Saturday, July 28, 2007
We showed up and started giving away dollars for Simpson's trivia questions, and led into an open air session of good ol' Law and Grace. Except for the security getting a little nervous as to what we were up to, we had a great time. It was a little slower than we were used to on a Saturday night, so after not too long, the group moved up to our regular spot in Downtown Burbank.
But, this is a great example of finding new and innovative ways to get off the couch and get out there and tell more people the truth of God's coming judgment and His immeasurable grace to all of us sinners.
Friday, July 27, 2007
1.Recall and share a time in your life were you had to have a “courageous” (tough) conversation with someone? What made it hard? How did you see God move in that situation?
2.In what ways has our current culture influenced what we believe in the church?
In Dudley’s sermon this past weekend he establishes right off the bat that “God knows Best,” when it comes to our sexual choices and behaviors.
1.In general, why do you think this point is so often quietly debated and contested in our hearts as individuals?
Read Matthew 5:27-28, Proverbs 5:22-23, and Romans 12:1-2
2.How does personal discipline and responsibility play into honoring God with our minds and bodies?
3.As it relates to moral and sexual purity, what do discipline and responsibility look like in the context of your own life?
Read Galatians 6: 1-3
4.How can we as believers come alongside one another when one of us has fallen?
The aftermath of adultery or any moral breach for that matter, leaves collateral damage and emotional scars that may take some time to heal.
In Galatians 5:1 Paul reminds us that it is for freedom that we have been set free, so we should stand firm and not let ourselves be burdened by the yoke of slavery.
Meditate on Psalms 51: 1-14. This Psalm of David is one of repentance and cry for restoration after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba. Allow the words of his heart to rest on yours. Take note of what actions David commits to doing after his repentance in verses 13 and 14.
Think of one or two people you will be deliberate and intentional about inviting them to your life group.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
1.Share one of the silliest things you’ve ever done because you were angry?
2.If you had a dollar for every time you’ve gotten angry would you be rich or poor right now? Explain.
Read Exodus 20:13 & Mathew 5:21-22
1.How does Jesus raise the bar on the commandment, “…you shall not murder?”
2.Why is anger so deadly?
The bible tells us that anger, in and of itself, is NOT wrong, but when we are angry Not to sin:
3.List some things, situations, and time when getting angry would be appropriate.
4.How do you handle you anger (are you a re-presser, explosive expresser, stealth assassin)?
5.What happens when we repress, and suppress anger?
6.Reading Proverbs 29:11, James 1: 19-20, and Proverbs 10:19; what practical guidelines can we apply as it relates to releasing our anger appropriately?
7.In what practical ways can you better manage your anger?
1 John 1:9 tells us that, “…if we confess our sins [God] is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and clean us from all unrighteousness.”
If you are harboring un-confessed anger, tend to blow up in anger, or maybe you have a habit of just repressing it, realize this is a great time to share your heart with the group (if you have not already done so), and as a group pray for one another.
THIS WEEK, share this lesson with a neighbor on your street, a friend, or relative. Pray that God gives you an opportunity to engage in a conversation about anger with someone. God may be convicting your heart about someone you may have hurt because of your anger. If this is the case, go to that brother or sister and reconcile that breach.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Share a funny time in your life when you got in trouble with your parents.
Or… In what ways are you more like your parents now that you are an adult?
Read Exodus 20:12 & Ephesians 6:1
According to the text, why is it so important to obey our parents as we grow up?
In Ephesians 6:1 what do you think is the difference between “obeying” your parents and “honoring” them?
How do we honor our parents?
As our heavenly father, how do we honor God?
Read Proverbs 22:6
Dudley mentioned in his sermon that the primary role of the parent is to teach their child the things of God.
What are the implications of this verse?
Share a good thing and a “not so good thing” you learned from your parents?
How has your up bring impacted your current life?
Read Psalm 139:1-18
Reflect on your life growing up. Go to God in prayer (forgiving your parents were they may need forgiveness, praying for them were they need prayer) ask God how you may better honor your earthly parents… how you may better honor Him.
Have you scheduled your community outreach project? One suggestion is for the group to visit and volunteer at an elderly care center.
Monday, July 16, 2007
What was the most fun you have at work and what did you do?
What does your perfect day look like?
Read Exodus 20:8-11
What was the longest time that you went without a day off to rest? How did it feel not having a day off (physically and mentally)?
This weekend Dudley had 3 points to his message, they were…
The need to work (v.9)
The necessity of rest (v.9-11)
The never ending call to worship (v.10)
What are some of your indicators that let you know you need to rest or take some time off?
What is the hardest part of your job? (All of you stay at home Mom’s; yes this applies to you too.)
Read 2 Thessalonians 3:5-11
What are some of the key truths that you see in this passage about the positive aspects of working?
How do you balance work, rest and worship?
Read Mark 2:23-28
How does this scripture help you understand the purpose of a Sabbath?
Have you ever taken a whole day and dedicated it to the Lord?
(Example; taking a day specifically for prayer, taken a walk/hike just to give thanks for what he created, or gone on a silent retreat.)
If so please share your experience.
Read and pray through Psalm 62
****Group Challenge: have everyone in your group go out this week to a solitary place to spend at least 2 hours alone with GOD in prayer.
Invite one person from your group to the next HOST TRAINING on July 12 so that they can launch a group. This will provide space in your group for new members and another open home for others who are not yet connected with a LIFE GROUP.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
I walked into the “church” building and spoke to about 20 people who were all attending. In meatspace (a term I just learned for the real world) people were actually all over the world, and I was actually at a Starbucks logged in and speaking to my laptop computer. Though, in cyberspace, it was a real church service. With the audio features of this technology, they had worship music, and prayer and even free Bibles to give out to anyone in attendance.
As I looked into Second Life, it turns out that there are almost two million people who regularly log in and spend time in this world. There are real stores that take real money that sell real items such as mp3 versions of songs, or even things that can get shipped to your house in meatspace. What a world.
What I did learn was that if you are creative, you can find a spot that you can make your own fishing spot, even if it only exists in electrons flying around a Starbucks. But, whatever your particular circle of influence, where is your fishing spot? Get out there (or in there) and seek and save the lost.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
I really try to stay out of political discussions, especially living here in California, where the mere utterance of the word "Bush" will throw the room into a frenzy.
But, you really can't get away from it. This whole concert thing is really just a big outreach to the youth to get them to vote for the candidates that support their agenda. On the surface, it is about caring for the planet. But, in reality, you can only care for the planet if you vote for Al Gore. And, then you dig deeper and you can only save the planet if you stop Bush and war. And then you really can only save the planet if you stop Christianity and it's evil patriarchal, white, republican dominated nastiness.
Here is a snippet of what I just heard from Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood.
When the sky and the oceans are clean again, we shall be free. (love the creation, not the Creator)
When we're free to love anyone we choose. (Gay marriage)
When this world is big enough for all different views. (no absolute morals)
When we all can worship from our own kind of pews. (The Bible might be 'true for you')
We shall be free...
So, you start out throwing your soda can in a recycle bin, and then you move on to full fledged relativism.
When are we going to turn from "pop" and look to the "Father" to save us?
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
See if you can spot the odd one out: earthquakes, floods, droughts, cancer, AIDS, terrorism, war, hurricanes, God's blessing, tornadoes.
Of course "God's blessing" is the oddity. Yet, there are many who would believe the entire list is harmonious. In their ignorance, they think that the devastating things that are happening to this nation are nothing more than nature doing her own thing. You may have noticed that lately there has been an increase in Mother Nature's rumblings. You may also be aware that in the last ten years, incidents of cancer in the U.S. have increased. In 2002 there were 189,000 new cases of prostate cancer in the U.S., with 203,500 cases of breast cancer.
Cancer isn't our only dilemma. Back in 1993, Americans spent an incredible $898 billion on health care. We have moved from one of the lowest infant mortality rates to one of the highest, with over 40,000 newborns dying each year. The National Alliance for Mental Illness diagnosed that ten million people have serious long-term mental disease. The United States of America is continually being plagued with killer earthquakes, new incurable diseases that are outwitting antibiotics, killer hurricanes, devastating tornadoes, calamitous floods, terrible droughts, and the return of once "conquered" diseases such as tuberculosis.
The Bible tells us that "righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." Well let's see how we are doing morally:
1. Adultery: USA Today reported that fifty to sixty percent of married couples admit to adultery.
2. Fornication: According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, approximately one in five people in the United States, 45 million individuals, are infected with the virus that causes genital herpes.
3. Rape: A Harris poll sets the figure at 380,000 rapes or sexual assaults that took place back in 1993. The Justice Department says that eight percent of all American women will be victims of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime.
4. Pornography: UPI News, November 19, 1997 said that porn video rentals soared to 665 million in 1996, accounting for 13.3 percent of video rentals in America.
5. Abortion: Centers For Disease Control and Prevention reported 1,267,415 abortions in 1998. It's been estimated that there have been more than 40 million since Roe vs. Wade.
6. Theft: It is estimated theft costs the country $500 billion each year.
7. Greed: Focus on the Family revealed that Americans now visit casinos more often than they attend professional sporting events. Collectively, they lose in excess of $50 billion each year to lotteries, horse and dog tracks, casinos, and the various other gambling venues.
8. Murder: According to FBI statistics, over 18,000 people were murdered in 1997. It averaged more than 20,000 per year, totaling 200,000 murders during the 1990s. Over 100,000 murderers were never brought to justice.
9. Drunkenness: Florida Alcohol & Drug Abuse Association estimates that the social costs of alcohol addiction amount to $100 billion per year in lost productivity and related health costs.
10. Hypocrisy: The Barna Research Group found that sixty-two percent of Americans profess to be Christians, while the book, The Day America Told the Truth said that ninety-one percent lie regularly.
We don't seem to be doing too well. We are no different than Israel, who through the ages, kept straying from God's Commandments into lawlessness. From there, they lost the promised blessing of health, which was conditional upon righteousness (Deuteronomy 28:15-46).
Meanwhile, despite our national sins, a blind and mystified world points to everything from coffee to hot dogs as the reason for the increase in cancer.
As the blessings of God have been removed from the soil, we think nothing of spraying crops with hundreds of thousands of tons of poisons each year to try and combat the onslaught of pestilence. The influence of generations of evolutionary philosophy has us thinking that we are merely assisting (a not quite fully evolved) Mother Nature.
The thought that we have somehow offended God, doesn't even enter the area of our godless reflection.
America the beautiful is no longer beautiful. Violence and sin has made her ugly. America, America, God shed His grace on thee� but now you are reaping the fruit of your sins, and it is time for you to be told:
God mend thine every flaw
Confirm thy soul in self control,
Thy liberty in Law.
What does the song-writer mean by "Thy liberty in Law?" - a city whose drivers are lawful, has the liberty of flowing, problem-free traffic. But if drivers refuse to obey traffic laws, there will be accidents, pain and chaos. Winston Churchill was right when he said, "If a nation won't be ruled by God, it will be ruled by anarchy." We are suffering the aftermath of a national loss of self-control, and consequently, lawlessness. Here again is just some of the chaotic fruit of not keeping God's Law - murder, theft, rape, drug-addiction, alcoholism, obesity, fear, hatred, sexual perversion, racial prejudice, greed, disease, spousal abuse, child abuse, child pornography, family break-down, etc. If you are the victim of the sins of America, God knows your pain. The Bible says He is full of compassion and rich in mercy to all that call upon Him. Even though the situation seems hopeless, there is a way to avert the pathetic sight of children with cancer, more terrible disasters, and other horrible diseases from further flooding this nation. There is a way we can, with the help of God, bring healing to this once great country.
The Answer is in Your Hands
Let's stop talking about "America's" sins, and see how you and I personally stand morally. Answer the following with a tender conscience: Have you ever told a lie? This includes any fibs, white lies, half-truths or exaggerations told in the past. Remember, time doesn't forgive sin. God sees the sins of your youth as though it were yesterday. If you have told even one lie, then you are a liar (be brutally honest with yourself, because God will be on the Day of Judgment). Have you ever stolen something? The value of the item is totally irrelevant. If you have stolen one thing, then you are a thief.
Have you committed murder, or have you desired to by harboring hatred in your heart? If you have hated someone the Bible says that you are a murderer.
Jesus said, "Whoever looks upon a woman to lust after her, has committed adultery already with her in his heart." Have you ever done that? Have you had sex outside of marriage, or committed adultery, or desired to? Then you have committed sexual sin and cannot enter Heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9).
Have you kept the Sabbath holy, always honored your parents, have you put God first in your affections, loving Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength? Have you always loved your neighbor as much as you have loved yourself? Most of us have trouble loving our "loved" ones, let alone loving our neighbors. Have you ever used God's name in vain, either employing it as a curse word, or failing to give it due honor? Have you made a god to suit yourself and therefore been guilty of "idolatry" - making a god in your own image, believing in your version of what you think God is like? Have you ever desired anything that belonged to someone else?
If you have broken even one of these Ten Commandments, then you have sinned against God. On Judgment Day every sin you have ever committed will come out as evidence of your guilt. You will be damned forever, and lose your soul. Without God's mercy, you will go to Hell. The Scriptures warn that unless you repent, you will perish. Don't add self-righteousness to your sins by saying that you are basically a "good" person. If you refuse to admit that "America's" sins are your sins, you will never seek God's mercy. Don't also think that God will overlook your sins because He is good. His "goodness" will make sure justice is done. He will punish all liars, thieves, adulterers, etc.
Don't be fooled into thinking you can clean up your life. No "good" you do can wash away your sins - only God's mercy can do that. Two thousand years ago, He came to this earth in human form to take the punishment for us. The Bible says, "God commended His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." When Jesus died on the cross, He stepped into the courtroom and paid the fine for us. His suffering was necessary to satisfy the Law you and I violated. The moment we repent and trust the Savior, God forgives our sins and grants us everlasting life.
That's how America can be healed of her plagues . . . God will forgive our sins because of what Jesus did on the cross. If you care about America, if you care about the children of America . . . if you care about your eternal salvation, tell God you are sorry for your sins, then turn from them in humble repentance. Think of it this way - you are a man who has committed adultery. You have violated the trust of a loving and faithful wife. She is more than willing to forgive you, so how can you reconcile the relationship? You humble yourself, tell her you are truly sorry . . . then vow to never (even think of) committing adultery again. You shouldn't need someone to write words of sorrow for you to read to your wife, and you shouldn't have to read a prayer of repentance to God from this tract. Just pour your heart out to Him. It's your heart, not the words that really matter. Then put your faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Trust Him in the same way you would trust a pilot with your life when you fly on a plane. He is but a fallible man, so how much more should you trust in God. Read the Bible daily, and obey what you read, and God will never fail you. Check out our web site for further help: www.livingwaters.com May God bless you, your family, and may God bless America.