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.

Shift Your Citizenship

SHIFT Banner
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?

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?

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?

Overcoming Opposition

Scripture Passage: Nehemiah 2:17-19

3 Tips for a winning strategy to overcome opposition

Tip #1: Expect Opposition
Satan’s work is to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10b). Remember that opposition can come from within and without.

• What opposition are you currently facing?

Tip #2: Engage in Prayer
Nothing of eternal value happens without prayer. We are engaged in a spiritual battle so remember to use the right weapons — prayer, dependence upon the Holy Spirit, and obedience to God’s Word.

• What are you specifically praying for in regard to overcoming opposition?

Tip #3: Endure in Your Role
Don’t give up; don’t give in (Nehemiah 4:21-22). Expect God to show up (Colossians 1:29; Nehemiah 4:14). Remember that we fight from victory, but we still have to fight.

• What steps are you taking in order to overcome opposition and complete your task?

Nehemiah and the people persevered and completed the good work of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 6:15-16).

Don’t Hold Back

Scripture Passage: Proverbs 14:31 — “The one who oppresses the poor person insults his Maker, but one who is kind to the needy honors Him.”

Our View of People Matters
Oppression is prolonged cruel or unjust treatment born out of pride or a sense of being better than someone else. It’s a mindset and behavior that stems from viewing others as having less worth and value.

Our view of people should reflect that all people are created in God’s image and worthy of dignity and respect. We need to remember that there is not one person we will encounter today or tomorrow who is not made in the image of God. Everyone we encounter has worth and value.

How does our view of others affect the way treat them? What keeps you from showing radical kindness to others?

Kindness Matters
You can’t have kindness without a correct view of people. Kindness is grounded in the character of God and is important to Him. The kindness of God is about being gracious to those who don’t deserve it, can’t earn it, or can’t repay us.

When we were still sinners, Jesus died for us. We didn’t earn it. We didn’t deserve it. How different and awful it could have been had Jesus chosen to display His kindness to us based on our earned merit.

In what ways can you go beyond in your kindness? To whom can you show kindness today? Determine that you will not hold back in showing kindness.

Hope for the Abused

Scripture Passage: 2 Samuel 13:1-14

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men have experienced some sort of contact sexual violence in their lifetime. Sexual abuse is the most under-reported crime in the United States according to the FBI.

Consider the following four destructive spiritual effects of sexual abuse.

The Abuse of Trust — Read 2 Samuel 13:1-12
The passage in 2 Samuel is about abuse within the family. Satan is shrewd and will feed our distrust of God by orchestrating betrayal and abuse from those who ought to be trustworthy. Satan can use this to lead you to believe the lie that you cannot trust God or anybody.


An Abuse of Power — Read 2 Samuel 13:14
Amnon overpowered Tamar in spite of her appeals to stop. Satan attempts to destroy hope by making us feel powerless. Satan can use this to lead you to believe the lie that there is no help or hope for a victim like you.

An Abuse of Guilt — Read 2 Samuel 13:13
Guilt is the legal term for those who are to blame. Shame is what a victim feels. Shame often drives victims into isolation and silence. Satan can use this to lead you to believe that you are not worthy of God’s attention or the blessing of others.

An Abuse of Love — Read 2 Samuel 13:14-20
After abusing Tamar, Amnon hated her with intense hatred, even though he was the perpetrator. Satan can use what others have done to you to make you believe that you are unlovable and should resist love.

Consider the following steps if you have suffered abuse.

• Tell Someone You Trust

• Work Through the Loss with a Gospel-centered counselor. Understand that recovery from trauma takes time.

• Loved ones must communicate safety and care. For those who love victims, please listen to them, believe them, offer compassion, get them help, and encourage them.

• If you are guilty of abuse, then you must repent, report yourself, seek forgiveness, and work toward restoration and hope.

Please visit Kingsland’s Resources for those who have suffered Sexual Abuse.

Wisdom for Communication

Scripture Passage: Proverbs 18:21

The Bible has a great deal to say about words. The words that we speak impact our lives and the lives of those around us. Our words have the power to bless people and also the power to hurt people.

The Hebrew word that’s translated “Gossip” in Proverbs is the work “rakhil” and it means one who slanders. Read the following Scriptures that teach us about Gossip:

• A gossip goes around revealing a secret, but a trustworthy person keeps a confidence
(Proverbs 11:13).

• A contrary person spreads conflict, and a gossip separates close friends (Proverbs 16:28).

• Whoever conceals an offense promotes love, but whoever gossips about it separates friends (Proverbs 17:19).

• A gossip’s words are like choice food that goes down to one’s innermost being (Proverbs 18:8).

Four Questions to Help us Avoid Gossiping:

1. Is he/she here? Is the person that you are talking about physically present?

2. Is it true? The information that we hear about a person may or may not be true.

3. Is it helpful? Are my words helpful for building someone up or do my words tear them down.

4. What does it reveal about my heart? The words we speak reflect what is within our heart. What do the words I speak reveal about my own heart?

Prayer
Ask God to help you speak words that bless others and build others up according to their needs.
Ask God to show you how you may be using your words to hurt others through gossip. Ask God to forgive you and to help you break free from the sin of gossip.
Ask God to help you speak word that bless others!

Righteousness Exalts a Nation

Scripture Passage: Proverbs 14:34

This week we will celebrate Independence Day. We are blessed as a nation.
Take a few moments to consider God’s blessing on us as a nation and then pray for our country.

Proverbs 14:34: ”Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”
The essence of this verse is that the same God who blesses nations can also remove His blessing.

Throughout history nations have risen and fallen. Job 12:23 reminds us that God, “makes nations great, then destroys them; he enlarges nations, then leads them away.”

America is not perfect, but God has richly blessed us.

What are some ways that we have taken God’s blessing for our country for granted?

Righteousness exalts a nation
This does not mean all are righteous nor every leader is righteous. Righteousness refers to moral integrity, practicing justice, understanding and acting on what is right.
Practically, the presence of righteous people in a nation can make such a huge impact.
You cannot separate righteousness and liberty. Any time a people are unrighteous, they are in danger of losing their liberties.

Psalm 33:12: “Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord—the people he has chosen to be his own possession!”

Sin brings down a nation
Psalm 33:10: “The Lord frustrates the counsel of the nations; he thwarts the plans of the peoples.”

Sin is contagious. It affects a person, a home, a nation. Without blessing from God, a nation is on shaky ground.

Discuss the poor substitutes for Divine Blessing found in Psalm 33. . .
• More knowledge: “brings the counsel of the nations to nothing”
• Great strategy: “He thwarts the plans of the peoples.”
• Stronger defense: “A king is not saved by a large army…”

Discuss some of the ways our country has moved from God’s righteousness, i.e. immigration issues, slavery, discrimination, and abortion.

Repentance Restores a Nation
If America is to be great, the source of her greatness will rest in only one place. And if America has lost her greatness, it will be restored in only one way.

2 Chronicles 7:13-14 “If I shut the sky so there is no rain, or if I command the grasshopper to consume the land, or if I send pestilence on my people, 14 and my people, who bear my name, humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.”

If we cry out to God, if we seek His face, then we have every reason to hope that our children and their children can reap the blessings of God as we have.

• Offer prayers of confession to God in some of the ways we have fallen short as a people. • Ask for God’s wisdom for our leaders.
• Ask for the Holy Spirit of God to refresh His people.

Happy Father’s Day

Scripture Passage: Proverbs 3:11-12

Happy Father’s Day!

Special days like Father’s Day can be emotionally positive or negative — depending on the role our father played in our lives. God’s design for the family is to have a mom and a dad because it takes a man and woman, father and mother, to reflect God’s image to a child.

The First Ingredient for Biblical Fatherhood is Instruction

Vs. 11 – “Do not despise the Lord’s instruction my son and do not loathe his discipline.”

The purpose of fatherly instruction is to inform and equip. Many passages in Proverbs are about a father teaching his children about living wisely. Someone noted that proverbs is not a book for philosophers to ponder but rather a book for parents to practice.

The primary duty of a father is not to fix things or take out the trash but instead to teach his children. If you are a father, what are some practical ways in which you are teaching your children to live in a way pleasing to God.

The Second Ingredient for Biblical Fatherhood is Correction

The purpose of correction is to adjust and strengthen. Parents must love their kids enough to correct them. Requiring obedience of children is implicit in the biblical requirement that children obey their parents (read Ephesians 6:1).

The purpose of discipline and correction is to adjust and strengthen and not to humiliate or to anger. As a dad, what adjustments do you need to make in regard to how you discipline your children?

The Third Ingredient for Biblical Fatherhood is Affection

Vs. 12. “for the Lord disciplines the one he loves, just as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights.”

For some, affection may be something difficult to express. We can, however, show affection by being a part of our children’s lives by being there for the big and small moments, especially those that can’t be repeated. Parents should also verbalize affection because there is power in words.

As a dad, how do you show affection to your children?