Acts 3:3-6 (NIV) – When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
“In this story of the healing at the gate “Beautiful”, we see a wonderful metaphor of how God shapes the church for all to see: how the “come with us” people became the people of God that would honor him. The man clung to them because of what he had seen, received, and now had become. This new community of believers didn’t necessarily have what people outwardly wanted, they had come to know that they had something greater, even better – Jesus. All they had didn’t matter compared to what Jesus had done for them. God was honoring them as he was working in and through them.” [Pastor Tim Rapp]
Prayer: Lord, help us to honor you in everything we do. May your Spirit work in and through us as we worship you with all our hearts, thoughts, words, and energy today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Let’s worship to the song “Fill this Place” (click here) as we ask and respond in wonder before the Lord.
John 21:15, 19b (NIV)
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”… Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
“When Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice,” we correctly interpret him to say, “My sheep can distinguish my voice.” … The word used implies “My sheep pay heed to my voice.” The sheep is not concerned about losing the way. The shepherd knows the right way and will make sure the sheep is taken care of.” (John White, The Fight, p. 170)
Throughout Scripture, discipleship is compared to a shepherd leading his sheep (e.g., Psalm 23, John 10). In John 21, Jesus reminds Peter that he is Peter’s shepherd. But he also renews Peter’s calling in a wonderful new way. As he follows Jesus, he is to also feed God’s sheep, the church. We, too, are given this “dual” calling by the Lord – to follow him as his sheep, while also feeding others as the Lord provides. Today, let’s recommit our way in following the Lord, and leading others in the way of his love.
Let’s close in worship according to the song, “Build My Life” inviting Jesus to lead us in his heart today.
Prayer: Lord, I respond once again to your invitation to follow you, and to feed those you have placed under my care. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
“If we want to be committed to Jesus, devoting our lives to following him, we must radically change the way we view our lives. We must look both at our own lives and at the world through the eyes of Christ. Things which once mattered greatly will cease to matter. Other things once thought of as having no consequence will seem paramount.” (John White, The Cost of Commitment)
In Mark 3, when Jesus assembled his twelve disciples together, it says that he gave some of them new names, so that they would live in a new identity. Jesus also calls us in the same way to follow him. Commitment to discipleship in Christ is more than an activity or set of practices. Christian discipleship is embracing a completely new identity, as Paul says, “forgetting what is behind.”
Let’s respond in singing the song “Hymn of Surrender”, straining ahead in our new identity in Christ today.
Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, that you have taken hold of my life! I desire to follow you with all my life. Renew my heart and my mind by the Spirit, so that I live as a new creation today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Mark 8:14-17 (NIV)
14 The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 15 “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” 16 They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.” 17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread?
“Who here has ever forgotten to bring the bread in a ministry situation? It is so interesting how we are just like the disciples — a little mishap or failure can cause distraction from the bigger picture. It is amazing what Jesus is saying here: our calling as disciples is so much bigger than any smaller failure. Jesus’ ministry through his disciples is superabundant – twelve basketfuls and seven more.” (Pastor Nate Briggs)
At times, we might focus on the “mechanics” of discipleship, losing sight of the bigger picture of our calling as disciples. Yes, we must strive to be excellent in how we love others and the church, which are good indicators of spiritual growth and maturity. But in all this, Jesus reminds us that even when we forget to bring the snacks, we always have the “one loaf” that we need – Jesus himself.
Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for calling me to be your disciple. Open my eyes to see, to seek and to experience your presence in my life, in my ministry and in the church. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Mark 3:13-19 (NIV)
13 Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons. 16 These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter), 17 James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder”), 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
“Our first calling is to Christ himself—to know him, love him, and be with him. And yet, to be with Jesus is not a static experience.” [Jeremy Treat, Seek First, pp. 87-88]
When Jesus gathered the twelve disciples, we discover some amazing things about his heart for them. He first desired that they be with him, and to walk in his love. He gave some of them new names, so that they would live in a new identity. Jesus also calls us in the same way, forming us in his purpose, and equipping us to live for the kingdom of God.
Let’s respond in singing the song “Fire Fall”, asking the Lord for his fire in our lives.
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for calling me near to you! Bring me near to you in the power of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Mark 1:15-20 (NIV)
15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.
“Many forget that the call to follow Jesus comes within the context of the kingdom of God. This is evident in Mark’s Gospel where Jesus’s initial proclamation—“the kingdom of God is at hand” (1:15)—is immediately accompanied with an invitation: “follow me” (1:17). To heed the call of Christ is to follow him as king and to live in light of his kingdom. This is more than an emotional decision we make at an event. It is an adventure for all of life.” [Jeremy Treat, Seek First, p. 86]
The kingdom of God is all about timing, and the book of Mark portrays the urgency with which Jesus proclaims the gospel, calls his disciples, and begins his mission. Discipleship is predicated by immediate, timely response of those called. Peter and Andrew were ready to follow Jesus immediately!
Are there areas where you have been slow to respond in following Jesus?
Prayer: Lord, ready my heart to respond to your invitation today. Fill me with the urgency to seek your kingdom first today. In Jesus’ name, amen.