We experienced some technical difficulties this morning. This is an edited version of the service with text below filling in the gap content at the times specified:
For the gap at 29:14 (in the video)
Jesus was crucified because I was so bad that once I did turn my heart towards God and receive his forgiveness because of Jesus’ death…Jesus’ job was done…and God would now be able to tolerate me. No matter what I did God was a little skeptical of me because he knew I was going to disappoint…which I felt I did often. When I was 19 that changed somewhat as I knew I didn’t fit into that group, I actually didn’t want to fit into that group…and I was skeptical if God was really like that. I was sure there was a God out there, so I checked out a really liberal church (a conservative Baptist church) I experienced culture shock by going to a Baptist church. I wasn’t sure if they were Christian…this was affirmed by my first experience on a Sunday. The first Sunday I went, a lady got up and sang a beautiful worshipful song…however, she was wearing pants…her head wasn’t covered…and I was very uncomfortable.
For the gap at 29:45 (in the video)
I met a Pastor who was to have a significant growing impact on my life. And my view of God began to change… Fast forward 5 years and I find myself (still with flavors of who God was from my childhood) walking down the Hallways of Briercrest Bible College. And I was about to have what I would call a “Divine Encounter”. I still remember it clearly…no one was in the halls, might have been a Friday afternoon…I was walking past Mister Bob Seale’s (Department head of Theology) office I didn’t know him, had no relation with him, but I found myself sitting in his office…and we talked for I’m thinking 15 minutes. I knew we talked about God. And then when I got up and walked out… something had changed… You see I walked in thinking God didn’t like me…he mostly tolerated me.
And I walked out knowing God actually loved, liked and cared about me… My view of God had changed dramatically…I walked down that hall, the linoleum tiles were glowing, the fluorescent lights looked brighter… the sun shining way down the hallway was more inviting than it seemed I had ever seen before. My View of God had changed…and it would greatly affect my life… Does your view/understanding of God need to change? That divine encounter moved me out from under the critical, cool eye of a distant God to being on a journey with a warm loving God who cares greatly for people…it was like I had opened a door I didn’t know was their and as I moved through the door I found things I didn’t know existed…and threw that door many other doors have appeared opening new understandings of God. So, the answer to that question is, Yes it does…!
For the gap at 34:17 (in the video)
Jesus interacts with a man who had been trying to get into the water when stirred for 38 years without any success. Jesus simply commands him to “Get up, take your bed and walk” The man hops up, rolls up his mat, picks it up and heads off, no doubt excited as his legs are working for the first time in 38 years. There was a huge problem… The problem was it was Sabbath.
Let’s look briefly at Jesus’ interactions with the religious over this miracle. (John 5: 16-18)
There were 2 problems: 1) Jesus had “worked” on the sabbath…or more accurately he had told someone to work, and they did…the man had picked up his bed roll and carried it. This wasn’t a violation of the Sabbath it was a violation of the 39 plus rules the Pharisees had added to the Sabbath. Jesus in his interactions over this incident claimed to be equal to God… In the creation story, God had created for 6 days then had rested…that had become one of the main commandments in the Hebrew Bible…which the Pharisees followed; however, lacking a little clarity as to what this exactly looked like they had added so many traditions and rules onto the keeping of Sabbath that it didn’t reflect God’s intent. The issue that infuriated them was not the fact a paralyzed man was healed and that a miracle had clearly happened, one like no one had ever seen or heard of ever! The issue was that he had picked up his bed and carried it on the Sabbath…this broke their rule. God is Lord of the sabbath…they had to agree that God worked through the sabbath or the universe would completely fall apart…My Father is working on the Sabbath and I am to care for and redeem those affected by sin. Jesus would continue to heal people on the Sabbath further infuriating the Pharisees. Jesus had also referred to God not as “our Father” but “My Father”. They knew instantly what Jesus was saying…this was claiming equality with God…here Jesus moves from religious agitator to Blasphemer. The line in the sand has been drawn…and the question that has continued to be asked throughout the ages they have asked…What do we do with Jesus?
This reminded me of a break in that we had in our house…we noticed coming home one day that our screen and window had been messed with. So we checked to see if anything was missing…what we found missing was my son’s jar of money…My kids went out and played…and one of the kids in the neighbourhood was giving out tones of candy to his friends…but he was also showing them all this strange money, now I have travelled to a lot of countries and I would bring back their money and give it to my son…it was obvious that this little guy had broken into our house and stole the jar…the evidence was all there. However, he refused to acknowledge the evidence that was right in front of him…condemning him…this is exactly what was happening and would continue to happen…absolute denial in the face of overwhelming evidence.
LENT DEVOTIONS (WEEK 2)
This past week, we practiced the discipline of living into our identity as beloved children of God. What was it like to claim that identity intentionally? How did it change your focus for the week? This week, we will be focusing on shifting our human tendency to respond to difficulties with fear instead of love.
SCRIPTURE: Mark 8:31-33
- What do you think Jesus meant by human things instead of divine things?
- When you feel afraid, what are some things you have done to let go of the fear? What hasn’t worked? What has worked?
- When someone says the word fear, what are some thoughts, feelings, or images that come to mind? What does fear look like? What does fear feel like?
- What is something or someone you fear? What would responding with love look like?
Supplies needed: Small envelopes, paper, crayons or markers
Jesus does not promise us a life of no fear and no trouble. However, Jesus does promise to be with us and to be in relationship with us in the midst of trouble. This week, the act of fasting is to focus on working to let go of something that we are fearful of and instead respond to that fear with love. As you gather today to read, color, and discuss, take a few moments to think about something or someone you fear. Take a piece of paper and draw or write about what that is. Then take that paper and fold it into the envelope. During the week, when you are in a situation that reminds you of that fear, take out the paper from the envelope, think about what responding with love would look like, then draw a heart around the fear as a symbol of replacing your fear response with love. At the end of the week, gather together and share about what was easy about letting go of fear and what was difficult.
God of love, we live in a world that is often full of fear. We encounter many things we don’t understand. We experience painful events and memories, which cause us to wall our hearts, guard our minds and close us off from being open to respond in hope, in peace, and in love. Help us to remember the promise that you walk with us both in good and troubling times. We turn from human insecurities to your eternal security. Help us to respond to fear in love. In the name of Jesus, AMEN.
Read John 5:1-16
1. There are three “players” in this story. As you read through the passage, write down all you can about each player. Specifically look for the “feeling” in this story.
b) The lame man
c) The Jews
2. As you dig through this story, how much faith did the lame man have?
3. What does this tell us about the compassion of God?
4. What was the issue the Jews were so worked up about?
5. From what you have gathered, what is the reason John has included this story in his Gospel?
6. Read verses 17 and 18. This was a turning point in the life and ministry of Jesus!
7. Is there anyone God has placed in your path who needs the compassion of Jesus in their life this week (regardless of what their response may be)? Picture the person God may have brought to your mind and come up with a plan for action! Then go and love people as Jesus loves you!
All of us come across people every day that are incredibly fascinating. They can be humorous, intelligent, wise, kind, generous, joy-filled, etc. Occasionally, you will meet someone who “pops” out as being just a little different, they reflect a love and genuine concern for others that is out of the ordinary. Paul mentions a young man named Timothy who was this kind of person in Philippians 2:20-21.
- Read the passage and reflect on Paul’s description of Timothy. What was it that set Timothy apart from everyone else?
- Take a moment to reflect on someone in your world who truly values other people. This may not be someone in the spotlight, most likely it’s someone just going about their day, yet they have an “others-focused” life!
- What is it that they do?
- What do you think motivates them to live this way?
- Everyone needs a “Timothy” in their world. If you have one, you are blessed. However, everyone can seek to be a genuine encourager to someone. Who has come across your path that needs someone in their corner? If you think about it for a bit you will realize it could easily be you!
- Take some time this week to reflect on the blessings God has given you in your life. Write them down.
- If you have been blessed by God with his peace and His presence, then you have been blessed to be a blessing. Who is someone in your world that you can bless this week? Ask God to open your eyes to see, then open your heart to respond!
- Take some time to sit, reflect and ask God to put someone on your heart to whom you can be a blessing. Beware, He may just surprise you!
Read Philippians 4:4-9
- Paul’s process in over coming anxiety followed a pattern. What is something that is causing anxiety in your world? Try practicing Paul’s plan.
a. Pray – Connect with your loving heavenly Father
b. Appeal – What is it that you are anxious about?
c. Thanksgiving – Praise God for what he has given you in Jesus!
d. Request – Let him know what your request is.
- Paul encourages the believers in Philippi to “practice” what they have learned from him. He gives them eight things to focus on. See if you can come up with something for each “whatever”. Think of things that will inspire worship of God and service to others.
a. Whatever is true:
b. Whatever is honorable:
c. Whatever is just:
d. Whatever is pure:
e. Whatever is lovely:
f. Whatever is commendable:
g. Whatever is excellent:
h. Whatever is praise worthy:
Paul encourages the believers to practice these things, and as they continually practice them, there is a growing peace which comes from God that will be with them!
May we all continue to grow in love for Jesus as we continually grow in love and dependence on him!
How do we live out our faith in Jesus? These tools will help you build a foundation that will stand the pressures of life. The more tools you have in your toolbox, the better prepared you will be when “life” happens!
1. Read Matthew 5-7. As you read, ask yourself “How am I doing”? There are some very pointed statements Jesus makes that go right to our hearts. It’s Christ in us that gives us hope and builds a strong foundation of faith in our lives.
2. Read Matthew 7:24-27. Do a self-evaluation, “How is your foundation”? As you do your assessment on your foundation, which house more reflects your foundation?
3. How much is Jesus a part of your everyday life? Do you have a routine that daily builds your life in Him that strengthens your foundation?
4. Take some time to consider, “how do I connect with Jesus”? Is it through nature, worship songs, reading scripture, reading books, listening to podcast sermons, writing in a journal, serving, or some other way? It may even be a combination of these.
5. Do you have, or has there been, a foundation-builder in your life? What did they do that made them a “builder” into your life? These are your “go to” people – when life hits, they are on your speed dial. How can you deepen these relationships further?
6. Write them a note saying, ” You have been foundational in my life.” Be an encouragement to someone!
7. Who, in your sphere of influence, needs a foundation-builder in their life? Pray for opportunities to initiate and deepen new friendships.
8. Whose foundation are you helping to build? Write down who and how. Think of ways you can be even more intentional in someone’s world!
9. Seek to develop a few relationships. Open yourself up – at times we are all going to need a few faithful and significant friends to support us when the pressures of life are beyond what we can bear. Now is the time to build those supportive friendships rather than waiting until you are in the middle of a crisis.
10. Make daily surrender to Jesus an intentional start to your day. How are you going to do that? Perhaps try something new from the list in question #4.
11. Ask Jesus to help you see others with His eyes this week.
12. Ask Jesus to use your hands this week to love and serve someone in a tangible way.
13. Rest in Jesus. He has come that you might have life abundantly. Surrender to Him. He loves you beyond understanding (Romans 8:31-39).