Word of God, Speak!

Women's Ministry Director Kim Worrell

Will preached a great sermon this past Sunday regarding what we experience in the Word when we gather corporately. He concluded with the statement that “when we hear it together, we experience it more richly than when we hear it alone.” That assertion is one reason I am passionate about group bible study! When the body of Christ gathers in dynamic community to pray and study God-breathed words together, “iron sharpens iron.” When we each bring our earnest questions to the table, we often discover profound life application in passages that heretofore many would describe simply as “bible stories.”

Author Jennifer Kennedy Dean reminds us, “The Bible is much more than the word God once spoke; it is the Word He is now speaking.” (Live a Praying Life) I never cease to wonder at the challenging and potentially transforming insights that spring forth when believers gather with a commitment to hear and grapple with what the Spirit is saying to God’s people through His Word.

Here are a few observations and questions I would share from the familiar story of the feeding of the 5,000 in Matthew 14 for example:

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”

Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” Matt. 14: 14-16

OBSERVATIONS AND QUESTIONS:

  • There is a crowd all around US who is hungering for Jesus. He has compassion for them. Do WE see them? Do WE care? Are we so overwhelmed by our sense of inadequacy that we’d rather send them away?
  • It is evident here that He sees His disciples as agents of His will. How are we responding to that call?

The sacred script continues:

“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. Matt. 14:17

(A parallel account in the gospel of John provides additional information as to the surprising source of those meager resources.)

“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”  John 6:9

OBSERVATIONS AND QUESTIONS:

  • This young boy offered ALL that he had. His sacrifice seems evocative of what scripture asks of us – the totality of what we have, our very lives. (Romans 12:1)
  • What are we offering daily to Jesus for His use? What have we not yet released?

“Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks” Matt. 14:18-19a

OBSERVATIONS AND QUESTIONS:

  • Jesus has the people sit down. He doesn’t expect them to save themselves in their own effort. And He takes what is offered and blesses it.
  • How many times do we operate in our own strength? How much more effective would we be if we waited on God to bless our offerings and empower them with His Word and power?

…and broke the loaves.  Matt. 14:19

OBSERVATIONS AND QUESTIONS:

  • Jesus also BREAKS what is offered. It’s reminiscent of the alabaster box that was broken first in order to be poured out.
  • As we offer ourselves, our Divine Surgeon will carve both sin and scar tissue out of our lives that impede the Spirit’s flow. Do we resist being broken?

Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children. Matthew 14:19b-21  

OBSERVATIONS AND QUESTIONS:

  • Jesus multiplies what is offered and makes use of it to the point of abundance.
  • Do we believe that if we released ourselves to Him, He would TAKE us and BREAK us and MAKE us an instrument of His will to a lavish degree?

Praying that sort of adventure in the Word over us corporately, brothers and sisters!

In Christ,
Kim