Day 5 – Ask, Believe, & Forgive

Mark 11:24-25
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

“The disciples, watching in amazement, learn another lesson as well. They will be faced with ‘this mountain’—the mountain where the Temple sits, ruled over by the hard-hearted chief priests—in the days to come. They will need to have faith that God will overthrow the system and all that it represents. The lesson goes wider, in line with Jesus’ repeated teaching about prayer and faith. Ask; believe; and it will happen. But remember: while asking, forgive (verse 25). The door that opens to let forgiveness out of your heart towards someone else is the door through which God’s forgiveness will enter.” (NT Wright, Lent For Everyone: Mark, p.119)

“Jesus, through his death, resurrection, and ascension, moved the mountains of sin, of death, of condemnation, of judgment, of fruitlessness, of powerlessness, of unforgiveness. In doing so, it has been given to us to bear the fruit of living in this reality and to share with others the invitation to do so as well.” (Anne Kim)

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for removing the mountains of our sin, fruitlessness, and unforgiveness. Today, by your Spirit’s power, we will ask, believe, and forgive. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship Jesus with “Believe For It” by CeCe Winans (click here)

– JL

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Day 4 – A New Praying Community

Mark 11:20-23 (NIV)
In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.

“Jesus expected [the temple] to be a house of prayer for all nations, though he went on to predict its destruction. In his explanation of the fig tree’s withering, Jesus envisioned a future without a temple. But its demise would not bring an end to effective prayer; ‘there will be a new praying community.’” (David Garland, Mark (NIVAC), p.448)

“The work of Jesus can continue through the disciples because they are to have faith in God the same way Jesus had faith in doing all the miracles, signs and wonders he performed. And through Jesus’ death and resurrection, the knowing of the Father and asking in prayer in Jesus’ name becomes available to us.” (Anne Kim)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, as your Spirit indwells and empowers us, we will be your believing and praying community. In your name, we cry out and ask for your salvation, healing, and redemption for our cities and campuses. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s sing unto the Lord with “Mighty God” by Elevation Worship (click here)

– JL

 

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Day 3 – Time’s Up!

Mark 11:15-17 NIV
On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’

“As the fig tree’s time is barren, so is the temple’s. Time can run out for fruitless trees and prayerless temples…The locus of salvation now shifts from the temple to Jesus and his death and resurrection. Faith in him will become the way to God, not the sacrifice of animals in the temple. Thus when Jesus dies, the curtain of the temple is torn from top to bottom.” (David Garland, Mark (NIVAC), p.440)

“Jesus was not merely clearing or cleansing the temple, Jesus was condemning it just as he had done with the fig tree…There would no longer be a need for the temple as Jesus will become the sacrifice through which salvation would come to the people.” (Anne Kim)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for being the once-for-all sacrifice for our salvation. By your grace, we draw near and bless your name. Be worshiped O God, through our every word, thought, and action today. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship the Lord with “The Wonderful Cross” sung by Shane & Shane (click here).

– JL

 

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Day Two – The Divine Mandate

Mark 11:12-14 NIV
The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

“Fruitfulness is a divine mandate… Jesus deliberately chooses a fig tree out of season so the disciples would recognize his symbolic purpose: to depict God’s absolute demand for fruitfulness in every season.” (Grant Osborne, Mark, Kindle loc. 5304)

“When we say God’s mandate for us is to be fruitful, it is a commission to bear fruit, but it also comes with the authority to do so… As Christians, we do, and should all desire to see the evidence of our faith through the good fruit revealed from our lives as it goes from the individual/private to the corporate/public realms. Good fruit shown in our character, in our relationships, in our households, in our ministries, and in the church.” (Adapted from Anne Kim’s message)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for creating us anew in Christ Jesus to bear the fruit of our salvation in every season. Wherever fruit has not been abundantly evident, we humbly turn and receive your commission and authority to live transformed in your purposes. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship Jesus with “I Speak Jesus” by Charity Gayle (click here)

– JL

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Day One – Faith and Fruitfulness

Let’s read and pray aloud the following together:

Psalm 1:1-3 NRSVUE
Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked
    or take the path that sinners tread
    or sit in the seat of scoffers,
but their delight is in the law of the LORD,
    and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees planted by streams of water,
    which yield their fruit in its season,
    and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.
                                   
Psalm 92:12-15 NIV
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
    they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the LORD,
    they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age,
    they will stay fresh and green,
proclaiming, “The LORD is upright;
    he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”
 
Mark 11:22-23 NIV
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, awaken our hearts afresh by the power of your Spirit to the calling you have for each of us – to live spiritually worthwhile lives full of faith and fruitfulness. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Let’s worship the Lord with “No Longer I” by Matt Redman (click here).

– JL

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Day Five: Supernatural Holiness

Mark 9:42-48 (NIV)
42 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea. 43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. [44] 45 And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. [46] 47 And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 48 where ‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’”

Because Jesus radically conquered sin and death on the cross, he has full authority and power over all. He knows our frailty and dealt with our sins, so that we can radically reject what stumbles us from being a part of his kingdom. The greatest commandment means that we love with the whole of who we are – hands, feet, eyes. The path of discipleship and thus greatness lies in his supernatural holiness taking hold of you in overcoming sin so that you fully live in loving God and others.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, in response to your holy love, we bring the whole of our lives before you. Thank you for being near to us. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s sing to our King with “Holy Forever” by Chris Tomlin (click here).

– CHH

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Day Four: In Jesus’ Name

Mark 9:37-41 (NIV)
37 “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us. 41 Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.

“Τhe key is that we welcome, love, and serve ‘in his name’… Jesus isn’t limiting his ministry and authority to a certain few. He wants everyone to be a part of his kingdom and to be involved, whether that’s giving a cup of water or doing a miracle. The point is that we’re all in this together ‘in his name’ and that things are actually happening ‘in his name.’” [Adapted from P. Jason Han’s message]

Prayer: Lord, may your Spirit stir in us renewed vision and hope for your kingdom to come. May we take the next step to serve and love in the name of Jesus. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s lift up the name of our Lord with “All Praise (Sing Praise)” by Matt Redman (click here).

– CHH

 

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Day Three: Welcome

Mark 9:36-37 (NIV)
36 He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

“What, after all, would ‘greatness’ in God’s kingdom look like? Wouldn’t it mean being the sort of person through whom God’s powerful presence would become real? Wasn’t that what had happened back at the start of chapter 6 when they went out and healed people and announced that God was becoming king? Well, yes. But if you want to know how God’s powerful presence comes most easily into the world, go and welcome a child in Jesus’ name. You will be welcoming Jesus himself – and, by doing so, you will be welcoming ‘the one who sent me’ (verse 37). Here is, as it were, the hot line into the powerful presence of God. It isn’t a matter of senior, seasoned leaders going off with their noses in the air and making it all happen. It’s a matter of the least of all, the servant of all, being the greatest.” [N.T. Wright, Lent for Everyone, 92]

Prayer: God, thank you for welcoming and embracing me when I was lost and helpless. May I grow to embrace your heart for me and others in the fullness of your love and power. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s respond to the Lord’s invitation as we worship with “Hymn of Surrender” by Matt Redman (click here).

– CHH

 

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Day Two: True Greatness

Mark 9:33-35 (NIV)
33 They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” 34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.
35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

“The kingdom of God is counterintuitive to how the world works, a reign in which everything is turned on its head, following the character of the God who chooses the younger over the older, who triumphs through the cross, and who manifests his kingship by self-giving love.” [T. Gombis, The Story of God Bible Commentary, 325]

“Jesus is giving them a key kingdom principle: sacrificial love. He himself became last. He didn’t cling on to any status or privilege but took the humble position of a servant. He lived a selfless life and died a selfless death on the cross. Jesus lived what he taught. Look how he’s helping the disciples to see how their understanding of greatness is backwards. They were arguing about being the greatest, but Jesus is telling them that true greatness lies in servanthood.” [Adapted from P. Jason Han’s message]

Prayer: Lord Jesus, may we take the humble position of learning from your example, starting with serving and loving those you have placed in our lives. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship with “The Cross Stands” by Worship Central (click here).

– CHH

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Day One: The Greatest

Let’s read aloud the following scripture and prayer.

Daniel 7:13-14 (NIV)
In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV)
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Prayer: Lord, thank you that there is more for our lives and our churches. Help us to see afresh your everlasting kingdom – how you have authority, glory, and sovereign power over all things. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Let’s sing and give our hearts to the Lord with “Holy Forever” by Chris Tomlin (click here).

– CHH

 

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