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Monday, June 26, 2017

Confirm: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Mark 16:17-20

“And theses signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will….And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.”

His name. His presence. His authority.

How often do we forget that sharing the good news with life changing power depends on His foundation and not ours?

Too often we concentrate on the how to share, what words to share, when to share and let this training ground become the criteria for accomplishment instead of recognizing them as tools we are given to bridge our diverse communication gaps.

A sign for one person may have no influence on another.

Or we may be given a word to speak that seems impossible and confusing and yet it is exactly the word that needs to be said at that moment—at that time—to only that one person.

Recently our worship community read the story of Paul and Ananias (Acts 9: 10-20) when the Lord called Ananias to go to Paul with a message. Respectfully Ananias first requested a confirmation that they were talking about the same dangerous Paul who was hunting down new believers to jail and that the Lord was the one sending him. Then with the confirmation he then went out and proclaimed the Lord’s message as given. In obedience, and in the Lord’s strength.

Lord, give us eyes to see and ears to hear when You give us Your signs to share Your message. May we speak only under Your light and follow Your Spirit’s leading keeping us faithful to Your work and not our own man-made substitutions.

In Your name—in Your presence—and only under Your authority.



Psalm of Worship: 1 John 1:6

“If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true.”

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Declare: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


           Declare


            Lack of faith

            stubbornness

            refusal to listen

            share hope

            crushes our soul

            condemns others

            from living in grace

            proclaim gospel to

            whole creation.

            

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Reflection Unbelief: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


Reflection Questions


1.     Did you resist the good news when you first heard it spoken? Why or why not?

2.     How do you define “whole creation”?

3.     Do you find yourself resistant to sharing the message at any time? Why?

4.     How do you overcome your hesitation to share? Or where do you still need faith to speak?


Share: What word to you broke through your unbelief?


Monday, June 19, 2017

Unbelief: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Mark 16:14-16

“He upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved, but the one who does not believe will be condemned.’”

In what ways does our personal lack of faith hinder not only our own lives but also those around us? Like the disciples we may believe in Jesus and yet still resist His words.

To trust them. To live them. To share them.

To a whole creation!

How? Some of us are so bold in personality that we come across like hammers and frighten listeners away as we point fingers at sin and demand immediate repentance. So are some of us so timid that we clam up our faith from honest seekers for fear of failure or embarrassment. Or so self-centered that we pick and choose to whom we will share good news.

All focused on ourselves instead of trusting in His Spirit to guide us and use us—usually in circumstances far beyond our comprehension. So that we don’t interfere with His good news given to each individually. So we don’t interfere with His light piercing the lies and darkness.

We are not all called to be ministry evangelists but we are all called to live our days in faith: ready to give an answer—ready to share—ready to pray—ready to introduce anyone to His saving grace.

Or does our own unbelief put up barriers of hardness and condemnation and selection?

Lord, please forgive our silence when we should speak and quiet our self-centered rhetoric we rehearse. Instead may our hearts be so filled with Your truth that our words and our actions live Your good news with open welcome.


Psalm of Worship: 1 John 1:5

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.”


Friday, June 16, 2017

End: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


            End
           

            At the end

            will our thoughts, hearts

            linger at regret,

            unfinished commitments,

            hesitant to leave or

            accept full

            responsibility for both

            done and undone,

            knowing we sought

            only Spirit’s guidance

            keeping our hearts steady


            even in failure.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Reflection: Finish: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


Reflection Questions

           
1.     What memory do you cherish from a loved one that is gone? Why?

2.     What character trait do you hope your loved ones will remember of you? Why?

3.     What worries you that you might leave undone?

4.     Where do you need the Spirit’s guidance for priorities right now?


Share: How have you been strengthened in your faith in a time of failure?




Monday, June 12, 2017

Finish: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: 2 Timothy 4:7-8

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but to all who have longed for his appearing.”

How did Paul interpret his finish? He still lived for several years past the Biblical narratives of him, but the scripture is silent of this season as it is over the first ten years in the wilderness after his first encounter with Jesus.

After a long chronicle of Abraham’s faith walk there is silence re him as well after he was willing to sacrifice Isaac in trust to the Lord’s purpose.

Moses’ first call was to lead his people out of Egypt, yet scripture notes that he finished the Tabernacle and later Solomon finished the Temple. Jesus said, “It is finished,” while on the cross yet He continues to pour out His grace daily.

We all have life markers and project markers that we can point to with either a sense of accomplishment, or a sense of regret, and sometimes both together. Perhaps in our daily race to complete tasks we yearn for Paul’s confidence in a finish and wonder what that looks like for our spiritual life too. We gravitate to a desire for results.

Yet maybe the clue lies in the second sentence? “I have kept the faith.” Maybe something happened to Paul where he really ‘got’ what walking with God meant. Maybe it’s not an always active accomplishment but a heart one—a trust one—an unbreakable faith.

Not measurable by visible standards or markers or by others. But a light bulb insight into faith that overpowers any of our human weaknesses and empowers our complete trust in all circumstances.

Lord, by Your grace, please guide and direct and strengthen each of us to fulfill the call You choose with hearts of faith and trust and commitment.


Psalm of Worship: 1 John 1:4

“We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”


Friday, June 9, 2017

Trusting: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



           Trusting


            Time only

            all we can see now

            plan with open hands

            act with commitment

            trusting each day’s

            purpose to fulfill

            timing under boundaries.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Reflection: Ministry: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     How do you manage/value your time? Your call?

2.     Do you see your ministry as an integral part of all your day, or as a particular assignment that is separate? What distinguishes either opinion?

3.     How would you define Paul’s term “fully” for yourself?


Share: What word do you most want others to hear about Jesus?



Monday, June 5, 2017

Ministry: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: 2 Timothy 4: 5-6

“As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully. As for me I am already being poured out as a libation and the time of my departure has come.”

Time. So elusive. So fast-paced. So valuable. So fragile.

Out of curiosity I went to Amazon to look up books under Time Management. The overview list said 32, 638 and gave 35 categories in which to narrow down the search—supposedly. There were then 5,521 choices under Personal Time Management and 740 under Parenting and Relationships. We are bombarded from all sides. We spoon out pieces here and there wherever we can. Yet Paul says we are to carry out fully. How can we figure out what that even looks like?

Time. Choices.

Paul did not live under the frenetic busyness of today’s world and yet his words show a deep sense of priority and commitment to stay his course whether a few hours, days, weeks, or years were yet to come. His heart, ministry, and purpose he saw as being under the Lord’s authority.

Time. Battleground.

Jesus said, “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34. He is not promising a smooth organized day. But He does the promise the gifts of prayer and the Holy Spirit and a personal relationship with each of us.

Time. Trust.

Are we willing to be poured out daily as the Lord leads? What if the call of the day is caring for a cranky toddler instead of presenting a prestigious seminar to colleagues. (Or vice versa in desire.) Are we willing to fully engage in what each day deals us?

Lord, please give us wisdom to discern how You desire we live the life and ministry You choose for us. And trust in Your timing to do the work Your way.


Psalm of Worship: 1 John 1:3

“We declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”


Friday, June 2, 2017

False: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry




            False

           
            False doctrine is

            easy to find

            charlatans  embrace

            filtered truth

            for personal gain.


            Sound doctrine

            remains faithful

            established in trust

            of spoken word

            written on hearts.


 
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