Week 4: Friday Morning

Morning Praise: How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Psalm 84:1-2 (TNIV)

The Lord’s Prayer: Quiet your hearts before the Lord for a few moments. Then recall the way Jesus taught his disciples to pray.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Jesus Hymn: Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.  I Tim 3:14-16 (TNIV)

Today we are focusing on our Connection with One Another.

You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness. But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift.

The text for this is, He climbed the high mountain, He captured the enemy and seized the booty, He handed it all out in gifts to the people.

Is it not true that the One who climbed up also climbed down, down to the valley of earth? And the One who climbed down is the One who climbed back up, up to highest heaven. He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.

No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love. Ephesians 4:4-16 (The Message)

The Scripture describes a church where the members share their gifts and move “rhythmically and easily with each other.” Maybe you’re not sure how that description relates to Christ Community Church. Is there something you can do to connect with others to make our church more of a harmonious loving community?

Closing Prayer: Lord, you did not create us to live alone. Thank you for placing us with other Christ-followers in your church. We are grateful for talents you have given us and for showing us how they can be used in your church. Lord, help us step up at Christ Community Church. Grant us the desire to work with others and, when we are timid, the courage to offer our talents. Help us grow in conviction, love, and community at Christ Community Church of the South Hills. Amen.

Week 4: Friday Evening

Call to Praise: Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. Psalm 90:1-2 (TNIV)

After a time of reflective silence, proclaim these words that Jesus spoke: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31 (TNIV)

Examen: Tonight open your hands and your heart before God. Ask God to cleanse the works of your hands and purify the intentions of your heart.

Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? Those who have clean hands and a pure heart, who do not put their trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God their Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob. Psalm 24:3-6 (TNIV)

Apostles Creed: We believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

Today we are focusing on our Connection with One Another.

On the third new moon after the Israelites had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day, they came into the wilderness of Sinai. They had journeyed from Rephidim, entered the wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness; Israel camped there in front of the mountain. Then Moses went up to God; the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites.” So Moses came, summoned the elders of the people, and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. The people all answered as one: “Everything that the Lord has spoken we will do.” Moses reported the words of the people to the Lord. Exodus 19:1-8 (NRSV)

In the Exodus text, we read that God instructed Moses to remind the Israelites of what he had done for them. This memory was shared and treasured by the Israelites. Perhaps you have an awareness of what God has done for Christ Community Church. Think of connections you have with others at the church and how your shared history adds to that connection.

Closing Prayer: O God of our forefathers and foremothers, you reminded the Israelites of your faithfulness, and that history lesson helped them carry out your plan. Thank you for giving Christ Community Church a history and a plan. Renew our bonds of fellowship, friendship and love as we share our history and memories from the Gulf Coast, the kitchen of Shepherd’s Heart, the classrooms of student ministries, the rehearsal room of the musicians, and the bleachers and chairs of worship. Keep us strong, committed and safe, and may we remain in loving community with each other and with you. Amen.