Many point to the megachurches of our era as the superstars of our faith movement. The average megachurch will usually run more than one thousand in attendance each week. These churches fall in the categories of multimillion dollar budgets, multistaff ministries, expansive programming, and an international reach. These churches are important to God’s reign and provide great ministry throughout the world.
However, the average US church has about seventy-five to one hundred people in attendance each week. These smaller congregations meet weekly, dutifully living out the Great Commission in their own right. All vital congregations minis- ter faithfully, serve responsibly, worship creatively, and share obediently.
Paul suggests that the members of the church at Rome “be transformed” by the renewing of their minds. Christians, when shaped by the gospel of Jesus Christ, change the way they think. Behavior follows thinking. Paul also reminds the members of the richness of their congregation. He does this in the context of serving obediently, living humbly, and sharing freely. Paul notes the spiritual gifts at work in their church. He does not rank these or emphasize one gift more than the others. Paul encourages the Roman Christians to use their giftedness to become more of what they already are. Paul speaks in gen- eralities concerning the gifts. While understanding the gifts is important, putting these gifts to use is much more important!
How has God gifted you? How are you using your gifts in your church and community? Are you more about “knowing” God’s gifts or “using” God’s gifts? What shifts might you need to make? How have you conformed to this world? What transfor- mation are you seeking today by your renewal in Christ?
God, help me not to discount my gifts! May I seek ways to serve your church and your people faithfully. Amen.
All the texts bear witness to the rich and powerful sovereignty of God, who generously gives life. In the Exodus text, both the future of Israel and the future of God’s plans for all humanity are imperiled. At one level, the infant is saved only by the cunning of his mother and sister and by the compassion of the Egyptian princess; but, truthfully, Moses is saved only by the grace of God. Psalm 124 looks beyond the birth of Moses to the moment of the Exodus and celebrates with great joy God’s redemption of the people. Only by God’s help can humans nd life and freedom. In Romans 12 Paul calls for the transformation of the person through the power of God. We are to “be transformed,” thus placing primary emphasis on the activity of God in the life of the Christian. The Gospel reading is a confession of Jesus’ identity as the Messiah. Matthew emphasizes the rootedness of the church in the disciples’ recognition of Jesus’ messianic nature.
• Read Exodus 1:8–2:10. When have you had a scary experience that God’s “grand plan” made successful?
• Read Psalm 124. Looking back on your life, where can you see God’s hand guiding you through rough times?
• Read Romans 12:1-8. Take time to answer the writer’s ques- tion: “How are you using your gifts in your church and in your community?”
• Read Matthew 16:13-20. Who do you say Jesus is?
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