Thursday, July 18, 2019

This Week’s Theme
The Harvest Is Plentiful, the Laborers Few
Matthew 9.35-38

Question 4: True or False.  How do human beings and the Lord collaborate in bringing people to Christ?

At the beginning of his ministry, the Lord Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages of Judah, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom. Along with the message of salvation, Jesus healed the people of every disease and affliction he encountered. As he ministered to the people, upon seeing the crowds, he was deeply moved for their welfare, for they were confused, harassed, and helpless, just like a bunch of sheep who had no shepherd to guide and care for them. The Lord then said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

As Jesus ministered to the peoples where he traveled, the people were so many and their afflictions and needs were so numerous that no one person could address their cares alone. It is telling that after healing the multitudes of their diseases and afflictions, Jesus’s heart broke over the aimless, wandering folk whom he encountered, who acted as if they were sheep without a shepherd to lead them. His imagery of harvest (like the image of fishing) focuses on the need to gather in the ripe crops ready for harvesting. As Lord of the harvest, he is aware of the need for more workers in the field, because the harvest is huge, but there are very few laborers to gather in the ripe crops.

The heart of our concern must be to petition the Lord of the harvest to send out more laborers into his harvest. The concern of God is to bring the harvest in. Let us, then, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest that he might call forth a new generation of workers for the harvest fields who will go and gather the souls in jeopardy into God’s barns. Let us pray, and let us go to those whose hearts are ever so ready to be gathered in.


Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation

Eternal God, Jesus saw the multitudes whom he ministered to as confused and aimless, lacking a shepherd to care for and guide them. He asked us to pray to the Lord of the harvest that more laborers might be sent to gather the harvest in. Dear Lord, have mercy on us and draw a generation of workers into your field, that those who are ready may be harvested by you, and enter your Kingdom as your own. In your name we pray, amen.

Call to Worship  

Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.


Praising Our God
Te Deum Laudamus 

You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.

Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)

Gloria Patri

Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.


Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day

Thursday: Ezek. 5-9

Lectionary Readings for the Day

Psalm: Ps. 25.1-10

OT: Deut. 30.9-14


Gospel: Luke 10.25-37


NT: Col. 1.1-14

(Click here for all readings)

Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling


Responding in Faith
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).

Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.

Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.

Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)

Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.


Departing to Serve
Benediction 

Lord Jesus, when you made your circuit through all the towns and villages, you declared the Kingdom come, healing their diseases, caring for their afflictions. You saw the crowds, and your heart was moved by what you saw. In response, you told us to petition you, that you might send forth more workers in the harvest fields, for the harvest is great, but the workers are few. Send us out that we may go; raise up laborers that with us, we all may gather in these precious souls into your house. Send more laborers, Lord, into your harvest. In your name we pray, amen.

Affirmation for the Day
We must go to our knees and pray for more workers to enter the harvest fields of God.

Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
The harvest is great, but the workers few. May the Lord of the harvest send forth more laborers into his harvest.


Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus

The Harvest Is Plentiful, the Laborers Few
Matthew 9.35-38


Book Reading
Finley, Reformation in Foreign Missions


Our Corporate Disciplines
Book Discussion: Monday, July 15, 2019