Saturday, November 30, 2013

John 15:16-17
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and
appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

Our scripture reminds us that from the beginning God has sought after us and bought us with his amazing grace. The only thing that He is waiting for is your answer to the question, will you follow me and show the world what I have shown you? God has called you to be His hands and feet in the world will you follow?

Friday, November 29, 2013

John 15:12-15
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

Our scripture today is quite powerful. Jesus no longer calls us servants but friends.  And he has given the greatest sign of love to us by laying down his life so that we may have life.  Take time today to give thanks to our friend Jesus and show his love in some small way to someone else.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

John 15:9-11
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

Today’s scripture reminds us that God’s commandments are all about love. Jesus said that the greatest commandments are to love the Lord your God and your neighbor as well. Reread verse 11. Why do think Jesus said that our joy would be complete if we follow his command to love?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

John 15:5-8
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Reread verse 8. Why do you think it is to God’s glory that we bear fruit? Go back to Monday’s reflection and give thanks to God for the fruit that He has produced in your life.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

John 15:3-4
You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must
remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit
unless you remain in me.

In today’s scripture we are reminded of a good way to stay rooted in the true vine, which is through the Word of God. How do you think reading and living the Word of God helps us abide in Christ? How do you stay in the Word of God in your life?

Monday, November 25, 2013

John 15:1-2
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the
gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

During this entire sermon series we have been using the 15th chapter of John, where Christ describes himself as the true vine. In today’s scripture we read that our connection to the true vine produces fruit. What has been the fruit that God has produced in your life? 

Weekly Theme November 24 through 30


 “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness from God comes from faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
-Romans 3:21-24

Life is filled with decisions and many of them are very important.  In fact some of the decisions that we make can be life altering. When it comes to our spiritual lives we have decisions that need to be made.  The most basic and important decision that we can make spiritually is to commit ourselves to Jesus and become his follower.  Being a Christian, being a disciple of Jesus Christ, requires a life-altering decision. 
Being a follower of Jesus is not something that is inherited from your parents.  Nor does being a follower of Jesus just happen when you first step into a church.  Being a follower of Jesus does not happen simply because your friends are following Jesus.  We must intentionally make a decision to believe in faith that Jesus died for our sins and that we have been made right in God’s eyes through the resurrection of Jesus.  When we make that decision then we must continue to affirm that decision on a daily basis.  The daily affirmation of the decision to follow Jesus calls us to live out our discipleship.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

1 Corinthians 4:1-2
1This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.

A disciple is trustworthy. Disciples can be trusted to make wise decisions concerning the resources within their care. God has called us to be good stewards of all that we have received. How do you take care of the things God has given you?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Acts 20:32-35
32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

A disciple shares. We have not been given God’s love to keep it to ourselves. The whole discipleship path connect-grow-serve-give is something that we share together. How do you share with one another through the discipleship path? What gifts and talents do you have to share with others on the
discipleship path?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mark 12:41-44
41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the
offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

A disciple sacrifices. Disciples follow Jesus’ teaching to sacrifice what they have out of gratitude for their many blessings. Some people get the story of the widow’s mite all wrong. They think it means that they can give very little from what they have left over like offering God your pocket change. But, the widow offers God everything. God’s love is everything and it is worth more than any of our worldly possessions. So think about this hypothetical question (because this is not what God requires) . If you could either have all your worldly possessions or the love of God which would you choose? Be honest and then think about what this means for your relationship with God.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Matthew 28:16-20
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Disciples are responsible. We have been called by God to continue the work of Christ in this world. Does this call give you pause or cause you some level of fear that God has called you to such a great cause? How can relying on God’s help  relieve those fears?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Jeremiah 29:10-14
10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

A disciple is prayerful. Disciples acknowledge the greatness of God through prayer, fellowship, study, worship, and reflection. How do you spend time with the Lord in prayer? How does prayer help you in your life?

Monday, November 18, 2013

2 John 1:6
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

A disciple is obedient. As one can gather from today’s ]scripture, we (as Jesus’ disciples)  can not help but to demonstrate our love of God through obedience to God’s commands. How do you walk in love in your daily life? How do you think our relationship with Jesus Christ can help us be obedient? 

Weekly Theme November 17 through 23


“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.  Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” -John 15:16

Here is a truth:  We all have a need to be chosen.  We have a need to be cared for and wanted.  We love it when someone chooses us a friend.  It is something special to be chosen by someone who loves you to be their spouse.  It is affirming to be chosen as the successful applicant for a job.  When we are chosen it makes us feel included and not excluded.  When we are not chosen there is a sense of rejection.  Our faith in Christ gives us the ultimate experience of being chosen.  We may be rejected by everyone but of this we can be sure: God through Jesus Christ has chosen each and every one of us to be his child and to be a part of his family.  Often times we hear people say something like “I’ve found God” or “I’ve chosen to follow Jesus.”  We all know what a person means by this, however, none of us found God or initially chose to follow Jesus.  God through Jesus Christ chose each of us and then we responded to God’s choosing us by accepting or rejecting what God has done for us.
The bottom line is this:  We have been chosen.  When God sent his Son into this world to die for our sins and defeat death through his resurrection, we were chosen as the sons and daughters of God.  When we come to Christ. we are deciding that we are going to accept God’s action of choosing us.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Matthew 6:19-21, 24
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

A disciple is loyal. Disciples serve God faithfully remembering who they are, whose they are, and why they are here on earth. Is there something in your life that keeps you from God. Something that takes time away from your time with God? Ask God to help you be loyal and redeem that time and place in your heart for God.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Mark 12:28-31
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the
commandments, which is the most important?” 29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

A disciple is loving. Disciples know that the Lord requires justice, kindness, and humility. Also they follow the two greatest commandments that were in today’s scripture reading. How do you show your love to God and show love to your neighbor? 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Psalm 24
1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it on the seas
    and established it on the waters.
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
    Who may stand in his holy place?
4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
    who does not trust in an idol
    or swear by a false god.[a]
5 They will receive blessing from the Lord
    and vindication from God their Savior.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
    who seek your face, God of Jacob.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
    be lifted up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
    The Lord strong and mighty,
    the Lord mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, you gates;
    lift them up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory?
    The Lord Almighty—
    he is the King of glory.

A disciple is  grateful. It may seem odd but gratefulness is different from thankfulness, yet both are essential. Thankfulness is the cordial response to a favor done. It is the affirmation when things go our way. It is the hooray after a blessing. Gratefulness, however, is different. It can only be developed intentionally. It begins with one’s spirit. It’s an attitude, a disposition that we practice whether or not things go our way. Gratefulness is a hallelujah even when there is no guarantee of a blessing.  It is the confidence to accept whatever God brings. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being very grateful and 1 being not very grateful, what is the level of your gratefulness?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

2 Corinthians 8:1-5
1And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.

Disciples are generous. Disciples give whatever is needed when it is needed. How do you give (more than just financially) back to God? What legacy do you want to leave (meaning what things do you want to ensure are around for your children and grandchildren)? 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Philippians 4:10-13
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

A disciple is content.  Our society and our economy is driven by a culture that we always need  something bigger and better. Disciples acknowledge that their strength comes from God through whom they can do all things regardless of how little or how much  they have. How can adopting the attitude of Paul, which is that God provides all we need, help us break the pull of culture and be content with what God has given us? Take time now to thank God for all that He has given you.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Matthew 25:31-40
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

A disciple is compassionate. Disciples are caretakers and caregivers. They concern themselves with the distribution of gifts and resources so that all might benefit. How have you cared for Jesus by taking care of the lonely, lost, and least? How can you live your life as a compassionate disciple? 

Weekly theme November 3 through 9

Breaking our Bonds

 “I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up and thrown into the fire and burned.  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you.  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
-John 15:5-8

Here is a truth: Jesus does not want you to live your life in bondage.  Jesus wants you to be set free.  When we think about the things that keep us from living the way Christ has called us to live most of those things fall into the category of sin or are the results of sin.  So, if we are to be set free from the things that hold us captive then we need a way to deal with sin and the results of sin.  The things that hold us in bondage may not be our sin or the results of our sin. Our bondage may be related to someone else’s sin.
Here is another truth: Jesus came into this world with the singular mission of dealing with humanity’s sin problem and restoring our relationship with God.  To put it another way Jesus came into the world to set us free from sin as well as the results of sin that restrict us and hold us in captivity. Jesus has called us to bear fruit by being His disciples. Over the next two weeks we are going to look at some attributes of being a disciple that will help us break free from our bonds and answer God’s call in our lives.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Matthew 11:28-30
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

E=Experience the Holy Spirit
When we experience life with God we enjoy the “easy yoke” and “light burden” that Jesus offers in your day-to-day life. Each day we can grow in confidence and courage as we are experiencing life with God.  Because upon looking back, you will see how the hand of the Lord was really with you and at work accomplishing more than you could’ve done on your own. The Holy Spirit is the power of God within us. Have you ever had a time that God’s strength helped you through? Take time now to give God thanks for helping you and continuing to strengthen you on your journey.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Psalm 63:1-5
You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

D=Devoted to God
Devotion to God is not just an emotion or impulse that comes and goes. It’s the soul’s longing for more and more of God to love him more and to experience him more. We cry out for God because we need his love to cover our sins, heal our hurts, and empower us to overcome our
struggles. What do you need God’s love for today?