Thank You for Spending Yourself

Advent is upon us. The first season of the Christian year. A season of preparation to make ourselves ready for the dawning of a light in our darkness – the birth of Jesus celebrated at Christmas. The call of preparation for my family this season is to pack up our things, say our good byes, and board a plane for Honduras in about thirty days.

Thank you for equipping us and helping us get set. With your donations we have been able to fully pay for our first flights and all of our travel vaccines – that’s around $6,000. To all of you who gave cash gifts, paid far too much for a t-shirt, or went online to give- May the Lord bless you (and if you’ll read this blog to the bottom – Elizabeth will bless you too!)

Lately I have been reading and studying Isaiah 58. It is a prophecy of rebuke with a promise of blessing. I hope you will hear the context and then receive its blessing. In this section Isaiah is prophesying to Israel’s uppermost class. They had been carefully doing all the religious motions of sacrifice and fasting while at the same time neglecting and abusing pretty much everyone else. Yet they were confused by the way God seemed distant, even angry. They thought doing all the right worship ceremonies, prayers, and fasts was supposed to automatically equal God blessing them – no matter how they acted toward their neighbor. So God rebukes them through the prophet:

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday…

This Advent and always, may we spend ourselves on behalf of the hungry and the oppressed, may we loose the chains of injustice, and may the Lord Almighty bless us with a light dawning in this darkness to heal us.
May you know the ultimate joy of loving God and neighbor: of being with and for the wanderers and outcasts among us, so when the glory of the Lord comes among them (even as He came forth many years ago – an infant that was naked, bloody, and crying – God almighty saying, “Here am I”) may you be in the right place at the right time to behold His glory, bow before Him and say, “My Lord and my God.”

We pray and believe that God will make us an instrument of his light and healing as we go. As you give and have given, you are spending yourselves on behalf of the poor, injured, and hungry – to bring light and healing through Jesus Christ.

To the elderly couple nearing the end of their sojourn, giving 100 dollars a month out of their modest retirement- thank you for spending yourself on behalf of the hungry.

To the young doctors still under the weight of massive educational debt giving regularly – thank you for spending yourself on behalf of the hurting.

To the children who gave up half of their hard earned lawn mowing wages – thank you for spending yourselves on behalf of the less fortunate children.

May the Lord bless you, draw near to you, and may the light of his face shine upon you.

If want an opportunity to receive this blessing – good news! We still have opportunities for partnership. The majority of what we have been given so far has been one-time gifts. Thank you for getting us off the launch pad, now we need regular gifts. We estimate we’ll need about $3,000 dollars a month and we have about $1,000 dollars committed (If you’d like more details click here or email me at nathangilley@gmail.com).

Giving online is easy – you should go ahead and do it right now by following the instructions below (if you prefer to give by phone or mail learn how by going here).

2) Scroll Down and type “Gilley” in this text box:
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3) Click on the “Gilley, Nathan and Bethany” box that comes up under that text box
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4) Type in the amount that you would like to give each month then mark “Monthly” to the right of “Donation Type.
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5) Click “Checkout” then follow the instructions to designate where the funds come from (bank account, credit card, debit card, etc)


These are two video clips that I hope will bless you. They are of my eldest two daughters acting and reciting relevant scriptures in the last few years.

May you love God and your neighbor:

May you be found among the outcast when and where God shows up:

In Christ,
Nathan, Bethany, Elizabeth, Lydia, & Ruth


The views and opinions expressed in this blog are not the views of Samaritan’s Purse or World Medical Mission.


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Rites For the Christian Year – From Ashes to Water to Oil

Ash Wednesday

At the conclusion of the Ash Wednesday service, this rite is spoken by the one recieving the imposition of ashes (by repeating and or reading), the first part is said immediately before the ashes are imposed on the forehead in the form of a cross, and then second follows.

Merciful God,
In humble repentance
We mark ourselves with ashes and dust, a sign of mourning and repentance.
You formed us from the dust of the earth and to it we shall return,
We confess we have sinned against you, our creator, in what we have done and left undone.

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[Imposition of ashes]

Righteous Lord Jesus
In humble hope,
We are marked with the sign of the cross, a sign of your faith.
You emptied yourself to become a man, and in perfect obedience you went to the cross.
Grant us this Lenten season to take up our cross and follow you, to Jerusalem and through Good Friday.
Amen


Easter Sunday

Upon entering the church on Easter morning, this rite is spoken by the one remembering (or anticipating) their baptism, the first part is said immediately before the celebrant takes up the baptismal waters and make the sign of a cross over themself. The second part is said thereafter.

Faithful God,
In joyful celebration*,
We touch the baptismal waters, a sign of cleansing and resurrection.
You sunder waters and call forth life, you raise the dead to life.
We confess we have been enslaved in sin, dead in our trespasses, buried.

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Remembrance of Baptism

Loving Lord Jesus,
In joyful remembrance*,
We are marked with the sign of the cross, a sign of your faith
You were crucified, dead, and buried, but by the power of the Holy Spirit you were raised to life.

Grant that we may die to sin and live to Christ this Eastertide.
Amen

*For the not yet baptized, “anticipation” should be substituted


Pentecost Sunday

At the conclusion of the Pentecost Sunday service, this rite is spoken by the one being anointed with oil, the two parts are said immediately before and then after the pastor anoints the celebrant’s forehead in the form of a cross.

Gracious God,
In reverent dedication,
We anoint with holy oil, a sign that we are consecrated and baptized by your Spirit,
You are the breath of life in creation, and the pledge and seal of Christ’s redemption.
We confess we have been unfaithfully in loving you with all of our spirit, soul, and body.

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Anointing oil

Holy Lord,
In reverence and boldness
We are marked with the sign of the cross, a sign of your faith.
You poured out your Holy Spirit on the church at Pentecost.
Grant that we may be sanctified through and through, our whole spirit, soul, and body kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Amen


Purpose of these rites:

I belive our church and especially our children should have tangible ways of worshipping, engaging and understanding the faith. Let’s find ways to allow our children to not just hear, but also see with their eyes, and touch with their hands the proclamation of eternal life that is our fellowship with the Triune God.

Alpha – Omega; A Scripture Compilation for Kingdomtide

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the LORD,

“who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

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Chi-Ro Alpha Omega – Brompton Cemetery, London, England, UK.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, now the Word was with God, and the Word was God and all things were made through him. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light- the true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. But sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. For we all like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way.

But when the fullness of time had come the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, though he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. So Mary gave birth to him, her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He taught, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Yet He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;

He said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” So he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For as in Adam all die, so also in Him shall all be made alive. And when He had been crucified he said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. But three days later he was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead.

After that he was taken up into heaven, and the LORD said to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” Thereafter, He who is seated on the throne will say, “I am making everything new!” Then he will say these words that are trustworthy and true “It is finished. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.” And behold, God has exalted him to the highest place and given him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Edited by Nathan Gilley using the English Standard Version (ESV)

Rev 1:8, Gen 1:1, Jn 1:1,3, Gen 1:3, Jn 1:9, Ro 5:12, Isaiah 53:6, Gal 4:4, Jn1:14, Phil 2:5-6, Luke 2:7, Isa 53:2, Luke 6:27,28,31, Isa 53:3, Jn 6:35, Is 53:5, Phil 2:8, 1Cor 15:22, John19:30, Ro 1:4, Mrk 16:19, Ps 110:1, Rev 21:4,5, Phil 2:9

The idea for compiling this reading was inspired by the two divine utterances of “It is finished.” Once on the cross and once at the end of all things.