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.

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.

Gospel Prayer - Gospel Impact

Scripture Passage: Acts 4: 23-31

What is the spiritual disciple that is most practiced when we have “defining moments” in our lives?

Prayer is an intimacy with God that leads to the fulfillment of His purposes.

Jesus provides the pattern for our prayers in Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:1-4:
• Reverence (Upward)
• Response (Downward)
• Request (Inward)
• Readiness (Outward)

What happened in Acts 4:13-22?

How did the disciples respond? Acts 4:23-31

Scripture-fed, Spirit-led, Worship-based Prayer
• Verse 24 – began to worship in prayer

• Verses 25-27 – Prayed out of Scripture
How does this relate to Jesus’ pattern of prayer?

• Verse 28 – surrendered to His Word and His will
How does this relate to Jesus’ pattern of prayer?

• Verses 29-30 – trusted Him for their immediate need
How does this relate to Jesus’ pattern of prayer?

• Verse 31 – went out in the power of the Spirit to share the Gospel
How does this relate to Jesus’ pattern of prayer?

PERSONAL APPLICATION:
• How should we pray as a couple?
• How would this kind of prayer empower my prayer life?
• How could this make our family prayer time more effective?

When You Are Mad At God

Scripture Passage: Mark 4:35-41

When caught in a storm, the disciples turned to Jesus and asked two questions. They asked “Lord, don’t you care?” After Jesus had calmed the storm the asked, “Who is this?” The questions we ask in the midst of a storm are important.

When we’re mad at God, we need to understand what Jesus revealed about God in the storm. Jesus revealed that:

1. Our God is a Powerful God

We must always keep in mind that our God is a powerful God — more powerful than any storm. The fact that He is powerful not only means that He is able to meet your need, but that He has the right to meet your need as He chooses.

Discuss: In what storms have you seen God’s power on display?



2. Our God is a Faithful God
If we lose sight of God’s power then we are also in danger of losing sight of His faithfulness. Before the disciples ever stepped into the boat, Jesus had said, “Let’s cross over to the other side.” That should have been enough. If Jesus said it, they should have believed it.

Discuss: When have you struggled to believe that God is faithful?

3. Our God is a Saving God

Remember that while God may not always choose to calm the storm He is more than capable of calming your heart in the midst of the storm. He knows that there are lessons we can only learn in the storm. God shapes us through storms.

Discuss: How has God used a storm to shape you?

Living Beyond the Law

Scripture Passage: Mark 2:23-28

The trap of legalism is a trap of worshiping the law as well as worshiping ourselves and how well we adhere to the law rather than worshiping the One who gave us the law because He loves us.

There are three lessons from this Scripture passage regarding the codes we live by that help us embrace freedom and forsake the bondage of legalism.

1. The Freedom of Boundaries (v. 27)
Boundaries are a blessing, and the lack of boundaries does not lead to freedom but to bondage.

2. The Futility of Legalism (v. 24)
People have turned helpful tools into rigid religious rules. These helpful tools might be perfect for you, but beware of turning them into rules for everyone.

3. The Finality of Jesus (v. 28)
God is calling us to a life of abiding in the Lord, not a life of abiding by the law.
When you recognize how far you have to go, you will be more gracious about the brokenness of others.

Discussion Questions
• Are you living a life of guilt and judgement because of self-imposed rules? How?
• What healthy boundaries give you more freedom?
• What boundaries have you put on yourself that hinder your relationship with God?
• Are you focusing on your own boundaries and ignoring God’s?