Come and See

“Come and See”
--from January 6th  --

Day 1

Read John 1:43-51

For me, it was when I was a teenager and I had moved to a new area, looking and hoping to reinvent myself out of the way I had been known my whole life back in Arkansas, into someone that I was more interested and pleased with being.  That was when Jesus called me to follow Him.  I thought I had a pretty good idea of what I should be, but Jesus knew me better, understood me more, and had far more answers for who I was than I did.  Who I am today is a result of that call and the decision to start following Him.  It wasn’t the full picture that I had at that point, it was just the call to follow Him. 

That is why I love to spend time thinking about these stories that really give us little to no details, but tell such a story of change.  I wonder what all was running through their minds, how much the disciples understood, and what Jesus could clearly see in their lives.  My hope is that you know you are offered a call that is similar.   Not a call to plant a church like me or even a call to be one of the 12 disciples, but a call to just follow Jesus.  At the end of that call, if you so choose to sell out to it and truly spend your life pursuing Him, is a life beyond what you have imagined or dreamed up for yourself.  I pray this for you this week in these devotions.  I pray that you are drawn to go all in and that you see the offer Jesus longs for you.

When is the first time you remember Jesus calling you to follow Him?

How has that time changed your life?

What is your favorite story in this text and why?

How can this be part of your prayer today?

Day 2

Read Luke 10:1-12
I was raised in a culture where we elevated the act of inviting people to church and being seeker friendly as a church, to the chief concern and pursuit of the local church. We are clearly called to make disciples, but making disciples is more than the work of Sunday morning’s service planning and execution.  Making disciples is a long effort and many times I found myself discouraged because the initial invite of someone to join me in church didn’t bear fruit.  So I used verses like this to justify writing off those people and finding those more willing to respond.  
Let me be completely clear, the work of making disciples is definitely chief in the local churches' concern, but pay attention to how that is talked about in the Bible.  You carry the work, as a disciples, of making more disciples.  This means you share a responsibility of bringing people to Jesus, and teaching them to follow Jesus, while working and being in community with them.  
In this text, Jesus starts out telling us to pray for the harvest.  Pray for the realization of the work that is needing to be done, and also for the workers to do the work.  Now bring it really close to home and think about all of this together.  

What is the harvest the way that you understand it?

What is the labor of the harvest the way that you understand it?

What is your role and responsibility in both of those, and be specific?

How does this inform your prayers for today?

Day 3

Read Luke 10:25-37

You are familiar with this famous parable, surely.  Even those that don’t really know the Bible have heard this or a version of this story.  The problem with familiarity is that it can rob us of attention.  So read it like it is the very first time.  Jesus has carefully sculpted the pieces of this story not to communicate a situation that actually happened, but rather to get across the idea of a lesson that needs to be learned.  This lawyer, or a person that would be good at debating and arguing loopholes and specifics, asked a question that was designed, surely, to bring the burden and responsibility off of himself.  

Maybe I am going too far with the simple phrase in the text, “trying to test Him.”  The way I see it, the man is asking Jesus for clarity.  Clarity because it seems like too much is being asked of the teachings he has heard.  No one wants in that much and to spend that much, so what is the least amount I HAVE to do?  Ok.  I know this place all too familiarly.  

How does this story inform those that you are dealing with personally?  Think of real life situations around you and understand what Jesus is teaching here.

So what action does the insulation of this story bring you to?

How does this story inform the way you see people that are struggling?

Share some ideas of your thoughts on the messaging app with the others reading along in these devotions.

Day 4

Read Acts 1:1-11

Most of the big changes in my life have happened in a flurry of activity, therefore demanding that something has to be done and action is needed.  I don’t do well sitting with a decision that is not pressing, but has some big ramifications for down the road.  Can you imagine being the disciples in this moment and watching Jesus, whom they had given up everything to follow, ascend back to heaven…without you?  That has to be a moment where you start to think through everything really carefully, but mix with that the idea that something, probably the most amazing thing ever, is unfolding before your eyes.  

This is why I feel it was pretty important for Jesus to say something, and for the angels to stir these guys out of gazing into heaven!  For Jesus, this was the launch point of the big plan, the disciples were going to continue what they were doing.  For the disciples, this was a bit overwhelming and needed some thought.  But if you are like me, I can justify too much inaction with thoughts.  Jesus' call was plan, go to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.  Jerusalem is where this all happened.  So Jesus was saying just turn around and get to work where you are.  Judea was the greater area around Jerusalem.  Jesus was saying your only task is not immediately around you, keep going out.  Then there was Samaria.  That place was full of people not like them, not even liked by them.  It is easy to talk myself out of reaching those kinds of people, so Jesus made sure to shut the door on my thoughts with adding “to the ends of the earth.”  So you are called.  You can stand around and gaze at the heavens wondering who He was talking to, or you can get to work and start doing what you were called to do.

What is your Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth, and how do you reach each of those?

What about the trip to Jamaica that we are involved with in October?  Have you prayed about how to be involved personally?

How does this become part of your prayer today?

Day 5

Read Psalm 1

This is one of the most basic Psalms.  I love it so much.  For people looking for first time advice in venturing through the Bible and it’s message, this is a great starting place.  For the New Year and thinking through how I want to live out 2024, this is a great place to start.  It starts out with “Blessed is…”  or to help me better understand it, “happiness and the fulfillment of life is…”

Blessing is what is at the end, and on the way through the true version of life.  It is God’s desire for each of us.  He wants us to be blessed.  To be happy and fulfilled.  It was the Genesis creation picture of life’s fullest idea.  God created and then He blessed.  Blessing was taken when we quit doing it God’s way, because God’s way is the only blessed way.  So with that in mind, spend some time thinking about this Psalm and your life in 2024.

What is the Psalmist saying will keep the blessed life from you?

What exactly does that look like in your life?

So what is the application for how you should live and what you should consider to have a blessed year this year?

How does this fit into your prayers today?

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