TRANSFORMED BY FAITH TODAY by Rev. Jennifer Fenner of Epworth United Methodist Church Gaithersburg Maryland
What are you standing on today?
PSALM 62:5-6 Find rest, oh my soul, in God alone: my hope comes from God. God alone is my rock and my salvation: God is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
What a beautiful thought that God can be a rock upon which we stand. A place that cannot be moved or shaken even as the world seems to spin, our emotions overflow, and the trials never end. Psalm 62 verse 11 and 12 ends the Psalm this way.
One thing God has spoken and two things have ....I heard that you, oh God, are strong and that you, oh Lord, are loving.
There’s nothing like being in the mountains to sense the magnitude and fortitude of rock. Hundreds of thousands of years are present before your very eyes. And to look out from the one rock upon which you stand and see the rest of the mountainous formations gives an amazing sense of the strength and the love and creative care of God.
I have heard it described that Satan can overwhelm us with a flood of words. Words that fill our life and thoughts and that overtake our hearts such but there is no space to hear the word of the Lord or to sense God‘s unchanging power in the midst of so many voices. Psalm 62 asks how long were you assault an individual? Will all of you throw him down this wall, this tottering fence? Are you fully intending to topple him from his lofty place and take delight in lies. With your mouth you bless but in your hearts you curse.
Satan may attack us with a flood of words, some that even come through the mouth of others as supposed blessings, but our soul is called to find rest in the Lord. We are called to hope in God. We are called to stand on God as the unshaken rock and foundation.
Today, may you see God —but not in a flood of words, but in the sheer silence as you stand upon the rock and look out on the magnitude and fortitude of all God has created for you and for me.
TRANSFORMED BY FAITH TODAY Podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner of Epworth United Methodist Church Gaithersburg Maryland
DO YOU HAVE A PLACE WHERE YOU DRAW STRENGTH FOR EACH DAY?
And if not, how can you possibly make the long journey??
Psalm 1: 2-3 says
Blessed is the one who delights in the word of the Lord and on God’s word meditates day and night. This person is like a tree planted by streams of water which yield fruit in season and whose leaves do not wither.
I love that God invites us to a place where we continually and quietly in underground unspoken ways draw water and strength daily from God.
I invite us in these days when the journey is long and justice continues to need to be sought, and the pandemic rages on and we feel tired and weary, I encourage us to plant ourselves beside streams of living water that will feed us.
These are days to be fed by God for the long journey
TRANSFORMED BY FAITH TODAY by Rev. Jennifer Fenner of Epworth United Methodist Church of Gaithersburg
What sustains you daily?
Philippians 4:13 is known for emphasizing ALL THINGS we can do through Christ who strengthens us
But starting the verse before enriches even further.
Philippians 4:12 is Paul laying out the daily strength he has found in God. He says - I have learned to be content or rest in all things whether I am well fed or hungry. - This daily undeterred rest is essential in hard times.
Similarly Joshua 1:6 Is famous for God encouraging Joshua to be strong and courageous. But Joshua 1:8 outlines how Joshua is to find that courage. It is by daily meditating on the word of God￼.
Learning to rest and find renewal and strength in Christ is not just on vacation or sabbath, it is necessary to be sustained each day. Courage, strength, and rest in all circumstances, come when we are sustained by God's word and when we DAILY feed our spirits not just our bodies. Especially in hard times we are tempted to lean only on our understanding, analysis, effort. Let us cling more tightly now to the spaces God speaks to us.
TRANSFORMED BY FAITH TODAY by Rev. Jennifer Fenner of Epworth United Methodist Church in Gaithersburg Maryland
Where are you headed this year?
When Jesus was tempted by Satan He reminded us all that we cannot live on physical bread alone -we must be fed by the word of God
When Elijah is pursued on every side God reminds him -that God is found
not in the wind that breaks mountains into rocks.
Not in the earthquake that moves foundations,
not in the fire that burns too hot
But in the sheer sound of silence
God speaks when we stop long enough to hear!
Isaiah 40:30 reminds us that those who wait, rest, hope in the Lord will be renewed
This pandemic is far from over
There is clear resurgent boldness amount white supremist
Our Capitol was assaulted
And our financial pressures are great!
How will you enter 2021?
Join Epworth for 21 days of podcast focused on resting and renewing in Gods strength
We cannot make it even today without the word of the Lord
TRANSFORMED BY FAITH TODAY from @Epworth United Methodist Church of Gaitherburg and the Rev. Jennifer Fenner
New Beginnings: Episode 8 January 2021
The newness of the new year already does not seem like enough, right? Ready for a do-over for 2021?
The truth is the passing of one calendar year to the next never will be our fulfillment. God is the newness we need.
Revelation 21 - the powerful vision given to John as he is incarcerated on the Island of Patmos and his church under great trial - includes the prophetic words from Isaiah 25.
The newness, the complete renewal God promises for this earth has three profound components.
1. We will be God's people and God will be our God in a way that is deeper and more intense than even our best moments now. We will belong completely! All of us!
2. There will be no more death. None. The wages of sin are death. There will be justice and righteousness that overtakes our brokenness and sin. And death will be permanently swallowed in the victory of God. ALL OF IT.
3. And - my favorite honestly - as it seems to show God knows we need not just justice but Gods attention and tenderness - God ---with all the power of hands that created the universe - God, will personally and specifically take tender fingers to wipe every tear from your eye and from mine!
There is newness and renewal.
And then there is God's newness.
As we struggle in these days may we draw hope from these profound promises of God!
And may we look and be
- signs of God with us,
- hope in the face of death and redemption in the face of sin, and - - compassion and tenderness in the moments of deep suffering and need.
It is amazing how those three things can change even today!
TRANSFORMED BY FAITH TODAY with the Rev. Jen Fenner of @Epworth United Methodist Church of Gaithersburg
New Beginning Episode 7 Jan 2021
If there has ever been a day to begin anew in this nation it is today.￼
Did yesterday’s events leave you feeling consumed? Because of the Lords compassion we are not consumed.
God’s steadfast love is our foundation. Great is God’s faithfulness.￼ And yet injustice and evil are still present in so many ways. Today God we ask for the stillness of mind and heart, so that we would hear you. We ask for your truth that you promise will set us free. We ask to abide in You
Apart from you we can do nothing, and certainly nothing in Your Name for Your Kingdom
TRANSFORMED BY FAITH TODAY
Episode 6 January 2021 - Epiphany and All Things New
Isaiah 43:18-19 Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
Do you believe that new things are possible?
Or do the former things - the things you have experienced, the things that have scarred you, the things that have inspired you - what you have seen and what you have come to believe - forever dictate what you see for the future?
Will you leave space for GOD to do a NEW THING?
Epiphany - God pushing open WIDER the message of salvation to include all nations is important. We so often make God in our image, according to what we have experienced, and what we believe. We believe some lives are worth saving but not all! We believe God is about our nation when God will not be constrained!
For all our limiting attempts, God will always be God.
Jesus was the long awaited Messiah. Jesus was not the one to save just the people of Israel. Jesus had come to save ALL from their sins.
Believing new things in God are possible requires always leaving the door open to what God does beyond what we see or imagine - the impossible is possible with God.
Leave the former things behind. Look I am doing a new thing, God says.
Is God big enough in your life to lead you into new ways, to include new nations, to provide streams in the wasteland and a way in the wilderness......God must be God to you - if this is possible. May it be so!
TRANSFORMED BY FAITH TODAY
PSALM 121: New Beginnings
New Years resolutions can feel like a hopeful fresh page on January 1 and quickly become another burden to carry by January 3rd
God promises to be the shade at our right hand as we cross deserts of open road.
The newness of a new year is only sustained by the God that constantly and consistently makes all things new.
Are you taking God up on the offer to be your strength and your shade?
Where does your help for all thing new come from?
Psalm 121 says our help is from the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Will you let God author the newness in your life this year?
Transformed by Faith Today with Epworth United Methodist Church of Gaithersburg Maryland and the Rev. Jennifer Fenner
There is a new year ahead of us and we are grateful.
But new year rarely bring newness if there is not an internal change.
2 Corinthians 5:17 speaks of the ways in which faith brings new creation - new beginnings.
The foundation of faith is the possibility that God's grace in Christ allows us to start anew.
You and I are not bound by past choice or even our weakest moments. Newness is not based upon our own strength or skill or even dedication to this year's resolution. God's grace makes things new. And the ability to start anew is a door that remains open always by God's grace.
Will you find a deep sense of newness?
Will you live with others granting them the possibility to begin anew as well?
New creation in Christ does not limit accountability or responsibility but rather softens hearts to the possibility that things can be change and the world can become what we do not yet see!
MARY DID YOU KNOW? sung by Floyd Jones
TRANSFORMED BY FAITH TODAY with 30 Days of reflections on Advent and Christmas Songs
Is there something God has told you that you JUST KNOW?
No circumstances or conversations with others can take away the certainty of what God has given you?
Claim it! and Hold on to it! God is faithful.
Mary, had that kind of knowing, when it came to the nature of her son.
Mark Lowry, author of the lyrics to Mary did you Know? detailed the idea for the song. "It came from a conversation with my mother," he said. She told me - no one but Mary - had the 100% conviction that Jesus was born from a virgin. And perhaps that certainty, the knowledge that Jesus was not an ordinary child, was the only thing that strengthened her as she watched him suffer and die on the cross.
Lowry shared that his mother's reflection on Mary led him to consider other questions he might have for her......
Mary do you know that the baby you cradle will one day cradle you?
Do you know that he will walk on water, heal the sick, give sight to the blind?
Do you know?
Today as the Christmas festivities fade, hold tight to the secret, the promise, the gift God has spoken in you. THERE IS SOMETHING you KNOW because GOD HAS SAID so. Trust it! Claim it! Lean into it! God is amazingly personal and connected to each of us. It is part of the depth of love we are given. Rest in what you know even in the face of evil and sin and challenge and heart ache! As Mary said, may we all say ....here we are, your servants! May it be with us ACCORDING TO YOUR WORD!
O TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN sung here by Floyd Jones
TRANSFORMED BY FAITH TODAY from Rev. Jennifer Fenner of Epworth United Methodist Church Gaithersburg Maryland
Have you stood in a thin place - where God reached from the heavens to the mountain top you were standing upon?
Do you have a story to tell and a witness to hope for someone today?
The Christmas Song Go Tell It on the Mountain was published in the early 1900s by John Wesley Work Jr, a choir director, educator and Harvard alum. Wesley Work is credited as being the first African American collector of African American Spirituals.
Obviously the song existed much earlier than that - sung by those who believed in the good news of God even in the midst of the incomprehensible injustices of a slavery system whose remnants continue today.
The song speaks of mountains - and scripture is full of them. Many times God speaks to Abraham on Mount Moriah, Moses (with the ten commandments), Jesus on the Mount of Temptation and later on Mt Calvary, the disciples as they witness Jesus' transfiguration.
Modern day Christians of the Iona community refer to mountain top God experiences as thin places.
Isaiah 52 speaks of the beauty of mountain spaces and the feet of those who share the good news of Gods Hope
7 How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”
8 Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices;
together they shout for joy.
When the Lord returns to Zion,
they will see it with their own eyes.
To whom will you bear HOPE today?
Go tell it from the mountains.....the power of an incarnate God with us!
Joy to the World! After this year - WHO ISNT LOOKING FOR JOY!?! But where do we find deep true lifting joy?
Has 2020 left you reeling from the pain of human sin - whether lies, selfishness, or death? Do you long for a world in which systemic racism, concentrations of power, and the misallocation of resources would be overcome by compassion and truth and grace?
Do you just simply wish that even in this pandemic some would not be standing in 100 car+ lines for food while others feel less effect?
Psalm 98 is the foundation of the lyrics to Joy to the World. Powerfully the joy described is two part
- Joy that God has revealed God's love through Christ who literally saves us from sin and death.
-Joy that God will come again to rule in truth and grace
Methodism was founded on the theological understanding that we need personal holiness through God's grace in Christ and a role in social holiness - the ultimate work of the kingdom of God!
Methodist's hold the basic Christian belief that God took human form in the person of Christ and God will come again to bring complete righteousness to earth.
Hasn't 2020 shown us enough?
We need JOY! Joy that comes from salvation. Joy that comes from the knowledge that Christ will come again.
Sin hurts and breaks and diminishes.
Death is real
And generations, systems, and structures of injustice really do imprison all of human kind
Come Lord Jesus to rule in truth and grace.
WE NEED YOU!
Make known your salvation
And show your righteousness in all the earth!
Oh sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things!
His right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
2 The Lord has made known his salvation;
he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
4 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
5 Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody!
6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord!
7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
the world and those who dwell in it!
8 Let the rivers clap their hands;
let the hills sing for joy together
9 before the Lord, for he comes
to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with equity.
The Hallelujah Chorus composed by Handel was originally part of an Easter oratorio. Gradually the Hallelujah Chorus found its way into Christmas celebrations. That is in part because there is no one season to worship God. Praising is what we do.
Taken from Revelation 19:6-7 it describes the beauty of God's glory and reign.
Scripture says: Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory,
Hallelujah is the Hebrew word for Praise. It is the highest form of Praise. There is something about the days after Christmas that can feel hollow and empty. For all the effort, all the lights, all the gifts, food, and reach to people - some of the empty places remain empty. Perhaps because, it is only God who is worthy of our praise!
And praising God fills some of the deepest places of need and calling within us. You and I were made to worship. Worshipping God fills places within us like nothing else can.
Try worshipping God just because today.
Lift your hands and heart in praise
Seek to see God's glory.
It is so much more lasting and powerful than any tradition or holiday we try to re-create.
Revelation 19 details praise in the days when Christ returns again in final victory - in complete justice and truth.
There will be a day.....when the emptiness is filled, the wrong righted, and Truth will prevail.
In the meantime we wait and hope with patience and worship the Glory of the God that still breaks in around us each day.
I HEARD THE BELLS ON CHRISTMAS DAY
TRANSFORMED BY FAITH TODAY
30 Days of Reflections on Advent and Christmas Songs
Has the fanfare of Christmas ever just felt like too much?
Have the bells of Christendom rung so much their sound has become hollow and commercial?
Have you ever just had enough?!
That was how Henry Wadsworth Longfellow felt as he grappled with national racism, deep personal grief, and the heartache of parenting a grown son wounded in war.
The year Longfellow wrote the words to this song had been a hard one following on the heals of several hard ones. His beloved wife of 18 years, Frances, caught fire and burned to death as Longfellow tried to save her. The fire scarred his face so badly he wore a beard the rest of his life and was too ill to attend her funeral.
An abolitionist in the midst of the U.S. Civil War, Longfellow could hardly see peace and justice winning out in the nation that still to this day can not see all lives of equal value. Still the Christmas bells insisted.....
And his son Charles was wounded in the war, forcing Longfellow to travel to the hospital and bring him home to nurse him to health.
2020 was not the only hard year in history. And as the bells rang long into the night, Longfellow resisted what felt like false hope and unfulfilled promises. Hence the second to last stanza:
And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to all!
And yet is it not into the midst of heartache and brokenness that any real hope must come? Hope that is seen - is not hope at all, scripture tells us. And the promise of Hope Born this Day in the City of Bethlehem (still under oppression and in the midst of violence in 2020) is a true promise, a real promise, a God-sized promise.
Longfellow wrote, as the hope infused his heart:
"Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to All.”
Beyond all the plastic, artificial, commercial, and even fabricated light - may the true light - the Light of the World - the Light that is never overcome by darkness - break into your heart and mine! God does and will have the last word!
The true hope of Christmas will not be thwarted.
God is with us.
God has overcome the world.
And God invites us to be brave enough to continue to speak for justice, live with hope, and walk by faith, not by sight.
That is the power of Christ among us today.
Do you need real peace? How about deep rest? Like the kind you find by a mountain lake or in a silent night?
The narrative of God breaking into the world is beautiful in its raw display of love. But it was hardly perfect or sublime.
The people of Israel had long been oppressed by Rome.
Travel for a Roman census was not easy or always safe.
Mary was young and unknown.
Jesus was jostling in the womb as she rode.
And still - God brings peace.
We have made the story too perfect and our expectations of this season out of line with God's power to bring true peace in heavy storms. In Luke 8 - the grown Jesus awakens in a boat tossed by wind and waves. Peace be still he says to the wind and the waves and they are silent.
This pandemic has been long. Racial injustice and devaluing of black and brown voices has been longer still - yet God offers peace. Not a peace that ceases the struggle - but a rest from the wind and the waves that we might continue.
The silent and holy night into which a savior was born was the beginning of an earthly life of confrontation, healing, sacrifice, and ultimately sacrificial love on the cross. Find peace this Christmas that we might together continue working out our salvation with fear and trembling in an oh so broken world!
Edition 44 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner of Epworth United Methodist Church of Gaithersburg MD. 30 Days of Reflections on Advent and Christmas Songs.
It is easy to give into a life that is structured by other peoples expectations, needs, demands. But the star in the East points to One whose priorities are different.
What do you need to leave behind this week, in order to get up and follow?
Maybe they are voices in your head?
Demands that are not truly the top priorities in a life following after Christ?
In Luke's gospel not only the shepherds are asked to follow. Later in his ministry Jesus speaks to a tax collector Levi who ends up leaving everything and following Jesus.
In this Christmas season we can pour out love, and gifts, and commitment on those we love, our friends and family, our faith community, our larger community. But if their voices and unmet needs become our Star in the East, we end up following unattainable expectations that leave others still in need and us, resentful and unclear.
The song says - leave your ewes, leave your rams - Rise up Shepherd and follow Christ.
Christ alone shows us how to love and live fully without being bound by the needs of this world!
Edition 43 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner of Epworth United Methodist Church of Gaithersburg MD. 30 Days of Reflections on Advent and Christmas Songs.
Have you ever just taken an experience of God and savored it for yourself?
You didn't try to explain it. You didn't try to study it. You didn't try to share it. You just treasured it - turning it over and over in your heart, allowing the experience of God to soften and change you. Luke 2:19 says that Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. It is perhaps one of my favorite verses in the Christmas Narrative.
She just held them close - and let God bring her to worship.
Nino Lindo is a Venezuela Christmas carol that seems to capture this sacred personal moment.
The refrain of this song tells the story through the tender gaze of Mary's eyes as she sings....
Nino Lindo, ante Ti me rindo
Nino Lindo, eres Tu mi Dios.
Child so lovely, before you I bow
Child so lovely, You are my God!
God moves across nations and changes political and historical landscapes. God brings justice and God's glory is without rival, always.
However sometimes it is important to experience this God quietly for ourselves.
The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, The God of Mary, is the God who meets you as well! Seek Him!Edition 42 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner of Epworth United Methodist Church of Gaithersburg MD. 30 Days of Reflections on Advent and Christmas Songs.
In the midst of all that is - have you invited God to come near?
King David - in Psalm 73:28 says: “But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” The last verse of Away in the Manager literally asks God to come near and to stay with us. Sometimes - the most secure place of all is knowing that God is near.
Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And take us to heaven, to live with Thee there.
“But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” – Psalm 73:28
Edition 41 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner of Epworth United Methodist Church of Gaithersburg MD. 30 Days of Reflections on Advent and Christmas Songs.
"O Holy Night" was written by a French poet Cappeau and a Jewish composer Adolphe Adam to commemorate the inauguration of a new organ in a small French church in 1834. Christianity's own anti-Semitic bias would later cause it to shy away from the hymn as Cappaeu questioned the church and Adams was Jewish. Still God prevails. Always, throughout history, continuing with Mary and the shepherds, God speaks through those the establishment ignores or pushes away. And still God! As Cappeau meditated on Luke 2 he penned the lyrics - "long lay the world in sin and error pining until Christ appeared and the soul felt its worth!"
The love of God gives our souls an amazing sense of worth and purpose! And especially when God chooses to use us in our unassuming places of brokenness or in the persons considered to be outsiders in this world - God's call gives a life altering sense of worth.
Today consider each soul to be of deep worth to God. And assume in the ones you count out - to be the most likely appearances of the God you seek!
Edition 40 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner of Epworth United Methodist Church of Gaithersburg MD. 30 Days of Reflections on Advent and Christmas Songs.
Have you ever slugged through personal deep darkness to find Light? Have you ever felt like the entire world around you was shrouded in death and darkness, only to finally find the dawn breaking daily around you?
This was the context of this beloved Christmas song. William Dix penned the lyrics to this song in 1865 in the midst of an illness that left him bedbound, severely depressed, and contemplating taking his life. In his struggle he turned to God; reading scripture, meditating, and ultimately writing several poems that became the lyrics for this and other songs.
The song rings with Isaiah 9:2-7 and its pronouncement of a child born who will be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace to a community in exile, under oppression, and, as the scripture says, walking in darkness.
Isaiah 9:2 begins The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest....
Our challenging moments are not times to hide from God, rather opportunities to lean into God more completely. Our personal darkness does not overwhelm God, rather if we seek even in the darkness we often find a great light and a dawning among us. God can increase our joy even through the valleys of our life. Why do we wait, like Dix, to our moments of deep darkness, to seek God? The light of the dawn comes daily! May we see it, live in it, and share it TODAY!
Edition 39 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner of Epworth United Methodist Church of Gaithersburg MD. 30 Days of Reflections on Advent and Christmas Songs.
El Burrito Sabanero is a Venezuela children's song that depicts Jesus riding a donkey. The famous refrain - Tuki Tuki Tuki Tuki - imitates either the sound of Jesus encouraging the donkey to keep walking or the clacking of donkey hooves on hard surfaces as he walks.
Mary is supposed to have written a donkey on the long journey to Bethlehem with baby Jesus jostling in her womb. But scripture does not say so explicitly. In Luke 28 however, scripture tells us Jesus sends his disciples to go ahead and get an unridden colt or donkey for him to enter Jerusalem. Any other triumphant king or conquering Messiah would have entered the city from the East Gate on a stallion. Jesus rides in to his death on a cross mounted on a humble donkey.
How might Jesus ride through your disappointments in unexpected ways - arriving at the center of your heart and need for His saving grace?
Edition 38 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner of Epworth United Methodist Church of Gaithersburg MD. 30 Days of Reflections on Advent and Christmas Songs.
Have you seen God's glory? The glory of the Lord shown around the shepherds and they were terrified. In 2 Chronicles 5 we hear that the glory of the Lord filled the temple where Solomon was with the Ark of the Covenant. It was so thick the worship leaders had to leave the temple. Do you let God's glory take up space in your life or are you too focused on every detail of your to do list? Lets remember the Glory of God in the birth of Jesus is the power of Christmas this year
Edition 37 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner of Epworth United Methodist Church of Gaithersburg MD. 30 Days of Reflections on Advent and Christmas Songs.
How has God been faithful to you? Today, have you given thanks for the breath in your lungs and the ability to awaken? Be among those who come to God faithful and grateful even in the hardest of times. Todays meditation is by Bona Bourlier.
Edition 36 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner of Epworth United Methodist Church of Gaithersburg MD. 30 Days of Reflections on Advent and Christmas Songs.
What is of great joy to you? Fears and joys can be personalized. But Luke 2 speaks of a great Joy that will be for ALL people. Freedom, healing, and salvation are universal desires of every human heart. Today, let your personal fears be overwhelmed by God's universal joy.
Do you seek peace? Do you contribute to peace? Or do you leave the hard work of peace to someone else? Isaiah 26:1-12 suggests a mind stayed on the Lord finds perfect peace. What is your center? What is your North Star? Your light in the midnight sky? Where is the Prince of Peace calling you to live in grace?
Edition 34 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner of Epworth United Methodist Church of Gaithersburg MD. 30 Days of Reflections on Advent and Christmas Songs, focused today on the song It Came upon a Midnight Clear
Edition 33 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner of Epworth United Methodist Church of Gaithersburg MD. 30 Days of Reflections on Advent and Christmas Songs. This edition focuses on the British carol, Once in David's Royal City. Written as a poem in 1848 by Cecil Frances Alexander, this poem was set to music 60 years later. The poem and later song were used as a tool to help children memorize the important parts of Christian faith in Christmas. The song describes that Jesus knew tears and smiles. And because of God's incarnate experience in Jesus, God feels our sadness and shares in our rejoicing. The Christmas Season, especially in the midst of a pandemic, can bring great swings in emotion. It is powerful to believe that God not only experiences our pain and joy but ultimately leads us, through the redeeming love of Jesus, to a place where there is no mourning or sadness or injustice.
Edition 32 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner of Epworth United Methodist Church of Gaithersburg MD. 30 Days of Reflections on Advent and Christmas Songs. This Edition focuses on the hymn O Little Town of Bethlehem. When was the last time someone counted you out as not able, or not worth it, or unimportant?
Bethlehem was a little town and according to the gospel of Matthew, least among the clan of Judah. Yet God often does powerful things using what the world determines to be obscure or insignificant. And as we hear in the prophet Micah 5:2 it was from Bethlehem that God brought a king, foretold from ancient times and for everlasting. God does great things through unassuming people and circumstances, and often brings big blessings from the littles of things!
Edition 31 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner of Epworth United Methodist Church of Gaithersburg MD. This edition focuses on the West Indies Carol - The Virgin Mary had a Baby Boy based off the Luke 2:26-48 scripture. Luke 2 tells us that Mary was overcome by the glory of God - overshadowed in some translations. I've heard God's glory described as EVERYTHING that is GOD. Have you ever felt God TUG on your life? Perhaps you've felt the pull like the string of a kite held taut by the wind high above it. Have you ever felt so overshadowed by God's presence and EVERYTHING THAT GOD IS, that you just felt overwhelmed? Mary was....but eventually she responded in perhaps one of the boldest statements of faith ever, May it be with me according to God's Word! May it be in your life as well!
Edition 30 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner of Epworth United Methodist Church of Gaithersburg MD. Based off of the hymn Star Child by Shirley Elena Murray, this podcast helps us look at the child within. Does the child in you need God's presence? Can you be the Hope - for - Peace Child, the Star Child, the Love Child for the street child, the used child, the hurt child, the grown child? Perhaps God knew we were much more prone to welcome a child God into our places of deepest need and greatest joy.
Edition 29 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner of Epworth United Methodist Church of Gaithersburg MD. 30 days of Reflection on Advent and Christmas Songs. This episode focuses on The Carol of the Epiphany. Written by John Bell of the Iona Community in Scotland, this carol tells the story of Jesus who shows up not in wealth but poverty; not in prestige but humility; not in spotlight but obscurity. Explore how God always defies expectation and perhaps most radically in taking flesh in the tiny human hand of a baby born in Bethlehem.
Edition 28 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner. 30 day of Advent and Christmas Songs and Reflections. Focused on the hymn Lo How a Rose Ere Blooming, this reflection invites us to consider the beauty that flourishes in the depth of winter, the flowers that bloom in the middle of our deserts. Isaiah 35:1 ...the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as a rose.
Have you ever seen beauty bloom in your desert, found belonging in wilderness spaces, or felt help in solitary spaces? Sometimes God gifts us the simplest beauty in the hardest times.
Edition 27 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner. 30 days of Advent and Christmas Songs and Reflections. Today's song is O Come O Come Emmanuel. It is beautiful to consider that God moves towards us, better said, comes to us, instead of waiting for us to approach God. Where do you need God to come and be with you today.
Edition 26 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner. 30 Days of Advent and Christmas Songs and Reflections. This edition focuses on the song Come Thou Long Expected Jesus. The song was written by Charles Wesley, brother to the founder of Methodism, John Wesley. Charles Wesley was overwhelmed by the homelessness, poverty and need in 18th century England. Both Wesleys called the church back to God's heart. Psalm 34:11 says the Lord is close to the broken hearted. Listen to how we can be the people of faith that hear the need in this world, find release from our fears and sins, and claim rest, even in hard times, in the One who sets us free!
Edition 25 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner.This episode focuses on the last lines of the prayer that Jesus taught us - FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY, FOR EVER AND EVER. AMEN
Edition 24 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner. This edition is focused on thanksgiving day and our need, often on holidays, to forgive as we have been forgiven. As the Lords Prayer says - FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES, AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US,
Edition 23 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner. This edition focuses on the part of the Lords Prayer where we ask GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD. How many times in our anxiousness for tomorrow, do we give up the peace for today? Focus on day's provision trusting that tomorrow has trouble of its own!
Edition 21 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner. This edition begins a focus on the Lords Prayer. The prayer begins OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE THY NAME. What a blessing it is to be able to speak to God by name, acknowledging that even God's name is Holy.
Edition 20 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner. "You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God." 2 Corinthians 9:11
Edition 18 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner. Edition focused on two scriptures. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer." 1 Timothy 4:4-5
"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." Colossians 4:2
Edition 17 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner. This edition is focused on the scripture that says: "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." Colossians 3:15
Edition 16 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner. This edition is focused on the scripture "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." 1 Chronicles 16:34
Edition 15 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner. This edition focuses on verse 13 of Jeremiah 29- 13 You will worship me with all your heart, and I will be with you 14 and accept your worship. Then I will gather you from all the nations where I scattered you, and you will return to Jerusalem.
Edition 13 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner. This edition is focused on verse 11 - 11 I will bless you with a future filled with hope— a future of success, not of suffering. This edition explores specifically what success in our faith looks like.
Edition 12 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner. This podcast focuses on verse 11- 11 I will bless you with a future filled with hope—a future of success, not of suffering. The podcast explores what it means to have a future filled with hope.
Edition 11 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner.Jeremiah 29:10 After Babylonia has been the strongest nation for seventy years, I will be kind and bring you back to Jerusalem, just as I have promised.
Edition 10 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner. What does it mean to pray - It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
Edition 9 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner. This podcast focuses on the part of the prayer that asks....To be understood, as to understand; To be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive;
Edition 8 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner. This podcast focuses on the line of the prayer - O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled, as to console;
Edition 7 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner. This podcast focuses on the line of the prayer - Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; And where there is sadness, joy.
Edition 6 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner. This podcast focuses on the first line of St Francis Prayer - Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace; Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is error, the truth; Where there is doubt, the faith;
Edition 5 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner. This podcast focuses on the line of the Wesleyan Covenant Prayer - I freely and fully surrender all things to your glory and service.
Edition 3 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner. Continuing with the Wesleyan Covenant Prayer, this edition explores the challenge in rising above criticism, willing to serve God whether others praise us for it or criticize our actions
Edition 2 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner. This Edition continues in the Wesleyan Covenant prayer focusing on the second phrase. It states: Put me to what you will, place me with whom you will. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. We find it far easier to be with those we want to be with. We of course prefer to be active and industrious instead of suffering and waiting. But growth in faith requires an ability to do both.
Edition 1 of "Transformed by Faith TODAY" podcast by Rev. Jennifer Fenner. This focuses on the first phrase of the Wesleyan Covenant Prayer. Attributed to John Welsey, the founder of Methodism, this prayer is often used in renewal services and as part of New Year's Eve Services.
Edition 1 focuses on the first line of the prayer - I am no longer mine, but thine.