Jonah And The City Part 3 - Hope is something all of us want. For many of us though, we have given up. We have given up on the people around. We have given up on ourselves. How can we move from "no hope"? Today we discovered that the road to "know hope" is paved with the gospel message. Because of Jesus, the selfless prophet who was destroyed in our place, every person can "know hope"!
Jonah And The City Part 2 - Everything we do is fuled by something. We are all looking somewhere. That's what keeps us going. But what happens when life is dark? When your environment is screaming, "Give Up!" From inside a fish, Jonah had hope. He looked to a place that had no end. You and I have the same opportunity to look to the place that Jonah looked to. Discover where that place is today!
- Reflect: What or who are you looking to for comfort and hope? Finish this sentence, “If I only had ____, I’d be happy.”
- Write: Write the teaching point, “We all need somewhere to look” on an index card or sheet of paper. Post it somewhere you go often (fridge, steering, wheel, mirror).
- Read: Jonah 2. In verse 8, Jonah points out that all other sources of hope are idols that pull us away from God. Continue to gospel your heart to look to Jesus!
- Do: Spend some time searching the Bible for specific aspects or promises of God that you need to look to for your specific situations. biblehub.com is a great resource! (i.e. if you are worried, read Matthew 6:32) Write down the verse you find and start memorizing it.
- Pray: Adore Jesus for being the fulfillment of the Temple! Admit that you can easily replace Jesus with many lesser hopes when your environment gets dark. Aspire to have the Holy Spirit continue to point you to Jesus no matter what you go through!
Jonah And The City Part 1 - Life is messy. How are you going to clean it? All of us experience the messes of life. We have all made attempts to clean up what we see. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. God has the solution to the greatest mess we all carry: sin. Today we look at a group of sailors from over 2,500 years ago and see how they needed to believe in the one person who could clean their mess. We know that Jesus has been provided for us now!
- Reflect: What is your response to the messes you face? Do you bargain with the “on-demand” god? Do you blame other people? Do you build a resume of your own strength and good works?
- Write: Write about a mess that you are currently facing. What does it look like to respond like the sailors did? End by writing to yourself to trust Jesus!
- Read: James 1:13-15. No one makes us sin - not even God! We create our own mess when we choose to give in to our sinful desires! Praise God that He saw mess-makers, and chose to clean it up for us!
- Do: James concluded his writing by encouraging Christians to confess their sin to each other to find healing (Ja.5:13). Find someone, who will gospel your heart, that you can confess the mess you wrote about to.
- Pray: Adore Jesus for willingly jumping into the mess of sin to clean you. Admit that you can still forget the gospel, and choose a “sailor’s response.” Aspire to have the Holy Spirit daily gospel your heart, and point you towards the true and better Jonah: Jesus!
The Bible Doesn't Say That Part 4 - All of us experience crushing moments. Trials that are way too much to endure. Somehow, we've convinced ourselves that whatever we face, "God won't give us more than we can handle." Today we learned that there is no truth to that phrase. In fact, it communicates two lies that put us at the center, in place of Jesus. Find out the true intent of 1 Corinthians 10:13, and discover gospel truth that truly changes how we navigate life.
- Reflect: Have you ever found yourself being tempted to sin; to do what you know God declares wrong? What is your response in those moments? How do you gospel your heart?
- Write: Take some time to write why you agree with or disagree with the statement: “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”
- Read: Matthew 4:1-11. Jesus was tempted to sin. The author of Hebrews says He was “tempted in every way, just as we are - yet he did not sin.” This truth makes him the perfect substitute for us!
- Do: Browse through popular news stories (Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Washington Post). Identify the narratives that say humanity is capable of overcoming anything or that suffering negates God’s existence.
- Pray: Adore God for providing “a way out” for you - Jesus, His Son, your substitute. Admit that at times you neglect Christ’s provision and give in to sin. Aspire to look to Jesus in moments of temptation, instead of your own human abilities.
The Bible Doesn't Say That Part 4 - Every person suffers. We all go through moments that lead us to ask "Why?" Culture attempts to answer the question by suggesting, "Karma" or "It is what it is" or "Life's not fair." The gospel redirects our hearts from asking "why" to asking "how." Only the gospel acknowledges the reality of suffering in the world, and provides hope that when we suffer we can suffer well! How? Because we know that we will never experience the ultimate suffering that Jesus experienced for us!
- Reflect: When you suffer, what questions do you tend to ask? Do the answers you find bring you any comfort?
- Write: Write a letter to God today. Share with him the suffering you or someone you know is going through. Conclude your letter by thanking God that the ultimate suffering you deserve - separation from Him - Jesus experienced on your behalf!
- Read: Matthew 27:27-50. The suffering of Jesus was total: physical, relational, and spiritual. He was separated from everyone He knew. He did this so you would never have to! Praise God!
- Do: Connect with another Christian today. It can be any length of time. Share with them the suffering you are experiencing. Ask them to gospel your heart by reminding you of the truth of what Jesus did!
- Pray: Adore God for sending His Son to suffer on your account. Admit that often you trade faith in God to find answers to “why” questions. Aspire to allow the Holy Spirit to lead you to believe in what you know - the gospel - not what you see!
The Bible Doesn't Say That Part 3 - Our culture pushes against any sort of "judgment." When someone brings, opinions, critiques, evaluations, or assessments, we squirm. Why? Because the narratives of society say that no one should tell us how to live or what to do. After all, doesn't Jesus say, "Do not judge"? Today we explore the teaching that Jesus gave in Matthew 7:1-5 and find out that Jesus was more concerned with our attitude of judgment, not the action of judgment itself. We need the gospel to shape our lives so that the judgment we bring is rooted in the humble truth that each one of us deserve to be judged for our sin.
1. Reflect: Think of a time where someone judged you. How did it make you feel? Was the person right in their judgment? What hurt more, the action of judgment or the attitude of judgment?
2. Write: Write out the areas of people’s lives where you tend to be more judgmental? A good way to determine this is by finishing the sentence: “How could they _______.” (i.e. “wear that” “say that” “go there” “buy that” “watch that” “drink that” etc.)
3. Read: John 8:1-11. Jesus teaches the accusers that proper judgment only comes when we see that we are guilty too. Humility!
4. Do: Spend five minutes in front of the mirror today reading Romans 7:21 - 8:4 out loud. End with a prayer of praise thanking Jesus for being judged on your behalf.
5. Pray: Adore God for being so grand and holy. He is perfect and requires perfection. Admit that too often you judge others in order to justify yourself. Aspire to look to Jesus daily. To judge FULLY from a heart of humility.
The Bible Doesn't Say That Part 2 - Culture has a definition of what it means to be blessed: Happy. Successful. Prosperous. Culture tells us to find our purpose and satisfaction in positive circumstances. Jesus offers a more permanent definition. One that is found in Who He is. Discover how different Jesus' definition and what the Bible actually says about being blessed.
- Reflect: How have you typically defined blessed? Do you only “feel” blessed when life is good? Think about a time when life was challenging. How would Jesus’ definition on blessed change your approach in those moments.
- Write: Make a list of all the “things” in life that bring you happiness. (i.e. Relationships. Career. Health).
- Read: 2 Corinthians 11:23-30. Paul endured many hard moments in life. Yet he was blessed because he knew the grace of God! Paul’s life shows us that blessing isn't attached to circumstances; it’s attached to Jesus Christ!
- Do: For an entire day, as you interact with the list of “things” you wrote about earlier this week, say out loud “You remind me that my true blessing is Jesus” when you come in contact with one of those “things.”
- Pray: Adore God for His amazing generosity in sending Jesus to be your Savior. Admit that far too often you look to things to bless you, instead of Jesus. Aspire to find your identity in Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you towards the Giver, not the gifts!
The Bible Doesn't Say That Part 1 - Many people want God to help them in life. We've come to believe that God only helps those who help themselves. But the story of Scripture actually teaches us something different. Today we discover that thos who humble themselves and seek Jesus are the ones who God truly helps. He knows what we need; which means we don't need to worry or help ourselves.
Here is this weeks devotional guide. Complete one a day:
- Reflect: What area of your life do you usually “help yourself” in? (i.e. relationships, finances, morality, leisure). Has helping yourself ever caused worry or stress?
- Write: Make a list of some of your greatest needs. Be specific. After you finish your list, write Matthew 6:32 at the bottom of your list. Read through your list and that verse everyday this week.
- Read: Read the following verses. What theme do they all share? 1 Chronicles 16:11. Isaiah 55:6. Proverbs 8:17. Matthew 7:7-8. Jeremiah 29:13. Psalm 119:2.
- Do: Buy something for someone today (coffee, lunch, a gift) As you provide for someone else, remember that God has promised to provide for you as you seek Him!
- Pray: Adore God because He is your heavenly Father. Admit that you have helped yourself instead of trusting God. Aspire to live humble and seek God’s kingdom first.
A Wonderful Life Part 4 - It is so easy for us to become discontent with what we have or what we do not have. When we look for purpose in the things around us, we always end up disappointed. The Christmas story tells us that God responded to our discontentment by sending His perfect Son to give us a full life.
Christmas Eve Eve Gather - The narrative of culture is, "The beautiful are in, the ugly are out." You prove you have value and worth through your accomplishments. Does the Christmas narrative support this, or say something different? Tonight we look at the geneology of Jesus and discover some pretty "ugly" people who were brought in to the family of Jesus! Through this we learn that no one is too bad to be excluded from the Christmas story.