Week 2 - ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
In 1954 a young gospel singer from Cleveland recorded a song entitled “Operator, Operator”. It is renowned for its signature line “long distance, give me Jesus on the phone.” The song is soulful and singular in acknowledgment of the need for Jesus. It is hard in our culture to express a need for anything, especially for those in wealth and comfort. Jesus said, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit… This is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3;16-17). Biblical faith emphasizes that we cannot get to God on our own. The God of the Bible comes down to us and invites us into himself.
In what area of your life do you feel a gap between you and God?
Where do you most experience the love of God?
Take a new action.
What will you do differently this week to have more agreement with the way God truly feels about you in his covenantal love for you.
Is Jesus the only way to everlasting life?
Jesus was killed because he forgave people’s sins, casted out demons and claimed to be the way, truth and life. No one denied that Jesus claimed to be God, they denied that he was God. Theologian and author John Stott wrote, “one of the most extraordinary things Jesus did in his teaching was
to set himself apart from everybody else. For example, by claiming to be the good shepherd who went out into the desert to seek his lost sheep, he was implying that the world was lost, that he wasn’t, and that he could seek and save it. In other words, he put himself in a moral category in which he was alone. Everybody else was in darkness; he was the light of the world. Everybody else was hungry; he was the bread of life. Everybody else was thirsty; he could quench their thirst. Everybody else was sinful; he could forgive their sins… These are breathtaking claims. Jesus was by trade a carpenter...from Nazareth...an obscure village on the edge of the Roman Empire. Yet he claimed to be the savior and the judge of all humankind.” Because Jesus is the truth and the life, he can be the way for others to come to God. He is the way for the disciples to have a room in the Father’ house. Jesus is the Savior (John 4:42), the Lamb of God (1:29,34), the one who raises those in the grave by his voice (5:28-29). He is the mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5-6). He alone can say, “no one” comes to the Father except through me. He is the one to whom all of Scripture points and the culmination of God’s revelation to man.
For more study on the exclusivity of Jesus:
The Reason for God by Timothy Keller
Deep, solemn optimism, it seems to me, should spring from this firm belief in the presence of God in the individual; not a remote, unapproachable governor of the universe, but a God who is very near every one of us, who is present not only in earth, sea and sky, but also in every pure and noble impulse of our hearts.
Prayers for the Church
As a confessing act of unity and faith with Christ’s Church globally, read aloud the following liturgy:
Make us worthy, Lord, to serve our brothers and sisters throughout the world, who live and die in poverty and pain. Give them today, through our hands, their daily bread and through our understanding love, give peace and joy. Amen
Blessed are the poor,
for theirs is the Kingdom of God.
Blessed are the hungry,
for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall be shown mercy.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they are the children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness and justice,
for great is their reward.
(Shane Claiborne, Common Prayer: A Liturgy of Ordinary Radicals)
At this time offer up prayers for Christ’s Church around the world.
After praying, read the following:
Through our lives and by our prayers, may your kingdom come!
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Prayers for the City
With the welfare of the city of Chicago in mind read the scripture and following liturgy:
Jeremiah 29:4–5, 7
Healing Liturgy (Adapted for Chicago)
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
We enjoin your divine mercies.
Lord, why do we suffer?
Why do we hurt?
Shall our only answer
Be the eternal abyss of the cosmos?
Shall our only answer be the whirlwind of unknowing
Which engulfed Job?
Why do the wicked flourish,
While the righteous waste away?
I am left speechless, left with the words,
“I will trust in you, my God.”
God, we ask for the sending of your healing Spirit,
Which came to us through Jesus, as he breathed upon his disciples.
This Spirit gathered in your people,
To be warmed by the fire of divine presence.
Around this warmth, may Chicago
Be healed and taken into your care.
(Common Prayer: A Liturgy of Ordinary Radicals)
At this time pray for unbelievers who reside in our city to be saved. Pray that people’s hearts will be opened to the good news of the gospel. Pray that every person in our city would choose the way of Jesus instead of the broken pathways of sin that lead people away from their creator.
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 us to the Love of God.
Grants us your healing peace, Amen.
O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you. When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you set in place— what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?