Thoughts on Contentment

16 03 2010

Hey guys,

Check it out….March is halfway over!  Holy cow!  Does anybody else feel like time is flying?!  We’ve got our first Connections gathering in two weeks, March 28th 3pm-6pm at the Plainfield Hampton Inn.  Plan on coming!  We’ll have a time of worship together, a pretty cool speaker (yours truly), some small group fellowship time, and FOOD!  Don’t miss it!  The other thing to start thinking about is our upcoming College Camp at Quaker Haven.  I know Quaker Haven is a pretty cool place and many of you have wonderful memories of how God worked in your life there.  So we are going to provide a weekend camp for you guys this May.  More details will be coming soon.  The dates will be May 21-23.  Get it on your calendar now!!

Contentment by Mariya Jones

I attended a retreat this weekend, with women from a church my parents have been attending, where we talked about contentment. The lady leading the retreat was using a book called Calm my Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. Mrs. Dillow was a missionary for many years in Asia and Europe and used many of her experiences to teach her readers about how to have contentment in their lives. Our leader told us that contentment is not something that God just grants but is often a result of something that he changes within us. We often feel tired and dissatisfied with our lives or something particular in our lives and want God to change it. But he changes our perspective about things instead of changing that thing we feel so discontented with.

We started by talking about our view of contentment and what that word means. The leader expressed that contentment really means realizing that God is in control.

1 Timothy 6:15

“God is the blessed controller of all things.”

We don’t act content with what we have because we don’t realize that we must submit to God. He is the controller and ruler of everything, even us. As humans we try so hard to maintain control of our lives or even one thing just to feel like we aren’t loosing it. But God asks us to lose it everyday and give it all to him. If we aren’t willing to give him everything in our lives, we don’t deserve it anyway because he gave it to us in the first place by giving us life!

We went on to talk about where we struggle with contentment in our lives. For many of us that is a long list. We don’t realize how often we complain; even about the most minute thing. I was on Facebook looking at statuses and feeling very down. So many people complain in their status about what is going wrong in their day. How many times do we stop to update people on the good things? How many times do we stop to thank God for just dying for us and in turn giving us life? Shouldn’t we be content just for having life and the opportunity to do something beautiful with that life?

Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.”

God doesn’t want us to dwell on the bad things, but to find joy and peace in the good. Finding happiness and contentment doesn’t always come from having a great life. Many people in third world countries are the most kind and joyful people you will meet, despite their circumstances. Contentment is all about our attitudes and the way we choose to see things. If we just follow what God asks us to do, our lives will be more content because we have obeyed him and that is much easier than fighting with him. Can I get an AMEN on that one?!

May you find ways to be content this week!

Praying for you!

To the King!



Thoughts on True Worship: Giving of Ourselves

10 03 2010

Hey guys,

Loving the warm weather?!  Spring is just around the corner!  So is our first ever Connections gathering.  Please plan on attending! 

March 28th


Plainfield Hampton Inn, Conference Room



Small Group/Fellowship Time


Here’s some devotional thoughts for this week from our Young Adult Ministry Assistant, Mariya Jones:

True worship: surrendering to honor God in everything

God has been laying it on my heart recently to give up some things in my life to honor him more fully. I have a hard time with this because I am human and it is our nature to be selfish. I want to make myself happy but I also want to please God in everything I do just like it says in the Bible. The Bible also talks about being a missionary in our cities, countries and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

I hear repeatedly, (especially at the student missions conference Urbana), that we need to learn to be missionaries where we are at before we can be effective ministers in other parts of the world. This is really hard for me because I feel that in order to be relevant to those around me I need to continuously be a part of some kind of community. I feel the need to be a part of some group, to look genuine or in some way “cool” to that group in order to share the gospel effectively with them. This sounds really silly for me to say and write. I often feel confused about how to stay true to my Savior and praise him constantly in all my actions, but still be able to be a part of a group of people who don’t often hear his words so that they can truly hear what he is saying through me.

            God does not want someone who cannot handle the heat of being an outspoken Christian. If we truly want to follow God and be his hands and feet to the ends of the earth, we have to give up everything and follow him to wherever he wants us to go. We must fill our lives with him and do what he tells us no matter how hard we think it is. Luke 14:27

“And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

It’s so hard to die to ourselves constantly and be that morally upright follower of Christ, but it’s something I believe we are continually perfecting throughout our lives.

My prayer for those of us who want to be involved in Connections, is that we can support each other in this continuous reach to be a better Christian and missionary and that we can truly worship our Lord. I hope that our time together will prove helpful in making Jesus Christ our center.

Have a great week!  Praying for you!

To the King!


Thoughts on Worship

25 02 2010

Hey guys,

Sorry I missed writing you last week.  I got so pre-occupied with getting ready for our Winter Retreat that it ended being Saturday evening before I finally realized I hadn’t written my devotional for you yet.  That’s my excuse…

Anyway, so we’re gearing up for our first ever Connections gathering next month.  Clear your calendars now!  Our first gathering will meet on March 28th from 3pm-6pm.  We’re still working out some of the details (such as the location) so there will be much more information to come out in the next week or so but we wanted you to get the date set.  Plan to come to this gathering.  We’ll have some time worshipping together, have some teaching and small group discussion and we’ll eat.  It’ll be great…you can bring friends too! 

So, we’ve been talking about worship and prayer the last couple weeks and I wanted to continue with that theme here some more.  At our Sundesmos Winter Retreat last year we had a great time looking at different aspects of Quakerism.  One of those was worship.  Here are some quotes we looked at from a couple different doctrinal documents, our Faith and Practice and the Richmond Declaration of Faith:

“Friends’ concept of worship is based upon the belief that the relationship between the Divine Spirit and the Christian worshiper is essentially that of parent and child, in which each may fully participate.”

(WYM Faith & Practice p. 12)

“As the worshiper waits expectantly, in humility, with praise and supplication, a sense of the living Presence of Christ brings a renewal of spiritual strength and truth is revealed.”

(WYM Faith & Practice p. 12)

“Both worship and Christian fellowship spring out of this immediate relation of believing souls with their Lord.”

(WYM Faith & Practice p. 7)

“Worship is the adoring response of the heart and mind to the influence of the Spirit of God. It stands neither in forms nor in the formal disuse of forms: it may be without words as well as with them, but it must be in spirit and in truth.”

(Richmond Declaration of Faith, Public Worship)

“By the immediate operations of the Holy Spirit, He as Head of the church, alone selects and qualifies those who are to present His messages or engage in other service for Him; and, hence, we cannot commit any formal arrangement to any one in our regular meetings for worship. We are well aware that the Lord has provided a diversity of gifts for the needs both of the church and of the world, and we desire that the church may feel her responsibility, under the government of her Great Head, in doing her part to foster these gifts, and in making arrangements for their proper exercise.”

(Richmond Declaration of Faith, Public Worship)

“The church that quenches the Spirit and lives to itself alone must die.”

(Richmond Declaration of Faith, Public Worship)

Anything strike you about these statements?

Do they encompass your experience in worship? 

The thing that sticks out predominately to me is that worship must be based in a relationship.  It is a reaction to our relationship, a response to our relationship, and a reflection of our relationship with God.  The closer we find our lives entwined with God…the easier it is to worship Him.  It is impossible not to worship Him with everything we are and to find Him to truly be everything we need.

This new song by J. J. Heller called Your Hands brought this reality into perspective for me.

I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn’t there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That You would take my pain away
That You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crookedly lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

When You walked upon the Earth
You healed the broken, lost, and hurt
I know You hate to see me cry
One day You will set all things right
Yea, one day You will set all things right

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

Your hands
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave You when…

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave…
I never leave Your hands

Have a wonderful week.  I hope you have some time to spend with your Heavenly Father who has you wrapped in His hands.

 To the King!


Thoughts on Prayer

1 02 2010

Hey guys,

So we’re looking the next couple weeks at the ideas of worship and prayer, leading up to our first Connections gathering in March.  If you’ll remember these are some things we’re focusing on:

*Reflecting on Worship

                        -what brings you to worship?

                        -how do you prepare your heart for worship?

                        -how have you met God individually and corporately in the past?

            *Praying About Connections

                        -Pray for a clear vision and purpose for the planning team.

                        -Pray for a core group of people willing to covenant to be a part of this gathering and pray for it.

                        -Pray for the logistics of place, time, and people to all come together

Mariya Jones, is our new Young Adult Ministry Assistant and she wanted to share some thoughts about prayer in this week’s devotional.

Devotional from Mariya –

We drop hints about Christmas presents to mom or dad or say things to get people to do what we want. This is sometimes how we pray to God. God wants us to pray with purpose, with a goal in mind. He wants us to step out on faith and believe in Him. He is omnipotent and knows what is happening and what is in our hearts. We don’t have to give him a report of what is going on in our world because he already knows that. We must pray with an ending in mind. We must have an outcome in mind and God will be more willing to give it to us. If we are faithful, he will grant us our desires.

Acts 4:23-31

23On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
   ” ‘Why do the nations rage
      and the peoples plot in vain?
 26The kings of the earth take their stand
      and the rulers gather together
      against the Lord
      and against his Anointed One.

27Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people[c] of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

31After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

If we want something certain we must pray for it certainly. We have to truly believe that it will happen and that God will grant us that and pray for that very specific thing we want/need. We know this because Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:21-22)

Now, I think we all know that praying for a new convertible or hot tub isn’t going to benefit God’s kingdom and God probably won’t give it to us anyway. If we pray, wholeheartedly, for a sense of peace and a company to create a new position for our family’s sole provider who lost his/her job, He will make something happen. If we pray for a friend who is not a Christian and ask God to bring something to them so that they will not be able to deny His power, He will do it.

In order to receive this from God we must be blameless in his eyes. We must stand in His presence and not fear His wrath because we have not done anything to receive wrath for. We must protect our hearts from evil so as to remain blameless.

Deuteronomy 18:13

You must be blameless before the LORD your God.

Psalms 15

1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
       Who may live on your holy hill?

 2 He whose walk is blameless
       and who does what is righteous,
       who speaks the truth from his heart

 3 and has no slander on his tongue,
       who does his neighbor no wrong
       and casts no slur on his fellowman,

 4 who despises a vile man
       but honors those who fear the LORD,
       who keeps his oath
       even when it hurts,

 5 who lends his money without usury
       and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
       He who does these things
       will never be shaken.

I heard a great speaker talk on this at Urbana this year in St. Louis. His name was Sunder Krishnan. He started by talking about a thing he read in Sojourners Magazine written by Walter Wink. Mr. Wink said this: “History belongs to the intercessors who thus believe the future into being.” He meant that if we just believe and pray it with our whole heart, God will provide.

 If you want to hear his talk, go to:

-Mariya Jones, WYM Young Adult Ministry Assistant

 Have a great week!  Pray with purpose and with faith!

 To the King!


 P.S. Our WYM Winter Retreat is coming up in a couple weeks.  If you are free on Feb. 13th this would be a great event to attend.  The theme is “Building Up the Body of Christ”.  If you would like to attend WYM will cover your registration fee if you contact me ahead of time.  Registration deadline is Feb. 8th (a week from today!)


29 01 2010

Hey guys,

So we are making some changes to our Sundesmos college/young adult ministry this coming year.  Many of you know that we have provided the opportunity for young adults to serve as Ministry Interns that past few summers to give you guys an opportunity to identify some of your gifts and use them.  Because of the current climate of WYM we are switching gears.  Instead of focusing on giving you opportunities for Leadership Development, we’re going to focus on giving you chances to grow spiritually, hopefully away from the drama and conflict of the Yearly Meeting.  So one new thing that you’ll hear more about in the coming month is that we are initiating a Young Adult led worship/fellowship gathering once a month in the Indy area.  We’re calling this gathering Connections and we’ve hired a young adult, Mariya Jones, to lead and coordinate  this gathering.

This is a new adventure.  We’re still working on developing a clear purpose and vision for this gathering and I’m going to give Mariya the opportunity to write some of these devotionals to help direct you guys and share that vision with you all.

I want to ask you all to start praying about Connections right now.  We need to surround this gathering with prayer from the very beginning and I would love it if, leading up to our first Connections gathering in March, this weekly devotional could become a time for you to spend:

*Reflecting on Worship

-what brings you to worship?

-how do you prepare your heart for worship?

-how have you met God individually and corporately in the past?

*Praying About Connections

-Pray for a clear vision and purpose for the planning team.

-Pray for a core group of people willing to covenant to be a part of this gathering and pray for it.

-Pray for the logistics of place, time, and people to all come together

So to start things off, I want to ask you to spend some time this week thinking about worship…think of a time when you felt like you were truly worshipping, you were in God’s presence and you felt that communion in such a real way.  We have a whole book of the bible dedicated to worship.  Spend some time reading a few of the Psalms.  Its there we find a tapestry of emotions offered up in worship…a blend of reverence and anger, of joy and confusion.  What does worship look like?

Sing God a brand-new song! Earth and everyone in it, sing!
Sing to God—worship God!
Shout the news of his victory from sea to sea,
Take the news of his glory to the lost,
News of his wonders to one and all!
For God is great, and worth a thousand Hallelujahs.
His terrible beauty makes the gods look cheap;
Pagan gods are mere tatters and rags.
God made the heavens—
Royal splendor radiates from him,
A powerful beauty sets him apart.
Bravo, God, Bravo!
Everyone join in the great shout: Encore!
In awe before the beauty, in awe before the might.
Bring gifts and celebrate,
Bow before the beauty of God,
Then to your knees—everyone worship!
Get out the message—God Rules!
He put the world on a firm foundation;
He treats everyone fair and square.
Let’s hear it from Sky,
With Earth joining in,
And a huge round of applause from Sea.
Let Wilderness turn cartwheels,
Animals, come dance,
Put every tree of the forest in the choir—
An extravaganza before God as he comes,
As he comes to set everything right on earth,
Set everything right, treat everyone fair.

Psalms 96 (MSG)

Have a great week!  If you’d like to chat with Mariya about our upcoming Connections gatherings she can be found on Facebook at our Connections Facebook group:

or at:

Praying for you!

To the King!


Why Does it Hurt?

21 01 2010

Hey guys,

So it’s been a while since I’ve done a devo, sorry about that. We’ve started a new year and a new semester….new routines and new expectations.  We’ve seen the colossal tragedy in Haiti and asked:


“How does God allow this to happen?” 

“Why so much hurt and pain?”

The answer to those questions may not come easily but the truth is that in all of life…our God fiercely loves His creation.

Tell Me What Hurts You

by Brennan Manning

An old Hasidic rabbi, Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev in the Ukraine , used to say that he discovered the meaning of love from a drunken peasant.  The rabbi was visiting the owner of a tavern in the Polish countryside.  As he walked in, he saw two peasants at a table.  Both were gloriously in their cups.  Arms around each other, they wer protesting how much each loved the other.  Suddenly Ivan said to Peter, “Peter, tell me what hurts me. “  Bleary eyed, Peter looked at Ivan.  “How do I know what hurts you?”  Ivan’s answer was swift: “If you don’t know what hurts me, how can you say you love me?”

Do you know what made Jesus so loving a person, the greatest lover in history?  He knew what hurt us.  He knew then and he knows now – the loves and hates, hopes and fears, the joys and sadnesses of each of us.  This is not pious poetry.  The risen Jesus is not a vague figure in outer space.  His resurrection did not remove him from us; it simply made it possible for him to touch not only Naim but New Orleans , not only Magdalene but me.  Christian living makes no sense unless we believe that at this moment, Jesus knows what hurts us.  Not only knows but, knowing, seeks us out – whatever our kind of poverty or pain, however we weep, wherever we feel unloved.

 Don’t be afraid.
Dear Zion ,
   don’t despair.
Your God is present among you,
   a strong Warrior there to save you.
Happy to have you back, he’ll calm you with his love
   and delight you with his songs.

Zeph. 3:16-17 (MSG)

 Have a great week!  Praying for you!

 To the King!


 P.S.  Consider coming to our upcoming WYM Winter Retreat.  The theme is “Building Up the Body of Christ.”  Let me know if you’d like to come but can’t afford the $15 registration fee…we can make it happen!

What’s it all about?

10 12 2009

Hey guys,

So this will be my last devotional for the next couple weeks.  I know many of you will be heading home for the holidays soon.  In the midst of all your busyness, here’s a couple questions for you:

*How have you prepared for Christmas?

*What is it all about?


Have you taken time during this Advent season to prepare?  I’m not talking about getting your shopping done, or your decorations and lights put up, or whatever traditional preparations we all have.  I mean, have you prepared your heart for Christmas…to celebrate the birth of your Lord?


I attached a movie clip from this movie called God Grew Tired of Us.  This is a documentary that follows the journey of the “Lost Boys” from Sudan who left their homeland of chaos and war and moved to America.  This clip sees our “American Christmas” through their eyes for the first time. 


As you watch this clip ask these questions:

            *What is the focus of our Christmas celebrations?

            *Do all the “things” (trees, presents, shopping, lights, carols, Santas, traditions) we surround ourselves with at Christmastime really help us celebrate Christmas?

            *Do we prepare ourselves spiritually for Christmas? 


The Gospel of John presents the Christmas story as this, plain and simple:

The Word became flesh and blood,
      and moved into the neighborhood.
   We saw the glory with our own eyes,
      the one-of-a-kind glory,
      like Father, like Son,
   Generous inside and out,
      true from start to finish.

John 1:14(MSG)


The Glory of the Lord became incarnate, came to us. 


Emmanuel…God with us. 


That’s what it’s about.


That’s something to celebrate!


Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year! 


We still have some spaces left on our Alabama mission trip.  Let me know ASAP if you are interested in going.  Also, I attached a letter from Tim Hagmaier, the clerk of the Executive Committee of WYM, responding to the Young Adult Minute we presented to them this last weekend. 




To the King!


Clip can be watched at:


Letter From Tim Hagmaier:

Young Adult Minute Acknowlegment