Series: Love Glue
Message: Application Instructions
Preacher: Dany Hernandez
Reflection: Mike Speegle
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Beyond: Brandon Kharns
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: Matthew 12:9-13 in the New International Version (NIV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: When Matthew wrote these words, “Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked Him . . .” (Matthew 12:10, NIV), he gives us an important insight into what was happening. It seems that the Pharisees had followed Jesus from the previous “Sabbath” issue to a synagogue. There they saw an opportunity to catch Him in a predicament. Would He heal on the Sabbath and thus allow them to accuse Him of breaking the Sabbath?
A critical mindset is always looking for the bad, the dirt, the truth—and it becomes like a trap for the one looking. Some of us have a natural bent towards the cynical and the pessimistic in life. We also know the cost to ourselves and those around us because of this approach to life.
As someone who is a cynical, sarcastic, pessimist by nature, I know that you can always find what you’re looking for. If you want to find the bad, you can. If you want to question, you can. If you want to accuse, there are always things to find.
Often, like the Pharisees in Matthew 12, it isn’t about people and being thoughtful or compassionate. It’s about what we’re looking for—the right, the truth, the evidence, the accusation.
If you are of the same natural bent as me, I invite you to do what I have done for the last thirty years: ask God to change your heart and mind, to help you see the good, the possible, the hopeful more than what you see as the “real.”
Recalibrate: How has your natural approach to life (optimist, pessimist, realist) impacted your life and the people closest to you?
Respond: God, help us to see things through Your eyes more than ours.
Research: Ten things married guys do when they’re in love.
Remember: “Treat people the same way you want them to treat you” (Matthew 7:12, NASB).
Mike Speegle is the lead pastor for New Hope, an exciting, young, multi-ethnic Adventist Church in Fulton, Maryland. Mike became a follower of Jesus and an Adventist in his early 20s. Pacific Union College was the first Adventist school he ever attended; he met his wife Lorie there. Mike has pastored for 30+ years, served in the Ministerial Association of the General Conference, and has written a book, Big Questions, as well as a number of articles.
With your little one, go for a walk around your home or neighborhood and talk about all that you love. Can you hear birds or cars? Do you love that you can hear? Can you see different colors and shapes? Do you love that you can see? Can you do this activity together? Do you love that at this moment you have each other? Choose to love in the space that you are in.
Watch this video and see what Sesame Street says about respect. Ask your family what makes them feel loved and respected.
I have the really bad habit of making some things more important than they really are. It usually comes in the form of insisting, “I need that now.” I think about how the thing I need would make my life better in so many ways; there’s no doubt that having that item would represent a turning point in my life. I imagine me and this item leaping through a field of flowers with “So Happy Together” playing in the background. Or in the case of the new off-road upgrades I’m eyeing right now, it would be me plowing through that field in my newly-upgraded Jeep with pieces of flowers shooting out from my wheel wells as something slightly more obnoxious blares from my speakers. But I digress. I admit that it’s really easy for me to elevate things to a level of importance than they deserve.
Jesus warns us in this text that people are always more important. Hey, I get it. People, especially some people, don’t seem more important. Sometimes they are weird, mean, and awkward. Sometimes the person you thought was your best friend decides to ditch you for more popular people. People are messy. My dog is clearly a better person than most people. Yes, I just said that. But Jesus says that it doesn’t matter that people are messed up. They are more important anyhow. Why? Because Jesus loves them that much. I think the hardest part of being a Christian is loving people when you really don’t want to.
Spilling the tea. I still don’t quite understand this slang, but I hear this from so many of the adolescents I work with when they’re about to drop the juiciest gossip. Now that I know what this phrase means, as soon as someone tells me they’re going to spill it, I immediately perk up. I went to a customer service training many years ago and the only thing I remember is that they said complaints are shared more often than positive words. It’s so true. As you read the Bible passage of this week, It seems like the Pharisees just wanted to see Jesus mess up. As I read this story now, I just think, “Wow, the Pharisees are horrible people.” But when I perk up at the promise of hearing an awful story about someone, I wonder if that somehow makes me a Pharisee. Think back to the last time someone told you some major gossip or a time when you were delighted to see someone mess up. God calls us to rejoice in the truth. When was the last time you were overjoyed by something positive?
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development groups. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Brandon Kharns is the family life pastor at Placerville Seventh-day Adventist church in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California near Lake Tahoe.
Vanessa Rivera is a therapist in a community mental health center in Denver, CO, and serves as the lead elder for Live Purpose at Boulder Church.