Day 1 Week 1 (Welcome to the Study!)
Welcome to DAY 1!
Grab your book here if you haven't already!
It's not too late to join us, order your book and just jump in when you can. You can catch up missed days later!
Glad you could join us for this online study on worship! Before we begin I'd like to set the mood for us for the next 6 weeks!
Imagine we're all gathered together in a comfy living room. You're in your favorite chair and the lights are low. We've all joined in and belted out our favorite worship hymn or chorus and we're just settling in for a challenging and enriching discussion.
We'll have several facilitators for our discussions. We'll do a little moderating along the way, but we'll do our best to spur on the discussion and to encourage you to share your heart!
Let's have a great time and ask the Lord to stretch our horizons and to enrich our hearts and minds through this study. Let's also ask that God would bring us close together and build supernatural community even though we're not face to face!
Feel free to respond in any format you like but don't forget to discuss the elements of the day specifically!
1) Central Passage(s)
2) My Daily Response
3) My Daily Meditation
It would be helpful if you numbered each accordingly in your response!
I'm so excited to begin this study, and especially to be doing it in this manner. I've never gone through a study like this before, so I am excited to read everyone's feedback and to see what others are learning. With that said, here goes:
1.) Central Passage: I've read this passage several times, but have never approached it in the manner Dwayne does. I've most recently approached this passage from a financial perspective. A church I grew up in had a building campaign once where each member was given "talents" (seed money) to go and invest in something, and then to bring back to give to a building campaign we were doing. The perspective that Dwayne gives on this passage profoundly moved me. I've known for sometime now that if I am faithful to serve God with my life and what He has given to me, that He will reward me in heaven. I've never thought, though, about the fact that Jesus "desires and deserves" to praise me. For all that He has accomplished for me, He most certainly deserves to do with me whatever He chooses. I, however, must get to the point that I realize He desires to praise me.
2.) My Daily Response - To be honest, I've always thought it was selfish and self-serving to want to hear Christ say "well done" to me. I am a pastor, and so to think that the reason I would minister to the people God has called me to is for some type of "reward" is hard to wrap my mind around. However, as I consider the passage that we studied today, I begin to see that there is nothing wrong with this.
3.) My Daily Meditation - I know that by mediating on this verse, it will help me to be able to grasp the concept that we studied today. If I will allow God to take my mind and mold it and change it into more of what He desires it to be, He will give me a greater grasp of spiritual things and will allow me to be able to understand concepts like the one discussed today better and to see things more as He sees them!
So glad this day has finally come. And since I'm off work today, I get to be one of the first to post my thoughts from today's lesson.
At the beginning of Matthew chapter 25, Jesus begins talking about what the kingdom of Heaven will be like. Our focal passage is the 2nd of these descriptions. How fitting that our study of Heaven's Praise comes from a section describing what heaven will be like.
I have generally considered myself to be the third servant; the one who buried his treasure, because he feared his master. What I must come to grips with, at the outset of this study, is that I will no longer let my past determine my future. The multitude and depravity of my sin cannot be a basis for self-condemnation; rather, understanding my sinfulness helps me to grasp the magnificence of God's holiness and the depth of his love and mercy. (I'm mixing in some of what I have been learning in my men's Bible study at church. It helps to ground me for this study.) What I expect to learn from this study is how to become one of the other servants in this story.
My Daily Response
I have always thought that the reward of hearing the words, "Well done" was reserved for others; those who have learned a greater level of surrender than I have learned. I must stop looking at myself as the third servant. The choices I make in the next six weeks will be pivotal for me.
My Daily Meditation
Romans 12:2 is a great verse to focus on this week. God can transform me into a new person by changing the way I think, as I let go of the ways and behaviors of this world. Let the transformation begin!
God, as I come to a greater understanding of my sinfulness, may the greatness of your love for me come into clearer focus; and let the realization of how magnificent my conversion is, cause me to love you more than I love my sin, and let the result be my transformation into someone who is useful in your Kingdom work, so that someday I will hear you say, "Well done."
This is powerful! I have yet to recieve my book (Wednesday) but I am so grateful for reading the passage and the daily responses and meditations given already. I am excited at what IS and will be taking place here over the next six weeks. God Bless! :-)
Very excited to be starting this study. Here are my rather late night thoughts from today's reading...
1.) Like CRBC, I've never really looked at the Matthew passage in this way. It does seem that this passage usually comes up when talking about financial responsibility, and I've always focused on the second part of the mater's statement: "You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities." Putting that statement back in context with the rest of the master's praise was really eye opening to me today. This guy isn't just happy to have doubled his investment; he is genuinely pleased with the work his servants have done, and he rewards them accordingly. I also love that the first two servants, though provided with different resources, produce the same results and receive the same reward. That was a good reminder for me today. This is something I can get caught up in - "it will be easier to serve God when (x) happens" or "it will be easier to fulfill my purpose when I have (x) that I don't have now". Good to be reminded that God is pleased when we use what he has given us faithfully and bear fruit.
2.) I've never really had a problem with the idea that Christ would praise His followers, but as I mentioned above, I have struggled with downplaying my own ability to earn that praise. I need to get reacquainted with the idea that faithfulness is not only an appropriate response to what Christ has done, but also a step towards heavenly blessing.
3.) This verse is an important reminder that our way of thinking is not correct, that we need God to reveal a better way. Thinking in that way, seeing the world through God's will rather than my own is a huge step towards being a better worshiper and disciple.
Here is my early morning response!
1) This passage convicts me so much. I am in the process of taking what I believe to be His most extravagant (obvious) gift to me and 'take it out of the hole in the ground' I have held it in for most of my life. I take a major step forward with it later this week! My gut? Spirit-heart? says it is the first step on a road that will change my life direction.
2) this scares me. I have to get out of my comfort zone. I have to become a force for Christ.
3) Father, cleanse me of this old way of thinking. Help me, point me, direct me to the new - to what You have in front of me. Let me move with Your courage, not hide in my fear. I know I am Yours - now, let me make use of what You have given. Amen
Note-many times my meditation response in my journal takes the form of a prayer - just to let you all know!
Thanks all for responding! I'm so glad you all are on board!
Be sure to share a tweet or a facebook status letting folks know you're doing the study! We might be able to grab a few late-comers that way!
Just got the book yesterday and read Day1. Ditto on many of the above comments. Definitely a new way at looking at this parable. It did make me a bit uncomfortable at first, but with much thought, I think he may be on to something cool with a different perspective. I'm interested and excited to read more!