Praise for Our God

1.     Praise Our God for His ____________! 1-6

Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!  The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel.  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.  Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. 6 The Lord sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground.

 Presence = Psalm 16:11:
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Power = Rom 1:20:
For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power, and divine nature. So, they have no excuse for not knowing God.

Priority = 2 Cor 5:21:
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 

2.     Praise Our God for His _______! vs. 7-15

Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp.  8 He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. 9 He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. 10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; 11 the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. Extol the Lord, Jerusalem; praise your God, Zion. 13 He strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you.  14 He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.

Planet = Job 37:14-16:
14 “Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders.  15 Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? 16 Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?

People = 1 Pet 2:9:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellences of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

3.     Praise our God for His ________! Vs 15-20

15 He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.  16 He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes.  17 He hurls down his hail like pebbles. Who can withstand his icy blast?  18 He sends his word and melts them; he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow. 19 He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel. 20 He has done this for no other nation; they do not know his laws.[b] Praise the Lord.

Potent = Ps 33:6-9:
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.  He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses.  8 Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him.  9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.

Personal = 1 Cor 2:7-11, 15-16:
No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.9 However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” the things God has prepared for those who love him.  10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.  The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. . .  15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY AND REFLECTION

To find a summer group or for more information go to www.gfhope.org/growth

·      Read Psalm 147 daily and ask what stood out in the message?

·      Share a time when you have experienced the mightiness of God?  How did you respond?

·      Comment on how God’s Bigness and human’s smallness is counter cultural to the world? 

·      Reflect on how God’s priority of redeeming humanity and specifically you is part of your daily time with God?

·      Share what are some of the most take your breath away places that you realize God created? 

·      Comment on how being a chosen people allows you to praise God?

·      How does the potency of God’s word over creation impact your prayer time?

·       Have you ever considered God making known the Gospel to you like unveiling a mystery?

·      Describe a time where you helped another person discover the mystery of God sending His Son to redeem their life with Him?

How to pray when you’re persecuted

1.     Check your __________vs. 1-4 –

I call to you, Lord, come quickly to me; hear me when I call to you.  May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.  Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.  Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies. 

a)    Declare your utter___________________ vs. 1

Psalm 121:1-2: I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

1 John 5:14This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” 

b)    Consider that your _____ are a powerful offering. vs. 2

Hos 6:6:  For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

Heb 13:15: Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name

Revelation 8:3-4, Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand.

a)    Purify your_________ and your ________ vs.3-4

Psalm 19:14: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”

James 4:3: When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

1 Cor 15:33: Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.

Proverbs 24:1-2: Do not be envious of evil men, Nor desire to be with them; For their heart devises violence, And their lips talk of troublemaking.

1.     Check with your godly____________________! vs. 5

Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness; let him rebuke me—that is oil on my head.  My head will not refuse

Pro 27:6: Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.

2.     Check your attitude towards your_____________! Vs 5b-10

for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers. Their rulers will be thrown down from the cliffs, and the wicked will learn that my words were well spoken.  They will say, “As one plows and breaks up the earth, so our bones have been scattered at the mouth of the grave.”  But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign Lord; in you I take refuge—do not give me over to death.  Keep me safe from the traps set by evildoers, from the snares they have laid for me.  Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety.

a.      Remember who your real  _________ are. vs.5b-7

Eph 6:12: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

James 4:8:  Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

b.    Remember evil doers will face_____judgement! vs.8-10

2 Thes 1:6-9: 6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 

Read the rest of the story: 1 Samuel 24:8-22:

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY AND REFLECTION 

To find a summer group or for more information goto www.gfhope.org/growth or TEXT “gfgroups” to 474747 and join a group this week:

·      Read Psalm 141 daily and ask what stood out in the message?

·      Read 1 Sam 23-24 to get a context of David’s life on the run from Saul and his prayers to God and how God answered.  How does David practice checking his heart, with his godly friends and his attitude toward his enemies?

·      Describe a time in your life where you have been harassed? 

o   How did you respond?

o    How was God part of the story? 

o   How did your friends respond?

o   How did your enemies respond?

·      How have you guarded your lip while praying?

·      How have you guarded your heart’s motives in prayer?

·      How have you been corrected by a friend?  How did you respond?

·      How have you corrected a friend?  How did they respond?

·      How has God brought you safely through harassment before? 

·      How might God bring you safely through a current harassment?

·      How have your enemies responded to your not following into their traps?

The God Who Really Knows Me

Psalm 139

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

1 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. 5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you. 19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! 20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. 21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? 22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. 23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

1. God is __________ in my ______ ______.

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. 5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
Psalm 139:1-12 NIV

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38 39 NIV

Jeremiah 23:23, 24   ~   Matthew 28:20

2. God _______ me in the _________ space.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.
Psalm 139:13-18 NIV 

Genesis 1:26, 27   ~   Jeremiah 1:4, 5   ~   Ephesians 2:10  

3. God will ______ me in my _______ space.

If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! 20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. 21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? 22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. 23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:19-24 NIV

Romans 8:26, 27   ~   Romans 8:37-39   ~   2 Chronicles 28:9, 10   ~     Isaiah 6:1-7

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY & REFLECTION

www.gfhope.org/growth

1.     Growth Challenge: Read Psalm 139 each day this week. What stood out to you in this past Sunday’s message?        

2.     Read all the Scriptures presented with each point and discuss the main point/s of the message.

3.     Where in your life has it been a comfort to know God is present?

4.     Can you describe a time when you felt like God was not present with you.  How do you handle that in light of what the Bible teaches about God’s presence?

5.     Have you ever tried to get away from God?

6.     How do you coach yourself with the truth when you feel like God is not present?

7.     Think about the truth that God knows us from our mother’s womb.  How does or could that knowledge affect the way you think of you and God?

8.     When you read the words “fearfully and wonderfully” made, how do you respond or relate to that?

9.     Could you try this week to think of yourself in terms of being God’s handiwork?  How would this differ from the way you normally think of yourself?

10.  What do you think God thinks when He thinks of you?

11.  When the prayerful invitation goes out, it goes with the assurance that God is already for you with His love. Do you have the courage to ask God to search you? Remember, Romans 8:26, 27 & Romans 8:37-39  

 

* Chair time = personal time set aside with the Lord in worship/praise, prayer, Bible reading, and calibrating your life before Him.

Our Security

Psalm 121
A song of ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Many things in life bring false security.  List a few that stood out to you:

o    

o    

o    

o    

The Lord is Our_______________(vs 1-2)

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

Truth: God is our only source for help!

The Lord is Our ________________(vs 2-3)

 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

         Truth: The Lord keeps us from falling.     Only He provides the strength!

The Lord is Our ________________(vs 5-6)

The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

              Truth:  His security is certain!

The Lord is Our _________________ (7-8)

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Truth: We are invited to trust in God as our guard, but we don’t get tell Him how to respond.

Romans 10:10-11 “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”

Two parts are necessary for us to have a true relationship with God.  Confess and Believe!

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY AND REFLECTION

www.gfhope.org/growth

To find a summer group or for more information

·      Growth Challenge: Read Psalm 121 each day this week.

·      What stood out to you in Sunday’s message?

·      What are some things that you see people trusting more than God?  What about in your own life? 

·      God is described in different ways in this Psalm.  What specific truths about God brings you encouragement?

·      Is there a fear in your life that you need to surrender to God?

·      Have you experienced a time in your life where God took a fear you had, helped you overcome it, and then used you to help others face that same fear?

·       Is there a specific worship song or two that really brings you comfort and helps you keep your focus on Christ?

·      What are some ways that God can use you to help others trust Him more completely?   

How to Let the Bible Come Alive in You

Psalm 119

א Aleph

Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. 2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart— 3 they do no wrong but follow his ways. 4 You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. 5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! 6 Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. 7 I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. 8 I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.

ב Beth

9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. 10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. 12 Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees. 13 With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. 14 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. 15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. 16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

1. Learn to ______________ it!
God’s Word will show you God.

I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.
Psalm 119:10 NIV

May your unfailing love come to me, Lord, your salvation, according to your promise;
Psalm 119:41 NIV

Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.
Psalm 119:2 NIV

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalm 119:103 NIV

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Judges 17:6 ESV

Ezekiel 3:1-9 ~ Jeremiah 15:16 ~ 2 Tim. 3:14-17 ~ Hebrews 4:12-13 ~ Eph. 6:10-17

Eight Words/Synonyms to describe the Scripture:

The Law, Testimony, Precepts, Statutes, Commandments, Ordinances, Word, Promise

2. Learn to ______________ it!
God’s Word will structure your thinking.

I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.
Psalm 119:7 NIV

…but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.
Psalm 1:2 NIV

May my cry come before you, Lord; give me understanding according to your word.
Psalm 119:169 NIV

Psalm 119:97-100 ~ Psalm 19:7-9 ~ Philippians 4:8,9 ~ 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

3. Learn to ______________ it!
God’s Word will shape your life.

Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. 2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart— 3 they do no wrong but follow his ways. 4 You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. 5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! 6 Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands.
Psalm 119:1-6 NIV

How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. 10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart  that I might not sin against you. 12 Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees.
Psalm 119:9-12 NIV

Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. 37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.
Psalm 119:36, 37 NIV

I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.
Psalm 119:45 NIV

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,
Psalm 1:1 NIV

It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.
Psalm 119:71 NIV

 QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY & REFLECTION

www.gfhope.org/growth

1.     Growth Challenge: Read Psalm 119 several times this week. What stood out to you in this past Sunday’s message?        

2.     Read all the Scriptures presented with each point and discuss the main point/s of the message.

3.     What can you do to stimulate your love for God’s Word?

4.     Read Judges 17:6 – describe how you are seeing that around you. How is that visible in your own life?

5.     How has God’s Word helped you love God more?

6.     What have you learned lately about God from His Word?

7.     Discuss several ways you can increase your learning of God’s Word. What would you like to do?

8.     Choose a passage of Scripture to memorize. Work on memorizing it over the next 4 weeks.

9.     Describe a time when God’s wisdom displayed itself in your life.

10.   Discuss the connection between God’s commands and precepts and increased freedom.

11.  What is something from God’s word that you are seeking to live?

 

* Chair time = personal time set aside with the Lord in worship/praise, prayer, Bible reading, and calibrating your life before Him.

How to Worship with Enthusiasm

Psalm 100
A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

1.  Everyone, Make Some __________________!

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Psalm 100:1, 2 NIV

 

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!   Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
Psalm 100:1, 2 ESV

When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
Luke 19:37-40 NIV

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.
Acts 16:25, 26 NIV

Additional Scriptures: Revelation 5:9-14; Habakkuk 2:20; 2 Chronicles 20

2.   Be Clear about Who You ________________!

Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Psalm 100:3 NIV

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100:5 NIV

Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes.
Proverbs 19:2 NLT

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:9-11 NIV

3.   Be Already Ready, _________________!

Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Psalm 100:2 NIV

Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
Psalm 100:2 ESV

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
Psalm 100:4 NIV

I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.
Psalm 145:2-4 NIV

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.
Hebrews 13:15 NIV

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY & REFLECTION

www.gfhope.org/growth

1.     Growth Challenge: Read Psalm 100 each day this week. What stood out to you in this past Sunday’s message?        

2.     Read all the Scriptures presented with each point and discuss the main point/s of the message.

3.     Find all 7 of the imperatives (commands) and describe what each of those mean or would look like if you lived them.

4.     Why do you think people tend to act somber or more quiet in a worship service?

5.     Can you describe a time when your shout for joy was a result of something God had done?

6.     How could you use songs and shouts to wage war against the enemy?

7.     Habakkuk 2 is about judgment, why do you think God commands silence?

8.     How does your knowledge of God affect your worship of God?

9.     What have you been doing to increase your knowledge of who God is?

10.  List 5 things you are thankful for.

11.  How can you praise and thank God for them, today

12.  What tools can you use to help you enter worship with a sense of praise and enthusiasm?

13.  How can you combat a bad attitude when your week has been really difficult?

14.   Do you think God is realistic to ask for praise and worship when you have difficult things in your life that you are struggling with? Why might He still require praise, thanks, and joy?

15.  Spend a few moments praising and thanking God, today!

* Chair time = personal time set aside with the Lord in worship/praise, prayer, Bible reading, and calibrating your life before Him.

How to Deal with Personal Sin

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long…
Psalm 32

For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth…
Psalm 51

Psalm 32 and 51 are Penitential Psalms

How to Deal with Personal Sin

1.  ________________________________ my sin.

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.”                               Psalm 32:3-5 NIV

Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.
Psalm 32:9, 10 NIV

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.
Proverbs 28:13, 14 NIV

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. 
Isaiah 64:6 NIV

The Back Story of David’s Sin: 2 Samuel 11 & 12

The first hiding: Genesis 3 

2.  ________________________________ my sin.

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.”
Psalm 32:5 NIV

 

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
Psalm 51:1-6 NIV

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.
Psalm 51:7-13 NIV

3. Be ________________________________ from my sin.

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.
Psalm 32:1, 2 NIV

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
Psalm 51:1 NIV

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
Psalm 51:7-19 NIV

Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!
Psalm 32:6-11 NIV

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,  having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.  And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Colossians 2:13-15 NIV 

Additional Scriptures:
Isaiah 1:18 19
1 John 1:9, 10
Psalm 23:6
Ephesians 1:7
Psalm 103:8-12

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY & REFLECTION

www.gfhope.org/growth

For more information TEXT “gfgroups” to 474747

1.   Growth Challenge: Read Psalm 32 & 51 each day this week. What stood out to you in this past Sunday’s message?        

2.   Read all the Scriptures presented with each point and discuss the main point/s of the message.

3.   Why do you and others tend to hide or conceal their sin?

4.   How do you think God responds to this tendency?

5.   Can you describe a time when hiding your sin made the consequence worse?

6.   Think about and discuss the statement: A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

7.   David takes his sin serious, how do you generally react to your personal sin? Write 3 descriptive words that describe your reaction. (ex. Casual)

8.   Put into you own words what it means to confess your sin.

9.   Why would confession to others, not just God, be helpful?

10. From these 2 Psalms, list all of the requests David makes of God in regarding his sin. As you read these, how do you react and respond to this list? Do you expect or presume upon God’s response?

11. Are you forgiven? How do you experience forgiveness?

12. The Bible speaks of cleansing of sin and from sin. Could you be clean? Are you living into the process of cleansing? How are you seeing this in your life?

13. Many people have difficulty living into forgiveness. Why do you think this is true?

14. In Psalm 32 and 51, David speaks of what will happen with him when he is restored. In what ways are you demonstrating a restored life?

15.  Are you living a joyful life? If not, why do you believe joy is lacking?

 

* Chair time = personal time set aside with the Lord in worship/praise, prayer, Bible reading, and calibrating your life before Him.

Living Through Spiritually Dry Times

Psalm 42

For the director of music. A maskil of the Sons of Korah.

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”  These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. . .

 

Psalms of Lament

Draw attention to what is wrong in the world (sometimes our inner world) and ask God to do something about it.

The psalms put words to our heart sounds.

How to Live through Spiritually Dry Times

1. Admit Your _________________________.

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
Psalm 42:1, 2 NIV 

These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.
Psalm 42:4 NIV

 My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.
Psalm 42:6, 7 NIV

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Psalm 34:8 NIV

Jeremiah 2:13
John 7:37, 38

2. Remember to  __________________. (remember to not forget)

These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng. Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

3. Place your  __________________ in God.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Hebrews 42:11 NIV

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Psalm 11:1 NIV

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:23 NIV

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,
Hebrews 6:19 NIV

 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Hebrews 13:15, 16 NIV

·      Challenge your present disposition.

·      Decide to place your hope in God. 

·      Be determined to praise God.

·      Begin to declare who God is!

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY & REFLECTION

www.gfhope.org/growth
For more information TEXT “gfgroups” to 474747

Growth Challenge: Read Psalm 42 & 43 each day this week.

What stood out to you in this past Sunday’s message?

Read all the Scriptures presented with each point and discuss the main point/s of the message.

Who was Korah? Read about him in Numbers 16, 26. What do we know of his sons and descendants? 1 Chronicles 26:1-19 and 2 Chronicles 20:1-20

Describe a time of spiritual thirst or spiritual dryness?

Pastor Paul described several areas to not underestimate during spiritually dry times:

  • Remembering: What have been 2 or 3 spiritually affirming times in your life?

  • Worship: Discuss the priority you put on worshipping with your church family.

  • Self-Talk: When you are dry or discouraged spiritually what do you say to yourself? How can you create a better narrative inside your mind?

  • Prayer: What are true statements about God that you can bring to Him in prayer? How honest are you about your feelings and disposition when you pray? 

The Psalmist challenges his disposition by asking, why. What have been some of the causes of spiritually dry times for you?

Have you experienced a dry time when there seemed to be no cause? Will you describe that time?

Describe how you can live into the hope of relationship with God.

Individually or as a group give words of praise to God and speak out loud personal relational truths between you and God!

In your daily chair time* review your sermon notes and think through the three statements and how they apply to your life:

Thirst, Remembering, Willing

 

* Chair time = A personal time set aside with the Lord in worship/praise, prayer, Bible reading, and calibrating your life before Him.

Praising the Lord

David’s ___________ story = 1 Sam 21:10-15


10 That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. 11 But the servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances: “‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’?” 12 David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. 13 So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard. 14 Achish said to his servants, “Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? 15 Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?”

Psalm 34

I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. 3 Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together. 4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. 6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. 8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. 9 Fear the LORD, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. 10 The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. 11 Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 12 Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, 13 keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. 14 Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry; 16 but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to blot out their name from the earth. 17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. 18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. 9 The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; 20 he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. 21 Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. 22 The LORD will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

1. Public praise ______________ followers of Jesus! 1-7

After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.”
Acts 13:15

2. Public praise calls us to ___________! 8-14

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
Phil 2:1-3

3. Public Praise assures us of our ____________! 15-21.

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.[a]20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Phil 1:18-26

There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning;[e] they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. 39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Heb 11:35-40

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY AND REFLECTION

To find a summer group or for more information go to www.gfhope.org/growth or TEXT “gfgroups” to 474747 and join a group this week:

Read Psalm 34 daily and ask what stood out in the message?

Find 5 verses that declare God’s praise and write them out and post them on your fridge, car, wallet, phone/computer and on your social media pages so you can join in God’s public praise – share your plan and what people’s reaction is.

Can you relate to David where, by God’s grace you were delivered? 

How can you practice humility and give God praise like David?

Practice giving public praise this week?  Can you give praise at work - how?  At home – how?  With friends- how?

How do you find praise helps you be open to godliness?  What areas of godliness is God calling you up to and how can you obey?

How does God’s promise of deliverance (both abundant living now and eternal salvation after death) help you right now? 

The Good Shepherd

Psalm 23
A psalm of David.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

What’s with an ________________?

The Shepherd’s _______________?

a.     Makes me lie down (vs 2a)

 Psalm 4:8 “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety”

 b.    Leads me (vs 2b)

 c.     Restores (vs 3a)

 d.    Guides (vs 3b)

 e.     Remains/Present (vs 4b)

 f.      Defends/Protects  (vs 4c)

 g.     Comforts (vs 4c)

 h.    Prepares (vs 5a)

 i.      Anoints my head with oil (vs 5b)

What We Learn About the Shepherd’s Character:

a.      __________________

b.     __________________

c.      __________________

d.     For His _________________ (vs. 3b)

Our Response to the Shepherd’s Leading:

a.    _________________ (verse 1)

b.   _________________ (verses 2-3)

c.    _________________ (verse 6)

(G)od created us to be with Him.

(O)ur sins separate us from God.

(S)ins cannot be removed by good deeds (like cast sheep).

(P)aying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again.

(E)veryone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life.

(L)ife with Jesus starts now and lasts forever.

“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”
Romans 10:10-11

Confess – that the Gospel is true.
Believe – place your faith in Christ alone for salvation.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY AND REFLECTION

www.gfhope.org/growth
To find a summer group or for more information
TEXT “gfgroups” to 474747 or visit the link above.

·      Growth Challenge: Read Psalm 23 each day this week.

·      What stood out to you in Sunday’s message?

·      Sheep are a peculiar livestock. Is there something about sheep that you tend to identify with personally? 

·      God is described as the Good Shepherd.  In what ways does that truth bring you encouragement?

·      Are you currently experiencing valleys in your life?  How does knowing that God is with you help? 

·       A Good Shepherd pursues the needs of his sheep.  How does that impact you, knowing that God pursues His children?

·      Vs. 6 says that we will “Dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  What comes to mind when you think that?    

·      How does knowing the Character of the Good Shepherd help with being content (vs. 1) ?

·      Consider reading the book “A Shepherds look at Psalm 23” by Phillip Keller for a deeper look at this amazing Psalm.

Can't Help but Praise Him

Psalm 8
For the director of music. According to gittith. A psalm of David.

 Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! 
You have set your glory in the heavens.
2 Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place, 4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? 
5 You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. 6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: 7 all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, 8 the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.
9 Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

1._____________________

1 Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.
3 When I consider your heavens the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place…     Psalm 8:1 & 3 NIV

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. 3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. 4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. 5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. 6 It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.      Psalm 19:1-6 NIV       

‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. Jeremiah 32:17 ESV

 (Additional Scriptures) Romans 1:18-20

Facts about the Night Skies: The Splendor of God’s Creationby Dr. Jason Lisle on February 28, 2008

2._____________________

what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. 6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: 7 all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, 8 the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.  Psalm 8:4-8 NIV

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”   Genesis 1:26-28 NIV 

But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth. 16 Turn to me, and be gracious to me; Oh grant Your strength to Your servant…                            Psalm 86:15, 16 ESV

3._____________________

Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.  Psalm 8:1, 2 NIV

 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth,  Psalm 8:9 NASB         

I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.  Psalm 18:3 ESV

 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.   Hebrews 13:15, 16 NIV

After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.” 22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.  2 Chronicles 20:21, 22 NIV
Matthew 21:15, 16; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY AND REFLECTION

www.gfhope.org/growth
To find a summer group or for more information
TEXT “gfgroups” to 474747

 Growth Challenge: Read Psalm 8 each day this week.

What stood out to you in this past Sunday’s message?         

Read all the Scriptures presented with each point and discuss the main point/s of the message.

Tell of a time when God’s power, displayed through creation, “wowed” or “humbled” you? 

 Vs. 2 – What is a stronghold? How do you think praise can protect you from the enemy?  Think of practical ways you could “feed your thoughts” with praise worthy truths. How can you express these praise-ables so they are a part of your battle plan mentally?  

 Vs. 3 – In what ways do you actively live your “position/place” in God’s order of things? Why does this matter? How have you noticed God’s mindfulness of humanity, …of yourself? Where do you think God would like you to be “more responsible?”

 Vs. 1 and vs. 9 – This is a declaration of God and His name with the statement of Him being Lord. How does your life declare these truths? How do you declare these realities with your mouth? 

 As an act of discipline and battle practice spontaneous praise this week. “Lord, I praise You for…”

In your daily *chair time read Psalm 8 and practice the main points of the message: Ponder(notice God’s majesty), Position(remind yourself that He is Lord and that you are free and responsible), Praise(offer Him the glory due His name).  

* Chair time = personal time set aside with the Lord in worship/praise, prayer, Bible reading, and calibrating your life before Him. 

 

Delighting In The Lord

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.  That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. Not so the wicked!  They are like chaff that the wind blows away.  Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
Psalm 1

1. What the Psalms help us to do = ___________________

but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.
Psalm 1:2

Taste and see that the Lord is good. . .
Psalm 34:8

And David danced before the Lord with all his might, wearing a priestly garment.  15 So David and all the people of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and the blowing of rams’ horns.
2 Sam 6: 14-15

If you love me, obey my commandments
John 14:15: 

2. Why we should ____________________ in the Lord!

A) To receive the _______ of the Lord

Ps 1: 1: Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,

Mal 3:10-12:  Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! 11 Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease.[a] Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 12 “Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

Eph 1: 3-6: All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son[

B) To receive _______ from the Lord

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither whatever they do prospers.
Psalm 1:3

Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.
John 15:5

 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love,  joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Gal 5:22-23

C) To be___________ before the Lord

Not so the wicked!  They are like chaff that the wind blows.  The wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly 
Ps 1:4-5

But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he’s the one to fear.
Luke 12:5

And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.
2 Tim 4:8

3. How one can  _________________ in the Lord!

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
Psalm 1:6

P=Praise
R=Repent
A=Ask
Y=Yield

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY AND REFLECTION

To find a summer group or for more information go to www.gfhope.org/growth or TEXT “gfgroups” to 474747 and join a group this week:

  • Read Psalm 1 daily and ask what stood out in the message?

  • Vs. 2 – How can you delight in the law of the Lord? 

  • Vs. 1 – How have you experienced God’s favor recently? Tangible and spiritual examples?

  • Vs. 3 – What kind of fruit have you seen in your life recently?  Fruit of the Spirit?  Has anyone you know become a disciple?

  • Vs 4-5:  Do you feel fearless before God? If so, why?  If not what might need to change?

  • Vs. 6 – How can you incorporate P.R.A.Y.  into your personal worship and “chair time?”

Putting Words to My Heart Sounds

Experiencing God in a world that is a hot mess, while leaning into His wonder

I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. 8 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

Psalm 34:1-11 NIV

1. God, I (we) want to ___________________ you!

Taste and see that the Lord is good. . .
Psalm 34:8 NIV

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 34:4 NIV

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.
Psalm 1:1-3 NIV

The psalms are prayers, poems and songs to a God who we believe is willing to engage and whose presence is real.

Book 1: Psalms 1—41;
Book 2: Psalms 42—72;
Book 3: Psalms 73—89;
Book 4: Psalms 90—106;
Book 5: Psalms 107—150

2. God, this world is a _________ _____________!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
Psalm 34:4-7 NIV

Appoint someone evil to oppose my enemy; let an accuser stand at his right hand. When he is tried, let him be found guilty, and may his prayers condemn him. May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership. May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes. May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor. May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children. May his descendants be cut off, their names blotted out from the next generation. May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord; may the sin of his mother never be blotted out. May their sins always remain before the Lord, that he may blot out their name from the earth.
Psalm 109:6-15 NIV

With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord; in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him. For he stands at the right hand of the needy, to save their lives from those who would condemn them.
Psalm 109:30, 31 NIV

Psalms of Lament draw attention to what is wrong in the world and ask God to do something about it.

Imprecatory Psalms
Penitential Psalms
…and others

3. God, You fill us with _________________!

I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. 3 Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.
Psalm 34:1-2 NIV

Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. 10 The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Psalm 34:9-11 NIV

Psalms of praise are filled with joy and celebration. These psalms draw attention to God’s involvement in the world and to what is good and wonder-filled.

Messianic Psalms
Thanksgiving Psalms
Worship Psalms
…and others

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY AND REFLECTION

www.gfhope.org/growth
To find a summer group or for more information
TEXT “gfgroups” to 474747

Growth Challenge: Read Psalm 34 each day this week.

What stood out to you in this past Sunday’s message?

Read all the Scriptures presented with each point and discuss the main point/s of the message.

Psalm 34:1-3 – What are you able to praise God for this week?

Vs. 4-5 – How has the Lord answered your prayers recently or in your life?

Vs. 6-7 – In what ways does God “radiate” in your life?

How has God “rescued” you?

Vs. 8 – Share with your group a time when you knew: “saw or tasted” that the Lord was good to you personally or that you had taken refuge in Him.

How can you incorporate prayers, songs, and poems into your personal worship and “chair time?”

Do you allow yourself the freedom to express lament (anger, hurt, etc.) in prayer? Describe a time when this was true.

Do you allow the wonder of God to coach, comfort and teach you in your times of lament? Describe a time when this was true.

Saul Becoming Paul - An Opposer's Story

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born."
1 Corinthians 15:3-8 NIV

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Romans 1:16, 18 NIV

Persecutor to a Persecuted Preacher
Acts 9:1-30; Acts 2:3-21; Acts 26:2-23

1. A Story of a  ________________

(Paul’s Life before Jesus)

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.
Acts 9:1, 2 NIV

“Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.” When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet. Then Paul said: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.
Acts 22:1-5 NIV

“I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.
Acts 26:9-11 NIV

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
Philippians 3:4-6 NIV

Religious is not the goal, Relationship with Jesus is!

2. A Story of a __________________

(Paul encounters Jesus)

As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
Acts 9:3-9 NIV

“About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’ “‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. “ ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me. 10 “‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked. “ ‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’ 11 My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.
Acts 20:6-11 NIV

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
John 3:16-18 NIV

Anger and opposition is not impossible for God!

 3. A Story of a ______________________

Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah. 23 After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him, 24 but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. 25 But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall. 26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him. 30 When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus
Acts 9:19-30 NIV 

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:14-17NIV

An encounter with Jesus brings an experience of transformation!

Thomas - A Skeptic's Story

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
John 20:24-30

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John 20:31 NIV

1. A story of _________________

Doubters Welcome!

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
John 20:24, 25 NIV

A man named Lazarus was sick. . . Finally, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.” But his disciples objected. “Rabbi,” they said, “only a few days ago the people in Judea were trying to stone you. Are you going there again?” 14 …So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.” 16 Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.”
John 11:1, 7-8, 14-16 NLT

 What is Doubt?

Doubt is that mental and spiritual state that is between faith and unbelief.

Doubts can become stepping-stones to an amazing faith!

2. Digging into _______________

So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
John 20:25 NIV

Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
Mark 9:21-24 NIV 

Three questions to ask.

1.      What are my doubts?
2.      Why do I doubt?
3.     Am I willing to investigate my doubts?

Doubts grow in the darkness

in the darkness of  ___________________
in the darkness of  ___________________
in the darkness of  _____________

 

God's Masterpiece

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:1-10 NIV

In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. 21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.
2 Timothy 2:20-21 NIV

1. Let God ________________ You 

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
Ephesians 2:8, 9 NLT 

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
Ephesians 1:3-8 NLT

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:1-5 NIV 

This is what the Lord says: “I will give Jerusalem a river of peace and prosperity. The wealth of the nations will flow to her. Her children will be nursed at her breasts, carried in her arms, and held on her lap. 13 I will comfort you there in Jerusalem as a mother comforts her child.”
Isaiah 66:12, 13 ESV

2. Let God _________________ You 

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus . . .
Ephesians 2:10a NLT

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27 NIV

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. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
Romans 8:28, 29 NIV 

In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. 21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.
2 Timothy 2:20-21 NIV

3. Let God ________________You 

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus
Ephesians 2:6, 7 NIV

To the lady chosen by God and to her children, whom I love in the truth—and not I only, but also all who know the truth— because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love. It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
2 John 1:1-6 NIV

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”
Luke 1:38 NIV

The Apostle Peter - A Story of Faith, Fear, and Failure

An _________of Peter’s journey – Jesus walks on water

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone… During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
Mattew14:23-31

Peter’s _________________ – What we know:

He  was from Galilee – and he was a fisherman by trade with his family business.
He was married but there is no mention of any children in Scripture.  (Mark 1:30).
He was likely a leader/spokesman of the group.
No other disciple so boldly professed Christ as Lord, and yet no other disciple denied Christ so convincingly or as publicly. 
Peter’s name is mentioned more times in the Gospels than any other person besides Jesus Himself.
Peter was curious – he asked more questions in the Gospels than all the other disciples combined.
He was impulsive and often outspoken.
He was bold.
Even though he was considered uneducated and ordinary by the religious officials, his boldness and empowerment of the Holy Spirit dumfounded the Sanhedrin in Acts 4:13. 

Peter’s spiritual journey begins with an ________________ (Matthew 4:18)

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
Matthew 4:18

Peter ___________ as he experiences faith, fear and forgiveness

A Confession (Matthew 16:16)
A Rebuke (Matthew 16:23)
A Denial (Luke 22:61)

Peter’s story _________________ God’s story when:

He sees the resurrected Christ (Luke 24:34, 1 Cor. 15:5)
He is restored by Christ (John 21:15-19)

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
John 21:15-19

Peter - A _______________ Life

What's Your Jesus Story?

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying. Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
John 20:1-18

My Jesus Story is:
I am willing to do Easter once a year, but . . .
I am holding on to a lie, so . . .  
I like things controllable. so . . .  
I want to believe, but . . .  
I will follow Him and give Him my life.

Jesus, because He is alive, could make your story come to life!

Hosanna Save Us But...

The Triumphal Entry

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to Daughter Zion, See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’” The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.””
Matthew 21:1-11 NIV

1. A Story of ________________________

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
Matthew 21:6-10 NIV 

Lord, save us!  Lord, grant us success! 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you."
Psalm 118:25, 26 NIV

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Zechariah 9:9 NIV

2. A Story of ________________________

Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
Matthew 26:14-16 NIV

While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.” 20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. 21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered. 22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” 23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” 24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” 25 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!” 26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
Matthew 27:19-26 NIV

 3. A Story of ________________________

…having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Colossians 2:14, 15 NIV

I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
John 3:12-18 NIV

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like.
Luke 6:46, 47 NIV

Pray ~ Invite ~ Prepare

 

Jesus Can Make Your Story Come ALIVE

Learning from Andrew’s Story

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” 39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
John 1:35-42 NIV

Pray for who you will invite to our Easter Celebration
Invite at least 4 people (Invite Cards are available)
Prepare your story and ask God to help you use it

1. An Alive Jesus Story is _____________

“We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).
John 1:41 NIV 

The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.
1 John 1:2-4 NIV

Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” 21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.
Acts 4:18-22 NIV

 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,
Acts 3:19 NIV

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul.
Psalm 23:1-3 NIV

You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.
Revelation 2:3-5 NIV

2. An Alive Jesus Story has _________ ________

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:29 NIV

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.
John 1:35-37 NIV

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Romans 1:16, 17 ESV

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
2 Corinthians 5:16-17 NLT

3. An Alive Jesus Story is full of ________

The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon…
John 1:41 NIV 

“We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.”
1 Thessalonians 2:8 NIV

I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel.
Romans 9:1-3 NIV

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Matthew 25:36-39 NIV

“If you live by the same values and priorities (Jesus) had, you will find evangelism happening naturally. It becomes a life-style and not a project.”
~Rebecca Pippert

4. An Alive Jesus Story is ______________________

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 1:8 NIV

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Romans 1:16, 17 NIV

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.
Matthew 16:15-17 NIV

 5. An Alive Jesus Story is __________ & __________

The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).
John 1:41 NIV

The Example of the Apostle Paul’s Story (Point in time)

BEFORE – Life before meeting Jesus Christ -- Acts 26:4-11

HOW – Personal encounter with Jesus Christ -- Acts 26:12-18

NOW – Life since meeting Jesus Christ -- Acts 26:19-23

The Example of the Timothy’s Story (Period of time)

BEFORE – Early life with Jesus Christ – 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15

HOW – Deeper encounter with Christ– 2 Timothy 1:6

NOW – Life since encountering Jesus Christ – 2 Timothy 4:2, 5

6. An Alive Jesus Story is ______________

And he brought him to Jesus.
John 1:42 NIV

 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” 29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”
Acts 26:28, 29 NIV