WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 3, 2017
Series: The Mvmnt Message: The Acts of the Exalted Jesus Preacher: Jeff Wood Reflection: Andre Wang
Refresh: Open with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Acts 1:1–11; 28:11–24, 30–31 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: The first time I ever had to appear in court, I was a law clerk for the Santa Clara County District Attorney in San Jose, California. I was a nervous wreck. My boss had been an incredible mentor to me—kind and nurturing yet firm. He taught me how to formulate and express legal arguments in a courtroom. On this particular day, the matter before the court was a pre-trial evidentiary motion. Since my boss was in trial in another courtroom, he assigned the appearance to me.
I remember sitting at the counsel table—trembling—and waiting for the hearing to start. I was intimidated by the tasks before me: knowing the facts of the case, mastering the legal arguments, and having the composure to speak coherently before a judge.
Then from the back of the courtroom I heard, “Pssssst. Good luck!” I turned around to see four of my fellow law clerks sitting behind me. They made a special trip from the office to support my rookie appearance in a courtroom. Having them behind me— both figuratively and literally—gave me the confidence boost I needed. I believed in me because they believed in me. And from then on, I made sure that I showed up to support new law clerks in their courtroom appearances.
There’s incredible encouragement and power in affirmation. Even if it’s just the affirmation of being present. Paul experienced this power on his journey to Rome (Acts 28:11–16). When he arrived in Rome, he had friends who had traveled 40 miles—a full day’s journey— to greet him. “On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage” (verse 15).
Think about the boost of courage that must have surged through Paul’s mind and body when he saw those men in Rome. God not only positions us in places where our talents can be used—He also places the right people in the right places.
Recalibrate: Why is fellowship and social affirmation so essential to the human condition?
Respond: Reflect on the people God has placed in key moments of your life. Pray the prayer of Paul, thanking God for placing those people in your life. Then reflect on specific people and instances where your presence can be a boost of encouragement. Pray that God will open your heart to see those opportunities.
Research: Read What’s So Amazing About Grace, chapter 12, “No Oddballs Allowed,” by Philip Yancey.
LIVE WONDER (0-3)
Pray for the people who will help your family grow closer to each other and God. Pray for your friends today and for the families around you. If you have photos, show them to your child while you tell them what you love about the person in the photo. Ask them what they love about their friends and family.
LIVE ADVENTURE (4-11)
The Bible is full of good friends. David and Jonathan. Naomi and Ruth. Jesus and His disciples. Paul and Timothy. Pray for your friends. Think of ways you can cheer them today.
LIVE PUPOSE (AGES 12-16^
The Bible tells us that Paul’s friends in Rome gave him courage and that he thanked God for them. Make a list of three people who give you courage and write them a note to let them know they’re special to you.