Your Personal Grow-Pray-Study (GPS) Guide

Facing Life’s Most Difficult Challenge

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Day 1: Read John 12:25. The greatest challenge that you and I will face is the challenge that we face day after day after day: Who's the boss today? Who's calling the shots today? Where do you find it challenging to make God number one in your life? How do you best keep God as your boss each day?

Day 2: Read Hebrews 5:7-9. What lessons have you learned from suffering that have helped you to grow in your relationship with God and others? Where is your heart crying out in prayer today?

Day 3: Read John 12:26. There's a difference between saying, "God, this is what I'm going to do; please bless my plans," and saying: "God, what is it you want me to do? Where do you want me to go?" Where do you sense God leading you today? Why?

Day 4: Read Psalm 119:9. Living according to God’s Word is God’s game plan. That’s true for young and old. The path of purity, of eternal purpose, everlasting power, puts Jesus in the pilot seat and follows the path of God’s Word. Besides using the GPS, how else do you put God’s Word as the game plan for your life?

Day 5: Read John 12:27-28a. Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell said, "There are two great moments in a person's life: the moment you were born and the moment you realize why you were born." Have you realized why you were born yet? What have others affirmed God doing well in and through your life? How did you fulfill God’s purpose for you yesterday? For your life today?

Day 6: Read Luke 22:42. Jesus prays and teaches us to pray a prayer for life’s defining moments. What “cup” are you asking God to take from you? What “cup” is God asking you to drink?

You can Go Deeper this week by reading the book The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee.

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

What Are You Looking At?

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Monday: Read Psalm 107:1. Take a moment right now to thank God for His earthly and heavenly provision.

Tuesday: Read Psalm 107:2-3. What is your story? Consider how your testimony would bless others, and ask God for opportunities to share it. How does telling your story help keep you looking in the right direction?

Wednesday: Read Matthew 14:29:30. Think of a time in your life when you lost your focus on Jesus. How did you recover? How did Jesus reach out and catch you?

Thursday: Read Hebrews 10:23-25. How do you use the opportunities at Christ Lutheran Church to stay connected to the Body here? List all that you can think of and see if there are some ways you can spur others on.

Friday: Read John 3:3. What does it mean to “see” the Kingdom of God? What do you see?

Saturday: Read Ephesians 2:8-10. How does the reality of this passage help you to keep your eyes on Jesus, and off of the worldly things that would distract you from Him?

You can Go Deeper this week by reading the book Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul by Bill Hybels.

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

Courageous Leadership


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Day 1: Read James 4:17. Where have you felt like Popeye, “That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more”? How does this verse in James guide you to respond?

Day 2: Read John 2:13-14. Courageous leaders don’t look the other way, they look at what’s needed. As you look at God’s Word and our world, what do you see that’s needed?

Day 3: Read Galatians 6:2. Feeling compassion for others and feeling outrage at injustice are both good, but only as a start. Speaking out and speaking for others are both good, but only as a first step. At some time, courageous leaders must be willing to take that most crucial step of hands on involvement — even though it may cost you your time, or your money, or your position and prestige. There is a time when it is necessary to get fully involved in doing something about the situation. Who has helped carry your burdens? Who is God calling you to help carry their burdens?

Day 4: Read John 2:15. Courageous leaders don’t sit idly by. Courageous leaders act to make a difference. Jesus in this verse taps into “righteous anger”. Why? And where can your righteous anger be turned into a positive action for God?

Day 5: Read John 2:16. Jesus is offended by what’s going on, because His Heavenly Father’s offended by what’s going on in the Temple. Courageous leaders won’t say, “It’s not my problem.” Courageous leaders become part of the solution. Where have you seen a leader become part of the solution to a problem? (This is rare, give thanks to God for such a leader.) Where is God calling you to become part of the solution? (This is needed and transforms families, communities, countries for God.)

Day 6: Read John 2:17. When people look back at your life, for what do you think you will be remembered? For what do you want to be remembered? If your two answers are different, what can you do to make the second answer happen?

You can Go Deeper this week by reading the book Holy Discontent: Fueling the Fire that Ignites Personal Vision by Bill Hybels.

Screenshot 2018-03-04 at 08.54.02Don't forget you can listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS. 

Beyond The Sandlot



Day 1: Read Mark 8:31-32. God's game plan is about a different kind of success: it's a life of sharing the wealth, taking the calculated risk for the benefit of others, loving your enemies, and living a life of strategic self-denial — a life in which you say, "Hey, it's not all about me. I'm here to make a difference in this world." Why does Peter push back against what Jesus says here? Why are you tempted to push back against what God clearly says to do?  

Day 2: Read Mark 8:33. Peter's mistake here was that he was still hanging on to the world's plan for success: let's accumulate wealth and power, let's conquer our enemies, let's live the good life. And he was missing out on God's plan: We're not here to the live the good life, we're here to live a great life — to change the world, no matter the cost. In every endeavor we need to ask ourselves what do we savor? The world's model of the good life? Or God's model of a great life? When have you followed God’s plan instead of the world’s plan? What happened? Why don’t we follow God’s plan all the time?

Day 3: Read Mark 8:34. Denial has nothing at all to do with beating yourself down, but building yourself up. Such building up, Jesus has said, is the path of self-denial, putting your wants and needs on the back burner, and considering those around you.What is God calling you to deny and to build others up? What’s holding you back?

Day 4: Read Mark 8:35. The ready-for-the-Big-Leagues believer is the one who says, "Lord, it's not about me and what I want for me; it's about you and what you want to do through me, to be a blessing to others, and to bring glory to your name." This is an obstacle that every serious disciple must confront: Is my commitment to doing God's will greater than my desire to live a life of comfort?

Day 5: Read Mark 8:36. How does God influence how you use your time each day, your money, your talents and gifts? What do you need to transfer from the what matters most in the moment to what matters most in eternity?

Day 6: Read Mark 8:37. Truth is, you can give nothing, but God gave everything. Our heavenly Father put His Son’s life on the cross to have an eternal relationship with you. Take time to thank God for His great gift to you in what Jesus has done for you.

You can Go Deeper this week by reading the book The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People by John Ortberg.

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

No Short Cuts


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Day 1: Read Mathew 7:13-14. When have you been burned by taking a perceived short cut? When have you found taking the longer way, the road less traveled, is the better way?

Day 2: Read Mark 1:10-11. Jesus' journey on the road less traveled launches from a place of blessing. These verses not only mark the commencement of His public ministry, but also the culmination of years of preparation. As Robert Breland says, "In order for God to use you publicly, He must first tutor you privately." Consider the three initial steps of preparation for your spiritual growth:

  1. Become a student of the Word.
  2. Commit to pray.
  3. Be faithful in the little things.

Which one do you do well? How can it be improved as a strength of preparation? Which one do you need to shore up a bit to improve?

Day 3: Read Matthew 25:23. Every time you obey - even in the smallest way - you take one more step up the ladder of preparation. Such steps don't save you, they live out the life of salvation God gives you. We are saved by grace, but there's no shortcut to being used by God; there is no shortcut to spiritual maturity; there is no shortcut to becoming a seasoned follower of Jesus Christ. Where have you found your spiritual muscles getting stronger when you have walked in obedience?

Day 4: Read Mark 1:12-13. When have you traveled in life with a "season in the desert?" What lessons did you learn in that difficult time? How do those lessons help you now in living life?

Day 5: Read Matthew 4:10. In effect, Jesus was saying, "I refuse to take a short-cut. I will do this God's way." In your life, where do you sense a need to say that no matter the cost, I'm living my life God's way?

Day 6: Read Mark 1:14. What's you "come what may" moment? Where is God calling you take no shortcuts but to be all in with Him? How has praying daily, "Holy Spirit, in the moments that define my day, lead me to follow You, come what may" influence your life this way.

You can Go Deeper this week by reading the book All In: You Are One Decision Away From A Totally Different Life by Mark Batterson.

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

Bring The Blessing Home – And Beyond!

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Day 1: Read Mark 9:2. Jesus could have gone alone to the Mount of Transfiguration, but he seeks to widen the circle. He seeks to bless His friends as He, Himself is about to be blessed. Why do you think He invites these three along instead of going alone? When has someone invited you to a special event where you ended up being blessed? Who can you take with you to a place or an event to bless them?

Day 2: Read Galatians 6:10. Paul starts with the family of believers, but notice he doesn’t end there. He says to do good to all people. Who do you find it easy to bless? Where is God calling you to widen the circle of who you bless? Think of someone today you can bless that will stretch your circle and send them a text or note.

Day 3: Read Mark 9:7. According to Dallas Willard,

Blessing is the projection of good into the life of another. It isn't just words. It's the actual putting forth of your will for the good of another person. It always involves God, because when you will the good of another person, you realize only God is capable of bringing that. So, we naturally say, ‘God bless you.’

What God the Father spoke at Jesus baptism, He affirms again years later at Jesus’ transfiguration. He speaks such words not only for Jesus to hear but also for Peter, James, John, and us to hear. Where do you need God’s help to give the type of blessing Dallas Willard describes? How does including others in hearing and seeing that blessing increase the level of blessing for that person?

Day 4: Read Galatians 6:1. The NIV 1984 translation uses the word Spiritual – other translations say living by the Spirit.  You bless best when you let the Holy Spirit lead what you say and do. That’s why we look to God for help. How? Become fluent in the language of God’s word – to encourage, to speak blessings as Paul does in his letters, to seek God’s promptings in your prayers, and in living out life each day. Where would you like to grow in your ability to bless others? How can God help? How will you pursue that help from God?

Day 5: Read Galatians 6:9. In a world that wears us done and leaves us wanting to give up, God’s blessing gets us through. Never underestimate the power you have in blessing others – they may be wounded, worried or wearied, and your gift of blessing provides an encouraging path to get them through. When is a time you were down, and someone lifted you up? When is a time someone else was down and God used you to lift them up?

Day 6: Read Numbers 6:22-27. When we begin our worship service, we begin with the blessing of God’s name – in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. We remind ourselves and rejoice that God desires to be with us to bless. When we end our worship service, we end with a blessing, so that we go forth to project God’s goodness into their lives. As we wrap up The Blessing Challenge, what lessons have you learned? How will you continue to bless and be a blessing?

You can Go Deeper this week by reading the book The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance (Revised & Updated) by John Trent and Gary Smalley. You can also learn more about John Trent and The Blessing at

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

When You've Missed The Blessing

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Day 1: Read Genesis 27:38. A missed blessing hurts everyone. Do you know someone who has experienced missing a blessing? Are you someone who has experienced missing a blessing? What has helped you move forward? Where do you need to pray for God to give His blessing, forgiveness, and relationship bridge building power?

Day 2: Read Genesis 27:41 and Hebrews 12:16-17.  How do you know you are on the revenge path? Typically, the path of revenge starts with a seed called "resentment", that grows a root called "bitterness", and the fruit is "revenge". Where do you need to watch out for resentment growing in your relationships? Where do you need to refuse the path of revenge?

Day 3: Read Luke 11:4. When we sin against God, the proper response is to repent.  Why? You can't un-sin. You can't change the past. And since you can't un-sin or change the past, you can only repent and seek a new start with God.  When someone wrongs you, sins against you, they to can't un-sin.  They can't change the past.  They may attempt to take back the words or regret their painful action, but they can't un-sin. So, what do you do? Since they can't un-sin, you forgive. Whom do you need to forgive and forge ahead with forgiveness? From whom do you need to seek forgiveness?

Day 4: Read Colossians 3:13. Forgiveness is the only way to break the cycle of blame and pain in a relationship. Instead of matching blow-for-blow, or cheap-shot for cheap-shot, forgiveness stops the cycle of blame and pain, and seeks to build and affirm. How did forgiving someone yesterday set you free to live life together today?  How does Paul's advice help you forge ahead with forgiveness?

Day 5: Read Philippians 4:12-13. Matthew West says, "The goes out of its way to make you believe you are not good enough ... The discovery of our true identities does not begin by looking within ourselves, but by looking to the One who made us.  It is time to tear off the false name tags that cover up your true identity. Understanding who you are begins with knowing whose you are so you can embrace your destiny as a child of the one true King." What are some false identity name tags you need to remove in your life?

Day 6: Read Revelation 2:17. We have our Christian name, our family name. Be we also have another name, and it's called our "white stone name." Our purpose is to find out what that name is, and to live a life that blesses others. You may have others who missed blessing you, but God didn't.  He speaks blessings into your life every day. What do you think your "white stone name" might be? Whom do you know that misses the blessing and God is calling you to bless?

You can Go Deeper this week by reading the book The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance (Revised & Updated) by John Trent and Gary Smalley.

If you are looking for a book on forgiveness then check out Forgive & Forget: Healing The Hurts We Don't Deserve by Lewis B. Smeedes. 

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

Picturing A Future & A Hope


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Day 1: Read Jeremiah 29:11. “Some people believe they are on a path in life that leads to a hopeless end, that life's road is headed towards doom and despair. What we need to remind ourselves is that the road our God has ahead for us is an endless hope.” When do you need to remind yourself God has “a great big, beautiful tomorrow” planned for you? Who needs your encouragement with a picture of such hope in their life?

Day 2: Read Romans 8:28. Please note that Paul does not say everything that happens to us is “good”. What Paul says is God works “good” in everything that evens out the rotten stuff in life. As you look back at your life, where have you seen God taken something horrible and made it a holy moment of His goodness at work? How can having such a perspective of hope help you in picturing a special future in someone else’s life?

Day 3: Read Isaiah 55:11. God’s Word has great power, and God gives our words of blessing to picture a special future great power in people’s lives. Who is God leading you to make it a habit to forecast for others their best possible future?

Day 4: Read Proverbs 18:4. The image of blessing in the Bible is the picture of providing life giving fresh water to one travelling in the desert. The power of such a blessing is it not only quenches our thirst for today, it’s life water for our tomorrows as well. When has someone spoken words of blessing about your future? How have those words inspired you with living water for life today? Where might you be able to picture a special future God has for someone else’s life?

Day 5: Read James 2:18b.  We, as Lutherans, believe we are saved by grace, but we also recognize part of the fruit of faith that God gives is the life we live. Our actions reflect that the promises we make to invest in others, are promises we keep in lifting them up today for their future tomorrow. Who has God used to pour into your life to make you the person He desires to be? Who is God using you to pour into someone else's life today to shape their future tomorrow?

Day 6: Read Psalm 128:1. Walk not just talk. When you picture a special future, it’s not just the words you say, it’s the active encouragement you provide. It’s your time investment, at times your financial investment, the pouring of your life into another. How have someone’s actions been a “green light” for you to move forward?  

You can Go Deeper this week by reading the book The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance (Revised & Updated) by John Trent and Gary Smalley.

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

The Most Valuable Words You'll Ever Say


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Day 1: Read Philippians 1:3-4. Like Paul, how can you use your prayers to give thanks and bless someone? Whom will you pray for God to bless today?

Day 2: Read Luke 6:27-28. Most of us don't identify specific enemies, more like people we would rather not spend time with. Who didn't make your list yesterday for God's blessing, that you can pray for today? How might praying for those we seek to avoid, transform our relationship with them, turn an enemy into a friend?

Day 3: Read Hebrews 3:13. Blessing is intended to become a daily response. Ask the Holy Spirit to prompt you to bless others you meet today. How did He do that yesterday? Whom might He prompt you to bless today?

Day 4: Read Matthew 3:17. A Southern saying states, "No man is a man until his father tells him he is." God, the Heavenly Father, affirms Jesus as His Son. These are the same words He speaks to us in our baptism. How have you been affirmed and validated as a person by someone else? Whom can you affirm today for the gift God has given you in them?

Day 5: Read Proverbs 25:11. A childhood saying goes, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." Broken bones mend over time ... this is not always true for harsh and hurting words. What verbal hurts do you need to seek God's healing for? How have "apt words"** impacted your life? When has God given you just the right word to bless someone? What "apt words"** is God placing on your heart to share with someone else?

Day 6: Read Ephesians 4:29. Describe in your own words what God (through Paul) tells us to do. How are these words especially true in blessing someone in the presence of others? Where might God be calling you to bless someone with words for building others up?

**Some Example Apt Words: "Thank you." "I love you." "You can do this!" "Let me pray for you." "Way to go!"

You can Go Deeper this week by reading the book The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance (Revised & Updated) by John Trent and Gary Smalley.

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

The Power Of Touch

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Day 1: Read Genesis 2:7. In other aspects of creation, God says the word and it is. Why did he touch the ground and breath life? What does this say about God’s value on touch? About our value on touch?

Day 2: Read Matthew 19:14-15. How have you seen children demonstrate the need or desire for touch? How do you experience touch best? Express touch best?

Day 3: Read Leviticus 11:39. When you think of inappropriate touch what comes to mind? How has the levels of inappropriate touch impacted how you touch others? What does seeing touch as an important part of blessing others impact how you give and receive touch?

Day 4: Read Mark 1:40-41. Jesus just could have said the word to heal this leper, but he also adds an element of touch to heal the man’s heart. Who are untouchables God might be calling you to touch? When have you experienced life as an untouchable been blessed with the touch of someone else?

Day 5: Read Isaiah 6:7. In the sacraments, God not only speaks a word of forgiveness, He also provides a touch of forgiveness. When you remember your baptism and partake of the Lord’s Supper, what does it mean for you that God seeks to touch you in this way?

Day 6: Read 1 John 1:1. Our faith is based not on fantasy, but what early followers experienced and touched in knowing Jesus. As you have lived out this past week, how has the touch of Jesus been at work in your life? Through your life to bless others with touch? As you look into the week ahead, how might God be calling you to bring meaningful, appropriate touch to the life of another?

You can Go Deeper this week by reading the book The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance (Revised & Updated) by John Trent and Gary Smalley.

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