Day Five – Time to get ready

Read Scripture

Colossians 3:18-4:1

18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their

favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as

working for the Lord, not for men, 24

is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.

4 Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in

heaven.

Sunday's Sermon

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Today's Devotional

The apostle Paul told us last week that living a new life as a Christian means that we clothe

ourselves with certain virtues. It’s a picture of putting good qualities on, much like we would dress

ourselves up in our finest clothes for a special occasion. What we saw then – and throughout this week –

is that those virtues are practiced in the context of community.

One of the themes that we’ve been picking up on throughout the week, then, has been how life

in community, life in the body of Christ doesn’t just take place on Sundays in worship. We’re to be the

body throughout the week; it’s not something that we simply do one day a week, it’s who we are.

But we have to be careful not to look past the value of what takes place when we worship

together. In some ways, it’s an opportunity for us to renew our promises – to make covenants – with

God and His people. It’s also a chance for us to see visibly what we already know spiritually: we’re part

of a larger corporate body of believers. Further, our worship together shows the diversity – both across

cultures and generations – of the family of Christ. It’s important stuff.

Since it’s important, I simply want to encourage you today to get ready for church. And not just

by clothing yourself with Sunday attire, but really getting ready. Please pray for me, as I bring God’s

Word. Please pray for Justin and other worship leaders and their responsibilities. Please pray for people

serving in lots of ways. It’s time to get ready.

since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It

Today's Challenge

Challenge: How do you get ready for church? Make sure you’re spiritually ready, too!

Pray that not only others but that you too would be ready for worship this week.

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Day Four – Cross-generational

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I will exalt you, my God the King;

1

I will praise your name for ever and ever.

2 Every day I will praise you

and extol your name for ever and ever.

3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;

his greatness no one can fathom.

4 One generation will commend your works to another;

they will tell of your mighty acts.

5 They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,

and I will meditate on your wonderful works.

6 They will tell of the power of your awesome works,

and I will proclaim your great deeds.

7 They will celebrate your abundant goodness

and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate,

slow to anger and rich in love.

9 The LORD is good to all;

he has compassion on all he has made.

10 All you have made will praise you, O LORD;

your saints will extol you.

11 They will tell of the glory of your kingdom

and speak of your might,

so that all men may know of your mighty acts

12

and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,

and your dominion endures through all generations.

Sunday's Sermon

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Today's Devotional

Yesterday we thought about how the church can love one another by reaching across cultures.

We saw how this is counter-cultural – even though the world tries to separate people based on cultures,

in the church we desire for unity.

The same could be said about today’s subject: loving one another by being cross-generational.

Much like reaching across cultures, reaching across generations isn’t popular in today’s world, and it’s

often not very easy.

In some ways, church life is less difficult when we separate people by their age group. Often

there are different desires, different needs, and different ways to minister to age groups. And there are

times when this is appropriate – for example, high school students are particularly susceptible to peer

pressure, sexual temptation, and questions of identity, so it’s good for them to have time with the youth

group to address those kinds of concerns.

But we have to be careful to stop ourselves from simply pigeonholing people. Those three listed

concerns for teenagers could also be ones that pop up later in life. And other issues that we might

associate with other age groups could apply to younger people, too.

Being cross-generational means that we’re in this together, no matter what our age is. It means

that those with a wealth of experience in the Christian life share that wisdom with others. It means that

those with excess energy are quick to serve. It means that one generation calls to the next, telling of

God’s faithfulness.

Today's Challenge

Challenge: If you haven’t already, interact with someone from a different age category from church this

week.

Pray that you would be able to see past age as the biggest factor for identifying who you are.

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Day Three – Cross Cultural

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11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is

all, and is in all.

Sunday's Sermon

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Today's Devotional

Harry Reeder – a pastor who is serving in Birmingham, Alabama – had a desire to start a church.

When he was asked about what kind of people he wanted to reach, his answer was simple: old people,

young people, middle-aged people. “No,” they said, “what’s your target demographic?” He replied,

“Black people, Hispanic people, white people, Asian people…” This had some folks concerned – they

really wanted him to narrow down his focus – so he said, “I really just want to reach sinners who need a

Savior.”

That sounds a lot like the group of people that Paul describes in our passage today. Even though

we like to put labels on people – we try to fit them into nice categories – Paul says that none of this

is relevant when it comes to the church. Instead of finding our primary identity in our skin color or

country of origin, instead of seeing ourselves as belonging to a certain people group, Paul says that

we’re to recognize that – in the church – “Christ is all and is in all.”

And that’s how the church is supposed to be today, too. Even though our country continues to

struggle with individual and societal racism, the church is to be different. Rather than seeing ourselves

as primarily different from each other, we’re to see what we have in common. And what we all share

together is something that both the apostle Paul and Pastor Harry Reeder understood: we’re all “sinners

who need a Savior.”

Today's Challenge

Challenge: Subtle racism can be SO hard to see in ourselves; do you or your friends see that sinfulness

in your heart?

Pray that God would cause the church to look more like John’s glorious vision in Revelation 7:9 – a

picture of every nation, tribe, people, and language worshipping God.

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Day Two – Corporate

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“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all

34

men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Sunday's Sermon

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Today's Devotional

The word “corporate” can cause us to go in two very different directions as a church. On the one

hand, we might think of something that’s very business oriented. You might picture a shiny building,

full of concrete and glass: corporate headquarters. You might think of higher-ups with titles like CEO,

CFO, and CIO. Corporate headquarters are known for conference calls and conference rooms. It’s big

business. And that’s NOT what the church is called to be. Yes, we’re to do certain things that good

businesses do – financial transparency, good communication, striving for excellence – yet the “church

as business” model falls short. Sadly, it often fuels consumerism in the church – and the Bible calls us to

look out for the needs of others (Phil 2:4).

So what does “corporate” mean for us in the church? It goes back to the origins of the word –

meaning that we’re part of the body of Christ. It means, therefore, that we don’t just think about our own

wants and desires but care for the whole body. It means that we don’t try to live our Christian faith all

by ourselves, but we do so with the whole body, together.

I love the way that Mark Dever describes this; he says that even though we’re saved from our

individual sins, we’re not saved into a vacuum. No, we’re saved into a body of faith, into the corporate

life of being together.

Today's Challenge

Challenge: Have you ever tried to get through things on your own, even though the body of the church

is there for you? Recognize that you’re not alone – God placed you in the church for life together.

Pray that you would share in the corporate life of the church. Ask God for courage to be vulnerable with

others.

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Day One – Covenantal

Read Ephesians 4:15-16

15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Sunday's Sermon

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Today's Devotional

 

We heard in Sunday’s sermon that we are to be community minded. When Paul describes what life in Christ and community looks like, he writes that we should “over all these virtues, put on love.” In these next four devotionals, we’ll think and pray together through what “putting on love” means; we’ll be assisted by four terms that Mark Dever describes in his book The Deliberate Church.

One of the ways that we show love to one another is by being “covenantal.” A few weeks ago in Colossians, we heard Paul describe God’s covenant for us through circumcision in the Old Testament and baptism in the New Testament. Paul speaks about covenant because it’s central to understanding God’s relationship with us. When God makes a covenant, He makes promises that He will never break – and it’s because He is completely faithful.

As a community full of faith, we too make promises and covenant together. We promise to pray for each other, both with happy and sad news. We check up on each other spiritually. We build each other up by speaking the truth in love. Like iron sharpening iron, we hold each other accountable to God’s word.

Our desire to keep promises comes out of a love for – and the example of – our God who always keeps His promises.

 

Today's Challenge

 

Challenge: In what ways do you, personally, covenant with other members of the church? If you’re struggling with examples, maybe God is calling you to greater engagement.

Pray that God would help you make and keep promises for involvement in the church family. Ask that He would help you to be faithful.

 

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