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?

Hope for the Abused

Scripture Passage: 2 Samuel 13:1-14

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men have experienced some sort of contact sexual violence in their lifetime. Sexual abuse is the most under-reported crime in the United States according to the FBI.

Consider the following four destructive spiritual effects of sexual abuse.

The Abuse of Trust — Read 2 Samuel 13:1-12
The passage in 2 Samuel is about abuse within the family. Satan is shrewd and will feed our distrust of God by orchestrating betrayal and abuse from those who ought to be trustworthy. Satan can use this to lead you to believe the lie that you cannot trust God or anybody.


An Abuse of Power — Read 2 Samuel 13:14
Amnon overpowered Tamar in spite of her appeals to stop. Satan attempts to destroy hope by making us feel powerless. Satan can use this to lead you to believe the lie that there is no help or hope for a victim like you.

An Abuse of Guilt — Read 2 Samuel 13:13
Guilt is the legal term for those who are to blame. Shame is what a victim feels. Shame often drives victims into isolation and silence. Satan can use this to lead you to believe that you are not worthy of God’s attention or the blessing of others.

An Abuse of Love — Read 2 Samuel 13:14-20
After abusing Tamar, Amnon hated her with intense hatred, even though he was the perpetrator. Satan can use what others have done to you to make you believe that you are unlovable and should resist love.

Consider the following steps if you have suffered abuse.

• Tell Someone You Trust

• Work Through the Loss with a Gospel-centered counselor. Understand that recovery from trauma takes time.

• Loved ones must communicate safety and care. For those who love victims, please listen to them, believe them, offer compassion, get them help, and encourage them.

• If you are guilty of abuse, then you must repent, report yourself, seek forgiveness, and work toward restoration and hope.

Please visit Kingsland’s Resources for those who have suffered Sexual Abuse.

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!

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?

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.