18/08/2019: Relect, review, repent…Rejoice!

CALL TO WORSHIP[i]:         Psalm 92:1-8

A psalm. A song to be sung on the Sabbath Day.

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
    to sing praises to the Most High.
It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning,
    your faithfulness in the evening,
accompanied by a ten-stringed instrument, a harp,
    and the melody of a lyre.

You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me!
    I sing for joy because of what you have done.
O Lord, what great works you do!
    And how deep are your thoughts.
Only a simpleton would not know,
    and only a fool would not understand this:
Though the wicked sprout like weeds
    and evildoers flourish,
    they will be destroyed forever.

But you, O Lord, will be exalted forever.

READING:                 Psalm 51:1-12

For the choir director: A psalm of David, regarding the time Nathan the prophet came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

 

Have mercy on me, O God,
    because of your unfailing love.
    Because of your great compassion,
    blot out the stain of my sins.
Wash me clean from my guilt.
    Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my rebellion;
    it haunts me day and night.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
    I have done what is evil in your sight.
    You will be proved right in what you say,
    and your judgment against me is just.
For I was born a sinner—
    yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
But you desire honesty from the womb,
    teaching me wisdom even there.

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Oh, give me back my joy again;
    you have broken me—
    now let me rejoice.
Don’t keep looking at my sins.
    Remove the stain of my guilt.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
    and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and make me willing to obey you.

Matthew 3:1-12

1 In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said,

“He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!
    Clear the road for him!’”

John’s clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey. People from Jerusalem and from all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.

But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize, he denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. 10 Even now the axe of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.

11 “I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”

 

To Note: The word “P-R-A-Y” is an acronym that will guide us.

P = Practice prayer, Presence of God, Praise!

R = Reflect, Review, Repent…. Rejoice!

A = ……

Y = ……

  1. A danger with prayer is that we can fall into the trap of “Recycling” our spirituality [Reduce, Reuse, Recycle]. Is this a valid comment with regards to your spiritual life? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  1. Prayer that is healthy, engages with life in a real way – and those that learn the skills of healthy, vibrant prayer – are the ones that have a healthy life-giving spirituality. Do you agree? What is your personal experience of prayer at work in your life? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  1. Is it possible to “reclaim the positive value” of the word “repentance”? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  1. Psalm 51 – King David and his song of repentance. What led to him writing this Psalm? Identify some of the key issues he prays about. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  1. Matthew 3:1-12: John the Baptist seems to hold a very direct, judgemental view, on the need for repentance (vs.3 and vs.10-12). Why do you think this is so? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  1. The word “repentance” means…. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  1. Repentance should never be about recycling but _________________________
  1. Practical steps to encourage healthy repentance:
  • First: Daydream what God’s vision is for you. What, do you think God wants you to be and to do? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 Isaiah 11:1-10

 

“The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”

  • Second: Choose one – just one! – element of your life for which you would like to repent – that is, change direction – and set this week down as a time to do that. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Third: Identify one element of your community life that needs repentance and think how you can contribute to making that change. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“The call to “Calm down, focus and PRAY” – is so that we can have more life not less! I invite you, if you find yourself in a tough place; to imagine that “it doesn’t have to be this way” – whatever “this way” is oppressing you right now – I want to encourage you to take action and step toward God’s dream for your life.

  1. God had a dream for Israel, and he used King Solomon [David’s son] to make that dream a reality for them – it would all depend on worship and prayer – the spectacular example of God’s presence with them would be the Temple!

 

2 Chronicles 7:14-15

14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 15 My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. 16 For I have chosen this Temple and set it apart to be holy—a place where my name will be honoured forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

  1. Repentance is a key to a new beginning and a new growth, through prayer:

 

Revelation 21:5

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”

 

Have a blessed week,

Rev.Tim

[i] All Bible Readings taken from New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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