Grow Deep - To Make Ready Edition Week 4

Week Four: December 16-22

To Make Ready: The Story

Memory Verse: “So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.” Luke 2:16
Our adult choir and the children of our congregation will lead us in worship this week through music, drama, and song. The children will share the Christmas story with worshipers through a drama titled, “The Christmas Story: Ours to Experience, Ours to Share.” The drama begins as Matthew and Mary Magdalene, two people who followed Jesus, gather with some children to remember the night Jesus was born. Luke joins them. He is in the process of writing the account of Jesus’ life and wants to interview those who knew Jesus best. The events leading to Jesus’ birth are relived as they are acted out by children and pondered by those present. Luke not only learns the facts of the story, but he also experiences the love, hope, peace and joy that Jesus brings. That experience makes him all the more eager to write it down to share with others. And while he wrote his account for a man named Theophilus, we have all been blessed to read his book—the Gospel according to Luke!
Luke didn’t have to meet Jesus in person to experience the wonder and awe of His presence. The fact is, Jesus is God-With-Us (Emmanuel). We experience His presence when we talk to Him in prayer, read and hear His Word and receive the gifts and blessings He provides daily. His story is our story.

Taking Jesus to the Streets: Our experiences and relationship with Jesus prepare us to share what we know with others. Are you ready? Find someone to read Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth with you this week. Read it together aloud or use technology to read it together through Facetime or Skype. Talk about Him together; pray together; thank Him for His gift of love and salvation.

Sunday, December 16

Read: Luke 2:1-16
Reflect: Luke writes the account of Jesus’ life beginning with the story of His birth. What experiences have you had in Christmases past that brought you closer to Jesus? How can you share the joy of knowing Jesus with someone this season?

Monday, December 17

Read: Acts 8:26-40
Reflect: Philip evangelizes and baptizes an Ethiopian he meets on the road who wants to know about Jesus. What made Philip ready to talk to the Ethiopian about Jesus? How can you be prepared to teach others what the Scriptures say about Jesus?

Tuesday, December 18

Read: Acts 4:8-13
Reflect: After Peter preached with boldness to the Jewish leaders, they connected the dots and noted that both Peter and John had been with Jesus! How do people know that you have been with Jesus? What experiences have prepared you to give confident testimony of your faith?

Wednesday, December 19

Read: John 4:1-30
Reflect: Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman and shares His unconditional love and the good news of salvation with her. She, in turn, invites others to come and see Him. In what ways have you experienced Jesus’ unconditional love? What are the distractions that keep you from sharing Jesus with your neighbors? How does Jesus free you to be His witness to them?

Thursday, December 20

Read: 1 Peter 2:1-5
Reflect: We are to rid ourselves of all things (distractions) that would draw us away from Jesus. Instead, we are to become His “royal priest” and deliver the message of salvation to others. Having experienced forgiveness and the goodness of Jesus, how are you prepared for a life of repentance? How are you inspired to share the goodness of Jesus as His “royal priest?”

Friday, December 21

Read: Philippians 2:1-11
Reflect: Paul exhorts his brothers and sisters in Philippi to be unified in love and purpose and to do nothing out of selfish gain. How do your experiences with Jesus prepare you for Christian community? How can you share the love of Christ with others in the church? How can having the same attitude of Jesus draw more people into the community of faith?

Saturday, December 22

Read: Isaiah 61:1-6
Reflect: These prophetic words of Isaiah point to Jesus—and to the Church. We are the hands and feet of Jesus on earth, called to carry out His work and share His love with others. How has Jesus prepared you for the task? What are some of the distractions of everyday life that weigh you down? What effect should Christ’s redeeming work have on your response to those distractions?