Your Personal Grow-Pray-Study (GPS) Guide

THE ANGEL SPEAKS TO JOSEPH’S CONFUSION

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MondayRead Matthew 1:19. Even as Joseph considers divorcing Mary, he wants to do so quietly so as not to ruin her reputation. This, as odd as it sounds, is a compassion. Where do you need to find more compassion in your life?

TuesdayRead Matthew 1:20. Angels seem to say “do not fear” a lot throughout Scripture. How do those words of God speak to you and what you’re fearing right now? What fear do you need to let go of?

WednesdayRead Matthew 1:24. Joseph heard the urging of God and obeyed. Where are you disobeying God’s Word right now? Pray for the Holy Spirit to grant you the gift of obedience in those areas of your life. 

ThursdayRead Isaiah 11:1. A branch will come up from a stump. Life will come from death. This is what is foretold to us about Jesus. Jesus rises from death and gives life. What relationships do you regard as dead in your life right now? How can new life come from those relationships?  

FridayRead Isaiah 11:5. In Scripture we hear that “no one is righteous”. But Jesus is. Jesus imparts to you His righteousness. Take time to thank Him for this today. 

SaturdayRead Isaiah 11:6-9. We are pointed to the day when all things will be made well again - when peace will come. Where does peace need to come in your life right now?  

You can GO DEEPER this week with these two suggestions:

  1. 90 Seconds Challenge -- Every day from now until Christmas, Pastor Burkey is inviting us to sit silent before God for 90 seconds. Amid the chaos of the Christmas season, find His calming voice to prepare you. Each day before you sit in silence for 90 seconds simply pray: “Lord, Your work is greater than my perspective. Open my heart to leave room for You to work. In these 90 seconds of silence, realign the chaos in my life to the calm and peace you bring.”
  2. Need to make a decision? Use Pastor Travis OODA Loop suggestion!

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


CREATE FOR COMMUNITY PRAYER REQUESTS: For patience with parking challenges during construction (currently estimating completion by the end of December 2019). For safety and efficiency of our construction crews. For those who have given generously for these improvements.

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The Angel Speaks To Zechariah’s Prayer

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90 Seconds Challenge -- Every day from now until Christmas, Pastor Burkey is inviting us to sit silent before God for 90 seconds. Amid the chaos of the Christmas season, find His calming voice to prepare you. Each day before you sit in silence for 90 seconds simply pray:

“Lord, Your work is greater than my perspective. Open my heart to leave room for You to work. In these 90 seconds of silence, realign the chaos in my life to the calm and peace you bring.”

Day 1: Read Luke 1:18. Zechariah speaks from his own perspective. He doubts what God has said He will do. Where do you find yourself doubting what God says He will do? How have His answers surprised you in the past? Where do you long for Him to surprise you in the day ahead?

Day 2: Read Luke 1:34. Mary prays for clarity. She doesn’t doubt God, (like Zechariah) instead she asks for clarity for how this will happen. Where do you know what God wants you to do, and you need His clarity for the next step to take? (HINT: That next step usually involves sacrificial love!)

Day 3: Read Luke 1:5-7. If you could pray only one prayer to God, what would that prayer be? How long have you been praying that prayer? What kind of answers have you received?

Day 4: Read Luke 1:8-10. Teresa of Avila observed: "All difficulties in prayer can be traced to one cause: praying as if God were absent." What prayer request do you find challenging to pray? Where in your life are you doubting God’s presence? Where do you need to remind yourself, “God is with me! He’s got this!”?

Day 5: Read Luke 1:20 and Luke 1:22. What most people see as punishment for Zechariah’s doubt, I see as God’s discipline for Zechariah’s growth. More than punishment the 9-month silent treatment develops a discipline in Zechariah where he not only finds his voice, he finds his faith. How has your experience of 90 seconds of silence before God been this week? What has God been speaking to your heart? From His Word?

Day 6: Read Luke 1:68 and Luke 1:76-79. Zechariah embraces the discipline of silence and when his son John is born, he sings a powerful faith song. What resonates with you from Zechariah’s faith song? From your one prayer? From your 90 seconds of silence today? As you pray today, follow Andrew Murray’s advice: “Let this be your chief objective in prayer, to realize the presence of your heavenly father.”

You can GO DEEPER this week by reading the book A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul Miller.


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


CREATE FOR COMMUNITY PRAYER REQUESTS: For patience with parking challenges during construction (currently estimating completion by the end of December 2019). For safety and efficiency of our construction crews. For those who have given generously for these improvements.

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BEHOLD, THE LAMB OF GOD

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Monday Read Exodus 12:3-6. What does the word “sacrifice” mean to you? Where have you seen “sacrifice” in your life or in the lives of others?

TuesdayRead Exodus 12:7-11. After the blood of the lamb was spread over the doorway of the houses, the Israelites were commanded to cook and eat the meat. In doing this, they remembered that this animal took the brunt of their problems. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther called communion “food for the soul.” How have you seen the body and blood of Jesus be that for you?

WednesdayRead John 6:51-59. Jesus had just fed over 5,000 people (not including women and children) using five loaves of bread and two fish. After He fed them, He went to the other side of the sea. The crowd followed Him. He knew they were after more food. He said to them: “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you” (John 6:27). He goes on to talk about eating His body and drinking His blood. If Jesus was talking metaphorically, why would people get so mad about His words? How do these verses point towards the cross? How do these verses point towards the sacrifice that Jesus makes?

ThursdayRead Mark 14:22-25. On the night that Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples, He turns the tables. St. John says that Jesus washes their feet. Matthew, Mark, & Luke all record Jesus instituting Holy Communion. He points out, in a very real way, that He is becoming the Passover Lamb – the perfect sacrifice without blemish. Notice that Jesus does not give any additional explanation on His use of the word “is.” Neither does He say that what’s before Him is no longer bread. How can we believe that what we eat and drink in Communion is His body and blood while simultaneously being bread and wine? Do you ever struggle in this belief?

FridayRead Isaiah 53:5. In what areas of your life do you struggle to believe that Jesus died, and therefore forgave, all that you have done? Where are you experiencing a problem in embracing the forgiveness that comes through Jesus?

SaturdayRead John 6:33. Jesus, the Bread that comes down from heaven, gives life to the world. Pray to God about those areas of life where you need Him most right now.

You can read more about Communion here!


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


CREATE FOR COMMUNITY PRAYER REQUESTS: For patience with parking challenges during construction (currently estimating completion by the end of October 2019). For safety and efficiency of our construction crews. For those who have given generously for these improvements.

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COMMUNION: A FURTHER EXPLANATION

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Rev. Dr. Martin Luther said: “The bread and wine in the Supper are the true body and blood of Christ.”  He went onto say: “Such a mystery cannot be grasped except by faith and is revealed alone in the Word.”1 To say more than the Word indicates is to step out-of-bounds. We embrace the mystery every time we take Communion. 

Some other helpful points as we think about this:

  • We take Jesus at His word.  “This is my body.” “This is my blood.”  The context in which Jesus spoke these words and ate this meal was His last meal with His disciples before He would be crucified.  The mood is somber and serious, with little room for jokes or riddles. Here we take Jesus literally.  
  • God uses created elements to convey His mercy.  God is in the business of creating and re-creating.  Jesus is God “incarnate,” in the flesh. In the same way, He likes to convey Himself in real things.
  • As God and man, Jesus’ divine nature is shared with His human nature, allowing a supernatural presence whenever and wherever He wills.

In Christianity, there are typically three prevalent views of the Lord’s Supper: 

  • Transubstantiation/Consubstantiation: The bread and wine become the body and blood, leaving no trace of bread and wine. This understanding is held by the Roman Catholic Church. 
  • Remembrance Meal: The bread and wine stay the way they are, and the meal is simply remembering the Last Supper. This understanding is held by many Reformed Churches, including Baptist and Non-Denominational Traditions. 
  • Real Presence: The bread and wine, after the Words of Institution have been said, become the body and blood of Christ while still being bread and wine. Jesus is truly in the Sacrament, just as He said, but wine and bread are still there as well. 

As Lutheran-Christians, we believe in the “Real Presence.” One Lutheran theologian said: “The Lutheran teaching does not make the bread imaginary bread, nor does it make the body of Christ an imaginary body. It teaches a true, essential bread and the true, essential body of Christ in the Sacrament because the Words of Institution state both.”2 He went onto say: “As water and the application of water are a part of Baptism, so bread and wine and their reception are the earthly element of the Lord’s Supper. As we do not venture to substitute some other fluid for water in Baptism, so neither in the Lord’s Supper do we dare to substitute for bread and wine.”3

SOURCES:

  1. Robert Kolb, Timothy J. Wengert, and Charles P. Arand, The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000), 508.
  2.  Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, electronic ed., vol. 3 (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953), 298.
  3.  Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, electronic ed., vol. 3 (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953), 353-354.

Draw On Your Baptismal Power

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Day 1: Read John 3:3. When you think of your baptism, what images, stories, memories and special moments come to mind? What does it mean for you to be part of God’s family? -- If you haven’t been baptized, what are you waiting for?

Day 2: Read Galatians 3:26-27. Where in your life right now, do you need to remember your identity as a Child of God

Day 3: Read Psalm 32:1-2. In baptism, in an instant, God washes away our sins to reveal the masterpiece He has made us to be. Because of our baptism and what Jesus has done on the cross, God stands ready to forgive our sins. Where do you need to take the psalmist’s advice and confess your transgressions and sins to the Lord?

Day 4: Read Acts 2:38-39. Forgiveness is a daily gift from God. How can you remember each day that your sins are forgiven?

Day 5: Read John 3:14-15. When we hear the words eternal life, most of us tend to interpret that as “a life waiting for eternity.” But eternal means, “unending,” not “later.” In baptism, eternal life starts now because of what Jesus came to do. How does eternity being part of your life right now as a Child of God, change your perspective on the past day? On the day ahead?

Day 6: Read Romans 6:4. A daily return to baptism is not that we are baptized anew each day, but each day we remember our baptism as Paul speaks of dying and rising again. Let each day begin with the strength of God's forgiving love and power for facing life. How can you remind yourself each day you are baptized – a Child of God, forgiven, and living with an eternal dimension to life?

You can Go Deeper this week by:

  • Reading Martin Luther’s Small and Large Catechism
  • As you get ready to wash up for the day, pray this prayer …
    • “Lord, as I wash up to face the day ahead, I remember my baptism. Wash me in your grace. Forgive my sins. Fill me with your Spirit. Renew my soul. I pray that I might live as your child today, and honor you in all that I do. Thank you for making me your child now and always! Amen.”

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


CREATE FOR COMMUNITY PRAYER REQUESTS: For patience with parking challenges during construction (currently estimating completion by the end of October 2019). For safety and efficiency of our construction crews. For those who have given generously for these improvements.

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I BELIEVE ... IN THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY, AND THE LIFE EVERLASTING. AMEN

Believe

Monday – Read 1 Corinthians 15:50-52. Our bodies serve as a constant reminder of the law. Even before we were obsessed with our weight, our health, our hair color, or our cuticles, no man or woman escaped the realization that his/her flesh was leading them straight to the grave. Our bodies are the vehicles of our demise.

Tuesday – Read 1 Corinthians 15:54-58. Death will one day be swallowed up in victory – but the pain of death still haunts us on this side of paradise. People will still be sad until that last day when all things are made right. That said, what are some things you should avoid saying to those who are mourning death?

Wednesday – Read Revelation 21:1. The vision does not necessarily suppose the annihilation of the old creation, but only its passing away as to its outward and recognizable form, and renewal to a fresh and more glorious one. What are the specific things you’re looking forward to seeing “refreshed”?

Thursday – Read Revelation 21:2. The Church is seen as a bride adorned for her husband. But what about the churches that are straying from the Lord? The church that strays from the Lord that seeks her is not the bride of Christ, but more like a Harlot (See the book of Hosea). Where have you seen churches not seek the Lord?

Friday – Read Revelation 21:4. Though Jesus is preparing a place where there will be no more tears, mourning, death, or sadness, that day hasn’t happened for us yet. Until the day where we are all in this new heaven and new earth, our job is to wipe the tears, be there for people, etc. Whom do you need to be this for in your life right now?

Saturday – Read Revelation 21:7-8. Jesus makes it clear that there are two places to exist in eternity: with Him in paradise, or apart from Him in hell. How does this change your sense of urgency regarding the work God has called you to in the world, to be a beacon of hope pointing people to the cross? How can you become more intentional about testifying to Christ in what you say and do?

Two things to consider before next Sunday --

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


CREATE FOR COMMUNITY PRAYER REQUESTS: For patience with parking challenges during construction (currently estimating completion by the end of October 2019). For safety and efficiency of our construction crews. For those who have given generously for these improvements.

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As We Talk About The Eternalness Of Our Life

The message for this week included this excerpt --

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As we talk about the eternalness of our life, reflect on what C.S. Lewis says in his book The Weight of Glory:

“It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor. 

The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. 

All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other [to one of two destinations: heaven or hell]. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. 

There are no ordinary people. 

You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations — these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. 

This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously—no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner—no mere tolerance or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. 

Next to the [Holy Communion] itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.”

The Grow Pray Study (GPS) Guide for this week is also available for a deeper study on this topic over the next week.


I BELIEVE ... The Communion Of Saints, The Forgiveness Of Sins

Believe

Day 1: Read 1 Peter 2:4-5. Where do you see Jesus building your life to be like His? Where would you like His construction work to happen? 

Day 2: Read Matthew 16:17-19. The foundational faith statement about Jesus by the disciples is: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” That statement is the rock Jesus uses as the foundation of our faith. What does it mean to you that Jesus is not just another man, or even just a gifted man, but is the Son of the Living God? With whom can you share the good news of who Jesus is this week? You can start by praying for that person by name today!

Day 3: Read Revelation 7:9-10. A Faith Hero inspires others to follow Jesus. Who are some of your faith heroes who inspire you to follow Jesus? Who might consider you to be their faith hero?

Day 4: Read Hebrews 12:1-2. What hindrances and entanglements in your life cause you to take your eyes off Jesus? Where do you need to realign your life for the race Jesus has laid out for you? Ask the Holy Spirit to help move you in that direction. 

Day 5: Read Matthew 26:28. You are part of the “many” that Jesus died for to forgive your sins. As you look back over the past 24 hours, where do you need to ask and receive Jesus’ forgiveness? 

Day 6: Read 1 Peter 2:6-7. C.S. Lewis observed, “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.” Whom do you need to forgive today? What’s holding you back from extending forgiveness? What next step might God be prompting you to take to forgive someone?

You can go deeper by reading Forgive & Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve by Lewis B. Smedes.Screenshot 2019-09-07 at 19.32.18


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


CREATE FOR COMMUNITY PRAYER REQUESTS: For patience with parking challenges during construction (currently estimating completion by the end of October 2019). For safety and efficiency of our construction crews. For those who have given generously for these improvements.

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I BELIEVE ... In The Holy Spirit, The Holy Christian Church

Believe

Day 1: Read Ephesians 4:4-6. If God desires His Church to be one, where do you see that unity happening? Where is it hindered? Where is God seeking to use you to make His Church one in Jesus?

Day 2: Read Ephesians 4:1. For Paul, the calling he emphasizes is not being an apostle, but being a prisoner of the Lord. Where has the Holy Spirit called you to serve in your work/career, family, community and Christ Lutheran Church?

Day 3: Read Acts 2:44-45. American Christians fear the early church was a bunch of communists! Selling stuff and giving it away! They weren’t communists, they were sacrificial Christ-followers. They realized they were not just part of a Church. They were part of God’s family. Where have you seen such sacrificial love at work in your life? When and where have you been part of such sacrificial giving? What led you to such a sacrifice? Where is God prompting you to give what you have received from Him to help others through His Church?

Day 4: Read Ephesians 4:2-3. In addition to Jesus, whom do you think of when you read such qualities that Paul describes? Where do you see the Holy Spirit cultivating such qualities in your life? Where might He need to do some deeper work? 

Day 5: Read Ephesians 4:7. One phrase Christians like to share about calling is: “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called!” That’s different than what some say in our day, when asked to serve they reply – “I’m just not gifted to do that. I don’t feel qualified at all.” Where is the Holy Spirit nudging you to step out of your comfort zone and serve others? What is holding you back? When will you step forward?

Day 6: Read John 16:7. The word for the Holy Spirit in the New International Version 1984 is “counselor”. In the original Greek the word is Parakaleo - tough for translators to find the exact meaning. If you break the Greek word up, you discover that it’s made up of 2 Greek words – Para – means to “stand beside”. Notice its “beside”, not way behind or way in front, but the Holy Spirit is right beside you in living life. And then Kaleo, which means “to call, to prod, to urge on, to encourage”. Where have you experienced the Holy Spirit standing beside you to encourage you this week? Where do you need to see His presence beside you to encourage you to walk boldly with Him? Where does He desire to use you to stand beside someone to encourage them?

You can go deeper by reading The Apostles’ Creed by Raymond F. Cannata and Joshua D. Reitano.Screenshot 2019-09-07 at 19.32.18


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


CREATE FOR COMMUNITY PRAYER REQUESTS: For patience with parking challenges during construction (currently estimating completion by the end of October 2019). For safety and efficiency of our construction crews. For those who have given generously for these improvements.

Where-to-park-at-church