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A Growing Deeper Practice
Each day, as you prepare to read the Bible, study, think, and pray, begin with a short time of becoming quiet. Sit in silence. Allow your mind and heart to be turned to Christ. You may want to softly say the name “Jesus” several times—slowly, humbly, reverently, gratefully. Then pray, “Speak, Lord Jesus, your servant and friend is listening.” Then continue on with the day’s devotion.
Day 1: Other Sheep
Read John 10:10-16.
You may want to read all of John 10:1-18 to see the whole teaching on Jesus the Good Shepherd, but verses 10-16 have a vital point I want you to notice. Jesus came to bring us abundance of life. That abundance is for everyone. Jesus makes this clear in verse 16. There are other sheep (people) that are not yet enfolded into the care of the Good Shepherd. Jesus loves those people and goes seeking after them. We are to love them and seek them as well. That is why we care about the world and support global ministry through Faith Promise. We are working with Jesus to bring in more people.
PRAY IT THROUGH: I know it’s hard to have God’s heart for the world. I know it’s hard to remember the needs in the world when the needs up close are so pressing. Ask God for the grace and goodness to pray for and financially support his work through Living Word to reach the world with the Good News of an Amazing Shepherd.
Day 2: Reversing Babel
Read Genesis 11:1-9 and Acts 2:1-13.
Did you ever notice the Day of Pentecost was the reversal of the Tower of Babel? In Genesis 11 God had to confuse the world because the people were united against him. In Acts 2, God is launching his Kingdom in a new and powerful way. He is reuniting all the peoples with all their languages, to become a new nation and a new people.
THINK ABOUT IT: No matter what one’s culture, race, ethnicity, and language is, God is building a New Tribe and making us one. Fundamentally, we are not to be scared of the differences between people. We are to reach out across the barriers and build relationships, with the help of God’s Spirit.
PUT IT INTO PRACTICE: Whenever you meet or hear someone speaking a different language, pray for them. If you are able, introduce yourself, be friendly, and give an encouraging word.
PRAY IT THROUGH: Pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit of love and grace toward all the nations and all the peoples of the world.
Day 3: All Things to All People
Read 1 Corinthians 9:19-23.
I love this passage. I marvel at the heart of the Apostle Paul. He is so full of grace and love, such a good person, so willing to sacrifice his own rights so he might connect with those who do not know Jesus. And he works hard at this. These few verses are loaded with life-changing truths. See if you can write a short list of five to seven of these life-changing truths.
THINK ABOUT IT: Why is Paul able to go to such an extent to connect with people? And what does he mean by making himself a slave to everyone? What’s up with that?!
THINK ABOUT IT SOME MORE: Reread verses 22-23. What are the deep motives Paul has for doing what he does?
PUT IT INTO PRACTICE: One writer says we must “get out of their faces and get into their shoes.” I like that. Put yourself in the shoes of another person. See where they stand. Feel what they experience. Try to really connect with them at their point of need. Seek to do this with outsiders, with strangers, with foreigners. Ask God to give you faith, courage, and then JUST DO IT and see what happens.
Day 4: In Jesus' Name the Walls Come Down
Read Ephesians 2:11-22.
This is a lofty 11 verses by the Apostle Paul. It is a beautiful vision of Christ reconciling all people to himself and to one another. It is the highest walls of division coming down in Jesus’ name. It is the most painful hostility being overcome in Jesus’ name. It is the worst misunderstandings dissolving in Jesus’ name. It is at the core of the Good News of the Kingdom of God. For those who are in Christ, we are in Christ together with others. Read these verses carefully and jot down the theology that gives rise to how we do life together.
THINK ABOUT IT: What groups of people do you most naturally dislike, avoid, and judge? Why do you do that about those groups of people? How would Christ invite you to re-imagine those people?
PUT IT INTO PRACTICE: Take opportunities to explore Living Word’s local mission opportunities. When you participate in these opportunities, you will meet people who may be quite different from you.
PRAY IT THROUGH: Pray for our missionaries, that they would be God’s ambassadors of reconciliation.
Day 5: Not This is Worship!
Read Revelation 5:1-14.
Yes, it is the entire chapter. Yes, it is in that mysterious and complex book called Revelation (note: not Revelations!). Yes, it is a snapshot (or better, moving picture) of the end times and the worship of God that is taking place. Yes, it is a MAGNIFICENT scene.
STUDY THE TEXT: First, look at all the drama taking place. What is going on? What do you learn about who Jesus is? Why is Jesus worthy? (Make sure you see this!) What is everyone doing? Who is everyone? What words are used to tell you who is a part of this worship event?
John Piper is a well-known pastor, author, teacher, and theologian, who is known for his passion for God and for missions. His little book, Let the Nations be Glad, stirred me up about the supreme reason for global missions. The supreme reason is the glory of God and the need for all the nations to join in the worship of the One True God and His Only Son, Our Lord. Missions exists because worship does not exist in many places. One day there will be glorious worship of the Worthy King everywhere and always.
PRAY IT THROUGH: Until that day of glorious worship, pray. Pray for God to be glorified. Pray for God to be raising up worshippers from every tribe and nation. Pray that our missional workers would help people discover and worship the One True God.
This concludes our 3-week focus on global ministry. I hope you encountered Christ as you read, studied, and prayed through these three devotionals.
Coming next is Palm Sunday and a devotional on worship. After that is Easter and our series Get Real, where we begin to explore what it means to flourish in God’s beautiful Kingdom.
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