The church – Worship 

As part of my Foundation for Ministry course, each group leads the five minute worship each week.

This post was my contribution that I wrote and lead the group this evening, I thoroughly enjoyed writing and leading the worship, I hope it might be useful for others too.

You will need a large block on a table to represent our Lord Jesus Christ as the cornerstone.

You will also need smaller blocks to stack around….I used Jenga bricks!

Reading

…you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)

Reflection/prayer – pauses between each line 

Hold the block in front of you in your open hands and think about the gifts you bring to your church.

Think about how your gifts help to build up the body of the church.

Imagine being in front of our Lord Jesus Christ and offering your gifts up to him.

Think about what you would say to Christ.

Watch how he blesses your gifts, transforms them in a way he can use them, and offers them up to his Heavenly Father.
Feel the warmth from the Holy Spirit in your heart. And rest secure in God’s love for you.

Now try to stand your brick up on its narrowest edge – see how it seems quite fragile, easily knocked over.

Pray for those who do not feel as secure in church, in their work, in their lives, those who need God’s all embracing love.

Stacking of the bricks

I now invite you to bring your brick to the front and stack them up around the larger brick.

The larger brick represents Jesus Christ, the church’s one foundation.

As you place your brick, pray for your church, for its leaders and for your congregations.

Prayer when bricks are stacked

“Christ has no body but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours, Yours are the eyes with which he looks Compassion on this world, Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good, Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, Yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours, Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”


St Teresa of Avila 

 

Stacking of the bricks
Stacking of the bricks
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Love of Christ

Falling in love is one of those experiences that is hard to fully describe. I mean it feels different for each person but trying to put that into words can be challenging.

At first maybe new love can stimulate a touch of nerves, a faster heartbeat caused by worrying if your feelings will be reciprocated. Maybe there is a shock realisation of being in love! Was it unplanned, was it love at first sight or was it now a friend being seen in a different light? The feeling of excitement being on the cusp of a new relationship, the possibility of what happiness it will bring, what wonderful times will come ahead.

When I fell in love with this boy I worked with, I knew it was something special, I described one of our first conversations as “like fireworks were going off in the background”. In reality there were no fireworks, we were stood on the washing detergent aisle in a supermarket, but I remember the burning in my heart when he held me, the butterflies in my stomach when he made me laugh and the feeling of emptiness of him not being there, but needing to see him again soon.

“My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you” (Isaiah 26:9)

This passage from Isaiah 26 sums up what love feels like. The words “Yearns” and “longs” perfectly describe the drawn-out, painful pulling of a heart filled with love, a heart that is not with the one it loves. Replace the words with “misses” and “waits” and it just doesn’t have the same affect, you could be describing a long wait for lunch to be served! 

The love of Christ is an irresistible love, one that pulls not only on your heart, but on your very soul and spirit. Christ’s love envelops you all day, even whilst asleep and as soon as your mind is awake, you yearn for his love.

I remember sleepless nights falling in love with my soon to be husband, lying in my bed, staring into the dark, daydreaming of our next meeting, wishing time would pass quicker until I saw him again. In the morning I would text him before I did anything else, hoping to hear back, just for a glimpse of contact to feel that burn in my heart.

Falling in love with Christ is and has been a similar experience, one I can only describe as a burning, unquenchable flame in my chest, and a pulling, yearning sensation that comes from the very centre of my body, that spreads up through my chest and breathes out of my mouth.

Closing my eyes and praying to my Lord quenches the flames temporarily. My dreams are busy since I opened my heart to Christ and in the morning I have unimaginable inspiration to read the bible, to read about others touched by his love, to pray often so my spirit is with him, to go to Church and all this whilst feeling absolutely wonderful as I listen to his call.

I am in love with the Lord, and it is marvellous.

Yes, LORD, walking in the the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you (Isaiah 26:8-9)

 

Bookmarked

I absolutely adore books. I’m one of those people who can shut the world out with every page I turn. I can truly get into the zone of reading where all I want to do is finish the book regardless of the hour of the day.

I’ve read all types of genres, from crime solving to girly fiction, but I remember the first time I dipped my toe into Christian authored books. It was a breath of invigorating fresh air with every page turn, proclaiming love, peace, and the spirit of the gospel.

Through my reading via books and bible scripture there was one particular verse that came back to me. It causes me a mixture of feelings.

‘Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” -Matthew 10:34

My initial response was confusion!!! Jesus is the prince of peace, he utters the words “peace be with you” everyone at church shares the peace of the Lord!

I continued to read….

‘For I have come to turn‘“a man against his father,a daughter against her mother,a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.” ‘Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:34-39)

I was in denial…..there is no chance this is what Jesus said, Matthew must have misheard.

Oh how I was wrong!!!! 

I’m blessed that God has a way of holding certain verses in my mind, they float around for a while and I think about them not really knowing why, but I wait, and they whisper back to me at the correct moment.

That moment occurred when I felt the sword of division that Jesus spoke of, it was sharp and it hurt. It sliced like a hot knife through butter and I was left as a melted pile on the floor.

God whispered the passage to me whilst in my state of shock, the sword now sliced through with clarity.

I understood what Jesus meant, he didn’t come to bring peace to his disciples, he changed their lives, and when we choose to follow Christ, it changes our lives and we ourselves are not guaranteed peace, but God knows that we stand with Christ. Our peace comes as a fruit from the spirit and the fruit we produce along our journey with Christ.

Lord Jesus, keep us close when we feel the sword of division that you bring, 

give us the strength and courage to stand strong with you, 

warm the hardened hearts of those who reject your call,

and open their eyes to your loving light.

Amen.