Welcome to the final week of our six week journey together! I can’t believe our study is coming to an end! This week is all about the ministry of reconciliation. If God gave us the ministry of reconciliation then what does that look like? This week we are going to uncover how to own our story, love our people, share our heart, build our relationships, and dream God dreams. Let’s dive right in.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (NIV)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made
him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
God reconciled us to reconcile others and that is such a beautiful thing. The enemy knows that your story is powerful.. your freedom is life-changing… your mission unstoppable. And so, he hits us with all kinds of fear about our past. If he can keep us afraid to be transparent, he can keep others bound in their chains. Your story is the key to someone else’s freedom. God reconciled to reconcile. God chose not to count your sins against you and if he did that for you, he will do it for others. We reach people through transparency. Your story is uniquely yours. No one else has walked your road to reconciliation, and even though it was messy, in the mess you found Jesus and you will never be the same.
Hosea is such a beautiful story of how God constantly takes us back. He knew we would wander, but he came after us every single time. I love Hosea 2:14-16 because it’s a beautiful picture of the reconciliation of Israel. Israel had worshiped other gods and turned their back on Him, but he came for Israel and he came for you and me.
Hosea 2:14-16 NLT says “But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Troublec into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt. When that day comes,” says the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’ instead of ‘my master.”
This is reconciliation. This is your story, this is my story, this is the story a hopeless world wants to see. God wanted to win us back even after all of our sin. He led us into the desert, not to dry up and die, but to give us tenderness and love. The messy part of our life, turned out to be the best part of our life because it’s where he restored our vineyards and transformed our trouble into a gateway of hope. We found him in the desert and we came back to our first love. He reminded us of his freedom and he gave us love. Now instead of saying he is a master, full of a list of regulations and commands, we get to say he is our husband full of love and devotion. It’s so beautiful.
The desert places in my life are the places that I see his hand at work the most. And if that is where I see him the most in my life, it just might be where others see him the most in my life as well.
But for others to see the desert places I have to let them into the desert places.
What is the hardest thing about letting others into our desert places?
Why do we suppress our story?
Your story is less about you, and more about what Jesus did for you. I give you permission to own your story. Don’t hide from it… don’t run from it.. Embrace it. It’s where you found Jesus… It’s where you found hope.. and it’s where others will find hope too!
Make a timeline of your life. In each time period, write how you see the hand of God at work. Release your story to him and give him permission to use it when he wants, how he wants. Embrace it.. it’s beautiful…
Day 2- Love Your People