I hope this series of devotional stories will inspire you, both in your personal formation and in facilitating the formation of others. Through these devotions, I seek to reflect the wholeness of the story of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so that we see ourselves and others more clearly. In this way, our purpose to participate with Him in all of life becomes clear. There is an opportunity for personal reflection at the end of each devotion, followed by a song. You are invited to use these in your own quiet moments of contemplation. You may also like to use these devotions as you lead others in a reflective process, whether one-on-one, or as part of groups both small and large. It is my hope that as people are drawn into the biblical story, they come to understand their own story in light of God’s redemptive purposes in the world.
Remember when Jesus sat down beside a well and talked to a Samaritan woman? A Jew, a rabbi, talking to a Samaritan, this was unheard of in the culture. Not only did He talk to her, He asked her a question; a woman of questionable conduct with a completely different belief system than His. John 4:7-8 says, “A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, “Would you give me a drink of water?” (The Message)
Because of conversation, Samaria was opened up to receiving the gospel. But, it started with a conversation. John 4:39-42 says many of the Samaritans from that village committed themselves to Him because of the woman’s witness: “He knew all about the things I did. He knows me inside and out!” They asked him to stay on, so Jesus stayed two days. A lot more people entrusted their lives to him when they heard what he had to say. They said to the woman, “We’re no longer taking this on your say-so. We’ve heard it for ourselves and know it for sure. He’s the Saviour of the world!” (The Message)
“Teresa, I had heard about God all my life. I knew Jesus died for my sins, but I didn’t meet Jesus until I met you.” Mia
I was in the second year of my Masters in Christian Formation and Discipleship; still using the village pub for my reading, writing and research. The owner of the pub had even put a reserve sign on the table in the corner where I always sat saying, ‘Teresa’s office.’
I knew the bartenders, waitresses, waiters and the owners. One by one they started asking me why I came into the pub and what was I working on all the time. I shared with them about the Masters and what topic I was working on that particular day. They asked me many questions: ‘What is a Christian?’ ‘What does Jesus have to do with me today?’ ‘Why do you learn about Him?’
As time pasted I got to know them, heard their stories and eventually heard their pain, frustrations, fears; at times hopelessness and despair. When it was time for me to do my capstone project at the end of the course, I asked if they would be willing to assist me. I was very excited when they agreed to help me by coming together every week after reading stories I shared about my own life. I told them I wanted to hear their thoughts, ideas, and eventually wanted them to critique the stories because I was hoping to put them in a book. I told them they could be completely real and even tell me if they disagreed or disliked them.
We met every week for three months; sometimes at the pub, occasionally at my home. We shared a meal, laughed, cried, at times some of them got mad at me, told me what I said was stupid (they did use this word often) but we grew and learned together. Many times, I would just sit there the whole evening and listen to their hearts. There were eight of us and the one thing I heard over and over from them even in the midst of disagreeing and arguing (now I didn’t argue with them, they argued with each other) was, ‘Teresa, you know Jesus and we like you; maybe we need to receive this Jesus if He is like you.’ I was always so humbled by this and amazed. I saw the transforming story of what God does in a human heart come alive and saw the life-changing story touch and change these ladies. By sharing my life, being authentic and entering into where these women were, I was telling the story of Jesus and they were introduced to Him.
And the Word became flesh and blood, and lived among us; full of grace and truth. John 1:14
God is not a distant God, a God to be feared and avoided, a God of revenge, but a God who is moved by our pains and participates in the fullness of the human struggle – Henri Nouwen
Personal Reflection: Read again the quote above by Mia, a young girl in the group. She, along with six others, received the truth of what Jesus says. Think about people you are with, people you encounter on a daily basis or maybe ones you never planned to meet. Consider how conversations can transform. Maybe you can ask God to empower you to be intentional about where you are going, what you are doing and what you are saying. This doesn’t mean you don’t laugh and have fun – I enjoyed myself so much with this group of ladies! But, be aware of where you go and where you are; He is there with you, working to bring all people to Himself. For those who know Him and those who do not, He wants us to continue to grow, learn and become more like who we were meant to be all along: being fully human participating with Jesus and trusting Him.
Listen to the song below, He is Worthy. Think about how God entered into our world when we didn’t even know we were not living the way we were created to live. Father, Son and Holy Spirit did not formulate some difficult plan for us to get to Him, He came to us, He invited us into His life… all of us. If God did this, are we not to as well? Are we not to enter into the lives of people, meet them where they are and show them Jesus just like Jesus show us God?
You are Worthy by Becky Frith
(From the Album Incredible Grace, which can be bought from iTunes or www.beckyfrithmusic.com)
Your great love burns within our hearts
When You speak, light dispels the dark
We believe in Your redeeming power
And You are making all things new
You are worthy, so worthy
King Jesus Lord of all
You are worthy, so worthy
We worship and adore
Nations rise, kings and rulers fall
Yet You are sovereign over all
You are Lord and one day all will come
And bow before Your holy throne
When it seems darkness will prevail
We have hope: Your love never fails
We are Yours, our destiny assured
We’ll live with You forevermore
Hallelujah, You are victorious
Hallelujah, forever glorious
Hallelujah, we are alive in You
Teresa Greer Drew (2017) Pages From Her Story