Holy Spirit

Free Will & Choices

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Family Devotional 6-4-17 Adult

Family Devotional 6-4-17 Kids

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Of all the things God blessed humanity with, one of the most beautiful, powerful, and potentially dangerous gifts He gave is the ability to choose. From choosing which shirt to wear, to choosing which career to pursue, to choosing how to respond to God’s Word, every decision in our lives comes with consequences. There is great power in the human will!

2. Bible Verse 

Matthew 8:5-13 [NLT] “When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him, ‘Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.’ Jesus said, ‘I will come and heal him.’ But the officer said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed…’ Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, ‘Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.’ And the young servant was healed that same hour.”

Q. The officer’s decision to believe Jesus affected his household. Who is affected by your decisions in life?

Q. The decision to trust Jesus to heal, sight unseen, is a risk. What are things it’s risky to believe God for? What factors make it easier or harder to decide to trust Him in risky situations?

3. Application

Proverbs 14:12 [ESV] “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”

Ephesians 5:15 [NLT] “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.”

James 1:5 [ESV] “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

Q. The right decision isn’t always obvious – we need God’s wisdom. What are some ways God brings wisdom into your life?

Q. When you consider the consequences of every decision – good or bad – does it make you feel more empowered or intimidated? Which do you think God wants you to feel?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for the blessing of free will. Ask Him to give you wisdom to make the right decisions for yourself and for others.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

The B-I-B-L-E, Yes That’s The Book For Me!”

Take a sheet of paper and write “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11) on it using the largest letters you can.  Show it to your children and have them read it aloud or repeat it after you. Now take the sheet of paper and cut it into a puzzle where each word is its own puzzle piece.  Lay the pieces out in front of your children, and have them put the puzzle back together.  Repeat the verse aloud several times.  Leave the verse in front of them and take out the piece that says “word” and see if they can still recite the verse.  Leaving that piece out, take out the word “heart” and ask them to recite the verse.  Continue removing pieces until they can repeat the verse by heart.

2. Bible Verse

2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true…” 

Then talk about the following questions:

Q. What does it mean to hide something in your heart? (It means to memorize it.)

Q. Why are we supposed to memorize God’s word? (It helps us choose not to sin when we’re faced with temptation.)

Q. What are some tricks you use when you need to memorize something for school, like math facts or definitions?  How could you use those tricks to help you memorize Bible verses?

3. Application 

Tell your children that the Bible is like a road map for our lives, and the more familiar we are with it, the easier it is to understand which way to go.  Make it a family habit to memorize verses together and rehearse them with each other—working on them as a family helps keep everyone accountable.

4. Prayer Focus

Pray together, thanking God for giving us His word to help us live our lives.  Ask Him to help your family as you begin to hide His word in your hearts.

Love Your Neighbor

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Family Devotional Adult 5-28-17

Family Devotional Kids 5-28-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Loving people who love us is easy. Loving those who are different, who dislike us, or who intentionally hurt us, that’s a different story. To love these, though, is to prove that God’s love and grace are at work inside of us.

2. Bible Verse 

Matthew 5:43-45a [NLT] “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.”

Q. Looking back over your life, who would be some “enemies” on a personal level? Without God’s help, how difficult would it be to love them?

Q. What are a few groups, nationalities, or cultures which seem like enemies to you? (i.e. urban gangs, terrorist organizations, foreign dictators)

Q. What pressures are there from your own group, nationality, and culture to treat these people with hostility?

3. Application

Matthew 5:45b-48 [NLT] “For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.  If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

Jesus called us to share the good news with everyone, even our enemies. When we remember our own need for God’s grace and forgiveness (things we don’t deserve), we can more easily extend grace and forgiveness to those who are hard to love.

Q. Who is more loved by God: you or the people from the list you made earlier? Who is more in need of God’s grace? Who is more deserving of it?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for extending grace to you. Ask Him to help you love those like the people on your list, and to share the good news with them.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

For this devotion, you will need a flashlight or lamp, and a TV or radio. Have your entire family go into the darkest room of your house and then ask them what they see.  Depending on how dark it is, they may or may not be able to see anything.  Hand the flashlight to one of your children (or have someone turn on a lamp or overhead light) and ask them again what they can see.

2. Bible Verse

“The Holy Spirit Will Give Me Power!”

Acts 1:8 “And you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…”

Then talk about the following questions:

Q. Why couldn’t we see much at first?

Q. Why did turning on the flashlight or lamp help us see better?

Q. What caused the flashlight or lamp to be able to light up? (electricity)

Q. Could you see the electricity? (No, but you could see what the electricity did.)

3. Application & Talking Point

Have your family move into the room where the TV or radio is.  Tell one of your children to turn on the TV or radio.  Listen for a few moments, and then have someone turn it off.

Ask the following questions:

Q. How does the TV or radio work? (Most children and adults won’t be able to answer this question very well, and that’s the point: we don’t really know how they work, we just know that they do.)

Q. What does the TV or radio need in order to work? (electricity)

Explain to your children that the Holy Spirit is kind of like electricity. When we become Christians, it’s like having a power plant in our hearts!  Although we may not fully understand how He does it, the Holy Spirit guides, convicts, comforts, and teaches us.  He also gives us the power we need to do what God asks us to.

4. Prayer Focus

Pray together, thanking God for giving each member of your family the Holy Spirit as a power source in your lives.

Jesus Revealed

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As many of you are aware, I began work a few days ago in pursuit of my doctorate.  Over the past two weeks I have read hundreds of pages of information about the Apostle Paul and his theological viewpoints as found in his letters to the New Testament churches.  These letters are called epistles.  In the course of this reading I have found many new insights into the purpose for Paul’s letters as well as the situations in the churches that caused him to write.  Let me share just one.

There is no New Testament salvation that does not include the overwhelming and ongoing influence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer!  Literally dozens and dozens of times Paul refers to the Spirit’s role in convicting, drawing, sealing, filling, guiding, leading and instructing the children of God.

Paul consistently affirms that the Holy Spirit is God.

Paul insists that the Holy Spirit not only has a role in the beginning of a believer’s life, but indeed the presence of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life IS that which signifies true salvation.  Said differently, rather than a moment of religious fervor being the mark of true conversion, the revelation of Christ in the life of a believer through the work of the Holy Spirit indicates salvation.

I have great concern about the state of the modern church in America.

Question most people in our nation and they will tell you that they are a Christian and yet where is the transformation of their lives by the Spirit’s work?  I’m not supporting a return to the days of joyless rhetoric void of relevance in a modern generation.  I am however seeking to grow a church genuinely knowledgeable about the word of God and passionate to reflect the character and heart of Christ to a lost world.

Reflected in Genesis 3:8 and Revelation 21:3 we see a picture of the created desire of God; having fellowship a dwelling with mankind.  You and I live bracketed by this previous moment in time and this future moment in time.  Did God suddenly lose His desire to be in fellowship with mankind and did He leave no method by which He might touch you and me?  Of course not!  In John 16, Jesus said that when He left something better would come.  That something was the Holy Spirit or God in Spirit form. 

So therefore, living within you and I, beginning at the moment of salvation is God the Holy Spirit.  I believe that He has even more for us that comes through the baptism of the Holy Spirit but that’s another discussion.  When we get saved God lives within us.  God hates sin.  When did we pick up the idea that we could go almost anywhere and do almost anything and just take God into all that with us?  Is there grace?  Absolutely, but the same grace brought by the Holy Spirit that saves us begins the process of revealing the Person and Character of Christ from within us.  Over time we get more and more like Jesus, or we are supposed to.

What’s acceptable for a believer?  Anything that allows the person of Jesus to be revealed.

There will be more to come, but for now let’s allow the Holy Spirit to remove those things and activities from our lives that confuse our testimony of Christ so that the lost world might see Jesus more and more in you and me.

Blessings!

Pastor Roy

Roots LifeTeam Session 19

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THE HOLY SPIRIT

JOHN 16:1-15

Why would Jesus going away (physically leaving the earth) benefit humanity?

John 16:7

What three things was the Holy Spirit sent to convict the world (unbelievers) of?

John 16:8

What is the main sin the Holy Spirit convicts the world of?

John 15:9

How is condemnation removed from people?

John 3:18

What three things does the Holy Spirit provide for believers?

John 16:13

What is another one of the benefits the Holy Spirit provides for believers?

John 14:26

The main third function of the Spirit listed in these verses is to glorify_____?

John 16:15

So the three major functions of the Holy Spirit are:

A  to the world (unbelievers)—conviction of sin, righteousness & judgment

B  to believers—direction for their lives & truth

C  to Jesus—revealing Him to & through believers

 

What Draws You Closer to God?

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darkness

What draws you closer to God? I was working on a few chores around my place this past weekend and as I was working, my mind was dwelling on a difficult situation from the past. I had heard a comment earlier that day that reminded me of a very difficult leadership situation that I had dealt with some years ago. It was a great season of learning and faith development and as usual for me, the catalyst for that growth had been fear. As my mind reflected back on this time it dawned on me how often it takes fear to move me closer to the Lord. Frankly, I want something better. How about you?

In 2 Timothy 1:7 we read

…“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (ESV)

Said more simply, the spirit that God gives us doesn’t make us afraid. Rather, this spirit convinces us of the power that we have in and through him, confirms and demonstrates his love for us, and enables us to control ourselves.   His Spirit does not reduce us in any way but rather builds us up.

God’s desire IS that we would be in close relationship with him, and I believe that he WILL allow fear to drive us into him, but that isn’t his best plan, just the one that we leave him with after we’ve been too busy for his kindness, gentleness, and the still small voice that invites us into his presence. It’s as we disassociate with the Holy Spirit’s voice and the Word that our merciful Father, who knows we are ill equipped to face this world without his presence, allows circumstances or thoughts to cause us fear and thereby moves us close to him once again.

Think about how full the churches were immediately following September 11, 2001. People were afraid and turned to God for solace and hope. Wouldn’t it be much better if through devotion and discipline we kept ourselves closely attuned with the Holy Spirit’s voice and in regular times of reverence and worship our faith grew and grew. That love and revelation would be the context of our growth rather than fear.

Today, I’m committed to the pursuit of His presence motivated not by fear, but by a genuine desire to know him more fully and to walk from sunrise to sunset with a profound sense of his presence.

Blessings!