Psalm 43 v. 5: Living before his face

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Psalm 43:5, The Passion Translation

Then I will say to my soul,
“Don’t be discouraged; don’t be disturbed,
for I fully expect my Saviour-God to break through for me.
Then I’ll have plenty of reasons to praise him all over again.”
Yes, living before his face is my saving grace!

Tomorrow at Explore: The Good News is for Everyone (Acts Chapters 10, 11 and 12)

The Essential Question continues at Explore tomorrow with The Good News is for Everyone (Acts Chapters 10, 11 and 12).  Peter meets Cornelius, and it turns out God’s rescue plan is not just for the Jews, but for literally everybody.   Come with a story of God’s power to heal, and we’ll be praying for the sick.   Colin hosts.  10.30am, Ottery St Mary Parish Church. 

The readings for the coming week are:

  • 21 Bold Humility, Acts 9:32–43, page 54
  • 22 The Divine Choreographer, Acts 10, page 55
  • 23 Holy Legalism, Acts 11:1–18, page 56
  • 24 The Church Goes Viral, Acts 11:19–30, page 57
  • 25 The Unstoppable Force, Acts 12, page 58

Ephesians 1: The leader and source of everything needed

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Ephesians 1:22-23, The Passion Translation

And he alone is the leader and source of everything needed in the church. God has put everything beneath the authority of Jesus Christ and has given him the highest rank above all others. And now we, his church, are his body on the earth and that which fills him who is being filled by it!

The Game of Religion

Wm. Paul Young writes:

A man arriving at the proverbial Pearly Gates is unsure what to do. Do I simply walk in? he wonders.

St. Peter recognizes the look of consternation on the man’s face, approaches, and asks him if he might need some guidance.

“I’m not sure what I am supposed to do,” the man begins. “Do I simply walk in?”

“It depends,” says Peter, smiling.

“It depends?” The man is surprised. “On what?”

“It depends on how many points you’ve earned,” offers Peter.

“Points? I need points? How many points do I need?”

“A hundred.”

A hundred? the man thinks to himself. That can’t be difficult, surely I have earned a hundred points. He turns back to Peter. “So, for the last fifteen years I have been serving on Saturday nights at the soup kitchen, helping with the poor?” He offers it hopefully, more a question than a statement.

“That’s wonderful!” exclaims Peter. “I will give you a point for that.”

“One point?” The man is shocked and looks at Peter, who is enthusiastically nodding. In that moment the man realizes that this is not going to be easy.

“Well,” he hesitates, “I was a pastor for thirty-five years. I did everything that was asked of me. Preached and married people,, counseled and buried people…””

Peter is looking grim, “Ah, I don’t know…”

“Peter, please, thirty-five years.”

Peter thinks quite for a moment and then smiles. “Okay, I will give you a point for that!”
Now the man knows he is in trouble. His whole life had been basically summed up in two points and he has ninety-eight to go.

Movement catches his eye, and looking across the way he sees a man who had lived in the same town in which he pastored. He didn’t know him well, he was the sort of person who came to church services on Easter and Christmas. He did remember that this man owned or worked at a coffee shop in town and had always seemed pleasant, but he’d never engaged much with the religious community. To his surprise, the man smiles, waves, and then without hesitation walks right in through the Pearly Gates.

“What?!” he exclaims, turning to Peter. “Are you telling me that that guy has a hundred points?!”

Peter laughs, “Oh no, he just isn’t playing this game.”

(From “The Lies We Believe About God.” Wm Paul Young)

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Change me O God, into one who no longer tries to earn your approval or affection, knowing I have it already.  It’s not about my performance or becoming pleasing to you, for I am in you already.  I have loved religion and the church all of my life and have given my life to it.  For all that is good about it, I thank you.  But for all the ways it fails, help me to be continually aware, so that I never again fall into it’s trap of using it to try to bind myself back to you.  For you have bound me to yourself.

Bill Johnson

Tomorrow at Explore: The Good News Changes Lives (Acts Chapters 8 and 9)

Tomorrow at Explore, Colin continues our new 10-week series The Essential Question, which follows the Bible book of Acts.  He introduces five daily readings The Good News Changes Lives (Acts Chapters 8 and 9), including the conversion of Saul (Paul).  Saul was a most unlikely convert;  Is anyone unsavable?  Colin tells his own spectacular story of coming to faith, we pray for those who don’t think they need God and we’ll also try to have an encounter with the transforming power of Jesus ourselves.  Ottery St Mary Parish Church, 11.15am

The five readings for this coming week are:

  • 16 The B-List Apostle, Acts 8:1b–25, page 44
  • 17 Effective Evangelism, Acts 8:26–40, page 45
  • 18 Seeing the Light, Acts 9:1–9, page 46
  • 19 I Want You! Acts 9:10–19a, page 47
  • 20 Spiritual Mentor, Acts 9:19b–31, page 49

Martin Smith: Exalt

Exalt, Martin Smith

We are Your people, the story of grace

Saved by the miracle God

Lifting our hands to the King of Creation

You are the wonder of love You are the One who we love

Martin Smith, Exalt

Ephesians 2: Faith not from ourselves

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Ephesians 2:8-9, The Passion Translation

For it was only through this wonderful grace that we believed in him. Nothing we did could ever earn this salvation, for it was the gracious gift from God that brought us to Christ!  So no one will ever be able to boast, for salvation is never a reward for good works or human striving.