Series: Followers of Jesus
Message: In the Blessing
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Japhet De Oliveira
Live Wonder: Jessyka Dooley
Live Adventure: Jessyka Dooley
Live Purpose: Vanessa Rivera
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 16:17-27 in the New International Version (NIV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Last week, Pastor Jessyka asked the following question in the Daily Walk: “What comes more naturally to you, compliments or critiques? What do you believe has nudged or pushed you in one direction or the other?” It was a great question that Becky and I processed in the Daily Walk Podcast. I wonder, if I turned that question around to the subject of God, what comes more naturally to you—compliments or critiques about Him? What do you believe has nudged or pushed you in one direction or the other? How would you answer that?
Let me take this idea to another place. I received the following email recently, from a grandmother. Pastor Mark Witas had just preached two weeks ago here at Boulder Church on Romans 14. To protect her identity, I have changed the name and age (maybe even the gender) of her grandchild:
I was recently reading a Bible Story book on the life of Moses to Sue, aged 9. In reading about God giving the 10 commandments, Moses had gone for 40 days and God seeing the people worshiping the golden calf and being very angry and going to severely punish the people. Sue said, “Just CHILL alright. They were probably just bored, give them something to do.” She loves Jesus but sees God in a different light, not as a loving God. I really appreciated the sermons this past weekend. They confirmed how I see God. Is there a children’s book that we could read together to help explain God? I guess I personally can’t explain God to others to help them understand the “horrible” stories in the Bible. I guess I just feel that God is all loving and I choose to ignore all the “bad stuff” and hide my head in the sand. Thanks for your help. We do appreciate your sermons and sense of humor. The “good” God bless you.
Do we find it hard to compliment or critique God the Father, God the Son, or God the Spirit? This is exactly what Paul wishes we would move away from. Paul wants us to discover the truth about God—the truth that he himself misunderstood for so long. He wants nothing more than to praise God and wants nothing more than for us to do the same. Today, at least in the U.S., we celebrate a holiday reminding us that we should pause be thankful. Pause and focus on what you can be grateful for. You can also find ways to be a blessing to others.
Recalibrate: What do you give thanks to God for this year?
Respond: Pray for peace in your relationships.
Research: Read at least two other stories in the Bible that inspire you to be thankful to God.
Remember: “To the only wise God, through Jesus the Messiah, to whom be glory to the coming ages! Amen” (Romans 16:27, KNT).
Japhet is senior pastor at Boulder Adventist Church in Boulder, Colorado, and was co-founder of the One project. Originally from southeast London, he served in the South England Conference for nine years—as a pastor and later as conference youth director—before moving to the United States in 2006. He is married to Becky and they have two sons, Joshua (18) and Jonah (14).
Paul reminds us that we should give all the glory to Jesus! Make a Thanksgiving turkey out of your child’s hand. Help them by tracing their hand and cutting it out. Let them decorate their turkey as they wish. Make a list of things you are thankful for and write them on each of the feathers (fingers) of the turkey. Read the Words to Remember out loud to your child and discuss the thankfulness and glory we can give to God.
There are many days to be thankful, but in the United States we choose a day in November that we call . . . Thanksgiving! It is a special day to be thankful for everything that we have. What are some of your favorite things about Thanksgiving? What are your favorite foods? Help your family make one of your favorite foods for the Thanksgiving meal today. Read the Words to Remember out loud. Who do you think Paul is saying we should be thankful for?
Try this activity. Search the web for memes that describe what God is like. You will see so many examples of the ways that people view God. Why do you think the person who made each of the memes views God in that way? What do you think God is like? (Not what you’ve been told by others but who do you truly believe He is?) Ask a parent or guardian, a friend, and a trusted adult to describe God. Compare their answers to your answer. Are they the same? Different? How so?