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Living in the Rhythm of God's Kingdom.

Posts from the ‘Prayer’ Category

Tools for Every Season of the Soul

June 19th, 2017

Rhythm Team

The Psalms are some of the most beloved parts of the Jewish and Christian scriptures. The Psalms capture the vast array of human emotions, desires, and passions – thankfulness, joy, sorrow, grief, doubt, anger, and love. For thousands of years, people have experienced the raw, authentic presence of God in the vulnerability of the Psalms. These ancient writings teach us something about who we are and what it means to relate to God in a raw way.

Eugene Peterson describes the Psalms as tools for being and becoming.

Every distinctive human behavior requires tools: farming, loving, cooking, learning, building, believing. Some tools are made of wood, some of metal, some of words. A tool that is made of words is no less a tool than one made of steel. Prayer is a tool that is made, mostly, of words.

Prayers are tools, but with this clarification: prayers are not tools for doing or getting, but for being and becoming. In our largely externalized culture, we are urgently presented with tools that enable us to do things (a machine, for instance, to clean the carpet), and to get things (a computer, for instance to get information. We are not so readily offered tools that enable our being and becoming human.

For the tool-making, tool-using creatures who venture into the ocean depths of being and journey into the wilderness frontiers of becoming, making and being made into eternal habitations, the Psalms are the requisite toolbox. (Peterson, “Answering God”)

Join us this summer as we experience the beauty of these ancient prayers and allow them to form our lives. If you want to go deeper in this series on the Psalms, download our Going Deeper Guide for suggestions on how to learn and experiment with the material.

Living Into Lent

March 1st, 2017

Rhythm Team

We invite you to journey with us during the season of Lent. Beginning in the fourth century, the church began observing Lent as a forty-day period of reflection and preparation for the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is a time of repentance, of considering Christ’s sufferings, and rethinking how we are called to take up our own crosses and follow Jesus.

We also encourage you to download this Lent Devotional Guide that our community is using this Lenten season. Each day has its own Psalm to use for prayer and a scripture passage to meditate on. Take a few minutes each day to spend time with Jesus during this season, opening up your heart to his presence as he journey’s to the cross.

January 2nd, 2017

Rhythm Team

To start off 2017, Rhythm is talking about what it means to a church that Loves God and Loves Miami. We live in one of the most vibrant and interesting cities in the world. Miami is known for its diversity, creativity, and beauty. But it’s also known for its seductiveness and shallowness. We’re doing a sermon series about the unique opportunities and challenges of living the faith in Miami. God loves this city and we want to participate in his healing mission here!

Along with the sermons, our liturgy in worship will be centered around following Jesus here in this place and time. We’ll also hear stories from different people in our community – some born here, others new here – about how they’re striving to see more of God’s kingdom come to our city.

Join us on Sunday mornings at 10:30 am for the next four weeks!

We’re encouraging everyone to participate in this sermon series in 3 ways:

  1. Use the Miami Prayer Map to pray for the city. Put it somewhere that you’ll see it everyday and grow your heart for Miami.
  2. Participate in the social healing of God’s kingdom by inviting someone to connect with Rhythm on a Sunday morning or with your Community Group. Invite others to experience God’s community.
  3. Take a picture of you in your “parish” (work, neighborhood, or school) and post it on Facebook or Instagram with #lovegodlovemiami. To learn more about a “parish” listen to this sermon.

Beauty & Brokenness

September 27th, 2016

Rhythm Team

Life is incredibly messy. There’s no getting around it. At times we see unbelievable beauty in our world and lives, but there’s also a tremendous amount of brokenness and pain. Somehow both the beauty and the brokenness gets intermingled into the stuff of everyday life. And somehow God is present in all of it.

David’s story is one of the most exuberant and robust stories ever told. He was a complicated man, father, husband, shepherd, musician, poet, and king. His passion and pursuit of God has encouraged and inspired people for thousands of years. Yet David had a thick brokenness to his life – a dark shadow side that haunted him.

Join us for a new sermon series that examines 7 stories from David’s life. In a time when we desperately need to rediscover what it means to be whole human beings, David’s story gives a fresh perspective about living a full, robust life that embraces both the beauty and brokenness that is within each of us.

 

Story of Wonder

May 6th, 2016

Rhythm Team

We learn in 1 Chronicles 16 that telling stories of God’s goodness and giving thanks was at the center of Hebrew worship. The Israelites set aside time to practice gratitude within their worship by speaking of God’s mighty deeds and remembering his blessings, wonderful works, and faithfulness.

We ask folks in our community to share their Stories of Wonder at our public worship. These are stories of God working in our midst, speaking, leading, and providing for his people. This gives us an opportunity to recognize and rejoice in God’s powerful deeds, and it also trains us to pay attention to how God might be at work in our own lives. This one is from Tony.

For over three years now I’ve been living by the Park West Metro-mover station in Downtown Miami. The nights are long, at times cold (yes, even here in Miami!), and it can be pretty lonely. I am what many refer to as homeless.

You hear a lot of stories out on the streets of Miami. Stories of brokenness, stories of addiction, stories of great loss. But my story is a little different.

You see, back in the 70’s I made a promise to my mom and dad that I would one day get a degree and graduate from college. It has taken me some time, a bit of back and forth, and Lord knows a lot of whining and complaining along the way…

But by the grace of God this weekend I received my diploma for a four-year Business Degree in supervision and management.

At times, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. But there’s this church down in South Miami (Rhythm), friends on the street and in different places, all who never gave up on me. So why should I give up? From Daniel buying me bus passes, to Francine getting me textbooks, to Gabby and Orlando’s constant care on Tuesday nights, and Walter even giving me a little work, I’ve come to realize something – I never was and never am alone. It’s the grace of God. The grace of God.

I used to ask myself – what do they want with me? I’m homeless, I’m broke, I have no money. But I came to understand they just want me to succeed. And they never asked me for anything in return, except to feed me more!

So I am so grateful for God’s protection and care over me and the incredible blessing of being able to earn my degree and keep the promise I made to my parents many years ago. If you really look at my life, really look closely, you’ll see God. And then you can decide what you believe. But if my story can influence just one person… my job is done.

Lupita Nyong'o Dresses

Child dedication

April 4th, 2016

Rhythm Team

Dedicating a young child to God is a very special and important moment in the life of child and their family. In Rhythm’s worship service, we take time to introduce each child and their parents, affirm the parents commitment to raising the child in a Christian home, and pray over each child.

As a church community we support each family in our church and want to encourage parents to create a safe and healthy environment in their home where a child can learn about God and grow in a relationship with him. All parents who want to participate in child dedication are asked to participate in a short orientation.

If you are interested in having your baby or young child dedicated on November 20, please email Julie Heath for more information.

Story of Wonder

March 28th, 2016

Rhythm Team

We learn in 1 Chronicles 16 that telling stories of God’s goodness and giving thanks was at the center of Hebrew worship. The Israelites set aside time to practice gratitude within their worship by speaking of God’s mighty deeds and remembering his blessings, wonderful works, and faithfulness.

We ask folks in our community to share their Stories of Wonder at our public worship. These are stories of God working in our midst, speaking, leading, and providing for his people. This gives us an opportunity to recognize and rejoice in God’s powerful deeds, and it also trains us to pay attention to how God might be at work in our own lives. This one is from Esther.

This is indeed a story of wonder and I have the fabulous opportunity to share what the Lord has done for me this past week. About a week ago I got into a car accident. (Not how you thought this story would start, am I right?) I was sitting at a red light minding my own and I got hit from behind and pushed out into the intersection. And the lady who hit me looked like she was going to stay, but she sped off before I could get her information. So it was a hit and run of all things. My car most likely is totaled (still waiting to hear back). A rough week needless to say, but God is still so good and I can see his fingerprints all over this! Let me explain.

Though I got pushed out into the intersection, no cars went or were going so I did not get hit twice nor hit another car myself. This was because a driver in the far right lane was looking to turn left and had waved the other cars to a stop so he could do that before they went. In the split second where he was out of my car’s path but not yet out of the intersection so the other cars could not yet go, I got hit. And I was able to pull off to the side of the road only impacted once. Praise the Lord!

I work for a missions organization called InnerCHANGE. As a part of our weekly rhythms everyone in the organization where ever they are in the world, meets up every Tuesdays and prays both for their context and also for one person in the organization. So once a year I get prayed for by everyone. The day after my accident was my day to get prayed for. So immediately following my accident I was being covered in prayer. I believe God orchestrated this for my goodwill.

That Tuesday I wake up. I had hit my head pretty hard in the wreck and my shoulder was hurting from the strain of my seatbelt. My body, especially my neck and shoulder, were very sore and I could not turn my head fully to the left due to the shoulder pain. I was happy to get prayed over that day by my team and the organization as a whole. I went in talking to my teammate Erika who suggested before the prayer putting an essential oil on my shoulder and neck to help with the pain. When I got prayed for, Erika put some oil on my shoulder. I of course, due to our conversation earlier, thought it must have been an essential oil. It felt very good! After the prayer I asked her what oil she had used because I wanted some more for the rest of my neck and for later. She said she had merely used olive oil to pray over and anoint for healing. As I began to massage my shoulder I realized that not only did it feel better, and that the tension knot was gone, but also that I could now turn my shoulder to the left. It was completely healed! God is so good.

It is not easy when circumstances don’t go our way and I do wonder why did I even get into an accident on the same week I was being prayed over. At the same time I know that in the paradox of people making their own choices (not always the best ones like the lady who hit me), God is still ordering our steps and looking out for his children. I’ve never been physically healed before and didn’t even realize it was happening until after the prayer, but I feel so honored to be the recipient of God’s great power. What a privilege it is to be able to share one of the tangible and powerful ways God has come through for me, his beloved. He is the Great Physician and his word does not fail (James 5:14-16).

Praying in the New Year

January 1st, 2016

Rhythm Team

As a church we have much to celebrate from the previous year and much to anticipate for 2016. In the midst of our celebration of the past and excitement for the new, take a moment to pray for Miami. In Jeremiah 29, God tells us to seek the welfare and shalom of the city in which we dwell. In the end, our goal is not to have a great church but a great city.

The following prayers were written by our community. We invite you to start the new year with us by praying for Miami and its people.

Holy God, we thank you for the beauty of this city – both in nature and in what your creation has created. We are blessed to live around such a diverse beauty. We pray that the people of Miami would recognize this beauty and give you praise for it.

Almighty God, we pray for all the migrant workers in the city. Many work in hotels, restaurants, or clean homes. We pray for their well-being and that they would be treated with dignity. Care for them as strangers in a foreign land.

Jesus, we pray for all the teachers in Miami. Being a teacher here has its challenges. We pray that you would encourage our teachers and refresh them as they prepare for the spring semester.

Dear Lord, we pray for Wynwood and all the artists in the city. Thank you for the beauty and creativity coming out of Miami today. We pray that artists in our city would know the Author of creativity and would use their work as a way to show your glory.

Our Father, we pray for all the religious people in Miami who try to earn your approval through their devotion and good works. Please break through their layers of religiosity with the warmth of your love and the power of your grace. Show our friends and family that Christianity is not about a religion but rather a relationship.

Loving God, we pray for all the lonely single people in the city. May friendships be offered to them, and may they come in contact with genuine Christian community that welcomes them with open arms.

Dear Lord, we pray for your one Church in this city to be strengthened this year. As we gather throughout the week at different times and in different places to worship you, may you align our hearts toward your mission and more toward unity. Let us encourage and spur one another one – and may our unity be a benefit to the city.

Holy God, we pray for the young people in our city, specifically those in middle school and high school. There are many lures and temptations that come along with growing up in Miami. We pray that you would counter these temptations by showing our young people the pleasure and delight of knowing you intimately.

Jesus, we pray for Miami’s government officials, the mayor, and the five city commissioners. We pray that they would truly be “civil servants” and do what is best for the city. Help them to act with integrity and humility, and to remember the poor and others who are often forgotten about.

Get Your Dance On

August 11th, 2015

Rhythm Team

The Christian life isn’t about believing all the right stuff or living by a set of moral principles. That doesn’t come close to capturing what being a Christian is all about. The Christian life is much more like being swept into a divine dance with the living God. At Rhythm we’ve created a mentorship program to help those preparing for baptism understand and more fully experience this dance they’re now a part of.

Each baptism candidate is given a “dance instructor.” This is a normal, everyday man or woman from our congregation who has experience in living the Christian life. You can’t learn how to dance with only books; you learn through observing good dancers and trying it for yourself. Similarly, the manner in which most of us became Christian was by looking over someone’s shoulder, emulating some admired older Christian, and saying yes to and taking up a way of life that was made real and accessible through the witness of someone else. So the best way to learn the divine dance is through practicing with those already moving to God’s groove.

Over the next three months, these candidates and instructors will be working through a one-page list of learning activities – or to keep the analogy going, dance exercises. These range from studying scripture together to serving soup to the poor. The goal is not just to learn about the faith but to live it out together.

The three month program ends on December 13th with us baptizing our friends and throwing a party in God’s name. A lot is asked of both the candidates and instructors. So take a moment right now to say a prayer for them and the journey they’ve embarked on. Pray that they would come to know Jesus on a deeper level, experience the warmth of our community, and learn the tools they need now to be disciples. Amen.

(If you’re interested in doing the Divine Dance in the fall, email Matt Alexander.)

Story of Wonder

June 23rd, 2015

Rhythm Team

We learn in 1 Chronicles 16 that telling stories of God’s goodness and giving thanks was at the center of Hebrew worship. The Israelites set aside time to practice gratitude within their worship by speaking of God’s mighty deeds and remembering his blessings, wonderful works, and faithfulness.

We’ve been asking folks in our community to share their Stories of Wonder at our public worship. These are stories of God working in our midst, speaking, leading, and providing for his people. This gives us an opportunity to rejoice in and recognize God’s powerful deeds, and it also trains us to pay attention to how God might be at work in our own lives. This one is from Brandon.

When I was one year old, my dad left and didn’t come back. Then my mom abandoned me. She would come back in the picture every once in a while, but it was my grandmother and aunt that raised me.

My dad somewhat came back into my life when I was in 4th grade. I would see him sometimes on holidays. But holidays were hard. For example, on Christmas a bunch of the extended family would get together for dinner and to open presents. All the kids would have their names in a hat, and someone would pull out a name to see who would open presents next. But my brother and I never had our names in the hat. We never got presents. Sometimes my dad would give us a present, but my brother and I knew that our aunt had bought it. That might not sound like a big deal now, but as a kid it made me feel like I wasn’t wanted. I didn’t feel like I belonged.

Then when I was in high school, my dad came to us and said he had settled down and we could move in with him. My grandmother told me I should give him a second chance, so my brother and I moved to a different town, two hours away, to live with our dad.

But it wasn’t good. I felt like my dad was always critical of me. He was always negative. My senior year of high school I ended up getting into a big fight with him and so I left.

As I became an adult, we slowly began to have a relationship again. But there was always something holding us back. I think I carried a lot of resentment and I think he carried a lot of regret.

Getting to know God is what began to heal me. I realized that someone had loved me my whole life but I didn’t know it. I can now look back and see how my Heavenly Father took care of me all these years.

Then there was a sermon preached here on reconciliation back in February. God really spoke to me through that. I realized that because God loves me unconditionally and has forgiven me of so much, I need to love others the same way. I thought, “If Jesus can sacrifice himself for me, then I can sacrifice my anger for my dad.”

I also realized the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. That you can forgive a person – but unless you tell the person that you forgive them then there isn’t true reconciliation. At this point, I had forgiven my father but I had never told him that.

Well, last month I was talking on the phone with my dad. I had not planned on doing this, but as we were talking, I felt something was pushing me to tell my dad that I’ve forgiven him. It was hard for me to come out and say it, but I did. I told him, “Hey dad, I want you to know I forgive you for everything. The past is the past. I love you dad, and I wouldn’t trade you for any other dad in the world.”

Even though this was hard to do, I feel like something was lifted off my chest that day. When I finished the conversation I felt so good. And it seems to have made our relationship a lot closer. It finally feels like it’s becoming a real dad and son relationship now.

I saw the kingdom break in through that conversation with my dad. And I believe God wants to keep using me to show my parents what his love is like.