Grow Deep - Christian Community Edition - Week 2
Week 2: September 15-21
Fellowship: Helping Each Other Enjoy God
Memory verse: “So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:5
Shortly after finishing college we joined a small “mission” church, complete with folding chairs and all. As with most new churches, it was looking for leaders, and being young and foolish we volunteered to lead the youth group, even though we were barely older than some of the high school kids we were leading. Before long we had some 30 kids meeting twice a month in the basement of our rental home. We quickly grew to love those kids and built strong relationships with them through our biweekly fellowship. We studied the Bible with them, prayed for and with them, and even took their phone calls at 1:00 in the morning!
At the time, church banners were very common. Anyone could make them—no special skill required. The one I remember most read, “If you feel far from God, guess who moved?” Like all of us, those kids sometimes moved close to God and sometimes moved away. They were developing a relationship with Jesus. Sometimes they were hot, and sometimes they were cold.
Our reading for today talks about Christ being the Vine and His followers (us) being the branches. In order to produce spiritual fruit, we must remain attached to Christ, the Vine. Total and continued dependence on Christ is the only way to grow in Christian character and witness.
Sunday, September 15
Read: John 15:1-17
The strength of our lives and fellowship with one another flows from our relationship with Jesus. He is the Vine and we, as the branches, must stay connected to Him.
Reflect: In His Gospel, John asks that we love each other as God loves us. Picture that person in your life who always seems to irritate you. How can you be obedient to God by loving him or her as God loves you?
Monday, September 16
Read: Romans 12:1-13
Enjoy God in a community life of worship: Offer your bodies as living sacrifices. Serve with humility using the gifts God has given you. Love sincerely.
Reflect: As we fellowship with one another, we bring our spiritual gifts together to advance the Kingdom of God. Have you discovered your spiritual gifts? If so, are there ways you can better apply those gifts to the fellowship of believers at Webster Gardens and in your community? If you are still searching, pray that God will reveal your gifts to you. (See 1 Corinthians12:4-10 or Romans 12:6-8 for more on spiritual gifts.)
Tuesday, September 17
Read: Exodus 20:8-11
As Christians, we enter into the rest and grace of God and worship Him individually and as a community of believers.
Reflect: God reminded Israel that the Sabbath was a gift from God. This passage instructs us to keep the Sabbath holy. What does that mean to you—your family time, your resting time, etc.? How can you use time on the Sabbath to better serve others in your community—visit shut-ins, make hospital visits, prep for your next Bible study or small group meeting, etc.?
Wednesday, September 18
Read: Philippians 4:4-19
Paul shares how he has personally benefitted as part of a Christian community. He tells us to show gentleness to all, be faithful in prayer, claim God’s peace, think of things that are good, and be content.
Reflect: Can you honestly say you are content with what you have? Or are you always reaching for more money, the next promotion, more respect, whatever? Pray that you will truly believe God supplies all your needs through Christ. How can you generously share your resources with those in need in your community?
Thursday, September 19
Read: Hebrews 10:19-25
Jesus is the high priest (including of your small group) and the one from whom your encouragement comes. We are to worship together in community and encourage one another toward love and good deeds.
Reflect: Make it a point over the next week to share a loving, encouraging word with a total stranger and watch their reaction. Vow to do it more often—even daily—to those in your community of faith as well as those not yet part of that community.
Friday, September 20
Read: Colossians 3:12-17
Paul instructs the Christians in Colossae to enjoy Christ in a community where both encouragement and grace prevail.
Reflect: How can you be more mindful of those around you, considerate of their daily struggles and challenges? Think of one person whom you can encourage in his or her faith and support in the daily struggles of life. Reach out to that person today.
Saturday, September 21
Read: Psalm 122
David wrote this Psalm for the Israelites. They sang it as they prepared and then joined together to go to Jerusalem to worship. We are to prepare and worship together just as the Israelites did.
Reflect: Ask yourself, do you truly appreciate your opportunities to worship in the house of the Lord? Or do you take those opportunities for granted? Be intentional…pray, read Scripture, quiet yourself and prepare your hearts for worship the next time you enter the house of the Lord.