#698. CHOOSE LIFE PT. 5 - URGENCY OR APATHY? (25/11/22)
Updated: Nov 27
This week’s devotionals are based upon Sunday’s message from Simon Guillbaud. Simon Guillebaud MBE is GLO’s International Director. He had a very clear call to Burundi in 1999, when it was regarded as the most dangerous country on earth. He set up GLO with the vision to transform Burundi and beyond through holistic mission, working with gifted local leaders of integrity. For the full message please go to:
For more on Simon and to find out about His blog, podcast and teaching, please go to:
Summary: The Holy Spirit wants to fill us with His urgency for God’s glory and the needs of those around us without Christ.
Simon shared how it’s often easier, in a war-torn and poor nation like Burundi, to be provoked by great needs. However, he made the point that, In London, are we aware of the ‘falling bombs of unbelief, cynicism, materialism, fear…’? These should provoke us to urgent prayer and action.
It’s easy for many of us to get safe and comfortable. We can build or ‘bigger barns’ and lose compassion for a lost world. We need God’s help to get His heart of urgency for His mission.
Paul wrote of His passion to share the gospel:
‘For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!’ (1 Corinthians 9:16)
Paul was ‘compelled to preach’. Why did he feel this way? Firstly, he knew that God had appointed Him as an an apostle for this task. Secondly, he had come to believe in such good news about which he said:
‘Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.’ (1 Timothy 1:5)
Paul’s urgency was birthed of His calling and His real experience of grace and which He knew that all needed. Likewise, if we are lacking urgency, we must remember our commissioning (Matthew 28:18-20) and how we have been saved from such a fate at such a cost for such a hope!
Against a backdrop of rejection of his message Jeremiah could say:
‘But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.’ (Jeremiah 20:9)
How do we get ‘fire in our bones’? We need the Holy Spirit to fill us. He imbues us with jealousy for Jesus and a courage that’s willing to persevere for people who may be hard-hearted.
I’m sure that, like me, you may feel that you lack the urgency of a Paul or a Jeremiah. I’m sure that we may feel ‘lukewarm’ like the church in Laodicea. To us, Jesus says:
‘Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.’ (Revelation 3:19-20)
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from His word recently? How would you like prayer?
3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group
This week’s study is based on Sunday’s message from Simon Guillbaud.
Simon based his message on 30:11-20.
‘This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
God was calling the people to live by faith. They have just come out of 40-years of wandering in the desert due to unbelief. God reminded them of there previous unfaithful attitude at the beginning of this book:
‘But you were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. You grumbled in your tents and said, ‘The Lord hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us.’’ (Deuteronomy 1:26-27)
God had promised to give them the land of Canaan. He had shown His power and love by bringing them out of Egypt, but they refused to believe and obey. In response, God had caused them to wander in the desert for 40 years because of unbelief. Now, He’s calling them again to listen to Him and walk by faith. This account is reminding us that God doesn’t want us wandering in circles. He wants to lead us into greater fruitfulness.
In his message on Sunday, Simon gave us six challenges to consider:
1. ARE WE GOING TO CHOOSE CLARITY OR TRUST
To ‘choose life’ requires that we choose trust over clarity. Many have a faith but don’t live by faith. We too often want clarity. We want to control things. We want God to show us all the steps before we’ll take the first. God wants us to take that first step.
2. DISOBEDIENCE OR OBEDIENCE?
Only Joshua and Caleb entered The Promised Land. Only they were willing to obey God. Are you and I willing to offer our lives entirely to Him?
3. CYNICISM OR ACTION
To choose life is to reject cynicism and take godly action. It’s easy to become cynical and back out of living actively for God. Have we allowed cynicism to rob us of joy and action? The antidote to cynicism is to take good action rather than wait for our feelings to change.
4. FAITH OR FEAR?
We have had a huge dose of fear during Covid. The church is often crippled by fear.
In our finances, particularly during our gift days at the moment, are will giving in fear or faith? Choosing life if to choose to do things by faith.
5. URGENCY OR APATHY?
In a war-torn and poor nation like Burundi, it’s easier to see and be provoked by great needs. In London, are we aware of the ‘falling bombs of unbelief, cynicism, materialism, fear…’? These should provoke up to urgent prayer and action.
6. GRATITUDE OR MOANING
To choose life is to choose thankfulness over grumbling. It’s easy to become critical and entitled. Simon encourage us to do what we are taught in Romans 12:1-3 and count our blessings.
7. RULES OR RELATIONSHIPS?
God always wanted a relationship with us. To ‘choose life’ is to seek a relationship with God and seek to avoid empty legalism and formality. Choosing life is, at its core, having a relationship with God.
8. DEATH OR LIFE?
Will we choose life? Will we choose to remember the gospel and share the gospel? Will we allow Jesus’ blood-scared hands to cause our hands to be active in compassion?
i. Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?
ii. Of these 8 challenges, which do you feel that you need to take action on and why?
SIV - Let's keep praying and planning for how we can invite people to our carol service on 11th December (4 pm).
SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories of sharing your faith with your friends?
SIV - How do you plan to 'serve, invest and invite' into your friendships?
SIV - Let's pray for the Spirit to lead us in reaching our community.