Series: Jesus Manifesto
Message: Getting from Captivity to the Cross
Preacher: J. Murdock
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 2:4-15 in the New International Version (NIV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Becky was talking to a friend of ours the other day who had a rental car and was wondering what octane level of gas they should buy. She explained that there is no real difference and encouraged them to buy regular unleaded. Why spend so much more on a rental car? Even if it was your car, just get the regular gas. This, of course, horrified our friend who cited the car manual (which he had read). He wanted to make sure he was taking good care of the car, even if it was just a rental.
As Becky was telling me this story, she said, ”Seriously, who puts the higher octane gas in their car?” I knew this was not the right moment to say, “I am one of those drivers!” Now before this gets blown out of perspective, let me say this: we are both right. Yes, my friends, that is possible in a marriage and in life. Read this blog on True Car, and it will make perfect sense to you as well. If you drive fast and your need for speed is important, then whatever octane your car desires, you should provide it. If you drive a Prius and are saving the entire planet, I would recommend the lowest octane level.
Paul was horrified that the wonderful people in the Colossian church were effectively putting high octane gas in their cars when they didn’t need to. They were working too hard to enjoy the benefits of the car. They were trying all sorts of things that were not required, because they thought it would help them. In this case they should have seen themselves as driving a Prius and saving planet earth!
Instead, they had a tendency to make salvation too complicated. They placed extra expectations and demands on people. Remember two key things. First, Paul was not trying to start a new religion. He was not going to allow religion to define Jesus. Jesus is the one who defines everything. Second, Paul knew that Jesus fulfilled the promise of salvation past, present and future, that He defeated the final death so that we can live. Paul needed them (and us today) not to forget this truth found in Jesus.
Recalibrate: What “weird” ideas have you seen creep into faith communities? How have they made us think that Jesus was not enough?
Respond: Thank Jesus for being all sufficient.
Research: Read Galatians and see how Paul addresses circumcision.
Remember: “Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught. And always be thankful” (Colossians 2:7, ICB).
Japhet De Oliveira is administrative director for the Center for Mission and Culture at Adventist Health in Roseville, California.
Do you have a key to your house? Does your child have toys that use a key or something that unlocks them? Play with unlocking today. Show how the key unlocks the toy or door and then let your child explore how they can do that too. Jesus is the key to unlocking abundant love. Know Him, love Him and explore with your child the wonderful world of love Jesus has for you.
Have you ever played a game where you have to find the clues or the keys? You cannot go any further in the game until you do. Jesus is our key to living love. Living love is the game of life. Jesus asks us if we want to play. The best thing is that He has already won the game. He is asking us to come be on His team. Team love. How can you play on Jesus’ team, team love, today?
Have you ever been somewhere in church (or anywhere really) when someone has said the Lord’s Prayer? It’s a pretty common prayer that people recite when they are all together because it’s a prayer that everyone seems to know. It goes like this:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Solid prayer right?
The problem I have is not with the prayer itself, but how people always tend to say it out loud like they are robots. It’s never said in the way we talk as people, but instead it’s always recited in a lower, deeper voice. And that tends to keep us from thinking the prayer is about us because we’re saying it using something other than our true voice. But the prayer, given to us by Jesus Himself in Matthew 6, is meant to be deeply personal! It’s all about helping us to understand who God is, who we are, and our relationship to God.
God is holy. God has a kingdom He reigns over. God has a will for our lives.
We need God to survive. We need God to make us whole. We need God to make others whole. We need God to help us from falling apart.
Paul references this prayer in Colossians 2:13 when he writes, “God made you alive together with Him when He forgave us all our trespasses.” It’s easy math.
God + You = Life
The hard part is making sure that you really bring all of you to the equation. Your true voice, your true heart, your true life, your true feelings, your true devotion. And with it, you know the True God, the True Word, the True Spirit, the True Gospel, the True Savior. Only then can you pray the prayer and live the life that God calls for all of us. It’s a life worth living. And it’s a life truly worth saving.
How do you decide the difference between true feelings and false ones? How do you decide the difference between the True God and a fake one? How can you bring your true voice into the Lord’s Prayer when you say it?
“And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Col. 1:15). The God and Creator of all had to prove Himself in the biggest, most impossible way to you, tiny and messy human. He would become mortal to die. You move the heart of God—you, no matter your wrongs, move the mind and heart of God Almighty. Despite the limitless glories in His hands, He battles and wins the possible and impossible alike in pursuit of your heart.
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.