Section 1: Opening Prayer
Let us pray. Merciful and most high God, creator and giver of life, you have called all people from darkness into light, from error into truth, from death into life. Grant your grace to each of us and bless us. Raise them by your Spirit. Revive them by your word. Form them by your hand. Bring them to the water of life and to the bread and cup of blessing, that with all your people they may bear witness to your grace and praise you forever through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Section 2: Story
Each of us is called to live out our faith in our daily lives. For some people the way that they live out their faith is bold and obvious and clear. For other people the way that they put their faith into action is more private. Watch this interview with Bono to get an idea of how one very public person integrates their faith into their daily life.
The liturgy for the Affirmation of Baptism describes the faith practices that grow out of our baptism (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, page 236). As children of God, we are called to “…live among God’s faithful people; hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s Supper; proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed; serve all people following the example of Jesus; and strive for justice and peace in all the earth.” Each of these responses to God’s love for us is an example of putting our believe into practice – into action. “’Our faith is a living, busy, active, mighty thing,’ said Martin Luther. Faith Practices are ways to live out our faith as we grow in our discipleship.” (ELCA Website – Faith Practices)
Section 3: Message
Marks of Discipleship
As we try to live a life of faith, God has given us tools to help us. Some people refer to them as marks of discipleship – Daily Bible reading, generosity, prayer, relationships, service and worship. These tools, these practices, these gifts, these resources become more helpful as you practice them and become more familiar with them. Pick one of these six to try this week.
Daily Bible Reading – Getting Started
- Set a goal for coming week – number of times you will read or number of verses you plan to read
- Pick Resources to help you read – You Bible, A Bible App on Your Phone, Devotional Book, etc.
- Pick a time and place to read. Pick a time that is convenient for you. Be specific.
- If you miss day, don’t worry about it. Start new the next day.
- Think about what you are reading?
- Ask yourself – What does this say to me? What do this inspire me to do? What question does this raise?
- Write, draw or think about the answers.
- Ask for help if you don’t understand.
God is generous with us, so we are generous with others. One of the tools we have for building a whole, healthy life of faith is generosity. Often people about generosity and money, but generosity can take many forms. You can be generous with you time, with your talents, with the help you provide to others. Think about someone who has been generous with you. What did that generosity mean to you? Think about your gifts. What is one way that you can be generous with others?
The Lord’s Prayer is one example of ways that we can pray. We can also pray at meals, before we go to bed, in the morning or while we are riding in a car. You can pray any time or any way that works for you. To get started with prayer, pick a time and place to pray, begin talking to God. Share you joys and concerns share your hopes and dreams. Whatever you want to say is fine, just pick a time and place and start talking.
We can connect to God through family, through friendships, through small groups, and through sharing our love of God with others. Think of one strong, healthy relationship in your life. How can that relationship help you grow your connection to God?
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35 Christ calls us to actively respond to God’s love for us, by loving our neighbor. Think of one way that you can share God’s love for you by serving another person. Make a plan to serve someone in your family, congregation or community this week.
Worship is an opportunity for us to hear God’s Word, to give thanks for God’s presence in our lives and to connect to a community of faith. The next time you are in worship, ask yourself:
- What is God saying to me today?
- What am I saying to God today?
- What is one thing I have heard today that can help me learn more about God or who God is calling me to be?
Once you pick try one tool, one mark, then pick another one to add at some point in the future. Explore each of the marks of discipleship over time. Look for ways to live out your baptismal promises. Know that the ways that you relate to God, the ways that you express your faith, the ways that you are nurtured in your faith will grow and change as your life grow and change. The faith practices that you find helpful today, may not be helpful 20 years from now and the faith practices you appreciate in 20 years may be practices that you haven’t even learned about yet. Keep trying new approaches. Keep learning about who you are and who God calls you to be and put your faith into practice each and every day.
Section 4: Learn and Engage
– What are 3 things you learned?
– What is 1 question you still have?
– What part of the lesson did you most identify with?
– What part of the lesson was hardest for you?
– Where have you seen God this week?
Section 5: Closing Prayer
Let us pray. Gracious and holy God, give us diligence to seek you, wisdom to perceive you, and patience to wait for you. Grant us, O God, a mind to meditate on you; eyes to behold you; ears to listen for your word; a heart to love you; and a life to proclaim you; through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Opening and Closing Prayers, plus quotations from Baptismal service from Sundays and Seasons.com. Copyright 2014 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #25165.