Below are some additional interactions on the article: Our Rescued Identity. Read it first.
Repent—to feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrongdoing or sin. It comes from the Greek meaning to turn in one’s heart toward God. It could literally be understood as an “about face.” Turning from sin and turning toward God.
I lived for Friday nights! School was out for the weekend. Time with friends. Mischievousness. Cigars, alcohol; both in moderate consumption I might add. It was a chance to get away from parents, stay up late, and escape. In my high school, you could almost hear the Friday night excitement buzz through the hallways. Like it was yesterday, I still remember thinking to myself: “This is LIFE!” But was it? I attended church every week throughout my life. Yeah, that was fun. The excitement level of church, or church related events, barely registered a blip on my fun meter. As clearly as I remember my 16th birthday party, I mockingly told God, “I can’t commit to following you because that will mean I have to give up all my fun.” Sound familiar? I couldn’t put God and fun in the same sentence!
Allow me to pass along something I’ve learned since then. I could not have been more dead wrong. God does not rob us of joy; he is the great joy-giver. You see I mistook fun for joy, but I slowly came to learn that the two are not one and the same. Joy is richer, deeper, cleaner, and purer than superficial fun. Joy is unexplained satisfaction. Joy moves one where fun tickles the toes. Eventually, I grew weary of having my toes tickled. I wanted something more. I desired God, the only reality. The God who blows the hinges off secured doors with his exhale, whose voice crumbles prison cells to ruble. Once I thought I had to give something up to get God. Now, I wouldn’t give God up for anything. He is more valuable to me than Friday nights, wild and “free”. Since making him my Daddy, I have lost nothing and gained everything. That’s my story? What’s yours? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you.
If you have ever been on a Club Beyond/Malachi Service Project to the Czech Republic or Slovakia, you will appreciate the story of John Huss. Read about Saint Barbara the Brave Martyr . Read about Saint Mary of Egypt who had been a sinner.
1 John 5:11–13—The apostle John gives us a clear indication of where eternal life can be found and who has it.
Romans 10:9–10—Paul summarizes the message he is proclaiming and in so doing help us to know how we switch identities.
Acts 2:37–38—Peter also tells us what we must do to switch daddies.
John 6:28–29—Jesus tells his listeners the only work that God requires. His answer here gives us insight into one of the things we must do to switch identities.
Matthew 16:24–25—Jesus tells his disciples what it means to switch identities.
Small group guide:
Check out this inspiring video on persevering no matter how many times you have failed in life. A good reminder of how important it is to focus on our rescued identity.
Here is a fantastic video made specifically for young women. That doesn’t mean the message won’t apply to you guys too. As you watch it, listen to what your heart and mind say in reaction and consider how that matches up with what the Lord says about you. Ask him for strength and wisdom to eradicate the lies and highlight the truth. You are valuable and loved.
Large group guide:
- Describe a time when someone really made you angry. How did you handle this situation? Did you do anything you regret or hurt anybody in the process? If so, go back to that person and sincerely apologize. What makes it hard to follow through with these types of things?
- Jesus wants you to make God your daddy. Then live your life in such a way that reflects your papa. Make him proud of you. (Thought for the Day: The hardest thing you will ever do in this life is to live for Jesus. The most rewarding life that you will ever live will be a life lived for Jesus. Are you willing to take the risk for the reward?)
- Ask God to reveal to you one specific way you do not represent him well. Write down what you hear him say. Then, ask God for the grace and strength to image him well to those around you.
The next time John mentions Nicodemus (7:51) we find him defending Jesus! Here’s the situation —the Pharisees are gathered together in one of their little “holy huddles” trying to figure out what to do with Jesus. They are as mad as hornets. They want to capture the man, but no one, including the temple guards, could even lay a hand on him. The room is filled with tension. Those who even appear to support Jesus are ridiculed and belittled. Despite the decidedly hostile audience, Nicodemus speaks up. In fact, it is widely believed that Nicodemus went on to become a passionate follower of Jesus (John 19:39). With that in mind, take a moment to consider the risks Nicodemus assumed by aligning himself with Jesus. What fundamental changes do you think he underwent as a result of Jesus words to him on that first visit? How did that conversation change his life? Now, turn the table to yourself. Has Jesus changed your life? If so, how? If not, then how do you know you’ve been “born again?”