WEEK 2 - DAY 14

“Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” - Luke 19:9-10

Salvation is the fruit of the coincidence of two seeking events. God seeking a lost soul and a lost soul seeking God. Most of the seeking comes from God of course, it has to. Ever since the Garden of Eden mankind has been inclined to hide from God, lost in the guilt and shame of sin. Thankfully, God was not content with this situation, so figuratively, He came looking for us.

Jesus is the eyes of God to seek us out. Imagine the situation: Jesus walking amongst a crowd. His eyes scan the people looking for the one who is looking for him. He looks to the left and to the right, near and far, the crowd constantly jostling and moving and then He looks up and sees him. There he is! He’s the one! It’s Zacchaeus in a tree! There are sinners everywhere, they all need saving. They are all lost, but one is singled out. But why Zacchaeus?

Simply this; there is a coincidence of seeking. Zacchaeus’ sincerity in seeking, is proved by his response to Jesus’ invitation to him. Immediately he acts according to true repentance. What a moment when their eyes would have met! Jesus wanting to find and save, Zacchaeus to be found and saved. Blessed was the one desperate and excited enough to climb a tree to get a look at Jesus. Blessed still today is one desperate enough to look...their eyes are bound to meet those of the Lord.

Prayer

Thank you Lord that You found me. I was lost but You did not leave me there. When I looked for You, I found You, because You were already looking for me. Our eyes met! I praise You. Amen.

Response

The eyes of Jesus are still searching for those who will look for Him. Pray that He will lead you to those who are climbing that tree, to those whose looking is sincere, to those whose salvation is coming!

WEEK 2 - DAY 13

“Go to the lost sheep of Israel and as you go preach, ‘the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” - Matthew 10:6-7

The apostles, steeped in OT law, history and prophecy, like the prophets and kings and patriarchs before them were waiting’ At the ‘bus stop of fulfilment’, they gazed into the distance looking for transport! Therefore, when Jesus said, “go to the lost...and preach the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”, this was a clue that the waiting was almost over. The people of God were waiting to recover what was lost. Since the days of Eden where our ‘parents’ walked with God, the intimate relationship with Him was lost. But not only the relationship but also the fruits of that relationship. Also, ‘lost’ was peace, innocence, purity, health, abundant life, and pleasures we cannot begin to imagine. The joy of the garden was long gone, but now the kingdom was at hand. Of course, this absolute fullness will only be experienced when; with our new bodies we walk the golden streets of New Jerusalem.

However, some of that which was lost can be experienced now. The disciples discovered this quickly as they went out and preached, with miracles of salvation and healing readily at their hands. They must have been so excited! No more waiting but rather experiencing. A steady stream of buses all at once at the ‘stop of fulfilment’! Jesus words are for us also as the ‘lost’ (people and experiences) can be ‘found’ today. We have every reason, if we can grasp it, to be as excited as the disciples would have been on the day their waiting, as Israelites, finally ended.

Prayer

Lord, thank you that the waiting is over. Lead me into experiencing the reality of your kingdom. May the excitement felt by the disciples be found in me, may all that was lost be recovered in my day-to-day experience. Amen.

Response

Read through repeatedly the words of Jesus concerning the kingdom. Speak them aloud and proclaim them over yourself and others. Declare them to the enemy, to your own soul and express faith for their fulfilment.

WEEK 2 - DAY 12

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the labourers are few. Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest.”
- Matthew 9:37-38

What strikes me first about these verses comes in their context. Directly before them it tells us that Jesus was, “moved with compassion”. The multitudes that He could see were “weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd”. Moved with compassion, Jesus saw the needs of the people, He went to them, He preached the Good News to them and He healed their sick. This was harvesting. In these verses, Jesus turns to His disciples and pointing out that the harvest was plentiful asks them to pray for more labourers to bring it in. Directly after this in Chapter 10 we see that Jesus names the 12 disciples, commissions, empowers them, and sends them out. They became the answer to their own prayers, to send out the labourers into the harvest.

The call of Jesus is the same today. The world is still broken, weary and scattered like sheep without a shepherd and the harvest is plentiful, ripe for harvesting and still the labourers are few.

The question is not, “Are there people whose hearts are ready to hear the gospel?” The question is, “Where are the people ready to take it to them?” Are you brave enough to not only pray for labourers to go into the harvest, but be prepared

to be part of the answer? Compassion moved Jesus. His compassion in us, can move us too.

Prayer

Jesus, Lord of the harvest, I pray that You continue to send out labourers into the harvest to do what You did. To be moved with compassion; to see the needs of those around them, to preach the gospel and to heal the sick. May I be part of the answer? Here I am Lord, send me. Amen.

Response

Ask the Lord to give you a divine appointment today. To open your eyes to see the needs of someone you meet and to give you the boldness to share the hope of the gospel with them.

WEEK 2 - DAY 11

“They will be called the Holy People, the redeemed of the Lord; and you will be called sought after, the city no longer deserted.” - Isaiah 62:12

Some have defined the narrative of scripture as a story, which tells of humanity’s journey from a garden to a city. We see that God Himself created humans, both male and female, in His image and likeness in the Garden of Eden. Sadly, this relationship and unfolding purpose was interrupted by humanity becoming enslaved by our own selfish ends; taking into our own hands

the building of families, communities and cities. The great promise of scripture is that God has sought out humanity, even while we continue in rebellion to His rightful authority and He has redeemed our relationship with Himself, and restored His original plan. The Book of Revelation reveals that there is a “city of God” we can be a part of, a city that even Abraham looked forward to when leaving his homeland.

“For (Abraham) was looking forward to this city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” - Hebrews 11:10

Just weeks before the 2010 earthquakes in Christchurch, we received a prophecy as a church that we would play a significant part in building the spiritual foundations of the city. Not believing that it would literally happen, the person delivering the prophecy even saw the cathedral coming down, revealing just how significant this call on us would be. The good news is that nothing that has happened in our city is irredeemable. God has called us His Redeemed, those He has sought after, to help restore this city... in a way that is not deserted but filled with His glory and His presence.

Prayer

Pray for our city today. Pray that every area of our city be recognisable as a city redeemed by the Spirit of God. Pray for the sphere of influence you have, whatever that may look like; that you would have a vision in your heart of the city God Himself wants to see built in Christchurch. Amen.

Response

Take the opportunity to prayer walk a part of the city when it next comes. Ask God to fill your imagination with what His city looks like. What would it feel like and what would be His priorities be if He was caring for the people?

WEEK 2 - DAY 10

“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?” - Matthew 18:12

There is a popular worship song being sung all over the earth at present, called ‘Reckless Love’ by Cory Asbury. The song seems to be striking a chord in the hearts of many due to the way it gives fresh expression to God’s great love for us all. Here are some of the lyrics below:

“Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God Oh, it chases me down, fights ‘til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God,”

None of us deserve the attention of heaven but yet we
have God’s undivided attention all of the time, regardless of whether we are aware of it. When Jesus came to earth, died on a cross and rose again three days later He really did go to hell and back to find us in our sin. He empties Himself over and over and again in pursuit of us, in the hope that we will wholeheartedly turn toward His extravagant love on a daily basis. He chased us down, fought the good fight and left
all comforts of glory to chase us down. Some say recklessly even. The challenge for us as disciples is to follow Him into this life, pouring ourselves out for others and leaving that which we find comfortable behind us for the sake of the one.

Prayer

Ask God to reveal one person to you who may be in need of love and encouragement in some way. Amen.

Response

What would it look like for you to go outside of our comfort zone, to love or encourage this person recklessly in the coming weeks? Put into action a simple plan that goes above-and-beyond in revealing God’s love to this person. It could simply be a note of encouragement or text written to a person every day for a week without fail.

WEEK 2 - DAY 9

“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.” - Ezekiel 34:11

It is a comforting thought knowing someone is looking out for you at certain times. Especially when you find yourself on foreign ground, perhaps in another city overseas, wandering lost and uncertain, anxious will you will ever find your way back to where you want to be! But there is also an excitement found in the adventure of it all that is hard to resist at times. This is one of the most exciting things about the journey of life as well, navigating your way through different options and directions, unsure about where they will lead you. However, knowing that that is what life is all about.

The good news is that Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd - someone who looks out for his or her sheep not just at certain times, but all of the time. There is not a moment when a good shepherd is unsure about where their sheep are located, and Jesus is more than capable of searching out His children wherever they may have found themselves, either by accident, adventurous curiosity, or at times rebellion. God sees every person as His child, and knows where each and everyone one of them is on their journey of faith and life. This means that every person you meet

in your day-to-day world has a Father in heaven who is searching him or her out, and at the same time knows every little detail about where they are currently at in their search for life. As people called to share the good news with others, this can give us great confidence that when we play our small part in leading people to Christ, that God is already with them searching them out ready to reveal himself as the loving Shepherd he declares Himself to be.

Prayer

Thank you Lord that you are The Good Shepherd, and that you are more than capable of leading me into a spacious place of freedom and fruitfulness in life. Give me eyes to see today, how You are working in others’ lives, to care for them, protect them and bring them into life in Jesus Christ. Amen.

Response

Go for a walk around your neighbourhood block today or tomorrow, and ask God to reveal Himself as the Good Shepherd of your area. Is there anything you could do to play your part, in bringing more of a sense of security and neighbourly love into your community?

WEEK 2 - DAY 8

“‘For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” - Luke 15:24

There is nothing better than having a celebration of some kind to look forward to, a wedding, significant birthday or anniversary, or even the return of a loved one from overseas. The only thing better though, than looking forward to the event ... is the celebration itself!

The story of the lost son finishes with a great celebration because the father is overcome with joy due to the return of his lost son. There are many things we can celebrate throughout life and all are precious in the sight of God.
He loves when people find joy in His gift of life toward us. However, we can enter in with God Himself and the angels that surround him to an ongoing celebration. It is the celebration of His lost children, who have found their way home through Jesus Christ.

In almost every place in scripture, where we see celebration going on, it seems it is in light of God rescuing His beloved people. Even ‘the end of all ages’ it seems is celebrated with a huge wedding feast! As God’s family, we are invited to join this celebration on a daily basis, rejoicing in the fact that
our Father in heaven is searching out and bringing home His children all over the world. In fact, this joy is the fuel by which we are to not only rejoice on a daily basis, but also to be His hands and feet in proclaiming His message; witness to this incredible love.

Prayer

Lord, as I rejoice on your great love for me today, that
love that pursued me even in my sin, my doubt and my brokenness, help me to surrender to your Spirit and be a bright shining light for others to find their way home to your loving presence. Give me courage to share with others the reason for the joy I find in You. Amen.

Response

Look for opportunity over these next few days, to hear someone’s story of how they found their way home to God. Celebrate with them and ask God to use you both to help someone else come home to the Father.