Let’s read aloud together the following scripture, confession and prayer:
Ezekiel 37:2-6 (NIV) He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign LORD, you alone know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’”
“In the Old Testament we see the Spirit of God active in creation, in works of liberation and justice, and in filling and empowering people for every kind of service… Prophets also looked to the coming age that would be marked by the outpouring of God’s Spirit, bringing new life, fresh obedience, and prophetic gifting to all the people of God, young and old, men and women.” [The Cape Town Commitment, We love God the Holy Spirit]
Prayer: Spirit of God, we ask that you would breathe your breath of life into our children, our students, our Grads, and our Missional Groups. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to the song “Dry Bones” by Worship Central (click here).
1 Corinthians 14:24-25 (NLT) But if all of you are prophesying, and unbelievers or people who don’t understand these things come into your meeting, they will be convicted of sin and judged by what you say. As they listen, their secret thoughts will be exposed, and they will fall to their knees and worship God, declaring, “God is truly here among you.”
“Mr. [Charles] Spurgeon looked at me as if he knew me, and in his sermon he pointed to me, and told the congregation that I was a shoemaker, and that I kept my shop open on Sundays; and I did, sir. I should not have minded that; but he also said that I took ninepence that Sunday before, and that there was fourpence profit out of it. I did take ninepence that day, and fourpence was just the profit; but how he should know that, I could not tell. Then it struck me that it was God who had spoken to my soul through him, so I shut up my shop the next Sunday. At first, I was afraid to go again to hear him, lest he should tell the people more about me; but afterwards I went, and the Lord met with me, and saved my soul.” [Sam Storms, The Beginner’s Guide to Spiritual Gifts, Kindle 113]
Prayer: God, whether for an unbelievers’ salvation or for believers’ strengthening, encouraging, and comfort, let us know it is you who has spoken. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to the song, “Here Again” by Elevation Worship (click here).
1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 (NIV) Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good.
“Do not, he says, quench the Spirit by treating prophetic utterances with contempt. The proper solution to the problem of potential abuse is not to throw out the baby with the bath water; it is instead to ‘test everything’ (5:21a). Paul strikes a careful balance here: ‘Because such utterances are from the Holy Spirit, they must not be despised, but also because such utterances come through merely human vessels,’ they are not to be accepted blindly just because someone claims to have the Spirit… Once a prophecy has been ‘tested,’ the next step is clear: Hold on firmly to those that are good, and have nothing to do with those that are not.” [Michael W. Holmes, NIVAC: 1 & 2 Thessalonians, pp. 184-5]
If the word is something about your future, write it down or store it in your memory, and wait on God to reveal the fuller meaning. If the word is immediately applicable, let it sink deep in, let it be directional, let it change you, let it make you feel especially loved and remembered by God.
Prayer: Father, help us to hold on to what is good, to remember, to stay affected, to be formed and filled by what you would say to us. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to the song, “Goodness of God” by Bethel Music (click here).
Let’s read aloud together the following scriptures, confession and prayer:
1 Corinthians 12:7-11 (NIV) Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
Heidelberg Catechism (Lord’s Day 21) Q. What do you understand by “the communion of saints”? A. First, that believers one and all, as members of this community, share in Christ and in all his treasures and gifts.
Second, that each member should consider it a duty to use these gifts readily and joyfully for the service and enrichment of the other members.
1 Corinthians 14:3 (NIV) But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.
Prayer: Father, thank you for the myriad of the wonderful gifts of the Spirit given to the church, given to us, given to me. May there be more to come in our churches as we faithfully and joyfully share in our gifts. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to the song, “More to Come” by Passion Music (click here).
1 Corinthians 14:1 (NIV) Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.
“Paul valued this gift so highly that he told the Corinthians, ‘Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy‘ (1 Cor. 14:1). Then at the end of his discussion of spiritual gifts he said again, ‘So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy‘ (1 Cor. 14:39). If Paul was eager for the gift of prophecy to function at Corinth, troubled as the church was by immaturity, selfishness, divisions, and other problems, then should we not also actively seek this valuable gift in our congregations today?” [Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, Kindle 1311]
Prophecy is a love gift–its motivation is love, its expression is love, its fruit is love. When we engage in prophetic prayer and encouragement, we are engaging in love. It’s as if the supernatural touches down in that moment of prayer, in that moment of sharing; and in that time and space, we know God exists, we know he loves us, and we know he is speaking in our language to tell us so. Therefore, prophecy is available to all Christians.
Prayer: Father, may our love for you compel us into love for our brothers and sisters where we will be eager to minister in the gifts of your Spirit, especially prophecy. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to the song, “How Great is Your Love” by Phil Wickham (click here).
2 Samuel 9:1,7,8 NIV “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
“Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”
Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”
[Excerpt from Zara Jariol Testimony]
The session leader shared the words “broken vessel,” and I remember thinking, “Yes, my dad needs to be a broken vessel!” but instead he said that I am to be the broken vessel.
Song of Songs 2:4 NIV “Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love.”
God’s hesed kindness shepherded and prepared David throughout his life to not just be king but to be a servant. As David had received God’s kindness, he then cared for Mephibosheth like a good shepherd by leading him to good pasture and fully redeeming his livelihood. He also welcomed him to the king’s banqueting table. Mephibosheth had probably expected death. This was too good to be true. The banner over his life was no longer shame and fear but a song of love.
Prayer: Father, empower us to be the broken vessels of your kindness so that others may come and join the song of the redeemed at your banqueting table. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to the song, “Death Was Arrested” by North Point Worship (click here).
1 Samuel 26:11a NIV But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed.
When encouraged to kill Saul in defense of his life, David’s heart attitude was essentially, “only you are God, I am not.” David lived his life bowed down before the very eyes of God. He refused to harm the Lord’s anointed.
Zara shared that after meeting God and his love, she received his supernatural forgiveness and freedom.
[Excerpts from Zara Jariol Testimony]
“…how can you truly forgive if you have not experienced true forgiveness yourself? For me, that happened my junior year in college when I experienced a love like no other… For the first time ever, I saw my dad and I on the same level – sinners in need of God’s forgiveness. I received much healing and forgiveness from God that year.
… God rendered me incapable of holding what my dad did to me against him. What my dad did no longer hurt me. And more than wanting my dad to change, I wanted him to know the Lord… I can’t help but be in awe because I’m forgiven and free, and so is my dad!”
When we encounter the greatness and truth of who God is, God’s rightness takes over and the power of his love and forgiveness brings us freedom like no other.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to encounter you in Spirit and truth today that we may experience afresh your forgiveness and freedom. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to the song, “Great Things” by Phil Wickham (click here).
Psalm 130:1-4 NIV 1 Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; 2 Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy. 3 If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? 4 But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
Luke 23:34a Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
“The point of Psalm 130 is to remind people that the darkness of the depths is not life as God intended it – that such darkness is not the end of our story… One narrative exchanged for another – darkness for light, death for life…the psalmist leans forward toward the God he knows – the one who chooses to love us, redeem us, forgive us… the one who invites us all into a new narrative, a narrative marked by grace.” [W.D. Tucker & J.A. Grant. Psalms, Vol. 2. The NIV Application Commentary, 829.]
We no longer live life “out of the depths.” We now live in the new narrative of our Father’s grace flowing from Jesus. Our record has been made clean! We experience this reality every day as we confess our sins, for God delights in forgiving us and pouring out his mercies through the Spirit.
Prayer: Father, thank you that you have made us clean. Help us to live in this amazing grace that flows from Jesus into our lives through your mercies new every morning! In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s Worship to the song, “Mercies” by Matt Redman (click here).
Exodus 34:6 NIV “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness”
1 Samuel 20:14-15a NIV “But show me unfailing kindness like the Lord’s kindness as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, 15 and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family…”
2 Samuel 9:3 NIV The king asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?”
God describes himself as hesed – compassionate, gracious, abounding in love and faithfulness. God shows himself by “doing” hesed in his relationship with his people, often translated as showing kindness or grace.
“What makes hesed an act of ‘kindness’ is often the fact that one member in the relationship is in a position to render help or aid to the other, who is for one reason or another in need and unable to help or aid the other.” [Bill T. Arnold. 1&2 Samuel. The NIV Application Commentary, 506.]
The story of David and Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel 9 is a beautiful picture of God’s loving kindness in action. We were utterly helpless and lost in sin without hope until God “did” hesed – he poured out immeasurable grace, coming to us and saving us through Jesus. Now we too can show this same kindness to others.
Prayer: Father, may your immeasurable grace abound to us that we may express your hesed kindness to others. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to the song, “Same Jesus” by Matt Redman (click here).
Let’s read aloud together the following scripture, confession and prayer:
Psalm 103:1-5 NIV 1 Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Jesus is the one through whom alone God established his kingdom and acted for the salvation of the world, enabling all nations on earth to be blessed… The gospel declares that, on the cross of Christ, God took upon himself, in the person of his Son and in our place, the judgment our sin deserves. In the same great saving act, completed, vindicated and declared through the resurrection, God won the decisive victory over Satan, death and all evil powers, liberated us from their power and fear, and ensured their eventual destruction. God accomplished the reconciliation of believers with himself and with one another across all boundaries and enmities. ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.’ How we love the gospel story! [The Cape Town Commitment – We love the gospel of God.]
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for the power of the Gospel. All our sins are forgiven by your death on the cross! We give you the highest praise! In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to “Highest Praise” by Phil Wickham (click here)