Exodus 2:5-8, 10
“Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank.  She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it.  She opened it and saw the baby.  He was crying, and she felt sorry for him.  ‘This is one of the Hebrew babies,’ she said.  Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?’…And the girl went and got the baby’s mother…When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son.  She named him Moses, saying, ‘I drew him out of the water.’”

Acts 16:13-15
“On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer.  We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.  One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God.  The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.  When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home.  ‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord,’ she said, ‘come and stay at my house.’  And she persuaded us.”

Genesis 1:2b
“…and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”

Loving Father, the current of your grace courses through thirsty lands.

Your Spirit hovers over those at the edge of faith, swelling in hearts open to obedience.  Like the branches of an endless stream you make a way for your will to be done.

riversideStir our dry souls and carve a channel for your compassion to flow through us.  May we welcome strangers and friends into homes blessed by your presence.

We ask this in the name of Christ, who waded into the river of death that we might be saved and sheltered in your eternal home.

Listen to ‘Like a River Glorious’ by Sovereign Grace Music

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Exodus 31:12-13
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths.  This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.’”

Matthew 11:28
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Hebrews 4:9-11a
“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.  Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest…”

Holy Lord, unlike the gods of our world you command abstinence from performance.

sabbathHow privileged we are to serve you by laying aside the burdens of our labour one day in seven.  By entering your rest we rely on your sufficiency rather than our striving.

In ceasing from self-important toil, may our obedience allow you to remove our weariness.  Make us people who honour deep fellowship with their Creator.

In the name of the Lord of the Sabbath we pray, the reason we are made holy in rest and our very great reward.

Listen to ‘O Day of Rest and Gladness’ featuring Ian Fitchuk

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New Name

Genesis 17:15-16
“God also said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah.  I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her.  I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.’”

Matthew 16:16-18
“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’  Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.  And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church…’”

Revelation 2:17b
“I will also give each of them a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.”

Gentle Father, you created each of your children to reflect your image as uniquely as a fingerprint.

Though the world labels us by a distortion of our God-given nature, you bestow on us a name we have yet to become.  The barren you call Blessed, the failure you call Fortress.

new name2Take our untrue titles and christen us anew.  Whisper the heavenly name in our ear that we will one day fully know.

We ask this because of Jesus Christ, who took the slander we are called by and gave us his high and holy name.

Listen to ‘All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name‘ by Jaron and Katherine Kamin

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Exodus 2:11b-12, 15-17
“[Moses] saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people.  Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand…When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well.  Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father’s flock.  Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.”

John 21:17
“The third time [Jesus] said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’  Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’  He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’  Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.’”

Hebrews 13:20-21a
“May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will…”

Lord of love, it is your nature always to seek and you alone are able to save.

shepherd2Though we have blood on our hands and lies on our lips, you find your lost lambs and make us shepherds.  The hands that once took life you call to feed the flock.

Forgive us for wandering and pursue us even as we hide.  Equip us to serve the least as you have served us.

Through the redeeming name of Christ we enter your holy presence and claim the promises of the Shepherd who was slain for his sheep.

Listen to ‘Psalm 23′ by Luke Morton

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Message of Joy

Acts 12:11a, 12-15a, 16
“Then Peter came to himself and said, ‘Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches…’  When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary…where many people had gathered and were praying.  Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer the door.  When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, ‘Peter is at the door!’  ‘You’re out of your mind,’ they told her…But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.”

Matthew 28:5-7a, 8
“The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.  Come and see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples:  ‘He has risen from the dead…’  So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.”

Isaiah 52:7
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”

Great Father, you hear our midnight prayers and your salvation comes with the morning.

Kazakh girlThough the miracle is immense, you entrust the message to the humble.  You choose the simple voice of a servant to proclaim your kingdom’s reign.

Prepare us to receive the good news of your presence amongst us.  May we in joyful witness announce your longed-for arrival, even to those most hesitant to hear.

We lift our requests to you in the name of the risen Christ, who brought us the gospel on his pierced and beautiful feet.

Listen to ‘How Marvelous’ by the Andy Needham Band

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2 Samuel 14:1-2a, 4b, 5b-7a, 11b, 13-14
“Joab…knew the king’s heart longed for Absalom.  So Joab…had a wise woman brought…‘Pretend you are in mourning…then go to the king…’…she said, ‘Help me, O king!…I am indeed a widow…I your servant had two sons.  They got into a fight with each other in the field…one struck the other and killed him.  Now the whole clan has risen up against your servant; they say, ‘Hand over the one who struck his brother down, so that we may put him to death for the life of his brother whom he killed…’  ‘As surely as the Lord lives, [David] said, ‘not one hair of your son’s head will fall to the ground.’…The woman said, ‘Why then have you devised a thing like this against the people of God?  When the king says this, does he not convict himself, for the king has not brought back his banished son?  Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die.  But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him.’”

John 14:6
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.’”

Habakkuk 3:6b
“His ways are eternal.”

Lord and King, with unlimited capacity and profound wisdom you devise plans of love.

You sketched out a route to restore your guilty children by means of an innocent mediator.  As a living path, Christ offered himself as the way for us to return to you.

wayReceive our gratitude for initiating this most merciful solution.  May we answer wrongdoing by offering creative channels of reconciliation.

Because of your unrelenting hold on us we can ask this in the name of Jesus, your perfect plan and most brilliant way.

Listen to ‘Of the Father’s Love Begotten’ by Ordinary Time

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Genesis 3:17-18
“To Adam [God] said, ‘…Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.  It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.’”

Genesis 22:13
“Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns.  He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.”

John 19:1-2a
“Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.  The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head.”

Holy Lord, you have not abandoned our guilty race, but set the price of restitution and provided the payment.

thornUpon his innocent head your Son wore the curse of our sin-soaked ground.  Caught in a thicket of treachery, he sacrificed himself to free us from our fetters.

Open our hearts to the love that bore such a cruel crown.  Remove the thorns that choke our faith and cause you pain.

In Christ’s precious name, the Lamb of God pierced to make us whole, we kneel before you with grateful praise.

Listen to ‘The Cross of Christ’ by Todd Wright

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