Daily Bible Readings:
Monday, October 17. Read Luke 19:1-10. 1) This is the story of Zacchaeus. With whom did Zacchaeus “hang out?” 2) What did Jesus do in response to Zacchaeus? 3) Why did Jesus spend time together with people like Zacchaeus?
Tuesday, October 18. Read John 6:52-59. 1) What did Jesus’ link eternal life to? 2) Who initiated the plant to send Jesus to earth? 3) How does this prove evidence of a divine plan?
Wednesday, October 19. Read Romans 8:1-4. 1) What did God do? 2) What was the result of this act of God? 3) What do you think God expects us to do as a result?
Thursday, October 20. Read 1 John 4:7-12. 1) How was God’s love revealed to us? 2) Why did God send his son? 3) For what purpose?
Friday, October 21. Read Revelation 1:4-6. 1) From whom does John announce grace and peace? 2) What was the function or mission of Jesus? 3) What did he intend for us to be/do?
Saturday October 22. Read John 3:16-17. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer for the Week:
O God of the Incarnation. God who dwelled among us and accepted the cross, all because of the war you were conducting against sin and death. We know that at times we are limited in our sight, limited in why you came to earth. Limited because we want to make you ATM god and not the God of the Cross. Please give us better sight. May we, like Nicodemus find that our myopia is cured and we see you clearly. In Jesus’ name I pray this. Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go
by George Matheson, 1882
O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee.
I give thee back the life I owe,
that in thine ocean depths its flow
may richer, fuller be.
O Light that follows all my way,
I yield my flick’ring torch to thee.
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
that in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
may brighter, fairer be.
O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee.
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
and feel the promise is not vain,
that morn shall tearless be.
O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee.
I lay in dust, life’s glory dead,
and from the ground there blossoms red,
life that shall endless be.
Devotional Article of the Week:
God’s Mission Through Jesus’ People
by James Nored & Phil Ware
Jesus lived his life on a mission from God. The Father sent him to us because of his father’s love. The most famous verse in the New Testament makes clear why the Lord came to earth as a mortal:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:16-17).
Jesus’ life, mission, and purpose were wrapped and propelled by love. James Nored visits with us in today’s video and invites us to join Jesus in his mission of love.
As Jesus met with his closest friends after his resurrection, he gave them a small taste of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) and Pentecost (Acts 1:1-11, 2:1-47). John described this emotional and intimate conversation when Jesus called them to join him in God’s mission:
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again, Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven” (John 20:19-23).
While most of us do not think about the implications of this moment and our invitation to join this conversation every time we take the Lord’s Supper, we should. Jesus meets us in The Eucharist. He joins us in communion as we remember what he did to serve and ransom us from sin, death, and destruction (Mark 10:45; 2 Corinthians 5:21). The Lord gently blows his Holy Spirit through us as we share in this simple meal of remembrance and mission. The apostle Paul reminds us that as we share the one bread, something divine forms us into the bodily presence of Jesus in the world (1 Corinthians 10:16-17).
As the old apostle later emphasized in his letters to the Colossians and Ephesians, we are the body of Christ, and Jesus is our head (cf. Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 5:23). We are put here to continue and extend his work, even doing greater things, the Lord said, than he did (John 14:11-14). We are sent into the world to love and redeem it just as he did. We are called to love, serve, and give our lives to ransom those trapped by the frailties of their bodies and imprisoned by an unjust and unfair world (Luke 4:16-18; Mark 10:45).
Like our Lord, we are called to tear down the barriers that separate races, ethnicities, languages, genders, age so that all people can know that their Father wants them to turn their hearts and their lives around to come home to him (Acts 2:16-18; Revelation 7:9-12; Galatians 3:26-29).
Can you think of a more noble vision or a more compelling mission for us, the Lord’s people, than to be Jesus’ bodily presence to our fractured and fragmented world? So, let us draw close to our Lord, feel his breath anoint us with his Spirit, and let him remind us: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
Let us pray:
Forgive us, Lord, when we settle for so much less than your mission for our lives. We are sorry for playing church instead of living your purpose for us. Inspire us, O Lord. Awaken us, Holy Spirit, to our Father’s mission. May love propel us to serve, redeem, and bless, just as our Savior was. Use us to have influence for good and God in our broken world. We ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.