Week 1 - INVITATION

As we move towards resurrection Sunday, we can find ourselves asking if Resurrection life is truly possible. In the gospel of John, Jesus shouted out to the crowds saying, “anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart’” (John 20:31). If we’re honest, our experience can feel short of that. The flow of life can feel like a trickle and not the promised torrents of living water. Yet, within us God has placed a deep longing for rebirth. During this series, we will be comparing the flow of Christian life with the path of baptism. We will begin as John began with Jesus, the living Word, who gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. John says that this light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

Key Questions

Where in your life have you experienced a lack or loss?

In light of the above, what do you long for?

In between the lack and the longing, what may God be inviting you into?

Who is Jesus?

The reason that the Gospel of John was written was so that “you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 7:38). John shows the challenge that the person and message of Jesus brings. People divide in the presence of his message. They commit themselves to Christ in faith and so enter life or they refuse to
commit themselves and in doing so, remain in the dark; a sheep without a shepherd. The Bible says that Jesus is fully God and fully man. He is both the cosmic Savior and the life and light of humanity. There was never a time when Jesus was not. There was never a thing that did not depend on him for its existence. Jesus is the divine expression, wisdom, and logic of God. Life is given to us through Jesus when we believe in him.

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For more study on the life of Jesus:
The Historical Jesus of the Gospels by Craig S. Keener

When love chooses, it chooses with a perfect sensitivity for the unique beauty of the chosen one, and it chooses without making anyone else feel excluded.
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World

Prayers for the Church

Read the following prayer in agreement with voices within our Missio Dei Chicago community.

Jesus, You are the perfect Lamb that was slain and there is none like You. You brought salvation to children of the fall and You rescued us from darkness. You are the Light of the world. You have shown Your Father’s heart and we praise the Son of God!
And because of who You are and who we are in You, we invite You to come and ruin us with Your amazing love- love that flowed down from a cross 2,000 years ago and covers us with grace today.

Lord, who are we that You would love us so deeply? We are Yours. And You take care of what You love. You preserve and protect whom You love. And we are a grateful people.

Father, we pray that You would stir our affections for You and that out of love and devotion to You, our obedience to You would follow. Oh, that Your Word and precepts would be our delight. That we would be sons and daughters captivated by our Father in heaven; that every chain would be broken from us and we would bound in Your grace; that our eyes would be set on You because You give life and fellowship with You is free.

Call our hearts back to You, O God. Root out any sin that is in us and sever any affections we have for anything that has become an idol. Keep Your word in our hearts and mouths so we may walk in Your way. Fix our eyes on Your works and wonders.

Be blessed, Lord.

Be glorified, Jesus.

Be treasured here, Almighty and Everlasting God who is the same from age to age.

Justine Pucker, Missio Dei Wrigleyville

Prayers for the City

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. . . . But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. (Jeremiah 29:4–5, 7)

Pray for a spiritual awakening in the city of Chicago. Pray that Jesus will revive the Church here in Chicago and awaken our nation to his greatness and supremacy. Pray also that God will pour out his Spirit on Chicago, forgive us of our sin, and heal our land.
After, pray the following aloud over this beautiful city in which God has placed us:

Like the blind man whom Jesus healed,
May Chicago become a sign
of your glory, calling you the Anointed One,
The one who also anoints us and points

You light a lamp for me. The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.
Psalm 18:8