Jesus’ Encounter with Demons

Scripture Passage:  Matthew 8:28-34

Spiritual Warfare is a normal part of life as believers. As God’s children, we do not need to be afraid of Satan and his demons. The enemy is completely defeated by Jesus and as God’s children He gave us victory over the enemy. However, we do need to identify how the enemy works in our lives and how to fight spiritual battles.

1. The Enemy’s Strategy
The enemy can’t get to God so his target is God’s children. The enemy attacks us in a variety of ways that are often subtle. The enemy lies to us about God, ourselves and others so that he can steal our joy, keep us from connecting to God in prayer and cause division in our relationships.

2. The Christian’s Victory
As believers, we’ve been set free from the power of the enemy through Christ. The way we overcome the daily attacks of the enemy is through prayer!

A. Recognize how the enemy is working all around us.
Ask God to give you discernment to help you see when and how the enemy is lying to you and attacking you and your family.

B. Invite the Holy Spirit to fully possess you and lead you.
As Believers, the Holy Spirit was given to us at the time of salvation. Ask the Spirit to help you and empower you daily.

C. Claim the victory in Jesus that is yours.
Remember that Jesus gave his life on the cross for you so that you can live in victory. Jesus defeated the enemy for you because He loves you. When you feel attacked by the enemy, invite Jesus into the situation and He will give you victory.

Discussion:
What are some ways the enemy attacks you to keep you from praying? 

How does the enemy attack your relationships with others to create division? 

Where in your life do you struggle and you need God to give you victory? 

Prayer:
God, thank you for the victory you gave me through Jesus. Thank you for setting me free from the power of the enemy. Help me to have discernment to quickly recognize how the enemy is working in my life. Expose his lies. Empower me by your Spirit to pray and stand firm daily in your victory. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Note: Please visit our Freedom From Fear page for helpful resources.

Secrets of the Second Mile

Scripture Passage: Matthew 5:38-41
Roman Soldiers had a custom that they could force regular citizens to carry their load for one mile. Jesus challenged His followers to voluntarily go the second mile. There are two reasons the second mile is such an important journey.

1. A Journey from Obligation to Opportunity

The second mile has a different attitude. When you are doing something of your own accord and not by requirement, you are taking control of the situation. The second mile is our opportunity to rise above. The first mile is the slave mile. The second mile is the smile mile. If you go the first mile and that’s all, then you’re going to hate it every step of the way.


2. A Journey from Annoyance to Appointment

When we walk the second mile, it allows us an opportunity to get to know someone and share Jesus with them. People will notice your second mile attitude and be receptive to you.

Jesus went beyond the second mile by giving His life as a ransom for us.

Think About It | Talk About It

• Are you living your life as a “Second Mile Christian”?

• What is a situation in your life where you could go the second mile? What is stopping you?

• Can you  think of someone that has gone that second mile for you? How did that change you?

The Essentials of Powerful Prayer 

Scripture Passage: Matthew 8:5-10

God is calling His people to an important role: helping people pray through real concerns about the future, about the challenges we have ahead. The story of the Centurion illustrates how to ask things of God by faith. When you realize how God’s power works in our prayer lives, it transforms the way we pray.

There are three basic factors of a powerful prayer.

The first factor is: The source of my faith (Matt.8:5-8)
Faith is believing God will do what He says He will do. The Centurion’s great faith came from his understanding of who he was counting on. He received a miracle because he came to Jesus. Christ must be the source and person in whom we rest our faith. Jesus has come to redeem our spiritual authority to walk by faith and claim God’s promises.

The second factor is: The submission of my will (Matt.8:8-9)
If you are in Christ, He has given you all the power you need to overcome the enemy’s attempts to destroy you. You can ask according to the power he has given you. Any authority you have in Christ through prayer comes from being under the authority of Jesus. When you submit your will to the Father in prayer, He chooses to answer. Unless you submit to the authority of Christ in your life, you are not going to be able to live by faith.

And finally, The Size of my God (Matt.8:9-10)
It was clear that the Centurion knew about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He knew that Messiah was coming. And He knew that Messiah had power. The Centurion demonstrates great faith by recognizing the way in which Jesus’ authority could extend to him. The more you know of God, the more you’ll ask of Him. The more you know of God, the more you’ll know what to ask!

When Jesus came, he redeemed us and restored the authority God had given us under Him. You have been given a greater power to bring God’s power into any situation in which you dwell. You can anticipate God working in all areas in your life. You have the freedom to pray to God for your heart, your home, your Church, and beyond. You have the power of prayer available because God is faithful and He is at work.

Think About It | Talk About It

• Why does knowing the source of our faith matter? 

• Why is so important to be obedient to Jesus authority? 

• Where can you anticipate God’s working through prayer? 

• Why does it matter to know God’s power is available in your prayer life? 

Happy Mother’s Day

Scripture Passage: Luke 10:38-42

Many of us are familiar with the story of Mary and Martha — praising Mary for sitting at Jesus’ feet while chastising Martha for staying busy. However, Jesus is really speaking about priorities and how life changes once we live with intentionality because of those priorities. It is possible to preserve the most lasting things of life by recognizing three key lessons that Jesus taught Martha.

1. You can’t have it all.
God has a calling for each and every person’s life. This calling is not to be in every sport, play every instrument, take every work opportunity, and make yourself as busy as possible trying to be successful. God has a plan for your life, and He will call you to those things that are best for you.

2. Your Yes’s Define You.
The way that you act shows your real priorities regardless of what you say. Martha loved Jesus, but she had too many things she was trying to prioritize at once while Mary prioritized learning from Jesus and being under His authority.

Mary realized that their time together was short and knew she needed to put Jesus at the forefront. This does not mean that moving forward in action is wrong, but it means that there is an order to things and that sitting at Jesus’ feet must be at the top.

3. Only One Thing Matters.
In Christ, we can rest and know that we do not have to be busy to be loved or known by Jesus. We can see that He is always enough for us and He will guide us. We do not need to strive. We can rest and allow Him to be in control.

Talk About It 

• Do you feel like busyness has become a goal or even a status symbol in your life? 

• Why is it difficult to step back from our hurried schedules and minimize so that we might live intentionally?  

• Jesus is not saying that we should be inert but that we should prioritize Him. How can you begin your day sitting at His feet, allowing that to permeate the rest of your day? 

• During this season we have had to say “no” to so many things. What are the things that you could continue to say “no” to so that you can say “yes” to Jesus? 

• Why do you feel the need to control your life? Why is it so painful to surrender and allow Jesus to be our authority?

Living an Unhurried Life


Scripture Passage:
Matthew 11:28-30

Dallas Willard – “Hurry is the greatest enemy of spiritual life in our day.”

We live in a time where being busy is viewed as a good thing. The sermon today focused on three reasons that living a hurried life is dangerous.

1. Hurry Redirects Our Worship

Jesus invites us in Matthew 11:28 to “come to me”. Jesus invites all who are wearied and burdened to come to Him for rest. That implies that we need to step out of being wearied and burdened. Whatever takes up our time is what we worship. While working hard is a good thing, it can replace Jesus if we aren’t careful.

2. Hurry Reinforces our Worry

When we live in a state of continual hurry, we may be trying to feel needed. We may be trying to feel good enough. Living in a hurried state may reveal that we don’t trust God to take care of us and we need to work harder to take care of ourselves.

3. Hurry Results in Wreckage

Jesus calls us to love God and others. Love can’t be done in a hurry. Love takes time. Alan Fadlings states, “For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we settle for a mediocre version of our life.”  God promises us a life of abundance if we will rest in Him.

Discussion Questions:

  • Evaluate your schedule. Is there room for God to move in your life and space for you to hear his voice?
  • Is your life too hurried? What can you cut to make room to rest?

The Traits of a Christian Neighbor 

Scripture Passage: 1 Peter 3:14-16

Peter explains in these verses what should make us different neighbors from those who might not know the love of Christ. He challenged his readers with two marks of a Christian neighbor:

1. Extraordinary Hope
As believers, we must be ready to give an answer for the hope in us. Hope in the Scriptural sense is an anticipation of something better because of what has been promised. Christians should be known in their neighborhood for having and demonstrating extraordinary hope.

2. Undeniable Grace
We’re not saved by our good works, but when we’re saved, it does change our behavior. Our neighbors should see some fruit in our lives. When you’re a good neighbor, even others who disagree with you and your beliefs will come to your defense when you demonstrate the love of Christ to others around you.

Discussion

• When your neighbors look at you, do they see extraordinary hope? Do they see undeniable grace? How can you demonstrate these two characteristics this week? 

• Do you have an expectation for the future because of Jesus Christ? 

• What steps have you taken to “Love where you live?” What are some steps of obedience you might take this week as you love your neighbors well? 

Prayer

Pray for your neighbors to have hope during this season.

Pray for God to use you to show your neighbors what hope and grace looks like in your life.

Use the prayer guide for our neighbors provided at our Empowered Homes site to pray for your neighbors this week.

Love… Where You Live

Scripture Passage: Matthew 22:34-40 

In Matthew 22:34-40, we are commanded to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, with all of our soul, and with all of our mind. We are also commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves.

The restrictions of the Coronavirus shelter-in-place directive have limited our travel to almost every mission field on earth except the one we overlook most: the place where we live.

Notice two primary principles in Jesus’ command: The Proximity Principle and the Kindness Principle. God has placed us next to specific people with a specific purpose in mind — to love them in a way that reflects our Father in Heaven!

God is calling us to invest in our neighbors, sacrifice for our neighbors when necessary, and ultimately, to show the kindness of God to our neighbors. We are presented with a precious opportunity, during these unprecedented times, to love people where we are at.

Discussion 

• What will it look like for you to spend intentional time with your Heavenly Father this week?  

• Are there barriers that are hindering you from reaching out to your neighbors? If so, what are they? 

• How can you love and cherish your neighbors well during these unprecedented times? 

• In what specific ways can you intercede in prayer on behalf of your neighbors? 

Prayer 

Pray for your heart and ask God to align your heart with His.

Pray for your home and ask the Lord to bind your hearts together and also to use you together for the advancement of His Kingdom.

Pray for your neighbors. Ask God to Incline your heart to love and cherish your neighbors well. Be sensitive to the leadership of the Holy Spirit in reaching out to and loving your neighbors.

Easter and the Stone

Scripture Passage: Matthew 28:2-5

On Easter Sunday, very early in the morning, Mary Magdalene and Mary went to visit Jesus’ tomb. As they were on their way they realized they would have a great problem when they arrived: the stone was in the way. (Mark 16:3)

The stone was a barrier that kept them from the truth about Jesus. In that sense, many of us deal with stones that keep us from life as God intended. Barriers that keep us from trusting God because we lack the truth that would give us the confidence we need. Barriers that we’re powerless to overcome on our own.

Matthew 28:1-7 records that an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached the tomb, rolled back the stone, and sat on it. The angel invited the women to set aside the barriers that were keeping them from Jesus. He invited them enter and to see the tomb.

All of the things the women feared indicated that they really believed they were alone. Once they realized they were not alone they had no basis for that fear. When God removes the stone that’s keeping us from seeing the truth, and we understand what has taken place, we can be free from fear.

The stone was rolled away so we can have all the evidence we need to believe that Jesus is risen. Some fear that God is disappointed with them or that something in their past may rob them of their future. God’s message for us is that because of the resurrection of Christ, all the barriers that would keep them from a life in Jesus Christ have been taken away.

Discussion

• What is your stone or fears?  

• Can you see how that stone is keeping you from Jesus? 

• Would you like to experience the transformation Jesus can provide?

Jesus Is King

Scripture Passage: Matthew 21

Reminder: Don’t forget to post kids’ sermon drawings and a photo of your family worshiping from home to social media with #10000Homes.

1. Jesus is a Humble King (Clue: A Donkey)
Humility is a powerful and important quality that Jesus had, and one that the Lord says is important in the hearts of Christ followers. Scripture tells us to humble ourselves.

• Why didn’t Jesus ride in on the finest stallion? He is the Son of God! He could have chosen anything. 

• What are some ways that you can show humility this week? Pray, and ask the Lord to show you ways that you think of yourself more than others. Confess that to Him, and He will always forgive you! Ask Him for help to be more like Jesus. 

2. Jesus is a Saving King (Clue: A Crowd)
The Creator of the universe sent His Son, Jesus, to earth to save you. He loved you so much that He wanted to pay the price of your sin, so that you could live and have eternal life with Him. He even died to save the people who hated Him. What a friend we have in our Savior, Jesus, right?

• What does the word Hosanna mean? If you don’t remember, look it up as a family. 

• What are some sinful things you struggled with this past week that make you glad you have a Savior? Confess that to your family and the Lord, and don’t go back to it. Don’t hold on to any shame from it, because there is no condemnation (disapproval) in Christ Jesus! 

3. Jesus is a Conquering King (Clue: A Mountain)
Jesus is coming again! He’s coming to make all things new. He’s coming to wipe out evil, suffering, poverty, and disease. He’s coming to take His children home to be with Him. He’s coming to make happen a glorious reunion with Saints who’ve gone before. He’s coming to mend the broken hearts. Praise the Lord!

• What are some words that you can use to describe the Lord and remind you of who He is when you are feeling nervous or scared? Scripture is a great place to look for words that describe God’s goodness and remind you that He has got this! 

• Romans 8 tells us that God works all things for the good of those who love Him, according to His plan. James 1 tells us that if we persevere in trials, we will be blessed. When you have gone through something tough in the past, what were some good things that came out of it? Remember, when our hope is in our Conqueror, Jesus, the battle has already been won.

Prayer Time
Take a moment and pray as a family, acknowledging Jesus as your Humble King, your Saving King, and your Conquering King. Ask Him to remind you of who He is, so that you don’t feel nervous or scared when you are going through a difficult time or feel unsure. Most of all, remember that Jesus is King, and God is in control!

Dealing with a Money Crisis

Scripture Passage: 2 Kings 4:1-7

The Bible tells the story of a woman who was dealing with both the grief of loss and the fear of the future because of her financial situation. We all are familiar with the same anxieties she experienced. Here are four questions to ask ourselves in a money crisis.

1. What do I need?
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to pray for our daily needs. We should take stock of the things we actually need and also who we need. Look at what we need, what God has already provided, and remember how He has provided for us in the past.

2. What do I have?
God often begins to provide for us using what we already have. We can look at what we have and ask for insight about how to recover in ways we hadn’t thought of yet.

3. What can I do?
We can both trust God and also take action. During down times we can take action by changing our consumption and acting on opportunities that are given to us. We can also demonstrate faith by giving.

4. Who do I trust?
The essence of trusting God is a heart issue. We need to be honest about our heart.

DISCUSSION
• What are some things you thought you needed that you’ve had to do without over the past few weeks?

• In what ways has God already provided for you?

• What are some ways you’ve had to put your faith in God in financial situations in the past? How have you seen Him provide?

• What are new ways you are having to trust God in this challenging season?

PRAY ABOUT IT
• Thank God for His provision, even when it feels different than it has before.

• Praise God for being trustworthy.

• Ask God to provide for you in new ways and to help you have faith in Him.