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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