Word Alive! © 2021 Winter Series
You Can Begin Again!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 4 May, 2021
Max Lucado, “Begin Again” Lesson 14, (Chap. 14, Part 2)
Devotional Time: “Begin Again” (pp. 107-110)
God’s Investment It’s important for each of us to learn and appreciate how God has created us in such a way that what we give to others is unique and beneficial. Because God has created each of us special, we should never underestimate His ability to do great things with and though us. In the beginning of the Scripture the writer tells us God created human beings in His image. The Hebrew word often translated in that text is tselem, which means a “resemblance” or “representation” of someone. In this sense, God’s created humans were possessed with some of His qualities (cf. Genesis 1:27, NLT). God has invested so much of Himself in us, yet we were not created as gods or divine beings (cf. Psalm 8:4-9, NLT). It’s correct to say however, we were all created by divine appointment. God created each of us in a unique and purposeful way. David describes with great passion and poetic language how special each of us was in our prenatal world (cf. Psalm 139:14-16, NLT). In his devotional book, Begin Again, Max Lucado says: “No one else has your “You-ness.” No one else in all history has your unique history. No one else in god’s great design has your divine design. No one else shares your blend of personality, ability, and ancestry. When God made you the angels stood in awe and declared, “We’ve never seen one like tat before.”. And they never will again. Your journey is one of a kind.” Job also acknowledges how God formed him, and cared for him for a special purpose in life (cf. Job 10:10-12, NLT). We belong to God for he has invested much in us. God’s care for us is evident in how He is both provider and protector. When we are found in the path God has provided for us, there is always safety. In worship we acknowledge our relationship and allegiance to God, knowing that He claims us as His own (cf. Psalm 100:3, NLT). We have been, according to the Apostle Paul, given a new life in God through Jesus Christ. The Christian life is abut knowing and embracing our destiny in the Kingdom and in life. Max Lucado laments, “Many people stop short of their destiny. They settle for someone else’s story…They never sing the song God wrote for their voices…” We must learn to find our own voice. This is another way of saying learn what God would have you to do, and do it well! Paul told the Christians in Ephesus that they were a great, continuing work (cf. Ephesians 2:10a, NLT).
Your Contribution Is Unique - Because we are so important to God, what we contribute and share with others is unique. Paul uses the human body and its many intricate parts as a metaphor for how the family of God is to perform. The various parts of the human body represent each Christian. Paul tells the Christians at Corinth, that God“has put each part [in the body] where he wants it.” Each Christian is on assignment, and is gifted to be useful and effective where a specific need is (cf. I Corinthians 12:18;25-27, NLT). Max Lucado shares this candid comment: “Your skill set is your road map. It leads you to your territory lives. Take note of your strength...God loves you too much to give you a job and not the skills. Identify yours.” There also are times when we underestimate our abilities, and become slack. This was the situation later in Corinth, when the church had made a pledge commitment of financial support to help some of the Christians in the Macedonia region. Paul reminded the elders of the Church in Corinth that God had given them the ability to be generous, and that their generosity would be a tremendous gift to the Christian brothers and sisters experiencing hardship (cf. 2 Corinthians 9:13-15, NLT). The gifts God gives each of us is to enable us to be effective at whatever task we’re assigned (cf. Romans 12:6a, NLT). We note in the NLT rendering the term certain things well. Each of our gifts is specific for a given assignment, and not for every task. Moreover, the purpose of an enablement God gives us is to benefit others. These gifts are not to be used for personal enrichment or self-promotion (cf. I Cor. 12:7, NLT). Paul’s classic work on defending the proper use of spiritual gifts, is an affirmation of our gifts, but a negation of the misuse and exploitation of gifts. Paul’s summation on the topic is that none of us can contribute effectively to the body of Christ, if we use our gifts improperly. What we contribute to the church should “build up” the Body, and not leave it to the whims of disorder and confusion (cf. I Cor. 14:26; 28; 33, NLT). Max Lucado says, “You are not responsible for the nature of your gift. But you are responsible with how you use it.” Contribute wisely!
What We Believe
We must learn God’s territory for us, and pursue that road!
1. God has given each of us unique and beneficial gifts!
2. We must contribute to others freely what God has given us!
Genesis 1:27, NLT
“So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them, male and female He created them.”
Psalm 139:14-16, NLT
“Thank you for making meso wonderfully complex!Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day was passed.”
Job 10:10-12, NLT“You guided my conception and formed me in the womb. You clothed me with skin and flesh, and you knit my bones and sinews together. You gave me life and showed me your unfailing love. My life was preserved by your care.”
Psalm 100:3, NLT
“the Lord is God, He made us, and we are His. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.”
Ephesians 2:10a, NLT
“We are God’s masterpiece.”
I Cor. 12:18; 25-27, NLT
“But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where He wants it…This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.”
2 Corinthians 9:13-15, NLT
“As a result of your ministry,they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!”
Romans 12:6a, NLT
“In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well…”
I Corinthians 12:7, NLT
“A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.”
I Cor. 14:26; 28;33, NLT
“Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize. When you meet together, one Will sing, another will teach,another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that misdone must strengthen all of you…But if no one is present who can interpret, they must be silent in your church meeting and speak in tongues to God privately… For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God’s holy people.”
James 1:22-25, NLT
“But don’t just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don't obey, it is like glancing at your face in the mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free,and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard,then God will bless you for doing it.”
Matthew 7:21;24-25, NLT
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord! Will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter…Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwater rise and the winds beat against the house,it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.”
2 Timothy 3:14-15, NLT
“But you must remain faithful in the things you have been taught, you know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from child-hood, and they have given you the wisdom the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.”.
I John 4:12-13, NLT
“No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us His Spirit as proof that we live in Him, and He in us.”
Philippians 4:8-9, NLT
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true,and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me – everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”
Hosea 4:6, NLT
“My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me. Since you priests refuse to know me, I refuse to recognize you as priests. Since you have forgotten the laws of your God,I will forget to bless your children.”
Acts 24:24-25, NLT
“A few days later Felix comeback with his wife, Drusilla, who was Jewish. Sending for Paul, they listened as he told them about faith in Jesus Christ. As he reasoned with them about righteousness and self-control and the coming day of judgment,Felix became frightened. “Go away for now.” He replied.“When it is more convenient,I’ll call you again.”
Acts 26:27-28, NLT
King Agrippa, “Do you believe the prophets? I know you do – “Agrippa interrupted him. “Do you think