Posted: 26 Jan 2011 04:00 PM PST
Based on “Unlimited Opportunities, Part 3” by Pastor Mark Balmer;
1/22-23/11, Message #MB448; Daily Devotional #3 - “One Piece of the Puzzle”
Preparing the Soil (Introduction): With Super Bowl season underway, many people are excited for their team to be one of the final two. There are some star players on the teams, but the team cannot function without the cooperation and support of each member. From the quarterback to the kicker, each member has an important function. One throws the ball and another kicks it, but each role contributes to the success of the team. This success only comes through trusting each other, following orders from the coach, and committing to doing whatever it takes to get the job done. When each member carries out his own personal training, the team is prepared to meet the opponent. The coach then directs each move according to the playbook. The joint strength of the team is far more powerful than that of just one man.
Planting and Watering the Seed (Growth): And so it was that Jesus chose His disciples, one man at a time (Luke 6:13). These ordinary, mortal men walked the same sand with Jesus. They struggled, they failed, they doubted, they denied, and yet, they were changed because they followed the Lord. Put yourself in their sandals. Jesus revealed Himself to each one and said, ‘Follow me.’ They dropped everything and went—no hesitation, no reservation. Would you do the same? When we walk by sight and not by faith, the fear of the unknown often keeps us from following Jesus. Looking back at Noah, Abraham, Jonah, Gideon, and others, they questioned God, but they were used in mighty ways to fulfill His plan through them (Hebrews 11). The disciples saw Jesus in the flesh; they heard His voice, touched His body, and shared meals with Him. Jesus knew the strengths and weaknesses of these twelve men, and He knew their potential as they learned to trust Him. He told them, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) To ‘remain’ in Jesus means to stay connected by our daily quiet time. When each Christ follower commits to their ‘personal training’ of prayer and study (Matthew 6:33), the body of Christ is strengthened. Our discipline to trust and obey the Lord builds spiritual muscle power to stand against the enemy. We must do our part to maintain unity (Romans 12:18), follow the orders of our Coach (John 14:15), and commit to serving God in whatever capacity He calls us (1 Peter 4:10). One teaches the Word and another tends to the sick, but each gift is equally important as we represent Jesus to the world. Paul reminds us of this: But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. (1 Corinthians 12:18). By the hand of God we were all created to be useful to Him and others (Ephesians 2:10). We need each other. Jesus chose twelve men to be part of His intimate circle of friends. If the Son of God needed encouragement, fellowship, and prayer, how much more do we?
Harvesting the Crop (Action/Response): Jesus builds His team, one person at a time. If you are a Christ follower today, you have joined the ranks of many who have gone before you. Each of us have unique gifts and talents that work together to serve one another and make God look good (Romans 12:4-5). We cannot see Jesus in human form as the disciples did; instead, we follow Him by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). We hear God’s voice through the Word (Psalm 46:10). We have what the disciples did not – the playbook. We can open the Bible and know that All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16). What a relief to know that when we read the Bible and do what it says, God is faithful to finish what He begins (Philippians 1:6). If we want to change the world for God, we need to link arms and forge ahead together, in the power and Spirit of the One Man who died to give it to us—Jesus Christ. When He says go, you say, “…Here am I. Send me!”’ (Isaiah 6:8). We are the physical hands, feet, and mouthpiece of Jesus, doing what He did while He walked with the disciples. Each part of the body must work together with the common goal of glorifying God. And remember: Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel … (Philippians 1:27). Each of us is a puzzle piece, and when we join together, the image of Jesus Christ is formed. One puzzle piece is useless on its own. We want to show the world who Jesus is by how our pieces fit perfectly together. The puzzle is not complete until every piece is in place. It starts with just one piece of the puzzle. You are that piece … get connected.
§ Are you a full-time follower of Jesus, or a part-time parishioner?
§ Do you follow the coach’s orders, or go by your own playbook?
§ Does your day include ‘personal training’ time with God?
Calvary Chapel of Melbourne; 2955 Minton Road; W. Melbourne, FL 32904; 321-952-9673All Bible references are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.