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EPIPHANY 2022

CITY CHURCH PODCAST : CHRISTMASTIDE 2021 & EPIPHANY 2022

FORMATION : EPIPHANY 2022

 

Formation in the image of Jesus for the good of others. This is the goal as we grow and serve at City Church. 

 

Throughout the liturgical year, we have the opportunity to see this formation take place. As we live out the story of Jesus, we invite you to participate in a communal practice and a personal discipline for each season change. A communal practice is a habit that is done in the context of community while a personal discipline is a habit done on your own. We are constantly being [de]formed by the world around us. Step into these intentional rhythms that are designed to form us into the image of Jesus instead.

 

For Epiphany, our personal discipline will be Prayer and our communal practice will be Prayer Gatherings. 

 

Prayer is the only entryway into genuine self-knowledge. It is also the main way we experience deep change—the reordering of our loves. Prayer is how God gives us so many of the unimaginable things he has for us. Indeed, prayer makes it safe for God to give us many of the things we most desire. It is the way we know God, the way we finally treat God as God. Prayer is simply the key to everything we need to do and be in life.

We must learn to pray. We have to.”     -  Tim Keller

 

PERSONAL DISCIPLINE

Prayer is a massive topic. Volumes and volumes have been written on what prayer is, why we should pray, and how we should do it. Dealing with all of that is well beyond the scope of what we are trying to accomplish here. One thing is clear, and should come as no surprise if you are a Christian - we ought to pray. Most of us don’t struggle with whether or not we should pray, the problem is making the time to do it and understanding how to do it. In this season of Epiphany, as we focus on the revelation of Jesus and our desire to be formed in his image, we invite you to take a step toward becoming a person of prayer.

 

We have chosen to go straight to the source and use the model Jesus taught his followers when they asked him how to pray. Alongside the other practices we have introduced to you (solitude and silence, journaling), we have mentioned time in the Word and prayer as essential components in your walk with God. As you build on these habits and practices, we encourage you to pray each day using the Lord’s Prayer to guide your time. Make it a goal to spend time every day during Epiphany doing this. If you miss a day or two here and there, it’s OK! Simply recommit and work toward greater and greater consistency.

 

Our Father, who art in heaven

  • Pause and reflect on who God is and the fact that he is present in my life

  • Consider what it means to be a child of God

 

Hallowed be thy name

  • Ascribe to the Lord the glory that is due him

  • Consider what God has done, our many blessings, and answers to prayer and thank him as an act of worship

 

Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven

  • Pray for God’s rule and reign to become a reality (in my life, our church, our city, our state, our country, and our world)

  • Pray specifically for people I know (either that they would come to know Christ or that they would become more like Christ)

  • Pray for those doing Kingdom work

  • Pray for the fullness of the Kingdom to come

    • Justice and righteousness on earth (name some problem areas)

    • End of wars and conflicts

    • Return of Jesus

 

Give us this day our daily bread

  • Pray for personal needs in health, finances, etc

  • Pray the same for others in my life who have expressed need

  • Pray for the poor around us

 

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us

  • Reflect on the previous day and confess to the Lord sins of thought, word, and deed (things done or left undone)

    • Receive God’s forgiveness as I confess

  • Bring to God habitual patterns of sin and ask him to intervene

  • Pause to consider those I have sinned against or who have sinned against me

    • Consider if some steps of reconciliation need to be taken

    • Ask for the grace to forgive others from your heart

 

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

  • Pray over your schedule for the day/week ahead and commit specific meetings, appointments, and people to the Lord

  • Ask for God’s wisdom and discernment

  • Pray for family and friends by name and situation

 

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen. 

  • Pause again, reflect, yield, listen, obey

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COMMUNAL PRACTICE

Prayer Gatherings will be a simple time meeting with other brothers and sisters for prayer as a family in your homes. Feel free to shape these gatherings however you’d like or use this well-accepted structure:

 

A(doration): What a place to start! Before anything else, consider who God is, his attributes and mighty works, and praise him. 
 

C(onfession): In response to who God is and what he has done, consider yourself and your community confess your sins to him (If visitors are present, be sure to explain this piece to them, inviting them to participate or not).
 

T(hanksgiving): Consider what God has done for you and say thank you (If you started a journal during Christmastide, consider referring to it!).
 

S(upplication): Ask the Lord for help, keeping in mind various spheres of life (personal, family, country, church, etc.)

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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES : EPIPHANY 2021

HEAD: A Light to the Nations: The Missional Church and the Biblical Story - by Michael Goheen. In this book Goheen traces the story of God’s people through the biblical narrative to show how at every stage God’s people exist for the sake of God’s mission to the nations. At the heart of this mission is the making known of Jesus. 

 

HEART: Joshua Project - Joshua Project is a non-profit Christian ministry focused on gathering and distributing information about the world's least-reached ethnic people groups. Joshua Project’s “Unreached of the Day” app offers a way to engage your heart in prayer for all peoples, particularly those where Jesus is not known. Christ did not come for one people or country alone, but for every tribe, nation, and tongue—including the least-reached. Each day, the app presents an unreached people group profile including a photo, statistics, text, map, Scripture and prayer items. Use the app to join thousands of others world-wide praying for the same unreached people group.

 

HANDS: Generosity - Epiphany is often marked by Christ’s embrace of the world, shown first by the magi who followed the star to bring their gifts to the young king. This season can also mark generosity in our own lives. Watch this short video by The Bible Project to see how God’s intention for our hands might enable your hands to give in Epiphany. 

 

KIDS: Cleveland Cultural Gardens - The nations are here. Albanian, Syrian, Vietnamese—our city is home to so many peoples and cultures. One place this is clearly embodied is in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. Rockefeller Park contains more than 30 gardens, each dedicated to a people and culture in our city. What better way for our children to see the extent of the gospel’s reach than to see so many peoples for whom Christ died. Epiphany can train our children, and us, to see Christ’s embrace of the nations. If you are looking for specific ways to pray for the countries throughout the cultural gardens check out this country by country prayer guide produced by Operation World. (Bonus resource!)

YEAR-ROUND RESOURCES

Sacred Ordinary Days - This integrated planner is built around the church calendar. It helps Christians cultivate the peace, presence, and purpose of our faith every day. It incorporates the simple tools of reflection, spiritual formation, and journaling/list-making. If you need financial assistance for this year-long resource, please let Pastor Jason know.
 
Daily Prayer App - The Daily Prayer app offers common prayers, confessions, and Scripture readings. Daily rhythms are nurtured each day by structuring these prayers around morning, midday, evening, and late evening guided readings.

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LITURGICAL YEAR 

The liturgical calendar follows the life of Christ and, in its cyclical rhythm, invites us to enter the movement of his life on a yearly basis. As we observe each season, we can observe Christ. We pray that as you allow the seasons of the church year and anchor your life to the life of Christ, you’ll discover that a fuller joy and vitality marks your days.

Lesslie Newbign writes, “the business of the Church is to tell and to embody a story, the story of God’s mighty acts in creation and redemption and of God’s promises concerning what will be in the end. The Church affirms the truth of this story by celebrating it, interpreting it, and enacting it in the life of the contemporary world.” 
 

Each Sunday we see the arc of God’s story rehearsed and embodied (God is Holy, We are Broken, Jesus Saves Us, Jesus Sends Us)... but how do we “enact it in the contemporary world” of our homes, where we can create culture and habits that form us.

The church calendar, much like Sunday Service, moves us through a story. Specifically the story of Jesus with his incarnation in Advent all the way through the sending of the church in Pentecost.

  • ADVENT - the future hope of Christ

  • CHRISTMAS - the joyful birth of Christ

  • EPIPHANY - the perfect manifestation of Christ

  • LENT - the temptation and death of Christ

  • EASTER - the world-changing resurrection of Christ

  • PENTECOST - the renewing Spirit of Christ