Saturday Morning, 28 Sep 2019 – Matthew 15:29-16:12 ~”Watch Out!”

Saturday Morning

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

Opening:  (A Collect for Sabbath Rest – Saturday)

Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and set aside a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared to meet you in worship, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading: Matthew 15:29-16:12 (NLT)

Jesus Heals Many People

Jesus returned to the Sea of Galilee and climbed a hill and sat down. A vast crowd brought to him people who were lame, blind, crippled, those who couldn’t speak, and many others. They laid them before Jesus, and he healed them all. The crowd was amazed! Those who hadn’t been able to speak were talking, the crippled were made well, the lame were walking, and the blind could see again! And they praised the God of Israel.

Jesus Feeds Four Thousand

Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.”

The disciples replied, “Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?”

Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?”

They replied, “Seven loaves, and a few small fish.”

So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces. He gave them to the disciples, who distributed the food to the crowd.

They all ate as much as they wanted. Afterward, the disciples picked up seven large baskets of leftover food. There were 4,000 men who were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children. Then Jesus sent the people home, and he got into a boat and crossed over to the region of Magadan.

Leaders Demand a Miraculous Sign

One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, demanding that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.

He replied, “You know the saying, ‘Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’ You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times! Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign, but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Then Jesus left them and went away.

Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees

Later, after they crossed to the other side of the lake, the disciples discovered they had forgotten to bring any bread. “Watch out!” Jesus warned them. “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

At this they began to argue with each other because they hadn’t brought any bread. Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, “You have so little faith! Why are you arguing with each other about having no bread? Don’t you understand even yet? Don’t you remember the 5,000 I fed with five loaves, and the baskets of leftovers you picked up? Or the 4,000 I fed with seven loaves, and the large baskets of leftovers you picked up? Why can’t you understand that I’m not talking about bread? So again I say, ‘Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’”

Then at last they understood that he wasn’t speaking about the yeast in bread, but about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
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Morning Reflection:

“Watch Out!

Then at last they understood that he wasn’t speaking about the yeast in bread,
but about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
– Matthew 16:12 –

Believers today live as strangers and aliens in a world permeated with lies and deception – fake news and false witnesses are everywhere both inside and outside the church. Perhaps the most outrageous are the pretenders – those who claim to be believers but seek to devour people of faith and good will.

Jesus’ warning against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees addressed the deceivers of his time. His point was that their deceit didn’t simply affect them, it affected everyone who listened to them and gave them credence. Lies and deception, fake news and false witnesses are like cancer cells that metastasize and eventually kill the entire body.

So what are believers to do? Watch out! Use our minds to think critically – ask yourself

+ Is it true? Does what is being said conform to the revealed will of God? Does it glorify God?
+ Is it consistent? Does what is being said now jibe with what was said earlier? Does it edify believers?

“Watch out!” Jesus warned them.
“Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

Questions for consideration:

  • Do you consider yourself a stranger and alien in this world? Please explain.
  • Can you identify some of the liars and deceivers in your part of the world? Please explain.
  • How have these liars and deceivers affected people of faith and goodwill around you? Please explain.
  • Once identified, how can you respond to the liars and deceivers in your world? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: For Those Who Inform Public Opinion

Almighty God, your truth endures from age to age: Direct in our time, we pray, those who speak where many listen and write what many read; that they may speak your truth to make the heart of this people wise, its mind discerning, and its will righteous; to the honor of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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“Jesus Is Better” – Austin Stone

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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

First Sunday of Advent – 02 Dec – Luke 21:25-33 ~ The coming of the Son of Man

First Sunday of Advent

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

Opening Prayer

God our Savior, you utter a word of promise and hope and hasten the day of justice and freedom, yet we live in a world forgetful of your word, our watchfulness dulled by the cares of life.

Keep us alert. Make us attentive to your word, ready to look on your Son when he comes with power and great glory. Make us holy and blameless, ready to stand secure when the day of his coming shakes the world with terror.

We ask this through him whose coming is certain, whose day draws near: your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.
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“Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus” – Shane & Shane

Come, Thou long expected Jesus, Born to set Thy people free
From our fears and sins release us, Let us find our rest in Thee
Israel’s strength and consolation, Hope of all the earth Thou art
Dear desire of every nation, Joy of every longing heart

 

 

Born Thy people to deliver, Born a child and yet a king
Born to reign in us forever, Now Thy gracious kingdom bring
By Thine own eternal Spirit, Rule in all our hearts alone
By Thine own sufficient merit, Raise us to Thy glorious throne
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Gospel Reading: Luke 21:25-33 (NLT)

“And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!”

Then he gave them this illustration: “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.
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Prayers of Intercession:

Faithful God: In your mercy, receive our prayers, the cries of our hearts, and help us –

+ For believers, that we may be ready when Christ returns in glory…
+ For people of good will, that they may receive your mercy and grace through Christ…
+ For people who are lonely and sad, that we may comfort them as we have been comforted in Christ …
+ For people in need, that we may care for them as we await the return of Christ…
+ For people who suffer, that they may receive hope and healing through Christ…
+ For all who have died in Christ, that they may enjoy peace and rest in eternity…

Faithful God: You are loving and kind to all who put their trust in you. Extend your grace to us now, in this our time of need, we pray through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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“Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending” – Lichfield Cathedral Choir

Lo! He comes with clouds descending, Once for favored sinners slain;
Thousand thousand saints attending, Swell the triumph of His train:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! God appears on earth to reign.

 

Every eye shall now behold Him, Robed in dreadful majesty;
Those who set at naught and sold Him, Pierced and nailed Him to the tree,
Deeply wailing, deeply wailing, Shall the true Messiah see.

The dear tokens of His passion, Still His dazzling body bears;
Cause of endless exultation To His ransomed worshipers;
With what rapture, with what rapture, Gaze we on those glorious scars!

Yea, amen; let all adore thee, High on thine eternal throne;
Savior, take the power and glory; Claim the kingdoms for thine own:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Thou shalt reign, and thou alone.
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Blessing

May almighty God bless us by the light of Christ’s coming, and enrich our lives with every grace. May He make us steadfast in faith, joyful in hope, and untiring in love all the days of our lives. And may He grant us eternal life when our Redeemer comes again in glory.

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

Christ the King Sunday – 25 Nov – John 18:33-37 ~ All hail King Jesus!

Christ the King Sunday

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

Opening Prayer

Almighty and eternal God, to Jesus Christ, the firstborn from the dead, you have granted everlasting dominion and a kingship that shall not pass away.

Remove from us every desire for privilege and power, that we may imitate the sacrificial love of Christ our King and, as a royal and priestly people, serve you humbly in our brothers and sisters.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.
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“How great is our God” – Chris Tomlin

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Gospel Reading: John 18:33-37 (NLT)

Then Pilate went back into his headquarters and called for Jesus to be brought to him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked him.

Jesus replied, “Is this your own question, or did others tell you about me?”

“Am I a Jew?” Pilate retorted. “Your own people and their leading priests brought you to me for trial. Why? What have you done?”

Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.”

Pilate said, “So you are a king?”

Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”
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Prayers of Intercession:

Gracious God: Help us, according to your loving-kindness, we pray –

+ For all who follow Jesus Christ, that we may work together to advance his Kingdom….
+ For those who lead tribes and nations, that they may seek the truth, justice, and peace of Christ….
+ For all people everywhere, that we may work cooperatively in Christ for the common good….
+ For ourselves, that our lives may demonstrate the rule and reign of Christ…
+ For the sick and sorrowful, that they may experience the healing and comfort of Christ….
+ For those affected by natural disasters, that they may receive help from the followers of Christ….
+ For all those who have died in Christ, that they may share the glory of Christ forever….

Sovereign God, you rule your people with love and compassion: attend to our prayers and give us the help we need, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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“All Hail King Jesus” – Jeremy Riddle | Bethel Music

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Blessing – Revelation 1:5b-6 (NLT)

“All glory to Jesus Christ who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.”

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

Twenty-sixth Sunday after Pentecost – 18 Nov – Mark 13:14-23 ~ Watch out!

Twenty-sixth Sunday after Pentecost

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

Opening Prayer

Your creation, O God, runs its appointed course, as from the ends of the earth you gather a people you call your own. Confirm us in the strength of your abiding word. Steady our hearts in the time of trial, so that on the day of the Son of Man we may joyfully welcome his appearing. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.
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“Creation Sings” – Stuart Townend

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Gospel Reading: Mark 13:14-23 (NLT)

“The day is coming when you will see the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing where he should not be.” (Reader, pay attention!) “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat. How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. And pray that your flight will not be in winter. For there will be greater anguish in those days than at any time since God created the world. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless the Lord shortens that time of calamity, not a single person will survive. But for the sake of his chosen ones he has shortened those days.

“Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. Watch out! I have warned you about this ahead of time!
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Prayers of Intercession:

O Lord our God: Guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, and protect us from the wiles and deceit of the evil one. We pray especially –

+ For all believers – that we may be ready when Christ comes in glory….
+ For all who fear death - that they may come to faith in Christ….
+ For all who are imprisoned – that they may trust in Christ’s remembrance…
+ For all who are endangered – that they may receive Christ’s protection…
+ For all who are suffering – that they may receive Christ’s loving-kindness…
+ For all who are mourning – that they may receive Christ’s consolation…
+ For all who have died in Christ – that they may receive the joys of everlasting life…

O Lord our God: Keep us alert and strong, that we may stand firm to the end, through faith and trust in your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
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“Psalm 16” (Fullness of Joy) – Shane & Shane

Preserve me, O God, for I find rest in You alone. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord I have no good apart from You.” All sons and daughters, brothers, sisters my delight, let’s sing together “no other gods shall satisfy.” God You satisfy.

In Your presence, there is fullness, of joy, of joy.

You give me counsel, my heart instructs me in the night. You are before me, because You’re for me, I’m alright. It’ll be alright. It’ll be alright.

In Your presence, there is fullness, of joy, of joy.
At your right hand, there are pleasures, forevermore, forevermore.

My heart is glad and my soul rejoice; my flesh it dwells secure. Because You put on flesh, lived a blameless life, my curse on the cross You bore. Then You ripped the doors off the City of Death, and the chains fell to the floor. Now the serpent’s crushed. It has been finished, and You reign forever more.

You are my portion, my cup and you make my lot secure. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, a beautiful inheritance.
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Blessing – Ephesians 3:20-21

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

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

2nd Sunday of Advent, 06 December: Baruch 5:1-9; Psalm 126:1-6; Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11; Luke 3:1-6 ~ make a pathway for joy

aySecond Sunday of Advent

Our time of waiting continues as we prepare a pathway for the Lord.

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

Opening Prayer:

God of our salvation, You straighten the winding ways of our hearts and smooth the paths made rough by sin. Make our conduct blameless, keep our hearts watchful in holiness, and bring to perfection the good You have begun in us. We ask this through Him whose coming is certain, whose day draws near: Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.
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Hymn: “Joy to the World (unspeakable Joy)” – Chris Tomlin


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A Reading from the Apocrypha: Baruch 5:1-9 (NRSVCE)
[Baruch looks to the day when God will guide all people, bringing them joy.]

Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem, and put on forever the beauty of the glory from God. Put on the robe of the righteousness that comes from God; put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting; for God will show your splendor everywhere under heaven. For God will give you evermore the name, “Righteous Peace, Godly Glory.”

joy-to-the-world1

Arise, O Jerusalem, stand upon the height; look toward the east, and see your children gathered from west and east at the word of the Holy One, rejoicing that God has remembered them. For they went out from you on foot, led away by their enemies; but God will bring them back to you, carried in glory, as on a royal throne. For God has ordered that every high mountain and the everlasting hills be made low and the valleys filled up, to make level ground, so that Israel may walk safely in the glory of God. The woods and every fragrant tree have shaded Israel at God’s command. For God will lead Israel with joy, in the light of his glory, with the mercy and righteousness that come from him.
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A Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 126 (NLT)

When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream! We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.”

Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy! Restore our fortunes, Lord, as streams renew the desert. Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.
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“Shir Ha Ma’alot – Song of Ascents (Psalm 126)” – New Messianic Songs


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A Reading from the Letters: Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11 (NLT)
[Paul encourages the people of Philippi, and tells them to prepare inwardly for the ‘Day of Christ Jesus’.]

Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
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God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation — the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ — for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
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A Reading from the Gospels: Luke 3:1-6 (NLT)
[John the Baptist’s words and actions remind the people of Isaiah’s call to repentance.]

RepentancePathwayToJoy

It was now the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, the Roman emperor. Pontius Pilate was governor over Judea; Herod Antipas was ruler over Galilee; his brother Philip was ruler over Iturea and Traconitis; Lysanias was ruler over Abilene. Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests. At this time a message from God came to John son of Zechariah, who was living in the wilderness. Then John went from place to place on both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. Isaiah had spoken of John when he said,

“He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him! The valleys will be filled, and the mountains and hills made level. The curves will be straightened, and the rough places made smooth. And then all people will see the salvation sent from God.’”
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Hymn: “Prepare The Way” – Terry MacAlmon

Prepare the way | Make straight the path for Him | Let the King of Glory enter in | Let the King of Glory enter in

Who is this King of Glory? | The Lord, strong and mighty | The Lord mighty to save | The earth is full of His Glory | Creation calls: Prepare the way | His love endures forever | His power is without an end | His strength is victory present | Let all who call on Him | Prepare the way
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Intercessions:

Lord God: What amazing things You have done for us. As we prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth in humility, may we also prepare for Christ’s return in glory. Lord, hear us.

+ Remember Your people and move with righteous power throughout the world – that all believers may walk safely in the glory of Your presence…. Lord, hear us.
+ Comfort Your people, especially those of us suffering from the death and destruction of terrorism – protect us and deliver us from evil…. Lord, hear us.
+ Raise up those of us who are burdened and weighed down by our troubles – that we may know with certainty that justice and righteousness will prevail when Christ returns…. Lord, hear us.
+ Make straight the twists and turns in our lives, smooth out the rough places – that we may be witnesses to the salvation in Christ that You have already sent us…. Lord, hear us.
+ Fill us with the knowledge and understanding of what really matters – that we live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return…. Lord, hear us.
+ Produce in us the fruit of Your salvation, the righteous character produced in our lives by Jesus Christ — that we may bring You much glory and praise.
+ Give us complete confidence – that You will finish in us the good work You have already begun when Christ Jesus returns…. Lord, hear us.

Everlasting God, Your kindness fills us with expectation. Lead us with joy, in the light of Your glory, with the mercy and righteousness that comes from You. Hear us and help us in our needs, we pray, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Hymn: “Everlasting God” (Chris Tomlin)


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Benediction:

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen. (Revelation 22:20-21)

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