Easter

Free to change

 

Yearly Rhythm

Sunday 15 April,
The Third Sunday of Easter,
Year B,
Colour: White

“The empty tomb is not the important event of Easter, the living presence of God in the resurrected Jesus is. It wasn’t the the empty tomb that transformed the disciples and the women who followed him, it was Jesus appearing to them, eating with them, interpreting the scriptures for them. They met the risen Christ in the 50 days after Easter and it changed their lives so that they went out not just talking about the things Jesus did, but living them.”

Christine Sine

Daily Rhythm

Making worship part of the everyday

Devotional Diary   9 – 15 April 

Readings for this week with thanks to www.umcdiscipleship.org:

Acts 3:12-19. After a lame beggar is cured by the power of the Risen Lord through Peter and John, Peter invites the wondering crowd to repent and follow Jesus. Five thousand of them do!

Psalm 4. Thanks to God for vindication and rebuke/teaching to those who criticize or disgrace.

1 John 3:1-7.  We are God’s children now as we abide in Jesus. Abiding in Jesus enables us to live more and more without sin. Repentance is no one-time act, but a lifelong commitment to abide in Jesus. That is why we continue to purify ourselves that we may be like him when he appears.

Luke 24:36b-48. After his appearance to two dispirited disciples heading toward Emmaus, Jesus tells the rest of those gathered at another meal to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins in his name.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: Spend a minute just glorying in the perfect love of God.

Confession: This week in your confessions reflect on what lines God is calling you to cross in order to live out resurrection in Jesus Christ.   Possible focus for today:  Rediscover the joy of prayer…

The Word: See readings above or use your own devotional aids.

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: Today pray for a friend.

Personal prayers: (Use this section to list people you need to pray for or situations of personal concern that you need to bring before God in prayer)

        Dedication: Dear Lord, help me today to cross the line of revival and live out the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Spend a minute just glorying in the perfect mind of God.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.  Possible focus for today: Receiving God’s word through scripture.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Today pray for a neighbour.

Personal Prayers:

            Dedication: Dear Lord, help me today to cross the line of revival and live out the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: Spend a minute just glorying in the perfect power of God.

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Possible focus for today: Seeing all people as sacred…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Today pray for someone you have difficulty getting on with.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Dear Lord, help me today to cross the line of revival and live out the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: Spend a minute just glorying in the perfect grace (undeserved love and merit) of God.

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Possible focus for today:  Finding new joy in living.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Today pray for someone who is ill.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Dear Lord, help me today to cross the line of revival and live out the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Friday:

Adoration Focus: Spend a minute just glorying in the perfect plan, purpose and future we have in God.

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Possible focus for today: Living with a sense of conversation with God.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Today pray for someone who is far away from you.

Personal prayers:

             Dedication: Dear Lord, help me today to cross the line of revival and live out the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Spend a minute just glorying in the perfect justice and righteousness of God.

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Possible focus for today: Optimism and expectation…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Today pray for someone who is facing a challenge.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Dear Lord, help me today to cross the line of revival and live out the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: Spend a minute just glorying in the perfect holiness of God.

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Possible focus for today:  Worshipping with all your heart, soul, mind and strength…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Today pray for someone who worships with you.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Dear Lord, help me today to cross the line of revival and live out the Good News of Jesus Christ.

 

Ascension Sunday

Ascension

Yearly Rhythm

Sunday 17th May 2015
Ascension Sunday – The Seventh Sunday of Easter
Year B
Colour: White or Gold

Ascension Day is on Thursday this week – 40 days after the Resurrection. During these past 40 days Jesus has appeared several times to His disciples, preparing them to take on His mission.

The colour Gold which may be used for this day reminds us of the power and kingly nature of Christ as he takes His place beside the Father, continuing to pray for us as we participate in the work of His Kingdom.

Why follow the Church calendar?

Daily Rhythm

Making worship part of the everyday

Devotional Diary   11 – 17 May 2015

DOWNLOAD THE DEVOTIONAL DIARY AND COMMENTS AS A PDF HERE.

Readings for this week with thanks to www.umcdiscipleship.org:   

Acts 1:1-11Before Jesus ascends into heaven, he twice directs his disciples to stop focusing on earthly kingdoms and glory to focus instead on the Spirit-empowered mission (and the coming of the same Spirit) that lay before them — to be witnesses in all the world. When the angels “interrupt” their wondering gaze, they also (a third time) redirect the disciples to continue in this mission by waiting for the coming of the Spirit in Jerusalem.

Psalm 47 An enthronement psalm celebrating God’s kingship. This Psalm was chosen because ascension language is enthronement language. Jesus ascending into heaven means that Jesus is now enthroned in heaven.

Ephesians 1:15-23Paul encourages the churches connected with the congregation(s) at Ephesus to remember the fullness of who they now are because of what God has made them in Jesus Christ, risen, ascended to the right hand of all power and reigning in, through and beyond the church.

Luke 24:44-53We heard this story a few weeks ago to focus on repentance. Today we hear it to focus on ascension and mission. “Power from on high” will come to the apostles to empower a ministry of proclamation of repentance and forgiveness to the whole world.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God.”  Each day focus on a different way in which the glory of God encounters you.  Then respond in lifting up the glory of the name of the Lord.

Confession: 2 Corinthians 3:18 “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”  This week try to spend time allowing God’s glory to fill your life.  Just wait on the Lord in prayer with an open heart each day.

The Word: See readings above or your own reading plan.

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus:  God’s glory should shine from every aspect of our world.  Our sin has tarnished this glory.  This week pray that we may discover the power of God in our lives so that his glory may shine from us so we may be instruments of his glory in every aspect of life.   Pray for these different aspects of life as God’s Spirit brings them to your mind.  Our prayer is that in each we may clearly see God’s glory.  Today: Our personal witness.

Personal prayers: (Use this section to list people you need to pray for or situations of personal concern that you need to bring before God in prayer)

             Dedication: Dear Lord, may our lives bring you glory in the day ahead.

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God.”  Each day focus on a different way in which the glory of God encounters you.  Then respond in lifting up the glory of the name of the Lord.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: See Monday’s focus.  Today: Our local church.

Personal Prayers:

           Dedication: Dear Lord, may our lives bring you glory in the day ahead.

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God.”  Each day focus on a different way in which the glory of God encounters you.  Then respond in lifting up the glory of the name of the Lord.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: See Monday’s focus.  Your church denomination/affiliation.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Dear Lord, may our lives bring you glory in the day ahead.

Thursday: Ascension Day

Adoration Focus: Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God.”  Each day focus on a different way in which the glory of God encounters you.  Then respond in lifting up the glory of the name of the Lord.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: See Monday’s focus. Today: The care of our earth.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Dear Lord, may our lives bring you glory in the day ahead.

Friday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God.”  Each day focus on a different way in which the glory of God encounters you.  Then respond in lifting up the glory of the name of the Lord.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: See Monday’s focus. Today: Our places of work.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Dear Lord, may our lives bring you glory in the day ahead.

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God.”  Each day focus on a different way in which the glory of God encounters you.  Then respond in lifting up the glory of the name of the Lord.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: See Monday’s focus. Today: The ministries/areas of service that we are committed to.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Dear Lord, may our lives bring you glory in the day ahead.

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God.”  Each day focus on a different way in which the glory of God encounters you.  Then respond in lifting up the glory of the name of the Lord.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: See Monday’s focus. Today: Our shared life of worship.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication:  Dear Lord, may our lives bring you glory in the day ahead.

 

Weekly Rhythm

Joining our stories with the stories of God’s people.

Additional information about the readings.
(Notes in italics are with thanks to www.umcdiscipleship.org.)

 Acts 1:1-11.  Before Jesus ascends into heaven, he twice directs his disciples to stop focusing on earthly kingdoms and glory to focus instead on the Spirit-empowered mission (and the coming of the same Spirit) that lay before them — to be witnesses in all the world. When the angels “interrupt” their wondering gaze, they also (a third time) redirect the disciples to continue in this mission by waiting for the coming of the Spirit in Jerusalem.

How is this a handing over moment?

How would you define the mission that we are being called to?

Prayer of Petition

(inspired by Acts 1: 9-11)

 

Risen and ascended Lord Jesus,
When we are numbed by the suffering of the world,
Take us back to the deep truth
Of your power and glory,
Of your invincible Kingdom,
Of your promise of reconciliation.
In the knowledge of this truth,
Help us to bring our gaze to earth
And find the strength to go into the world,
to do your will on earth as in heaven.
To build the kingdom of God
On earth as it is in heaven.

~ from the Monthly Prayers page of the Christian Aid website.
http://www.christianaid.org.uk/

 

Psalm 47 An enthronement psalm celebrating God’s kingship. This Psalm was chosen because ascension language is enthronement language. Jesus ascending into heaven means that Jesus is now enthroned in heaven.

What are the attributes of God that are emphasised is this psalm?

Why is it worth clapping our hands that this God reigns?


Ephesians 1:15-23
Paul encourages the churches connected with the congregation(s) at Ephesus to remember the fullness of who they now are because of what God has made them in Jesus Christ, risen, ascended to the right hand of all power and reigning in, through and beyond the church.

Prayer  

(Ephesians 1:17-19, The Voice)

Imagine that this prayer is being prayed for you.

 God of our Lord Jesus,
the Liberating King,
Father of Glory:
I call out to You on behalf of Your people.
Give them a mind ready to receive wisdom and revelation
so they will truly know You.
Open the eyes of their hearts
and let the light of Your truth flood in.
Show them what You have promised them.
Shine Your light on the hope You are calling them to embrace.
Reveal to them the glorious riches You are preparing as their inheritance.
Let them see the full extent of Your power that is at work
in those of us who believe,
and may it be done according to Your might and power.

Amen.

The Voice.™  Copyright © 2006, 2007, 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Luke 24:44-53.  We heard this story a few weeks ago to focus on repentance. Today we hear it to focus on ascension and mission. “Power from on high” will come to the apostles to empower a ministry of proclamation of repentance and forgiveness to the whole world.

Christ has joined us in life, walking with us, dying our death, being raised, and shares his life. What does it mean to you that this Christ is now the ascended and reigning Lord?

Prayer 

(based on Luke 24:36-48, 1 John 3:1-7)

Lord of Dawn and Darkness,
how grateful we are for your loving mercies.
You saw our fear and doubt, our suspicion, our mistrust,
and you banished them from our lives,
replacing them with hope, peace, love, and joy.

You called us to be your witnesses, to all the world,
unafraid of what others might think or say about us.
We have been invited out of our darkened hideaways,
into the light of your world as emissaries of hope and justice,
peace and compassion.

Be with us, as we participate in ministries of healing and hope
through this church, in our community, region, nation, and world.
Give us courage and strength to be your disciples
in all the circumstances of our lives;
for we ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

 — written by Nancy C. Townley,
and posted on the Worship Connection page of the Ministry Matters website.

 

 

The Holy Spirit – wild and free

Wild and Free

Yearly Rhythm

The Sixth Sunday of Easter
Year B
Colour: White

For more about the Church Year click About This Blog.

Easter season is the longest of the special liturgical seasons of the Church Year and extends from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday.  During this season we ask what this new life is all about and we explore how we can live out our faith.

Daily Rhythm

Making worship part of the everyday

Devotional Diary 4 – 10 May 2015

DOWNLOAD THE DEVOTIONAL DIARY AND COMMENTS/PRAYERS AS A PDF HERE.

Readings for this week with thanks to www.umcdiscipleship.org:

Acts 10:44-48. The Spirit pours upon Cornelius and his household while Peter is in the middle of speaking, even before they are baptized. Peter recognizes it’s time to baptize them and consider them kindred in Christ.

Psalm 98. The Psalm continues the overflow of praise described in the first lesson. Celebrate with it! Enter into the joy of God’s salvation and invite the whole creation to join you!

1 John 5:1-6. Verses 1-5 naturally go together in a “string of pearls” that connects faith, overcoming the world, obedience, and loving God through a deep relationship of trust in Jesus Christ. Verse 6 begins a different “string” (bringing together water, blood, testimony, and life in Jesus Christ — or we might say, baptism, Eucharist, witness, and discipleship) that next week’s lection addresses more fully.

John 15:9-17. Jesus reminds his disciples who have become, over time, his friends, that they did not choose him; he chose them and appointed them to go and bear much fruit.

This week our adoration focus uses words from praise songs that we sing.  We continue our 21 day cycle of confession. (There is a question for each day under confession.)

Monday:

Adoration Focus: “The Lord has made known His salvation, His righteousness is shown to every nation.”

Confession: Lord, forgive me when I fill my life with hurry and never touch base with your order and love.  Help me to listen to your breathing and to be filled with your breath.

The Word: Use the Revised Common Lectionary (above) or your own scripture reading plan.

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: Let God lead you to one person that you can focus on in prayer this week.  Today pray for: peace, rest and healthy contentment.

Personal prayers: (Use this section to list people you need to pray for or situations of personal concern that you need to bring before God in prayer)

            Dedication: “Freely, freely you have received, freely, freely give. “ (Words from a Christian song by Carol Owens)

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: “You’re the Lion of Judah, the lamb that was slain; You ascended to heaven and evermore will reign.”

Confession: Lord, forgive me when I live only for what I can get.  Lord, I find it so hard not to get swallowed by the spirit of materialism, and sometimes I don’t even recognise that I am guided by its ethics.  Set me free that I may be guided by your values.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Let God lead you to one person that you can focus on in prayer this week.  Today pray for: a deep sense of meaning through hearing and responding to God’s call to serve.

Personal Prayers:

            Dedication: “Freely, freely you have received, freely, freely give. “ (Words from a Christian song)

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: “My Saviour, my closest friend, I will worship you until the very end.”

Confession: Lord, I do not have a firm faith; at times I doubt and am unable to trust you. O Lord, strengthen my faith I pray, that I may find my peace in you.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Let God lead you to one person that you can focus on in prayer this week.  Today pray that they may know God’s amazing grace and underserved love in their lives.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: “Freely, freely you have received, freely, freely give. “ (Words from a Christian song)

Thursday: 

Adoration Focus: “Jesus, Jesus, risen and exalted one – Jesus.”

Confession: Lord, forgive me when I rely only on my own strength and I ignore your call to share in the richness of your infinite resources.  Help me to “plug-in” and to live out of your power.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Let God lead you to one person that you can focus on in prayer this week.  Today pray that even in the face of adversity, hardship and trial they may always know God’s comfort, healing and restoration.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: “Freely, freely you have received, freely, freely give. “ (Words from a Christian song)

Friday:

Adoration Focus: “Almighty God my redeemer, my hiding place, my safe refuge.”

Confession: Lord I am so self-focussed; I find it difficult to praise others and even to really lose myself in my praise of you.  Forgive me Lord and give my heart wings to rise up in praise.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Let God lead you to one person that you can focus on in prayer this week.  Today pray for the relationship network that surrounds this person, that those relationships may be marked with mutual respect, warmth, care and support.

Personal prayers:

             Dedication: “Freely, freely you have received, freely, freely give. “ (Words from a Christian song)

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: “You shed your blood for me, what can I say?”

Confession: Lord, I am so reluctant to actively witness to your glory.  Lord, forgive me and show me how to witness in loving and creative ways.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Let God lead you to one person that you can focus on in prayer this week.  Today pray about any particular concern that may be lifted up for you in that person’s life.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: “Freely, freely you have received, freely, freely give. “ (Words from a Christian song)

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise.”

Confession: Lord you have said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God.”  I have sought first my own kingdom.  Forgive me and help me to have Godly priorities.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Let God lead you to one person that you can focus on in prayer this week.  Today pray that they may be released to worship God in spirit and in truth.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: “Freely, freely you have received, freely, freely give. “ (Words from a Christian song)

Weekly Rhythm

Joining our stories with the stories of God’s people.

 

 

Additional information about the readings: (Notes in italics are with thanks to www.umcdiscipleship.org.)

Acts 10:44-48. The Spirit pours upon Cornelius and his household while Peter is in the middle of speaking, even before they are baptized. Peter recognizes it’s time to baptize them and consider them kindred in Christ.

God can’t wait to gift us with his life – it is poured out.  How do you see and know God’s generosity?
We can’t control and limit God’s grace.  The Spirit ‘blows where He wills.’  How is this good news?


Psalm 98. The Psalm continues the overflow of praise described in the first lesson. Celebrate with it! Enter into the joy of God’s salvation and invite the whole creation to join you!

 Prayer (inspired by Psalm 98)

You raise your hand and gently begin the concerto of creation:

birds carry the melody
while stars keep the beat;
mountains dance in merriment
and little children clap
their hands with joy.
Love’s Composer,
our new songs are lifted to you.

The old, old song
is made new in our hearts:
Christ is Risen!
Sing Alleluia!
You invite us to sing to a world
deafened by despair
and haunted by the tunes of fear.
Lord of the Dance,
our new songs are lifted to you.

Believing we cannot
carry a tune,
we hesitate to join in
the chorus of praise
sung by all creation.
So, you softly and gently
hum the melody in our hearts
until they burst with you,
raising a rousing chorus
of Amazing Grace.
Music-making Spirit,
our new songs are lifted to you.

Every song, old and new, is offered to you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we lift the prayer Jesus teaches,
Our Father . . .

— written by Thom Shuman, and posted on his  Lectionary Liturgies blog.

 

1 John 5:1-6. Verses 1-5 naturally go together in a “string of pearls” that connects faith, overcoming the world, obedience, and loving God through a deep relationship of trust in Jesus Christ. Verse 6 begins a different “string” (bringing together water, blood, testimony, and life in Jesus Christ — or we might say, baptism, Eucharist, witness, and discipleship) that next week’s lection addresses more fully.

Try to see how this passage calls us to live out our faith.  What does faith look like as it is lived out?

 

John 15:9-17. Jesus reminds his disciples who have become, over time, his friends, that they did not choose him; he chose them and appointed them to go and bear much fruit.

Prayer: How You Have Loved

(inspired by 1 John 4:19, John 15:12)

 

How deeply you have loved us, Jesus;
how willingly you stepped into our experience,
how completely you empathised with all that we endure.

Teach us to love as you have loved us.

How sacrificially you have loved us, Jesus;
how completely you gave yourself for us,
how courageously you suffered for our sakes.

Teach us to love as you have loved us.

How restoratively you have loved us, Jesus;
how generously you share your life,
how extravagantly you make yourself available to us.

Teach us to love as you have loved us.
We praise you for your love
which is given so freely and so unconditionally.
And we thank you for believing
that we could learn to offer such love
to each other.

Amen.

 

— written by John van de Laar, and posted on his Sacredise website.

 

Prayer

(based on John 15:9-17)


Go now, and bear fruit for God, fruit that will last.
As Christ has loved you, so love one another,
and abide always in God is love,
that your joy may be complete.

And may God give you all you ask for in Christ’s name;
May Christ Jesus reveal to you God’s ways and call you his friends;
And may the Holy Spirit confirm the truth within you and make your joy complete.

We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
in the name of Christ. Amen.

Copyright © 2003 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net