Adult Playlists 2022-2023

What’s a Playlist?

A Playlist is a set of activities exploring a topic.  The activities might include reading an article or scripture, listening to a podcast or sermon, watching a video or movie clip. Each month we’ll post three Playlists designed for Children, Youth, and Adults.  All of us will explore the same topic, but the Playlists will be designed for each age group.  You can work your way through the Playlists at your own pace throughout the month.

Remember you can always share your thoughts in the comment section at the bottom of this page.

December Playlist


Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries & Missional Service



Take a look at the photographs above. Those are my parents and my siblings. I’m the one in front smiling and showing off my new teeth! How does a woman who grew up in Northeast Ohio end up a Lutheran?  My family’s background isn’t German or Swedish or Norwegian, and no one in our family was Lutheran.  I’m a Lutheran because my parents were Lutheran.  My mother became a Lutheran after meeting my father.  My father became a Lutheran after being adopted by his brother and sister-in-law, my Uncle Dick and Aunt Betty.  Uncle Dick became a Lutheran after meeting Aunt Betty.  How did Aunt Betty become a Lutheran?  She came from a troubled home, and she had a caring neighbor.  A neighbor who invited her into their home and included her in family events.  A neighbor who loved her and introduced her to Jesus.  That neighbor was a Lutheran.  How does a woman who grew up in Northeast Ohio end up a Lutheran?  The answer is simple.  A woman I never met shared her faith with a neighbor several generations ago.

Generations & Prayer

The prayer below is from the daily devotional email sent out by Women of the ELCA.  It’s written by Christa von Zychlin.  Use it as you work your way through the Generations Playlist this month.

Lord God, ageless and eternal, give us grace to see your presence in the young, the old and all the in-betweens. Open our eyes, ears, hearts and hands to practice your love and bestow your audaciously lavish blessings among the generations. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Generations & Scripture

Spend some time focusing on the first chapter of Luke this month.  Look at the ways the theme of Generations shows through in the verses.  Consider the responses of Zechariah, Elizabeth, and Mary.  How does each one demonstrate faith for their generations and for the coming generations?

Generations Logo

The following quote is from Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman, designer of the logo for our Advent “From Generation to Generation” theme. You can see the image at the top of the Generations Playlist.

“When we decided on the theme, From Generation to Generation…, the imagery that kept surfacing was the connective tissue of people through the visual metaphor of a family tree. At first, I was focused on this metaphor’s more literal imagery, like branches, leaves, and roots, but instead, I kept being drawn in to the people. When I started incorporating more representational imagery of people, I found that the result was translating more as a nuclear family or a more narrow idea of family, which we definitely wanted to avoid. I knew I wanted to emphasize the particularity of each person while imaging how their story fits into a larger narrative—one in line with the generative work of God. I drew simplified silhouettes of people in a radial fashion, positioned around a center point. At once this imagery took on a depth of meaning: the lineage of Christ centered around his light, the nativity scene centered around the manger, and the larger movement of God through each and every created being—radiating and growing like a flower. Ultimately, the image represents how we are all connected, our stories are woven together, and each of us has a purpose in the beauty of God’s continued unfolding creation.”

Generations & The Church

Many congregations are looking for ways to mix the generations together.  At Desert Cross we include a couple of intergenerational events in our Sunday morning Faith Formation each semester.  We set aside a Sunday for fellowship where folks of all ages can come together to hang out, indulge in a treat, and enjoy some conversation.  Do you remember Sundae Sunday this fall?  Look for Donut Day in the spring!  We also set aside a Sunday for a service project where folks of all ages can come together to do something good.  Do you remember packing Lunches with Love at our Desert Cross Serves Project this fall?  Save the date for another Desert Cross Serves Project coming up on January 29.

Click the link below to read an article from Living Lutheran.  It shares how other churches around the country are bringing the generations together.

Generations & The Church

Generations & The News

How did the Baby Boomers and Gen Z get their names?  Click the link below for an article from CNN sharing a bit of information on each generation.

Generations & The News

Generations & TikTok

Lily Ebert is 98 years old and has more than a million followers on TikTok.  Lily and her great grandson, Dov Forman, are using the platform to share Lily’s story of surviving the Holocaust.  Click the link below to meet them and see how they’re teaching the younger generations.

Generations & Poetry

Take some time to reflect on the following poem by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

“Generation to Generation”
In a house which becomes a home,
one hands down and another takes up
the heritage of mind and heart,
laughter and tears, musings and deeds.
Love, like a carefully loaded ship,
crosses the gulf between the generations.
Therefore, we do not neglect the ceremonies
of our passage: when we wed, when we die,
and when we are blessed with a child;
When we depart and when we return;
When we plant and when we harvest.
Let us bring up our children. It is not
the place of some official to hand to them
their heritage.
If others impart to our children our knowledge
and ideals, they will lose all of us that is
wordless and full of wonder.
Let us build memories in our children,
lest they drag out joyless lives,
lest they allow treasures to be lost because
they have not been given the keys.
We live, not by things, but by the meanings
of things. It is needful to transmit the passwords
from generation to generation.

Gen Z & Religion

Gen Z may not practice their faith like you or like me.  They’re finding their own way.  In fact, some are gathering faith practices from multiple religions.  Click the link below to read one viewpoint from Gen Z.

Gen Z & Religion

Generations & Film

The 1982 film On Golden Pond starring Henry Fonda, Katharine Hepburn, and Jane Fonda explores relationships across generations.  It’s on my “to view” list this month.  You can watch it on YouTube using the link below.

Generations & Hymns

“Faith of Our Fathers” is an old hymn.  You can listen to it by using the link below.

Generations & Music

When I was a kid, I remember my older siblings arguing over the stereo during summer days.  Our dad was at work, and both of them wanted to play their albums on the family stereo.  I can remember my sister blasting The Who and my brother playing Cat Stevens.  Here are two of those songs from those days.  Looking at the lyrics, I wonder if they were sending messages to our father.

“My Generation”

“Father and Son”

November Playlist


Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries & Missional Service



I wish I could say I turn to prayer first.  First when I’m anxious.  First when I’m overwhelmed.  First when I’m disappointed.  First when I’m angry.  First when I’m ill.  But, to be completely open and honest, I worry first.  I’m really good at worrying!  That’s what I do first.  I worry.  As we focus on our Pray Playlist this month, I’m going to work on turning to prayer first.

Prayers from Martin Luther

Luther’s Small Catechism includes several prayers to guide us.  Below you’ll find a prayer for morning and a prayer for evening.  Try using these prayers throughout the month as you work your way through the Pray Playlist.

● Morning Prayer
I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me through the night from all harm and danger. I ask that you would also protect me today from sin and all evil, so that my life and actions may please you. Into your hands I commend myself: my body, my soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel be with me, so that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.

● Evening Prayer
I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have graciously protected me today. I ask you to forgive me all my sins, where I have done wrong, and graciously to protect me tonight. Into your hands I commend myself: my body, my soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel be with me, so that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Prayer & Scripture

The Faith Practices Project has a study on prayer.  It includes readings from Matthew, the Psalms, and Mark.  There are four passages along with reflection questions.  Try focusing on one passage each week this month to grow in your prayer practice.

Prayer & Scripture

Jesus & Prayer

We can learn a lot by looking at the times Jesus turned to prayer.  Click the link below to read about seven such times.

7 Moments When Jesus Turned to Prayer

Foundations of Prayer

In the article link below, Chris Schoon, Director of Faith Formation Ministries, shares four foundations of prayer.  He starts with the Disciples asking Jesus to teach them to pray and explains what we can learn from that.

Foundations of Prayer

Prayer & Misconceptions

Richard Foster, author of Prayer, shares Five Misconceptions about prayer in the essay link below.  Take a few minutes to read it.  You may find some freedom in letting these misconceptions go.

Prayer & Misconceptions

Pray As You Go App

Do you need a prayer tool?  Try the app, Pray As You Go.  It’s from the Jesuits, and Pastor Andrea introduced it to Desert Cross in a Weekly Update a while back.  You can sign up to receive a daily devotion that includes a reading, music, thoughts to ponder, and prayer.  They also offer an online Advent Retreat and a Lenten Retreat.  And you’ll love the British accents!

Pray As You Go App

Prayer & Health

People around the world turned to prayer during the pandemic and found it comforting.  Doctors and scientists have studied prayer and found health benefits of praying.  Click the link below to read about these benefits.

Prayer & Health

Praying through Music

Prayers can be said through music.  Here are a couple such prayers.

“Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying” by Ken Medema

“A Living Prayer” by Alison Krauss

October Playlist


Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries & Missional Service



This may sound strange, but one of my models of faith is someone who never discussed his faith with me.  Instead, he showed me.  Week in and week out.  My dad had us (all four of us) in the pew each Sunday.  We went to church before my mother’s death, and we continued that practice after she died.  There wasn’t a question about it come Sunday mornings.  We were going to worship.  Looking back on it, it couldn’t have been easy.  My dad was a widower before he was forty years old.  He had four young kids.  He must’ve questioned God in those days.  He must’ve wondered at his loss.  He must’ve been overcome by tremendous grief.  And yet, he modeled faith for us.  We prayed before meals, and we prayed at bedtime.  He took us to Sunday School and Confirmation Classes.  He signed our family up to clean the church and to cut the grass.  Without saying a word, he modeled his faith for us.

As you work your way through this month’s Faith Playlist, think about the models of faith in your life.  Also, consider how you’re modeling faith for others.

Faith & Prayer

The prayer below is from Martin Luther.  Return to it as you work your way through the Faith Playlist this month.

Behold, Lord, an empty vessel that needs to be filled.  My Lord, fill it.  I am weak in the faith; strengthen me.  I am cold in love; warm me and make me fervent, that my love may go out to my neighbor.  I do not have a strong and firm faith; at times I doubt and am unable to trust you altogether.  O Lord, help me.  Strengthen my faith and trust in you.  In you I have sealed the treasure of all I have.  I am poor; you are rich and came to be merciful to the poor.  I am a sinner; you are upright.  With me, there is an abundance of sin; in you is the fullness of righteousness.  Therefore I will remain with you, of whom I can receive, but to whom I may not give.  Amen.

Faith & Scripture

Spend some time exploring Faith in Scripture this month.  Below you’ll find a list of texts.  Open your Bible and see where these passages lead you.

Hebrews 11
Psalm 100
Matthew 15:21-28
Matthew 17:19-21
Mark 2:1-12
Luke 17:5-6
Ephesians 2:8-9

Faith & ELCA

A living, daring confidence in God’s grace.  That’s how the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America begins its description of Faith.  Click the link below for the full passage from the ELCA.


Faith & Trust

At times, our faith might waiver.  At times, we might struggle to trust.  How do we get through those times?  One answer:  The faith of others gets us through.  Click the link below to read a devotional about this.


Faith & The Bible Project

God.  Emet.  Truth.  Faith.  Click the link below for a video from The Bible Project explaining how all of this is connected.

Faith & Queen Elizabeth

When Queen Elizabeth died last month, there were many articles about her long life, the future of the monarchy, and the family dynamics.  I found the article linked below about her faith interesting.  Different faith leaders reflect on how they saw Queen Elizabeth follow her faith during her reign.

Queen Elizabeth

Faith & Poetry

Take some time to reflect on the following poem by Wendell Berry.

“The Wild Geese”
Horseback on Sunday morning,
harvest over, we taste persimmon
and wild grape, sharp sweet
of summer’s end. In time’s maze
over fall fields, we name names
that went west from here, names
that rest on graves. We open
a persimmon seed to find the tree
that stands in promise,
pale, in the seed’s marrow.
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear,
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye
clear. What we need is here.

Faith & The Future

It’s no secret.  Church attendance and church membership are declining.  Across denominations and demographics, the number of people in America identifying themselves as Christian is declining.  You’ll find a link below to an article from Christianity Today discussing a new survey from Pew Research.  Reading the article has me asking a couple of questions.  What do we do with this information?  How do we share our faith with others?  Read the article and see what questions come to your mind.


Faith & Christian Music

Faith, as you can guess, is the topic of many hymns and songs.  Use the links below to listen to a few.

“Come Thou Fount”


“Trust in You”

Faith & U2

Sex, drugs, and rock and roll.  That’s the saying . . . but not all rock bands sing only about these topics.  Below you’ll find an article from a Christian magazine in the United Kingdom discussing faith themes found in U2 songs.  Even better you’ll find links to the songs in the article!  Happy listening!


September Playlist


Denise McClellan, Director of Adult Ministries & Missional Service



When I think of generous people I’ve known in my life, I think of my mother-in-law.  I know what some of you are thinking . . . your mother-in-law?  Really?  If there was a mother-in-law lottery, I won!  Jean was generous in numerous ways.

Like a lot of parents and grandparents who can afford to be, she was generous financially.  Even when Mike and I were hosting dinner, she’d pay for the Thanksgiving turkey and the Christmas ham.  At the start of each school year, she’d buy our kids new shoes and new clothes.  When we were living on one income, she’d show up with a couple packages of diapers.  Jean did all of this without our asking . . . she just gave generously.

Jean also gave her time and attention generously.  Jean volunteered at the local hospital in the gift shop.  Jean was a very quiet, extremely shy person.  I imagine serving in such a public setting was a challenge for her, but she wanted to contribute so she found a way.  When she spent time with our kids, I don’t think they ever thought she had another thing to do but be with them.  When our girls were little, she’d watch the “TGIF” TV line up of silly sitcoms with them.  They weren’t great shows, but the girls liked them, so Jean watched.  When our son was little, she’d spend hours with him playing “shoe store” at her house.  She gave her time with love and generosity.

Generosity of spirit was what I appreciated most in Jean.  When Mike and I married, I became a stepmother.  I wasn’t prepared, and at times it was a difficult transition.  There must have been a hundred things for her to “advise” me on about parenting.  Instead, I only heard encouraging words from her.  She never told me how I should’ve done something or how I should’ve handled a situation.  Instead, she always found a way to tell me something I had done well.  She went out of her way to notice the little things and the small steps of progress.  She was very generous with words of praise when I needed them.

So, when you think of generous people you’ve known in your life, who comes to mind?  If possible, thank them this month.

Generosity & Prayer

The following prayer is attributed to St. Ignatius.  Use it as your guide as you work your way through this month’s Generosity Playlist.

Lord, teach me to be generous,
to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to look for any reward,
save that of knowing that I do your holy will.

Generosity & Scripture

Below you’ll find a link to the Faith Practices Project focusing on generosity.  It includes a list of passages including Acts 4:32-35, 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, 1 John 3:16-18, and Luke 15:11-32.  Each section is followed by several questions to consider.  Use these passages for personal study this month.  Focus on one passage and one set of questions each week.

Generosity & Scripture

Generosity & The Bible Project

Below you’ll find a video from The Bible Project.  The video explores how God’s generosity started with creation, moved to Abraham, and then to Jesus.  The Bible Project imagines God’s generosity as a party.  Click the link below to join the party!

Generosity & A Way of Living

Click the link below to watch a TED Talk featuring Ami Campbell, co-author of Love Let Go:  Generosity for the Real World.  She shares interesting research about generosity, but she also shares her personal experience seeing “radical generosity” in action.  It’s an amazing story of paying it forward!

Generosity & Surprise Gifts

Do you think only the rich and famous have much to give away?  You’d be surprised.  Click the link below to read about folks who led modest lives and left significant gifts as legacies.  They generously gave away fortunes so that others could benefit.

Generosity & Surprise Gifts

Generosity & Time

Charles Clark is paid to be a janitor at Trinity High School in Euless, Texas, and he takes pride in that work; however, what he’s really known for is the way he generously gives his time to others.  Mr. Clark listens, advises, and loves students at the school, and they appreciate his generous gift.  Click the link below to watch how one man gives away his time.

Generosity & The Tennis Court

If you follow tennis, then you know the US Open is on right now in New York.  If you know me, then you know I’m watching!  Chris Evert’s goals have changed a lot since her days on the court.  These days she’s generously sharing her knowledge on and off the court with kids who love the game.  Click the link below to read about how her self-described “entitled” life led her to this new place.

Generosity & The Tennis Court

Generosity & Music

“All That We Have” is a beautiful hymn reminding us the gifts we have come from God.  Click the link below to enjoy a performance of the hymn.

Click the link below to listen to “Kind and Generous” by Natalie Merchant.

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