Original Documents

Click below to see readings for the week:

Read Matthew 4:12-23

Friday

Read Matthew 4:12-23

:12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee.

4:13 He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali,

4:14 so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

4:15 "Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles

4:16 the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned."

4:17 From that time Jesus began to proclaim, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."

4:18 As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea for they were fishermen.

4:19 And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fish for people."

4:20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

4:21 As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them.

4:22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

4:23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.

Think

(On Fridays I will not include a reflection; just the gospel reading for the coming Sunday.)

Read John 1:29-42

Thursday

Read John 1:29-42

1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, "Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

1:30 This is he of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'

1:31 I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel."

1:32 And John testified, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.

1:33 I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'

1:34 And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God."

1:35 The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples,

1:36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, "Look, here is the Lamb of God!"

1:37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.

1:38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi" (which translated means Teacher), "where are you staying?"

1:39 He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon.

1:40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.

1:41 He first found his brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated Anointed).

1:42 He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter).

Think

When Jesus sees Simon son of John he renames him:  Peter / Petros which means 'Rock'.  An expression of his stubbornness perhaps?  An expression of who Jesus will help him to be?

Pray

Lord, what name would you give me?

Read 1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Wednesday

Read 1 Corinthians 1:1-9

1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,

1:2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

1:3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1:4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus,

1:5 for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind

1:6 just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you

1:7 so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1:8 He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1:9 God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Think

Verse 5 - for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind...

Are you allowing Christ to enrich you in speech and knowledge.

Pray

Lord I know that my ways of speaking about myself and others reflect the condition of my heart.  Transform my heart and let your love and grace flow through me.

Read Isaiah 49:1-7

Tuesday

Read Isaiah 49:1-7

49:1 Listen to me, O coastlands, pay attention, you peoples from far away! The LORD called me before I was born, while I was in my mother's womb he named me.

49:2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me away.

49:3 And he said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified."

49:4 But I said, "I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my cause is with the LORD, and my reward with my God."

49:5 And now the LORD says, who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honored in the sight of the LORD, and my God has become my strength-

49:6 he says, "It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth."

49:7 Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations, the slave of rulers, "Kings shall see and stand up, princes, and they shall prostrate themselves, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you."

Think

Verse 7 - ...to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations, the slave of rulers, "Kings shall see and stand up, princes, and they shall prostrate themselves, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you."

Isaiah 49 reminds Israel in the middle of their troubles that they were created for better things.  God's rescue will come and he will be glorified through them.

Pray

Lord help me to surrender myself to you so that you may lift me up to shine as a light to the world.


Read Psalm 40:1-11

I'm back :)
Thank you for your patience.
I took some time to think about changes to make to Read Think Pray - I had thought of following books or something like that - but I find the rhythm of the lectionary helpful so I've returned to the same format.
Monday Psalm, Tuesday Old Testament, Wednesday Epistle and Thursday Gospel.
I've changed two things:
1 The Bible Version - Instead of the Good News Bible I will use the NRSV.
2 Fridays - there will be no reflection on the gospel for the coming Sunday; just the gospel for you to read.
God bless,
Gus

Monday

Read Psalm 40:1-11

40:1 I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry.

40:2 He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.

40:3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.

40:4 Happy are those who make the LORD their trust, who do not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods.

40:5 You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you. Were I to proclaim and tell of them, they would be more than can be counted.

40:6 Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.

40:7 Then I said, "Here I am; in the scroll of the book it is written of me.

40:8 I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart."

40:9 I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; see, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD.

40:10 I have not hidden your saving help within my heart, I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.

40:11 Do not, O LORD, withhold your mercy from me; let your steadfast love and your faithfulness keep me safe forever.

Think

Verses 2 & 3 - 40:2 He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.

40:3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.

Sometimes we choose to stay in the pit and we refuse to learn any new songs.

Pray

Lord remind me that the pit is not good enough for your children.  You created us to sing new and creative songs.


Happy New Year!

Dear Church Family,

I look forward to sharing communion with you on the first Sunday of next year, 5 January at 845am.  As we begin the year we will recommit ourselves to God by saying the Methodist Covenant Prayer:


I have been enjoying my garden this year.  We installed a well-point so we could water it and with soil, seeds, sunshine and water we grew some beautiful sunflowers.  To see the beauty in the details of God's creation is so helpful to our faith, the creator is an artist who didn't just form the world for us to exist in, but for us to enjoy.


I hope that December has presented a chance for you to rest and to be re-created in your recreation.  To take a moment to remember that you were created by a God who loves you and you were created for God's love.  The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism is:
Q. What is the chief end of man?A. Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
The sunflower glorifies God because that is what it was created to do.  It can not choose to be anything but a sunflower its blossoming and following of the sun is written in its DNA.  We on the other hand have a choice.  We can surrender to God's purpose - or go our own ways.  Too often we go our own ways and we become less than we were meant to be.

When the people of Israel entered the promised land Joshua spoke to them in Joshua 24:
14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” 16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! 17 It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our fathers up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled... ” 
 The Holy Bible: New International Version. (1984). (Jos 24:14–17). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

In verse 14 and 15 Joshua announces his intention to serve God and God alone.  The people make their own commitment.  A commitment to commit themselves completely to God.  Joshua promises that if they do this they will produce the beauty and the fruit that God has prepared them for.

As you enter in to 2020 have a look at these verses:
14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 
What do you want to / need to / leave behind in 2019?
15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. 
Is serving the Lord 'desirable to you'?
What does that mean for your priorities in 2020?
- Time?- Money?- Church?- Work?- Family and Friends (Household)?
15 "But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” 
How will you set the example to your family of the way in which you serve the Lord?  Will you read scripture and pray?  Will you pray together as a family?  Will you set an example to your children of what it looks like to 'serve the Lord' in the way you treat yourself, others, your husband / wife and children?  In the way that you speak of others and of the Lord?
16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! 17 It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our fathers up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled... 
As you look back on 2019 I'm sure there were some difficult challenges; but how can you be thankful to God for the ways in which you have been spared?  Will you remember what God has done?

I have to admit that Joshua 24 does not end well.  The people make all these bold commitments to serving God but pretty soon they're serving other gods and forgetting their priorities.  We are the same.  That is why we head back to church every Sunday and ask God for a new beginning.  And God - knowing that we are dust; remembering that we are his children - lifts us up again and sets us back on the path toward truth and love.

He doesn't just set us on the path - it turns out that he plants in us a force; like the force that got the sunflower to grow out of the ground; the force that caused Jesus to rise from the dead - the force of the Holy Spirit - to help us on the way.

I'm trying to grow at least one watermelon.  I have only one so far on all my vines and it is about 1cm long:


To get it to grow I will keep watering it, I'll weed the ground around the stem and do my best to check for pests every day and keep them away.  The Watermelon wants to grow to be large and sweet; it has everything it needs.  The same with our lives in God - we have all the ingredients - all we need to do is surrender to his love and partner with him through the Holy Spirit as we grow to become the people we were created to be.

I wish you every blessing in 2020!

Read Matthew 11:2-11


Thursday

Read Matthew 11:2-11

2 When John the Baptist heard in prison about the things that Christ was doing, he sent some of his disciples to him. 3“Tell us,” they asked Jesus, “are you the one John said was going to come, or should we expect someone else?”
4 Jesus answered, “Go back and tell John what you are hearing and seeing: 5the blind can see, the lame can walk, those who suffer from dreaded skin diseases are made clean,i the deaf hear, the dead are brought back to life, and the Good News is preached to the poor. 6How happy are those who have no doubts about me!”
7 While John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus spoke about him to the crowds: “When you went out to John in the desert, what did you expect to see? A blade of grass bending in the wind? 8What did you go out to see? A man dressed up in fancy clothes? People who dress like that live in palaces! 9Tell me, what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes indeed, but you saw much more than a prophet. 10For John is the one of whom the scripture says: ‘God said, I will send my messenger ahead of you to open the way for you.’ 11I assure you that John the Baptist is greater than anyone who has ever lived. But the one who is least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than John.

Think

But the one who is least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than John. - Matthew 11:11
Think about the people who surround you in church on a Sunday, the children who come to Sunday school... any one of these - who is the least in the Kingdom - is greater than John the Baptist.
Jesus teaches us to respect and love the community that surrounds us.

Pray

John the Baptist helps me to see your coming.
Let me see you in the people that surround me today.

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