“But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.” – Matthew 17:7-8
Our hearts tend to love whatever fills our vision.
We want to love you Lord, but it is difficult to see the one whom we seek. God there are so many other competing visions out there in the world. There are so many other voices. There is so much noise.
Lord would you turn our eyes to you today. Would you surpass all other things that take up space in our hearts and minds? Would you capture our full attention today?
We pray that we would see no one except you Jesus.
I encourage you to listen to this song today by Matt Redman called Wide as the Sky and let it minister to you. My favorite line – “let all the other names fade away.”
PRAYING FOR STUDENTS
Pray for many students to follow Christ; for the truth to radiate in a setting that is often hostile and cynical toward matters of faith; for students to make wise decisions, to form godly lifestyles and to shape their careers and ambitions to fulfill God’s global purposes. Pray for leadership to be strong among Christian groups on campuses; for the advance of movements of prayer and mission mobilization; for the ministries that focus on students.
Pray for the students of George Washington University. Many of them are part of our church and we believe God has called us to be a strong presence there on that campus. Pray for those in our church - Kate Denson who ministers at GWU through Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and for Lynaya Morris who leads a TDC bible study and serves on staff in student affairs at GWU. Lord may you do a new work at GWU, a school that was founded in the early 1800s to train ministers and missionaries and send them all over the world.
Last night’s Ash Wednesday service was so moving for me. We had a packed house at National Baptist Memorial Church where we joined with our sister churches in the neighborhood Church of the Advent and Nat’l Baptist Memorial.
I had the honor of receiving for most of the night from others who were leading us in worship, Scripture, liturgy and the Word. Justin gave a great word, “We can’t, but God can” which I’m hoping that he’ll post the highlights on his blog.
The most moving part for me was putting the ashes on people’s foreheads as they came forward and saying “From dust you have come and to dust you shall return… May we never forget…the Lord bless you.”
It’s such a humbling time where we are reminded of our depravity and desperate need for the Messiah to come to us. It’s a powerfully prophetic word to us in DC who mostly think “we can.”
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? Those who have clean hands and a pure heart, who do not put their trust in an idol or swear by a false god.” – Psalm 24:1-4
God does not lower his standard to accommodate our sinfulness.
None of us can get to God. None of us can ascend to His holy place. Only those who have clean hands and a pure heart.
Yet through trusting in the saving and finishing work of Christ on the cross we can be forgiven. We can have a clean hands and a pure heart. Through Christ can “stand in his holy place” because we now have an advocate in Jesus Christ.
I love how Paul writes this, “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:6).
Have you allowed God to seat you in heavenly places by trusting in Christ? Or are you still living in your own strength, seeking to attain God’s favor and love apart from the finished work of Christ?
My brother or sister, wait no longer. Receive the forgiveness of Christ. Be set free.
Our focus today is to pray for Women:
That women will be honored in their unique, God-created glory; that every kind of injustice toward women will cease; for pornography to be stopped; for protection from sexual violence; that hope would be renewed for the beauty of marriage and children, that single women would lay hold of God’s full purpose in their lives.
Pray for blessings over the women you come in contact with today.
Today is the first day of lent. I will be seeking to blog on here my reflections of what God is speaking to me through the Scriptures and sharing an area of focus for us to pray for each day. I will be drawing heavily from our lent devotional guide called Seek God for the City that you can read more about in my last blog post.
“My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek.” - Psalm 27:8
As I start into this lenten season I am so convicted that there are so many other things that I seek that are not primarily the Lord. They are usually good things, but not necessarily God things.
Part of doing this blog each day during lent is my accountability to intentionally seek the Lord first each day. My life verse has always been “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well"(Mt 6:33). I am always trying to live into this and be reminded that there has never been a time when I have sought God’s face first that the Lord has not been so diligent to provide for my every need.
What area of your life could you more intentionally “seek God’s face” in over these next 40 days? What would you like to pray for God to awaken in you?
Pray for homeless. Please pray specifically for the men living at Christ House here in Washington, DC. Christ House is a ministry that helps provide housing and medical care for men living without shelter. They do amazing work and several folks in our church work there.
As we join together with Church of the Advent and National Baptist Memorial Church tonight for our Ash Wednesday service we are collecting donations for the men at Christ House. You can see a list of their needs here.
This year, The District Church is joining together with churches across the US and world for a special Lenten study! Created by Waymakers, Seek God for the City is designed to help us pray God’s highest hopes for our cities’ deepest needs.
Using the Seek God for the City study guide (available as a booklet or as an app), we will spend the 40 days between Ash Wednesday, March 5 and Palm Sunday, April 13, forming a deeper and more purposeful connection with our local community through Scripture and intentional prayer.
The guide is in a flexible format — perfect for your personal study, small group interaction or even a family devotional time!
FEATURES OF THE STUDY:
Pray for everyone in town.
Focus on the different kinds of people, which comprise any community, such as police, pastors, children, the homeless, sick people and many more.
Put feet to your prayers (prayer walk).
Use the app to pray from your device as you walk your neighborhood.
Pray for the World.
Each day lists a few countries so that at the end of 40 days, you’ll have mentioned every country and discovered informative and relevant resources, etc.
- Buy the guide Sunday at The District Church for $1
- Get the app-version for $.99 on your Apple or Android device (English only).
- Download the FREE children’s companion guide.
I’ll be posting here on my blog some ways God is speaking to me through this Lenten prayer guide over the next few weeks. I hope you will join me in prayer.
Many of you have asked how you can help support Quincy Street Missional Church and Ma Siss’s family during this time of her passing.
If you live in the Boston area, we’d love to have you join us for her funeral on Saturday at 11am (details below).
If you can’t make it and still want to help out, we are trying to raise money to cover the funeral costs and to help support the church moving forward.
Ma’s last words last Wednesday morning to her granddaughter were, “Please promise me that nothing happens to the church.” The church is Ma’s legacy.
This is a great way to honor her to help Quincy Street / Ma Siss’s Place continue to be a place where people can find meet Christ and find grace in their time of need.
Idene Wilkerson “Ma Siss”
Saturday, August 31st - 11:00am
Greater Love Tabernacle Church, 101 Nightingale Street, Dorchester, MA 20125
Oak Lawn Cemetery, 44 Cummins Highway, Roslindale, MA 02123
Quincy Street Missional Church – 266 Quincy Street, Dorchester, MA 02125
In lieu of flowers, please help keep Ma Siss’s dream alive of serving the spiritual and social needs of the neighborhood by making checks out to “Quincy Street Missional Church” and mailing to the following address:
Mr. Bill Bonnice
Attn: Quincy Street Missional Church
49 Bakersfield Street
Dorchester, MA 02125
If you missed the article from last week’s Boston Globe about Ma Siss, you can read it here.
“A person will worship something, have no doubt about that. We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts, but it will out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshiping we are becoming.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker wrote a book called Premarital Sex that I was looking thru in preparing for our current series called To Love & Be Loved. It’s all sociology and research. No moral arguments here, just stating what they’ve learned from numerous surveys and interviews. In the last chapter they share 10 Myths about Sex & Relationships based on their extensive research:
1. Long-term exclusivity is a fiction.
2. The introduction of sex is necessary in order to sustain a fledging or struggling relationship.
3. The sexual double standard is inherently wrong and must be resisted by any means.
4. Boys will be boys. That is, men can’t be expected to abide by the sexual terms that women may wish to set.
5. It doesn’t matter what other people do sexually; you make your own decisions.
6. Port won’t affect your relationships.
7. Everyone else is having more sex than you are.
8. Sex need not mean anything.
9. Marriage can always wait.
10. Moving in together is definitely a step toward marriage.
This Sunday I’m going to be sharing about a study done of over 86 different countries in human history that found that sexual fidelity (pre-marital and post-nuptual) was the single most important predictor of a nation’s ascendency. More on that later.
To listen to last week’s message that kicked off our series on To Love & Be Loved where we talked about identity click here.
"One of the greatest ironies of the history of Christianity is that its leaders constantly gave in to the temptation of power - political power, military power, economic power, or moral and spiritual power - even though they continued to speak in the name of Jesus, who didn’t cling to his divine power, but emptied himself and became as we are.
The temptation to consider power an useful instrument of the proclamation of the Gospel is the greatest of all. We keep hearing from others, as well as saying to ourselves, that having power, provided it is used in the service of God and your fellow human beings, is a good thing.
With this rationalization, crusades took place, inquisitions were organized, Indians were enslaved, positions of great influence were desired, episcopal palaces, splendid cathedrals, and opulent seminaries were built, and much moral manipulation of conscience was engaged in. Every time we see a major crisis in the history of the Church, such as the great schism of the tenth century, the reformation of the sixteenth century, or the immense secularization of the twentieth century, we always see that a major cause of rupture is the power exercised by those who claim to be followers of the poor and powerless Jesus.
What makes the temptation of power so seemingly irresistible? Maybe it is that power offers and easy substitute for the hard task of love. It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life.
Jesus asks “Do you love me?” We ask, “Can we sit at your right hand and your left hand in your Kingdom (Mt 20:21). Ever since the snake said, “The day you eat of this tree your eyes will be open and you will be like gods, knowing good from evil (Gen 3:5), we have been tempted to replace love by power. Jesus lived that temptation in the most agonizing ways from the desert to the Cross, and the long painful history of the Church is the history of people who chose power over love, control over the cross, being a leader over being led.
One thing is clear to me, that the temptation of power is greatest when intimacy is a threat. Much Christian leadership is exercised by people who do not know how to develop healthy intimate relationship and have chosen for power and control instead. Many Christian empire builders have been people unable to give and receive love.”
Henri Nouwen, “With Outstretched Hands” lecture given at Center for Human Development, Washington, DC, Sept 21, 1987
I hope you will join us for this series over the next 5 weeks either online or at one of our services. I’m talking this Sunday about Apostles and Entrepreneurs. The name of the series is Calling: How You are Wired for Mission from Ephesians 4.
Here is the excerpt from JR’s sermon about the difference between a Career and a Calling.
"When a calling, which is something I do for God, is replaced by a career it threatens to become my God.
A career is something I choose for myself. A calling is something i receive. A career is something I do for myself. A calling is something I do for God.
A career promises status, money or power. A calling generally promises difficultly and even some suffering. And the opportunity to be used by God.
A career generally leads to upward mobility. A calling generally leads to downward mobility.
The fact is that you can go into church work and it can be about your career. About your advancement. Or it can be a calling.
And the same with the marketplace. You can go with a career orientation or a sense of call. It’s possible to make business a calling when its truly done to serve God and others.
See a career may end with retirement and lots of toys. A calling is not over until the day you die.
The rewards of a career may be quite visible but are temporary. The significance of a calling lasts for eternity.
A career may be interrupted by any number of events, but not a calling. When God calls people He enables them to fulfill their calling even in the most unlikely circumstances.
Scripture is full of people who are pressed into slavery, captured and sent into exile, and thrown into prison. Their career trajectories did not look promising, but they fulfilled their calling in extraordinary ways.
You see, Pharaoh had a career, but Moses had a calling.
Potiphar had a career, but Joseph had a calling.
Haman had a career, but Esther had a calling.
Pilate had a career, but Jesus had a calling.
What about you?”
Click here to listen to the full sermon from @districtchurch on May 26, 2013.
“ Tim Keller quote from Center Church
“We cannot properly grasp the Savior’s redemptive mission, unless we understand what he came to save us from. If you dilute lostness, then you dilute the seeking and the saving. If we have a reduced understanding of our sinful condition, then we also have a reduced Savior.”
Listen to my sermon The Crux of Calvary where I expand upon this.