The Empty Tomb Changes Everything

Scripture Passage: Mark 16:1-8

Every skeptic should consider two important statements made by the angel to the women at the empty tomb.

1. See The Place (verse 6)
Easter should change your mind about Jesus.

The resurrection is Ground Zero for belief in Jesus. Because of the resurrection, we cannot regard Jesus as simply a good man or a teacher. We must consider His claims to be the Son of God — the Messiah. Skeptics must deal with the empty tomb before embarking on any other philosophical arguments.

Some have suggested that the body of Jesus was stolen. 
What possible motives would this have served? If the body had been stolen and the disciples knew it, would they have given their lives for this lie?

Others have suggested that Jesus did not die on the cross. What are the problems with this theory given what history teaches about the way in which the Romans had perfected the art of crucifixion?

We believe that Jesus rose from the dead. How does the resurrection affirm the claims of Jesus?

2. Do Not Be Alarmed (verse 6)
Easter should change your mind about your future.

The resurrection alleviates the pain of fear, trials, and suffering.

Every life will end in death. Regardless of our efforts to cheat death, it will come for all. After the death of His friend Lazarus, Jesus told Lazarus’ sisters, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live.” If Jesus was right about the resurrection, then He is right about life and eternal life.

In what ways does the resurrection of Jesus give you comfort?

The resurrection of Jesus means that death is defeated.

Remember that we are responsible for our choices and actions. We must choose to live in a way that pleases God.

Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

Scripture Passage: Mark 11

Why did Jesus have to die? If God is a loving God then why would He sacrifice His own Son? Couldn’t there be another way?

Three Reasons Jesus Had to Die on the Cross

1. Jesus Had to Die to Rescue Us.
In the Temple, Jesus saw how desperately wicked we are and that we could never get back to God on our own. We need to be rescued because we are all sinners and the wages of sin is death. No amount of self-righteousness could rescue us—only Jesus!

2. Jesus Had to Die Because He Was the Perfect Sacrifice.
Only a perfect sacrifice would be acceptable to a perfect God. Jesus was perfect and righteous, and no more sacrifices would ever need to be made in the Temple again.

3. Jesus Had to Die to Prove God’s Love.
Jesus did more than say He would lay His life down for us. He did it and in so doing He proved God’s love. God’s love for us sent Jesus to the cross so the veil would be torn and everyone would have access and could come in to God’s presence.

The rescue mission is complete, the perfect sacrifice has been made and God’s love has been put on display. This is why Jesus had to die—so there would no longer be any division between God and man.

Discussion Questions

• What did Jesus see that day in the Temple that helps explain why He had to die? (merchants, money changers, sacrifices, Temple Veil)

• Do you try to be good enough? Why is that never going to be enough? (Romans 3:23, 6:23, 7:24)

• What was the purpose of the veil? Why is it significant that the veil was torn?
Is there any part of you that says you don’t need rescuing? Confess and lay that at Jesus’ feet now.

Sacrifice and Power

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Scripture: Mark 10:35-45

We continued our series today in the book of Mark about Defining Moments in our lives. In Mark 10, James and John (and their mom) ask Jesus for places of greatness beside Him. Jesus tells them they aren’t able to drink the cup He’s about to drink, but they will suffer to bring glory to the Lord. Mark gives us some reminders about greatness.

  1. True Greatness Comes Through Sacrifice

You need to know how to take orders before you can give them.

  1. Lasting Influence Comes Through Suffering

In Mark 10:38, Jesus mentions “the cup” He will drink. “The cup” in scripture refers to the wrath of God. Jesus reminds us that His greatest moment of glory would also be his greatest moment of suffering.

Our guest speaker, Any Pettitte, Major League Baseball pitcher, spoke about using his career to bring glory to God. He told about the 2007 Mitchell Report that could have greatly impacted his witness for the Gospel.

  1. Our Freedom Comes Through the Cross

Mark 10:45 says Jesus gave His life as a ransom. Ransom means buying the freedom of a slave. If you have accepted Christ, your greatness is your freedom from sin, because that freedom has already been paid for.

Discussion Suggestions:

  • In Andy’s testimony, he said he grew up in church, but didn’t accept Christ until he was at a revival at age 11, when he first heard about salvation. Can someone attend church regularly and NOT be saved? What does salvation require?
  • Think about some “great” people and talk about what makes them great.
  • Andy was the only rookie on his team in 1995, and he was bold enough to be the Chapel Leader. How can we prepare the next generation to be that strong in their faith as young adults?

The Problem with Self Reliance

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Scripture Passage: Mark 10:17-22

Americans today pride themselves in individualism and self-reliance. Question for thought: At what point is self-reliance dangerous? From this passage, what does God want us to see?

No one can be truly fulfilled until they recognize the lies this young man told himself:

  1. Lie: “I’m successful because I’m good.” (Success is not salvation)
  • Sometimes there is a disposition in our hearts to believe we can be good enough (verse 17 & 18). We may think that if we are moral and good, then bad things won’t happen.
  • Even the disciples of Jesus had the same mindset (John 9:1-3).
  • TRUTH: Jesus corrects this thinking by explaining it is impossible for anyone to be saved by their own merits. “No one is good except God alone.” Understanding this flips our approach to God. The rich young ruler needed God, needed the sufficiency of God. The good in our life is good.
  1. Lie: “I need Jesus to get across the finish line.” (I’m almost there with what I’ve done. Jesus is sort of a supplement in my Christian diet.)
  • Verse 19 & 20: In these verses, Jesus lists out commands about our relationship with God.
  • The man feels like he is SO close to getting this right. He has been successful in everything else–surely he can figure out this part too.
  • TRUTH: The guy doesn’t desperately want to follow Jesus. He wanted to add Jesus to his menu of other things he depended on as well.
  • Being “good” isn’t it. Following Him, serving, seeking, him is.

Are we desperate for God?

Discussion Questions

  1. As was talked about in the sermon, what owns you (other gods you may be worshipping)?
  2. What do you need to surrender to Jesus and hand off your own self-will?
  3. What was your biggest takeaway from the lesson today?

Baptism

Scripture Passage: Mark 1:4-11.

There are  3 essential benefits of baptism:

1. Baptism is a symbol of your death and resurrection. The word baptize in Greek translates “to bury” or “to totally immerse” — which is the reason we baptize by immersion. It is symbolic of the death and burial of Jesus. When we are baptized we are being buried and raised, from death into new life.

2. Baptism pictures your new life. Read Corinthians 5:17. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are new creations.

3. Baptism pictures your part in God’s redemptive plan. Jesus was baptized to identify Himself with us. When we are baptized, we are identifying with Him.

Discussion:

• Baptism is a symbol. Discuss other symbols from the Bible.

• If you have been baptized, tell your family about the experience.

• When should a person get baptized?

• If a person has given their life to Jesus and never gets baptized, are they still saved? Why or why not?

Praying and Fasting

Have you ever been:
• so excited about something you were not hungry?
• so caught up in a game that you did not want to stop to eat?
• involved in a project that you worked through lunch or dinner?
• concerned about something, someone that you did not want to eat?

Fasting is a way to concentrate our attention on God and His perspective rather than the challenge we face.

If you’re facing challenging decisions, crises, major needs – what to do? This is not an easy 1,2,3, fix. God provided a way to express brokenness and dependence in an intentional way. That is fasting.

Read Ezra 8:21-23
• Talk about it. What did Ezra do? What did God do?

Fasting is denying yourself of something valuable for a period of time to receive something from God or be set free by God.

1. Fasting is Good for Me

2. Fasting Strengthens My Dependence on God

Fasting is about connecting with the heart of God. It restores our hunger for God.

3. Fasting Enlists God’s Assistance for Great Things
Is there anything too hard for God?
What do you desire that only God can do?
List things that seem impossible for you: (these are areas to fast and pray – seeking His heart and will)

Steps to Consider when Fasting
• Make a Plan – There are different types of fast, including a Partial Fast (“Daniel Fast”), 
Full Fast, Liquid Only Fast
, and Creative Fast (from caffeine, cable, computer)
• Pray about Your Privacy
Not all fasts should be a secret. There are lots of public fasts in Scripture! The point is not to do it for accolades. A “need to know” principle is helpful
• Strategically Disconnect
Enhance your experience by removing distractions (cell phones, email, web, TV).
• Expect a Challenge
You’re going to be emotionally spent at times (if you go beyond 24 hours)
• It’s going to be hard.
You’re going to experience doubt.
• Rest and Be Still
Carve out time to be with God.
• Keep Moving
• Expect a Breakthrough!

Discover the adventure of fasting.
Pray for something specific.
Ask God for a breakthrough in the coming year.
Do something hard or extra-ordinary.

Father I pray in Jesus’ name that we would be people who practice the spiritual discipline of fasting, and that in doing so we would become more sensitive to Your leading.

For Your Kids
• What are some things that your child might “fast” from for a period of time, i.e. favorite toy? Remember time is different the younger we are; instead of day(s) from an item perhaps a morning or an hour, or a few minutes.
• What might your child fast about? Be creative… is it a friend who is sick; is there a test at school; is there jealousy about a friend; is there envy about a “new” toy a friend has…
• As he/she gets anxious, use it as a teachable moment to pray to Jesus about it.
• Rejoice when the fast is over “with an ice cream” (which may be getting a toy back).
• Talk about how it feels to know that God is with them and wants to spend time with them.

Secrets for Restful Living

Scripture Passage: Matthew 11:28-30

The model Jesus gave us for victory was to rest and pray. True rest is not the absence of all work but rather spending time in the presence of God.

God’s Three Secrets for Restful Living

1. The first command, “Come,” reminds us that prayer leads to rest.
Spending time with God in worship, prayer and in His Word have a tremendous calming effect. It reminds us of what He has done for us. It resets our identity—we see who God is, and we see who we really are.

2. The second command, “Take,” reminds us that structure leads to rest.
Everyone is yoked to something, but the yoke Jesus prescribes is simple habits that we were created to do.

Our habits at Kingsland all help facilitate rest. Discipline yourself to build restful habits into your life.
• Rest
• Bless
• Gather
• Go

3. The third command, “Learn,” reminds us that imitation leads to rest.
Instead of desiring to know what Jesus knows, we should want to know Jesus so we can be just like Him, imitating Him in every possible way. Jesus goes away to rest and pray, and then He works.

Discussion Questions
• Do you have built in times of margin in your day, week and life to rest? If not, what are some good things you can say no to so that you have room for the best things?

• What is weighing you down? The challenge is to unload by talking to Jesus about it. Do that right now. Let Him bear your burden.

• Are you modeling rest, grace and prayer? Why or why not?

How God Uses You

Scripture Passage: Mark 6:30-44

What would it mean to you to be a part of something eternal? Something that would influence generations to come? We all for the most part have a desire to be a part of something bigger than us. God gives us that opportunity, but how do we tangibly walk in that impact? God spells it out for us in Mark 6:30-44.

1. God Will Humble You.
God loves to do big things in his Kingdom. Jesus humbled the disciples with the challenge of feeding 5,000 men and their families. God wants to use you, but you have to humble yourself first! Things that we do ourselves in this life have small impact in this life, but things we do with God can have huge impacts in eternity!

Discuss: What is something going on in your life right now that without God you would fail?

2. God Will Send You
Instead of Jesus just filling all the people’s needs with the snap of the finger, Jesus sent out his disciples. God also desires to use you. But how can God use you if you don’t go? We have to walk in humility and obedience to God’s calling in our life so he can use us.

Discuss: When was the last time you stepped out in obedience to God’s calling in your life? What happened?

3. God Will Provide for You.
When we are humbled and we faithfully step out in obedience to God’s calling in our life, how do we know he is going to provide? The Bible shows us that God often provides through what we have and not what we don’t have. Jesus used what they had to provide for the people.

Discuss: What in your life do you have that God can use?

4. God Will Bless You
When we humble ourselves, we step out in faith, and we bring what we have God will bless us in only the way He can. Jesus can meet our deepest desires. He wants to save you and give you a purpose in life that has an eternal impact!

Discuss: Are you ready to be used by God? Out of the first 3 points, which one do you struggle with the most?

Caring For Katy 2019

Today we had the incredible opportunity to serve our city. Today we loved our neighbors well. Today God used us for his glory and for his kingdom work. With the twelfth year of Caring for Katy today we celebrate who God is and what he has done through us.

As you reflect on serving today, here are two questions to spark conversation in your home.

1. 

What did you see?

This question is about reflecting on everything you did.

• What are things you did today?
• Did you see anything unusual?
• What was the best part of the day?
• What was the worst part of the day?
• Did anything funny happen?
• What did God show you today?
This question is about reflecting on everything God did.

2. Did God reveal himself in any way while you were serving?

• Did the Holy Spirit nudge you today?
• Did you share Jesus with anyone?
• Did you Grow together today?

In the big picture of serving our community, God doesn’t need us to do his kingdom work. He is God, He is big. The awesome thing is that He wants to use us for His kingdom work.

How God Saves Us

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Scripture Passages: Mark 5:21-42.

The purpose of today’s message was to help answer the question,  “how can we know we are saved?”

Read the passage again.

  1. The grace of salvation.

The woman who approached Jesus hadn’t been able to worship at the temple for 12 years because she was unclean, had spent all of her money trying to get better, and Jesus was now her only option. We as people are desperate for the grace of God.

  1. The faith of salvation.

We have to believe that God is who he says he is and will do what he says he will do.  We can look to Scripture to see that belief and faith in Jesus is key. Scripture to look at: John 14:6, Hebrews 11:6, Romans 10:9-10

  1. The life of salvation.

We are saved FOR something. The power of Jesus is that he makes unclean things clean. He is the only one who has the power to do that. Jesus looks at us liked he looked at the little girl and said, “arise.”

Personal Application:

  • Do you know the saving love and grace of Jesus? What does salvation mean to you?
  • What are you hoping that Jesus will do for you this weekend?
  • Is there someone in your life you who you are burdened for that doesn’t know Jesus? How can you love them in the Gospel? Pray for them.