Over the next six weeks we are going to be engaged in a focused way, as a church, with what it means to live generously.￼ We invite you to join us on this journey using the following reflections and prayers. The complete guide can be found here.
WEEK 4 – A LIFE OF CONTENTMENT
I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:11
We live in a society that has made an art form out of trying to make us discontented. Our consumer society is supported by a massive advertising arm that tries to persuade us that we will be happier if we have this holiday, this gadget, this product, this health pill.
The Apostle Paul is a stark contrast to this because he is content. It is not that he is without ambition, but his ambition is for the cause: the cause of Christ and His kingdom. It is for knowing Jesus powerfully. If he is in the centre of God’s will, he is content. This is because for Paul, as we have seen, to live is Christ and to die is gain!
PRAYER FOR THE WEEK:
Our God and King, take away from our hearts unproductive and vicious thoughts that are out of accord with godliness. Take away our foolish anxieties, and help us to rejoice in You always. Keep our minds on You and on Your great works of creation, providence and redemption. Fill us with peace as we fill our minds with the glorious wonders of Your greatness and beauty. Thank You for those You have given to us as companions and partners in the way of faith and life. We have confidence in You, for You will not abandon us. You will supply our every need, according to the abundance of Your grace for all of Your children. In Jesus’ name. Amen.vi
This week work out you budget for next year and consider what it would look like to live generously. This coming week we will be asking you to pledge how much you are intending to give next year to the ministry of this church. We are not asking for peoples names but knowing how much we might expect will help us plan.
WEEK 3 – A LIFE FOR A CAUSE
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13–14
Wherever there is true grace there is a desire for more grace. When Paul said, Don‘t be drunk with wine but be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), his aim was to make God-aholics out of all believers. The Spirit is not deadening; He is addicting.v
PRAYER FOR THE WEEK:
Lord God, we rejoice in You. Thank You for the gift of Your Spirit. We have no confidence in our own flesh. We have no boast in our own obedience. Our gain is not in these things, but in Christ, our Lord! Our righteousness is through faith in Him. We long to know Jesus more and more, and we long for the resurrection from the dead. We belong to You, O God. Move us forward toward the goal of the glory that is before us. Help us to hold to the truth that we profess. Keep us living in the resurrection way by the power of Jesus Christ who gives us all things necessary for life and Godliness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
WEEK 2 – A Life of Community
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus Philippians 2:4–5
My self-perception is as accurate as a carnival mirror. If I am going to see myself clearly, I need you to hold the mirror of God’s Word in front of me.
Prayer for the week:
Glorious Lord, we thank You for the wonderful work of Your Son. He humbled Himself and was born as a man, and even died on a cross. He is now exalted high above every name. Make us like Him. May we be willing to give up our ugly pride and our foolish contentiousness, so that we will be like Him in His willingness to be lowly. At just the right time, make us like Your Son even in His exaltation, so that we will become partakers of the glory of resurrection. Send forth ministers of truth everywhere to proclaim the message of Christ. Protect them in the physical and spiritual challenges that they face, and grant to them all things necessary for life and godliness. Amen.
In our small groups this week we are asking everyone to take a Gifts Test. If you are not in a small group and you would like to do the test let us know.
WEEK 1 – A Life for Christ
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21
“Scripture is a story that climaxes in Christ. Our story, if it is to have enduring purpose, must stay focused on that same conclusion. What’s the use? Why bother? The answer is that Jesus Christ has been crucified and He has risen from the dead. You couldn’t find a more complete answer. In it you find that you are called, forgiven, adopted into a new family, given gifts, given a mission, given a future. You are given love, and this love is so extreme it will take you all eternity to begin to understand it.”
PRAYER FOR THE WEEK:
Almighty Father, we thank You for Your Son and for His church in every place throughout the world. May our love for one another grow more and more in accord with the truth of Your Word. May we seek the progress of the gospel here and everywhere, and the comfort of the gospel in our lives by faith, though we may face suffering now. Help Your servants in their afflictions, for we know that even our troubles will work toward the progress of Your good plan. Thank You also for Your grace during the time of our life here in this age. It is Your plan that we would remain here at least until this present moment, and perhaps even beyond this day. May we serve You and love one another as we do the work that You have called us to do. Amen.
Pray every day that God would use these next six weeks to help us as a church to develop a desire to live generously with each other and in our world.