I Peter 2:13-20 | LCA Reading Plan

     For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.

     It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.

     You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment. Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.
I Peter 3:13-20 [NLT]
"Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king."
Reflection: We are being called to mimic Jesus’ posture of humility and submission. Why is it so hard to honor and submit to all human authority, what might Jesus be teaching us in doing this? Reflect this week on how you are loving and honoring those God has placed in authority over you. How might you love and honor your boss, teacher, governor, president, etc. better this week?


Cry Inward

A split between divinity and humanity has taken place in you. With your divinely endowed center you know God’s will, God’s way, God’s love. But your humanity is cut off from that. Your many human needs for affection, attention, and consolation are living apart from your divine sacred space. Your call is to let these two parts of yourself come together again.
Splash of Humanity by Christopher Gaston
You have to move gradually from crying outward— crying out for people who you think can fulfill your needs— to crying inward to the place where you can let yourself be held and carried by God, who has become incarnate in the humanity of those who love you in community. No one person can fulfill all your needs. But the community can truly hold you. The community can let you experience the fact that , beyond your anguish, there are human hands that hold you and show you God’s faithful love.
Reflection: "A split between divinity and humanity has taken place in you." How does this resonates with you? How has God been faithful in loving you as He brings these two parts of your life together?

Excerpt from The Inner Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen 


I Peter 2:4-12 | LCA Reading Plan

     "You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.

     And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. As the Scriptures say,
“I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem,
chosen for great honor,
and anyone who trusts in him
will never be disgraced.”

     Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him,
“The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.”

“He is the stone that makes people stumble,
the rock that makes them fall.”

     They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.
     But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
“Once you had no identity as a people;
now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
now you have received God’s mercy.”

     Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world."

I Peter 2:4-12 [NLT]
"He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light."
Reflection: Take some time to dwell on the significance of what it means to be a royal priest (those who have the authority to lead and carry out the ministry of the The Church), and in light of this calling, how is the Spirit leading you this week to proclaim through your words and works the goodness of God who has called you out of darkness and into His “marvelous light?"


I Peter 2:1-3 | LCA Reading Plan

So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

I Peter 2:1-3 [NLT]
"Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness."

Reflection: How is my life better this week now that I have tasted the kindness of the Lord and am living in The Way of Christ Jesus rather than the ways of the world?


Work Around Your Abyss

There is a deep hole in your being, like an abyss. You will never succeed in filling that hole, because your needs are inexhaustible. You have to work around it so that gradually the abyss closes.
Since the hole is so enormous and your anguish so deep, you will always be tempted to flee from it. There are two extremes to avoid: being completely absorbed in your pain and being distracted by so many things that you stay far away from the wound you want to heal.

Reflection: What are you currently trying to fill your abyss with?  What does working around the abyss look like for you?

Excerpt from The Inner Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen 


Your Story In 3 Words

Your story is an effective way to share the Goods News of Jesus Christ because it is your story -- edited by you, filtered by you, qualified by you and told by you.

You can tell it anywhere, and it includes how you came to know the lordship of Jesus Christ and how others can too.

Here are the steps to creating your Three Word Story.

The First Word: ___________________
Your first word should describe your life, feelings, situation, thoughts, etc., before you placed your faith in Christ.

Consider: angry, independent, manipulative, miserable, hopeless, empty, addicted, aimless, restless, striving, confused, insecure

The Second Word: ___________________
Your second word should describe how you came to trust in Christ and place Jesus as Lord of your life.

Consider: creation, studied, church, grew, Bible, friend, trouble, observation, evangelist, spouse, loved

The Final Word: ___________________ Your third and final word should describe your life, feelings, situation, thoughts, etc., since orienting your life around the lordship of Jesus Christ.

Consider: approachable, peaceful, generous, loving, brave, caring, teacher, mentor, servant, elder, hopeful, compassionate, confident

 Once you have your three words, come up with one or two sentences for each word. Provide a brief explanation of how each word relates to your story.  For the second word, make sure to include a clear and concise explanation of how you can place your trust in Jesus.


Grace Is Free...

Grace is free.

But just because grace is free does not mean that it is cheap. 

Grace may not cost you and me anything, but it cost Jesus His life. Jesus came to earth over two thousand years ago. As God in human flesh, He lived the perfect life and then died on a cross to pay the price for our sin. 

We deserved to hang on that cross, not Jesus. It was our sin that separated us from a holy and righteous God, our sin that made us guilty and deserving of spending eternity in hell. 

But because Jesus loves you and me so much, He had mercy on us and took the death sentence upon Himself that we so rightly deserved. That’s grace. 

And because of God’s grace there is hope both for today and the rest of eternity.