Key to Growth: Devotion

Acts 2:41-42

Today Pastor Ryan preached on the growth of a believer. Growth always comes through devotion, and devotion always comes with love. Through falling more in love with God, our level of devotion increases, because we desire to follow Him. Today there were three ingredients to living a devoted life.

Devotion to authentic community.

  • Through coming together and having the bond of Jesus Christ, we are able to grow closer to one another.
  • We also are able to hold each other accountable.

Devotion to biblical clarity.

  • We grow when we are focused on the Word of God.
  • God reveals Himself to us through the Bible.

Devotion to persistent prayer.

  • This is a life style of desperate calling on God.
  • Inviting God in to the prayer conversation, rather than just requests.
  • Seeking His face as much as His hand.
  • Making every meeting a prayer meeting.

Through these ingredients we are able to have spiritual growth.

Questions:

  • What does the word devotion mean to you?
  • How do you walk in devotion in your everyday life?
  • What does it mean to be authentic in community?
  • What does it mean in prayer to seek God’s face rather than His hands?

How To Handle Hardships

Scripture Passage: 2 Corinthians

Although the sun is shining and all looks well in Katy, thousands of families continue to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Many of our local subdivisions look like war zones with debris flanking streets and volunteers working like ants to clean out homes damaged by flood waters. Many families are still displaced from their homes and wondering how and when their lives will return to some measure of normalcy. The Bible offers wise counsel on how to handle hardships.

1. It’s ok to be weak. | 2 Corinthians 1:8-9; 54:7; 12:7-10
We are all frail creatures of dust. Our weaknesses should point us to the strength that God provides.

• How have you or others whom you know become more aware of your weakness in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey?

2. It’s ok to be confused. | 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
Paul wrote about being perplexed but not despairing. To be perplexed is to have serious questions. That’s ok. To be despairing, however, is not ok. Despair is a type of arrogance that says things will not turn out well. The Scriptures encourage us to trust God when facing difficulties (Prov. 3:5-6).

• What hard questions have you wrestled with because of Hurricane Harvey?

3. It’s ok to be sad. | 2 Corinthians 7:5-6
It is God Himself who comforts us. His comfort often comes through those who move in our direction when we are facing difficulties.

• How have others comforted you and how has God used you to comfort others who suffered loss because of Hurricane Harvey?

4. It’s ok to have needs. | 2 Corinthians 8:13-15
Your needs matter. Be willing to acknowledge your weaknesses. We need one another. Be willing to accept help.

• Who has come alongside to help you in the past days? If you helped others, discuss what this meant to you and your family?

5. It’s ok to have abundance. | 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
Those who have been blessed with an abundance have opportunity to experience the joy of giving. Those who have less have the opportunity to experience the joy of receiving provision from God. Allow God to bless others through you if you have abundance.

• Celebrate the ways God has provided for you or give thanks for the opportunities in which God used you to provide for the needs of others.

The Faith of a Desperate Man

Scripture Passage: Luke 18:35-42

As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road begging.  Hearing a crowd passing by, he inquired what was happening.  “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by,” they told him. So he called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Then those in front told him to keep quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and commanded that he be brought to him. When he came closer, he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord,” he said, “I want to see.” “Receive your sight.” Jesus told him. “Your faith has saved you.”  Instantly he could see, and he began to follow him, glorifying God. All the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God. (CSB)

Change can be hard, even when we know it’s for the better.

Every Believer in Christ can overcome a desperate situation by recognizing 3 secrets of the blind man:

  1. Don’t miss an opportunity. In all the chaos currently around us, don’t miss the opportunity to bring the focus on Jesus. Kingsland’s has a goal to reach 10,000 homes for Jesus. Harvey is an open opportunity to engage with people. Opportunities have an expiration date. Reach out to those around you.
  2. Break Up With the Crowd. The blind man screamed out to Jesus even though the crowd was trying to quiet him. Doers make talkers uncomfortable. Step out in faith and trust that God will come through.
  3. Ask for Great Things. The blind man could have asked for more food, but he asked for it all – his sight. You seldom get more than you ask for.

When the blind man received his sight, the entire crowd praised God. You have the chance to change those around you by making yourself a candidate for change.

Discuss around the table today (or any place you gather):

  1. What can you do right now to make a difference in the world around you?
  2. What scary changes have you gone through? Discuss ways God came through for you?
  3. The blind man in the Bible had no control over anything in his life. Think of a time in your life when you felt totally out of control. How did God use that time?

The God of All Comfort

Scripture Passage: 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 – Experiencing God’s Comfort

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, so you will also share in the comfort.”

Two things we do in order to experience God’s comfort:

1. We must receive Gods comfort. | You are not able to recycle to others what you have not yet received. We have all experienced pain in the past week. Seek the Lord by going to Him and be honest about your hurts and broken heart. God has given you permission to mourn.

2. Redistribute Gods comfort. | God is not only developing people through his Word, He is also developing people through your word about Him. God is not only healing people through what He does, He is also healing people through what you do in His name. We participate in God’s work when we comfort others with the comfort we have received from him.

Discuss around your table today (or any place you gather):

1. Storms cause fear, uncertainty, and can be hard to process. Process out loud together what the last week has been like for you. Encourage one ​another to remember that God loves us, God is with us and God takes care of ​us.

2. Be honest with God about what’s going on around you. Ask Him to heal your broken heart, bandage your wounds, and restore the joy of your salvation for those things.

3. What have you been through that God can recycle?

For more information about what you can do to serve in response to Hurricane Harvey or for help on damage to your home, go to our Katy Disaster Response site.

Restoring the Table

Scripture Passage: Acts 2:46-47

“Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”

During difficult times it is especially important to remember that God is with us, cares for us and provides for us. The early church encountered their own “storms” but God continued to work in people’s lives as they gathered together for meaningful meals, with joyful, sincere hearts while praising God.

Three key ingredients of meaningful meal times:

1.​ Social | Connect around the table by having conversations with one another ​instead of being on the cell phone or watching TV.

2. ​Special | Make a plan to gather with others, recognize the meal and time ​together as a gift and be grateful.

3. ​Spiritual | Thank God for His provision and His presence by praying at the ​beginning of your meal.

In the midst of the storms of life we can rediscover the power of meaningful meal times. God can actually use meal times to transform our lives and those around us.

Discuss around your table today (or any place you gather):

1.​ Storms cause fear and uncertainty. Talk about your fears and encourage one ​another to remember that God loves us, God is with us and God takes care of ​us.

2.​ What are you thankful for today and how is God helping you through the ​storm?

3.​ Pray for God’s protection and peace and thank God for His provision in the ​midst of Hurricane Harvey.

For more information about what you can do to help in response to Hurricane Harvey go to Kingsland.org/hurricane-update.

Why Gathering Matters

Scripture Passage: Acts 2:41-47

“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their numbers day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:46-47

The picture presented here is where the believers were “all in” and committed to their worship and fellowship together.

Three Why’s of All In Commitment

1. Being a committed member of the Body of Christ at Kingsland helps us to avoid the danger of a self-absorbed faith. It disciplines us to be Christ-centered rather than self-centered. Our focus will be on His kingdom rather than our kingdom.

2. We will enjoy the blessings of shared worship; encouragement, sharing insight of the sermon, study of the Word together, prayer for each other.

3. We will have the experience and blessing of shared mission and vision. We will be part of taking the love of Christ outside to the world, both locally and around the world.

Being an “all in” member of Christ’s Church at Kingsland, we are an expression of Christ’s kingdom on earth.

Will you recommit to being “all in” at Kingsland?

Discuss around your table today.

• How is God calling me to recommit or change?

• What excuses about total commitment have I been making that God wants to change in my life?

Heaven and Hell

Scripture Passage: Daniel 12:1-4

Daniel 12:2 states: “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

What the Bible Teaches About Hell

1. Hell is a horrible place. | The Scriptures are loaded with statements regarding the horror of Hell. Whether these are figurative or literal depends on one’s interpretation but all these statements should be taken seriously.

2. Hell is an avoidable place. | God loves us so much that He has placed a blockade between Hell and us — the cross of Jesus Christ. You’ll have to climb over that cross to get to Hell. Jesus has paid your penalty so you don’t have to go! Don’t reject the cross. There’s a better way — an alternative — and that’s to let Jesus receive your punishment and you receive Jesus.”

Amen! And speaking of Heaven:

1. Heaven is an exhilarating place. | According to 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 — “But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’ these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” Many of us grew up thinking heaven was going to be clouds, harps and boring, but according to Scripture, we were extremely misled! Heaven will be incredible!

2. Heaven is a holy place. | Heaven is holy because God is holy and He’s there.

3. Heaven is an exclusive place. | Heaven will be that place with no more sickness, pain, sorry, death or problems and Jesus said there’s only one-way to get there — through Him. “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) As a Believer in Christ, I want to take as many people with me as possible!

Talk About It:

1. Do you believe Heaven and Hell are real places? (According to a Pew Poll, 72% of Americans believe in Heaven, but only 58% of Americans believe in Hell.) What Scripture passages (evidence) do you have that backs up your belief?

2. If Hell wasn’t a real place and there was only Heaven, would that effect God’s character? What does the doctrine of Hell and Heaven tell us about God? Why does that matter?

3. If you asked your family member, co-worker, neighbor or friend, “Do you believe in Heaven and/or Hell?” what would they say? If you asked them, “Which one do you think you are going to?” what would they say? (Challenge yourself or you family to actually conduct this experiment this week. Discuss the results at dinner one night.)

Resources:

Teaching Kids About Heaven
by Randy Alcorn

Explaining Hell To Our Children
by Pastor John Piper

You Can Trust the Bible

Scripture Passage: Daniel 11

Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Have you ever wondered how to defend the Bible and help others see that there is no book like the Bible? Here are four historical markers to encourage you in that process:

Qumran I In 1947, 1100 historical manuscripts were found in a cave near the village of Qumran located near the Dead Sea. All of the Old Testament books, with the exception of Esther, were found among these manuscripts. Specifically, the complete Isaiah Scroll (dated 1000 BC) was found among these manuscripts and was found to have only 17 different letters (not words, just letters) compared the Isaiah manuscript from 1000 AD. This was powerful proof that “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”

The University of Manchester Library I in 1934, Collin Roberts stumbled across a tiny piece of papyrus parchment with John 18:31-33 written on the front and John 18:37-38 written on the back. After further investigation, Roberts found that this fragment of parchment dated back to 125 AD, making it the oldest New Testament fragment we have to date. This means that the gospel of John was written and spread much earlier than Biblical historians previously thought. Further proof that, ““The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”

The Bookshelf I If you go to any bookshelf with historical texts, you can be confident that the New Testament has earlier copies, smaller time gaps between copies, and a larger number of copies than any other book written.

The Masoretes I In 600 AD, you could find a room full of men who had given their lives to one task — the careful transmission of the text of the word of God. These men exercised extreme care to ensure accuracy in the transmission of the word of God. We can have confidence that we have been given a gift in the Word of God and that it is worth building our lives on!

Talk about It

• What did you learn today about prophecy and the reliability of the Word of God?

• How does the reliability of scripture further solidify your confidence in the Gospel?

• Is there someone in your life that needs to hear about the reliability of the Bible? How can you start praying for the Lord to open doors for those conversations to take place?

Hearing From God

Scripture Passage: Daniel 10:1-11

Have you ever wondered how you can hear from God? Ever felt like it’s some great mystery that is only solved by the super-spiritual Christians? Or has it just been a while since you heard anything from Him? You’re wondering where he might be or if you’ve done something wrong and He won’t talk to you?

Three Conditions Necessary To Hear From God

1. Desire | God speaks to his children when there is genuine, wholehearted desire to hear from him.

2. Dedication | To hear God speak you must obey what He has already said. Why would we think God would speak to us and give us new direction and insight when we have been unwilling to obey what He has already told us?

3. Discernment | Here are several key ways to develop a discerning heart. Remember you cannot develop discernment apart from the Bible.

• Read God’s Word
• Study God’s Word
• Listen to God’s Word taught
• Listen to God’s Word preached
• Read books about God’s Word
• Discuss God’s Word with other believers.

As a family select 1-2 things you want to focus on over the coming week to begin hearing more from God. Is there a sin you need to confess and get help in overcoming? Is there a discipline you need to develop regarding the Bible? Do you simply need to spend time praying to seek God wholeheartedly?

Everyone can hear from God. In John 14:26 Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would teach us: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

Why We Go Beyond

Scripture Passage: Matthew 28:19-20

In the month of July, more than 400 of our students and adults embraced the challenge to Go Beyond. God used our teams to impact lives from Houston’s inner city wards all the way to Jordan where we engaged with refugees displaced from their homes by ISIS. God did an amazing work in and through our teams because of their willingness to move in the direction of people in need.

Kingsland’s missions ministry is branded with the words Go Beyond. These words are rich with meaning. In each of our lives there is a line that marks the farthest we’ve ever been or the most we’ve ever done for God and His purposes. Everything on our side of that line is familiar, convenient, manageable, and comfortable. No big surprises, no daunting challenges, no uncharted territory.

Crossing that line requires a commitment to venture to places we’ve never been and the willingness to engage people we’ve never met. Only those with the courage to overcome their fears and who have the determination to persevere will dare to cross that line. All others will keep a safe distance away from it.

Kingsland’s missions ministry is about going beyond, about crossing the line in order to advance the interests of God’s kingdom in our world.

Our missions ministry is committed to providing opportunities for you to place yourself in a context where you will see God work in and through your life in new and exciting ways. Whether serving in the inner city or trekking through distant lands, we invite you to join us as we work toward the day when the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

This morning, Pastor Omar Garcia, our missions pastor, shared his reflections on why we go beyond. You can read more about going beyond on Pastor Omar’s blog post entitled Reflections on 100 Trips. As you read, discuss with your family ways in which you can go beyond, starting in your own neighborhood.