Day 11: You Are Not A Number

Read: Nehemiah 11

Why do you suppose Nehemiah records so many names in his account of those returning to settle in Jerusalem? The names serve to focus our attention on the promises God made to His people. They remind the workers they are part of one special family of purpose. Perhaps most importantly, the names remind us that these were real people with real stories who made a real difference.

If we were to list all the difference makers who helped build 12Stone, the list would be long. Hundreds and thousands of people have served and sacrificed in order to reach people far from God.

We believe every number has a name, every name has a story, and every story matters to God. God really does care about the people we are trying to reach. But, God also cares about the people already here.

The mission to reach the world with the gospel is a huge undertaking. We can never forget that the church’s mission is fulfilled by individuals. Individuals who matter to God come together to fight and build and make a difference. God hasn’t forgotten you. God is with us in the late nights and early mornings, the long phone calls, and the prayers spoken through tears. He knows and cares about our personal circumstances. Jesus knows us by name.

Consider This:

Who in your life needs to hear about Jesus?

Pray:

Jesus, give me the courage to share my faith.


Article courtesy of NewSpring

How Can Single Moms Develop an Atmosphere of Prayer?

The first thing a single mom should do to develop an atmosphere of prayer is to grow her own intimate relationship with her Heavenly Father. This opens the door to her children believing in the possibility for themselves. The next thing she should do is to let her children know she’s praying for them and offer to pray with them together. Engage the mystery of prayer and watch God work.

What Prayerlessness Cultivates

When we’re prayerless, it cultivates pride and pressure because we’re not engaging God’s heart or His power. This makes the material world more dominant in our lives and the spiritual world (what really matters) less important.

As Christians, we can never outgrow God. We desperately need Him for protection, power, and wisdom – so we must keep praying.

Win Dependence

Sometimes as we honor God and go through trials in life, we wonder what God could possibly be doing. Life gets difficult and our situation gets worse – and we wonder, “Where is God?”

Perhaps in these times, God is teaching us to “win dependence.” Children move from dependent to independent as they grow, but as Christians, the opposite should happen in our relationship with God. As we grow spiritually, we move from self-reliant to God-reliant.

How Many Souls are “Good Enough” for God?

Sometimes we get distracted in the activity of life and get wrapped up in a material world. This causes us to lose sight of the greatest good.

As Christians we should always re-engage our passion. Our true purpose is to continually reach out into the community of spiritually lost people.

Jesus Lifts Us Over the Bar

Perhaps the church should be more loving to people and tell them, “We’re not above you. We’re actually just like you. We’re only made righteous because of Jesus.”

None of us can leap over the bar of righteousness on our own. Jesus lifts us over the bar with his righteousness.

The Role of the Church Is Not to Judge People

The Pharisees were prideful and judged others harshly. But the Bible teaches us that God opposes the proud, and gives grace to the humble.

The role of the church is not to judge the world, but to introduce it to Jesus. We must unlearn religious judgement and relearn what it means to love.

Does Jesus Raise the Bar?

The Pharisees raised the bar God set for righteousness, and the world removes the bar completely. The world removes the bar by allowing everyone to simply decide for themselves how they should live; there’s no right and wrong.

Jesus came to lift us over the bar. He didn’t come to condemn the world. He came to save it! But if you dismiss Jesus, you condemn yourself.

Man-Made Rules Are Religion

The Pharisees raised the bar for holiness, which was set by God, and added their own set of man-made rules. Then, they condemned the people who couldn’t measure up.

The Pharisees sought to be more righteous, but they only became more religious. And in doing so, they lowered the standard of God’s love.

 

Jesus Wants Us to Unlearn Religion

Often, people who were raised in the church may have a great deal of knowledge about religion, but no real understanding of what it means to have a relationship with Jesus.

That’s because what was intended to be a relationship with God became a religion about God. Many people go to church out of religious duty, but never know the power of a life transformed by Jesus.

It’s time to unlearn religion and learn more about Jesus.

 

Why Is There a Generational Shift in Authority and Opinion?

Young people have constant access to their friends and acquaintances through smart phones and social media. This leads to less interaction with adults.

Then, when it’s time to make a decision, there are multiple voices competing for attention, and each begins to have equal weight – regardless of whether the advice is helpful and wise.

Embrace the positive aspects of constant communication with friends, but take time to learn from generations who’ve gone before you. They have a wealth of wisdom and experience to share.

Never Give Up

Pastor Craig Groeschel of LifeChurch.tv

Scripture:

Marriage is a covenant, not a contract.

  1. A contract is based on a mutual distrust.
  2. A covenant is based on mutual commitment.

Sowing and reaping in marriage.

  1. You reap what you sow.
  2. You reap where you sow.

Talk it over:

  • What and where are you sowing right now? Are you pleased with what you’re reaping?
  • What type of harvest do you ultimately want your marriage to reap?
  • What are some specific things you’ve learned from this series that will help ensure you never give up in your marriage?

Stay Pure

Scripture: Hebrews 13:4

  1. Outward Purity … (Adultery & Box of Lies)
  2. Inward Purity … (Lust & the Box of Lies)
  3. Hint of Impurity … (Flirting with the Box of Lies)

Reflect:

  • What will you do with the Box of Lies?
  • Set your will to stay pure!

Joy in Relationships

Scripture:

  • John 15:11
  • John 10:10

Big Picture:

  1. Joy shows up in relationships.
  2. Jesus alone can complete you. (John 15:11)
  3. Jesus gives you abundant life so that you can share it. (John 10:10)
  4. If you want to enjoy you’ve got to bring joy.

Best Practices:

  1. Face–to–Face
  2. Side–by–Side
  3. Belly Button–to–Belly Button

Fair Fight

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13

Love Redefines How You Fight

5 Fair Fight Lessons from Love:

1) “Love cares more for others than for self”  (Sponge)
Love absorbs annoyance.

2) “Love doesn’t fly off the handle”  (Frying Pan)
Love lets things roll off your back.

3) “Love doesn’t keep score of wrongs”  (Wastebasket)
Love trashes the list.

4) “Love isn’t always me first”  (Hammer & Nail)
Love hears before it’s heard.

5) “Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have” (Measuring Cup)
Love is content (or discontent will undo you).

Seek God

Scripture: 

  • Genesis 2
  • Hebrews 10:23-25

Big Picture:  You were created by God and for God.

  1. He is the only person who can fulfill you.
  2. He has the power to change you.
  3. He is the purpose that is greater than your pressure.

Best Practice: Seek God by praying together.

Father, we ask that you would change us, that you would fulfill us, draw us closer to you and closer to each other. Amen.

Play Under Pressure

Scripture: Philippians 2:1-11

Recap:
Pause everyday for family prayer.
Rewind everyday to build up.
Fast Forward everyday to thrive.

“Your pressure is not a prison to escape, it’s a platform to embrace.”

Play by choosing joy under pressure.

  1. Go to the source.
  2. Adjust your focus to others.
  3. Align your attitude with Christ.

Fast Forward to Thrive

Scripture: Hebrews 10

1) Freedom to Unmask
2) Blind Spot Love
3) Fast Forward Potential

Proverbs 10:12 – “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers all wrongs.”

Pause For Family Prayer, Rewind To Build Up, & Fast Forward To Thrive:

  • Which of these 3 do you naturally give to your family?
  • Which of these 3 do you need to improve?

Rewind To Build Up

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5

“Nothing gets better with neglect.”

1) Don’t just consume; Connect.

2) Don’t just Unwind; Rewind

  • What today made you sad?
  • What today made you mad?
  • What today made you glad?

3) Don’t just Blah, Blah, Blah; Build Up (1 Thessalonians 5:14-18)

  • Do your part.
  • Be patient.
  • Build Up

Challenge: Commit your family to come to the table for the next month. (No tech, no toys. At least 4 nights a week, 30-60 minutes & practice rewind to build up)

Pause For Family Prayer

Two family truths:

  • Family dysfunction just happens in every family.
  • Family dynasty takes work.

3 ways pausing for family prayer helps build your family dynasty:

  • It centers your home on Christ. (Colossians 3:1-4)
  • It makes God normal at home. (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)
  • It unleashes God’s power at home.

Self-centered people can’t build family dynasties. Selfishness can only bring more dysfunction.

Keep it simple. Be consistent. Start today.

“God, we thank you for…”
“God, please help us with…”

What Keeps You Up At Night

A Theology of Sleep:

  1. God never ________.
  2. Sleep is an act of __________.
  3. Sleep is a ________ from God.
  4. Sleep is necessary to _________ well.

The Promise of Peace:

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8; NIV)

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28; MSG)

  • In the midst of our troubles, he gives us Peace ____________.
  • In relationships, he gives us Peace for ___________.
  • Through Jesus, he gives us Peace with _________.

Wisdom For Work – Part 2

Scripture: Proverbs 15:32

Procrastination: It will lesson my pressure, when in fact, it will lesson my progress.

Draw & Respect 3 Life Lines:

  1. The Dream Line
  2. The Duty Line
  3. The Deadline

What is procrastination costing you?

Put off procrastination! What’s your next step?

Wisdom For Work – Part 1

Scripture: Proverbs 10:4, Proverbs 12:11, Proverbs 13:4, Proverbs 13:11, Matthew 5:14, Colossians 3:23

In a Word: Diligence
In a Formula: Diligence = Excellence / Time
In a Sentence: God pours out his aver on all those who work diligently.

Matthew 5:14 – Excellence brings glory to God.
Colossians 3:23 – Excellence gives evidence of your primary audience.
Matthew: 5:41 – Excellence goes the second mile.

Proverbs 22:29 – “Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before unknown men.”

Excellence is treating unknown men like they’re kings.

Get Wisdom

Speaker: Pastor Miles Welch

Proverbs 4:7 – “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get Wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”

Wisdom unlocks the ability to make good decisions.

Decisions -> Direction -> Destiny

Process for getting wisdom; Ask yourself:

  • What is true? Knowledge
  • Why is it true? Understanding (insight)
  • What do I do? Wisdom

Don’t make decisions based on feelings, wants, or emotions, use wisdom.

Words for age groups:

  • Young – Press
  • Middle – Pause
  • Older – Possible