Grow Deep - My Church - Edition Week 1

Week 1: January 20-26

My Church Edition – My Call

Memory Verse: “… Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.” Isaiah 43:1

Jimmy, a student in my class many years ago, taught me a lesson about family. He was being teased by other students because he had been adopted as a toddler. The other students taunted him with comments like: “You’re a misfit;” “You were so ugly that your mother didn’t want you;” “Did they find you in the trash?” But one day I heard him on the playground. He was giving it right back to them. “All of you had no choice about who is in your family, so you are stuck with them. But I am special because my parents chose me out of all the children in the world to be theirs.”

Chosen. A very powerful and affirming word. Chosen to be on the team at recess … Chosen to receive the college scholarship … Chosen for the promotion ... Chosen to be president. Israel was chosen by God to be His special people. He didn’t say to them, “If you will obey Me, I will be your God.” No, God made the first move: “I will be your God—and you will be My people.”

In the world of that time, a benevolent king would often tie a pouch of precious stones to his belt and would reach down periodically to feel the stones through the pouch. This was to remind him of the privilege it was to be chosen to be king and how precious were his people. There was even a Hebrew word for this pouch—a “segullah.” The word came to mean, “a peculiar, special treasure.”

At your baptism, God chose you to be His child. You had nothing to do with it. God took the action toward you. He called you by name to be a member of His family. And nothing can “uncall” you, just as nothing you can do can change the DNA you inherited from your parents. That permanent relationship that began with your baptism continues as a member of God’s family, the church. God calls you daily to use your talents and abilities for the common good, serving one another and the world. Let’s explore how.

Taking It to the Streets: How can you recruit a person with a special talent or ability to consider being personally fulfilled by applying that gift in God’s service? How can this be a way God uses you to encourage someone in the church or to bring that person to Christ through your invitation?

Sunday, January 20
Read: Isaiah 43:1-7
God calls people from near and far, from all walks of life, from all backgrounds to be part of the church—His family. He preserves and protects those He calls.
Reflect: Think of a time when being a part of the church was a benefit to you. What happens within the church that can’t happen outside of it?

Monday, January 21

Read: Isaiah 43:9-13
As part of the church, you are called to be a witness to the truth of who God is. You are His chosen servant to reveal that truth to the world.
Reflect: If you are to be God’s messenger to the world, how has God made known to you who He is? How has He equipped you for the task?

Tuesday, January 22

Read: Isaiah 43:18-21
God is in charge of the world no matter what era it is going through. Some might think the church is irrelevant for today’s challenges.
Reflect: What new tools has God provided to you to “proclaim His praise” and “bring water to the wilderness”? Are there ways the church is still living in the past? How can you help change that? How can you “bring water to the wilderness” to those in the Body and those still outside the church?

Wednesday, January 23
Read: John 1:35-39
Two of John’s disciples heard what John said about Jesus and made a decision to leave John and to follow Jesus. John’s witness was a key factor in their decision. You never know when some small observation you share might change a person’s life.
Reflect: Think of a way that your statements about Jesus might result in a life-changing decision for someone else. What happened as a result of the disciples’ strange answer to Jesus’ question?

Thursday, January 24
Read: John 1:40-44
When you have good news, you want to share it right away. Andrew had just finished talking to the Messiah for a whole day. The Jews had been waiting for centuries for this opportunity.
Reflect: Think of a time in your life where you experienced something so great you had to share it with everyone you knew. Is the news that you know Jesus any less urgent to share? Who do you need to tell today … someone in the church and/or someone who is not yet part of the Body of Christ?

Friday, January 25

Read: 1 Corinthians 12:1-3
Verse one actually says in the original Greek: “Now let me tell you about the spiritual person.” Your call by God is to live your calling—as a spiritual person.
Reflect: What does it mean to live in a way that demonstrates your life in the Spirit? What is different from the way anyone else in the community might live? How does saying “Jesus be cursed” or “Jesus is Lord” demonstrate the spirit of that person?

Saturday, January 26
Read: 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
God gives talents and abilities to members of the church to increase the unity and influence of the church in the world. Jealousy and competition for honor have no place in the church. Each one of us is called to use our gifts to build up the church.
Reflect: What can you do to encourage another person in the church to use a special gift you see in them? How can you keep from being envious of another’s talents and abilities?