Monday, May 29, 2017

May 29 - 1 Corinthians 10

Today's reading in our daily plan is 1 Corinthians 10. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Paul begins the chapter by referencing Exodus 17, where the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years and were led by a great cloud. He also mentions a teaching in Psalm 95. Sadly, the Israelites wandered for 40 years and died in the desert. Paul explains they were punished for their sins and made an example. 
  • The great evil the Israelites did was 1) worship idols 2) commit sexual immorality 3) test God 4) grumble against God. Idol worship is when we give highest priority, value, and love to something other than God. 
  • Paul reminds us that we are not the first to be tempted in these ways. These temptations are common to all men. Our friends and neighbors struggle just like us. But, God is faithful and will not allow us to be tempted more than we can handle. Not only that, God will help us when we are tempted if we just ask for his strength.
  • The chapter closes with Paul referring back to I Corinthians 6:12. If you remember, this was the Corinthians slogan to justify their sinful behavior. Paul is reminding them once again that what really matters is not what you do or don't do, but your conscience and how it affects others. If we really love God and people, we will seek their good first.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • When we look at the story of the Israelites in the desert, we see that God takes sin very seriously. Furthermore, we have no excuse to sin. We think we do -- we're human, we're weak, our situation is different, God is holding out on us, God will forgive us anyway, etc. But we don't. And we don't want to make an excuse to sin, because when we sin we are rebelling against God and choosing to live a lesser life.
  • Isn't it interesting that God sees grumbling just as sinful as idol worship? Often, we categorize them into "big" sins and "little" sins. But the truth is, sin is sin. It's all the same to God.
  • We have freedom in Christ. However, we need to make sure that the things we do don't hurt others or cause them to stumble in their faith.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • What common temptations do you face? What is your highest priority? Is it God or something else? If not, how can you change your life so that God becomes number 1? 
  • We all face temptation, but have you thought about the steps you can take to prevent it? Maybe you could have an accountability partner? prayer partner? 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Questions: Not...

We provide questions each week based on the theme of our service for our Micro Groups to use. If you're not in a Verve Micro Group, feel free to use them on your own.

This week we continued our series called Rehab For The Rest Of Us and talked about "Not ... ". If you missed it, you can listen to it here.

  1. Vince said, "You don't break an addiction by trying harder." Why do you think that's such a difficult concept for us to understand?
  2. 1 Corinthians 9:25 says, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” Why is training so critical to our spiritual life and the recovery we need?
  3. What is your typical reaction when you experience failure in your life? Try again? Give up? 
  4. What can we do when we experience failure in our training? 
  5. How can we get beyond a "fixed mindset" to a "growth mindset?" Why is this so important for our rehab?
  6. Which of the six steps in this series do you find the most challenging? What can you do to begin to implement that step in your life?
  7. Prayer Question:  What could we be praying for you this week? (Is this there something good we could celebrate with you, or a challenge you need God's help with?)

May 28 - Job 11

Today's reading in our daily plan is Job 11. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Zophar is a third friend of Job's. He is also the most direct and disrespectful.
  • Zophar's insists that Job is suffering because of his sin. He has nothing but destructive words for Job.
  • Job is referred to as "deceitful" in verse 11. Zophar accuses Job of secretly hiding faults and sins from everyone around him.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Surrounding ourselves with the right friends is so important when we're suffering or going through tough times. Listening to the wrong person can be destructive.
  • When someone is suffering we must be careful how we use our words. Too often we can make light of the situation or speak to harshly.
  • It is correct to search our hearts for any sin when we experience suffering, but suffering is not always in direct connection with sin.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Who in your life could use your support? Who could you be a friend to in a helpful way?
  • When someone is suffering do you listen and then show compassion with your words?

    Saturday, May 27, 2017

    May 27 - Job 10

    Today's reading in our daily plan is Job 10. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

    SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
    • Job questions God's intent in allowing him to experience the suffering in his life. He asks God if He enjoys oppressing him or if He is condemning him.
    • Job falsely jumps to the conclusion that God is out to get him. 
    • Once again, Job loathes his life and wishes God would take it from him. This sort of desperation indicates the level of suffering Job is experiencing.
    SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
    • When facing trials, ask, "What can I learn and how can I grow?" rather than "Who did this to me and how can I get out of it?"
    • It's easy to assume the worst about God, but remember that God wants the best for you. When you're struggling, try not to assume the worst.
    NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
    • In what ways have you learned from times of suffering in your life?
    • If you are going through period of trial, what do you think God wishes for you to learn? Try asking him.
    • God wants the best for you. Is it difficult for you to believe this? Talk to God honestly about it...

      Friday, May 26, 2017

      May 26 - 1 Corinthians 9

      Today's reading in our daily plan is 1 Corinthians 9. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

      SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
      • Paul begins by explaining that full time ministers deserve to be paid for their work, just like any other worker. He then states that, although this is true, he has ministered for free. 
      • Paul explains, in verses 19-23, that he has "become all things to all people so that by all possible means" he might save some. The idea is that by trying to connect with people where they are, in a way that makes sense to them, they will hopefully be led to Jesus.
      • Paul then concludes with an Olympic marathon illustration. He says that in the same way they focus on winning a medal, we need to focus on living a life that will lead to a "crown that will last forever." That crown may refer to getting to be with God forever in Heaven, or to the recognition we'll get from God in Heaven for the work we did on Earth.
      SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
      • We need to "become all things to all people so that by all possible means" we might lead some to Jesus. Instead of focusing on our differences with people who are far from God, we need to focus on what we have in common, and use it to build a relationship. Within that relationship, we need to look for opportunities to graciously talk about our faith and share Jesus.
      • We need to put our focused effort into our spiritual training so we truly live for God, not "be disqualified for the prize," and make sure we "get a crown that will last forever.
      NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
      • Who has God put in your life who does not know Him? What do you have in common with that person that would help you build a relationship? Maybe you both have kids, or have a similar hobby, or enjoy working out? How can you use that to deepen your relationship? And given the opportunity, how will you share your faith with them?
      • What is your "training regimen" for growing spiritually? Does it include reading the Bible everyday? Praying everyday? Volunteering at church? Being in a Verve Group? What else? How much focus and time and effort do you put into it? And, since it's so important, should you make it a higher priority?

      Thursday, May 25, 2017

      This Weekend @ Verve!

      Are you on the verge of giving up? Do you keep trying to break out of your bad habits only to land right back in the middle of them?

      If you're stuck in your hang-ups, you're not alone. Getting past your past is a life-long journey, and it's a journey you don't have to do alone. Be at Verve this weekend for the finale of Rehab For The Rest Of Us. You'll learn how to move forward step by step, and how God can propel you forward.

      May 25 - 1 Corinthians 8

      Today's reading in our daily plan is 1 Corinthians 8. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

      SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
      • Back at this time people sacrificed meat to idols (made up gods, often made of wood or stone). After being laid at the altar of the false god, the meat would then be sold in the market. Some Christians believed that it was not to be eaten because it had been used in another religion's ceremony. Others believed it was fine to eat the meat. This was causing division. Paul says that eating the meat is fine, but that even still it shouldn't be eaten if it would cause problems for another Christian.
      SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
      • We need to be careful that using our freedom doesn't become a stumbling block to others.
      • Unity in the church is more important than doing what we want and getting our way. We need to live selfless lives of love that build others up.
      NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
      • Is there something you're doing that might cause a problem for someone else? Perhaps you have a friend who is a recovering alcoholic, and you've had a glass of wine in front of her. Or you have a friend who struggles with lust, and you invited him to see a movie with you that has nudity. Make a commitment to live a life of putting the needs of others before your own and carefully making your decisions so you build others up rather than causing them to stumble.