Here we are in our final week! I’m so excited to tackle this last week and then look back at all that we learned, all the baggage we dropped, and all that God has ahead for us! This week we’re going to remember that it’s all about Jesus, not us. Our past doesn’t dictate what God will do in us and through us. Christine’s message for us is such a powerful encouragement – God has and will always use highly unlikely people to accomplish highly unlikely things for His glory. That means that God can use me and God can use you. He’s got a bigger plan that we can even imagine!
God doesn’t ever call the qualified. He qualifies the called. — CC
This week is session five, “Highly Unlikely,” and we will:
- Watch the video for session five on DVD or right here on FaithGateway.
- If you’re meeting with a small group, or in a church setting with others, or on your own, go through the discussion questions for session five in the Unashamed Study Guide (pages 95-107).
- For your personal study this week, read and journal in the Unashamed Study Guide (pages 108-116, the yellow section).
- Recommended (but optional) – Read Unashamed chapter 11 of the companion book, not study guide.
Unlikely You, Unlikely Me
I’m sick of myself.
Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever thought, I’m tired of my own sin-filled, wrecked and messed-up junk, sick of the wicked things and painful crimes that were perpetrated against me, tired of the scars that feel like they define me, tired of my embarrassing and shameful failures, and heart-sick that my past has X-ed me off and made me completely useless to God.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. — 2 Corinthians 4:7
I’m the black sheep of my family. The broken one. The one whose marriage failed. (Seriously, on one side of my family, the divorce I did not want was the very first in our history. One relative told me that I had “stained our family for all generations past and future” which led to a tsunami of shame I cannot begin to describe.)
The weaker we are, the more He can do through us! — CC
But, because God is a But God God (remember our session four lesson), at my dad’s memorial service last year I was asked to preach. It took chutzpa to stand in front of a thousand people being the black sheep sharing the Word of the Lord… but God had already spoken over me. Forgiveness (1 John 1:19). Affirmation (2 Corinthians 1:21-22 MSG). Acceptance (Romans 10:9-13). Blessing (James 1:17). And delight (Zephaniah 3:17)! And, His opinion is the final word.
And, God’s Word is over you as well.
This week Christine teaches us about the Stained Glass people, the heroes of the faith – all failures. All broken. All flawed. All sinners. Jesus chose a wild bunch of average, unschooled, mostly poor people to be His disciples. They were hot-headed. They chickened out. They made mistakes. They completely misunderstood what Jesus was doing enough that He often called them “little faiths”. The team of initial Jesus followers (called “The Way”) was made up of a bunch of sinner-saints just like you and me — a motley bunch of messy, argumentative, beautiful, bumbling, holy hooligans we call the Church.
What made the difference in their lives and hearts? Faith and trust in Jesus. Loving Him. Choosing Him.
Jesus paved the way for us so that our black marks, the ones that X us out “for good” are turned around and actually used for good by Him and for Him!
God loves to use people who know their weaknesses, who see their flaws, who admit their mistakes, and who cry out to Him for help. — CC
In the video, Chris shares a long list of Bible heroes and maybe a few you haven’t studied before who are just like us — imperfect, broken, sinful, and yet used by God, some who even showed up in Jesus’ own lineage! They were willing and available, they submitted to God’s authority, chose to love Him, and even in their messiness, He used their lives for His glory!
And He is doing the same in me and in you!
Even if you don’t believe it. Even if you’ve made a royal mess of your life, and who hasn’t? I certainly have! Even if you’ve been abandoned, rejected, mistreated, fired, dismissed, replaced, mocked, used, and abused. You are not forgotten. You are seen. You are known. You are loved. You are priceless. You are delighted in. You can be used by God for good!
Proverbs 3:5-6 says:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
God can use unlikely you if you allow Him to. He can use unlikely me. It doesn’t make logical sense, but neither does any other story of the heroes of faith whom we love to read.
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him. — 1 Corinthians 1:27-29
Jesus knows our junk. He looks at us and says, “Perfect! What a masterpiece! You’re just who I need for this work!”
God wants the world to see what He can do through people whose trust is in Him alone. — CC
We, like Chris, can be tempted to live in hiding, embarrassed, ashamed, sick and tired of the sin in our pasts and the grief we’ve caused. But, we don’t have to. We can find victory in Him and be used for His glory!
I want that! How about you?
Let’s Silence Shame by Speaking Blessing (Study Guide, page 110)
Let’s speak blessing this week and kick shame to the curb! Over ourselves. Over our families. Over others in our lives. Our words can bring harm or healing. Let’s heal those around us with words of blessing this week!
Lord, thank You that You can take the biggest messes we dish up and completely revolutionize them to Your glory. It’s not about us or our pasts — it’s about You! We want to be willing and we want to be available to You, to be healed and to be used by You. We don’t want to crawl into a cave and hide. You can use all of our imperfections to work out Your perfect plan. Lord, help us to silence the tsunami of shame and receive Your word over our lives. We love You and we are so thankful for Your work in our hearts and minds, Jesus! Amen!
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. — 1 Peter 2:9-10
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