We pray. We study the Bible. We make friends. We tell our stories. We give ourselves away in generosity and service.
A PERSONAL PRAYER
I watched the news last night and there saw the replay story of a murder/suicide in the home of a nice family. So much pain…
It was followed by the story of a couple of young parents neglecting their children. I looked at their photos, and I felt for them… so over their heads.
I heard at a meeting yesterday about the overwhelming problems of opioid abuse, and saw the testimony about it. A friend’s son is trying to recover from an overdose of drugs even now. My heart breaks for him.
Bubbling up within me there is a yearning to make a difference in the world, to push back the darkness in some way, but it seems there is so little that can be done. There are days I feel so powerless, when it seems so many of the things that break my heart, and I am sure break your heart, are beyond my ability to influence. So I think I will just go back to my small circle, trying to care for my family and my friends.
Forgive me, God, for underestimating what you can do through me. You have called the church to be an sign, an instrument, and a foretaste of the kingdom of God. You have asked me to be a part of your band of brothers and sisters, as you lead us into the jaws of death itself, storming the gates of hell, which shall not prevail against us. We can change all this, by your power.
Sign me up for your kingdom, God, and remind me of what I can do when I have the forces of heaven with me.
KEY VERSE FOR THE WEEK
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. –Matthew 16:18 Read the whole passage for Sunday’s message here: Matthew 16:13-23
QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION
How do you feel about imagery of battle with regard to the church, and why? In what ways do we underestimate what our community of faith can do if we access the forces of heaven? In what way do you underestimate what you can do as part of that work?
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
This week, we begin a new series called “Journey to Jerusalem,” which will look at Jesus’ decision to go face the cross, and look more specifically at the events of Holy Week. This Sunday, we will consider his charge to Peter and the disciples to carry on after his death, and what it means about our mission in life.
Our Scripture+Shared Bible study for next week, March 26-April 1, we look at Jesus’ decision to head directly to Jerusalem, how he “set his face like a flint” toward Jerusalem, and his prediction that he would suffer, die, and be raised from the dead, and what that meant for the disciples (and for us). For the next five weeks, until we finish this semester of Scripture+Shared, the study will follow directly with the morning sermons, so I hope you will join us. As we move toward holy week, it will make your spiritual journey during that week all the more significant. It isn’t too late. Find a Bible Buddy and sign up for Journey to Jerusalem here.
One of our inside out habits is “we pray.” Each Sunday during Lent, our children receive plastic Easter eggs containing the Lord’s Prayer and names to pray for that week. Everyone is invited to join in. Eggs are available at the info desk in the Fellowship Walk. Take an egg and pray for those names during the week.
Sunday, March 26
Dear Lord, Thank you for the many blessings you have bestowed on us. Lord help us to rejoice in your name no matter the circumstance. Help us to follow whatever is true, honorable, lovely, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise. We pray all these things in your name. Amen. -Prayer by Vicki Keiser
Monday, March 27
Today, Lord, I thank you for the joy you place in my heart by being my God, by blessing me even though I deserve no blessing, and by busying me up to serve you and to serve others. You make the big rocks in my life road smooth and unimportant, making more room for your joy to share. Amen. -Prayer by Kris Woldy
Tuesday, March 28
Dear God, We come today with our hearts full of thankfulness. We thank you for our families. We thank you for our children. Please be with all the little girls and boys of our church and keep them happy, healthy, and safe, and please be with those children and families who are dealing with an illness or tough situation. We lift this prayer up to you in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. -Prayer by Gustavo Salcedo
Wednesday, March 29
God, I lift up prayers for keeping my focus on honoring you and remembering your presence throughout the day. Amen. -Prayer by Amanda Kirkham
Thursday, March 30
Dear Lord, I surrender my day to you. Let my thoughts and words be pleasing to you, and let my actions point the world back to you. Amen.
Friday, March 31
Heavenly Father, I pray that you would guide me so that love is the foundation of all that I do. Amen.
Saturday, April 1
Gracious, loving God, thank you for your Holy Word, for the love, peace, and joy we receive from our Bible study. Thank you for the gifts and guidance you have given our ministers so they can provide insight and understanding. Help us to live your word and become more like the persons you created us to be. We love you and praise your holy name Amen. -Prayer by Lynn Ryan
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