Pastor Paul Knight

Why do Christians seem like they hate homosexuals?

 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” 32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Mark 12:28-33 NIV

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
1 John 4:16-21 NIV

1. __________ and __________

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
Romans 2:1-4 ESV

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
1 Peter 2:9-12 NIV

“Part of what’s going on in America right now is that for 300 years we taught grace to truth-based Christians. The whole thing in the last 20 years has changed. This new generation is grace-based, but they don’t have a spiritual backbone. Our task in the next decade is to teach truth to grace-based Christians.”
~
Ray Johnston

Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.
~ Rick Warren

Two lessons from Jesus for the church

2. _______ YOUR _________: THE GOOD SAMARITAN

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Luke 10:25-37 NIV

3. _______ _________: THE Tax Collector

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Luke 19:1-10 NIV

Resources:
Sprinkle, Preston. People to be Loved, why homosexuality is not just an issue
Clark, Mark. The Problem of God: Answering a Skeptics Challenges to Christianity
Coles, Greg, Single, Gay, Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity
Hill, Jackie Hill. Gay Girl, Good God
The writings of Philip Yancey

Why does a loving God let people suffer?

1. The problem of the Suffering and evil in the world.

“Is God willing to prevent evil but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able to but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Why then is there evil?”
Scottish philosopher David Hume

I appreciate that the Bible and Christianity don’t pretend that suffering and evil do not exist. Also that Christianity doesn’t blow some sort of Jesus smoke over the horrible and horrendous and pretend to make it all better.

2. ____ and ______ responses to suffering and evil . 

A.     The ________ of the reality of suffering and evil.

B.    Suffering and evil are caused by the ____ a person has done.

C.     Suffering and evil are the ________ that God does not exist.

D.    Suffering and evil are a part of the _____ and ______ world.

3. Responding to suffering and evil with ________.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 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 8:14-39

A. The cry against suffering reminds us that there is __________.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Romans 8:18 NIV

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 NASB

 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
Revelation 21:1-8 NIV

B. In the midst of suffering, we anticipate a greater ____________.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Genesis 50:20 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.
Romans 8:28 NIV

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV

C. In the midst of suffering, we remember ____________.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 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 8:37-39 NIV

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
Matthew 1:23 NIV

See also:  Hebrews 12:1-3; Philippians 2:5-11

Resources:
Keller, Timothy. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
Clark, Mark. The Problem of God: Answering a Skeptics Challenges to Christianity
The writings of Philip Yancey

Why do you think there is a God?

In the beginning God . . .
Genesis 1:1

We cannot prove the existence of God. We cannot disprove the existence of God. But the weight of evidence leads us to belief in His existence.

a Word to doubters and skeptics

31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
John 8:31-33 NIV

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.”
John 20:27 NIV

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
Mark 9:24 NIV

Chase your doubts down ‘till they have become exhausted by the truth.

1. Because of the ______________.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
Psalm 19:1-4 NIV

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.                                                                                                Genesis 1:1-3 NIV 

The fingerprints of a Master designer have been left like clues in the universe around us and in the universe within us.

2. Because of the __________ of humanity.

 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)
Romans 2:14-16 NIV

“When you listen to the goodness of the human heart you hear the echoes of the voice of God.”

3. Because of the ______________ for God.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1 NIV

“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
Jeremiah 2:13 NIV

You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
Augustine, Confessions (Book 1)

4. Because of ______________.

“You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”

58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
John 8: 24:57-59 NIV

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. 17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.
Colossians 1:15-17 NLT

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,
1 Corinthians 15:3, 4 NIV

 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:6-11 NLT 

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Luke 19:9, 10 NIV

Religion is man’s way of trying to find God.
Jesus is God’s way of trying to find you.

 

Resources:
Keller, Timothy. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
Clark, Mark. The Problem of God: Answering a Skeptics Challenges to Christianity
Strobel, Lee. The Case for Christianity: Answer Book
Yancey, Phillip. Rumors of Another World: What on earth are we missing?

Why should I care what the Bible says?

You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:10-17 NIV

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
Romans 15:4 NIV

1. Because of It’s _________.

__________ Believed the bible.

In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!   26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself...
Luke 24:22-35 NIV

2. because of it’s _______ and ________ influence .

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
Luke 21:33  NIV

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword,I t penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12 NIV

The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:29-31 NIV

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 NIV

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 7:12 ESV

But what about the culturally offensive things in the Bible?

“When you encounter a text that strikes you as offensive, please consider the possibility that it doesn't teach what you think it teaches…. Whenever you encounter something in a text that seems offensive to you, consider the possibility that you are misunderstanding what the Bible teaches because of your cultural blinders.” 
Timothy Keller

3. because of it’s ________ and _______ accuracy

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
Luke 1:1-4 NIV 

A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”).
Mark 15:21, 22 NIV

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive
1 Corinthians 15:3-6 ESV

4. Because it will ___________ Your life, your call.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:10-17 NIV 

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
Romans 15:4 NIV

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12 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 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.

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.

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. 

 

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

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

Impacting Our Community for Christ

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says: 

“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected 

has become the cornerstone,” and, “A stone that causes people to stumble 

and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
1 Peter 2

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
Matthew 16:13-19

Be Church 
Live up into who you are.

Be Church 
Live up into who we are.

Be Church
Transform where we are

Worship and Grow

A psalm of David
Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon leap like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning. The voice of the Lord shakes the desert; the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, “Glory!” 10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. 11 The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.
Psalm 29

1.  ___________ belongs to _________!

Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.  Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
Psalm 29:1, 2 NIV

 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
John 4:19-24 NIV 

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:29-31 NIV

2. God is always ________ of __________.

10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. 11 The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.
Psalm 29:10, 11 NIV

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. 38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” 40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
Luke 19:37-40 NIV

“We worship all week long and once a week we bring our worship together, to worship Him together.”

3. Because He is ____________, I will seek to ___________ HIM always.

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. 11 The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.
Psalm 29:10, 11 NIV

For the choir director; for flute accompaniment. A Psalm of David.
Give ear to my words, O Lord, Consider my groaning. Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, For to You I pray.  In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.
Psalm 5:1-3 NASB

For the choir director: A psalm of David.
O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand? Turn and answer me, O Lord my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die. Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!” Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall. But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.
Psalm 13 NLT

Daily “Chair Time”

1.  Choose a time and place (a chair)
2.  Open in prayer
3.  Read His Word - Read a portion of Scripture
4.  Prayer and Worship
5.  Acknowledge that God is Your God:

Tell Him that you intend to worship Him today in what you say and do.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:17 NIV

David and Solomon - Chosen to Build God's Temple

“And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever. 10 Be careful now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong and do it.”
1 Chronicles 28:9-11 ESV

1. You are chosen to _______  _____________________!

Solomon was chosen to build the temple.

He said to me: ‘Solomon your son is the one who will build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him . .
1 Chronicles 28:6 NIV 

I, _________________________, am ______________ to be a ____________________!

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?
1 Corinthians 3:16 NIV

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
Ephesians 1:3, 4 NLT

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 2:10 NLT

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies
1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 NIV

2. Be someone! __________________ ___________________!

“And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father . . .  If you seek him, he will be found by you . . .
1 Chronicles 28:9, 10 ESV 

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
Ephesians 1:16-19 NIV 

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord . . .
Philippians 3:7, 8 NIV

 3. Be someone! __________________ ___________________!

“And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind… 
1 Chronicles 28:9 NIV

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:17 NIV

Serve with ___________________ __________________.

Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. 12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. 13 For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead
Psalm 86:11-13 NIV ~ from a prayer of David

 The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. 
Deuteronomy 30:6 NIV

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
Mark 12:30 NIV

Serve with a ______________ _________________.

“King David rose to his feet and said: “Listen to me, my fellow Israelites, my people. I had it in my heart to build a house as a place of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, for the footstool of our God, and I made plans to build it.”
1 Chronicles 28:2 NIV

“Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.””
Luke 5:5 NIV 

“Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed.
Acts 13:36 NIV

It is my, ___________________________, desire and intention to serve God’s purpose in my generation, until I die.