• facetime : Week 9

    Day 6 – Share

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    This week we have been wrestling with the tension between grace and truth. We have all experienced this tension as we live for Jesus. There are times when we need to confront someone with the truth—perhaps to keep them from danger. And there are times when we must extend grace—perhaps because the time isn’t conducive for a heavy conversation.

    How do we know when to confront? How do we know when to extend grace?

    We have already alluded to it, but many times, different situations require different approaches. Regardless of the situation though, love must dictate our approach and motivation. Love is the prerequisite. Let’s observe the following passage from 1 John 3.

    11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another … 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death … 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters (1 John 3:11, 14, 16).

    In this passage, John clearly commands us to love one another. He believes in it so strongly that he says it’s one of the evidences that we have passed from death to life! Wow. And then, just in case he hasn’t made it clear, he shows us what true love looks like by giving us the example of Jesus’ death on the cross.

    As disciples of Jesus we will all encounter situations that will require us to offer either grace or truth—and often both. Regardless of which one is needed, it must be done in love. In other words, love is the overarching theme that encompasses both. When we truly love someone like Christ loved them, we are much more likely to give them what they need. When we love people like Christ loved them, we care more about them than we do the relationship and are willing to do what’s in their best interest. Regardless of the situation, love must be the guiding force. Let’s reflect on a couple questions today.

    Questions and Reflection

    1. Do you need more love for others today? Ask God for help in this area.
    2. Is there a person who could use your help this week? Go out of your way to help them with no strings attached.
    3. Do you tend to lean more towards grace or truth? Why is that? Share this with someone close to you and see if they agree with your assessment.

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  • facetime : Week 9

    Day 5 – Pray

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    Over the past nine weeks we have looked at nine of the many facetime encounters Jesus had with people while He walked on this earth. By way of review, glance through the list below:

    Week One – Jesus explaining being ‘born again’ to Nicodemus the Pharisee
    Week Two – Jesus changing the life of a Samaritan woman at the well
    Week Three – Jesus extending healing to the son of a Gentile woman
    Week Four – Jesus calling Matthew the tax collector to follow Him
    Week Five – Jesus extending forgiveness to a sinful woman
    Week Six – Jesus offering healing to a man who had been an invalid for 38 years
    Week Seven – Jesus visiting Mary and Martha’s home
    Week Eight – Jesus challenging the priorities of the rich young ruler
    Week Nine – Jesus offering grace and truth to the adulterous woman

    In each of these facetime encounters, we have seen Jesus’ loving approach of grace and truth. If you’re honest with yourself, perhaps the “limitation” of not being in the physical presence of Jesus today has led you to think something like this: “Yea but that was then! We don’t have the opportunity to experience what these individuals experienced.” The truth is that we have an advantage over the individuals we have been studying the last nine weeks. In some cases, they had a onetime encounter with Jesus, and then it was over. Done.

    But when Jesus ascended into heaven after His resurrection, He sent the Holy Spirit—the Comforter, the Helper, the Spirit of Truth—to indwell those of us who are His disciples. So, as we wrestle with the tension of grace and truth, we have the unbelievable benefit of the Holy Spirit extending His grace and truth to us every minute of every day. In turn, we have the ability through the Holy Spirit to extend grace and truth in all of our relationships.

    A key way to apply grace and truth to your relationships is prayer. Pray before you approach the person. Pray while you are confronting the person. And pray concerning their response to you. That may seem simplistic, but in a profound way prayer absolutely redirects your heart and changes your perspective. If you genuinely want to embody both grace and truth in all of your relationships, the Holy Spirit will be faithful to help you as you seek Him. Throughout your day, pray and meditate on some of the following Scriptures to help direct your heart to both grace and truth.

    “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

    “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:6

    “Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” Psalm 25:5

    “Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” Psalm 86:11

    “O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart;” Psalm 15:1–2


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  • facetime : Week 9

    Day 4 – Act

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    As we communicated on Day 1, truth and grace are anchored in love; first, by understanding God’s love for us and then, second, by allowing God to demonstrate it through us. I John defines love for us. He tells us that God is love. That looks quite different than what is widely accepted in our current culture. Love is more than a feeling and it goes beyond all the conditions that we sometimes assign to it. To see how love is practically lived out and to give you a better understanding of how grace and truth in your daily relationships is rooted in love, take a moment to read through the following passage.

    If you want to know what Jesus meant by “loving one another,” watch how He loved. He called sin what it was—SIN—and then freely paid the price for ALL of it. Then He never condemned us for the payment that He made. He doesn’t stop loving us when we make the same mistake over and over again. Instead, He continues to love and forgive us in spite of our sinful nature.

    Take a look at 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter, and notice the astounding way the Apostle Paul describes authentic love.

    If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.

    4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
    8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

    13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

    I Corinthians 13

    In the first couple of verses, Paul lists three examples of what happens when you do something without love. In keeping with our theme for the week, you can summarize these examples with two simple statements:

    If I speak in truth without love, my words mean nothing.
    If I extend grace from an unloving heart, it means nothing.

    Paul says in 1 Corinthians 16:14, “Let all that you do be done in love.” And in Ephesians 4:15 he commands us to “speak the truth in love“.

    As we continue to drill down into practically living out truth and grace this week, consider doing the following:

    Step One: Throughout the week we have been challenging you to think of relationships where you can apply grace and truth. Pick one. We aren’t saying to ignore all the others, but ask the Holy Spirit who He wants you to begin focusing on.

    Step Two: Commit to pray for that relationship daily

    Step Three: Pick out a few of the following ways to apply truth and grace in that relationship:

    • Speak truthful words to build up, not to bring down.
    • Focus on their needs rather than your own.
    • Freely forgive.
    • Swallow your pride and say, “I’m sorry,” and “I was wrong.”
    • Identify a verse in I Corinthians 13 to apply to the relationship.
    • Don’t keep score of what is fair.

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  • facetime : Week 9

    Day 3 – Meditate

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    When the Apostle John introduces us to Jesus in his gospel, he describes a man who was full of grace and truth (John 1:14). For most of us, it’s incredibly difficult to wrap our minds around the idea that someone could simultaneously embody both ideals. Our reality and our experiences in life tend to point us to an “either/or” and not a “both/and” expression. Many errors in churches, culture, parenting, marriage, dating, and the like can be traced back to an over-emphasis or absence of either grace or truth.

    As we dive into today’s spiritual exercise it will be incumbent on you to examine your own beliefs and actions. Do you tend to be more of a grace person or a truth person? As we have already seen this week, Jesus was the master of both as He dealt with a variety of people in myriad circumstances. If we really desire to be like Jesus in all of life then we must wade into this difficult and often messy duality. If we begin to stray in either direction then we inevitably make the mistake of diluting and even missing Jesus completely. In order to help you self-diagnose your tendencies, examine the descriptions below.

    Overemphasis on Grace

    Grace is perhaps the best news for those of us who are in Christ. It means that God doesn’t count our sins against us, but rather has given us the righteousness of Jesus. Grace is beautiful. It draws us into forgiveness, invites us into relationship, believes the best and creates a soft place for us to land. Without grace we couldn’t possibly hope to understand the love and mercy of God. Grace reminds us that it’s okay to not be okay.

    If we stray into an overemphasis of grace absent truth, though, we actually diminish the totality of the gospel. Consider the words of Jude in his epistle, “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for the condemnation, ungodly people who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Jude’s warning reminds us that grace without truth can often become passive or implicit approval of sin. If we are not careful we actually begin to enable and tolerate sin—the same sin that cost Jesus his life and for which He came to save us. This idea of “cheap grace” is a significant error. It’s an error that Dietrich Bonheoffer denounced when he wrote, “Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

    Overemphasis on Truth

    If grace proclaims that it’s okay not to be okay, then truth reminds us that it’s not okay to stay there. Without truth we are lost. In a prayer on our behalf, Jesus once asked His Father to “sanctify them in truth…” Truth is black and white; right and wrong. Truth reminds us that we stand before a perfect, holy God with objective standards. When He issues commandments He is revealing to us something about His very character and nature and He is showing us our designed purpose for existence. The truth of God is an invitation to be like Jesus beckoning us to respond in surrendered obedience.

    Like anything else, truth can be mishandled. Jesus’ most severe critiques were directed at the Pharisees, who supposedly knew the Bible and knew God the best. Truth without grace inevitably leads to self-righteousness. It draws us into harsh legalism. Those around us may tend to feel judged and condemned because our hatred of sin draws us into hatred of sinners. The world of the self-righteous can be described as “us vs. them.” We become the person that decries the spec in everyone else’s eye, but unable to see the log in our own.

    Embracing Grace AND Truth

    As you reflect and meditate on what we have learned today, spend a few moments examining your own life. Do you need to grow in grace or truth? No doubt, we all have good reasons for seeing the world the way that we do. The way we do things makes perfect sense to us. Our challenge, though, is to embrace the messiness of the fullness of grace and truth. Without both, we are missing something essential. Take your cue from Jesus, who called our sin out for what it was, but then He paid for it.

    Grace and truth are both necessary. Neither is sufficient….We who are truth-oriented need to go out of our way to affirm grace. We who are grace-oriented need to go out of our way to affirm truth. –Randy Alcorn

    Questions and Reflection

    1. Are you more of a grace person or a truth person? (Hint: ask those closest to you to weigh in on this.)
    2. Take a few moments to contemplate grace and truth. What positive impact have both had in your life?
    3. Do you see any of the ‘errors’ of too much grace or too much truth demonstrated in your own life? If so, reflect on a few times when you saw that most clearly. Could doing things differently have impacted outcomes?

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  • facetime : Week 9

    Day 2 – Read

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    As we saw yesterday, the adulterous woman in John 8 was guilty. Period. Guilty of God-dishonoring sin. However, instead of allowing her to be stoned by the Pharisees, Jesus extended a ridiculous amount of grace. He did not condemn her. He did not embarrass her. And He did not stand in condescending judgment over her. We observe in this passage the gentle way in which Jesus interacted with the woman, applying both grace and truth. There are other instances, however, where Jesus’ application of truth and grace look very different. Let’s examine a few of the other interactions Jesus had with people.

    Luke 23:40-43 (scene of Jesus hanging between two thieves)

    40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
    42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
    43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

    In this story, we find Jesus being crucified along with two other men who are hanging on a cross. One of the thieves realized his guilt and then called out to Jesus. Instead of condemning the man for his sin, Jesus told him that they would soon enter heaven together.

    Take a moment to compare this story to the one of the adulterous woman in John 8. What are some of the similarities in these two stories?

    Now, let’s enter two more stories into the script. Observe how Jesus interacted with the money-changers in the temple and the Pharisees.

    John 2:13-21

    13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body.

    Luke 11:37-41

    37 When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. 38 But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal.
    39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

    In the above passages, Jesus’ tone is entirely different. When you stop and compare how Jesus interacted with ignorant unbelievers versus self-righteous religious leaders, you notice a vast difference in his tone.

    Questions and Reflection

    1. How would you describe the way Jesus interacted with the money-changers and Pharisees? What was it that caused Jesus to react so differently?
    2. How do these passages challenge you as you wrestle with the tension of applying grace and truth in your relationships?

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  • facetime : Week 9

    Day 1 – Rewind

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    Throughout this week we will continue to wrestle with the tension that was introduced this past weekend between grace and truth. Jesus perfectly demonstrated grace AND truth to the adulterous woman. He showed her grace when, according to the truth of the law, her sin deserved severe punishment. However, Jesus does not dismiss sin in the midst of grace.

    Let’s look again at the passage from the weekend as we get started in this week’s spiritual exercises.

    John 8:1-11

    1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

    Jesus never shied away from the truth, as He granted forgiveness (grace). He also instructed her to live in obedience (truth) from that point forward. That’s the beauty of grace and truth – we are worthy of the penalty of our sin, but Jesus swoops in and says, “I’ve already paid the price, now go and walk obediently in the freedom granted by grace.”

    On the weekend we were also introduced to how God demonstrated grace and truth and how we are to demonstrate it in the same way. In John 18:34 Jesus gives us a new commandment: “love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” Our ability to extend grace and truth is in direct proportion to our understanding of God’s love for us. When we fully understand His love, His grace, His mercy, and His truth, it changes everything in our ability to relate with others. Spend some time meditating on the words of the following song that we sang this past weekend and think through the questions below.

    Lover of the Guilty

    Lover of the guilty, Restorer of the filthy
    Oh, hear our cry, won’t You hear our cry
    Father of the orphan, Healer of the broken
    Oh, hear our cry, won’t You hear our cry

    With these hearts of stone
    Melt and make them as Your home

    Father, into Your hands we surrender
    With praise pouring out for the wonder that You are, Holy God
    Redeemer, You purchased our hearts for Your pleasure
    As we stand in Your grace, our desire’s for Your name to be praised

    You gave pardon to the guilty and garments to the filthy
    You heard our cry, God, You heard our cry
    You gave honor to the orphan and mending to the broken
    You heard our cry, God, You heard our cry

    Lord, our hearts You’ve changed
    Now we bless Your name

    We are falling at the feet of the Lord Most High
    You heard our cry

    Questions and Reflection

    1. After hearing the message on the weekend, what challenged your heart?
    2. Pastor Jimmy closed the weekend gathering by encouraging you to ask the Holy Spirit to help you ‘figure this out,’ speaking about the tension between truth and grace. Have you had a little time since yesterday to consider that question and talk to God about it? If so, how is He helping you?
    3. “Lover of the Guilty” displays the grace that God shows us despite the sins of which we are guilty. How might grasping God’s grace for you help you in extending grace to others?
    4. Today, spend a few moments thinking about your current relationships. Is the Holy Spirit leading you to extend grace to someone? Truth? Love? Begin walking in the steps of grace, truth, and love this week.

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  • facetime : Week 8

    Day 6 – Share

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    On Day 4 we examined Isaiah 6. We want to return there again today and focus on the missional impulse of an awe-inspiring encounter with God. In this passage, the prophet Isaiah came face-to-face with the righteousness of God. He was in awe of God. He also knew that, like all of humanity, he had sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. Notice his response in verse 5.

    “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

    But this is not the end of the story. God sends a seraph to cleanse him with a live coal from the altar.

    Can you imagine how relieved Isaiah must have been that day? Knowing he could die at any moment, God reached down and saved him. If you have ever had a near death experience, you know the relief and gratitude that comes with being saved or rescued from that particular situation. In this particular case, the way that Isaiah expressed his gratitude was by volunteering to the mission with God. He essentially told God, “Send Me!”

    When we realize all that God has done for us through Jesus, we should have a similar response—a response of gratitude toward God through participation in the mission of God. In other words, we show our gratefulness to God by sharing His love with others. We should be in awe of God’s love for us. Those of us who are in awe of God are the perfect candidates to share His message with others.

    We like Isaiah, should have a “send me” attitude. So, what exactly is the message we are sharing with others?

    2 Corinthians 5:18-19

    18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

    The message we share with others is that God does not count man’s sins against him anymore! Through Jesus we can be made right with God. It’s an incredible message that we get the opportunity to share. It’s the message of reconciliation. When we realize all that God has done for us, the natural response should be for us to go and tell the good news of God to others. In essence, we are God’s missionaries to the world. An encounter with God ALWAYS leads to missional action.

    Questions and Reflection

    • When was the last time you felt prompted to share Jesus or your story with someone else? Do you get this prompting often?
    • Where is God sending you? Take out your journal or a sheet of paper and make a list of all the potential people in your life who need to hear the good news that God does not count their sins against them—that they can actually become friends with God. In the next week, challenge yourself to begin “B.L.E.S.S.ing” one of those individuals. For more on B.L.E.S.S. go to http://www.takeajourney.org/bless
    • Ask God to give you an opportunity this week to share your story with the names of the people you wrote down.
    • What will happen if you don’t share your story with others?

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  • facetime : Week 8

    Day 5 – Pray

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    Yesterday we defined awe as a “longing.” We observed that, at our very core, humanity longs for God. Though we often fail to realize it, what we really want is God. He is what our hearts really long for because of who He is (i.e. Creator, Sustainer) and what He has done (i.e. given life, provided salvation, offered hope). Can you confidently say you long for the Lord?

    Again, Paul Tripp explains in his book, Awe, that “spiritual growth is about recapturing your awe.” In order to recapture our awe for God, we must be inspired by who God is. Look at the names that God calls Himself and mediate on who He says He is and the power He displays through these names.

    El Shaddai – Lord God Almighty
    El Elyon – The Most High God
    Adonai – Lord, Master
    Yahweh – Lord, Jehovah
    Jehovah Nissi – The Lord My Banner
    Jehovah Rohi – The Lord My Shepherd
    Jehovah Rapha – The Lord That Heals
    Jehovah Shammah – The Lord Is There
    Jehovah Tsidkenu – The Lord Our Righteousness
    Jehovah Mekoddishkem – The Lord Who Sanctifies You
    El Olam – The Everlasting God
    Elohim – God
    Qanna – Jealous
    Jehovah Jireh – The Lord Will Provide
    Jehovah Shalom – The Lord Is Peace
    Jehovah Sabaoth – The Lord of Hosts
    Abba – Father

    Pray

    Take some time to wrestle with who God says He is and pray through the names above. When you truly believe that God is who He says He is, you can’t help but have awe for Him.

    God, my Jehovah Jireh, my Lord that provides,
    Thank You for who You are and for who You say You are.
    Thank You for sending Your Son to die on the cross so I can have a relationship with You.
    Thank you for always providing for me even though I am so unworthy of You.
    You always know what I need before I do. And every gift you give always satisfies my needs.
    Everything that is good is provided by You. Nothing I have comes from me.
    Forgive my pride that believes I am good apart from You.
    Help me trust your provision, Lord.
    Thank You for being Jehovah Jireh.
    Amen.

    My Jehovah Rohi, my Shepherd,
    You are the good shepherd that cares for and knows all of His sheep by name.
    You continuously protect and pursue Your sheep.
    Forgive me God, I always seem to wander and stray from You.
    But You care.
    Thank You for caring for me, the lone lost sheep.
    Thank You for not letting me wander aimlessly and always bringing me back to You.
    God, “You are my good shepherd, and I shall not want.”
    Help me not want.
    I need You to guide me because I am lost without You.
    Help me hear Your voice, for You are my Shepherd and I will listen.
    Amen.

    Jehovah Shammah, my God who is THERE,
    You have promised that You will be with me all of my days.
    You say You are with me everywhere I go.
    God, You are here and I praise You for that.
    Forgive me, for I don’t live a life that truly believes that You are always here.
    Help me become more aware of Your presence.
    Let me become sensitive to your Spirit and His guidance.
    God, I need You to be there.
    God, I know you are there
    Amen.

    Abba, my Father that is in Heaven,
    My earthly father is nothing like You.
    While he may fail me, God You never will.
    Fix my view of You as my Heavenly Father, because You are perfect in all your ways.
    Thank You for calling me Your child and making me an heir of Christ.
    Thank You for loving me and always protecting me.
    Abba I love You and I love being Your child.
    Amen.


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  • facetime : Week 8

    Day 4 – Act

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    Yesterday we examined the idols residing in our hearts, asking God to reveal to us both the ‘surface’ and the ‘source’ idols that capture our allegiance. If you missed yesterday, you should pause here and go back and read and reflect on yesterday’s spiritual exercise.

    A key principle we learn from the story of the rich young ruler is this: Your level of Awe determines your level of Adoration. In other words, whatever captures your heart’s “Wow Radar” will ultimately become the central aim of your worship.

    In his book, Awe, Paul Tripp defines awe as a “longing.” As idol-making factories, our hearts long for satisfaction that no earthly object, person, place, or idea can ever supply. This is why C. S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” When we dig down to the root of every human desire, we find a longing for God. We find that awe for God is what every human being truly desires.

    In Isaiah chapter six, we observe the above principle illustrated clearly. While receiving a heaven-shaking, mind-blowing encounter with God Almighty, Isaiah came face-to-face with both the holiness of God and the sinfulness of his own heart. In that moment, Isaiah was forever changed. God had captured his awe. Notice Isaiah’s response to this rapturous vision of God. Eugene Peterson paraphrases it brilliantly in The Message:

    “Doom! It’s Doomsday!
    I’m as good as dead!
    Every word I’ve ever spoken is tainted—
    blasphemous even!
    And the people I live with talk the same way,
    using words that corrupt and desecrate.
    And here I’ve looked God in the face!
    The King! God-of-the-Angel-Armies!”
    Then one of the angel-seraphs flew to me. He held a live coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. He touched my mouth with the coal and said,
    “Look. This coal has touched your lips.
    Gone your guilt,
    your sins wiped out.”
    And then I heard the voice of the Master:
    “Whom shall I send?
    Who will go for us?”
    I spoke up,
    “I’ll go.
    Send me!” (Isaiah 6:5–8)

    In our spiritual exercise today, we want to pattern ourselves after Isaiah’s response to the awe-inciting power and presence of God. What were Isaiah’s action steps after encountering God-of-the-Angel-Armies?

    1. He realized his idolatry and rebellion
    Now what about you? Have you pinpointed the idols that have usurped the authority and reign of God in your heart? Take out a sheet of paper or a journal and make a list of every surface and source idol that has occupied unauthorized real estate in your heart.

    2. He repented of his idolatry and rebellion
    Now what about you? Take a few moments to confess your sin. Whatever idols have been capturing your heart’s affections, confess them now. Is there anyone to whom you need to ask forgiveness? Sit down and write a hand-written letter to the person, asking forgiveness. Also, take some time to pray for our country, asking God to forgive us of our collective rebellion against Him and begging Him to bring revival to our land. Isaiah understood he had a responsibility to represent and repent on behalf of his nation.

    3. He reclaimed his role as a missionary
    Now what about you? What is God asking of you now that He has recaptured your awe and affection? We will unpack this critical step more on Day 6, but for now simply know this: An encounter with the Living God ALWAYS leads to missional action. It just does. So, where is God sending you?


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  • facetime : Week 8

    Day 3 – Meditate

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    Ponder this statement for a moment: We were created for worship. It is not a matter of ‘if’ we will worship, but rather ‘who’ or ‘what’ we worship. On Sunday, Pastor Jimmy remarked, “adoration leads to allegiance.” In other words, whatever has your heart has your life. As we have already been discovering this week, the case study for this principle is the story of the ‘Rich Young Ruler’ in Luke 18. His possessions had captured the affection of his heart and so there was no room to pledge his allegiance to Jesus. What a foolish decision! Before we cast judgment too quickly, however, we need to examine our own hearts and see if we actually have more in common with him then we realize.

    John Calvin once noted that the human heart is “a perpetual factory of idols.” By their very nature, idols capture our hearts and then they become our lords. Idolatry is perhaps the most insidious of sin issues, because, as we learned in yesterday’s spiritual exercise, it’s often so hard for us to see. Idolatry is not just dangerous, though, it’s also ridiculous. Look at the words of Jeremiah as he explains the foolishness of idols to God’s people.

    Jeremiah 10:3-7

    “For the customs of the peoples are vanity. A tree from the forest is cut down and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move. Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good.” There is none like you, O Lord; you are great, and your name is great in might. Who would not fear you, O King of the nations? For this is your due; for among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you.”

    It may seem ridiculous to many of us that people would worship a statue, but idols come in all shapes and forms. In the New Testament, the concept of idols shifts focus from wooden statues to the condition of hearts. Writers like Paul begin to use the word ‘epithumiai’ which means ‘inordinate desires.’ Said differently, idols form when, in our hearts, we disproportionately desire things more than we desire God. Money, for example, is neither inherently good nor evil, but Paul warns his young apprentice, Timothy, saying, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” Idols, no matter what shape or form they take, always draw our hearts away from God and ultimately they will always let us down.

    The reality is that we will never follow Jesus in all of life until He has our whole hearts. In order to give Jesus our whole hearts we must identify and uproot the idols that have our allegiance. The goal today is to help you discover the idols in your own heart and then we can begin the hard work of removing them. Take a look at the list below adapted by Tim Keller in his book “Counterfeit Gods.”

    Surface Idols

    The more observable of the two types of idolatry, surface idols are often easily seen offshoots of deeper, less obvious sins.

    “Life only has meaning, I only have worth if…

    …people are dependent on me and need me.” (Helping Idolatry)

    …someone is there to protect me and keep me safe.” (Dependence Idolatry)

    …I am completely free from obligations or responsibilities to take care of someone.” (Independence Idolatry)

    …I am highly productive and getting a lot done.” (Work Idolatry)

    …I am being recognized for my accomplishments, and I am excelling in my work.” (Achievement Idolatry)

    …I have a certain level of wealth, financial freedom, and very nice possessions.” (Materialism Idolatry)

    …I am adhering to my religion’s moral codes and accomplished in its activities.” (Religion Idolatry)

    …this one person is in my life and happy to be there, and/or happy with me.” (Individual Person Idolatry)

    …I feel I am totally independent of organized religion and am living by a self-made morality.” (Irreligion Idolatry)

    …my race and culture is ascendant and recognized as Superior.” (Racial/Cultural Idolatry)

    …a particular social grouping or professional grouping or other group lets me in.” (Inner Ring Idolatry)

    …my children and/or my parents are happy and happy with me.” (Family Idolatry)

    …Mr. or Ms. ‘Right’ is in love with me.” (Relationship Idolatry)

    …I am hurting, in a problem; only then do I feel worthy of love or able to deal with guilt.” (Suffering Idolatry)

    …my political or social cause is making progress and ascending in influence or power.” (Ideology Idolatry)

    …I have a particular kind of look or body image.” (Image Idolatry)

    Source Idols

    The more subversive idols are the ones that drive all the other types of idolatries in our lives.

    Comfort Idolatry– Privacy, lack of stress, freedom.

    • Price you will pay: Reduced productivity
    • Greatest nightmare: Stress and demands
    • People around you often feel: Neglected
    • Problem emotion: Boredom

    Power Idolatry– Success, winning, influence.

    • Price you will pay: Burdon
    • Greatest nightmare: Humiliation
    • People around you often feel: Used
    • Problem emotion: Anger

    Approval Idolatry– Affirmation, love, relationships

    • Price you will pay: Loss of independence
    • Greatest nightmare: Rejection
    • People around you often feel: Smothered
    • Problem emotion: Cowardice

    Control Idolatry– Self-discipline, certainty, standards

    • Price you will pay: Loneliness; spontaneity
    • Greatest nightmare: Uncertainty
    • People around you often feel: Condemned
    • Problem emotion: Worry

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  • facetime : Week 8

    Day 2 – Read

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    In Luke 18, we see that the rich young ruler had obeyed all of the commandments, and yet he was stunningly unaware of the idols residing in his heart. Jesus plainly revealed his idols and told him to leave them behind. The ruler, blind to the idols, didn’t realize that he would have to give them up in order to follow Jesus. Jesus wanted him to be fully committed to following Him, but the idols of wealth and good deeds were hindering him.

    The same blindness often plagues us today. Apart from the enlightening power of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, we wander in blindness, unaware of the idols in our lives that obstruct our relationship with Jesus.

    In our spiritual exercise today, let’s dive back into the interaction Jesus had with the rich young ruler. Read the account slowly and purposefully, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal fresh truth to you.

    Luke 18:18-30

    18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

    19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'”

    21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.

    22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

    23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

    26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”

    27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

    28 Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”

    29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”

    Questions & Reflections

    • Why did Jesus ask the man to sell everything He had in order to follow Him?
    • Why do you think the rich young ruler was blind to the idols in his heart? Are there any idols that you might be blind to in your own life?
    • How do potential idols, such as money, get in the way of our relationship with God?
    • How is Jesus speaking to you through His encounter with the rich young ruler?

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  • facetime : Week 8

    Day 1 – Rewind

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    Luke 18:18-25

    Yesterday in our facetime series, we found Jesus in the company of a ‘rich young ruler’ inquisitively asking, “What can I do to inherit eternal life?” In this brief encounter, Jesus helped the young man consider some very important matters of the heart—matters that would give him the promise of eternal life. Sadly, the young ruler didn’t get it. He believed following the commandments would grant him access to eternal life. Jesus, however, knew how to get to the heart of the issue, challenging the very thing he had been holding onto for security—financial success. So Jesus asked him to “sell all that he had” and give it to the poor. This young man, heart swollen with pride, was holding on to what he deemed his “rightful ownership.” After all, he worked for it. He followed the rules. He was a good man.

    By commanding the young man to sell all he had, Jesus was exposing the idols of wealth and good deeds that had captured his affection. Wealth and good deeds had become preeminent in his life—more important even than his adoration and love for the One who had created and given him everything.

    Pastor Jimmy, shared yesterday, “Your level of awe, determines your level of adoration for the Lord.” You follow what you worship and your worship of God is simply “your response to His revelation.”

    The rich young ruler lacked understanding of who Jesus was and what He was doing in the hearts of those who followed him. He rested in his own doing: keeping the commandments and holding on to what he had acquired.

    Jimmy also shared, “God wants your heart because He understands that when you bow your heart, you will bend the knee.”

    Are you in AWE of the One and Only, Jesus? Does He have your heart?

    Is your adoration of HIM allowing you to worship Him and follow Him fully and freely?

    OR is it hindered by your grip on something or someone you believe is more important?

    Mark 12:30 – “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

    STOP, LOOK and LISTEN to the words of the song Here’s My Heart, which we sang yesterday. Reflect on your level of AWE and ADORATION for the One you call, LORD…

    Here’s My Heart

    Here’s my heart Lord
    Here’s my heart Lord
    Here’s my heart Lord
    Speak what is true

    Cause I am found, I am Yours
    I am loved, I’m made pure
    I have life, I can breathe
    I am healed, I am free

    Cause You are strong, You are sure
    You are life, You endure
    You are good, always true
    You are light breaking through

    You are more than enough
    You are here, You are love
    You are hope, You are grace
    You’re all I have, You’re everything

    Here’s my heart Lord
    Here’s my heart Lord
    Here’s my heart Lord
    Speak what is true

    Here’s my life Lord
    Here’s my life Lord
    Here’s my life Lord
    Speak what is true


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  • facetime : Week 7

    Day 6 – Share

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    This week our concentration has been on developing an intimate relationship with Jesus. For some of you, this may be your first time really seeking God, while others may be growing deeply in love with Jesus. At Journey, we want to be disciples who make disciples. But let’s be really clear, the goal is to be close to Jesus. It’s out of an intimate relationship with Jesus that disciple-making disciples are formed and multiplied. Jesus always leads in the direction of relationship with Him and then relationship with others. Remember the two greatest commandments? Jesus reminds us in Matthew 22:37,

    “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and Prophets.”

    Jesus shows us here that it all starts with a relationship with Him, THEN we start to love others (neighbors) the way He desires. Attempting to live like Jesus before getting to know Jesus is to go about it backwards. Yet, this is common practice. So today, let’s go through some of the questions below and ask God to speak to us about our relationship with him.

    Questions and Response

    Why do we all fall into the trap of doing stuff for Jesus without spending time with Jesus? Am I currently more concerned about doing stuff for Jesus rather than spending time with Him?

    If spending time with Jesus is something you struggle with, pick a regular time and place and let someone in your MC or a friend know of your commitment. Spend time with Jesus in that particular time and place of your choice for a couple weeks. Has a regular time and place helped you? Share with your MC or accountability partner.


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  • facetime : Week 7

    Day 5 – Pray

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    Intimacy is defined as close familiarity or friendship; closeness. Could you imagine how hard it would be to pursue and develop an intimate friendship/relationship with someone without communicating? That would be virtually impossible! Yet, that is often what we attempt to do with Jesus. We desire a relationship with Him and we want it to be rich and meaningful and we want it to make a difference in our life void of communicating with Him. Prayer is simply communication with your Heavenly Father. It is demonstrating that you don’t have all the answers (you’re not God) and that you are dependent upon this relationship.

    As we have already seen this week, Jesus prioritized His relationship with His Father, so much so, that His disciples saw how intimate his prayers were and asked Jesus, “Will you help us to pray like that?” To answer their question, Jesus gave them (and us) the Lord’s Prayer. The prayer wasn’t necessarily given by Jesus to be recited but rather as a guide or pattern to use when we pray. Our challenge today is first to take some time and read Jesus’ words about prayer. Then use the Lord’s Prayer to help guide your own words as you communicate with your Heavenly Father.

    Jesus’ words about praying: “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:5-8

    Jesus’ pattern of prayer: “Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Matthew 6:9-13

    Now you try it in your own words:

    • Praise – Tell God how you feel about Him, praise Him: (i.e. God, You are my Heavenly Father and you are perfect, good, loving and you know everything…)
    • Repent – Be totally honest and ask God to forgive you for where you have fallen short and ask Him for help to keep you away from sin: (i.e. God, please forgive me for _____________ … and please keep me away from sin and give me power over sin)
    • Ask – Ask God for what is on your heart (i.e. God, You know what is bothering me right now and You know what I need, will You please help me with ___________…)
    • Yield – Submit to God’s will for your life. (i.e. Father, You know what You’re doing as far as ___________ and I submit to that, help me see from Your perspective, whatever You want is good with me…)

    Jesus’ desire for you and I is that we live in the realization of the intimacy that He had with God the Father. How exciting is that?! Enjoy His presence today as you pursue intimacy with Him.


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  • facetime : Week 7

    Day 4 – Act

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    This week we have been focusing on pursuing intimacy with the Lord, just as Mary Magdalene spent intimate moments with Jesus sitting at His feet. There is another example of someone pursuing intimacy with God, but we find him all the way back in the beginning of the Bible. You will recognize his name immediately. It is none other than Moses. The Bible tells us that Moses would regularly meet with the Lord in the tent of meeting. Check out this passage in Exodus 33.

    Exodus 33:7-11
    7 Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. 8 And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. 9 As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. 10 Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. 11 The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.

    From this passage, we see how Moses had a consistent place where he would go to meet with the Lord. When you are seeking intimacy with the Lord it can be beneficial to find a consistent time and place to meet with Him. Unlike Moses, we don’t have to pitch a tent to meet with the Lord. We have access to God and can talk to Him anytime and anywhere because of Jesus (Hebrews 4:14-16). Take some time to think about where you could go consistently to spend time with the Lord.

    Practical Steps to Intimacy

    Often, people are confused about what to do when they spend time with the Lord. Here are a few practical steps.

    1. Choose a book of the Bible you want to study.
    2. Decide how much time you will give to God on a daily basis one-on-one. If you are new to all of this, we recommend starting with one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) and spending around 10-30 minutes with God each day. Focus on being consistent rather than the length of time you spend.
    3. When reading through the passage, look for key words and phrases and jot those down.
    4. Ask questions about your key words and phrases: who, what, when, where, why, and how. Here are some example questions that will help you interact with the passage:
    5. What is the author trying to say?
    6. Who is the intended audience?
    7. Who is speaking in the passage?
    8. What does this word or phrase mean?
    9. Why is this word or phrase important?
    10. What is commanded? Instructed? Warned? Etc.

    Ultimately, there is no secret formula to having intimacy with the Lord. But spending time with the Lord in the Bible and in prayer are great ways to develop intimacy with Him. The goal is not a Bible-reading checklist, rather these steps are here to help you understand more of God’s Word and develop intimacy with Jesus.

    Challenge

    There are many different factors that can impact your time with the Lord, it is important to find what works for you. Below are some tips to guide you in your journey of reading the Bible with consistency.

    • Get a Bible reading plan (YouVersion provides many different plans to guide you in reading the Bible)
    • Use Worship Music
    • Use a Prayer Journal
    • Select a time that’s best for you during the day (i.e. Morning, night, etc.)
    • Select a place you can go consistently to spend time with the Lord (try to remove yourself from distractions)
    • Highlight or underline key words and phrases in your Bible (take notes)

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  • facetime : Week 7

    Day 3 – Meditate

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    As we have already learned in the story this week, Jesus had facetime encounters with two women: Mary and Martha–two sisters that chose two very different “portions.” Martha chose work, while Mary chose worship.

    At this time in Jesus’ ministry, the seventy-two had just joined Him and He was gaining popularity. It’s possible that Martha could have had up to a hundred of Jesus’ followers in her home.

    Can you imagine having a hundred people show up to your house? Wouldn’t you be worried about how you’d feed this many people or how your house looked to your guests? Perhaps Martha’s behavior was not as farfetched as we might think.

    But when Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet instead of helping Martha with the basic hospitality needs around the house, Martha grew anxious and frustrated. She didn’t serve from a heart of worship. Instead, she placed work over worship.

    In Luke 10:41-42, Jesus responded to Martha saying, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

    Verse 39 says “And she (Martha) had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.” Sitting at the feet of Jesus was a normal position for Mary to take. In the New Testament Mary is mentioned three times, and every time she was at the same place – the feet of Jesus.

    That is what Jesus is looking for! He is looking for people who want to know Him. He is looking for true worshippers. One of Jesus’ greatest desires is to look down and see us sitting at His feet.

    What about you?
    Here is a list of things that typically distract you from intimacy with God:

    Time – “too busy”
    Pride – “I don’t need Him”
    Blessings – “God must be pleased…look at my life”
    Fear – “He may ask me to do something that will not make me happy”
    Uncertainty – “I don’t know how to have intimacy with God,” “I don’t know where to begin”

    Sometimes we let lies we tell ourselves get in the way of our intimacy, and other times we let the mundane tasks become more important than our time with Jesus.

    Questions and Reflection

    What distractions or excuses sidetrack you from having intimacy with God? Make a list of the areas in your life competing for time with Jesus.

    When reflecting on Luke 10:38-42, who do you currently identify with most – Mary or Martha? Are you at a place where Jesus can say, “_________ has chosen the good portion”?


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  • facetime : Week 7

    Day 2 – Read

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    Life is full of choices. We all know this to be true. We also know that some choices we make are more important than others, and thus we must learn to prioritize. If you want to know someone’s priorities all you have to do is observe the choices they make.

    That’s what Jesus did the day he went to Mary and Martha’s house. He watched two women, both with a desire for Him, make very different decisions in light of their priorities. Martha chose to work for Jesus, but Mary chose intimacy with Jesus. When Jesus addresses the women, he doesn’t speak of the merit of the decisions, condoning one as good and condemning the other as bad. He remarks, instead, on the greater value in Mary’s decision. She made a better choice based on a higher priority.

    “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” –Steven Covey

    The story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10 captures the necessity of priorities in the life of a disciple. In today’s spiritual exercise we will build on this principle by looking at the life of Jesus through the eyes of His disciples. Over the course of three years, the disciples got a front row seat to watch Jesus. They listened to what He said, and they saw how He lived His life. There is perhaps no better authority on the priorities of Jesus than the observations of His disciples. Take a few minutes to meditate on the following verses.

    What they heard Him say:

    “So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise”
    John 5:19

    “I have not spoken on My own, but the Father who sent Me has commanded Me what to say and how to say it.”
    John 12:49

    “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I say to you, I do not speak on My own. Instead, it is the Father dwelling in Me, carrying out His work.”
    John 14:10

    How they saw Him live:

    “But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.”
    Luke 5:16

    “In these days, he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.”
    Luke 6:12

    “Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up and slipped out to a solitary place to pray.”
    Mark 1:35

    For Jesus, doing flowed from being. His relational intimacy with the Father informed and inspired his work for the Father. As disciples, we are no different. Our pursuit of Jesus should inform our priorities and order our decisions. In other words, we do the same things Jesus did for the same reasons that Jesus did them.

    Questions and Reflection

    1. What do your daily choices say about the priority of relational intimacy with Jesus in your life?
    2. What practices, habits, and disciplines have you cultivated to spend time with Jesus?
    3. What adjustments do you need to make as a result of what you have learned?
    4. Read John 15:1-11.

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  • facetime : Week 7

    Day 1 – Rewind

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    Scripture

    In Luke 10:38–42, Scripture provides a unique contrast between two sisters and their individual responses to the presence of Jesus in their home. As Martha “was distracted with much serving” (v. 40), her sister Mary did the one thing most necessary—she sat at Jesus’ feet and listened. Mary understood that intimacy with Jesus was the single most important endeavor in which she could engage—the one and only pursuit that could fill the spiritual void in her soul.

    Pastor Jimmy stated yesterday, “If you were to ask Jesus today, ‘What is the single most important thing I can do with my life on a daily basis?’ He would tell you in two words, ‘SIT DOWN!'” Jesus modeled intimacy with the Father unlike anyone else in history. Not only did He model it, He also offered the invitation to His disciples to enter the journey of intimacy with God—the journey of a lifetime.

    Jesus said in Matthew 11:28–30,
    “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

    The same invitation extends to you. Jesus wants you to learn from Him. He wants you to sit at His feet and “recover your life.” But you can’t learn when you’re too busy serving, when you’re too busy striving, when you’re too busy with the concerns and cares of life. He wants to teach you the “unforced rhythms of grace.” When you capture a taste of the sweetness of Jesus, you will begin to crave intimacy with Him like water in an arid place. Once you’ve tasted Him, nothing else will equally satisfy.

    As you begin the week sitting at Jesus’ feet, use the words of “Depths” as a prayer to express your heart to Him. Imagine Jesus is sitting in the chair beside you. Perhaps you want to kneel physically on the floor and express your heart to him.

    Depths

    In Your presence I quiet my soul
    And I hear Your voice
    In my spirit I hear the sound
    Of salvation’s song
    Jesus, Jesus

    I will wait in Your word, oh Lord
    There Your spirit speaks
    Bringing life to the weary soul
    To the depths of me
    Jesus, Jesus

    I love You with all my heart
    I love You with all my soul, Lord
    I love You with all my strength
    With all that is within me

    I’ll sing cause You saved my soul
    I’ll sing of Your love forever
    I’ll worship with all my heart
    With all that is within me
    Jesus, Jesus

    Reflection

    • Practically speaking, since Jesus is not physically present with you, how do you learn from Him? How can you practically walk with Him and watch how He does it?
    • After spending some time sitting at Jesus’ feet, is there anything specific He is telling you? What will be your next step of obedience and follow-through?

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  • facetime: Week 6

    Day 6 – Share

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    For the past several days we have focused on one simple word: hope. The paradoxical reality of hope is that it is often most needed when it is hardest to find. Like the invalid man, many of us find ourselves in circumstances that just don’t make sense. It may seem that we have no direction and that there is no end in sight. The truth is, however, that Christians should have more hope than anyone, and we should offer hope to everyone. So, at the close of another week of spiritual exercises, we are going to build out our theology of hope and discover how our hope may just impact those around us.

    Imagine for a moment that you are a disciple of Jesus in the 1st century. Christianity is often illegal, oppressed, or at the very least unpopular. Trials and difficulties are not just a possibility, they are expected.

    Amazingly though, where many of us see obstacles, those early followers saw opportunity. Notice what Peter wrote to the Christians by way of instruction and encouragement.

    “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

    In other words, Peter understood that the way the disciples lived in light of their hope would influence all of life, including the difficulties. Their hope in Jesus would mark a type of life and lifestyle that demanded explanation. Outsiders would have questions about the unrelenting hope the disciples possessed despite their circumstances, compelling Peter to say, “always be ready to point them to the hope we have in Jesus.”

    “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials” ( I Peter 1:3-5).

    What if we allowed our hope in Jesus to infiltrate every area of our lives? And what if that same hope informed how we handled the issues of life—including difficulties, struggles and trials? A hope like that has the power to capture the attention of the hopeless people around us, to make a lasting impression, and to prompt opportunities for us to share Jesus. But let’s take it one step further. What if we didn’t wait for others to notice and ask questions? What would it look like for us to initiate relationships and conversations? After all, we have Jesus, the only hope for a hopeless world.

    QUESTIONS AND REFLECTION

    • How does your hope in Jesus impact your testimony to others?
    • Could someone in your spheres of influence use some of the hope you have? Who?
    • Take some time to pray for the person/people you identified. Pray for God to open opportunities for you to share your hope with them.
    • Share with those close to you, or those in your MC, what you learned this week and what you plan to do about it.
  • facetime: Week 6

    Day 5 – Pray

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    Throughout the Gospels, Jesus gave hope to everyone He encountered. Now, here’s an interesting truth about hope: hope almost always starts out with something you cannot see, touch, or feel. For example, you might be praying for Jesus to give you a better marriage. It’s not something you can touch, see, or feel, but rather the intended destination for which you are praying. Many of the things God wants us to seek are intangible. In understanding this, we can see that hope and faith are intimately connected.

    Hebrews 11:1 says,

    “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

    By definition faith is confidence, hope, and assurance about what we do not see. Maybe you are currently facing a situation in which you have no idea how or what to pray. The good news for us is that the Holy Spirit will pray and talk with God on our behalf when we pray. The Apostle Paul reminds us:

    “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26).

    So today, go to God in prayer, regardless of your situation. Even if you don’t know exactly how or what to pray, look to Jesus to intercede on your behalf.  Consider using the points below to guide you as you pray.

    • Be totally open and honest with Jesus about where your heart is with Him
    • If you are holding onto a sin, confess it and ask Jesus to cleanse you
    • Ask Jesus to help you seek Him first and seek His perspective on your situation
    • Be quiet and listen for His voice
    • Ask Him for courage to respond to what He is saying

    Prayer

    God, I want to thank You for sending Jesus to die for my sins and for the Holy Spirit that now lives inside of me. I pray that You would show me what to pray and how to come to You regularly. You know my desires, but most importantly, You know what I need. Help me to realize that in spite of my failures, the Holy Spirit intercedes for me and I can trust Him.

  • facetime: Week 6

    Day 4 – Act

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    Jesus’ command to the invalid in John 5 was intended to determine his ultimate source of hope. It was a command that required a response of both the will and the heart. In his hopelessness, he turned to Jesus, for no other source of hope could provide the healing he so desperately needed. “Get up, take up your bed, and walk,” Jesus said. In that moment, the Scripture says he was healed. He did exactly what Jesus told him to do. He stood up, picked up his bed, and walked. No longer was he an invalid. No longer was he confined to the dusty limestone floor of the courtyard.

    This week you are challenged with identifying the source of your hope, security, and allegiance. Maybe you are in a place of genuine hopelessness and brokenness. Perhaps you have made a series of bad decisions. Or maybe you are the victim of bad decisions. Regardless, hopeless circumstances have a way of exposing the source and root of our hope and security. And your response to your circumstances, consequently, reveals your idols.

    In Saturate: Field Guide, Jeff Vanderstelt offers a list of common idols we wrestle with. Read through the list below and write down the ones you personally wrestle with.

     

    Approval – I need to please God/others/myself.

    Control – I need to run this. No one else can do this.

    Insecurity – I don’t want people to know ________. I’m not good enough for ________.

    Reputation – I need to be important/good in others’ eyes.

    Success – I need to win/be the best/accomplish ________.

    Logic – This makes sense. It’s what culture says is ‘right.’

    Security – I value my safety. This makes me comfortable.

    Pleasure – This feels good/makes me happy. I like _________.

    Knowledge – I need to learn more/see every detail/think well about _________.

    Superiority – I have to show you I’m the best/know the most.

    Recognition – You need to know how good I am.

    Entitlement – I deserve this. I’ve earned this.

    Busyness – I need my schedule to be full/to be needed.

    Consumerism – I want _________/take but don’t give/want what works for me.

    Aloofness – I’ll stay removed/won’t commit/won’t open up/won’t submit.

    Selfishness – I do what I want, when I want. I am #1.

    Independence – I’ll do it myself. I don’t need you. Don’t tell me what to do.

    Today we want to move to a place of action. We want to ask the question, “What is my ‘take up your bed and walk’ challenge?” In your journal or on a sheet of paper, write down a specific action step related to each of the idols you wrote down. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what action step is required.

    For example, if you struggle with security and consumerism, your action step might be to increase your tithe or begin over-tipping at restaurants (at least 30%) even if the service is terrible. If you struggle with busyness, your action step might be to turn off your phone for the entire weekend and engage with your family. If you struggle with superiority, you may need to delete your Instagram or Facebook account until you can come off the comparison roller coaster.

    Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal your idols and false hopes. Be specific with your action steps. Begin implementing your action steps immediately.

  • facetime: Week 6

    Day 3 – Meditate

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    The miraculous healing of the invalid man begs the question, ‘Why didn’t He heal all the other blind, lame, and paralyzed people?’ In addition, ‘I see that Jesus did it for that man, but what about me?’ We know that Jesus can heal us or change our situation but, for whatever reason, we have yet to experience change. Why? We often chase after answers to that question without chasing after Jesus Himself. We want the miracle, the healing, and the hope without getting perspective from Jesus.

    It’s easy in the midst of trials, suffering, and temptation to forget that God is up to something.  Many times, if we aren’t careful, our focus shifts and we place our hope in what Jesus can do for us rather than what He wants to do in and through us.

    Don’t miss out on what Jesus wants you to know through the struggles of life. If our hope remains in Jesus then we can be content through the storm because we realize that He has a purpose in it, that He is working through it, and that He has invited us to respond.

    When you ask things from Jesus, do you focus on the result of your request or do you focus on your relationship with Him?

     Below are some selected verses from Psalm 33. Today, find a quiet place and allow yourself to dwell on the words of the psalm seeking to gain perspective on the character of God and His desire to bring you hope. He has a plan and He knows exactly where you are.

     Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous!

        Praise befits the upright.

    Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre;

        make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!

    Sing to him a new song;

        play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

    For the word of the Lord is upright,

        and all his work is done in faithfulness. 

    He loves righteousness and justice;

        the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

    By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,

        and by the breath of his mouth all their host.

    He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap;

        he puts the deeps in storehouses. 

    Let all the earth fear the Lord;

        let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!

    For he spoke, and it came to be;

        he commanded, and it stood firm.

     

    The Lord looks down from heaven;

        he sees all the children of man;

    from where he sits enthroned he looks out

        on all the inhabitants of the earth, 

    he who fashions the hearts of them all

        and observes all their deeds.

    The king is not saved by his great army;

        a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. 

    The war horse is a false hope for salvation,

        and by its great might it cannot rescue. 

    Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,

        on those who hope in his steadfast love,

    that he may deliver their soul from death

        and keep them alive in famine 

    Our soul waits for the Lord;

        he is our help and our shield.

    For our heart is glad in him,

        because we trust in his holy name. 

    Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,

        even as we hope in you.

  • facetime: Week 6

    Day 2 – Read

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    In John 1, Jesus is referred to as ‘light’ and ‘life.’ He brings light and life to what seems like a hopeless and dark situation. The invalid man wasn’t looking for Jesus, but Jesus was aware of him. It was a divine encounter. Jesus knew of his location and condition. The same is true for each one of us. He pursues us with hope. He offers hope despite our excuses and our grip on what is familiar and easy. Take some time today to read through the passage from the weekend gathering. As you read, put yourself into the story, reflect on the setting and the people involved and work through the questions that follow.

    John 5:1-17

    After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

    Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.

    Now that day was the Sabbath. 10 So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” 11 But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’” 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” 13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. 16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

    Questions & Reflection

    Who do you identify with the most: Jesus (bringer of hope), the blind man (one without hope), or the religious people (hope killers)? Explain.

    The invalid was looking to the pool for hope. He had been looking to the pool for 38 years and yet He responded to the word of Jesus, a total stranger. Why do you think he responded to Him? (John 5:8)

    How has the passage above challenged you in your own life or season of hopelessness?

    Have you yet been able to discern what Jesus is saying to you or what you are going to do about it?   If so, write it down. If not, continue to ask Jesus for his direction.

  • facetime: Week 6

    Day 1 – Rewind

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    Yesterday we talked about Jesus’ facetime with yet another man in need. It seems to be a common occurrence with Jesus. We saw that Jesus intentionally went to the pool because He knew many blind, lame, and paralyzed sick people gathered there. As Pastor Paul said yesterday, around that same pool was this man who had been sick for 38 years. Jesus saw this man in his hopelessness and wanted to heal the man to restore his hope and bring him new life. Jesus does the same for us. He seeks us in our hopeless situations and brings us hope. Without Him, we remain without hope.

    Take a few minutes and listen to one of the songs we did during the weekend gathering: ‘Break Every Chain.’

    Like the sick man, what hopeless situation(s) are you dealing with that has(have) robbed you of your hope?

    As you listen to the song, allow the words to penetrate your heart and begin to allow the power of the name of Jesus to rekindle the flame of hope that only He can bring. With Jesus there is always hope because “there is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain.”

    Break Every Chain

    There is power in the name of Jesus
    There is power in the name of Jesus
    There is power in the name of Jesus

    To break every chain
    Break every chain
    Break every chain

    All sufficient sacrifice
    So freely given
    Such a price
    Bought our redemption
    Heaven’s gates swing wide

    There is power in the name of Jesus
    There is power in the name of Jesus
    There is power in the name of Jesus

    To Break every chain
    Break every chain
    Break every chain

    There’s an army rising up
    There’s an army rising up
    There’s an army rising up

    To Break every chain
    Break every chain
    Break every chain

    There is power in the name of Jesus
    There is power in the name of Jesus
    There is power in the name of Jesus

    To Break every chain
    Break every chain
    Break every chain

     

    Questions

    • How did the weekend environment challenge you regarding your hope in Jesus?
    • What areas of your life need to be restored by the hope that only Jesus can offer?
  • facetime : Week 5

    Day 6 – Share

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    When it comes to being forgiven, the size of the debt determines your level of gratitude. That is what Jesus wanted us to understand after he encountered a self-righteous Pharisee and a sinful woman in Luke 7:36-50. With that passage in mind, our spiritual exercises this week have been designed to help you reflect on the size of our sin debt, renew your affections for God, and respond in gratitude. There is, however, one more stone left unturned.

    In Matthew 18, Jesus told the story of a master and his servant. The servant was in tremendous debt to the master. Knowing that repayment was an insurmountable task for the servant, the master purged the entire bill. A short time after being forgiven his great debt, that same servant went out and confronted a colleague who had incurred a small debt. In stunning fashion, he failed to extend to his fellow servant the same mercy he had been shown by the master.

    The point of Jesus’ story is that we stand in utter contradiction if we believe that we truly understand and appreciate the forgiveness of God while refusing to extend mercy to others. Take a look at the passages below.

    Colossians 3:12-13
    “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

    Ephesians 4:31-32
    “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

    These passages make it quite clear that God’s forgiveness, through Jesus, must become the lens by which we view our relationships with others. It is one thing to acknowledge the love and mercy of God intellectually, but it’s a better thing to share in the love and mercy of God. That is exactly what we do when we extend forgiveness to those who have hurt us in some form or fashion.

    Questions and Response

    • Can we truly understand the forgiveness of God while condemning others?
    • Is anyone ‘indebted’ to you? Who? Why?
    • What would it look like for you to initiate and extend forgiveness to those you identified in light of what Jesus has done for you?
    • Share with those close to you, or those in your MC, what you learned this week and what you plan to do about it.

    Watch Messages From The “facetime” Series

  • facetime : Week 5

    Day 5 – Pray

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    One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

    In the context of Psalm 24, David confessed the Lord as his stronghold even while being ravenously pursued by his enemies. His hope and confidence sprang from God alone. David was so overwhelmed by the beauty of the Lord that his sole desire was to spend time with the Lord.

    Have you ever been reading a Scripture passage about Jesus and found yourself completely captivated by Him? What was the passage? Why did it captivate you so much?

    Like the Psalmist, take yourself back to the moment when Jesus captivated you and pray through the following words:

    Seek
    Lord, I ask that you would put in my heart a true desire to seek after you. I want to know you and love you more. Jesus, would you captivate my heart in such a way that spending time with You becomes more than just a checklist and turns into the most important meeting of my day? Help me to seek you in every aspect of my life.

    Dwell
    Lord, not only do I want to seek You, but also I want to dwell with You and walk with You. I acknowledge the truth that You never leave me nor forsake me; You are always beside me. Keep me from wandering from You, Jesus. Keep me close to Your side. I recognize that I often stray from You, Jesus, but I hold on to the truth that You never give up on me or let me go. You constantly pursue me and I ask that You would draw me closer to You.

    Gaze
    Lord, I want to gaze upon Your beauty just like David did. Help me to fix my gaze upon You and allow You to be the central desire of my life. Jesus, You are beautiful and glorious in all that You are. Increase my affections for You, Jesus, so that You become the central theme of my thoughts. I pray that through Your Word, You would give me a better understanding of who You are.


    Watch Messages From The “facetime” Series

  • facetime : Week 5

    Day 4 – Act

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    Yesterday you were encouraged to assess your heart. Did you find that your heart resembled that of the Pharisee or the sinful woman? For most of us—if we’re completely honest—we found that our hearts could use some work. We may not be quite as cold-hearted as the Pharisee, but perhaps we could be characterized like the church of Ephesus in Revelation 2. They were a group of people praised for a few things but challenged to address a major problem—their heart. Notice what Jesus says to this church:

    Revelation 2:4–5
    4 “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”

    The church needed a heart check, or a ‘heart assessment.’ Recall the assessment questions you answered yesterday. What did the Holy Spirit reveal to you about your heart? Were there areas that needed attention? If so, take time today to work through the steps we see in the verses above.

    1. Remember – Think back to what your life looked like when you first surrendered to Jesus. Can you remember the beginning days of your walk with Jesus? Take a few minutes to jot down all the characteristics of your new life in Jesus. Now look back at your assessment from yesterday. Can you identify the area(s) of disconnect? Don’t allow your enemy, Satan, one moment to heap guilt on you. Move to step two.

    2. Repent – If you find yourself in a place of indifference or complacency similar to the Pharisee, surrender it to Jesus. Allow yourself to once again return to an intimate relationship with your Savior.

    Psalm 51:10-12
    “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence, or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

    3. Do – Determine the areas of your life where you need to demonstrate obedience. Begin to take an initial step in that direction (i.e. compassion for the lost, loving your family unconditionally, love of self, forgiving someone who wronged you, etc.).

    John 14:21
    “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”


    Watch Messages From The “facetime” Series

  • facetime : Week 5

    Day 3 – Meditate

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    The sinful woman could easily be identified as a risk taker. Think about it: She knew she was a sinner. Everyone around her knew she was a sinner. And yet she audaciously entered the home of a religious Pharisee knowing she would likely be mocked, criticized, condemned or judged in that environment. She was willing to risk everything for an encounter with Him. Scripture tells us she fell humbly at His feet, demonstrating her love and her need for forgiveness by wiping, kissing, and pouring expensive perfume on His feet.

    The Pharisee, on the other hand, demonstrated a heart of apathy and indifference.

    To follow up from yesterday, who did you identify yourself with, Simon the Pharisee or the sinful woman?

    If your heart is like that of the sinful woman and today you are overwhelmed with the love and forgiveness of Jesus, spend a few minutes meditating and worshiping God through the following Psalm:

    Psalm 40:1-5
    I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.

    Questions and Reflection

    If your heart is like that of Simon the Pharisee and you are struggling with your affection for Jesus, consider spending a few minutes to identify the area(s) of disconnect. Spend some time today assessing your heart using the following questions to guide your thoughts.

    • Do you delight in someone else more than you delight in the Lord?
    • Does your soul long for times of fellowship in God’s Word or prayer?
    • Do you make excuses for doing things that displease the Lord?
    • Do you willingly and cheerfully give to God’s work or to the needs of others?
    • Do you view Christ’s commands as restrictions to your happiness rather than expressions of His love?
    • Do you strive for affirmation from the world rather than approval from the Lord?
    • Do you become complacent toward sinful conditions around you?

    After meditating on the above questions, did the Holy Spirit convict you of anything? Is He tugging at your heart in any way? Take a few moments to write down what you are discovering about your heart and tomorrow we will look at some actions you can take to rediscover your gratitude for Jesus’ work on your behalf.


    Watch Messages From The “facetime” Series

  • facetime : Week 5

    Day 2 – Read

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    In our story this week we see the true difference between religion and relationship. As a Pharisee, Simon was the equivalent of a modern Bible scholar and considered to be a “godly man.” Yet, he still did not understand what it meant to have a genuine relationship with Jesus.

    On the other hand, the woman in the story was known for her sin. In fact, the text refers to her as “the sinful woman.” Yet, Jesus praised her as a model of true worship. She showed immense humility and gratitude because she knew that only Jesus was able to offer the true forgiveness she so desperately needed.

    Scripture

    Let’s look again at Luke 7:41-47 and see the differences between Simon and the woman.

    Luke 7:41-47
    41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.

    Try to imagine yourself in the story, keeping in mind that washing the feet of a guest was a typical custom in this time. Here was Jesus, the Son of God, reclining in Simon’s home. Yet, Simon never even considered washing His feet, nor does the text indicate that Simon was overwhelmed or humbled in the least bit by Jesus’ presence.

    Now consider the sinful woman with tears welling up in her eyes as she looked at Jesus. She immediately dropped to the ground to use her tears and hair to wipe away the dirt on Jesus’ feet. She then took her fragrant ointment and anointed and kissed His feet, demonstrating immeasurable respect and humility. This woman would have given Jesus everything she owned, whereas Simon would not even momentarily inconvenience himself to follow normal customs.

    Questions and Reflection

    Consider the differences between Simon and the woman. Take some time to think through the following questions:

    • Do your actions primarily resemble the actions of Simon or the Sinful Woman?
    • Are you simply practicing religion or do you truly have a relationship with God?
    • How can you become more like the woman in your worship?

    Watch Messages From The “facetime” Series

  • facetime : Week 5

    Day 1 – Rewind

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    Scripture

    Luke 7:36–50 provides a unique look at limitless grace and boundless forgiveness. Luke records that a “woman of the city” entered the home of a Pharisee to anoint Jesus’ feet with her expensive perfume. The conversation that followed captures beautifully the forgiving, compassionate heart of God. Take a moment and read the text below.

    36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”

    41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

    Pay special attention to Jesus’ key statement: “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” The heart of the gospel emanates from the statement. Though our sin had incurred an infinite price tag, Jesus paid our debt. When we realize the extent to which we have been forgiven and the cost Jesus paid to raise us to life, our level of gratitude should be eternally affected.

    Beautiful Exchange

    Take a few minutes and let the words of Beautiful Exchange remind you of your condition before knowing Jesus and the new life He has birthed inside you.

    You were near though I was distant
    Disillusioned I was lost and insecure
    Still mercy fought for my attention
    You were waiting at the door.
    Then I let you in

    Trading your life for my offenses
    For my redemption
    You carried all the blame
    breaking the curse of our condition
    Perfection took our place

    When only love could make a way
    You gave your life in a beautiful exchange

    When only love could break these chains
    You gave your life in a beautiful exchange

    My burden erased, my life forgiven
    There is nothing that could take this love away
    And my only desire, and my sole ambition
    Is to love you just the same

    Holy are you god, holy is your name
    With everything I’ve got my heart will sing
    How I love you


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    Day 6 – Share

    Week Four – Jesus’ Encounter with Matthew
    Day Six: Saturday – Share

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    ‘Follow Me’ Is An Invitation To Relationship

    When Jesus calls us, it’s not a call to obligatory religion but to a relationship with Him. However, your relationship with Him does not make you the sole beneficiary. As you get to know Jesus better, He will at some point push you to reach out to others. Why? Because Jesus loves people and He wants to use you to reach them. Not only does He want to use you to reach others, but also He will use you to reach people who are nothing like you.

    In general, we are most comfortable around people who are most like us. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. But consider thinking outside of your comfort zone to reach out to someone who is nothing like you. It could be a neighbor or a coworker that doesn’t fit the mold of your typical circle of friends. As we have digested the story of Matthew over the past week, we have seen that was exactly what was happening. Jesus invited a guy who was nothing like Him into a discipling relationship, and notice what happened.

    Luke 5:29
    “And Levi (Matthew) made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at the table with them.”

    Jesus invited Matthew to follow him and the guy threw Him a party! Not only did he throw him a party, he invited other people who were also not like Jesus. Wow! Here is a weighty statement from the weekend for you to ponder over the next few days:

    Acceptance paves the way to influence.

    Jesus genuinely accepted people for who they were. People who were nothing like Jesus actually enjoyed hanging out with Him. AND Jesus enjoyed hanging out with them.

    As we develop a relationship with Jesus, our heart for people should begin to reflect Jesus’ heart for people, regardless of how much or how little we have in common. In fact, you may find that your greatest season of growth happens when you reach out to people who are nothing like you.

    Questions and Exercises

    • Over the past few weeks, how have the devotions challenged you to share your life with others?
    • How are you acting on that challenge currently?
    • This week, consider identifying someone in your spheres of influence that may not be ‘like you’ and venture out to engage them. Invite them out for coffee or lunch or maybe even practice hospitality by inviting them to your home.
    • Finally, don’t overlook sharing with your spouse, friends, or Missional Community what God is doing in your life. If you have not joined a M.C., to talk with someone from the discipleship team.

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    Day 5 – Pray

    Week Four – Jesus’ Encounter with Matthew
    Day Five: Friday – Pray

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    If you ‘google’ the question, “What is the most important quality or characteristic of a relationship?,’ you will find multiple answers. However, in every case you will find honesty, loyalty, and trustworthiness at the very top of the list. Everyone agrees that if a relationship is going to develop and flourish, it must have the solid base of trust. To accelerate trust, transparency is a necessary element. The same is true in your relationship with Jesus. If our hearts are honest and transparent before Jesus, we are ushered into a level of intimacy that we can in no other way achieve. Look at what these verses say about a heart that is open toward Jesus.

    Joel 2:13
    And rend your heart and not your garments. Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness, and relenting of evil.

    1 Peter 5:6-7
    Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

    To become transparent with Jesus is to simply be completely honest with him. He is already aware of what is going on in your world, what you are thinking about, what you are worried about, and what you are struggling with. Why not open up to Him?

    Consider this question: Are you totally transparent and honest with Jesus about your life and your relationship with Him?

    Take some time today to consider your relationship with Jesus and throughout the day allow the prayer of David to spark your own prayer as you ‘bare your soul’ to Jesus. Pray the words of this Psalm out loud several times today and then begin to personalize it to your context.

    Prayer

    Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (excerpt form Psalm 51)


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    Day 4 – Act

    Week Four – Jesus’ Encounter with Matthew
    Day Four: Thursday – Act

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    What’s in a relationship?

    Definition of Relationship – the way in which two people are connected. The way they talk to, behave toward and deal with each other.

    In our story of focus this week from Matthew 9, Jesus called to Matthew and said, ‘Follow Me.’ Matthew got up and followed Him. This is the point at which the relationship began. One giving an invitation, the other saying “yes.”

    Even though specific details are not given in this text, we know that the relationship between Jesus and Matthew progressed—so much so that Matthew’s life was dramatically impacted. He left behind the source of his riches. He left his position of security and comfort for traveling, hardship, and eventual martyrdom. And he left his old life for a new life with Jesus. He submitted to Jesus and trusted Him.

    What relationships have contributed to changes in your life? What were some of the changes? Were these changes for your benefit or detriment? Explain.

    Exercise

    Think of the closest relationship you have to another human being. On a piece of paper or in a journal, draw a vertical line down the middle of the page. In the left column at the top, write “My Relationship with ___________. Fill in the person’s name and then identify the components that brought your lives together from the time you met until today (i.e. time spent together, similar ways of thinking or looking at life, similar interests/desires, etc.)

    In the right column at the top, write “My Relationship with Jesus.” Identify the components of your relationship with Jesus from the time you met until today.

    What similarities did you observe?

    What differences did you observe?

    Did you notice any components in your earthly relationship that fostered intimacy and closeness? Are these components lacking in your relationship with Jesus?

    Today, commit to engage in one area you identified as ‘missing’ in your relationship with Jesus. In addition, communicate that with your spouse of friend so they can help hold you accountable.

    When Matthew came face to face with Jesus, something changed in his heart. This change caused Matthew to surrender who he was to the authority of Jesus Christ. He committed himself to complete obedience to Christ and his relationship with Him.


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    Day 3 – Meditate

    Week Four – Jesus’ Encounter with Matthew
    Day Three: Wednesday – Meditate

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    When Jesus called Matthew to follow Him, He also issued a call to the Pharisees—more of a scathing indictment actually. He indicted them on the condition of their hearts. The Pharisees were some of the most piously disciplined men you would ever meet. Though they busied themselves with religious duties, their activity was divorced from an authentic love for God. Pointing out their hypocrisy, Jesus quoted Hosea 6:6, a verse they had likely memorized as young men in rabbinical school.

    Jesus said, “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    The Pharisees had cornered the market on sacrificial living. They understood sacrifice. They had given up a lot to enter pharisaical life. Yet, Jesus said they lacked mercy. In fact, He rebuked their hypocrisy by basically telling them to go back to school and “learn what this means.”

    The word mercy is the Hebrew word chesed, meaning steadfast love, goodness, or charity. The word best summarizes the Great Commandment: love God and love others (Matthew 22:34–40). In a word, the heart of the Great Commandment is about relationship — relationship with God and relationship with the world.

    The call to follow Jesus is equally about relationship. The Pharisees had severed the idea of relationship from the equation, inserting sacrifice instead. Inserting personal effort. Inserting religious duty.

    Turn to Hosea 6:6 and read it five times slowly, meditating and ruminating on each word. Ask the Holy Spirit to confirm in your heart where your tendencies lie. Mercy (Relationship) or Sacrifice (External Religion)?

    How does your life exemplify mercy? In what ways do you demonstrate love for God and love for people in an authentic way?

    Close this time of meditation by turning Hosea 6:6 into a prayer. Say something like, “Lord, transform my desires into your desires. Help me desire steadfast love rather than sacrifice. Help me desire the knowledge of You, the Living God, rather than burnt offerings—rather than religious duty. Help me love You sincerely and love people the way you do. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”


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    Day 2 – Read

    Week Four – Jesus’ Encounter with Matthew
    Day Two: Tuesday – Read

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    As we read in Matthew 9:9-13, Jesus freely gave an invitation to an outcast tax collector to follow Him. Throughout the Gospels we see Jesus offering this invitation to many people facing various situations. Take time to read the passages below while reflecting on the cost and the reward of following Jesus. As you read, ask the Lord to reveal where you are.

    Scripture

    Luke 9:57-62
    57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus[g] said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

    John 1:43-46 ESV
    43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

    TO: Philip
    RESPONSE: He instantly went to tell about Jesus

    John 21:19 ESV
    19 … And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.

    TO: Peter
    RESPONSE: Despite Peter’s denial, Jesus offered him yet another opportunity to follow Him. This was an invitation to display the continual commitment that Jesus asks of every disciple. “Follow me” is an invitation that expects a continual RSVP.

    Questions and Reflection

    Like us, the disciples in the passages above all had a life before Jesus invited them to follow Him. Some had to give up a lot, but one would argue they would say it was well worth the cost.

    Can you remember a time that you said “yes” to trust Jesus? What was the outcome? How did your relationship with Him grow?

    Maybe you’re thinking “This doesn’t apply to me, I already have a relationship with Him.” Jesus continually asks us to follow Him throughout the day-to-day circumstances we face. What area(s) in your life is God specifically asking you to follow Him? What challenges make it difficult for you to follow Him?

    Luke 9:23 ESV
    23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

    TO: Everyone
    RESPONSE: …

    What is your response going to be?


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    Day 1 – Rewind

    Week Four – Jesus’ Encounter with Matthew
    Day One: Monday – Rewind

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    The Tax Collector

    Matthew the tax collector was viewed as lower than sinners and hated by the Jewish people. Yet, Jesus still invited him into a relationship by asking him to follow. Jesus did not tell Matthew to clean up his act or repay people he cheated but rather, to simply follow Him. Jesus does not call us to a set of rules. He calls us to a relationship with Him.

    Pastor Jimmy gave an example during the weekend gathering of his relationship with his wife, Beverly. He stated that his commitment to his marriage starts first with his commitment to his wife. By means of application, this can translate into a question about our personal commitment to the Lord.

    Are you committed to Jesus or are you committed to Christianity, looking good, or attending church?

    Jesus desires a relationship with us and He wants us to follow Him. Take some time and listen to the song we sang yesterday, Christ is Enough. Read through the lyrics and focus on the words in the song. This song is all about following the Lord and knowing that He is enough even through the trial or storm.

    Christ is Enough

    Christ is my reward
    And all of my devotion
    Now there’s nothing in this world
    That could ever satisfy

    Through every trial
    My soul will sing
    No turning back
    I’ve been set free

    Christ is enough for me
    Christ is enough for me
    Everything I need is in You
    Everything I need

    Christ my all in all
    The joy of my salvation
    And this hope will never fail
    Heaven is our home

    Through every storm
    My soul will sing
    Jesus is here
    To God be the glory

    I have decided to follow Jesus
    No turning back
    No turning back
    The cross before me
    The world behind me
    No turning back
    No turning back

    When reflecting on this song, would you be able to say that Christ is enough even in your current situations? Do you believe that He is the only one that will satisfy and that He is everything we need?

    Chad and Jason’s Story

    This past weekend we watched the stories of Chad and Jason. We heard about the deep and dark situations they were in with drugs and jail; but we also heard how Jesus changed their lives. They didn’t have to clean up their act in order to follow Jesus. Instead, Jesus came to them and called them to follow Him. The same is true for every one of us. He comes to where we are and calls us to follow Him. Check out their story again and consider the following questions:

    Are there any aspects of your life that are hindering you from following the Lord? Do you feel that you have to clean yourself up before coming to the Lord?

    Scripture

    Matthew 9:9-13
    “As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    Questions to Consider

    • What does Jesus mean when he tells the Pharisees, “For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners”?
    • Why do you think it was a big deal that Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners?
    • How do Jesus’ actions affect the way we should interact with the lost?
    • Think of your own experience with Jesus. Have you focused more heavily on keeping rules or on cultivating a relationship with Him?

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    Day 6 – Share

    Week Three – The Canaanite Woman
    Day Six: Saturday – Share

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    Over the past few weeks we have encouraged you to ‘share’ with others what Jesus is doing in your life. How have you been doing in this area? Are you in community with others? Have you been able share with a couple friends, or communicate with your spouse? Maybe the act of ‘sharing’ is actually your step of faith this week. Take some time to work through the following questions, write down your answers, and then step out and share what you have written.

    Throughout the week, we have challenged you to place yourself in a position of desperation for Jesus. On Thursday, we challenged you in one of two ways:

    1. Identify where you are desperate (which isn’t hard if you are indeed in a desperate situation) and by faith trust Jesus for your next step, OR …
    2. Determine where you can exercise ‘forced’ dependence on Jesus by asking Him what step of faith He is calling you to take out of your comfort zone and completely rely on Him.

    Share the process you went through of identifying your level of dependence or lack thereof.

    If you have taken a ‘forced’ step toward desperation, how is it going? What feelings are you dealing with (good or bad)? Did you feel any resistance/tension? Explain.

    Now that you have taken a step, how did you experience the presence of Jesus? Did He give you any clarity on what’s next?

    If you haven’t taken a step yet, have you been able to identify what is holding you back?

    What has been your takeaway from this past week that you will carry forward in your relationship with Jesus?


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    Day 5 – Pray

    Week Three – The Canaanite Woman
    Day Five: Friday – Pray

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    As we have focused on Jesus’ interaction with the Gentile woman, one reality has been obvious: the woman displayed profound faith in and desperation for Jesus to heal her daughter. In fact, Jesus directly points out her display of great faith.

    “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.”
    -Matthew 15:28 ESV

    As you have been challenged to examine your faith this week, what has Jesus been showing you?

    Spend some time today in solitude lifting that challenge before Jesus, praying for a growing faith in Him and a desperate longing for His presence.

    Below we have provided you with several prayers to help you communicate with God today. Feel free to pray in your own words or use the following prayers to help direct you:

    1. If you have identified a particular area in which Jesus is calling you to live by faith:

    Prayer: Lord, you have placed on my heart to step out in faith by (insert situation). I ask that you would give me the boldness to trust You and what You are calling me to do. I pray for faith like the woman in Matthew 15, to trust you with the events going on in my life. I realize that I cannot do this on my own and I ask that You would give me the strength and the power to do it.

    2. If you are still confused on how the Lord can use you:

    Prayer: Lord, I may not know what You have in store for my life but I fully believe that You can use me for Your Kingdom. As I am pursuing and serving You, I ask that You would reveal to me ways that I can step out in faith for Your Kingdom. I pray that You would guide and direct my steps, Lord, to draw me closer to you in faith.

    3. If you are discouraged because it seems as if the Lord is delaying His response:

    Prayer: Lord, I ask that You would renew my passion for You and for what you have placed on my heart to do. I trust You and I believe that you will provide. I pray that you would continually work in my life and in the lives of those to whom I minister.

    Consider the heartfelt prayer of David—a man after God’s own heart—from Psalm 13:

    “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.


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    Day 4 – Act

    Week Three – The Canaanite Woman
    Day Four: Thursday – Act

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    This week we have prompted you to wrestle with the connection between faith and desperation. No one can argue that the Canaanite woman was desperate. She needed Jesus to heal her daughter. Period.

    What best describes the position of the Canaanite woman:

    “I think Jesus can and will heal my daughter”,

    OR

    “I believe and know that Jesus can and will heal my daughter”?

    Explain your answer.

    The Canaanite woman’s desperate plight moved her into a position to demonstrate a radical faith, much like what we observed in our reading on Day 2.

    How do you obtain a faith like that? And then, how do you demonstrate a faith like that?

    As we work through today’s spiritual exercise of ‘act’, we invite you to walk through these few steps to examine your faith.

    Step One

    Choose Jesus as the Object of Your Faith

    We are saved by God’s grace in Jesus, not by our works. Read the following verses from Ephesians:

    8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
    – Ephesians 2:8-9

    Where does your faith rest?

    The first step to a radical dependent faith in Jesus is to surrender your life to him. So, if you have never put your trust in Jesus, today you can take that step. Here is a simple prayer that you can use as a guide in taking this step:

    Dear Jesus, today, I want to give you my life. I know that I am a sinner and can’t save myself. I believe that you came, died on the cross to pay for my sin, was buried, and rose again to free me from my sin. By faith, I believe and invite you to be my Savior and my Lord. Amen.

    If you made that first step today, let us know by communicating with us at We would love to help you with your next step.

    Maybe you have already taken this step of faith and have been following Jesus for awhile. Here’s our challenge to you: Think back to the moment when you made the decision to follow Jesus. In order for us to take the next step in our faith, we need to live in that reality.

    We know that if we want a deeper relationship with a friend, we have to learn more about them. We have to spend time with them. Our relationship with God works the same way. The more you meet with him, the easier it will be to trust Him.

    Step Two

    Trust Jesus with Your ‘Impossible’

    “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
    – Matthew 17:20

    Biblical faith is more about who than how much. In other words, who you place your faith in is far more important than the size or amount of faith you happen to display. Allow God to be the sole focus of your faith, no matter how big or small it may be. God and God alone can do the impossible. Trust Him with your impossible.

    What is your ‘impossible’ today? How are you pursuing Jesus in your state of desperation?

    Step Three

    Ask Jesus to Help You Move Beyond Your Comfort Zone

    Do you lack a sense of desperation? Many of us do. You can also refer to it as ‘sight’ living. Sight living is living a life that can be explained by our own efforts. But, if we are going to live a life of faith, we need to move out of our comfort zone and begin to step out where we are ‘forced’ to depend on Jesus’ power and promises. Forced dependence is simply placing yourself in a position where God must come through on your behalf—there are no other options (i. e. walking across the yard to tell your neighbor about Jesus, making your tithe the first expense out of your paycheck, becoming a foster parent, taking a Sabbath day off from work even when you need the extra money).

    Today, maybe you walked through step one without any hesitation, but then you found that step two didn’t apply to you. Perhaps you feel you are facing nothing ‘impossible’ at the moment—nothing challenging you toward desperation for Jesus.

    If that describes you, here is your challenge: Pray that Jesus will show you how He wants you to step out in faith. Does He want you to obey Him in an area that you have refused in the past? Does He want you to put yourself in a place of ‘forced’ dependence? Does He want you to step across the office, the street, or the gym to be salt and light to someone? Whatever Jesus reveals to you, act on it and be ready to share it tomorrow.


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    Day 3 – Meditate

    Week Three – The Canaanite Woman
    Day Three: Wednesday – Meditate

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    “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

    Hebrews 11:1

    After reading Hebrews 11 on Day 2, we noticed that each hero of faith was in a season of “desperation;” a place in their journey where they were losing hope in their own ability, where the future was unclear, where struggles and trials became so big they knew that only God would be able to give them an answer and hope for their future.

    Think about the word desperate. Examine the definitions below to grasp its meaning:

    • very sad and upset because of having little or no hope : feeling or showing despair

    • very bad or difficult to deal with

    • done with all of your strength or energy and with little hope of succeeding

    • loss of hope and surrender to despair

    • a state of hopelessness leading to rashness

    • a strong feeling of sadness, fear, and loss of hope

    No matter the circumstance, each faith hero turned to God, trusted Him, and was commended for their faith. Their faith pleased God.

    Don’t move past that statement too quickly. Their faith pleased God. Now, as you continue to think about that statement, transfer your thoughts to your life.

    Is your faith pleasing to God?

    Do you find yourself in a “state of hopelessness” for something in your life or for someone else? What are you desperate for?

    Most of us know what it feels like to be desperate. It could be something as simple as needing an answer to a question or as serious as just being told you have six months to live; but what about feeling desperate in regard to pursuing God?

    Most of us wouldn’t wish ourselves to be part of a desperate situation. We enjoy our comfort and we enjoy it when everything goes smoothly. Chances are, the story of the Canaanite woman would not have been included in Scripture had her daughter not been possessed. We know her story because she was desperate and she exercised faith in Jesus because only He could save her.

    Are you desperate for Jesus to work in your life?

    As you meditate on that question, take a few minutes to listen to this song by Lauren Daigle.


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    Day 2 – Read

    Week Three – The Canaanite Woman
    Day Two: Tuesday – Read

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    If there is one thing we learn from Jesus’ encounter with the Canaanite woman, it’s that faith makes all the difference. What we see in the Canaanite woman we also see throughout the entire bible; ordinary people who, despite not having all the answers, stepped into the calling of God on their life. As you read the following passage from Hebrews 11, write down what you learn about faith.

    Scripture

    Hebrews 11:1-40 NIV

    Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

    4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

    8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

    13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

    17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. 20 By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. 21 By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.

    23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.

    29 By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

    32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

    39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

    Questions

    • As you read through the passage, what arrested your attention?
    • List a few examples where you can identify both a desperation for God and a demonstration of faith?
    • Skim through the passage again. Do you find any point in this passage where someone is commended for his or her actions? What does that say to you?
    • Skim through the passage again. Do you see any move of faith that was absent from some type of desperation? What does that say to you?

    Faith and desperation are connected throughout these biblical examples. They were ordinary people that lived extraordinary lives. We too can live that way as we pursue Jesus and His calling on our life.

    Commit to Memory

    “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

    Hebrews 11:6


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  • facetime : Week 3

    Day 1 – Rewind

    Week Three – The Canaanite Woman
    Day One: Monday – Rewind

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    The Canaanite Woman

    The Canaanite woman’s pursuit of Jesus demonstrated both a sense of desperation AND a step of faith. This week we are going to explore the biblical theme of faith. How would you characterize your faith? Whatever size faith you have, you need to know that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than you ask or think. Below are the lyrics to God Is Able, one of the songs we sang yesterday. Let the words encourage you.

    God is Able

    God is able
    He will never fail
    He is almighty God
    Greater than all we seek
    Greater than all we ask
    He has done great things

    Lifted up
    He defeated the grave
    Raised to life
    Our God is able
    In His name
    We overcome
    For the Lord
    Our God is able

    God is with us
    God is on our side
    He will make a way
    Far above all we know
    Far above all we hope
    He has done great things

    Lifted up
    He defeated the grave
    Raised to life
    Our God is able
    In His name
    We overcome
    For the Lord
    Our God is able

    God is with us
    He will go before
    He will never leave us
    He will never leave us
    God is for us
    He has open arms
    He will never fail us
    He will never fail us

    Lifted up
    He defeated the grave
    Raised to life
    Our God is able
    In His name
    We overcome
    For the Lord
    Our God is able

    Lifted up
    He defeated the grave
    Raised to life
    Our God is able
    In His name
    We overcome
    For the Lord
    Our God is able

    For the Lord
    Our God is able
    For the Lord
    Our God is able

    This song makes the claim that God is able. Do you really believe that? What in the song directs you to believe that God is able? Is there any area of your life right now where you are desperate for God to demonstrate that He is able?

    Commit to give God your request each day, believing He is able and trusting He will reveal Himself to you.

    Alan’s Story

    In the video this past weekend, Alan Hahn spoke of the grasshopper complex; a complex in which fear keeps us from at least two things: 1) embracing who God wants us to be; or 2) accepting what He is calling us to do. Listen to the video again and ask yourself these questions: Who is God calling you to be in your current relationships? What is he calling you to do in your spheres of influence? Are you paralyzed by fear? Explain.

    Scripture

    Matthew 15:21-28 NIV
    21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” 23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” 27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” 28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

    Questions to Consider

    • What did this woman do to show her faith in God?
    • From what you can recall from the message, what fears did she overcome in approaching Jesus?
    • How did the weekend environment challenge you regarding your faith? What has Jesus called you to focus on this week as a result?

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  • facetime : Week 2

    Day 6 – Share

    Week Two – Knowing Jesus

    Day Six: Saturday – Share

    You are Qualified.

    Let’s be honest, sharing your testimony is hard.

    When you share your story with someone you experience a sense of vulnerability, but because Jesus has given us living water we have every resource we need to share what Jesus has done in our lives.

    Look back at the Samaritan woman. In the eyes of the disciples she had everything stacked against her. She was a Samaritan, a woman, and an adulterer.

    We see, however, that neither her circumstances nor her past stopped her from going and sharing what Jesus had done. Rather, she became so passionate about Jesus that immediately she “went away into town and [told the people of what Jesus had said]” (John 4:28).

    Her excitement to share her story was not contingent on a Bible degree or any special training. Instead she was given living water—the gift of Salvation—which was more than sufficient to make her an instant evangelist.

    The same gift has been given to you! You’ve been given living water; therefore, you have been given all that it takes to go and share the truth of what Jesus has done for you. You too can be an instant evangelist.

    Your Testimony has Power.

    “Many Samaritans from that town believed in him [Jesus] because of the woman’s testimony…So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days.  And many more believed because of his word” (John 4:39-41, emphasis added).

    I want to restate verse 39, “Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony” (emphasis added). Her testimony had power! Can you imagine if she was too scared to go and share? Or if she had believed the lie that her story was not worth sharing? “Many Samaritans” would not have heard about Jesus that day.

    It can be easy for us to believe the lie that our stories are not worth sharing; but the truth is, our stories are not about us. They are about Jesus and the work He has done in our lives through salvation. And because our stories are about Jesus, there is power in them.

    The story of the Samaritan woman is not a fairy-tale randomly placed in the Bible. Rather it was an historical event—the record of a personal encounter with Jesus over 2000 years ago—purposefully reported by John to show us the power and influence of Jesus’ name.

    Questions and Reflection:

    On day four you were challenged to write out your story. Today you are encouraged to go out and share your story. This can mean many different audiences. You can go share with a friend, a family member, or the stranger you always see at your local coffee shop. Each opportunity is equally beneficial and impactful, because every time you share about Jesus He receives glory.

    The Samaritan Woman’s passion to share what Jesus did is evident in this passage. Do you find it difficult to have the same passion? If so, why?

    If you find the same passion inside you, what steps are you taking to fulfill The Great Commission?

    Take the next few minutes and ask God to show you three people with whom you should share your story. Write them down and begin praying that God would provide opportunities for you to share with them.

    1.

    2.

    3.

    And remember, you are qualified by Him and your story has power!


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  • facetime : Week 2

    Day 5 – Pray

    Week Two – Knowing Jesus

    Day Five: Friday – Pray

    Last week we learned that a love for Jesus and an ever-increasing appreciation for the gospel compels us to missional action. When our love for Jesus grows, our desire to share his love with a lost world likewise grows. However, when we focus on mission first, we tend to put the cart before the horse. When Jesus is our focus, mission follows. The natural response of a life awestruck by Him is a life of worship demonstrated by a contagious witness to the world. Mission flows naturally out of worship. We see this pattern throughout Scripture (Check out Isaiah 6:1-9, and Matthew 28:17-20 as examples).

    Mission flows naturally out of worship. #facetimeseries Click To Tweet

    What this doesn’t mean, however, is that we shouldn’t pray for deeper levels of obedience and more blazing degrees of boldness. Just because we may be passionately in love with Jesus does not mean we have cornered the market on missional living. In Acts chapter four, we observe the disciples imploring Jesus to increase their boldness. When faced with imminent persecution, the believers in Jerusalem gathered together and prayed for boldness. Luke records their powerful prayer in Acts 4:24–30. Notice specifically verse 29.

    “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all BOLDNESS.”

    What a dynamic prayer! I challenge you to begin praying this verse throughout the day. While you are on the go, simply repeat, “Lord, help me speak your word with boldness. Help me carry Your name with boldness.” You may even want to set the alarm on your phone for 4:29 (to remind you of Acts 4:29) and pause right where you are to pray. You will be surprised at how the Lord will begin answering your prayer by providing countless opportunities for you to boldly carry his name into every domain of your life.

    As you begin praying for boldness today and hopefully every day, here is a simple acrostic that may help you identify your opportunities. We observe these four patterns in the example of Peter and John in Acts 3.

    B – Bring Jesus into your daily routine (v.1)

    O – Offer a service in the name of Jesus (v.6)

    L – Look for moments to open your mouth about Jesus (v.16)

    D – Direct attention off yourself and back to Jesus (v.12)

    Here are some examples of how this might look in everyday life:

    BRING Jesus into your daily routine – As you head into your place of work, enter with an attitude of prayer. Don’t leave Jesus at home.

    Pray: Lord, help me carry Your name boldly today.

    OFFER a service in the name of Jesus – When you sit down for lunch at your favorite restaurant, consider telling your server that you are about to pray for the food, then ask if there is anything you can pray for him/her about. Or consider taking a frozen meal to your sick neighbor.

    Pray: Lord, show me an opportunity I can show tangible love for someone today.

    LOOK for moments to open your mouth about Jesus – When you are going through the check out lane, consider asking the cashier how their day is going. Ask them if anyone has told them today that Jesus loves them.

    Pray: Lord, don’t let me miss an opportunity to speak the name of Jesus to someone who needs to hear it.

    DIRECT attention off yourself and back to Jesus – When you are swinging your child at the park, consider engaging the mom next to you in conversation. Talking about family life and child rearing is a great way to bring Jesus into the conversation; after all, children are a blessing from the Lord. Make Jesus the hero of your story.

    Pray: Lord, help me see how you are working in every conversation, so that I can make you the hero of my story.

    “May every part of my character and conduct make a serious and amiable impression on others, and impel them to ask the way to the Master.” – A Puritan Prayer


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  • facetime : Week 2

    Day 4 – Act

    Week Two – Knowing Jesus

    Day Four: Thursday – Act

    Your Story Matters – As the woman at the well encountered Jesus, she immediately understood her life was different and no longer her own. Her life was transformed in such a way that sharing became natural. She knew she must share her experience. It bubbled up in her spirit, overflowing freely from her newly transformed life.

    Your story is no different than hers. Your encounter with Jesus must be shared.

    Your encounter with Jesus must be shared. #facetimeseries Click To Tweet

    Everyone loves a good story. Your story has the unique ability to spark your friends’ interest, helping them relate on a personal level and making your story difficult to deny. In today’s focus, the goal is to help you walk through the steps to form “your story” so that it can be clearly shared.

    Paul’s story in Acts 26 provides us a clear outline for sharing our encounter with Jesus. Read Acts 26 to get familiar with Paul’s story. Then, we will walk through three steps and answer six questions to help develop your personal story. You will then be equipped and ready to share with those around you.


    Developing Your Story


    Step 1: BC-Before Christ
    Acts 26:4–11 – “I did all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus” (v.9).

    Question 1 What was your early spiritual background, and how did it affect you as you grew up—your feelings, attitudes, actions and relationships?

    Examples:

    • We were religious, but all I remember were rituals and rules…
    • We never went to a church, my parents taught me there was no God…
    • We based our beliefs on things like horoscopes, lacking any foundation…
    • We knew of Jesus, but not that He is God or Savior…

     

    Question 2 What caused you to begin to consider following Christ?

    Examples:

    • I reached the point where I’d hit bottom. Knew He was the only hope for me-so I cried out to him for help.
    • A Christian friend challenged me to look into evidence for Christianity.
    • A friend of mine changed, his life looked different, and I asked him why. He told me about Jesus.
    • I grew up seeing and hearing about God from those around me and I came to realize it was true.

     


    Step 2: MC – Met Christ
    Acts 26:12–18 – “As I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven …and I heard a voice…” (vv. 13, 14)

    Question 1 What realization did you come to that finally motivated you to receive Christ?

    Examples:

    • After looking in all the wrong places, I finally reached out to God and asked Him to come and rescue me.
    • My reading and interaction with Christians convinced me the Bible is true and I was ready to stop resisting.
    • After years of ups and downs, I realized the foolishness of running my own life.
    • At some point, I realized the truth of who Christ was and what He had done for me. I knew I needed to be forgiven.

     

    Question 2 Specifically, how did you receive Christ?

    Examples:

    • It was hard to admit, but I concluded that Jesus really is the way, the truth, and the life. I asked him to forgive my sins and to begin leading me.
    • After years of loneliness I learned that God wants to walk with me throughout my life. I asked Him to remove my sins and to become my very best friend.
    • I was at a service where someone explained the truth: simply believing Jesus died to pay for my sins is not enough—I needed to ask him to apply that payment to my life. So, I prayed asking Jesus to forgive my sins and lead my life.

     


    Step 3: AC – After Christ
    Acts 26:19–23 – “So then…I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven…” (v. 19)

    Question 1 How did your life begin to change after you trusted Christ?

    Example:

    • It’s hard to describe the difference God made in my life. It wasn’t just external; it’s like my heart was transformed. Overnight my desires began to change.
    • I can hardly put into words the release I felt. I knew my sins had been forgiven, and it was a huge weight off my shoulders. For the first time I felt joy.
    • My life isn’t perfect. I still do things I regret. But my overall course has turned from being self-centered to really caring about God and the people in my life.

     

    Question 2 What other benefits have you experienced since becoming a Christian?

    Example:

    • Following God has given me purpose—knowing I’m here for greater reasons than just working, eating, sleeping, and doing it all over again. God wants to use me.
    • I used to live with fear and insecurity. While I still worry occasionally, that sense of despair has been replaced with a calm confidence that my life is in God’s hands.
    • God has replaced what I used to think of as fun in my life with a kind of joy and happiness that really lasts.
    • I’ve always had good friendships, but never with the depth I’ve found in some of our church family. Those people are closer to me than any friend ever was before.

     


    Concluding Question: It’s important to end your story with a question or statement that requires a response. Write one as it relates to you and your story.

    Examples:

    • So, that’s what happened to me. Can you relate to any of it?
    • How about you—what’s your spiritual background?
    • Were you taught any of this growing up? Or do you mind if I ask what you believe?
    • That’s my spiritual story. I’d like to hear yours.
    • Does it make any sense to you?

     

    Now that you have completed your story, continue to process and practice sharing it with someone in your Missional Community. As you practice, you will gain confidence and clarity when sharing. Practicing will also prepare you for opportunities to impact someone else’s life for His glory.


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  • facetime : Week 2

    Day 3 – Meditate

    Week Two – Knowing Jesus

    Day Three: Wednesday – Meditate

    Before you start

    Too often in life we get so caught up in the rush of our week that we forget to slow down and focus in on what God is telling us through His word. Before you start this time with the Lord, take a moment and ask Him to help you clear any distractions from your mind so that you can focus on Him during this time.

    Personal Barriers

    This week we have been going through John 4 reading about Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman. When the Samaritan woman received the living water from Jesus, she went into the town where she lived and began sharing about Jesus without fear. God intends for us to share the good news of salvation through His Son Jesus, just as the Samaritan woman shared it.

    Fear can often hinder us from sharing our stories with others. We fear that people will reject us if we share with them or that we won’t know what to say. Paul speaks on fear when he writes his letter to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7-10.

    7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

    8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (emphasis added).

    Take a few minutes and process some of the key words in the passage. Think of the rich meaning behind each word.

    Power        

    Love          

    Saved        

    Called        

    Purpose        

    Grace

    What do the words convey about who God is, who we are, and what He has given us?

    Spend a few minutes asking the Lord to bring to your mind any personal barriers that have come up in your life that have prevented or pushed you away from sharing the gospel. As He brings these things to your mind, confess and repent of them. Surrender these barriers to Jesus and ask Him for boldness in sharing your story with others.

    What are some of the barriers you experience when it comes to sharing your faith? (ex. fear, doubt, lack of knowledge, etc.)

    Have you ever felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to share your faith? What was that experience like?

    Recall your salvation experience

    As we close out this time of meditation, recall the moment when you called upon the Lord for salvation. God has uniquely orchestrated situations in your life and has created you with divine purpose. Think about the desire you had in sharing Jesus when you first believed in Him. That may have been a year ago or fifty years ago. Ask the Lord to renew your passion for Him and your desire for sharing the gospel with others.

    Thoughts for the day

    Continue thinking about the moment the Lord saved you and the passion He gave you for sharing the gospel with others.

    Have you been operating from fear? Is the good news really good enough to share?


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  • facetime : Week 2

    Day 2 – Read

    Week Two – Knowing Jesus

    Day Two: Tuesday – Read

    After one brief encounter with Jesus, the woman at the well became an “instant evangelist” proclaiming the good news to her town. We will learn this week that her story is not meant to be unique, but rather normative. Every disciple of Jesus has been given everything they need to be successful agents of the king.

    Every disciple of Jesus has been given everything they need to be successful agents of the king. Click To Tweet

    Take a look at part of her story again, answer the questions below, and try to commit one or more of the verses at the bottom to memory. Ask God to give you a fresh sense of the good news and its implications not only for us, but also for those in our spheres of influence.

    John 4:26-32

    26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

    27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.

    31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

    39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

    Questions:

    • What motivated this Samaritan woman to immediately leave behind her water jar and go into town proclaiming Jesus to all of her neighbors?
    • Do you think Jesus equipped the Samaritan woman with something that He has not given to every disciple?
    • Why did many of the Samaritan people believe in Jesus even before they encountered him?
    • Do you believe that your story is a powerful tool for sharing the gospel? Why or Why not?

    Commit one or more of the following verses to memory:

    “Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.”

    II Corinthians 3:12

    “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,”

    I Peter 1:3

    “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

    II Corinthians 5:20


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  • facetime : Week 2

    Day 1 – Rewind

    Week Two – Knowing Jesus

    Day One: Monday – Rewind

    This past weekend, we spent time looking at the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. Following the encounter, she was dramatically impacted. So much so, that by simply telling others of her encounter with Jesus, the ‘whole town’ came to the well to see Jesus. Did the power of her testimony compel the crowds, or was something greater at work? As we start this week, let’s rewind back to our gathering and begin this week’s devotional by listening to and meditating on the words from the opening song, “My Story” by Big Daddy Weave.

    If I told you my story
    You would hear Hope that wouldn’t let go
    And if I told you my story
    You would hear Love that never gave up
    And if I told you my story
    You would hear Life, but it wasn’t mine

    If I should speak then let it be
    Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
    Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
    Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
    Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him

    If I told you my story
    You would hear victory over the enemy
    And if I told you my story
    You would hear freedom that was won for me
    And if I told you my story
    You would hear Life overcome the grave

    This is my story, this is my song
    Praising my savior all the day long
    This is my story, this is my song
    Praising my savior all the day long

     

    We also heard Lisa’s story yesterday—a woman who is living out the message of Jesus in her context. Let’s hear her story once more:

    What does Lisa’s story tell you about Jesus’ interest in her personally?

    Think about how God is using her. What does that communicate about Jesus’ desire to use our stories to bring people into a relationship with Him?

    Now, read through the Samaritan woman’s story again, and as you read imagine yourself being the woman at the well. Imagine that Jesus is communicating with you. After reading, take a few moments to respond to the questions.

    Jesus and the Woman of Samaria

    Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.[a]

    A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.[b] The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

    16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

    27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.

    31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

    39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

    As the words of this passage roll around in your mind and you rewind your thoughts to the message from yesterday, what arrests your heart?

    How were you challenged to share your story?

    Did yesterday’s message inspire and equip you in some way to share your story? If so, what do you plan to do about it?


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  • facetime : Week 1

    Day 6 – Share

    Week One – Knowing Jesus

    Day Six: Saturday – Share

    (If you’re just tuning in, click here and here to learn how to maximize the devotional.)

    All week we have focused on knowing Jesus. Specifically, we have talked about the good news of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection—the good news that has saved us from our sin. But not only that, we are continually being saved from the power of sin and darkness. Jesus is transforming us everyday to be like Him.

    To finish the week off we want to encourage you to hang out with a few people and share what Jesus is doing in your life. Ideally, you could share your journey with your Missional Community as you challenge one another toward missional living and personal discipleship. You could also share with your ministry team on the weekend, or even with your spouse…just as long as you are sharing.

    Sharing is a thoroughly biblical practice for spiritual growth. In Mark 6, we learn how Jesus sent the twelve disciples two-by-two into the surrounding villages to preach, teach and heal. At the end of their journey, Mark says they came back to Jesus and “told him all that they had done and taught” (v. 30).

    Sharing, or reporting serves at least two spiritual purposes:

    1. Accountability (“I did what You asked, Jesus.” Or “I could have been more obedient with X.”)
    2. Encouragement (“Wow, if Jim can do that, so can I.”)

    Use the questions below to help guide your discussion.

    In what ways did the weekend teaching challenge your thinking about Jesus’ approach to sin and darkness?

     

    Which spiritual exercise during the week has been the hardest for you? What contributed to the difficulty?

     

    What has Jesus impressed upon your heart and mind as a result of spending time with the truth of the gospel?

     

    In what ways are you failing to believe and trust in Jesus’ ability and power to transform your life? What lies from the enemy have you believed regarding your identity and your daily walk with Jesus?

     

    How can you better embrace the gospel (the good news of Jesus) in such a way that it impacts you and the relationships around you?


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