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The Future Kingdom – Week #9 Personal Devotional

Posted on November 13, 2013 by Charles A. Montgomery, Jr.

Welcome to week #9 of the Gospel of God personal devotional!  Throughout this series our small groups will be going through a 9-week study on the gospel and we would love for you to be a part! However, we realize that's not possible for everyone. And because we don’t want you to miss it, we've created a brief devotional based on our small group studies. Enjoy this short video and devotional!  We pray that it meets you where you are!

Question: What specific things in this series have motivated you to share the Gospel? Why to you think we need such motivation?

ENCOUNTERING THE WORD

Read: Matthew 24: 3 – 14

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Questions:

1.  Following Jesus' statement about the temple's destruction, the disciples ask two questions (v. 3). Look through chapter 24; briefly noting ways that Jesus answers these questions.

2.  Throughout history people have set dates for Christ's return and have been mistaken. What events might deceive the disciples into thinking the end is at hand (vv. 4-8)?

3.  Before the end comes, what dangers will believers face, and how are we to handle them (vv. 9-14)?

4.  What would happen before the "end" would come (v14)?

RESPONDING TO JESUS

In the Gospel of God series, how has your confidence increased in your ability to share the Gospel with others?  Consider some of the weekly challenges that have been put forth in this series.  Were some more challenging than others for you? Consider What Kingdom restoration look like to you. Consider some specific ways that you can serve as a ‘coming attraction’ of the Kingdom of God. How can bring these into being in your sphere of influence: your home, to your neighbors, job, school, etc? 

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, reveal to me any areas of brokenness that in the world around me; globally, in my own relationships, and within myself. Bring your Kingdom into our world.  Let your will be done here on earth as it is in Heaven. Lead to me to action, sharing your name to those around me. Give me strength to be firm until the end. Amen! 

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Who Is My Neighbor? – Doing Justice – Week #8 Personal Devotional

Posted on November 13, 2013 by Kyla Snow

Welcome to week #8 of the Gospel of God personal devotional!  Throughout this series our small groups will be going through a 9-week study on the gospel and we would love for you to be a part! However, we realize that's not possible for everyone. And because we don’t want you to miss it, we've created a brief devotional based on our small group studies. Enjoy this short video and devotional!  We pray that it meets you where you are!

Question: What do you think about the idea that justice is the natural overflow from the heart of someone who has truly experienced and accepted God’s grace? Do you agree or disagree?

ENCOUNTERING THE WORD

Read: Luke 10:25-37, The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[c]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d]

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[e] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Questions:

     1.  How is the man described who asks Jesus the questions in this passage?

     2.  What is the motivation behind his questions to Jesus, and what does this reveal about the lawyer’s understanding of salvation?

     3.  Why is it so radical that the hero of this story is the Samaritan man? Why didn’t Jesus cast a fellow Jewish man as the hero of the story? What if you placed this story in the present day? What types of people that we normally consider ‘social outcasts’ would be surprising to cast as the hero of a story?

     4.  Jesus commanded the lawyer to "go and do likewise…" and follow the example of the Good Samaritan who didn't let excuses get in the way of loving a person in need who God had put in his path. Have you been presented with similar situations to that of the Samaritan man, when you had a choice to administer justice and mercy or not to do so? How did God make you aware of the need and how did he invite you to respond?

     5.  How has this story challenged the way you think about serving those in need, or “doing justice?” What difference does it make in the way we practice justice toward others to really understand how Jesus has extended his grace equally to each one of us?

RESPONDING TO JESUS

Has God impressed upon your heart any area where you need to experience his grace, or any attitude in you that he wants to change? Have you been challenged to change your perspective toward a particular group of people or issue? 

PRAYER

Father, conform my heart to yours. I desire to be a just person, from the inside out. Transform ne, Jesus, and let my faith in you, your forgiveness of my sins, and my acceptance of your grace, be reflected in all of my interactions with others. May there be no limit to the people I extend justice to in my community. Let me see others the way that you see them. Holy Spirit, empower me to “do justice” when I see the need. I love you, Lord, and I thank you for your grace and for your forgiveness for my sins which is not dependent on anything I do. Help me to share your grace and justice with others through my actions.

Resources:

Generous Justice, Tim Keller

http://www.gci.org/bible/luke/goodsam

http://www.unlearning101.com/fuhgetaboutit_the_art_of_/2010/04/the-problem-with-the-world.html:

www.worldvision.org

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The Gospel at Work - Week #7 Personal Devotional

Posted on October 29, 2013 by Andrew Oswalt

Welcome to week #7 of the Gospel of God personal devotional!  Throughout this series our small groups will be going through a 9-week study on the gospel and we would love for you to be a part! However, we realize that's not possible for everyone. And because we don’t want you to miss it, we've created a brief devotional based on our small group studies. Enjoy this short video and devotional!  We pray that it meets you where you are!

Question: What was the most encouraging portion of this story for you? What of this story seems familiar in your life?

ENCOUNTERING THE WORD

Read: Colossians 4:2-6 (NIV)

4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Questions:

     1. Paul offers a “recipe” for sharing the Gospel, and it applies to in the workplace as well. He suggests 6 aspects of “being” and 3 aspects of “doing”. What are they?

     2.  What must God do that you cannot do? (v.3)

     3. If you were to practice these things in the workplace, in what order would you do them in? Where should God be in the process?

     4. Is it realistic to practice this kind of “Being” in your workplace? When we think of embodying the Gospel At Work, what are some examples of the kind of “doing” that Paul is talking about? What things come easily for you? What are the challenges?

RESPONDING TO JESUS

This week, ask God to open your eyes to the people around you at work. Use your imagination to Anticipate what God might want to do in pursuit of people who don’t know him. Consider how big your faith is, and prayerfully ask God to use you in an audacious, unexpected way. Then ask God to highlight one person at work, and begin to pray for that person. Participate in what God is doing in that person’s life, maybe by asking him or her out to coffee or lunch. Celebrate with your small group the next time you get together by sharing your story.

Practice the “Doing” by practicing these disciplines:

Anticipate

Be Prayerful
Be Watchful
Be Thankful 


Participate

Be Wise
Be Graceful
Be Seasoned with Salt

[So That] You Will Know How to Answer Everyone

Celebrate
(Share great stories of God using you in your workplace. It build’s other’s faith!)

PRAYER

Come to me Holy Spirit. Thank you for being a God who empowers me and goes before me. Reveal to me what things you have for me today, and in the week to come. Show me any barriers in my life and in the lives of those around me that are preventing me from embodying the Gospel at work. Show me one person in my life that I can pray for, that they may know or experience You more. Bring Your kingdom into our world, Father. Amen.

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