Your Personal Grow-Pray-Study (GPS) Guide

The Story

The Hour of Darkness


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


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

Confessing Jesus Is My Business


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.

Sand vs. Rock: Love the Word. Learn the Word. Live the Word.

Christ the solid rock

This week in THE STORY we examine Chapter 24 entitled “No Ordinary Man" with a focus on:

Is your house built on solid rock or sinking sand?

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 Matthew 7:24-27.

Tuesday: Read Luke 10:25-37.

Wednesday: Read Luke 15:1-32.

Thursday: Read Matthew 5:1-16.

Friday: Read Matthew 6:5-15.

Saturday: Read Matthew 6:19-34.

If you would like to Go Deeper you can:

The Bible passages covered in The Story's Chapter 24 are excerpts from the following chapters: Matthew 5-7, 9, 14; Mark 4-6; Luke 10, 15; and John 6.

Jesus: Who is This Man? (Part 2)

This week in THE STORY we examine Chapter 23 entitled “Jesus’ Ministry Begins.”


Monday: Read Matthew 3:13-15. When Jesus went to John to be baptized, John’s well-intentioned humility turned out to be limiting self-talk, and John almost missed an incredible event in Jesus’ ministry. What limiting self-talk do you do that keeps you from experiencing God’s power working through you?

Tuesday: Read Matthew 3:16-17. One method of Bible Study that we learned in 40 Days in the Word was to Personalize scriptures. Take God the Father’s words to John and direct them to you. In your baptism, God speaks these words to you and welcomes you into His family. How does it feel to know that God loves you and is well pleased with you?

Wednesday: Read Matthew 4:1-4. Jesus waited for angels to attend him, rather than create bread for Himself. What can we learn from Jesus about responding to physical cravings?

Thursday: Read Matthew 4:8-10. What are ways Satan today claims his method is easier than God’s? How is ignoring God’s commands a way of bowing to the tempter? Covetousness is idolatry. What can we learn from Jesus about responding to desires for possessions, positions and power which God isn’t giving us?

Friday: Review the temptations of Jesus from the last couple days then read Hebrews 2:14-18 and Hebrews 4:14-16. How does Jesus’ temptation’s benefit you personally?

Saturday: Read John 3:16. Often seen as the verse that best sums up the Bible’s teachings, this is a great day to Personalize this verse by putting your name in it as you read through it a few times. And if you have not yet memorized this verse, this is a great verse to frame your heart. If you have memorized it, memorize Matthew 3:17 from Tuesday’s GPS.

If you would like to Go Deeper you can:

The Bible passages covered in Chapter 23 of The Story are excerpts from the following chapters: Matthew 3-4, 11; Mark 1-3; Luke 8; and John 1-4.

Jesus: Who is This Man? (Part 1)

This week in The Story we examine Chapter 22 entitled “The Birth of a King.”


Monday: Read Isaiah 7:14 and Luke 1:26-31: What are the TWO prophecies in his passage? “Immanuel” means “God with us.” What are tangible ways in which God is with you? How can knowing that God is with you through His son, Jesus, bring you strength and comfort?

Tuesday: Read Isaiah 40:3-5 and Luke 3:3-6. This passage is a prophecy of John the Baptist’s ministry. He was called to be the voice, pointing the world’s attention forward to the coming of Jesus the Christ. This was not an easy calling. In what area of your life have you been called to be a voice pointing backward to Jesus’ death and resurrection?

Wednesday: Read Jeremiah 31:15 and Matthew 2:16-18. The events of this prophecy underline in bold print why Jesus the Christ came into the world. Each of us and our world needs to be rescued from sin and evil. That was Jesus’ purpose in taking on human flesh. When in your life did you receive the gift of Jesus’ forgiveness?

Thursday: Read Isaiah 53:5-12 and Romans 5:6-8. This is one of the most powerful prophecies in the Old Testament. It describes the horrific nature of Jesus’ death and the purpose of that death. What part of the Isaiah passage most powerfully touches you as you read it? Why?

Friday: Read Zechariah 9:9 and Mark 11:7-11. In this prophecy the Christ is described as a king. As Jesus made his final entry into Jerusalem before his death the people cheered the arrival of their king. They wanted an earthly king, a king that would free the Hebrew people from the Roman Empire. This was not Jesus. What false expectations might you have placed on Jesus?

Saturday: Read Isaiah 9:1-2Matthew 4:13-16, and John 8:12. In this prophecy, the Christ is declared to be the light of the world. What is the effect of light on darkness? Each of us have areas of life that need the light of Jesus. What is that area in your life? Can you pray now that the light of Jesus would shine in that area?

The Bible passages covered this week in The Story include: Matthew 1-2; Luke 1; John 1.

Rebuilding the Walls: Praying God’s Power

This week in THE STORY we examine Chapter 21 entitled “Rebuilding the Walls.”


Monday: Read Nehemiah 1:1-4. What is your typical reaction to bad news? Think about our city. Have you ever felt particularly moved by its conditions? What situations triggered this feeling and how did you respond? Where is God leading you to pray for our community?

Tuesday: Read Nehemiah 1:5-7. What responsibility do you take for the shape our San Diego community is in? When was the last time you prayed earnestly for the spiritual health of our community? What steps can you take to address some of your concerns?

Wednesday: Read Nehemiah 1:8-9. Think about what would happen if people all over our city would be obedient to God’s Word. Think what would happen if Christians in our city would kneel before God and remind God of His promises. Nehemiah acted like a first responder in this crisis. Are there beginning steps you can take?

Thursday: Read Nehemiah 1:10-11. What past victories can you recall? Will you ask God to do it again for you? With whom are you seeking favor? Have you petitioned God for help?

Friday: Read Nehemiah 4:4-6. As Nehemiah leads the rebuild of the wall, the non-Jews push back with hatred. What can you do for those who hate what is good in our community? How can you deflect their influence? How can you pray for them?

Saturday: Read Nehemiah 4:19-20. Nehemiah sees God as commander-in-chief as the people struggle to get the wall built. Why was Nehemiah so confident that God would help them? How is your confidence that God will help you in transforming our city?

If you would like to go deeper, then please can check out:

The Bible passages covered in Chapter 21 of The Story are excerpts from the following chapters: Ezra 7, Nehemiah 1-2, 4, 6-8, Malachi 1-4

Rebuilding: The Queen of Beauty and Courage

 This week in THE STORY we examine Chapter 20 entitled “The Queen of Beauty and Courage.”


Monday: Read Esther 4:13-14. Consider the 5 human characters this week: Xerxes, Vashti, Haman, Mordecai, and Esther. What motivates their behavior? In what power do their trust and root their identities? What motivates your behavior? Your identity?

Tuesday: Read Esther 2:5-10. What happened to change Esther’s life? What might have been some reasons Mordecai forbade Esther to reveal who she was? How do you think Esther felt? Have you ever had an unexpected life changing event? How was God at work then and now? 

Wednesday: Read Esther 4:8-14. Why did Esther initially balk at Mordecai’s instructions? What did Mordecai believe would happen if Esther did not help? Luther affirmed that when we pray in the Lord’s Prayer for God’s will to be done, that it will be done with or without us. Where is God calling you to walk in His will today?

Thursday: Read Esther 4:15-16. How did Esther show courage? When is a time you felt God asking you to take a courageous step of faith? What happened? What did you learn from stepping out in faith? Where might God be calling you to step out in faith?

Friday: Read Esther 3:1-7. Esther requested that Xerxes and Haman come to not just one banquet, but two. Why was that a significant strategy for Esther? What do you learn from the request she makes? If God were to ask you for the request of your heart, how would you answer?

Saturday: Read Esther 4:13-14. Mordecai seemed to have God’s Upper Story in view when he sent word to Esther. When has God most recently placed you in a position to serve a greater purpose than you desired or realized? How did that make you feel?

The Bible passages covered in THE STORY’s Chapter 20 are excerpts from the following chapters: Esther 1-9.


Rebuilding: Realigned to Return Home

This week in THE STORY we examine Chapter 19 entitled “The Return Home.”


Monday: Read Zechariah 8:14-16. How was God like a parent reassuring a child that’s just been disciplined? What were the people to do? How can you apply this message to your life today?

Tuesday: Read Ezra 1:1-4. After 70 years in exile, how does God arrange for His people to return home? What does this tell you about one way God fulfills His promises? How does God provide for their needs as they return home? How have you seen God’s provision at work in your life this past week?

Wednesday: Read Zechariah 8:7-8. What is God’s generous promise to His people? How have you witnessed God being faithful in your life?

Thursday: Read Zechariah 8:20-21. Zechariah claimed that people of other nations would see the Lord’s work through the Israelites and would then seek out the Lord themselves. Jesus calls this being “light of the world” in Matthew 5:13-16. How is your life a sign, a light, for others to see God’s work in this world?

Friday: Read Ezra 3:10-11. The people make a great start in rebuilding God’s temple and recognizing His rebuilding of their lives. Where are you grateful for God’s work in your life? How has He been good and shared His love with you? How are you sharing His love with others?

Saturday: Read Ezra 6:14-15. What began as a great start in building the temple will go through a period of delay as you will read in The Story this week. Eventually under the prodding of prophets like Haggai, the people finish the work God had told them to do first. What is God saying in your life to do first? What are you doing about what He is saying?

The Bible passages covered in Chapter 19 of The Story are excerpts from the following chapters: Ezra 1-6, Haggai 1-2, and Zechariah 1 & 8.

Daniel in Exile - An A.L.I.E.N.

This week in The Story we examine Chapter 18 entitled “Daniel in Exile” that is part of the series “God is Speaking: Are You Listening”.


Daniel while in Exile lives his life as an A.L.I.E.N = Associations; Live Peaceably; Identity; Engage in culture; and Non-negotiable.

Monday: Read Ephesians 4:1-7. Associations: This passage is a picture of the Body of Christ, that is of the church. What does the apostle Paul urge us to do as a part of God’s family? What binds us together in oneness? What does he imply we are not to do?

Tuesday: Read Proverbs 15:18 and 1 Peter 3:4. Live Peaceably: What response does a hot-tempered person get compared to one who patiently replies to difficult situations? What was a situation in your life when a gentle and quiet spirit/response helped calm a difficult situation?

Wednesday: Read Romans 8:15-17. Identity: How might a person with a spirit of fear respond to a hostile challenge to identity as compared to the response of a person who has a spirit of being God’s child? How might a spirit of being God’s child help to stabilize your identity and your response to challenges?

Thursday: Read Acts 5:12-21. Engage in culture: When threatened it is tempting to withdraw and to hide, yet we see the exact opposite with the apostles and later with the church as it was scattered. How did the early church engage its world? How is God calling you to engage in the world?

Friday: Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-5. Non-negotiable: What matter of faith did the apostle Paul state was non-negotiable? What are your “non-negotiables” and your negotiable items?

Saturday: Read Galatians 1:6-9. Non-negotiable: What did the people of the Galatian church give up? What was Paul’s reaction 1) to the Galatians and 2) to the teachers who led the Galatians away from the Gospel message that says, we are not saved by works, but by faith in Jesus? How do you see the Gospel being threatened today?

The Bible passages covered in The Story’s Chapter 18 include:  Daniel 1-3; 6;Jeremiah 29-31.