Message: All I Do Is Win . . .
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Sam Millen
Live Wonder: Jessyka Albert
Live Adventure: Jessyka Albert
Live Purpose: Jason Calvert
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: Acts 9:1–9 in The Message (MSG). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: In his book Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, C.S. Lewis wrote, “Amiable agnostics will talk cheerfully about ‘man’s search for God.’ To me, as I then was, they might as well have talked about the mouse’s search for the cat.” Reflecting on this in a sermon, Timothy J. Keller muses, “Mice don’t search for cats. Cats find mice.” Keller continues, “[Lewis is] saying if you have actually searched for God, and read the various books, and figured out the God that you believe in, then it’s not the real God.”
Searching for a deity we may like is not unlike creating a god in our own image. One that suits our fancy. I think it’s a good sign when God doesn’t always act according to our expectations or desires. Maybe there is hope when we cannot comprehend God entirely. God sometimes frustrates us. This could mean He isn’t merely shaped and molded by us, like the ancient idols manufactured out of metal, wood, or stone. I believe in the wise counsel to run from those who have God completely figured out.
Thankfully God doesn’t leave us solely to rely on our imaginations, fantasies, and preferences as we look for Him. C.S. Lewis describes God “approaching at an infinite speed, the hunter, King, husband” (Miracles). He goes on to describe his own experience like this: “I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.” It wasn’t what Lewis was looking for, but God found him.
Saul wasn’t looking for Jesus. He was actually searching for Jesus’ followers in order to arrest them, but Jesus found him instead. Jesus approached “at an infinite speed” and turned Saul’s entire world upside down.
Recalibrate: How has God surprised you?
Respond: Pray for those who feel abandoned by God because he has not intervened as they hoped or expected.
Research: Read “Checkmate” (Chapter 14) in Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life (1955) by C.S. Lewis.
Talk about love with your child. What does it mean? How do we show love? What does it tell us about God? Talk about how God loves us at all times just like you love your child at all times. Pray and thank Jesus for the love He has for each of us.
What does love look like? Take some time to draw a picture of what you think love looks like. When Jesus died on the cross, not everybody thought that looked like love, but when we read our Bibles, we know that was pure love that Jesus had for us.
What is your name? Do you know what it means? Do you know why you were given this name? Do you have a nickname? What do your closest family members and friends call you? Why? Of all the things Jesus could say to Saul after chasing him, knocking him down and getting his attention, He made two huge statements. First, He communicated His name. Not just “Jesus," but the “I Am.” YHWH, I Am, the all-powerful-God of the first testament is Jesus. And Saul was persecuting this God. Interesting. An all-powerful God chose to chase an enemy (Saul), not only to embrace him, but also to save others. Jesus is a genius! God acts in our lives not only to influence and affect us, but also others in the process. Is it possible Jesus is trying to get your attention for the sake of not only you but others? Who are those others?