Encounter With God/Encuentro con Dios- APRIL 12TH/12 DE ABRIL

PAUSE FOR  2 MINUTES OF SILENCE/PAUSA DE 2 MINUTOS DE SILENCIO

Confession/Confesión:

Gracious and loving God, Your Holy Spirit is always with us. You encourage and strengthen us, and You send us out to serve You. Your grace is sufficient for every need, yet we often doubt Your presence. We wonder where You are in all that happens in this world. We struggle with trusting wholeheartedly in Your love, power, and goodness. We fail to keep our hearts centered and our minds focused on the good news of Jesus, the Crucified and Risen One. Forgive us. Rescue us. Empower us. As Your redeemed children, may we seek to do Your will to Your name’s great glory. Through Christ we pray. Amen.

Dios misericordioso y amoroso, tu Espíritu Santo siempre está con nosotros. Tú nos animas y fortaleces, y nos envías para servirte. Tu gracia es suficiente para cada necesidad, pero a menudo dudamos de Tu presencia. Nos preguntamos dónde estás en todo lo que sucede en este mundo. Luchamos por confiar de todo corazón en Tu amor, poder y bondad. No conseguimos mantener nuestro corazón centrado y nuestra mente centrada en las buenas nuevas de Jesús, el Crucificado y Resucitado. Perdónanos. Rescátanos. Danos poder. Como tus hijos redimidos, que busquemos hacer tu voluntad para la gran gloria de tu nombre. Por Cristo oramos. Amén.

SCRIPTURE READING/LECTURA DE LAS ESCRITURAS1 JOHN 1:1-2:2/1 Juan 1:1-2:2

We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning,[a] whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.[b]

This is the message we heard from Jesus[c] and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

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 Les anunciamos al que existe desde el principio,[a] a quien hemos visto y oído. Lo vimos con nuestros propios ojos y lo tocamos con nuestras propias manos. Él es la Palabra de vida. Él, quien es la vida misma, nos fue revelado, y nosotros lo vimos; y ahora testificamos y anunciamos a ustedes que él es la vida eterna. Estaba con el Padre, y luego nos fue revelado. Les anunciamos lo que nosotros mismos hemos visto y oído, para que ustedes tengan comunión con nosotros; y nuestra comunión es con el Padre y con su Hijo, Jesucristo. Escribimos estas cosas para que ustedes puedan participar plenamente de nuestra alegría.[b]

Este es el mensaje que oímos de Jesús[c] y que ahora les declaramos a ustedes: Dios es luz y en él no hay nada de oscuridad. Por lo tanto, mentimos si afirmamos que tenemos comunión con Dios pero seguimos viviendo en oscuridad espiritual; no estamos practicando la verdad. Si vivimos en la luz, así como Dios está en la luz, entonces tenemos comunión unos con otros, y la sangre de Jesús, su Hijo, nos limpia de todo pecado.

Si afirmamos que no tenemos pecado, lo único que hacemos es engañarnos a nosotros mismos y no vivimos en la verdad; pero si confesamos nuestros pecados a Dios, él es fiel y justo para perdonarnos nuestros pecados y limpiarnos de toda maldad. 10 Si afirmamos que no hemos pecado, llamamos a Dios mentiroso y demostramos que no hay lugar para su palabra en nuestro corazón.

Mis queridos hijos, les escribo estas cosas, para que no pequen; pero si alguno peca, tenemos un abogado que defiende nuestro caso ante el Padre. Es Jesucristo, el que es verdaderamente justo. Él mismo es el sacrificio que pagó[d] por nuestros pecados, y no solo los nuestros sino también los de todo el mundo.

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.

El Padre Nuestro (reza lentamente esto) 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 perdónanos nuestras ofensas, como también nosotros perdonamos a los que nos ofenden. Y no nos metas en tentación, mas líbranos del maligno. Porque tuyo es el reino, el poder y la gloria para siempre. Amén.

God’s Peace is Yours /La paz de dios es tuya

Así experimentarán la paz de Dios, que supera todo lo que podemos entender. La paz de Dios cuidará su corazón y su mente mientras vivan en Cristo Jesús.- Filipenses 4:7

La paz es un bien que solo se puede encontrar con el tiempo dedicado a buscar el rostro de Dios. El mundo no puede ofrecernos la paz porque no tiene nada en lo que depositar su esperanza, confianza y seguridad. Los reinos van y vienen. Los líderes entran y salen del poder. Lo que las sociedades valoran cambia como el paso de las mareas. Nuestra única constante es Dios. Él ha sido, es y será por siempre el Creador, Sustentador y Señor de todo. Se le ha dado toda la autoridad. Gobierna el cambio de estaciones. Frustra los planes de nuestro enemigo. Y anhela ofrecer una paz total y sostenida a todos los que depositan su esperanza y confianza en él.

Isaías 26: 3 dice: “Mantén en perfecta paz a aquel cuyo pensamiento está en ti, porque confía en ti”. Nuestro Dios tiene paz reservada para nosotros en cada situación si elegimos mantener nuestra mente en él y confiar en él. El mundo dice que la paz solo puede llegar cuando has trabajado los dedos hasta los huesos y finalmente has logrado todo lo que quieres. Solo puede tener paz cuando tiene suficiente dinero, amigos, el trabajo adecuado o el cónyuge adecuado. Solo puedes tener paz si agradas a tus amigos, familiares y jefes. El camino de Dios es atraerte hacia él y ofrecerte paz en medio de tus circunstancias. No quiere que esperes hasta que todo se resuelva antes de poder descansar; te ofrece descanso ahora mismo.

El Salmo 23 dice: “El Señor es mi pastor; Nada me faltará. En verdes pastos me hace descansar. Junto a aguas tranquilas me conduce. El restaura mi alma. . . . Preparas una mesa delante de mí en presencia de mis enemigos; unges mi cabeza con aceite; mi copa rebosa ”(Salmo 23: 1-3, 5). Dios anhela prepararte una mesa en medio de cualquier problema que te rodee. Él te está llamando para que mantengas tu mente fija en él sin importar lo que se te presente. Y te pide que busques su rostro y encuentres tu descanso en él en lugar de trabajar duro y luchar por la paz circunstancial.

Romanos 8: 6 dice: “Poner la mente en el Espíritu es vida y paz”. Es solo por el Espíritu que encontrarás vida y paz. Deja de buscar tu realización en las cosas del mundo. Deja de pedirle al mundo que te ofrezca lo que nunca tuvo que ofrecer. Mira a tu Padre celestial por la paz que sobrepasa todo entendimiento. Que te llenes de descanso y paz hoy mientras pasas tiempo en oración buscando el rostro de Dios.

Remembering the Why – Junius Dotson

“You cannot teach what you do not know. You cannot model what you do not practice. You cannot lead where you’re not willing to go. This is such an important concept for being a well-grounded, spiritually whole, and healthy leader.”

If you’re reading this book, I’m going to make an assumption that you want to grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Maybe you’re someone who is responsible for helping to lead others to grow. Maybe you’re gathered with a small group of friends who are seeking to grow in discipleship and in community. I want to ask you to think about your call to follow Jesus, when you first accepted Christ. Think about the feelings you experienced, the zeal you had for Jesus, and the closeness you felt to him. I confess that I can get too busy doing the work of the church and forget the Great Commission: Go and make disciples. We’ve got to ask ourselves and each other: “How are you doing that?” And the reason can’t be “because I want a larger congregation” or more power or influence. Our why is that we are called to make disciples. 

I remember being in a consultation with a group of church leaders, talking about next steps in their ministries. As we were talking about those next steps, I lifted up the vision of helping people grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. One of the leaders shared very candidly, “I started with that desire, but I’m so far from that. The only thing I’m concerned about at this point is how do I get more volunteers. How do I keep this ministry going?” Her honest reflection was not a complaint but a lament. She had lost her why and had gotten swept up in the business of ministry. The expectations of her leadership created a seductive shift from “being” to “doing.” I invited her and the rest of the group to spend some time reconnecting with the why of their leadership. When you have clarity about your why, it brings what you are doing into sharper focus. It reignites your passion for Jesus and for ministry. Do you know your why? 

I discovered my personal why when I came of age as a teenager at Windsor Village UMC in Houston, Texas. That was the first time the Word of God became flesh in my life. I became deeply connected to God and felt clearly the call God had placed on my life. That experience got me connected not just to the church but to the living God and gave me a framework for how I’d live my life and lead others. It gave me a framework for the power of Christian community. That same why led me to go plant a new church. 

This is why I teach churches the phrase “Discipleship begins with me.” You cannot teach what you do not know. You cannot model what you do not practice. You cannot lead where you’re not willing to go. This is such an important concept for being a well-grounded, spiritually whole, and healthy leader. Leadership is first and foremost leadership of oneself. Lead yourself well, because how you lead yourself shapes how you lead others. How you lead yourself shapes how you relate to others and engage the world. Because this is such a cyclical thing and a relational journey we are on, people lead as they have experienced being led. 

I have shared many times with leaders who are preparing for an important meeting, “You may have a tough meeting tonight. People have been working all day, and there may be some disgruntled people who are anxious or fearful of whatever we’re dealing with. Go spend some time taking care of yourself. Go to a movie or to the gym. Listen to a song that inspires you. Get into a healthy headspace. Someone in the room needs to be centered.”

When I become irritable and short with people, I know these are warning signs that I need time alone with God. When I get frustrated easily, then I know I’m running off course. I know that when I see red flags, the answer is not let me plan this other thing or read another book. My plan is, go be with God. Reconnect with God and reset. Then, I have the capacity to handle what’s in front of me. The answer will always be going back to the center—to God. That will increase your capacity to do what you need to do. 

In the next chapter, I’ll share more with you about just how desperately I have needed wholeness in Jesus Christ. I learned that freedom and authenticity go together. When we tell the truth about the burdens we bear, it’s easier to lay them down and learn how to live freely and lightly. We just have to watch how Jesus does it.