ENCOUNTER GOD / ENCUENTRO CON DIOS – EPISODE #1

Scripture Reading/Lectura bíblica:  HEBREWS 7:23-28 / Hebreos 7:23-28

23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely[a] those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

26 Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.


Ahora bien, como a aquellos sacerdotes la muerte les impedía seguir ejerciendo sus funciones, ha habido muchos de ellos; 24 pero, como Jesús permanece para siempre, su sacerdocio es imperecedero. 25 Por eso también puede salvar por completo[a] a los que por medio de él se acercan a Dios, ya que vive siempre para interceder por ellos.

26 Nos convenía tener un sumo sacerdote así: santo, irreprochable, puro, apartado de los pecadores y exaltado sobre los cielos. 27 A diferencia de los otros sumos sacerdotes, él no tiene que ofrecer sacrificios día tras día, primero por sus propios pecados y luego por los del pueblo; porque él ofreció el sacrificio una sola vez y para siempre cuando se ofreció a sí mismo. 28 De hecho, la ley designa como sumos sacerdotes a hombres débiles; pero el juramento, posterior a la ley, designa al Hijo, quien ha sido hecho perfecto para siempre.

Confession/Confesión:

Eternal God, in Your gracious presence, we confess our sin to You. We ignore Your invitations to join You in Your work. We reject Your grace and trust instead in our own efforts. We refuse to see how Your grace works in the lives of others. Forgive us for our apathy, our pride, and our blindness. Empower us through Your Spirit to serve and to honor You. Through Christ we pray. Amen.

Dios eterno, en tu presencia llena de gracia, te confesamos nuestro pecado. Ignoramos sus invitaciones para unirnos a usted en su trabajo. Rechazamos Tu gracia y confiamos en cambio en nuestros propios esfuerzos. Nos negamos a ver cómo actúa Tu gracia en la vida de los demás. Perdónanos por nuestra apatía, nuestro orgullo y nuestra ceguera. Danos el poder a través de Tu Espíritu para servirte y honrarte. Por Cristo oramos. Amén.

Pause for 2 Minutes of Silence/ Pausa por 2 minutos de silencio

Pause for 1 Minute of Silence/ Pausa por 1 minuto de silencio

The Our Father (slowly pray this)/El Padre Nuestro (reza lentamente esto)

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Padre nuestro que estás en los cielos, santificado sea tu nombre. Venga tu reino, Hágase tu voluntad en la tierra, como en el cielo. Danos hoy nuestro pan de cada día. Y perdona nuestras ofensas, como perdonamos a los que nos ofenden. Y no nos dejes caer en la tentación, sino líbranos del maligno. Para ti es el reino, el poder y la gloria para siempre, Amén.

Sacred Spaces – 10/28/20

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. —James 1:2-3

My first thought upon reading these verses is that steadfastness had better be worth it. Be joyful in the midst of your pain, because it will give way to steadfastness? Really?

In order to understand what James is doing, let’s put three definitions underneath all of this. “Joy” is not glib, naive happiness. The Bible refers to joy as contentment in Christ above all else. “Steadfastness” carries similar connotations. It means to be confidently rooted in Christ; in other words, it means that all of our confidence comes from belonging to him, not depending on our own effort or resources. “Faith” is believing that the promises of God that we cannot yet see or feel as reality will someday come true, because he said so.

Now, we can rephrase what James is telling us, and ask how it is possible to live out these words. He is saying, “Seek to be happy in Christ above anything else, and you will find that, even in trials, He will prove Himself and make His promises real to you again.” By implication, then, it will be worth it. All of it will be worth it.

I have personally wrestled with these things. I was born with a spinal defect called Spina Bifida, which took away my ability to walk a few years ago. Amidst approximately 20 surgeries and daily inconveniences, the question of “Why?” has arisen in my heart more than once. What’s the point, the end of all this? Ultimately, the answer has always come back, “Jesus is the point.” I am constantly reminded of how he has worked, of all the people I would have never met, and opportunities I would have never had if I hadn’t been given a disability. But this is not some inspirational story about a human being. This is a miraculous story about God.

See, the idea that “joy is a choice” is an incomplete truth. I can choose joy in having Spina Bifida, and you can choose joy in your trial, only if God gives our hearts joy. Joy is not simply one in a buffet of virtues, from which we can take at random as we feel the urge. It’s not a light switch we can simply flip on in our minds. This is where faith and steadfastness come in.

If God does the miracle of changing our hearts, and if He gives us the gift of faith, we will have the eyes to see where all of our pain is going. To know that whatever suffering we endure really is working for our good. To see that Jesus shows Himself to us more profoundly in our trials, and that this changes everything. To place our confidence in Him; really believing it doesn’t matter if everything is perfect here, because this world is not our home. Our hope is not in the things of this world. James goes on to write that the one without faith will be “like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.” Only if God causes our hearts to remain steadfast will we be able to rest joyfully even when our world is caving in. Only if He does all of these things in our hearts can we “choose joy” in our suffering.

Conclusion? Oh, suffering saint, you must pray. I must pray. We must pray together for eyes of faith, hearts of steadfastness. We must seek God in our trials, asking Him for the faith to know He is in the fire with us, and the joy to believe that this is enough. In the end, brothers and sisters, we will see our Savior with unveiled faces. We will know, then, that it was worth it. That He is worth it.

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

  1. What is it about trials that makes it so much more difficult to trust in the promises of God? How can you practically preach specific promises to yourself in your trials?
  2. How have you seen Christ more clearly in your pain? How has your pain brought you closer to Him? This is a gift of God.
  3. How can you use your suffering as a platform for ministry, that is, to reach out to others through your trying circumstances?

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

SACRED SPACES – 10/27/20

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
—Philippians 2:12-13

When my sins are forgiven, my neighborhood is improved. Philippians 2:12-13 calls me to expect this and to make it so.

These Fighter Verses call you to soberly and intentionally work out (apply) the gospel of your salvation to your mind, your tongue, your wallet, your sex life, your food pantry, your cancer, and your casket. They also affirm that God is at work in you to accomplish this mission.

Coupled together, we have an imperative: “work soberly at your faith!” with an indicative: “God is working out the gospel into every crevice of your being.”

Repentance is an imperative. “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come” (Acts 3:19-20). Yet repentance is part of God’s work of grace. Paul instructed Timothy to teach patiently, saying, “God may perhaps grant them repentance” (2 Tim 2:25).

In the fear of the Lord, we must keep God’s commandments. “By this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments” (1 Jn 2:3). Yet God is the one working in our desires, making us careful to keep his laws. “And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules” (Ez 36:27).

We are commanded, “Be strong in the Lord” (Eph 6:10). But strength comes from God. So Paul prays, “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might” (Col 1:11). We are called to “rejoice in the Lord” (Phil 4:4). Yet even in this, God is at work in us: “For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work” (Ps 92:4). Romans 12:11 appeals to human effort: “Serve the Lord.” But whatever ministry we take up, we may say with Paul, “I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given to me by the working of his power” (Eph 3:7).

It’s not, “I do half and God does half.” It’s all God’s work. As a human experience, I decide, reject, choose, fight, serve, endure, appeal, take up— fear and tremble, weep and rejoice. But behind the curtain of my humanity, I see a love-prompted, outworking grace. God is altering my appetites, strengthening my grip, loosening my wallet, expanding my concerns, compelling my commitments.

God is working in you to bring the gospel of your salvation to maturity and to fit you into the mosaic of his wondrous Great Work of salvation history. So work and strive to think and apply your salvation to every matter under the sun.

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Saturday Sabbath – 10/24/20

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
—Philippians 2:12-13

When my sins are forgiven, my neighborhood is improved. Philippians 2:12-13 calls me to expect this and to make it so.

These Fighter Verses call you to soberly and intentionally work out (apply) the gospel of your salvation to your mind, your tongue, your wallet, your sex life, your food pantry, your cancer, and your casket. They also affirm that God is at work in you to accomplish this mission.

Coupled together, we have an imperative: “work soberly at your faith!” with an indicative: “God is working out the gospel into every crevice of your being.”

Repentance is an imperative. “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come” (Acts 3:19-20). Yet repentance is part of God’s work of grace. Paul instructed Timothy to teach patiently, saying, “God may perhaps grant them repentance” (2 Tim 2:25).

In the fear of the Lord, we must keep God’s commandments. “By this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments” (1 Jn 2:3). Yet God is the one working in our desires, making us careful to keep his laws. “And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules” (Ez 36:27).

We are commanded, “Be strong in the Lord” (Eph 6:10). But strength comes from God. So Paul prays, “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might” (Col 1:11). We are called to “rejoice in the Lord” (Phil 4:4). Yet even in this, God is at work in us: “For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work” (Ps 92:4). Romans 12:11 appeals to human effort: “Serve the Lord.” But whatever ministry we take up, we may say with Paul, “I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given to me by the working of his power” (Eph 3:7).

It’s not, “I do half and God does half.” It’s all God’s work. As a human experience, I decide, reject, choose, fight, serve, endure, appeal, take up— fear and tremble, weep and rejoice. But behind the curtain of my humanity, I see a love-prompted, outworking grace. God is altering my appetites, strengthening my grip, loosening my wallet, expanding my concerns, compelling my commitments.

God is working in you to bring the gospel of your salvation to maturity and to fit you into the mosaic of his wondrous Great Work of salvation history. So work and strive to think and apply your salvation to every matter under the sun.

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Sacred Spaces – 10/23/20

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. —Philippians 2:10-11

One day, cancer will bow. One day, pain and sorrow and hurt will eat dust. One day, racism and prejudice will fall on their faces in abject surrender. One day, atheists will believe and demons will shudder, forced to face the One they have hated and denied. One day, there will be no uncertainty, no ambiguity, no shades of gray. One day, oh one day, every knee will bow, every stiff neck will bend, every rebellious heart, every arrogant spirit, every proud thought will kneel before the King. There will be no debate, nor argument, no objection. One day, there will only be assent, recognition, and humility. One day. One day.

One day the cry of the heart will not be “Me! Me! Me!” It will be “Him! Him! Him!” One day every fist raised in fight will sink to its side as open palms rise in deference. One day every tongue, every voice, every capacity to communicate will have but one message: “He is Lord! He is Lord! He is Lord!” “Glory!” will be the anthem. “Glory!” will be song. Every exhalation will be exaltation. One day. Oh, one day.

“How can such a thing be,” you ask? Because of one day. One day the infinite, eternal Son of God, the Word who was in the beginning with God, who was God, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, made himself nothing; he took on the form of a servant. One day, the Creator of man took on the form of man, being born in the likeness of men. One day, being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient. One day, the Son, the Word, the eternal joy of the Father, the Beloved and Begotten went to the cross, and he died.

One day, the plan of God to express the fullness of His glory to the created sphere through sacrificial, redemptive love was realized in the death of Christ on the cross. On that day, God exalted him. On that day, God bestowed on His Son, the name that is above all names. The praiseworthy name. The trustworthy name. The sacrifice-worthy name. The honor-worthy name. The glory-worthy name. The bowing the knee and proclaiming out loud worthy name.

One day became that day and will become one day again. But in between that day and one day is today. Right now. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess because there will be no other choice. No will of man or angel or beast shall rise against the will of God, one day. Today, however, we have a choice. Today we may bow and confess because we get to, not because we have to. Today we may join the Father in the exaltation of the Son! Today, we are free to bow and submit and honor and glory. We do not have to wait for one day. Today can be that day, if we will but bow the heart, submit the spirit, surrender the mind to the all encompassing, discipline the body to the living truth that Jesus Christ is Lord!

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

  1. Philippians overflows with joy and thanksgiving. Look carefully at the entire passage where Phi. 2:10-11 is located. Can you find seven or more reasons in these verses where something Jesus is or does would cause glory to be given to God?
  2. Think carefully about the name of Jesus at which the entire creation will bow and confess. Names, especially the names of famous people, cause us to think certain things about the people they identify. What does the name of Jesus bring to mind that would make Him worthy of praise?
  3. One day, because of who God is, because of who Christ is, the entire created world will proclaim God’s glory. What one thing can you do today to proclaim God’s glory to the world?

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The smile of the Father shines on me – I am approved of; [i]

I have the mind of Christ – I have important things to say; [ii]

Upon me is the anointing of the Holy Spirit – I am empowered. [iii]

~

Jesus is my Lord and Savior and I dwell in his Kingdom of the Heavens; [iv]

He is my Teacher and I am his beloved apprentice, – [v]

I urge people to join me and be with Jesus to become like him. [vi]

~

The Word of God is alive and active and it dwells richly in me; [vii]

And the Holy Spirit reminds me of Jesus’ words of truth and grace, – [viii]

So I can minister the Word of life to others and it will not return void. [ix]

~

The Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead lives in me; [x]

So I do not speak with human wisdom or worldly excitement, [xi]

Or rely on my own strength – I count on the power of Almighty God.[xii]

~

As I teach I listen to the voice of God and invite others to listen too; [xiii]

As I serve I join the intercessions of the Holy Spirit, [xiv]

Praying that we all cry out with the Spirit, “Abba Father!  Jesus is Lord!” [xv]

~

The Lord is glorious in all things and captivates me continually;

So I do not draw attention to myself, but to Jesus Christ alone;

Nor do I base my identity on what people say about me.

~

I am Christ’s Ambassador; [xvi]

My citizenship is in heaven’s kingdom; [xvii]

My message is simply: “Follow me as I follow Christ!” [xviii]

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Sacred Spaces 10/21/20

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, –Philippians 2:8-9

Most of us have wanted to make a name for ourselves at one time or another. We want to be liked. We like to be noticed. We notice when others get glory and we don’t. We often secretly want to make a name for ourselves even though we say things to the contrary. Our post-Fall anti-humility problem is pervasive, and there is only one remedy. His name is Jesus.

In last week’s post, Tim Cain reminded us to keep our eyes on Jesus so that we might gain a mind and a life like His. That’s good counsel. After all, there is no greater humility to be found than the Lord of the universe found in human form. When the Son of God put on the humility of humanity, the Creator stooped to the creaturely. The Supernatural took on the natural so he could feel our weaknesses and walk through the world’s temptations, and yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).

Only God himself could complete this perfect obedience. But Spirit could not shed the blood necessary to forgive our sins (Hebrews 9:22). So the Son of God became God-man to meet the need. His obedience went all the way to death. This was not some random death. No, God chose the most painful and, more than that, shameful form of execution. It was a criminal’s stake. That’s why verse 18 says it was even death on a cross. Yes, Jesus stooped that low, and even lower, as he bore all our sins and suffered the wrath we deserved.

Because of Jesus’ perfect humble obedience (obedience that Adam and no man since could complete) God the Father highly exalted him. This is not just a step or two higher than the next exalted guy. To get the meaning across some scholars use the term “super-exalted.” In other words, there is no higher position in all of heaven and earth. Jesus was restored to his rightful place at the right hand of God, but this time including his glorified humanity. Jesus, the God-man, went low, low, low to be exalted high, high, high above all.

Why did God the Father choose to send his own Son on such an excruciating exploit? One reason is because he received glory through the redemption (buying back) of his people. Another is because our greatest joy is in being the ones he bought back. When we surrender to Jesus as our Redeemer we enter into his humility. We enter into his death, resurrection, and ascension. We die to sin and receive new life. And one day we will be joined with him in his exaltation. What better name could we possibly hope for than to be called a child of God? What higher position could we possibly hope for than to join Jesus at in his super-exalted state? There, and only there, will our joy and pleasure be full and forevermore (Psalm 16:11). “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” (1 Peter 5:6).

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The smile of the Father shines on me – I am approved of; [i]

I have the mind of Christ – I have important things to say; [ii]

Upon me is the anointing of the Holy Spirit – I am empowered. [iii]

~

Jesus is my Lord and Savior and I dwell in his Kingdom of the Heavens; [iv]

He is my Teacher and I am his beloved apprentice, – [v]

I urge people to join me and be with Jesus to become like him. [vi]

~

The Word of God is alive and active and it dwells richly in me; [vii]

And the Holy Spirit reminds me of Jesus’ words of truth and grace, – [viii]

So I can minister the Word of life to others and it will not return void. [ix]

~

The Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead lives in me; [x]

So I do not speak with human wisdom or worldly excitement, [xi]

Or rely on my own strength – I count on the power of Almighty God.[xii]

~

As I teach I listen to the voice of God and invite others to listen too; [xiii]

As I serve I join the intercessions of the Holy Spirit, [xiv]

Praying that we all cry out with the Spirit, “Abba Father!  Jesus is Lord!” [xv]

~

The Lord is glorious in all things and captivates me continually;

So I do not draw attention to myself, but to Jesus Christ alone;

Nor do I base my identity on what people say about me.

~

I am Christ’s Ambassador; [xvi]

My citizenship is in heaven’s kingdom; [xvii]

My message is simply: “Follow me as I follow Christ!” [xviii]

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Sacred Spaces- 10/20/20

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.–Philippians 2:5-7

We live in a world consumed with personal glory. As much as we may disdain this sort of arrogance in other people, the truth is: pride is something that all of us struggle with. We long to be the center and are willing to use others to build ourselves up. We want to be in control, and become anxious when we realize that we are not. We complain because some part of us thinks that if we were God, things would be better. We secretly celebrate others’ failures because it makes us feel better about ourselves. We envy others’ successes because we feel like we deserve it more. Since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the garden, people have been trying to be like God.

But, the Bible tells us that there is one person who was different. One person who didn’t act out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility spent his life looking out for the interests of others. There was one person who didn’t seek his own glory, but lived his life for the glory of his Father. Paul tells us about this person in Philippians 2 and what he says about him ought to blow our minds.  Here, Paul tells us that the humblest man to ever walk the face of the earth was God. Please let that sink in for a second. The humblest man who ever walked the face of the earth was God.

Paul tells us that though Jesus was God, he didn’t cling to his equality with God. Instead, he humbled himself and took on the form of a servant. Oh, how different Jesus is from us! Even though we are created human beings, we are constantly grasping after equality with God – which we don’t deserve and will never achieve. But Jesus had it. Jesus had what everyone in this world has been fighting for since the beginning. Yet, he willingly let it go in order to take on flesh and come down to earth.

When he came, he told his disciples that he didn’t come to be served but to serve. You and I have a hard time serving those who are in positions of authority over us. Can you imagine how hard it must have been for Jesus to serve sinners like you and me? But he did. While his disciples argued over which one of them was the greatest, the Son of God got up from the table, laid aside his outer garments, and tied a towel around his waist. Then Jesus did something that no other superior in all of ancient literature ever did, he washed the manure off of his disciples’ feet.

And that was just the beginning. Soon even the towel would be ripped off of him and the Son of God would hang naked on a cross. There, the humblest man who ever lived died the death of the arrogant. There, the one who refused to grasp the glory that was rightfully his died like a thief in our place. He died for all the times we have tried to steal God’s glory for ourselves. There, the Son of God gave his life as a ransom for many. There, God opposed Jesus for our pride so that one day we might be exalted on account of his perfect humility.

There at the cross, you and I find the antidote for our pride. John Stott writes, “Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to say to us, “I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.” Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.”1

At the cross, it becomes painfully obvious that you and I don’t deserve to be the center, but the cross doesn’t leave the center empty. Instead, the cross shows us who ought to be there. You see, the only way we will ever stop grasping after the center, is if we find someone that we believe is more worthy of it than we are.

The Bible tells us that Jesus is that one. He is more worthy of the center than you. Not just because he is God, but also because he has loved you and gave his life on the cross for you.

So take your eyes off of yourself and look to Jesus. Let His beauty and His worth and His love overwhelm you; let His power and majesty and glory entrance you; let His promises protect you; let His resurrection from the dead give you a living hope. He is the center, and life is so much better when we realize that. So, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…” (Phil. 2:5).

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

  1. What evidences of humility in Christ do you see?
  2. How does the cross serve as an anecdote for our pride?
  3. What are some attributes of the mind of Christ? How does your thought life compare?
  4. What makes Jesus more worthy of the center than we are?

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The smile of the Father shines on me – I am approved of; [i]

I have the mind of Christ – I have important things to say; [ii]

Upon me is the anointing of the Holy Spirit – I am empowered. [iii]

~

Jesus is my Lord and Savior and I dwell in his Kingdom of the Heavens; [iv]

He is my Teacher and I am his beloved apprentice, – [v]

I urge people to join me and be with Jesus to become like him. [vi]

~

The Word of God is alive and active and it dwells richly in me; [vii]

And the Holy Spirit reminds me of Jesus’ words of truth and grace, – [viii]

So I can minister the Word of life to others and it will not return void. [ix]

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The Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead lives in me; [x]

So I do not speak with human wisdom or worldly excitement, [xi]

Or rely on my own strength – I count on the power of Almighty God.[xii]

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As I teach I listen to the voice of God and invite others to listen too; [xiii]

As I serve I join the intercessions of the Holy Spirit, [xiv]

Praying that we all cry out with the Spirit, “Abba Father!  Jesus is Lord!” [xv]

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The Lord is glorious in all things and captivates me continually;

So I do not draw attention to myself, but to Jesus Christ alone;

Nor do I base my identity on what people say about me.

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I am Christ’s Ambassador; [xvi]

My citizenship is in heaven’s kingdom; [xvii]

My message is simply: “Follow me as I follow Christ!” [xviii]

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.