Praying With Jesus: Good Friday

Today is one of the most important days of the year. It is Good Friday the day Jesus died on the cross. I am always asked by the kids in chapel why is this day called good, when the most terrible thing happened? Here is the answer.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

I remember a story told by St Jerome who was an early translator of the Bible. As told by him he went to Jerusalem and Bethlehem for a time of study and prayer and one night he had a dream. In this dream Jesus appeared to him and Jerome gave him everything he had. Jesus did not want those things. Then Jerome gave him all of his money. Jesus did not want that. What would you like? Jerome asked. Jesus replied, “Your sins.”

The day is called ‘good” because we find that Jesus takes our sins upon himself so that we might have the righteousness of God. In ways we do not always understand Jesus became our sin so that we might know the amazing love and grace of God.

Thank you for this day Jesus. For all that you did for me I am amazed by the magnitude of your grace. This day truly is good.

Pastor Dave

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Praying With Jesus: God’s Timing

Can you keep a secret? Can you keep a secret from God? Absolutely not. Jesus knew of this plan and took steps to make sure it did not disrupt his plans.

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present. (Luke 22:1-6)

One of the most unusual actions of Jesus, that follows this in the Gospels, is when the disciples on the next day ask where they are going to celebrate the Passover? Jesus tells Peter and John to go into town and they will see a man carrying a water jar, follow him and that will show you where we are going to meet. Prepare everything there. Is there more than one person carrying a jar of water in Jerusalem? Of course, but Jesus does not want to tell the group where they are going to be eating this evening because that would be the perfect place for Judas to tell the guards to come and arrest Jesus. Jesus wants to make sure he has time to wash the disciple’s feet, teach them some last few things, and then most importantly, Institute the Lord’s Supper. That Passover celebration had to happen without interruption, so Judas would later lead the guards to Jesus when they stopped to pray on the Mount of Olives.

Jesus knows the timing of all things. Judas was looking for the first opportunity without the crowds around Jesus and this meal would have been perfect. Some things have to happen in a certain order for God’s will to be done. We always need to remember that when we pray. In life I have had so many prayers answered but not on my timetable. When I have to wait I sometimes wonder and question God. But this passage reminds me that God always has in mind what is needed and important. His knowledge of the future is better than my knowledge of the past. We are often told to live by faith. Today I also want to remind you to pray with faith. Knowing that today, tomorrow and all eternity is in God’s gracious hands.

Thank you Lord, for knowing the timing of all things. Help me to understand your plans for me so that I may grow in faith and trust. Amen.

Pastor Dave

Praying With Jesus: Turn Me To You

We have started Holy Week and one of the things Jesus did this week caused quite a commotion in the Temple.

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it `a den of robbers.” The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. (Mark 11:15-18)

Have you ever been challenged on something you are doing? The chief priests were taken aback by the boldness and the words of Jesus. Was it a den of robbers? Jesus found that the Temple had lost it’s way and became an institution and not a house of prayer. We always have to take these words to heart and be reminded that the church is here to be a house of prayer. That is connecting people to God in the various newer methods of today and the tried and true ways that have worked in all of history. Lent is in fact one of the oldest seasons of the church year and goes back way before people celebrated Christmas. This week reminds us that faith is never business as usual. Sometimes church and our lives walking with God can get stuck in a routine. Maybe there is a table in your life that needs to be flipped. It looks to be messy but it can open up new ways of seeing Jesus in faith and how he impacts your daily life.

Jesus, you turned many things upside down. Turn me so that my life is filled with your presence and help make my life a life filled with prayer.

Pastor Dave

Praying With Jesus: Prayer is Worship

“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.”

This is something Jesus said to the woman at the well. She had asked where she should worship and Jesus’ response is that it’s not about the place you worship, but worshiping in spirit and in truth.

Prayer is part of our worship. Like Jesus said about worship, there is no one place that we should pray. There aren’t places where prayers are stronger or more powerful because prayer isn’t about the place we are, but the God who hears them…and He hears them no matter where you are. If you’re in the car, at home, at church, in nature, or in school before a test, God hears your prayer.

So, where are you now? God hears your prayers here, too. So, why not pray now?

Heavenly Father,

You are the God of all creation. You hear me no matter where I am or what is happening around me. Today, I lift my praises and concerns to you and ask that You be with me. Protect me and guide me. My I glorify You in all that I do. Amen

 

In Christ’s Service, Pastor Kurt

 

About Our Worship Services

worship-services

Welcome to Family of Christ

What are our worship services like?

 

Clear and Understandable Worship:
Family of Christ main campus has 3 weekly English Services as well as a weekly Spanish service and a bi-weekly service in Tamil, an Asian Indian dialect. As Jesus, the Son of God came into this world to speak to those in a way they were most comfortable and able to understand, we believe the church should be done in a way that is understandable and clear.

The Importance of God’s Word:
4543060842_e4fdb33047_bAs Lutherans, we have always stressed a Word and Sacrament Ministry. In each service there are usually three scripture readings: an Old Testament; an Epistle reading; and a Gospel reading. We try to bring the whole picture of God as revealed in Holy Scripture. The Sermon each week is centered on one of these readings or on a combination of two or three of them. The Church is not a self help organization but a gathering of people celebrating the grace and love of God we have been given in Jesus. He is always our hope and promise of God’s grace. We know and love God because He has revealed Himself in the person of His Son Jesus. Lutherans are very Christo-centric, which means that we center our faith in the person and message and life and death of Jesus.

Communion:
Lutherans also have a Sacramental understanding of God and his grace reaching out to us each week. We have a weekly celebration of Holy Communion. In this part of the service Jesus bids us to do this to receive His grace and forgiveness in a powerful and unique way. Lutherans believe that we receive in a supernatural way the real presence of Jesus in, with, and under the bread and wine that we have at Communion. If you have any questions about this one of our Pastors will speak in further detail.

Music:
As God speaks to us in varied ways so we speak to God in worship in both prayer and music. Music is very different and we recognize the differing musical ways to sing God’s praises. The Psalms talk of worship with drums and cymbals and the lyre. Our Traditional services use an organ and Piano. Our Contemporary service will most often have guitars, drums and keyboards. Either way we sing and speak from our heart to the One who gives life in this world and eternal life to all who believe. We welcome you to come to any one of our worship services.

We hope you will come and worship with us this weekend.

You Are Sent – Sermon Follow-Up

john17_18“As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”
-John 17:18

Yesterday we talked about how we have been made ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us (2 Cor 5:20).  At the North Campus we have a few songs at the beginning of our service and then one song at the end.  If you look closely at our bulletin, you’ll notice that the last song is called, the “Sending Song”.  I usually chose a song that has a theme of going into the world and telling others about Jesus.  Yesterday, it was Shout to the North.

The reason I chose to call this last song the “Sending Song” instead of the “Closing Song” is because rather than having the message that worship is closing and we’re done, I wanted to give the message that Christ gives us.  We are sent.  The corporate worship service may be done for the week, but the worship of our lives continues as we go into the world, showing people the love of Jesus with our actions and telling others about what Jesus has done.  Next time, when you are finishing up the worship service for the week, think to yourself, “Now, Jesus is sending me into the world to tell others about Him.”

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for sending Your Son to die for us.  Thank You for sending Your Spirit to go with us.  Thank You for sending us into the world.  Help us to share Your love with everyone we meet.

Amen

You can watch the full sermon from the North Campus here:

 

Musicians Wanted for New Church

83118964_e881a76ff7_zFamily of Christ North is a new church starting in Wesley Chapel, FL on February 28th.  We are looking for volunteer musicians for our Sunday morning worship services.  The musical format will be contemporary Christian (praise band).  We are looking for singers, guitar players, keyboard players, drummers, etc.

If you are interested, please contact Pastor Kurt using the form below:

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Devotion – August 19, 2015 – Worship in Spirit and in Truth

john4_24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.
—John 4:24

Where can we worship God?

When should we worship?

What music should we use?

There are a lot of things we concern ourselves with about worship which aren’t actually Biblical or truly important.  In the passage from John above the Samaritan woman at the well had just asked Jesus whether the Samaritans were right to worship on their mountain or the Jews right to worship in the temple.  Jesus responds,

“a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.”

Today, we often hear questions about whether certain instruments should be in worship or what kind of music is played.  Should we use video?  But that’s not what worship is about. [Read more…]

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