We Exist To Grow The Kingdom – Acts 8:26-40

Through the story of Philip and the Ethiopian man, we learn that chances to share Christ are not reserved for church campuses and Bible studies. In a lost world desperately seeking hope, the chance to share your story and your hope can come anywhere, any day. Philip’s approach to sharing the gospel showed his obedience to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, willingness to approach people in real life circumstances, and the ability to ask the right question and share the truth of the gospel clearly. These are all things we should ask God for and work to develop in our lives as followers of Christ. Faith in Christ precedes baptism. The word “believe” means “to trust” and “to commit oneself.” The Ethiopian man could not merely accept mentally what Philip presented; he had to commit his life wholeheartedly to Christ. God’s Word presents Philip as an example to our entire church. As one body, we have the opportunity to evangelize our community and many other parts of the world, and everyone in our group can be a part of that. Our church doesn’t exist simply for people to visit on Sundays, enjoy the service, and leave. We exist to grow the kingdom of God. If we are willing to follow God’s leading, each of us will have opportunities to share the gospel with people who need to experience Christ.

PRAYER – I hereby surrender everything that I am, and have, and ever will be. I take my hands off of my life and release every relationship to You: every habit, every goal, my health, my wealth, and everything that means anything. I surrender it ALL to You. By faith I take my place at the Cross, believing that when the Lord Jesus was crucified, according to Your Word, I was crucified with Him; when He was buried, I was buried; when He was raised from the dead, I was raised with Him. I deny myself the right to rule and reign in my own life and I take up the Cross believing that You are in my and I in You. I thank You for saving me from my sins and myself. From this moment on I am trusting You to live Your life in me and through me, instead of me, to do what I can’t do, quit what I can’t quit, start what I can’t start, and–most of all–to be what I can’t be. I am trusting you to renew my mind and heal damaged emotions in Your time. I thank You now by faith for accepting me in the Lord Jesus, for giving me Your grace, Your freedom, Your joy, Your victory and Your righteousness as my inheritance. Even if I don’t feel anything, I know that Your Word is true; I am counting on Your Spirit to do what Your Word says– to set me free from myself, that Your resurrection life may be lived out through me, and that You may receive all the glory. I thank You and praise You for victory right now in Jesus’ name, Amen.

How Are You Making Disciples? John 1:43-51

The world needs to know who Jesus really is and what the benefits are of putting faith in Him. Jesus gave us—His church—the responsibility to make those truths known. God could have chosen to work in the world independent of His people, yet He chose to engage us in accomplishing His will. As the church, we represent God to people who need to know and understand Him. But you know, Jesus never asked us to accomplish anything without Him or really anything He did not already to Himself. Jesus called Phillip as He was walking to Galilea. As we live our lives, we are to make disciples. How are you making disciples today? Are the distractions of the world over-taking your first purpose? What does God desire for you personally to do in response to that truth?

PRAYER – Seek God in a time of prayer for the burden of responsibility that comes with knowing the Great Commission. Pray that everyone will take this charge & responsibility seriously and see it as a vital role we have in being Jesus’ church and allowing Him to work through us.

Words Cannot Substitute Action – James 2:14-18

James here addressed the vital issue of faith and works in the Christian life. He asked two questions that call for negative answers. The Greek word translated “good” comes from a verb that means “to increase”; the noun means “profit” or “advantage.” In essence James asked, “What is accomplished if someone keeps on professing faith but consistently performs no works?” The word faith has the sense of trust in and commitment to Christ for salvation. The openness to receive God’s grace brings redemption, and the redeemed live out that grace. The term “works” refers to good deeds—actions on others’ behalf that demonstrate Christ’s love (see v. 8). James’s question called for an obvious answer: an inactive faith accomplishes nothing. James drew the parallel between words without actions and faith that produces no good works. Apart from works, such faith is dead in and of itself—inwardly lifeless and outwardly unproductive. Here James answered the second question in verse 14. Mere words, no matter how kind or well-meaning, are not substitutes for helpful actions. If all we do is talk about having faith, we do not have saving faith. We can know and use all the right religious words, but without compassionate actions they count for nothing. Saving faith engages in a lot more doing than talking. Our words are not enough. Effective faith is always validated by the works of love that flow from it.

PRAYER – Pray to God for Him to give you discernment for the best way to demonstrate authentic faith by loving one another and our community. Seek God’s face for guidance on sharing Him with a lost and dying world. Then seek to accomplish it – first through prayer, next action.  

Time With The Father – Mark 14:32-36

Jesus went farther into the garden to be alone with God. Jesus the Son of God to accomplish what God desired of Him, He relied on God in prayer. His agony was such that He threw Himself on the ground before God in deep spiritual anguish, praying that if possible the awful hour awaiting Him might pass Him by—that His mission might be accomplished some other way. Hour figuratively refers to the entire event Jesus was facing. The “hour” and the “cup” were used synonymously. Yet Jesus humbly submitted to the Father’s will. Luke tells us that Jesus’ sweat resembled drops of blood. Jesus was in terrible agony, but He did not give up or give in. He went ahead with the mission for which He had come. If Jesus needed to rely on the Father, how much more do we need to?

PRAYER – Spend some time thanking God for Jesus’ intercessory prayers on our behalf. Thank Him for the hope we have, even when we do not know what to pray. Ask God to align our prayers with those of Jesus, that we might be most concerned about His purposes for His kingdom and our lives.

The Need To Share – John 14:8-21

The primary emphasis of greater things is on the spiritual dimension, rather than the physical. When a person is healed of a physical illness, that person’s life on earth may be enriched and improved for a few more years. When a person is saved, a transformation occurs that lasts not only for the duration of life on earth, but also for all of eternity. Jesus promises that believers can participate in the greater works of spreading the gospel around the world. In so doing, we do not act independently of Him, but as His agents. Through faith in Him, Jesus’ followers would continue His work and see its expansion. The greatest work of God is seeing a lost sinner come to find life in Jesus. Jesus is the way, meaning He is the way into a relationship with God that leads to eternal life. He not only taught the way, demonstrated the way, and provided the way. Jesus is the truth. Jesus is the single reliable source of redemptive revelation. Apart from Him, there is no means of knowing God. Jesus’ whole life defined the reality of truth. Jesus also is the life. No real life exists apart from Him. As Jesus’ followers, we must share lovingly the reality that apart from Him there is no redemption, no everlasting life, no way to heaven. There is no salvation apart from faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).

PRAYER – Jesus, in this situation I have nothing to offer of my own ingenuity or strength; I need your wisdom and power as badly as I need the air that I breathe.  As I move forward may I do so in desperate dependence on You every second.  I joyfully and unreservedly confess that I am inadequate to answer Your call, in fact, I can do absolutely nothing without You.  I’m not able to handle this situation on my own and any good that results must come solely through You.  I simply ask You right now to flow through me, Lord Jesus, and cause me to stay out of Your way. In Your name, Amen