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.
- True Greatness Comes Through Sacrifice
You need to know how to take orders before you can give them.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
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:
- 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.
- 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?
- As was talked about in the sermon, what owns you (other gods you may be worshipping)?
- What do you need to surrender to Jesus and hand off your own self-will?
- What was your biggest takeaway from the lesson today?
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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.”
- 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.
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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
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
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- Even though we have faith in Jesus, why do we sometimes show favoritism?
- How do you know that God loves you?
- Why do we struggle to believe and accept God’s love for us?
- How do we extend love to those who feel disconnected from the love of God?
- How is God calling you to have a role in adoption?
Scripture Passage: James 2:8-12
We each receive an invitation from God to have a personal relationship with Him. Pastor Ryan spoke from James 2:8-12 about some reasons people don’t accept this invitation.
1. “I don’t trust the source.” – Is the Bible true? The reliability of the Bible is proven true over and over. We are encouraged to do some homework on our own to understand how we know it is true.
2. “I don’t need a Savior.” – People often think they are “good enough” on their own. Verse 10 and I John 3:4 make it clear that even one sin is enough to separate us from a holy God. So what is sin?
- Breaking God’s Law
- Not Doing What You Should Be Doing (Omission)
- Not Living By Faith
- Our Lack of Belief
3. “I’m not worried about God’s judgement” – All sin requires punishment. God IS a loving God and He offers mercy to everyone, but we must choose to accept it.
4. “I’m not worthy of God’s love.” – Verse 13 tells us that mercy triumphs over judgment. God loves us no matter what we’ve done.
Salvation and freedom from sin are free gifts God offers each of us. Have you accepted his grace, mercy and forgiveness?
- Share your salvation story.
- Can you think of any other reasons people might turn away from God?
Scripture Passage: James 1:19-20
An NBC News poll conducted recently among a national sample of 3,257 indicated that Americans are basically all furious about something. 68% of us are either angry once a day or multiple times a day.
Were you furious about something this week? Did you lose your temper or hold it in? Have you had an argument with someone more than once in the last month? The reality is that all of us deal with anger. Today’s Bible passage shows us how to deal with conflict and anger in a healthy way.
1. Attentive Listening
Am I giving my full attention? Even when we are multi-tasking we can still only devote our full attention to one thing at a time.
Am I seeking the whole story? If we take the time to really hear where others are coming from, you’ll have more credibility when you bring your thoughts to the table.
2. Responsive Speaking
Ryan and his wife Lana shared “The Seven C’s” to keep in mind when dealing with conflict:
- Don’t Confuse – Address one issue at a time
- Don’t Compare – “Why can’t you be like ____?”
- Don’t Condemn – Beware of absolutes like “You always…” or “You never…”
- Don’t Command – Don’t end by force
- Don’t Condescend – Passive aggressive comments just provoke
- Don’t Challenge
- “Just try that and see what happens!”
- “I Dare You!”
- “I’ll show you what a bad husband looks like!”
- Don’t Continue
- Don’t burry hurts (showing avoidance)
- Don’t store up hurts to bring up later
3. Honest Assessment
We do in reality have the ability to limit our anger, but often the solution is more than just faking that we’re not mad. When we allow God to search our hearts, we will often find some deeper underlying stresses or hurts that are expressing themselves in anger.
- Describe how you felt the last time you were speaking with someone and it felt like they weren’t listening.
- Which one of “The Seven C’s” do you struggle with the most?
- Share a time when God has healed a wound or hurt in your life and how it affected your interaction with others.
Scripture Passage: James 1:21-25
This morning, we continued our James study by looking at James 1:21-25. Pastor Rush stated, “For all of life, there are right ways and wrong ways to use things. To make the most of what you have you need to use it the right way. Otherwise you’re missing out on the total benefits and may even find yourself getting frustrated because something isn’t working quite right. “
Here were three ways we can become not just a hearer of the Word, but a doer of the Word.
- “Put On” the Word (“Take Off” the World)
James calls us to take off the old sinful ways – those “nasty clothes” – and clothe ourselves with Jesus. Pastor Rush said, “the only way we can recognize those old ways is through the truth of the Word.”
- “Take In” the Word
The Bible is like food. Again, Pastor Rush stated, “If we are going to be doers of the Word we have got to start seeing this as our source of life. That if we go without consuming this food we are going to starve. This is not just the vegetables I need to eat cause they’re good for me. This is a full course Banquet meal.”What this means is we must meditate on God’s Word, bring it into our hears and consume it.
- “Live Out” the Word
It’s interesting that James uses the analogy of the “mirror” in this passage. Pastor Rush mentioned, “So now James brings in this image of a mirror where we see our reflection. But this mirror of God’s word works differently than a regular mirror. We don’t just see our reflection as we ARE – we also see our refection as we SHOULD BE. The Bible has the power to do both at the same time. If you treat the Bible correctly, not only will you read the Bible; the Bible will read you!”
Let’s not make it a “hobby” to simply listen to sermons or read God’s Word and have no intention of being a doer of God’s Word.
- What about today’s sermon from Pastor Rush stuck out to you?
- Which of the three points from today’s message is most difficult for you to do? Why?
- What does salvation have to do with this passage in James? Why did James talk about salvation in this passage? Is there anything you need to be reminded of regarding your salvation?
- Would you say you lean more towards being a hearer of the Word only or a more towards being an actual doer of the Word? Why?
- What is one small step you can take today to become more of a doer of God’s Word than just a hearer?
Scripture Passage: Esther 8
Today Pastor Ryan continued to look at the story of Esther and how God is at work in what seems like coincidence. God’s timing in the book of Esther is perfect. In the same way, God’s timing in our lives is perfect and He has us exactly where he wants us when He wants it.
God’s timing is trustworthy and we see that from two principles in Esther.
- God conquers the coincidental.
- God is working in coincidences if we have spiritual eyes to see.
- Looking back in our lives there are many moments that we may label as coincidence that is God working in our live.
- God overturns the irreversible.
- God overturns impossible situations that may seem like they have no hope.
- God may put you in an impossible situation to lead others to the God who is getting you through it.
We closed with looking at three circles we have in our lives.
- Context–This is where God has placed you in your life
- Circumstances–These are positive experiences, crisis, clarity from God, seasons of searching and other situations.
- Calling–This is unique calling and talents that God has given you and placed in your life
These circles lead us to divine appointments. God has led you to this context with these circumstances in your calling for such a time as this.
- How do we put on spiritual eyes to see God’s working in coincidence?
- What are somethings that you have labeled as coincidence when God has been at work?
- Have you ever thought a problem was too far gone to fix? When?
- Has God ever brought you through a problem that you thought was too far gone? How did He work?
- Spend some time thinking about your context, circumstances, and calling. What divine appointments are in front of you in your life?
Scripture Passage: Psalm 55
Those closest to us can create the deepest wounds, and if we try to heal our own wounds, they can become tremendous burdens in our lives.
- How Wounds Become Burdens
- Stronghold Cycle
- It’s when you are wounded that the enemy of God will come and begin to speak lies into your heart and mind. The burden then gets created out of these lies.
- When Burdens Grow Bigger
- Doubt God Cares—we begin to believe a lie about God based on our immediate circumstances and turn away from the one place we should run to
- Have Self-Pity—when we jump from frustrated to a pity party, there may be deeper issues
- Despair—evidence of deeper strongholds and the lies of the enemy are compounding
- Escape—we try anything to escape the pain we feel
- How to Properly Care for Our Wounds
- Go to the Lord First—trust God and take our wounds to Him
- Completely Cast Your Burdens to Him
- Leave Your Burden With Him—this is a daily process; it’s easy to pick back up that which is familiar
- What wounds do you have? What lies has Satan told you and you believed?
- How do you try to fix things yourself?
- Why is it hard to trust God with our hurts and burdens?
Our Family Freedom Ministry is here to help you navigate through any strongholds you may have. For contact information or to find more resources click here to visit the Family Freedom Resource Center.