August rEADING PLAN

Week 4: August 22 - 28

 

August 22 (Sunday)

Start with this short classic prayer: 

Gracious Father, we pray for your holy worldwide church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen.

 

Listen to God by reading Luke 22.

Observation: Almost inconceivably, in the middle of this sacred moment of Jesus instituting holy communion, a squabble breaks out among the disciples as to which of them is the greatest. Jesus takes it in stride, gently explaining that they should follow his example of service.

 

Talk with God about COMPETITION.

-Ask God to open your heart to the possibility that you have “competed” in the church or in ministry.

-Present your body to God for healing of wounds and “losses” from past competitions.

-Focus only on Jesus and bragging on Him; minimize yourself and recognition for yourself.

-Ask God for a spirit of service rather than competition.

-Pray for the children in two Free Methodist schools in Managua, Nicaragua in very difficult neighborhoods.

 

Listen to God 

-Focus on loving the church as you listen for God’s voice.

-Make a note of anything you hear from God.

 

August 23

Start with a Short Prayer: Because August 23 is the anniversary date of the founding of the Free Methodist Church in 1860, pray for your local body of believers. As we read about the crucifixion of Jesus, remember that the church is called “the body of Christ.” Pray that we may be worthy of that name.

 

Listen to God by reading Luke 23.

Observation: Luke spends very little time on details of the crucifixion: no hammering nails, no gaunt suffocating body. Instead, Luke highlights how people responded: religious leaders sneered, soldiers mocked him, and the two criminals had very different reactions.

 

Talk with God about your RESPONSE to Jesus.

-Thank God for His unimaginable gift of His own son for our redemption.

-Let your heart overflow in words of gratitude for this divine rescue plan effected on the cross.

-Ask God to help you see people around you who, like the criminal might simply say, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

-Pray for our workers in Palestine where great things are happening and God is bringing new believers into the Kingdom.

 

Listen to God 

-Imagine this was the first time you’d heard the crucifixion story. 

-Make a note of anything you hear from God.

 

August 24

Start with a Short Prayer:  Invite the God of all time to overwhelm you anew with the significance of Jesus’ resurrection. Try to suspend your own concerns and worries for this time of devoting yourself to God.

 

Listen to God by reading Luke 24.

Observation: We need all the pieces of Jesus’ life for it to make sense. For instance, without the miraculous birth he’s not divine. And without his death he’s not redeemer. But the best piece of all the pieces is this one, the breaking of the power of death by his resurrection. This is when the death-shroud which has lain over every human ever born was torn off. With his resurrection he opened the way to life that lasts forever!

 

Talk with God about RESURRECTION.

-Ask forgiveness for when you have lived life as though there were no resurrection (lived as though everything ended with your death).

-Rejoice and thank God for the resurrection of the body, especially for loved ones who have already died in Christ.

-Thank God for your own assurance of salvation and eventual resurrection.

-Plead with God for those who aren’t following Jesus in life, that they might repent of the direction of their lives and be able to participate in the resurrection of the just. 

-Pray for the Sweets, missionaries from Michigan in Bulgaria, as they wait for their boys’ citizenship to be finalized.

 

Listen to God 

-Does He assure you of anything? 

-Can you sense His pleasure in you?

-Make a note of anything you hear from God.

 

August 25

Start with a Short Prayer:  Be receptive. Erase any grudges or resistance you have to God and simply BE before Him as His child.

 

Listen to God by reading Acts 1.

Observation: Luke, the author of both the gospel and Acts, opens his second book, with a seamless transition from Jesus to the apostles. Two significant promises are given in this chapter: the promise of the Spirit and the promise of Jesus’ return.

 

Talk with God about His PROMISES.

-Thank God for not leaving us poor humans without hope.

-Rejoice that the Spirit of God resides in you!

-Commit to listening during this day to His good Spirit.

-Pray for international missionary Daniela Da Cunha as she begins ministry in the capital city of Uruguay, Montevideo.

 

Listen to God 

-Let God bring to your mind some of His promises.

-Make a note of anything you hear from God.

 

August 26

Start with a Short Prayer: Be present. Shut out distractions from your mind. Breathe deeply, recalling that every breath is a gift from God.

 

Listen to God by reading Acts 2.

Observation: After the crowd comes together, astonished at this miracle of communication in foreign languages, Peter delivers a pointed sermon calling for repentance and baptism. He doesn’t emphasize eternal life at this point, instead emphasizing that they can also have the gift of the Spirit. They too can be recipients of the promise that the prophet Joel had foreseen. They can be a part of this new thing.

 

Talk with God about the NEW THING.

-Confess where you have fallen into shallow routines rather than a dynamic relationship with God.

-Covenant with God to always let Him do a new thing in you through His Spirit.

-Give full access to the Spirit to order anything in your life that’s out of order.

-Thank God for not giving up on us.

-Pray for new church plants in Ghana, particularly in the central and northern areas where many villages have no church whatsoever.

 

Listen to God 

-If no new thing has happened in your soul for some time, long openly for God’s full will to be expressed in you.

-Make a note of anything you hear from Him.

 

August 27

Start with a Short Prayer: Thank God for those who shared the story of Jesus with you. Say their names in gratitude. Rejoice that they cared for you enough to share.

 

Listen to God by reading Acts 3.

Observation: As in the previous chapter, Peter again leverages the excitement of the crowd (after the miraculous healing) to preach about Jesus. He firmly embeds the story of Jesus in the story of the Hebrew people; from Abraham and the patriarchs through Moses and Samuel. He reminds them that they are included in their ancestors’ covenant. And once again, he calls for them to turn from their evil ways, to repent. 

 

Talk with God about OPPORTUNITIES.

-Humbly ask God for opportunities to talk with others about Jesus.

-Ask God to help you tell the story of Jesus as Peter did...so others could understand and respond.

-Plead especially for family members, your people, who need to repent and turn to God.

-Pray for Set Free teams across the U.S. seeking to expand foster-care support ministries in their local communities.

 

Listen to God 

-Let God reassure you that He is at work in the lives of many around you, preparing them for you to share about Jesus.

-Make a note of anything you hear from God, including the names of any He brings to mind.

 

August 28

Start with a Short Prayer: Detach your thoughts from the duties of the day. Disconnect for a moment from your problems. Invite God into your thoughts and reflections.

 

Listen to God by reading Acts 4

Observation: the number of believers is growing rapidly and the same people who had opposed Jesus now oppose Peter and company. Remember, the apostles still have the fresh memory of Jesus’ crucifixion in their minds. So when their arrests and trials begin, they call on God for boldness and “signs and wonders.” They are rewarded by being able to speak the word of God boldly.

 

Talk with God about BOLDNESS.

-Confess before God’s throne your natural tendency to “mind your own business” and not talk about Jesus.

-Recall the majesty of God.

-Be thankful for God’s gracious offer to rescue us from the messes we make of our lives.

-Promise God that you will be bold in telling others how God has made sense out of your life.

-Pray God will provide the necessary finances so ministry may continue in Peru at this time when the economic situation of so many people has been affected.

 

Listen to God

-Hear if he re-assures you or challenges you, quiets you or agitates you.

-Make a note of anything you hear from God.