Home worship nurtures faith

Regular devotions are a powerful part of an active home-worship life. They can help nurture our faith and even that of our families, as they strengthen our relationship with Jesus, increase our trust in God and our openness to the call of his Spirit. We pray that you will receive blessings from the devotional materials 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?


Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you … plans to give you hope and a future.


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

Seen and loved by Sonia Hulme

‘As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen’ (Mark 1:16).

Read Mark 1:14–20.

In today’s reading, we see Jesus at the very beginning of his earthly ministry, assembling the group who would become his 12 disciples. These are the ones who would spend the next three years travelling with, eating with, living with and learning from him.

Three of them would become part of his inner circle, including Simon. It seems this might not have been his first encounter with Jesus. The Gospel of John records that it was Simon’s brother Andrew who had first introduced them. Over the next three years, though Jesus and Simon were master and servant, they also became close friends. Jesus renamed him Peter, and he was the first disciple to recognise Jesus as Messiah, the one promised by God to save his people. No matter the exact timing or circumstances of their meeting, Simon Peter’s story began with being seen by Jesus as he toiled away at his everyday job. He saw into Peter’s heart, which was capable of great love but also deeply flawed, and called him anyway.

The beginning of Peter’s life-changing kingdom adventure was being seen in all his humanity and loved despite his imperfections.

It’s no different for you and me. Jesus sees you toiling away at your everyday tasks. He sees you, and calls you into deep and intimate friendship with him and then on into his kingdom work. Where does he see you today? Perhaps you are not a fisherman but employed in some other vocation? Or you are retired or struggling to find work? Jesus issues you the same invitation. Might he be saying to you, ‘I see you; I know you; I love you. Come; follow me, and take part in what I’m already doing in the world. Come on a life-changing kingdom adventure …’

Thank you, Lord, that you see me where I am today, and you love me. Your seeing of me frees me into life. Help me take up your invitation to friendship and join, with joy, your kingdom work in the world. Amen.

A hospital for the soul by Maria Rudolph

‘He sent forth his word and healed them, he rescued them from the grave’ (Psalm 107:20).

Read Psalm 107:1–3,17–22.

I recently had a big medical procedure done. I was in hospital numerous times, and I needed bed rest to recover. For weeks, I wasn’t able to take part in normal life. All outings in the car (that I couldn’t even drive myself) were trips back to the hospital or to see some kind of doctor. Finally, I was able to go on my first non-medical outing. It was Ash Wednesday and a friend took me to church for a special service. I sat there, breathing in the holy space after weeks in bed, after staring at ceilings in hospitals and at home. It suddenly struck me: on this outing, too, I had actually come to a hospital. The church is like a hospital, a place of healing for the soul. After weeks of living so outside of the norm, my innermost being was yearning for the sacredness of the word spoken, prayed and sung by a group of Christians in church. It enveloped me with peace.

The psalms are so raw; the psalmists captured human struggles and emotions so well. Today’s psalm describes a parched soul who hungers and thirsts for the Lord after straying from God’s path. But as soon as they are ready to turn back to God, there he is. He is like a well-watered garden, like a spring that never stops, filling them up and healing them instantly.

We might not experience the healing hand of God in a physical sense, although that can also happen to some. But absolutely every single one of us will experience the refreshment the Lord brings our weary souls when we are parched and open ourselves up to God.

What does that mean for where you are at in your own life at this moment? Here is Matthew 11:28,29 for you in The Passion Translation: Jesus says, ‘Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle and humble. You will find refreshment and rest in me’.

Dear Lord, thank you for refreshing my soul time and again. I praise and thank you for nourishing me more than the choicest food and healing me more deeply than the most knowledgeable doctor. Amen.


You Lifted Me Out of the Depths 

I will praise you, O Lord,

For you lifted me out of the depths!

You did not let my enemies laugh at me,

Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.

O Lord, you brought me up from the grave, you saved me from the pit.

Sing to the Lord, you saints; praise his holy name.

For his anger doesn’t last and his love lasts a lifetime;

Weeping may last for a night,

but rejoicing comes in the morning.

You turned my crying into dancing;

you removed my rags and clothed me with joy,

that my heart may sing in praise forever.

O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!

– Psalm 30, from

Hebrews 10:23

Let us hold on firmly to the hope we profess because we can trust God to keep his promise.

I know exactly how you feel by Sue Westhorp

‘Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested’ (Hebrews 2:18).

Read Hebrews 2:9–18.

Have you ever had the experience of telling someone a part of your story and had them react with the words ‘I know exactly how you feel’? Perhaps it is a phrase you use to show that you understand and feel empathy for the other person. Sometimes this can be helpful for us, creating a sense of solidarity that helps us to feel less alone. Sometimes we might question whether it is actually possible for someone to know exactly how we feel. After all, we are all unique human beings with unique experiences, aren’t we?

Today’s reading outlines God’s plan for salvation through Jesus. Jesus is described as the pioneer of our salvation who is made perfect through suffering and ‘tastes death for everyone’. And in doing so, he claims us as his sisters and brothers, because he became human like us. It’s a pretty amazing concept, isn’t it? God had the power to swoop in triumphantly and save humanity, and yet he chose to become one of us, to experience life as one of us, and ultimately to die – something God could not do unless he was human.

And the story doesn’t end after the death and resurrection, for Jesus continues to help us in our times of testing and suffering. He doesn’t sit at a distance from us, no longer involved now that the work of salvation has been completed. No, he comes alongside us, identifying with our human experiences and helping us to work through them, not as an impartial observer but as one who knows what we are going through.

As you pour out your heart to God in prayer, in lament, and in sighs beyond words, know that Jesus has gone before you, enduring testing and suffering for our sake. And as he listens to you, he says, ‘My sister/brother, I know exactly how you feel, and I will help you through’.

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.

‘In tents faith’ by Pastor Tim Castle-Schmidt

‘By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise’ (Hebrews 11:9).

Read Hebrews 11:8–12.

Would you be happy living in a tent when you knew you had an enormous inheritance? An inheritance that could allow you to live out your days comfortably?

Because that is what Abraham had: faith to live in a tent despite the promise of a nation for his heirs. He had ‘in tents faith’. And yet, it wasn’t his faith through which the promise was fulfilled, but the faithfulness of Yahweh, the promise-giver.

Living in a tent is itself a bit of an act of faith. You have to trust that you won’t get wet, blown away or devoured by the local wildlife. And I suspect that’s part of the attraction of camping; you have to trust that you’ll cope, and that can be intense.

And so, when we are faced with a disruptive event, we are invited to have Abraham’s ‘in tents faith’. Faith to live in a tent when we have the promise of a castle. And that’s not so bad. Abraham and Sarah never entered the Promised Land, and yet their living by faith – intense faith – gave them the energy and connection with reality that was needed for them at that moment.

Lord God, the one who chose Abraham, enliven us with the faith to hang on in the face of adversity, knowing that you promise to be with us through it all. Amen.

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