Category Archives: Prayer

John 15:1-17 True Danger, True Disciple, True Love

Context

Jesus is speaking alone with his eleven followers (Judas Iscariot has left the building). In chapter 14, he declared that if they love him, then they will keep his commands. The test of a follower appears to reside in listening and obeying – love in action. In chapter 15, Jesus fleshes this out some more to talk about how disciples are made, shaped and grown.

Read John 15:1-17

Observation

What it says over and over again:

Jesus is like a vine and we are like branches. Branches detached from the vine are only good for firewood. Branches connected will live, bear fruit, be cared for and will love the vine. We need to be and stay connected to Jesus.

Questions that arise:

What fruit does Jesus have in mind? What does the gardener’s pruning involve? How do you know if you are connected to Jesus or not? How real is Jesus offer to give us anything we ask? Is Jesus being clear or unclear? Is it possible to sum up Jesus’ teaching here so that we know for sure what he is saying? How can we take these words and live it? That is, how can I adopt these words beyond theory? How do they affect me?

Structure:

  • 1-4 Jesus is the vine and the Father is the gardener
  • 5-10 Jesus is the vine and you are the branches
  • 11-17 Listen to why I have told you this

Notice that the NIV places the structure change at verse 9 probably picking up on the theme of love that runs through verses 9-15. But the information in verses 9 and 10 continues the theme of remaining in Jesus who remains in the Father. We could stick with the NIV structure; however, doing so seems to camouflage the impact of verse 11.

Verses 1-4:

‘I am the true vine…’ Jesus has not just invented a metaphor out of the blue. The image of the vine and the vineyard has strong Old Testament influences. The story of the vine is a story of the blessing and cursing of God. The following is only a sample of ‘vine’ passages from the bible…

Genesis 49:22 is the beginning of the blessings to Joseph. He is described as a vine and a fruitful one. It turns out that he is fruitful because of the hand of the Almighty, the Shepherd and Rock of Israel (24-26).

Searching through the bible for uses of the word ‘vine’ make it clear that having a healthy vineyard is a sign of God’s blessing. There are too many vineyard references to mention all of them. Going into the promised land, for example, promised the people healthy vineyards that produced good fruit. From Genesis to Joshua, the attention of the vine is quite literal – there will be good living in the promised land.

Psalm 80 describes the people of Israel as a vine that has been transplanted from Egypt, and cared for. The vine is now being used as a metaphore for the people of God. God is the gardener who will tear down the vine if it is not bearing fruit.

Psalm 105:33 describes the destruction of the vines as one sign of judgement.

Isaiah 3:14 again describes Israel as a vineyard whom the elders and leaders have ruined – they have not taken care of the vineyard.

Isaiah 5 contains, most applicably, a song about a vineyard. The whole chapter is worth reading as this is perhaps the height of the allusion that Jesus describes in John 15. Isaiah sees a whole vineyard which contains bad vines. Jesus sees just one vine – the true vine – a good and healthy vine which produces good branches and good fruit.

Ezekiel too uses the image of the vine to describe God and his people: Ezekiel 15 teaches us that even the precious vine will be thrown into the fire when it is detached – the people of God will receive God’s judgement for being a useless, dead vine. And Ezekiel 17 is a useful passage but not a good one to get bogged down in. It describes Israel again as a vine which has been taken away and yet a new seed will be planted which will produce a great tree – one that many people will come and take shelter in.

The story of the vine and the vineyard is one of blessing for the people of God who listen and love the LORD and a mark of judgement when they do not.

Zechariah 8:12 is one of many passages which promise again that the people of Israel will enjoy fruitful vines again when God restores his people.

The vineyard and the vine, therefore, are bound up with the promises of God to bless the people of God. Although Israel was described as the vineyard, they were unable to bear good fruit and so were torn down. When Jesus says, ‘I am the true vine,’ he is saying that he stands in the place of Israel to be what they failed to be. The rest of John 15 invites us to choose to join with Jesus or to stand alone. The invitation is clear and the consequences of refusing it is not hard to see either.

‘…my Father is the gardener.’ Insert this phrase into the discussion about the vine and you see that the Father of Jesus is the one who has been planting and transplanting and pruning and cutting throughout the Old Testament. The Father of Jesus, therefore, is the God of the Old Testament.

‘He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit…’ Verses 2-4 give a reminder of how important it is for vines to bear fruit. The gardener will ensure it bears fruit by pruning what is not working and to mould or encourage the plant in the right direction. In verse 2, the object of the pruning is really Jesus since he is the vine and the Father is the gardener who prunes the vine. Before we move on to verse 3, we can pause to realise that Jesus is involved deeply in the whole process of bearing fruit – even when it hurts.

‘You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.’ This line doesn’t quite fit the analogy of the vine. It fits more the scene in chapter 13 when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. Our passage this week speaks of the words of Jesus in connection with being clean (v3) and of how Jesus is to remain in us (v7). Salvation from being cast aside by the Father’s wrath is by listening to Jesus and continuing to listen to him.

‘Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.’ We see that the disciples are now brought into the metaphor and the part they play is the branches of the vine. But no branch on its own is useful for anything. The vine is subject to the gardener and the branch must depend and be subject to the vine.

The warning in verses 1-4 are that the Father is actively clearing out the branches that do not bear fruit and the only way to bear fruit is to be attached to the vine and prepared for pruning by the Father. The gardener is only mentioned once but his reference makes the focus of this section.

Verses 5-10:

‘I am the vine; you are the branches.’ If verses 1-4 are about the gardener, these verses are about the branches. The attention in this section is on the branches and on how they can remain in the vine. Let’s list in bullet point what Jesus says in this section…

  • attached branches will bear fruit – these are healthy branches (v5)
  • unattached branches can do as much as a dead person can – nothing (v5)
  • dead branches are not left alone but are picked up and destroyed (v6)
  • Jesus remains in us by his word being in us (v7)
  • The prayers of a true disciple are heard and answered (v7)
  • The Father is glorified when we remain in Jesus and ask with his word in us (v8)
  • A disciple is known by these ingredients: listening to Jesus, and asking to bear good fruit (v8)
  • Jesus has loved us equal to the Father loving Jesus (v9)!
  • Remaining in Jesus is by keeping his commands (v10)
  • Thus, when we keep Jesus commands and listen to his words, we can ask and receive to the glory of the Father! (v10,7,8)
  • Jesus has shown us how this works by the way he remains in the Father and the Father in him (v10)
  • Remaining in Jesus and Jesus in us is about love (v10)

When the whole of the above is analysed we see that Jesus is describing a tight relationship between you and Jesus which can be seen between Jesus and the Father. What does Jesus want? For us to listen to him and follow.

When we pray with the expectation to receive, it is with the premise that we have Jesus words and command of love in our heart and mind. Rather than sounding like a loop-hole, it is the description of something running smoothly. Put the right ingredients into a cake and you can expect the goods. Why expect to get a good cake if you have made no effort to understand what makes a good cake? Perhaps a car is a better illustration…only the right fuel and oil, placed in the right spots will make a car move smoothly. Have no respect for a car and you can’t expect to win the Piston Cup! A father will grant his son anything he asks for when the son has come with wisdom and love! These are exactly the ingredients that Jesus asks us to have in prayer: wisdom (knowing Jesus) and love (following Jesus).

Verses 11-17:

‘…so that…your joy may be complete.’ Amazing! Outcome number one of remaining in the vine is so that we avoid the disaster of judgement. But the other outcome is more brilliant: our joy! Following Jesus is like hearing the end of a brilliant story, it makes sense and makes us glow. This joy is not the same as being continually happy, like a stupid clown. It is more like contentment. This is why words like joy, peace, rest and love are used by Jesus to describe the kingdom of God instead of words like anxiety, doubt, worry and war (of course Jesus does warn that our lives will not be all rosie because of him and that will be his topic next week – but there is a joy that can only come with the gospel so that life’s worries do not overcome us).

What I am saying is this: sticking with Jesus is not anti-human and weird. It is quite the opposite. Sticking with Jesus is the most human thing that a human can do.

‘My command is this: love each other as I have loved you.’ The only law that the Christian is to follow is the law of love. And the example of love is what Jesus has shown for us.

  • Let’s again list what is contained in verses 11-17:
  • Being a disciple of Jesus results in joy (v11)
  • If you want joy, listen to Jesus’ words (v11)
  • Jesus’ joy is in us also (v11)
  • We are commanded by Jesus to love (v12)
  • This is extreme love: to regard another persons’ life as more precious than yours (v13)
  • Those who listen to Jesus’ command to love are friends of Jesus (v14)
  • As friends of Jesus, we are treated to know everything Jesus knows about the Father (v15)
  • We don’t make friends with Jesus, he makes friends with us (v16)
  • We are chosen in order to bear fruit (v16)
  • We bear fruit that will last (forever) (v16)
  • The fruit that we bear is what we ask the Father to give (v16)
  • What Jesus commands us to do is to love (v17)

Having listed the promises and instructions, we might notice that the fruit we are to bear is the fruit of love.

Meaning

Like a branch only has life when it is connected to the tree, our life only exists when we are connected to Jesus. This connection is by listening to his words, to follow his example of love and to ask the Father to give us hearts that will love. Jesus saves us from hell and he gives us the full joy of true life.

Application

  • Seek Jesus. Life or death; heaven or hell; friend of Jesus or enemy with God – which would you choose and which have you chosen? There is no in-between option.
  • Follow Jesus. Remaining in Jesus is by listening to him, learning from him and requesting God to help us be more like him. Failing to do this makes it difficult to identify a person as a true disciple.
  • Pursue love. Jesus has given us a direct command here. We may well often ask ‘what does it mean to be a Christian’ but here is one clear path: we are to love. When we find it hard to love, the passage directs us to pray and ask God for it. What others need more than anything else in this world is to have their joy made complete and being grafted into the Jesus-vine. If our prayers for others are simply for good HSC results or healing from sickness, then we leave them as dead wood in the forest waiting to be burned. We who know the love of Jesus need to capture the same urgency that Jesus had for us and we must bring people to Jesus.

Prayer

Father God, we ask in the name of Jesus that you will give us great love for the lost. For our neighbours, our families, our work colleagues, and all who you put in our path – give us hearts that will speak to them on your behalf. You have chosen all who will be your friends, please introduce us to them. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Acts 4:1-31 – No other name

Context

The church is growing in number and in excitement. People are flocking because of the convincing message of Jesus as Lord, because of the resurrection, and because of the signs and wonders shown through the apostles. Peter has preached publically on two occasions now, attracting great interest in Jesus Christ of Nazareth. He and John performed a miracle in Jesus’ name by instructing a lame man to walk. He showed his trust in the name of Jesus by jumping to his feet and walking. Peter told the crowd that Jesus is the prophet like Moses who everyone needs to listen to.

Observation

Verses 1-4

Peter and John had been preaching near the temple where the lame man was healed. The Priest, the Sadducees and the temple guards appear to have all come out of the temple area to hear the comotion and deal with what was troubling them. Ie, the events of Chapter 3 were all outside where they were.

What exactly disturbed them? Was it the teaching about the resurrection? Was it about Jesus being the source of the resurrection? Was it that the apostles were simply teaching anything? The rest of the story seems to show that it’s the name of Jesus that they are unhappy with.

It was evening. The healing of the lame man happened at about three in the afternoon. They’d been teaching around the temple for a number of hours. The events of that afternoon were not quiet and small and blown out of proportion over time – it was big and eventful and went on for a while. The lame man was still with them right to the end. Note 3:11, 4:14.

Another 2,000 people were added to the church that day.

Peter and John were placed in prison. It seems to be a Jewish prison instead of something organised by the Roman soldiers who are not present. When you collect all the details from this paragraph, it seems that Peter and John were still preaching and those in the temple who were not interested in becoming followers came out with security to see what was happening. They then heard what was being preached, didn’t like it and put the preachers in lock-up until they could work out what to do with them.

Verses 5-7

All the “kings horses and all the kings men” came to sort out what was happening! Anyone who was important in the Jewish hierarchy were gathered to discuss what to do.

Their issue: what name did you do this? They don’t debate what has been done, but they want to know where they got their power from. Not a completley stupid question. If they answered something like: the Dark Lord! then we’d happily see them be thrown back in prison or told to stop!

Verses 8-12

Their answer is: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! The miracle was all Jesus. He is the foundation stone that has been rejected. He is the only name we need to bother with because salvation comes from him and him alone. Did I mention Jesus?!!

Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit. We might ask, wasn’t he already filled with the Spirit? Yes he was. This is an example of the Spirit enabling a servant for a specific task. The Spirit lead Peter’s speech to say exactly what he should say. Remember Luke 12:11-12!

What exactly is the church being singled out for? An act of kindness on a lame man? No! The problem the rulers have is with Jesus and the teaching about him.

Compare 4:10 with 3:15; 2:22-24 – Peter’s sermons have a very familiar focus and it is to do with Jesus Christ and the resurrection. It is very significant that the emphasis in all of this is the resurrection and not the cross itself. This is not that Peter thought nothing of the cross – no – he knows that the cross is significant (2:38, 3:19, 4:12). Peter knows and preaches that salvation from sin is what it’s all about – but the emphasis is on the resurrection because this is the proof that Jesus is Lord! Although the rulers rejected him, God raised him from the dead.

“No other name” – it may be obvious to us but there is no other religion or faith that people can rely on except the faith in Jesus. He is it!

The trouble is that Jesus can be rejected and this is what the Psalm 118:22 quote refers to and it is what is happening from the rulers. The name of Jesus is being dismissed and rejected.

Verses 13-17

This is an amazing paragraph. Look at what the rulers find astonishing and compare that with what they think is just notable! They were astonished that these “ordinary men” had such courage! But when they talk about the miracle of the lame man they simple “could see the man who had been healed…there was nothig they could say.” What about “Wow! How did you do that! That’s amazing!” And then they described the miracle as a “notable sign.”

They cannot deny that this miracle has happened but they are determined to stop it from spreading. If I was a lover of religious ceremony and that was the sole motivator of my participation with God then I might also think that we don’t want any more of this miracle business and certainly not entertain further conversation about resurrection in Jesus name. We’d definatley have to put an end to any further talk of restoration and blessings through the seed of Abraham so that our way of life was not interupted!

Verses 18-22
The Rulers: Stop it!
The Apostles: No!
The Rulers: We’re warning you!
The Apostles: OK, we’ll let our people know but they’re not going to listen to you when God has clearly spoken!
Verses 23-26

When Peter and John are released and tell the church what has happened this brings the church to pray. By “church” I mean the people who had joined with the apostles to follow Jesus. The count at the moment is 5000! So what we are getting from Luke is likely to be a snapshot of what people were saying. How Peter and John communicated with so many people is not clear – they may have gathered together at the temple courts, or in an open space, or communicating to groups through their networks. The specifics are not important, the key is how the followers responded to the threats – they prayed.

Their prayer acknowledges God as the creator of all and then continues to declare how foolish it is for people to try and rise against him.

The theme of the prayer is taken from scripture. I love how their prayers model for us how scripture guides and informs our requests to God.

Also, the theme of the prayer is about who’s the boss. God is referred to as Sovereign Lord – a double reference to God’s rule over everything. He is the boss and sovereign king. The prayer then engages with the challenge God has with the rulers of this world. And completes with the disciples asking God to show his power and might.

Verses 26-28

The quote from Psalm 2 is used to describe exactly what is happening now – the leaders banding together against the anointed one (Jesus) and it is used to reflect on how the rulers treated Jesus. What is happening to the disciples is reflective of how Jesus was treated (John 15:18-21).

Herod and Pilate and the people of Israel are a band of unlikely coworkers. But because of the name of Jesus, they worked together to conspire against Jesus.

The anointed one. This is the equivalent to “the Messiah” or “the CHRIST”. All have the same notion: God’s chosen king. All the rulers will band together to take down the one true king.

Verses 29-31

I love this bit! The prayer has moved from adoration (v24) to understanding (v25-28) and now to supplication – they come to request action from God.

What they ask for is twofold: 1) that God enable his people to speak with boldness and 2) that God continue to heal and show signs and wonders. They are calling on God to s how his strength and power against these puny kings and rulers! Bring it on God! Just notice that they pray for God to work more healings.

The prayer is immediately answered – but not quite what was asked for. Part A was granted in that they were aided by the Spirit to speak boldly the word of God. Part B however was answere by a sign that God is powerful – but more healings are not granted.

I love it because it points to God’s priority in having his word spoken and not for the church to grow through miraculous healings. He doesn’t remain silent in the powerful signs category though. The place where they were meeting was shaken. This was a sign directed at the prayers. It’s like God replied, yes, I am powerful and I want you to keep preaching the word. Keep speaking in the name of Jesus.

Verses 1-31

The name of Jesus is important to this whole section. It’s what got the disciples into trouble. It’s what they were threatened to stop preaching. It’s what God empowered them to continue to speak with boldness. It’s the name that the nations band together to reject and hate. It’s the name that is the only name by which all men can be saved.

Meaning

The believers receive the same rejection that Jesus experienced. Teaching in the name of Jesus will result in those who believe (v4) and those who reject and refuse his kingship. People will see Jesus the King and people will see Jesus the problem.

Application
  • There’s no sure fire way of growing God’s Kingdom. The same technique will produce believers and unbelievers.
  • At the root of sin is the rejection of the true King.
  • A great response to persecutin is to pray.
  • We pray for God’s help because it is his kingdom, his gospel and we depend on Him for growth and boldness.
  • Religion in general is inoffensive. It may seem foolish (as the leaders of the temple showed with their response to the miracle) but it is often not offensive.
  • It’s Jesus name that calls believers or calls persecution.
  • Nothing has changed in this world. Persecution still exists. See opendoors.org.au for information about the persecuted church around the world.
  • Clearly we can pray for boldness to talk about Jesus into our world.
Prayer for the week
Sovereign Lord, you have created us and shown us your anointed King, Jesus. Help us to tell the world that Jesus is Lord. Help us to tell the world that salvation comes from Jesus and only him. Give us boldness and strength, commitment and perseverance to praise your name in all the world. Amen.

Romans 12:9-21 – Keep to the left of evil!

Context

Romans 1:17 told us that ‘the righteous will live by faith.’ Paul took us through the content of that faith in chapters 1-11 to say that we must devote our trust in God fully for our righteousness. Chapter 12:1-2 began the new phase of Paul’s teaching on how to take this faith into the rest of your life. We are to offer God our bodies and our minds. The way that we use both of these parts of us: what we DO and what we THINK are to be given to God and moulded by the truth of faith. God is God and we are his creatures that needed rescuing.

This next section of Romans continues the theme of how to live out our faith around other people. Although God is in the business of saving and forming his church (the body of Christ, verses 3-8) we also need to live in a world which still hates God.

Observations

The NIV breaks these verses up into 3 paragraphs plus an indented quote. The ESV divides the passage into 2 paragraphs only (9-13 + 14-21). It’s interesting to work out where the paragraph breaks should go, if anywhere! Do you see any clear reasons for breaks?

Verse 9 opens with the charge to love and not to take part in evil. Verse 21 wraps up the whole section with a similar sentiment: don’t be swallowed by evil but kill it with the energy of good. So, the whole section seems to lean toward embracing the light side and staying away from the dark! There is a vibe of combating evil with good instead of with evil. As if two wrongs don’t make a right. If evil comes barging up behind you, huffing and puffing and blowing out smoke from its ears, keep to the left and let evil pass!

The section seems to offer a list of examples and areas of life where love is put into practice and evil is left for God to take care of. The message is: don’t take part in it.

So, let’s go through the verses and see what we see.

Verse 9. Remember the binary use of the words love and hate back in Rom 9:13. Love doesn’t refer only to those things that you are passionate about and hate only those things that you are passionate against. You are either for something or against it. Often when reading the scriptures we need to look into the way that the bible writers use words and not rely on our contemporary use of them.

Having said that, we are told that love needs to be more than just ‘an act of your will.’ Verse 9 tells us that love must be sincere. The ESV uses the word, ‘genuine.’ Not faked or pretend but something that you earnestly want to portray and practice. We can’t pretend to be Christians and we can’t pretend to love others. If this is a struggle with you and somebody else, then pray about that. Ask for God’s help as you put your trust in Him to sanctify your relationships.

‘Hate what is evil.’ This shouldn’t be misunderstood as ‘hate those who are evil’ since later (v14) we are instructed to ‘bless those who persecute you.’ But verse 9 must be talking about the practice of evil. Hate and abhor it. The positive reaction to evil is to ‘cling to what is good.’ Paul says elsewhere to focus on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy (Phil 4:8). Don’t gaze at the negative and try to hate it, but set your eyes on the good things in life – the things that God blesses. Distract evil with good.

Verse 10. I like the way the ESV puts this verse: ‘Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour.’ It’s great to see family members getting along peacefully and enjoying one another. This may happen too rarley (!) but when it happens, it’s beautiful. We’re not being told to just love your brother though, we’re told to love one another. The way you do that is to put the other person first. Compete to see who can elevate the other higher! Encouraging one another like verse 7 said is a great way to promote honour and respect. How can we put that challenge into action?

Verse 11. Being fervent is to show passionate intensity – hot, burning or glowing! What a description of how to be spiritual! The question is, have you ever been this? We all display emotions and passions differently, so this really is a question for you to ask of yourself: am I passionate about the gospel? Am I 100% for King Jesus. Verse 11 defines zeal and spiritual fervour as ‘serving the Lord.’ Is this a priority to you? At home and at work and on the beach and in the city – do you do all things out of a clear understanding and dedication of your faith. Jesus said to ‘seek first the kingdom of God’ (Matt 6:33). Do you remember the zeal you had when you first became a Christian? Do you remember the passion you had for God when/if you were a teenage or young adult Christian? Has life and responsibility squashed that? The warning of the parable of the four soils will tell us that zeal for the gospel is important, or else the business of life will push it out of our minds and lower on our priority list.

How can you fan the flame of your passion and zeal for God? I listened to a good sermon today online and it reminded me of something I had not thought of for a while – it put a smile back into my faith.

Verse 12. ‘Be joyful in hope.’ I could write pages on these four words! It is hope that ought to give us joy! To think that we would not be joyful in hope is odd but then Paul thinks that this needs to be spelled out. There is no reason why we should think of all the promises of God that we look forward to in the resurrection and not produce joy in us. But, it’s one thing to know the content of the gospel and quite another to know that the gospel is for you! It’s one thing to know that Jesus died on the cross for sins – quite another to know that Jesus died on the cross for YOUR sins. It’s one thing to know that heaven will be a great place (I suppose) quite another to know that Jesus has gone away to prepare a place for YOU and he prayed for YOU while he thought about going to the cross (John 17). Like a child who can’t stop smiling on Christmas eve, our faith, when we meditate on it, when we talk about it, when we hear encouragement from one another about it, our faith is a prepaid eternity of rest and play. There might be a long time to wait for it, but the thought of it should warm our hearts and make us smile.

When afflicted: be patient like a person who knows there is relief coming.

Your prayers: constant, unshaken, trusting in the one who is listening.

Verse 13. Two more aspects of love is to share and to welcome. Both of these things we are simply told to do.

Verses 14-16. I’d like to make a broad statement about these 3 verses. They seem to tell us to embrace everyone. If someone is attacking you: embrace them. If someone is celebrating: cheer on their team. If someone is crying out: give them your shoulder. If someone seems different to you: be a chameleon and become like them. Don’t distinguish yourself from everybody else but sing with them.

Verses 17-20. The sentences on their own here are fairly straight forward and clear – it’s the principle that might be hard to understand. The principle comes down to who the Judge of this earth is – and it is God. Deuteronomy 32:35 is quoted in verse 19 as well as Proverbs 25:21,22. Our job is to be God’s holy people who were called out of darkness to live in the light and be a light to the world. It is God’s business to avenge and he will do it very well. When we show compassion and love and kindness and care in the face of hostility and anger and hate, then, if that person doesn’t repent and turn to Christ, it will be like adding heat to the fire on judgement day. When Jesus told the crowd to love their enemy, he didn’t intend for the enemy to get away with everything. He just meant to leave the justice to God.

Verse 21. It will harm us when we get into battle to fight against evil to try and overpower it. We will be swept up in the same evils. The best tool against evil is to embrace righteousness. Replace evil with good.

Meaning

  • Love, in all it’s forms, is the best weapon we have.
  • Love and hate; light and dark; good and evil; our choice is not to convert the latter but to be the former.
  • Don’t focus on what HATE and EVIL isn’t – focus on what LOVE IS!

Application

  • There are many applications here. The trick is to move beyond the general principle and to put some real examples into place.
  • Cling to what is good. Keep passionate about serving the Lord. Show love to those around you. Practice being good.
    • How do you practice being good in the church and in Growth Group?
    • How do you practice being good in the workplace?
    • How do you practice being good while commuting?
    • How do you practice being good in the shopping centre?
    • How do you practice being good in your own home?

Prayer for the week

Dear Father God, we praise you for the example of the Lord Jesus Christ who succeeded in all the challenges that Paul lists for us this week. We ask for your Spirit to guide us, to teach us and to provoke us toward love and good deeds. Because of the mercy that we have received and learned from you, help us to show love and mercy to everybody we meet. Thank you for the hope you have placed in our hearts. Help us to cling to that hope with all the joy that it brings. Amen.