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Christmas, bright and warm

Mission | December 15, 2016

The gifts are wrapped, the elves are ready. The families who take part in the Madison Marketplace Food Pantry are in for a fun surprise on Tuesday.

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That’s when each child will choose a fleece blanket, handmade by St. Paul people – more than 200 of them. They will choose a handmade pillowcase (made by sisters Cathy Hagglund and Marleah Welke), hats and gloves (handmade and store bought by individuals and the Anna Circle), a book from the Book Corner (and authored by St. Paul member Jill Esbaum), and socks and books collected by Sunday school students. A cooler bag and a set of Rubbermaid containers from the Mission Board will complete the gifts.

The Table Graces crew made cookies.

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A crew gathered last week to wrap and assemble the gifts.
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Some kids have already received hats and gloves, made by Judy Genung for students in Kelly Dugan’s class.
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And these are just some of the examples of how St. Paul people are loving Madison kids through the Neighborhood School Partnership.

“The Madison Marketplace now has more than 50 families,” said Neighborhood School Partnership Coordinator Dana Welser. “St. Paul’s intense mission ministry is feeding families and strengthening souls.”

One comment on “Christmas, bright and warm”

  • Cynthia Schrock

    December 15, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Lots of childhood Christmas memories of Madison School.

Leave a Reply to Cynthia Schrock Cancel Reply

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

13Behold, My servant will prosper,

He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted.

14Just as many were astonished at you, My people,

So His appearance was marred more than any man

And His form more than the sons of men.

15Thus He will sprinkle many nations,

Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him;

For what had not been told them they will see,

And what they had not heard they will understand.

1Who has believed our message?

And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

2For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,

And like a root out of parched ground;

He has no stately form or majesty

That we should look upon Him,

Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

3He was despised and forsaken of men,

A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;

And like one from whom men hide their face

He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

4Surely our griefs He Himself bore,

And our sorrows He carried;

Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,

Smitten of God, and afflicted.

5But He was pierced through for our transgressions,

He was crushed for our iniquities;

The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,

And by His scourging we are healed.

6All of us like sheep have gone astray,

Each of us has turned to his own way;

But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all

To fall on Him.

7He was oppressed and He was afflicted,

Yet He did not open His mouth;

Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,

And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,

So He did not open His mouth.

8By oppression and judgment He was taken away;

And as for His generation, who considered

That He was cut off out of the land of the living

For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?

9His grave was assigned with wicked men,

Yet He was with a rich man in His death,

Because He had done no violence,

Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

10But the LORD was pleased

To crush Him, putting Him to grief;

If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,

He will see His offspring,

He will prolong His days,

And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

11As a result of the anguish of His soul,

He will see it and be satisfied;

By His knowledge the Righteous One,

My Servant, will justify the many,

As He will bear their iniquities.

12Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,

And He will divide the booty with the strong;

Because He poured out Himself to death,

And was numbered with the transgressors;

Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,

And interceded for the transgressors.

Psalm 22

1My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?

Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.

2O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer;

And by night, but I have no rest.

3Yet You are holy,

O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

4In You our fathers trusted;

They trusted and You delivered them.

5To You they cried out and were delivered;

In You they trusted and were not disappointed.

6But I am a worm and not a man,

A reproach of men and despised by the people.

7All who see me sneer at me;

They separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying,

8“Commit yourself to the LORD; let Him deliver him;

Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.”

9Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb;

You made me trust when upon my mother’s breasts.

10Upon You I was cast from birth;

You have been my God from my mother’s womb.

11Be not far from me, for trouble is near;

For there is none to help.

12Many bulls have surrounded me;

Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.

13They open wide their mouth at me,

As a ravening and a roaring lion.

14I am poured out like water,

And all my bones are out of joint;

My heart is like wax;

It is melted within me.

15My strength is dried up like a potsherd,

And my tongue cleaves to my jaws;

And You lay me in the dust of death.

16For dogs have surrounded me;

A band of evildoers has encompassed me;

They pierced my hands and my feet.

17I can count all my bones.

They look, they stare at me;

18They divide my garments among them,

And for my clothing they cast lots.

19But You, O LORD, be not far off;

O You my help, hasten to my assistance.

20Deliver my soul from the sword,

My only life from the power of the dog.

21Save me from the lion’s mouth;

From the horns of the wild oxen You answer me.

22I will tell of Your name to my brethren;

In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.

23You who fear the LORD, praise Him;

All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,

And stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel.

24For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;

Nor has He hidden His face from him;

But when he cried to Him for help, He heard.

25From You comes my praise in the great assembly;

I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him.

26The afflicted will eat and be satisfied;

Those who seek Him will praise the LORD.

Let your heart live forever!

27All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD,

And all the families of the nations will worship before You.

28For the kingdom is the LORDS

And He rules over the nations.

29All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship,

All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him,

Even he who cannot keep his soul alive.

30Posterity will serve Him;

It will be told of the Lord to the coming generation.

31They will come and will declare His righteousness

To a people who will be born, that He has performed it.

Hebrews 10:16-25

16“THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM

AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD:

I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART,

AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,”

He then says,

17“AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS

I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.”

18Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

A New and Living Way

19Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,20by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Christ or Judgment

John 18:1-19:42

Judas Betrays Jesus

1When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples.2Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples.3Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, *came there with lanterns and torches and weapons.4So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and *said to them, “Whom do you seek?”5They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He *said to them, “I am He. And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them.6So when He said to them, “I am He, they drew back and fell to the ground.7Therefore He again asked them, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus the Nazarene.”8Jesus answered, “I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way,”9to fulfill the word which He spoke, “Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one.”10Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus.11So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”

Jesus before the Priests

12So the Roman cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him,13and led Him to Annas first; for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.14Now Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people.

15Simon Peter was following Jesus, and sowas another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest,16but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter in.17Then the slave-girl who kept the door *said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He *said, “I am not.”18Now the slaves and the officers were standing there, having made a charcoal fire, for it was cold and they were warming themselves; and Peter was also with them, standing and warming himself.

19The high priest then questioned Jesus about His disciples, and about His teaching.20Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret.21“Why do you question Me? Question those who have heard what I spoke to them; they know what I said.”22When He had said this, one of the officers standing nearby struck Jesus, saying, “Is that the way You answer the high priest?”23Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?”24So Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Peter’s Denial of Jesus

25Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?” He denied it, and said, “I am not.”26One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, *said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?”27Peter then denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed.

Jesus before Pilate

28Then they *led Jesus from Caiaphas into the Praetorium, and it was early; and they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium so that they would not be defiled, but might eat the Passover.29Therefore Pilate went out to them and *said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?”30They answered and said to him, “If this Man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him to you.”31So Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law.” The Jews said to him, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death,”32to fulfill the word of Jesus which He spoke, signifying by what kind of death He was about to die.

33Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”34Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?”35Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?”36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”37Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”38Pilate *said to Him, “What is truth?”

And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and *said to them, “I find no guilt in Him.39“But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover; do you wish then that I release for you the King of the Jews?”40So they cried out again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas.” Now Barabbas was a robber.

The Crown of Thorns

1Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him.2And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him;3and they began to come up to Him and say, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and to give Him slaps in the face.4Pilate came out again and *said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.”5Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate *said to them, “Behold, the Man!”6So when the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out saying, “Crucify, crucify!” Pilate *said to them, “Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him.”7The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out tobe the Son of God.”

8Therefore when Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid;9and he entered into the Praetorium again and *said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.10So Pilate *said to Him, “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?”11Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”12As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.”

13Therefore when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.14Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he *said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!”15So they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate *said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”

The Crucifixion

16So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified.

17They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.18There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between.19Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”20Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek.21So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’”22Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

23Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece.24So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be”; this was to fulfill the Scripture: “THEYDIVIDED MY OUTER GARMENTS AMONG THEM, AND FOR MY CLOTHING THEY CASTLOTS.”25Therefore the soldiers did these things.

But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.26When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He *said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”27Then He *said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.

28After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, *said, “I am thirsty.”29A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branchof hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.30Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

Care of the Body of Jesus

31Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.32So the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him;33but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.34But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.35And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe.36For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, “NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BEBROKEN.”37And again another Scripture says, “THEY SHALL LOOK ON HIM WHOM THEY PIERCED.”

38After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body.39Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight.40So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.41Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.42Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Acts 10:34-43

34Opening his mouth, Peter said:

“I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,35but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.36“The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)—37you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed.38You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.39“We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross.40“God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible,41not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.42“And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.43“Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

The Fact of Christ’s Resurrection

1Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand,2by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,4and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,5and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.6After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;7then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles;8and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.9For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.11Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

Mark 16:1-8

The Resurrection

1When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him.2Very early on the first day of the week, they *came to the tomb when the sun had risen.3They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”4Looking up, they *saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large.5Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed.6And he *said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him.7“But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.’”8They went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Acts 4:32-35

32And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.33And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.34For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales35and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.

Psalm 133

1Behold, how good and how pleasant it is

For brothers to dwell together in unity!

2It is like the precious oil upon the head,

Coming down upon the beard,

Even Aaron’s beard,

Coming down upon the edge of his robes.

3It is like the dew of Hermon

Coming down upon the mountains of Zion;

For there the LORD commanded the blessing—life forever.

1 John 1:1-2:2

Introduction, The Incarnate Word

1What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—2and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—3what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.4These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.

God Is Light

5This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.6If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;7but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.8If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.10If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

Christ Is Our Advocate

1My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;2and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

John 20:19-31

19So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and *said to them, “Peace be with you.”20And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.21So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”22And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.23“If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

24But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.25So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

26After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus *came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”27Then He *said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.”28Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”29Jesus *said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

Why This Gospel Was Written

30Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;31but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

Acts 3:12-19

12But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk?13“The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him.14“But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,15but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.16“And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.

17“And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also.18“But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.19“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Psalm 4

1Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!

You have relieved me in my distress;

Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.

2O sons of men, how long will my honor become a reproach?

How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception?

Selah.

3But know that the LORD has set apart the godly man for Himself;

The LORD hears when I call to Him.

4Tremble, and do not sin;

Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.

Selah.

5Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,

And trust in the LORD.

6Many are saying, “Who will show us any good?”

Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O LORD!

7You have put gladness in my heart,

More than when their grain and new wine abound.

8In peace I will both lie down and sleep,

For You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety.

1 John 3:1-7

Children of God Love One Another

1See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.2Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.3And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

4Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.5You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.6No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.7Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;

Luke 24:36b-48

36While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and *said to them, “Peace be to you.”37But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit.38And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?39“See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”40And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.41While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”42They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish;43and He took it and ate it before them.

44Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”45Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,46and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day,47and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.48“You are witnesses of these things.

Acts 4:5-12

5On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem;6and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent.7When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?”8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people,9if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well,10let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health.11“He is the STONE WHICH WASREJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, butWHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNERstone.12“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

Threat and Release

Psalm 23

1The LORD is my shepherd,

I shall not want.

2He makes me lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside quiet waters.

3He restores my soul;

He guides me in the paths of righteousness

For His name’s sake.

4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I fear no evil, for You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You have anointed my head with oil;

My cup overflows.

6Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,

And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

1 John 3:16-24

16We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.17But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?18Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.19We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him20in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.21Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;22and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.

23This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.24The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

John 10:11-18

11“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.12“He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.13He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.14“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,15even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.16“I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.17“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.18“No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

Acts 8:26-40

26But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, “Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.)27So he got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure; and he had come to Jerusalem to worship,28and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah.29Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.”30Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”31And he said, “Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.32Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this:

“HE WAS LED AS A SHEEP TO SLAUGHTER;

AND AS A LAMB BEFORE ITS SHEARER IS SILENT,

SO HE DOES NOT OPEN HIS MOUTH.

33“IN HUMILIATION HIS JUDGMENT WAS TAKEN AWAY;

WHO WILLRELATE HISGENERATION?

FOR HIS LIFE IS REMOVED FROM THE EARTH.”

34The eunuch answered Philip and said, “Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?”35Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him.36As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch *said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?”37[And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”]38And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing.40But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea.

Psalm 22:25-31

25From You comes my praise in the great assembly;

I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him.

26The afflicted will eat and be satisfied;

Those who seek Him will praise the LORD.

Let your heart live forever!

27All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD,

And all the families of the nations will worship before You.

28For the kingdom is the LORDS

And He rules over the nations.

29All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship,

All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him,

Even he who cannot keep his soul alive.

30Posterity will serve Him;

It will be told of the Lord to the coming generation.

31They will come and will declare His righteousness

To a people who will be born, that He has performed it.

1 John 4:7-21

7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.8The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.9By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.10In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.12No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.13By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.14We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

15Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.16We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.17By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.19We love, because He first loved us.20If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.21And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

John 15:1-8

Jesus Is the Vine—Followers Are Branches

1“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.2“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.3“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.4“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.5“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.6“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.7“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.8“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

Acts 10:44-48

44While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message.45All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.46For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered,47“Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?”48And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.

Psalm 98

1O sing to the LORD a new song,

For He has done wonderful things,

His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.

2The LORD has made known His salvation;

He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.

3He has remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;

All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

4Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth;

Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises.

5Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre,

With the lyre and the sound of melody.

6With trumpets and the sound of the horn

Shout joyfully before the King, the LORD.

7Let the sea roar and all it contains,

The world and those who dwell in it.

8Let the rivers clap their hands,

Let the mountains sing together for joy

9Before the LORD, for He is coming to judge the earth;

He will judge the world with righteousness

And the peoples with equity.

1 John 5:1-6

Overcoming the World

1Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.3For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.4For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

5Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?6This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.

John 15:9-17

9“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.10“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.11“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

Disciples’ Relation to Each Other

12“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.13“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.14“You are My friends if you do what I command you.15“No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.16“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.17“This I command you, that you love one another.

Disciples’ Relation to the World

Acts 1:15-17, 21-26

Psalm 1

1How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,

Nor stand in the path of sinners,

Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

2But his delight is in the law of the LORD,

And in His law he meditates day and night.

3He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,

Which yields its fruit in its season

And its leaf does not wither;

And in whatever he does, he prospers.

4The wicked are not so,

But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.

5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,

But the way of the wicked will perish.

1 John 5:9-13

9If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son.10The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son.11And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.12He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

This Is Written That You May Know

13These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

John 17:6-19

6“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.7“Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You;8for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.9“I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours;10and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them.11“I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.12“While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.

The Disciples in the World

13“But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.14“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.15“I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.16“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.17“Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.18“As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.19“For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.

Acts 2:1-21

The Day of Pentecost

1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.2And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.3And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

5Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.6And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.7They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?8“And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?9“Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,11Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”12And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”13But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.”

Peter’s Sermon

14But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.15“For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day;16but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:

17‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says,

‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALLMANKIND;

AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY,

AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS,

AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS;

18EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN,

I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT

And they shall prophesy.

19‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE

AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW,

BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE.

20‘THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS

AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD,

BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME.

21‘AND IT SHALL BE THATEVERYONE WHOCALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’

Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

Romans 8:22-27

22For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.23And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.24For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?25But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

Our Victory in Christ

26In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;27and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

John 3:1-17

The New Birth

1Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews;2this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”3Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

4Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”5Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.6“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.7“Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’8“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

9Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?”10Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?11“Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony.12“If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?13“No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.14“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;15so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

16“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.17“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

Isaiah 6:1-8

Isaiah’s Vision

1In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.2Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.3And one called out to another and said,

“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts,

The whole earth is full of His glory.”

4And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.5Then I said,

“Woe is me, for I am ruined!

Because I am a man of unclean lips,

And I live among a people of unclean lips;

For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”

6Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs.7He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”

Isaiah’s Commission

8Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Psalm 29

1Ascribe to the LORD, O sons of the mighty,

Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.

2Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name;

Worship the LORD in holy array.

3The voice of the LORD is upon the waters;

The God of glory thunders,

The LORD is over many waters.

4The voice of the LORD is powerful,

The voice of the LORD is majestic.

5The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;

Yes, the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.

6He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,

And Sirion like a young wild ox.

7The voice of the LORD hews out flames of fire.

8The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;

The LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

9The voice of the LORD makes the deer to calve

And strips the forests bare;

And in His temple everything says, “Glory!”

10The LORD sat as King at the flood;

Yes, the LORD sits as King forever.

11The LORD will give strength to His people;

The LORD will bless His people with peace.

Romans 8:12-17

12So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—13for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.14For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.15For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”16The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,17and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

John 3:1-17

The New Birth

1Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews;2this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”3Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

4Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”5Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.6“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.7“Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’8“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

9Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?”10Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?11“Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony.12“If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?13“No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.14“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;15so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

16“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.17“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.