Lent Day 44: “Blessed Are Those Who Believe”

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PREPARE

Find a place and posture of that will support your time of prayer. Ask for the grace of increased faith in Jesus.

READ

John 20:19-31

REFLECT AND PRAY

1) Imagine how the disciples felt after Jesus was crucified. Although they knew in their heart of hearts that Jesus was the Messiah and that he would be raised from the dead, they were heartbroken. They must have been filled with doubt and even despair. They were hiding from the Jewish leaders. Then, suddenly, in their darkest hour, Jesus appeared and sent them out as the Father sent him. Their tears must have been turned into laughter, their anxiety into peace. Ask the Lord to wipe out any doubt and any fear that may be holding you back and to use you for His purposes.

2) Verse 28 is the only verse in which someone directly calls Jesus God in the Bible. When Thomas saw for himself that Jesus had come back from the dead, he had to believe. In what powerful ways has Jesus revealed himself to you? Ask him to reveal himself to you in beautiful and powerful ways this Lent and Easter.

OBEY

Believe. If you are reading this reflection it is because you in some way or another have experienced God’s love. Deep down you know that Jesus is God and that he was crucified and raised from the dead. Thank Jesus for his perfect sacrifice on the cross. Ask Jesus to increase your faith in him. Ask him to allow your faith to be true (see James 2:14-26, Galatians 5:6, and Hebrews 11).

Guest writer: Abraham Aldama

“Leap of Faith” is a devotional series on the Gospel of John for the Lent season. All readings are available on the Vineyard One NYC app, along with additional resources for Bible reading, worship, and prayer (IPhone app here; Google Play app here).

 

Lent Day 43: “I Have Seen the Lord!”

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PREPARE

Close your eyes and quiet your thoughts. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you seek and find Jesus in whatever way he chooses to show himself.

READ

John 20:1-18

REFLECT AND PRAY

1) In verses 1-10, Mary Magdalene and the disciples run looking for Jesus but do not find him in the way they had expected? Do you identify with them at all? In what way? Are there any times that Jesus has shown up in your life in a way you did not expect?

2) Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic,”Rabboni!” [which means “Teacher”] (v. 16).

Mary did not recognize Jesus until he spoke her name. Then, she turned to recognize him as her teacher. Are there any times in your life where you have felt Jesus speaking your name and possibly inviting you to recognize him in a new way?

OBEY

Take a few minutes to thank Jesus for all of the ways he appears in your life.

In verse 17, Jesus says, “Go instead to my brothers and tell them…” Ask Jesus what he may want you to tell others about him and to give you the opportunity to do so.

Guest writer: Erin Brehm

“Leap of Faith” is a devotional series on the Gospel of John for the Lent season. All readings are available on the Vineyard One NYC app, along with additional resources for Bible reading, worship, and prayer (IPhone app here; Google Play app here).

 

Lent Day 42: “It is Finished”

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PREPARE

Find a comfortable place to pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you walk with Jesus through his time of trial.

READ

John 19:17-42

REFLECT AND PRAY

When Jesus says, “It is finished,” he may be referring to many endings at once: not only his mission on the cross, his defeat of sin, death, and evil but also his human life and ministry (in his non-resurrected body). He has also “finished” his duty as a human son; one of his last acts is ensuring his mother will be taken care of always, by John. As always in Jesus’ life on earth, we see the human and divine intersect.

1) As you read this passage, what part of Jesus’ “finishing” impacts you the most? Why?

2) As you consider the last 24 hours, where have you seen the human and divine intersect in your own life? Where have you experienced Jesus coming into your human existence, or experienced yourself as moving towards God?

OBEY

The account of Jesus’ death fulfilled Old Testament prophecies, emphasizing that he is indeed the Messiah that was foretold (v. 36). Although Jesus asks us to take up our own crosses as we follow him (Matthew 16:24), only Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection can bring us freedom from our sins.

What “cross” is Jesus asking you to bear on his behalf these days? By doing so, how are you advancing the work of the Kingdom of God? Ask Jesus to help you bear your cross faithfully as you partner with him in establishing his rule and reign.

Guest writer: Mimi Otani, crazy4jazz.com

“Leap of Faith” is a devotional series on the Gospel of John for the Lent season. All readings are available on the Vineyard One NYC app, along with additional resources for Bible reading, worship, and prayer (IPhone app here; Google Play app here).

 

Lent Day 41: “No Power Unless Given From Above”

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PREPARE

Close your eyes and quiet your thoughts. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you walk with Jesus through his time of trial.

READ

John 19:1-16

REFLECT AND PRAY
Jesus endures horrible abuse and torture at the hands of his enemies. He is now a prisoner, brought here by the plotting and scheming of the religious leaders, no longer able to roam free to teach and heal the masses.
1) Put yourself in the place of one of Jesus’ followers. What emotions do you imagine you would have felt while seeing all of this? What conclusions might you have come to about Jesus, yourself, Pilate or the religious leaders, or about what was going to happen next?
2) ” Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin” (v.11).
In this situation, who believes they are in control? How do they demonstrate what they believe to be their superiority? How do Jesus’ words show them – and us – another perspective?
3) Think back on a difficult time in your life. How has Jesus used it to show you he is in control of your life, health, dreams, and hopes?
OBEY
Give thanks to Jesus, who chose to endure great suffering because of his love for us. Share the story of Jesus’ love with someone this week.
Guest writer: Mercy Perez

 

“Leap of Faith” is a devotional series on the Gospel of John for the Lent season. All readings are available on the Vineyard One NYC app, along with additional resources for Bible reading, worship, and prayer (IPhone app here; Google Play app here).

 

Lent Day 40: “Lazarus, Come Out!”

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Each Sunday in Lent will focus on one of Jesus’ miraculous signs in the Gospel of John. 

PREPARE

Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your devotional time. Before you read, meditate on John’s words about his Gospel:

But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name – John 20:31.

READ

John 11:1-44

REFLECT AND PRAY

1) The raising of Lazarus is Jesus’ most public, powerful demonstration of his authority over life and death, given to him by the Father, and a foreshadowing of Jesus’ own resurrection. At the same time, Jesus’ human emotions are very close to the surface in this story. He cries, becomes angry, and is “deeply troubled” (vs. 33).

What are your own feelings about death? As you reflect on Jesus’ response to death as both God and man, how does this shape your understanding of Jesus? Of death and resurrection?

2) Throughout the story, Jesus is the only one who understands how it will end. Lazarus’ sisters and friends still have to go through a time of mourning before Jesus raises him from the dead. During that time of mourning, Mary and Martha both have an opportunity to reject Jesus; instead, Martha declares her belief in Jesus and Mary runs and weeps at his feet.

Are there any people or things you are mourning right now? Any ways you are waiting for Jesus to act, to bring healing and new life? What would you like to say to Jesus?

OBEY

Before Jesus tells Lazarus to “Come out!”, he says, “Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me” (vs. 41-2). On Palm Sunday, consider finding a way to celebrate “out loud” (either by words or actions) Jesus as King and the ways he has brought resurrection to your life.

You are also invited to hear a sermon on this passage. It will be streamed on the Vineyard One NYC Facebook page beginning at 10:30 am Eastern Standard Time. (Previous sermon audio files are available at vineyardone.nyc.)

“Leap of Faith” is a devotional series on the Gospel of John for the Lent season. All readings are available on the Vineyard One NYC app, along with additional resources for Bible reading, worship, and prayer (IPhone app here; Google Play app here).

 

Lent Day 39: The Blessings of the Week

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PREPARE

Today is a day to review your journey with Jesus over the past week. Ask Jesus to be with you as you do so. Invite the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts, emotions, and memories.

OPTION 1

Look over the week’s devotionals and/or your journal entries (Day 34, Day 35, Day 36, Day 37, Day 38). What stands out to you?  How has Jesus been present to you this week? Where do you sense Jesus inviting your attention so that you may go deeper with him?

OPTION 2

If looking over the entire week feels too overwhelming, reflect on one or more of these themes from the week’s devotionals:

1) As Jesus approaches the time of his death, he and his disciples face increasing hardship and persecution. As you look back on hard times in your own experience, how has Jesus been there for you? How has that shaped the way you face trials in your present and future?

2) Jesus wants us to be joyfully united with other Christians all over the world, our church community, and with Him, the Father, and the Holy Spirit. Have you ever experienced such a feeling of joyful unity? Where were you, and what was that experience like? Are there ways you are seeking increased unity?

3) Jesus models leadership that exudes both peace and strength. Where has God given you opportunities to lead? What do you need from Jesus in order to follow his example?

OBEY

As we approach Palm Sunday and Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, ask Jesus to help you walk with him in both joy and sorrow. Pray that you as an individual and the church as a body will grow in strength, peace, and unity.

 

“Leap of Faith” is a devotional series on the Gospel of John for the Lent season. All readings are available on the Vineyard One NYC app, along with additional resources for Bible reading, worship, and prayer (IPhone app here; Google Play app here).

 

Lent Day 38: “We Want Jesus”

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PREPARE

Close your eyes and quiet your thoughts. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you open your imagination and encounter Jesus in a new way.

READ

John 18:15-40

REFLECT AND PRAY

1) Peter denies Jesus three times. Put yourself in Peter’s place. What do you imagine he was feeling and thinking?

2) Imagine a circumstance in which you would also be tempted to deny Jesus.  What pressures might cause you to do so? What do you think you might feel and think at that time? (If this is something that has already happened, you may revisit those moments in your mind, but without guilt, in the knowledge that Jesus has already forgiven you and has brought you forward from that place and time.)

3) Now, imagine that same circumstance, but imagine Jesus is right there, next to you, as you are being questioned or challenged. What does Jesus do or say? How do his presence, words, or actions change yours? (Again, if this has happened to you, replay those moments, but imagine Jesus there with you this time. What is he doing or saying? What expression is on his face? Does Jesus’ presence make any difference to your understanding of yourself or of what happened at the time?)

OBEY

When Pilate offers to release Jesus to the crowd, the people demand Barabbas instead. Where in your life have you been tempted to choose something or someone other than Jesus? What does this reveal about your fears or other points of weakness?

Bring whatever is revealed to Jesus for healing. Ask Jesus to so overwhelm you with his love that you are free to choose him with your whole heart.

“Leap of Faith” is a devotional series on the Gospel of John for the Lent season. All readings are available on the Vineyard One NYC app, along with additional resources for Bible reading, worship, and prayer (IPhone app here; Google Play app here).

 

Lent Day 37: “The Cup of Suffering”

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PREPARE

Begin with a time of silence.

READ

John 18:1-14

REFLECT AND PRAY

 

Peter reacts to the possibility of capture with violence. But Jesus chooses another way: to “drink the cup of suffering” at the same time he repeatedly insists that he is the Lord (“I Am”). Jesus shows us a new model of power: one that asserts its strength not through conquest and violence, but through peace and suffering.

1) Look around you at our systems and institutions of power (governmental, educational, religious, etc.) or at individuals who hold power. Where do they come close to or fall short of the model Jesus gave us?

2) Where in your life has God given you influence, privilege, or power? On the other hand, where are you experiencing powerlessness, subjection, or opposition? In either case, how might Jesus be inviting you to experience and offer his peace?

OBEY

As you move closer and closer to the time of Jesus’ Passion, ask for the grace to walk with Jesus closely through his time of sorrow. Allow Jesus to awaken both surrender to his will and compassion for all those who suffer from injustice or pain.

“Leap of Faith” is a devotional series on the Gospel of John for the Lent season. All readings are available on the Vineyard One NYC app, along with additional resources for Bible reading, worship, and prayer (IPhone app here; Google Play app here).

 

Lent Day 36: United in Joy

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PREPARE

Start with a time of quiet praise. If you feel led to do so, listen to a worship song (like “Wonder” by Amanda Cook) that will help you enter into your time of reflection and prayer.

READ

John 17

REFLECT AND PRAY

Jesus says of his disciples: “I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy . . . I have revealed you [the Father] to them, and I will continue to do so.”

1) Name one thing that Jesus has revealed to you that gives you joy. It can be something about you or another person, something about God, or something about creation. What is the first thing that comes to your mind?

2) What words, images, or phrases stand out to you when you think of God the Father? Who are the people in your life who have revealed different aspects of God to you?

OBEY

 

Jesus’ prayer here is for his disciples throughout all time and for the unity of the church. Pray along with the Jesus that we all will be one, joined in his grace, the Father’s love, and the Holy Spirit’s communion (2 Corinthians 3:14).

“Leap of Faith” is a devotional series on the Gospel of John for the Lent season. All readings are available on the Vineyard One NYC app, along with additional resources for Bible reading, worship, and prayer (IPhone app here; Google Play app here).