Series: Jesus Manifesto
Message: Getting a Little Help from My Friends
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 4:2-4:18 in the New International Version (NIV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Recognition builds trust and trust grows love. When you recognize someone for something they have done, you actually start to draw closer to that person as you have openly admitted that you trust them. When we hold back our praise for people we profess to love, be they close friends, family members, children, parents, or spouses, we begin to break down our trust. The little criticisms are chips at the block of trust that is holding the core of love. The reverse is also true; the more you applaud and congratulate a person, the more you admire and grow that trust, the more you are protecting the seeds of love you have for that person. I believe that love is at the core for all of us—we have the ability to either protect it or tear away at it.
When we start to recognize God in the small things, we build our trust in Him. This protects and allows the seed of love we have for God to grow. That seed, which He planted in us, is one we can choose to develop. The more we ignore God, or tear Him down, the more we discredit and abuse Him, the less trust we have for Him and our love for Him will not be protected nor grow.
Prayer exists for us to recognize God. I believe that we should pray both audibly and silently. The problem with silent prayers is that our minds wander far faster than when we speak. Choosing our words and enunciating them also help us affirm what we are thinking; it helps us to process what we are communicating. That is why it is not enough to write letters, send texts, and post pictures—we need to utter words to those we know and love. When you sit with a close friend, an advisor, or a counselor, the spoken words matter. If you have something that does not make sense or that frustrates you—that seems too overwhelming—that you simply are not able to resolve, speak about it. Here is the most important rule about growing your relationship with God through prayer: stay connected and the relationship will only get stronger.
Recalibrate: What are the seven most important relationships you have, and is God one of those seven?
Respond: Thank God for seeking you.
Research: Read Daniel 10. What does that teach you about prayer?
Remember: “Continue praying and keep alert. And when you pray, always thank God” (Colossians 4:2, ICB).
Japhet De Oliveira is administrative director for the Center for Mission and Culture at Adventist Health in Roseville, California.
Every day the words “Pa play” are called out by our two-year-old granddaughter Zoe. She sits at her Duplo and directs Pa where to sit so they can play building zoos and trains and communities. Zoe is just finding her words so the conversation is full of fun as Pa follows Zoe’s train of thought. I see the conversations growing the more time they spend together. Our Heavenly Father longs to hear us call His name, to be invited to play. He wants us to learn how to put things together by watching how He does it. Pray that we have eyes to see and ears to hear and the will to want what our Heavenly Father wants for this world—love and lots of it! With your little one, build something with blocks. With every block you add, talk about what you are thankful for. Build a habit of thankfulness. It will bless you and your child longer than any other construction.
Do you like superhero stories? I do. My favorite ones are when the heroes work as a team—each playing their part to save the world with the special power they have. Jesus is our special power and He has called us to take Him everywhere we go. He asks us to let who Jesus is shine out in everything we do and say and save the world this way. I need help to be that kind of superhero today—how about you? I will pray for you and you can pray for me that we will let love shine bright in all that we do and wherever we go in Jesus’ name.
My friends and I had a game we used to play in college. We called it “FF” which stood for “fake friend.” The way you would play the game would be to shout out the letters “FF” and then the initials of someone we both knew. (For example: if the person they were thinking of was named Sarah Conrad, you would shout out “FFSC.”) Then, the person who knew the game would look around the room to see if they could find someone who looked like the person with the initials of “SC.” Once they found a person, they would point to them and say, “FF Sarah Conrad!” The goal was to see if you could get the other person to see how someone else kind of looked like a friend but was the fake version of them.
Kind of a dumb game, right?
But it was fun for us because not only were we playing a game that made us laugh, but it was in code so no one else knew who we were talking about, or even what we were doing! There was just something about playing a game where only we knew what was going on that was fun!
Paul does the same thing at the very end of his letter to the Colossians when he writes, “And say to Archippus, “See that you complete the task that you have received in the Lord” (Colossians 4:17).
Paul seems to have his own FF game with someone in the room named Archippus! Who is this guy? What was it he received from the Lord? And what in the world does that mean for him next?
Unfortunately, the world may never know because Paul was only playing that game with him and not with the rest of us. We also may never know whether or not Archippus got the message or if he ever did do what God told him to do. Sometimes it isn’t for us to know how God is using us or what He has called us to do. So for now, we just have to accept that Paul and Archippus had a secret game they were playing. This is pretty strange and pretty cool all at the same time!
What is something you believe the Lord has called you to do? Have you shared this with anyone else? Are you listening to hear whether or not the people who know are calling you out to get it done? What’s stopping you from doing it now?
“These are the only Jews among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me” (Colossians 4:11). Paul, an exemplary apostle, needed comfort, encouragement, and companionship. Needs or desires for these things are never weaknesses or signs that you are not relying on God enough. He made us relational. We are supposed to have these needs and we are supposed to meet them in others.
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.