Thursday, September 27, 2012

Touching Base! Part 182

Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog?

(You can find a recording of this sermon here.)

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

Dangerously Over-Challenged



As a group, or in personal reflection, use the above chart to plot out where you are at these days. What is it about your life that has you pegged where you are? What can you do to change or improve your situation? Who is helping you on your journey these days?

There are a number of reasons why we can end up in the “dangerously over-challenged” section. One reason is because of the Word of God.

On Sunday, as we started our series in Jeremiah, we looked at the idea that The Word of God Will Challenge and Change Our World! In other words, how it speaks into our lives can, at times, make us feel that we are way in over our head - we’re not sure if we can do what God’s word is asking of us or if we can become what God’s word is wanting to shape us into. Remember Jesus’ prayer- “sanctify them by Your truth”!

We looked at three ways this was happening in Jeremiah’s life. When God said to Jeremiah, “Get yourself ready”, He wasn’t kidding! (v.17)

Text: Jeremiah 1

Get yourself ready because the Word of God will call you to go off-road (v. 1-5)

Read v. 1-4 - What do you note about the context of Jeremiah’s life?
Note in particular the road he is on - he was born into a priestly family, a well-worn path. He knows what to expect since he has seen his dad and grandfather be priests. His whole life, he’s been mentored, molded, shaped and prepared for being a priest. The language of the priesthood is common. But then the word of God comes and says – “Get yourself ready….!” He is only 20 years old and things are about to change.
What was God calling him to become?
Read the chapter and note what this new role would entail.

Like Jeremiah, God’s Word still call us out today and say “Get yourself ready!” (Note 2 Tim. 3:16,17) Note how the Word of God can challenge. Talk about how that has happened in your life. Have you ever felt dangerously over-challenged?

The Word of God is not a “stand still” book but a “get yourself ready” book. It’s like getting on to an escalator - you don’t get on it to stay where you are, but because you’re going somewhere! Likewise with the Word of God - you don’t open it up to stay where you are but to go somewhere. Are you willing?

Get yourself ready because the word of God will call you out from behind familiar fences (v.6-10)

Note the excuse Jeremiah comes up with so he won’t have to move. I call these excuses “fences” that often hem people in, and keep them from stepping out. Fear is certainly a big one, can you think of others? What is your most common response to God’s Word when you feel that it is calling you to overly-challenging areas? The sad truth is that some people have stopped growing because their “fence” has limited their growth.

Note what God does for Jeremiah: He reassures him that the word of God will be fulfilled and that Jeremiah does not need to allow fear to hem him in. Instead his faith in the certainty of God’s word should lead him onward. In v.11, God draws Jeremiah’s attention to the almond tree. They were famous for their white and snowy blossoms that would appear earlier than most other blossoms in the spring. When you saw the blossoms you knew that there was more to come. The blossoms built anticipation for the change of seasons. Likewise, the word of God is like the blossoms that build anticipation that God will act, that more is to come, that a new season is on its way and God is watching over it all to make sure it will happen just as He says.

Get yourself ready because the word of God will set you apart from your culture (v.13-19)

Scan the chapter and find phrases that make it pretty clear that Jeremiah is not going to fit in that well with his culture any more. On Sunday, I gave some texts illustrating that in the New Testament God’s Word is still calling us to engage in culture, but not blend in. What New Testament texts can you come up with?

For some, this is the most difficult area to be challenged in because we value acceptance more than anything else. We want to be loved, accepted, not disagreeing with those around us. At times we find it very hard to speak up and say we don’t agree, or that what someone is doing is wrong. If Jeremiah valued acceptance more than God and His Word, he would never have gone to the places God was calling him.

Are you embracing God’s Word?
Are you opening it and reading it and being challenged and changed?
God says to Jeremiah, “Get yourself ready!” God still says to us today, “Get yourself ready!”

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