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).

 

Lent Day 35: “I Have Overcome the World”

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PREPARE

Begin this time with gratitude. Thank God for how he has already been with you today, and ask him to be with you during this time of prayer.

READ

John 16:16-33

REFLECT AND PRAY

1) In verses 19-28, Jesus explains that the disciples were going to suffer in his absence but then rejoice in his return. Have you experienced a season of great sorrow that made way for a season of joy? How did Jesus prepare, grow, and walk with you through this time?

OBEY

In verse 33, Jesus offers his disciples the knowledge that he has overcome the world –  sin, death, and the powers and principalities – to bolster and comfort them in their coming time of pain.

If you know someone who is going through a season of sorrow, take some time to pray verse 33 over them. Keep this verse in mind for whomever God puts on your heart as you go through your day.

Guest writer: Aaron 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 34: The Holy Spirit, Our Helper

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PREPARE

Find a place and time to be alone with God. Ask Jesus to help you love as he does and to keep you connected to him, your source of life.

READ

John 15:18-16:15

REFLECT AND PRAY

The priorities and mindsets of the world are radically against the essence and status of Jesus Christ. As followers of Jesus, we risk the possibility of being persecuted by the world for being loved by and associated with Jesus.

1) How has does this passage challenge the faith of Jesus Christ’s disciples? Do any of Jesus’ words present a challenge to you personally?

Jesus promises us a helper – an Advocate – who will empower us when we do encounter hatred and persecution and motivate us to endure life’s hardships.

2) How is Holy Spirit described in this passage? Do any of these descriptions resonate with you? How might they apply to your own life?

OBEY

How has the Holy Spirit been your helper in the past? How do you need the Spirit’s help right now? If you sense a need to do so, invite the Spirit to come and show you specific actions or mindsets that will enable you to stay connected to Christ even in the face of persecution, opposition, or other kinds of difficulty.

Guest writer: Marcus Samerson

 

“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 33: Jesus Heals the Blind Man

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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 9:1-41

REFLECT AND PRAY

1) Jesus tells his disciples that no one is to blame for the man’s blindness. Instead of casting blame, he points everyone – the disciples, the religious leaders, the blind man, and us – towards God and the work God is doing in the world. Are there any situations where you are (or have been) tempted to find someone to blame? Consider whether Jesus might be pointing you in a different direction, towards God’s presence. Where might you be able to see God at work?

2) In this passage, the formerly blind man gradually gets closer and closer to an understanding who Jesus is. How has your understanding of Jesus evolved over the years? What questions do you still have about Jesus?

OBEY

Jesus came to heal both physical and spiritual blindness, as well as other forms of illness and suffering. Pray for someone today, that Jesus might bring them healing and open their eyes to his love.

 

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 32: 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 27, Day 28, Day 29, Day 30, Day 31). 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) How have you lived in Jesus’ light this week? In what areas of your life have you been able to love as Jesus loved, to remain in his love, and to obey his commandments?

2) In what situations has Jesus been inviting you to give up control or the struggle for understanding and simply trust him? How has Jesus proved himself trustworthy in this past week?

3) How has Jesus helped you in your times of failure?

OBEY

Give Jesus thanks for how he has journeyed with you this week. Then, take him up on his promise to “do whatever you ask in my name.” Step out in faith and bring the “desire of your heart” (Psalm 37:4) to him.

 

“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).