Friends Who Care

Scripture Passage: Mark 2:1-12

This is the story of four friends who did whatever it takes to get their hurting friend to the feet of Jesus.

Remember the Need
The man in the story needed to be healed physically and spiritually. The mission of Jesus is to meet the true need in our lives — forgiveness. To find true fulfillment, we must realizes that Jesus came to heal us spiritually.
Luke 19:10 “For the son of man has come to seek and to save the lost”

Remember the Team
Four men carried their friend. Doing things alone is hard. Doing things with others is easier. We have a team at church and home — fellow believers walking together and building each other up.

Remember the Options
These men could have easily seen the full room and turned around. Instead, they assessed the situation and found an option. When it comes to bringing people to Jesus, remember the options. Never give up on those you love to be healed.

Remember the Savior
These men could not save their friend, they could only bring them to Jesus. Our job is to faithfully share Jesus, God will do the rest. Our job is to share, Jesus saves.

Strategic Conversations: 

• What is forgiveness? Can you give an example of someone forgiving someone else? • • What does Jesus forgive us from?
• As a family, in what ways do you act like a team?
• What are some characteristics of a team? How would you describe a team to someone who have never heard of a team before?
• What are some things you need to work on as a family team? 
• How far would you go to share Jesus with someone? 
• What are some fears you may have with sharing Jesus and being the Light in the Darkness? 
• Who will you invite? Who will you bring to the feet of Jesus? Name one person and pray for them!

Radical Obedience

Scripture Passage: Mark 1:16-20

Mark 1:16-20 tells the story of the calling of four of the disciples. This story can help us understand what radical obedience really is.

Confident Obedience
According to John 1:35-42, Andrew and Peter spent time with Jesus before the day He called them to be fishers of men. Luke 4:38 tells us that Jesus stayed in their home. We don’t follow Jesus blindly; we know Him first.

Progressive Obedience
Peter obeyed Jesus by leaving his nets behind to follow Jesus. If we follow Jesus in the small things, the larger things come more naturally.

Costly Obedience
Mark 1:18 tells us they these disciples their nets and their families to follow Jesus. Real obedience has a cost.

Devoted Obedience
God doesn’t call us to a new set of rules and regulations. He calls us to Him; to be in a relationship with Him. When that relationship changes our hearts, we naturally make changes in our behavior. The love relationship must come before lasting change.

God doesn’t leave us on our own. He is our guide and will stay with us no matter what or where He calls us. At Kingsland, we’ve been challenged to invite others to a relationship with Jesus. Who are you inviting this month?

Discussion Points:

• What area of your life is the most difficult to be obedient in? Why?

• What are some small things you can be obedient in right now?

• What is the hardest thing you ever felt God ask you to do?

Reset Your Regret

Scripture Passage: Philippians 3:13-14

Each of us have regrets. According to Forbes magazine, the top three regrets of 2018 are…
• Working too much at the expense of family and friendships
• Spending too much time on my phone or computer
• Taking life too seriously

The Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians teaches us how to address our regrets.

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”

1. Silence the Accuser
Satan, our accuser, can be overcome “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony (Revelation 12:11).”

Through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross we now have power over sin. As believers in Jesus Christ, God’s grace is sufficient for us in all matters.

We also silence Satan by the sharing of our testimony. There is power in telling our story. Turn your regret over to Christ, and share your story.

2. Reconcile and Repent
If it within our power then God expects us to resolve the regret we have — for example, apologizing to someone we’ve hurt or wronged, or restoring a relationship, or other ways that the Holy Spirit prompts us. Then, we must repent; ask God’s forgiveness.

3. Move Forward
To move forward requires that we turn loose of past regrets and then move toward Jesus, allowing Him to do His work through us.

• Discuss and think about these things:
Share a regret. Talk about how you might implement God’s plan for you to reset that regret. Encourage others in your family to share, too.

Singing His Glory

Scripture Passage: Luke 1:46-53

The Magnificat or “Mary’s Song” is one of the most beautiful poetic passages in all of Scripture. After the angel Gabriel informed Mary that God had chosen her to give birth to Jesus, Mary expressed her praise in song.

Mary’s song reveals three elements of praise that remind us of reasons to praise this time of year. No matter what you’re going through, these are reasons to praise and bring glory to God!

1. Mary Sang of God’s Salvation

Mary willingly submitted to God’s plan for her life. She identified herself as a servant. Mary also knew she needed a savior and therefore rejoiced in God her Savior and passionately worshiped Him.

2. Mary Sang of God’s Nature

Mary referred to God as the Mighty One. She acknowledged that His name is holy. She sang of His mercy. Like Mary, we should acknowledge God’s great attributes when we praise Him. We too should sing of His holiness and His might.

3. Mary Sang of God’s Faithfulness

Nothing that Mary sang about was dependent on her personal circumstances. She was actually a poor young girl who faced the challenge of explaining to others why she was pregnant. And yet, she sang of God’s faithfulness throughout history and to her personally.

Sing Your Own Song

We learn from The Magnificat that you can put almost any worship song into three categories:

• Gratitude for salvation

• Acknowledging God’s nature
Trusting in His faithfulness

What song(s) will you sing to God today?

The Surrender of Glory

Scripture Passage: Philippians 2:1-11

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians about the incarnation of Jesus. The word incarnation literally means “in flesh.” It means that God came to us in flesh. Paul said that God became flesh. Understanding the incarnation gives us a model for our lives. The doctrine of incarnation is a call to imitation.

Three Ways to Imitate Christ Through His Incarnation:

1. Imitating the incarnation means I move toward needs.
The Gospel teaches us that Jesus consistently moved in the direction of the need.
Jesus was willing to lay aside glory, and move to the direction of us who are in need.

2. Imitating the incarnation means sacrifice.
If we are going to imitate the incarnation there will be a price to pay. We have the opportunity to surrender and honor and follow the Lord.

3. Imitating the incarnation means looking toward long-term rewards.
Jesus was willing to sacrifice because he was looked toward eternal rewards. We are called to do the same.

Discussion Questions:

• How does it make you feel that Jesus came down to the world in flesh to meet our need?

• How can you move in the direction of those who need the Gospel?

• What does imitating Christ through sacrifice look like for you?

• How can you look toward the long-term rewards in your life?

Spend some time praying as a family that you would imitate Christ with your life through His example in Philippians 2.

Access to Glory

Scripture: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth “John 1:14.

1. Jesus gave us access to His glory.

We don’t deserve access to God’s glory and we can’t earn access to God’s glory. Access to God and His glory is a gift that comes through a relationship with Jesus.

2. Jesus is our only hope.

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

The Gospel is the good news that Jesus came to save us, heal us and set us free. Our sin separated us from God and His glory but through a relationship with Jesus we have access to God and His glory.

3. Jesus did not take any shortcuts.

Jesus came full of grace and truth. Jesus did not ignore our sins but paid the penalty for our sins on the Cross so that we could be saved and set free.

Scripture tells us that “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).

If you have never prayed to receive Jesus Christ then you can pray today to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. You can pray a prayer similar to the one below from your heart to God.

PRAYER: God, I confess that I have sinned and I need your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus is your Son and He died for me so that I could be forgiven and have a relationship with you. I confess that I can’t do anything to earn this gift of salvation. I put my hope fully in Jesus and his death and resurrection on the Cross and receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior. In Jesus Name, Amen.

If you prayed this prayer or a prayer similar to this one today then God saved you today! You are forever saved and nothing can separate you from God and His great love for you!

The Shepherd’s and God’s Glory

Scripture Passage: Luke 2:8-14

The good news of Jesus’ birth was first announced to Jewish shepherds. This is significant because shepherds in Jesus’ day were regarded as social outcasts and were among the most scorned individuals.

And yet, God chose ordinary shepherds, not priests or kings, to be the first to hear the news of His Son’s birth. Common shepherds would be the first to welcome Jesus — the Lamb of God.

The shepherds’ night watch was dramatically interrupted by the sudden appearance of an angel of the Lord. When the angel appeared to the shepherds “the glory of the Lord” shone around them, supernaturally lighting up the night. God’s glory is the side of God humans can see and to which they can respond in confession, worship, and praise (see Isa. 60:1-3).

1. God’s Glory Reveals an Unseen Reality | There is more going on in the world than we can see (read 2 Kings 6:15-17).

How would a glimpse of God’s glory change the way in which you look at your current trials, tribulations, or challenges?

2. God’s Glory Shines in Unexpected Places | The values of God’s kingdom are not the same as the values of the world. Jesus’ birth announcement was not made in the halls of power but rather in a shepherd’s field.

How and in what unexpected place can God use you to shine His glory?

3. God’s Glory Brings an Unshakeable Peace | God’s peace arrived in a humble manger, not through Rome’s military might. God’s peace is more than the cessation of fighting or the cessation of work. His peace is not dependent on circumstances.

In what ways do you need for God to settle your soul today?

The Healing Power of Prayer

Scripture Passage: James 5:13-18

The book of James concludes with practical instruction about prayer. Prayer is a powerful force! Christian pastor and writer Andrew Murray (1828−1917) said, “In relation to his people, God works only in answer to their prayer.”

The Apostle Paul said, “Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving” (Col. 4:2). This exhortation is to the church. God has invited us (collectively) to pray for each other, for our neighbors, and for His will to be done. Evangelist R.A. Torrey (1856−1928) said, “Nothing lies beyond the reach of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God.”

Key Attributes of Prayer

1. Integrity (James 5:16)

James admonishes us to confess our sins to one another. Confession of sin and answered prayer go hand in hand. Sin always hinders fervent prayer.

• Read Psalm 66:18. Take a moment to confess your sin.

2. Community (James 5:14)

James instructs us to call for the elders, or leaders, of the church. There is power in praying together and in having others pray for us. James also affirmed the value of anointing with oil, a symbol of our dependence on the Holy Spirit.

• This week, set aside time to pray with your family or friends.

3. Anticipation (James 5:16)

We should pray expectantly. James said, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” The keyword is “working.” In Colossians 4:2 Paul admonished that we should stay alert in prayer.

• Read Psalm 5:3. Determine to have this attitude of the psalmist when you pray — pray expectantly and eagerly watch.

The Secrets of Good Planning

Scripture Passage: James 4:13-17

Someone wisely noted that to fail to plan is to plan to fail. There is much to be said about being intentional when it comes to making plans. The Scriptures offer great advice on how to plan.

1. Careful Planning

How would you describe your plans? Do your plans take into consideration the purposes of God and how He can use you to advance the interests of His kingdom?

Isaiah 32:8 notes, “But a noble person plans noble things; he stands up for noble causes.”

2. Flexible Planning

Are you flexible and available for whatever door of opportunity God opens for you?

Scripture talks much about doors of opportunity. A door represents opportunity and challenges us to decide whether we will accept or reject that opportunity.

Revelation 3:8 notes, “I know your works. Look, I have placed before you an open door that no one can close because you have but little power; yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”

3. Dependent Planning

Is God factored into your plans? Is He an afterthought? Do your plans show that you are dependent on Him?

Deuteronomy 8:11 cautions against forgetting the Lord: “Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God by failing to keep His commands, ordinances, and statutes that I am giving you today.

Politics and the Christian

Scripture Passage: Mark 12:13-17

Mark tells the story of an occasion when the Pharisees and the Herodians tried to get Jesus to align with a political system. Rather than giving them the answer they wanted, Jesus challenged them to render to Caesar what belonged to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.

As Christians we should keep in mind three things when considering the political landscape and how to engage with those with whom we disagree. As we engage with others when should demonstrate humility and listen to others.

Three Rules for Political Activity as a Christian

1. Acknowledge the complexity of political issues.
We cannot pledge allegiance to a political party.
There are often many issues we all care deeply about.
We must listen to other people and their perspective.

2. Don’t worship the government.
The government is not responsible to uphold our faith.
There is no perfect political candidate.

3. Remember your King.
Jesus is King, not a political candidate.
Our greatest need is not an external need, it is internal and only solvable by our King.

Think About It
• Have you ever thought about the complexity of political issues? How can you better grow in understanding of those complexities?

• Have you ever found yourself indirectly worshiping the government or a political candidate as the solution to problems?

• Which kingdom keeps you awake at night and do you talk most about?

• How well do you listen to other Christ followers with different views? How can you better respect and love those who may see differently on political issues?