Your Personal Grow-Pray-Study (GPS) Guide

Embrace Sabbath Living

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Day 1: Read Matthew 11:28-30. How good are you at stopping to rest? What excites you about Jesus' offer for rest? What “yoke” of His teaching guides your life?

Day 2: Read Deuteronomy 5:12-14. What is one Sabbath practice you follow to provide rest for your mind, body, and soul? What Sabbath practice might God be calling you to add?

Day 3: Read Isaiah 58:13-14. What would you do for a 24-hour period of time if the only criteria were to pursue your deepest joy? What’s stopping you from doing so? What helps you to pursue such joy and embrace Sabbath?

Day 4: Read Psalm 37:4-5. What are the desires of your heart? Name at least 3. Take time to commit those desires in prayer to the Lord. How can you pursue those desires as part of embracing the Sabbath?

Day 5: Read Hebrews 10:23-25. When we gather for worship, we offer food for the soul from God’s Word and from God’s table. How have you been fed from Sabbath worship either online or onsite this month? Mark your calendar so that each Sunday you take time to worship God with others?

Day 6: Read 1 Corinthians 11:26. In this special meal, we receive the body and blood of Jesus in the bread and wine. In this meal, our sins are forgiven, and Jesus is with us in a way that you can see, touch, taste, and experience. What makes celebrating the Lord’s Supper special for your faith journey?

Cultivating-faith-gps-graphicRecent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • "Cultivating Faith: A Christ-like Servant Leader Journey" by Sue von Fange & Jason Christ [for adult individual use] {Amazon Kindle #ad} and "Kindling the Heart: Nurturing Young Christ-like Servant Leaders" by Sue Steege [for family devotions] {Amazon Kindle #ad}
  • The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World” by John Mark Comer {Amazon Kindle #ad}
  • "Dream Big, Think Small: Living an Extraordinary Life One Day at a Time" by Jeff Mannion {Amazon Kindle #ad}

You can also watch this week's sermon or read the full message & GPS here.


Five Foundational Practices

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Day 1: Romans 12:1-2. When you come to faith in Jesus, that is the first step, then what’s the next step? Paul gives clear direction in Romans 12:1-2. Being transformed is an ongoing process, a daily step to put one of the practices to work – time in prayer or God’s Word or working to share God’s love with others. To begin where you are and head in the right direction, answer this question: “What do I need to put off so that I can replace it with a God relationship-building practice?”

Day 2: Romans 12:4-5. We all begin in the same place in life, sinners in need of God’s grace. Only by what Jesus has done on the cross are we welcomed into God’s family in the waters of baptism. You become God’s child, unique in who you are, and yet all of us are called to be like Jesus. What do you have that is the same as other Christians? How has God made you unique in who you are, how you rest, how you learn, how you grow in faith, how you serve others?

Day 3: John 13:15, 17. In cultivating faith, being led leads to doing. Identity leads to intention. You show love to others because you are God’s child and God has first shown His love to you, then calls you to share that love with others. When do you find it easy to share God’s love? Why? When is it challenging? Where is God calling you to take the next step in showing His love to someone else in your life?

Day 4: Romans 12:6. Paul uses a whole bunch of gift examples: teaching, giving, serving, encouraging, and leading. He doesn’t say you get them all. That’s greedy. He does say God will work through the one He gives you. That’s grace. And when you put that gift, He gives to work. That’s growth. As you look at Paul’s list (others are listed in 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Peter 4:11), what “spiritual gifts” has God given you? When have you seen them at work in your life? What is your next step in developing those gifts to build up others and to grow yourself?

Day 5: John 13:12. Showing love to others is not something we pile on top of everything else in life. Love is how you approach everything else in life. Reflect on your life the past 24 hours, how have you shown love to God? To others? To yourself? How might God be leading you to show love in the day ahead?

Day 6: Philippians 3:13. Press on! That’s a marathon phrase. Where are you tempted to give up in your spiritual growth? Where is God calling you to press on? Spend time today (and every day) praying for the Holy Spirit to give you spiritual strength as you press on in your spiritual practices!

Cultivating-faith-gps-graphicRecent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • "Cultivating Faith: A Christ-like Servant Leader Journey" by Sue von Fange & Jason Christ [for adult individual use] {Amazon Kindle #ad} and "Kindling the Heart: Nurturing Young Christ-like Servant Leaders" by Sue Steege [for family devotions] {Amazon Kindle #ad}
  • "Dream Big, Think Small: Living an Extraordinary Life One Day at a Time" by Jeff Mannion {Amazon Kindle #ad}
  • Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God” by Henry Blackaby, Richard Blackaby, and Claude V. King {Amazon Kindle #ad}

You can also watch this week's sermon or read the full message & GPS here.


The Place Where Our Journey Begins

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Day 1: Isaiah 43:1. The world speaks of life as an accident, God speaks of life with purpose and intention. You are His child. One that Jesus came to save. One that Jesus loves dearly. How does the world define who you are? How does God define who you are? Which image of your life are you following the world’s or God’s? Why?

Day 2: 1 John 3:1. As a child of God, God has given you life and God has given you a purpose to be a Christlike servant leader. You might be thinking, me, a leader? Yes, you are a Christlike servant leader! First, you lead yourself. Then He invites and empowers you to lead others. Where is God calling you to lead yourself and others in the year ahead?

Day 3: Luke 3:22. God’s grace at work in the waters of baptism makes you His child. Some Christians stop there and think that’s all there is. It’s true in baptism, God gives all you need to be saved. What some miss out is that God gives even more. God not only gives what you need to be saved, God invites you to be part of the adventure of a lifetime, to sail the high seas of life with Him. Where do you need the power of God’s amazing grace at work to take your next step as His child?

Day 4: Philippians 2:12-13. First, Paul says work out your own salvation, which means your role is important. He goes on to say, "For it is God who is at work in you." You're not doing this project on your own. Cultivating faith, dynamic discipleship development, is empowered by God; it's impossible without Him. How have you seen God work spiritual growth in your life? Where do you need to grow spiritually right now?

Day 5: 2 Peter 3:18. Becoming a Christian is the work of a moment, being a Christian is the work of a lifetime. How do you see yourself growing in grace and knowledge of God? What obstacles are in your way? What stops time with God? How can those be removed by Him? By you? 

Day 6: Isaiah 43:2-3. When life is at its roughest, God is with you and brings forth His best. What rough waters are you facing? Where do you need to remind yourself that God is with you? Take time to thank Him for His presence and ask Him that you will sense His presence, power and peace with you today.

Cultivating-faith-gps-graphicRecent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • "Cultivating Faith: A Christ-like Servant Leader Journey" by Sue von Fange & Jason Christ [for adult individual use] {Amazon Kindle #ad} and "Kindling the Heart: Nurturing Young Christ-like Servant Leaders" by Sue Steege [for family devotions] {Amazon Kindle #ad}
  • Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God” by Henry Blackaby, Richard Blackaby, and Claude V. King {Amazon Kindle #ad}
  • The Life You've Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People” by John Ortberg {Amazon Kindle #ad}

You can also watch this week's sermon or read the full message & GPS here.


Wise Men: Where To Go When Life is Confusing

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Day 1: Read Isaiah 40:27-28. God is aware exactly of what you are facing. You can pray to Him about anything, but you won’t surprise Him with the situation or circumstances you pray. Somehow Israel forgot that truth back in Isaiah’s day, and so Isaiah reminds them in these two verses. Looking back over the past year, where do you need to remind yourself where God has been working in your life? How have you seen His hand at work in the lives of others? Take time to pray and thank Him. 

Day 2: Read Matthew 2:5-6. Perhaps the last year you have been following what you believe is a God-given vision, you had thought you were finally going to hit your destination, the last step. Then you found out it was just another stop, you wondered where God is, does He know what I’m facing? Where do you need to ask God to guide you to take the next step in your life in the year ahead?

Day 3: Read Isaiah 40:29-30. Isaiah recognizes we all have this in common -- life can wear you out. Isaiah reminds us when life leaves you running on empty, God is able to fill your tank. Where do you feel like your life is running on empty? How can God fill your tank?

Day 4: Read Matthew 2:9-10. The wise men are not just filled with joy, they are on joy with steroids. Mega-Joy!  What is your mega-joy story? You were ready to give up, to throw in the towel, and here comes God making away, giving a new year, a new calendar each day waiting to write your life’s story. Who can you share your mega joy story with today?

Day 5: Read Isaiah 40:31. How are you waiting?  Did you catch Isaiah’s gift while waiting? The Lord will renew your strength. Waiting time is not wasted time. He will renew your strength. Waiting time is God’s refining work time. You don’t give up. He invites you to grow up and be who He made you to be. Where do you find yourself waiting? How might God be using this time to give you His strength?

Day 6: Read Matthew 2:11-12. Why did the wise men give presents to Jesus? And why did you give presents this Christmas? How does giving impact your attitude while you wait?

Recent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • “Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God” by Henry Blackaby, Richard Blackaby, and Claude V. King (Amazon Kindle #ad)
  • “The Life You've Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People” by John Ortberg (Amazon Kindle #ad)
  • "The Characters of Christmas: 10 Unlikely People Caught Up in the Story of Jesus" by Daniel Darling (Amazon Kindle #ad)

You can also watch this week's sermon or read the full message & GPS here.


Simeon: Waiting With Hope

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Day 1: Luke 2:25. Luke writes that Simeon "was waiting for the consolation of Israel." His waiting was more than focused on what he wanted but what the world needed, what God wanted to do for Israel and for all. What leads you to pray for the needs of the world and for God’s desire for all people?  What stops you? Why?

Day 2: Luke 2:38. We share this tendency to replace the real Jesus with the Jesus we want. Christmas claims there was a real Jesus, and He grew up, and coming to know the real Jesus is the most important thing anyone can ever do. Where do you find yourself tempted to distort your picture of Jesus from the One the Bible describes? What keeps your vision of Jesus aligned with the Biblical view of Jesus?

Day 3: Luke 2:25-26. In vs. 25, we see that "the Holy Spirit was upon" Simeon, and in vs. 26 Luke says that the Holy Spirit let’s Simeon know he will one day see the Lord’s Messiah. What life lessons is the Holy Spirit leading you to know and encounter Jesus personally this time of year?

Day 4: Luke 2:27. Luke tells us that Simeon was being guided by the Holy Spirit. Part of that guidance was Simeon’s knowledge of the Scriptures. How has God been speaking to you through His Word this past week? What does that mean for your life today and the year ahead?

Day 5: Luke 2:29. What longing has God fulfilled for you this year that leads you to praise Him? What longing are you praying for God to fulfill that leads you to pray to Him?

Day 6: Luke 2:30-32. When God lets Simeon hold the gift of the Messiah in his arms, He sees God gives greater presents than we can imagine. God is not only interested in saving Israel but in saving all people. How is God stretching your ability to see His love for all people? How is that impacting your prayer life? 

Recent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • “The Life You've Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People” by John Ortberg (Amazon Kindle #ad)
  • "The Characters of Christmas: 10 Unlikely People Caught Up in the Story of Jesus" by Daniel Darling (Amazon Kindle #ad)
  • “The Real Mary: Why Evangelical Christians Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus” by Scot McKnight (Amazon Hardcover #ad)

You can also watch this week's sermon or read the full message & GPS here.


Elizabeth: Faith Bearing Joy

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Don't forget that Pastor Burkey would like you to take 90 seconds every day from now until Christmas to sit silently before God.

Day 1: Luke 1:41. Joy in living begins in faith in what God has done, and not in what you or I am able to do. Joy in living begins with the action of God in human history in the creation of the world, in the birth of his son, and in his reaching out to save us today. As you think about God’s work in history, what brings you joy? As you think about God’s work in your life, what brings you joy? Who are you sharing that joy so that others can have faith bearing joy in Jesus? 

Day 2: Isaiah 12:4. Pray 5 statements of praise to God. Pray for 1 group of people  (or more) to come to know Jesus today!

Day 3: Luke 1:43. Like Elizabeth, you too are highly favored with God’s presence in your life. When our eyes are opened to God’s possibilities, we see that Jesus is there and that He has gone on before us and prepared the way. Where are you seeing and sensing Jesus at work in your life? What change is He working on with you?

Day 4: Isaiah 12:5-6. Theologian J. I. Packer observed, “I've experienced God's presence most powerfully in worship, often during the singing, I suppose because when we sing to him, we are looking hard in his direction.” Turns out you can worry or worship. You can’t do both because your eyes can only look in one direction. Do you find yourself spending more time worrying or worshiping? Why?

Day 5: Luke 1:45. Elizabeth views the coming of the Christ child as already an accomplished fact. Elizabeth views the salvation that God will bring as already hers and ours. Elizabeth views the future promises God has made as already kept and fulfilled. How does the promise of the future hope of heaven fuel your faith and how you live life today?

Day 6: Isaiah 12:2-3. Just as you can only worry or worship, you can only be moving forward in life with fear or faith. Perhaps you feel a bit of both. When do you notice fear driving the way you live? Faith driving the way you live?

Christ-Lutheran-Church-LaMesa-2021-Christmas-ServicesRecent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • "The Characters of Christmas: 10 Unlikely People Caught Up in the Story of Jesus" by Daniel Darling (Amazon Kindle #ad)
  • “The Real Mary: Why Evangelical Christians Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus” by Scot McKnight (Amazon Hardcover #ad)
  • “Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God's Transforming Presence” by Ruth Haley Barton (Amazon Paperback #ad)

You can also watch this week's sermon or read the full message & GPS here.


Mary: Say Yes To God

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Don't forget that Pastor Burkey would like you to take 90 seconds every day from now until Christmas to sit silent before God.

Day 1: Luke 1:28. The Christian church has sometimes stumbled when it comes to Mary. On one extreme, some worship Mary, pray to Mary, and even believe Mary is a redeemer or savior in her own right. On the other extreme, some completely ignore Mary, and kind of cast her off to the side. This is primarily in reaction to the other extreme. Both extremes are unbiblical, and both are wrong. Mary isn’t one we are called to worship, but she does have a faith we are called to follow her example. What do you learn for your life from Mary’s example of faith? 

Day 2: Luke 1:37. The promise God made that a virgin would conceive in Isaiah 7:14 is about to be fulfilled. Though Mary’s in Nazareth now, her son Jesus will be born in Bethlehem as in Micah 5:2. The list could go on, but the promise is true for Mary – For no word from God will ever fail. That promise is true for you – For no word from God will ever fail. What promises have you seen God fulfill in your life?

Day 3: Luke 1:31-33.  This is the promise the Jews had not only been waiting years for, but hundreds of years for, a thousand years for to be fulfilled. The response the angel seeks is not worship of the angel, but worship of the Savior who comes. The Savior that comes is better than anticipated but missed by many when He comes. The Jews wanted a Savior to get rid of the Romans. God has a bigger agenda to pay the price for our sin as our Savior. Take time to confess your sins to Jesus and ask for His forgiveness. Take time to worship Him today.

Day 4: Micah 5:4-5. How does Micah describe Jesus’ agenda for coming and leading? How do you see that same agenda working in  and through your life?

Day 5: Luke 1:34-35. When Mary questions the angel it’s not to find a loophole for her doubt, but to clarify so she can understand and follow. There’s a hidden temptation when we start to lean into saying yes to God. We want to negotiate our yes. “Yes, God I will follow you but only if …?” What keeps you from saying yes to God? Where do you need to say, “Yes!” to God and move forward in faith.

Day 6: Luke 1:38. As we grow in our walk with God, we learn to pray like Mary did: Thy will be DONE instead of Thy will be CHANGED. All too often our prayer life leads us to question God's will for us, even when we know that it is His will. Mary prays the world's greatest prayer, the prayer her son will later pray in the garden of Gethsemane, "Not my will, but Thy will be done." How might you make Mary’s response, your automatic response as we walk through this Advent and Christmas season?

Christ-Lutheran-Church-LaMesa-2021-Christmas-ServicesRecent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • “The Real Mary: Why Evangelical Christians Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus” by Scot McKnight (Amazon Hardcover #ad)
  • “Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God's Transforming Presence” by Ruth Haley Barton (Amazon Paperback #ad)
  • "Jesus the King: Understanding the Life and Death of the Son of God" by Timothy Keller (Amazon Kindle #ad)

You can also watch this week's sermon or read the full message & GPS here.


Christmas Season 2021: 90 Seconds Silient Prayer Challenge

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Pastor Burkey would like you to take 90 seconds every day from now until Christmas to sit silent before God.

Amid the chaos of the Christmas season, find His calming voice to prepare you with His peace.

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.


Zechariah: Hearing God In The Silence

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Pastor Burkey would like you to take 90 seconds every day from now until Christmas 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: Luke 1:8-9. Zechariah’s name means “God remembers”. God remembers why Zechariah became a priest to serve God. God remembers His people under Roman occupation, longing for a Messiah to come. What does God remember about you? What do you want to remember about God? 

Day 2: Malachi 3:1. That messenger in one sense is Jesus, but before Jesus comes John the Baptist. God remembers His promise and Zechariah will be John the Baptist’s father. Today our extraordinary God doesn’t forget the ordinariness of our lives, but that He is with us. He reveals Himself to us. He guides us in life. Where do you need His guidance today?

Day 3: Luke 1:13. What prayers do you know God has heard? How are His answers impacting you? Where do you need to His answer?

Day 4: Malachi 3:2-3. Malachi says that God will be like "launderer's soap." This is what God wants to do with his people. He wants to get the dirt out of our lives. He washes away the stain that sin leaves behind. Everything that we have done in the past that has made our lives so ugly and unclean, He washes away. Where do you need to confess your sins and be made clean by Him?

Day 5: Luke 1:18-20. Most people see that time as silence as punishment for Zechariah’s unbelief. It might be that, but in that silence, God will work in Zechariah’s life and build a deeper faith that eventually becomes a song of praise (See Luke 1:64-80). In your silence, what song has God been teaching you to sing?

Day 6: Luke 1:24-25. Sometimes God has to be quiet so we can hear Him. Sometimes we have to be still so we can see Him move and do the work He wants to do through us. Sometimes our words and busyness get in the way of our faith. Where and when do you need to make a time of silence? Maybe even more than 90 seconds?

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Recent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • “Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God's Transforming Presence” by Ruth Haley Barton (Amazon Paperback #ad)
  • "Jesus the King: Understanding the Life and Death of the Son of God" by Timothy Keller (Amazon Kindle #ad)
  • “The Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World” by Paul Miller (Amazon Kindle #ad)

You can also watch this week's sermon or read the full message & GPS here.


Kingdom Made

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Day 1: Revelation 1:4. In this verse, John doesn’t use the word faith, he uses words about faith as he describes how we are kingdom made. What “faith” words do you notice? What does it mean to have God working those words in your life? 

Day 2: Revelation 1:5. Jesus frees us from our sins ... from the past ... and has made us into something new ... and right now we are a kingdom made for such a time as this. Take time to confess your sins to Jesus and receive the forgiveness He gives!

Day 3: Revelation 1:6. Our purpose in life is to serve. Where can you start? God does not call us to do everything. But He does call you to do your particular part (not to earn His love, but to express His love) in His work in this world. What is one way God has gifted and made you so that you can contribute to His plan for the church and this world?

Day 4: John 18:37. Jesus invites us into this kingdom work of listening to truth and living His truth. Some might summarize that as simply following the rules, I’d say Jesus even more invites us into a living life changing relationship of a kingdom made living just for you. What has Jesus been saying about your life in the past week?

Day 5: John 18:36. Jesus calls His church, you, and me, to combat greed with contentment, lust with love, brutality with kindness, and power-grabbing with humble service. Where do you find it challenging to combat our world’s culture with the way of Jesus? Pray for an extra-measure to serve Christlike today.

Day 6: Revelation 1:8. The joy of kingdom made is you are not alone. Jesus is with you every step of the way, every step of your day and of your life. You are a kingdom made with Christ. You are a champion who serves with Him in this world. How are you experiencing and expressing His joy in your life?

Recent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:


You can also watch this week's sermon or read the full message & GPS here.