Monthly Archives: December 2014

Gifts for all! Epiphany Sunday, Year B

gift-556042_640Yearly Rhythm

4 January 2015,
Epiphany Sunday,
Year B, Colour: white or gold

Epiphany is January 6, the day which marks the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas. The church celebrates this festival on the Sunday nearest to January 6, and remembers the revelation of Christ to the Gentiles in the visit of the Magi from the East, with gifts of gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.

Daily Rhythm

Making worship part of the everyday

Devotional Diary : 29 Dec 2014 – 4 Jan 2015

DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE

Readings for the week with thanks to www.gbod.org:

Isaiah 60:1-6Isaiah prophesies to a people just returning from exile that the day would come when all nations would “stream to their light.”

Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14. In praise of the righteous king who would receive tribute from all nations

Ephesians 3:1-12. Paul says that his imprisonments are enabling the Gentiles, including leaders of the Roman Empire, to learn the mystery that they, too, are invited to become fellow heirs with Christ Jesus.

Matthew 2:1-12Matthew tells of the visit of the Magi and their participation in God’s subversion of Herod’s plan.

Confession focus for the next three weeks:  Each day you will find another aspect of a three-week confessional cycle (you may recognise it, we have used it before) under the Confession for the day.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. (Psalm 105:3)

Confession: In what areas am I envious?  Does this envy “drive” my life in any areas?  How does this indicate a restlessness within my own spirit?  How can my relationship with God help me with my envy?

The Word: See readings above (also the additional comments/questions on readings) or use your own devotional aid.

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: This week we focus on any healing or forgiveness our world needs to ask for. Think about the past year.  In what areas is God prompting you to pray? Today, focus on your own heart.

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: “He drew a circle to shut me out – Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.  But Love and I had the wit to win; We drew a circle that took him in!”  (Edwin Markham)  In the day that lies ahead of you, draw a circle that includes God.

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. (Psalm 104:24)

Confession: Does a seething anger just wait to rise up within my heart?   Do I find that I am quite controlled until I unexpectedly burst out in a rage?  Do I drive my car aggressively?  Ask God to allow you to acknowledge your anger and release its hold over your life.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we focus on any healing or forgiveness our world needs to ask for. Think about the past year.  In what areas is God prompting you to pray? Today focus on your journey in a community of people close to you.

Personal Prayers:

                Dedication: “He drew a circle to shut me out – Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.  But Love and I had the wit to win; We drew a circle that took him in!”  (Edwin Markham)  In the day that lies ahead of you, draw a circle that includes others.

Wednesday:

Adoration Focus: Praise the Lord… who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:5)

Confession: In the face of crying needs we often choose not to notice or even deliberately ignore them.  Ask God to open your heart to His call to serve.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we focus on any healing or forgiveness our world needs to ask for. Think about the past year.  In what areas is God prompting you to pray? Today, focus on the news stories that have reached us during the year.

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: “He drew a circle to shut me out – Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.  But Love and I had the wit to win; We drew a circle that took him in!”  (Edwin Markham)  In the day that lies ahead, draw a circle that includes God’s plans for the new year.

 Thursday:

Adoration Focus: But you, O Lord, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generation. (Psalm 102:12)

Confession: Lord, make me aware of the pride in my life.  Pride that keeps me aloof and apart;  pride that is rooted in insecurity and a need to prove myself;  pride that makes me humiliate other human beings.  Lord, help me to make myself vulnerable and to serve rather than be served.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we focus on any healing or forgiveness our world needs to ask for. Think about the past year.  In what areas is God prompting you to pray? Today, focus on your life in service and care as part of a church community.

Personal prayers:

                Dedication: “He drew a circle to shut me out – Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.  But Love and I had the wit to win; We drew a circle that took him in!”  (Edwin Markham)  In the day that lies ahead, draw a circle that includes your Kingdom of God community.

Friday:

Adoration Focus: I will sing of your love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will sing praise. (Psalm 101:1)

Confession: Lord, forgive me for alienated myself from this world that you love.  Help me to reach out in love and care.  Help me to make a difference.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we focus on any healing or forgiveness our world needs to ask for. Think about the past year.  In what areas is God prompting you to pray? Today, focus on the different people who are part of your country.

Personal prayers:

                Dedication: “He drew a circle to shut me out – Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.  But Love and I had the wit to win; We drew a circle that took him in!”  (Edwin Markham)  In the day that lies ahead, draw a circle that includes serving others.

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Know that the Lord is God.  It is he who made us, and we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. (Psalm 100:3)

Confession: Lord, forgive me when I invest huge resources for my own entertainment but will be resentful about a minor offering to alleviate another’s deep suffering.  Lord God, I pray for a generous heart.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we focus on any healing or forgiveness our world needs to ask for. Think about the past year.  In what areas is God prompting you to pray? Today, focus on Africa and the world.

Personal prayers:

                Dedication: “He drew a circle to shut me out – Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.  But Love and I had the wit to win; We drew a circle that took him in!”  (Edwin Markham)  In the day that lies ahead, draw a circle that includes the promptings of God’s Spirit.

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: The Lord reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake. (Psalm 99:1)

Confession: Lord, forgive me when I give all for my own ambitions and lose your call to share in love in important relationships in my life.  Help me to count the cost of loving and discover new joy in giving.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  This week we focus on any healing or forgiveness our world needs to ask for. Think about the past year.  In what areas is God prompting you to pray? Today, focus on your personal journey of worship.

Personal prayers:

                Dedication: “He drew a circle to shut me out – Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.  But Love and I had the wit to win; We drew a circle that took him in!”  (Edwin Markham)  In the day that lies ahead, draw a circle that includes bowing in worship.


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.gbod.org.

All of today’s texts are about the manifestation of God’s saving intervention in history — whether in the days following the ending of the exile (Isaiah) or in Jesus Christ (Ephesians, Matthew) — and in particular God’s outrageous revelation of salvation to Gentiles, who were formerly bitter enemies and oppressors. Paul’s imprisonment by Gentile leaders gives him the opportunity to witness to Gentiles in high places that God is out to save THEM through Jesus Christ as well. The Magi were descendants of the Babylonians, the very people who carried the people of Judah into exile. When word about God entering history gets out, no part of the world is unaffected.

Isaiah 60:1-6. Isaiah prophesies to people just returning from exile that the day would come when all nations would stream to their light.

Notice how darkness and light are contrasted in this passage.  How does God bring light to your life and to your world?

 A Prayer based on Isaiah 60:1-6

Arise! Shine! The light you have been waiting for is here!
Darkness has been banished!
God’s light of hope floods the earth
God’s light comes to us all.
Lord, make us ready to journey to this Light.
Prepare our hearts to receive this Light. Amen.

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


Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14.
In praise of the righteous king who would receive tribute from all nations –

How does the leadership of a righteous person make a difference to the lives of others?
How is this action seen in Jesus? How will it be seen in our future?

A Prayer based on Psalm 72: 1-7, 10-14

O God our Guide and Helper, we come to worship you!
You stay beside us as we journey through life.
O God our Just and Holy One, we come to thank you!
You lead us in your path of justice and peace.
O God, our Trustworthy Leader, we come to praise you!
We know we can always rely on your promises.
O God, we gather to worship, praise and thank you. Amen.  

— written by Joan Stott, on the Geelong City Parish UCA website.

Ephesians 3:1-12. Paul says that his imprisonments are enabling the Gentiles and even the leaders of the nations to come to know the mystery that they are invited to become fellow heirs with Christ Jesus.

Can hardships serve God’s ends?  How do we see this in Christ’s life?  Are there hardships in your life that serve God’s purposes?

Matthew 2:1-12. Matthew tells of the visit of the Magi and their participation in God’s subversion of Herod’s plan.

Strange gifts that carry meaning:

GOLD: Gold is the gift that above all else is fit for a king.  As the wise men bring this gift they are saying this Christ is our king!

FRANKINCENSE:  What is it? It is a gum resin that when burnt gives off a fragrance.  It was a major ingredient of holy incense and was set before the holy of holies with the bread of the presence.  Frankincense indicates the priestly nature of Christ.  In the scriptures the priesthood symbolises our union with God.  “We have then, my brothers, complete freedom to go into the most Holy Place by means of the death of Jesus.  He opened for us a new way, a living way, through the curtain-that is through his own body.  We have a great priest in charge of the house of God.” (Hebrews 10:19ff.)  The Holy Place was considered the very dwelling place of God.

MYRRH:  What is it? It is a substance derived from shrubs and trees.  It was used in Egyptian and eastern embalming.  You may remember that Nicodemus brings myrrh and aloes for the burial of Jesus.  So the gift of myrrh speaks of the suffering death of Christ.

Is there a symbolic sense in the different route that the wise men take after they have visited the Christ child?

Epiphany Prayers

(based on Matthew 2:1-12)

God of light, shining in darkness,
through a little child, born in Bethlehem,
you open to us the treasure of your grace.
Help us to search diligently for him,
so that we may offer our lives to you
with thanksgiving, joy, and praise;
through Jesus Christ, the rising star. Amen.

Shepherd of Israel,
you sent a star to enlighten the wise
and a child to topple the tyrant.
Make us wise enough to seek you
among the least of your children,
wise enough to trade our treasure
for the gift of overwhelming joy. Amen.

— posted on the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. website.

God sent His son.

o come let us adore himYearly Rhythm

25 and 28 December Christmas Day and Christmas 1,
Year B, Colour: White or Gold

“The birth of Christ is the central event in the history of the earth – the very thing the whole story has been about.” C. S. Lewis

Daily Rhythm

Making worship part of the everyday

DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE

Devotional Diary

Readings for the week with thanks to www.gbod.org

Christmas Day, Year B, 25 December 2014
Isaiah 52:7-10.  The LORD returns to Jerusalem. The exile is over. “All the ends of the earth shall see our God’s salvation.”

Psalm response: Psalm 98.  A song of praise for God’s intervention to save God’s people.

Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12). In Jesus, God has given us no mere angel or messenger, but “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being. . . [who] sustains all things by his powerful word.”

John 1:1-14. The mystery of the Word made flesh, dwelling (“pitching tent”) among us, and empowering us to become children of God.

First Sunday after Christmas Day, Year B.  28 December 2014
Isaiah 61:10-62:3.  The prophet speaks not only of the restoration of Jerusalem but of its “vindication” that “shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch.”

Psalm 148. All the orders of creation join in praise to God.

Galatians 4:4-7. God’s adoption of all baptized into Christ makes us God’s children and heirs to the promises of God’s covenant.

Luke 2:22-40.  Luke describes the song (Simeon) and the prophecy (Anna) that accompany the presentation of Jesus at the temple at the time of his family’s offering of the sacrifice for the firstborn.

Monday:

Adoration Focus:  This week picture yourself kneeling at the manger. Try to take in what is before you and then respond in praise.  Today’s focus:  Love that puts everything on the line.

Confession: When we see how far God’s love has gone, we become aware of how we guard and restrict our love. Let God’s love set you free so that your love may reach out beyond these restrictive boundaries. Today’s focus: Putting restrictions on your love.

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

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus:  This week we pray for the gift of new birth (new beginnings, new opportunities, new vision, new energy, new freedom, new life.)  Today: Pray for the youth.

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 Christ, as you were born into this world through God’s love, enable me to be born into this same love today.

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: This week picture yourself kneeling at the manger. Try to take in what is before you and then respond in praise.  Today’s focus:  Reconciling love.

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Today’s focus: The call to love something/someone outside of yourself.

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for the gift of new birth (new beginnings, new opportunities, new vision, new energy, new freedom, new life.) Today: Pray for a deadlocked situation.

Personal Prayers:

            Dedication: Dear Christ, as you were born into this world through God’s love, enable me to be born into this same love today.

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: This week picture yourself kneeling at the manger. Try to take in what is before you and then respond in praise.  Today’s focus:  “In spite of” love.

Confession:  See Monday’s confession.  Today’s focus: Learning to love “in spite of”.

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for the gift of new birth (new beginnings, new opportunities, new vision, new energy, new freedom, new life.) Today: Pray for a family member.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Dear Christ, as you were born into this world through God’s love, enable me to be born into this same love today.

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: This week picture yourself kneeling at the manger. Try to take in what is before you and then respond in praise.  Today’s focus:  Love that invites a response.

Confession: When we see how far God’s love has gone, we become aware of how we guard and restrict our love. Let God’s love set you free so that your love may reach out beyond these restrictive boundaries. Today’s focus:  Investing in someone else’s growth.

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for the gift of new birth (new beginnings, new opportunities, new vision, new energy, new freedom, new life.)  Today: Pray for your country.

Personal Prayers:

            Dedication: Dear Christ, as you were born into this world through God’s love, enable me to be born into this same love today.

Friday:

Adoration Focus: This week picture yourself kneeling at the manger. Try to take in what is before you and then respond in praise.  Today’s focus:  Love expressing God’s heart.

Confession: When we see how far God’s love has gone, we become aware of how we guard and restrict our love. Let God’s love set you free so that your love may reach out beyond these restrictive boundaries. Today’s focus: Having a heart of love (the very center of who you are).

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for the gift of new birth (new beginnings, new opportunities, new vision, new energy, new freedom, new life.)  Today: Pray for your church community.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Dear Christ, as you were born into this world through God’s love, enable me to be born into this same love today.

Saturday:

Adoration Focus:  This week picture yourself kneeling at the manger. Try to take in what is before you and then respond in praise.  Today’s focus:  Love taking root in your heart.

Confession: When we see how far God’s love has gone, we become aware of how we guard and restrict our love. Let God’s love set you free so that your love may reach out beyond these restrictive boundaries. Today’s focus:  Reclaiming what you have been created for: love.

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for the gift of new birth (new beginnings, new opportunities, new vision, new energy, new freedom, new life.)  Today: Pray for someone you care for.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Dear Christ, as you were born into this world through God’s love, enable me to be born into this same love today.

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: This week picture yourself kneeling at the manger. Try to take in what is before you and then respond in praise.  Today’s focus:  Love showing us the way.

Confession: When we see how far God’s love has gone, we become aware of how we guard and restrict our love. Let God’s love set you free so that your love may reach out beyond these restrictive boundaries. Today’s focus: Loving God.

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for the gift of new birth (new beginnings, new opportunities, new vision, new energy, new freedom, new life.) Today: Pray for your own life.

Personal prayers:

            Dedication: Dear Christ, as you were born into this world through God’s love, enable me to be born into this same love today.

 

Weekly Rhythm

This week I am sharing a BIBLE STUDY METHOD as presented by Terry Fulham.  Your challenge will be to see if you can apply it to the passages as presented this week.

THIS METHOD INVOLVES ASKING AND ANSWERING THREE QUESTIONS:

These questions are interrelated and you cannot do one without the other.

1) What does the passage say?  This is the most important and is often given the least attention:  What is actually there? (Observe Accurately)  Pray: Ask God to assist; get on God’s wavelength. You are not manipulating God.

Read:
a) Slowly, thoughtfully, perceptively
b) Repetitively
c) In a variety of translations (see biblegateway.com)
d) sometimes aloud (add a sense)

2) What does the passage mean? (Interpret Correctly)

Question the passage: Put your mind in an inquisitive frame of reference:

            “I keep six honest serving men,
             They taught me all I know.
             Their names are What, and Where, and When,
             And Why, and How, and Who.”
                      (Rudyard Kipling)

Principles of Interpretation:

a] A passage means whatever its author intended it to mean.  You need to know about the author and background.  Consult your Bible handbook (www.biblegateway.com has many helpful reference resources.)

b] In the Bible God reveals Himself progressively.  Certain stories need to be seen in the light of later revelation.

c] Consider the method of correlation.  In the Bible God inspired people to write, there is a human element.  Thus the need to compare different passages: What did others say in their contexts (thus the need for a reference Bible)

3) How does the passage apply to my life? (Apply Drastically!)

THE LEVEL OF APPLICATION

A] Application Questions:

                        S] Is there a sin to confess?
                        P] Is there a promise to receive?
                        A] Is there an attitude to be cultivated or avoided?
                        C] Is there a command to be obeyed?
                        E] Is there an example to follow or avoid?

                        S] Is there something for which to give thanks?
                        T] Is there a truth to be believed?
                        E] Is there an error to reject?
                        P] PRAY THE PASSAGE!  Be in dialogue with God.

 

A Christmas Prayer: Bethlehem, House of Bread

Thank you Scandalous God,
For giving yourself to the world,
Not in the powerful and extraordinary,
But in weakness and the familiar:
In a baby; in bread and wine.

Thank you
For offering, at journey’s end, a new beginning;
For setting, in the poverty of a stable,
The richest jewel of your love;
For revealing, in a particular place,
Your light for all nations.

Thank you
For bringing us to Bethlehem, House of Bread,
Where the empty are filled,
And the filled are emptied;
Where the poor find riches,
And the rich recognize their poverty;
Where all who kneel and hold out their hands
Are unstintingly fed.

~ written by Kate Compston, from Bread of Tomorrow.  Posted on Bread for the World.

 

 

Glory to God! Advent 4, Year B, 21 December 2014

peg babyYearly Rhythm

21 December, Advent 4, Year B,
Colour: Purple or Blue

“The birth of Christ is the central event in the history of the earth – the very thing the whole story has been about.” C. S. Lewis

Daily Rhythm

Making worship part of every day.

Download the PDF here.

Devotional Diary

15 -21 December 2014

Readings for the week, with thanks to www.gbod.org:

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16: Nathan brings good news and a reality check to David. The good news: God intends to establish David’s lineage permanently, though conditionally. The reality: God has been present with God’s people by being in their midst as they have travelled (the tabernacle, “incarnation”) and has no need for David to build a temple.

Luke 1:47-55. The Song of Mary. If you don’t hear and feel Mary pregnant with the end of this age and the hope for the coming one in this song, you’re not listening or singing her song yet!

Romans 16:25-27. A concluding doxology that joins the eternal praise of God for revealing the mystery of salvation intended for the whole world in Jesus Christ.

Luke 1:26-38. The angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will become pregnant by God and bear the Son of the Most High whose throne will be eternal. She consents. Do we?

Monday:

Adoration Focus: The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations.  (Psalm 98:2)

Confession: “Seeking to worship the Christ child.”  Lord, forgive us when we seek our own comfort first. Today help us to seek out the Christ child.

The Word: Use the Lectionary readings (above) or any other reading plan you are following.

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus:  This week’s focus: Praying for Africa. Today: Pray for progress towards the eradication of poverty in Africa.  Pray through the eyes of God’s compassion.

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: Lord Jesus, you came as a tiny baby to be present to this world, to serve and care and bring life. Today, dear Lord, help me to be present to this world to bring the life of Christ in service and care to others.

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Come let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. (Psalm 95:6)

Confession: “Seeking to worship the Christ child.”  Lord, forgive us when we seek to fulfill only our own plans. Today help us to seek out the Christ child.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week’s focus: Praying for Africa. Today: Pray for the improvement of basic health services in Africa.

Personal Prayers:

Dedication: Lord Jesus, you came as a tiny baby to be present to this world, to serve and care and bring life. Today, dear Lord, help me to be present to this world to bring the life of Christ in service and care to others.

Wednesday:

Adoration Focus: We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks, for your name is near;…(Psalm 75:1)

Confession: “Seeking to worship the Christ child.”  Lord, forgive us when we seek peace but are unwilling to sacrifice for peace.  Today help us to seek out the Christ child.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week’s focus: Praying for Africa. Today: Pray for the diseases that ravage our continent. Focus particularly on HIV, Aids, tuberculosis and malaria.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord Jesus, you came as a tiny baby to be present to this world, to serve and care and bring life. Today, dear Lord, help me to be present to this world to bring the life of Christ in service and care to others.

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name. (Psalm 66:4)

Confession: “Seeking to worship the Christ child.”  Lord, forgive us when we seek to be guided by the idols of our age.  Today help us to seek out the Christ child.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week’s focus: Praying for Africa. Today: Pray for the education of the youth and people of Africa.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord Jesus, you came as a tiny baby to be present to this world, to serve and care and bring life. Today, dear Lord, help me to be present to this world to bring the life of Christ in service and care to others.

Friday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 31:21) Praise be to the Lord, for he showed his wonderful love to me…

Confession: “Seeking to worship the Christ child.”  Lord, forgive us when we seek to succeed and look good at the expense of others. Today help us to seek out the Christ child.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This weeks focus: Praying for Africa. Today:  Pray against corruption in Africa, pray for the spread of scriptural holiness and Kingdom of God values.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord Jesus, you came as a tiny baby to be present to this world, to serve and care and bring life. Today, dear Lord, help me to be present to this world to bring the life of Christ in service and care to others.

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 33:11) But his plans endure forever; his purposes last eternally.

Confession: “Seeking to worship the Christ child.”  Lord, forgive us when we seek revenge and not forgiveness. Today help us to seek out the Christ child.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This weeks focus: Praying for Africa. Today: Pray for all the homeless that they may find secure shelter and care.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord Jesus, you came as a tiny baby to be present to this world, to serve and care and bring life. Today, dear Lord, help me to be present to this world to bring the life of Christ in service and care to others.

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 37:4) Seek your happiness in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desire.

Confession: “Seeking to worship the Christ child.”  Lord, forgive us when we seek to give value only to that which feeds our framework of life. Today help us to seek out the Christ child.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week’s focus: Praying for Africa. Today:  Pray that the coming of the Christ child may bring hope to all the children of Africa.  Pray that the church in Africa may take its mission seriously.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord Jesus, you came as a tiny baby to be present to this world, to serve and care and bring life. Today, dear Lord, help me to be present to this world to bring the life of Christ in service and care to others.

Weekly Rhythm

Exploring Scripture – Joining our stories with the stories of Gods people

The comments in italics are with thanks to www.gbod.org:

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16: Nathan brings good news and a reality check to David. The good news: God intends to establish David’s lineage permanently, though conditionally. The reality: God has been present with God’s people by being in their midst as they have travelled (the tabernacle, “incarnation”) and has no need for David to build a temple.

God’s “house” is sometimes quite different to our expectations.  Can you think of surprising dwelling places that God chooses?

Luke 1:47-55. The Song of Mary. If you don’t hear and feel Mary pregnant with the end of this age and the hope for the coming one in this song, you’re not listening or singing her song yet!

Two prayers to help you reflect on this passage:

Never put your faith in worldly status,
and never underestimate your heavenly importance.

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.

Let your trust in the coming of Christ soar within you like wings of joy.
Go out into the world and serve one another as God-bearers.

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.

Grace, mercy and peace, from God our Creator,
through Jesus our Saviour,
in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit our Nurturer,
be with you this day and evermore.

Amen!

~ written by Bruce Prewer, http://www.bruceprewer.com/

Prayer of Approach

(based on Luke 1: 46-55)

Our hearts praise you, O Lord,

our spirits rejoice in God our Saviour,

for you have remembered us,

your humble servants.

Mighty God, we celebrate

the great things you have done for us—

your name is holy!

From one generation to another

you have shown mercy on those who honour you.

You have stretched out your mighty arm,

scattering the conceited,

confusing their schemes.

You bring down tyrants

and lift up the lowly;

you fill the hungry with good things,

but send the rich away empty.

You have kept your promises to us;

you have come to our help;

you will show your people your love for ever;

our hearts praise you, O Lord.  Amen.

~ written by Michael Perry in Bible Praying.
First posted on The Jubilate Group website. http://www.jubilate.co.uk/

 

Romans 16:25-27. A concluding doxology that joins the eternal praise of God for revealing the mystery of salvation intended for the whole world in Jesus Christ.

How might this doxology be a summary of the message which Paul teaches in his letters?


Luke 1:26-38
.
The angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will become pregnant by God and bear the Son of the Most High whose throne will be eternal. She consents. Do we?

 How would you have responded to the angel’s message?

What can you learn from Mary?


A prayer for Advent:  Waiting for the Kingdom

(inspired by Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:18, Luke 1:47-55)

Lord, we wait with eager expectation for the coming of Your kingdom
when the humble will be exalted and the hungry fed.

Your kingdom come, Your will be done.

Lord, we prepare for Your advent with searching minds and contrite hearts,
trusting in Your healing spirit and redemptive love.

Your kingdom come, Your will be done.

Lord, we watch with those who wait and weep,
longing to see the rule of justice and the reign of peace.

Your kingdom come, Your will be done.

Lord, we seek You among the despised and rejected,
knowing that there we will find Your light shining in the dark.

Your kingdom come, Your will be done.

Lord, we proclaim sight to the blind and liberty to the oppressed,
trusting in Your tender mercy and passion for justice.

Your kingdom come, Your will be done.

Lord, we work with others to proclaim Your truth,
challenging the mighty and raising the meek.

Your kingdom come, Your will be done.

Lord, we wrestle with our hopes and our fears, our struggles and our joys
laboring with creation to come to new birth.

Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

~ Annabel Shilson-Thomas.
First posted on the Christian Brothers of the Midwest website. http://www.cbmidwest.org/