Come Home, Runaway

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“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:17-24 NIV)

I deeply love this parable. The father seeing his son come from a long way off indicates that he habitually looked for his return, scanning the distant road daily hoping to see him. The father put feet to his feelings by RUNNING out to meet his son. The father displayed compassion, love (threw his arms around his neck and kissed him), celebration, joyful restoration of status for his son (a robe of distinction, a signet ring of family authority, sandals worn by a son in contrast to a barefoot slave). The father initiated restoration of fellowship before the son could articulate his confession because he knew what was in his heart.

Everything the younger son had hoped to find in the far country, he discovered back home: clothes, jewelry, friends, joyful celebration, love, and assurance for the future.

The difference: instead of saying, ‘Father, give me!’ (as he did before he left) he said, ‘Father, make me!’ He was willing to be a servant!

God’s compassion for a wandering sinner returning home far outweighs any sin we have committed. His love for us is deep, and His grace and mercy are long. God is not waiting for his shamed child to slink home, nor is He standing on His dignity when He comes, but RUNNING out to gather us, shamed and ragged and muddied as we are, to His welcoming arms. The name “Father” will at once fade the color of sin and heighten the splendid glory of forgiveness.

In Phillip Yancey’s book “What’s so Amazing about Grace,” Yancy retells the story of the Prodigal Son from a modern day view point. It is a powerful story and it’s definitely worth sharing. Here’s the story …

THE RUNAWAY

A young girl grows up on a cherry orchard just above Traverse City, Michigan. Her parents, a bit old-fashioned, tend to overreact to her nose ring, the music she listens to, and the length of her skirts. They ground her a few times, and she seethes inside. “I hate you!” she screams at her father when he knocks on the door of her room after an argument, and that night she acts on a plan she has mentally rehearsed scores of times. She runs away.

She has visited Detroit only once before, on a bus trip with her church youth group to watch the Tigers play. Because newspapers in Traverse City report in lurid detail the gangs, drugs, and violence in downtown Detroit, she concludes that is probably the last place her parents will look for her. California, maybe, or Florida, but not Detroit.

Her second day there she meets a man who drives the biggest car she’s ever seen. He offers her a ride, buys her lunch, arranges a place for her to stay. He gives her some pills that make her feel better than she’s ever felt before. She was right all along, she decides: Her parents were keeping her from all the fun.

The good life continues for a month, two months, a year. The man with the big car—she calls him “Boss”–teaches her a few things that men like. Since she’s underage, men pay a premium for her. She lives in a penthouse and orders room service whenever she wants. Occasionally she thinks about the folks back home, but their lives now seem so boring that she can hardly believe she grew up there. She has a brief scare when she sees her picture printed on the back of a milk carton with the headline, “Have you seen this child?” But by now she has blond hair, and with all the makeup and body-piercing jewelry she wears, nobody would mistake her for a child. Besides, most of her friends are runaways, and nobody squeals in Detroit.

After a year, the first sallow signs of illness appear, and it amazes her how fast the boss turns mean. “These days, we can’t mess around,” he growls, and before she knows it she’s out on the street without a penny to her name. She still turns a couple of tricks a night, but they don’t pay much, and all the money goes to support her drug habit. When winter blows in she finds herself sleeping on metal grates outside the big department stores. “Sleeping” is the wrong word—a teenage girl at night in downtown Detroit can never relax her guard. Dark bands circle her eyes. Her cough worsens.

One night, as she lies awake listening for footsteps, all of a sudden everything about her life looks different. She no longer feels like a woman of the world. She feels like a little girl, lost in a cold and frightening city. She begins to whimper. Her pockets are empty and she’s hungry. She needs a fix. She pulls her legs tight underneath her and shivers under the newspapers she’s piled atop her coat. Something jolts a synapse of memory and a single image fills her mind: of May in Traverse City, when a million cherry trees bloom at once, with her golden retriever dashing through the rows and rows of blossomy trees in chase of a tennis ball.

God, why did I leave? she says to herself, and pain stabs at her heart. My dog back home eats better than I do now. She’s sobbing, and she knows in a flash that more than anything else in the world she wants to go home.

Three straight phone calls, three straight connections with the answering machine. She hangs up without leaving a message the first two times, but the third time she says, “Dad, Mom, it’s me. I was wondering about maybe coming home. I’m catching a bus up your way, and it’ll get there about midnight tomorrow. If you’re not there, well, I guess I’ll just stay on the bus until it hits Canada.”

It takes about seven hours for a bus to make all the stops between Detroit and Traverse City, and during that time she realizes the flaws in her plan. What if her parents are out of town and miss the message? Shouldn’t she have waited another day or so until she could talk to them? Even if they are home, they probably wrote her off as dead long ago. She should have given them some time to overcome the shock.

Her thoughts bounce back and forth between those worries and the speech she is preparing for her father. “Dad, I’m sorry. I know I was wrong. It’s not your fault, it’s all mine. Dad, can you forgive me?” She says the words over and over, her throat tightening even as she rehearses them. She hasn’t apologized to anyone in years.

The bus has been driving with lights on since Bay City. Tiny snowflakes hit the road, and the asphalt steams. She’s forgotten how dark it gets at night out here. A deer darts across the road and the bus swerves. Every so often, a billboard. A sign posting the mileage to Traverse City. Oh, God.

When the bus finally rolls into the station, its air brakes hissing in protest, the driver announces in a crackly voice over the microphone, “Fifteen minutes, folks. That’s all we have here.” Fifteen minutes to decide her life. She checks herself in a compact mirror, smooths her hair, and licks the lipstick off her teeth. She looks at the tobacco stains on her fingertips and wonders if her parents will notice. If they’re there.

She walks into the terminal not knowing what to expect, and not one of the thousand scenes that have played out in her mind prepare her for what she sees. There, in the concrete-walls-and-plastic-chairs bus terminal in Traverse City, Michigan, stands a group of 40 family members—brothers and sisters and great-aunts and uncles and cousins and a grandmother and great-grandmother to boot. They are all wearing ridiculous-looking party hats and blowing noisemakers, and taped across the entire wall of the terminal is a computer-generated banner that reads “Welcome home!”

Out of the crowd of well-wishers breaks her dad. She looks through tears and begins the memorized speech, “Dad, I’m sorry. I know … “

He interrupts her. “Hush, child. We’ve got no time for that. No time for apologies. You’ll be late for the party. A banquet’s waiting for you at home.”

And so it is with God’s amazing grace. But what’s so amazing about it, anyway?

Ask people what they must do to get to return to God and most reply, “Be good.” Jesus’ stories contradict that answer.

All we must do is cry, “Help!” God welcomes home anyone who will have Him and, in fact, has made the first move already.

That’s what’s so amazing about grace.

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My Choice: My love Supremely (or how to mess up crap)

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In Luke 14:25-35, Jesus is saying that if we do not love Him supremely, more than our family and more than our own lives, we cannot be His disciple. There is no half-way measure. Not all believers bear the Cross. It is possible by living a nominal Christian life. This is called the lukewarm Christian life.

But, if we determine to be all out for Christ we must live the type of life that Christ lived when He was here on earth–a life of self-renunciation, reproach, persecution, temptation, in opposition of others, humiliation.

He wants us to understand that this living and leading like Jesus isn’t for wimps. We need to count the cost. To take up our cross daily is to expect painful situations everyday because of our allegiance to Christ.

I can certainly choose to live a nominal, lukewarm Christian life and avoid all that…..but, it would cost me so much more.

I would miss the miracles, the power, the blessings of seeing God move first-hand. I would miss this deep love affair that sweeps me off my feet. I would miss the dance and gazing into eyes of my Savior; that skin to skin closeness that leaves me speechless.

Who wants to miss that? Not me. Nothing I suffer here on earth could ever be more than what He did for me. Before I knew Him….when He was a stranger to me….He suffered and died for me. Most of us would give our lives for our spouses, or our children because we know and love them but not for a stranger that didn’t even know our names. We get goosebumps when a stranger in the car in front of us buys our coffee for us (I’m not knocking that show of kindness. I think it’s great). BUT this Jesus DIED for me BEFORE I EVEN KNEW HIS NAME. THAT deserves my life. My love supremely. My worship. Everything. No. Holding. Back.

Please allow me to speak bluntly with you:
I have heard many people say, “I feel like crap” or, “I look like crap”. I’ve probably said it myself. In Luke 14:34-35, Jesus is talking about the lukewarm Christian being useless and even messing up crap. Wow. If we stepped in crap, He would have to tell us to move out because we would be messing it up. How bad is THAT?! That is funny, but it’s not funny.

How about making Him throw up?? Take a look at Rev 3:14-22. I don’t want Him to vomit me out of His mouth! He urges us to cleanse, repent, shake off, open our eyes, to be committed. This. Is. Your. Call. Listen! He is standing at the door knocking. Hear His voice and open that door and dine with Him. Besides, the victor will get to sit with Jesus at the dinner table! I get excited about having the opportunity to sit and talk with brilliant people, but THIS! Whew, glory!

You’ve been feeling empty and seeking out your purpose. Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened (Matthew 7:7-8).

When we give up everything to follow Christ, guess what we find? We find everything right there in Christ. Just like salt, we have a useful purpose. We are here for more than to breath oxygen, and collect treasures of this world. I know money is important and that living life here takes money. Breathing oxygen is important to life, but we are here for more reasons than to breath. We have a purpose to live out, and that purpose is to follow Christ. Christian, its time to live a purpose driven life that lives and leads your family like Jesus. Step out from the crowd, be committed, repent and let’s do this. Together.

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Go All In {Bible Study: Living and Leading Like Jesus}

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Read Luke 10:25-37

Focus: Luke 10: 27, 37

27) He answered: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”; and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 37) The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus tole him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:27,37)

The ‘expert in the law’ was testing Jesus. He was quoting Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. I had to giggle a little about Him quoting scripture to JESUS. Ha! He had no idea that he was talking to the Word made flesh and quoting the Word to the “Word”! Ha! The purpose of the law is not to save from sin, but to produce knowledge of sin…the function of the law is to show man what a guilty sinner we are. Jesus was trying to make a point with this man about following the letter of the law versus following the heart and Spirit of the law, but he didn’t get it. We know this by the way he says, ‘the one’ instead of saying the Samaritan. He knew the answer in his head but not in his heart.

Love God and Love people. That’s it.

Makes sense to me that these verses are in this order…. Love God with all of you and love His people. The closer we grow in our walk with God the more we can understand His love and be filled with love for others. All the more reason to be sure I am spending time with Him every day. Jesus is telling us to live as He lived and love as He loves. And, that is loving God supremely with the TOTAL person…go ALL in.…allowing nothing to come between us and God….and then go and love His people like THAT.

The question started out: Who is my neighbor? but it ended by posing the question: To whom do you prove yourself a neighbor? My neighbor is anyone of any race, creed or social background. The real test of love is action, not just profession. Loving God with all of me and see people as He sees them. ALL are worthy.

 

God wants us to understand that people are always more important than our schedules, our things, our money, and our time. Helping people means personal sacrifice, but that’s how we show God’s love to them. And we let God love them through us!

 

I love the picture of Christ here: The Samaritans were despised by the Jews because of their mixed Gentile blood. It was a despised and hated Samaritan that stopped to care for the Jew. Jesus came to this world, despised, rejected, and hated….for us. He saw us in our desperate need, had compassion on us. There is nothing….no debt of ours….that He leaves unpaid by the sacrifice…..payment for my soul….for all eternity. His blood paid my sin debt. Woo!!!! THANK YOU JESUS!!! (also note that this is a picture of how Jesus extended His hand of love to His own people….the Jews….in spite of how they reject and despise Him)

 

No Unemployment Lines Here {Living and Leading Like Jesus Study}

So glad to see you back here with us for week two: Luke Chapter 10 of our Bible Study, Living and Leading Like Jesus! Come on in with us!

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{Read: Luke 10: 1-7}

2) He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3) Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. (Luke 10:2-3)

 

In the beginning of Chapter 10 we see Jesus sending them ahead of Him to prepare the people for the coming Messiah. You and I are also sent out ahead to proclaim the coming of the Messiah.

Christian service has no unemployment!

The workers are few because of lack of participation of believers in the Gospel mission. It’s time for believers to take their stand out among their fellow believers and bring the Gospel of the coming Messiah! He sends us all ahead to the people with whom He wants to dwell.. Jesus is coming, and we are commanded to GO AND TELL! What prepared them for this mission is that they had been equipped with Jesus’ power and vision to reach people.  It is important to dedicate our skill to God’s Kingdom, and WE too must be equipped with His power and have clear vision of what He wants us to do….and that comes by asking.

Jesus’ first instructions were to pray for a gathering of believers in Jesus out from among the mass of unbelievers. He wanted full participation of believers. Begin by prayer and mobilizing people to pray. Mission is based on prayer. How much time will you devote to praying for God for missionaries? Missions are for humble people not for self-assured. Sound like you?

He doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. We must stop believing the lie that we aren’t qualified. It’s true that in our own strength we aren’t qualified. His qualifications surpass any situation. He is highly qualified for whatever may come. A little police officer holding a badge up and saying, “Stop in the name of the law!” would have most of us freeze in our tracks. Not because of the officer’s stature, but because of who he represents and who qualifies him in his position (our laws). There is absolutely nothing that surpasses Jesus’ qualifications. These are the same qualifications we are sent with. How could we hold back?? Will you join God on a mission? Your mission field is right now. Right where you are. Take this lesson as your call to live and lead like Jesus on the mission field wherever you are.  Go! Now!

 

Missions is not a program in the church, it’s the purpose of the Church. It’ s a way of life right where we are. 

 

Don’t just go to church. BE the church. 

 

{Also note a cross reference in verse 3b to Matthew 10:16 to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves, meaning to be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil…and to Matthew 7:15, Wolves: false prophets, people who have not been sent by God but who claim they have. Be vigilant to these false prophets}

 This stirs such a passion within me for His people. For the workers in that we here in this office are passionate about Encouraging, Equipping, and Empowering people to be all that God created them to be. For the harvest in telling the Good News of our coming Messiah!

 

Digging In: We are all laborers in the field- no matter where we are. What does your personal mission field look like? Who are you reaching out to?

 

It’s Not Always Easy But It’s Always Worth It {Live and Lead Like Jesus Bible Study}

Week one of our Bible Study: Living and Leading Like Jesus is complete. What a great study this week!! We’ve gone through all of Chapter 9 in 5 days! We are having a great time with my two online groups that I’m leading. GOD is answering prayers and speaking loudly to us. Pray for us, will you?

Let’s lean in to the last verses for this week. We’ll pick back up next week. See you then?

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58) Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”60) Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”62) Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:58,60,62)<

Jesus did not rebuke, but clarified for him what following Him would involve so he could count the cost. Perhaps he was looking at the followers and daydreaming a life that wasn’t reality. He would need to accept homelessness, physical discomfort, and rejection. Life is urgent and announcing God’s Kingdom is urgent—spreading the Gospel is urgent! No procrastination and putting off things with God. Seize the day for Him. Jesus was totally dedicated in every way and in every moment. Looking back keeps us from looking ahead at following Him and His command and is a distraction. We need to leave our past behind. This isn’t a question of entrance into the Kingdom—but effective service in the Kingdom after entering it.

Discipleship involves hard work and sacrifice. It’s not all pretty and glam (as some people think!). Jesus wonders: Are we ready to rough it? A life lived for and lead by Jesus is a life abandoned….no half hearted commitment. We can’t pick and choose among Jesus’ ideas and follow Him selectively–this isn’t a Burger King, have it your way menu for you to choose from–we accept the cross along with the crown and abandon what we place our security in without looking back (not only at things, people, or behaviors that distract, but also the past life that the enemy would have you focused on instead of walking clothed in His righteousness and in the power and authority given to you by Jesus Himself). We have to loosen our grip on things that normally provide emotional security: Are you ready to surrender control of your life and follow Him? Christ followers aren’t made of half-hearted stuff or dreamy sentimentality. Kingdom work is the hardest, most gut wrenching, most exhausting, most heart breaking, most judged job that is by far THE most rewarding, most joyous, most satisfying job that I wouldn’t trade for anything this world has to offer. Following Christ isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it!

Heart chat:
People have a hard time when it comes to denying themselves to follow Christ. Did you battle something you would have to give up to follow Christ? Is there anything above Jesus for you?

Prayer:
Lord, thank You for all You gave up for me. Thank You for living a life of such discomfort, and suffering the cross……all for me! May we answer the call to follow You with sincerity and whole-heartedly without looking back. You are worthy. In Jesus name, Amen.

Our Greatness Is Measured By Surrender {Live and Lead Like Jesus Bible Study}

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Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest.” (Luke 9:47-48)

The Twelve were thinking about rank in the kingdom. They wondered which of them would have the highest position and the most prestige. Jesus knows us intimately. He knew the competitive pride that fostered the argument and was quick to point out that spiritually whoever was least was great.

By standing the child beside Him, Jesus gave the child honor. Acceptable service involves caring about people, even insignificant people A child was the least significant person in Jewish and in Greco-Roman culture. It reflects His interest in neglected people.

To live and lead like Jesus is to know that greatness in the Kingdom has nothing to do with greatness in this world.

Jesus meant that instead of seeking status for ourselves, His disciples should give their attention to the needs of people who have no status. The disciple who ministers to a person with no status, as though he or she was ministering to Jesus, does in fact minister to Jesus and to God the Father. Our care for others is a measure of our greatness. The principle here is that: the disciple who is willing to sacrifice personal advancement, in order to serve insignificant people, as the world evaluates people, is truly “great” in God’s estimation. Our greatness is measured by surrender and acceptance of God and His will.

We are free-ist when we obey, tallest when we are kneeling, and most alive when we die. A great leader is a servant leader—that’s who Jesus was, and that’s who we need to be if we want to live and lead like Jesus.

In short:

Being “important” isn’t important. What is important is serving others in the name of Jesus

~ I also think this is talking about more than just actions. It’s easy enough to “do” good things to help others and to serve those around you. It’s an attitude of saying that others are important and that Jesus loves them. That in itself is enough reason to give that person value. And because they have value, I’m willing to do whatever I can to help them! Sometimes the heart attitude comes after the actions of our hands, so we should be willing to work even when we don’t feel like it. -Amanda GMG

Prayer:
Lord, thank You for Your grace. We try to make things about us. Forgive us! May our focus be ever on decreasing so that You may increase in our lives. May we be spiritually sensitive and accepting of Your will and Word, and be found faithful. In Jesus name, Amen

Note To Self: You’ve Gotta Go

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Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:23-26 NIV)

Having outlined His own future in verse 22, the Lord invited the disciples to follow Him. This would mean denying themselves and taking up their cross daily. Anyone who intends to come along side Jesus has to let Him lead. Nothing material can compensate for the loss of a walk with Jesus—Jesus’ disciples are not to use their lives on earth merely to please themselves; they should spend their lives serving God and others. In efforts to focus on acquiring all the worldly things, the true purpose of life is missed. What good would that do when we would only have it for a short while, then leave it forever. It would be an insane bargain! Serve Him with boldness!! And, don’t miss the excitement of His coming back….how could that compare with anything this world could possibly say to us to cause us embarrassment?!

To follow Him we must lay down our devotions to this world and live for Christ and His mission. The fact that He mentioned that we need to take up our cross tells us that we can expect painful situations every day because of our allegiance to Christ. To take up the cross means to deliberately choose the kind of life that He lived. The life He lived involved this and more:

  • Opposition of loved ones
  • The reproach of the world
  • Complete dependence on God
  • Obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit
  • Proclamation of an unpopular message
  • A pathway of loneliness
  • Organized attacks from established religious leaders
  • Suffering for righteousness sake
  • Slander and shame
  • Pouring out one’s life for others
  • Death to self and to the world<
  • But, it also involves laying hold of life that is life indeed! It means finding at last the reason for our existence. And it means eternal reward. Do we think of our relationship with God primarily in terms of, what’s in it for us, or in terms of what we can do for Him? Am I willing to deny myself, take up my cross daily and follow Him? Willingly renounce any so called right to plan or choose and to recognize His Lordship in every area of life? Surrendering to God’s will does not mean you lose. It means you win. God’s will is always best, even when we cannot imagine how!

    This life of abandonment is genuine living and brings profound spiritual pleasure. It has a joy, a holy carefreeness, and a deep inward satisfaction that defies description.

    It is possible for believers to temporarily cower in fear around unbelievers and act “ashamed” of Jesus as Peter did in his denials of Christ. Hurt people hurt people and will often try to embarrass someone for the stand they take in an attempt to make themselves feel better.

    “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose” -Jim Elliot

    Prayer:
    Deny myself… oh what a challenge for us at times, Lord, but even moreso when we take our eyes off of Jesus and what He’s done for us. This I know Lord… when I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and lose my life for His sake, I am filled with such peace and contentment that can only come from Christ! God, help us to be “all in” in our relationship with You – we can’t have one foot in the world and still fully follow You. Help us to boldly live for You, knowing that it may cost us temporary comfort, but oh what joy for such an eternal reward! In Jesus name, Amen.

    Miracles Come From Broken Things {Live and Lead Like Jesus Bible Study}

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    Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to set before the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over (Luke9:16-17)

    The child gave what he had even though he knew it wasn’t enough to feed everyone. He didn’t know how it would work out; He just gave it to the planner. The disciples wanted to send the crowd away, but God had something big in mind. Jesus gave THANKS to God because He already had faith that God would provide for these people before it ever happened. Jesus kept on giving to the disciples as they kept giving to the people. Everyone ate (an estimated 15,000 including women and children!), were satisfied, and they had 12 basketfuls of leftovers! One for each disciple! God is concerned with feeding us the spiritual bread of life as well as the physical bread of life. What they thought of as meager at best, God used to multiply and bless to the thousands. A little of something in the hands of God is always more than enough.

    The tasks ahead of you may seem overwhelming. What you have may seem really small too, but great things happen in the hands of Jesus and that includes us! Don’t give up! If we give to Jesus what we have…..no matter how small and helpless it may seem…..we will see God do marvelous things. God provides immeasurably more than we can imagine! Oh, to trust in His power and plan even though we can’t always see how it will work out! Time and time again, He will take what we have to offer and use it in miraculous ways. When He calls you to something He will carry you through it. Go to God as the source and provider of all things physical as well as spiritual.

    And, if you think you’re too broken to live and lead like Jesus, throw that lie back to the pit where it came from and remember: Jesus broke the bread and it multiplied…..broken things in the hands of Jesus MULTIPLIES…RUNS…CLIMBS MOUNTAINS…GLORIFIES…BLESSES….AND BLOWS OUR MINDS!! God’s economy: Feeding 5,000 with one small basket of food. HE still multiplies today! Put GOD first and everything else follows.

    Basic Concepts: God provides for all our needs. We are to share with those in need. Be humble to be big for God’s glory.

    Prayer:
    Father I thank You that, in Your hands, we have all we need and more! As we move deeper into this study, I thank You for the awesome ways You are going to put skin on these lessons for us! I thank You that You are the same God yesterday, today, and tomorrow and will always be performing miracles in us. Help us to remember that when we place ANYTHING into Your hands, miracles happen! May we trust that in Your power and Your plan even though we can’t always see how it will work out. You are more than enough! In Jesus name, Amen!

    {Note: We are on day 2 of our online Bible Study: Living and Leading Like Jesus. The group is sharing what GOD has laid on each of their hearts with this study, and things are hopping! If you want to join in on the excitement leave a comment telling me so and I’ll add you to my private Facebook group. There’s also an email study group. It’s not too late now to join, but it soon will be. Click on the Good Morning Girls button and check out the awesome ministry I am leading this Bible Study with}

    YOU are the equipment {Live and Lead Like Jesus Bible Study}

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    He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.” Luke 9:3-5

    Jesus, our Master Leader was giving them detailed, specific instructions so they would know what to do. Up until now they watched Jesus do it, but now He sends them out to proclaim the Gospel. They weren’t to load themselves up with equipment but were to keep it simple….THEY were the equipment. Staying in one place taught them about being content where they are. No trading around homes for better ones. It was customary that when people would leave a town they had no relationship with, they would dust their feet when they left as a sign to them. Having them do the same was a testimony of their lack of relationship with Jesus. If they weren’t welcomed, they were to just leave town without making a scene.

    To live and lead like Jesus, I need to understand the power and authority I have in HIM. Power means strength; authority means the right to use it. GOD will provide all we need in Word, and materials. This is our call to a life of total faith. We all have the Holy Spirit that speaks constantly to us, instructing us on what to do, what to say, where to go. WE are the equipment. HE equips the called. If HE calls you to it, HE will get you through it. To be an effective leader, we need to communicate the details of what is expected to others (it’s our responsibility). We need to be content with what we have, and teach that along too. We aren’t to exert pressure on those who reject the message. We are not responsible for how people respond to the message, GOD is.

    Prayer:
    Gracious, Heavenly Father, thank You so much for being our loving Father…the ultimate, loving Teacher. Bless us as we study together to live and lead as You would if You were in our place or in our shoes. Thank You that You are our everything, every time, to everyone, and in every situation. May we walk more intimately with You in each moment. In Jesus name, Amen