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New Release — Cyber Outreach: How to Develop and Evaluate Your Digital Ministries

How to Develop and Evaluate Your Digital Ministries is a “how-to” text for anyone who is just starting to explore the use of technology for discipleship, worship, outreach, and other forms of service. All of the approaches we mention are simple and inexpensive to implement. The book is written at a basic level.

Throughout the text, we will help you find answers to several questions: •How do we redefine “church” in an era of physical isolation?

  • How do we build a sacred community when we are distanced from each other?
  • What is the purpose of Christian outreach?
  • •How do we care for each other spiritually while sheltering in place?
  • How do we know if we are doing a good job?

The overall purpose of this book is to provide guidance to small, cyber churches and other digital outreach initiatives that are trying to continue their ministries with limited financial resources. Our intended audience includes pastors, ministerial leaders, media coordinators, seminarians, and laypeople who are drawn to new ways of reaching out to audiences hungry for inspiration and hope by meeting the people where they are to be found. Those involved in digital outreach might use approaches described in this book to expand their current programs.

Available now on Amazon.com

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Knowing Justice, Knowing Peace — NEW JOURNAL JUST RELEASED

Knowing Justice, Knowing Peace

Perhaps you’ve attended one of the virtual rallies recently. Electrified words linger powerfully in the air all around you. Throughout the speeches, the possibilities of freedom and change resonate in your spirit.

Tired, but hopeful, you watch the marchers brandish their signs. You desire to stand with them. A policy change is in order! You want to make a difference this time around, but you don’t know how to do it. Maybe it’s your season to stir things up from the inside out, time to change the system by changing yourself. Knowing Justice, Knowing Peace will help you turn your passion and outrage into action. Engaging in the daily disciplines of journaling and prayer will empower you to grapple with the hard issues as you seek a way forward that works for you.

This diary provides a structured format based on adult learning theory to facilitate your self-awareness of systemic racism and injustice in America. Scripture and photographs, along with your own reflections on news of the day, evoke a prayer response. Daily devotion using a diary can serve as a scaffold as you work to resolve areas of dissonance and move towards personal transformation.

Knowing Justice, Knowing Peace is available on Amazon

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CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Do you have skills as a curriculum developer? Are you concerned about social justice issues? Are you interested in Christian education?

Center Street Publishing is looking for qualified authors and educators to help us develop curriculum materials dealing with unity, justice, peace, and love. Assignments will be made on a contractual basis. Our primary audience will be adults. However, we would welcome participation by those skilled in middle school education. Send inquiries to Dr. Lorrie C. Reed at CSpubsinfo@gmail.com. Let your light shine!

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CALL FOR MANUSCRIPTS

Over the last few weeks, we have observed people from all racial groups and walks of life who are disconcerted with the current state of affairs and wish to contribute to the attainment of racial equality and social justice. Although they stand in solidarity with the cause, some feel powerless to effectuate meaningful change.

Many of these supporters need opportunities to introspect and process their own feelings and values. Currently, good-quality, issue-focused adult learning materials are in short supply. The editorial staff at Center Street Publishing aims to bridge the gap.

We are seeking to work with aspiring authors to develop and publish adult learning resources that facilitate self-awareness and transformation. To that end, we are issuing a call for book-length manuscripts, workbooks, collections of personal growth exercises, and other learning materials that help readers understand and grapple with issues of systemic racism and injustice in America. Please send inquiries to Dr. Lorrie C. Reed at CSpubsinfo@gmail.com. Let your light shine!

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Praying from the Bottom Up

A couple of years ago, I received a call from Joyce (not her real name). She had recently accepted Jesus as her personal savior and was in the process of trying to solidify her relationship with the Lord. After reciting her understanding of the basic tenets of Christianity and sharing her beliefs about salvation, she admitted that she was still confused and a bit frustrated. She needed clarity.

Someone along the way had told her to pray about it. And so she did. Joyce said to me that she had been praying the same prayer every day, three or four times a day, for the Lord to reveal a way forward. Then she repeated her prayer and exclaimed, “It’s not working!”

Like so many other new Christians who are seeking maturity in their relationship with the Lord, Joyce thought that her prayers had to take on the characteristics of a secret formula in order to be authentic. She believed that by saying the “right” words in the “right” order, God would hear her petitions and answer. What she failed to realize was that her approach did little to help her build a relationship with the One with whom she desired to have intimacy.

Joyce and I used this experience as a way to broaden her thinking about prayer. There is more than one right way to pray! There is power in all forms of prayer.  And the Lord God hears them all!

Praying from the Bottom Up:  Beside Still Waters – A Devotional and Prayer Journal can serve as a tool to help you learn more about prayer. Using scripture, photography, and reflective prompts, the journal provides a scaffold for those who wish to develop a daily discipline and build a relationship with God.

My gift to you – Obtain your eBook FREE between June 1 and June 5.

Available now on Amazon.com

Read what others are saying about the book:

“I love it!  We are entering what someone referred to as a ‘different’ normal, and we need to relook at those things we considered normal for a fresh take. Dr. Reed has provided this with God’s Word in an easy to follow format that counters the complexity of this season. The journal offers readers an opportunity for deep reflection in a non-intimidating structure”. – Rev. Melody L. Seaton, Pastor, Grace United Church of Christ-

“I love the format of the prayer journal. The purpose of the book, instructions on how to use the journal, and the layout are all clear and easy to understand. I feel that people of all ages, backgrounds, etc. will be able to utilize this resource. The beginning provides sufficient instruction and information concerning prayer. This will also be a great resource for someone who is a new Christian and is being disciple-d by someone more mature in Christ. This can even be useful for “seekers” – those who do not actually have a relationship with Christ. I feel that it will help them to draw closer to Him.  Overall, I think it is great for people of all levels!” – Valarie Cooper, Member, Waukegan Community Church

“I enthusiastically endorse this straightforward and practical “Devotional and Prayer Journal.” Especially helpful for me personally, were the chapters focusing on the  “Daily Devotional Tools” and “Finding Your Own Prayer Style.” I have been an academician and clinician for over thirty years and even though I am a Christian, I have often felt that my public prayers were not powerful enough to actually be effective. This journal has changed my views about my prayer life.” – Mary Allen Carey, Ph.D., Allen Carey Associates, LLC —-

“It is a pleasure to endorse this timely book. “Praying from the Bottom Up: Beside Still Waters-A Devotional and Prayer Journal” provides an opportunity for anyone seeking to develop a more intimate focus on their spiritual walk. Many times when I am reading my Bible or praying, I love to jot down notes and scriptures. This ‘Prayer Journal’ gives me another format to support and enrich my prayer life.” – Min. Dr. Dorothy Thompson, Minister, Africa Resurrection & Restoration Ministries (ARRM)

 

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Do you remember?

Do you remember?

For people from my generation, the question might be, “Where were you when John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, at 12:30 p.m.? That date evokes vivid memories that spring forth in living color. I was in junior high school, and our concert band was participating in a regional music festival involving dozens of schools in Lake County, IL. The clarinet section was rehearsing for the big concert to take place later that evening. When the announcement came over the loudspeaker, we sat stunned in a state of disbelief.

Where were you when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed in 1968? When I heard the news, I was visiting with my sister during her college spring break. We ventured onto Michigan Avenue in Chicago that afternoon just to see what was happening. We cringed in disbelief as angry people threw trash cans through shop windows in the South Loop. Later on the news, we saw buildings and businesses on the West Side blazing out of control. The crowd chanted, “Burn it down!”

What about “9/11” when the Twin Towers came crashing down in 2001? I was teaching at the university that day. Before class, I entered the office to retrieve my mail. People huddled around the TV as they watched in horror. The networks played the scene over and over again. Airplanes crashed into the buildings, and smoke billowed from wounds gashed into the majestic skyscrapers.

One day, your children may ask, “Where were you during the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020?” What will you tell them about this historic event? What did you see? How did you feel? What messages did your soul whisper to you as the earth struggled to arrive at a “new normal”?

I suspect that various interpretations of the incident will emerge. Various voices will narrate the history of this incredible period in our lives. Will your voice be among them? What will be your version of the story?

Don’t miss this opportunity to journal your journey. Write it down so that others will know what you went through in 2020. And, when the time is right, consider publishing your story to share with future generations. Just let us know when you’re ready.

Lorrie Reed

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The Persistent Killer

By Lorrie C. Reed, Ph.D.

It is my fervent prayer that something will be found soon to control COVID-19 and stem the spread of the current pandemic. Most of us will be at ease, no doubt,  after the pandemic has subsided. Unfortunately, some groups will remain vulnerable to other tenacious killers that continue to show themselves strong in our communities of color.

The persistent killer I’m talking about disproportionately compromises the lives of millions of the poorest members of our society each year. This killer shows up in the form of a complex consisting of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and related maladies that shorten the lives and diminish the well-being of Black and Brown populations.

Such diseases proliferate because of discrimination against individuals based on race or gender. This includes the restriction of opportunities for employment, living conditions, nutrition, healthcare, and other manifestations of systemic racism. If it remains unchecked, the disease can lead to death.

Finding a cure for such racism has been an ongoing battle involving those who value fairness, compassion, and justice for all people. Perhaps justice makers should begin to tackle this ubiquitous presence in the same way public agencies have addressed the recently pernicious virus  – one person at a time, one policy at a time, and one practice at a time until the malady known as systemic racism is wiped off the planet for good.

When our society decides finally to become aggressive in this fight, the well-being of affected people will rise, and we will all be able to go outside once again without wearing our social masks for protection.

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Besides Still Waters – Praying through the Pandemic

During this COVID-19 pandemic, have you ever felt overwhelmed? Have the reports of gloom weighed heavily on your spirit? Sometimes it’s enough to make our souls ache. No doubt, even the strongest among us have felt the need to get away from the bad news on occasion. Prayer is a remedy that works for most believers.

When your soul feels disquieted, you can turn to prayer. You can follow Jesus’s example of stealing away to a secret place, a quiet place for prayer and renewal. Beside metaphorical still waters, you can embrace the comforting words of scripture and empty your soul before the Lord.

This journal provides spaces for you to record your favorite scripture, and write down your thoughts, prayer concerns, and praise reports.  The daily devotional prayers evoke reflection and invite application to your personal situation. Breathtaking photographs draw you into daily meditation. The prayer petitions will surely give you comfort and peace in these troubled times.

The journal is a great tool to use during your devotional time. It also makes a great gift for others.

Coming soon!

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The Note

I went to retrieve my mail the other day. It contained the usual junk—pre-approval notices for credit cards, information about supplemental healthcare insurance, and all manner of appeals to separate me from my hard earned money. Most of it was bulk mail. I was very close to tossing the whole pile into the trash when I spotted it.

The squarish envelope had my mailing address written neatly in the center space. A colorful return address label adorned the upper left corner. In the upper right, was a real “1st class” stamp. On the inside, there was a notecard. The message, written in beautifully rounded cursive, expressed well wishes and hopes for my speedy recovery. This sentiment from friends made me smile and feel very special.

I still have that note. It occupies a place of honor on my desk where I can look at it from time to time. In this age of electronic communication and junk mail, that simple hand-written note stood out. It told me that I was important and worthy of special attention. It really did uplift my spirits and make me feel better that day.

Let’s bring back the fine art of note writing. Boxed notecards make a perfect holiday gift!