Your Personal Grow-Pray-Study (GPS) Guide

Previous month:
March 2014
Next month:
May 2014

April 2014

The Church: Misconceptions vs. God’s Desires

What-is-the-church

This week in THE STORY we examine Chapter 28 entitled “New Beginnings” that covers Acts 1-10 and Acts 12.

Monday: Read Acts 2:42-47. When you think about church what comes to mind? How does that compare with the church in Acts 2?

Tuesday: Read Acts 2:42. Why is it so easy to view the church like a movie theater, where we come to get entertained? How can we over overcome this and align ourselves to be worshipers, not the audience?

Wednesday: Read Acts 2:44. Why is it so easy for us to view church like a retail store, where we can shop around and get things to meet our needs? How can we overcome this and align ourselves to see church as a family, and not as shoppers?

Thursday: Read Acts 2:45. Why is it so easy for us to view church like a restaurant, where we look over a menu to find the things that we like? How can we overcome this and align ourselves to see our lives in church as servants, not customers?

Friday: Read Acts 2:46-47. What is the danger of seeing church only as a gas station, where we come every so often to get our “spiritual fill-up”? How can we overcome this and align ourselves to see church as a life we live, not simply a place you go?

Saturday: Read Acts 2:42-47. Why do people view church like a gym a place where perfect people celebrate being in shape? How can we overcome this and align ourselves to see church as a place for everyone?


Questions After the Resurrection - Foundations Of Faith

This week in THE STORY we examine Chapter 27 entitled “The Resurrection” that is part of the series called “Who Is This Man?”

The-Empty-Tomb-300x225

Monday: Read Matthew 28:2-6. Imagine showing up to Jesus’ tomb and finding it empty with an angel sitting on top of the stone. What would you have done? Would you have been scared like the soldiers? What might move you from fear to faith?

Tuesday: Read Matthew 28:5-7. The angel reminded the women that Jesus said He’d rise from the dead – and He did! Jesus always does what He says. What are some of Jesus’ other promises you need to remember today? How has He kept His promises in your life?

Wednesday: Read Matthew 28:6-8. When Jesus died it appeared evil had finally won. But just as He promised, Jesus rose from the dead. With that one act He secured His identity as the Son of God and proved that He could be trusted to whatever He said He would do. As you look at your life, what do you need Jesus to overcome? Do you trust in yourself to overcome? Or do you trust Jesus? Do you need to overcome something in the world, or is it within you?

Thursday: Read John 20:25-28. What did Jesus tell Thomas to do? What does this tell us about Jesus’ concern for Thomas? What did Thomas call Jesus? Why?

Friday: Read John 20:27-29. Who did Jesus say are blessed? Do you consider yourself one of those who are blessed?

Saturday: Read John 20:31. Consider how all the different people reacted to the news that Jesus was risen from the dead. When did the living Jesus become real to you? Do you have any treasured Easter worship traditions or memories? What do they help you to remember about the Easter story?

If you would like to GO DEEPER you can:

The Bible passages covered in Chapter 27 of THE STORY are excerpts from the following chapters: Matthew 27-28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 19-21.


Maundy Thursday - You Proclaim

Martin-luther

From Luther’s Small Catechism (www.cph.org): As the head of the family should teach it in a simple way to his household

What is the Sacrament of the Altar?

It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink.

Where is this written?

The holy Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke, and St. Paul write: Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: “Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.” In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

What is the benefit of this eating and drinking?

These words, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins,” show us that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.

How can bodily eating and drinking do such great things?

Certainly not just eating and drinking do these things, but the words written here: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” These words, along with the bodily eating and drinking, are the main thing in the Sacrament. Whoever believes these words has exactly what they say: “forgiveness of sins.”

Who receives this sacrament worthily?

Fasting and bodily preparation are certainly fine outward training. But that person is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” But anyone who does not believe these words or doubts them is unworthy and unprepared, for the words “for you” require all hearts to believe.

Questions for Preparing to Receive the Lord’s Supper

  • Do I believe Jesus Christ paid the price to forgive my sins? For the sins of the world?
  • Do I believe Jesus will forgive my sins? (Read 1 John 1:9-2:2)
  • What are some areas in my life where I need God’s forgiveness?
  • What are some areas in my life where I need the forgiveness of others?
  • What are some areas in my life where I need to forgive others as God has forgiven me?
  • Do I believe that Jesus is present in the bread and the wine with His body and blood in this meal?
  • Am I willing to receive the forgiveness Jesus offers and be empowered by the Holy Spirit as a newly forgiven and forgiving person?

The Hour of Darkness

Easter-1-Romans_6

This week in THE STORY we examine Chapter 26 entitled “The Hour of Darkness.”

Monday: Read Mark 11:2-3 and Mark 11:9-10. The crowd in Jerusalem thought Jesus was going to establish his kingdom by force (how else would a Messiah overcome the Romans?), but he enters in on a donkey, a symbol of peace. Why? What message is he conveying to them and to us? What is the “donkey” God might be asking you to share?

Tuesday: Read John 13:1-10. What was Jesus trying to teach the disciples when He washed their feet? What does this tell you about God’s kingdom? Would it be easier for you to wash someone else’s feet or for someone else to wash your feet? What is it that makes the servant life of Jesus hard for us to accept?

Wednesday: Read John 13:12-17. Besides actually washing feet, how do you “wash the feet” of others? See John 13:34-35 for a greater focus for your answer.

Thursday: Read Matthew 26:36-42. In the midst of our own dark times, when we cannot sense God’s presence or hear His voice, we must remember that when the Father’s work is finished, light returns. What can we learn from Jesus’ willingness to drink from the cup the Father gave Him? What encouragement can we take from Jesus’ endurance through the hour of darkness?

Friday: Read Luke 23:32-43. If you had been in the crowd, what role would you have played? Imagine yourself as a Roman soldier who had nailed Jesus to the cross, how might you respond to His word of forgiveness? If you had been one of the criminals, would you have cursed or blessed Him? What if you were part of Jesus’ family or friends, how might you respond to the events of that day?

Saturday: Read Matthew 27:46-54. Jesus’ betrayal, arrest, trial, crucifixion and death are also known as the “Passion.” Describe your most dramatic experience of the Passion. What was it? Scripture? A movie? A play? A Good Friday worship service? What did you think, and how did it make you feel? How does it feel to know that Jesus knowingly did all of this for you?

If you would like to Go Deeper then you can attend Holy Week Services this week and read “Six Hours One Friday” by Max Lucado.

The Bible passages covered in Chapter 26 of THE STORY are excerpts from the following chapters: Matthew 26-27, Mark 14-15, Luke 22-23, and John 13-14, 16-19.


Pray To Live The Story

Easter-cross

From now until Easter (April 20, 2014), pray:


Confessing Jesus Is My Business

Caesarea_Philippi

This week in The Story we examine Chapter 22 entitled “Jesus, the Son of God.” Remember that a key part of Pastor John's message this week is about Jesus’ discussions with his Disciples around Caesarea Philippi.

For each day of the week, read the recommended scripture and answer in your own words the following questions:

  • Observation: What does it say?
  • Interpretation: What does it mean?
  • Correlation: What other verses explain it?
  • Application: What will I do about it?

Monday: Read John 6:25-35, I am the bread of life…

Tuesday: Read John 8:12 and John 9:1-7, I am the light of the world…

Wednesday: Read John 10:7-10, I am the gate…

Thursday: Read John 10:11-18, I am the good shepherd…

Friday: Read John 11:17-27, I am the resurrection and the life…

Saturday: Read John 14:1-7, I am the way and the truth and the life…

The Bible passages covered this week in The Story include: Matthew 26-27; Mark 8-12; Luke 24; and John 19-21.