Saturday, October 19, 2019

October 19 - Micah 6

Today's reading in our daily plan is Micah 6. 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, Micah exposes the unjust economic practices of Israel’s leaders and how it’s destroying the land and its people.
  • Micah clearly states that God does not want his people living selfish lives, in deception and greed.
  • Micah offers this awesome summary statement to anyone wondering what’s important to God in chapter 6, verse 8: “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”  
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • God is very aware of any injustice. God cares about our character and anything deceitful, sinful and done with the wrong motivation is not okay with him.
  • God does not want to be elusive. He wants to be clear. He wants people to know him and understand the kind of life he wants us to live. Micah 6:8 is a clear example of what God requires of us: to do what is right, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. 
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • Think about your life. How are you doing in these 3 areas talked about in Micah 6:8:

    1. “To do what is right” – Is there anything in your life that isn’t “right” in God’s eyes?
    2. “To love mercy” – How can you deeply care for someone close to you who is hurting right now?
    3. “To walk humbly with your God” – Are you grateful or do you take the credit? Our world is full of pride and self-sufficiency. Are you walking humbly with God?

    Friday, October 18, 2019

    October 18 - John 1

    Today's reading in our daily plan is John 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?)
    • This book is the fourth "gospel." In the bible, gospels are the books that go through the life and ministry of Jesus (Matthew, Mark and Luke are the other gospels). The book of "John" was written by John, the disciple of Jesus. This is a different John than the one we see in this chapter (who is commonly referred to as "John the Baptist" or "John the Baptizer").
    • In the first five verses we learn that Jesus (who is nicknamed the "Word") had always existed, in Heaven, with God, and that He was (and is) God.
    • In verse 14 we see that God took the extraordinary step of becoming human. He "became flesh" and moved to where we live.
    • In this chapter, Jesus is called by seven significant names: The Word (verses 1 and 14), The Light (verses 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9), the Lamb of God (29 and 36), Messiah (verse 41), Son of God (49), King of Israel (49) and Son of Man (51). Together these titles help us understand the amazing and utterly unique identity of Jesus.
    • Throughout this chapter we also read about John the Baptist, who was chosen by God to prepare people for Jesus and to point people to Jesus.
    • Jesus had many followers throughout his ministry, but there are twelve who he chooses to be his key ministry apprentices (these twelve are sometimes referred to as disciples or as "the apostles"). In the last two sections of this chapter we see the first of the twelve being introduced to and choosing to follow Jesus.

    SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
    • Jesus is and always was God. He was always with God. The Bible reveals that God is one. There is one God. But this one God exists in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. And all three have always existed in perfect relationship. This is significant for us because we were created in God's image, which means we were created for relationships. And it's significant because it means that God didn't create us and doesn't want us because he's lonely. He's not desperate for friends. God made us and wants us because he loves us!
    • Notice the reaction of every person who meets Jesus in this chapter. They all immediately invite other people to meet Jesus. John the Baptist points the crowds to Jesus. Andrew invites Peter to meet Jesus. Philip invites Nathanael to meet Jesus. If you meet Jesus, you know that everyone needs to know Jesus, so you invite people to meet Jesus.

    NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
    • God wants you. He has all the relationships he needs within himself. He doesn't need you. But he wants you, because he loves you. How does that make you feel? The thought should be overwhelming. A perfect God loves and wants imperfect you! Spend some time meditating on this, and perhaps talking to or thanking God for it. And: What should this thought do to your self-image?
    • Who are you inviting to come meet Jesus? Someone who knows Jesus cannot be selfish with him. We need to do everything we can to get everyone to Jesus. So, who are you inviting to come meet Jesus? Who have you invited to church this week? Who could you invite?

    Thursday, October 17, 2019

    This Weekend @ Verve!

    Picture a group of people whose lives have transformed in a way that makes them want to see other's lives changed too. Do you think they could change the world all because of what has happened inside of them?

    Join us this weekend at Verve for the final week of the series, Things That Make You Go Hmmm!

    October 17 - Philemon

    Today's reading in our daily plan is Philemon. 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're reading Paul’s letter to a slave owner named Philemon. One of his slaves, Onesimus, had run away. While he was free, Onesimus connected with Paul and gave his life to Jesus. Onesimus then decided to return to Philemon, and Paul writes this letter to encourage Philemon to welcome back his slave lovingly and gently. In this letter, Paul shows his mastery of persuasion and diplomacy, and uses it for a good cause: Onesimus’ life.
    • Philemon has a right to be angry and hold a grudge, but Paul appeals to him to forgive.
    SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
    • We need to use our abilities for good causes (rather than just for our own good and gain). What cause has God put you in a position to influence?
    • As Christians, there may be times when we have the right to be angry and hold a grudge, but our allegiance to God and His love at work in our lives calls us to something higher and better, forgiveness. When we forgive we are not saying what the other person did was okay; we are just releasing our right to be angry about it.

    NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
    • Who do you need to forgive? How could God help you to do that? What benefit would forgiving have on you?
    • Today is our final day with Paul. Take some time to reflect on his life and letters. What things did Paul write about most frequently? What fears do you think he had? What have you learned about Paul that has challenged you? Encouraged you? What attitudes, character traits, or skills of Paul’s do you see in yourself, and how can you use them to benefit God’s kingdom?

    Wednesday, October 16, 2019

    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?

    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?)