Your Personal Grow-Pray-Study (GPS) Guide

Faith Works 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.


Faith Works 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.


The Lion Saves The Day!

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The Sermon for this week and this week's GPS is based on the movie "Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."

Day 1: Read Genesis 3:6-7. What does Satan use as “bait” to trip you up in your walk with God? What sins do you need to confess to God and hear His words of forgiveness?

Day 2: Read Colossians 1:21. How would your life be different if you have life with God or life without God?

Day 3: Read Colossians 1:20. To reconcile, to pay our sin debts in full, past, present and future. Jesus dies for us that we might have life. Jesus dies that you might live. Take time to thank Jesus for such a tremendous gift of love in your life. 

Day 4: Read Colossians 1:22. Satan’s name means Accuser. Jesus sets us free from accusations. Where have you sense Satan accusing you in life, filling you with guilt and shame? Give those accusations to Jesus. Ask Him to set your heart free!

Day 5: Read Colossians 1:18. Jesus has supremacy. He’s the one in charge. He turns messes into masterpieces. As you look at your life in the past year, where has Jesus turned a mess into a masterpiece? What mess do you need Him to do His masterpiece work in your life today?

Day 6: Read 1 Peter 2:9. “Chosen. Royal. Holy. God’s special possession.” That’s not Satan’s destiny for you. That may not be the destiny you would describe your life. But that is God’s plan. Those are God’s Words. Pray to see clearly how God can use you today to declare His praises to others.

Recent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • "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)
  • Lead Like It Matters to God: Values Driven Leadership in a Success-Driven World“ by Richard Stearns (Amazon Kindle)

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


What Christians Need To Know About Luther

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Monday: Read Philippians 3:7-9. Once he knew Jesus Christ and His free salvation, Paul threw away those accomplishments, confessed his sin and guilt, and depended on Jesus’ gift of righteousness alone. Why does Paul consider his accomplishment in the flesh “loss” and “rubbish” instead of something he can add to Jesus’ merits? Why do you think we are so inclined to put the focus on ourselves and our works rather than focus on Jesus and His works for us?

Tuesday: Read Matthew 28:20. From a Law point of view, what are the times you wish God wasn’t looking? From a Gospel point of view, what are times you’re glad He is always there? How is your perception of God affected by the good events in your life? The bad ones?

Wednesday: A few years after visiting Rome, Martin Luther was in the process of studying the original texts of the Bible, when God truly transformed his life of faith. Looking back, what events has God used to transform your faith life? Would you describe your coming to faith as being an extended process like Luther’s or more like a transformative moment?

Thursday: Read Romans 8:35-39. Reflect on the knowledge that there is NOTHING that will be able to separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus. How is this freeing?

Friday: As you rise and get your day started, pray Luther’s morning prayer --

I thank you, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.

As you end your day and prepare for sleep, pray Luther’s evening prayer --

I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day; and I pray that You would forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.

“Then go to sleep at once and in good cheer.” - Martin Luther

Saturday: Consider starting to read "Through Faith Alone - 365 Devotional Reading" (Amazon Kindle) from Martin Luther or "Luther’s Small Catechism" (Amazon Kindle). You can also watch the 2003 move "Luther" directed by Eric Till and Marco Canosa.

Recent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • "The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath" by Mark Buchanan (Amazon Kindle)
  • Lead Like It Matters to God: Values Driven Leadership in a Success-Driven World“ by Richard Stearns (Amazon Kindle)
  • Lincoln’s Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural“ by Ronald C. White Jr. (Amazon Kindle) (YouTube Video)

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


How Can I Hear God Speak Into My Life Today?

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The following is from Ruth Haley Barton's book Sacred Rhythms - Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation (Amazon Kindle) from pages 59-61:

Preparation/Silencio: With your eyes closed, let your body relax, and allow yourself to become consciously aware of God’s presence with you. Express your willingness to hear from God in these moments by using a brief prayer such as “Come Lord Jesus” or “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”

Read/Lectio: Listen for the word or phrase that is addressed to you. Turn to the passage and begin to read slowly, pausing between phrases and sentences. As you read, listen for a word or phrase that strikes you or catches your attention. Allow a moment of silence, repeating that word or phrase softly to yourself, pondering it and savoring it as though pondering the word of a loved one.

Passage to be read is: __________________

The word/phrase is: __________________

Reflect/Meditatio: How is my life touched by this word?

What is it in my life right now that needs to hear this word?

If the passage is a story, perhaps ask yourself: Where am I in this scene? What do I hear as I imagine myself in the story or hear these words addressed specifically to me? How do the dynamics of this story connect with my own life experience?

Respond/Oratio: What is my response to God based on what I have read and encountered?  Consider the S.P.A.C.E. questions?

  • Sins to Confess?
  • Promises to Claim?
  • Actions to Avoid (or Attitude to Adapt)?
  • Commands to Obey?
  • Examples to Follow?

Read the passage one more time, listening for your own deepest and truest response. In silence after the reading, allow your prayer to flow spontaneously from your heart as you enter a personal dialogue with God.

Rest/Contemplatio: Rest in the Word of God. In this final reading you are invited to release and return to a place of rest in God.

Resolve/Incarnatio: Incarnate (live out) the Word of God. As you emerge from this place of personal encounter with God to life in the company of others, resolve to carry this word with you and to live it out in the context of daily life and activity.

Practice Lectio Divina this week with the following scriptures (steps outlined above):

Day 1: Mark 10:46-52

Day 2: Joshua 1:5-9

Day 3: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Day 4: Psalm 23:1-6.

Day 5: Psalm 46:1-6.

Day 6: Psalm 46:7-11

Recent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • "The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath" by Mark Buchanan (Amazon Kindle)
  • Lead Like It Matters to God: Values Driven Leadership in a Success-Driven World“ by Richard Stearns (Amazon Kindle)
  • Lincoln’s Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural“ by Ronald C. White Jr. (Amazon Kindle) (YouTube Video)

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


How Can I Find Rest In A World That Wears Me Out?

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Day 1: Read Exodus 20:10. What do you need to put in “the box” each Sabbath?  Each night?

Day 2: Read Exodus 20:11. Why did God rest? What does that mean for our need to rest? To spend time with Him?

Day 3: Read Exodus 20:8. Mark Buchanan, in his book "The Rest of God" (Amazon Kindle) writes, “To remember is to literally put broken pieces back together, to re-member. It is to create an original out of what has become scattered fragments.” Where do you need to have God put broken pieces back together? Where do you need Jesus’ forgiveness this day?

Day 4: Read Matthew 11:28. What burdens have you been carrying that you need to let go and give to Jesus? Why have you been holding them? Take time to give each one to Jesus in prayer.

Day 5: Read Mark 2:23-24. As you plan your sabbath time this weekend, how do you answer these 3 questions?

  1. Does it cause you to feel calm?
  2. Does it bring delight?
  3. Does it inspire wonder?

Day 6: Read Matthew 11:29-30. To take upon us the yoke of Christ is to enter His school, become his disciple, bringing every part of our life under His control.  And the lesson of life Jesus teaches? Love! Love God, love others, love yourself. What are you learning about loving God, others and yourself?

Recent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • "The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath" by Mark Buchanan (Amazon Kindle)
  • Lead Like It Matters to God: Values Driven Leadership in a Success-Driven World“ by Richard Stearns (Amazon Kindle)
  • Lincoln’s Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural“ by Ronald C. White Jr. (Amazon Kindle) (YouTube Video)

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