The Truth About Mercy

Truth Book of James

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?

Discussion:

  • Share your salvation story.
  • Can you think of any other reasons people might turn away from God?

The Truth about Temper

Truth Book of James

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.

Discussion Questions:

  • 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.

The Truth about the Truth

Truth Book of James

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.

  1. “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.”

  1. “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.

  1. “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.

Discussion Questions:

  • 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?

The Un-Bold Servant

Scripture Passage: Mathew 25:14-30

The Parable of the Talents is among the most well-known of Jesus’ parables. The parable can also be regarded as a story about a man who lacked boldness. The kingdom of God needs people who are bold and fearless when God says to advance.

In this parable, a rich master entrusted his servants with financial resources to invest while he was away. However, instead of investing these resources, the servant who received one talent dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. He demonstrated fear and a lack of boldness.

God is calling for boldness. Therefore we must understand the factors that determine the measure of our boldness.

1. My Understanding of Biblical Boldness



Boldness is the confidence to act on God’s promises, maximizing the gifts that have been entrusted to us for His glory. Two of the three servants in the parable demonstrated this kind of boldness.

2. My Confidence in the Master’s Character

The servant who buried his talent believed a lie about his master. He believed the lie that his master was a harsh man. When we believe the wrong things about God, we are more likely to act in fear and not in faith.

3. My Anticipation of the Master’s Return

While the master was away, two of the three servants invested the resources entrusted to them in such a way that they would please their master upon his return. We are to live the same way — boldly investing the talents God has entrusted to us in order to advance His kingdom and bring Him glory.



4. My Comprehension of His Calling

The servant who lacked boldness was busy doing the wrong things while his master was away. His calling was to invest his master’s money, something he failed to do.

Think About It and Talk About It



• If you knew that Christ was going to return before the end of this year, what would you do differently?



• If you knew you could not fail, what bold thing would you attempt for Jesus?

The Timing of God’s Kingdom

Esther

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.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.

  1. Context–This is where God has placed you in your life
  2. Circumstances–These are positive experiences, crisis, clarity from God, seasons of searching and other situations.
  3. 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.

Questions:

  • 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?

Bible Truths About Same-Sex Attraction

Scripture Passage: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Kingsland goes to many of the geographically “hard places” when it comes to missions. We are also willing to go to the “hard places” philosophically as well. The topic of same-sex attraction is one of those hard places. When it comes to this topic, some churches are so weighted on the side of truth that they express hatred. Others are so weighted on the side of grace that they forsake biblical teaching.

Forgotten Truths About Same Sex Relationships

1. Same sex attraction or gender confusion will not send you to hell anymore than heterosexuality or gender certainty will send you to heaven. 

Paul exhorted the Corinthian Christians to not continue to embrace the things they did before coming to faint in Christ. Jesus talked about denying ourselves in order to follow Him — and that includes the things Paul wrote about, including our ideas, ambitions, dreams, and even our sexuality.

2. Homosexuality goes against God’s plan. Homosexuality is mentioned eight times in the Scriptures (four in each testament), and lesbianism (homosexuality between females) one time. In no instance is it commended. It is always described as wrong and unnatural.

3. Each of us, regardless of our background or sexual preference, are invited to be transformed by Jesus. There are many situations where we can buy into the lie that we cannot change. 1 Corinthians 6:11 tells us otherwise — “And some of you used to be like this!” So some of those who had been redeemed, who were a part of the Body of Christ, used to be involved in same-sex relationships.

We have the best news on earth for anyone who is missing out on God’s design for their lives in any shape or fashion. Jesus transforms lives. Kingsland should be the safest place on earth to open up about feelings of same-sex attraction. We won’t win any popularity contests by saying that there’s a better way, but we’ll honor God by loving people and speaking the truth in love.

Mother’s Day Lessons from Mary and Martha

Scripture Passage: Luke 10:38-42

Every mother has a profound level of influence – and many moms are at times overwhelmed with the task of raising a family. The Bible gives us insight into how moms, and each of us, can navigate a busy existence.

The story of Martha and her sister Mary gives us insight into how to live a balanced life.



Lessons from Martha —

1. Anxiety | When Jesus visited her home, Martha was pulled in many directions. She was overwhelmed by preparations.

2. Irritability | Martha was visibly upset, especially because she wanted help from her sister, Mary.

3. Despair | Preoccupation with and anxiety over preparations can easily lead to despair because things might not get done.

Lessons from Mary —

1. Posture | Mary sat at the feet of Jesus when He visited her home. She submitted to His authority and sought to listen and to learn from Him.

2. Priority | Mary made it a priority to sit at Jesus’ feet. Priorities are the things we say yes to at the expense of other things which we say no to. People mistakenly think that their priorities are the things that they think are most important. Our priorities are actually the things we do!

3. Time | There is no substitute for time spent in the Lord’s presence with no interruptions. Mary found focused time to submit her mind intellectually to the Word of God.

Truths from the Word of God for mothers —

• You are blessed and surrounded by God’s favor (Psalm 5:12).

• You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

• The Lord delights in you and He quiets you with His love and rejoices over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

• You are God’s treasured possession (Deuteronomy 7:6).

• You have been called out of darkness and into God’s wonderful light to praise Him (1 Peter 2:9).

• God has lavished His great love on you and you are His daughter (1John 3:1)

Called to Surrender

large logoGenesis 22: 15-17a “Then the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, “By myself I have sworn,” this is the LORD’s declaration: “Because you have done this thing and have not withheld your only son, I will indeed bless you.”

This Sunday, Commitment Sunday, is the culmination of five weeks of focus on our commitment to My Mission, My Home, My Legacy. Pastor Ryan began by asking, “What is your greatest test of faith you can remember?”

Share what test of faith crossed your mind at that question.

Pastor Ryan said that when God speaks to our heart and calls us to respond that we are called to three acts of surrender. These are found in today’s Scripture passage:

  1. Absolute surrender requires absolute commitment.

Just like coming to an intersection that has a yield sign, Pastor Ryan reminded us that God always has the right of way, and we are always called to yield to Him. It’s been suggested that surrender is saying yes before you know the question.

Tell those with you of a time when you overcame fear and yielded to God’s call in faith

  1. Absolute surrender requires absolute obedience.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “Only he who believes is obedient, and only he who is obedient believes.”

Share a tough time you trusted and were obedient to God’s call

  1. Absolute confidence in His promise.

Speak of that time when you trusted God for His promise

Share a commitment you make just today in one of these areas:

  • My Mission – moving in the direction of those in need
  • My Home – Hold the habits; Own the table; Mark milestones; Engage beyond the home
  • My Legacy – commit to giving first and best over the next three years

My Mission | My Home

Scripture Passage: Ephesians 5:15-17

One of the greatest challenges of life today is focusing on the most important priorities we have.

• Does my life match my priorities?

• What do I need to say no to?

• What do I need to say yes to?

Kingsland’s theme for the year: My Mission, My Home

As a church, we are committed to reaching 10,000 homes — which includes our respective homes. Here is an easy way to remember how to reach your own home and to equip your family to invite all people to experience true fulfillment in Jesus Christ, one home at a time.

H = Hold to the Habits
Rest, Bless, Gather, Go

O = Own the Table
5 meaningful meals a week.

M = Mark the Milestones
Celebrate the spiritual markers in your life.

E = Engage Beyond the Home
Be the hands and feet of Jesus in a hurting world.

Joshua said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 25:15).

• Are you willing, like Joshua, to consecrate your own home for the work of the Gospel?

That’s a decision every person—and every household has the opportunity to make. Do not make the decision out of a sense of guilt or coercion, but out of an overflowing anticipation of what God has in store for those whose homes are consecrated to Him.

Discussion Questions

• Do you know what God has called you to do?

• Have you determined what it will take to live according to that calling?

• What do you need to say no to? What do you need to say yes to?

Called to Hospitality

Scripture Passage: Luke 14:12-14

1. Hospitality is an Act of Generosity (v.12)

Hospitality is one of the ways we practice the spiritual discipline of giving. God calls us to share the gift of hospitality to those outside our normal circle of friends by opening our hearts and lives to others.

2. Hospitality is an Act of Reconciliation (v.13-14)

God uses Hospitality to tear down the barriers between people leading to reconciliation.

God uses Hospitality to reconcile people to Him who may be far from Him.

3. Hospitality is an Act of Compassion (v.13-14)

Hospitality is reaching out to the lost, the hurting, and those in need of God’s blessings. We can help others feel welcome when we open our hearts to them and extend God’s blessings.

Discuss and pray about making the following ways of sharing hospitality a part of your lives:

A. Invite a neighbor/acquaintance into your home to get to know them.
B. Connect more intently and deeply with those in your life.
C. Open your home to a Community Group.
D. Volunteer to help on Sunday mornings.
E. Share one meal per week with someone outside your comfort zone.