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In the Upper Room with Jesus

In the Upper Room with Jesus

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this al/ will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." [John 13.•34-35]

Imagine the scene: The Savior sits quietly with his disciples in the upper room. The mood is somber; the feelings intense. The loyal followers know something is troubling the Teacher, but can't quite grasp the gravity of his words. Jesus turns to the men—and with a sense of tenderness and care, he tells the disciples that he will only be with them a little longer. Where Jesus is about to go, they cannot.

These words would have been earth-shattering to the disciples. They literally left everything to follow Jesus—and after three years together, they hear him say he plans to leave. The disciples sit up, lean in, and strain to hear what Jesus has to say next. With tenderness still in his voice, Christ shares a fresh perspective. He gives a new commandment. We might be tempted to think that in these final moments, Jesus would emphasize certain things to do or particular behaviors to avoid. Instead, in these last moments with his disciples, Jesus gives a command—but it was a command to love. The command to love wasn't new, but the extent of love would be newly defined. The disciples had no idea how Jesus was about to redefine love, but they would soon come face to face with the one who is love. Love would be displayed on a cross and newly defined by Christ's example. The calling and commandment of John 13:34 is not only for the followers in the upper room, it is a calling for each of us. The Savior is calling for there to be a special presence and experience of love among followers of Jesus. Christ is calling for love to be the identifying mark of his disciples. Love is to be at the heart of who we are and what we do. Called 2 Love: Like Jesus has been written to support, challenge, and encourage you in how to respond to Christ's call to love. Why is our response to this call so important?

  • Without a renewed focus on experiencing love from God and expressing love for God, our faith becomes only about doing things for God.

  • Without a prioritization of love, marriages dissolve, families break down, and every relationship is marked by disconnection and aloneness.

  • Without a fresh testimony of love and unity, Jesus-followers are more often labeled for their differences of doctrine or religious duty rather than for a heart of love for one another.

  • Without consistent demonstrations of love, church ministry is irrelevant—and a world which desperately needs the hope of Jesus stops listening.

Therefore, Called 2 Love: Like Jesus is intended to help you prioritize your response to Christ's call to love, to allow the Lord to guide you into fresh experiences of his love for you and in turn, to voice your love back to him. I'm asking the Lord to guide you into fresh challenges of how you might demonstrate his love for others—beginning with your spouse, children, and/or family. I pray you will allow God to empower your love for our church and to let there be a special renewed presence of unity among us at Jericho Road. And finally, may you sense God's fresh anointing as you share his love with others and live out his calling to love those who don't yet know the person of Jesus.

I will be sending out a devotional guide each day for six days (Mon to Sat) starting next week, March 7th for all who request one. This will continue for the six weeks of Lent leading up to Easter. The devotional can be done just on your own, or you can talk, reflect and pray with another person to encourage each other.

If you would like to receive these, please would you let me know verbally, via email (, text (512-799-8202) or even talk to me :-). You can also reach out to the office.

**** Also, over the coming weeks and months, as we continue hopefully to see Covid-related restrictions relaxed, I would like to visit with each household at a time that is convenient for you. It will give me an opportunity as your pastor to connect and know how things are with you, with your spiritual life and for us to pray together. I will be asking Sarah to set up some of these meetings but please feel free to take the initiative and invite me over yourself if you would like. ***

May we continue to grow as a community of love, bearing witness to the truth that Jesus is alive ... and worth following!

Much love and prayers,

Pastor Mike.

PS: Please can I also encourage to consider participating in one or more of the opportunities to pray together during this season. The details of these follow below:

Gathering for Prayer

Every Thursday morning at 9 am

All are welcome to meet in the sanctuary to read Scripture and pray together for the needs of the church and the wider community. Likely to last about 45 minutes. Our desire is to see us grow in corporate and intercessory prayer as a community. "God does nothing except in response to believing prayer." [John Wesley]

Sunday Prayer before worship: Each Sunday everyone is invited to gather from 9-9:40ish am to pray together for our gathering, the community and anything else the Lord lays on our hearts. Most especially we long to see the Lord's favor and anointing upon our time together. We also want to listen for words and pictures that the Lord may wish to speak into our gathering. Please join us if you can in the Pastor's office - all are welcome!

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