What to Pray in difficult times by Pastor Dave
‘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 (if you retain the sins of any they are retained).”’
John 20: 21-23
I do not normally write a blog at the weekend but with many I am troubled, saddened and distressed at the public unrest we see in the States. I have been motivated (and encouraged by others) to write. What is the Church’s role; how do we pray? I believe informed, specific, persistent and unified prayer touches God’s heart (Matthew 7: 7-11), and where we have uncertainty the Holy Spirit prays for us in line with God’s will (Romans 8: 26-27). With this in mind I humbly submit the below for your contemplation and prayer. We all come from different perspectives and backgrounds so in offering matters for prayer let me explain mine:
In 1981, the year I joined the Police Service, the UK experienced riots and pubic unrest across the country (often called Race Riots). It was a very difficult time. As dust settled and inquiries were completed causal factors were identified. Unsurprisingly poverty, unemployment, housing, health, institutional racism, policing methods, crime, organized crime, Government failings (local and national), education and communication were among some of the main factors; a complex situation. It showed that matters weren’t always as they seemed and the need to understand the full picture was tantamount to ensure solutions. After much work and consultation the Government introduced the Crime and Disorder Act. This directed the main Public Sector organisations to work together in partnership to reduce crime and disorder. These parties (Local Government, Health, Social Service, Police, Education and Criminal Justice Agencies) also and crucially worked together with the voluntary sector, organisations such as community groups, Victim Support and Churches. I was appointed the Force Partnerships Officer and set up this partnership for our region. It transformed our work and more importantly the outcomes. We set up at three levels, neighbourhood, community and regional, we shared budgets and agreed goals WITH the communities. It transformed policing to a problem solving, local approach. Communication was enhanced and ‘community intelligence’ and ‘neighbourhood tension indicators’ were developed. The outcomes weren’t perfect and never will be, but there was a vast improvement.
I share the above to validate my offerings for informed prayer below. I also share that at another time I was appointed Race Relations Coordinator and worked with the region’s communities to identify ways to encourage recruitment, retention and career progression within the Criminal Justice Agencies. I briefed the relevant Parliamentary body on the outcomes and recommendations. Most findings were as you would expect but some were surprising; commonly held views on institutional racism and poor relations were not always held within the communities themselves. For example housing was a key issue not policing, understanding street population not just actual population was important, previous treatment of past generations shaped opinion not current attitudes and some communities simply did not want to work within the Agencies because their culture deemed the roles inappropriate.
Previous experience and history helps us to understand ways to respond today and how to pray. I would therefore encourage the following for prayer:
Jesus teaches, and history shows us, that an essential element of any resolution needs to be forgiveness. This prevents bitterness, brings about healing and enables a new beginning. Unforgiveness begets unforgiveness which damages hope. The Lord offers peace and calls us to be ‘peacemakers’ whereby people’s hearts can be changed. May we be active in prayer as a Church and as we pray through the above may we always pray for forgiveness and peace
Please note that in the above I summarise very complex matters; there is much not written. The prayer suggestions are ‘big picture’ prayers; we need to pray very much for the individual – the hurt, isolated, distressed, those in poverty, ill health, those in key roles and so on. Please also note that I speak from an ex-policeman’s and Priest’s perspective – I have been in these situations and processes and have worked with agencies and communities, perpetrators and victims; it is always good to get another person’s view and opinion. I would encourage you to think for yourself and pray in line with God’s Word. We sometimes hear confident or loud (even aggressive) viewpoints expressed and can tend to accept them as factual; sometimes they are not, so let us listen deeply, carefully and lovingly so as to discern God’s truth through the wisdom of His Holy Spirit.
“The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him; the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord.”
Isaiah 11: 2
John 15: 26 to 16: 15
Following on from Monday and Wednesday looking at God the Father and God the Son today we look at God the Holy Spirit. All of this with the aim of getting to know God and enabling us to walk in a relationship with Him, in His peace.
Our verse in Isaiah details the character of the Holy Spirit that we also see present in God’s throne room (Revelation 4: 5). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God and so knows the mind and truth of God and is God (1 Corinthians 2: 6-16). He is the Spirit of Jesus Christ as a member of the Triune God (Philippians 1: 19 & Galatians 4: 6). The Holy Spirit is called the ‘Comforter,’ ‘Advocate’ and the ‘Spirit of Truth.’ The physical, earthly Jesus left this world to return to His rightful place of majesty and to allow us to receive the Holy Spirit enabling the Church to become His body and agent of reconciliation. This incredible truth means that as we place our trust in God through Jesus the Holy Spirit comes and lives within us, joining with our spirits; we become His temple (John 14: 15-17; 1 Corinthians 3: 16).
The Holy Spirit will always point us towards the truth, to Jesus Christ. He takes from the Father and makes this knowledge known to us (John 15: 12-15) so that we have the mind of Christ, He enables us to think like Jesus (1 Corinthians 2: 16). This is God’s work of sanctification that changes us, bit by bit, into the likeness of Jesus; becoming who we were always meant to be. The Holy Spirit completes this work in us through a threefold ministry: He convicts us of our sin (our rebellion against God and living for ourselves); He convicts us of righteousness (the need to be right with God through Jesus); and He tells us of judgement (the truth that without Jesus we stand under judgement before God), (John 15: 8-11).
We can know God through Jesus, we can know Jesus through the Holy Spirit; even knowing the mind of God! The Holy Spirit is the person of God who empowers us to live in the way of Jesus the way of peace. We are unable to live in our own strength; we are unable to make ourselves righteous before God. The Holy Spirit empowers the former and Jesus ensures the latter – how extraordinarily wonderful is this reality!
To Ponder: What areas in your life with the Lord do you feel the need for God’s help? Consider the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12: 4-11), His character and ministry of guidance and empowering and with His help pray (Romans 8: 26).
Prayer: O King enthroned on High, Comforter and Spirit of Truth, you that are in all places and fill all things, the treasury of blessings and giver of life, come and dwell with us, cleanse us from every stain and save our souls, O Gracious One. Amen
Praise: Holy Spirit Living Breath of God
Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nbMfLQd2P4
Spirit of the Living God
Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06h3J5FYn-I
Shine Jesus Shine
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OIwSQmyCg4
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai carrying the two stone tablets, he wasn’t aware that his face had become radiant, shining with a supernatural light. But when the people of Israel saw it, they were afraid to come near him (Exodus 34).
Whenever Moses entered God’s presence, he would leave his face uncovered and speak with God face-to-face, and would emerge radiating God’s glory. But after a while the glory would fade. Paul says that “Moses would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away” (2 Corinthians 3: 13).
The glory shining from Moses’ face was a reflected glory that was bound to fade away. It prepared us for and pointed us toward a glory that would be seen on the face of Jesus, a glory that was not reflected but inherent, a glory that will never fade away. The human flesh that Jesus poured himself into also veiled his glory. However, at one point in his ministry, Jesus did give his inner circle a glimpse of his intrinsic luminescent glory: “Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun” (Matthew 7: 1-2).
For a brief moment, the veil of humanity was peeled back and Jesus’ true essence was allowed to shine through. The glory that was always in the depths of his being rose to the surface and became visible. The disciples saw not only his pre-human glory, but also his future glory. In Revelation chapter 1, John recounts for us the vision he was given of Jesus as he is now – still human yet glorified, as we will be one day. John says that “his face was like the sun in all its brilliance” (1:16). Jesus’ glory does not and will never fade away.
It is in the face of Jesus that we are able to see and know the glory of God. “For God, who said “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).
In a world that is full of uncertainty and where everything eventually fades away, how wonderful it is to have the certainty of Jesus’ unfading glory.
Prayer – Glorified Jesus, how I long to be transformed into your likeness with ever-increasing glory. As I gaze into your glorious face, you are changing me – taking away the darkness and giving me your own radiant countenance.
“The Son is the radiance of God’s Glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful Word. After He had provided purification for sins He sat at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven”
Hebrews 1: 3
Hebrews 1: 1-3
Following our focus on Monday upon God Almighty we move to Jesus Christ. If we have some difficulty in grasping who God is, He has in His Grace, made Himself know to us in Jesus Christ. God Himself declared that Jesus is His Son, (Matthew 3: 17). We see Christ as fully God and fully man (Colossians 2: 9 & Philippians 2: 6-8) and Jesus Himself affirmed that if we see Him we see the Father, God Almighty (John 14: 6-11). In this latter passage, and in His Words, we see that Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life. He is the only way to God, He is the truth of Life and in Him we find eternal life.
Jesus left His position of glory to be one of us so we could know God; this is His incarnational ministry. He has provided a way for us to enter a relationship with God by providing ‘purification for sins,’ paying our penalty with His self-sacrifice. BUT He defeated death and is now at God’s right hand where He sustains all things by His powerful Word. We have this incredible, utterly amazing truth that God came to us as one of us so that we could come to Him....for eternity! We can see and know God in a way that we can understand and grasp. We know that God ‘gets us’ – Jesus knows what it is like to be us, He knows how to live as one of us without sin and how to help us (Hebrews 2: 17-18, 4: 15).
The Lord Jesus can be known personally and helps us to know the Father. When we walk the path of peace it is He who makes peace for us with God by His Father’s Grace and our Faith (Romans 5: 1-2). He then helps us to know the peace of God in our hearts and minds (Philippians 4: 7). So as we pray we are to fix our eyes on our humble and mighty Saviour (Hebrews 12: 2) and allow Him to perfect our faith and trust in God the Father through Him, God the Son.
As Jesus came to us as one of us He tells us that He will return again to take us to Himself (John 14: 1-3); are we ready and have we been made worthy by His blood (His self-sacrifice and our belief in Him)?
To Ponder: There are many variations on the quote, “you will not know a person until you walk a mile in their shoes,” (a similar quote can be found in To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee). Jesus walked a lifetime in our life and death; He knows us. How does this truth help you know Him?
Prayer: Father Almighty, every family in heaven and on earth derives its name from you. I pray that out of Your glorious riches You may strengthen us with power through Your Spirit in our inner being, so that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith. And I pray that we, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Amen
From Ephesians 3
Praise: Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5qc0EcNgqw
During these past few weeks, we’ve had opportunity to re-evaluate our lives, and the things that are of real importance to us. One of the things many of us have pondered is the accumulation of material things and whether they can bring us any real measure of lasting happiness and security. Countless philosophers, social scientists, psychologists, and theologians have wrestled with this ancient question. Not too long ago, I read that in brain scans of people recalling times of feeling close to God through prayer and worship, neurologists have discovered that a certain part of the brain lights up. In brain scans of people recalling images of material possessions, the same researchers discovered that the exact same place in their brain lights up. We all know that material goods can bring us momentary happiness as the chemical dopamine is released in our brain. But study after study shows that material things do not provide long-term satisfaction or happiness.
In fact, the more people pursue happiness through the acquisition of material goods and possessions, the more likely they will become chronically discontent and unhappy. But as we pursue a simpler life and grow in our dependence on God, trusting that we are being cared for by him, a deeper and more enduring sense of well-being, peace, and joy is nurtured within us. The highest levels of happiness come from developing a genuine concern for the well-being of others and offering life-sustaining guidance to them as a reflection of the unconditional and infinite love of God.
Jesus’ life provides an ideal model of what joyful simplicity and dependence on God can deliver. Jesus is the only person in history who got to choose his life circumstances before he even was born. Interestingly, Jesus could have chosen a more lavish life-style than any other person in the history of the world, yet He chose to live very humbly among the people. So, what does it mean for us to walk in the footsteps of Jesus toward simplicity and a deeper dependence on God? One of the ways we can follow the path of Christ’s dependence on God is to cultivate daily rhythms, such as meditation on His holy word, and practicing gratitude, so that we can experience deep contentment, joy, and confidence in our everyday life with God.
Another way we can follow Christ on the path toward simplifying our lives and fostering greater dependence on God is by “decluttering”. People who are anxious about whether they will have enough for tomorrow, generally have a harder time getting rid of things, and their homes tend to be more cluttered. On the other hand, people who are confident about the future tend to have less cluttered living spaces. When we simplify our lives, we have more room, both literally and figuratively, to experience the rich life of the Spirit. From of this sense of abundance (Ephesians 3:14-19), we can freely choose a path of generosity.
As we grow in our dependence on God, choosing a path of humble simplicity and generosity, we remove the clutter that can accumulate in our lives, in our relationships with each other, and in our relationship with God. We become free to live more fully and to invest more deeply in the things that truly stir our hearts. Paradoxically, our most enduring happiness does not come from what we gain, but rather from what we give away, offering who we are and what we have to bless others through the power of the Holy Spirit.
How Great is our God by Pastor Dave
“Dear Friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.”
1 John 4: 7-9
Exodus 34: 5-8
In my last couple of blogs I have talked about fixing our eyes on God, focusing on Him and so being then enabled to praise Him and step towards and into His peace. These encouragements give rise to questions such has, “How do we do that,” and “How do can we know God?” To help us answer these questions my next three blogs will focus on God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; the following three on loving God, loving neighbour and loving self.
Our passage in Exodus finds Moses on Mt. Sinai receiving God’s words (the Ten Commandments) for His people. There is a powerful, extraordinary and awe inspiring scene described. God Almighty descends and passes by Moses proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin” (vs. 6). This is God Almighty: the Creator; the Father; the Judge; the All Powerful; all Holy; Eternal; and Majestic. This God descends to be in relationship with His creation to show compassion, forgiveness and love. A love that is not soppy or weak but deep, true and perfect. In our verses above we read How God demonstrated His love by blessing us with His Son Jesus, in love, that we might be enabled to enter that relationship with Him.
How do we describe the indescribable, how do we know the unknowable? We describe and know God by and in LOVE. God has infinite and eternal qualities that will take us eternity to even begin to grasp with our finite minds and understanding. Enabled by the Holy Spirit we can know God and enter a relationship with Him through faith in the Lord Jesus by His grace. To know God is to know His love; to live in that relationship is to love Him in return and to love others. His revelation of Himself comes through Himself, His Son, His Written Word, His Creation and His Church, enabled by the Holy Spirit; may we have eyes to see, ears to hear, hearts to understand and a desire to do so!
To Ponder: Imagine yourself in the cleft of rock on Mt. Sinai as God Almighty passes by. Allow yourself to hear and meditate on His names and words, sense the awe inspired holy fear of the Great God. Then know and revel in His love and love for you. How does this sense of God effect how you see your situation and pray?
Prayer: Lord how majestic is your Name, how awesome is your Power. By your Grace enable us to know you more, to receive your love and to love you in return. May our understanding of you grow, so that with Moses, all we can do is bow down and worship. Amen
Praise: How Great is our God
Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBD18rsVJHk
The Greatness of our God
How Great Thou Art
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cc0QVWzCv9k
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
John 14: 27
Psalm 37: 1-6
On Wednesday we considered four steps from Philippians that will help us walk in the ‘Perfect Peace’ that God gives. The fourth step was ‘Practice’ – how we actually walk in peace. Today I’d like us to look at four more steps that help us put into practice our walk in peace. We will look at the beginning of Psalm 37 which I also mentioned in that blog. This world does not give peace, we find our hearts troubled and afraid. We often though get out of step with the Lord and find ourselves fretting; a state the Psalmist directs us not to be in (vs. 1). Instead he calls us to:
Trust vs. 3a – in the Lord. The steps we looked at on Wednesday will help us into that place of trust and then to step out in faith. The Psalmist helps us further in that walk, he calls us into action, to put our faith into practice by ‘doing good.’ The focus of ‘doing good’ for others, for the world and to God’s glory gives us a sense of purpose and helps us to walk in the way of peace; it is our faith in action. Next we are to:
Dwell vs. 3b – in the land. This means we are to live in God’s presence through Jesus, in His Kingdom. If we do this we are told that we will enjoy safe pasture. This reminds us of the Lord being our Shepherd and how He provides for us, protects us and guides us on His path of righteousness (Psalm 23). Jesus is the Good Shepherd and the Bread of life giving us all we need. This will help us to:
Delight vs. 4 – ourselves in the Lord. Being in His presence and getting to know Him will give us great joy and peace. It is like, but far more wonderful than, being in the presence of someone’s company we love. As we delight in Him He gives us the desires of our hearts. This doesn’t mean all the material things we desire or self-accomplishments we seek; it means the real desires of our hearts are met. We receive peace, purpose, joy and all the spiritual blessings we will ever need (Ephesians 1: 1-10 and Wednesday Morning Prayer online). Finally we are called to:
Commit vs. 5-6 – our way to the Lord. As we walk in His way in the delight of His companionship we are to daily and consciously commit all we do and how we live to the Lord. He promises then to make us right with Him and direct our paths
To Ponder: What causes you to fret? How might you apply these steps to that issue to help you walk in the way of Jesus’ peace?
Prayer: Lord Jesus I ask for your peace: where I despair, doubt, fear or fret help me to trust in you, walk in your presence and delight in you and commit my way to you. Bless me with your provision and joy and guide me in your righteousness. This I ask in your name. Amen
Praise: Peace like a River
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mF6n49nKrXA
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls01XGV7oA0
The prophet Zephaniah delivered the word of the Lord during the reign of Josiah, King of Judah, when the people turned toward God in repentance. Zephaniah prophesied that God was going to purify his people Israel. This would bring God so much joy that he will break out into singing. Zephaniah prophesied:
On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be, “Cheer up, Zion! Don’t be afraid! For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” (Zephaniah 3: 16-17).
Zephaniah helped God’s people look forward to “that day” when the Lord their God will not only dwell in the Temple but would live among them. John described it this way “The Word became flesh and made his home among us” (John 1:14). When Jesus lived among his people, there was cause for cheer and not for fear, just as John said “God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17). He is a mighty Savior. With his love, he calms our fears about the wrath of God we know our sin deserves. And perhaps even more surprisingly, he rejoices over us.
When do we see Jesus rejoicing? He helps us to see his rejoicing heart by telling stories. In Luke 15, Jesus told the parable of the shepherd who finds his lost sheep and says, “Rejoice with me” (15:6). He told the parable of the woman who loses a valuable coin and when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors, saying, “Rejoice with me” (15:9). Perhaps best known of all is the story of the father of the Prodigal Son who returns home. The joyful father says, “We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life” (15:23-24). Jesus was picturing for us how his heart bursts into joyful song when the lost are found. And not Jesus only, but all of heaven, for Jesus also said that “there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents” (Luke 15:10).
How wonderful to know that Jesus rejoices over us in this way. During this current time that we are not able to sing together in worship, let us instead sing with the Lord rejoicing over all he has done for us. Let us also sing with the Lord and all of heaven; rejoicing for each soul that is added to the Kingdom.
Prayer – Lord Jesus, you are my mighty Savior who delights in me, calms me, and rejoices over me. Help me to hear your song of joy, forgiveness and acceptance. Help me to sing with you, my Singing Savior.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are stayed on you, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26: 3
Philippians 4: 4-9
‘Peace of mind,’ – don’t we all desire this; I do. We face many battles and challenges in life, a good number begin and end in our minds; this is where they are often won or lost. There is a great deal of help and advice in the public realm, a lot of it good; there is for example guidance on physical and practical help. In our key verse today (above) God tells us that He will keep us in perfect peace if our minds are stayed on Him by trusting Him. Here are four steps, found in our Philippians reading that help us receive that perfect peace, that ‘Peace of Mind:’
Praise vs. 4-5 – firstly we are to rejoice in the Lord Himself (not the situation). Our praise of Him helps us put things into perspective, see matters as God does and begin to focus our minds on Him. When this is hard to do, we can remember who God is, what He has done in the past, play some music and pray a Psalm (e.g. Psalm 37). This helps us to realise that God is near and as we trust Him His gentleness becomes evident in our hearts, this is the first step towards and evidence of His peace
Pray vs.6 – once we are in His presence in this way, we can literally tell Him all our anxieties, casting them upon Him. We can pray in whatever way works in the given situation with: requests; anguish; intercession; thanksgiving; petition; and so on. We trust in Him by praying and believing His promises and by taking captive our thoughts till they are obedient to Him and His truth (2 Corinthians 10: 5) not the lies we hear and tell ourselves.
Peace vs. 7-8 – as we pray in this way God’s peace begins to fill our hearts and minds as our trust grows and our focus stays on Him. We further help this by thinking like Jesus focusing on whatever is true, noble, right, pure and praiseworthy. This then transforms us as our minds are literally renewed in Him (Romans 12: 2), helping us to know His will
Practice vs. 9 – to remain in this peace we need to keep our minds stayed on God in trust. To do this we need to put His truth into practice, to step out in belief so that our faith has action (James 1: 22-25); the God of peace remains with us
To Ponder: If your mind is in turmoil or you are feeling anxious try and identify the root cause of your feeling; go beyond the issue to its origin. Once identified try and follow the above four steps, perhaps use the prayer below and the song of praise
Join us today in Morning Prayer via our Worship online - it will bless you
Prayer: Lord in your gentleness and power help us in our anguish; turn our eyes to you and help us praise you for who you are. Focus our eyes and trust on you, guide us in prayer and transform us by your love. May your peace, which is beyond understanding, enter and guard our hearts and minds. Help us to keep our minds stayed on you and to step out in faith and joy. Amen
Praise: There is Power in the Name of Jesus (Break every Chain)
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtyVdC7E6Wo
Collisions in life are usually things we try to avoid. In fact, a vehicle collision or a jarring hit in sports can often result in damage and pain. You find yourself suddenly and unexpectedly moved from where you were just a moment ago to somewhere else, moving in an entirely different direction. God’s grace can be like a collision, except that it’s a beautiful event. God’s grace is the most dangerous, life-disrupting, expectation-wrecking, smile-creating, counter-intuitive experience you can ever have, and it’s beautiful because it stops you in your tracks and commissions you for something new.
In the Old Testament, God disrupted many people’s lives with His grace and called them to do something different, dangerous and risky for the Kingdom of God. Moses’ life was disrupted by a burning bush; Jonah’s life was interrupted by a large fish and David’s life challenged by a giant. The Lord intended to show His people that by His grace, much could be accomplished. Slaves could be liberated, sinners could be saved, and fearsome enemies could be defeated.
God’s redemptive story is marked by disruptive grace. In the New Testament, after years of oppressive Roman rule, the story of Israel is disrupted by the most incredible display of God’s grace yet seen. Zechariah the priest is rendered speechless; a virgin named Mary becomes pregnant; and her fiancé Joseph is visited by an angel, all personal disruptions for the greater good of God’s people. But there’s more! God sent His only-begotten Son to personally disrupt the world forever. Jesus comes into the world and the disruptions of grace abound: a blind man sees, the sick are healed, evil spirits are driven away, sins are forgiven, and death is overcome.
God and Saul collided on the road to Damascus which lead to his miraculous conversion. He took on both a new name, Paul, and a history-shaping commission to preach the Gospel to those who had not yet heard the Good News of salvation. Each time the Gospel story was shared, it was another beautiful collision between God’s disruptive grace and His chosen people. And these disruptions by God’s grace-filled and faithful disciples just keep on reverberating down through the ages.
When we personally experience God’s grace, it is life changing. It should have a jarring effect, like a collision. But we also must understand that it is intended to commission us to be a “light on the hill” for Him. Grace meets us where we are and unleashes us to do so much more than we could have ever imagined we could accomplish. Grace – the truth that we don’t earn, but instead become the recipients of God’s good and delivering disruption – sets us free to follow Jesus as Lord. It forms us as vessels through whom He can work out His will in our lives and throughout history.
Glory be to the Lord on High for His disruptive grace!
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.