In Deuteronomy 6, Yahweh’s people are about to make their long-awaited entrance into the promised land when Moses reminds them of who their God is, what he has said, and what he has done. The words and works of God are to be ever before them–on their minds and before their eyes–as they build homes in this new place. Like the Lord’s Old Testament people, those of us who have trusted in Jesus as our Savior and King also need to remember his words and works. More than anything, we need to remember the Gospel story as we live in our respective homes. Our God wants to live in households that are permeated and shaped by the Gospel.

We saw on Sunday that a Gospel household is…

1. a place where humble gratitude happens. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

2. a place where confessing happens. (1 John 1:9; Proverbs 28:14)

3. a place where repenting happens. (Proverbs 28:14; Romans 2:4)

4. a place where sacrificial serving happens. (Philippians 2:3-8)

5. a place where forgiving and reconciling happen. (Colossians 3:12-13)

6. a place where hopeful encouraging happens. (1 Peter 1:13; Ephesians 4:29)

7. a place where the true God is worshipped. (Deuteronomy 6:14)

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And when I look closely,
I suddenly see
That I am Barabbas,
Once guilty, now free.

These were the closing lines of today’s Agape Youth Worship Service message. Our preacher, Brian Hoza, helped us all behold the scandalous grace of God in Jesus Christ, who died for “Barabbases” like us — notorious sinners deserving death but receiving love and mercy. 

What a great day we had worshiping Jesus with 100 or so young people. Following the worship gathering, they were led through a series of seriously fun games, and we had a chance to reconnect with many of them. It’s so good to see the fruit of the Spirit’s work in their lives, maturing and transforming many them. We also got to meet lots of new young friends, many of whom will be at this coming weekend’s Agape Youth Bible Camp.

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All 17 members of the Agape Youth Worship Team, along with the N19 Team

Later we enjoyed dinner at Pastor Kim’s house. He and his family have been serving in Namibia for 7 years. One goal of this annual trip is to minister to the Kims, Parks, Hongs, and Jen Chon — faithful servants who are pouring out their lives for these young people. Please pray that our team would be an encouragement to them, even as we partner with them, pray with them, and seek to support their efforts here on the ground.

We’re winding down this Sunday evening at Steve and Seoyeon Hong’s apartment and Jen Chon’s apartment in preparation for a full day tomorrow. In the morning, God willing, we’ll get together with many of the Agape Youth for one-on-one discipleship meetings, small group sessions, and other activities.

Alyssa Leone, our 11th team member, is scheduled to arrive tomorrow evening, and Becca McAteer (member 12) is scheduled to arrive just before the weekend.

Prayer Requests

  • Would you please ask our Father for continued team unity rooted in humility and love for Christ and one another?
  • Would you ask the Lord to give Alyssa and Becca safe trips to Namibia?
  • Can you ask our Father to guide our steps and establish our plans for this week? We have such high hopes for the Lord to work in the lives of the Agape Youth, but he is able to do exceedingly more than we could ever ask or imagine.
  • Lastly, we would ask you to pray for one particular family: A 17-year-old boy who was hoping to attend the camp this year was fatally stabbed early this morning. Two of his cousins are faithful members of the Agape Youth Worship Team. They, along with the rest of his family, are grieving this tragic loss. Would you please pray for this family? 

New Hope, tomorrow is not promised us. Thank you for pleading with the Lord to rescue, heal, and transform many, many more of these precious young men and women.

 

Questions for Reflection & Discussion

1. Acts 2:41-47 shows us that prayer together has been a vital part of New Testament church life from the very beginning. Why is this a central aspect of life together for the community of God? Why must it be a vital aspect of our Lord’s Day gatherings?

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Questions for Reflection & Discussion

Please read Ephesians 5:17-20 and Colossians 3:16.

1. Do you have a favorite hymn or praise song, or one you’re especially enjoying recently? Why do appreciate that particular worship song?

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Questions for Reflection & Discussion

1. If you’ve been participating in the Lord’s Supper for some time, what has it meant to you? Has it carried importance for you? Why or why not?

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Our guiding verse this past Sunday was 1 Timothy 4:13. Paul the Apostle is instructing a young pastor friend about the details of healthy church life, when he says:

“Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 

This short verse helped us consider three ways that the words of God need to be present in our worship gatherings. We need to read them, teach them, and respond to them.

Questions for Reflection & Discussion

1. We looked at a few passages that describe the public reading of Scripture in the Old Testament:

  • Exodus 24:3-4, 7
  • 2 Kings 23:1,3
  • Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8 

How did God’s people respond to the readings in each case? What can we take away from those accounts?

2. Can you remember a time when you were impacted by the public reading of Scripture? If so, how were you impacted? 

3. The Gospel is repeated news with limitless implications. How have you experienced this in your life? In other words, how have you seen the “old news” of the gospel recently apply to the details and circumstances of your life?

4. “Exhortation” involves calling upon people to respond to God’s words. How have you responded to God’s word recently, especially when it has been preached?

5. What steps can I take (or am I taking) to actively listen to God’s words and respond to them intentionally?

 

On Sunday we asked the question, “Why do we gather?” In other words, why do we get together as a church for corporate worship? We’ve just begun answering this question, but here’s what we saw about the gathering:

I. It’s God’s ancient idea

II. It reorients us.

III. It forms us.

Over the past several years author Paul David Tripp has been sharing, via books and social media, reflections on what corporate worship is designed for. With each entry he encourages us to approach the gatherings of the church with humble, expectant hearts, trusting that the Holy Spirit has good intentions in mind for us as we form the habit of meeting week by week.

I’ve collected below 19 (!) entries from Tripp below. Consider choosing a few, dwell on them for a while, and ask a few questions:

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