Monday, December 26, 2011

DAILY BIBLE READING GUIDE (Dec. 26th – Dec. 31st)

Monday – Luke 1.26-38; Matthew 1.18-23; Luke 2.22-35
Meditation: What is Christmas about? Why is it such an important day? What are we supposed to think about or rejoice in in the midst of all our festivities? Well, on the first Christmas, God made sure we knew exactly why this was going to be such a blessed time. We’ll look this week at why God says the child Jesus is going to be so important that we would celebrate his birth unlike any other birth in human history.

Tuesday – Luke 1.26-38
Meditation: Jesus is the sinless Son of God. We are just the opposite - neither sinless nor naturally his children. The wickedness of the human heart has separated us from God and his will. The amazing thing about Christmas is that God sends his own son to purchase our pardon and to make us his children. Jesus comes as the forever king, the one who will reign in a righteousness that we could never have. This isn’t just a child in a manger bed; this is the son of God come to take on his reign over all the earth. Does he reign in your heart?

Wednesday – Matthew 1.18-23
Meditation: Jesus is our savior. We must understand: our sins have brought us death. They have separated us from God. That is why the angels shout with such joy that there is being born a Savior. It is Jesus who will bring us peace. Not just peace from war, or peace about who we are, he brings peace between ourselves and God. He removes the guilt of sin and replaces it with a salvation. Think this Christmas about how different your life would be if you were still dead in your sin, blind to the truth. You still would be - were it not for Jesus who brings us a salvation we should never have known.

Thursday – Luke 2.22-35
Meditation: Jesus is our death and our life. Simeon rejoices when he sees Jesus because he knows this child is the “consolation of Israel”. Burdened by sin, guilty before God, you and I trudge along a path of destruction. Without hope and without God. Jesus was sent to fix that. But the fix comes not with our praise or encouragement, but with our death. The baby in the manger carries in his right hand a sword able to break the sin-crusted rock of our hearts and kill the old us. Yet the amazing thing about the work of God is that it is that death that brings us life. He is our consolation, our peace, our hope. Jesus is our salvation. Remember this week, you don’t celebrate a baby there to coo and bring joy, you celebrate the Son of God who comes to kill you…that you might truly live.

Friday – Luke 1.26-38; Matthew 1.18-23; Luke 2.22-35
Meditation: What is the content of your Christmas? Why are we to be so excited at the birth of Jesus? God has shown us exactly why: Jesus changes everything. God tells us in Luke 2.35 that Jesus reveals our hearts. What does he reveal about you? Are you alive? Praise God for Christ who made you what you shouldn’t be. Is your heart still dead? You see the Savior there. Know his story and his name, why don’t you find out about his purpose, his mission, his salvation. That’s what this baby in the manger is bringing to sinners just like you and me.

Saturday – Luke 2.1-52

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

DAILY BIBLE READING GUIDE (Dec. 19th – Dec. 24th)

Monday – Luke 1.5-44; Luke 2.22-38; Matthew 2.1-12
Meditation: How is a Christian supposed to prepare for Christmas? It’s a special time in the life of the Christian, a time where we celebrate the birth of our Savior. What is that supposed to look like? This week, we’ll take a look at how the Bible describes the expectations of the first Christmas. We will try and capture those same expectations to make sure that our Christmas time is one filled with praise of God in Christ.

Tuesday – Luke 1.5-44
Meditation: Christmas is a time of great rejoicing and it is appropriate for the Christian home to be a place of celebration during the Christmas season. Yet the rejoicing and praise in the Christmas story is always centered on a central truth: the coming of the Savior. We must be careful that we don’t just fill our houses with joy, but rather joy with a focus, a foundation – Jesus Christ. How joyous is your house during the Christmas season? Is that joy centered around gifts and family and fun or is it built on a foundation of the coming of Christ. Good Christian men and women rejoice, but rejoice in a way that rest of the world can mimic but never duplicate – a rejoicing centered on Jesus.

Wednesday – Luke 2.22-38
Meditation: It might seem obvious, but one way we can anticipate the Christmas season is to anticipate it. Too often the time can be rushed or hurried and before we know it, Christmas is over. We anticipate so much and fill our time with so many things it is odd at how easily Jesus and thinking about him can be left out. What if I sat and contemplated Jesus as much as I did that perfect gift? What if I searched for him as hard as I did that ultimate sale? Our Christmas season would be a hundred times more enjoyable if our greatest anticipation centered on Jesus. Take the rest of the day today and get rid of all the holiday trappings. Maybe it will be an hour or just 30 minutes, but take some time to think of nothing but who Jesus is and what his birth means for you.

Thursday – Matthew 2.1-12
Meditation: Christmas is also a time of worship. We are not celebrating the Christmas season rightly if our hearts are not drawn to worship Christ. Take that as a good barometer for your Christmas season. How much has your heart been drawn to God during this time? In Matthew even these pagans know what Christmas is about and they endanger life and limb to come and worship him. Pray that this week would be a time of worship for you. You have been given so much by God. Here in Jesus we see that all his promises aren’t just so much fluff. Here we see his promises made flesh. What a great reason to worship.

Friday – Luke 1.5-44; Luke 2.22-38; Matthew 2.1-12
Meditation: We’ve seen the heart of the Christmas season this week. Look back at these stories and compare their anticipation to your own. Their focus to yours. Their actions to your own. Where is your joy, your anticipation, your worship? Christmas is coming. It’s not too late to set your heart on him.

Saturday – Luke 2.1-52

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

DAILY BIBLE READING GUIDE (December 11th-17th)

DAILY BIBLE READING GUIDE (December 11th-17th)
Monday –John 14
This week we will look at the final section of John 14.  Jesus has come to make a new race of people who are loyal to God.  This race though will not be defined by skin color or any other outward marks but will be distinguished by certain traits that are nonetheless as obvious as external marks.  Make it a point to examine your life this week in light of these distinguishing marks of God’s people.

Tuesday –John 14.15-31; 1 John 5.2-3     
The first mark of God’s people is that they will be filled with love for God.  This love will be manifest not through mere lip service but will be seen as they keep God’s commands.  Jesus says three times in this passage that love for God is defined by obedience to God’s word.  This includes more than just the ethical stipulation.  It means that God’s people will have a love for all of God’s word.  They will delight in keeping God’s commands b/c of their great love for God.  This obedience is not spurred on simply by duty but comes from a grateful heart for God’s great love given to us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  Does your life demonstrate that you love God?  Pray that God would give you a greater love for him? 

Wednesday John 14.15-31; Acts 1.8; Joel 2.28-29
A second mark of the new people of God is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  The greatest distinction between the Old Testament people of God (Israel) and the New Testament people of God (the church) is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  This is why Jesus leaving his disciples will be better for them than if he stays on this earth for having the Spirit of Christ living inside is far greater than walking with Christ physically on this earth.  The Spirit will do a great work inside of God’s people as he carries on the ministry of Christ among the church.  He will bring us life, give understanding of God’s word and will transform our lives so that they conform to the image of Christ.  If you are a child of God, know today that God’s Spirit lives inside you and is working in your life.  What a wonderful blessing and gift from our great God and Father! 

Thursday – John 14.15-31; Romans 8.12-17
A third mark of the church is adoption into the family of God.  While Jesus is physically leaving his disciples, he gives them a promise that he will not leave them as orphans.  A child without parents is vulnerable to many dangers for he cannot care for or defend himself.  Christ’s people never have to worry about being left helpless in this world for he will never forsake us.  He will not leave us as orphans.  What a wonderful promise to carry in our hearts and minds throughout a life filled with difficulty and sorrow!  Even on our deathbeds, we can know for sure that our God will never leave us defenseless but is always present with us even during the darkest of hours.  Praise God today for bringing you into his family and always caring for us as a Father cares for his child. 

Friday – John 14.15-31
A final mark of God’s new people is a peace that surpasses all understanding.  Jesus gives to his disciples peace in the midst of uncertain days that will be filled with confusion, doubt and fears.  They can face these trying days with a peace that it sure.  Christ’s peace is unlike the peace of the world for his peace is lasting and comes from his own blood that was shed on the cross.  This peace has also been given to us.  The world talks a lot about peace, yet our world is never able to secure any lasting peace.  However, God’s children can know a real peace.  We can have peace with God, others and ourselves b/c of what Christ has done for us on the cross.  Praise God for bringing about peace in our lives and seek to make God’s peace known to others this week through the preaching of the gospel. 

Saturday – John 15
Tomorrow we will gather as a people to worship our great God.  Pray that God would speak to you through his word.  Pray that you would submit to the King of Kings as he speaks to you in worship tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Podcast Now Available

The podcast for this Sunday's sermon (December 4th) is now available.

"When World's Collide: Jesus Vs. Oprah"

Monday, December 5, 2011


Monday – John 14.1-31
This week we will look at the second section of John 14. Jesus will make several statements that will show his uniqueness over and above all religious leaders of all times. He makes statements that show he was far more than just a spiritual man, but was indeed God in the flesh. The truths we see this week regarding Christ are the very bedrock of our faith. Pray that these truths would be solidified in our church and in your mind this week.

Tuesday – John 14.4-14; Acts 4.12; Romans 1.16
Jesus is the way to the Father. Many religious leaders over the course of human history have taught about how to get to God, but no one has ever made a claim as radical as that of Jesus. He is not simply telling people how to get to the Father. He is saying that access to the Father comes only through Him. Any attempt to reach God or gain eternal life that comes outside of Jesus Christ is futile and will only lead to destruction. While this exclusivity is not popular in our day, it is central to the message of Christianity and is a truth we must hold fast.

Wednesday – John 14.4-14; Colossians 1.15-20
Jesus is the revealer of the Father. His teaching and ministry are doing more than just explaining to people what God is like. His very life is an exact representation of the Father so that to see him is to see the Father. This is an amazing statement for Jesus is claiming equality with the Father. This truth is crucial to the Christian faith. In order to be saved, one must confess that Jesus was more than just a man. He was God in the flesh. Anything less than this is to deny the core of our faith.

Thursday – John 14.4-14; Ephesians 3.1-13
Jesus is the sharer of the Father. Jesus says that those who have faith will do the same works that the Father has done through Him. What’s more is that they will do even greater works b/c Jesus is returning to the Father. This does not mean that the disciples will do more spectacular works but that the message they will carry will have more clarity b/c it will come after the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. What is amazing is that Jesus’ followers will share in his life and his work. God will work through them just as he worked through Christ to bring glory to His name. Do you see this truth in your life? Does your life display the continuation of the work of Christ?

Friday – John 14.4-14; Matthew 6.9-15
Another aspect of the lives of the disciples will be prayer. After Jesus returns to the Father, the disciples will have a new access to prayer. Prayer will be one of the great gifts and commands that Christ will give his people. Jesus promises that he will answer the prayers of his people that are asked in his name. This means that prayers that seek to bring glory to the Father will be answered by Christ. Anything we ask in his name will be answered by Christ. What a great promise and invitation! Do you find yourself taking advantage of this great privilege? If we are to be a people that bring glory to God by continuing the ministry of Christ on this earth, we must be a people who pray fervently.

Saturday – John 14.1-31
Look over the meditations from this week. Was there any truth that stood out to you in particular? Pray God would instill the truths from John 14 in your heart and mind. Tomorrow we will look at the final section from John 14. Pray that God would speak to you through the preaching of His word tomorrow.