The God of All Comfort

Scripture Passage: 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 – Experiencing God’s Comfort

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, so you will also share in the comfort.”

Two things we do in order to experience God’s comfort:

1. We must receive Gods comfort. | You are not able to recycle to others what you have not yet received. We have all experienced pain in the past week. Seek the Lord by going to Him and be honest about your hurts and broken heart. God has given you permission to mourn.

2. Redistribute Gods comfort. | God is not only developing people through his Word, He is also developing people through your word about Him. God is not only healing people through what He does, He is also healing people through what you do in His name. We participate in God’s work when we comfort others with the comfort we have received from him.

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

1. Storms cause fear, uncertainty, and can be hard to process. Process out loud together what the last week has been like for you. Encourage one ​another to remember that God loves us, God is with us and God takes care of ​us.

2. Be honest with God about what’s going on around you. Ask Him to heal your broken heart, bandage your wounds, and restore the joy of your salvation for those things.

3. What have you been through that God can recycle?

For more information about what you can do to serve in response to Hurricane Harvey or for help on damage to your home, go to our Katy Disaster Response site.

Restoring the Table

Scripture Passage: Acts 2:46-47

“Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”

During difficult times it is especially important to remember that God is with us, cares for us and provides for us. The early church encountered their own “storms” but God continued to work in people’s lives as they gathered together for meaningful meals, with joyful, sincere hearts while praising God.

Three key ingredients of meaningful meal times:

1.​ Social | Connect around the table by having conversations with one another ​instead of being on the cell phone or watching TV.

2. ​Special | Make a plan to gather with others, recognize the meal and time ​together as a gift and be grateful.

3. ​Spiritual | Thank God for His provision and His presence by praying at the ​beginning of your meal.

In the midst of the storms of life we can rediscover the power of meaningful meal times. God can actually use meal times to transform our lives and those around us.

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

1.​ Storms cause fear and uncertainty. Talk about your fears and encourage one ​another to remember that God loves us, God is with us and God takes care of ​us.

2.​ What are you thankful for today and how is God helping you through the ​storm?

3.​ Pray for God’s protection and peace and thank God for His provision in the ​midst of Hurricane Harvey.

For more information about what you can do to help in response to Hurricane Harvey go to Kingsland.org/hurricane-update.

Why Gathering Matters

Scripture Passage: Acts 2:41-47

“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their numbers day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:46-47

The picture presented here is where the believers were “all in” and committed to their worship and fellowship together.

Three Why’s of All In Commitment

1. Being a committed member of the Body of Christ at Kingsland helps us to avoid the danger of a self-absorbed faith. It disciplines us to be Christ-centered rather than self-centered. Our focus will be on His kingdom rather than our kingdom.

2. We will enjoy the blessings of shared worship; encouragement, sharing insight of the sermon, study of the Word together, prayer for each other.

3. We will have the experience and blessing of shared mission and vision. We will be part of taking the love of Christ outside to the world, both locally and around the world.

Being an “all in” member of Christ’s Church at Kingsland, we are an expression of Christ’s kingdom on earth.

Will you recommit to being “all in” at Kingsland?

Discuss around your table today.

• How is God calling me to recommit or change?

• What excuses about total commitment have I been making that God wants to change in my life?

Heaven and Hell

Scripture Passage: Daniel 12:1-4

Daniel 12:2 states: “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

What the Bible Teaches About Hell

1. Hell is a horrible place. | The Scriptures are loaded with statements regarding the horror of Hell. Whether these are figurative or literal depends on one’s interpretation but all these statements should be taken seriously.

2. Hell is an avoidable place. | God loves us so much that He has placed a blockade between Hell and us — the cross of Jesus Christ. You’ll have to climb over that cross to get to Hell. Jesus has paid your penalty so you don’t have to go! Don’t reject the cross. There’s a better way — an alternative — and that’s to let Jesus receive your punishment and you receive Jesus.”

Amen! And speaking of Heaven:

1. Heaven is an exhilarating place. | According to 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 — “But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’ these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” Many of us grew up thinking heaven was going to be clouds, harps and boring, but according to Scripture, we were extremely misled! Heaven will be incredible!

2. Heaven is a holy place. | Heaven is holy because God is holy and He’s there.

3. Heaven is an exclusive place. | Heaven will be that place with no more sickness, pain, sorry, death or problems and Jesus said there’s only one-way to get there — through Him. “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) As a Believer in Christ, I want to take as many people with me as possible!

Talk About It:

1. Do you believe Heaven and Hell are real places? (According to a Pew Poll, 72% of Americans believe in Heaven, but only 58% of Americans believe in Hell.) What Scripture passages (evidence) do you have that backs up your belief?

2. If Hell wasn’t a real place and there was only Heaven, would that effect God’s character? What does the doctrine of Hell and Heaven tell us about God? Why does that matter?

3. If you asked your family member, co-worker, neighbor or friend, “Do you believe in Heaven and/or Hell?” what would they say? If you asked them, “Which one do you think you are going to?” what would they say? (Challenge yourself or you family to actually conduct this experiment this week. Discuss the results at dinner one night.)

Resources:

Teaching Kids About Heaven
by Randy Alcorn

Explaining Hell To Our Children
by Pastor John Piper

You Can Trust the Bible

Scripture Passage: Daniel 11

Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Have you ever wondered how to defend the Bible and help others see that there is no book like the Bible? Here are four historical markers to encourage you in that process:

Qumran I In 1947, 1100 historical manuscripts were found in a cave near the village of Qumran located near the Dead Sea. All of the Old Testament books, with the exception of Esther, were found among these manuscripts. Specifically, the complete Isaiah Scroll (dated 1000 BC) was found among these manuscripts and was found to have only 17 different letters (not words, just letters) compared the Isaiah manuscript from 1000 AD. This was powerful proof that “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”

The University of Manchester Library I in 1934, Collin Roberts stumbled across a tiny piece of papyrus parchment with John 18:31-33 written on the front and John 18:37-38 written on the back. After further investigation, Roberts found that this fragment of parchment dated back to 125 AD, making it the oldest New Testament fragment we have to date. This means that the gospel of John was written and spread much earlier than Biblical historians previously thought. Further proof that, ““The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”

The Bookshelf I If you go to any bookshelf with historical texts, you can be confident that the New Testament has earlier copies, smaller time gaps between copies, and a larger number of copies than any other book written.

The Masoretes I In 600 AD, you could find a room full of men who had given their lives to one task — the careful transmission of the text of the word of God. These men exercised extreme care to ensure accuracy in the transmission of the word of God. We can have confidence that we have been given a gift in the Word of God and that it is worth building our lives on!

Talk about It

• What did you learn today about prophecy and the reliability of the Word of God?

• How does the reliability of scripture further solidify your confidence in the Gospel?

• Is there someone in your life that needs to hear about the reliability of the Bible? How can you start praying for the Lord to open doors for those conversations to take place?

Hearing From God

Scripture Passage: Daniel 10:1-11

Have you ever wondered how you can hear from God? Ever felt like it’s some great mystery that is only solved by the super-spiritual Christians? Or has it just been a while since you heard anything from Him? You’re wondering where he might be or if you’ve done something wrong and He won’t talk to you?

Three Conditions Necessary To Hear From God

1. Desire | God speaks to his children when there is genuine, wholehearted desire to hear from him.

2. Dedication | To hear God speak you must obey what He has already said. Why would we think God would speak to us and give us new direction and insight when we have been unwilling to obey what He has already told us?

3. Discernment | Here are several key ways to develop a discerning heart. Remember you cannot develop discernment apart from the Bible.

• Read God’s Word
• Study God’s Word
• Listen to God’s Word taught
• Listen to God’s Word preached
• Read books about God’s Word
• Discuss God’s Word with other believers.

As a family select 1-2 things you want to focus on over the coming week to begin hearing more from God. Is there a sin you need to confess and get help in overcoming? Is there a discipline you need to develop regarding the Bible? Do you simply need to spend time praying to seek God wholeheartedly?

Everyone can hear from God. In John 14:26 Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would teach us: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

Why We Go Beyond

Scripture Passage: Matthew 28:19-20

In the month of July, more than 400 of our students and adults embraced the challenge to Go Beyond. God used our teams to impact lives from Houston’s inner city wards all the way to Jordan where we engaged with refugees displaced from their homes by ISIS. God did an amazing work in and through our teams because of their willingness to move in the direction of people in need.

Kingsland’s missions ministry is branded with the words Go Beyond. These words are rich with meaning. In each of our lives there is a line that marks the farthest we’ve ever been or the most we’ve ever done for God and His purposes. Everything on our side of that line is familiar, convenient, manageable, and comfortable. No big surprises, no daunting challenges, no uncharted territory.

Crossing that line requires a commitment to venture to places we’ve never been and the willingness to engage people we’ve never met. Only those with the courage to overcome their fears and who have the determination to persevere will dare to cross that line. All others will keep a safe distance away from it.

Kingsland’s missions ministry is about going beyond, about crossing the line in order to advance the interests of God’s kingdom in our world.

Our missions ministry is committed to providing opportunities for you to place yourself in a context where you will see God work in and through your life in new and exciting ways. Whether serving in the inner city or trekking through distant lands, we invite you to join us as we work toward the day when the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

This morning, Pastor Omar Garcia, our missions pastor, shared his reflections on why we go beyond. You can read more about going beyond on Pastor Omar’s blog post entitled Reflections on 100 Trips. As you read, discuss with your family ways in which you can go beyond, starting in your own neighborhood.

Reading Scripture Prayerfully

Scripture Passage: Daniel 9

The power of sitting and meditating on scripture is something that is often overlooked in the busy world that we live in. Sometimes what scares people away is that they don’t know where to start or how to approach passages at all. Daniel 9 gives an amazing example of how to read scripture prayerfully and allow it to consistently change our lives on a daily basis.

1. Daniel’s Reading Led to Longing
The Bible is full of God’s promises to us, but in order to know them we have to read them! While reading the book of Jeremiah, Daniel read the passage in which God prophesied the end of the exile, the time of judgment they were currently experiencing. After Daniel read this he longed for God’s Promises to come true.

2. Daniel’s Longing Led to Seeking
Daniel didn’t stop there. He wasn’t just eager to see the word of God fulfilled. His longing led him to seek the Lord. He didn’t read Scripture as an end unto itself. He read Scripture to know about the God who was revealed in it — who was speaking through it. Daniel sought the Lord eagerly, but he also sought God humbly. He came to God acknowledging his own failures and the failures of his people.

3. Daniel’s Seeking Led to Finding
Daniel read, Daniel longed, Daniel sought — and God showed up. It seems weird to say. But honestly, for some reason, we don’t always expect God to show up. We pray prayers that give God an out. We live our lives not factoring in the presence and activity of God. Daniel prayed and God showed up. Hebrews 1 declares that God spoke “in many portions and in many ways” — which means, God shows up in unexpected ways.

Talk About It

• What commitment will you make to read God’s Word daily?

• What role does God’s Word play in helping you develop a greater intimacy with Him?

Rising Above the Chaos

Daniel Slide

Scripture Passage: Daniel 7

God placed reminders throughout history that He is above the immediate circumstances. So many times our outlooks and attitudes are tied to our environmental circumstances. But our outlooks and attitudes SHOULD be tied to the anticipation that God will carry out His plan. He is up to something right now!

Every Christ follower can rise above the chaos by understanding three reminders of prophecy in Daniel 7:

1. Crisis is Part of the Plan
God is in control of history–even the difficult history! Belief that God is in control of all of history leads to confidence that He is in control MY history. When we give up trying to control God to orchestrate our plans, we can experience the freedom of allowing God to guide us through our decisions.

2. The King is Still on the Throne
Despite the chaos going on in Daniel 7, verses 9 and 13 give us a glimpse into the throne room to see who is in control.

3. The Kingdom is Forever
God is eternal. He has always been, and His reign and power will never end. When you think of how many earthly powers have risen and fallen, it is empowering to think about the role we can play in God’s eternal Kingdom.

Talk About It

• Is there an area of your life that feels like chaos right now?

How does the thought that God is still at work and is still in control in the midst of that chaos affect you?

• Take a few seconds to think about the concept of eternity. How does that affect your perspective on your day-to-day life?

The Prayers of a Patriot

Scripture Passage: Daniel 6

In this passage of scripture, we take a look at quite possibly the most well known story of Daniel’s life. The story of Daniel in chapter 6 is normally told as an account of his time in the lion’s den, but it is really a story about answered prayer. As we study this passage, we are able to learn from four elements of Daniels prayer life.

1. Daniel Had a Plan for Prayer
According to verse 10, Daniel was intentionally and purposefully falling to his knees before the Lord 3 times per day. We can learn from Daniel that practicing discipline in our prayer lives is essential.

2. Daniel Had a Place for Prayer
Daniel was not only purposeful about when he prayed, but also where he prayed. He chose a location where he could fully devote his focus to God, free from distraction.

3. Daniel Had a Posture of Prayer
Daniel physically got down on his knees to pray. This was a humble act of submission and worship. In the same way, we should approach the Father with a heart of humility and submission.

4. Daniel Demonstrated Persistence in Prayer
Daniel took his prayer life seriously. In fact, he took it so seriously that he was willing to be thrown into a lion’s den before he would stop. He allowed nothing to keep him from prayer.

Talk About It

Which of these areas of prayer are you strongest in? Which area needs to see the most growth?

Describe a time when you were persistent in prayer and later were able to see the work God had been doing behind the scenes all along.

Daniel was willing to risk his life for the sake of prayer. How valuable is prayer to you? Why is it valuable to you?