Week of 4/28 – 5/4: John 17:1-11 – Ascension Sunday

Sermon Texts for 5/4/08

John 17:1-11– which includes “That they may be one as we are.” Here, during the Last Supper, Jesus has prayed for our unity , which is part of how Jesus was sent by the Father – in a unity of Father, Son & Spirit. Likewise we are sent in that same unity. How do we pursue unity among ourselves as a part of our witness, and with other Christians, as a part of our witness – Christ ascended and left this work to us in+flesh. Acts 1:6-14: Jesus promises the Spirit, ascends, and the disciples go and wait for God’s next move – in prayer together; 1 Peter 4:12 – 5:11: Suffering for the sake of Christ and the Gospel should be a cause for our glory; The Elders must serve humbly and faithfully; The church must resist the devil – to the end that “after you have suffered for a little while, the god of all grace who has called you into his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you.“; Psalm 68:  God lifts up the humble, redeems prisoners, and gives power and strength to his people.

·      This week we begin looking at all 4 lectionary texts. Read them each and listen for what the Lord might be saying to you (us) in the text. Then read the context in the particular book to get a sense of the broader story or argument being made. Then listen for a common theme or spirit that runs through two or more of the texts for the week.
Questions for reflection:  
· John 17 – “Protect them…so that they may be one” – Why do we need protection? Because there is a thief, whose “purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.” But, Jesus’ “purpose is to give life in all its fullness” (John 10:10) How do you experience that battle? The need for God’s protection from the ‘thief’, and when have you known the oneness which is the outgrowth and fruit of this protection?
 · Acts 1 – What might it mean in your/our life to wait on the Lord to send a gift to empower and launch a ministry/mission?
 · 1 Peter – Again, a promise of protection & provision
 · Psalm 68 – how often do you praise God for mercy and goodness shown to the poor and oppressed? How are you/we a part of God’s program to bring restoration and relief to those who are under such burdens?
PRAYER: God our redeemer and provider, we praise you for your mercy toward those who suffer. May we see the suffering of others as you see it, and long for their wholeness with your heart, and commit ourselves to your service for their sakes. Call to our own hearts and minds where you have saved, redeemed, provided for and  empowered us, and place on our lips a song of praise to your glory. Amen.
Upcoming Texts:
Week of 5/5-5/11:  John 7:37-39; Acts 2:1-21; 1 Cor 12:3-13; Psalm 104:24-35
Week of 5/5-5/11:  Genesis 1:1-4; Psalm 8; Matthew 28:16-20; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13

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