What’s the last great meal you’ve had? How did each course prepare you for the next one? How did the care expressed by the people who prepared and served your meal enhance experience?
Now: What “course” do you feel like you’re on in your own life and ministry right now? Why? And how do you think Jesus is “preparing and serving” you right now to get you ready for that?
Over the last few months of Mondays, we’ve spent a lot of time lately examining where we’re at with God right now and how he wants to work in us. Today we’re going to take one more step outward, and consider how God might next want to work through us. What’s God preparing us for? What’s God put on our minds and hearts, and how have our experiences—both good and bad—prepared us to start living those next steps out?
In his book Growing True Disciples, George Barna, Jr. said this, “An old leadership adage is relevant to our dilemma: The things that got us to where we are today will not get us to where we need to be tomorrow.” So let’s dream a little today, and perhaps begin to discover the bigger dreams God might have in store for us, by looking at a “case study” from God’s Word.
Open up a new tab, and read John 21:1-22. Here, Jesus is preparing to leave this earth, but there’s still so much the disciples—especially Peter, in this case—need to understand. And Jesus is about to help them do that. Pay attention to what Jesus says and does, and why. Try to imagine Jesus’ “tone” each time. Then reflect:
• What does Jesus do and say to help the disciples understand what’s in store for them? How does he reassure them that they’ll be able to do it?
• Which of these sayings would most apply to what Jesus is showing you right now? Or is Jesus telling you something else (and if so, what)?
• Look again at verse 22. Where do you need to stop paying so much attention to everyone and everything else and just follow Jesus?
• How much do you love Jesus right now—really? Why do you say that?
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:28-39, NIV).
• One more time: How much do you love Jesus right now—really? What would it take for you to realize how “unseparated” you truly are from Jesus’ love?
• How will Jesus’ love help you move on to the next course of your life and ministry?
I pray that Jesus’ love would become more real to you—and become visible through you. May God help each of us overcome anything that stands in the way of our experiencing Jesus’ love more deeply.