Blog

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.

04
Apr

Day 13 of Prayer & Fasting

Lamentations 3:39-41 (ESV)

39 Why should a living man complain,

a man, about the punishment of his sins?

40 Let us test and examine our ways,

and return to the Lord!

41 Let us lift up our hearts and hands

to God in heaven:

The verses for today outline a common theme that the prophets would declare to the exiled nation of Israel.  Their sin and rebellion produced a stubborn heart which eventually lead them to be enslaved by a foreign nation.  The same can happen to us.

It’s not likely that another nation’s army will invade your home because of your sin, but having a liberal approach to God’s way can lead us to a slavery of the mind, heart, and soul.

This is an example of one of Heaven’s paradoxes.  Sin says “Be free and surrender to YOUR own way”, but in the end you end up a slave.  God says, “Be holy and surrender to MY way” and as a result you will find liberty!

Application:

Ask the Holy Spirit today to reveal to you any areas of your lives that you have not surrendered to God.  If you return to God in this way God will lead you into a greater level of liberty while at the same time leading you away from being a slave to sin!

03
Apr

Day 12 of Prayer & Fasting

Psalm 51:1-4 (ESV)

51 Have mercy on me, O God,

according to your steadfast love;

according to your abundant mercy

blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,

and cleanse me from my sin!

3 For I know my transgressions,

and my sin is ever before me.

4 Against you, you only, have I sinned

and done what is evil in your sight,

so that you may be justified in your words

and blameless in your judgment.

This prayer from David is a great guide for us as we continue to surrender our lives to God over the remaining days of fasting and prayer.

This confession from King David came after a difficult moment in his life, where he made a big mistakes, and then tried to cover it up instead of owning up to it.  Usually when we do this we end of making things worse.  That’s exactly what David did.

He covered up an affair that he had with the wife of one of his best warriors.  He tried to cover it up by having the husband killed.  God used the prophet Nathan to tell David that He was very much aware of everything.  This prayer is David’s response to God revealing his sinful nature to himself.

Application:

SIN is to bog to cover up.  Any attempt that you will make to RIGHT any WRONGS through your own efforts will not fix it.  Only Jesus can forgive you and purify you in the way David was asking God to do.

Always remember that God’s faithful love is enough to right our wrongs.  But first you must give Jesus to right to do so by confessing of your wrongs.

02
Apr

Day 11 of Prayer & Fasting

Jeremiah 18:11 (ESV)

11 Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: ‘Thus says the Lord, Behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds.’

This verse could be hard for many people to deal with.  Why would God shape a disaster towards his people?

The answer….because He loves His people.  Yes, I said it.  LOVE is the motivation.

This message was directed towards a rebellious people.  Decisions have consequences, and because of God’s love, He will allow us to experience the weight of the consequences of our sins.

We all deserve the storm because of our sins.  What we don’t is a Savior from our sins.  Yet that is exactly what Jesus offers us.  We can amend our ways when we accept that Jesus is the Way that leads to eternal life.

02
Apr

Outcast Week 3

Week 3

Text: Luke 7:36-50

Topic: Service, Testimony

Main Idea: As this narrative illustrates, Jesus not only wants a relationship with the “outcasts,” but He wants to use them to change the world.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is one thing that stood out to you from this week’s message?
  2. What do you think this woman felt like when she showed up at this home full of religious leaders and Jesus’ disciples? What was at risk?
  3. What do you think of Jesus’ words in verse 47?
  4. What may be your “alabaster jar” that you can give to Jesus as a sign of devotion to Him? Have you already done so?
  5. Have you ever found yourself acting like the men in this story? Have you ever judged someone else’s extravagant worship? What is the remedy?