Start Your Week Strong – Pray – 2-19-17

Read: Matthew 16.21-28

In this passage, we see Jesus tacking with His disciples in a different way. He begins to prepare them for what He understands to be inevitable. In fact, in vs. 20 Jesus tells them that He “must go to Jerusalem and suffer” and He “must be killed” then “be raised”. These are hard words to hear.

Like most of us, Peter can only take so much honesty. So, in vs. 23, he takes Jesus “aside” to “rebuke Him”. But Jesus understands His path! And He pointedly seeks NO sympathy from anyone! This path is too important to allow it to dissolve and degenerate into something as impotent as sympathy. The last thing He wants to hear is “poor Jesus, do yourself a favor and save yourself” or “find another way and avoid the pain”. So averse is Jesus to this pathetic notion that He tells Peter to stop acting like Satan. Your thinking is not on the noble and higher mind of God but along the superficial mind of man.

Jesus, in vss. 24-26 asserts that “if anyone would come after me”… in other words following Jesus is ALWAYS a choice, a personal decision. But to do so one will have to deny, or die, to oneself and take up “his cross”. What is that? It is our choosing to die to ourselves and choosing an identification with the cross and death of Jesus. If we choose to save our life in this world then, yes, we will have it for this world but lose it ultimately. BUT, if we choose to lose our life here by identifying with Jesus’ life and death then we will ultimately find our true life. This is crucial because in vs. 27 Jesus assures us that when the Son of Man comes “He will reward each person according to what he has done”. Do not mistake that statement to mean anything along the line of “works righteousness”. But we will be rewarded according to, what we have done, that is the decision we have made in relationship to Jesus, His cross, and following Him. His path is the only path to life now and for all eternity.

God has a passionate and undeniable heart for all people. God is upon His throne forever. He will not be deposed. He blesses His people! He always desires to draw His people’s hearts again to Himself and assure them that He will love with a love that never falters nor fails. It is true that God deserves our gratitude and praise as none other does.

This week continues the Season of Epiphany (color is green) during which we celebrate the early life and ministry years of Jesus.

We give our prayers for persons involved in these events.

Our 2017 Missions Festival-March 17, 18, 19(Fri-Sun), 2017

We pray that hearts will be open to receive God’s blessings and that they will choose to bless others.

Give thanks for each person across this congregation who is praying today so that we are encouraged by God’s Spirit moving among us. And let us pray for: Mitch Robinson + Tricia Testerman Walters + Marsha Easley(cancer) + Garrett Frierson + Bill Hodges + David Silvers + Ashley Foster + Joy Carpenter + Lindsay Smith + Mike Travis + Griffin Andrews + Charlotte Sierocinski (5yrs old, brain cancer, from White Pine) + Susan Taylor + more workers for the Jail Ministry Team + the events of violence across our nation + we pray for eyes of faith to see God at work in people’s lives. We give thanks for God’s abundant goodness!

Pray for the Kindergarten & 1st Grade SS Class whom we love in Christ, to enjoy God’s Presence:

Spencer Brown Sophie Kielau Samuel Fassler Kaydence Kess

Abbi Knight Bryant Chandler Caiden Mosley Thomas Drinnon

Alyssa Emery Lauren Goodman Ainsley Rankin Caleb Ross

Lorelei Tharp Tucker Wyatt Samuel Jones

The teachers and leaders of this Class:

Emilie Sadlon & Lori Campbell

Let’s Pray for this First UMC staff member:

Donna Brewster – Church Financial and Business Administrator + Donna’s ministry is of course with numbers and records. But she also deals with some very demanding and sensitive inter-personal situations as well.

We also Pray for:

  • Our brothers and sisters in a variety of countries who are being persecuted for honoring the name of Christ. We pray they will choose to continue to be bold in making Christ known (Phil. 1.14).
  • Father Tom, the Roman Catholic Priest kidnapped from his chapel in Yemen by an ISIS branch after they had murdered 15 within the Roman Catholic home for the mentally challenged and aged
  • A permanent resolution of the hostilities within and between Ukraine and Russia and within Syria.
  • A permanent defeat of ISIS in all its global forms and groups
  • The conversion of all members of the documented 892 active hate groups in the USA
  • The peace of Jerusalem
  • Our leaders in these areas:

+ In our City of Morristown, especially Mayor Gary Chesney and the City Council members

+ Hamblen County, especially Mayor Bill Britton and our County Commissioners

+ State of Tennessee, especially Gov. Bill Haslam + Our state legislators and justices

+ Our nation, these United States of America, including our President Donald Trump

+ Both houses of the United States Congress, especially Del. Phil Roe and Senators Lamar

Alexander and Bob Corker + Our Supreme Court Justices

+ All who are entrusted with elected or appointed leadership, that they will be moved to humble

themselves before You, Almighty God, and seek Your wisdom

  • We pray for the wisdom, strength and safety of our First Responders (Fire + Law Enforcement + 911) and the several branches of our military who are serving on our behalf at home and abroad
  • We pray for the prosperity of Morristown and Hamblen County for good quality and good paying jobs so that workers will be able to provide well for their families and build the kind of community we are all glad to call home.
  • We pray for leaders of government and business around the world to be responsive to God’s will. We pray they will conduct their responsibilities in government, business and commerce with the ideals of truth, justice and fairness.
  • Aseri UMC, Estonia – Our sister Connecting Congregation and Pastor Demitri
  • Varna UMC, Bulgaria, Our In Mission Together Partnering Congregation and their District Superintendent and Pastor, Daniel Topalski, our Keynote Speaker for 2017 Missions Festival
  • We pray for teachers, students, administrators and staffs of all our schools and for the cultivation of healthy relationships.
  • We pray for people to open their hearts, minds and souls so that Holy Spirit can turn them toward the love of God. We pray for people to be sick of their sin. We pray for people to willingly receive all their healing and hope found only in the grace-filled atoning love of God.
  • We give thanks that the General Conference of the United Methodist Church meeting in May 2016 decided to retain our current denominational stance on human sexuality.
  • We pray for Revival in the best sense of the word. We pray that our desire will be to receive the same joy of Jesus that He found in being rightly related with the Father.
  • We give thanks for the persons who joined the church yesterday: Bob & Helen Fitts, Jackie Murray, Regina Lee, and Hugh Hammill. God bless them to be a blessing in His name to others.

God Bless you and Thank you for Praying!