Series – Reckless Love
Sermon – Openhearted Love
Scripture Readings: 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, 1 John 2:7-11
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:17-20)
Monday September 30 — 1 John 2:7-11
As you might expect, the word “new” plays an important role in the Bible’s account of God’s actions in the world – especially in the New Testament. What we discover is that God is constantly doing something new. Yes, there is an unchanging aspect to God’s nature and God’s character, but we believe that God is constantly teaching us new lessons and guiding us into new places. The new commandment to love one another is a word that we need to hear (anew) on a regular basis. As you read 1John 2:7-11, what new lessons are you learning today? Where is God guiding you?
• Prayer: Eternal God, I am thankful that you are eternal and unchanging. I am also thankful that you are constantly doing new things in my life. Help me see you in my life. Amen.
Tuesday October 1 — Luke 8:1-3
As we discover when we read the Gospels, Jesus is constantly expanding the circle of God’s love in the world, taking the Good News of the Kingdom to new people and new places. The first three verses of chapter 8 contain one of the many summary statements in Luke’s Gospel. What’s new in this passage is the inclusion of the women who are traveling with Jesus and providing for him. (In Jesus’ time, women would have typically been neither seen nor heard.) Where are the new places that the risen Christ is taking the Good News about God’s Kingdom today?
• Prayer: God of Love, open my eyes to see clearly where your son, Jesus, is leading me today. I’m ready to meet new people and serve you in new ways. Amen.
Wednesday October 2 — John 4:1-15
The story of Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well in John 4 is unexpected in several ways. First, John tells us that Jesus “had to go through Samaria” (John 4:4). This was because of his mission, not because it was the only way to get from Judea to Galilee. Second, Jesus was engaging a woman (something a righteous Jewish teacher would not typically have done.) Third, he asked her for a drink (see John 4:9). How can we re-imagine this encounter in this day and age? How willing are you to go with Jesus and serve the kind of people he serves in the kinds of places he goes?
• Prayer: Merciful God, forgive me for placing too many limits on what I’m willing to do as one of your disciples. Grant me the courage I need to step outside my comfort zone. Amen.
Thursday October 3 — John 4:16-30, 39-42
The rest of the story about Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well illustrates the unexpected (or shocking) nature of what Jesus did. The reaction of Jesus’ disciples in John 4:27 tells us what we need to know. The larger point of the story is that the Samaritan woman is the ideal illustration of the transforming power of God’s love and grace offered through Jesus. Meeting Jesus changed her life. She (and others in her community) experienced new life. What is God’s love and grace doing in your life this week? In what ways are you being transformed?
• Prayer: Loving and Gracious God, I am ready to be transformed by the power of your love and grace. I am ready to be saved from the power of sin and death. Amen.
Friday October 4 — Galatians 3:23-29
In his letter to the Galatians, the apostle Paul compares and contrasts life before Christ and after Christ. What he says is that when Christ has come into the world (and into our lives) and we are “baptized into Christ” (Galatians 3:27), we are no longer bound by human categories. In Christ, human distinctions disappear. We are saved by grace, through faith, not by works or any other kind of human status, accomplishment, or human characteristic. What does that mean for you?
• Prayer: God of Saving Grace, I know that I am a sinner who can only be saved by your grace. I freely accept your grace, through faith in your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Saturday October 5 — 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
2 Corinthians 5:17-19 summarizes this week’s message: in Christ, “everything has become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This is God’s gift and it changes everything for us. As a result of our being reconciled to God through Christ, “we are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20.) As ambassadors, we represent Christ in the world. Or put another way, the world is watching what we say and do to learn more about God. Think about the people in your life (family, friends, co-workers, neighbors): what is the way you live your life teaching them about God?
• Prayer: Almighty God, thank you for offering me forgiveness and reconciliation. Teach me to be a good steward of your grace and an ambassador for your Kingdom. Amen.