Monthly Archives: January 2016

Let your light shine! (Transfiguration)

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(For the daily rhythm devotional guide see below)

Seasonal Rhythm

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany.   Still the season of light.  This Sunday: Jesus shines with the light of transfiguration.  Can we shine as we are changed from glory into glory?  Let your light shine!

I remind you of the journey of these weeks we are in:

Jan 3 The Magi: All people are called into this journey.
Jan 10 Christ’s baptism. Baptism: Discovering who we are…. is missional.
Jan 17 The wedding at Cana. Signs: where/what are we pointing to…the new wine.
Jan 24 Jesus defines his calling: What is our mission?
Jan 31 The people take offense at Christ: Facing the realities of mission.
Feb 2 Jesus is lifted up in the temple: It’s all about Jesus.
Feb 7 The Transfiguration: Transformation, this little light of mine.

This season moves into the season of Lent with Ash Wednesday on the 10 February 2016.

Weekly Rhythm

 Here is a Bible Study Method (Inductive) taught by Rev Terry Fulham and others.  If you are drawn to it, try it out on this week’s readings.

BIBLE STUDY METHOD (TERRY FULHAM)

Motto: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO KNOW EVERYTHING TO KNOW SOMETHING!

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?

2) What does the passage mean?

3) How does the passage apply to my life?

These questions reveal three levels of communication:

1) The level of fact. F  (Observe Accurately)

2) The level of interpretation. I  (Interpret Correctly)

3) The level of application. A  (Apply Drastically)

 

1) THE LEVEL OF FACT.

A] Pray: Ask God to assist: Get on God’s wavelength: not manipulating God.

B] Read:

  1. a) Slowly, thoughtfully, perceptively
  2. b) Repetitively
  3. c) In a variety of translations
  4. d) sometimes aloud (add a sense)

C] 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)

Generally in this order:

Who? Where? When? How? Why? What?

You should consult your Bible dictionary to gain clarification on any issue that is unclear.

Then close your Bible and walk and talk your way through the passage.

 

2) THE LEVEL OF INTERPRETATION: What does the passage mean?

A] 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.

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) 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] LEARN TO PRAY THE PASSAGE!  Be in dialogue with God.

 

Daily Rhythm

 Devotional Diary 1 – 6 February 2016

Readings for this week with thanks to www.umcdiscipleship.org Sunday 6 February 2016 Transfiguration  Sunday

Exodus 34:29-35. Moses returns from Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant. His face shines in a way that frightens the people. He begins to wear a veil when he instructs the people. He takes it off when offering worship in the tabernacle.

Psalm Response: Psalm 99 “The Lord reigns; let the people tremble!” A call to praise in response to the reading from Exodus.

2 Corinthians 3:12—4:2. Paul uses the “veiling” motif from the first reading, and possibly also used in some Jewish liturgical practices at the reading of the Law, to speak of the church’s ongoing access to the glory of God in the face of Jesus and to describe the authenticity and integrity with which he approaches his own mission.

Luke 9:28-36 (37-43). While Jesus was praying on a mountain, his face and clothing changed to dazzling white, Moses and Elijah appeared, and a voice from a cloud says, “This is my Son! My chosen. Listen to him!”

Monday:

Adoration Focus: “Eternal God, your greatness and majesty far exceed our capacity to imagine them.”

Confession: You have shown us in Jesus that it is better to give than to receive; but we have remained selfish and acquisitive. Help us to find life through your revelation. (Confessional prayers inspired by Companion to the Lectionary by Neil Dixon)

The Word: Use the readings above or your own devotional aids.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for someone you have met during this last week who you feel drawn to pray for.

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:  O eternal, self-emptying Christ, who became a servant, fill us with your Spirit that we may also love others as you love. Amen  (Salvador T Martinez)

 Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: “Eternal Word, Lord Jesus Christ, we adore you, before all things began, you already were.”

Confession: You have shown us in Jesus that love is stronger than hatred; but we have nursed grievances and resentments. Help us to find life through your revelation.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for preachers of the gospel as they prepare to preach in the week ahead.

 

Dedication: O eternal, self-emptying Christ, who became a servant, fill us with your Spirit that we may also love others as you love. Amen

Wednesday:

Adoration Focus: “Lord God, yours is the truth which guides all life to its fulfilment in you.”

Confession: You have shown us in Jesus a new way of living; but we have preferred to conform to the standards of this world. Help us to find life through your revelation.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for the spiritual journey that you as a church are on.  Pray that we may hear the call of God and say, “Here I am Lord!”

Personal prayers:

 

Dedication: O eternal, self-emptying Christ, who became a servant, fill us with your Spirit that we may also love others as you love. Amen

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: Lord of all wonder and all life, we rejoice that with you nothing is impossible.”

Confession: You have shown us in Jesus that the way to true greatness is the way of the cross; but we have been afraid to follow in our Master’s steps. Help us to find life through your revelation.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for all our church that we may see beyond ourselves through the eyes of God’s love.

Personal prayers:

 

Dedication: O eternal, self-emptying Christ, who became a servant, fill us with your Spirit that we may also love others as you love. Amen

Friday:

Adoration Focus: “Eternal God, you hold all things in your hands; time, space and all creation.”

Confession: You have shown us in Jesus that it is better to serve than to be served, yet we have seen servant-hood as below us. Help us to find life through your revelation.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for your own life: How might God be calling you to serve?

Personal prayers:

 

Dedication: O eternal, self-emptying Christ, who became a servant, fill us with your Spirit that we may also love others as you love. Amen

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: “Great God, you astonish us by your closeness.”

Confession: You have shown us in Jesus that the last will be first and the first last, yet we have still struggled to come in first. Help us to find life through your revelation.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Think of the gift of God’s word to us.   Pray that we may be receptive to God’s word for us.

Personal prayers:

 

Dedication: O eternal, self-emptying Christ, who became a servant, fill us with your Spirit that we may also love others as you love. Amen

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: “Glorious King of heaven, with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven we worship and adore you.”

Confession: You have shown us in Jesus that you are always with us, yet we have lives as if we are alone.  Help us to find life through your revelation.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  Pray that today’s worship services may be a wonderful celebration of God’s greatness as we recommit ourselves to God.

Personal prayers:

 

Dedication: O eternal, self-emptying Christ, who became a servant, fill us with your Spirit that we may also love others as you love. Amen

Dealing with resistance

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Seasonal Rhythm

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany.   Still the season of light.  This Sunday: Jesus announces his mission and immediately faces opposition, but the mission continues.

I remind you of the journey of these weeks we are in:

Jan 3 The Magi: All people are called into this journey.
Jan 10 Christ’s baptism. Baptism: Discovering who we are…. is missional.
Jan 17 The wedding at Cana. Signs: where/what are we pointing to…the new wine.
Jan 24 Jesus defines his calling: What is our mission?
Jan 31 The people take offense at Christ: Facing the realities of mission.
Feb 2 Jesus is lifted up in the temple: It’s all about Jesus.
Feb 7 The Transfiguration: Transformation, this little light of mine.

This season moves into the season of Lent with Ash Wednesday on the 10 February 2016.

Weekly Rhythm

“Be still and know that I am God”.   Sit comfortably and relax.  Start at the top of your head and gradually move to the tip of your toes letting go of tension.  While relaxing, focus also on your breathing.  Breathe a little slower and deeper.  Then find a word that will help you keep your focus as you enter the silence.  Perhaps: Jesus or God or Father or….
Simply repeat this word as you breathe deeply.  Find your rest in God’s embrace.  This exercise should take about 20 minutes.  (Sometimes it is helpful to set a timer.)

Daily Rhythm

 Devotional Diary 25 – 31 January 2016

Readings for this week with thanks to www.umcdiscipleship.org Sunday 31 January 2016

 Jeremiah 1:4-10:   The Lord calls Jeremiah as a youth: “To pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”

Psalm response — Psalm 71:1-6Words that could represent both Jeremiah’s and our lifelong response to God’s call.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13:  A song or poem celebrating divine love, the heartbeat of every gift of the Spirit.

Luke 4:21-30:   The violent response to Jesus’ sermon in Nazareth.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. (A song of praise)

Confession: (Our confessions this week are by Neil Dixon)  Lord God, we confess that we have stifled your Spirit within us. You have sent your Spirit of love, but we have preferred to hate those who oppose us. Lord, teach us how much we need the power of your Spirit in our lives and breathe new life into us.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for the people of our world.  We rejoice together in the people of the world and we pray that they may know the freedom to be all that God has created them to be.

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: (A prayer prayed while pruning a tree) I pray Thee, Lord, to purge me and take away my selfishness and sinful thoughts, that I may bring forth more fruits of the Spirit. (Prayer of a Chinese Christian man)

 Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Lord of all being, throned afar, Thy glory flames from sun and star; center and soul of every sphere, Yet to each loving heart how near.  (Methodist Hymn Book 32)

Confession: Lord God, we confess that we have stifled your Spirit within us. You have sent your Spirit of joy, but we have taken your gifts for granted and been ungrateful. Lord, teach us how much we need the power of your Spirit in our lives and breathe new life into us.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Today we thank God for the people of our church and rejoice in their gifting and pray that they may be encouraged in their work for the Lord.

Dedication: (A prayer prayed while pruning a tree) I pray Thee, Lord, to purge me and take away my selfishness and sinful thoughts, that I may bring forth more fruits of the Spirit. (Prayer of a Chinese Christian man)

Wednesday:

Adoration Focus: Come let us all unite and sing – God is love! (MHB 22)

Confession: Lord God, we confess that we have stifled your Spirit within us. You have sent your Spirit of peace, but we have allowed our selfishness to cause division and disharmony. Lord, teach us how much we need the power of your Spirit in our lives and breathe new life into us.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Today we pray for all people  who live in oppressive circumstances. Pray that they may know the power to be set free from these shackles.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: (A prayer prayed while pruning a tree) I pray Thee, Lord, to purge me and take away my selfishness and sinful thoughts, that I may bring forth more fruits of the Spirit. (Prayer of a Chinese Christian man)

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: The trumpets sound, the angels sing, the feast is ready to begin.  The gates of heaven are open wide and Jesus welcomes you inside.  (A song of praise)

Confession: Lord God, we confess that we have stifled your Spirit within us. You have sent your Spirit of patience, but we have been worried and anxious when we have not seen immediate results from our efforts, or evidence of your love. Lord, teach us how much we need the power of your Spirit in our lives and breathe new life into us.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Today we pray for people who are victims of violence and are in difficult circumstances.  We pray for insight, bravery and support.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: (A prayer prayed while pruning a tree) I pray Thee, Lord, to purge me and take away my selfishness and sinful thoughts, that I may bring forth more fruits of the Spirit. (Prayer of a Chinese Christian man)

Friday:

Adoration Focus: My life is in you Lord, My strength is in you Lord, My hope is in you Lord, in You, it’s in You.  (A song of praise)

Confession: Lord God, we confess that we have stifled your Spirit within us. You have sent your Spirit of kindness, but we have been indifferent to other people’s needs. Lord, teach us how much we need the power of your Spirit in our lives and breathe new life into us.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Today you are invited to pray for any particular situation that you may be led to pray for as you reflect on the people of this world.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: (A prayer prayed while pruning a tree) I pray Thee, Lord, to purge me and take away my selfishness and sinful thoughts, that I may bring forth more fruits of the Spirit. (Prayer of a Chinese Christian man)

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: King of glory, King of peace, I will love Thee;… (MHB 23)

Confession: Lord God, we confess that we have stifled your Spirit within us. You have sent your Spirit of goodness, but through our thoughtlessness, as well as our deliberate wrongdoing, we have sinned. Lord, teach us how much we need the power of your Spirit in our lives and breathe new life into us.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Today we pray for husbands and wives and different family structures (e.g. single parent families)  Think also of those who are to be married this Saturday.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: (A prayer prayed while pruning a tree) I pray Thee, Lord, to purge me and take away my selfishness and sinful thoughts, that I may bring forth more fruits of the Spirit. (Prayer of a Chinese Christian man)

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: Saviour like a shepherd lead us; Much we need Thy tender care. (MHB 609)

Confession: Lord God, we confess that we have stifled your Spirit within us. You have sent your Spirit of faithfulness but we have been fickle in our resolve, unreliable disciples of Jesus.  Lord, teach us how much we need the power of your Spirit in our lives and breathe new life into us.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  Lift up your prayers for the peoples of this world as you gather for worship today!

Personal prayers:

Dedication: (A prayer prayed while pruning a tree) I pray Thee, Lord, to purge me and take away my selfishness and sinful thoughts, that I may bring forth more fruits of the Spirit. (Prayer of a Chinese Christian man)

Announcing your Mission

Coffee brewing

Seasonal Rhythm

Third Sunday after Epiphany.   Still the season of light.  This Sunday: The light of the world has come, can we be the sign (see last week), the light…. This Sunday defines mission.  What is Christ’s mission, how does he define it?  Can we define our mission in this framework?

I remind you of the journey of these weeks we are in:

Jan 3 The Magi: All people are called into this journey.
Jan 10 Christ’s baptism. Baptism: Discovering who we are…. is missional.
Jan 17 The wedding at Cana. Signs: where/what are we pointing to…the new wine.
Jan 24 Jesus defines his calling: What is our mission?
Jan 31 The people take offense at Christ: Facing the realities of mission.
Feb 2 Jesus is lifted up in the temple: It’s all about Jesus.
Feb 7 The Transfiguration: Transformation, this little light of mine.

This season moves into the season of Lent with Ash Wednesday on the 10 February 2016.

Weekly Rhythm

The Rhythm of our breath.  It is life, the rising and falling…there is trust in every cycle.  You breathe out and “Yes” God sustains you, you breathe this life giving air into your lungs.  This week spend some moments focusing on your breath.  Again, slow it down, breathe deeply and rhythmically.   When you have relaxed sense that you are immersed in the Spirit of God, life giving, sustaining, embracing.   Now focus on your exhaling.  As you focus on your “out” breaths begin to name some things that you may need to let go of.  Let God’s Spirit examine the nooks and crannies, the hiding places of your heart: He will find the things that are limiting the expression of God’s love in and through your life.  Spend some time on this letting go.  Now change your focus to your inhaling.  What gifts of the Spirit do you need to breathe in?  As you focus on your “in” breaths gentle name some of these gifts…   End this time with open hands thanking God that you live in Him and that He is in you.

Daily Rhythm

Devotional Diary 18 – 24 January 2016

Readings for this week with thanks to www.umcdiscipleship.org Sunday 24 January 2016   3RD Sunday after Epiphany

Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10 Ezra, Nehemiah, and a group of Levites read aloud from Torah, interpret the reading, and call the gathered people to a day of celebration. The celebration includes sharing with those who have no one to prepare a celebratory meal.

Psalm response — Psalm 19  A hymn in praise of Torah, joined by all creation.

1 Corinthians 12:12-31a Paul reminds a divided community that the differences in the ways the Spirit’s gifts operate in each one are intended to sustain the community’s functioning as one body.

Luke 4:14-21 Jesus reads and interprets from the scroll of Isaiah, announcing that the words he has read are now fulfilled: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor…”

 Monday:

Adoration Focus: Revelation 1:8  “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Confession: In your confessions this week you are encouraged to journey with the following prayer.  Pray it each day thoughtfully and slowly noting what the Spirit of God brings to the surface for you.  ”Merciful God, I confess to you that I have sinned.  I confess the sins no one knows about, and the sins that everyone knows about.  I confess the sins which I carry as a burden, and those which no longer bother me because I have grown used to them.  I confess my failure to love, my failure to forgive, my failure to serve.  Father forgive me.  Send your Holy Spirit that He may give me the power to live as You have called me to live.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.”

The Word: Use the readings above or use your own devotional aid.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: O Christ be with all who face death today in fear or loneliness.

 

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:  O Spirit of God, mighty river, flow over me, in me, through me.  O Spirit of God, cleanse me, purify the channels of my life.  O spirit of God, bear me along with thy flood of life-giving service…  O Spirit of God, mighty fire…, may the flames of thy love ever blaze upon the altar of my heart. (Charles Devanesan)

 Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Revelation 2:8 These are the words of him who is the first and the last, who died and came to life again.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: O Christ be with all who face change today in fear or loneliness.

 

Dedication: O Spirit of God, mighty river, flow over me, in me, through me.  O Spirit of God, cleanse me, purify the channels of my life.  O spirit of God, bear me along with thy flood of life-giving service…  O Spirit of God, mighty fire…, may the flames of thy love ever blaze upon the altar of my heart. (Charles Devanesan)

 Wednesday:

Adoration Focus: Revelation 4:11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by you will they were created and have their being.”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: O Christ be with all who face rejection today in fear or loneliness.

Personal prayers:

 

Dedication: O Spirit of God, mighty river, flow over me, in me, through me.  O Spirit of God, cleanse me, purify the channels of my life.  O spirit of God, bear me along with thy flood of life-giving service…  O Spirit of God, mighty fire…, may the flames of thy love ever blaze upon the altar of my heart. (Charles Devanesan)

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: Revelation 5:12  “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength…”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: O Christ be with all who face a long journey today in fear or loneliness.

Personal prayers:

 

Dedication: O Spirit of God, mighty river, flow over me, in me, through me.  O Spirit of God, cleanse me, purify the channels of my life.  O spirit of God, bear me along with thy flood of life-giving service…  O Spirit of God, mighty fire…, may the flames of thy love ever blaze upon the altar of my heart. (Charles Devanesan)

Friday:

Adoration Focus: Revelation 7:10 “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne and to the Lamb.”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: O Christ be with all who face surgery today in fear or loneliness.

Personal prayers:

 

Dedication: O Spirit of God, mighty river, flow over me, in me, through me.  O Spirit of God, cleanse me, purify the channels of my life.  O spirit of God, bear me along with thy flood of life-giving service…  O Spirit of God, mighty fire…, may the flames of thy love ever blaze upon the altar of my heart. (Charles Devanesan)

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Revelation 15:3 “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty.  Just and true are your ways, King of the ages.”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: O Christ be with all who face people today in fear or loneliness.

Personal prayers:

 

Dedication: O Spirit of God, mighty river, flow over me, in me, through me.  O Spirit of God, cleanse me, purify the channels of my life.  O spirit of God, bear me along with thy flood of life-giving service…  O Spirit of God, mighty fire…, may the flames of thy love ever blaze upon the altar of my heart. (Charles Devanesan)

 Sunday:

Adoration Focus: Revelation 16:7 “Yes, Lord Almighty, true and just are your judgments.”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: O Christ be with all who face life today in fear or loneliness.

Personal prayers:

 

Dedication: O Spirit of God, mighty river, flow over me, in me, through me.  O Spirit of God, cleanse me, purify the channels of my life.  O spirit of God, bear me along with thy flood of life-giving service…  O Spirit of God, mighty fire…, may the flames of thy love ever blaze upon the altar of my heart. (Charles Devanesan)