Disciplines , express beautifully the impact of the Book of Psalms can have on ones life...

“The Psalms are primary instruments for forming the inner life of the faithful, but much of their effectiveness derives from the fact that they are also about how this formation occurs.   They speak forth, in suitable poetic tones, of how God and human beings interact to shape the inner and outer lives of individuals and groups.  Though the Psalms do teach, most of their power for forming our inner life and character lies in their beauty and capacity to penetrate our emotions, our body, our social relations - indeed, our entire life.

These inspired poetic expressions can, under God, be the locus of great joy and character transformation as we allow them to sink deep into our heart.  If we enter into the Psalms honestly and faithfully, they can induce experiences and actions within us that truly reflect the words expressed.  This, in turn, will reshape our inner being and character into the state God would have it.  And maintain it!  The testimony of the People of God throughout the ages, even up to our day, confirms this.  Nothing on earth matches the Psalter as a public exercise for cultivating a right heart in relation to God."


Here are a couple of reading plans that I have found that you can download if you desire.  These plans concentrate on reading the Psalms.

Psalms Reading Plan Update

30 60 90 Reading Plan

August and September Focus


At one time or another most of us have had a diary or a journal, where we wrote down the events of our day or the dreams of our future.  Much of the written history we have has come from journals.  From William Bradford’s journal we experience what it was like to make the long voyage to America from England and the struggles with establishing the Plymouth Colony. From the Journal of John Wesley’s we see the joys and struggles of a man desperate to fulfill his calling from God to spread the gospel of Jesus. And from the Diary of Anne Frank we see what it was like for a young Jewish girl and her family to hide from the Nazis during WWII.

Journals help to tell the stories of our past but also they can unlock the door to ourselves and our future.  When we use journaling as a Spiritual Discipline it becomes a tool to reveal who we really are.  Along the way we also discover more fully who God is and build a relationship with Him, which is the true goal for any Spiritual Discipline.

Journaling differs from keeping just a diary.  Diaries usually just record events of the day, though those events may be described in great detail. A journal, however,  goes beyond that to comment on how those events touched our lives and how relationships were affected through those events.  We ask questions like: How do I see God working in that experience ? How did I respond to that person, place, event or reading.  How do I wish I responded.  Who am I? How did I get to where I am?  What is next? What is my purpose in life.  All the big questions of life!

Over the next 2 months we will be given different subjects to journal about.  Some include journaling about your daily events and how you responded to them and where you saw God in those events and experiences.  We will also take Scriptures and journal about our insights and ask questions of God.  We will also journal about the things we read, the movies we watch or the songs we hear.  We may even journal about the dreams we have.

What do you need to journal?

First and foremost you need a willing and open spirit.
Writing has never come easy to me.  I usually drew the H.S. English teacher who preferred teaching English literature over writing.  Yet when I journal I know no one will be correcting my writing.  I can misspell words, if I don’t know where to put a comma, who cares, and if I want to dangle a participle I can.  (FYI- I have my hubby who edits my blog, checking for writing mistakes). 

Since this is your journal,  you are free to express you deepest thoughts, feelings and dreams.  Your journal is between you, your journal and God.  It comes under the confessional or attorney/client privilege. You may share entries if you desire, however it is for “your eyes only”.

Next you need to choose a journal and a writing instrument.
Some people prefer pencils, while others use blue, black or a rainbow of color pens.  The journals themselves are as varied as the people who use them.  Some have blank pages, some have lines.  Some journals are bound while others are spiraled.  You can choose a plain or very decorative journal, a store bought or handmade journal.   Of course you may want to give up the portability of the journal for the ease of a computer.   If you use a computer, you can encrypt your journal to keep it secret, or you can put it on a password protected online directory, like Google Docs. 

Finally you need to make an appointment with your journal just as you would make a lunch date with a good friend.  Find a quiet time, a quiet space and quiet your spirit down.  Keep a scratch piece of paper close at hand to jot down any distractions that may come your way.  

This first week we want to concentrate on journaling about our day and where we see God’s hand in our life.  This will be a good start to get into the practice of Journaling.