Isaiah 61:1 (NLT) The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.
Act 16:25-26 (NIV) 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.
We find Paul and Silas sitting in a dark cell at midnight, but they are no ordinary men. They are the Isaiah 61 anointed servants of the Lord; their hearts are full of light, their eyes are full of God, and their mouths are filled with prayers and hymns. With them sat a rapt audience; they too were spoken of in Isaiah 61–the poor, the brokenhearted, captives, prisoners. At whatever time, at whatever setting, or better yet, at all times, and in all settings, we are the anointed servants of the Lord… the Spirit of the Lord is upon us too.
Prayer: Father, we embrace this called life as your anointed servants. Help us to take hold of the opportunities to preach, to show mercy, to pray for others. May what you desire to do in our families, on our campuses, in our communities, and among our churches come as we willingly and actively participate. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to the song, “Hands to the Heavens” by Kari Jobe (click here).
Luke 11:11-13 (NRSV) 11 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
“The key is that in both instances what he gives looks like what the child is asking for. The child comes in for lunch and asks for some fish and an egg. Instead of the fish, the father gives a snake that resembles a fish somewhat, and instead of an egg he gives a scorpion that can curl into a ball and lure its prey. No true father would do anything that cruel, but that’s the point… The one thing we can be certain of is that God is a loving Father who watches over us and wants only what is best. That is proved in his greatest gift, the Holy Spirit.” (Grant R. Osborne)
May we not be satisfied with the world’s knock-offs, cheap imitations, confusing human ambition with spiritual calling, or human talents as spiritual gifting, or human-wrought gains as spiritual blessings. We get to ASK for the actual filling and empowering of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: God we come asking, seeking, and knocking; give us discernment to see and call what is false, false, and to receive from you what is of your Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to the song “Everything” by Lauren Daigle (click here).
Ephesians 5:15-18 (NLT) 15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.
“The Spirit thus empowers ethical life in all its dimension–individually, within the community, and to the world. Believers in Christ who are Spirit people first and foremost, are variously described as living by the Spirit, walking in the Spirit, being led by the Spirit, bearing the fruit of the Spirit, and sowing to the Spirit. Ethics for Paul is likewise founded in the Trinity: the Spirit of God conforms the believers into the likeness of Christ to the glory of God. The Spirit is thus the empowering presence of God for living the life of God in the present.” (Gordon D. Fee, Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God)
We are to live carefully, wisely, and thoughtfully, knowing what the Lord would want us to do. Thus, we walk in the Spirit–aligning our physical steps, our life rhythm strides, our heartbeat movements–with those of the Spirit as individuals and as God’s people.
Prayer: Father, watch over us as we learn how to walk. Pick us up in your arms and reset our feet, steady us Lord so we will walk towards your waiting arms. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to the song, “Holy Spirit” by Jesus Culture (click here).
Deuteronomy 30:6 (NIV) 6 The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.
Col. 2:11 (NLT) 11 When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature.
“These passages call on the people to circumcise their hearts, that is, to turn from their unfaithfulness and serve God. Deuteronomy 30:6 promises that after the exile God will circumcise the hearts of the Israelites so that they will love and serve God as they should. This is the kind of circumcision that Colossians says has been accomplished among its readers; since their circumcision was not done by hands, it was an act of God.” (Jerry L. Sumney, Colossians)
Love God and live… Adam and Eve couldn’t do it and thus God did a hard reset. But Noah’s family and the generations that followed couldn’t do it either so God chose a subset–Abraham and his descendants. They would be a marked covenant people, but even they couldn’t make it. Yet, a promise was given of a time when God’s people would be identified not by a physical act, but one that was spiritual, a circumcision of the heart. That is ours today through the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: Father, we thank you for our circumcised hearts, that we get to love you and live. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to the song, “Come and See” by Matt Redman (click here).
Let’s read aloud together the following confession, passage, and prayer:
Cape Town Commitment
At Pentecost God poured out his Holy Spirit as promised by the prophets and by Jesus. The sanctifying Spirit produces his fruit in the lives of believers, and the first fruit is always love. The Spirit fills the Church with his gifts, which we ‘eagerly desire’ as the indispensable equipment for Christian service…
Our engagement in mission, then, is pointless and fruitless without the presence, guidance and power of the Holy Spirit. This is true of mission in all its dimensions: evangelism, bearing witness to the truth, discipling, peace-making, social engagement, ethical transformation, caring for creation, overcoming evil powers, casting out demonic spirits, healing the sick, suffering and enduring under persecution. All we do in the name of Christ must be led and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The New Testament makes this clear in the life of the early Church and the teaching of the apostles. It is being demonstrated today in the fruitfulness and growth of Churches where Jesus’ followers act confidently in the power of the Holy Spirit, with dependence and expectation.
John 3:6-7 (NLT)
6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. 7 So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’
Prayer: Father, thank you for the spiritual life we have received through faith in Christ, we have truly been born again. Help us to live in the Spirit’s empowering as your people. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to the song, “Glory to Glory” by Worship Central (click here).