This Week’s Theme
You Must Be Born Again
One of the teachers of Israel, Nicodemus, both a Pharisee and member of the Jewish Council, the Sanhedrin, came to Jesus at night. Jesus proclaimed to him that unless one is born again they can neither see nor enter the Kingdom of God. Nicodemus was puzzled, asking whether one who is old can enter into the womb a second time to be born. Jesus again asserted that unless one is born of the water and the Holy Spirit they cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Only the Spirit can redeem us.
Jesus further assured Nicodemus that God’s motivation in sending him down from heaven was a demonstration of his great love. In fact, he loved us so much he offered his only Son as a ransom for the world. Everyone who believes will never perish, but inherit eternal life. Jesus assured Nicodemus that his mission was not to judge the world, but rather, to save it through God’s expression of love. The true God, maker of heaven and earth, and keeper of the covenant with his people, loved his creation and the world so deeply that he gave his one and only Son Jesus to be incarnated and die, in order that humankind would not perish, but rather have never-ending life.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Great God and Creator of all things, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, help us to see that our own human strivings and religious efforts can never please you or make us acceptable in your sight. Reveal to us the true meaning of the Lord’s teaching, that we must be born again, truly born from above, in order to become your child, to be saved from the penalty of our sin, and to be redeemed and reconciled to you. We trust in your Son, Jesus Christ, and look to him as our life and light. In his 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)
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
Saturday: 1 Sam. 20-21; Ps. 34
Psalm: Ps. 121
OT: Gen. 12.1-4a
Gospel: John 3.1-17
NT: Rom. 4.1-5, 13-17
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
Lord Jesus, the Scriptures testify that you love us, and that you will never leave nor forsake us. Thank you for such undeserved and wonderful love. Now, in your name, reproduce that love in our hearts, that we might worthily return your love to you, and love others, even as you love us. In your name we pray, amen.
Affirmation for the Day
Help me to grow up to become like you, my Father, the king of love and mercy.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Thank you, Father, that you have born us again by a living hope through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In him we are no longer sons of disobedience, but children of Abraham by faith in him.
For Your Weekly Journey
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
Why Jesus Came into the World, John 9.1-41
Phillips, Your God Is Too Small