Praying in One Accord

January 27, 2011

 

Our Bible passage for this week is Acts 1:12-26.  In this passage,  Jesus has just left his disciples and gone back to Heaven.  He has given them instructions:  go and make disciples of the whole earth.  But first, wait for the power you will need to accomplish this task. 

As the disciples gather in Jerusalem to wait for this power, we see them go through the process of replacing Judas as one of the twelve leaders in the new church.  After nominating 2 candidates, they choose Matthias to replace Judas by casting lots.

In this passage, we are introduced to a striking theme that occurs again and again in the book of Acts:  “they were devoting themselves with one accord to prayer”.

There are several questions we will be considering on Sunday night as we discuss this passage:

  • How important was it that the disciples were “devoting themselves with one accord to prayer” during this critical time?
  • Does it really matter if we pray in one accord?
  • What are some impediments to “praying in one accord” these days?
  • What did it cost Matthias to take on this role of becoming one of the 12?
  • How did the earliest Christians make critical life decisions, as depicted in the Book of Acts?

Come and join us on Sunday at 5 PM as we CONNECT in shared space at 5413 Blue Ridge Cutoff, as we share from the Book of Acts with a Sermon called “Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas”.


Sharing a Blessing of Hope with Raytown

January 26, 2011

 

This prayer was delivered as a Blessing of Hope at the Raytown Area Chamber Lunch on Wednesday, Janaury 26 by Lead Pastor Tim Truesdale:

Creator God, we pause right now and recognize the amazing blessings that you have poured out on our community.  We have food, clothing, shelter, housing, we have friendship, peace in our streets, and amazing religious freedom.  When we honestly compare our lives to conditions faced in the rest of the world, we are truly humbled.  

It is from a place of humbled gratitude, that we pause to speak up and speak out for those in our community who are in need of hope today.

Creator God, we need hope to live this abundant life that you have created us to live.  We recognize that hope is like oxygen for us. Without hope, we are paralyzed, and our lives begin to shut down.

Many of us in the Raytown community are in need of hope today.  

We have neighbors who are hungry and whose cupboards are bare. We need your hope today.

Many are working as hard as they can to provide for their families, who are facing unemployment, foreclosure, bankruptcy.  We need your hope today.

All of the special men and women who work tirelessly with our needy neighbors day in and day out.  We need your hope today.

Many whose businesses and organizations are changing at a breakneck speed that is difficult to keep up with. We need your hope today.

And many are facing severe relationship wounds.  

Some are facing spiritual crises today.

So Creator God, with an honest appraisal of your need for your hope, we come before you today.  We come as humbly as we can.  Not because of any spiritual achievemnt on our part, but because of your great love and mercy towards us.

We rest in the faith that you have an incredible plan for each one of us, and that you have an incredible plan for our community. We recognize that all things work together for good for those who love you and are part of your purpose.

And Creator God, we confess that each one of us has placed our hope in something other than you from time to time.  We have put our trust in things that were created by you, instead of putting our trust in you, our creator.  For this mistake, we are truly sorry, we humbly repent, and we seek your loving forgiveness.

We acknowledge that you have the power to stir up hope,  and in Jesus name, we bless each one who is here today with an overflow of your unlimited hope, without measure.  Creator God, we bless each person in our community who is need today of your hope and encouragement.  

And we invite you to remind us again and again of your word that “in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

We will continue to work at those things you have given us to do, as long as you give us the strength and the hope to continue.

All this we pray in your Holy Name.  Amen.


Jesus is Coming Again!

January 20, 2011

 

Our Scripture passage for this week is Acts 1:6-11.  In this passage, we have an account of Jesus’ final moments on the Earth and his glorious return to Heaven.  Gathering the disciples together, Jesus once again reminds them of their Global Mission of sharing the Jesus story with the whole world. 

He also promises the Holy Spirit, who will empower them to accomplish this mission.  As He is lifted up and is covered by a cloud, 2 angels appear and announce that Jesus will come in the same way as they saw him go into heaven.

Although it must have been challenging for the disciples to see Jesus leave them, there are several tokens in this story that demonstrate God’s great love for them:

  • They were once again promised the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • They were given clear direction about their mission of evangelizing the world.  There was no confusion about their purpose in life!
  • Angels were sent to bring a clear message about what had happened, and to foretell that Jesus would return in the same way that He left.
  • Finally, Jesus will not be physically absent from the Earth forever, but is coming again!

Come and join us on Sunday at 5 PM as we CONNECT in shared space at 5413 Blue Ridge Cutoff, as we share from the Book of Acts with a Sermon called “The Ascension”.


The Promise of the Holy Spirit

January 13, 2011

 

With an Introduction behind us, we launch forward this week into the Book of Acts with a look at Acts 1:1-5.  In this passage, we are immediately struck by a strange twist in the story of the Gospel.  Once Jesus has given the disciples the task of sharing Christianity with the entire world, He then tells them that the next step in this massive global mission is simply to head back to Jerusalem and stay put.  Sounds a bit anticlimactic?

Actually, the danger was that they would try to take on this task in their own strength, a strategy which wouldn’t have taken them very far.  In order to have any chance of accomplishing this great task of evangelizing the world, they would have to stay put until they received a totally new way of relating to God:  the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Here are some of the questions we will be asking on Sunday as we discuss this passage:

  • Why does God give us stuff to do, and then sometimes ask us to wait?
  • Is this promise of the Holy Spirit something that originated with Jesus, or with John the Baptist, or does it go back to promises God made in the Old Testament?
  • What are the similarities between a baptism in water and a baptism in the Holy Spirit?
  • Are people who follow Jesus still baptized in the Holy Spirit today?
  • How do I know if I have been baptized in the Holy Spirit?
  • Do I want to be baptized in the Holy Spirit?

Come and join us on Sunday at 5 PM as we CONNECT in shared space at 5413 Blue Ridge Cutoff,  as we share from the Book of Acts with a Sermon called “The Promise of the Holy Spirit”.


Introducing the Book of Acts

January 9, 2011

This week, we kick off a new weekly series on the Book of Acts.  This book is an excellent companion to the rest of the New Testament as it demonstrates how the first followers of Jesus engaged their world with His message and mission.  Tonight, we will look at three key themes of the book, based on Acts 1:7-8.

  1. God has a sovereign time appointed for the end of the age, and we are relieved from having to worry about when that will be.
  2. We will receive Power when the Holy Spirit has come upon us.
  3. We will be his witnesses all over the World.

So, as we are introducing this key book, there are several questions we will be addressing:

  • How does the Book of Acts demonstrate God’s core character of Love?
  • How does the infilling of the Holy Spirit demonstrate God’s Love?
  • What does it mean to be a “witness” as described in the verses we are looking at tonight?

Come and join us on Sunday at 5 PM as we CONNECT in shared space at 5413 Blue Ridge Cutoff, and as we kick off a new year together in the Book of Acts with a Sermon Series called “Introducing the Book of Acts”.