Weird: Mission Devotional (Day 2 of 5)

Weird: Mission – Day 2 of 5:

Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t always mean you need to pack your bags and move to some remote country on the African continent, hoping to share the message of Jesus with those who barely have access to food and water, let alone a local church. Yes, God may call some into full time missionary work, and it’s possible you’re one of them! But most people will continue to work in the same job and enjoy the same hobbies, year after year.

This doesn’t mean we are to keep what we believe hidden from others. Instead, we are to relate with others, befriending them in such a way that they see and hear our faith in action on a regular basis. We don’t do this to receive recognition and accolades. We do it so that God receives the recognition.

Read: Matthew 9:9-13,10:32-33, 12:46-50

Questions to Consider:

  • What types of people did Jesus take specific opportunities to relate with?
  • What, specifically, did he did do to relate with them?
  • Think of one or two people you struggle to relate with. What do you think makes your relationship with them so difficult?
  • What specifically, can you do to better relate with them throughout the week? Month? Year?
  • If someone asked you what God has called you to do and/or where He’s called you to go, how would you answer?

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I acknowledge that there are people in my life that I have a hard time relating with in a positive way. But I know that You have called me to live intentionally for You, and live with others relationally in a way that points people directly to You. Today I want to pray specifically for those I struggle to relate with. I pray that You will continue to help me see them as people created in Your image, and that You will provide me the wisdom to know how to love them in the same ways You do. I pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Weird: Mission Devotional (Day 1 of 5)

Weird: Mission – Day 1 of 5

Nick: “Did you ever think that…oh, never mind.”

Jordan: “What is it?”

Nick: “I don’t need to say it. Really.”

Jordan: “Really, it’s OK.”

Nick: “I just sometimes feel like, maybe we were made to be part of something bigger.”

Jordan: “Are you saying this job isn’t everything you hoped it would be? Because of all the other companies I’ve worked for, I think I could retire from this one.”

Nick: “No, it’s not that at all. I mean, sure, I like my job and all. And I agree that I could retire from here, too. But every day is the same thing. Wake up. Get the kids off to school. Come here and meet with clients. Go home. And then get up the next day and do it all over again. I suppose we are making a difference and all, but I just wonder if I could be doing something that would provide more meaning and purpose, ya know?”

Jordan: “Sorry. I’m not sure I do know. What else is there?”

Nick: “Well, you go to the same church as my family, right?”

Jordan: “Yeah, we’ve been attending for years. We really like it there.”

Nick: “The message from this weekend is really sticking with me. The pastor talked about living out our faith intentionally, and relationally with others.”

Jordan: “Yeah…what’s your point?”

Nick: “It just doesn’t seem like we do that. You and I. Our families. I mean, what do we do to intentionally live out our faith around others.”

Jordan: “I understood the point of the message. But I also know that this is the real world. We can’t really talk about our faith with others. Remember Michael?”

Nick: “Oh yeah, whatever happened to him, anyway?”

Jordan: “They fired him. He kept going on and on about his faith. Apparently somebody filed a complaint. I mean it’s one thing to be nice to people, or invite them to a special church event or something like that. But we can’t go around just openly talking about Jesus all the time.”

Nick: “Maybe it’s not that we can’t talk about our faith with others. Maybe we just need to figure out how to live out our faith more intentionally around others.”

Jordan: “How?”

Nick: “That’s exactly what I’m trying to figure out. Like I said, I feel like we’re supposed to be …no, I feel that we are part of something bigger. But I’m just not sure how to be intentional about it.”

Jordan: “Well, if you ever figure it out, feel free to let me know. Gotta run. But we’ll catch up again soon, alright?”

Nick: “Sure. I suppose we will.”

.  .  .  .  .

Be honest. Do you get up every day and take the opportunity to think through how to live out your faith around others? Do you go into each and every day with the intention of living out the Gospel?

Some may read through these questions and say, “Of course I do.” While others may think, “I’m honestly not sure what it means to intentionally live out the Gospel.”

To intentionally live out the Gospel means to do your very best to see every person you interact with in the same way Jesus sees them. To see their hurts, struggles and fears. To love and encourage them, considering their own needs as more important than your own (Philippians 2:3-4).

As you begin this week, take time to evaluate the people you interact with the most. Some will be immediate family. Others will be colleagues, or other parents out on the soccer field. How can you be intentional about living out the Gospel around them throughout the week?

Read: Philippians 1:20-2:4

Question to Consider:

  • In your own words, what do you think it means to intentionally live out the Gospel? Do you know of any scripture passages that support this?
  • How can you be intentional about living out the Gospel this week? Take the opportunity to write down your answer, and look at it each and every morning throughout the week.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I simply pray today that You will give me wisdom and insight as to how I may better live intentionally for You each and every day. Amen.

Weird: Sexuality Devotional (Day 5 of 5)

Weird: Sexuality – Day 5 of 5

A Community Group of friends gets together to discuss this week’s message on sexuality, when the following conversation takes place:

Jonathan: “OK, everybody let’s go ahead and get started. I know Sunday’s message about sexuality may have caught some of you off guard, but I think we can still have a pretty good discussion about it.”

Natasha: “I don’t think we need to talk about it at all. I mean, I think sex is a very private subject. What somebody does behind closed doors isn’t really anybody else’s business, right?”

Kira: “Nobody is asking us to talk about personal details of our sex lives. We’re just talking about God’s purpose for sexuality as well what constitutes as sexual sin.

Natasha: “If you say so.”

Jodie: “I kind of agree with Natasha. I mean, do we really need to talk about this? I know the pastor said that it’s not a ‘private’ subject, but it is ‘personal’, and I can kind of buy into that. But it IS personal. And I don’t know that we really need to get into this too much.”

Mark: “Well, I listened to the same message, and I agree with Kira’s assessment. Not only that, but the pastor also talked about confession a great deal, too. I mean, we’ve been together as a group for a while now. Perhaps we can openly discuss some of the struggles we have. If not now, perhaps when we break into separate men/women groups later?”

The room remains silent for at least 30 seconds.

Landon: “I’ll break the silence I suppose. And I’m with my wife (Jodie). It seems like our group here is about 50/50 in our desires to talk through this one. Maybe we should just get into another subject for this week.”

Jonathan: “I see that we all have some strong feelings on this subject, and many may have some questions. Let’s go ahead and check out what the scriptures say, and then we can discuss some of our questions, and maybe even some things we wrestle with. If not in an entire group context, we can do so in separate groups later on. Sound good?”

Everybody nods in agreement.

Jonathan: “Ok, great. The passage for this week is…”

As the group continues their discussion, they discuss subjects such as the cultural celebration of sex, whether or not there’s a difference between fulfillment and satisfaction, and even some specifics regarding sexual sin and the importance of confession. Afterwards, as the men and women meet separately for prayer time, each group member confesses some kind of struggle they have in this area. For some it was clicking on websites. For others, it was romance novels, or flirting with other men or women in the workplace. Jonathan and Rebekah, the group leaders were well prepared and were able to help each individual think through the ramifications of the decisions they had been making. And after an opportunity to pray for one another, each group member agreed to help keep one another accountable.

 . . . . .

Many do not like to talk about sexual sin. We don’t want to point out others sins, and we certainly don’t want to discuss our own. But many are struggling in the area of sexual sin. Recent studies indicate that 77% of men who attend church regularly look at pornography at least once a month. The same statistic for women is over 50%, and climbing rapidly.

Questions to Consider:

  • What do think about the Community Group discussion written above? Which character do you most resonate with and why?
  • Have you ever had a group of friends where you felt free to share anything you were struggling with? What was it like?
  • Do you agree that discussing sexuality is personal, but should not be private? Explain.
  • Read 1 John 1:9 and James 5:16. Why do you think it’s harder for people to confess sexual sin than for them to confess other struggles they may have?
  • Read Psalm 51 (a Psalm written by David after his sin of adultery with Bathsheba). David, king of Israel, wrote a confession that would have been read by everybody in Israel. The punishment in Israel for such sin was usually death.
  • Why do you think David wrote this Psalm?
  • What is one thing you will do this week as a result of this message?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I acknowledge that You have created sex solely for the marriage relationship, and that within a marriage it is to bring relational fulfillment to both the husband and the wife. I again confess that it’s a challenging subject for me to speak about with others, but I pray that You will provide me opportunities to openly discuss what Your Word says about this subject with my friends and family. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Weird: Sexuality Devotional (Day 4 of 5)

Weird: Sexuality – Day 4 of 5

Sexuality is not something often openly discussed in our culture today. Instead, we have this mindset of, “Who am I to judge others, and who are they to judge me?” While it may seem ‘Weird’, Jesus has invited us to share our struggles with one another.

Hebrews 3:13 says, “13 You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.”

Similarly, 1 John 1:19 reads, “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

Read: 1 Corinthians 6:12-7:5

Questions to consider:

  • This passage was written nearly 2,000 years ago. How are people’s thoughts about sex today similar? How are they different?
  • What is God inviting you to do as a result of this passage (see also Hebrews 3:13 and 1 John 1:19)?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I acknowledge that Your Word regarding sexuality is a tremendous challenge. I see the pervasiveness of sexual sin in our culture, and sometimes it’s easy for me to get caught up in the temporary pleasures of sexual desire. Still, I recognize that it does lead to brokenness within our families, and myself as an individual. Therefore, I want to take the opportunity today to confess my sin of _____________________. I also pray that others will help keep me accountable in this area of my life, even when it may be hard for me to listen to what it is they have to say. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Weird: Sexuality Devotional (Day 3 of 5)

Weird: Sexuality – Day 3 of 5

One look at television advertisements or one listen to a popular radio station will quickly show that our culture is obsessed with sex. It’s idolized in books, magazines, movies, TV, music, and so on. Sadly, most of what we see and hear would be considered sinful, or against God’s standards.

For example, reading through the New Testament, one will discover a number of sins that are to be avoided. But in the majority of these passages, one specific sin is mentioned more than any other – sexual immorality. (Examples include Romans 13:13, 1 Corinthians 5:1, 6:13, Galatians 5:19, Ephesians 5:3, Colossians 3:5, and 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, among others). Some passages, such as 1 Corinthians 6:18 call for us to flee, or run from sexual immorality.

Read: Romans 13:13, 1 Corinthians 5:1, 6:13, Galatians 5:19, Ephesians 5:3, and Colossians 3:5, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8,

Questions to Consider:

  • What do you think it means to flee from sexual immorality?
  • What steps does somebody need to take in order to flee from sexual immorality?
  • What, specifically, is God asking you to do as a result of these passages?

Prayer: Father, Your Word clearly shows that as a follower of Jesus, I am to flee from sexual immorality. I pray that You will reveal to me any immorality that I may have in my thoughts or actions. In fact, today I would like to confess to you that some of my thoughts and actions have gone against Your desires for me. I pray for Your forgiveness, and I ask for Your wisdom in identifying anything else in my life that leads me away from Your desires. Amen.

Weird: Sexuality Devotional (Day 2 of 5)

Weird: Sexuality – Day 2 of 5:

Outside of marriage, sex offers temporary satisfaction, but never fulfillment. Within a marriage, sex is physical, emotional and spiritual in a sense that it reflects the closeness of the relationship of Jesus and His bride, the church (See Ephesians 5:31-32). But outside of marriage, sex is often thought of only as physical pleasure. It brings temporary joy, but without the emotional and spiritual connection, a void remains. Therefore, the Christian view of sex may seem weird to others, but it’s different in a good way, as it’s the only view that bring true fulfillment to one’s desires and needs.

Read: 1 Corinthians 7:1-5; Ecclesiastes 9:9; Song of Songs 6:2-3.

Questions to Consider:

  • Have you ever thought of the difference between being fulfilled vs. being temporarily satisfied?
  • Why do you think God designed sex so that fulfillment can only be experienced within marriage? Explain.

Prayer:

For those married: God, I confess today that I’ve never thought of the difference between being fulfilled vs. being satisfied. I pray that you will help my spouse and I to see and understand one another’s needs, and that we will do our best to truly fulfill one another. Most of all, I simply pray that you will continue to help me see that the sexual aspect of my marriage is a reflection of the relationship Jesus has with me, and I’m thankful for passages that bring this truth to light. Amen.

For those unmarried: God, I acknowledge that I don’t often think about the difference between fulfillment and satisfaction. Though I’m not currently married, I pray that I will continue to find my fulfillment in You and Your Word above all things, and that you will send others into my life to encourage me to only engage in sex after marriage. I pray all this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Weird: Sexuality Devotional (Day 1 of 5)

Weird: Sexuality – Day 1 of 5

People have been celebrating sex for thousands of years. In the Old Testament, other nations celebrated sex by worshiping their gods. They believed that the more they engaged in sex, the more rain they would receive for their crops. In the New Testament, prostitution was often public, as many believed that sex was nothing more than an appetite (1 Corinthians 6:12-20).

The Bible, however, indicates that sex ought to be celebrated as something created by God. In fact, the very first command God gave Adam and Eve after creation was – have sex! While this passage and many others show that it is to be experienced only within the context of marriage, it is noteworthy that God has designed it not only for procreation (Genesis 1:28), but also for play and pleasure (Song of Songs 2:8-17; 4:1-5:1).

Read: Song of Songs 2:8-17 and 4:9-5:1; Proverbs 5:19

Questions to Consider:

  • What, if anything, would be weird (different in a good way) about Christians beginning to celebrate sex, as something created by God to bring play and pleasure into marriage?
  • Do you think passages such as these should be discussed more often in churches today? Explain.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I acknowledge that openly discussing or even thinking about sex as a part of your creation may be new to me. I pray that throughout the week, Your Word will open my eyes to think about this subject in the ways that You think about it. I ask that you will root out any negative thoughts I may have, and help me to better understand your intentions for the sexual relationship within marriage. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

.  .  .  .  .

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