Christ Followers

May 21, 2020

Word of the day: 67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:67-69 NIV

Reflect: Take a moment and think about how you follow Christ. If you don’t, when will be an excellent time to follow him? Follow him and obey the word, or don’t follow him and see how your life is after leaving him.

Discussion Board: It’s normal to feel lost and confused. You can feel lost and confused with Jesus and let him help you find your way back. Or you don’t follow Jesus and see the results of that. It is the freedom of choice that allows us to make the right choice or the wrong choice. I have said on numerous occasions that most people are not fit to be a leader. What I want to elaborate on is that God can turn anybody into a leader that is willing to listen. Saul is an excellent example of that. He didn’t allow God into his heart. You have to be willing to let God in for good things to happen. That also includes learning how to follow him. To be effective leaders and listeners for God, we must accept his word and allow him in. To help others lead, we can help to move them from curiosity to commitment.

Takeaway: Stay the course. There is always confusion as to why God does the things he does. Stories always come with conflict. It’s your story you will share at some point in your life. What are your takeaways?

Prayer: Father, thank you for today. I pray for our faith will be more reliable for you. There are so many challenges that arise for most of us and doubt. Let us understand your word not to have those doubts. Thank you for our fellowship. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

The Bread

May 20, 2020

Word of the day: 32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” John 6:32-33 NIV

Reflect: Think about the purpose of bread. Why is the bread of life? Take time to think about the food of life and the meaning behind it.

Discussion Board: I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the real bread from heaven. Jesus is talking to the crowd after feeding 5,000 people. His message is simple. Most of us have taken communion. Jesus is the bread, and juice is the blood of Jesus. We must be willing to obey and command after taking the last supper. Just like when we are dedicating time and effort to a diet, we must eat and do right to see results. When we take bread and blood, we must be spiritually shaped to do so.

Takeaway: Communion is essential because we need the blood of Jesus and the bread to make a life of the fruit of the spirit. He lives in us to be able to steer us in the right direction. We are led in the wrong direction when we don’t listen to the fruits that live in us. That is living in the flesh. What is your takeaway?

Prayer: Father, thank you for our fellowship. I pray for those of us that take communion to stay on top of being spiritually fit. Thank you for allowing us bread and the blood to provide a better life for us and that no matter what, this is the real way of heaven. Thank you for your love. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Testing, Testing, 123

May 19, 2020

Word of the day: 5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. John 6:5-6 NIV

Reflect: Take a moment and think about your school years. Did you have a time where you asked your teacher a question? They didn’t answer you because that teacher had faith; you can solve the problem yourself. Think back into those times as we dive into today’s verse.

Discussion Board: A lot of times, we know the answer to a question that we ask anyway. We do that because of the lack of faith in ourselves to answer the question. Jesus was testing Philip in the same way. Philip knew where to get food, but the problem lies on did he have faith in Jesus to provide since the nearest town was nine miles away (1:44). Philip started sharing probable causes to find food. Jesus wanted to teach Philip that financial resources are not the most important ones. Here is what Philip had a problem grasping, as most of us do too. We have the problem of lacking faith. Philip didn’t believe that Jesus could provide. It’s not a good idea to limit Jesus and what he can do for us.

Takeaway: Jesus may test us by bringing on situations that we should know how to handle. The question is, how we feel that situation? Do we trust him, or do we believe in ourselves to solve it? What are your takeaways?

Prayer: Father, thank you for our fellowship. I pray for our continued trust in you. It may be unexpected to not turn a problem to you because of the pressure of the moment. I pray you will give us the wisdom to turn to you for all issues that are too big for us. Thank you for your love. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Check Your Attitude

May 18, 2020

Word of the day: 18 So David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my life or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the king?” 1 Samuel 18:18 NKJV

Reflect: Take a moment back in time where popularity got in your way of God’s work. What lessons did you learn from it?

Discussion Board: Peer pressure can be a big thing for kids in school. Kids trying to fit in with other kids, keeping up, can find it hard to do that. The same kid that faces peer pressure get famous, and then what happens? To the other kids that face the same pressure still faces it while the popular kid moves on. What changed for the kid? Popularity status. Possibly they are not being humbled, and that kid’s attitude changed. Today’s verse focuses on Saul and David and an attitude change. Saul’s popularity made him proud and arrogant, but David remained humbled. When you have a promotion or something good that happened in your life where you move on, you do not want to be arrogant. It is not right in the eyes of God. In verse 23, David said, “Do you think it is a small matter to become the King’s son-in-law? I’m only a poor man and little known. Having a title does not mean to become arrogant. Stay humbled and help more than ever!

Saul never became God’s man. Even though God had plans for Saul, Saul never recognized that he needed to have faith and patience in God. In other words, Saul never let God’s love give rest to his heart, and because of that, Saul struggled with insecurity, pride, impulsiveness, and deceit. What did David do? He took the time to pray for humbleness. David let God into his heart and let him be God’s man. David also realized that his blessings could not be for granted. Doing God’s work is for the whole world to be blessed.

Takeaway: Humbleness is the most important word and attitude to practice when we accept new things God blesses us. The more arrogance we have, the more we struggle. The more we call on God to work on our attitude to improve for him and his works, the better we are towards others and his work. What are your takeaways?

Prayer: Father, thanks for today. I pray our attitude level to remain below reproach and not above anybody that can be belittled to others and contradict what you are trying to do for us. Let us continue to come to you for wisdom and direction. Thank you for our fellowship. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Fight Your Battles. Not.

May 17, 2020

Word of the day: 45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. I come to you in the name of the Lord of Host hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, who you have defied. 1 Samuel 17:45 NKJV

Reflect: David depended on the Lord for his battles. Take a moment as men and women to determine if you ever try to battle your issues without God. How did the results go?

Discussion Board: David’s situation could have been him against the world. Instead, he trusted God to battle. It became David, the Lord, and his hosts, the armies of Israel. See how easy David made that situation? We tend to go into a problem without praying and not putting our trust in God. In 2 Samuel, God gives them strength when they go into battle and the ways open. God is the one that trains hands for battle; he gives you the mind to educate yourself. The weapon he gives is the word. Hezekiah sees with eyes of faith. He doesn’t worry about what is not there. Hezekiah is more focused on what is in front of him. The Lord says, “Victory is not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit.” God’s strength is how you win! Take your overwhelming odds with God. It is hard to do that; it is normal. The practice is to do it and not look back.

Takeaway: God saved Daniel from mouths of lions. Furious flames did not harm Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Give God your battles. What are your takeaways?

Prayer: Father, thank you for our fellowship. Your battles are worth praise every day, multiple times a day. You have been good to us. There is nothing in the world that can compare to you. Thank you for your love. We give you praise. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Appearance or Heart?

May 16, 2020

Word of the day: 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV

Reflect: Please take a moment and think of your personal life. Single person, married, and reflect on how you got together with your spouse. As a leader, reflect on how you chose someone to work beside you in leadership. What did or do you look for personally and professionally?

Discussion Board: Today’s verse talks about leadership. Your personal life can apply to this verse. The Lord told Samuel not to consider physical appearance the focus of looking to take over as King. The Lord wanted Samuel to look for someone with a heart. That is what matters for the Lord to do his work. During reflection, I asked what did you look for as a single person, the person you married, and professionally. Physical looks are the flesh. It is not an excellent example of living by the fruit of the spirit. The heart is what we should be searching for personally and professionally. If you don’t, you will learn the hard way about the flesh and the evil it can bring in your life. The Lord searches every heart. He knows the best if you pray about it. Read 2 Samuel chapter 12 about God sending Nathan to expose David’s sins of adultery and murder. Nobody can’t hide from God. It is best if you come clean about your issues and your sins because God loves us regardless. If you believe you can do things yourself, you are kidding yourself. God can help with that. There is no way we can be ahead of God.

Takeaway: Let’s find a way to be a part of God’s plan and not try to think ahead of him. We hurt ourselves when we do that. Let God bring people in our lives that mean something to us. What are your takeaways from today’s verse?

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your wisdom. Thank you for your unconditional love. I pray we continue to know what is right and what is wrong. It is easy to get impatient and try to get ahead of you. I pray for self-control. Thank you for our fellowship. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Church Outside The Building

May 15, 2020

Word of the day: 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. John 4:21-23 NKJV

Reflect: How do you feel about churches not having a building? How about being online? Take a moment to think about what it means to be inside a building, worship God, and not be in a building to worship God.

Discussion Board: In verse 20, a woman brought up a theological issue. “Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” Do you believe there is just one place of honoring God? Jesus made a point that it doesn’t matter where you worship; you worship the Father. The most important thing we learn is that we worship God in the things we do to honor him. Worship defined is the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity—your feelings and emotions are limitless, not just a building. The holy spirit can come at any time, and you will worship according to the fruits. The last time I checked, it can be through a phone call, a message, writing, community work, anything the holy spirit allows for your soul. People are getting God’s word through creative avenues. God wants to save others, but he needs our help. This reminder is this is a worldwide mission. Not in a church, but he needs us to achieve the goal. Our homes and neighborhoods and extending out from there. Lifting our hands in worship and prayer, any gripe we have with our fellow brothers and sisters, solve those problems and work as a team. God wants our relationships to be right, especially to him, so that we can achieve reaching out successfully. For more on how to worship God wholeheartedly, see 2 Kings 28-41. 

Takeaway: Always ask God for ways to spread his word. But we have to repent of our sinful attitudes. We can’t do one thing and then turn our backs to do something against God’s will. Our credentials do not automatically qualify us. Our attitude and how we do God’s work with a loving heart qualifies. What are your takeaways?

Prayer: Lord, thank you for today. I pray for our success in spreading your word. It can be complicated to share with those that have no desire. I ask that our confidence, regardless of how they feel, will be high anyways. Thank you for our fellowship. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Sin For Not Praying For Others?

May 14, 2020

Word of the day: 23 As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. 1 Samuel 12:23 NIV

Reflect: Mad at somebody? How do you handle it? Take a moment to reflect on this thought. Do you pray for someone you are mad or upset with? Do you pray for someone you disagree with all the time?

Discussion Board: Let’s talk it out. I am currently in a state where I am in disagreement with people right now. It is three people I do not see any common ground. Is there a sin when you don’t pray for others? It seems like it in today’s verse. Samuel’s words in this verse make it look like there is a sin for not praying for others. But here is the truth. God wants us to pray for others that come to our hearts and minds. It is part of our responsibility as God’s people to love and pray for others even when we have disagreements with them. When you pray for a situation, God answers the way he wants to answer them. It may not go our way. But when you pray, your problem will be solved. He prepares you beforehand to get you ready for unexpected things along the way.

How do we know that God wants us to pray for others? Knowledge. It’s about reading and understanding God more. Wisdom comes with it. You will know how to react to different situations. Praying for a person you disagree with allows you to be open and not closed-minded. You are also showing God you are a part of him by doing what he asked.

Takeaway: I have to do better about praying for others that I don’t agree with, and do more about praying for those that come to my mind. What is your takeaway from today’s verse? How do you handle seeing other people you don’t see eye to eye?

Prayer: Lord, thank you for today. I pray for who we can’t agree. I pray for wisdom, love, and repetition to know you more to accomplish this. Talking to people we don’t agree with is hard, let alone praying for them. I pray for our souls to be keen to do things that we can’t do through our flesh. Thank you for our fellowship. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Ugliness

May 13, 2020

Word of the day: 14 And as Moses lifted the serpent in the wilderness, even so, must the Son of Man be raised, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:14-15 NKJV

Reflect: Let’s all learn something today about these two verses. When you don’t trust God, he will give you reasons to believe him.

Discussion Board: In this case, the Israelites were wandering into the desert. God sent a plague of snakes to punish the people for rebellion towards God. They could have died from the snakebite, but the only thing that saves them was believing God could heal them from the snakebite. The obedience that the Israelites displayed here is essential. As we stay obedient to him, remind yourself not to get involved in your plans. Jesus will not go for that. He has unique plans for you. Molding him into your strategies will not fit his plans for you.

Takeaway: How will you allow Jesus in your life today? There is a way for us to show we are faithful to him by our actions. Some people will see the bright light by you following him. How bright will the light shine for you for others?

Prayer: Father, thank you for today. I pray that our light is bright for others to attract them to the light. Our obedience depends on that. You are the only one that can change us in our ways if we open our hearts and invite you in. Otherwise, we will be carrying heavy chains, and at some point, we will give up. Let’s give it to you now. Thank you for our fellowship. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

World Worship

May 11, 2020

Word of the day: 3 Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the Lord, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.” 1 Samuel 7:3 NKJV

Is this verse speaking to you? There are a lot of foreign Gods ahead in our lives or other things that are interfering with God being number one in our life. It can be money, success, material goods, pride, and anything that is an idol that is taking God’s place. That can include addictions and cars. Samuel is telling everybody in this verse to get rid of these foreign gods. We have an issue, we complain about it, but do not want to change our ways by doing what he requires of us. But some people may not understand the gravity of worshipping other gods. There comes a time where somethings don’t feel right. It is essential to rely on your friends that are spiritual that can walk you through and allow you to understand why you are feeling empty or incomplete. Repentance plays another role in improvement. Remember, Israel got punished for worshipping other gods and not putting God before other things.

Upon further studying, these idols can include thoughts or desires. Having icons can interfere with the sole purpose of God and your family. You can worship a person, but not God. You can do the same with thoughts you wish can happen or pursue your dreams without thinking, but not focus on God. Throw these away and turn to God. Why does God criticize and give punishment for idols? Well, worshipping or idolizing other gods violated the first two commandments. Exodus 20:3, you shall have no other Gods before me. Exodus 20:4, You shall not make any graven image or likeness of anything that is in heaven above, that is in the earth, or that is in water under the earth. God urges us to follow him because we do not know when we will move on from this earth. Stay encouraged to follow him, and don’t let anything interfere with you following God.

As Pastors, we should not let the number of church members, programs running, and the number of buildings be an idol. That is a sign of self-sufficient and less sensitive to the needs of God. The Devil will do anything to make sure to offer you the world and idolize him. As Jesus said, “Away from me, Satan!” The world is here to make sure we worship them. Let God be the person to worship. He has more to offer than Satan and the world.

Father, thank you for today. I pray we can come to you and worship you and not material things that are out there. It is tempting to do that, but you have more for us in permanent pleasure. Temporary pleasure is not enough, and most of us will be depressed. I pray for wisdom and guidance to get all of us to you and not worship other things. Thank you for our fellowship. In Jesus’ name. Amen!