Shift Your Security

Scripture Passage: Philippians 4:10-20

In his letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul assure us that we can shift our security and trust God to provide for our needs.

Trust God to Give Opportunities
The Philippian church provided for Paul while he was in prison. One way in which God provides for His people is by creating opportunity to bring people with abundance together with people in need. Whether you have need or abundance, you can trust God to give you opportunity.

Trust God to Give Blessing
In the midst of need you can trust God to give you blessing that would otherwise not be available. Paul never said that every situation is good but rather that God is able to work all things for the good of those who love Him (see Romans 8:28).

Trust God to Give Strength
God frequently gives us more than we can handle — but he never gives us more than He can handle. God promises that you can trust Him to give you the strength to get through hard times.

Think About It & Talk About It
• Where are you putting your security?
• Are you still thinking that your life is going okay and though mentally you agree that you need to trust God, you are still confident in your own ability to handle every situation?
• Are you struggling and feel stuck? Perhaps you need to cease striving and know that God is God (Ps. 46:10).
• Have you been complaining about where you are so much that you need help changing your focus?
• Have you been trying to do it on your own and need to confess your inadequacies? Pray for his strength and learn to abide in Him.

Three Dimensions of Salvation

Scripture Passage: Phil 3:1-21

The Bible talks about salvation as having three dimensions: justification, sanctification, and glorification. Justification is the removal of the penalty of sin. Sanctification is the removal of the power of sin. Glorification is the removal of the presence of sin.

Often we talk about salvation as if it only is about justification. No one wants to experience the penalty of their sin. But God wants to do more than paying the penalty of your sin. He wants to remove it from your life so that you can experience true fulfillment.

In Philippians 3, Paul shows us these three Dimensions of Salvation:

Justification (Phil. 3:1-11)
Justification means God removes the penalty of sin. An easy way to remember this is that when you are justified, God sees you “Just as If” you’d never sinned. It is a legal term meaning that you have been given the legal standing of “not guilty.” In other words, we’re all failures from a spiritual standpoint; but Jesus’ work on the cross made available our access to his perfection.

Paul talks about this being the reason for our rejoicing. He warns against “the dogs” who would devour people by making them doubt this justification and living in fear that God might take back his love and forgiveness. He says that this justification wasn’t earned, but freely given. In fact, all the work he could have brought to God as “payment” was considered garbage compared to what Jesus had given as payment.

Sanctification (Phil. 3:12-14)
Sanctification means God removes the power of sin. Even though we’ve been completely forgiven, we still struggle with old ways and fleshly desires. In fact, 1 John tells us that anyone who says he is without sin is actually a liar and the truth is not in him. So while we are completely saved when we place our faith in Jesus, we’re still being transformed into the image of our Savior. So every day of our life in Christ, God is continuing to save us from the heartache of our sin.

Glorification (Phil. 3:15-21)
Glorifiation means God removes the presence of sin. Glorification is the completion, the consummation, the perfection, the full realization of salvation. Philippians 3:21 sums this concept up by saying, “He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of his glorious body, by the power that enables him to subject everything to himself.” In a sense, glorification is the completion of sanctification!

We have been saved form judgment when we trusted Jesus (justification). We are being saved from sin as we allow the Holy Spirit to change us from the inside out (sanctification). And one day, we’ll be completely saved from the sin as we enter into God’s presence (glorification).

Discussion Questions:
• What are the three dimensions of Salvation?
• How do we sometimes present an incomplete view of salvation to people?
• How do you encourage a person to pursue sanctification?

The Power of Mentoring

 

Scripture Passage: Philippians 2:19-29

The Apostle Paul offers insight into how to live the Christian life with other people and into the value of mentors and mentoring. Mentoring is a relationship in which a mentor helps a protégé reach his or her God-given potential. Although the word “mentor” never appears in the Bible, the concept of mentoring is found throughout the pages of Scripture.

Each of us should seek to cultivate three relationships with others.

1. Everybody Needs an Epaphroditus — An Ally

What’s the role of an ally? This person is often someone near your age, with similar life conditions to your own, who helps you address ideas, problems, questions, and practical issues of life. An ally holds you accountable and challenges sin in your life. He speaks hard truths to you.

2. Everybody Needs a Paul — A Mentor

Dr. Howard Hendricks proposed “ten marks” of a mentor:
1. Seems to have what you personally need.
2. Cultivates relationships.
3. Is willing to take a chance on you.
4. Is respected by other Christians.
5. Has a network of resources.
6. Is consulted by others.
7. Both talks and listens.
8. Is consistent in his lifestyle.
9. Is able to diagnose your needs.
10. Is concerned with your interests.

3. Everybody Needs a Timothy — A Disciple or Mentee
A disciple or mentee is someone less advanced than you in some area of your spiritual life whom you take under your wing and mentor. It may not be someone younger in age!

Think and talk about mentoring…

Parents: How can you mentor your kids and also help them to connect with others who can mentor them?

Personally:
• Who in your life is an ally? Identify them and name them.
• Who in your life is a mentor? Identify them and thank them this week. 
• If you do not have a mentor, who could you ask?
• Who are you mentoring?

Unity

Scripture Passage: Philippians 1:27

Paul reminds us that we are citizens of heaven and, as such, should lived our lives worthy of the gospel. Unity — common values, common goals, common struggles — is essential to living out our citizenship in a world that watches every move we make.

It is important to understand that unity is not union, uniformity, or unanimity. Unity refers to oneness of heart, a similarity of purpose, and an agreement on truth. Paul explained how unity happens.

First, we must have common a common relationship. As Christ-followers we have the same Heavenly Father and are members of the same family.

Take a moment to thank God for those with whom you are connected at Kingsland.

Second, a part of cultivating unity is a common spirit. We must rely on the Holy Spirit to lead us as members of God’s family.

Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to work cooperatively with others.

Third, to cultivate unity we must have a common mission. We must move in the same direction. We must work side by side in order to advance God’s purposes in the world today.

Take time this week to get acquainted with our new EmpoweredHomes.org website. Encourage others you know to visit the site to glean ideas on how to have a home that glorifies God. Determine to work cooperatively with other members of our family to reach 10,000 homes with the good news of Jesus Christ.

A Shift in Purpose

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Scripture Passage: Philippians 1:12-13

All of us have experienced detours in life—unforeseen challenges or struggles that cause us to deviate from the path we expected. In today’s passage, Paul references some detours he experienced in his own life, but he turns the situation upside down by showing that God was able to accomplish good in the midst of the challenges. Every believer should make the most of “detours” because of the way God uses setbacks in Paul’s life.

Three ways God shapes lives for the cause of Christ:

1. The Answered Prayers of Detours

Sometimes, God answers our prayers in ways that we don’t anticipate. Paul prayed to be able to minister in Rome, he had not planned for his journey to Rome to be due to imprisonment. Through it all, God used these unplanned circumstances to further the Gospel.

2. The Unexpected People of Detours

When we end up in the midst of detours, we often find ourselves surrounded by people we would have otherwise never had access to. Many times our trials become like backstage passes that give us access to amazing people who would otherwise not be interested in connecting with you. And when you have that access, you have the opportunity to share the hope of Jesus with them.

3. The Altered Priorities of Detours

Every person is going to have to determine at some point what really matters. When we face major setbacks in our lives, a lot of the things that used to matter don’t matter anymore. And some of the things that should have mattered now matter a lot more.

Discussion Questions:

  • Think back to a time in your life when things did not go according to plan. Can you now see a way that God was at work during that time?
  • Who is someone that God has placed in your path to have an impact on their life? How could God use you to impact their life?
  • Have you had a circumstance in your life that recalibrated your priorities? Which priorities changed and why?

Shift Your Citizenship

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Scripture Passage:
Philippians 1:1-6

In his letter to the church at Philippi, the Apostle Paul reminded his readers that their citizenship was in heaven. Citizenship in heaven focuses on our responsibility to extend the influence of God’s kingdom where we live. Paul wanted for the Philippian Christians to see themselves primarily as citizens of heaven and to see everything through that lens. To be citizens of heavens requires that we do the following:

Shift Your Attention — Philippians 1:1 and Colossians 1:17-18
As citizens of heaven we must shift our attention off of ourselves and onto Jesus.

• What is one way in which you can shift your attention to Jesus?

Shift Your Approach — Philippians 1:2
Living out our citizenship means shifting our approach away from trying to control toward experiencing and showing peace and grace.

• To whom can you demonstrate grace this week?

Shift Your Allegiance — Philippians 1:2
As citizens of heaven we must analyze our priorities and allegiances and pledge our allegiance to Jesus Christ as Lord.

• Is loyalty to Jesus your highest allegiance?

Shift Your Aim — Philippians 1:6
As citizens of heaven we must realize that God is at work in our lives to conform us into the image of His Son — and that He will not abandon that good work.

• In what areas of your life is God currently working to make you more like Jesus?

Visionary Followers

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Scripture Passage: Nehemiah 3

This morning at church we were in Nehemiah Chapter 3 and we looked at what it means to be a follower. Through the Scripture we saw that there were three types of followers. The first is the bystander. These are people who are not involved, they just observe, and they often try to bring things down. The second was the participant. These are people who check the box of helping and following, but they are not bought into what they are doing. The third is the champion. The champion is the person who gives above and beyond when they serve and follow.

The type of follower that we want to be as Christ followers is a champion. Below are a few characteristics of the champions.

  1. Champions are both leaders and followers.
    • In order to be a good leader you must learn how to follow.
  2. Champions take ownership.
    • Champions seek to learn how God has wired them and to use their spiritual gifts to serve others.
  3. Champions don’t care about receiving the credit.
    • They serve and follow to help move the vision forward and to be a part of the greater picture.

The people in Nehemiah 3 were all people who followed Nehemiah and helped accomplished the task of rebuilding the wall. Many of their names are mentioned here, but they may not mean much to us at first reading. However, they were all used to accomplish a greater goal for God. We are no different. The things we do today and the way we follow today may not ever be known by the multitude, but they matter in terms of eternity. They are part of a bigger picture, and they bring God much glory.

Questions:

  • Who do I follow?
  • Why am I following them?
  • How does my following of these people effect how I lead others? (We all have influence.)
  • As I follow what are ways that you can serve other people and be a part of what God is doing?

Prayer: Pray that you as a family would seek to follow well and follow those that will lead you to honor and glorify Jesus. Pray that your family would serve as you follow.

Hidden Elements of a Leader

Scripture Passage: Nehemiah 2:11-20

Every potential leader must understand the essential hidden elements of leaders — from which a leader’s success will rise and fall.

The Leader’s Character
Nehemiah put in time, sacrificed sleep and comfort, and worked even when no one else was around. That is the very definition of character.

John Wooden, the great basketball coach, said, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

The Leader’s Preparation
Nehemiah prepared. He raised the needed resources, including giving from his own pocket. He surrounded himself with a team of trusted leaders and routinely rallied the people in order to inspire them.

Nehemiah also organized the work into manageable chunks for the people. He strategically took proximity into account, calling people to repair the sections of the wall closest to their homes.

Great leaders have a plan and work a plan.

The Leader’s Humility
In his book on humility, C.J. Mahaney writes, “Pride takes innumerable forms but has only one end: self-glorification. That’s the motive and ultimate purpose of pride — to rob God of legitimate glory and to pursue self-glorification, contending for supremacy with Him. The proud person seeks to glorify himself and not God, thereby attempting in effect to deprive God of something only He is worthy to receive.”

We are in danger when we look down on other people, when we take advantage of the weak, when we think the rules don’t apply to us, and when we disregard God in any area of our life.

Discussion Questions
• In your own words, what is the difference between Character and Reputation?
• As a leader, what areas in your life need more preparation?
• What areas in your life are you struggling to come up with a plan?
• When something good happens, do I feel entitled or do I feel grateful?
• When someone questions me, do I get defensive or do I listen?
• Does it bother me when someone else gets credit for something I was involved in?

Sustaining the Vision

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Scripture Passage: Nehemiah 6:15-16

It’s not that difficult to have a great idea. And lots of people can get started in pursuing a vision with good intentions. But staying the course until the end is difficult and often makes the difference in whether the vision is accomplished or not.

In today’s passage from Nehemiah, we see that the vision for rebuilding the Jerusalem walls was completed. How did they pull this off? We’ve already read about all of the opposition. How did they survive all of the road blocks along the way? How did they sustain the vision amidst challenges?

Today we took a look at two essential practices that will lead to sustained success.

1. Visionary Leaders Sustain the Vision by Celebrating Victories Along the Way.

Nehemiah was quick to give credit to God for the success of their amazing accomplishment:

“When all our enemies heard this, all the surrounding nations were intimidated and lost their confidence, for they realized that this task had been accomplished by our God.” (Nehemiah 6:16)

It is good for us to take intentional moments to thank God for what he has accomplished in our lives.

2. Visionary Leaders Sustain the Vision by Focusing More on People than Projects.

In reading Nehemiah 1:9, we are reminded the true goal of Nehemiah’s vision:

“But if you return to me… I will gather them from there and bring them to the place where I chose to have my name dwell.” (Nehemiah 1:9)

The Vision was never to build a wall, the vision was to restore the people. We see the importance of focusing on people more than projects.

As we seek to share the good news of Jesus with our neighbors and acquaintances, it’s important to focus on people and relationships more than simply sharing facts and information. The opportunity to share truth is won when we prove that we prioritize our relationship with them.

Discussion:

  • What is one victory in your life you want to pause and publicly thank God for?
  • Who is one person who doesn’t know God that He may be leading you to build a relationship with?
  • What is one thing you can do this week to show that person you care about your relationship?

Pray for Revival

Scripture Passage: Nehemiah 8

Revival — We often think of revival as a programmed event or a stirring of emotions. An event or our emotions is not what creates revival. Revival starts when hearts that were cold or hardened to God are made new and come alive.

Elements of revival include…

Unified Prayer | The people of God must come together and pray as one. When praying together our prayer must be grounded in the Word of God. Prayer is revival.

Confession | Confession is agreeing with God about our sin. Does what grieves His heart grieve  our heart? Does what God views as sin the same as what we view as sin? Confession really is a celebration of the mercy of God. When we do confess we are confessing to a God who deeply loves us.

Surrender | We must learn how to surrender to the Lord.

Discussion:

• When you think of the word revival, what comes to your mind?
• How often do you pray with other people?
• What do you typically pray for and what drives your prayer time?
• When was the last time you confessed sin to someone? What keeps you from confessing your sin?
• Does knowing that God deeply loves you change your perspective on confessing your sin?
• What would it look like for you to spend time as a family, asking God to bring about revival in your life?