08 Lenten Study

God’s Call to “Newal”

WEEK 3: COMMISSION

Brief Focus Note: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” were words of commission offered by Jesus to His first disciples and now likewise to His Church. He was sent to love, ‘to seek and to save’ and to establish God’s kingdom and so are we. Having been made disciples by virtue of our baptism, we have inherited the ‘Great Commission’ to ‘go, make disciples of [others], baptizing…and teaching them’ all the things our Lord has taught us concerning God’s saving love and our need to love that offers newness of life.

Reflection Questions: 1. What is meant by ‘commission’ in relation to believing in and serving our missionary God? 2. Has the notion of ‘commission’ been influential in your Christian way of life and that of your church; or has it been more of a sin of ‘omission’? 3. At a time such as this, what do you believe the Holy Spirit is saying to you and your church in relation to an apt response to the ‘Great Commission’ and the need for intentional discipleship?

Bible References for Daily Meditation:  Sunday (24th March) – Exodus 3:1-15  Monday (25th March) – Isaiah 49:1-7  Tuesday (26th March) – Isaiah 61:1-4  Wednesday (27th March) – Luke 9:1-6  Thursday (28th March) – Luke 10:1-9  Friday (29th March) – John 20:19-22  Saturday (30th March) – Matthew 28:16-20

Excerpts from Enthronement Sermon: 1. Our commission is ‘to a new season of earnestly working with [God] on His mission of transformation…to a season of renewal, reconciliation, recommitment, revival, restoration and re-energizing…’ 2. We have the commission to be ‘actively involved in intentional and innovative discipleship to which our Anglican Communion is called’ and ‘to rise up and shine (on full beam) the light of Christ in our nation…’ 3. Our commission is ‘a call for all to be involved in ministry,’ to ‘be beacons of Christ presence and enable a beautiful SONrise in our nation’ as we ‘proclaim the good news and offer a helping hand to the oppressed, …bind up the broken-hearted, … enable liberty to those who are held in the captivity of sin and violence, …rehabilitate and seek release for the prisoners whose hearts the Spirit of God has softened, [and] comfort those who mourn and lift up the faint-hearted.

Suggested Lectionary Readings:

 Psalm 96  Exodus 3:1-15  Ephesians 3:1-12  Matthew 28:16-20 Special Hymns:  325, 355, 332, 400 & 307 (CPWI)  249, 830, 955 (MP)


WEEK 4: COMMUNION

Brief Focus Note: It is a well-known fact that ‘no man is an island’ and that we were created to live as social beings and not a solitary life. All faiths generally emphasize that we were created to live in communion with God, our fellow human beings and creation as a whole. Within Christianity the term ‘Communion’, derived from the Greek word ‘Koinonia’, speaks to the loving relationship and beautiful fellowship we are to share with God and each other as the body of Christ, the Church. Communion, at times, is fractured by sin; but our God reveals that it is to be restored through the offering of love, forgiveness and reconciliation. The Church, by its life, is to be a witness of the koinonia God intends for all humanity.

Reflection Questions: 1. What does it mean to experience ‘Communion’ with God and others as derived from the term ‘Koinonia’ and what are the fundamental benefits of having such ‘communion’ as Christians? 2. What are the channels you currently use to experience ‘communion’ with God and others? 3. What do you believe the Holy Spirit is saying to you and the church today in relation to having greater ‘communion’ with God, other Christians and the wider community in the call to newness of life (NEWal)?

Bible References for Daily Meditation: • Sunday (31st March) – Psalm 133 • Monday (1st April) – Acts 2:37-47 • Tuesday (2nd April) – John 15:4-11 • Wednesday (3rd April) – 1 John 4:7-12, 21 • Thursday (4th April) – 1 John 1:5-7 • Friday (5th April) – John 17:20-24 • Saturday (6th April) – Hebrews 10:16-25

Excerpts from Enthronement Sermon: • Communion is desired where God “is calling not just Bishop Maxwell but all of us into a greater spiritual communion with Him, to gather us to Himself, to raise us up, to revive us as His Church, as His people, and as His nation. • Communion is present when “…we work together to be beacons of Christ presence…” • Communion is hindered when “we [are] too caught up in and of ourselves, our agendas, [and] have no time for God, for Church …for family, for our young people…” while God calls us “under His governing and guiding hand, to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper…” • Being in communion enables us to “stand firm as brothers and sisters of the Anglican Church and wider Christ Community …for the building up of the body of Christ, calling our lapsed brothers and sisters to return to the fold and others to join Christ…” • Communion calls for “a reunited Church, working fully together [as] …clergy and laity …partnering with God for the transformation of our lives, our Church and our nation.
Suggested Lectionary Readings: Ezekiel 37:12-28; Psalm 122/133; Acts 2:37-47 and John 17:20-24

Suggested Hymns: 304(CPWI); 346(CPWI); 450(CPWI); 542(CPWI); 842(CPWI); 60(MP); 151(MP); and 376(MP).


WEEK 5: COMMUNICATION

Brief Focus Note: The success of our relationships with others depends a great deal on our ability to communicate. Our relationships with God and others require communication if they are to flourish as God designed them to. As social beings, we were created to communicate. Within the New Testament, we have a clear view that communication was central to ministry of Jesus and His apostles. It was key in conveying the message of salvation, declaring the will and kingdom of God and calling persons to repentance and belief in the gospel. Likewise, for us as Christians, verbal and non-verbal communication continues to be essential for the spread of Christianity. Through traditional and modern means of communication, we have a gospel to proclaim, new converts to sustain, and our relationship with God and others to maintain.

Reflection Questions: 1. What is your understanding of “effective communication” and what are its key components or features? 2. What traditional and modern means of verbal or non-verbal communication are being used by you and your church to proclaim the gospel and are they currently effective? 3. What do you believe the Holy Spirit is saying to you and the church today in relation to effective communication of the gospel, nurturing new converts and maintaining communion with God and others?

Bible References for Daily Meditation:  Sunday (7th April) – Jeremiah 1:4-9  Monday (8th April) – Proverbs 15:1-4,7  Tuesday (9th April) – John 16:12-15  Wednesday (10th April) – Luke 24:13-17a, 30-32  Thursday (11th April) – Colossians 4:2-6  Friday (12th April) – Ephesians 4:25, 29  Saturday (13th April) – Matthew 12:35-37

Excerpts from Enthronement Sermon:  Communication with God involves listening and speaking as “I heard Him calling through the voices of others…I had further conversation with the Lord…”  Communication from the church to the nation will occur in that “the voice of this Church will certainly be heard as God’s Holy Spirit prompts…”  Communication can be non-verbal for “that new season was …signaled last Saturday at the Consecration…as we had our first ever Ordination of a Bishop…at the Gymnasium signaling that whosoever will may come…”  Communication is vital for a strategic plan to be effected and so “the seeds were planted and the foundation laid through many sermons, synod meetings, deanery meetings and commissions to discuss the strategic plan…”  Communication from God comes via the Holy Spirit and “The Spirit is saying to us ‘no more lukewarm church’…”

Suggested Lectionary Readings: Jeremiah 1:4-9; Psalm 19; Colossians 4:2-6 and John 16:12-15

Suggested Hymns: 400(CPWI); 750(CPWI); 355(CPWI); 1012(MP) and 249 (MP). 


WEEK 6: COMMITMENT

Brief Focus Note:
That well-loved hymn ‘O Jesus I have promised to serve thee to the end’ is certainly one that quickly comes to mind when we speak of ‘Commitment’ as it relates to us as Christians.  As we enter this Holy Week of Lent, we are particularly drawn to the deep sense of commitment exhibited by Jesus during the last days of His earthly life as He fulfilled His Father’s mission of salvation despite the tremendous cost of the cross. He served and bore that cross to the end amidst temptations to turn aside.  It is that level of commitment which is expected of every Christian, to love and live for God by giving of our best and dedicating ourselves to faithfully serve Him to the end. There is the saying that ‘a great commitment to the great commandment and the great commission leads to a great church’; and also a great life in Christ.     
 
Reflection Questions:
1. What is required, and what factors assist, in making a “commitment” to God? What are the main obstacles in making that commitment?
2. How do you as a Christian currently demonstrate your “commitment” to God and His Church?
3. What do you believe the Holy Spirit is saying to you and the church today in relation to our level of “commitment” to God, each other and His mission of salvation? 

Bible References for Daily Meditation:
 Sunday (14th April) – Philippians 2:5-8
 Monday (15th April) – Galatians 6: 9-10
 Tuesday (16th April) – Act 2:40-47
 Wednesday (17th April) – Matt. 16:24-26
 Thursday (18th April) – Hebrews 12:1-3
 Friday (19th April) – John 19:17-18, 28-30
 Saturday (20th April) – 1 Peter 4:1-2, 6-7

Excerpts from Enthronement Sermon:
  “we surrender our lives to You, …You created us in our mother’s womb to be Your servants, so take Your rightful place in our lives as our Commander and Chief and work Your purpose out in our lives…”
 “…it’s all about letting go and letting God have His way in my life, it’s all about being God’s humble servant…to be pursuant of God’s will and His plan…” 
 “So we’ve now got to be ready to work hard(er) for God, to be His true servants and soldiers in His Army…”
 “…and it is to such that I call us all to commit ourselves … as we work together to be beacons of Christ presence and enable a beautiful SONrise in our nation.” 
 
Suggested Lectionary Readings (Palm Sunday):
  Isaiah 50:4-9a
 Psalm 31:9-16
 Philippians 2:5-11
 Luke 23:1-56

Suggested Hymns:
 494; 509; 513; 524; 568; 522; 672 (CPWI)
 335, 229; 302 (MP)