Focus Moment – Jan. 30, 2017

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John 15:12
“This is My commandment: that you love one another just as I have loved you.”

In a world where people feel isolated and alone, God created a unique and loving community called the Church. In fact, one of the first acts in Jesus’ ministry was to establish a community of believers, the disciples. These 13 men, including Jesus, transformed the world with the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Throughout His ministry, Jesus modeled and taught about life in this new kind of community.

We are not created to do life or ministry alone. Community was God’s plan to change the world. Jesus was completely capable of preaching, teaching and healing by Himself. It’s not as if Jesus needed anyone to help Him! But God designed us to need each other, and Jesus lived this out by taking along 12 friends.

Being in a loving community helps us in many ways. We have friends to encourage us when we feel down, someone to help when we struggle with a problem, we learn to love as Jesus loved, it helps us stay committed to our Christian faith, and we can also be ourselves. Community also helps us stay obedient to God. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you John 15:12! The only way to love others is to live in a community. There are many more benefits to being involved in a Christian community, but one of the best is when Jesus is uniquely present when we gather. And wherever Jesus is, is a good place to be!

Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Reflections:
How does meeting together, either in a small group or church setting, help us encourage each other? Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

Power verses:
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.–Hebrews 3:13

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.–1 Peter 1:22

Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters.–Hebrews 13:1

By Enyonam Gbekle.

Focus Moment – Jan. 9, 2017

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Silence and Centering

“But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Habakkuk 2:20)

Confession:

God of all mercy, you have marked us as your own; you have given us a new identity and made us part of the body of Christ. In doing so, you have called us to rise to new life and to live together in community. However, we have not been faithful to your call. We have forged our own identity and held to destructive habits. We confess we have failed to welcome others, broken bonds we have had with brothers and sisters, and served ourselves more than you. Forgive us, we pray, for the sake of Christ our Savior. Amen.

PAUSE FOR 2 MINUTES OF SILENCE

“By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27). Shortly after the Last Supper, Jesus tried to prepare His disciples for His death. He reminded them of what He had said numerous times, that He would be given over the authorities and be killed. But He was also reminding them to not be afraid because He was not leaving them alone or destitute. Jesus promised peace through “…the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name…” (John 14:26). Again the Holy Spirit is tied to one of the elements in the fruit of the spirit. Peace can be worldly – the absence of conflict. But this is not the peace that the Holy Spirit gives us. The Spirit gives us a heavenly peace which comes only from God. It is “…the peace of God which transcends all understanding…” (Phil 4:7). Like so many gifts from God we cannot comprehend the richness of the gift, we can only wallow in the luxuriousness of the gift. As Kim Gaines Eckert a psychologist and author wrote for the on-line Christianity Today magazine her.menutics, “…I am learning that peace isn’t something we feel; it’s where we are meant to live, in union with Christ.” So if you feel anxious, stressed, on-edge, not able to meet all of your own expectations remember to focus on the love and peace Christ offers you through the Holy Spirit. Then breathe.

Prayer 
In a world beset with violence, envy, bigotry, help me Lord, to live in Peace with You in my life and witness. Amen

Three key questions to ask as we prayerfully read the scriptures: 

  1. How am I to daily live?
  2. How am I daily living?
  3. What changes or growth do I need to make?

 2 Minutes of SILENT PRAYER & REFLECTION.