Series: Family Privilege
Preacher: Jenniffer Ogden
Reflection: Jenniffer Ogden
Live Wonder: Jessyka Albert
Live Adventure: Jessyka Albert
Live Purpose: Don Pate
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Romans 10:1-21 in The Message (MSG). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: I was born with a lead foot. It’s a genetic condition, inherited from a long line of lead feet on both sides of my family. The earliest known evidence of this condition appeared in my maternal grandmother, shortly after the advent of cars. Sadly, it is indeed my right foot that is heaviest, leading to some incidents of speeding. My mind might say, “Keep to the limit,” but oh! My foot!
Moses knew the limits of the law. He also knew the capacity of faith. The limit of the law does not constrain the capacity of faith. The law is a guide. Too often, it has been used as a restrictive measure, rather than a guide to lead to fullness. Moses experienced both
As we keep reading in Romans, Paul advocates that we wrestle not with heaven and hell, but with faith. The acknowledgement that the law could be both like heaven and hell depends entirely on our view of what the law is for. Do we think the law of God is meant to control us or to liberate us? One view certainly leads to the law as a living hell; the other to life infused with the essence of heaven.
We choose to live within a limit or to a capacity. God set out laws that illuminate a pathway and the edges always seem to get closer and closer when we look closely at the path. It is possible to focus too much on the path itself and that can make it hard to follow with any semblance of joy or freedom.
That’s why God also gives us Jesus. The pathway seems terrifically easy to follow when our eyes are staring at His face. Following Jesus leads me along the path of righteousness or the fulfillment of the law. When I stumble on the edges of the path, it is the righteousness of Jesus that saves me. He guides me to the center of His law as I keep examining Him.
Heaven and hell are often used to persuade people to live in one manner or another, but God is advocating for an entirely new approach—one that is neither a reward nor a punishment. God advocates for a relationship of faith—the deep soul stare into the face of God.
You are invited to know that God today.
Deeply staring into the eyes of another can be unnerving. It takes great vulnerability. And yet, when we stare into the eyes of One who loves us, we experience the height of grace, the depth of peace, and the breadth of love. There will be no rejection, abandonment, or violence.
God is inviting you to stare deeply into His eyes today. How will you choose to respond? To the limit of that friendship or to the capacity?
Recalibrate: How have ideas about heaven, hell, and the Law of God shaped your faith?
Respond: Spend time reflecting on your relationship with God. Is it limited or aiming for full capacity? Where would you like to see it today? In two weeks? In a year? Dialogue with God about reaching those goals in your relationship.
Research: Watch the movie Hell and Mr. Fudge with friends and share your understanding of heaven and hell and how they shape your understanding of God.
Remember: “How beautiful are the feet of the ones who bring good news of good things” (Romans 10:15, KNT).
Jenniffer Ogden serves as the children and family pastor for Walla Walla University Church in College Place, Washington. She has been pastoring since 2009 and serves our church community masterfully as she ministers to kids and parents, adults and old folks alike.
Have you ever caught your child staring at something or someone? A stare is more than a look, because a stare involves complete attention whereas a look or a glance uses very little. We can often stare at our various life situations—both good and bad. Today, challenge yourself to stare into the eyes of Jesus. When your child stares at you, do they see you staring at situations, circumstances, or people, or do they catch you staring into the eyes of Jesus? Take a few moments today to stare with your child into the eyes of the One who loves you unconditionally.
Paul talks about another book of the Bible in Romans 10:11. Do you know what book that is? It’s the book of Isaiah! Try to find the book of Isaiah, (Chapter 28, Verse 16) in your Bible. Paul and Isaiah tell us that anyone who trust in Jesus will not be disappointed! Do a “trust fall” with your parents today! Close your eyes and fall backwards into their arms. Do you trust that they will catch you? (Don’t let them trick you into catching them!) Just like in a trust fall, you can trust Jesus with your whole heart. When you trust Him, you will never be disappointed or fall to the ground!
Your story may be like mine. My real father abandoned my family when I was about three and never re-entered my life again. I know almost nothing about him and, to be honest, I don’t know that I’ve ever missed him. Why should I? But unlike many, my story was transformed, because when I was seven, my mom remarried and the man who became my dad was just the best. He never made an enemy in his life and was loved by all—for good reason. Simple, honest, decent— that was the dad I was given. I only tell you this because that’s been my privilege twice—once when I was seven and a second time when I accepted the new Father that Jesus offered me. Man, just the best! And that second One is available to you right now! My blessed story can be yours. Sound good?