In case you did not pick up the new Northlake Devotional Guide or if you just left it about home, here is the devotional exercises for this week as we prepare for Sunday, October 2nd – week six in our season of reflection on following Jesus as His apprentices in the Kingdom way of life.
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PERSONAL DAY (Part 1)
Meditative Reading: This section is too lengthy for a practice of Sacred Reading (p26). Read the whole thing once, and then choose either 4:35-41; 5:1-20; 5:21-34; 5:35-43; 6:1-6a for your time of meditative reading.
Prayer of the Week: I hold before you, O Lord, all who are ravaged by incurable diseases. What can I say? I stammer, I stutter. I am not worthy to speak on their behalf. Still, as best I can I ask, dear God. Please let those who suffer so deeply know that they are not alone. Help them sense your nearness, your care, your compassion. May they somehow experience the suffering heart of Jesus. Amen from Prayers from the Heart
PERSONAL DAY (Part 2)
Personal Reflection: When passages are listed, reread that section, and then write out your honest, personal reactions to the questions.
4:35-41. The disciples’ response to trial was to assume Jesus did not care. Is that a storm pressing against you right now? Are you driven by fear and doubt? Have you assumed Jesus simply doesn’t care? How does this story speak to your situation?
6:1-6a. For the first time in this passage Jesus meets an obstacle He can’t overcome – the lack of faith in His hearers. After initial openness and wonder at His words, the crowd shut Him out because they found reasons to discredit Him and distance themselves from the demands of what He was saying. How are we still finding loopholes to free ourselves from Jesus’ demands today?
We have four stories in a row (storm, demoniac, dead girl, bleeding woman) where human intervention has failed and people are hopeless. We have four stories in a row where some are responding in fear and others in faith. Where are you encountering the “unsolvable” stories of brokenness? How might God be speaking a word into that situation? Are you reacting in fear, hopelessness, or faith?
COMMUNAL DAY: Conversation Starters
From your reading and reflections this week, what did God teach you?
In 5:1-20 Jesus heals a seriously disturbed man, and the crowds saw evidence that He had done so. Yet they begged Him to leave! Why? Do we believe in His power yet fear His use of it? Are we fearful it will cost us too much if Jesus unleashes His power among us?
In 5:1-20 Jesus chooses a very unlikely candidate to be His first missionary in that region. Jesus makes a simple demand – tell others what I have done for you. What would your story be to those who don’t know Jesus yet? What has God done for you that would be the context of your message?
In 5:33 we see a woman who had faith that Jesus had the power to heal her yet was fearful of being near Him. Faith that He was able; fear that He wouldn’t want to. Jesus sent her away not only with a word to be healed but also, “go in peace.” Do you find yourself having faith in His power but not His love or vice versa? What word of “peace” might Jesus want to speak over you?
Jesus Experiment: Jesus draws near to the people abandoned by hope and rejected by society. Spend an hour this week visiting someone in a situation that has left them lonely and has sapped their hope. Be God’s peace to them.