Wednesday, January 26, 2011

DAY 10 – JAN. 26th : PHILIPPIANS 3:7-11

For those participating in the 24-hour fast, you will be skipping breakfast and lunch today (Remember to continue drinking fluids during this fast). Tonight Redeemer will be gathering for a prayer meeting and breaking the fast together afterwards.

In Philippians 3, Paul speaks of those who “put confidence in the flesh” and look to and trust in their resumes of righteousness. In opposing such a view, he lists his background, a background which any first century Jew would be proud to possess. Paul calls and considers his past genealogy and accomplishments as rubbish when compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ.

Like Paul, we are called to constantly seek after how we might “gain Christ.” We want to know Him, to see Him, to partake in Him and to become more like Him. This is our goal and hope. Here at Redeemer, we use the language of “following Jesus.” What will help us follow closer?

Weekly attendance, growing community groups, -- all of these are wonderful opportunities that we want to be faithful in for His kingdom, but above all we simply want whatever will bring us more of Christ.

Reflection and Intercession:

  1. Consider.
    • Can you agree with Paul and count all things as loss and rubbish?
    • Is your one overarching and underlying desire to get more of Christ?
  2. Confess.
    • Confess any affections which compete for your attention.
  3. Praise.
    • Praise God for the gift of His Son.
    • Praise God that He has promised that all things will work together to conform us to Christ’s image (Romans 8:28-30).
  4. Intercede.
    • Ask God to cultivate in yourself and our church a deeper passion for the person of Jesus Christ.
    • Ask God to grant our elders and pastors wisdom and insight into what will allow us to experience greater depths of knowing Christ.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

DAY 9 – JAN. 25th : MATTHEW 9:35-38

Today begins the 24-hour fast which we will break together tomorrow after the prayer meeting. For those participating in the 24-hour fast, eat your evening meal some time before 7 P.M. (see the introductory notes for some practical guidelines).

The ministry of Jesus was holistic. He ministered in power, truth and love as He taught, proclaimed and healed. In Matthew 9, we see Him filled with compassion for the crowds who were described as being “like sheep without a shepherd.” Speaking to His disciples, Jesus then declares that the harvest is plentiful and that we should therefore pray for laborers in the harvest.

We believe that the harvest is plentiful today as well. We believe that God has many in this city who are ordained for life, as He had many in Corinth who were set apart to hear and trust the gospel (Acts 18:10). We must therefore be diligent to pray to the Lord to send out laborers into His harvest.

If we are going to reach this city and beyond, we need laborers who are willing to share in that work. The pastors and elders of Redeemer simply cannot do it alone, nor are they called to do it alone (Ephesians 4:12). For some, that may someday mean personally leaving the body of Redeemer to help plant a church elsewhere. For all, that will mean faithfulness to pray for God to send laborers and to pray for the laborers that He sends.

Reflection and Intercession:

  1. Consider.
    • How often do you pray for laborers to be sent into the harvest?
    • How often do you pray for laborers who are already working to bring in the harvest?
  2. Confess.
    • Confess any unwillingness to personally enter into the work of the harvest.
    • Confess any exposed lusts for comfort, personal safety, passivity, etc. that might keep you from obedience to God’s missional activities.
  3. Praise.
    • Praise God for the harvest.
    • Praise God for those who are currently toiling in the fields to reconcile people to Him.
  4. Intercede.
    • Ask God to send workers into the harvest.
    • Ask God to raise workers within Redeemer Church and to give very specific direction to the elders and pastors of this church as to where the fields are ripe.

Monday, January 24, 2011

DAY 8 – JAN. 24th : ACTS 20:17-35

In Acts 20, Paul is saying goodbye to the Ephesian elders as he continues his journey to Jerusalem, an expedition toward his own pending persecution. In speaking to the elders, he prophesies of coming days in which false teachers would enter into the church and lead them astray, a prophecy which 1 John records as being fulfilled at least in part in his time.

You and I have a limited time here on this earth. Whether we die or the Lord comes back, the time of our departure is approaching. What will we do with the time that we have?

Redeemer is not God’s plan for Omaha or the world. Rather, we simply hope to be faithful to play our part, grateful that God has allowed us to enter into the work. We want to be dedicated to the particular work that God has given us by declaring all that is profitable and diligently proclaiming what God has revealed.

Who knows what Redeemer will look like when we are gone? We can and should certainly be faithful to raise the next generation to continue when we must depart, but we cannot guarantee their future dedication. Rather, we must simply be diligent today to do what we can to make much of God and expand His kingdom.

Reflection and Intercession:

  1. Consider.
    • How are you pouring into the next generation? Are you simply taking their faithfulness for granted?
    • How are you stewarding the five, 10, 20 or 40 years that God is giving you?
  2. Confess.
    • Confess deficiencies in your faithfulness to commend God’s works to the next generation.
  3. Praise.
    • Praise God for the opportunity we have today to be faithful.
  4. Intercede.
    • Ask God to grant our generation a faithful 40 years of stewardship of this local body.
    • Ask God to steady the coming generation not to take the gospel for granted, but to be built upon the foundation of Christ.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Redeemer's latest worship songs

Good morning everyone!

Since there's no service this morning, I thought I would post a bunch of links to some of our newest songs for those of you pining for church. Even if we can't all sing together, we can still spend our Sunday considering the greatness and worth of God in Jesus. So here's all the new additions to the Redeemer worship playlist since I last made a post like this (click each song title to go directly to the song in the iTunes store):

Now Unto The One - Evan Wickham
For Love I Sing - Glenn Packiam
Glory To God - Fee
Jesus Reigns - Seth Condrey
The Lord Is My Rock - Elevation Worship
Because of Your Love - Phil Wickham

DAY 7 – JAN. 23rd : JEREMIAH 29:7

During the time of Judah’s exile, Jeremiah prophesied to his people of God’s plan for their welfare. Unlike Jeremiah’s contemporaries (Jeremiah 29:9), he did not prophesy that God would soon deliver His people from exile, but that they would remain for a period of 70 years (Jeremiah 29:10) after which God would again visit His people to fulfill His promises to them. In the meantime, the Israelites were commanded to “seek the welfare of the city” in which they were exiled.

Like the Israelites, we are called by God to be a transformative force for the good of our particular context as we await God’s deliverance -- this time not a return to the Promised Land, but the promise of a returned Son. As God has ordained particular times and places for our lives, we are called to be missionaries of reconciliation within those particular contexts. The reason that Redeemer exists in the Omaha metro in the 21st century is that God might be known and enjoyed in this context.We want to be intentional in pursuing the welfare of the city. We want to be deliberate and committed to seeing justice maintained, the gospel proclaimed and lives changed for the glory of God.

Reflection and Intercession:

  1. Consider.
    • Think about the promise of the return of Jesus Christ. Does that stir your affections and bring you joy?
    • How does the welfare of the Omaha metro in particular (or America in general) relate to the welfare of those who live in that context?
    • Do you ever emphasize evangelism to the neglect of good works or vice versa?
  2. Confess.
    • Confess any tendency to complacency in turning your back on the cities in which we live.
    • Confess any exposed areas of apathy or ignorance toward the plight and dangers of the city.
  3. Praise.
    • Praise God for His compassion and commitment to social transformation.
    • Praise God that He has historically linked the welfare of His people to the welfare of an area to persuade us to better engage those around us.
  4. Intercede.
    • Ask God to bless the Omaha metro with a renewal of biblical Christianity.
    • Ask God to grant the elders and pastors of Redeemer Church wisdom and insight to know how to engage the metro and seek its welfare better.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

DAY 6 – JAN. 22nd : ACTS 17:24-27

In Acts 17, Paul is evangelizing a crowd in Athens. He argues that God has “determined allotted periods and the boundaries” of mankind. In other words, we live where we do and when we do by God’s sovereign providence. Why has He determined those times and places? So that we would seek Him.

It is an amazing thing to recognize that God has ordained the times and places of His people for His glory in the spread of the gospel. The reason you live where you do is so that God might be made manifest to others. It is no accident that you find yourself here and now. It is part of the preordained plan of a missional God Who desires to make Himself known through His children.

This truth should compel us to be intentional with our lives. It should affect where we buy our houses, which restaurants we frequent, how we interact with our neighbors and waiters, etc. It means that you and I live and breathe here and now for the purpose of proclaiming the goodness of the glory of God, that He might be seen and enjoyed by others.

Reflection and Intercession:

  1. Consider.
    • Do you live with such intentionality? Are your decisions about which restaurants to visit, which coffee shops to frequent, what house to buy and where to purchase groceries colored by the lens of God’s glory?
    • If you find a deficiency in your own intentionality, consider why you struggle with living missionally.
    • How can your particular gifts and skill sets minister within the particular context in which you live?
  2. Confess.
    • Confess your difficulty in engaging in missional living.
    • Confess any disbelief in the intentionality of God’s sovereign placement of you in this time and place.
  3. Praise.
    • Praise God that He has placed you where you are.
    • Praise God that He is absolutely sovereign over the times and places of all men for their good and His glory.
  4. Intercede.
    • Ask God to cultivate a deep intentionality in our lives.
    • Ask God to continue to grant you boldness and encouragement in engaging others with the gospel of Jesus Christ.