Home worship nurtures faith

An active home-worship life, including regular devotions, helps nurture our faith – and that of the members of our families. We pray that you will receive blessings from the devotional materials contained here and in the Church@Home resources collection collated and shared on the special webpage at There are also other faith-building and practical resources available through this webpage. If you have internet access and a printer, why not print some and mail or deliver them to those who may otherwise miss out?


Psalm 23:4

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.


These reflections are from a fresh set of devotions written for our LCA/NZ family and friends to help us to keep our eyes on Jesus. They can be used by families and individuals as part of the Church@Home resources. You can find these and more on the LCA website at

Peter’s epiphany by Pauline Simonsen

‘He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Messiah of God”’ (Luke 9:20).

Read Luke 9:18–22.

Who do you want Jesus to be for you?

We human beings are notorious for trying to make God in our image – a reflection more of our culture and values and needs than of God’s being. Jesus, my friend and buddy; Jesus, the wise hippy dude; Jesus, the church high priest; Jesus, the liberation radical; Jesus, the kindly shepherd, Jesus … ? There are usually elements of truth in all these images of Jesus, but none of them reveals him truly or fully.

Who do you say he is? Who do you want him to be? Our post-modern culture might like to say that Jesus is ‘whoever you want him to be’ – your interpretation, your truth, your belief, your need. But Jesus isn’t a cipher for our own desires and ideas. Jesus comes to us on his terms, not on ours. While he is the greatest cross-cultural missionary ever (think of the Samaritan woman at the well!), he never compromises or fudges his identity or his calling.

The disciples find this out when he quizzes them about people’s take on him. ‘Who do the crowds say I am?’ And then, pressing his question home: ‘Who do you say that I am?’ Peter has his epiphany moment: a sudden insight that Jesus is the promised Messiah of God. But Jesus won’t let that insight be hijacked by Peter’s desires and ideas. He immediately explains what God’s Messiah must be and endure: suffering, rejection, execution, and finally resurrection. Jesus is the suffering servant king.

What have we projected onto Jesus that says more about us and our needs and desires? What might Jesus say to you and me through his word, to clarify his true identity and calling? How might this revelation of who he is (‘I AM’!) challenge and change our walk as his disciples?

Lord, continue to give us epiphanies to see you straight and true, on your terms, not our own. And give us the courage to follow you. Amen.

It’s upside down! by Jill Lange-Mohr

‘Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God”’ (Luke 6:20).

Read Luke 6:20–26.

The Beatitudes give us a vision of an upside-down kingdom. It’s the opposite of what the world thinks is right. Jesus explains to his disciples the qualities that make a happy life. There are four blessings on people with four attributes and four woes on people with the opposite characteristics.

So why is this the opposite of what we would think life should be? The world offers short-term gratification but not the eternal joy and happiness that believing in Jesus offers. Jesus boldly says that those who want to follow the world’s ways will not be ultimately happy.

Jesus emphasises the central ethic of his kingdom – love – and the importance of obedience to his teachings. These blessings are to encourage his followers in the face of mounting persecution. In short, this is a message on how we should live, including the need for repentance. Jesus is encouraging his disciples (us) that God will bless them when the world hates them. Live by Christian values and not the world’s values.

We shouldn’t be surprised by God’s upside-down approach to the way he does things. A baby born to be Saviour of the world can’t even get a decent, clean room for this momentous event? That’s upside down. And they all lived happily ever after? Only in heaven for those who believe in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.

Dear Father God, help us to always keep our focus on you and your kingdom and not the ways of the world. Amen.

The world is not a stage by Martin Oldfield

‘Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it’ (Matthew 6:1a).

Read Matthew 6:1–6,16–21.

Today’s text follows directly after the Sermon on the Mount and the call to love our enemy. On the mountain, Jesus told us to let our light shine and be the salt of the earth. He told us to let our good deeds be seen so that people may glorify God (Matthew 5:16).

In this text, he tells us to give, pray and fast in private; to do otherwise means no reward in heaven! Is he contradicting himself? No! He was declaring what his kingdom would be like. And his kingdom was not in opposition to worldly kingdoms but in opposition to the devil himself and his manifestations.

One of the manifestations was the penchant for slavishly obeying the law. Another was the religious leaders of the time who promulgated such thoughts. Giving alms to the poor ostentatiously, praying overtly and fasting to the point of neglect were common methods of proving one’s righteous demeanour. He didn’t tell us not to help the poor, pray or fast – he simply told us to do it in the right spirit – to further the kingdom, not feed the ego. Why not spend time in prayer looking for his guidance about what he would like you to do to further his kingdom?

Dear Dad, I’ve got no doubt that there are many things that I am doing that, if I am really honest with myself, are feeding my ego. Please bring these to my attention and redirect my energy to doing those things that glorify you, not me. Amen.

Micah 7:8b

We have fallen, but we will rise again. We are in darkness now, but the Lord will give us light.

Searchlight by Sal Huckel

‘God is light; in him there is no darkness at all’ (1 John 1:5b).

Read 1 John 1:1–7.

Don’t we wish we could see God? Here we have a book written by an eyewitness! While we can’t see these things ourselves, we have a blessing with the firsthand testimony in this letter! With such a preamble, we surely must sit up and listen to this message.

God is light. In him, there is no darkness at all! Amen! Hallelujah … but wait, there’s a challenge! Read on: ‘If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth’.

We read, again and again, about the light shining in the darkness. We can’t hide away little parts of our lives we think no-one can see. The kindness we deny someone. The habit we think is secret. The behaviour we think we can justify. It’s time to admit to ourselves, and maybe to others, that the Light is indeed shining in these places, and we need to clean them up. God promises that if we do this, and we walk in the light, we will have fellowship with one another and be purified from our sin. If. We have to choose this.

Lord, I ask you to shine your light in my life. In your grace and mercy, illuminate changes I need to make, paths I need to take, and forgiveness I need to seek. May my confession of sins this week include all the secret darkness of my heart, and may I be fully restored to walk in the light. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

God’s patience by Pastor Mark Lieschke

‘Leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilise it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down’ (Luke 13:8,9).

Read Luke 13:6–9.

Jesus does not just give us one crack at coming to faith. He patiently continues to work within us, his field, bringing the fruits of his death and resurrection to us over and over and over again – the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, new life in the flesh, the ability to bear fruit for him.

As we think about our individual weaknesses and mistakes, we may wonder at times if God’s patience with us might come to an end and our time of grace might be over. We might feel as if we have been expected to produce more fruit than what we have and wonder whether we should have been more faithful than what we have been.

Doubts and questions can arise in our minds about our being true believers and authentic disciples.

Focusing on ourselves can bring serious fears. But turning to see who Jesus is and what he has done, and continues to do, gives us hope and security. He never stops working in us and on us. His word is always available to us.

We have not had his baptismal promises stripped from us. Communion with him at his holy supper is there for us regularly.

We have constant access to these gifts of God, which he says we need. They turn us from worthless, fruitless plants into trees laden with abundant produce.

When the gardener digs and fertilises, and when the gardener takes time and is patient, good things can happen in his garden. When Christ provides for his people, when he forgives, nurtures, encourages, and feeds his children, they are given every opportunity to grow and bear fruit.

His patient, persistent cultivation gives us hope for the future. He is committed to serving us so that we, in turn, can produce fruit for him.

Lord Jesus, thank you for your patience with us. Come to us each day with the reminder that we are precious to you. As we look back and see our mistakes and weaknesses, cover us with your forgiveness and give us a new start every day. In your name, we pray. Amen.

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