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GPS Week of April 29, 2018

Children’s Musical & Modern Worship Hymn Sing

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 11:1-9, John 6:1-13
One of Jesus’ disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. (John 6:8-13)

Monday April 30 — Isaiah 11:1-9
Isaiah 11 vividly describes God’s vision for the world. It’s a world where all creation is transformed and lives in peace and unity with God and one another. We often read this passage in the weeks before Christmas because Isaiah promises that “a shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse” (Isaiah 11:1), a reference to the expected Messiah (who will be a descendant of King David who was the son of Jesse). We believe that Jesus fulfills this promise and that his death and resurrection is transforming the world. What evidence of the new creation have you seen recently?

• Prayer: Promise-Keeping God, open my eyes to see the signs that your vision for creation is being fulfilled. Help me learn to trust in the life-changing power of your grace. Amen.

Tuesday May 1 — Matthew 13:31-32
According to Jesus, God’s Kingdom is already in our midst (see Matthew 4:7). In his parables, he teaches his disciples (and the crowds that gather) about the nature of his Kingdom. He says that it might seem insignificant at first, like a tiny mustard seed, but it will ultimately become a great tree that sustains life for all creation (represented by the “birds of the air”). It’s easy for us to become disillusioned and experience doubt about what God is doing in the world. Jesus invites us to trust him. What helps you increase your ability to trust God in the world today?

• Prayer: Eternal God, thank you for sending Jesus to save me from the power of sin and death and transform the world. Give me courage to trust his promises. Amen.

Wednesday May 2 — Matthew 19:13-15
The entire story of Jesus confronts and challenges our human understanding of “the way things work.” Jesus’ disciples represent the conventional wisdom of the first-century that believes that important people, teachers like Jesus, should not be bothered by little children, who lack status and power and influence. But Jesus turns conventional wisdom on its head by insisting that God’s Kingdom belongs to the little children – and everyone else who society excludes and ignores. How might you respond to Jesus’ teaching about children. (See also Matthew 18:1-5.)

• Prayer: God of Grace, forgive me for the many ways I misunderstand your intentions for me and for the world. Help me believe and trust that you know best. Amen.

Thursday May 3 — John 6:1-13
The account of Jesus’ feeding the multitude is the only miracle story that is recorded in all four of the New Testament’s Gospels. But John’s account is the only one of the four that tells us about the source of the loaves and fish. It was a little boy who had brought his lunch or was running an errand for his family. We don’t know why he had the food, but we know that Jesus used it to feed the whole crowd. This is how God works. God takes whatever we have to offer and uses it as the raw material to perform a miracle. So, what aspects of your life does God need to perform a miracle today? Are you willing to allow God to use what you have to transform the world?

• Prayer: God of Miracles, I know that all that I have and all that I am ultimately comes from you. Today I offer it all back to you. Use it to transform the world. Amen.

Friday May 4 — Ephesians 1:3-14
There is a question that seems to be common to everyone, across all cultures. The question is, where did I come from? The question can be answered on many different levels, from cosmic to biological. Both the Old and New Testaments try to answer the question using the image of family: we are children of God, and according to the first chapter of Ephesians, we become children of God not by birth, but by adoption. As God’s children, we have a wondrous, eternal inheritance. It is a gift we neither earn nor deserve. It is a gift of God’s grace. Are you willing to accept that you have been adopted into God’s family? If so, what are you doing with your inheritance?

• Prayer: Heavenly Father, I eagerly accept my place in your family. With your help, I will use my inheritance according to your purposes, not my own. Amen.

Saturday May 5 — 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
The beautiful ode to the power of love found in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 is one of the most familiar passages in the Bible. It reminds us of the primacy of love – above faith and hope and every other gift from God. But it also reveals the character of God-like love. Re-read the description of love in verses 4-7. Using these words as your criteria, how is your “love life”? In what ways do you embody the kind of love these words describe? In what ways are you lacking? In prayer, ask God to help you love the way God wants you to love.

• Prayer: God of Love, help me love you with all my being. Help me love others the way you love me. Help me follow the example of Jesus and love completely and sacrificially. Amen.

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