Last week was so encouraging and uplifting as we embraced God’s promises and His faithfulness, wasn’t it? Especially during seasons of fire it’s easy to let those assurances that are ours as the children of God slip away like they don’t apply anymore, and yet they do! How did you do in your personal study this last week? We’d love to hear from you about what the Lord is doing in your life through Play With Fire on our blog or in our private Facebook group. And, speaking of our need to share our hearts and selves with others…
This week we’re in session four, “Community.”
Especially as Christians, we need to remember — We are better together! We need each other.
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. — Ecclesiastes 4:10
- Watch the video for Week 4 – either on DVD or here on FaithGateway.
- If you’re meeting with a small group or in a church setting with others, go through the discussion questions for Chapter 4 in your Play With Fire Study Guide (pages 120-126).
- For your personal study this week, go through the between-sessions personal study in the Play With Fire Study Guide (pages 127-153). Keep up with your homework, friends! But, if you’re behind, don’t worry. We’ll have a week at the end to catch up.
- Recommended (but optional) reading for this week: Read Play With Fire – the book, not study guide.
- Join us Thursday November 3rd (optional) for a live chat to discuss this week’s study with our awesome community of believers at 2 pm EST and 9 pm EST.
And finally, I encourage you to reach out to your people this week, tell them what’s going on with you, share your heart, and be a listener for them as well.
But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon — Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego — who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up. — Daniel 3:12
We need solid Christian friends. There’s no way around it. Isolation is deadly. Christian fellowship brings life. We need community to pull us up when we don’t have the strength or will to get up on our own, to stand face-to-face when we need to be confronted, to throw up pumping fists together when we’re celebrating, put an arm around us when we are grieving, to have our backs when we are under attack, to hold our hands in prayer, to walk alongside through the wild and messy journey of life reminding us to keep the faith, to stand up to the bullies together like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to shine a light on the path and mission ahead of us when we lose our way and our vision. We need people.
When you forget your name, the community around you will remind you. — B
One of my kids had a really rough time this week. He got caught doing some things he had no business doing.
By the way, parents, one of the most powerful prayers we can raise is, “Get ‘em, God! Let them be caught for every sneaky thing and every rebellion before patterns set into hard- or numb-heartedness. Woo their hearts with Your perfect love and discipline. Keep my kids on a short tether and help me to parent them the way You parent me — lovingly, wisely, filled with grace and mercy for repentance, and with solid consequences meant to keep me within the bounds of what honors You and what is good for me and for others. Chase after my children, Lord, as the Hound of Heaven and never let them go. Get ‘em, God!”
Because he’s spicy like me, when my son knew he was caught dead to rights, he was not sorry. He didn’t apologize and make amends. He was as hot as a hornet, defensive, and a little crazy in his thinking. (The apple didn’t fall far.) He was way out of bounds and unable to unwind on his own.
But, because our good God loves my son (and you and me) beyond my wildest dreams, about two minutes after the mama-manchild confrontation, the doorbell rang and two sold-out-for-Jesus buddies from YoungLife bounded in amped up on God, excited to share with my son the awesome things He is doing in their lives, and hungry for pasta and garlic bread. These Holy Spirit filled brothers put their arms around him, they listened empathetically to his story, and they did what great Christian friends do — they confronted him with the love of Christ. They rerouted his direction and encouraged him to keep going for Jesus! It. Was. Amazing. God is so good to send us friends when we cannot hear anyone else!
Christian brothers and sisters help us see straight. They help us stand up for what is right. They tell us when we’re flat-out wrong. As my pastor says, they look us in the eye when we are off the mark and say, “You’re crazy!” and help us think scripturally and wisely. They don’t stay silent if we’re headed towards disaster or failing faith. They arrest us and say, “No, my friend. We’re not going that way. Let’s go this way together instead.”
We are better together.
When we walk away from faithful, practicing, devoted-to-Jesus-Christ community (Not Christians in name only. I mean those who are going full bore for Jesus.), we put a target on our back. We simply can’t do it alone. Even if we would never even dream of falling away from relationship with God, even if we could never imagine that leaving the community of faith would mean leaving faith, it’s what happens. Every time.
We need people who care enough to say, “I’m with you. Let’s do this thing together, shoulder to shoulder. We’re going to go after Jesus with all of our hearts. We’re going to cross the finish line, my friend, you and me. Let’s be on fire for Jesus and never give up!”
We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown in the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to deliver us. — Daniel 3:16-17
A true friend accepts who you are but also help you become who you should be. — B
I am so thankful for my people. One of my friends is more connected to the Holy Spirit than anyone I’ve ever known. Another is very practical, analytical, and wise. Another is wildly fun and spontaneous. Another has huge dreams and plans and the excitement to conquer anything. Another is rough around the edges and fiercely funny. Another is relentless about loving the lost back to faith. All of them love Jesus with all of their hearts and I need every single one.
Prayer for the Week
God, even You live in fellowship as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus ministered and lived in deep friendship with His community. Thank You for creating us for relationship. Help us to not be stranded in isolation. Help us to find people who are deeply devoted to You who will walk alongside us and let us offer the same. Help us to love You together, to run our race together, to fulfill our destinies together. Help us to stand through the fires together. We love You Jesus and are so thankful that in the fire You are always with us. Amen.
Who are your people? What community are you leaning into and doing life with? Come share with us!
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