Day Five: Friends of God and the Mission of God

John 15:14-15 NIVYou are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business…Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

“Our friendship with Jesus is an obedience-based friendship. It’s about knowing the master’s business. It is about being chosen to be the friend of God. Therefore, the definition of being Jesus’ friends, it is not only about those who know, but also live in obedience in the mission of God and the Father’s business. And this is the incredible invitation that the Lord gives us to the depths of his heart – the mission of God to this broken and lost world.” (Pastor Gus’ message)

Being friends of God cannot be separated from being part of the mission of God.  What great calling that the Lord has given us as his church.  As we grow remaining in his love, in obedience to his commands and in love for one another, may our hearts be stirred afresh for his calling for his mission to love those who are broken and lost.

Let’s take some time praying for our churches – Agapé Mission Church, Agapé Life Church, Agapé Harvest Church, Ecclesia Paris and Ecclesia New York City.

Prayer: Father, we pray for our churches.  Thank you for calling us your friends and including us in the great privilege of being called for your mission.  May we grow in love and obedience to you, growing in deeper love for one another.  Empower us today for the mission that you have for us as each one of us is growing in the church.  May there be greater clarity of our hearts and minds of who we are as your people and your friends, chosen for your mission. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship the Lord with this song, “We Could Change the World” by Matt Redman, believing in how we are called to live for his mission as his church (click here).

– EK

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Day Four: Redefining Friendship

 John 15:9, 10, 13 NIV “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.  If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love...Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

“Biblical friendships or any relationship, begins in our relationship with God. Relationships flow from the very fellowship within the Triune God, the Trinity…The love that is present is – ‘as the Father has loved me,’ Jesus says, ‘so have I loved you.’ It is that kind of relationship.  The love that has been poured out, Jesus says, is when he laid down his life for us…This redefines the basis, the purpose, the foundation of every single relationship that we have as God’s people.” (Pastor Gus’ message)

“Our relationship with each other grows out of the eternal relationship of the three members of the Godhead. All our relationships emerge and draw their energy from our relationship with Christ.” (Grant Osborne, John Verse by Verse)

Today, let’s consider in thankfulness the biblical, true friendship that we have with one another in the church.  Together, we belong to God.  Our energy to care for and to love one another flows out of the love of our Triune God. May the Lord grow us in his love for one another.

In prayer, let’s consider one person in the church that you are to pray for.

Prayer: Father, I pray for ______.  Thank you for the friendship that we share together in Christ.  I pray for the needs and concerns on his/her heart.  May he/she be drawn into deeper intimacy with you, remaining in your love and growing in obedience to you.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s thank God for how we can grow in his deep love for one another as we worship with this song, “Love So High” by Matt Redman (click here).

– EK

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Day Three: Friends of Jesus

Let’s read aloud John 15:9-17 NIV and this prayer together:

 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.  This is my command: Love each other.”

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you that you have made it possible for us to be called your friends.  By your Spirit, may you enable us to remain in your love daily and to be obedient to your commands.  That we may bear fruit, “fruit that will last” and our lives would be for your glory.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

In worship to our Lord Jesus, let’s sing this song, “I Have A Savior” by CeCe Winans (click here).

– EK

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Day Two: Friendship with God

“God has a plan or purpose for every person, although many people go through life without ever thinking about it. But their lack of awareness doesn’t change the fact that God put each of us here for a purpose. We aren’t here by accident. We are here because God put us here. And He put us here for a reason: so we could come to know Him in a personal way and then live in a way that brings glory to His name.
This is the greatest discovery you will ever make: you were created to know God and to be His friend forever. When I was young, my mother taught me from our church’s catechism that ‘the chief end [or purpose] of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’
But God not only has a general purpose for each of us; He also has a specific plan for each of our lives. Don’t wander through life without any purpose or direction, but pray and seek God’s will, and learn to follow Him.”
(Billy Graham, Hope for Each Day: Morning & Evening Devotions, p.8)

Our friendship with God entails believing in his purpose for our lives.  Let’s consider his purpose for us today.  May we seek his will and learn to follow him.

Let’s close meditating and praying through Psalm 86:11-13 NLT

Teach me your ways, O LORD,
that I may live according to your truth!
Grant me purity of heart,
so that I may honor you.
With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God.
I will give glory to your name forever,
for your love for me is very great.
You have rescued me from the depths of death.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

May this be the prayer of our hearts throughout the day.  Let’s close with this song, “Unto Him” by Shane and Shane (click here).

– EK

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Day One: “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”

Let’s read these lyrics from this classic hymn:

What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!

O what peace we often forfeit
O what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer

Here is what is said about the author, Joseph Scriven, who wrote the hymn in 1855:

“Until a short time before his death it was not known that he had a poetic gift. A neighbor, sitting up with him in his illness, happened upon a manuscript copy of ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus.’ Reading it with great delight and questioning Mr. Scriven about it, he said that he had composed it for his mother, to comfort her in a time of special sorrow, not intending that anyone else should see it. Some time later, when another Port Hope neighbor asked him if it was true he composed the hymn, his reply was, ‘The Lord and I did it between us.'” (Robert J. Morgan, Then Sings My Soul)

John 15:13, 15a NIVGreater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends… I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends…

Let us remember the deep and great privilege that Jesus would call us his friends, displaying “greater love” by laying down his life for us.  This is where our understanding of true and real friendship begins.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, that you would call us your friends and for the “greater love” you have shown us on the cross.  We come to you in prayer today, depending on you for all things and desiring to walk closely with you.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

With thankful hearts, let’s close singing this modernized version of the hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” by Reawaken Hymns (click here).

– EK

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Day Five: Heavenward Mission

Colossians 4:2-4 NIV
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.

We are committed to world mission, because it is central to our understanding of God, the Bible, the Church, human history and the ultimate future. The whole Bible reveals the mission of God to bring all things in heaven and earth into unity under Christ, reconciling them through the blood of his cross… God will transform the fractured world of nations that are scattered under the judgment of God into the new humanity that will be redeemed by the blood of Christ from every tribe, nation, people and language, and will be gathered to worship our God and Savior. God will destroy the reign of death, corruption and violence when Christ returns to establish his eternal reign of life, justice and peace. Then God, Immanuel, will dwell with us, and the kingdom of the world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ and he shall reign for ever and ever.
(excerpt from The Cape Town Commitment, 10. We love the mission of God)

Prayer: Lord, may you open the door for us to proclaim the good news of Jesus to those in our workplaces and classes, in our families, and to our neighbors. Fill us with your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship to the song “We Could Change the World” by Matt Redman (click here)

-LB

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Day Four: Peace of Christ Rule

Colossians 3:15-17 NIV
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

When we enter into worship, we come into a place of safety and order, we let the peace of Christ rule. We’re allowing the order of God to reorder our lives, and we rest in his presence. We allow the order of God to reorder our hearts and minds as we admonish one another, sing, and give thanks for what God is doing.

Prayer: Lord, we worship you today. We bring our brokenness to you and ask that you would reorder our hearts and minds, so that Christ would rule and dwell in us. May our lives overflow in worship of you, for you alone are worthy. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship to the song “Echo Holy” by Red Rocks Worship (click here)

-LB

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Day Three: Chosen, Holy and Dearly Loved

Colossians 3:12-14 NIV
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Galatians 5:22-24 NIV
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires

As we clothe ourselves and put on Christ, we have access to the things of Jesus. When we put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, these are not from us but from Jesus, and God is at work because we are united with Christ. That is the order of the Lord working through our relationships and through our lives. There is something that God is giving us to give, and put on. (Paraphrased from P. Nate’s Message)

Let’s declare today, “I am chosen, I am holy, I am dearly loved!” and clothe ourselves with Christ.

Prayer: Lord, thank you that I am united with Christ, I am chosen, I am holy, I am dearly loved. May you work through me in my relationships to glorify you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship to the song “Touch of Heaven” by Bethel Music (click here)

-LB

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Day Two: Clothed with Christ

Colossians 3:9-11 NIV
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Each day we have a choice, to put on the new self united with Christ in baptism, renouncing all other allegiances.

“Now he reiterates the radical new order that emerges as a result –a new order in which all merely human-based distinctions predicated on ethnicity (no gentile or Jew), religion (circumcised or uncircumcised), cultural status (barbarian, Scythian), or social status (slave or free) are abolished (echoing his earlier statement in Gal 3:28. As important as these distinctions would have been to most people in their everyday lives in the  Roman Empire—and continue to be in many cultures today–Paul insists that they have no significance of any kind in terms of one’s relationship with God and thus no impact on everyday relationships within the community of faith.” (Gordon Fee, Paul and New Creation Theology, 50)

Prayer: Lord, I take off the old self and put on the new self, which is being renewed in the knowledge in the image of you. I am a child of God. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship to the song “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music (click here)

-LB

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Day One: Heaven is Here Now

Let’s read aloud together the following passages:

Colossians 3:1-4 NIV
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Matthew 6:33 NIV
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Prayer: Lord, thank you that through your son Jesus, I am united to Christ. Heaven is here, and I belong to the new creation now. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship to the song “The Glory of Our King” by Matt Redman (click here)

– LB

 

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