Luke 5:24 (NLT) Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
Acts 9:34 (NLT) Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you! Get up, and roll up your sleeping mat!” And he was healed instantly.
“Luke and Acts are two volumes of one long story, and in the second volume, the Book of Acts, Luke shows that the church continues much of what Jesus began. Jesus’ ministry in the Gospel of Luke serves as the model for ministry in Acts. By emphasizing that the same Spirit who empowered Jesus empowers his followers, Luke reminds us that Christ’s body has the same kind of empowerment Jesus had in his earthly ministry.” (Craig Keener, Gift and Giver)
Just as Jesus did in Capernaum and just as Peter did in Joppa, now we are called to be [your name] in [your campus/city]. It’s our turn now in 2021 to say to the Aeneas’ on our campuses “Jesus Christ heals you!” and to the Tabitha’s in our workplaces “Get up!” Because it is the same Spirit who empowers his church today, let’s believe and anticipate that the Lord will use us in extraordinary ways.
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, in humble obedience and dependence, may you use me to bring your death-to-life power to my family and friends. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
Let’s worship to “Wellspring” by Leeland (click here)
Acts 9:41-43 (NIV) He took [Tabitha] by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon.
Tabitha’s account ends with an interesting tidbit – “Peter stays in Joppa, living with Simon the tanner.” The significance becomes more clear as we realize that to the Jewish people, a tanner was practically an outcast since Jewish law regarded the work as defiling. That Peter would stay with a tanner “for some time” tells a story about how the gospel had reshaped his life and priorities. This is the same Peter who once betrayed Jesus. There was a time when he used to do things his own way, following his own preferences and priorities. But that was not the end of Peter’s story.
Now here in Joppa, we find Peter as one who has been restored and healed by Jesus, each day growing and learning to say “yes” to Jesus. “Staying with a tanner” means the old preferences and priorities no longer matter anymore. Peter now humbly recognizes that any effective ministry must begin with obedience to Jesus’ way.
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, may we be totally open to the work of the gospel in our lives. May the Lord grow in us gospel-shaped character and priorities, where our ministry and evangelism always begins with obedience to the Lord’s way. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
Let’s worship to “Hymn of Surrender” by Matt Redman (click here)
Luke 8:49-50 (NIV) While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.
Acts 9:37-38 (NIV) About that time [Tabitha] became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!”
The Tabitha story begins with men urgently sent from the church in Joppa to retrieve Peter. The account parallels closely with Luke 8 but differs in a noteworthy way. In Luke, the young girl dies while Jesus is en route and a messenger is sent to tell Jesus he no longer needs to come. For them, death was the end. Their response is emblematic of the natural expectations of this broken world. But because of the gospel, the church community in Joppa was different. Death was not the end! They had new default expectations and an urgent faith that included the possibility that the Lord could work in extraordinary ways.
Today, we too are the community that has been saved and reshaped by the gospel. As we meet for small groups and Dive-Ins this week, let us not get stuck in old expectations. Let’s believe together that God is actively working in our midst and is ready to meet us in extraordinary ways.
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, renew in us an urgent faith as we meet together this week. Come in power! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
Let’s worship to “Same Jesus” by Matt Redman (click here)
Let’s read aloud together the following passage, confession and prayer:
Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV) Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Manila Manifesto Twenty-One Affirmations (selections)
10. We affirm that the Holy Spirit’s witness to Christ is indispensable to evangelism, and that without this supernatural work neither new birth nor new life is possible.
11. We affirm that spiritual warfare demands spiritual weapons, and that we must both preach the Word in the power of the Spirit, and pray constantly that we may enter into Christ’s victory over the principalities and powers of evil.
12. We affirm that God has committed to the whole church and every member of it the task of making Christ known throughout the world; we long to see all lay and ordained persons mobilized and trained for this task.
13. We affirm that we who claim to be members of the body of Christ must transcend within our fellowship the barriers of race, gender, and class.
14. We affirm that the gifts of the Spirit are distributed to all God’s people, women and men, and that their partnership in evangelization must be welcomed for the common good.
15. We affirm that we who proclaim the gospel must exemplify it in a life of holiness and love; otherwise our testimony loses its credibility.
16. We affirm that every Christian congregation must turn itself outward to its local community in evangelistic witness and compassionate service.
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, we answer your call to proclaim and demonstrate the gospel in our campuses and cities. Empower us with your Spirit as we bring the good news to our friends, neighbors, and families. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
Let’s worship to “God of Revival” by Phil Wickham (click here)
Acts 9:40-41 (NIV) Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.
On October 20, 2006 Jeff Markin died of a heart attack. Chauncey Crandall prays over the dead body and Markin is miraculously brought back to life. Crandall shares the following:
I heard this voice say “Turn around and pray for that man.” And I wanted to ignore that voice because I said to myself, “How can I pray for that man? He’s dead, he’s gone, there’s no life in him.” But I stopped and thought to myself, I need to honor the Lord. I don’t know how to pray for a dead man, I’ve never done it before, but I will pray ‘in the name of Jesus’ and it will be up to the Lord. So I walked into that room and I started to pray. I didn’t know what to pray but the Holy Spirit gave me the words.
In the face of the impossible deep holes of need the church is called to step into, may we see that Peter’s response is the only appropriate one – to kneel down and pray. Peter’s prayer helps us see that God’s power is less about capability and more about availability. The truth is, none of us are capable. But as we come in humble dependence, we become trustworthy vessels available for the Lord to use. How is the Lord calling you to pray for someone today?
Prayer: “Lord, in humble obedience, I surrender to the Spirit’s leading. I am available. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
Let’s worship to “We Could Change the World” by Matt Redman (click here).
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: 7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; 11 But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity. (Psalm 37:3-5, 7, 11. NIV)
The psalmist recommends the following responses to God’s invitation: trust in, take delight in, commit to and be still before. Because the end result is the inheritance and enjoyment of prosperity and peace, shalom of God’s presence.
Here in our present age, our inheritance of that future prosperity is experienced through salvation of others by the message of the gospel. New lives being born again.
So, let’s pray together according to Sunday’s message response: Let’s seek the Lord’s presence for our workplaces, or even at home if you are a homemaker, school for the students. Let’s pray for the Lord’s prosperity/shalom in all facets of our lives for his glory and salvation of others among us.
Prayer: God we thank you for the promise of your presence. We want to trust, take delight, commit ourselves to be still before you as we seek more of your presence and activity among us. Lord let us prosper with greater numbers of salvation among us. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Let’s sing to the song “Waiting here for you” by Martin Smith.(Click Here)
“How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboyim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused. 9 I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I devastate Ephraim again. For I am God, and not a man— the Holy One among you.
(Hosea: 11:8-9 NIV)
The word for “plan” in Jeremiah 29:11 is the same word used for “thought.” God’s plan for his people is not in the same sense as planning for an event, but it is originated from the depth and thoughtfulness of his heart. In the Hosea passage above, we are given an incredible insight into the heart of God that is stirred with love. In light of this reality, let’s reconsider the questions posed during Sunday’s message response:
How have you walked into work? May the Spirit prompt you to change your mindset to trust in his plans for you. If you struggle with anxiety and worries about job security, be renewed with God’s eternal hope in your heart.
Before we end in prayer, spend a few minutes reflecting and hearing the Spirit speak his overwhelming care and concern over your life.
Prayer: Lord, you are God, the Holy One, who is your equal? Who can understand the depths of love that stirs your heart? We thank you and we will trust in your overwhelming care for our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” 10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29: 4-7, 10-12 NIV)
The Bible shows us God’s truth about human work as part of God’s good purpose in creation. The Bible brings the whole of our working lives within the sphere of ministry, as we serve God in different callings. By contrast, the falsehood of a ‘sacred-secular divide’ has permeated the Church’s thinking and action. This divide tells us that religious activity belongs to God, whereas other activity does not. Most Christians spend most of their time in work which they may think has little spiritual value (so-called secular work). But God is Lord of all of life. ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,’ said Paul, to slaves in the pagan workplace. [Cape Town Commitment IIA3. Truth and the workplace]
Prayer: May your church be a blessing to all around, wherever we go and whenever the situation, God you are the Lord of all of life. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Let’s sing to this song: “Great Things” by Phil Wickham. (Click Here)
Colossians 3:24 NIV “since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
“We have met the language of ‘inheritance’ earlier in Colossians (1:12), where we noted its rich Old Testament associations. ‘Inheritance’ language is used especially often in the Old Testament to denote the promised land, but the land becomes a tangible symbol of all that God promises to do for his people. In the New Testament, therefore, the ‘inheritance’ is ‘the kingdom of God’ (1 Cor. 6:9, 10; 15:50; Gal. 5:21) or ‘salvation’ (Heb. 1:14), an inheritance now ‘kept in heaven for you’ (1 Pet. 1:4) and to be given to God’s people in the last day.” [Moo, Douglas J., The Letters to the Colossians and to Philemon (PNTC)]
We all work for something: promotion, bonus, recognition for a job well done; even housework for well-fed and healthy children, etc. But the greater inheritance is a heavenly reward received now on earth in the form of salvation of lives through the ministry of the gospel. Let’s work for this reward!
Prayer: Lord, help me to do the work for the heavenly kingdom reward. May all that I do serve this purpose! In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s sing to this song “Hymn of Surrender” by Matt Redman (Click Here)
Colossians 3:23 NIV “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”
“Second, whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. The task may appear unimportant or trivial, but the person doing it is never that, and he or she has the opportunity to turn the job into an act of worship…The fourth one is perhaps not to be taken (with NIV) as a statement (It is the Lord Christ that you are serving) but, as is equally possible in the Greek, as a command: ‘Serve the Lord Christ!’ The force of this unusual phrase (Paul nowhere else allows the titles ‘Lord’ and ‘Christ’ to stand together without the name ‘Jesus’ as well) could be brought out by a paraphrase: ‘so work for the true Master—Christ!’ “[N. T. Wright, TNTC Colossians & Philemon]
Today let’s consider this question, “who am I working for?” Let us work for the true Master, Jesus Christ.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, at this moment I want to turn from the worldly way of living, to serve the true Master! I am your servant; help me to live each day to work for you. In your name I pray, amen.
Let’s sing with a heart of devotion: “Build My Life” by Housefires (Click Here)