Resource Guide for the week of October 13

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I am a member of the King’s family. I know in what house He has placed me. Therefore let
my presence in His house;
my participation with His people;
my persistent commitment to His call; and
my passion to serve His loved ones
reflect
my identity as one accepted and adopted;
my gratitude for His love and saving hand;
my surrender to His authority and commands;
and my love for His larger Body, the Church…


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Resource Guide for the week of October 6

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Dear ones, it is not enough to merely believe. True faith involves a personal commitment 
            to believe, 
                        to obey and 
                                    to do the work of Jesus.  

True faith understands that commitments that cost us nothing are worth exactly what they cost us — nothing! True faith will truly change our lives and impact others. As Eliza Doolittle said to Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, “Words! Words! I’m sick of words... show me!”


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Resource Guide for the week of September 29

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The basis for all fellowship— for every LifeGroup is when we kneel together at the cross of Jesus Christ, trusting wholly in His mercy and love. I have discovered that it is in fellowship with other Christians that the light of Christ has the opportunity to shatter my self-righteousness and expose my sinful heart. At that point of reality, I see how my sins crucified Christ and how they wound his body, the Church, today. Once I really faced this, nothing that I can say or do should surprise me concerning the image I have about myself. Also, as I turn towards my brother or sister, nothing he or she may say or do should surprise me about them! We are all in this “redemption boat” together. Therefore, I can no longer be critical or judgmental in a manner that causes me to perceive other believers as “outsiders”. The cross — our need and God’s provision— is the same for everyone. We have this in common: we are all in need of mercy, we all need a new heart, and we have all received grace upon grace upon grace through Jesus Christ. 


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Resource Guide for the week of September 22

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Every Christian is saved to serve. While it is fashionable in our day to refer to oneself as a “follower of Jesus,” let us be careful not to presume that this self-designation inevitably produces the mindset that is essential to service that is distinctly Christian. Like Jesus, the mindset and self-regard that will distinguish us is this: “I am a slave to God.” This is not merely a quaint understanding or metaphor. It is the naked truth that exists at the core of our being. This identity unifies our life, inspires our decisions, directs our responses, and shapes our aspirations. Either we are bondslaves to God or we are bondslaves to someone or something else. 


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Resource Guide for the week of September 15

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If there is one word to sum up the ministry of Jesus, I think it is this: service. His whole ministry was an expression of service. This is apparent from the tenor of the Gospel narratives and from His many words on this subject: “You know that those who are considered rulers of the heathen have power over them, and the leaders have complete authority. 43 This, however, is not the way it is among you. If one of you wants to be great, you must be the servant of the rest; 44 and if one of you wants to be first, you must be the slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served; he came to serve and to give his life to redeem many people.” (Mark 10.42-45). Jesus made clear that the way of the cross is the discipline and lifestyle of Christian service in distinct contrast with world leaders who are preoccupied by status and authority. 


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Weekend Guide for the week of June 2

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There is never a time when the people of God do not need their faith buttressed by God’s promises for our future. Life is dynamic not static—despite the attempts by some to control everything! Each day we face sin’s troika—the world, the flesh, and the devil. Tomorrow’s insecurities and disappointments may quickly unseat today’s triumphs. Therefore, God promises that He will fight for us and deliver us safely as we will cling to Him and order our lives under His authority. The people whose mind is fastened on God’s promises for their future will not act precipitously in the present because they understand that God’s promises have already secured their future today.


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Weekend Guide for the week of May 26

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Poverty and affluence alike test the soul— albeit from opposite ends of the spectrum. We may cry out amidst poverty, “My God why have you forgotten me?” But God may cry out to us amidst our affluence, “My child, why have you forgotten me?” Both sift the soul looking for responsive obedience, sincere gratitude, and a confident trust in the promises of God…


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Weekend Guide for the week of May 12

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Dear ones, who among us has not made decisions based on reason alone without the aid of spiritual discernment? Who among us has not made decisions that have turned out to be failures that carry real consequences? What seemed obvious at the time (the people, numbers, and circumstances seemed so clear) now is a visible failure. Where you go when you recognize failure and how you conduct yourself through the morass of unintended (yet inexcusable) consequences may be a defining moment in your life as it was in the life and leadership of Joshua. 


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Weekend Guide for the week of May 5

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Caleb teaches us that there is a direct relationship between the pronouncement of God’s promises to us and our own personal appropriation of those promises upon our lives. God’s promises are not merely aphorisms to quote but powerful kingdom certainties to embrace and order our lives by. Tomorrow’s promises will never be realized by yesterday’s old patterns. Instead God’s promises for tomorrow challenge us to live by tomorrow’s patterns today.

While this inscription is personal it is not private. God’s promises are a catalyst for internal yet visible change as lives are reordered around the veracity and the certainty of His Word. Our lifestyle will increasingly reflect the substance of tomorrow’s promises rather than today’s uncertainties—and it will be evident for all to see. 


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Weekend Guide for the week of March 31

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“Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but upon Your word I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; 7 so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. (Luke 5.4-7)

There must be 3 words on the lips of every Christian. Without these 3 words discipleship will be a lackadaisical and sentimental stroll of common sense, convenience, and conviviality. Without these 3 words, it is easy to walk though life spiritually unfocused yet feeling entitled to nothing but bouquets of prosperity blessings. Without these 3 words, one would never conceive that the Christian life might require fortitude, sacrifice, and counter-intuitive decisions. Without these 3 words, the Christian life will simply be a spiritual delusion that echoes the old school round: “merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.”

These 3 words are right here…


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Weekend Guide for the week of March 24

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Romans 8.31-35: If God is for us, who is against us?… Who will bring any charge against God’s elect?… Who will separate us from the love of Christ?

Here’s a Christian syllogism…

  1. A Christian is one who has the omnipotent God in charge of his life. 

  2. No assault can overpower God and there is no force that can compel Him. 

  3. Therefore a Christian can stop worrying about how to fight his daily battles because there is no one who can overpower God. 

Nothing can penetrate the “front lines” of a Christian’s life unless God allows it to happen. An attack against a Christian is not merely an attack against a man but against the presence of God who fills the believer’s life. 


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Weekend Guide for the week of March 17

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Two words… Chutzpah: Yiddish word implying shameless audacity, impudence; presumptuous nerve. Chutzpah breaches all social convention and tact to ask for that which it is deemed inappropriate or absurd to receive or expect… Parrhesia: New Testament Greek word implying boldness, trust, certainty, conquest, effective power, and expectation. Parrhesiaasks for and expects that which social convention considers impossible if not implausible. 

Question:When a Christian asks God for power is it chutzpahor is it parrhesia

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Weekend Guide for the week of March 10

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Intimidation is a powerful and unique fear... Intimidation is powerful because it alone can cause a man to sacrifice the opportunities of tomorrow for the status quo of yesterday. Intimidation browbeats a man into deep feelings of inadequacy as his creativity, vision, and might wilt before it. Intimidation is unique because it is a fear that threatens our willingness to embrace God’s future for our lives. All intimidation has to do is recite reality because it wants to disqualify you because you are not perfect... Intimidation goes so far as to use our heroes against us by reminding us that we can never be as good as those we highly esteem/idolize!

God showed Joshua three strategic tactics for overcoming obstacles and intimidation. Last week we examined the first one (Walk around it... don’t talk about it). This week we’ll look at the other two...

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Weekend Guide for the week of March 3

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Intimidation is a powerful and unique fear… Powerful because it alone can cause us to sacrifice the opportunities of tomorrow for the status quo of yesterday. Intimidation browbeats us into deep feelings of inadequacy as our creativity, vision, and might wilt before it. Unique because intimidation is a fear that threatens our willingness to embrace God’s future for our lives. All intimidation has to do is recite reality because it wants to disqualify us because we are not perfect. Intimidation starts those old tapes playing: “you are neither smart enough or ingenius”… “you are not a great—or even a good—leader”… “you are ineffective and unfruitful”… “you have nothing in your past to suggest that you have it within you”…And on and on and on it goes… Intimidation goes so far as to use our heroes against us by reminding us that we can never be as good, effective, or fruitful as those we highly esteem or idolize…

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Weekend Guide for the week of February 24

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Loved ones, you stand at a threshold full of our Father’s opportunities for you. What happened in the past must no longer influence your determination to possess the strategic present and future God has for you. Your greatest challenge in the coming months will not be acquisitions, growth, change, loss, sorrow, or your age. Your greatest challenge will be to bow before, surrender to, and embrace fully the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Remember: faith and vision without surrender is thinly disguised vanity…

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Weekend Guide for the week of February 17

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Acts 9.13–15: Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; 14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name." 15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel.

Ananias had a problem. God summoned him to share the message of the gospel with the rabbi, Saul of Tarsus—the man we know as the apostle Paul. Yet, for Ananias, there was not a more unlikely man to become a follower of
Jesus Christ than Paul. Paul was a man with passion. He was esteemed and he was also an opinionated, legalistic, zealous man who was so sure of what he believed that he was willing to see people killed who departed from his understanding of faith in God. Paul literally had a “take-no-prisoners” approach to his faith

Ananias’ problem is our problem too! We have many people in our circle of relationships that we have judged unlikely (impossible?) to ever respond positively to Jesus Christ. Yet those we consider unlikely, God may consider a  "sure thing" because He personally knows the hearts of all. 

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Weekend Guide for the week of February 10

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I have noticed that the witness of any Christian is more effective than the witness of a pastor. People expect a pastor to speak about Jesus— after all we are paid to do it! People are far more impacted when their co-workers or friends talk about Him because this is unexpected (!) and because you are approachable and relevant because you share some of the same commitments and/or interests which your friends or co-workers can easily relate with.

Loved ones, you are surrounded by men and women who Jesus wants to impact through you. I am convinced that no one else has the chance to reach them like you do. Why? Because you are a Christian— not by what you do (or refrain from!) but because Jesus Christ dwells in you by the power of the Holy Spirit. He desires to work through you to touch the hearts of other men and women. The market place is His mission field. It is the field to which he has called you as a full time Christian minister so that He might do the extraordinary through you…

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Weekend Guide for the week of February 3

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In the New Testament the “new” surpasses the “old” rendering it archaic, primitive, and obsolete (see Hebrews 8.13 as one example). You cannot enjoy the newness of your life in Christ while clinging to the old anymore than you can successfully replace your car engine’s spark plugs with matches and expect it to run—let alone start!

The Holy Spirit speaks to us through this verse challenging each of us to let go of what He has determined must pass away from our lives. We can make no better start than             

            to take a moment…
consider the vestiges of the old you still cling to…
 ask the Lord to have it pass away… and
 prayerfully consider what steps you will begin taking TODAY!

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Weekend Guide for the week of January 27

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Prayer without confidence and expectation is nothing more than a desperate sigh or a wish-filled exhale adrift to no one. Jesus’ teaching on prayer encourages us to pray with confidence that there is Someone listening. This Someone is your Father — who is alert to your voice, attentive to your needs, and affectionate with His care. While, like any parent, His answers might disappoint and even anger His children, He, nevertheless, invites our expectations in light of 

the Son He gave us,
   His grace that cleansed us, 
      His love that embraced us, 
         and the promises He spoke over us.

Consider afresh these excerpts from Psalm 34:

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