Deepen your understanding and application of God's Word through the weekly discussion guides.
Catch up or catch more by listening to podcasts of the messages or watching it on video.
We’ll touch on three letters: Pergamum, Thyatira, and Sardis. In each of these letters, Jesus calls us to live for Him without compromise. The Christians in those churches lived in a world constantly tempting them to compromise their faith in Jesus. It’s true of us, too. We all face temptation to compromise our faith in Jesus - so how do we overcome it?
How do we overcome trials and persecution? From these letters to Smyrna and Philadelphia, we find: Four helps to overcome our afflictions.
As a part of His first unveiling of Himself, Jesus sends a message to each of the 7 churches. Today, we focus on the first and the seventh letters: To the church in Ephesus, the call is to Return to Jesus as your first love. To the church in Laodicea, the call is to Open the door to your relationship with Jesus.
In the first chapter we get to see the first apocalypse of Jesus – (the first unveiling of Jesus) where He will pull back the curtain to let us see the most important and unseen reality of our lives. It will change how you cope with what’s happening in the world and in your personal life.
Revelation is a book of visions and symbols that is not easy to understand and apply to our lives. Given all the upheaval in our world and our lives, why take valuable time in the enigmatic book of Revelation? It will help us to resist the pressure to compromise our faith and to know why what's happening is happening.
We believe that all human life is sacred and is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life .
The Bible reveals that sex (sexual intercourse) is a good gift from God. Like other good gifts from God, it has been used for both good and evil throughout human history.
Sex was God’s design, not only for procreation, but for physical, emotional, and spiritual union between one man and one woman for life.
What exactly is marriage? How did God design it and why is it so important? What are four tests for a biblical marriage?
The Bible’s answer to gender fluidity is clear. God created us male and female. This design is so deeply imprinted on our humanity that we find it irreversible at a biological level.
But those who seek gender fluidity are not unlike the rest of us in that we all long for fulfillment – for belonging, acceptance, purpose, identity, and worth.
All of us want our lives to matter, don’t we? We want to make a positive difference in people’s lives. And there is no greater difference maker than Jesus. When we partner with him to make a difference in this world, we’re talking about some big life-changing differences that we can end up making with our lives.
Here's something that is true about every person and culture in the world. We all struggle with selfishness. It is deep in our humanity. How do we overcome selfishness?
Selfishness creates so many problems. We're going to look at how to move beyond selfishness.
In Ruth 4, Boaz initiates the conversation about redeeming Naomi’s property. The guardian-redeemer says he will but then steps aside. Ruth and Boaz are married and from them comes Obed, the grandfather of King David! Just as Naomi needed redemption, we all need redemption in our time.
As we look at Ruth 3, we’re going to find a story of romance and marriage – a marriage that will exemplify loyal love – a marriage that will last.
Even though the book is called "Ruth", Naomi is a major character in the story. As we explore Ruth 1, we see that Naomi "went away from Bethlehem full but has returned empty." She mourned the loss of her entire family-her husband, Elimelech, her sons Mahlon and Killion all died in the land of Moab. How do we overcome loss?
Learn the value of walking alongside one another
even in emptiness and despair. See how loyal love is the glue that gives us hope in crisis.
When the Holy Spirit comes, he comes with fire. Fire represents zeal for God and love for people; This fire in us can burn so brightly that it can transform lives in our communities and touch people around the world. This fire is what we were created for; and this fire spreads through us.
Hidden beneath the surface of every Christian, there is the power of the Holy Spirit. Many Christians don’t realize that they can live a transformed life by the power of the Spirit. The result is that they remain enslaved to their fleshly desires. But God has a much better way for us to live by the fruit of the Holy Spirit!
The Spirit is working out gifting purposely, diversely, in everyone, for
our good. What is the reach of each of our gifts?. How many people are each of us expected to gift? No one person is called to all the gifts, but each are called to some. The Spirit knows each persons capacity and he gifts all believers so that all the needs in the body are met.
Why is it that one person can hear about the cross and be totally transformed while the person sitting in the next seat can think of it as foolishness? Paul speaks of this very thing in 1 Corinthians 2, explaining that the Holy Spirit illuminates God's Word for us.
Fifty days after Jesus ascended into heaven, on Pentecost, the Father gave the Spirit to the Son as a gift to pour out (Acts 2:33). After Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit, the church was born – 3000 new believers in one day! The coming of the Holy Spirit makes it possible for people everywhere to have a personal relationship with Jesus and to be ready for the day of the Lord’s return.
If you are a believer in Jesus, you have the resource of the Holy Spirit; the responsibility to share the good news; and you will be used by God to reach the lost both near and far.
Jesus teaches that, while the Holy Spirit is invisible to us, we can experience the Person and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He also teaches that the Holy Spirit is the key to having a relationship with God – to experience the fullness of life. In fact, if you have trusted Jesus as your Savior and Lord, it’s because you have been born again – regenerated – by the Holy Spirit.
Everything Jesus did on Palm Sunday was to demonstrate that he is the Messiah King and that the kingdom of heaven has come near. The more we grow to be like Jesus, the more God's kingdom grows in and through us.
There is a wide spectrum of responses to Jesus – people are in every place on this spectrum. The good news, though, is that you are never stuck in any place on the spectrum – the Lord is willing to grow greater faith in you, even today!
What has been your foundation during crisis? If you intentionally have built your house on the Rock of Jesus, then you have a living hope, you can show love even to your enemies. But perhaps you have great fear and anxiety; or, you are in the grips of dark thoughts. How do you build your life on the solid rock of Jesus?
In Matthew 6, Jesus addresses the issue of our hypocrisy. He addresses it twice before the Lord’s Prayer and once after the Lord’s Prayer. This shows us the importance of learning how to pray like Jesus prayed so that we overcome hypocrisy and have pure motives as we serve the Lord. Pray that the Holy Spirit will transform our motives.
Jesus explains what a repentant heart looks like by sharing how to know and do God’s will. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to know and do God’s will.
Were going to briefly look at each Beatitude. Come with your questions; and note which Beatitudes affirm what the Holy Spirit is doing in your life and which Beatitudes challenge you that this is a growth area where you need the Lord's transformational heart work. Are you ready to engage?
As we live by the Spirit, we should continually set our focus on two actions that turn setbacks into setups for the advance of God's kingdom.
The Holy Spirit has plans for where he wants to take us and experiences he wants us to have, all so
that we know new life in Christ and fulfill what God wants to do in and through
our lives for his glory. We'll learn how the Holy Spirit works in us and how best to work with Him.
As we begin this message series, “Inside Connection,” we’re going to explore how the Holy Spirit is an amazing gift that the Lord wants us to receive, and it comes with the fullness of God’s blessings for us.
We live in a world that teaches us to NOT be still; to worry, to be anxious, to be wound up in our fears, to be depressed. These things happen to us because our souls are not still. But God is teaching us to be still and know that I am God. How can we be still in this chaotic world?
Do you have any lids preventing you from growing in your relationship with Jesus? The choice before us is whether we’re going to comply to the lids being foisted on us or are we going to give it our all in 2022? Which choice will help you to grow in your relationship with Jesus? Would Jesus want us to disrupt apathy; challenge the doom and gloom; and pursue his preferred vision of our future? Jesus wants us to move forward; to grow.
The tests of life have the potential to make our
confidence in God grow or shrink;
even to the point of becoming fearless in the storm or shipwrecked by the
storm. It all happens in your soul.
We know God by knowing what’s happening in our
souls. God speaks his truth and encouragement into our souls. And those who
want to know God are aware of what is happening in their souls – and they share
their souls with God.
Many believers don’t understand that Jesus, the Prince of Peace, continues to fight even today. And what’s really surprising is that God’s people are part of the spiritual battle. We are the targets of Satan’s attacks. So, the apostle Paul writes this section to answer this question: How do we win at spiritual battle?
In this section of Ephesians, Paul addresses the relationships of marriage, of family, and of work. In other words, what he has to say in this section will directly apply to most of the hours of your daily experience. And here’s the good news: God’s wisdom is going to empower us to transform our key relationships into healthy and growing relationships.
What sets Christianity apart from all religions is that it doesn't preach morality in your own strength, but it preaches transformation by the Holy Spirit's power. How can I experience God's transformational power in my new self?
In John 4, there is a story with a well that changed an entire cities life. Jesus teaches that those who come to drink this water at the well will thirst again. But, there is a way to never thirst again.
Regular church participation is actually good for us. The local church body of believers is powerful. It has the power to overcome a common and very critical problem in people's lives. In Ephesians 4, Paul teaches the solution to the problem of falling away from faith in Christ.
As a Christian, you are like a glove. Once you come to know Jesus, the Holy Spirit inside you is like the hand inside of a glove– it’s the Holy Spirit that brings power.
In this prayer in Ephesians 3, Paul prays for power a lot. But, why do we need God’s power working in our lives?
In the letter to the Ephesians, Paul uses the word 'mystery' 6 times. The word 'mystery' in the Bible refers to a mystery made known. The mystery that is made known is the the gospel is the way for people to be reconciled. But, how do we help people discover Christ?
Every aspect of our lives has been impacted by sin. In heaven all will be perfect and made new. But while we're here we have to deal with hard things. And it's how we deal with these circumstances that is important to God.
As human beings we have many kinds of differences. Instead of celebrating differences, we tend to let them divide us. But God made us to fellowship and to have a sense of belonging in a healthy way that respects others. God brings reconciliation where there are human divides.
The Bible says that we all sinned; that we turned to our own way – Adam and Eve and every human being has run away from God. That’s called sin. The result of our rebellion is the brokenness in our world. And we don’t like that brokenness so we try to get out of it in a lot destructive ways.
Prayer can be a puzzle. Sometimes it feels like meaningless obligation. But when you experience prayer in a relationship with Jesus Christ, it becomes highly valuable. When you piece together the puzzle of prayer, your life finds new life and power.
Why Do We Praise God? It has a lot to do with this idea: We need to gaze at what truly matters and glance at lesser things in this life. But often we do the opposite – and that messes us up. Praising God is a powerful gift that God gives to us.
Jesus promised a new life, an abundant life for his followers. Not only is Jesus our Savior because of his life of complete obedience that led him ultimately to the cross, but Jesus is the supreme example of what is possible for our lives because he was totally dependent on the Spirit of God. When we depend on the Holy Spirit, we experience the power of Jesus in our lives. Exploring Ephesians will help us experience the power of Christ.
We all have dreams. Goals. Plans. Things we want to do. Things we want to accomplish. Ways we want our lives to play out. So we go after those dreams, goals, ideas of what we want. There are usually all sorts of obstacles to them. Challenges to overcome. Risks to take. And into these plans and dreams we have for our lives comes Jesus.
Wouldn't it be great if you had the superpower to overcome bickering and quarreling? That's what we are looking at from the Book of James this week.
There's not a person alive who hasn't allowed their emotions to affect how they treat others. Feel great and you treat the people around you great. Feel angry and you are grumpy, withdrawn or you lash out with words. So, how do we replace an angry reaction with a loving response?
We live in a culture where words are spilled more freely than ever before. It’s open season to hunt and kill with our words anyone whom we don't like or agree with. Within this world of words, we must discern what is the way of Jesus with our speech, learning to use our words in a way that reflects the character and desires of Him.
When we face trials, how do we choose joy? How do we become positive parents, when life isn't so positive? How do we remain calm in life's storms?
All of life depends on putting our faith in the right places. If we put our faith in the wrong places, we can end up making a mess of our lives and end up using all the wrongs things to try to fix it. So where should we put our faith?
How do we lead children into a growing relationship with Jesus? We're going to look at three principles to minister to and bless our children like Jesus did.
When you join God’s purposes, he will fortify you with three inner transformations. God doesn’t only work through you. He works in you – empowering you, fortifying you, enabling you to do what you cannot do by yourself. What happened with Esther can happen with you.
Scripture reveals to us not only that God has purposes for all his creation, but that his purposes
are often accomplished through people. God cooperates with people to achieve
his purposes. In other words, he invites us into what he is doing. And he gives
us the awesome privilege and authority to shape the course of events in this
For those who have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, life is an adventure. God has prepared beforehand good works for us to do each day. There is anticipation to join what God is doing. When you join God in his purposes, though, there will be challenges along the way and we must be aware of the three challenges we face to join God’s purposes for our lives.
God is at work in the lives of people everywhere. The great adventure in life is to join God in his purposes and work. But for many people there is a real barrier to doing that.
The reality for orphans is that there isn’t much you can do to fix your lack of family. You need someone to step up and choose you. And when it comes to being spiritual orphans, this same complication exists. We can’t fix our spiritual problem.
The story of Esther is going to help us discover and live out God’s purpose for our lives. Do you know what God’s purpose is for your life? Have you ever committed your life to follow Jesus – to trust him and do what he calls you to do? Have you ever had the adventure of watching God do through you what only God could do?
Our best act of friendship is to bring our friends to Jesus. The way that we do that is by bringing the good news.
This is intimidating to some. We think, “Why would I try to connect my friend with Jesus?” That seems awkward and no one likes to talk about religion.
So, let’s clarify that to share the good news about Jesus with your friend is not to talk about religion but about a relationship with Jesus. A friendship with Jesus is the best friendship that you can possibly have.
We know from the Bible that people cannot be saved without hearing the good news, the gospel. God’s plan is that we bring the good news and hearing the gospel about Jesus Christ is powerful enough to bring us to trust in Jesus. But how does that work? Am I the one who saves people? If I say just the right words and with the right touch emotions, is that how people get saved? What if my child never accepts Jesus? Have I failed my child? When we bring the good news, what’s our role? What is God’s role?
We are called to be witnesses and ambassadors of Jesus so that others can have new life in Christ. But, how do we do that? Is there a way to be normal and not scare people off or to unnecessarily offend people? We can effectively bring the good news.
Do you struggle with feeling inferior? Do you find yourself comparing yourself to others; believing that nothing you do is ever good enough. or you experience persistent self-doubt and uncertainty?
When it comes to questioning our worthiness to be loved, God thinks differently about us than we think about ourselves.
We all know that is what happens when you leave a couple of glowing logs together. The power of the fire is not just in the flames. Those coals continue to burn until there is nothing left to consume. Unresolved anger works a lot in the same way in our lives, doesn’t it? What’s the alternative? The good news for those of you battling with resentment, is that Jesus has a way to restore life and joy to you without sacrificing justice. And there is a clear way to step into that freedom.
How do I win the war against lust? Some answer, “What war?” Others say, “I’ve stopped fighting.” There are those who are fighting but discouraged. To some, this is on the No Talk List. Others have had some success – but know that they must continue the fight. Whatever your response might be, we need to talk about this.
Do you struggle with worry, shame, lust, resentment or the feeling of being unloved? We don’t have to stay stuck in negative thought patterns but we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
Just as Christ was raised from the dead, we too may life a new life. This means that, when we die, we go to heaven with Jesus because he paid for our sins. And, it means we can have a new life right now. Did you see it? We too may live (present tense -- right now) a new life. But here’s what is true about us. There’s a gap between the life we have, and the life we could have. (The new life in Christ.) And often that gap is in our relationships.
Palm Sunday is the day that Jesus stepped fully into the hoped for expectations of many that he was the Messiah sent by God to save his people and set up a kingdom that would enable God’s people to prosper under the justice, righteousness, and blessing of God forever. So Palm Sunday is a celebration that God is intervening in this world and personally into one’s life to bring about eternal good.