Holy Week | Tuesday 12 April 2022: Isaiah 49:1-7; Psalm 71:1-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; John 12:20-36 ~ Jesus Predicts His Death.

Holy Week | Tuesday 12 April 2022

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening:

O Lord our God, whose blessed Son gave his back to be
whipped and did not hide his face from shame and spitting:
Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present
time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through
Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the
Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

“When I am lifted up from the earth,
I will draw everyone to myself.”
Jesus said this to indicate how he was going to die.
(John 12:32-33)

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Jesus Shall ReignLifeway Worship
First Baptist Church of Key Largo

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O.T. Reading: Isaiah 49:1-7 (NLT)

The Lord’s Servant Commissioned

49:1 Listen to me, all you in distant lands!
Pay attention, you who are far away!
The Lord called me before my birth;
from within the womb he called me by name.
He made my words of judgment as sharp as a sword.
He has hidden me in the shadow of his hand.
I am like a sharp arrow in his quiver.

He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel,
and you will bring me glory.”

I replied, “But my work seems so useless!
I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose.
Yet I leave it all in the Lord’s hand;
I will trust God for my reward.”

And now the Lord speaks—
the one who formed me in my mother’s womb to be his servant,
who commissioned me to bring Israel back to him.
The Lord has honored me,
and my God has given me strength.
He says, “You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me.
I will make you a light to the Gentiles,
and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”

The Lord, the Redeemer
and Holy One of Israel,
says to the one who is despised and rejected by the nations,
to the one who is the servant of rulers:
“Kings will stand at attention when you pass by.
Princes will also bow low
because of the Lord, the faithful one,
the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

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Psalms: Psalm 71I Will Sing of Your SalvationFrancesca LaRosa 

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N.T. Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (NLT)

The Wisdom of God

1:18 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise
and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”

So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.

But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.

Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.

God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”

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The Perfect Wisdom of Our GodStuart Townend

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Gospel Reading: John 12:20-36 (NLT)

Jesus Predicts His Death

12:20 Some Greeks who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration paid a visit to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee. They said, “Sir, we want to meet Jesus.” Philip told Andrew about it, and they went together to ask Jesus.

Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.

“Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! Father, bring glory to your name.”

Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him.

Then Jesus told them, “The voice was for your benefit, not mine. The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” He said this to indicate how he was going to die.

The crowd responded, “We understood from Scripture that the Messiah would live forever. How can you say the Son of Man will die? Just who is this Son of Man, anyway?”

Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.”

After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them.

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Lift High The Cross – The Chancel Choir, Broadway Baptist Church,
Southwestern Baptist Seminary, The Chapel Choir, The Festival Brass, The Oratorio Chorus

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Prayer: ACNA | BCP2019

+ Almighty God, you have not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities; grant that we, who for our evil deeds deserve to be punished, by the might of your grace may mercifully be relieved; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

+ O God, of your goodness, give me yourself, for you are enough for me. I can ask for nothing less that is completely to your honor, and if I do ask anything less, I shall always be in want. Only in you I have all. Amen.

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Closing: faith and worship | John Birch

May Christ, who bore our sins on the cross,
set us free to serve him with joy.

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Monday Morning, 18 Nov 2019, Luke 8:40-9:62 ~ Don’t look back!

Monday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening –  A Collect for the Renewal of Life (Monday)

O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness during the day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Morning Reading – Luke 8:40-9:62 (NLT)

Jesus Heals in Response to Faith

On the other side of the lake the crowds welcomed Jesus, because they had been waiting for him. Then a man named Jairus, a leader of the local synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come home with him. His only daughter, who was about twelve years old, was dying.

As Jesus went with him, he was surrounded by the crowds. A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure. Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped.

“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.”

But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” When the woman realized that she could not stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees in front of him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed. “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

While he was still speaking to her, a messenger arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. He told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.”

But when Jesus heard what had happened, he said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed.”

When they arrived at the house, Jesus wouldn’t let anyone go in with him except Peter, John, James, and the little girl’s father and mother. The house was filled with people weeping and wailing, but he said, “Stop the weeping! She isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.”

But the crowd laughed at him because they all knew she had died. Then Jesus took her by the hand and said in a loud voice, “My child, get up!” And at that moment her life returned, and she immediately stood up! Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were overwhelmed, but Jesus insisted that they not tell anyone what had happened.

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Disciples

One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. Then he sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. “Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes. Wherever you go, stay in the same house until you leave town. And if a town refuses to welcome you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.”

So they began their circuit of the villages, preaching the Good News and healing the sick.

Herod’s Confusion

When Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, heard about everything Jesus was doing, he was puzzled. Some were saying that John the Baptist had been raised from the dead. Others thought Jesus was Elijah or one of the other prophets risen from the dead.

“I beheaded John,” Herod said, “so who is this man about whom I hear such stories?” And he kept trying to see him.

Jesus Feeds Five Thousand

When the apostles returned, they told Jesus everything they had done. Then he slipped quietly away with them toward the town of Bethsaida. But the crowds found out where he was going, and they followed him. He welcomed them and taught them about the Kingdom of God, and he healed those who were sick.

Late in the afternoon the twelve disciples came to him and said, “Send the crowds away to the nearby villages and farms, so they can find food and lodging for the night. There is nothing to eat here in this remote place.”

But Jesus said, “You feed them.”

“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Or are you expecting us to go and buy enough food for this whole crowd?” For there were about 5,000 men there.

Jesus replied, “Tell them to sit down in groups of about fifty each.” So the people all sat down. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread and fish to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers!

Peter’s Declaration about Jesus

One day Jesus left the crowds to pray alone. Only his disciples were with him, and he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other ancient prophets risen from the dead.”

Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

Peter replied, “You are the Messiah sent from God!”

Jesus Predicts His Death

Jesus warned his disciples not to tell anyone who he was. “The Son of Man must suffer many terrible things,” he said. “He will be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.”

Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels. I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Kingdom of God.”

The Transfiguration

About eight days later Jesus took Peter, John, and James up on a mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly, two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared and began talking with Jesus. They were glorious to see. And they were speaking about his exodus from this world, which was about to be fulfilled in Jerusalem.

Peter and the others had fallen asleep. When they woke up, they saw Jesus’ glory and the two men standing with him. As Moses and Elijah were starting to leave, Peter, not even knowing what he was saying, blurted out, “Master, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But even as he was saying this, a cloud overshadowed them, and terror gripped them as the cloud covered them.

Then a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him.” When the voice finished, Jesus was there alone. They didn’t tell anyone at that time what they had seen.

Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Boy

The next day, after they had come down the mountain, a large crowd met Jesus. A man in the crowd called out to him, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, my only child. An evil spirit keeps seizing him, making him scream. It throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It batters him and hardly ever leaves him alone. I begged your disciples to cast out the spirit, but they couldn’t do it.”

Jesus said, “You faithless and corrupt people! How long must I be with you and put up with you?” Then he said to the man, “Bring your son here.”

As the boy came forward, the demon knocked him to the ground and threw him into a violent convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit and healed the boy. Then he gave him back to his father. Awe gripped the people as they saw this majestic display of God’s power.

Jesus Again Predicts His Death

While everyone was marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, “Listen to me and remember what I say. The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies.” But they didn’t know what he meant. Its significance was hidden from them, so they couldn’t understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.

The Greatest in the Kingdom

Then his disciples began arguing about which of them was the greatest. But Jesus knew their thoughts, so he brought a little child to his side. Then he said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my Father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.”

Using the Name of Jesus

John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he isn’t in our group.”

But Jesus said, “Don’t stop him! Anyone who is not against you is for you.”

Opposition from Samaritans

As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. So they went on to another village.

The Cost of Following Jesus

As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”

He said to another person, “Come, follow me.”

The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.”

But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.”

Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.”

But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
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Morning Reflection:

Don’t look back!

One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples and gave them power and authority
to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. Then he sent them out
to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
(Luke 9:1-2)

Up until now, Kingdom power and authority has only been exercised by Jesus, as He goes about the Father’s business – Jesus alone is the Father’s beloved Son in whom He takes great joy. But in today’s reading, Jesus gives His disciples Kingdom power and authority to do what He has been doing. And off they go!

So they began their circuit of the villages, preaching the Good News and healing the sick.
(Luke 9:6)

To me the most surprising aspect of this is how little the disciples understood, and yet how much Jesus trusted them with His power and authority – even Judas, presumably, who would later betray Him.

Jesus sent them out-  even before Peter’s confession of faith, or His transfiguration witnessed by Peter, James, and John. And even then they couldn’t wrap their minds around His suffering and death. They were more concerned about jockeying for position in the coming Kingdom, than coming to grips with the cost of following Jesus. But for them, and all who follow Jesus, there would be no turning back.

“Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
(Luke 9:62)

The disciples were works in progress and yet Jesus gave them Kingdom power and authority to spread the Good News and heal the sick. And God uses imperfect people today to do the same.

Questions for consideration:

  • Do you consider yourself a work in progress? Are you concerned about where you fit into the Kingdom? Have you counted the cost of following Jesus? Please explain.
  • After Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was given to every believer. Have you ever told people the Good News or prayed for them to be healed? What was the result? Please explain.
  • What prevents you from putting Jesus first in your life, i.e. leaving everything to follow Him? Please explain.
  • What have you learned about Jesus and His Kingdom that you didn’t understand when you first began to follow Him? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: For the mission of the church

Almighty God, You sent Your Son Jesus Christ to reconcile the world to Yourself: We praise and bless You for sending us in the power of the Spirit to bring the Good News of the Kingdom to all people in every part of the world. Thank You for the communities of love that You have gathered together by their prayers and labors. And thank You for Your servants who call upon your Name in every place; for the kingdom and the power and the glory are Yours, for ever and ever. Amen.

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“I Am Listening” – Forever Be Sure

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Monday Morning: 30 Sep 2019 – Matthew 16:13-28 ~ a matter of perspective

Monday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening –  A Collect for the Renewal of Life (Monday)

O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness during the day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Morning Reading – Matthew 16:13-28 (NLT)

Peter’s Declaration about Jesus

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”

Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”

Then he sternly warned the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Jesus Predicts His Death

From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead.

But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!”

Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds. And I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”
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Morning Reflection:

a matter of perspective
“You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
– Matthew 16:16 –

The answer to Jesus’ question: “Who do you say that I am?” is a matter of perspective.

+ From a human perspective, Jesus is a teacher, a miracle worker, or even a prophet.
+ From a faith perspective. Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.

However, Peter’s profession of faith and near immediate relapse into a human profession of alarm demonstrates how difficult it is to maintain God’s revealed perspective in the practical concerns of everyday life.

From a human perspective it is counter intuitive to voluntarily take up a cross… or give up one’s life in order to save it… or follow a leader to our death. But from God’s perspective, it makes perfect sense. This change of perspective requires a total transformation, or renewal, of how we think, feel, and behave. And that requires total  immersion in the revealed will of God (the Bible) and openness to the power of God’s Spirit to bring about in us the changes required to live by faith.

Questions for consideration:

  • What does the confession that “Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God” mean to you. Please explain.
  • Do you ever catch yourself vacillating between a faith and human perspective? Please explain.
  • What have you done to write God’s Word on your heart? Can you think of times when the Holy Spirit has reminded you of God’s perspective in a particular situation? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: For Inner Renewal through the Word

Gracious God and most merciful Father, you have granted us the rich and precious jewel of your holy Word: Assist us with your Spirit, that the same Word may be written in our hearts to our everlasting comfort, to reform us, to renew us according to your own image, to build us up and edify us into the perfect dwelling place of your Christ, sanctifying and increasing in us all heavenly virtues; grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.
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“The Solid Rock (My Hope is Built)”
– The Mennonite Hour Singers

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
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The Rock Church In Helsinki – John Bern

Situated In the Töölö neighborhood of Helsinki, Finland,The Temppeliaukio Church, commonly known as the Rock Church, is excavated directly on to the solid rock. The structure is barely visible from the street level with only the copper dome poking out of the rock. Much of its lies underground, bathed in natural light that filters through the skylight surrounding the center copper dome. A thick rocky wall surrounds the entire structure. The rough, virtually unworked rock surfaces on the interior has given the church an excellent acoustic quality making it a popular venue for concerts.

Designed by architects and brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen and opened in 1969, the Temppeliaukio church is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, visited by half a million people annually.
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2nd Sunday after Pentecost, 23 Jun 2019: Galatians 3:23-29; Luke 9:18-24 ~ God’s Children through Faith

Second Sunday after Pentecost

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening Prayer:

Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name, increase in us true faith, nourish us with all goodness, and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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“In Christ There Is No East or West” – BBC Christian Music

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A Reading from the New Testament: Galatians 3:23-29 (NLT)

Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed.

Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.
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A Reading from the Gospels: Luke 9:18-24 (NLT)

One day Jesus left the crowds to pray alone. Only his disciples were with him, and he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other ancient prophets risen from the dead.”

Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

Peter replied, “You are the Messiah sent from God!”

Jesus warned his disciples not to tell anyone who he was. “The Son of Man must suffer many terrible things,” he said. “He will be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.”

Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.
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Intercession:

Gracious and Loving God: Through faith in your Son, Jesus Christ, you have made us your children – united with him in baptism. Help us to live like him through the power of your Spirit at work within us. We pray especially –

+ For world peace, that warring factions may die to themselves and be raised to new life in you….
+ For world leaders, that they may govern their nations with wisdom and understanding from you….
+ For church leaders around the world, that they may be peacemakers by word and example….
+ For believers from different traditions, that we might love one another and learn from one another….
+ For all believers suffering persecution, that they may be delivered from evil…..
+ For all believers, that we may be clothed in Christ in every circumstance….
+ For all those who are in trouble, sick, or needy, that they may receive your help and healing….

Gracious God: Show us your loving-kindness and come quickly to the aid of your people. And strengthen us through the pwoer of your Word and Spirit as we await the coming of your justice and peace. We ask this in Jesus’ name, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
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“Living Hope” – Phil Wickham

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Closing: – Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
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+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Thursday Morning: 09 May 2019 – Mark 8:27-9:1 ~ What’s your perspective?

Thursday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for Guidance – Thursday)

Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Mark 8:27-9:1 (NLT)

Peter’s Declaration about Jesus

Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages near Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.”

Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.”

But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

Jesus Predicts His Death

Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead. As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things.

Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. “Get away from me, Satan!” he said. “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Jesus went on to say, “I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Kingdom of God arrive in great power!”
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Morning Reflection:

What’s your perspective?

As they were walking along, he asked them,
“Who do people say I am?”
– Mark 8:27

In today’s reading, Jesus is viewed from three perspectives – popular, revelation, and human. Let’s look at each of these perspectives.

+ Popular opinion – What’s the buzz? What are people saying about me? (Mk 8:27) The social media of the day assigned Jesus the prophet’s role of preparing for the Messiah. But few people apparently believed that he actually was the Messiah, in spite of what they had seen and heard.

+ Revelation – “But who do you say I am?” Matthew’s version of the event adds further insight –

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John,
because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you.
You did not learn this from any human being.” – Matthew 16:16-17

Peter’s confession of faith was God-given (not something he came up with himself). Since Jesus was the Son of God, He was the Messiah, the King over the long anticipated earthly kingdom; Jesus was both Messiah and God. This confession marked a turning point in the disciples’ recognition of Jesus.

+ Human -The disciples apparently agreed with Peter’s confession of faith, but they were unprepared for Jesus’ further revelation that as Messiah he would suffer, die, and rise again. They understood what Jesus was saying, but they couldn’t reconcile it with the popular view of Messiah ushering in an earthly kingdom. Jesus’ rebuke is strong – using the word for silencing demons. Satan attempted to distort the disciples’ understanding of Jesus’ true Messianic mission.

Questions for consideration:

  • In light of the different perspectives listed above. who do you say Jesus is? Please explain.
  • What influence do popular, or human, perspectives have on your understanding of Jesus? Please explain.
  • What is the significance of Jesus’s prediction of his suffering, death, and resurrection? Please explain.
  • How does this affect your understanding of what it means to follow Jesus? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer:

Prayer for churches to rise up:

Lord Jesus: Awaken your church to the critical needs of believers around the world who are suffering calamity and great persecution. Grant that we would be faithful in prayer, and generous in our giving for physical support. Rally your church around those who are suffering for your name’s sake. And empower us by your Spirit to engage our political leaders, especially here in America, in order to remind them that Christian persecution is a real issue that must be addressed in our time. I ask this in your name, and for the Father’s glory. Amen.

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father: Reveal to us, once again, the identity of your Son, Jesus Christ, and the significance of his Messianic mission to suffer, die on the cross, and be raised to life – all so that we could enter into your promised Kingdom – now on earth, and forever in heaven. Drive out any fear or anxiety that we may have about our future; and empower us with your Holy Spirit to love you wholeheartedly, and follow you unreservedly. I ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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“This I Believe” – Hillsong Kiev

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen