Monthly Archive for October, 2009

Lost: Week 1- Tuesday

Lost: Week 1- Tuesday

Read: Luke 15:5-6

A guy had lost his sheep and when he finds it, he’s not angry at the sheep for running away. He doesn’t beat the sheep, yell at it, or even punish it in any way. The shepherd puts it on his shoulders, taking the sheep home. But notice how this is done. It’s done joyfully! If it were me, I would be frustrated that my sheep ran off and I would hit it with a stick to make it run back to the rest of the flock. But this story isn’t just about sheep. It’s a parable so that means it is a story we can understand that paints a picture of God and His characteristics.

So what does a shepherd carrying a sheep home joyfully have to do with us? I’m glad you asked. Firstly, the shepherd represents Jesus as he came to seek and save the lost (that’s us!). But the shepherd can also represent us because Jesus tells us who follow Him to go and make disciples, meaning that we find those who need Christ, and share His love with them. The problem occurs when Christians do not look for the lost sheep or they do not do it joyfully. There are people that go to public places and yell at people and tell them how awful they are. Then they try to tell them about Jesus, but who wants to know about the God of Love and His Son when they have just been put down in an awful manner? In the same manner that Jesus rescued us, we should go out and rescue others joyfully as well. Jesus picks us up and carries us home to His loving Father. We should go and do likewise.

What is hard about looking for those who need Christ and bringing them home (not to your house, but into God’s house, in His presence)?

Who, besides Jesus, has helped carry your difficulties in life?

How did you feel towards that person?

Who have you helped lead to Christ?

If no one comes to mind, who can you pray for this week that needs to know Christ?

Ask God to show you one person that needs to know Christ. Ask God to give you wisdom in talking to them about His love and forgiveness through Christ. Pray that God would help you to be bold in talking to these people, but also to do it joyfully.

Lost: Week 1-Monday

Lost: Week 1- Monday

Read: Luke 15:3-4

Jesus begins to tell the people (tax collectors, sinners, Pharisees, and the teachers of the law) a parable. A parable is a short story that has a deeper meaning and teaches a lesson. Parables usually include things that we use in every day life and are relevant to the culture. So, this particular parable would have been relevant to the people and culture of Jesus’ time.

The parable talks about sheep, which would have been of great value to someone living back in the time of Jesus.

What would be something that would be of great value to you now?

When was a time that you searched high and low for something that you lost?

What was going through your mind as you searched for your lost item?

The person in the parable leaves his 99 sheep to go search for the one lost sheep.

What risk is the person taking, leaving his 99 sheep in the open country?

What does this tell you about the shepherd’s feeling for his sheep?

The shepherd in the parable can be compared to God and the sheep can be compared to you and me and people in general.

How do you feel knowing that God searches for His lost people?

Have you ever felt lost in any situation? Lost in understanding school? Lost in what to do with your friends? Lost with figuring out who you are as a person?

What are some other ares you could be lost in?

Give up your lost feelings to the Lord and know that He wants to find you and help you get through this life. Pray and ask God for help and for wisdom. He will help you.

Lost: Week 1- Sunday

LOST

Week1

Sunday


Read: Luke 15:1-2


Imagine people that you would never hang out with. Maybe these people were jerks to you, maybe they are a teacher’s pet, maybe you just don’t like their face.

Tax collectors in Jesus’ day were the worst. They often cheated people out of money and kept it for themselves. They would demand citizens to pay outstanding amounts of money and kick them out of their homes when they couldn’t pay.

But the Pharisees ran the church. They were respected and everyone obeyed the laws they put into place.


Why do you think that the Pharisees did not want to have compassion on these “sinners”?


Why do you think that Christ wanted to spend time with them?


As you go about your day, consider how you are treating people that you don’t have any reason to like. How would Jesus treat those people? What can you do to be more like him?


Middle School Devotion Week 4- Saturday

Worship Is…

Week 4

Saturday


Read: John 4:39-42


These people called Samaritans were separate from the Jews, God’s chosen people. (P.S. People that aren’t Jews, including you probably, are called ‘Gentiles.’) For a rerun of why the Samaritans were separate, look to Sunday’s devotional. Remember that the Jews think that Samaritans are scum. If you read vs. 27, you’ll see that even the disciples didn’t understand why Jesus would talk with such a woman. But, lucky for us, Jesus reaches out to everyone, not just the people in the ‘in crowd.’


What happened because this woman shared her story?


What was the woman’s testimony?


What’s your story, or testimony, with God and what he’s done with your life. (It often helps to write it down.)


How can you live out you testimony in your life? How can people know who Jesus is by what you say and do? Everything that you do today matters. Will your actions today just glorify yourself, or will they glorify God?

Middle School Devotion Week 4- Friday

Worship Is…

Week 4

Friday


Read: John 4:27-30


I know that Jesus wouldn’t like it, but when I read this I just kind of want to shake this woman. After Christ explained things, she’s still convinced that someone else will come along and make things easier to understand. But how are we the same? How often do we look at what God has done in the world and in our lives, and yet not be satisfied with it? When I think about that, I know that I’m the one that God needs to give a little shaking to.


Have you ever asked God what to do and not like the answer he gave you?


How did you respond—did you turn away or obey?


What is this woman missing out on by not hearing Jesus wholeheartedly?


Is there anything you think you might have missed out on? If so, did not listening to God really make life any easier?


Ask God to give you ears to hear today. As you interact with people or do things by yourself, listen deeply for God’s answers to your questions and his will for your life.

Middle School Devotion Week 4- Thursday

Worship Is…

Week 4

Thursday


Read: John 4:19-26


This conversation keeps changing subjects, doesn’t it? The woman has asked what she can do to get the living water, and now she thinks that if she worships in the right place it will make things right. But is it about where you worship God—whether it’s at church or school or home or at Aunt Marmy’s house where 13 cats live?! No! It’s not about where you worship, but about worshiping in spirit and in truth.


Read the passage again. What do you think, according to these words that God expects from you?


Why is Jesus taking so much time to get through to this woman? Why does it matter so much?


How does what he says define what your relationship with God should be like?


Worship wherever you are today. Remember the things you are thankful for no matter where you are, and look for ways to tell others why you are thankful.


Middle School Devotion Week 4- Wednesday

Worship Is…

Week 4

Wednesday


Read: John 4:15-18


When we invite Jesus into our hearts, it doesn’t mean that life will suddenly become easy. In fact, it will probably become more difficult. That’s because Jesus wants to fill every part of our lives, and that means he’ll have to reveal the bad to replace it with good.


Why does the woman want the living water? (she says in vs. 15)


Do you think she really understands what this water is? What is it that she might not be seeing?


Why do you think that Jesus tells her to bring her husband?


What is Jesus asking you to bring before him today?


Ask yourself today what you’re not giving to God. It’s usually those things that we don’t really want to talk about—maybe not even with our family or close friends. But God wants to wash you clean of anything that keeps you from being close to him. Remember that he brings out the scary facts because he loves you and he chose you.

Middle School Devotion Week 4- Tuesday

Worship Is…

Week 4

Tuesday


Read: John 4:11-14


All that this woman expected was to get some water to take home. Instead, she meets Jesus, the God of the universe, face to face. She tries to answer his seemingly impossible claims about living water with practical reasoning, but is told about our wonderful savior instead. What a day it must have been for her!


Have you ever been going about your day and was hit unexpectedly with a truth about God? What did you learn?


Jesus could have come up to her and just told her that she needed to go to church and be saved. Rather, he takes something she uses everyday—getting water—and relates it back to himself. God loves to throw in the spiritual stuff with the practical stuff. How does Jesus’ answer show that he will meet more than her everyday needs?


What kind of thirst is Jesus talking about?


How is that thirst quenched?


It’s hard to remember sometimes that Jesus is the only one that can really satisfy the desires of our hearts. As you think about the things that your heart needs most today, pray that Jesus will fill you with his living water.


Middle School Devotion Week 4- Monday

Another thing I forgot to mention, is that I cannot take credit for all of these.  Various middle school leaders will be writing these throughout the weeks.  This week Amanda Setser is the author, so next time you see her be sure to tell her she has done a swell job.

Worship Is…

Week 4

Monday


Read: John 4:1-10


Jesus was a Jew in the first century (and now it’s the 21st century….) and the Jews of his day were not friends with the Samaritans. Samaritans had Jewish roots, but they chose to marry non-Jewish people and worship other gods. The Jews hated them so much that it was normal for the Jews and Samaritans not to even speak to one another. But here we have Jesus, a guy didn’t let any of that stand in the way of showing God’s love.


Why do you think that Jesus chose to speak with her?


What do you notice about how he spoke with her? What kind of effect do you think he had on this woman?


There are always those that are looked down upon by most of the people around them. There are the weird kids at school who don’t have friends, the smelly old lady that lives next door, or the teacher that gets on everyone’s nerves. How can you reach out to them as Jesus would today?

Middle School Devotion Week 4- Sunday

Hey!  We’re starting to do devotions for the middle school ministry.  They are a couple of verses a day with some questions.  The idea is to get you as middle school students to be in the Word daily, but also to apply it to your life.  To be doers of the Word, not just hearers.  So here is day 1!  Make comments, ask questions, lets get a dialogue going!

Worship Is…

Week 4

Sunday


Read: Matthew 25:35-36


When most people hear the word ‘missions’ they think about Christians that move to other countries and live in a hut. While that’s a noble thing, Jesus makes the word ‘mission’ even more simple. We can be missionaries by giving to those around us that have needs.


Why do you think Jesus expects us to help other people?


Have you ever seen people give their food, clothes, time and money to the poor?


How do you think that the person that received those things felt?


As you go about your day, look out for people that God has called you to reach out to. Listen to God closely, though—it’s often someone that you wouldn’t expect.