Your Personal Grow-Pray-Study (GPS) Guide

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.


Prayer Power

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Day 1: Read James 5:13-14. Powerful prayer warriors are powerful prayer warriors for one simple reason, no matter what they pray. Consider your prayers the past week, what have you prayed the most for? Most of all, take time today to pray!

Day 2: Read James 5:15-16. Who is a prayer warrior that you know? Why do you consider that person a prayer warrior? How might you follow their example? Most of all, take time today to pray!

Day 3: Read James 5:17. When I read that verse, I am fascinated with that word earnestly. The phrase gets translated that he prayed “earnestly” or “fervently”. But do you know what it actually says? “He prayed with prayer.” It just repeats it. “Elijah prayed, praying!’ Most of all, take time today to pray!

Day 4: Read James 5:18. As you have prayed this week, have you been praying “The 5 Prayer Challenge”? If not, do so today. If you have, thank you, stay calm and keep on praying! Most of all, take time today to pray!

Day 5: Read James 5:19. Prayer is not just about you and God being on the same page but realizing together we are part of God’s family. What affects one, affects us all. Who are you praying for to come to know Jesus? Most of all, take time today to pray!

Day 6: Read James 5:20. I think of that verse as I pray when I pray that 5th mission petition from the Prayer Challenge: God, I pray _____ becomes part of your family. With some of the names I pray, I pray they come to know Jesus for the first time. But for some of the names I pray, I pray they come back to God’s family. Never give up praying for people you know and love to come to know Jesus. Most of all, take time today and all your days to pray!.

Recent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:


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


Long Fuse Living In A Short Fuse World

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The Patience Formula - “Be patient.” (James 5:7a):

Troubles + Time x Trust = Patience

Day 1: Read James 5:7. We think of patience and just sitting passively waiting and wondering. James doesn’t see the long fuse of patience working passively, that’s why he uses the example of the farmer. The farmer waits patiently for the land to yield its crop, waiting for the rains only God can bring. Where is God calling you to wait patiently? What next steps is He inviting you to take while you wait?

Day 2: Read James 5:8. For long fuse patience James adds stand firm with determination. The word for stand firm means strengthen your heart. How has God strengthened your heart? Where do you need that strength as you face the day ahead?

Day 3: Read James 5:10. James tells us about the prophets so that we build our lives on words that last. Think of the words those prophets spoke for God of “do not be afraid.” Or “God will never leave you nor forsake you.” When suffering comes what words from God do you hold on to as you face the problem?

Day 4: Read James 5:9, 12. You might call these verses warning signs that our patience is waning, and our impatience is leading us to worrying. What warning signs do they trigger as you seek to respond with patience? Where do you need to pray for God’s help as you face problems?

Day 5: Read James 5:11. Job’s patience power is his perseverance. He never let’s go of God. He never gives up his faith, no matter how many troubles he faces or how horrific the losses he experiences. How has God been developing your patient perseverance muscle? Where might He be stretching you to hold on to Him?

Day 6: Read Job 13:15. Job never gets the answer to the why question. You may or may not either. What Job does get is Job gets that God knows him intimately. Even more Job gest a deeper faith because Job’s perseverance leads to a patient hope that God is Job’s redeemer, and that Job will see God. No matter the suffering that has come, no matter even death calls, God gets the final word and that gives Job perseverance, patience, and hope. How do you remind yourself that God knows you intimately? That you can trust Him? How has your faith grown in challenging times?

Recent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • “Great Lives: Job: A Man of Heroic Endurance” by Charles R. Swindoll (Amazon Kindle #ad)
  • “Winning the War in Your Mind: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life” by Craig Groeschel (Amazon Kindle #ad)
  • "The Best Question Ever" by Andy Stanley (Amazon Kindle #ad)

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


Trust

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Day 1: Read James 4:7-10. When you think of submission what images come to mind? Good? Bad? Godly?  How do you respond to the observation “It’s hard to be prideful when you’re standing next to Jesus”?

Day 2: Read James 4:11-12. If you had a pride-ometer, what would the reading be?

Day 3: Read James 4:13-14. We measure life in minutes, James invites us to use God’s time frame, eternity, when measuring life. What difference in planning you day happens when you bring God’s eternal perspective to your life today? Tomorrow?

Day 4: Read James 4:15-17. If it is the Lord’s will – James wants us to know our future as well as our present is in God’s hands. How have you experienced God’s hands at work in your life the past week?

Day 5: Read James 5:1-3. God gives us people to love and stuff to use. What’s the danger in confusing that order, loving stuff and using people? What’s the joyful blessing when we use stuff to love God and people?

Day 6: Read James 5:4-6. How have you found God faithful when you submit your wealth to God? How has He led you to find the joy of serving others, of investing earthly resources for eternal impact?

Recent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:

  • “Winning the War in Your Mind: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life” by Craig Groeschel (Amazon Kindle #ad)
  • "The Best Question Ever" by Andy Stanley (Amazon Kindle #ad)
  • “Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World” by Craig Groeschel (Amazon Kindle #ad)

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


Heavenly Wisdom

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Day 1: Read James 4:1-2. Wisdom challenges us to ask ourselves two questions: 

  1. Who is calling the shots in my life? 
  2. What makes me do what I do in my life? 

How do you answer those 2 questions for your life?  How do your answers align with God’s answers for your life?

Day 2: Read James 3:13. Think of the wisest person you know. Does their wisdom match James' contention that wisdom isn’t based on what you know, but what you show?

Day 3: Read James 3:14-16. For James what is the danger of “earthly wisdom”? Why is it so dangerous? How have you seen it at work in others? Yourself? Where do you need to ask for forgiveness today?

Day 4: Read James 3:17-18. For James what are the benefits of “heavenly wisdom”? Why is it such a blessing? How have you seen it at work in others? Yourself? Where do you need to ask for heavenly wisdom to be at work in your life today?

Day 5: Read James 4:2-3. For Andy Stanley the best question ever is to ask, “In light of my past experience, my present circumstances, and my future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing to do?” Think of a decision you’re wrestling with today. Pray about it through Andy Stanley’s question. How do you sense God leading you?

Day 6: Read James 4:4-6. James realizes humility is not our default response to life. Humility does not come naturally, but supernaturally. Who is a humble person you know? How do you see God at work through their humility? Through your humility?

Recent additional GO DEEPER reading opportunities:


 

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


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.