Sample Sermon Titles and Texts

Listed in order of related chapters in Growing Generous Souls:Becoming Grace-Filled Stewards                                                                                          Betsy Schwarzentraub   1 “Turning Around” Isaiah 30:15                                                                                                                                                                                Matthew 5:13-15 Can we turn around from compulsive doing toward being the people God created us to be? Reflecting the rhythm of creation by balancing work and rest. See Growing Generous Souls…

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Spiritual Disciplines and Human Desire

In Chapter Three of Growing Generous Souls, I say that “spiritual disciplines” are things we do to help us be intentionally present to God’s presence in our lives. They provide a framework for our days and encourage us to center on God while being involved in the world. In Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, 1 author Adele…

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Eugene Peterson Writing About the Soul

Eugene Peterson was a U.S. Presbyterian clergyman, scholar, theologian, poet, and author of more than thirty books, including The Message, an award-winning paraphrase of the Bible. In Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, 1 he says four terms 2 work interactively to give us a common vocabulary for exploring the Christian life. One of them…

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Thomas Kelly and the Inner Sanctuary

There is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, said Quaker evangelist Thomas Kelly:1 a Divine Center or Voice to which we can continually return. Kelly called this Center “the Inward Living Christ,” “Christ Within,” or “The Light Within.” He spoke of renewed immediacy with this Center, which encourages us to keep growing in our…

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Living from a Grateful Heart

“I give thanks to You, O God,” we pray, along with the one who prayed Psalm 86 aloud in worship thousands of years ago. For us, in that moment of realization we are face to face with the Divine, we want to pray this not just with words, but also with our actions: how we…

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Follow Your Heart

These days, most of us tend to think of the heart as related to emotions. But back in Bible days, that was the role of the kidneys! In the language of the Old Testament, or Hebrew Scriptures, levb, “heart,” means the direction in which my life leans, in other words the thrust of my life,…

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Poems of Nature’s Praise (2018)

Long light, waiting earth Golden rays sift through branches Oaks lift trembling praise. ============= Sunset washes woods Goldenrod to deep umber, Brushing creatures’ souls. ============= One by one dying, Golden autumn falling leaves Nourish coming spring. ============= Canada Geese wheeling toward earth in the cold, steely sky, their great wings outstretched to catch unseen currents.…

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Offering and Spiritual Growth

Celebrating the offering is a spiritual discipline. Offering is as much a faith issue as our prayer life and worship. It is a lifeline to a relationship with the One who offers us life and to have it abundantly. While cultural standards say the accumulation of wealth and possessions constitute success, Christian discipleship requires looking…

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Offering Prayer

Gracious and merciful God, We praise you as do the angels And all the heavenly host. We praise you as even all the Creation offers praise. In response to the call of Christ, we Give our lives to you. Even in this moment we celebrate the Love of Christ for us and For the world…

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The Power of Enough

The title of Lynn A. Miller’s little book speaks volumes: The Power of Enough: Finding Contentment by Putting Stuff In Its Place. Miller’s bottom line is this: “Contentment comes from putting stuff in the role that God gave it, and not letting it mean something God doesn’t intend it to mean.” In other words, “stuff…

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Ubuntu: Cooperative Community

Ubuntu: Cooperative Community A devotional writer from South Africa said there’s a Zulu word Ubuntu, which means “I am because we are.” He explained it by saying, “I am enabled and empowered, made fully human, because I am part of a family, a tribe, and a community.”1 He was reflecting on the disciples’ cooperative business…

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Caring from the Heart

Having explored the Bible’s connections between “heart” and “soul” in Growing Generous Souls, I was drawn to a book called Caring from the Heart: The Convergence of Caring and Spirituality, edited by M. Simone Roach. At first blush, this book and the Bible seem like an odd connection, but not really. It is written by…

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Prayer and Gratefulness

Prayerfulness is what counts in life, not individual prayers, says Benedictine Brother David Steindl-Rast. In Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer, he says prayer is an attitude of the heart that can transform everything we do. We can’t be saying prayers all the time, of course, but we ought to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17),…

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Ways of Being or Constant Doing?

“Being is not rewarded in our society today. Doing is what counts,” says author Adele Ahlberg Calhoun.1 Just about all of us experience this pressure daily: the hurry; the worry; and the need to be productive, however it’s defined. So how can we enter into the triune life (as Calhoun puts it), enter into the…

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Center for World Thanksgiving

Who knew there was a place called The Center for World Thanksgiving? Not I! But it exists, in Dallas, Texas. Back in 1964, four Dallas businessmen started talking together about how the Ancient World had squares and community gathering places where people could look beyond themselves, devoting themselves to spirit and worship. They decided they’d…

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