Answering God's Call


I have recently been recording some theology lectures for my Parish, St. Francis of Assisi, in Ann Arbor. They asked me if I would do one on prayer a couple weeks ago. I was happy to do so. Prayer is such an essential part of our life with God, and yet it is too often misunderstood. As I was reading and reflecting on what the scriptures and the saints have said about prayer I was struck by a simple lesson. Our prayer is always a response to what God is already doing. 

God is the first mover.
God is the first to show up.
God gives us the first gift.
God speaks the first word.
God is the first to offer His embrace.
God is the first one present.
God offers the call to prayer.
God is the first to know the need.

Our community is celebrating 50 years of responding to God this year. I've been so blessed as we have reflected on our history together about how much people have reflected and prayed about what God is doing as we look to the future. I've decided to create a tool to help us remember to continue to lift up the Word of God Community in prayer. It's included below. I am printing off a copy to keep at my home chapel. Feel free to save it, print it and share it. I hope it will help us remember to listen to what God is saying and respond in faith to Him in every area of our life!

WOG 50 prayer.png

Band of Brothers takes to the field

With the Lord speaking to us about being part of bringing His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven, the Band of Brothers has been asking, ’what more can we do?’ For the last several years we have met monthly and enjoyed great fellowship, (not a few pancakes!), and shared on topics which have helped us grow as God’s men. Along the way we have learned how to wire a house, shoot a flintlock, operate an MP3 player, brew a perfect cup of coffee—and a perfect pint of beer, join wood, and gaze at the stars, among other topics! We have had a great time and grown, but now we are asking, what can we do to have a Kingdom edge to brotherhood?

In researching men’s ministry, we have been reminded of what a critical impact men have on society. Problems of crime, poverty, aimlessness, sexual license, divorce, abuse and more trace their roots to the brokenness of men, personally and as husbands and fathers. As we impact men through union with Jesus and discipleship we can have a multiplying impact on their families and our culture.

But how to start? We realized that we have a few families who are living right in the midst of a mission field at University Townhouses. For years Jonny Lennon has had a desire to reach out to the children at U Townhouses. As we spoke together we realized that we couldn’t do anything better for them to reach out to their dads!

So, starting in December we are moving the Band of Brothers Breakfast to the U Townhouses Clubhouse. We hope to build relationships with men there, to help them draw close to the Lord and grow in Him, and enlist them as partners in the mission to bring the Kingdom more to their community. There are over 600 units in U Townhouses, so there is a wide field. How could the Lord use 5 or 10 or 20 men to impact it?

To start we offered a ‘Make Mom a Christmas Gift’ event after the December 4 breakfast. We invited dads and their kids to come and make one or more projects which included a recipe card holder, cookbook holder, napkin holder and decorations. Some of the brothers manufactured parts in advance and at the event kids could sand, glue, assemble and finish their projects.

We had a modest turn-out for the event, which was about all we could handle, as we discovered! However, everyone had a good time, some relationships got built, and kids were able to bless their Mom’s for Christmas. Stay tuned for news of future events which may include sledding, a bike repair day and more. Also join us in praying for God’s Kingdom to come to the families living at University Townhouses!

Fall Retreat: Thy Kingdom come …

Jesus taught us to pray for the Lord’s kingdom to come on earth — and He intends that we be part of the answer to our prayers! We have been saved and empowered to partner with Him in that process, to walk in the works He has prepared for us. This is the calling that we have heard and responded to over the years. We didn’t hear an invitation to a comfortable Christianity focused on our needs, but a summons to join the King on His mission.

This is what we want to explore at the upcoming Fall Retreat. Our theme is ‘Thy Kingdom come … Being part of the answer to our prayer’. Jesus taught us to pray for the Lord’s Kingdom to come here and now, and we need to be ready to be used to fulfill that prayer. What does this look like in our daily lives as family members, workers, neighbors? How can we be more deliberate about it? What might this mean for us not only in Washtenaw County, but in the world beyond? How does the Spirit empower us for this calling?

Join us to explore these issues together at the Fall Retreat on Friday 9/30 and Saturday 10/1 at Faholo Conference Center in Grass Lake. We will engage these issues through several means:

Guest Speaker Billy Kangas Billy formerly led MissionChrist and brings insights from his study at North Park seminary in Chicago. Taking the Gospel to the ‘marketplace’ has been a passion of his for years..

Sharings from folks actively involved in a variety of ways of seeing ‘Kingdom come’

Workshops where we can talk together how to be Kingdom leaven in different settings like our work, families, neighborhood, and beyond.

Prayer! Presenting ourselves before the Lord for His instruction, commissioning and empowering..

In addition to the serious business of seeking the Lord, we are also going to enjoy the life of the Kingdom through meals, fellowship and recreation. There are options for spending the night Friday or commuting out to Faholo. For more information you can go to these pages or click here to register on line.

Community Life Nights -- 2011

Join us for this summer’s first Word of God  -

 Community Life Night


5:30 – 8 pm, Saturday: June 18

@ Westminster Presbyterian Church

1500 Scio Church Rd

Ann Arbor, MI 48103


What’s it all about?

þ Pot-luck Dinner with the extended community family

  • Bring a dessert or salad to share. 
  • Main dish & beverage will be provided

þ Program for youth of all ages        

þ Great groups & activities for adults & teens

  • C S Lewis,  The Great Divorce ~Part 1- Marsha Williamson
  • Visit and craft- Terri & Michelle Flanagan bring a craft or learn a new one.  We will also learn finger knitting, for children.
  • Line Dancing for all ages –
  • Digital Photography. ‘Hands-on’ guided practice ~bring a camera with charged battery & manual – Coral Lee & Kristen Johnson
  • Optional [based on interest] Soccer/ Basketball & Board game(s)


 þ A taste of community life in the rush of our week!

Body Life Evangelism – Bring a Friend!

Come and see.  The best way for folks to find out about Jesus and his people is to hang out with them.  It worked for the New Testament church.  It worked for the early community.  It works today!

Bring your friends, relatives, neighbors … even your enemies! and let them taste Kingdom life and a little potluck dinner for themselves.  If they try it, they’ll like it!

Who Will Help Me -- Joan O'Connell

PicOConnellJoanHave you ever been in a situation where you realized you were “over your head” with challenge, but didn’t know who to ask to help? Or what to ask for?  Several years ago, a friend with whom I was talking about challenges surrounding me as Director of the Christian Dance Network, encouraged me to get some prayer covering:  for me, personally, in addition to the ministry’s activities.  New idea to me, but it sounded right.  Gradually, I introduced the concept to various friends, as the Lord seemed to lead.  One by one, they agreed to pray for me.  Now, there is a small army of intercessors to whom I email periodic updates.  I try not to “blog” to them.  I send them prayer requests and occasionally, celebrations of answered prayer. 

Hearing and acting I feel I can call on them any time; I know they will be there, hear my cry for help, and back me up with prayer.  Since it’s an email relationship at this point, I can send a message day or night; they’ll receive and respond to my request when they get it.  [I trust that God can handle the potential time and space discrepancies.]

I had pre-requested prayers from my intercessors concerning a scheduled “procedure” my husband Patrick had done over Christmas vacation.  As Patrick purposefully hadn’t told many people about the surgery, I was cryptic.  The morning after the surgery, I wrote the following report, using the computer in the hospital ward “family room”:

Sent: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 4:02 PM Subject: Pat's doing well. Yea... Hey, all ~

THANK YOU for your prayers!

I left Patrick around 9pm at St Joe's - sitting up, chomping on a popsicle, pain level about a 1, and ready to snooze.  His nurse/techs were taking good care of him. He'll probably spend two nights in the hospital, so he'll be home for Christmas!

It was a long day!  Mostly because of simple issues like housekeeping, falling behind in room prep.  Pat was in the recovery room for about 4.5 hours --prolonged time, mainly because of the rooms upstairs not being ready for the number of people coming out of the OR.

Eventually, they let me go hang out with him in the recovery room (not normal, apparently).  We passed the time by my reading The Last Battle, C S Lewis. Thanks for your prayers.  All is well. Doc said there were "no surprises." That sounds like good news to me.

Bless the Lord. Blessings, Joan OC

That was written in the morning of the “recovery day.” We were told he could leave that afternoon.  But, four hours later, the recovery process began to get complicated. I felt the stress of wanting support, but not knowing where to turn.  After all, Pat wasn’t sharing widely about this situation.  So, to whom could I make my needs/Pat’s needs known?   Like others, our parents are no longer in the picture.  Our sibling relationships, if under reconstruction, are still loosely defined.  One “doesn’t want to worry the children…”

Asking for help Ironic, isn’t it?  We live in a virtual community of perhaps as many as 1000 committed, caring, praying Christians, but when the heat is on, I flounder. Who can I call? Where can I go?  Who will help?  I encouraged Patrick to phone his sharing partner/our friend Phil Tiews to give him an update.  Feeling the need for support for myself, I went down the hall, fired up the ‘family room’ computer and wrote this note to my prayer buddies.  I was no longer cryptic.  We needed back-up.

Sent: Tue, Dec 23, 2008 at 8:32 PM

Subject: Hi Folks.

Actually, things turned this afternoon. We're still in hospital.

Now we need

wisdom for the doctor: shall we return to the Operating Room or wait it out?

stop the bleeding (is it bleeding or is it clots remainders?)

dissolve the clots from the operation, so that the "pee" can flow freely!


THANKS, all,

Bless you, Joan

I'm staying in hospital tonight.  Too much excitement to go home and the weather is lousy as well.

Bless you, Joan

Describing the effect for me of knowing that some praying people out there knew of our situation would include words like: relief, comfort, feeling “you are not alone,” strength, endurance, grace.  We did wind up in the OR again late that evening, both of us returning to Patrick’s room, where I spent the night, following the second surgery.

Practical assurance  The next day, our daughter, freshly in from Chicago for the holidays, and I were sitting with Patrick in room 314.  Phil Tiews came by and visited. After initial howdy-do’s, he walked the seeming mile to the hospital coffee shop procuring for us some ‘real’ coffee and a cinnamon roll for which everybody had declined interest, but which was subsequently consumed with enthusiasm.  The visit was reassuring.  Strengthening.  A few days later, helping bridge the gap between hospital time and home time, Barb Tiews prepared and delivered to us a simple meal from her Christmas fare. Our neighbor also brought us some homemade soup.  So practical; so helpful. Did we “need” a meal?  Perhaps we could have managed. Was it loving, kind, appreciated?  You betcha

Prompts I remember when I was in junior high school, I developed a serious case of pneumonia. I was out of school, in bed, for at least 3 weeks.  One of my fondest memories of that dreary, uncomfortable time was brief glimpse of normal life that I had when a friend came by to bring me my homework.  Although I was essentially quarantined, by parents’ orders, my friend was allowed to peek into my room and say hi.  Standing in the doorway, she looked so incredibly healthy!!  Her health gave me hope and vision for what a return to normal could mean. Strength, vigor, good color.  Quite a contrast to my status, but so refreshing.

We live in the midst of a people of faith, prayer and real life adventures.  How can we “be there” for one another?  As the Holy Spirit prompts us?  “Joan, why not give ___ a call?”  Or, “Might  __’s mom would appreciate a leave-the-house break during his nap tomorrow?” 

Does the Holy Spirit prompt you to action sometimes, according to your uniqueness?  What if we responded to those prompts more frequently?  Simple acts of kindness, extended in love, by the grace and at the urging of our Lord.  How glorious!  Amen.

As we age, wrestle with child-raising issues, encounter illness and set-backs, challenges of work or lack thereof, I pray that we’ll be attentive to the still small voice of God whispering and equipping us to reach out to one another in the simplest ways, strengthening the fabric of our life together, one cup of soup, visit, phone call, shared meal, greeting card at a time.  

[PS- Patrick is doing great now, thank you.J]

Small Groups -- Jack Flanagan

PicJackFlanaganIIBrothers and Sisters, I wanted to pass along to you some of my observations of our recent small group leaders meeting.  The Leadership Team encourages everyone in the community to participate in small relational group that “fits” into the parameters of our lives.  Different needs—different groups For example, many folks come to the Lucchetti/Flanagan home meeting because it meets on Sundays, 4:00 - 5:30 PM when we don’t have our regular prayer meeting.  Maybe this works for us because most of us are on the older side, making this easy to remember!  And there is a convenience factor too - no additional night out. 

The small group leaders have agreed to meet twice per year, to check in with one another, to share what’s happening in their group and to learn from each other.  What impressed me during our recent meeting was the variety of group activities, and the number of folks who participate.

For example, there’s a men’s group that is into biking, as in bicycling!  Most of the brothers enjoy biking, even occasionally allowing their wives to come along!  Being together for over five years, they not only relate well together, and find friendship and support in their relationships but also regularly pray for each other, covering work challenges, personal issues and home front concerns.

Then there is a group for those who have overcome various addictive behaviors; this group keeps the focus on Christ and loving one another, providing support to stay free.

There are groups for parents, supporting one another in their parenting venture, and addressing those with special relational challenges on the home front. 

There’s a women’s tea gathering, where in addition to their tea together, they look to invite others into their circle to offer mutual support and care for them.  Anybody for some tea?

Then there are those who meet early Friday morning at the Community Office, to pray and to study the Word together.

SmallGroups01The group that meets at my home worships together; we keep in touch with each other for prayer as well as any practical needs that we can meet.  We also usually have some study focus.  For example, we are now beginning Neal Lozano’s The Older Brother Returns.  By the way, we will be meeting at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church on Washtenaw for the winter season.  This provides us easy same-floor access with always a shoveled parking lot.

There are one or two other small groups.  Overall, I was impressed with the diversity and scope of our small groups, how each serves the needs of its members.  They are elements of vitality and joy, and a brotherhood and sisterhood supporting our life in Christ together.  I am thankful for this element of our community life. 


SmallGroups02Improving ’calamity-resistance’ In light of the recent prophetic words about coming calamities and darkness, I think it wise we stay connected with each other. There are any number of personal and wider national events that we will better face when we are in supportive relationships rather than on our own. 

In tough times, I think we will all find it helpful to become a little closer with a little more time on our knees as we are reminded how we need the Lord, and that He alone is our refuge and strength.  I think our recent Prayer Conference was just in time with its intercession focus!  Certainly the Scriptures encourage this too. I am reminded of Acts 2.42: And they devoted themselves to the prayers, the breaking of the bread, to the teaching and to the fellowship!  Hasn’t the Lord provided well for us?

When the Lord was speaking to us about coming calamities, He also spoke to us about keeping our eyes fixed on Him, living our lives authentically for Jesus, and loving God and neighbor.  Our small groups can help us to do just that! 

Widening our hearts A final mark of our small groups is their openness.  We want to keep them open to new members as much as possible.  If you would like to learn more about small groups, or if you think you’d like to join one, give Phil a call at the Community Office. 

We recently celebrated our 41st Anniversary together.  We read the community’s Covenant.  And we were reminded to “...not neglect to meet together...”  (Heb. 10.25).  Brothers and Sisters, God intended these elements of our life to enable and empower us to walk with Him faithfully.  I would like to invite any not engaged in a small group to do so.

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His steadfast love endures forever!

Spiritual Gifts

The Bible tells about special gifts given to Christians by the Holy Spirit. These are not for our own personal benefit but for the benefit of the whole body. "As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God's grace. " (1 Pet.4:10) Every Christian is given some gift so that together we can be complete. "For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body. " (I Cor. 12:12,13) We in The Word of God have experienced the goodness of the Holy Spirit giving us gifts to serve one another and those around us.  Read on to learn more about the Spiritual Gifts and how you, too, can open up to the power of the Spirit in your life.

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. I Cor 12:7

Here are a few of the spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible: Preaching:      Understand, explain, and apply God's Word in the Bible to the lives of listeners. Tongues:      Express praise and worship to God in an unknown language. Singing in the Spirit:      Spontaneous worship in song led by the Holy Spirit. Prophecy:      Receive and communicate God's truth for His people through an anointed proclamation. Words of Knowledge:      Receive and share revealed knowledge that was not otherwise known. Healing:      Restore health to an individual in the physical, emotional or spiritual realms through a direct act of God. Giving:      Contribute money and material resources to the work of the Lord with cheerfulness and liberality. Helping:      Attach spiritual value to the accomplishment of practical and necessary tasks that support the Body of Christ. Faith:      Test God's will and act on it with an unwavering belief in His ability. Evangelism:      Share the Gospel with people in such a way that they respond and become followers of Jesus Christ.  

All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each oneindividually as he wills. I Cor 12:11

  You too can experience a full life in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given to all who give their lives to Christ, and each believer is given gifts so they can serve the Body of Christ. If you want to find out more about the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts, go to the Library, come to a Prayer Meeting, or Contact Us to find out about upcoming seminars on the Holy Spirit.

Community Vision -- Jack Flanagan

PicJackFlanaganII“And they devoted themselves to…the fellowship.” (Acts 2.42)  Many of us take fellowship and our community life as a fundamental, after all, we‘ve been at it for some time now.  It derives from the Trinity who is the ultimate community and family!  We view it as an essential support; it is one of the spokes in the wheel diagram, all the way back to the Life in the Spirit Seminars!  Perhaps this is why I found it remarkable that an article, written by a commission consisting of social scientists and child health experts, stressed the need for communities in raising youth. The secular case for Christian Community The article appeared in the American Family Association Journal, January 2005.  It is titled Hardwired for religion.  Its basic premise is that Christianity has the truth about community, so necessary for our youth and their need to grow in wholesome environments.  I would like to highlight portions of this article and then comment how our community life addresses our significant need, not just for young people, but for all of us, who are always young in the Lord!

The article opened with a series of provocative questions aimed at our youth: what if we could find something that would make teenagers less likely to become involved in crime, drugs and alcohol abuse?  And what if this little miracle “something” would turn adolescents into safer drivers, make them more likely to participate in extracurricular activities like sports or student government, and give them a higher sense of self esteem?   (Having served in a variety of jail and prison settings, these questions could as easily be asked of adults!)

The article goes on to state definitively that Christianity has the key – more specifically, Christian communities that are able to transmit the beliefs, values and morals that help give young people a sense of the transcendent, an ordered universe and their own place in it. 

Surprisingly, the source of this conclusion is secular, the Commission on Children at Risk that described itself as an independent jointly sponsored initiative of the Dartmouth Medical School, the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) and the Institute for American Values.  The 33 members consisted of a group of children’s doctors, research scientists and mental health and youth service professionals.  Their report is titled Hardwired to Connect: The New Scientific Case for Authoritarian Communities. 

The Need This commission considered the following: “In the midst of unprecedented material affluence, large and growing numbers of US children and adolescents are failing to flourish.”  It cited a number of troubling indicators: increasing mental and emotional difficulties, such as depression, anxiety, conduct disorders and suicidal thoughts, as well as a series of physical aliments rooted in emotional disorders, including heart disease and ulcers.  Related to this are high rates of behavioral problems, such as substance abuse, school dropout, interpersonal violence, premature sexual intercourse and teenage pregnancy. 

It commented on the long-term ramifications to these disorders and breakdowns.  “Large numbers of children, even including those who could be considered privileged, are no longer developing the empathy, moral commitment and ability to love necessary to maintain our society at the level that has always been our dream.” 

So what’s the problem? The commission observed the “crisis” is due to teens’ “lack of connectedness…to other people, and the lack of deep connections to moral and spiritual meaning.”  It states from our earliest years we are essentially “hardwired” to form close attachments to other people, beginning with parents, and then expanding this to include a wide group of people.  The authors note that parenting trends of the last 30 years promote “the development of unattached, uncommunicative, learning impaired and uncontrollable children.”  These trends have compro-mised children’s “opportunity for the connections and rituals and nurturing that are so necessary to children’s healthy development.”  Consequently, they grow up in a moral vacuum, one eventually filled with media values and a consumerist culture. 

What a deadly concoction: home and family breakdown, with pop culture and MTV media values filling in the gap!  As a consequence, the church continues to lose ground in our culture, and lose its youth to the world.

The solution…  What was surprising to me is that the commission actually stressed the need for moral values and religion in community settings!  It acknowledged that “we are hardwired for meaning, born with a built in capacity and drive to search for purpose and reflect on life’s ultimate goal.  The need for young people to connect to ultimate meaning and to the transcendent is not merely the result of social conditioning, but is instead an intrinsic aspect of the human experience.”  And these religious beliefs strengthen young people, putting them on a more positive path.  Such youth are actually safer drivers, more likely to wear seatbelts, and less likely to become juvenile delinquents or adults criminals.  They are less prone to substance abuse or to engage in other high-risk behaviors.  They are more likely to participate in sports, student government, volunteer in the community and take on more positive attitudes about life.  “If America continues to secularize the environments in which children are raised, Hardwired insisted that teens will pay the price.” And what’s the solution?

The commission went on to speak of “authoritative communities” as key to the solution!  They define these as “groups of people who are committed to one another over time, and model and pass on what it means to be a good person and to live a good life.  It is warm and nurturing, establishing clear limits and expectations; is multigenerational, with a long-term focus.  It encourages spiritual and religious development and is philosophically oriented to the equal dignity of all persons and to the principle of love of neighbor.”  Wow!  Sounds a lot like…Christian community, expressed in sociological terms.

Such communities lend support and strengthen values that teens are also hopefully getting at home.  We need, then, healthy homes and families, as well as wider, nurturing communities of faith to reverse these eroding cultural trends.  And they believe this is our “best strategy” for addressing this crisis and improving the lives of U.S. children and adolescents.

Reflections Isn’t it striking to see a scientific body and experts on children’s health make such a clear call for a change in public policy and acknowledge the positive role of religion in culture?  By extension, I think many of these above statements apply to adults as well.  We, too, need some form of vital, faith-imparting Christian community to thrive.  I have a number of thoughts:

God’s word is true: yes, I know that we all know this.  But when I see the culture affirming fundamental scriptural realties, I am struck!  How essential for us to grasp “ultimate meaning and the transcendent” and to identify this as “an intrinsic aspect of the human experience”.  It spoke of our need for meaning and purpose and our ultimate end.  We primarily find this in the Gospel!  The report noted the need for nurturing, authoritarian community.  How critical to be incorporated into Christ’s living Body, to be built into that living Temple and to devote ourselves to “the fellowship”.  God’s word is true and it is life for us!

How good God has been to us: He has brought us to this.  God, who is Trinity and community, has made His Body a vibrant and formative reality for us.  He regularly meets us there; He dwells in our praises!  He is the one who invites us into this.  I am grateful and awed.  How rich and life-giving our life has been here in The Word of God Community for my family and me.  This has been a place of nurturing for us.  Huron Valley School was a place for my children to encounter the Lord and grow straight in Him.  Pine Hills Camps and various youth programs have radically affected our children. The brothers and sisters who served there were models for my children of godliness and wholesome maturity.  The community offered teaching and training for my home and family life.  There was the consistent touch of the Holy Spirit in our community worship and church life.  How good the Lord has been to us!

We are created (and recreated) related.  John 1:12 states: “Those who received him, who believed in his name, he gave them power to become children of God.”  If children (sons and daughters) of God, then brothers and sisters together.  This is a fundamental reality we have known and accepted over the years.  No Lone Ranger Christianity here!  It’s about being family, God’s family together.  Paul’s closing blessing in 2 Corinthians 13 is noteworthy: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”  “The fellowship” we have known derives from the Holy Spirit!  With His release in us, our spirit’s DNA changed, to desire the fellowship.  He has made known to us the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God.  This fellowship has the power to make the crooked straight, to sanctify and redeem human lives, and to make us children of the light.  Here God Himself dwells among us and we take on the very image of Christ.  Of course, there is God’s power here to heal our dysfunctions and woundedness, to transform our character, and to bring the blessing of God upon our homes and families and to raise up youth strong in the Lord.  We partake of the very fellowship of the Father and Jesus, from whom all life and blessing flow.

“The fellowship: then is not simply on an “authoritarian community”.  Yes, our community does share some of it’s elements (“groups of people who are committed to one another over time, and model and pass on what it means to be a good person and to live a good life.   … philosophically oriented to the equal dignity of all persons and to the principle of love of neighbor.”)  But it is much more than all this because it is something God Himself is inIt is not that God is part of our community, we are actually part of His!  For our community is already a participation in Trinity.  This is why it works!  This is why lives transform and we experience release from evil.  And this is why “they devoted themselves … to the fellowship.”  Here one encounters the Lord of heaven and earth.  Here one finds rest and peace, and comes to know why he exists.

Let us not fear what the Lord has called us to; let us not hold back.  Rather, let us give our lives to Him again, trusting as a good Father, He knows what is best for us.  Let us embrace one another, for this is the People the Lord has given to us to love and serve. 

“Lord, we trust you.  We thank you for your wonderful salvation.  We thank you for “the fellowship”, for our home groups and districts and district dinners and our community gatherings.  Please continue your work among us, keeping your hand upon us and making us your family!”

Sisterhood -- Martha Balmer

BalmerMarthaCommunity life in The Word of God has always fostered deep relationships among women. The monthly Women’s Breakfasts are one of the ways those relationships find expression and grow deeper. Sisterhood is a blessing I haven’t always been capable of enjoying. When I filled out my housing forms as an incoming freshman at U of M, nothing could have persuaded me that an all-women’s dormitory could be anything but a catty, cliquish, shallow nightmare. Even though I was a Christian, junior high and high school had all but ruined me for genuine, supportive relationships with other women. But as I became increasingly immersed in The Word of God and began to participate in the women’s households on campus, I began to heal, my perspective changed and I became capable of loving and being loved by women.

Rootedness Sisterhood has become a habit of life because of the patterns that community created in my youth. I learned that without the bonds of sisterhood functioning in a regular way week in and week out, I would begin to drift toward isolation and the self-pity and distorted perspectives that came with it. So whenever a change disrupted the resources of one season—such as when my family moved from Ypsilanti to Ann Arbor—I found myself seeking out new connections.

Even before we moved into our new house, I had checked the directory for my nearest community neighbors and been delighted to find four other women living within a couple of blocks. When the business of life didn’t allow us to connect without effort, I made some calls and we began to invite each other to tea parties — a sisterly habit that has continued to keep us connected and enabled us to reach out to other women as well.

Sisterhood01Enduring relationship Over the last 34 years, a continuously deepening abundance has been pouring into my lap through my relationships with women in the body of Christ. Although I have lived through many changes that altered or even disbanded my various women’s groups, I can honestly say that there have been no ultimate losses, as even those women who have moved away or whose paths seldom cross mine any more remain connected to me by the deep sisterhood that our common life established between us.

Refreshment for the journey This is the context in which the monthly Women’s Breakfasts continue to nourish my soul. As we share casually over our coffee and bagels, we support and enjoy one another. As we tell our stories, we identify with one another in our trials and help one another on toward greater faith and love. As we worship and pray together, we draw life from the Lord and convey his life to one another.

In a world where women have suffered deep wounds and are applying all kinds of misguided remedies, the Lord has created a true sisterhood among us in which our simple breakfasts offer refreshment for our journey and sanctuary to our guests.

If you are not in the habit of attending The Word of God Women’s Breakfasts, consider putting them on your calendar. If you haven’t considered bringing a friend to a breakfast before, look around among your neighbors, co-workers and relatives for a woman in need of refreshment. God provides so much for us in one another, and when we come together we open ourselves to an ever increasing blessing.



OFF THE WALL… Prayers & Passages from the walls at The Word of God 40 Days Prayer Room 3/21-23/09

Lord, in your will is our peace. May your will be done over all our county, our country, the world. Help us to truly see your will and carry it out with your grace and strength. Praise the Lord forever. The Lord is worthy!

Our prayer and God’s mercy are like two buckets in a well. While one ascends, the other descends. – Mary Hopkins

Be willing to help those who are coming to the Lord. Our help is in the Lord who made heaven and earth.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

John 3:17

May your will become for each one of us so impelling and attracting that we think of nothing else all day.

Let your hand be over the poor and needs.

Holy God, may you protect the people of this county. Keep us from harm and provide protection from the plans of destruction that our enemies have plotted. Give wisdom, understanding and discernment to those who provide protection.

How great is our God. How great is his name. How great is our God. Forever the same.

Stand with us in our city/county, oh Lord. You are the source of the living water that refreshes our parched land.

No city, no county is so far away from you that it cannot be brought back to you.

Lord, strengthen and purify your people and their love for you that we would be able to freely offer strength, love, and life to a dying world. Amen

If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. Jesus said to him “if I can! Everything is possible to the one who has faith”. Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief”.

Isa.61:1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.

Come Lord Jesus! Penetrate the darkness around us and in us. Let the light of your Holy Spirit saturate us and everyone in this county with the truth of your love. May truth and beauty and knowledge of your abundant mercy draw all men deeper into a relationship with you. May you be recognized as precious and entirely unique and set apart from every other god in this county.

Gloria in Excelses Deo!!

Our job is to share the gift. Our job is not to worry about what others will do with the gift.

We repent. Send us! We repent for letting fear hold us back. We repent for not fighting for you. We repent for our lack of faith. We repent for our prayerlessness.

We seek your presence -- nothing else will satisfy. The way ahead you must show, for without you, Lord our God, we will not go.

Lord, may your voice rise up in this county and block out all other voices not of you

Isa.40:3-4 A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the LORD ; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.

Arise, Shine. The glory of the Lord has risen on us.

I thirst

Jn.20:21 As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.

Increase our thirst for you, Lord!

Col.3 to be hidden with you in God

Your name is like honey on my lips … oh how sweet, how infinitely desirable are you. Your Spirit like water to my soul. Your word is a lamp to my path. Jesus I love you.

Phil.2:8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!

God loves us more than we can imagine. Alleluia! God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.

Go into the world and preach the good news to all creation.

Zech.8:6 If it is too difficult in the sight of the remnant of these people in these days, will it also be too difficult in my sight? declares the Lord of Hosts. We are not the measure of what is possible – God is!!