Welcome to Anything Project Week 6! What did you uncover last week as we went head-to-head with fear and prayed boldly to love God and be willing to risk more? Did someone you write for Project Two spur you on in your walk with Jesus? Have you joined the conversation on the Anything study pages?
For Week Six, we’ll:
- Watch the video
- Read Chapters 14-15 of Anything
- Study John 17:1-25
- Answer the questions and projects on pages 241-247 of the Study Guide at the back of the book.
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As You sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. — John 17:18
Last week a dear friend of mine suddenly died. As I write this her memorial and life celebration service is a couple of days away but the shock hasn’t worn off.
One wonderful thing is that Debbie Stewart-Peak didn’t waste her time here. She ran flat-out for Jesus! She was a pastor and a pastor’s wife. Her first husband, Josh, was my youth group leader and he made such an impact on my faith that I named one of my sons after him. Debbie was a church planter, then abruptly became a widow with two young children when Josh passed away. That didn’t stop her race! She was a solid and faithful woman, who later became a wife to a worship leader for more than 20 years, and was determined to live with joy and to spend her life loving Him and loving people — and she did. Plus, she was so much fun! I wish you knew her so you could smile along with me at her memorial and remember the years of memories I have stashed away of her big laugh, big hugs, and her fun and crazy antics.
She did it. She made it to the finish line and I have no doubt blazed into Glory hearing,
Well done, good and faithful servant. — Matthew 25:21
Along with treasuring the memories of my friend, this week has been filled with thoughts about living every day for God and for eternal purposes — not my own selfish desires for a safe and sane, “cute, comfortable, easy life” (page 144). Actually, this whole study has been that way, but more poignantly this week!
Is it true that what I do — or don’t do — in this life is going to matter forever? What are we made for? What does God want us to do? What is He equipping us for? These are the questions we’re wrestling with in this week’s study (and in life).
What we do in life echoes in eternity. ~ Maximus Decimus Meridius, Gladiator
Here’s the theological answer from The Westminster Confession of Faith:
[Our] chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy Him forever.
That’s our calling. Yours. Mine. All of ours. To glorify God and put Him, His holiness, and His magnificence on display in the way that we live our lives and love those around us — family, neighbors, and enemies, too — and to enjoy Him forever! When it’s put that way, finding our calling doesn’t sound so scary and elusive. We serve a loving Lord whose chief end for His kids is to glorify Him and enjoy Him no matter what our vocation, occupation, location, age, or life-stage! Both here and now and into eternity!
That sounds easy in the macro perspective. But, you know the saying “The days are long, but the years are short”? It’s the day-in-and-day-out faithfulness through trials that is such a beast. In looking back at seasons that required huge faith and took serious risk, we may have foggy memories of the stomach-twisting, desperate prayers for God’s guidance, or even an audible voice to lead us through huge choices and life-changing zigs and zags. Many of us grew up expecting our lives to go in a straight line, directly where we wanted it to go, smoothly, and without chaos. Ha! What were we thinking? None of the heroes of faith had easy lives, clear paths, or safe and sane ministries.
(Sneak peek: I’m so glad that next week we’re delving into the chaos that comes with a life of faith!)
It’s so important when it gets intensely hard to keep at the forefront of our minds that Jesus Himself prays for us! He isn’t running to the Father just when we sin and pleading, “Father, forgive Laurie again even though she lied (or judged, gossiped, slandered, preferred something or someone above You, lusted, or was angry to the point of secretly enjoying someone else’s hardship) for the millionth time.” No, that’s all been paid for already on the Cross. He prays for us (John 17:20) that we would not necessarily be released from our struggles and heartbreaks, but that we would be protected from Satan, sanctified by His Word (the Bible), and that we would remain unified with all believers (which takes oceans of grace — Matthew 18:21-22).
And Jennie said, it’s our turn. It’s our turn to be the generation that risks it all for Jesus, lays down absolutely anything for Him, chooses audacious forgiveness and unoffendability, faces our fears, uncertainty, and suffering with the boldness of the apostles, and loves indiscriminately. Read the book of Acts again and you’ll be blown away by the apostles’ reckless evangelism and wild love for Jesus!
Life goes by so quickly! At the end of my days, whenever that may be, I want my loved ones to be able to say, “She fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. Way to go, girl!” I know you do, too!
For further study:
- Acts 5:17-41
- 1 Corinthians 10:31
- Colossians 3:17
Consider this question from Jennie’s Conversation Cards: How does believing that life is short change the way that we live it? Join the conversation over on the study page.