Your Personal Grow-Pray-Study (GPS) Guide

Cultivate Joy In A Culture Of More

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Day 1: Read Philippians 4:4. “To rejoice” is to return to the source of your joy. What happens when Jesus isn’t the source of your joy? How long does such joy last? What happens when Jesus is the source of your joy? Take time to flip worries into prayers that you take to Jesus.

Day 2: Read Habakkuk 3:17-18. Scientists call this reframing: when you cast negative events in a positive light, and see the silver lining, you can turn a bad situation into a joyful one. That’s why I like the brief prayer by Leslie Weatherhead, O God, take all our sorrows and use them to show us the nature of Your joy.If you were to make a list like Habakkuk, what are some of life’s challenges on your list that lead you to still praise God and find your Joy in Him? Take time to flip those worries and wounds into prayers that you take to Jesus.

Day 3: Read Proverbs 11:25b. When you’re feeling down, the best way to feel up is to bring the joy. When you lift others up, you will find yourself lifted. How has someone lifted your spirits in the past day? Who might you lift today, to refresh their soul?

Day 4: Read Philippians 2:1-2. Instead of being a VDP, a Very Draining Person, Paul says be a VBP, a Very Being Person – who being like-minded, who being alive in the Spirit, brings, love, joy, peace, encouragement, and comfort. When do others drain you? When do they share the joy? When do you find yourself draining others? How have you discovered sharing the joy lifts you up when you feel down?

Day 5: Read Psalm 16:8-9. We are not just called to work for God, we are called to work with God. As you consider the past 24 hours, where have you seen God bringing you joy in living out your day? As you look at the day ahead, where do you need such joy to be present?

Day 6: Read Luke 15:10. When you come to faith in Jesus, when He is real in your life, Jesus rejoices and all of heaven rejoices. They hear God rejoice and the angels join the divine voice in singing. Such joy is not just when you come to faith, but each day as you live out your faith in Jesus. Each day as you find God’s voice in your life -  belt it out. What brings joy to the life you live? Where are you rejoicing with heaven in someone coming to know Jesus? Whom will you pray for today that heaven will rejoice for tomorrow?


“To miss the joy is to miss everything.” - Robert Louis Stevenson

"Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose." - Viktor E. Frankl


You can GO DEEPER this week by reading the following books: Fight Back With Joy: Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare Down Your Greatest Fears by Margaret Feinberg.

Don't forget you can listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS. 


 


Cultivate Love In A Culture Of Self-Centeredness

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Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

The primary scripture for this week's Message was 1 John 3:11 (NIV) "This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another." and our new recommended daily prayer this week is:

Holy Spirit, I pray that this day You will fill me with Yourself and cause Your fruit to ripen in my life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Day 1: Read Galatians 3:27-28. How does God cut across cultural and human distinctions in the family of faith? What do we all have in common, no matter our background?

Day 2: Read 1 John 3:16. Love is sacrifice. Your life has great value because Jesus sacrificed His life that you might be part of His family. In addition, you have never locked eyes with someone God does not love. When are you tempted to look down at, or see yourself better than, others? How can you remind yourself today when such thoughts come, to treat others as equals?

Day 3: Read 1 John 3:17. Frederick Buechner defined compassion this way: “Compassion is the sometimes-fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.In the last week, how has someone shown you compassion? Whom have you shown compassion?

Day 4: Read 1 John 3:14. A significant fact in the church’s growth in the world in the first century was the love lived out by the early Christian communities: Jews and Gentiles living together in authentic community. That kind of love got the world’s attention. In what ways might love lived out in the church today get the world’s attention? In what ways might love lived out in your life today get your world’s attention?

Day 5: Read 1 John 3:11. Love has no fear of taking the first step. Love is not a feeling, it’s an action - not a reaction, it’s a pro-action. When have you been the recipient of someone taking the first step to express love in the past week? How have you taken the first step in loving others this week?

Day 6: Read 1 John 3:18. The power to love God, others, and myself flows out of my relationship with God. John says that means putting love into action with truth. Pray for where God is leading you to take the first step in loving others. 


You can GO DEEPER this week by reading the following books: Love Walked Among Us: Learning to Love Like Jesus by Paul Miller and Book: Love Beyond Reason: Moving God’s Love from Your Head to Your Heart by John Ortberg.

Also another good quote this week is "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." - Samuel Johnson. And the following songs were referenced in this weeks message:

Don't forget you can listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS. 


 


Cultivate Abiding In A Culture Of Abandon

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Our new recommended daily prayer:

Holy Spirit, I pray that this day You will fill me with Yourself and cause Your fruit to ripen in my life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Day 1: Read Ephesians 3:16-19. Great spiritual moves of God often begin with prayer that prepares our hearts. What do you notice about Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians that you desire for your life? Besides yourself whom will you pray this prayer for from Ephesians 3?

Day 2: Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17. When you read the Bible, God speaks to you about you. Notice the four uses Paul shares with Timothy in verse 16, for the one purpose in verse 17. As you read God’s Word, pray “God, tell me what I need to hear in order to become more like Jesus.” What do you sense God telling you through His Word today?

Day 3: Read Psalm 19:7-8. Former NFL coach George Allen had a sign on his office wall that said: "Is what I'm doing right now taking me closer to my ultimate goal of winning?" This is the kind of question we ask when we're pruning our daily lives: Is this way of doing things taking me closer to my ultimate goal of becoming a spiritually mature follower of Jesus Christ?

Day 4: Read John 15:16-17.  We are saved by Jesus’ choice. Now as a child of God, we are invited to let the Spirit flow through our life. “Saved by Jesus’ choice” - the fancy theological term is called justification. That happens only by God’s gift. Part of that gift is the Fruit of the Holy Spirit as part of God’s blessing in your life. Growing up and maturing as God’s child, cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit - the fancy theological term is Sanctification, set apart for God’s purpose. We join the Holy Spirit in His work. The Fruit of the Spirit is the inner working of the Holy Spirit to bring Christ’s character in and through my life. How have you sensed the Holy Spirit working in your life in the past week?

Day 5: Read Galatians 5:22-23. So how does God produce such Fruit of the Spirit in our lives? Usually by putting us in the exact opposite circumstances! God teaches us to how to really love by putting us around unlovable people. God is far more concerned with our character than our comfort. Where has He been building your character this week? Where do you see some “future” work ahead for your character- building?

Day 6: Read John 15:5. Where do you find it easy to stay connected (remain/abide) with Jesus? Where do you sense a place of disconnect? Why?


You can GO DEEPER this week by reading the following book: Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit - Growing in Christlikeness by Christopher J. H. Wright.

Don't forget you can listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS. 


 


2018 Mission Weekend

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Day 1: Read Psalm 118:1. Do you know deep-down that God always (Siempre) loves you? That He is always with you?  Whom can you share that truth with today?

Day 2: The mission team share the Good News of the Gospel at VBS, vision clinics, door-to-door, a public school, and Children's Care Centers.  What is the Gospel? Read Romans 3:23.  What is our condition? Read John 3:16 and Ephesians 2:8-9.  What has God provided? Give thanks today for His free gift.  We can do nothing to earn it.

Day 3: Read John 14:6. How many ways are there to God? If you received God's free gift and know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, give thanks.  If you have not, read the verses from yesterday and today again and ask Him today to come into your heart, to be your Lord and Savior.  Then share the Good News with someone.

Day 4: Members of the mission team demonstrated at the vision clinic in Paraguay.  Read Acts 26:17-18 and Ephesians 1:18.  Pray that not on the "eyes of your hear" would be enlightened, but someone you know would hear and receive the Good News of the Gospel.

Day 5: Read Acts 1:8.  Jesus didn't promise use success or popularity, but He did promise His "always" (Siempre) presence through the Holy Spirit. All the stories you heard from the mission team are a result of the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through them.  Where have you seen the Holy Spirit's power at work in your life?  Whom can you share your story with this week?  He does promise to always be with you!

Day 6: Read Matthew 28:19-20. Where do you sense God leading you to share and show the love of Jesus? In your home? To your neighbor? At work? In Paraguay, Peru, Argentina, or Burundi? Trust in His Word that He is always with you wherever you go.


Don't forget you can listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS. 


 


The Greatest Showman: God’s Creation Masterpiece

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Three Biblical truths that we are all God’s creation masterpiece (based on Ephesians 2:10):

  1. Every one of us is special. (Psalm 139:13-14)
  2. God has created you to do something only you can do. (Psalm 139:15-16, John 8:10-11)
  3. We are most alive when we do what we were created to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Day 1: Read Psalm 139:13. When God created you, He had only you in mind. His love for who you are is so great. He paid the ultimate price with His Son’s life because He considers you so special. As you consider who you are, take time to thank and praise God for the person He made you (and is making you) to be.

Day 2: Read Psalm 139:14. In this world, we often see differences and turn them into put downs. David sees his differences and praises God. Where has the world seen you different? Where have you been tempted to see others’ differences as a negative? Take time to thank and praise God for at least one person today (besides yourself) whom God has made (and is making) special.

Day 3: Read Psalm 139:15-16. I believe what God has placed in you matters. I believe the things He calls you to do matter. I believe He will use them to bring joy to your heart, to make His name known, and to help others to know God. What is one of the dreams God is calling you now to pursue in your life? (If your answer is “none”, this is now your high priority prayer item!)

Day 4: Read John 8:10-11. At one point in the Greatest Showman, PT Barnum is talking with his greatest critic, journalist James Gordan Bennett. Bennett makes perhaps the churchiest observation of the whole movie: “You are putting folks of all kinds on the stage with you, presenting them as equals.” How do these verses from John 8 remind you that all people matter to God?

Day 5: Read Ephesians 2:8-9. Why is it so important to remember we are saved by grace. How does God’s grace help you to come alive in living life each day?

Day 6: Read Ephesians 2:10. What are some of the good works you have discovered God has made you to do? When do you feel most alive when following God’s will? Why?


Don't forget you can listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS. 


 


Up: When Grace Lifts Your Life Out of Grief

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Use 1 Corinthians 13:7 to triumph over Sheryl Sandberg: 3 Traps in Grief:

  • Personalization: Blame yourself.
  • Pervasiveness: Everything in life is bad.
  • Permanence: Life will never change.

Day 1: Read 1 Corinthians 13:4. How do Paul’s words help navigate the path of grief with the grace of God’s love? How have you seen that in the life of someone you love? In your life?

Day 2: Read 1 Corinthians 13:5. In the movie Up, Carl’s grief leads him to be rude, self-seeking, and a keeper of the record of wrongs. These should have been warning signs that his grief was destroying relationships and himself. What are the warning signs your grief or in your life that are destroying your relationships with others and yourself?

Day 3: Read 1 Corinthians 13:6. Our world does a great job of pointing out evil. Where are you rejoicing in the truth these days?

Day 4: Read 1 Corinthians 13:7-8. The love Paul writes about is not our love, but Jesus’ love working for us, in us, and through us. Take a moment to reread these verses (and verses 4-6 as well), putting “Christ” in place of the word “love”. After you do that, take time to thank Jesus for His great love for us through His grace and especially in our grief. Pray for a grieving friend to experience the love of Jesus today.

Day 5: Read Matthew 13:45-46. C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity, “Pleasure, money, power and safety are all, as far as they go, good things. The badness consists in pursuing them by the wrong method, or in the wrong way, or too much.” What other “pearls” get in the way of the “pearl of great price”? Where do you need to be careful to put the higher priority on God things rather than good things? What in life distracts you and potentially drives you away from the “Pearl of Great Price” in Jesus?

Day 6: Read Genesis 22:1-2 and 8. Verse 2 is the first mention of love in the Bible. As Abraham faithfully follows God’s command and takes Isaac to the top of the mountain to sacrifice, Isaac asks where the animal is for sacrifice. “God Himself will provide,” Abraham answers. And God indeed does for Abraham, Isaac, and us. Where do you need God to provide in your grief? In your life? In the lives of someone you know?


You can Go Deeper this week by check out this resource GriefShare.org (Christian-based support group for processing grief), and by reading this book Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg (not a Christian based resource),

Don't forget you can listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS. 


 


Wonder Woman - When Goodness and Evil Collide

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Day 1: Read Matthew 4:5-7. When you take that step into no man’s land, isn’t that when Satan shows up, to offer the easy way out? Where are you finding Satan tempting you? What do you notice in how Jesus handles this temptation? How might Jesus’ approach help you when Satan is offering you the easy way out?

Day 2: Read Matthew 4:8-10. Satan offers Jesus a refined view of the truth. In other words, he’s lying. He seeks to trick Jesus, but Jesus finds His power, and we can as well by knowing and living out God’s word. What is one lie Satan is tempting you to believe? Where do you need to realign priorities to make sure God is the number one priority in your life?

Day 3: Read Romans 5:6-8. Jesus came to earth and was born in the flesh for the very purpose of defeating sin, death, and the devil at the cross, and one day He will return to put an end to evil and death forever. While Christians wait for Jesus’ return and the new heaven and earth to come, they should take every opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Where is God leading you to share the story of Jesus? Where is God calling you to stand up against the evil darkness of this world?

Day 4: Read Colossians 3:15. We might translate Paul’s phrase “rule in your hearts” to a more modern translation of “Let the peace of Christ umpire in your hearts.” Let Him call the shots, direct the peace. Where is God directing your steps toward His plan for peace in the world? Where do you need to be reminded that you are not alone, and that God is with you in the battles of life?

Day 5: Read Colossians 3:12-14. Our power flows from God’s love, not vengeance. Where have you been tempted to respond with vengeance? How do Paul’s words guide you to a better response with love?

Day 6: Read Colossians 3:16-17. Every good word you speak, every act of kindness, every expression of mercy brings more light into the darkness that surrounds “no man's land”. Where have you seen others bring God’s light into the darkness of this world in the past week? Where are you bringing God’s light into this world?


You can Go Deeper this week by reading the books: The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel and Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell.

Don't forget you can listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS. 


 


The Case For Christ: Prepared To Give An Answer

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Day 1: Read Jeremiah 29:12. I love the quote from C. S. Lewis: "If Christianity is true there's nothing more important in the entire universe." Where do you find it easy to seek God’s heart? Where is seeking God’s heart a challenge? Why?

Day 2: Read 1 Peter 3:18. This is Peter’s story of what he experienced, of the truth he knows, and wants all the world to know. God’s truth is worth a deeper look; dig deep into that truth. What is your story of God at work in your life?

Day 3: Read John 19:32-34. As Lee Strobel seeks to disprove Christianity, he identifies the key issue – the death and resurrection of Jesus. Disprove that truth, and you have hit the heart of the Christian faith. Why is it significant that John shares the details of his death? What does it mean for you to know Jesus died and rose again?  

Day 4: Read John 20:25. One of my favorite authors, John Ortberg, wrote a book called, “Faith and Doubt. His point? What if the most important word is the one in the middle? We often think of doubt as the opposite of faith, but could it actually strengthen our relationship with God? According to Ortberg, the very nature of faith requires the presence of uncertainty. Questions can expand our understanding, uncertainty can lead to trust, and honest faith can produce outrageous hope. Today, take some of your God questions to Him in prayer.

Day 5: Read Matthew 5:14-16. Where have you seen people shining the light of Jesus in your life? Where is God calling you to shine His light in someone else’s life? What “good works” is God calling you to shine forth for His glory?

Day 6: Read John 1:12. We understand “Believe + Receive = Become” to be a great work of the Holy Spirit as people hear the message of God’s Word, prompted often by the light of faith they have seen lived out in others. Such light leads them to wonder who this Jesus is and worship Him once they realize He is their risen Lord and Savior. Whom will you commit to pray for to come to know Jesus as his/her Savior?


You can Go Deeper this week by reading the books: The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel and Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell.

Don't forget you can listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS. 


 


God's Peace, Your Peace

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Day 1: Read Philippians 4:8. Is this a habit for you?  If not, how can you make it one?

Day 2: Read Galatians 5:22-26.  Is peace a fruit of the Spirit in you? Look at the other "fruit of the Spirit," and think of how each of them creates peace.

Day 3: Read Hebrews 12:14. What do you think of when you think of holiness? How does peace go with holiness?

Day 4: Read Romans 12:18. What does it mean to take this instruction seriously? Do you take it seriously?

Day 5: Read Matthew 11:28-30. What kind of attitudes reside in a heart for God?

Day 6: Read Philippians 4:7. Is your heart and mind protected by peace of God? If not, what can you do to step in that direction? 


You can Go Deeper this week by reading the books: Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World by Max Lucado  and A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul Miller.

Don't forget you can listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS. 


 


Prayer. Not Despair.

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Day 1: Read Matthew 7:7. Those verbs — ask, seek, knock — can be translated from the original Greek as "Keep on asking; keep on seeking; keep on knocking". It's not a one time request. It's a continual prayer.  What prayers do you find yourself persistently praying? What leads you to stop praying about something? What leads you to constantly pray for something?

Day 2: Read Luke 18:38-39. I don't know how much Bartimaeus knew about Jesus...what stories he had heard...but when Jesus came his way he made up his mind that he would not let this opportunity slip away. He immediately began to call on the name of Jesus, and he continued to call on the name of Jesus until Jesus heard him. When do you take opportunity to pray for God? Is there a scheduled time? A continual conversation? Last resort or first option? Why?

Day 3: Read Genesis 24:12-14. How does Abraham’s servant give details in his prayer? Why is he so specific? When do you find yourself praying in generalities to God? In detail? How might your prayers today have greater detail?

Day 4: Read Luke 18:41. Picture Jesus asking you, “What do you want me to do for you?” Spend some time pondering your answer. Be specific, not general. Then turn that answer into your prayer.

Day 5: Read Philippians 4:6. The greatest lesson I have learned in prayer is to pray God’s Word. Take time this day to personalize this verse into your prayer. Confess your anxieties and turn them over to God. Be specific in requests and petitions --  humble and detailed in your thanksgiving. Then as you turn all this over to God, ask for His peace, His presence and plan at work in your life.

Day 6: Read 1 Peter 5:7. I like that Peter used the word cast. It means to throwThat's a good idea. Intellectually toss your worries as far away from your mind as you can. Drop them into the sea of God's mercy and tender loving care. Perhaps you have 100 things to worry about right now. At least. 100 difficult situations — some of them are nipping at your heels, and maybe some of them have you by the throat. One by one, as these cares present themselves to you, you need to make a spiritual decision to cast them as far as you can into God's direction — He will take care of them for you, because he has promised to take care of you.


You can Go Deeper this week by reading the books: Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World by Max Lucado.  and A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul Miller.

Don't forget you can listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS.