Sometimes the scariest thing we can do is to be fully who we were created to be. When I was in Children’s ministry, we had a campaign to help kids be the “Youiest” versions of themselves they could be. We made that word up to help kids understand that they were created to be the best version of themselves.
What is your faith story? What drew you to Christ? Did you grow up surrounded by faith or did you come to it later in life? How has God worked in your life? What circumstances have you waded through with the help of God? These are important questions to ponder.
What does it mean to live a brave life? And why are we talking about this in the context of the Christian life? To answer the latter, because following Jesus requires courage. It requires of us more than just going to church and reading our Bible. Following Christ necessitates a countercultural way of life. Christ asks us to live and love boldly and fearlessly.
Before his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, Saul (later named Paul) persecuted those who were following the way of Jesus. So after his conversion, you can imagine that members of the early Church didn’t trust him. Some were looking for a way to have him killed.
Deborah was a leader in Israel. She served as a prophet, judge and a military leader. This would have been essentially unheard of during this time in antiquity. Women had very little rights as humans, and certainly weren’t seen as cultural or military leaders. But Deborah served in this role for 40 years.
The Bible offers many examples of courageous leaders like Moses, Joshua, and David. The story of Esther is one of my favorite accounts of bravery. Esther never led anyone into battle, and because she was a woman, her ability to lead was limited. But her narrative offers one of the many accounts of boldness and courage found in the Bible.
Courage is required to follow Christ. You can be a Christian in name, but if you are serious about giving your life to Christ, you will need bravery along the way. I know some of you are shocked by that statement. You’re thinking, “I love Jesus, I go to church, I read the Bible, I try to be nice to people.”
If you do a word search in the Bible, you will find over 100 accounts of the words “brave,” “courageous,” and the phrase “Do not be afraid.” It seems that courage is an important topic in our sacred texts. Why do you think that is? What does courage or bravery have to do with our faith?
I have often said that my husband does more ministry every day than I do in a week. And I mean that sentiment sincerely. He’s a teacher, of high school students. I’m a pastor. Gene, my husband, pours his heart and soul into his work. He knows he is called to work with children and teens.
In our Bible lesson, we find Jesus confronted by the Pharisees about why his disciples were not following the rules of rest for the Sabbath. The Pharisees' question to Jesus and his disciples came after a series of situations raised their concerns about Jesus' commitment to following the practices of their religious beliefs.
Today's passage reminds us that God can work beyond our earthly limits. That God's desire to act with grace to redeem our souls regardless of our weak human conditions is not controlled by our faith, or the lack thereof, but rather by God's love for us. This passage highlights that God will be God all by God's self whether we believe it or not.
One of the biggest lessons we learn in Celebrate Recovery is that living a life of “Gratitude” is a faithful conscious choice to give God thanks for God's goodness amid our human weakness. Thus, when we turn our thankfulness to God, we are making a conscious choice to see God bigger than any problem we face.
Today's lesson on forgiveness is important to our faith journey because, without it, the spiritual praxis of love would not be possible. Consequently, to live a life of Love as Jesus calls us to live requires that we also exercise the discipline of forgiveness. Thus, before God's Love can be established in our lives, forgiveness must be made available to all of God's creation.
Today's passage, about the temptation of Christ, presents to us the existential questions, of who are we and, to whom do we as a people of faith, place our trust? This passage highlights for us the constant conflict we experience because of the dependency we have to our human bodies to live.
Today's passage stands as a constant reminder to us, as a people of faith, that our faithful devotion to God requires the practical practice of loving all of humanity with a wholehearted love that seeks creative, redemptive goodwill for all people no matter what.