Unfinished Business: How God Prepares Us for Vision

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Scripture Passage: Nehemiah 1:1-4 and 2 Chronicles 36:15-23

Before diving into the book of Nehemiah, it’s important to understand the context behind the story. 2 Chronicles helps us understand that. During this time, King Cyrus of Persia released the exiles because God put it on his heart, which would have been unheard of at this time. The people were going back to rebuild the temple. 100 years go by, and that’s when we get to Nehemiah. Nehemiah leads the charge because God wants his wall rebuilt. Nehemiah shows us the path to addressing unfinished business.

Three prerequisites to clear vision in our life:

1.​ Assess the problem. | Verse 4, “When I heard these words..”.Nehemiah cared about what God cared about and he wanted to know the truth. Do we investigate the needs around us and look beyond what is just convenient?

2. ​Acknowledge the discontent. |  Verse 4, “I sat down and wept..”.Nehemiah was emotionally invested in what takes place in his homeland. When God puts a burden on your heart, don’t ignore that burden, but instead let it trouble you. We all need a Popeye moment where vision starts to culminate: holy discontent. Devote your life to that which you cannot get over.

3. ​Answer the call. | Verse 4 Nehemiah was, “praying and fasting..”. Nehemiah raised his hand and answered the call to do what God called him to do and we should do the same. He did not just get emotional and then forget about it- he stepped up and led. This decision Nehemiah made leads to a transformation that lasts for generation.

Discuss around your table today (or any place you gather):

  1. Do you have unfinished business in your life? If so, what may it be and how can you address it?
  2. Has God placed a burden on your heart that maybe you have been ignoring? What is it that you cannot stand?  After this morning, what are next steps for you in this?
  3. Have you surrendered this over to the Lord and allowed him to use you in this? How are you going to answer the call?

Conflict in Marriage

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Scripture Passage: Proverbs 24:3 – “A house is built by wisdom, and it is established by understanding.”

Why do we fight? Where does conflict come from?

Number one, our differences. We are made and created different and we like different things. These are not right or wrong issues, but differences in parenting style and upbringings. We have to learn to embrace those differences.

The second source of conflict comes from our sinful ways. Meaning it’s all about me and when I don’t get my way, I throw a fit. In throwing fits we attack and cause conflict.

Here are a few ways to talk about conflict with your kids.
Reminder: In the midst of conflict always point your energy towards the issues, not the person. This means that it’s my spouse and I verses the problem, NOT me verses my spouse. If the husband wins, you both lose and vice versa. Focus on the issues, not the person. 

  1. Work out how they feel – Talk it over to help the process their feelings. Help them manage those feelings in the moment.
  2. Talk about wants and needs. What is the differences? Talk through these with them and help them understand the differences.
  3. Define the problem/issue. Have them verbalize exactly what happened and what they feel.
  4. Help them find the solution. (Don’t just tell them the solution every time) Allowing them to process and find a solution will help them greatly handle conflict in the future.

Most professionals say that the way a young child is taught to handle conflict will stay with them all of their lives. Meaning, if they learn at four years old how to face conflict, when they are adults they will most likely fight and argue like a four year old.

Conflict is healthy and unavoidable. Help your kids handle conflict in a healthy way so they can represent Christ everyday.

Questions: 

  • How did your parents handle conflict or teach you to handle conflict?
  • Do your kids argue all the time? Next time try the four points above to help them work out the conflict.

Making Wise Decisions

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Scripture Passage: Proverbs 4

What is wisdom? Wisdom is the ability to take knowledge and apply it in the right way. Foolishness is someone who is always surprised. When it comes to applying wisdom and making decisions, we can ask four questions as we wrestle with key decisions in our lives. Using the truths from proverbs, these four questions can help us make good decisions.

Four Questions for any Decision.

  1. What advice have I been given?
  2. What’s my real motive?
  3. What about others?
  4. What about the future?

ACTIVITY: Practice these questions with your kids.

  • Have your kid(s) think of a decision that needs to be made.
    Example: Should I watch that one show on Netflix. Should you go to a party? Should I take candy from the store without paying? Should you date that girl?
  • Apply these four questions
  • Discuss the answers

When you really gain an understanding of how much God loves you and that he has a purpose for your life, your choices will take on more importance! Our goal is not efficiency. Our goal is not even morality. Our goal is to bring honor and glory and praise to our God through our lives and our decisions!

Three Choices for Life

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Scripture Passage: Proverbs 31:8-9

A picture frame gets its value from the art or image inside of it. The Sanctity of Life discussion is rooted in the truth that we have value because our human frames bear the image of God–not because of how powerful we are, what ethnicity we are, or because of anything we can offer to society.

As Christ-followers, there are three key choices we have to make in our defense of the sanctity of life.

1. Always Choose People Over Convenience.
We need to embrace the value and personhood of those who “have no voice.”

“Speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of all who are dispossessed.”
-Proverbs 31:8

Valuing life doesn’t just apply to abortion. We show we value life when we appreciate and defend all life regardless of class, disability, age, etc.

2. Always Choose Right Over Injustice. 
When we say that our convenience is more important than the value of life, we are placing ourselves on the throne instead of God. We must do what is right even in the face of wrong-doing, confusion, or opposition.

3. Always Choose Grace Over Condemnation. 
We must understand that regardless of the mistakes from our past, complete forgiveness and freedom can be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. God’s grace and forgiveness provides healing from our hurts and gives us a new start!

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
-1 John 1:9

Discussion Questions:

  • What kinds of people are in danger of being devalued in our culture?
  • Has there ever been a time where you stood up for someone who was being devalued? Why did you do that?
  • What are the challenges or risks in defending the devalued?
  • What is something you can decide to do today to show sanctity for life?

Click here for a digital copy of the parent’s guide to discussing Sanctity of Life with your kids.

The Call for Collective Legacy

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Scripture Passage: Judges 1-2
We want to pass on a legacy of following after Jesus to the next Generation. We want to see this generation of households transformed by the power of the Gospel.
At Kingsland, one of our core values is “Collective Legacy” –  recognizing that ALL of us have a role to play in the spiritual formation of the next generation. We believe that God first ordained the home and family as the primary place of discipleship, the Church is there to “fill in the gaps.” This means that ALL of us have a responsibility to future generations.
Every Christian must embrace his or her role in Collective Legacy because of the THREE GENERATIONS described in Judges 2:8-10. These three generations are examples of what we could be, we can pass on our collective legacy or neglect it and turn away from it.
  1. The Compromising Generation (Judges 1:19-32)
This generation didn’t blatantly disobey Gods commands they simply lots their zeal for his commands, embraces half-obedience and ignored evil.
It still happens today, how many of us have watched a move or TV show in the past year that you would have never watched ten years ago. American christians fall into the trap of measuring our godliness by the world’s standard – simply desiring to be just a little better than the world.
  1. The Lost Generation (Judges 2:10)
This generation not only didn’t know the lord, they didn’t even know what the Lord had done.
In the same way today, statistically, things are not trending well. In the past few months Chick-fil-a has recently been banned from 2 airports in our country and 1 right down the road in San Antonio, TX. Why? Because their founder is a Christian and supports Biblical standards, not because the business itself discriminates toward anyone.  It doesn’t take very much or very long for a generation to be lost. The compromising generation lead to a lost generation.
  1. The Faithful Generation (Judges 2:8-16)
The hope for the next generation is to learn from previous generations, to remember what matters, and to be restored by Jesus.
The vision at Kingsland is that homes are being transformed with the Gospel. The home is where revival begins. The church is supposed to support the home in raising up new generations. It takes a few who live the Blessing.
Discussion Questions:
  • Of the three which generation do you want to be? (Our hope is that everyone wants to be the Faithful Generation)
  • What will you do tomorrow to pass your faith to the next generation?
  • What can you do this year to pass on your faith to the next generation?
  • What will this look like in your family?
  • How will you serve ALL the children and students around you?

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?

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.

Kingdom Living

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Scripture: After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near.  Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:14-15).

  1. The Reality of the Kingdom.

The word kingdom means the domain in which one rules and reigns.  The Gospels teach us that God’s Kingdom is coming and that God’s Kingdom is already here.

  1. The Location of the Kingdom.

The Kingdom of God is everywhere God rules and reigns. As King, God allows us to choose if we are going to seek Him and His Kingdom in our lives.

  1. The invitation of the Kingdom.

We are invited to “repent and believe the good news” of God’s Kingdom (vs. 15) for our salvation and invite others into God’s Kingdom by sharing the good news with others (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:18-20).

Questions to pray about and talk about as a family:

  1. Consider your own life.What do you need to release to God so that more of His Kingdom rules and reigns in your life? (examples: things from your past, fears, struggles, pride, lies from the enemy, sins). Take time to pray and ask for God’s Kingdom come into those areas of your life.
  2. Ask God to put one person on your heart each month to invite into His Kingdom.  This may involve one or more of the following areas of your life.

Heart– ask someone about their story or share your story

Home – invite someone into your home for coffee or a meal

Gather– invite someone to worship with you or to your Community   Group

Beyond– go beyond your comfort zone by reaching out to  someone outside your personal comfort zone to share the Gospel.

The Truth about Adoption

Truth Book of James

James 1:27-2:1: “Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world. My brothers and sisters, do not show favoritism as you hold on to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.”

In this passage, James is saying that part of believing and embracing the love of Jesus is that we are automatically going to have a desire to extend that love to others.

3 Aspects of Adoption 

  1. Adoption’s History
    It is important to understand that the people who first read the words of James lived on a different continent, spoke a different language, and had different norms and practices from us.
  1. Adoption’s Significance
  • Adoption is one of those incredible pictures God has given us in family life that helps us understand what He has done for us and how He sees us.
  • God doesn’t just save us, but He takes us into His family as children and heirs (J.I. Packer)
  • If you have placed your faith in Jesus, God has not only said that you are forgiven. He has also said, “I love you. You are my child, and I want you to share in my inheritance.”
  1. Adoption’s Response
  • Respond by extending love to those who feel disconnected from the love of God
  • Respond in a direct way by literally caring for orphans
  • Respond by really embracing the adoption that we have received in Jesus Christ

Be encouraged today that we are co-heirs with Christ and our position as adopted sons and daughters of the living God of heaven is unshakable and irrevocable.

Discussion Questions

  1. Even though we have faith in Jesus, why do we sometimes show favoritism?
  2. How do you know that God loves you?
  3. Why do we struggle to believe and accept God’s love for us?
  4. How do we extend love to those who feel disconnected from the love of God?
  5. How is God calling you to have a role in adoption?