Your Personal Grow-Pray-Study (GPS) Guide

Unwrap The Gift Of Christmas: The Gift of Purpose Filled Living (Part 3)

Do-what-is-right
Day 1: Read Luke 19:10. Jesus shares His purpose in coming to earth in this verse. As you get ready for Christmas, how can you remind yourself of Jesus reason for coming? How can you share that news with others? Whom can you pray for today for Jesus to seek and to save? Make time to pray for that person daily, now until Christmas.

Day 2: Read Isaiah 61:1. God places all of us here for His purposes to be fulfilled. As you think about your purpose, and what on earth you are here for, what do you sense your God-given purpose to be? What difference is that making today in your life?

Day 3: Read Acts 1:1. What Jesus “began to do” He continues through us. God will use you, wherever you are, whoever you are. God can use you in a great way. How did you see Him using you in the last 24 hours? What do you hope the day ahead holds for God using you as part of His mission to accomplish?

Day 4: Read Luke 1:49-50. You have a message to proclaim. Like Mary in her song about Jesus coming, what are some of the great things God has done for you this week? Where have you seen His mercy at work in your life? Whom are you sharing these great things and mercy moments with in your life?

Day 5: Read Isaiah 61:3-4. Notice Isaiah’s three R words in verse 4 – rebuild … restore … renew. If we set our hearts on people who are hurting, and if we look for ways to inject hope into their lives, the result is we fulfill God’s purpose for us. Where has God been working in your life to rebuild, restore, and renew? Where is He using you to rebuild, restore, and renew in someone else’s life?

Day 6: Read 2 Corinthians 9:7-9. Why do you give gifts at Christmas? Is that more something you have to do, or have you discovered the joy this is something you get to do? As you think about our Christmas Offering: Christ Gives, what excites you? What brings you joy? What is God saying to you as you pray to Him about what to give this Christmas?

You can GO DEEPER this week by reading the book: Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren.

You can also listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS.


Unwrap The Gift Of Christmas: The Gift Of Spirit Filled Living (Part 2)

Earth-wind-fire

This week each day before you do the Bible reading and answer the question, use a Holy Spirit breath prayer to start your time with God.

  • When you inhale, pray: Holy Spirit, fill my soul.
  • When you exhale, pray: Holy Spirit, guide my day.

Day 1: Read Mark 1:4. You can’t un-sin. You can only re-pent. You can’t change the past, but you can remember your baptism, repent, and receive the forgiveness God desires to give. Where do you need to repent and be washed clean of your sins?

Day 2: Read Acts 2:38. The image of water for the Holy Spirit reminds us the Holy Spirit washes away our past. How can you embrace the truth today that God preempted your past faithlessness in your life with His past faithfulness on the cross?

Day 3: Read Luke 4:1-2 & Luke 4:14. These verses bracket three temptations of Jesus by Satan. Notice how the Spirit led Jesus into the temptation zone of the wilderness and then back to Galilee. Think of two places in the past 24 hours where the Holy Spirit has led you? What’s the same? What’s different? What’s the lesson you’re learning about the wind of the Spirit guiding you each day?

Day 4: Read John 14:26. The image of the wind reminds us the Holy Spirit leads us where we need to go, much like the wind leads a tumbleweed. So, if you were a tumbleweed, what direction is the Holy Spirit leading you in the past day and the day ahead?

Day 5: Read Matthew 3:11 and Mark 1:8. Matthew has a longer version of what Jesus says than Mark does in Mark 1:8. How does the image of fire help you understand the life-changing work of the Holy Spirit?

Day 6: Read Acts 1:8. Jesus reminds His disciples of all ages how much we need the fire power of the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, a good deed is most often not much more than a good try. Take time today to yield this day to the fire power of the Holy Spirit. How have you sensed the Holy Spirit’s guidance as you have used a breath prayer for the Holy Spirit this week?

You can GO DEEPER this week by reading the book: Embraced by the Spirit: The Untold Blessings of Intimacy with God by Chuck Swindoll.

You can also listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS.


Unwrap The Gift of Christmas: The Gift Of Unlimited Living (Part 1)

Unwrapped

Day 1: Read 1 Corinthians 1:4-5. With the pace of life this time of year, the temptation is to live without relying on the resources God makes available to us today. The opportunity before us is you can experience a life that takes you beyond your personal limitations: God has given you the resources you need to do what you, in your own power, cannot do. Where do you find the pace of life pulling you away from Christ? How has God’s grace been enriching you in every way?

Day 2: Read 1 Corinthians 1:7. Do you know your spiritual gifts? When has God called you in the past week to use your spiritual gifts? When has God called you in the past week to serve in an area outside of your gift mix? How did you learn to trust Him to give you the ability you needed at that moment?

Day 3: Read Isaiah 64:8. God is the potter. We are the clay. How has God been shaping you this week? How have you sensed Him equipping you with what is needed in that moment?

Day 4: Read 1 Corinthians 1:8. Jesus has the power to keep you strong and faithful to Him until the end. Most of us are more aware of our ability to fall than we are of God's ability to keep us strong. This lack of faith in God's strength prevents many of us from doing more with our lives. If you're afraid that you don't have the strength to face something that you need to face, hang on to Jesus. Where do you need to let go of fear and hang on to Jesus?

Day 5: Read Mark 13:31. God’s Word stands the test of time. Amid the hectic pace of Christmas preparation, what words from the Bible keep you calm and aware of God’s power at work in your life today?

Day 6: Read 1 Corinthians 1:9. God is infinite, but He is also intimate. Every day you get to have face to face time and collaborate with the Creator of the universe. What will you bring to Him today in prayer?

You can GO DEEPER this week by reading the book: God Came Near by Max Lucado.

You can also listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS.


Compassion Fatigue Or Compassionate Faith?

Caring

Day 1: Read Matthew 25:40. As you look at your life right now, do you feel a greater sense of compassion fatigue or compassionate faith? What’s your “least of these” story about how God sent someone to help you in a time of your need?

Day 2: Read Matthew 25:34-36. How can you define “your job” by the good you do? How is God using you to meet the needs of others?

Day 3: Read Matthew 10:42. Boy Scouts teach more than doing a good deed every day, but doing a good turn at every opportunity. What opportunities did you catch, to either do or receive good yesterday? What opportunities did you miss? Why?

Day 4: Read Matthew 25:44-45. Jesus in this story in Matthew 25 not only shows the road of compassionate faith, He also speaks of the indicators of compassion fatigue. Which ones does He identify in these verses? What are the signs of compassion fatigue you see as warning lights in your life? Why is it so important we deal with compassion fatigue and learn to start caring again?

Day 5: Read Matthew 25:37-40. When I think of these words from Matthew 25, I think of the life of Mother Teresa in reaching out to the poor and dying in Calcutta, India who observed, “When I look at the face of a needy person, I see Jesus.” Where have you seen the face of Jesus in the life of another? When have others seen the face of Jesus in you?

Day 6: Read Matthew 25:40. If you're battling compassion fatigue, then I challenge you to give this a try. When you first wake up, instead of thinking about all the trials and tribulations you must endure, ask this instead, "Lord, whom can I bless today?"

You can GO DEEPER this week by reading the books: The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us? The Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Our World by Richard Stearns and Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help, And How to Reverse It by Robert D. Lupton.

You can also listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS.


Witnesses For Your Glory

Amen

Day 1: Read 1 Chronicles 29:11-12. How does King David lift up God as the ultimate King in these verses? When do you lift up God as the ultimate King in your life? Today in prayer, affirm who God is, what God does, and whom God is over.

Day 2: Read John 17:20-21. An amazing part of Jesus’ prayer in John 17 is His prayer for future believers. Reread these verses and put your name in there. Pray today for others to come to know Jesus. If possible, be specific in naming those people.

Day 3: Read Romans 8:28. When you pray “Thine is the kingdom,” you express hope in God’s reign and rule. You are telling God that you “know that in all things works for the good of those who love Him”. Where do you need to remind yourself today God is taking a bad situation in your life and working good?

Day 4: Read Romans 8:29. God’s goal is to use His power to make us more like Jesus (“conformed to the image of His Son”). Look at the past 24 hours. Where have you seen God’s power at work to make you like Jesus? How did you respond to a situation like Jesus? Where do you need a more Jesus-like approach in your life today?

Day 5: Read John 17:1-2. When you pray “Thine is the glory,” you recognize that God must get credit for all our answers to prayer, all we are, all we have, and all we do.

Day 6: Read 1 Chronicles 29:10. We find it challenging at times to praise God in the moment, David reminds us to praise God forever. Where have you praised God this past week? As we have studied the Lord’s Prayer this fall, what lessons has God been teaching you? What prayer habits do you plan to keep following each day?

You can GO DEEPER this week by reading the book The Great House of God by Max Lucado.

You can also listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS.


Family Prayer Protect Us From All That Pulls Us Away From You

Deliver-us-from-evil
Day 1: Read Ephesians 6:13. When have you sensed the day of evil in your life? What role has prayer played? What role in the future will prayer play?

Day 2: Read Ephesians 6:17. With the helmet of salvation, God protects your head. For a Roman soldier wearing a helmet would make him hot and uncomfortable. So, a soldier would put on his helmet only when he faced impending danger. The helmet was designed to provide security, stability, and safety in battle. By Paul calling us to take the helmet of salvation, he is saying danger is imminent and we need to be ready. Where do you need the Holy Spirit to guard your thought life? How are you pouring God’s Word into your mind to “protect your head”?

Day 3: Read Ephesians 6:16. With the shield of faith, God guards my heart. Bruce Larson says that the devil's strategy is not to convince us that God doesn't exist. No, it's more insidious than that. Instead, "The basic lie," says Larson, "is that we cannot trust God, for He wants to take all the fun out of life." Where has Satan been hammering away at your heart? Is that an area of strength or weakness for you? In prayer, turn those areas over to the Holy Spirit to empower you to hold on with faith in what God can do, is doing and will do in your life!

Day 4: Read Ephesians 6:17. With the sword of the Spirit, God equips my hands. With the sword of the Spirit, God equips me to apply God’s Word to all of life. Through the Word we engage in the work of God. By the power of the Holy Spirit working through God’s Word, we live out God’s Word and are equipped to make a difference. God uses our lives to pierce the darkness.

Day 5: Read Ephesians 6:18. As we have studied the Lord’s Prayer, how has God been teaching you to keep on praying for yourself and all the saints?

Day 6: Read Matthew 6:13. When you take spiritual battles on with God’s power, He has already claimed the victory and the path for you to follow. Pray for God to not only protect your head, heart, and hands, pray to be used by God today to pierce the darkness with the light of His love and grace.

You can GO DEEPER this week by reading the book Praying the Lord’s Prayer for Spiritual Breakthrough by Elmer L. Towns.

You can also listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS.


A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

AMightyFortressIsOurGod

Day 1: Read Psalm 46:1-2a. How do you complete the sentence: God is …? Luther moved from a God he feared and at times even hated, to a God he trusted, loved, and followed. How has this concept of Luther’s changed, revised, and grown over the last 5-10 years?

Day 2: Read Psalm 46:2b-3. The Good News in Psalm 46 is that “God is our refuge”. The Bad News: Life will bring storms. What storms have you been through or are going through? How has God been your refuge?

Day 3: Read Psalm 46:4-5. When tough times come, when life shakes you to the core, are you with God or without God? Where do you need to remind yourself that God is with you and He is your solid foundation?

Day 4: Read Psalm 46:6-7. Dave Dravecky wrote, “In America, Christians pray for the burden of suffering to be lifted from their backs. In the rest of the world, Christians pray for stronger backs so they can bear their suffering.” Where do you need to pray for a stronger back? Who can you pray for who needs a stronger back?

Day 5: Read Psalm 46:8-9. When everything was shaking in his life, Luther discovered God remains unshaken. Why? He didn’t let “life storms” in the moment blind Him to God’s grace for all His moments. Where have current storms blinded you in the past? Where has God’s grace given you the power to get through those storms?

Day 6: Read Psalm 46:10-11. How does the psalmist advise to “trust God in the storm”? When is your “be still” time with God? (“Be still” means to cease striving! And yes, GPS time counts!)

You can GO DEEPER this week by reading the books Here I Stand by Roland Blanton (classic book) and Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World by Eric Metaxas (October 2017).  You can also watch the movie Luther (2003) [free streaming].

You can also listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS.


Guard Our Hearts And Homes

Temptation
Day 1:
Read Proverbs 4:23. Why do you think Solomon puts such a high priority on guarding your heart? Where is your heart susceptible to temptations attacks? What helps you to guard your heart and to treat it as the wellspring of your life?

Day 2: Read James 1:13. God’s purpose is not to tempt us, but to give us power over temptation. Satan’s plan is not to hit us with temptation where we are strong, but where are we weak. Knowing this is Satan’s modus operandi, where do you need to spend time in prayer seeking God’s power in guarding your heart and home?

Day 3: Read Matthew 4:1, 6. Jesus tells us His story of temptation in Matthew 4. If Jesus faced temptation, we will as well. In verse 6, we begin to understand Satan’s temptation pattern. Turns out he knows the word of God, and twists it to his evil purpose. Temptation does not only involve the bad things of life, but how Satan twists what is good. Where have you seen good twisted to one of Satan’s temptation tools?

Day 4: Read James 1:14-15. Resisting temptation doesn’t make you weaker, but stronger. Temptation doesn’t last forever, but neither does it leave forever. Think back on your life. What’s an area of temptation God has empowered you to overcome? It used to tempt you, but now does so no longer. What happened? How did that change occur?

Day 5: Read Matthew 4:3-4. Jesus’ prime method of attacking temptation was to use the Word of God. Think of what tempts you and what God’s Word says about that area of temptation (you may need a concordance or go to BibleGateway.com and search for that word or topic). What Bible verse do you need to plant in your mind to guard your heart this week?

Day 6: Read 1 Corinthians 10:13. The sin is not being tempted. The sin and pain is giving into temptation. Where have you taken the way out that God provided in a tempting moment? Where have you not taken the way out that God provided? What happened? What do you pray God leads you to do next time?

 You can GO DEEPER this week by reading the book The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis, and watching this video Twisting the Truth by Andy Stanley on RIGHT NOW MEDIA.

You can also listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS.


Help Us To Receive And Give Forgiveness

Forgive
Day 1: Read Matthew 6:12. Do you find it easier to ask for forgiveness or to give forgiveness? Why? Why are both needed?

Day 2: Read Matthew 18:15-17. When wronged, notice Jesus’ progression to make a relationship right. Why do you think Jesus has that progression of involvement from one to many to resolve a disagreement or wrong? How has that worked for you in giving and receiving forgiveness? Where might you need to ask or give forgiveness? One more observation about these verses – when wronged, the temptation is to see this as how you break off a relationship, and yet to treat someone like a sinner or tax collector is to see them as someone Jesus wants to be in relationship with personally. Think of a relationship that has hit a wall and there is some distance. Take some time to pray for that person today for God to be part of his or her life, for God to bless, and for forgiveness in your heart for them.

Day 3: Read Matthew 18:21-22. In Peter’s day, “3” was a considered a generous number of times to forgive someone’s sins. Peter ups the offer to “7”, a biblical number of completion, but totally inaccurate to God’s desire that we “build bridges”, not score keeping walls. Do you ever feel like God is still keeping score of your sins? Where are you tempted to keep score in relationships? Spend time in prayer today, thanking God that He does not keep score, and asking God to help you not to keep score of your own sins He has forgiven or anyone else’s.

Day 4: Read Matthew 18:27. Where do we draw the line between forgiving others and becoming a doormat? Is there even a line to draw? Where does that line exist between you and God?

Day 5: Read Matthew 18:31-34. Does holding someone accountable for future actions place a limit on the extent of our forgiveness? Do you find yourself more often in the position of needing forgiveness or needing to forgive?

Day 6: Read Matthew 6:12. You will never be more like Jesus than when you forgive. Jesus came to build a bridge across the sin that separates you from God, and He is calling you to build a bridge across the conflict that separates you from others. Where do you need to ask for forgiveness? Who do you need to ask God to forgive and to give forgiveness today?

You can GO DEEPER this week by reading the book Forgive & Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve by Lewis Smedes.

You can also listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS.


Teach Us To Trust You For Everything

Daily-bread

Day 1: Read James 1:17. God is the source of “every good and perfect gift”. What are three gifts He has given you in the last 24 hours?

Day 2: Read Mark 6:41. Is there a "loaves-and-fishes" area of your life where your current supply is less than your current demand? Have you expressed gratitude for the seemingly-to-small amount that God has provided?

Day 3: Read Matthew 6:34. What are some “tomorrow worries” you need to release to God? What are some “today troubles” you need to turn over to God in prayer?

Day 4: Read Mark 6:42-43. Where do you need to be satisfied with what God has provided? When will you slow down today and savor a gift God has given you in your food or other gift during the day?

Day 5: Read Proverbs 30:7-9. Where has being rich gotten in the way of your relationship with God? Where has being in need gotten in the way of your relationship with God? Take time to pray: Lord, keep my focus on my needs that You provide instead of my “greeds” I desire.

Day 6: Read John 6:35. Each weekend we feast on God’s Word on Sunday. What are you eating the rest of the week?

You can GO DEEPER this week by reading the book The Great House of God by Max Lucado.

You can also listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS.