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 English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: It was a chilly spring day, with puffy white clouds on a pastel blue sky. It was dreadfully early to be up, fed, dressed, and “ready” to run. I stood in the midst of a swarm of spandex-clad people anticipating the start of the race. I rubbed my fingers together furiously, trying to get feeling back into them. The race began and off we muddled. Once the crowd thinned a bit, all of them moving farther and farther ahead of me, the pace became rhythmic. Seven miles into this event, my hip decided to reveal its deformity, and I limped the final six miles to cross the finish line. I barely realized the race was completed. All I wanted was for the pain to end. The pain was blindingly hot and distracting.
The lessons of Romans continues in the reminder that Paul draws out with regard to the dichotomy between the Israelites and the Gentiles. The Gentiles were not looking for Jesus, but when He arrived, many chose to follow Him. The Israelites failed to see the fruition of their dream of a Savior. And yet God stood, inviting. Through the Son of Man, God invited people of every nation to encounter Him in the flesh.
With outstretched arms, God waits for us to hear the good news of a Savior desperately in love with us, and to choose to follow where He leads. He stands without force, without anger, and welcomes all who want to come home.
It is a joy to share this wild, wonderful family with each of you. Many days I feel like most of us are limping to the finish line, unaware of how close it is, just aiming to escape the pain. And I hope that when we cross to the end, we will know that we have shared the story of a God who cares, a God who carries, and a family who gathers.
At the end of a fast-paced, fully-packed week, let’s pause, inhale, and remind ourselves that Jesus has come to save us. We have crossed the line by grace. Amen and Amen.
Recalibrate: Do you realize your own limp? How does that limp allow others to see God at work in you?
Respond: Take time to simply be still and reflect on the knowledge that God has saved you. Thank Jesus for His gift of life.
Research: Research the muscles in the hand and arm. Imagine God, in whose image you are made, using the power of His hands and arms to reach out to you. Reflect on the ability of God to rescue you here at the end of this week.
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.
Paul quotes Isaiah 65:1, saying, “I was found by those who weren’t asking me for help. I made myself known to people who were not looking for me.” What is something you haven’t asked God for help with related to your children and family? This could be a deliberate choice or it might be because you just didn’t think to ask for help. Pause and spend some time in prayer. Lay those things down at the feet of Jesus, knowing that He helps you even when you don’t ask.
Have you ever found a toy you forgot you even had? Maybe it got lost and you found it hidden under your bed. Jesus is someone who goes looking for all the lost toys, even the ones that don’t know that they are lost! Remember how Paul used some of the verses from the book of Isaiah? He does it again! Isaiah 65:1 says, “I was found by those who weren’t asking me for help. I made myself known to people who were not looking for me.” Sometimes we forget to ask Jesus for help, but that doesn’t mean that He isn’t there helping us already!
OK, I’m going to drop a bomb on you. You know that person in church who is the most irritating? That’s your brother; that’s your sister. Jesus wants us to remember that. He calls this whole thing a “family” and every family has some weird ones. (In my family the weird one is probably me.) But every week when you show up at church, you are taking part in what Jesus considers to be a family reunion. He loves that stuff. It’s important to Him and He asks us to value it, too—to value even the weird ones in the family. I urge you to try to go and enjoy them all. Yep, even the weird ones. Heaven would like that.