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?

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.

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?

Praying God’s Promises

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Scripture Passage: Nehemiah 1:4-11

This morning, we learned about using prayer correctly. Prayer is a wonderful, simple, mysterious, critical aspect in the life of a disciple of Jesus. We talk with God and He talks with us. Pastor Rush said, “It’s a conversation with our Heavenly Father. Prayer is a HUGE deal. Prayer IS THE WORK of the ministry. Nothing of eternal value happens without prayer.”

As we learned, Nehemiah knew the power of prayer. He knew that effective prayer begins with the Promises of God. This is one of the most powerful and effective prayers we have. To take the very words of God and pray them back in faith and say – “God, you said this. I am trusting you to fulfill what you promised you would do.” We are getting ourselves in line with what God has already said. (Consider Jesus’ words in John 14:13-14). Briefly, here are FIVE steps we can follow to experience the joy of praying God’s promises:

  1. Look for passages on that subject. You can utilize the concordance in the back of many Bible’s, ‘God’s Promises’ books, websites like blueletterbible.org or ask a friend, pastor or community group leader.
  2. Look for promises in those passages. Remember there are promises God made to all, promises he made specifically to others, but demonstrate His character and promises that are implied by His commands.
  3. Start memorizing and meditating on those passages. To Nehemiah, God said it was to be, so it’s as good as done – even with the mess he heard reported! When you pray from a position of confidence, you pray expectantly!
  4. Allow God to personalize the promises. It’s very important not to abuse this step! It’s a sequence: you trust in what you CAN know clearly from God’s Word, and then God begins to reveal to you other things that are completely in line with the Word of God – but are just for you.(Remember the difference between logosand rhema)
  5. Participate in the Prayer. This is where prayer and living out your faith connect. Nehemiah was confident in the Lord and went before the King and God answers his pray! But this was after fasting and praying for months!

One of the last things Pastor Rush said this morning was, “Our vision to reach 10 thousand homes will not happen without prayer, our mission to invite all people to experience true fulfillment in Jesus will not happen without prayer, our heart to see parents rise up as the primary faith trainers of the next generation will not happen without prayer. Our passion to see every home living out the 4 habits of REST, BLESS, GATHER, and GO will not happen without prayer. Revival will not break out across our city and nation without prayer.”

What else in your life will not happen without prayer?

Discussion Questions:

  • What about today’s sermon from Pastor Rush stuck out to you?
  • Which of the five practical steps from today’s message is most difficult for you to do? Why?
  • Why is it easy to abuse “praying God’s promises” back to Him?
  • What do we need to be careful about?What area(s) of your life are you seeking God for?
  • How can knowing God’s Word help you to pray more specifically and confidently for those?
  • What is one small step you can take today to put into practice what you heard?

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?