Dry Bones Ministry is an email based ministry for existing Christians. Two meditations are prepared each week. They are based on the Saturday and Sunday readings for the Revised Common Lectionary as used by many mainline Christian denominations. The two meditations are usually based on the gospel reading, but may be based on any of the readings for a given day. The meditations are typically about 500-700 words in length, and end with a prayer.
The meditations are distributed via two email lists. The meditations are attached to the Saturday and Sunday email distribution of the ORISON Prayer Digest mailing list each week. These meditations go to more than 300 subscribers to this list of prayer requests. The other method of distribution is through the author's email list of more than 165 subscribers. One of the two meditations is mailed out on Wednesday and is called a Wednesday Warmblin' meditation.
Dry Bones is based on a call to minister to existing Christians. The Dry Bones theme comes from Ezekiel 37:1-10, and especially verse 4. "Then he said to me, 'Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.'"
Dry Bones meditations are written to remind us of our duties as Christians to share our joy in our walk with Christ with others. Some meditations point to areas where we may be weak. Other meditations stress using the strengths we have in our Christian walk. Meditations are written to be useful by any Christian.
My name is James A. "Jj" Johnson. I was raised in South Carolina by a Southern Baptist minister and a public school teacher. After completing my education, I began teaching school in Georgia. Friends invited me to visit an Episcopal church. I immediately found a new church home.
Now, after years of running from a call to serve God, I have accepted that call as a layperson. My call is to minister as a layman to existing Christians. I believe my call is to address their needs through my ministry of meditations.
My spiritual gift is my writing ability. I am editor of a weekly newspaper. For years, I thought my ministry must be directly related to my job. I also believed I needed to be ordained to undertake any ministry. Only in recent years has God's call become clear. I began writing meditations for friends during spring 1997. The ministry has continued to grow, and to be blessed by my Lord. During July 1998, there were about 165 email subscribers to Wednesday Wramblin' meditations. Both Dry Bones meditations published by ORISON Prayer Digest reach more than 300 subscribers.
God has continued to bless this ministry. I have recognized and claimed my spiritual gift of writing. I have realized my day job is not necessarily the sole location of my ministry. I have realized God can use me as a lay person just as effectively, and perhaps more effectively as a lay person.
My training includes more than 20 years of Southern Baptist Sunday School and Training Union, RA's and other church organizations. I am a graduate of both a Baptist-linked junior college and senior college. I completed a basic study of Old and New Testament during my freshman year. I attended a Baptist seminary for one semester. I have completed three of the four years of the Episcopal-based Education for Ministry. EFM prepares laypersons for ministries in and out of church. EFM includes much of the core study material of the first year of seminary at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn.
My other ministry activities include serving as senior warden of All Saints Episcopal Church of Warner Robins, Ga., and as a member of the church vestry. I am a lay reader and chalice bearer, and will serve as a Serendipity Bible study mentor beginning in September 1998. I am active in the Altanta Episcopal Cursillo Community and have served on several weekend teams.
To subscribe to Wednesday Wramblin' meditations, send an email request to email@example.com. Meditations are typically mailed for coffee time reading each Wednesday, but may occasionally move later in the day because of my work schedule.
To subscribe to ORISON Prayer Digest, a daily prayer request list with devotions, send an email request to David Burton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May the Peace of the Lord be with you always.
It is my desire, then, that in every place men may give themselves to prayer, lifting up holy hands, without wrath or argument. I Timothy 2:8, Bible in Basic English
Paul writes that men everywhere and in every place should give themselves to prayer. He writes as if we have time to pause and pray. Paul believes we should unite in prayer to our Lord, sharing our wants, needs and desires.
Further, Paul expects we will lift high holy hands and pray without wrath or argument among ourselves.
Hmmmp! What did Paul know? After all, he wrote in the days before television, home computers, fax machines and beepers. He wrote before jobs were for more than just sustenance. Now jobs are for providing social as well as financial rewards. How little Paul knew.
He may not have understood our present society at all, but Paul understood the need for communicating with our Lord. He frequently wrote of our need to ask our Lord to provide for us.
I have just returned from a three-day spiritual retreat. I was part of the prayer team. Our task was to pray with the various speakers before their talks and to offer thanksgivings for the presence of our Lord. We prayed for those participating in the retreat that they might hear the word of our Lord. Our ultimate prayer was for our Lord to visit that retreat and show his presence to all of us.
During that three-day event, I had the opportunity to observe the presence of our Lord on the faces of many I contacted. I also had a chance to observe some answers to prayer in the form of spiritual healing. Some, who came on the retreat because of all the wrong reasons, left with the healing which only our Lord can provide. Others, who came for all the right reasons, had a chance to stop and sit at His feet in the Mary mode rather than operating full-speed ahead as Martha did.
When we turn our lives over to our Lord through prayer, we find amazing things happen. He takes care of some of the bumps in the road. Our Lord does so many marvelous things -- when we lift our needs to him with holy hands raised and after we throw out worldly thoughts from our minds.
He also answers these prayers in His time, not ours. Our minutes are very obviously not like our Lord's minutes. Sometimes He doesn't answer as we prayed, but as He saw fit to respond.
A few years ago the thought of spending a weekend on my knees at a prayer altar would have been a joke. Friends would have laughed and said, "Him? No way." That was before others prayed for me and offered me a chance to play Mary for a weekend. Suddenly I realized the great importance of talking and listening to my Lord. Now I look forward to those precious moments with my Lord.
It is from those still, quiet moments that our greatest times of communication come. It is when we can lift our hands in prayer, and remove worldly influences, that we listen best to Our Father.
Lord, I thank you for revealing yourself to so many gathered last weekend. I thank you for your presence not only at that retreat, but also in our daily lives. Lord, we desire to serve you. We want to answer your call. Yet, Lord, we're so busy earning a living so we can be powerful and successful. Help us to move from success to significance. Help us give up keeping ahead of our neighbors in earthly possessions. Instead, help us find new ways to minister to those around us. Deliver us from power and possessions and into love and compassion. Help us realize that time spent with you is quality time. Help us realize you do hear our prayers and answer in your time. Thank you, Lord Jesus. Amen.
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