Blog

14
Apr

Outcast Week 5

Week 5

Text: Luke 23:39-43

Topic: Repentance, Witnessing

Main Idea: It is never too late to seek repentance, and it is never the wrong time to share the gospel.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is one thing that stood out to you from this week’s message?
  2. What does the Bible mean with the word repentance?
  3. Why do you sometimes find it hard to share the gospel?
  4. Sometimes witnessing is sharing your testimony of how you personally became born again. Often this kind of witnessing is followed immediately by repentance from someone listening who realizes they need to become a Christian themselves. Does anyone want to share how you came to faith in Jesus?
  5. Does anyone here need to accept Jesus as Savior for the first time?
12
Apr

Day 21 of Prayer & Fasting

Hebrews 12:6-8 (ESV)

6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” 7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

Today is the last day of our 21 days of prayer and fasting.  For some of you, these past two weeks was probably more difficult that others.  It’s ok.  We’ve seen during this time in His Word that God is willing to go THROUGH you in order to get TO you.  Sometimes TOUGH love is necessary.  It might be difficult at first, but you will find peace and joy on the other side like no other.

Application:

Even though these time of prayer and fasting is over, don’t stop praying and reaching out to God.  Continue this attitude and approach towards God and you will see Him display His love and power in your life.  Don’t stop.  Keep seeking after your God!

11
Apr

Day 20 of Prayer & Fasting

Romans 4:20-22 (ESV)

20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”

The person that the Apostle Paul is describing here is Abraham.  This scenario was one where Abraham was rationalizing sacrificing his one and only son at the age of almost 100, all because God asked Him to.

Why would God ask Abraham to sacrifice the son that He promised would grow up and produce a lineage that would bless the whole world?  It sounds like God is either contradicting Himself or like He has lost His mind.  Neither are true.

Here we see why an angel had to come and stop the hand of Abraham from killing his son.  He was most definitely going to do it.  His reason.  He trusted in God that much.  If God promised that Isaac would be the one to carry out His promises to me, then I believe He could bring him back from the dead.  In essence, Abraham’s thinking went like this.  “If God said He is going to do it, I believe Him.  Even if I don’t understand how He is going to do it.”

That is faith.  Notice that this radical faith is all that was required for him to be considered righteous.

Application:

You and I must display this same kind of faith.  You might not know how God is going to change you and your circumstances, but you mustn’t doubt that He will.  If He promised to do it, He’ll do it, regardless if you understand how He is going to do it.  We can have this kind miracle seeking faith because our Heavenly Father actually did sacrifice His one and only Son, Jesus, who DID come back to life to offer us new life today through faith!

10
Apr

Day 19 of Prayer & Fasting

Romans 2:3-4 (ESV)

3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

“No one is perfect”.  Have you ever heard someone say that?  If so, they have condemned themselves.  To admit that no one is perfect is to confess that they too do not measure up to a certain level of perfection that we all sense.  This is a very serious reality.

Today’s application is something that we SHOULDN’T do. Paul was encouraging the Christians in Rome NOT ignore this reality. One cannot be saved if they are quick to condemn someone yet ignorant of their own sins and offenses towards God. Second, Paul is telling people not to rely on God’s kindness and love. Just because God is kind, doesn’t mean that He will relent from punishing sin.

God’s kindness is not meant to be a safety net to catch you from Hell, allowing you to live how ever you choose. His kindness is meant to call us to repent and return to Him. The fact that God would desire to love us and restore non-perfect people that don’t deserve it should overwhelm us.

Application:

Don’t ignore sin, thinking that God will excuse your lifestyle choices if you are consciously rejected His ways or that He will give you a pass because of His great love.  That is not a repented heart that has placed their trust in Jesus.  Do the opposite.  Allow the love and kindness of God to continue to lead you to live MORE like Jesus so that you can lead more people to Jesus.

09
Apr

Outcast Week 4

Week 4

Text: Luke 17:11-19

Topic: Thankfulness, Blessing, Prosperity

Main Idea: The greatest blessing of following Christ is the relationship we get to have with God, rather than the gifts He gives us.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is one thing that stood out to you from this week’s message?
  2. What is one thing you are thankful for today?
  3. Why do you think the other healed men didn’t come back? Why is it significant that the one man who was thankful was also a Samaritan?
  4. Have you ever experienced God answering a prayer of yours or blessing you in some way that you knew it had to be God? What happened?
  5. When is it the hardest for you to be thankful? Is there anything in your life right now that is a hindrance to your genuine gratitude?
  6. Why is it tempting to believe our relationship with God is all about our prosperity?
09
Apr

Day 18 of Prayer & Fasting

Matthew 11:20-23 (ESV)

20 Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

Today is plain and simple.  Notice that everyone in these cities never repented because they first rejected what Jesus was doing and who He said He was.  This is the ONE sin that God cannot forgive.

Application:

Do you accept that there IS a God?  That’s a good start but that is not good enough.  To believe that God exists then must compel you to know this God and what He asks of us.  All Jesus asks of us is to believe He is the Son of God who rose from the grave after paying the price for our sins on the cross.  You cannot make it any simpler than that.

If you accept that there is a God, and that Jesus is God, you must do one thing.  Make Him Lord.  God cannot just be your God.  He MUST be your LORD.  Pray to Him and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal if you believe in God but live your life like if He doesn’t exist.  If so, surrender to the Lord and He will do a MIGHTIER work in you than Jesus was doing in these un-repented cities.

08
Apr

Day 17 of Prayer & Fasting

Luke 3:8 (ESV)

8 Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.

The true result of repentance should be evident in one’s life.  The fruits that display a life change are our words and deeds that we commit.  Faith should produce works that line up with our faith.  The Apostle James argued in his letter that faith without works is dead.  You cannot “DO” things and produce faith or earn it from God.  It either is or it isn’t.

Faith in God that He loves you, has forgiven you, and has filled you with the Holy Spirit is all that matters.  In this passage, Jesus is trying to get the Jews to see that being Jewish is not enough.  You were not born SAVED just because you can trace your lineage to Abraham.  It’s actually the opposite.  We are ALL born SINNERS.

You can’t get saved based on a resumé.  You need a referral from Jesus Himself.

Application:

Is a plant focused on producing fruits?  No.  It’s focus is reaching up towards the sunlight and reaching down towards a water source.  You can’t produce fruits if you don’t have good roots.  This 21 Days of prayer and fasting is designed to invite you to reach up to Jesus, the Light of the World, and down into the Water of the Word of God so that the Holy Spirit can produce the kind of spiritual fruits that only He can do.

Focus on your root and return to God and watch your Father prune the unnecessary so you can see the right kind of fruits in your life.

07
Apr

Day 16 of Prayer & Fasting

Proverbs 8:13(ESV)

13 The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.

Pride and arrogance and the way of evil

and perverted speech I hate.

FDR once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.  I believe that one thing every Christian SHOULD be fearful of being prideful.

The kind of pride that King Solomon is talking about here is not the kind when one is proud of achieving something great, or the pride that a parent shows towards their kids.  This kind of pride is a rebellious attitude that believes that an individual doesn’t need GOD and can follow his/her own way.

We must all be careful not to develop a prideful heart that is numb towards God because before you know it, you will follow a path that leads you away from life and towards destruction.

The fear God is different.  It’s an attitude that isn’t afraid of what God might do if I do something wrong, but rather it’s an attitude that is afraid of knowing a life without God because of all of the good that He has done in one’s life.  I personally cannot imagine life without my wife and kids.  The same goes with God.

To fear God also means to HATE sin.  It means that you are in agreement with what God call good and evil.  To fear God is to have a healthy understanding of sin and it’s destructive consequences.  Christians should hate sin because God hates sin.  And the reason He hates sin is because He loves people and sin hurts people.

Application:

You might have a disagreement with someone on what SIN is.  Many of these are cultural differences.  But if you feel a sense of conviction about doing something, you should avoid it.  Pray today and ask God to give you a heart for His own heart.  Ask the Holy Spirit to change your desires and hate sin so that you may walk in the love of God in a more intimate way.

06
Apr

Day 15 of Prayer & Fasting

2 Corinthians 7:9-10 (ESV)

9 As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.

10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

GODLY GRIEF.  It doesn’t sound like both words should be together, but they can.  In this passage, Paul is helping Christians on how to deal with regret.  Like you and I know, just because someone accepts Jesus as their Savior doesn’t mean that they will never sin again.  What it means is that they don’t have to be a slave to sin again.

But from time to time, even believers can have a moment of weakness or develop a blind side that keeps them from recognizing sin in their own lives.  I’m sure some of the Christians Paul is talking to, like many today, feel a sense of shame or regret when they sin.  How could they have done this act after Jesus has forgiven them?

Paul is trying to let them know that the there are two responses that we must take when faced with grief.  One response is influenced by the devil and this demonic world.  They will try and take your grief and add shame, to the point that they will try and get you to believe that you are no longer saved.  Their attempt is to get you to doubt God’s saving power in your life, thus pulling you even farther away from Him.

The second response is influenced by God.  You are feeling God’s own grief over your sin when you sin.  This feeling is not God pushing you away.  It’s actually His heart calling out to you and trying to pull you back to Him where He can restore you once again.  When you respond to God, there is no regret.  He removes all shame from your life.

Application:

As you’ve been examining your heart and life for sin, have you begun to feel grief over it?  If not, God cannot do much.  Your heart should break over anything in your life that does not reflect Jesus.  The desire to change needs to come from a deep and honest place.  When you get there, run to God and He will remove your regret and give you a grateful heart once again.

05
Apr

Day 14 of Prayer & Fasting

1 John 1:8-9 (ESV)

8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The purpose of fasting in the Old Testament was a way of repenting and asking God for forgiveness.  Since Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, the reason why we would fast is now different.

We don’t have to beg for forgiveness if we have accepted the forgiveness of our sins the day we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  Instead, the purpose of a fast should be to draw closer to God.  To do so, we must recognize the lingering affects of our OLD sinful selves.

The apostle John shares with us, through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, an amazing truth.  He is encouraging other believers in this letter that when we repent and return to God He will not only forgive us of the sins we know about but also of any unrighteousness we don’t know about!

Application:

Don’t settle for where you are, no matter how far you’ve come in your walk with Jesus.  Be honest about your faults.  Examine your ways and open your heart so that God can go above and beyond your expectations.