Your Personal Grow-Pray-Study (GPS) Guide

God's Epic Story In Movies

The Greatest Showman: God’s Creation Masterpiece

Showman

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

Up

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

Landscape-1496413875-wonder-woman-movie-artwork (1)

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

The Case For Christ

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. 


 


Risen: How We Know Easter Happened

MC_Risen_fb

Day 1: Read 1 Corinthians 15:3. As Paul says, “Christ died for our sins.” What if Jesus’ death is the end of the story? If there is no resurrection? What does that mean for the Christian faith today? For your faith? (SPOILER ALERT: He did rise again!)

Day 2: Read 1 Corinthians 15:4. Risen suggests this problem with the empty tomb on the first Easter. Where’s the body? Everyone saw Him die. The body was put in a tomb; a tomb that was sealed, no less. The problem is now that tomb is empty, and there are some who say He’s risen from the dead. The facts are clear; the man was dead, He was buried in the tomb, and now the tomb is empty.

How does Paul’s story bring clarity to the Risen movie problem of an empty tomb?

Why is “according to Scripture” such an important part of the Easter story?

When did you first come to know the Easter story? What does that story mean for your life today?

Day 3: Read John 20:18. Mary Magdalene is the first of Jesus’ followers to see Him. In the movie, Risen, she says, “I’m already free.” How does Jesus resurrection set you free today? What situation are you facing today that you need to remind yourself that Christ has set you free?

Day 4: Read 1 Corinthians 15:20. If Jesus is the firstfruits of those raised from the dead, what does that mean for our lives? For Bartholomew in Risen, part of that fruit is joy! How does Easter bring you joy? What other fruit does Jesus’ resurrection bring to you today? What do you need it to bring to you today?

Day 5: Read 1 Corinthians 15:21-22. Eternal life is the gift. Joy is the byproduct of that gift. Guilt does not get the final word, Jesus’ grace does. Shame does not get the final word, our Savior does. He who died and rose again paid for our sins and gives us life. Adam brings sin and death. Jesus brings salvation and life. Take time today to give thanks to God for the gifts Jesus brings, especially the great gift of Himself!

Day 6: Read John 20:30-31. John describes why we have the 4 gospel accounts in these verses. Clavius in Risen telling the story of his experience with Jesus says that he will never be the same. His life has been changed. How has Jesus changed your life? How is He changing your life? Who are you praying for to know this great message of eternal life Jesus brings? .

You can GO DEEPER this week by reading the book The Case for Easter by Lee Strobel.

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


Hidden Figures: Using Your God-given Talents

Hidden-pictures-movieposter

Day 1: Read Ephesians 2:14. Why is prejudice such a barrier builder to relationships? Why is Jesus so passionate to make the two one?  

Day 2: Read Ephesians 2:13. Where have you seen Jesus at work across “cultural barriers”? What “cultural barriers” might Jesus want to make a bridge in your life?

Day 3: Read Ephesians 2:17-18. Jesus gets us there together or we don’t get there at all. How does knowing we don’t get there by effort, we get there by Jesus, motivating us to reach out to others? What’s holding you back from reaching out for Jesus?

Day 4: Read Ephesians 2:15-16. The color of Christ’s blood that paid for our sins is the same no matter what. Christ’s blood is our common bond. What “differences” do you need to see differently?

Day 5: Read Ephesians 2:21-22. God gave you talents to join people together in Christ. How have you used them? Are you using them? Will you use them in the week ahead?

Day 6: Read Ephesians 2:14. No matter the obstacles, run the race. Hidden Figures reminds us to overcome the obstacles before us because of the greater good. Paul, this week in Ephesians, has challenged us to overcome the obstacles that divide us, to be part of how Jesus desires to make us all one. As you look back over the past week, what hidden prejudices have been revealed? What hidden possibilities to be part of reaching people for Jesus have been revealed?

You can GO DEEPER this week by reading the book Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly.

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


War Room: “It All Began with a Prayer and an Act of Faith”

War-room

The movie War Room is the backdrop for this week's sermon based on Matthew 6:6 (NIV):

…When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Monday: Read Matthew 6:6. Where do you pray most often? Why?

Tuesday: Read Matthew 6:6. Do you have a special place for prayer and spending time with God? What makes that place so special?

Wednesday: Read Matthew 6:7. How do you pray? What do you find yourself praying the most about these days? How does your prayer life compare to a year ago? Five years ago?

Thursday: Read Matthew 6:8. Though we can (and should) pray about anything, is there a specific prayer request you find yourself praying or needing to pray at this point in your life?

Friday: Read Matthew 6:6-8. Where have you placed the “Pray for Community” handout from this past weekend? Are you praying each day for the seven requests? In addition to the first five requests, what is your specific problem and possibility you are praying for in the weeks ahead?

Saturday: Read Matthew 6:9-13. How has this week’s GPS helped you to appreciate and apply the Lord’s Prayer? How does the Lord’s Prayer help you in praying other prayers to God?

You can GO DEEPER this week by reading the books:

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


Become The Hero God Made You To Be

Star-wars-icon-logo

The movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the backdrop for the topic “Soul War” is an “Identity War.”

Monday: Read Jeremiah 17:9-10. Our identity in Jesus calls us to live a hero’s life, a life of high integrity. In light of what Jeremiah wrote, why is this a struggle? What fact in your life makes the struggle so intense? How does God work in your life to correct and guide you to the path on which He wants you?

Tuesday: As Children of God, God calls us to a life of holiness, but it is so easy to rationalize our behavior and compromise our identity and behavior. What are some ways we can be deceived?

  • By ourselves?: James 1:22,
  • By others?: Romans 16:17-18,
  • By Satan?: 2 Corinthians 11:3-4?

Wednesday: Read Romans 13:6-7 and Colossians 3:23-25. Our identity in Christ calls us to honesty in all areas of life. What are some of the areas of life mentioned in today’s readings? In these areas of life, is there such a thing as a “white lie?”

Thursday: Read 1 John 1:8-10. Of course, each of us falls as we try to walk with our new legs of faith. According to today’s reading, what are we to do and not to do? What is God, your Father, according to this passage? How does this impact you?

Friday: Read 1 Samuel 15:10-23. Was Saul’s statement honest? In what way did he disobey? What was Saul’s response to the accusation? How did he try to justify his disobedience? Have you ever used a similar method? According to v. 22, what does God delight in?

Saturday: Read Ephesians 4:29. Paraphrase this passage in your own words. Can you apply this verse to a relationship with someone you know? What will you do? When will you do it?

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


Inside Out: Wisely Living Out The Emotions God Puts In

Inside-out

Monday: Read Ephesians 4:24. What role do emotions play in your walk with God? When are they a positive experience? When are they a negative experience? How is the Holy Spirit making your emotions like God’s?

Tuesday: Read Psalm 71:21-22. The psalmist is honest with his emotions and the impact they have on his life. When do you find yourself having a bad day emotionally? What happens when the brute beast comes out? Where might you need forgiveness for bad behavior driven by bad emotions?

Wednesday: Read Psalm 71:23. Emotions are a gift from God. The psalmist realizes the power of God’s presence in your life. How might you be honest with your emotions in a more healthy way by living aware of God’s presence as you express your emotions?

Thursday: Read Psalm 71:24. As you read God’s Word and spend time with God in prayer, how do you utilize the five emotions from Inside Out (Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and Anger)? What guidance and counsel have you been sensing the Spirit leading you as you spend time in God’s Word? What has your response been emotionally? How are you applying the truth God is teaching you?

Friday: Read Luke 15:4-7 and Romans 5:8. In Luke 15, Jesus tells three parables/ stories of something lost being found. He wants to challenge the Jewish religious leaders who criticize Jesus for reaching out to sinners and tax collectors. Their emotional response is disgust. Jesus’ parables point to an emotional response of joy for people coming to faith. Romans 5:8 reminds us that the ultimate source of joy is found in Jesus dying for our sins. As you think about your life today, where are you missing God’s joy? Where are you finding God’s joy?

Saturday: Read Ephesians 4:22-24. Paul uses “old self” and “new self” language in these verses. As you think through your emotional responses this week, where have you seen them at work with God in the driver’s seat? Where have they had healthy expression? Not so healthy expression? As you think of what is inside your heart, what do you pray God will bring out in your relationships with others?

 

 You can Go Deeper this week by reading this book:

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


The Peanuts Movie: God Gives Grace To The Humble

Peanuts-gang-winter

Monday: Read Proverbs 3:27-28. When has a neighbor helped you out in need? When was the last time you gave help to a neighbor?

Tuesday: Read Luke 6:31. Being Humble is putting others needs first. How does the golden rule tie into meeting needs?

Wednesday: Read 1 Peter 5:6. Why is it necessary that real, lasting humility comes supernaturally rather than naturally?

Thursday: Read 1 Peter 5:10. God is in the restoration business. That’s the beauty of the cross. Where do you need God’s restoring grace to touch your life right now?

Friday: Read 1 Peter 5:5b. How does the promise of the future give you power to live for God in the present today?

Saturday: Read 1 Peter 5:7. What anxieties do you have to turn over to God? Pray to let go of those anxieties and give them to God.

 You can Go Deeper this week by reading these books by Robert Short:

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