July 8, Friday

Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from July 4-10 are provided by Pastor Barry Kang, who heads Symphony Church in Boston.  Barry, a graduate of Stanford University and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Sunny (an amazing worship leader, chef and math wizard).  They are the proud parents of Caleb and Micah.

Devotional Thought for Today

Colossians 4:2-4

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

8There is a popular saying often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the Gospel daily; Use words if necessary.”  One problem with this is that there is no record of St. Francis ever saying it.  In fact, St. Francis was quite the preacher.  While there is truth that our deeds must match the words that we speak, the gospel, by definition, is good news—not good living.

Paul is very clear here in his request to the church in Colossae: “Pray for us….to declare the mystery of Christ.” Let us be very clear: the gospel is the good news about Jesus and what He has done, and so it must be declared with words.

But we know that this isn’t easy.  We need God’s power to be able to declare it as we ought.  And so Francis of Assisi is recorded as teaching the following to his fellow co-workers in the gospel:

The preacher must first draw from secret prayer what he will later pour out in holy sermons; he must first grow hot within before he speaks words that are in themselves cold.

Paul needed prayer to preach the gospel.  Francis of Assisi needed prayer to preach the gospel.  If we are not preaching the gospel, perhaps what we need is more prayer.

Prayer: Lord, we confess that we don’t always seek Your presence in our lives. We often depend upon our own strength and wisdom instead of seeking Your power.  We want to be desperate for Your presence in all that we do, and learn how to celebrate and honor You in both our private and corporate times of worship.  May You show us Your glory and bring about times of refreshing and revival.

Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 102

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Lunch Break Study

Read 1 Corinthians 16:5-9: I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia, 6 and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may help me on my journey, wherever I go. 7 For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. 8 But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Paul tells the church in Corinth that he intends to visit and stay with them after passing through Macedonia. Reading the passage, why did Paul delay his intended visit?
  2. Does an open door for ministry mean that everything is moving without hindrance?
  3. What open doors for ministry might God have opened around you?

Notes

  1. Paul explains that his visit to Corinth is being delayed until after Pentecost, as he has work to do in Ephesus (“a wide door for effective work has opened” – verse 9).
  2. An open door clearly does not mean that ministry has become easy. Paul notes that there are many adversaries to that work in Ephesus.  In fact, it seems as though the existence of those adversaries may have some part to play in his needing to stay in Ephesus.  When we think of God opening a door, clearly, we should not expect zero obstacles or hindrances.
  3. Personal response.

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Evening Reflection  

Please spend some time journaling a prayer for people around you whom God has placed on your heart to know the gospel.  What doors has God opened for you to share the good news?

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