Your Personal Grow-Pray-Study (GPS) Guide

Life Building Words

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Before you speak this week -- T.H.I.N.K. --

  • T – is it Truthful?
  • H – is it Helpful?  
  • I – is it Inspirational?  
  • N – is it Necessary?  
  • K – is it Kind?

In addition, consider using this prayer this week:

“Lord, do something with my words this week.  Instead of me trying to control my tongue, I’m trusting you to guide my words.  I’m asking for your help.  I’m asking for your strength.  Jesus, guide me into honest words.  Honest words of love.  Guide me into careful words of love.  Guide me into building words of love.  I’m asking for your help because I know you love me. I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.”  

Day 1: Read James 3:1-2. Rabbi Joseph Telushkin asks “Can you go 24 hours without saying (or thinking) any unkind words about, or to, another person?” What words have you spoken in the last 24 hours that built someone up?  

Day 2: Read James 3:7-8. You wonder why you and I get in trouble with our words, we are sinners. Sinful words slip out because sin slips out, stumbles out. Words once spoken don’t automatically come back. Where do you need to ask for forgiveness today from God? From someone else?

Day 3: Read James 3:3-4. James wants us to understand the tongue directs where your life goes like a bit on a horse or a rudder on a ship. Look over the past day what direction do your words have you going toward building relationships or away from them?

Day 4: Read James 3:5-6. When have you been “burnt” by someone’s words? Whose words encouraged you to move forward in life? What kind of fires did your words start yesterday? To help or hurt others?

Day 5: Read James 3:9-10. When you speak words that bless or curse, God is always there, always hears? Take time now to praise God with your words in 4 specific statements of praise. Set aside today to repeat this exercise!

Day 6: Read James 3:11-12. Think through 2 sets of words you spoke to someone yesterday? Evaluate them in the T.H.I.N.K. paradigm. Were they Truthful, Helpful, Inspirational, Necessary, Kind? Why or why not?

Recent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • “Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World” by Craig Groeschel (Amazon Kindle #ad)
  • “Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just” by Timothy Keller (Amazon Kindle #ad)
  • “Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road” by Timothy Keller (Amazon Kindle #ad)

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


Works

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Day 1: Read James 2:14-16. James understands God gives faith to be lived out, God’s love experienced and expressed to the world around us. Where is God providing you the opportunity to experience and express His love to others? 

Day 2: Read James 2:17-20. James says not only is faith more than your feelings, it’s also more than an intellectual exercise in what you think. Faith is meant to change our lives to live with compassionate generosity. How has your life been changed by someone’s compassionate generosity? Who might claim their life has been changed by your compassionate generosity? Why?

Day 3: Read James 2:21-22. Our faith is not determined by what you do, it’s demonstrated by what you do. How do you see that at work in Abraham’s life in these verses? What might others understand about your faith based on the way you demonstrate it?

Day 4: Read James 2:23-24. Only time in the Bible someone is called God’s friend. Thanks to Jesus that’s what God calls you, God’s friend, even better God’s child. As God’s friend and as God’s child, God challenges us to sacrificial obedience not to see how much we love Him but for you and me to discover how much we love Him. As you look at your life, how are you showing God you love Him? Where are you seeing God loves you?

Day 5: Read James 2:25. Rahab risks protecting the Israeli spies so that her family will be spared. She trusts their God is more powerful, is to be believed and so she takes a risk to put God’s love in action. Where is God calling you to take a calculated risk to put His love in action?

Day 6: Read James 2:26. For James doing good, loving others is like breathing, it feeds your body with the good stuff and lets out the bad stuff with each breath. Such love builds community. Take time today to a breath prayer – As you breathe in pray, “Thank You Jesus for loving me” and pray as you breathe out “So I can love others.” Pray this at least 10 times and then at different times throughout the day.

Recent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • “Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just” by Timothy Keller (Amazon Kindle)
  • “Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road” by Timothy Keller (Amazon Kindle)
  • “Now You’re Speaking My Language: Honest Communication and Deeper Intimacy for a Stronger Marriage” by Gary Chapman (Amazon Kindle)

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


Mercy And Love for All

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Day 1: Read James 2:1. We are to treat everyone with the same respect. We know this, but we often fail to do it. Why? 

Day 2: Read James 2:2-4. When have you been a victim of discrimination? Seen someone discriminated against? What led to such discrimination? What lesson did you learn to next time it happens to treat others with respect?

Day 3: Read James 2:5. We get in trouble when we think earthly wealth is the goal, that is ours by our hard work and not by God’s gracious hand. What is the advantage for James in being poor? How has God made you wealthy? How are you putting that wealth to a godly use?

Day 4: Read James 2:6-7. How have  you seen or experienced the poor being dishonored? What might you do to show honor to those in need? Where do you need to ask God for forgiveness?

Day 5: Read James 2:8-11. According to James if you break one law, you break them all. Favoritism is as sinful as adultery. How does love fulfill the law? Why is God’s love and forgiveness so essential for such a life of love?

Day 6: Read James 2:12-13. We tend to be selective in our mercy. If someone is "one of us" we'll overlook an offense, we'll give them the benefit of the doubt. But if someone is an outsider (different political views, COVID response, social standing), we tend to judge them more critically. How might you learn to reach across the divide our world makes and have Jesus as the bridge of connection?

Recent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road” by Timothy Keller (Amazon Kindle)
  • Now You’re Speaking My Language: Honest Communication and Deeper Intimacy for a Stronger Marriage” by Gary Chapman (Amazon Kindle)
  • Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back: Persevering Through Pressure” by Charles R. Swindoll (Amazon Kindle)

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


Listen Do Continue

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Day 1: Read James 1:19-20. How’s your track record of following James’ command – slow to speak, quick to listen, slow to become angry? What happens when you are quick to speak, slow to listen, quick to become angry? Where do you need to pray for forgiveness and ask someone for forgiveness today?

Day 2: Read James 1:21. Look back over the past week and your time in God’s Word, what seeds of faith has God been planting in your life? How are such steps of faith taking root in your life?

Day 3: Read James 1:22. James realizes the test of how well you have heard God’s Word. You only believe the parts of the Bible you actually do. What do your actions reveal about how well you have heard God’s Word? What area of your life do you need to pray today: “God, lead me to live your life building Word today!”?

Day 4: Read James 1:23-24. God wants us to see what needs to be fixed. God also wants us to see what we can be. God wants you to take a long look into what God wants you to be. As you look at the mirror of your life for the past 24 hours, what sins do you need to confess? Where do you see Jesus making you who God wants you to be?

Day 5: Read James 1:25. Reflect on the law of God, because the more you reflect on God's law, the more your life will reflect God's presence. Don't look intently at yourself, look intently at what God wants you to be. Reflect on that image so that you can reflect that image. Take time to re-read this verse and reflect on God’s message for you today. (Reflect – a great practice when you read God’s Word!)

Day 6: Read James 1:26-27. Our world’s philosophy of life is: What’s in it for me? That’s the decision-making grid for most in how to live life each day. James shares God’s philosophy of life: What can I do for them? That’s how you live out God’s love for others. How have others served you this week? How have you served them?  Be alert and aware today to God’s promptings and grace to serve others.

Recent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • “Now You’re Speaking My Language: Honest Communication and Deeper Intimacy for a Stronger Marriage” by Gary Chapman (Amazon Kindle)
  • “Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back: Persevering Through Pressure” by Charles R. Swindoll (Amazon Kindle)
  • "The Problem of Pain" by C. S. Lewis (Amazon Kindle)

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


When Temptations Knock

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Day 1: Read James 1:13. What’s interesting in this first chapter of James is not only when temptations keep coming, so will trials. If that weren’t enough James uses the same Greek word for trials or temptations. So what’s the difference between the two? Their source and their goal. God uses trials to help us grow. Satan uses temptation to lead us to sin. Think about a challenge you are facing. How is Satan using it as a temptation? How is God using it as a trial to make you stronger?

Day 2: Read James 1:14-15. Satan follows a consistent 3 step process with temptation: Desire. Disobedience. Death. It is not that every time you and I give in to temptation and sin, that we die. We have the forgiveness of Christ that we can hold on to and receive. Where have you seen this pattern at work in your life? Where do you need to ask for forgiveness? To pray to the Holy Spirit for strength?

Day 3: Read James 1:16. Central to dealing successfully with temptations is to refuse to be deceived, fooled or hoodwinked. How has Satan used that tactic in your life in the past? Where might he be seeking to deceive you in your life today?

Day 4: Read James 1:17. When temptations and trials come knocking, James wants us to know God is not the enemy. God is the source of goodness. Give thanks for 5 gifts of goodness you have seen God provide in the last 24 hours.

Day 5: Read James 1:18. While Satan uses desire as bait to hide temptation’s hook, to catch you. God uses first-fruits to give you a glimpse of the great work His grace can do in your life. Where have you seen God’s grace at work in your life this week?

Day 6: Read James 1:12. Even when you fall into temptation, you bite the bait, you’ve done what’s wrong. Satan will seek to keep you down, and Jesus arms extend from a cross to lift you up. Ask God to forgive your sin then rejoice in the forgiveness, mercy and grace God gives to you this day!

Recent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back: Persevering Through Pressure” by Charles R. Swindoll (Amazon Kindle)
  • "The Problem of Pain" by C. S. Lewis (Amazon Kindle)
  • "Lessons from the Navy" by Mark Brouker (Amazon Kindle)

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


When Problems Come

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Day 1: Read James 1:1. To those facing the problem of being dislocated from their home, he says “Greetings!” Another way of saying, “Rejoice!” Perhaps in your life you experienced a forced move, did the word rejoice come up as you moved?

Day 2: Read James 1:2-4. What happens is not the source of our considering it pure joy. The source of pure joy is the work Jesus is doing, the perseverance muscle He is building or in an oven’s case baking. Perseverance builds strength and finds growth from facing problems. Where has God built perseverance in your life? Where might He be building perseverance in your life today?

Day 3: Read James 1:5. In those “light bulb” moments when God pours out His wisdom, He leads you in the next best step to take in facing your problems and even more in following Him. When have you sensed God’s wisdom at work in your life? Where do you need to ask for His wisdom to be at work right now? 

Day 4: Read James 1:6-8. The prayer for wisdom is not a prayer for a divine explanation. The temptation is to pray how do I get out of this? Better to pray, how can I grow through this? Take time to pray for God’s wisdom to work in a specific situation in your life today.

Day 5: Read James 1:9-10. James doesn’t hate rich people. James does realize the trap riches can bring. If you live in America, you and I are considered on the rich side of the spectrum in the eyes of the world. Where might riches be pulling you away from God? How will you keep Him first in your life?

Day 6: Read James 1:11. James doesn’t put that verse in to be mean to rich people. Abraham was rich. David was rich. You are rich. James puts that verse in as a warning light when problems come, faith works. Faith perseveres because its source is God. What pulls you focus towards “stuff”? What pulls your focus toward God? What warning lights are set up in your life to warn you your stuff is taking over what’s most important? Guiding lights to connect you with God as your top priority?

Recent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • "The Problem of Pain" by C. S. Lewis (Amazon Kindle)
  • "Lessons from the Navy" by Mark Brouker (Amazon Kindle)
  • "The Gospel According to Hamilton: Seeing God in the Broadway Musical" by Jeff Hamling (Amazon Kindle)

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


Whatever You Do: Do It All In The Name Of The Lord Jesus

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Day 1: Read Colossians 3: 18-21. Several family roles are addressed. Which are you? How do you conduct yourself in these roles? How would you conduct yourself differently if you always did it in the name of the Lord?

Day 2: Read Colossians 4:1. If you have a leadership role how can you serve in that role in the name of the Lord? Think of the leaders in our church and pray about how you can be of help and encouragement to them.

Day 3: Read John 14: 12-13 and Proverbs 16:3. Do you call on the name of the Lord in all that you do? All that you do? Shake your head no. Try doing this as often as you can remember for a week – see how God blesses your faith in Him.

Day 4: Read Colossians 3:12-15. Think about how the power of forgiveness has worked in your life – in both directions. If it has not worked so well, or you don’t know, ask God to show you how the example of Jesus can help. If it has worked well, give Him thanks.

Day 5: Read Colossians 3:14 & Colossians 3:23. Do you view your heart as the storage place of God’s most precious gifts? Is there room in there for them? What could be removed to make more space for what matters to God?

Day 6: Read Psalm 90. In light of the events of the past few years and the past few weeks, pray for all those who serve in the military, for health care workers, for those in law enforcement, for first responders, and leaders in government at all levels. Pray that they would be kept safe and healthy, and that they would perform their duties in the name of Jesus.

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Recent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • "Lessons from the Navy" by Mark Brouker (Amazon Kindle)
  • "The Gospel According to Hamilton: Seeing God in the Broadway Musical" by Jeff Hamling (Amazon Kindle)
  • "Identity: Who You Are in Christ" by Eric Geiger (Amazon Kindle)

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


Hamilton: The Name God Gives You

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Day 1: Read Isaiah 43:1. Read through the Bible and you quickly discover God knows your name and God wants to be in relationship with you. God wants you to be part of His family. In Isaiah 43:1 God calls us by name, the very thing we desire but perhaps also fear. For we know the failures and sins of our lives, but God tells us not to fear. He has redeemed us. He has paid the price that we might have in life. What phrase sticks out for you to remember today? Why?

Day 2: Read John 10:16. In Jesus day, there were Jews then everybody else called Gentiles. In John 10 Jesus speaks not only to Jews, but to everybody. God’s desire for all people to be saved. That’s why Jesus came, died and rose again. That’s why God wants you and others to be part of His family. Who can you pray for today to come to know Jesus?

Day 3: Read Isaiah 43:4. You might circle those 4 words “because I love you”. Those are God’s Word for you, no matter who you are or what you have done, God loves you and you are precious in His sight. How do you see yourself? How does that match up with how God sees you? 

Day 4: Read John 10:11. In this verse Jesus describes how He shows His love for you. We also learn Jesus knew exactly the price He would have to pay and that you are worth it. What would it mean for your life yesterday and then today to see the people you come across with the kind of love Jesus has for you?

Day 5: Read Isaiah 43:2. You might underline those 5 words – “I will be with you”. Life might get really ugly, but God’s not leaving. He loves you. He is with you. He redeems your pain and fulfills His purpose. Where do you need to remind yourself that God is with you?

Day 6: Read John 10:14-15. Read these verses a couple times, how do you see Jesus knowing you happening? How are you doing with knowing Jesus?

Recent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • "The Gospel According to Hamilton: Seeing God in the Broadway Musical" by Jeff Hamling (Amazon Kindle)
  • "Identity: Who You Are in Christ" by Eric Geiger (Amazon Kindle)
  • "Chazown: Discover and Pursue God's Purpose for Your Life" by Craig Groeschel (Amazon Kindle)

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


The One Who Comes To Save You

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The Sermon for this week and this week's GPS is based on the movie(s) Cinderella.

Day 1: Read Deuteronomy 31:8. These great words Moses shares are as a reminder that you are not alone. God goes before you in life. He is with you. Where have you sensed some distance from God in life? Discouragement? Loneliness? Where do you need to remember today God is with you and you are not alone?

Day 2: Read Luke 5:30-32. Where do you need to repent and to receive Jesus’ healing forgiveness today?

Day 3: Read Luke 17:6. The power of faith is not in its size, but in its object. It’s not how much faith I can muster, but that it’s focused on Jesus. What area of life might you, like the disciples, cry out “Increase our faith!”? Why?

Day 4: Read Ephesians 2:8-9. By grace – that’s a Biblical word for gift. The gift is faith in Jesus, it’s God’s great work. What does it mean to you that faith is a gift from God (not by works)? Take time today to thank God for His incredible gift!

Day 5: Read Galatians 5:22-23. The fruit of the Spirit (all 9 qualities make up the 1 fruit of the Spirit) does not save your life but reflects the One who saved your life. How have you seen God cultivating such fruit in your life this week?

Day 6: Read Deuteronomy 31:6. Where do you need to remind yourself to be strong and courageous in living out your faith? 

Recent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • "Identity: Who You Are in Christ" by Eric Geiger (Amazon Kindle)
  • "Chazown: Discover and Pursue God's Purpose for Your Life" by Craig Groeschel (Amazon Kindle)
  • "The Chronicles of Narnia" by C. S. Lewis (Amazon Kindle)

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


Discover Your Destiny

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The Sermon for this week and this week's GPS is based on the movie "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker."

Day 1: Read 1 John 3:4-5. John doesn’t deny the sins of our past, but he does always point us to Jesus, the one who takes away our sin. What sins do you  need to confess to God today and hear His word of forgiveness?

Day 2: Read John 8:25. The question asked of Jesus is good to ask yourself, “Who are you?” How would you describe who you are to someone else? To God? To yourself?

Day 3: Read John 8:29. When do you long to sense God’s presence? What is your best way to spend time with Him? Thank God for being with You today! 

Day 4: Read Hebrews 12:1-2. When you think of the great cloud of witnesses cheering you on in heaven, who in that cloud is cheering for you? What do you think they are saying? What do you sense God saying to cheer you on today?

Day 5: Read 1 John 3:1-2. We may not know the future, but we know the One who holds the future in His hands. What part of your uncertain future do you need to turn over to God in prayer?

Day 6: Read 1 John 3:2-3. When Jesus forgives the filth of our sins, He makes us clean. He makes us pure. Think of a time when you felt filthy, what did it feel like to take a shower and be clean again? On the outside? In your inner heart?

Recent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • "Chazown: Discover and Pursue God's Purpose for Your Life" by Craig Groeschel (Amazon Kindle)
  • "The Chronicles of Narnia" by C. S. Lewis (Amazon Kindle)
  • "The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath" by Mark Buchanan (Amazon Kindle)

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