Weekly Devotional | A Happy Day

This devotional was written by John Cahoon and is based on C.J. Mahaney's sermon, A Happy Day, given on April 17, 2016.

 

Day 1: The Gift of Our Leaders

Quotes/References:

  • “Your soul needs the caring and watchful eye of a godly pastor.” CJ Mahaney
  • “Our concern today is to give all our energy to you, serving you, watching over you to prepare you for that final day!” CJ Mahaney

Questions and Reflections:

  • What is meant by the command to submit? Compare the world’s interpretation to the command to “submit” with that of the church. What thoughts and feelings do these two interpretations evoke?
  • In what ways does the pastor’s watchfulness over the congregation reflect God’s own watchfulness?

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Take time to thank God for the watchfulness of our pastors, deacons, and community group leaders at our church! Ask God to show you all the ways in which He himself has served you through them so that you may be all the more grateful for them.

 

Day 2: The Congregation’s Responsibility

Quotes/References:

  • “The emphasis in verse 17 is on the responsibility of the congregation to the pastoral team. Here’s why: the effectiveness of pastoral ministry is dependent on the congregational response to pastoral ministry.” CJ Mahaney

Questions and Reflections:

  • How exactly does the participation of the church contribute to the leaders’ watchfulness?
  • Explain the practical ways this participation works itself out in the congregation.

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Read v. 20-21. Ask God that we would continue to equip our leaders with strength and wisdom to faithful shepherd our church. Ask Him to give you a deeper eagerness to regularly pray for them in this way.

 

Day 3: The Relationship Between Leaders and the Congregation

Quotes/References:

  • “People often ask me what I think is the secret to Grace Community Church’s development over the decades. I always point out that first of all God sovereignly determines the membership of a church and numbers alone are no gauge of spiritual success. In the midst of tremendous numerical growth, however, the spiritual vitality of our church has been remarkable. I am convinced God’s blessing has been on us primarily because our people have shown a strong commitment to biblical leadership and biblical ministry.” John MacArthur
  • “I believe God’s blessing on our church is similarly informed. Thank you for giving me that gift! Rather than this being a corrective, I can instead just commend you because this verse describes my experience!” CJ Mahaney

Questions and Reflections:

  • What is the result when a congregation joyfully submits to and trusts the leadership of faithful pastors?
  • Based on v. 17, paint a picture in your mind of the church member the author of Hebrews desires us to become. Consider if there are living examples of the Heb 13:17 church member in your church; learn from them.

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Ask God that he would give both our leaders and the congregation a sacrificial heart for unity in our church. Ask him for an opportunity this week to practically cultivate this unity.

Group Discussion Questions 

  • According to the text and CJ’s four qualifying statements, what does it mean to obey and submit to our church leaders? What does it not mean?
  • Does it bother you to think of “obeying” and “submitting” to our church leaders?
  • CJ stated that verse 17, “though containing few words, is rich with an eternal perspective.” How does Hebrews 13:17 point our eyes toward eternity?
  • Why did God invent pastors? Why do our souls need to be kept watch over?
  • Consider the weight of the statement “as those who will have to give an account,” referring to church leaders who watch over our souls. According to the text, how can we make this task easier for them? Give examples of how we can make this task easier for them at our local church.
  • CJ gave four ways a congregation should respond to “godly but flawed leaders.” Can you recall any of them? Are these some of the same ways that Christians should respond to the leadership of our Great Shepherd?
  • Why is it to your advantage to “obey your leaders and submit to them”?