Tuesday, October 16, 2018

October 16 - Titus 3

Today's reading in our daily plan is Titus 3. 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?)
  • In verses 1-2 and 8, Paul tells Titus to teach God's people to focus on being and doing good.
  • We learn in verses 3-7 that we are not "saved" by being good. Our goodness or doing good works does not earn us anything with God. Instead, we are "justified by his grace." Justified means it's "just-as-if-I'd never sinned." "Grace" means to get the opposite of what we deserve. Because of God's unconditional love, and through Jesus' death on the cross, we can have our sins removed and be made right with God.
  • In verses 9-11 Paul writes about some things Jesus' followers should avoid. If a discussion or argument isn't benefitting any of the people involved, or the Kingdom of God, there is no reason to waste our time participating in it.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • We are saved, despite being bad, because Jesus is good. Our response to being saved should be to want to be good. The order is critical. Being saved leads us to being good. If we think that being good leads us to being saved, it will mess us up.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Where in your life do you see the thought that you can be good enough for God creeping in? When do you see yourself motivated by thoughts that you can earn something from God, or devastated when you don't perform well enough for God because you feel like you may have lost His approval? What could help you remember that you are saved by grace, and doing good is just a way of saying thank you?

Monday, October 15, 2018

October 15 - Titus 2

Today's reading in our daily plan is Titus 2. 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 gives advice on how different groups of people should be taught to live:
    • Older men need to focus on being temperate (moderation or self-restraint) and self-controlled while learning to be solid in faith and enduring in love.
    • Younger men should focus on self-control.
    • Older women need to focus on living reverently and mentoring younger women while avoiding gossip and too much wine.
    • Younger women should focus on loving their immediate family, managing home-life well, practicing self control and purity, and living contently.
    • Slaves should strive to please their masters and earn their trust while not talking back or stealing from them, so as to attract their masters to God and His teachings. Back then a person being a slave was not based on race, but on an economic situation. It was closer to our modern day employer/employee relationships. 
  • In the last section Paul writes about God's grace, which means that God offers us the opposite of what we deserve. This is how we receive "salvation" (verse 11) - the removal of our sins from our record so we can have a relationship with God and spend eternity with Him in Heaven.
  • Paul also says that it's God's grace that teaches us to say no to sin.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Many people think that what leads us not to sin is fear. If we fear being punished by God for our sins, perhaps we'll say no to temptation. But that's not what the Bible teaches. It's grace, God's unconditional love, that leads us to say no to sin. We realize that God loves us, and so we don't want to sin against Him. And we realize that God loves us, so we know that whatever He asks us not to do is in our best interest.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • What group that Paul mentions are you in? Older man? Younger woman? Employee? How does Paul's advice apply to you? How could you start actually living it?
  • When you're tempted, what helps you to say no? Do you rely on fear and shame as your motivation? Or do you focus on the love of God? How could you start to focus on God's grace and have it lead you to say no to ungodliness?

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Misfits: A Place for Misfits

We provide questions each week based on the theme of our service for our Verve Groups to use. If you're not in a Verve Group, feel free to use them on your own.
This week we continued the series called Misfits and talked about "A Place for Misfits". If you missed it, you can listen to it here.
  1. Which season are you: fall, winter, spring or summer? Why?
  2. How do you feel like a misfit?
  3. Read Romans 5:17 in the New Testament of the Bible. What makes it so hard to accept people like Christ has accepted us?
  4. In what ways are you gifted? How can you use this gifting to benefit others?
  5. How were you treated when you were in school? What impact does this have on your life now?
  6. Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-30. Why do you think God doesn't choose to use the people who the world would choose first?
  7. How does stress decrease in your life when you think about God accepting you just the way you are?
  8. Has church always been a place you could come and be yourself? Why or why not?
  9. Do you want to be part of a church where it's a safe place for misfits to belong? Why or why not?
  10. Weekly Check In Question:  What could we be praying for you this week? (Is there something good we could celebrate with you, or a challenge you need God's help with?)

October 14 - Jeremiah 34

Today's reading in our daily plan is Jeremiah 34. 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?)
  • In this chapter, God used the prophet Jeremiah to deliver a message to the king of Judah who was named Zedekiah. God declared that Jerusalem was about to fall to the nation of Babylon and that Zedekiah would not die in the war.
  • Zedekiah ordered freedom for all Hebrew slaves but they were later forced back into slavery. God responded by reminding the people of the promise he made with their ancestors and the actions of the people broke that promise. The consequences to the broken promise were death and destruction of the people and their land. King Zedekiah would also be taken hostage to Babylon and the Babylonians would return to Jerusalem to burn it down (see verse 21-22).
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • God shows his mercy and justice in today’s passage. The people of Israel had a hard time keeping their promises to God, the Bible is filled with stories of solemn promises to obey God and they are broken again and again and again. Because God is merciful, he does not give the people the punishment they deserve. His justice is demonstrated through consequences for actions. God’s love is on display in his consistent desire to be in relationship with the people.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Sometimes it’s easier to focus on the things that aren’t going well right now. The noise and stresses of relationships (family, friends, your kids, your parents), finances, and daily living can lay heavy on your shoulders. Today, take one minute to close your eyes and think of something that makes you smile. Talk to God, tell him your frustrations and pains, and thank him for that one thing that made you smile as well.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

October 13 - Jeremiah 33

Today's reading in our daily plan is Jeremiah 33. 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?)
  • Today’s chapter is about restoration. God promised that he would bring peace, healing, and forgiveness to Israel (see verse 6-8) and he also promised that Jesus would come in the future to bring justice and righteousness (see verses 15-16).
  • God’s promise was so strong and permanent that the only way it could be broken was if the sun and the moon stopped rising and setting (see verse 20). He promised he would never abandon his people.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • God’s enduring love and mercy are displayed in this passage. The restoration of Jerusalem was part of his ultimate plan. The timing of his plan doesn’t always make sense and it is not always easy to trust him. This chapter is one of many in the Bible that reminds us that God keeps his promises and he has a plan (see Jeremiah 29:11).
  • God loves his people intently and he wants them to sing with joy and thanksgiving. He adores being in relationship with them. He does not promise there will be no troubles in life but he promises to walk beside you as you journey through the tough seasons.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • What part of your life is on a rough road today? When did it start to get rough? Was it a gradual change or did a deep pothole come out of nowhere? Have you been on that rough road for a while? Today, pause for a minute and talk to God. Be honest with him; tell him if you are feeling alone, tired, or angry. Ask him to remind you of the strength of his promises.
  • Another way to find support on a bumpy road is to check out Restore, a recovery group that is come-as-you-are and a safe place for everyone on Tuesday nights at Verve (childcare is provided). There is nothing too big or too small to be a part of the Restore community and you will find a welcoming circle with people who journey together.

Friday, October 12, 2018

October 12 - Titus 1

Today's reading in our daily plan is Titus 1. 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?)
  • Today we start with a letter Paul wrote to an apprentice of his named Titus, who was sent to an island called Crete to lead the church there.
  • After an introduction, Paul instructs Titus to appoint elders (also in the Bible called overseers, bishops, or pastors). Paul gives Titus a list of character traits that should be true of someone in a church leadership position.
  • In the last section Paul describes (in harsh terms!) some people who need to be corrected. There were people who "claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him"and who were deceiving and disrupting people with false teaching about God.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • The character traits Paul lists for an elder should be true of every Christian. We should all aspire to be hospitable, self-controlled, not violent, etc.
  • Unfortunately, there will always be people who claim to know God, who wear the name Christian, but by their actions deny him. We call those people hypocrites, and they make Jesus look bad. We need to give God space to work in our lives and partner with Him so that our lives become more consistent with our beliefs (and God's teachings) every day.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Have you ever known a hypocrite? What impact did their hypocrisy have on you? Have you known someone who truly lives out what they believe? What impact did their integrity have on you? Don't you want to live a consistent life that impacts people in a really positive way? Why not pick one of the character traits in verses 6 through 9 and ask God to help you grow in that area? What friend could you ask to keep you accountable?

Thursday, October 11, 2018

This Weekend @ Verve!

Do you ever feel like you can't fit in no matter where you go? What if there was a place you could come to where you felt safe being exactly who you are, without hiding anything? We are that place. You are welcome here!

Join us for part 2 of the series, Misfits, this weekend at Verve!