Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

This was the 4th word of Christ. Delivered April 6,2012 at Jarrettown’s Good Friday Service

 

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46

After Jesus saw his mother, and spoke his third word, it is written that darkness filled the sky. From twelve until three, darkness descended on the whole land. It wasn’t a sunset or and eclipse. First there was sun; then there wasn’t.

I can’t help but wonder, those who weren’t present at the crucifixion thought as they worked in their fields or washed their clothes in the river? What did they say and do as they ate their mid-day meal in the dark? The Bible doesn’t say the day turned to night—with familiar stars that might provide people with some comfort. Not night. Darkness.

For three hours.

Then, as abruptly as the darkness descended, the sun reappeared and Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ” Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? “ [Eh-lo-eye, Eh-lo-eye, lama sub-ACHT-en-eye.]

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

This saying is traditionally called “The Word of Abandonment” and is the only one of Jesus’s final statements that appears in more than one Gospel.Not only does it appear in Matthew, it is also found in Mark 15:34. It is the opening line of Psalm 22, a psalm about persecution, the mercy and salvation of God.

I find it interesting that these are the first words Jesus makes which refer to himself rather than others. He’s asked his Father for forgiveness for others, told a thief of his salvation, and guaranteed a safe future for his mother. Then darkness covers the land and Jesus cries out to his Father—“Where are you? Why have you left me?”

Jesus is facing death by himself. He sounds so…alone. So… human.

I’ve always felt that the darkness was the moment all our sins were placed on Jesus. He took on his Apostles’ sins. He took on Pilate’s sins. He took on Judas’ sins. He took on the thieves’ sins. Through time and space, he took on my sin and your sin. For three long hours, he took on all sins from all people, from all time.

And it appears that it severed Jesus’ intimate relationship with God.

Jesus, though he walked on earth, walked with God. He prayed to God; he worshiped God; he served God. Jesus told the Jewish leaders in John 5:19, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” He goes on to say, “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself, but him who sent me.”

And now, as he takes on our sin, he cries out in his abandonment.

What about those who weren’t present at the crucifixion? The men working in their fields—the women washing clothes or cleaning up after the meal? They had no idea what Jesus was doing for them at that moment.

And today, though we have grocery stores to provide us with food and appliances to clean our clothes and our dishes—are we really so different from them? Can we truly claim that we understand what Jesus was doing for us?

One of Jesus’ final acts as he took on all our sin, was to demonstrate how sin separates us from God.

Just as Jesus felt alone from God as he bore the weight of all sin, we too are missing an intimate relationship with God when we are in the midst of sin.

When we feel lost and alone—separate from God, it is sin that is the wall.

But we can rejoice. Because Jesus took on our sin, that wall doesn’t have to keep us from having a personal relationship with God.

Jesus suffered—He felt alone and abandoned. He felt human. But He died and rose again so that we might know the Father and be with him in paradise.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Philippians 2:5-11

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death– even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

Father in Heaven, we come to you this Palm Sunday, knowing that these are the final days for your Son. We are in awe of your love and grace. You saw all that would happen to your most precious son, you made Man, and yet you allowed this week to play out in order to ensure our Salvation. How that humbles us Lord,

Today, Father, your Son rode into Jerusalem as a hero, the Prince of Peace. We sang his praises and lay our clothes on the road. We rejoiced at his arrival and celebrated a new day. We shared the good news that Jesus was the Messiah. Father, in this day, give us the courage to still speak out for you so boldly today. Give us the strength to proclaim to all, the greatness of your Son, “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

This week, Father, remind us that we were the disciples with whom Jesus shared his final meal. We were his devoted friends who followed him and served him throughout his journey. We were the disciples who fell asleep in the garden while Jesus prayed. We were the people who jeered at your Son as he carried the cross. Forgive us Lord. Forgive us when we deny your Son. Forgive us when we look the other way. Forgive us when we do what is easy rather than what is right. Forgive us Lord when we fail you.

Father, just as you were in Pilate’s court as he proclaimed Christ’s innocence, be with our leader’s today. No matter where they are in our local, federal or world government, or businesses, give them guidance and discernment to do what is right. Help our leaders to be strong, responsible, and wise in their actions.

At the end of the week, Father, Your son’s body was broken, his spirit, damaged, his relationship with his followers, destroyed. He embodied all our fears, all our weaknesses. Father, we ask that you will heal those whose bodies are weak and damaged, restore those with broken spirits, and mend broken relationships. Father, please care for:

READ THE NAMES ON THE PRAYER LIST HERE

Father, we rejoice that you were not finished with us after that terrible moment on the cross. We rejoice that you had plans for your people and your church that was greater than anything we could have imagined. Give our pastors, our leaders and us the guidance to build a church aligned with your vision. Grant us the wisdom and energy to be a church that is the embodiment of your word. Allow us to be a church that boldly proclaims the resurrection of your Son

We humbly ask all these things in your Son’s name.

Amen

Read Full Post »

Today’s New Testament reading comes from Philippians 2:5-11

New International Version (NIV)

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

God always blesses the reading of his word.

Join with me as we prepare to come before the Lord.

Father, as we experience the fourth Sunday in Lent, we pray that you will make us more like Jesus.

Father, make us nothing.

 make us your servant.

humble us.

make us obedient.

Father, make us nothing. Empty us as we prepare to stand at the edge of Easter—for the death and resurrection of your Son. Remove distractions from our hearts and minds so that we may better understand the depth and power of Christ’s death for our lives.   Empty us so that we may be filled with the awe and terror of one being present at the foot of the cross.

Father, make us your servant. Put us to work. Let our work be your work. Let our hands be your hands. Bless those who speak for the silent, aid the lame, encourage the broken, and comfort the sick and grieving. Let our actions be a manifestation of the love you have for your people

Father, You are the great healer and we pray that you will touch those who are hurting. Wrap your loving arms around:

READ THE NAMES ON THE PRAYER LIST HERE

Be with those who are grieving for lost loved ones. Comfort them. Remind them that this is our temporary home and that their loved ones are waiting, no longer in pain or suffering, and now part of your eternity.

Father, humble us. Just as your Son entered the world as man, giving up his place in your kingdom, keep us humble. Do not let us wrap ourselves in false confidence, but have us always seeking to learn, always seeking to teach, always seeking to meet others where they are. Remind us that we speak for You. Allow our words to be truthful as they are spoken with gentleness and kindness.

We pray for our leaders, Father. Give our leaders throughout the world a humble wisdom to walk a path that leads to peace. May their first thoughts be to bring people together, rather than tear apart. Bless our Pastors and church leaders as they seek to follow your will for Jarrettown church.

Father, make us obedient. Give us an unquenchable desire to seek your will for our lives. Give us an unquestionable passion to grow in our relationship with you, Father, Jehovah, Abba. We pray for the obedience to disregard the world’s distractions and walk the path you’ve placed before us.

Father, You are most exalted. Your name is above every name. The earth calls to You in the power of the storm and the silence of a breaking dawn. We are powerless to understand the power of your love. We are speechless at the grace and love You offer your children. We give thanks that You loved us enough to have your Son go to the cross that we may have eternal life.

Be with Nick as he delivers your Word. Inspire him, lift him up, and bless him as he teaches our children.

We bow down and proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord and give all glory to you.

And all God’s people say, “Amen.”

Read Full Post »

Acts 17:24-27

24The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things.  26From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, 27so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us.

 

Join with me as we calm our minds and prepare our hearts to come before our Lord.

Father, you are the God of all things. We are humbled that the One who is and was and shall be, who created the heavens and earth, who made man and set him in place, knowing his first and last breath, that You desire to have a personal relationship with us.

We are unable to bring anything to you that compares to the love that you have shown us. We know that we are unworthy of the grace you showed us by give your Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins. He sacrificed his own perfect life so that we may have eternal life with you.

During this Lenten season, we pray you will give us discernment as we reflect on our relationship with you and the life you desire from us. Prepare us for service as we reach out to the world and become a manifestation of the grace and mercy you have for each of us.

Father we pray that our church will rise up as one body in Christ, united in service to you. We pray that we can join together as you call us to reach out and serve our community—meeting the needs of those who are lost, broken, or disenfranchised. Unite us so that our church may your servant to a world seeking your love, demonstrating to all that our mission is to make Disciples of Christ, relieve suffering and glorify you.

Forgive us when we fall short and fail you. Forgive us when we put our short-term desires before your long-term goals for our lives. Forgive us when we pick easy over right, judgment over justice, and comfort over compassion.

Be with those in our church, community, and nation who are hurting. We ask for healing and comfort for:

READ THE NAMES ON THE PRAYER LIST HERE

Comfort those who have lost a loved one Lord, wrap your arms around those whose hearts are broken. Give them a peace that surpasses understanding and fill them with your love.

Lord, we ask for prayers for Mark Kroos and his ministry. You have blessed him with such talent and we rejoice at how he is fulfilling your commandment to go out and share your word. We thank you for the community coming out and having the opportunity to see the blessings you’ve given Mark. Let him be a reminder to all of us that you have given us talents that can move mountains and change lives and that we can accomplish great things when we follow your will.

Empty us of ourselves that we may be filled with you.

We ask these in the name of your son, Jesus Christ.

Read Full Post »

Deuteronomy 24:19-22

19When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be left for the alien, the orphan, and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all your undertakings. 20When you beat your olive trees, do not strip what is left; it shall be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow. 21When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, do not glean what is left; it shall be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow. 22Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I am commanding you to do this.

Leviticus 19:9-10

9When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God

 

Join with me as we calm our minds and prepare our hearts to come before our Lord.

Father, we come to you knowing you are the God of all things. We are humbled by the love you have shown your people.

You have called us to demonstrate the life of your Son, Jesus Christ. He served without judging, loved without condemning, gave without taking. He sacrificed his own life so that we may have eternal life with you.

Prepare our hearts for this Lenten season and bring us together so that we may be united as one body as we reach out to the world and be a manifestation of the love you have for each of us.

Help us to serve a world that is hungry.

Father, give us the hands to feed the hungry, the weak, the poor, and the lost. We pray that our service can prevent one person from going to bed hungry. May we fill their stomachs as you fill their hearts.

Father, give us the heart to love the hungry, the weak, the poor and the lost. Allow us to love without judging. Enable us to prevent just one person from going to bed still hurting. May we fill their hearts as you fill their life.

Father, give us the feet to go out into the community and be your hands and heart. Do not allow us to become complacent in the many blessing you’ve given us. Give us a hunger to give shelter to the homeless, food to the hungry, clothing to the naked.

Father, give us the ears and eyes to see and hear the needs of your people. We pray that we will not be so focused on our own cries that we will not hear the cries of others. Do not allow us to be blind to the needs of the world. We are your children! You have commanded us to join as brothers and sisters in Christ to stand up, and speak out for the oppressed and disenfranchised.

Father we pray that our church will rise up as one body in Christ, united in service to you. We pray that we can set aside our differences and join together as you call us to reach out and serve our community. Make us sensitive to each other’s needs, meeting resistance with open hearts, and hurt feelings with open minds, so that our doors may be opened to a world seeking your love.

Empty us of ourselves that we may be filled with you. Fill us with a burning desire to demonstrate your love throughout the world. You are endless and unfailing. The more of you that we pour out, the more you fill us.

We ask these in the name of your son, Jesus Christ.

Read Full Post »

Join with me as we calm our minds and prepare our hearts to come before our Lord.

 

Father, thank you for bringing us together to worship you. We are humbled that the one who created the heavens and earth, who is the Alpha and Omega, who set the world in motion, still knows our name. You, who was, and is, and shall be, seek to have a personal relationship with each and every one of us.

Thank you for bringing us together to study your word and grow in our relationship with you. Empower and strengthen us to be a witness of your word. Let us be bold in our statement of faith that Jesus saves and loves us all.

Thank you for bringing us together to share in the prevenient grace you’ve so freely given us. We pray that we may also demonstrate grace to those around us.  May our first thoughts towards others be of forgiveness and unity. May our actions reflect a grace that can only come from you.

Forgive us where we fail you. Forgive us when we reject your commandment to love one another. Forgive us when we fail to bring your ministry and missions into the world. Forgive us when we fail to demonstrate our faithfulness through our actions.

Father, hear our cries for healing. We pray that you will mend the broken bodies, restore the broken lives, reconcile broken relationships, heal broken spirits and repair broken hearts. Let us pause to remember those who hurt, or lost, those who are lonely, or broken, and those who are seeking.

READ THE NAMES ON THE PRAYER LIST HERE

Lord, hear our pleas for peace in our world. Work with leaders throughout the world that they may seek to end wars that divide nations and hearts. We pray they will be wise in their actions, humble in their abilities, patient with their people, charitable with the earth, and gentle with their authority.

Father we pray for our church—that she will embody your radical and boundless love. Be with all the leaders and enable them to discern your will for us. Be with the pastors as they plan and direct our path. Be with our Youth Pastor and Tom Tyree as they lead our youth through the Confirmation class. Be with Jean and her volunteers that they will touch the lives of all the children in the community.

We pray your holy spirit will rain down on our church. May you empower Jarrettown to be bold and unified in its service and actions, demonstrating to all that our mission is to make Disciples of Christ, relieve suffering and glorify you.

Ready our hearts to feel your presence, silence our minds to hear your word, prepare our spirit to do your will. We are your servants, Lord, awaiting your call.

In the name of your Son, we humbly offer this prayer.

And all God’s people said, Amen.

Read Full Post »

Today’s New Testament reading comes from Mark 1:21-28

21They went to Capernaum (Kap per naum); and when the Sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. 22They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

23Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, 24and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”

25But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!”

26And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. 27They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”

28At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

God always blesses the reading of his word.


 

Let us calm our minds and prepare our hearts as we come before our Lord.

Father, we come before you, perhaps having had a hard week since we last left your house. We come before you, humbled and broken, and ask you to restore us with your healing touch. The challenges that we’ve faced have left us shaken and uncertain about our faith in others, our faith in ourselves, and our faith in you. We ask you to wash away our doubts with your unfailing certainty. You are the God of all things and this week reminded us us that this world is your world, that we are your children. This week reminded us that You are our rock. When the world around us causes us to tremble and doubt, in you we can be confident and have sure footing. When the world drags us to our knees, You are there to lift us up and strengthen our hearts and spirit.

In our weakest moments Lord, you are our God.

Father, we come before you, perhaps having had a wonderful week since we left your house. We come before you, humbled, and thank you for the many ways we’ve seen your presence this week. The joys that we’ve experienced shows us how you are working in the world and that you are in control of all things.

Father, you, who set the world in motion, who sees the beginning and the end, still cares deeply for all his children and delights in our happiness. This week was a blessing, Lord and reminded us that You are our rock. When the world around us makes our hearts to sing, in you we can rejoice and sing your praises. When the world is wonderful and bright, you are there, smiling on us. We lift you up as the Lord of all things.

In our most joyous moments Lord, you are our God.

Lord, our greatest prayer to you is, “thank you.” Hear us as we silently thank you for the many ways you’ve blessed our lives.

PAUSE FOR A MOMENT AND WAIT……….

You are the God of all things and we are humbled by the many ways you show your love for us. We pray that we may take your gifts out into the world and share them with others so that they may see your love manifested in our actions.

Lord, our humblest prayer to you is, “help.” Hear us as we silently pray that you will wrap your loving arms around those who are sick, broken, lost or seeking.

PAUSE FOR A MOMENT AND WAIT……….

We especially bring before you:

READ THE NAMES ON THE PRAYER LIST HERE

You are the God of all things and we are humbled by the many ways you show your healing power and grace.

Father, we pray that you will comfort those who are caregivers. They are your hands and their journey is hard. Give them strength to accomplish their task and peace in knowing that you are with them as they care for their loved ones.

Father, we pray for our church as we struggle to find our footing. We know that you have so many blessings that you want to pour onto this church so that it may be a beacon of Your light within our community. We pray that you will forgive us when we put our needs and wants for the church before your will for the church.

We pray for our pastors and leaders, that they will be strong and patient as they seek shepherd your flock. We pray for the children’s minister that she will be your hand in the lives of the children both within our walls and those in the community.

We pray for our youth pastor, and Tom Tyree that they will be strong and faithful as they begin a new Confirmation class with our youth. We pray that our youth will be open to their teaching and hear your word.

We pray for the many missions and ministries that our church supports. We pray that they will be strong and bring your word to a world that is seeking to know a peace that comes from your presence. Give the leaders of these programs the wisdom to lead their team as you desire. Touch the hearts of those who are seeking a way to serve you and we ask that you will give them guidance, Lord. It may be different, it may be outside their comfort zone, but you know everyone’s talents and unspoken desires. Give us the strength to go where you want us to serve.

For all the many ways we’ve failed you, we ask for your forgiveness. For all the many opportunities you’ve place before us, we ask for your guidance. For all the many ways you’ve blessed us, we humbly thank you.

Ready our hearts to feel your presence, silence our minds to hear your word, prepare our spirit to do your will. We are your servants, Lord, awaiting your call.

In the name of your Son, we pray.

And all God’s people said, Amen.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »