Tuesday, November 13, 2018

November 13 - John 19

Today's reading in our daily plan is John 19. 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?)
  • John was an eyewitness of the crucifixion and gives many details of what happened. He chooses not to comment on what happened, or to share his feelings about it, but simply to report on the events.
  • It's possible that Pilate said, "Here is the man!" (in verse 5) because Jesus had been whipped and beaten so severely that no one could have possibly recognized him.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • All that happened to Jesus - the beatings, the cross-carrying and the crucifixion happened so that we can have eternal life; so we can know God in this life and be with him forever in the life to come. Jesus didn’t deserve to be on the cross. We, however, do deserve it. He took what we deserve so we can have life.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Jesus gave his life for us; what do you need to give up for Jesus?
  • Take some time to thank Jesus for what he did for you on the cross.

Monday, November 12, 2018

November 12 - John 18

Today's reading in our daily plan is John 18. 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?)
  • Though Jesus has never broken a law or committed a crime, he is arrested. The religious leaders have heard Jesus teach a completely different way of approaching God, so they see him as a threat to their power.
  • Jesus then goes through a series of trials, during which he refuses to defend himself. Jesus came to do the will of God and make a way for us to have a relationship with God and go to Heaven. He came to earth to die.
  • While Jesus is on trial, people approach Peter and accuse him of being one of Jesus' followers. Peter, afraid that he will be killed with Jesus, denies knowing him.
  • A criminal named Barabbas, who was guilty and actually deserved to be punished, is released, while Jesus, who is innocent and deserves no punishment, is sentenced to death.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Jesus was completely committed to doing God's will, even when it's not what's best for him. We need to live life the same way.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Is there something you believe God wants you to do that you'd rather not do? Choose to trust God and do it.
  • The religious leaders didn't do what they should have because their power was threatened. Peter didn't do what he should have because his life was threatened. What is it that tends to make you feel threatened and keeps you from doing what God wants?

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Don't Give Up: Guest Speaker, Charlie Plumb

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 Don't Give Up and heard from guest speaker, Charlie Plumb. If you missed it, you can listen to it here.
  1. Who is someone you've looked up to as a personal hero for a long time? Why?
  2. What about Charlie Plumb's story inspired you?
  3. None of us have been prisoners of war, but we all face our own struggles. What has been an ongoing struggle for you?
  4. How did Charlie's faith seem to help him to not give up?
  5. The Bible says in Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." How can faith in a God who works for the good in all things help you to not give up?
  6. Another important aspect of Charlie being an overcomer in his situation was the power of positive words, not only the power of believing God's words, but also the power of sharing positive words amongst the prisoners. How can you increase the amount of positive words in your life?
  7. The Bible says in Proverbs 18:21, "What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words." Would you say your words mostly preserve life or destroy it? Why?
  8. How can you better fill your life with words of life from God?
  9. How can you better fill your life with people who speak positive words to you?
  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?)

November 11 - Jeremiah 42

Today's reading in our daily plan is Jeremiah 42. 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?)
  • Johanan, his fellow military leaders, and the people he had rescued from Ishmael in chapter 41, went to ask the prophet Jeremiah to pray for God’s guidance for them. Jeremiah promised to pray for them and the people promised to obey whatever God told them to do.
  • After ten days, God replied and commanded the people to remain where they were and not go to Egypt. God promised that if the people followed his command and stayed put, they would receive mercy and kindness from the king of Babylon. If the people refused and went to Egypt to escape the war, none of them would escape destruction and they would never see their homeland again.
  • The chapter ends with God telling the people that he knows they were not being honest when they said they would do whatever God told them to do and they were acting just as they and their ancestors had acted in the past.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • God is honest and loving and wants his people to trust to him. Even though God knew that the people were not going to follow his instructions, God still shared both sides with them. The people were told of the benefits they would reap for following God and the damage they would suffer for refusing. God loves us so much that he always gives us free will to make our own choices and also shares up front what the consequences of the choices will be.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • God is not fooled by our words; he knows what is truly in our hearts. The pressure to say the “right” things can come from many sources: family, friends, coworkers, and society. Today, talk with God and be honest with him. Tell him about those areas where you are saying one thing to the world but you don’t really mean it. Maybe you tell people how much you love your job even though it’s unfulfilling. Or maybe you talk about how fun the party life is and leave out the emptiness you feel when you’re alone. God already knows the truth and he wants to comfort you and guide you to a place of peace.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

November 10 - Jeremiah 41

Today's reading in our daily plan is Jeremiah 41. 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 the previous chapter, we learned that Gedaliah was appointed governor of Judah by the king of Babylon who invaded and destroyed Israel and Gedaliah was told of an assassination plot against him by Ishmael but Gedaliah did not believe the report. In today’s chapter, Ishmael and ten of his men met up with Gedaliah in a city called Mizpah, had dinner together, and then killed him.
  • The day after the murder, Ishmael met a group of 80 men who were going to Jerusalem to worship at God’s Temple and with tears in his eyes, Ishmael tells them to come with him to see what had happened to Gedaliah. The men followed Ishmael and 70 of them were killed by Ishmael’s men and they were thrown into a cistern (a cistern was a large hole in the ground lined with rocks to collect rainwater. The remaining 10 pilgrims escaped with their lives by promising to give Ishmael the stores of food they had hidden away.
  • Ishmael then took many people from the city of Mizpah captive and led them toward the land of the Ammonites but he was stopped along the way by Johanan, a military leader (the same one who warned Gedaliah about Ishmael in chapter 40), who freed the captives and prepared to leave for Egypt in fear of the Babylonians retaliation. However, Ishmael and several of his men escaped with their lives.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • This chapter is one filled with sadness and violence and it is important to know that the atrocities that were happening in Israel were not without reason. Throughout the book of Jeremiah, God warned his people of what would happen if they continued in their refusal to follow God. The Israelites were given the opportunity to change their ways for generations and God invited them to be in relationship with him over and over.
  • One way to think about it is to imagine you are driving your car at 70mph. If you take your hands off the wheel, you aren’t going to crash immediately, but you will definitely crash eventually. The people of Israel had their hands off the wheel for years and the death and destruction that occurred was a result of their choices.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • What has led you to take your hands off the wheel? Have you given up because of anger or frustration? Are you holding a grudge against a friend or family member? Are you lacking in love for yourself? God commands us to love others as we love ourselves. If you don’t love yourself and you can’t see the way God loves you, it is impossible to love others. Today, talk to God and ask him to help you see and understand how deeply you are loved by him exactly as you are today and to know the beauty he designed uniquely into you.

Friday, November 9, 2018

November 9 - John 17

Today's reading in our daily plan is John 17. 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 today’s reading we get to listen to Jesus pray. First he prays for himself, and then for his followers at the time and those that will follow because of the disciples' preaching.
  • In verse three, Jesus gives us a definition of eternal life: knowing the only true God and Jesus whom he sent. In other places, Jesus talks about "abundant life," or life to the full. They all refer to having a relationship with God through Jesus.
  • When Jesus prays for his disciples he asks God to protect and unify them. Then, when he prays for the people who will eventually believe his disciples' message (which includes us), he asks God that they also would be unified. It's important to Jesus that his followers are unified. He wants his followers to love each other just like he loves them (as he also mentions in John 13:34-35).

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Jesus says, in verse 1, that ultimately his desire was to bring glory to his Father. That should be our ultimate desire as well. God is the star of the show and we need to point our lives and other people to him.
  • We often think of eternal life as what happens after we die in this world; it starts with the "next life." But eternal life is having a relationship with God and living the life he has for us. Eternal life begins when we say yes to God and put our faith in Jesus. It will continue, in a bigger and better way, when we pass from this life and enter the next, but it begins here and now.
  • The unity of his followers is of critical importance to Jesus. We need to live seeking to live in harmony with other believers, and always seeking to mend relationships whenever necessary.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • What did you learn about prayer from hearing Jesus pray? How should it change the way you pray or what you pray for?
  • How are you doing at living in unity with other followers of Jesus? Do you seek to develop relationships and good will with other believers? And when rifts do develop in your relationships, instead of ignoring it or allowing the relationship to suffer, do you proactively seek to deal with the issue and make peace? Is there someone you need to do some relationship-mending with now?

Thursday, November 8, 2018

This Weekend @ Verve!

A prisoner of war in Vietnam for 6 years, he's told his heroic story on Good Morning America. Now he's coming to Verve to share his incredible adventure of triumph over tragedy. 

Join us this weekend at Verve as we welcome guest speaker, Charlie Plumb!