Tuesday, October 15, 2019

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?

Monday, October 14, 2019

Things That Make You Go Hmmm: The Hole In Your Heart

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 Things That Make You Go Hmmm and talked about The Hole In Your HeartIf you missed it, you can listen to it here.
  1. What would your perfect day look like?
  2. This week at Verve we talked about the sense we have that there is something more to life. Do you remember when you first started wondering if maybe you were missing something? When you have felt that way, what did you do about it?
  3. Read Ecclesiastes 3:11 in the Old Testament of the Bible.
    • What do you think it means that God "put eternity in our hearts"?
    • Why do you think God put eternity in our hearts?
    • What does it make you think about God?
  4. How do you currently try to fill the hole inside of you when you feel empty?
  5. This week we heard stories of people - some "got" Jesus right away and decided to believe in and follow Him. Some took awhile, but eventually gave their lives to Jesus. Others were never willing to leave what they have to walk away from to follow Jesus.
    • What do you think makes it difficult to make the decision to put your faith in and follow Jesus?
    • Which of those three "types" best describes you? The first time you heard about Jesus, did you believe and accept Him right away? Or did you need a lot of time to process and think through everything? Or are you still not convinced He will fill the void inside of you?
  6. If you have met Jesus and put your faith in Him, the rest of your life is about helping others to meet and believe in Jesus.
    • How are you doing with that?
    • Who has God put in your life who, this week, you could you share your faith with or invite to Verve?
  7. 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 - 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?

Sunday, October 13, 2019

October 13 - Micah 5

Today's reading in our daily plan is Micah 5. 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?)
  • As you might know from your reading, Micah was a prophet. A prophet is a person that God uses to prepare people for what God is going to do. Well, get this: The big news from Micah 5 is that a savior (the Messiah) is going to be born in Bethlehem. Micah predicts that Jesus Christ is going to be born 700 years before it happens! Check out Micah 5:2-5. Micah also makes it crystal clear that, in the end, God will bring about justice and remove all evil from the world.
  • The word  “Messiah” means deliverer, leader and savior. 
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • We can have confidence in God’s Word/ Predictions and prophesy in the Bible are clearly one of the primary reasons that many scholars and historians agree on the validity of the Bible.  Micah’s prediction (prophesy) is effective in a really simple way: It eliminates all other cities and towns throughout the world as a place in which the Messiah would be born. This prophesy narrows the possibilities to one tiny village, near Jerusalem. Think about the odds! Amazing.
  • Throughout the span of 27 centuries (since the time of Micah), Bethlehem is widely known and accepted by historians as the birthplace of Jesus Christ. This is not just Biblical truth, it’s historical fact. 
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • As you think about your future, is there anything that is causing you to worry excessively? Talk to God about that worry and concern.
  • Put your trust in the messiah, Jesus, to deliver you from whatever is causing you to sin, doubt and worry. 

Saturday, October 12, 2019

October 12 - Micah 4

Today's reading in our daily plan is Micah 4. 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?)
  • Micah 4 is a collection of poetry that teaches us about God’s future hopes for his people to live in harmony and peace.
  • In this chapter, Micah tells us that even though there has been destruction in the world (God’s temple), God will turn the tables and ultimately bring peace to all of his creation.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • God is all about hope and restoration from destruction and ruins! Always remember that God is in control. The final chapter is already written and the hope that we have in God is strong. Be confident.
  • God is so awesome that he can and will restore peace without sacrificing justice and truth. God doesn’t change! Even when it seems like the world is chaotic and out of control, remember that God is in control. He’s got this! 
  • God cares about the “how” and the “why” of our life situations. He pays attention to the seemingly small details of our lives and wants to be involved with us. God loves you and he is always at work to form your heart!
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Where have you seen God take “destruction and ruin” in your life and turn it into “restoration and hope”?
  • How can you bring peace to a troubling situation or person in your life?
  • Pray specifically for God’s peace in your life challenges.

Friday, October 11, 2019

October 11 - 2 Timothy 4

Today's reading in our daily plan is 2 Timothy 4. 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 you read the last recorded words of Paul.  We will still read a few more books of the Bible written by him, but chronologically, this was his last letter before being executed for refusing to stop telling people about Jesus.
  • In verse 2, Paul encourages Timothy to follow his example by also "preaching the word," to always be ready to share Jesus and God's teachings.
  • Verses 7 and 8 give us the impression that Paul knows his end is coming, and is ready to die.
  • Starting in verse 9 there are a lot of personal remarks, and (verses 17-18) an explanation that Paul had always relied on God (not himself, or others) and that he was continuing to trust God.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • We need to be ready to die. That sounds morbid, and we're probably not as close to dying as Paul was when he wrote this, but we will die someday, and we don't know when. When we do, will we be able to join Paul in saying, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith"? And that "through me the message" was "fully proclaimed"? And that we're confident we will receive the "crown of righteousness" awarded to us by God?

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • If you were to die tomorrow, what regrets would you have? Not things like, "I never went to Hawaii," but as you stand before God, what regrets will you have about how you lived (or didn't live) for Him? The good news is that you probably still have some years left to erase those future regrets. Commit today, with God's help, to live every one of your tomorrow's as God wants you to, fighting the good fight and fully proclaiming His message.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

This Weekend @ Verve!

Have you ever felt empty inside but success, money, relationships, food, academics or drugs & alcohol aren't helping you feel fulfilled? It's almost as if the emptiness is so deep there's nothing on this earth that could fill it.

This weekend at Verve, we continue the series, Things That Make You Go Hmmm as we talk about The Hole In Your Heart!