May 1, 2016
Refresh
Series: Easter
Refresh
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. – Ephesians 2:13-14
Pray the 23rd Psalm: Lord you are my shepherd; I lack nothing. You make me lie down in green pastures, and lead
me beside quiet waters. You refresh my soul.
Use imaginative prayer. Rewrite Psalm 23 with your own specifics: a hurt, where God is leading you, what is refreshing you. Then pray it.
Walk in your neighborhood or in nature. Take note of those things that refresh you.
Give thanks to God for those things that are automatically given to you by Him.

Gospel: John 14:23-29

As Jesus talks of returning to the Father, he promises to send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, who will teach Jesus’ followers and remind them of all that Jesus taught. Even more, those in whom God makes a home will experience a peace that overcomes fear.

23Jesus answered [Judas (not Iscariot),] “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.
25“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29

And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.”
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  • May 1, 2016Refresh
    May 1, 2016
    Refresh
    Series: Easter
    Refresh
    But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. – Ephesians 2:13-14
    Pray the 23rd Psalm: Lord you are my shepherd; I lack nothing. You make me lie down in green pastures, and lead
    me beside quiet waters. You refresh my soul.
    Use imaginative prayer. Rewrite Psalm 23 with your own specifics: a hurt, where God is leading you, what is refreshing you. Then pray it.
    Walk in your neighborhood or in nature. Take note of those things that refresh you.
    Give thanks to God for those things that are automatically given to you by Him.

    Gospel: John 14:23-29

    As Jesus talks of returning to the Father, he promises to send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, who will teach Jesus’ followers and remind them of all that Jesus taught. Even more, those in whom God makes a home will experience a peace that overcomes fear.

    23Jesus answered [Judas (not Iscariot),] “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.
    25“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29

    And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.”
  • Apr 24, 2016Acceptance
    Apr 24, 2016
    Acceptance
    Series: Easter
    Acceptance
    You must treat foreigners with the same loving care – remember, you were once foreigners in Egypt.
    Deuteronomy 10:19, The Message
    Dear God, open my heart so that I can see people as Jesus knows them and see Jesus in the people you bring to me. Make me attentive to those who are taking tentative steps towards you.
     
    Focusing on what makes us the same keeps the channels open for connection. Say a prayer of acceptance: “He/she wants to be heard just like me. Just like me, he/she is worthy of love”.
    Seek someone who may have a
    different faith or perspective than you. Engage in a conversation just to understand their view and not voice yours.

    Gospel: John 13:31-35

    After washing the disciples’ feet, predicting his betrayal, and then revealing his betrayer, Jesus speaks of his glorification on the cross. This deep complicated love of Jesus, even to death on the cross, will be the distinctive mark of Jesus’ community.

    31When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35

    By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
  • Apr 17, 2016Embrace
    Apr 17, 2016
    Embrace
    Series: Easter
    Embrace
    Be ready with a meal or a bed when it’s needed. Why, some have extended hospitality to angels without ever
    knowing it! – Hebrews 13:2, The Message
    Dear God, we prayerfully usher in those visiting our homes or our church. May they experience YOUR gracious love through our words and actions.
    Each person can receive a greeting if we all look around and let God point out someone to say hello to. Wait before the Lord. Listen for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Then GO!
    When you are out in the community, be mindful and aware of others in need of help, or a person to converse with. There are many who are secretly suffering. Be open to the nudge of the Holy Spirit.

    Gospel: John 21:1-19

    The risen Christ appears again to his disciples by the sea where they were first called. After echoes of the fishing and feeding miracles, he gives a final reminder of the cost of a disciple’s love and obedience.

    1After [he appeared to his followers in Jerusalem,] Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. 2Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. 3Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
    4Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” 6He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. 7That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. 8But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.
    9When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. 10Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. 13Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
    15When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19

    (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”
  • Apr 10, 2016Greeting
    Apr 10, 2016
    Greeting
    Series: Easter

    Greet
    Jesus said, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me…Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me”.

    Matthew 25:35, 40 NIV
    Gracious God, give me a heart that remembers the “strangers” who are on my path today. May I treat them as I would treat you if you came to me today.
    God gave you the gift of a smile that radiates encouragement! Don’t fence it in! As you go about your day, embrace others with a smile, greeting, and/or the offer of a
    helpful hand. Pay attention to how they change; pay attention to how you change. Silently say a prayer
    for them.
    Is there someone in service that you have never seen before? Introduce yourself. If they are new or visiting, invite them over to the Fellowship Hall, Sunday School class or ask them what they are interested in.
    Mt 25-35
  • Apr 3, 2016Welcome One Another
    Apr 3, 2016
    Welcome One Another
    Series: Easter

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    John 20:19-31

    The unprecedented events of the day of resurrection continue as the risen Jesus appears to his fearful disciples. A week later, after Thomas worships Jesus, Jesus pronounces that the blessings of the resurrection are also for those who “have not seen and yet believe.”

    19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23

    If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

    24But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
    26A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29

    Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

    30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31

    But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.