Praying through God Names

When you speak about God what name or names do you call Him by? Do you use different names when you pray, when you offer praise, or even when you sing to Him? Does your need dictate the name you use? Does your spiritual or emotional state affect how you connect with Him?

prayer-requests

The names we use for God reveal much about His character and nature and can be helpful as we pray. Below is a link which defines His names and helpful prayers to guide you.

PRAYING THROUGH GOD’S NAMES

(The names and their explanations were taken from various scholarly sources and are considered legitimate).

Summer of Worship – Week 1 – Personal Relationship

We start our journey focusing on our own personal connection to God. He has invited us into a relationship with Him and requires intentionality on our part to engage with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength. Over the next 7 days you are encouraged to examine your relationship with God and seek to grow it. A large part of that connection involves prayer; talking with God.

As we start this journey it is ok to admit that sometimes we struggle when we worship as we get distracted or are even uncertain what to do or say. Let the Holy Spirit be your guide this week. Be straightforward with God and tell Him your thoughts and ask Him to guide and inspire you.

Review the scripture, reflection video, praise song and prayer below to prepare yourself for the upcoming week. Reflect on each activity and speak with God about your relationship with Him. Ask Him to reveal areas you can grow this week.

SCRIPTURE –  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  (NIV):   

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.

REFLECTION VIDEO  –  Why pray?  

PRAISE SONG:  Lord I need you

PRAYER  –  Consider adopting this as your daily prayer for the week.

God—you’re my God! I can’t get enough of you! I want to have a hunger and thirst for you as I go about my day. So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory. In your generous love I want to really live. Draw me close to you. AMEN (modified Psalm 63)

 
Download SUMMER OF WORSHIP WEEK 1

Summer of Worship – Week 2 – Freedom

Our military community serves as the defender and protector of civil liberties. They serve to ensure our freedom from physical and political oppressions. They bump up against those outside our nation who want to interfere with our civil liberties and when the dust settles they expect our civil authorities to offer justice and freedom to all. The basis for civil rights is grounded in the impartiality of God by which all persons are made in the image of God. Throughout the Bible we can see that one of God’s primary purposes for His people is to free them from physical oppression and hardship, and to liberate them from spiritual bondage.

This week we will focus on freedom from that which keeps us bound to a life that can separate us from God for all eternity.  Freedom is the state that emerges after God has acted to remove all hindrances—social, spiritual (sin and death), economic, and institutional—that block our creational purpose. This purpose is to know, love, worship, and enjoy God forever. This is a freedom that has been won for us by the death and resurrection of the Messiah. By the power of the Spirit, the Christian seeks to live into this freedom and to join with God in freeing others.
Reading scripture is important but it is not meant just for reading but as the Psalmist say “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer” Psalm 19:14. We must take time to mediate on what we read. To help you understand the practice of meditation on God’s works download this document called Lectio Divina

Download SUMMER OF WORSHIP – FREEDOM – WEEK 2

Review the material below (scripture, reflection video, praise song and prayer) to prepare yourself for the upcoming week. Reflect on each item and speak with God about your relationship with Him. Ask Him to reveal areas where you can grow this week.

SCRIPTURE – Galatians 5:1

REFLECTION VIDEO – Freedom in Christ

PRAISE SONG – Amazing Grace – and/or (Chris Tomlin version)

PRAYER – Consider adopting this as your daily prayer for the week.

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. I acknowledge that I have sinned and that I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus came to give me life, and by faith I now choose to receive you into my life as my Lord and Saviour. By the power of your indwelling presence enable me to be the person you created me to be. I pray that you would grant me repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth so that I can experience my freedom in Christ and be transformed by the renewing of my mind. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.”

    READ IT!  –  SPEAK IT!  –  WATCH IT!  –  BELIEVE IT!  –  EXPECT IT! 

Summer of Worship – Week 4 – The Lost

This series is called a personal journey because it is about self-examination which can lead to wonderful transformation. We have spent the last few weeks reflecting on our own relationship with God and talking with Him about who we are. We pray you have been challenged to ask yourself what you believe and acknowledge that you need God to help you with your faith. Hopefully you have asked Him for empowerment to not only live the Gospel day-to-day but to share the Good News.

We are meant to share our faith and maybe over the last few weeks you have admitted to yourself that you don’t do well in that area. You may have come up with many reasons why you can’t or don’t share your faith but the truth is, these were not reason but excuses. Moses went toe-to-toe with Pharaoh to free God’s chosen people and not only did God empower him to do the task, He prepared the way for him to go. We may not think our responsibility is as valuable as Moses’s but every lost soul is precious to God. He chooses all kinds of people to participate in His work on earth. He has prepared the way for people to listen to our story and now wants us to get up off our knees and go free His people.

Over the next week we will focus on the lost; those who do not know Jesus as their personal saviour. As a follower of Christ you can be a witness to those individuals both by your words and your actions. Trust God is with you and wants you to be a part of His work. He has taken into consideration our personalities, our strengths and our weakness and still wants to use us to tell others about His promises.

May God bless you with wisdom and power this week.

Download SUMMER OF WORSHIP – WEEK 4 – THE LOST (daily journals)

 

Summer of Worship – Week 5 – PRAISE

Have you ever been in a situation that you feel all alone? Or have you encountered a difficult situation in your life and you don’t know what to do, like losing your job or suffering the loss of someone very close to your heart? Consider the good times such as when you receive a raise from your boss or earn high marks at school? What do you usually do during these moments? Praising God makes every circumstance of our lives complete, essential, and eminently worthwhile.

Praise may seem like an esoteric religious custom, but actually it is one of the most natural things in the universe. If we had the ears to hear, we would recognize a chorus of praise all around us. Throughout the whole creation, praise comes naturally but with us humans, it seems a little harder. Because Satan has his sway with the world, we want to know why we do things that honour God and often find it easier to be suspicious and cynical rather than spiritual and sentimental about praising God. This week we will focus on praise and examine why we should praise God while reflecting on why we don’t.

REFLECTION VIDEO – God is mighty – Psalm 139  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0GtwpT67sA

PRAISE SONG – Our God

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJpt1hSYf2o

Download your daily – MCF – SUMMER OF WORSHIP – WEEK 5 Praise

Download MCF – SUMMER OF WORSHIP – 31 Ways to praise God

May God bless you with wisdom and power this week.

Blessings to you

Summer of Worship – Week 6 – COMMUNITY

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor who was executed by The Gestapo in 1945, wrote in his book Life Together that “The first service one owes to others in a community involves listening to them. Just as our love for God begins with listening to God’s Word, the beginning of love for others is learning to listen to them. God’s love for us is shown by the fact that God not only gives God’s Word, but also lends us God’s ear.”

We do God’s work for our brothers and sisters when we learn to listen to them” (Life Together)

This week we will focus on community which we can find in our church, the neighbourhood we live in, and our workplace. Basically it is the place where we encounter people whom we have something in common. We have the ability to influence those in our community by our words and actions and if we desire any type of relationship with them we need to intentionally acknowledge their existence. As Bonhoeffer suggests, the greatest thing we can do for those in our community is to listen them into existence. If we put aside our phones for a while, turn off our TV, and go listen we will be pleased with whom God has placed in community with us.

Being in community is God’s desire for humanity. He wants us to live in harmony where we express AGAPE type love and unselfishly seek to positively interact with others. Humanity has been infected by generations and generations of self-pleasing habits and so loving others as God desires is not our first response. We need God’s grace and fruit of the Holy Spirit in order to love as God calls us to love.

We should desire community and not run from it. We are uniquely made to worship God and be a blessing to others and function best when we are in harmonious relationship with others. Spend time over the next week to talk with God about how you can be an ear or hands to someone in your community.

Review the material below: (scripture, reflection video, praise song and prayer) so as to prepare yourself for the upcoming week. Take some time to reflect on each piece and consider revisiting them from time to time during the week. Let them speak to your heart about the need to share Jesus with the lost.

SCRIPTURE – I John 4:11 (New International Version)

“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

REFLECTION VIDEO – Do community

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPlxwOMzR3w

PRAISE SONG – If we are the body

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4kTivO3uqI

PRAYER – Read and reflect on this prayer (from Street Psalms) while asking God to turn your heart to those outside your door:

“Wonderful God, with all our hearts and with all our minds, we pray to you. We pray for your peace from above, for your loving-kindness, and for the salvation of our souls.

We pray for our community, and for those who live in it. We pray for the aged and infirm, for the widowed and orphans, and for the sick and the suffering. We pray for the poor and the oppressed, for the unemployed and the destitute, and for prisoners and captives and for all who remember and care for them.

We pray that we and others may end our lives in faith and hope. Defend us, deliver us, and in your compassion protect us, O Lord, by your grace. AMEN”

Download MCF – SUMMER OF WORSHIP – WEEK 6

Download Prayers for your community (city, town, neighbourhood)

Take up your cross

Every person who chooses to serve in the Canadian Armed Forces signs a document stating that while they remain in the military they adhere to the conditions and expectations of service.  This document is validated with the member taking an oath declaring:  “I, __________, do swear (solemnly declare) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her heirs and  successors according to law.  SO HELP ME GOD (delete if declaration)”

It is not a vow to be taken lightly because, in military service, people will lose their lives.  The military’s commitment to helping their members keep their oath is the pledge to provide training and resources.  The success of each soldier, sailor or airperson is based on their willingness to almost deny their former mindset, commit to possible hardships, train hard, utilize their resources, and follow their leaders.

Many readers of this newsletter have made a decision to follow Christ and become His disciples. They spoke some words to declare their hope and faith in Jesus and went about learning how a disciple responds to this call.  Many understand the cost of allegiance to Christ has both eternal and day-to-day consequences.  Jesus shares in scripture that rewards of discipleship will be great but the journey could be difficult to navigate; difficult especially without the willingness to rely on His teachings and resources.  Jesus knew that many would suffer in their struggle to accept His calling.  Some would even lay down their cross and become bystanders content to watch others stay on mission with Him.  Serving in the military without faith in the mission does not validate the oath taken.  Not all recruits make good members of the military family; some even quit without actually resigning.  They think they can serve in the military and behave as bystanders serving under their terms.  However the oath is not meant for bystanders but calls to those willing to sacrifice.

Sadly today we live in a world of compromised loyalty and “bystander Christianity”.  Bystander Christians are those who want to be numbered among the flock, but seem to care less about following the Shepherd.  They want the forgiveness Christ’s cross offers, but never intend to carry their own cross.  They want warm, fuzzy moments on Sunday mornings but offer no commitment to Jesus the remainder of the week.  They want the crown without the cross (thoughts from Pastor John Raulerson sermon).

Jesus knew many would think they could become Disciples on their terms but He clearly shows us we must come to Him on His terms.  He alone is the Way.  Disciples worship God, read scripture, fellowship with other believers, and pray.  We want to assist you on your walk with Jesus and starting the first week of July we will begin a 9 week prayer adventure aimed at helping us stay closer to God, to ourselves and to each other.  FACEBOOK will be our primary tool to relay each week’s prayer guide, however other electronic forums will also be used.

We challenge you to become committed disciples and join us on a journey to validate our faith and hope in Christ.

Anton

Saying goodbye

There is no universal way to say good bye to someone. Cultural, gender, familiarity and even seasons influence our good byes. We have some preparatory gestures to set the stage for departures. As a man I have hinted to my visiting guest that it was time to say goodbye by unbuttoning my pants and plopping down on the sofa. I have noticed women begin to re-tidy the kitchen suggesting she wants the house back in order and everyone should leave. Whether we enjoy the company of the person leaving or not we do try to make the act as polite as possible always suggesting we expect to see that person later.

When Jesus sat with His disciples and ate their last Passover meal together it was obvious to an observer that He was saying goodbye to them. Yet, they did not seem to pick up on it, or probably did not want to. He had dropped hints before that evening but his friends, family and followers seemed to ignore Him. They loved Him and wanted no part of His conversation that suggested He would be gone from their presence for a long time. He told them He would suffer and be murdered but it was difficult for them to accept, after all He was healthy, young and affected the lives of those who watched Him perform miracles or listened to Him speak. He was a good man who was funny, gifted and loved by many. But, because He choose to say goodbye to His earthly ministry that night, we never have to say goodbye to anyone without the possibility of seeing them again.

On Monday I gathered with others to remember the life of a believer who had succumbed to cancer. We sang songs, heard some great stories and were reminded that Bob was in heaven. Although we said goodbye to his earthly vessel, many present knew that separation was not permanent. Bob was a good man who was funny, gifted and loved by many. However Bob, like others gathered to say goodbye, believed they would meet again not because of who he was, but because of who He believed. Bob’s hope and belief rested in Jesus’ truths and promises and so believers saying goodbye knew they would see Bob again.

Earlier in the day, while looking at FACEBOOK, I had seen a notice about a colleague who had suddenly passed away on Sunday. I had last seen him in 1998 and although we had exchanged email and messages, we acted as if we would see each other soon. My friend was a good man who was funny, gifted and loved by many however I admit I do not know what he believed. A couple of times as I listened to stories of Bob’s faith, I could not help but think about my friend and what his farewell gathering would be like. I could not help but feel guilty of not taking my goodbyes seriously. I realized some people whom I’ve said goodbye to recently, I may never see again.

ACTION

Are there people you know whose goodbye could be for all of eternity? Are there people you can love-on and be used by God as His messenger of truth?   All of us can answer yes to both those questions and so we must do something to take away the sting of goodbye. Every goodbye doesn’t have to be offered as if it was going to be the last. Before followers of Christ we see God’s glory they are called to participate in the adoption processes helping people understand what God has in store for them as His children. Between the goodbyes we offer our friends, we can talk with God about how we can share His truth with those who do not know Him as Lord. We can make the effort to be the shoulder to cry on, the ear to listen, or even the hand to help up. We can ask to be a voice that shares His story.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, we praise You for the joy of life, the emotional and physical experiences You grant us and the people You place around us. We know we have been given only a short time on this earth and are grateful for whatever time we have, however impress on us that You created us to be in eternal relationship with You and others. Help us share Your truth by our witness and our words so that our earthly goodbyes are truly only temporary events and that our friendships can last forever. We do need You to help us love others as You desire, with unselfish words and actions that may reveal Your heart to those we encounter. Thank you for our life and help us share its eternal purpose with all those we encounter. Amen

We are made for each other – Ecclesiastes 4:10

genericIf either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Ecclesiastes 4:10

I was surprised to hear some statistics regarding the number of homeless individuals who, even after receiving assistance, end up living back on the street. The statistics were linked to people who had belonged to a program designed to help them back on their feet. The clients were offered a life that mimicked that of the world around them including their own small apartment, meals, employment training and even treatment or help for medical or social problems. They did live alone but ate all their meals in a communal setting. Once they were able, the clients moved into their own apartment located elsewhere in the city. Staff did follow up with former clients to see how they were faring. They would find some outside their facility talking with those who continued to live there or at food kitchens where the homeless hung out. They were surprised at the number who were back living on the streets only months after leaving the program. When asked what happened the usual response from the client was, “its terrible being alone all the time”. It would seem that even though they had a home, a job and some material possessions, they missed relationships with others and so they went back to the street to feel part of a community.

God created humanity to be in relationship with Him and with others. He made Eve because He noted that it was not good for Adam to be alone. Jesus taught that God’s intent for His human creation was for them to unconditionally love Him and one another and that could only happen if we sought fellowship with Him and each other. Without a connection to other people we cannot experience life as God desires; we need to be with others. When Solomon wrote the words in Ecclesiastes 4:10 he was sharing how awful it was for someone not to have a friend. How awful it is not to have someone visit on holidays, phone or text, or share a cup of coffee and chat. He was saying how awful it is that so many people in our cities are surrounded by others but stare out their windows day after day wondering why their family does not call them, why the neighbours never say hi, or why they go to sleep every evening feeling so lonely.  When someone experiences loneliness it can be overwhelming and yet it could be alleviated with just a few kind words.

ACTION: Do you think there is something we could do to make someone feel alive? Do you have family, friends, and neighbours who would jump for joy at being invited for a cup of coffee? There are seniors living in nursing homes, prisoners locked up, and hospitals filled with lonely people who would love to have a small group visit them. Are we too busy to listen someone into existence?

PRAYER: Gracious Father, we come before you to humbly ask that you comfort those who are experiencing moments of loneliness. We ask that you be their shelter in the midst of the storm, that you walk beside them every step of the way. We know many feel so alone, they cry out for attention, in desperation, looking for some sort of acknowledgement from a single soul. Lord, touch our hearts so we can offer some kindness that may bring lasting benefits to these men, women and children. Amen

Anton Topilnyckyj

Are you living a new life?

Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 2.13.12 PMJesus’ life, death and resurrection leads us to thoughts of forgiveness of sin but we should keep in mind that it brought victory over circumstances that can bind us.  That first Easter also brought about reconciliation and restored our possibility of having a harmonious relationship and eternity with God.

Our relationship was broken when Adam and Eve decided to live outside God’s guidance. Since that day the powers of evil have contributed to negative habits and behaviours of humanity that are less than admirable. The choice to live as we desire is a gift from God but He intended for us to include Him in our life. When Adam and Eve allowed temptation to focus on self it prevented them from having the relationship God intended for humanity. God did not give up on His creation and set about mending the relationship. Jesus took human form to help us better understand and connect to Him. His earthly ministry reminded us of God’s expectations for all to love Him with our complete being and to love those around us.  Jesus taught that a mended relationship was not only possibly but desired by God. The reconciliation became real when Jesus allowed Himself to be taken to the cross to die. When He arose three days later He not only sent the message that God was in control of the universe and that evil did not control the destiny of humanity, but that God desire us and wants us to desire Him.

Anyone who has planted a garden knows that care is required to keep it healthy. Weeds that once owned the garden area, want to reclaim it and only our desire and effort can keep that garden area new. If we wish for the garden to keep its new purpose, we must maintain it by constant weeding, cultivating, and watering. Jesus promised His believers that we would become new creations because He was going to dwell in us. He was going to help us keep our relationship with Him strong. When we believe we realize that Jesus is in His Father, and we are in Him, and He is in us. We must maintain and cultivate our new lives by seeking to overcome self defeating behaviours that bind us. We must always be doing something to improve our connection to God. We should remember our new life is much more powerful that the evil around us and that it exits because we are in relationship with God.

Easter’s message is about forgiveness of sin however we must not forget it also brought about victory over conditions that bind us.  Reconciliation with God can bring hope to those who struggle to break free from the chains of mental health issues, addiction, shame, guilt. They don’t need to be forgiven for these afflictions but released from them and Jesus’ victory at the cross offers this.   They need to hear how Christ in them will create a new being from which good will flow and changes occur.

HE IS RISENWith God’s grace the truth of Jesus message can be heard and understood.  Jesus’ truth is about new life and freedom. Will you take some time to think what that means to you and then pray asking how you can share the message of reconciliation with someone else.  When you look at the cross this Easter, remember it symbolizes the sacrifice and suffering Jesus went through to bring you a new life.  Will you remember those who need to be freed and invite them to hear the Easter story?