Series: Jesus Manifesto
Message: Getting Word to the Saints and the Faithful
Preacher: Iki Taimi
Reflection: Japhet De Oliveira
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Beyond: J. Murdock
Live Purpose: Lydia Svoboda
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: Colossians 1:1-10 in the New International Version (NIV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: There is simply so much more that I have to be thankful for than be upset about. In fact, truth be told, I do not enjoy being in the company of negative people. I know some have a gift for that; I wish my own gifting was stronger in that area, I struggle to let people have the time they need to be in a negative space. I lack the patience and wisdom to simply let people remain in this posture, which I understand is essential for some to process their feelings and experiences. I have been told by those close to me that they think I am simply too positive or too excited. Is that why I weep in movies, books, and through worship services? Is that why I weep in the middle of a conversation when I hear the pain that people are experiencing? I am certainly an emotional person. I laugh every day and I weep every day.
In fact, I have experienced both tears and joy in the last half an hour. As I write, I am sitting next to Door 24 on Level 1 of the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia, where 20,000 people are singing “What a Beautiful Name” led by Hillsong United. Think about these lyrics:
You didn’t want heaven without us
So Jesus, You brought heaven down
My sin was great, Your love was greater
What could separate us now
What a wonderful Name it is
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King
Those words resonate deep in my soul as they probably do for you as well. I know that Jesus is the One and only who generates faith, love, and hope in all of humanity. As I read Colossians’ opening words, my own faith was reinvigorated by the apostle Paul who had Jesus living within him. This meant he was able to see faith, love, and hope in people. These people were eager for their community to know Jesus as well. No matter what they faced, they saw hope in Jesus. They were people just as real as you and I, yet keen to grow.
I am thankful for Paul’s letter as it is needed for us now more than ever.
Recalibrate: When was the last time you thanked God for the faith, love and hope of your friends and family? Or prayed for these things to grow?
Respond: Pray for Jesus to help you to grow.
Research: Compare 1 Corinthians 13 with this short passage.
Remember: “He also told us about the love you have from the Holy Spirit.” (Colossians 1:8, ICB).
Japhet De Oliveira is administrative director for the Center for Mission and Culture at Adventist Health in Roseville, California.
Build a thankfulness tower with your child. Using blocks or books or even pillows, say something or someone you are thankful for and add another layer to your tower. If your child likes to draw, you could draw a tower with what or who you are thankful for on each floor. Build something beautiful with your child and thank God for the time you have together.
Build a tower. You can build a tower using blocks or with your friends you can get on your hands and knees and climb on top of each other and see how high you can go. With every layer of blocks or people, share something that you are thankful for. Get into the habit of building up even when your tower crashes down.
When you think of your friends today, do you remember what caused your friendship to start? Was it coming together in positivity? Or in negativity? More often than not, we as humans bond over something we hate. It’s super easy to find things in common that we both agree are dumb. And if we spend our time talking about the things that we don’t like with others, friendships grow. But is that the way it’s supposed to be?
I teach a class on improv comedy where I challenge people to start with the words, “Yes, and . . .” “Yes, and” is the greatest start to any conversation because it creates a feeling of positivity as well as the beginning of building something collaborative together. Saying “yes” means that I am willing to go with you on this journey together. The addition of “and” means that I am unwilling to let the story of our friendship happen without helping you along. Together, in positivity, is always better than the opposite as we work to tear things down and spew negativity.
You can try this at home. Try starting your responses with “yes, and” as you speak with the people around you. And then, just to feel the difference, try saying, “yes, but . . .”
“Yes, and” is how you build things up. “Yes, but” is how conflict starts. The difference is small in how it looks but incredibly big in its effect on relationships.
The Holy Spirit works in “yes, and.” God’s love operates in “yes, and.” Jesus loved us enough to say “yes, and,” even when we don’t deserve it.
Who needs your “yes, and” today?
I have a professor who explained that God doesn’t stay behind in our house after our rushed two minutes of devotion or forgotten devotion. “Continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives” (Col. 1:9). The Holy Spirit, who “searches all things, even the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:10), can be—and desires to be—sought at every moment of every day. Take Him with you through all of your moments. Talk to Him constantly. He is constantly there.
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development for ages 0-17. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
J. Murdock is associate pastor at Boulder Adventist Church in Boulder, Colorado, where he focuses on youth and young adult ministry.
Lydia Svoboda is a junior theology major at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska.