'Living into what God has for you: Dreams, Poems & Fruit…' by Mal Calladine - January 27th 2019
God favours you and made you with creativity and purpose! How do you react to that? This talk includes practical ways to dream and celebrate the life God has for us.
0:00 Reacting to God's favour
This talk is about living into what God is calling us to.
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:26-38, NIV)
Mary received a message from God that she was highly favoured and wanted to work with her. Mary's first reaction was to be troubled. But her ultimate response was to want to live according to God's word.
5:11 What does it mean for us to live into what God has for us?
Monday 21st January was both "Blue Monday" (supposedly the most depressing day of the year) and, in contrast, Martin Luthor King Day, which Mal celebrated with a family "Evening of Dreaming". (You can do this too - see the link below for everything you need.)
Part of the celebration was having everyone answer questions about things they would love to have or do.
There is something special about engaging with our dreams. When this is applied to sharing dreams we have for others, such as our friends, community and nation, we find ourselves harnessing a sense of possibility.
11:00 Creativity and being God's poem
Friday 25th January was Burns Night, and Mal's family celebrated with traditions, food and creativity, including some remarkable poems people wrote and brought together.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10, NIV)
This shows that faith in God is not about what we do, but what God does. We are his handiwork, which in Greek is "poiema", the word from which we get "poem". Did you know that you are God's poem? How can we respond to that?
14:00 Response-ability and fruit
With God, our responsibility is really to respond to what he is already doing, and we are able to do this. Expressing our dreams to him and affirming our faith in Jesus as our Lord leads to fruit.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing... You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit — fruit that will last — and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you." (John 15:5 & 16, NIV)
If we are aligned to God's will, living and speaking out the poem of our identity and purpose, God promises that we can live into those things.
Follow up material
Questions & Discussion Starters
Do you feel ‘troubled’ by the idea of being highly favoured & that God is with you? Or is that something that rests easy on you? (Luke 1:28-29)
Where do you think Mary’s confidence in God fulfilling his word to her comes from? (Luke 1:38)
Download this document on an “Evening of Dreaming”. In there are lots of both fun & deep questions to think about our dreams. The fun list helps us identify where there is ‘life’ for us; the deep questions show where our passions most lie… which is then a great springboard into praying for each other…
If you have been purposefully made as a product of creativity – what kind of ‘poem’ are you? When you are squeezed, what kind of creativity most comes out?
This Ephesians passage says its first about grace – not what we have done, so that no-one can boast (v8-9); but our creativity is a response to that grace, which God has prepared for us to have an impact. How would you describe your ability to respond to that grace – your response–ability?
What do you see that is working at the moment – can you identify and name what the fruit of your life currently is? And where do you see that nothing is working? (John 15:5)
If you know you are in the area where God has called you to lasting fruit, then what do you need to ask Him for? (John 15:16)
You could do a more in-depth study on the scriptures that were either referenced or informed Sunday’s talk:
Luke 1:28-38 - Mary’s initial response to favour; then confidence in his word to achieve what seems impossible
Isaiah 55:10-11 - God’s word not returning empty, but accomplishing what it set out to do
John 1:4 - in Him is life… the energy we see in ourselves in the things that excite us? (the fun list!)
Amos 5:24 - where we want to see justice & right relationship (the profound list!)
Ephesians 2:8-10 - our ‘poems’ (‘handiwork’) as a response to grace
Romans 10:8-10 - what we’ve heard & owned we then speak out (lit. confess – ‘speak the same thing as our heart’)
John 15:5, 16 - the promise of fruitful lives (but not possible on our own); & that we are chosen & appointed to create lasting fruit, so can ask confidently for God to give what is aligned to that call