Monday, October 16, 2017

Is the Yoke on You?



Let’s look at a familiar passage from Matthew 11:28-30 where Jesus said,
Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Things to think about:
  • Jesus bids us to come. It is an active choice on our part that we must move towards him.
    • Is it ever easier or harder for you to come to Him? What kinds of situations  or feelings influence this?
  • Jesus is looking for the weary and heavy laden.
    • Do you know what that feels like?
    • How would you describe a time in your life (even now) where that was the case?
  • He promises rest to those who will exchange their heavy burden for his light one.
    • What is it about His yoke that makes it light?
    • What is it about our yoke that makes it heavy?
  • He says we must learn from Him.
    • If you had to be very specific, what would you say you have learned from Jesus?
    • What do you hope Jesus teaches you in the next few months?
  • He encourages us in this by reminding us He is gentle and humble of heart.
    • When we don’t know something, we can either feel judged by others or very foolish.
    • Learning doesn’t always happen upon the first hearing so his gentleness and humility aren’t just for new believers.
    • What is one lesson that has taken a while to sink in for you?
  • What encouragement would you offer someone based on your personal experience?


Monday, October 9, 2017

Life Lessons from King David

Life Lessons from King David
One of the most compelling men in the Bible is King David. From giant slayer to adulterer to tender psalmist, David is a study in contrasts and complexity.  Let’s take a look at his life - the Good, the Bad, and the Eternal - to see what lessons we can learn from this inspiring yet enigmatic man.

Acts 13:22
God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’

Things to think about:
·       David is a man whose life had breathtaking highs and bone crushing lows
·      Highs
o   Defeat of Goliath
o   Victorious leader of the Mighty Men
o   Psalmist
o   Father to Solomon, the wisest man ever
o   King chosen by God to lead His people
o   God says he is a man after His own heart
·      Lows
o   Hunted like an animal by Saul
o   Best friend Jonathan died at a young age
o   David was an adulterer
o   David was a murderer
o   Loss of infant son
o   His favorite son Absalom rebelled against him and died
o   His first wife Michal hated him
o   David’s son Amnon raped his half-sister
o   By God’s decree, calamity and violence ruled his home
·      Which of David’s actions do you most associate with him?
·      Which of his qualities do you most admire?
·      What warnings do you draw from his life?
·      God says he is a man after His own heart
o   How do you reconcile David’s spectacular failings with this?
o   What does this tell you about how God’s grace in your own life?


Monday, October 2, 2017

AWOL


We have observed in previous discussions that God has us uniquely placed to do His work.  Our talents, passions, personality, work skills, and even our location all come together to identify our purpose.  Similarly, when one is in the military, he receives job training, is part of a chain of command, is sent to where he is most needed, and is assigned to a larger group with a shared purpose.  But what happens when a soldier opts out of his duty?  In that case, he is considered Absent Without Official Leave (AWOL).  What does being AWOL look like in God’s service? What does God have to say to an AWOL soldier?

Isaiah 59:14-16
So Justice is driven back,
    and Righteousness stands at a distance;
Truth has stumbled in the streets,
    Honesty cannot enter.
Truth is nowhere to be found,
    and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.
The Lord looked and was displeased
    that there was no Justice.
 He saw that there was no one,
    he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;

so His own arm achieved Salvation for him,
    and His own Righteousness sustained him.

Things to think about:
·       Here’s the report from the battle scene:
o   The enemy has overtaken the city and forced out the rightful occupants
§  Justice, Righteousness, Honesty, and Truth are either being repelled by enemy fire, or are MIA / POWs of the conflict
·      Justice – the fair administration of the rule of law
·      Righteousness – doing what is right
·      Truth – the unwavering standard of right
·      Honesty – truth in word and deed
§  Whoever doesn’t fall in line with the invading regime is subject to execution
§  These are things worth fighting for.  How do we “hold our ground” in our day-to-day lives?
§  What are forms of injustice you see or that you are involved in reversing?
§  At what personal expense does resisting the enemy come?
o   Shockingly, the Commanding Officer learns His forces for good are nowhere to be found!
§  “The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no Justice. He saw that there was no one; He was appalled that there was no one to intervene.”
·      God is genuinely upset when His people are not to be found where the need is great.
·      What kinds of things take us away from the battlefield?
§  Who are biblical examples of “interveners”? Think of men or women who were willing to tell the truth and fight for what was right.
§  Who are people outside of the Bible you admire who are/were interveners?
·      What qualities do they exemplify?
·      Why do we admire people who stand up to injustice?
·      Our passage tells us that God will win, with our without our participation:
o   So His own arm achieved salvation and His own Righteousness sustained Him
o   The question then isn’t “is Good going to triumph over evil?” but rather “will we be His soldiers in the fight?”
·      While Isaiah was written around 700 BC, we can all plainly see the battle rages on until today.
o   How is God prompting you to take up the battle for Justice so that when He looks, at a minimum He will be pleased to see you intervening?
·      Bonus question – Does God hand out medals after the war?
o   James 1:12