Q52 Week 34

The Leader In You

I have not had a lot of different jobs in my life. Actually, I’ll save you from wondering how many jobs I have had.....the answer is 1.

MONDAY, AUGUST 22

Connect: John 10

DISCOVER:

  • What difference did Jesus describe between a shepherd and a thief?
  • In this illustration, what is represented by the sheep, the shepherd, and the thieves?
  • What happens when the shepherd calls his sheep?
  • What happens when a stranger calls the sheep?

RESPOND:

 

  • In the Good Shepherd Discourse, Jesus presents himself as the legitimate shepherd of God’s people, casting the religious leadership as illegitimate. Jesus is both the door and the shepherd. The door represents salvation. Anyone desiring abundant life must enter the fold through Jesus. At the same time, Jesus is the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. By contrast, other would-be religious leaders are likened to thieves, robbers, and hired hands who desert the flock in times of danger. Jesus’ vision of one flock and one shepherd alludes to prophetic passages in Ezekial and Isaiah. Jesus promises that all who hear his voice as the good shepherd and come to him will be saved and protected in his fold. His sheep hear his voice and follow. Ask the Lord to let you hear his voice clearly.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 23

Connect: Ezekiel 34

DISCOVER:

 

  • Who are the shepherds of Israel?
  • What were the shepherds not doing? 
  • What is the difference between the fat and the lean sheep?
  • Who is the shepherd established over God’s people?
  • Who would be the God of the people?

RESPOND:

 

  • Ezekiel condemns the leaders of Judah for not caring for their flock. Instead of teaching the pure word of God, these shepherds were enriching themselves at the expense of the sheep, probably giving comfort to people in their sin instead of encouraging them to repent. False prophets taught according to what would help them succeed rather than professing the truth. In answer to this, we see hints of the incarnation in the description of the Davidic king (Jesus) as shepherd of Israel. God himself would come in human flesh to redeem the lost sheep of Israel. This has been accomplished in Jesus, the incarnate Son of God, who will never lead us astray as we seek to follow him.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24

Connect: Hebrews 13

DISCOVER:

 

  • What does 13:8 teach about Jesus? 
  • Where else are similar ideas taught?
  • What warning does the author give in 13:9?
  • Why does verse 9 follow verse 8?

RESPOND:

 

  • Knowing that Jesus is unchanging has immense practical ramifications for us. One reason we find it difficult to trust others is that we know that people change. We routinely find our affections and our views on matters both trivial and significant changing over time. This is not so when it comes to Jesus. Because he does not change, we have no reason to fear that he will ever stop loving us. His unchanging nature gives us a fixed anchor. He cannot be defeated and he can never tell us anything but the truth.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 25

Connect: 1 Peter 2

DISCOVER:

  • What passage is quoted in 2:6, and in what sense is Jesus like a cornerstone?
  • Who were the builders, how did they reject Jesus, and how did He still become the cornerstone?
  • To whom should we submit according to – 2:13,14?

RESPOND:

 

  • Who is the best leader you have ever had outside of your family?
  • Why is knowing your flock so important to a leader?
  • How can you tell if a leader is sacrificing for you or using you for his benefit?
  • Identify one thing a leader is doing to make your life better?

FRIDAY, AUGUST 26

Connect: 1 Peter 3

DISCOVER:

  • When and how should we give answers to those who question us – 3:15?
  • What benefit will a good conscience accomplish – 3:16?
  • For what should we suffer, and for what should we not suffer – 3:17?

RESPOND:

 

  • That we must bless those who persecute us shows us that we are not always to endure suffering in silence. Today’s passage confirms this, calling us to give a gentle and reasonable answer to those who ask about our living hope. Therefore, we must all become apologists. We must equip ourselves to defend the faith. Are you equipped to be a defender of the faith? Have you studied things such as the historical background of Scriptureand the evidence for Christ’s resurrection so that you can answer the critics of the faith? Take some time to review some of the evidence for the truth of the Christian faith.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 27

Connect: 1 Peter 4

DISCOVER:

 

  • What effect should Jesus’ suffering for us have on our lives?
  • How should the life of a Christian differ from his past life?
  • What were some of the sins people “walked in” ?

RESPOND:

 

  • First Peter 4 calls us again to look to Christ as our example in suffering. We read that since he suffered in the flesh, we must arm ourselves with the same way of thinking. As the second Adam, Jesus had to break decisively with sin for the sake of his people. By suffering for the sake of God’s will, Jesus made this break with sin. He ceased from sin on our behalf, not by renouncing his own sin for he was sinless, but by standing firm in the midst of temptation. Instead of abandoning the cross, he fulfilled God’s will that he die to save his people. We too must cease from sin by being so willing to do God’s will that we would suffer at the hands of the civil authority and society rather than disobey his will in order to avoid pain. Make every effort to arm yourself with Christ’s way of thinking so that you would be willing to suffer rather than do evil.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 28

Connect: Philippians 1

DISCOVER:

 

  • ​​What outcome did Paul have confidence would result from his circumstances – 1:25? 
  • How would this benefit the Philippians?
  • Whether or not Paul saw them again, what kind of life did he urge them to lead?
  • How does he describe their need for unity?

RESPOND:

 

  • We can not overestimate our need for the Christian community for our own faithfulness to our Savior in this world. All of the greatest leaders in church history had the support of fellow believers whereby they were able to stand firm for the gospel in one spirit and one mind. We are setting ourselves up for disaster if we believe we can walk out the Christian faith alone so let us work hard for our unity with the other believers in the gospel.

Q52 Week 33

Till The Soil

A few weeks ago, I was on vacation with my family.. Katie, Keeley, and I always go to New Smyrna Beach, Florida. It is paradise for us - the views are great, the sand is rock hard, and the food is as good as it gets. I never fail to cherish that week with my family as the memories are priceless. If you don’t have a rhythm of getting away, wherever that may be, with your family, I would highly recommend finding a way to get one. It’s one of the most important things that you can do as it helps you reset and rest.

MONDAY, AUGUST 15

Connect: Luke 10

DISCOVER:

 

  • 10:25-37: What is the meaning of vs 27?
  • What is special about naming the man a Samaritan? Levite? 
  • How does verse 37 define being neighborly?

 

RESPOND:

 

  • What if the injured person were someone from a different ethnic group than you? Would you stop to help?
  • How can we all express more compassion and care for one another?
  • Why is it important for us to be willing to help others?

TUESDAY, AUGUST 16

Connect: Deuteronomy 6

DISCOVER:

 

  • Verse 2 tells us to ‘fear the lord’ and verse 5 tells us to ‘love the Lord’. How are both fear and love important motivations for us?
  • What were the Israelites to do and not to do when God brought them into the land?
  • Who is responsible for teaching the children? According to this chapter, what qualifications do those that are teaching the children need to have?

 

RESPOND:

 

  • In what areas of your life do you obey God’s law out of fear or obligation and in what areas do you obey out of love?
  • Would you say that you love the Lord with all your heart, soul and strength? Give specific examples of what that means in your life
  • Give some examples of what you are doing to pass God’s truth to future generations.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17

Connect: 1 John 3

DISCOVER

 

  • Is every person in the world a child of God? How can we become children of God?
  • What reasons are given for why practicing sin is incompatible with a relationship to God?
  • How can we tell believers and unbelievers apart?
  • Was John teaching them something new (to love one another)? In what other Scriptures prior to this had it been taught to love one another?

RESPOND:

 

  • How do you feel when people around you think you are weird or a nut because of your belief in God?
  • What kind of person might try to “deceive” people into thinking that sinning is OK or perhaps even good? Did you ever try to tell yourself that some kind of sin is acceptable? What should our view of sin be?
  • What motivates us to not love the people around us? Can you give some examples in the Bible of someone who did show Christlike love to others?

THURSDAY, AUGUST 18

Connect: 1 John 4

DISCOVER

 

  • What spirits is John referring to? What is the “spirit of the Antichrist”?

  • Love one another because God loved us–How did John model this type of love for the brethren?

  • What does verse 10 tell us about the source of love and the cause of our love?

  • Who is “we” in verse 14?

  • How does it logically connect that if we abide in love, we abide in God?

 

RESPOND

 

  • Who is the best neighbor you ever had? Any stories of a really bad neighbor?

  • Why do you think we can’t love God without loving our neighbors?

  • What do you think you would have done if you had been a seminary student in the study and had run into someone in need on the way to give your talk?

  • Under what circumstances is it most difficult for you to be a good neighbor?

FRIDAY, AUGUST 19

Connect: 1 John 5

DISCOVER:

  • If someone asked you to explain eternal life, what would you say? When do we get this eternal life? How does having eternal life affect your life now? What is the way to get this eternal life?
  • How or when can we be confident that God will answer our prayers?
  • How can we know if we are praying according to God’s will? What do these verses teach us about our attitude in prayer? What do these verses teach us about God?

RESPOND:

  • What would you say if someone says to you, “This means that God just answers your prayers if He is going to do it anyway. What is the point of praying then?”
  • How is your prayer life?
  • How can you improve your prayer life?

SATURDAY, AUGUST 20

Connect: Leviticus 19

DISCOVER:

  • Focus on vs 9-18: Knowing that God did not say “If you feel like it, then…”. These are commands. If God commanded these, then how are we to apply them to our lives?
  • Which command is the “hardest” for you?
  • Reread verse 18, ““‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”” Do you tend to seek revenge? What does loving your neighbor as yourself mean?

RESPOND:

  • In verse 18, it says not to hold a grudge against anyone among YOUR PEOPLE. What does this mean? Why is it so important for Christians not to hold grudges against one another?
  • Are you still holding onto grudges against fellow believers? Why or why not? If you are, let this verse challenge you to make amends.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 21

Connect: Philippians 1

DISCOVER:

  • Where was Paul when he wrote this book? Who was the audience?
  • What two qualities can you see in Paul’s prayer (thanks and joy)? What can we learn from this? What is the main content of Paul’s prayer? What can we learn from this?
  • How did God use Paul’s imprisonment to work together for good?

 

RESPOND:

 

  • What is the main content of your prayer life? If you want to try a new way to pray: Plead with God for character growth. Ask God to turn weaknesses into strengths. Identify areas of shortcoming and pray for growth in those areas. Spend some time evaluating the type of things you normally pray for. And make sure that your prayers reflect God’s heart and not your own.
  • How can we use our own troubles to encourage other believers?
  • What should be your motive for sharing the gospel?

Q52 Week 32

Till The Soil

A few weeks ago, I was on vacation with my family.. Katie, Keeley, and I always go to New Smyrna Beach, Florida. It is paradise for us - the views are great, the sand is rock hard, and the food is as good as it gets. I never fail to cherish that week with my family as the memories are priceless. If you don’t have a rhythm of getting away, wherever that may be, with your family, I would highly recommend finding a way to get one. It’s one of the most important things that you can do as it helps you reset and rest.

MONDAY, AUGUST 8

Connect: Matthew 13

DISCOVER

  • What is represented in the Parable of the Soils?
  • Who does the sower represent?
  • What does the seed represent?
  • What do the different soils represent?
  • What do the stones, weeds, and thorns represent?

 

RESPOND

Of the soils (human hearts) represented in the Parable of the Soils. The fourth is notably different. This one understands and bears fruit. He accepts and confirms his life to the gospel. The presence of fruit, not its quantity, is what matters. Calvin says, “The fertility of that soil which yields a thirty-fold produce is small compared with that which yields a hundred-fold but Jesus classes together all kinds of soil which do not entirely disappoint the labors and expectations of the sower.” Mathew Henry writes: “ That which distinguished this good ground from the rest was in one word, fruitlessness. He does not say that this good ground has no stones in it, or no thorns; but there were none that prevailed to hinder its fruitfulness.” Stones or thorns may be found in the good soil of a believer’s heart, but these hindrances do not finally prevent him from bearing fruit. Despite your remaining sin, is your life bearing fruit for Christ?

TUESDAY, AUGUST 9

Connect: Isaiah 6

DISCOVER

  • What message was Isaiah required to carry to Israel?
  • How long was he to continue to proclaim this message?

RESPOND

  • Every time God’s word is proclaimed it changes all of those that hear it. No one ever remains unaffected by God’s word. To those who hear it positively, there is growth in grace. To those who reject it or are indifferent to it calluses are added to their souls and hearts. Their eyes become dimmer and their ears heavier. The mystery of the kingdom becomes more obscure. Ask God to open your ears to hear his voice and to clear your spiritual eyes so that your heart will understand his word.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 10

Connect: Acts 28

DISCOVER

  • What freedom was Paul given – 28:16,30?
  • Whom did Paul call? What did he say the Romans thought of his case – 28:17,18?
  • What reason did he give why he was in Rome – 28:19?
  • What had the Jews heard about Paul, and why did they want to talk to him?

RESPOND

  • Paul preached wherever he was (v31), no matter the condition – whether in chains (v20) or while a prisoner in his house (v30). He preached lovingly (v17-20, biblically (v23), and doctrinally (v 23 &31). He preached with immediacy (v17), with endurance (v23 & 30-31), and with boldness (v31). He preached to everyone (v 17 & 28). He preached Christ (v23) and desired for people to know him (v31). As we saw in yesterday’s passage, Isaiah was commanded to preach a message that no one would hear and yet he was faithful to preach anyway. Pray that God would give you the boldness and faithfulness of Paul and Isaiah to proclaim truth despite the challenges we face.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 11

Connect: Romans 11

DISCOVER

  • In 11:16, what is represented by the firstfruit, the lump, the root, and the branches?
  • What does 11:17 say happened? What is represented by the branches broken off and the wild olive tree grafted in?
  • Why were branches broken off and others grafted in?

RESPOND

  • What makes people spiritually hard of hearing?
  • Do you think you have always been a good listener when hearing the gospel? When did you listen more carefully? When are you harder of hearing? What made the difference?
  • Are you in a relationship with someone who is hardened to the gospel? How would you assess that person’s condition based on the four types of soil?
  • Paul explains that the hardening of the Jews has occurred so as to allow the Gentiles to come into the kingdom. Though there are many privileges in being a part of God’s family, we must never become conceited that we trust in Christ while others do not. Even withing churches Christians can tend to look down on other denominations. All of God’s people have been chosen from the foundation of the world, but it is not due to our own loveliness. Christins should therefore be the most humble of all people. If we find arrogance in ourselves, let us quickly repent.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 12

Connect: 2 Corinthians 3

DISCOVER

  • Define “sufficient.” What was the source of Paul’s sufficiency – 3:4-6?
  • In what sense was Paul not sufficient but needed God? How is this true of us?
  • In what specific area had God made Paul sufficient?

RESPOND

  • The problem with the old covenant was unregenerate hearts. Many individual Israelites looked to the law not as a way of salvation but as something to obey to thank God for his grace. But the nation as a whole erred by looking to establish their own righteousness by it. If we try to merit righteousness by keeping the law, the law will kill us. But if we reject our own merit and obey out of gratitude for God’s grace, we show that the Spirit is at work in us.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 13

Connect: 2 Corinthians 4

DISCOVER

  • In 4:7, what is the treasure, and what are the earthen vessels?
  • Is the power of the gospel in the message or in the messenger?
  • In what sense did Paul bear or manifest the dying and the life of Jesus?

RESPOND

  • God told Paul that he wanted to keep him weak because “My power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor 12:9). Paul’s weakness and suffering kept him dependent on God, and became a channel for God’s grace to others. Jesus asked that the cup of suffering pass him by. We are never to seek suffering, but when it comes could it be that God is allowing us to take someone else’s pain, that they may have the strength to serve? Such a thought comforted Paul; it may comfort us as well.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 14

Connect: Philippians 1

DISCOVER

  • What did Paul expect to result from his circumstances – 1:19?
  • What did he believe would bring about this result?
  • Was he certain whether he would live or die – 1:20? In either case, what did he expect and hope would be the most important outcome?
  • What advantage did Paul believe there would be if he continued to live?
  • What advantage did he see if he were to die?

RESPOND

  • Jonathan Edwards once said that many of us live like the traveler who stops at a hotel along his way and enjoys it so much that he abandons his journey. The apostle Paul did not suffer this attachment. He was well aware of the blessed hope that awaited him. We can detect the tension though. He enjoyed the fellowship with the Christians at Philippi, and he knew it was necessary for him to remain and continue as their teacher. But what he really wanted was to see Jesus. He knew that death is not a tragedy for the believer. Have you come to the place where you understand that death is a great victory for those that follow Jesus? If you fear death and are a Christian, remeber that to live is Christ, but to die is gain.