All-Church Focus 2018 DEVOTIONAL

August 19th, Day #1

Jesus Goes First

IKEA is a wonderful store. Sometimes Kristi and I will go to see what cool new furniture, house fixtures, or organizers they’ve come up with – and some of them are really inexpensive! We often think that if this store would have been around when we were first married, our whole house would’ve been from IKEA. We have purchased a few of these assembly-required pieces and they come with detailed instructions, most of which are pictures. While pictures speak to me, I’m a mechanically-minded guy who sometimes ignores the manufacturer’s plans for a well-built piece of furniture in favor of figuring it out myself. It looks too easy to need instructions. After a few hours of this, and the shelves not fitting as they should … and a leftover board … I go back and follow the instructions. Humbled. Does that ever happen to you?

 

Well, sometimes we do that in this game of life we live. We feel like we have got it all figured out. No need to consult anyone or anything, yet our Manufacturer, Creator God (Psalm 139 eloquently explains how God knits us together), has a plan, a strategy, a process for our complete growth – our thriving. He wants us to move towards maturity by the power of the Holy Spirit. It has to be by the Holy Spirit’s power because we are born separated from God (as you may have read about starting on page 8). Thankfully, God is working to create an environment where we might respond to the grace He is extending towards us. Jesus is the key and is central to God’s plan for our lives. This week we see our journey begin in making sure we understand that Jesus goes first, even on our journey of transformation.

Reviewing the Game Board

This week we recognize that we can’t get ourselves into the game. God initiates by sending Jesus to call us to Himself. Each week, however, we’ll have the graphic below that highlights our current stage of spiritual growth and the one we’re transitioning towards.  

Game Lingo

Each week we’ll look at the transition from one stage of spiritual growth to the next. This week is a little different; we’re seeing how this whole process begins with God’s initiative. God comes to us while we are still separated from Him, which is what we call the Crowd.

 

Crowd - These are the non-believers/un-churched people of our community. They are part of the over one million people that live in a ten mile radius of our church. They know nothing to very little about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit or the Bible, and tend not to care. They could be of another religion, or a humanist, atheist, agnostic, or of no religious interest or desire. They do not have a faith in the God of the Bible. This is where every single one of us begins our spiritual journey.