3 John 4 NIV I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
“The minister who is sent of God has spiritual children, they are as much his children as if they had literally been born in his house, for to their immortal nature he stands under God in the relationship of sire… Why, when a preacher sees men thus walk in truth, may he make it his great joy? Because this is the end of our ministry, it is this we aim at… This is the grand thing, and when we see this achieved, we have no greater joy. This is the design of the gospel itself.” (Charles Spurgeon, “The Parent’s and Pastor’s Joy,” https://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/sermons/the-parents-and-pastors-joy.)
There is so much joy for a parent to watch their child grow up and navigate through life – their first steps, learning to read, graduations, getting a job and so much more. As spiritual parents, there is incredible joy that God gives us as we commit ourselves to loving others – the joy of experiencing lives being saved, transformed, healed, and set free! Who gets to live like this?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for inviting us into this great joy of loving others and seeing lives being changed by your perfect Father’s love. There truly is no greater joy than this. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s sing “I will see the Lord in the Land of the Living” by People and Songs (click here).
Psalm 68:5 NIV A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
Psalm 10:14b NLT The helpless put their trust in you.
You defend the orphans.
“Orphans are people who need a father to see that they are looked after, and widows are people who need a ‘champion’ or ‘defender’… The God who lives in a heavenly dwelling does not stay there all the time but acts in the world in this way.” (John Goldingay, Psalms Vol.2, 316-17.)
“As God is the father to the fatherless and defender of the widows, we too are called to be the same for our generation. There is a broken generation waiting to be mothered and fathered by you and me.” (Pastor George)
Today, let’s declare in faith, “I am a mother to this generation!” and “I am a father to this generation!” May we see others with God’s eyes and may our hearts break for the things that break his heart. Let us embrace our calling to be a mother to the motherless and a father to the fatherless.
Prayer: Father, we pray for those that you are placing on our hearts right now in our workplaces, campuses and cities – those that need to experience the motherly and fatherly love that only you can give. We pray for opportunities to love them the way you have loved us. In Jesus’ name, amen.
As we sing “Hosanna” by Hillsong, let’s make this our prayer (click here).
2 Corinthians 12:14-15a NLT 14 Now I am coming to you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you. I don’t want what you have—I want you. After all, children don’t provide for their parents. Rather, parents provide for their children.15 I will gladly spend myself and all I have for you.
“Paul supports his affirmation that he is seeking the Corinthians’ welfare, not his own, but returning to the imagery of parenthood to describe his relationship with the church. Because he is their spiritual father, Paul is responsible to give his ‘children,’ not the other way around, even if this means pouring out his life on their behalf.” (Scott Hafemann, NIV Application Commentary: 2 Corinthians, 485.)
A parent puts the needs of their child above their own needs, no matter how inconvenient. A parent is concerned with the welfare of their child above their own well-being. Today, will you say “yes” to being the spiritual parent that pours out your life on behalf of others, just as Jesus has done for you?
Prayer: Lord, we humble our hearts before you and ask that you would mold us, shape us, transform us to become the spiritual mothers and fathers that will lay down our life for others. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship with “Spirit of God” by New Life Worship (click here).
1 Thessalonians 2:7b-8 NIV Just as a nursing mother cares for her children,8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.
“Parenthood is inconvenient, but most parents unhesitatingly take on the inconvenience because of their commitment to their children… One of the key countercultural features of Christianity today is commitment… We need a culture of commitment, and leaders must model that. The key then is leaders who will lay down their lives for the sheep. If the leaders die for the people, the people will die for the church!” (Ajith Fernando, Discipling in a Multicultural World, 30-31.)
“Spiritual parenthood involves commitment, but this commitment is the same commitment vowed to Jesus when he was accepted into our hearts. Being a spiritual mother or father is simply an outward expression of what we have already experienced through God in Christ. By virtue of being a Christian who has been and continues to experience the parental love of God, we can respond to the calling to love this generation as mothers and fathers.” (Pastor George)
Prayer: Lord, because we have been mothered and fathered by you, we can be committed to the people you have called us to love. May your Spirit enable and empower us to live as spiritual parents. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s respond to the Lord’s invitation by singing “More Like Jesus” by Passion (click here).
Let’s prayerfully read aloud the following passage and confession:
1 John 3:1 NIV See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
The Cape Town Commitment – “We Love Because God First Loved Us”
Love for God and love for neighbour constitute the first and greatest commandments on which hang all the law and the prophets… Love is the evidence that we are born again; the assurance that we know God; and the proof that God dwells within us. Love is the new commandment of Christ, who told his disciples that only as they obeyed this commandment would their mission be visible and believable. Christian love for one another is how the unseen God, who made himself visible through his incarnate Son, goes on making himself visible to the world.
Let’s spend time remembering God’s motherly and fatherly love towards us. This is where it all starts – by experiencing God’s parental love. It is in this place of love that we discover who God has created us to be. May we be filled with his lavish love afresh today!
Prayer: Father, thank you for your perfect parental love for us. May we deeply experience your love that heals us and makes us whole. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship the Lord to “Let There Be Wonder” by Matt Redman (click here).