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S.O.A.P. January 4, 2018

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January 4, 2018 

Read John 12:20-36

To read this text click HERE.

ScriptureJohn 12:27-28- “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! Father, bring glory to your name.”

Observations- Here we find a slightly different  version of the prayer Jesus utters in the Garden of Gethsemane. Given that He prayed for several hours it isn't surprising to have a number of reports. In this moment Jesus wanted to avoid the cross, but He understood it was ultimately the path He was called to travel to bring the Father glory and us into forgiveness and redemption.

Application- Jesus models here a way that we can pray. There will be many experiences in life we- quite naturally- want to and prefer to avoid, but in the Big Picture of all that God has in store for us His glory takes precedence over our convenience and personal desires. We get to bring God glory in whatever circumstances- from the most positive to the most painful- that occur in our one and only life. This is a hard truth.

Prayer- Lord, I really like it when what I want for my own life coincides with what will bring You glory. That, however, isn't always going to be the way things turn out for me personally and for Your church. We get curve balls and surprises. We will have pain and suffering, and my deepest desire and prayer is that You receive glory. Thank You for who You are and for Your abiding grace through every moment. Amen.

"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:18),

Pastor Jamie

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S.O.A.P. January 3, 2018

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January 3, 2018 

Read Matthew 21:1-17

To read this text click HERE.

ScriptureMatthew 21:13- He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”

Observations- Here is a place where context matters. A first century Jewish Christ follower (mainly for who Matthew wrote) would have understood the context of Jesus' actions to remove the money changers from the Temple. This occurred in the Court of the Gentiles where all people- regardless of their heritage or connection to the Jewish faith- were allowed to be, so the selling that was going on was particularly offensive to Jesus. The money changers had also taken something intended as a convenience for the people to make their sacrifices into a money making venture- all in front of people wanting to connect with God in prayer.

Application- One of the regular complaints about the church from some quarters is "they just want my money," which may be wildly unfair and untrue, but it's an ongoing concern we will always have to take seriously as we seek to reach out to people in need of God's grace. We don't ever want Jesus to look sharply at us, toss us out of His Sanctuary, and call us a "den of thieves!" We need to be the best stewards of the gifts God provides for His glory. 

Prayer- Lord, as we begin a new year in ministry and mission, lead, guide, and direct us to the best possible ways for us to point people to Jesus Christ and new life in Him. That will require us to receive and use well the offerings of Your people. Help us truly be a "house of prayer" where Your name is honored and Your will is sought. Amen.

"Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house; I will worship at your Temple with deepest awe." (Psalm 5:7),

Pastor Jamie

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