Wonderful Grace on 01.06.12

Happy New Year!  We started off 2012 in by opening ourselves up to God in two different ways…

First, after turning our attention upward by singing “How Great Thou Art” and “Glory to God Forever”, we dusted off the old hymn “The Wonderful Grace of Jesus”.  Written in 1918, this hymn is a little silly and wildly uncool…but maybe that’s why it’s so great!  The words are profoundly rich and meaty, and I think there’s something important about choosing to sing something fun.  Especially if it’s fun for your grandma.  Here’s the whole experience…

After we sang these great words to and about God, Blaine Hogan lead us through an extended time of prayer for the New Year.  As fun as the music was, this prayer was the highlight of the service for me.  As our band quietly played an instrumental version of “Fljótavík” by Sigur Rós, Blaine guided us…

I don’t know about you, but I love this time of year. It’s when we pause and say to the world, to each other, and to ourselves we want this year to be different.  There’s an excitement in the air. There’s deep hope. Tremendous anticipation. Our hearts beat fast as we imagine the possibilities of what could be.

But this business of becoming more human, growing, changing – it can be so hard.  Because of this fact, I’m certain that there are many of us who are already feeling the painful sting of shame for not being able to keep our resolutions for even a week. That thing we said we definitely we weren’t going to do, we did. Or, that thing we said we definitely were going to do, we didn’t.

It’s heartbreaking and I know exactly how you feel.

So then, maybe there’s something we’re missing here. Maybe we’re not supposed to be doing this thing on our own. Maybe we weren’t created to power-through – to dominate the world, or ourselves into change.  In the scriptures, Peter writes the following:

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” – 2 Peter 1:3,4

New Years resolutions often tend to be about us working hard, us making things happen, us digging deep, but as we’ve seen and possibly experienced already this past week, our powers are limited. I know mine are.

Throughout all of scripture, there’s a secret Jesus is trying to tell us:  God is right here waiting to help us become the people He’s made us to be.

So maybe what we need today, a good, healthy week into the new year, is to remind ourselves and each other that this divine power to become the people God created us to be, is real.  Perhaps it is true that God has already given us everything we need for life and godliness.  Perhaps it is true that God and his divine power is waiting here to help us become the people we desperately hope we will become this year.

If you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to ask that you place your open hands on your lap. As we pray, we must realize that what we’re asking for is a gift to be received with open hands and not the clenched fists of mere will-power and resolve.

Let us pray.

First, for OUR RELATIONSHIPS – Our families and our friends. The broken relationships we endeavor to fix and the ones we’ve deemed un-fixable. God we invite your divine power into this area of our lives.

OUR FINANCES – We thank you for the gift of resources; we realize every dollar is an abundant gift from you. We pray we will manage these gifts wisely. God we invite your divine power into this area of our lives.

OUR WORK – First for those of us without employment, we join with you now, praying for work to come our way. For those of us who find ourselves with gainful employment, we ask that you would be with us at our desks, in our homes, in our cars, on planes and in hotels, in our meetings, and in our conversations. God we invite your divine power into this area of our lives.

OUR ADDICTIONS & THE THINGS WE WRESTLE WITH – Whether it be sex, food, alcohol, drugs, or something else – we admit we’re all wrestling with something. God we invite your divine power into this area of our lives.

OUR DESIRES & DREAMS – For the desires in our hearts – the things we long to do, to get right, to be better at in the new year. For our deepest hopes and dreams. God we invite your divine power into this area of our lives.

OUR FEAR – For the fears that keep us from taking risks and from telling the truth of who we really are. God we invite your divine power into this area of our lives.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them we may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Amen.

Posted by Aaron Niequist on 01.12.12 under Lead Worship, Weekend Experience.

One Response to “Wonderful Grace on 01.06.12”

  1. Yes, the prayer by Blaine was the highlight. No offense.:) I wish I had a copy I could listen to every morning. Thanks for posting it. I’ll have to print it out and put it one the fridge.
    Wonderful Grace was fun. Wasn’t sure whether to sing high or low so I did both.

    Posted by Chris on 12/13/09 January 20th, 2012 at 10:42 pm

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