Series: Grow Strong
Sermon: Growing What
Speaker: Jessyka Albert
Writer: J. Murdock
Refresh: Begin today in prayer. Ask God for understanding through the Holy Spirit.
Read: Jeremiah 1:1–5 (ESV) As you read through this introduction to Jeremiah, note 1–3 insights or questions you have.
Reflect: Speaking truth to power is incredibly difficult. Speaking truth to power when you yourself are not powerful is dangerous. Speaking truth to power when you are an outsider relative to the power in question can be lethal.
In today’s news cycle, we see the never-ending path of destruction caused by powerful people taking advantage of those in their circles of influence in order to advance their own carnal desires behind closed doors. Often, these stories only surface years after the abuse has taken place for fear on the part of the victims that an immediate response will result in termination from their positions in the industry.
Even in the moment, victims speak of recognizing how uncomfortable they were, how it shocked their system to be present in such a moment. How they wanted nothing more than to speak out, but were unable to do so. In these moments, the brain goes into a mode of cost benefit analysis, trying to determine whether the individual should endure pain and suffering and keep his or her livelihood intact, or ring the alarm and exit with dignity—knowing that this decision will carry a heavy cost in the long run amongst future employers and potential colleagues. Working so hard to break into an industry—such as Hollywood—that is so exclusive provides the means for believing that dues must be paid beyond the normal amount to remain in a culture that has the potential to provide so much. It isn’t until much later that victims recognize that the price they paid for their silence was not worth the cost of their trauma.
The opening chapter of Jeremiah speaks of a priest claiming to be a prophet with a word from God to the people of Benjamin. As the book continues, Jeremiah will speak truth into a system of temple leadership which will take him into some tumultuous situations. But he does so because he believes that God has spoken a truth into his life that cannot be denied.
In our own lives we can experience chaos because of difficult decisions we make one way or another. In each season of change, it is important to recall what God has placed in our hearts, often years before the moment we reach a particular fork in the road. It is in those times that we must reflect on what God has told us to be true and then have the courage to follow Him accordingly. In doing so, we move about this world intentionally, seeking Him in all things whether they are easy or not.
Recalibrate: What truth has God consecrated in your heart that seeks to provide you with direction?
Respond: Pray for God to reveal to you the message He desires to speak to you as He did while you were still in the womb while you seek to recognize His kingdom work in you.
Research: You may be facing a current or upcoming decision in your life which will direct your next life decisions. Before you commit toone road or the other, speak with God about your choice and measure each option against the will of God in your life as it has been shown to you. Reflect upon how your life might be enriched by taking the risk and following Christ fully despite the inherent difficulties this choice may cause.
Live Wonder (ages 0–3): God’s plan for your children began before you had ever started your family planning strategy. Remind your little one(s) that they are/were wonderfully and beautifully made and cherished by a God who loves them. Pray for Jesus to live in their hearts and teach them in the ways that they should go.
Live Adventure (ages 4–11): What activities in your life make you the happiest? Why do you think those activities stick out in your mind? How might those things help you decide what you want to do when you grow up? What do you think Jesus would want you to do as you grow up?
Live Purpose (ages 12–16): Jesus was known by His friends as a strong leader. What does a leader look like to you? What traits of leadership do you think are most important to possess? As you look around your circle of friends, who are the leaders? Is it you? Why or why not?