Devoted to Worshiping Together

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Acts 2:42-47

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Hebrews 10:19-25

So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.

A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

John 4:5-26

The temple was the place where the Jewish people worshiped – much more than how we view church today. It was a cultural hub, a hub of activity for spiritual and civil happenings. It was the only lace where acts of worship (sacrifices) were done. Worship then was very different than today – it centered around sacrifices and the rituals performed by the priests. Now, worship is to be public & private and can be done everywhere. Worship today is centered on the sacrificed of Jesus.

4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins…. 11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. 15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” 17 then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” 18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

Hebrews 10:4, 11-18

Once & for all, our sins are paid for by Jesus’ sacrifice. We don’t have to make sacrifices to cover our sins. Jesus did that! We can worship through prayer, reading the Bible, singing, listening to teachings, and meditation.

The reformation was built upon the early Christian church, built on Jesus & His mission – to make disciples, be His witness. That witness is stronger when we are together because it was filled with confidence. Worshiping together is a foretaste of the glorious daily worship in eternity with God.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. We can worship together in our homes and in public buildings. Our whole self is a living sacrifice to our Lord. Although personal, we worship together to bring each other together and strengthen each other in the faith – through mutual conversation and consolation among the brothers and sisters in Christ. I receive God’s grace through you, and You receive God’s grace through me. Yes, we receive God’s grace through the Word and the Sacraments, but also through those worshiping with us.

Challenge Questions:

  • Who is my focus on when I worship?
  • When I am worshiping Jesus with others, is it Jesus and me or Jesus and we? (There’s nothing wrong with personal and private worship, but there is value in worshiping together. This is about when we are worshiping together.)
  • How does the “we” in worship help me in my confidence, steadfastness, and hope?
  • When we are devoted to worship in Sprit and truth together, how can our witness accomplish Jesus’ call to us to make disciples?

Everything in Common

Acts 2:44-45, 4:32-37, John 17:6-11

In Acts, that they shared and had everything in common was not a command for how to live in Christian life, but a description of how they lived as Christians. First, their culture was very different than our American culture. They love in a culture that was collectivistic – concerned about the community. Whereas, our American culture is individualistic. Neither is wrong, but they are different!

In Jerusalem, there were two cultures:

  1. Roman: based on heredity, property, wealth
  2. Jewish: based on family and purity

The Christian culture is different from both in that we are welcoming of all no matter their family, wealth, health, or whatever. Furthermore, each member of the Christian community is equally valuable and precious.

Galatians 3:26-29

John 17:10-11

Even Jesus considered nothing to be His, not even His own disciples. Jesus became one with us when he came to earth. He bore our sins as His and paid the price so we could have life through Him. Because He lives, we live. We have everything in common with Jesus! Sins, forgiveness, salvation, & eternal life.

In the early church, they had everything in common because their everything was Jesus. Christian community is more about “we” more than “me.” Communities like this are a reflections of Jesus.

Luke 17:1-10

  • faith is marked by actions
  • turning to God to rely on
  • recognize its not me, but God

If we are doing what we’re supposed to do – our duty – what we are indebted to do – obligated… it’s not above and beyond, & we’re not all that, but still unworthy servants. We need Jesus! He did the hard things, the above & beyond – died on the cross paying the price for all sin – my sin. Therefore, he gets all the glory! All the credit. We are restored to God.

We are indebted to Jesus and that’s why we need to turn to Him & trust Him because He can do so much more than I can imagine with a greater love and compassion for me that I can imagine!

Apostles’ Final Teachings

When you are at your worst, who is walking with who?

Luke 22 is all about the upper room.

v.35-38: Before they were so full of faith, they lacked nothing. God provided. Remember those days of faithfulness in the darkness…

v. 47-51: What are you relying on?

God or the sword? Kingdom of God or kingdom of darkness? Faith or things of this world? There are only two options!

You are either working in and advancing the kingdom of one or the other.

Nothing is impossible for God. God still provides!

Jesus walks with us even at our worst… and doesn’t leave us that way.

These are my notes from this sermon message.

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Luke 18:9-14 ~ My Sermon Notes from the service today.

Who was Jesus talking to?
Those confident in their own righteousness & looked down on others

… that I’m not like other people…
It’s our nature to compare ourselves to others – as better than, or at least not as bad as…

The reality?
We are all the same. Sinners, fallen short of the glory of God.

Galatians 6:4
But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.

“comparison is the thief of joy”

— Theodore Roosevelt

“God have mercy on me, a sinner.”

Actions are louder than words. The actions in the story? stood apart, didn’t look up to God, beat his breast. He didn’t even consider himself worthy to approach God.

Be humble before God, or be humbled. – Luke 15:14

God can exalt us WAY more than we can exalt ourselves.

Jesus sees us through the loving eyes of compassion. We are not the standard of comparison, Jesus is.

Prodigal Son

Luke 15:11-32

The older son’s relationship with the father is based on obligation, whereas the younger son’s relationship basis transformed from selfish rebellion to humble submission. The father’s relationship with the sons is based on unconditional love.

There’s also a whole works vs. grace vibe in this story as well as obligation vs. sacrifice element. What is your motivation/attitude regarding the inheritance we receive from the Father?

Habitica App

When I spotted this Habitica App from my Evernote newsletter a little while back, I just had to try this out! It speaks to my GTD kind of personality. I thought my teenagers might like it enough to use it and maybe remove the need for me to “nag” so much!

I downloaded, installed, and registered with this app on Android earlier today. The app is lovely, easy to use, the tour is cute without babying, and the website interface is spectacular. I can see this being a lot of fun (AND productive) for the teens. If I were more of a gamer personality, I would probably really enjoy this myself!

One caution: I wouldn’t recommend this for younger than teenagers since there are chat rooms (taverns) and the like. Here’s more info on the app from Common Sense Media. I’m curious to see if Bark.us* is able to monitor this platform.

Marvel Movies Chronological Order

  1. Captain America: The First Avenger 👍
  2. Captain Marvel 👍
  3. Iron Man 👍
  4. Iron Man 2 👍
  5. The Incredible Hulk 👎
  6. Thor 👍
  7. The Avengers 👍
  8. Iron Man 3 👍
  9. Thor: The Dark World 👍
  10. Captain America: The Winter Soldier 👍
  11. Guardians of the Galaxy 😐
  12. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 😐the first time and 👍the second
  13. Avengers: Age of Ultron 👍
  14. Ant-Man 😐
  15. Captain America: Civil War 👍
  16. Spider-Man: Homecoming 👍
  17. Doctor Strange 😁
  18. Black Widow
    not released yet
  19. Black Panther 😁
  20. Thor: Ragnarok 👎
  21. Ant-Man and the Wasp 😐
  22. Avengers: Infinity War 👍
  23. Avengers: Endgame 😁
  24. Spider-Man: Far From Home
    haven’t seen yet

My Ratings

  • 😁 Great
  • 👍 Good
  • 😐Meh
  • 👎 Not that great

New Web Host

I’ve been a member of WPMUDev.org since 2014! I love their blog, their forums, knowledgebase, customer service, and, of course, their plugins and services. Not long ago they started offering dedicated WordPress web hosting. Exciting!! Well, I finally got the chance to give it a test drive. Naturally, this little guinea pig blog is now officially hosted by WPMUDev. So far so good.

I did the site migration manually rather than by automatic means mostly because I wanted all my content, but not necessarily all of the other stuff that I’ve been experimenting with (plugins and the like). Clean slate time!

Because of this decision, I started to receive SPAM comments again! I have a list somewhere of all my standard plugins and Anti-spam Reloaded is one of those. It’s a quiet little plugin that chugs away and keeps me from having to do extra work. I highly recommend it.

Now, I need to go find that list!

Be Angry… And Train Your Kids

Be Angry...and Train Your Kids: Directing Your God-Given Energy to Wisely Fuel Godly Parenting StrategiesBe Angry…and Train Your Kids: Directing Your God-Given Energy to Wisely Fuel Godly Parenting Strategies by Peggy Ployhar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The format of the book is easy to read in small chunks, which is good because small chunks of time is all I have! Her honesty in the struggle is encouraging and refreshing on its own, but her Christ-centered instruction and intentional hope-giving tones are what I valued the most. This is an excellent read and a book not going on my shelf, but a book going to another parent in need. I’ll buy it again if I need to.

View all my reviews