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Daughters and Sons

July Teaching Series

Personal Reflection Question:

Jesus addressed the woman who was an outcast of society for twelve years as “daughter” (Mark 5:34). Self- image problems plague us today. How does the fact that you’re a “daughterʼ or “son” of the Creator of the world influence your own self-image and identity?

Being rejected is not fun.  Being rejected in the workplace, in the classroom, and in relationships.  All not fun.  Now, I imagine some people can handle it better than others.  You know, the people with those sunny dispositions and the born-natural salesman, who can handle getting doors shut in his face all day, but I think after 12 years of rejection one’s self-identity would be concretely built around it.  

As someone who’s grown up in a Christian home and who later came to embrace Jesus as someone I wanted to walk with and not someone my parents told me about, I’ve heard that “Jesus Loves Me” my whole life and I have to fight the tendency to go to God to stroke my own ego.  When one gets used to the God of the Universe calling me Son I can develop a mindset like the prodigal’s sons brother and get indignant when I’m not celebrated. (Luke 15:27-29)

To experience rejection at the level the bleeding woman did in Mark 5 is something my moments of rejection cannot even begin to approach, but I know there are people out there who do identify.  All I need to do is turn on the local news to be blasted with stories, night after night, of people who are in desperate need of the Good Life that Jesus desperately desires to extend to everyone of us.  All waiting to hear the word of acceptance by a never failing, always loving Dad.  I need to remind myself that is how badly I need to hear the word too. 

Jesus calls everyone of us, with our incomplete stories, daughters and sons.  AND with that one word He invites us to begin new stories.  A story where we can have a home, a place at the table, and the ear of a FATHER.

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Why I Never Give Up

July Teaching Series

Personal Reflection Question:

Tacee talked about delaying of blessings and miracles. Why does God delay things in our lives? Is it good or bad?

A word immediately came to my mind when I was reflecting on this question: ENDURE.  I thought about all the delays I’ve experienced in my life.  I thought about all the delays I am experiencing right now in my life and I pondered, “Are these delays good or bad?”  Now, something about my confidence in my walk with Jesus will not allow me to call them bad, but I definitely cannot say that these current delays feel good.  In fact they can feel downright defeating sometimes. Actually, a LOT of times.  

This is where I probably self-identity with the woman in Mark 5 more than I can identify with Jairus.  I identify with her because I also have felt delayed for what seems like a good part of my life.  Delayed in relationships. Delayed in hopes of marriage.  Delayed in my education. Delayed in financial security.  I have felt as if I was surrounded by a crowd more concerned with getting their blessing and squeezing me out, leaving me bleeding on the side of the road.  But, bloody and dirty I get back up time and time again and start to fight my way back into the fray.

Because in that crowd; in the center of it all, is my Savior.

And this is where I will endure.  I cannot call bad what drives me to Christ.

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.  This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.  We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. . .  

THAT IS WHY WE NEVER GIVE UP. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.  For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

2 Corinthians 4: 7-9, 16-18 NLT

Big Hairy Audacious FAITH

July Teaching Series

Personal Reflection Question:

This weekend, Chris talked about having big hairy audacious FAITH and how we can reevaluate what it means to have faith in Jesus.  Chris took us through the story of Jesus’ first miracle where Mary (Jesus’ mom) displayed faith in her Son.  Can you think of a time in your life where your faith in Christ, went beyond mental belief and into action?  A time where you acted simply on trust in Jesus? Explain.

I remember the weekend I sat down at a weekend service here at CityChurch and opened the program to see what was going on at the church.  One of the blurbs in the program said the church was hiring for an administrative assistant and that’s when I “heard” God.  I was supposed to apply for the job.  In fact, whatever I was feeling at the moment was so strong it was telling me that job was already mine.  All I had to do was apply.  

I always feel strange telling this story to people cause at some level it feels egotistical; as if I was bragging about my superior experience with God.  But, in all honesty, each time I go back to that moment I haven’t been able to change the details of the story.  It was my big hairy audacious FAITH moment.  You see, I had just gone through a REALLY, REALLY tough time in my life.  Wait, tough isn’t the right word.  I was recovering from a destructively massive atomic failure in my life.  And I was just barely crawling out of it.  After a period of self-imposed unemployment, I was three months into a new job and that new job was providing a perfect schedule for me to go to school during the day.  That itself had seemed an answer to prayer and was giving me some needed stability in my life.  

That’s why I new that what Jesus was asking me to do (apply for the job) was a sketchy thing personally.  I knew it meant a pay cut.  I knew it meant my ability to finish school would become uncertain.  I knew it wouldn’t offer me the hours I needed.  There were these and a lot of other reasons I did not need to apply for the job.  But I feel so far in my life I can look back at that moment as a water into wine moment for me.  It was a decision “beyond mental belief” for me.  It was a decision where I “acted simply on trust in Jesus.”  And while part of me was scared to make the decision to even apply, I can’t tell you how OKAY and secure I felt once I did.  

And since taking the job I can’t stand here and say that everything has been easy, but I can say that Jesus has been faithful.  He’s extended me grace in ways that I didn’t think possible and continues to bless me even when faced with my shortcomings.  And even when recent events remind me that life can be patently unfair, Jesus has not only reminded me of His faithfulness in His Word, but gently points back to where He’s brought me from.

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