Monthly Archives: March 2016

Living the Easter Season!

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Seasonal/Weekly Rhythm

“Celebrating the Easter Season.  Easter is a seven week season of joy and grace.  …this 50 day season has been called “the radiant center of the liturgical year.” We keep celebrating so that we might continue to enter into the meaning of the resurrection and to deepen the way it touches our daily lives. … John’s Gospel is used for the entire Easter Season, the one time of year we can enter into his poetic and layered stories on a daily basis…to remind us that Jesus is with us. He is not dead, but alive. And, that makes all the difference in the world…” Source

Daily Rhythm

 Devotional Diary 28 March – 3 April 2016

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

Acts 5:27-32. God’s authority, not human authority, directs our mission in Jesus Christ.

Psalm response: Psalm 150. Let everything with breath praise the Lord! “Alleluia! Alleluia! Christ is risen!”

Revelation 1:4-8. A core image of our identity as church: a kingdom of priests serving God.

John 20:19-31Jesus appears to the disciples at a time when Thomas is not present, so Thomas is skeptical. Jesus returns a week later and greets Thomas, and Thomas confesses “my Lord and my God.”

 Monday:

Adoration Focus: Each day try to spot a new sign of resurrection in the world around us.  Then praise God for his gift of new life.

Confession:   Again focus on resurrection.  Ask God what he wants to raise up in your life.  Then as he gives you a focus spend some time allowing the Spirit of God to produce that fruit that God desires in you.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: This week pray resurrection into the world around you.  Pray for your church, for your town, for your land and for your world.  Each day allow God to lead you into a new area.

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: “It is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me!”  (St Paul)

 Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Each day try to spot a new sign of resurrection in the world around us.  Then praise God for his gift of new life.

Confession: Again focus on resurrection.  Ask God what he wants to raise up in your life.  Then as he gives you a focus spend some time allowing the Spirit of God to produce that fruit that God desires in you.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray resurrection into the world around you.  Pray for your church, for your town, for your land and for your world.  Each day allow God to lead you into a new area.

Personal Prayers:

Dedication: “It is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me!”  (St Paul)

 Wednesday:

Adoration Focus: Each day try to spot a new sign of resurrection in the world around us.  Then praise God for his gift of new life.

Confession: Again focus on resurrection.  Ask God what he wants to raise up in your life.  Then as he gives you a focus spend some time allowing the Spirit of God to produce that fruit that God desires in you.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray resurrection into the world around you.  Pray for your church, for your town, for your land and for your world.  Each day allow God to lead you into a new area.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: “It is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me!”  (St Paul)

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: Each day try to spot a new sign of resurrection in the world around us.  Then praise God for his gift of new life.

Confession: Again focus on resurrection.  Ask God what he wants to raise up in your life.  Then as he gives you a focus spend some time allowing the Spirit of God to produce that fruit that God desires in you.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray resurrection into the world around you.  Pray for your church, for your town, for your land and for your world.  Each day allow God to lead you into a new area.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: “It is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me!”  (St Paul)

Friday:

Adoration Focus: Each day try to spot a new sign of resurrection in the world around us.  Then praise God for his gift of new life.

Confession: Again focus on resurrection.  Ask God what he wants to raise up in your life.  Then as he gives you a focus spend some time allowing the Spirit of God to produce that fruit that God desires in you.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray resurrection into the world around you.  Pray for your church, for your town, for your land and for your world.  Each day allow God to lead you into a new area.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: “It is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me!”  (St Paul)

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Each day try to spot a new sign of resurrection in the world around us.  Then praise God for his gift of new life.

Confession: Again focus on resurrection.  Ask God what he wants to raise up in your life.  Then as he gives you a focus spend some time allowing the Spirit of God to produce that fruit that God desires in you.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray resurrection into the world around you.  Pray for your church, for your town, for your land and for your world.  Each day allow God to lead you into a new area.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: “It is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me!”  (St Paul)

 Sunday:

Adoration Focus: Each day try to spot a new sign of resurrection in the world around us.  Then praise God for his gift of new life.

Confession: Again focus on resurrection.  Ask God what he wants to raise up in your life.  Then as he gives you a focus spend some time allowing the Spirit of God to produce that fruit that God desires in you.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week pray resurrection into the world around you.  Pray for your church, for your town, for your land and for your world.  Each day allow God to lead you into a new area.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: “It is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me!”  (St Paul)

Cross, Tomb, He is Risen!

Christ the King

Seasonal and Weekly Rhythm

Holy Week

The final week of  Lent is known as Holy Week.  It is Holy in that it is “set aside” to remember the events of Jesus’ last week and His suffering.  Different traditions have their own emphasis and ways of moving through this time. The following days fall in this week:

Palm/Passion Sunday:  This Sunday observes the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem that was marked by the crowds who were in Jerusalem for Passover waving palm branches and proclaiming him as the Messianic King.  The word Passion is used as in “suffering” and refers to the final agony of the cross.

Maundy (or Holy) Thursday:  This day focuses on the last meal Christ shared with his disciples and His struggle in Gethsemane and in this context The Eucharist is often shared.  Maundy is related to the word “mandate”.  On this day Christ “mandates” us to love one another (John 13-35).

Good (or Holy) Friday:  Christ’s arrest, mock trial, crucifixion and death are brought before us.   This is not normally a day for the Eucharist due to the Eucharist’s celebratory nature.  Some churches hold Tenebrae services (Latin for “shadows” or “darkness”) on Good Friday.  The name “Good Friday” possibly comes from “God’s Friday”.

Holy Saturday.  Jesus lies in the tomb.  Normally a day of rest and quiet where the dead are also remembered.

In Catholic tradition, the concluding three days of Holy Week  (including Easter Day) are called the Easter Triduum (a triduum is a three days period of prayer and remembrance).

The Easter Season and Ascension Day:   Easter Day marks the high point of the Christian Year and begins the Easter Season, a fifty day period (know as Eastertide) ending with Pentecost.   How does resurrection change us and how do we live it out?  During this season we read from Acts, the church living out resurrection.

Daily Rhythm

 Devotional Diary 21 -27 March 2016

(Readings for this week with thanks to www.umcdiscipleship.org)  

Preparing for Good Friday:

Isaiah 52:13-53:12. In context, the speaker is the leadership of Babylon. Here, they realize the peace and unity of their nation (the healing of their wounds) was bought with the blood of the people they had taken into exile and persecuted. As Christians read this text today, we remember our complicity in the death of Jesus.

Psalm 22. The psalm falls into two distinct parts. The first part is lament with almost desperate begging for healing. The second part, beginning at verse 20b, is thanksgiving for healing.

Hebrews 10:16-25.The writer portrays the blood of Jesus as covenant blood — a testimony that God has initiated the new covenant with humanity prophesied by Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Because there is a new covenant, those who are its beneficiaries can approach God and give living testimony in the world with holy boldness.

John 18:1-19:42. The four sayings from the crucifix that are part of today’s account are “Woman, here is your son,” “Here is your mother,” “I am thirsty,” and “It is finished.

 Preparing for Easter Sunday:

Acts 10:34-43. Peter goes to the household of Cornelius and proclaims the resurrection of Jesus and his appointment by God as judge of the living and the dead.

Psalm 118:(1-2), 14-24. Picking up on last Sunday’s use of this Psalm in connection with the “triumphal entry, ” these verses focus on victory and deliverance from death.

1 Corinthians 15:19-26. Paul “sings ” one of the early Christian hymns celebrating the resurrection of Jesus to the Christians of Corinth (verses 20-22), then explains its implications for the resurrection of Christians and the final victory of Christ at the end of the age.

John 20:1-18. Peter and the beloved disciple verify Mary Magdalene’s story that the tomb of Jesus is empty. Mary Magdalene encounters the risen Christ who sends her to announce his ascension to the other disciples.

Jesus prays for peace as he enters Jerusalem.  We share in praying for peace this week.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: God is gentleness. (Galatians 5:22)

Confession: Lord, forgive me when I have crushed the sensitive spirit with a heavy-handed response.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week: praying for peace.  The peace (shalom)  of God is not just the absence of conflict but also the presence of health and wholeness.  As you pray for peace in various areas picture what shape this health and wholeness will take in the different contexts and pray accordingly.   Today we pray for inner peace.  Peace within your own hearts and the hearts of your neighbours.

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: Show us good Lord, the peace we should seek, the peace we must give, the peace we can keep, the peace we must forgo, and the peace you have given us in Jesus our Lord. (Caryl Micklem)

 Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: God is self-control. (Galatians 5:22)

Confession: Lord, forgive me when I have lost control and have hurt others deeply.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: See Monday’s shared focus.  Today we pray for peace in relationships between peoples that are victims of some kind of prejudice.  Gender, race, age, etc.

Dedication: Show us good Lord, the peace we should seek, the peace we must give, the peace we can keep, the peace we must forgo, and the peace you have given us in Jesus our Lord. (Caryl Micklem)

Wednesday:

Adoration Focus: Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. (Psalm 150:6)

Confession:  Lord you have called me to praise your holy name.  So often it is my name alone that I seek to praise and lift up.  Help me to lift up your name in praise.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: See Monday’s shared focus.  Today we pray for peace in families.  We pray for peace where there is abuse, physical, sexual or emotional.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Show us good Lord, the peace we should seek, the peace we must give, the peace we can keep, the peace we must forgo, and the peace you have given us in Jesus our Lord. (Caryl Micklem)

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: For the Lord takes delight in his people… (Psalm 149:4)

Confession:  Lord I sometimes despise people.  You take delight in them.  Help me to take delight in the people I encounter.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: See Monday’s shared focus.  Pray for peace in the area of crime and violence.  Focus particularly on the health and wholeness issue.  Pray that our society may be a healthy one.  Focus on a specific way in which we can move in this direction and pray accordingly.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Show us good Lord, the peace we should seek, the peace we must give, the peace we can keep, the peace we must forgo, and the peace you have given us in Jesus our Lord. (Caryl Micklem)

Friday:

Adoration Focus: …praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens. (Psalm 148:13)

Confession: Lord, the splendour of your creation has grown familiar in my eyes.  Help me to look at it in new ways and realise your greatness yet again.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: See Monday’s shared focus.  Today we pray for our world.  Choose a country and pray for God’s peace to be realised in a specific way there.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Show us good Lord, the peace we should seek, the peace we must give, the peace we can keep, the peace we must forgo, and the peace you have given us in Jesus our Lord. (Caryl Micklem)

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: He determines the number of stars and calls each by name.  Great is our God and mighty in power… (Psalm 147:4)

Confession: Lord sometimes I worship the stars and not you who name them.  Today help me to worship the one who controls the stars and who guides us in His paths.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: See Monday’s shared focus. Today we pray for any area of concern that surfaces as important for you.  Into what scenario do you need to pray God’s peace?

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Show us good Lord, the peace we should seek, the peace we must give, the peace we can keep, the peace we must forgo, and the peace you have given us in Jesus our Lord. (Caryl Micklem)

Sunday: 

Adoration Focus: …the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous.  (Psalm 146:8)

Confession: Lord, forgive me when I rely on my own strength and wisdom.  You are the one who lifts us up.  Today I turn to you.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: See Monday’s shared focus.  Today we pray for peace in church communities.  We focus on internal rivalry and unresolved conflict and strife.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Show us good Lord, the peace we should seek, the peace we must give, the peace we can keep, the peace we must forgo, and the peace you have given us in Jesus our Lord. (Caryl Micklem)

Palms, Praise, Passion

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Seasonal and Weekly Rhythm

Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified.

Palm Sunday is known as such because the faithful will often receive palm fronds which they use to participate in the reenactment of Christ’s arrival in Jerusalem. In the Gospels, Jesus entered Jerusalem riding a young donkey, and to the lavish praise of the townspeople who threw clothes, or possibly palms or small branches, in front of him as a sign of homage. This was a customary practice for people of great respect.

Palm branches are widely recognized symbol of peace and victory, hence their preferred use on Palm Sunday.

The use of a donkey instead of a horse is highly symbolic, it represents the humble arrival of someone in peace, as opposed to arriving on a steed in war.

A week later, Christ would rise from the dead on the first Easter.  (http://www.catholic.org/clife/lent/palmsunday.php)

Daily Rhythm

 Devotional Diary 14 – 20 March 2016

Readings for this week with thanks to www.umcdiscipleship.org     Sunday 20 March 2016 Palm Sunday.

Isaiah 50:4-9a. The servant hears God’s word and faces torture with confidence.

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 Hallelujah!  The King has come!

Philippians 2:5-11.   Jesus, our pattern: he emptied himself; God exalted him.

Luke 19:28-40. Luke recounts Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

 This week:  Our adoration focus comes from the opening verses of Psalm 95.  Our confession focus is based on a prayer of an unknown soldier.  You are invited to reflect on this prayer a line at a time and let that thought lead you into confession.  By the end of the week we will have moved through the entire prayer.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: Come let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.  (Psalm 95:1)

Confession: “I asked for strength that I may achieve; I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.”  (Let these thoughts lead you into confession and healing)

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

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  Pray that your community may be a forgiving community and that this forgiveness may lead to reconciliation.  Pray that we may find our example for forgiveness and reconciliation in Christ.

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:  What does the Lord require of you – but to do justly – to love mercy – and to walk humbly with your God.                                                                                                                                                     (Micah 6:8)

 Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and praise.  (Psalm 95:2)

Confession: “I asked for health that I might do greater things; I was given infirmity that I might do better things.”

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray that your community may be a supportive community.  Pray that we may take hold of the gift of encouragement with both hands.  Pray that God may enable you to encourage someone today.

Personal Prayers:

Dedication:  What does the Lord require of you – but to do justly – to love mercy – and to walk humbly with your God.                                                                                                                                                     (Micah 6:8)

Wednesday:

Adoration Focus: For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. (Psalm 95:3)

Confession: “I asked for riches that I might be happy; I was given poverty that I might be wise.”

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray that your community may be a community of the poor.  That even those at the lowest rung of the ladder may be treated like those at the top.  Pray that God would abolish favouritism in our midst.  Each one is an important part of the body of Christ.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:  What does the Lord require of you – but to do justly – to love mercy – and to walk humbly with your God.                                                                                                                                                     (Micah 6:8)

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: In His hands are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. (Psalm 95:4)

Confession: “I asked for power that I might have the praise of men; I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.”

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray that your community may be a community of hope.  Pray that we may hear words of hope and not despair.  Pray that we may be a place where those who have lost hope may find it.  Pray that our eyes may be open to see Jesus the Light of the World shining in our midst.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:  What does the Lord require of you – but to do justly – to love mercy – and to walk humbly with your God.                                                                                                                                                     (Micah 6:8)

Friday:

Adoration Focus: The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. (Psalm 95:5)

Confession: “I asked for all things that I might enjoy life; I was given life that I might enjoy all things.”

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  Pray that your community may be a community of power.  Power not to laud it over others, not power to make our names great, but power to serve and to pour out our lives for many.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: What does the Lord require of you – but to do justly – to love mercy – and to walk humbly with your God.                                                                                                                                                     (Micah 6:8)

Saturday :

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

Confession: “I got nothing that I had asked for, but everything that I had hoped for.”

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray that your community may be a community of faith.  That we would not just speak words but that our faith would be a biblical faith that walks with God in trust and dares to live by God’s Kingdom values.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: What does the Lord require of you – but to do justly – to love mercy – and to walk humbly with your God.                                                                                                                                                     (Micah 6:8)

Sunday :

Adoration Focus: …he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. (Psalm 95:7)

Confession: “Almost despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered; I am, among all men, most richly blessed.”

Dear Lord forgive us when we do not walk in faith and enable us to walk humbly with our God.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  Pray that your community may be a community of worship in Spirit and in truth.  That is a community that worships in response to the revelation in Jesus Christ.  Holy Spirit lead us in our worship today.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:  What does the Lord require of you – but to do justly – to love mercy – and to walk humbly with your God.                                                                                                                                          (Micah 6:8)