Monday, May 25, 2009


ONE PRAYER was awesome and opened up some interesting doors. If you want to keep up, or get at it, then check out this helpful study to keep you thinking and to keep you active. If you weren't there live then check out the podcast first to bring yourself up to speed.

Think of some of the greatest sports teams you have ever seen: Olympic , Professional, College, High School, etc..:

What characteristics made them great?

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

1 Cor 1:10 (NLT)

divisions: schisma (skhis'-mah); split, division, schism, ripping or tearing apart.


Where have you seen churches competing against each other?

What is the goal they are competing for?


What are some ways you have you seen other churches completing each other (spiritual co-operation)?

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called to one hope when you were called- 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Eph 4:3-6 (NLT)

In this passage discuss what you think is meant by the following phrases:

One Body

One Spirit

One Hope

One Lord

One Faith

In this passage the phrase “make every effort” is translated from the greek: spoudazo (spoo-dad'-zo): which means to study, to labour, to make a prompt and earnest effort, to be diligent.

Read Ephesians 4:3-6. What can you do to “make every effort” to keep the unity of the Spirit?

For Further Study

Ephesians 4: 1-11


What one quality would you like to develop in your character?

What keeps sports teams unified?


What did Paul urge the Ephesians to do? (4:1)

How should Christians conduct themselves toward each other? Why? (4:2-6)

How is Christian unity related to the nature of God? (4:4-6)

How are we enabled to live at peace with each other? (4:7)

Who gives grace to each believer? (4:7)

With what kind of people does God fill the church? (4:11)


How do you get along with other Christians?

What is God’s prescription for unity among believers?

How does the Spirit help you maintain the “bond of peace” with others Christians?

What is your responsibility to help others in the body of Christ?


What service can you offer another church to help build up the body of Christ?


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

THOUGHT: Rules & Relationships

Can this mystical talk of having a relationship with God really work? Is it possible to be trusting and talking to Jesus? Does that happen after I follow the rules, before I follow the rules, while I am following the rules?

What rules?

You know, all the things the Bible tells us to do.

What might those be?

Like doing good things, avoiding evil, being kind to the poor, reading your Bible, praying and going to church. Things likes that.

Do we do those things to get the relationship? to grow the relationship or instead of the relationship? When we don't do those things should we just keep feeling guilty and trying harder? Is that it? Just push through the hard stuff? It is hard to sustain that level of motivation.

That is not what the Bible teaches.


The Bible doesn't teach you to follow rules. It is a picture of Jesus. While words may tell you what God is like and even what he may want from you, you cannot do any of it on your own. Life and living is powered by Jesus. You cannot live a life of righteousness on your own. That is achieved only through a relationship with Jesus.

Well frankly, it is a lot easier to follow rules and principles than it is to have that kind of weird relationship. It is not like hanging out with your friends or even talking with your mentor.

Relationships do not have a guaranteed outcome or plan or path.
It is true relationships are a whole lot messier than rules, but rules will never give you answers to the deep questions of the heart and they will never love you. Religion is about having the right answers, and some of their answers are right. But the Holy Spirit is about the process that takes you into understanding itself, into truth and that truth changes you from the inside out.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

THOUGHT: Perceptions Are Not Always Reality

Have you ever had a way of thinking locked in? You know, a system of thought that is "just the way you think because you decided a long time ago that it made sense"? You don't really notice them until they get challenged. When they are challenged it can be an awkward battle. Whatever you have believed for a long time seems to have the sense of infallibility about it. Not because I am infallible but just because it feels established, and established must mean proven. Maybe that doesn't happen to you, but it happens to me...regularly. My secret is out. Secret #1 I am still learning. Secret #2 Sometimes I am wrong.

Try and control yourselves. This self-inflicted reign of shock and awe is not about to end. Here is the latest of my learnings:

When you think of the word "JUDGMENT" what do you think of? What comes to mind? Well for me it is almost always synonymous with destruction. They just seem to go together. Perhaps that also tells you something about my prevailing view of God that I am struggling to free myself of. Is it God's desire to destroy and break down? Is that how He gets done what He needs to get done? When He wants to get someone's attention does He just need to blow something up? It works well for the Hollywood version of God. If God appears in the movie then we are going to need to pump up the SFX budget.

When I think like that I miss the point and misunderstand and misrepresent God. This is the truth that I stumbled upon: judgment is not about destruction but about setting things right. I want things set right. That sounds more like the constantly redeeming, perpetually restoring God that I really believe in. That doesn't sound like I need to fear it. Maybe I can even anticipate His judgment. Where did that other view of God come from anyway?


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

THOUGHT: You Say Tomato I Say...

Sometimes we use words to represent what we think. Sometimes we use words to say what we feel. In either case the right words need to be communicated clearly so that we might be understood. What you mean by a word is therefore critical.

Many people use the words 'belief' and 'faith' interchangeably. But to
admit (believe) falls far short of to commit (faith). To become a Christ-follower is to experience a transformation into the image of
Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Admitting is useless without committing.


Monday, May 4, 2009

THOUGHT: The Warrior 03: The Wounded Warrior Followup

The Warrior part 3 is now in the books so to speak. Go check out the podcast and then, over the course of the week try and work your way through these additional thoughts. Extra points will be awarded for working through them with a friend and even more points if that is friends (with an "s").

“ Open war is upon you … whether you would risk it or not.”


“To refuse to let our wounds keep us from being what God wants us to be, and invite God to shape us through our wounds into the people He created us to be.

Wounds of the heart can come from a variety of people and circumstances such as family, friends, teachers, co-workers, death, divorce, abuse and poverty. How have wounds, from sources like these (or others), affected you?


For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:12 NLT

How are the “powers of darkness” behind some of the wounds that came from the people and circumstances in your life?

What are some ways people typically deal with their wounds?

Share an example of one wound you’ve dealt with? Has there been true healing?

How does God use the wounds in our lives to make us more effective in leading others to become fully devoted followers of Christ?

What wounds in your life are keeping you from being the Warrior God meant you to be?

How will God use these wounds to shape you into the Warrior He created you to be?


Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. 3 For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.

James 1:2-4 NLT

…the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.

Isa 61:1 NIV

When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation.

2 Cor 1:6 MSG

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Romans 8:28 NLT

Christ came to heal the broken-hearted. As a group pray and invite Jesus to begin the healing process in the wounds and broken hearts of your group.

For Further Study

Romans 8:28-39 How do you explain why bad things happen to nice people?

What causes people to lose their faith in God? How does God work in all the situations and events of a person's life? (8:28) For whom does God promise to work all things for good? (8:28) How does God seek to change His people? (8:29) What has God done to make people what He wants them to be? (8:30) What made Paul confident that God takes care of His people? (8:31-32) Why should we feel confident that God is not against us or condemning us? (8:31-34) What possible tragedies or hardships are unable to separate us from the love of Christ? (8:35-39) How can God produce good results out of bad situations? In what practical ways can each of us be like Christ? How can a person be sure that bad times aren't a signal of God's displeasure with him or her? What gives Christians confidence as they go through hard times? In what situations do you need God's conquering power? How have you experienced God's never-ending love in your life? How can you commit your difficult circumstances to God this week? How can you show trust in God to work out your circumstances for good?

Continue to pray for opportunities this week to share God's grace and peace.

don't give up.