Devotional for Worship Series
NOTE: Please use the devotional studies below to help you prepare for the upcoming weekend worship services.
Click on the Bible verses to read from BibleGateway
3-Week Stewardship Series Begins
“RECEIPTS: What I Get” Preparing for the weekend of January 26
Read Luke 15:11-24.
- When we talk about Stewardship, we often think of it in a one-dimensional way: What I Give. However, we also need to see the flip side of the coin. Often times giving stirs something within us. Read Acts 20:35. This is the only quote of Jesus not found in the Gospels. What does it tell us about giving? How have you seen this play out in your own life?
- In this well-known parable, pay especially close attention to the Father. One day the younger son comes and demands his portion of his inheritance. But there’s a problem: his Father isn't dead! How does the Father respond? How do you think this made the Father feel? What does the son do with his inheritance? Do you think the Father had some inclination that this might occur?
- After the son has wasted every last dime that the Father gave him, suddenly a famine comes. This Hebrew boy now finds himself taking a job doing what? As he is a Hebrew, what did the Jews think of pigs?
- The son realizes the error of his ways (vs. 17-19). The son heads for home, thinking he will become what? What was the Father doing day after day? When the Father finally sees him coming home, what does he do? How does the Father receive the son?
- God loves to give! Just like the Father in the story who gives his son his inheritance and when he has blown it all and comes back, he gives some more. In the same way God, even though we could never earn it, even though we don’t deserve it, God gives and He gives and He gives some more.
“Children of God” Preparing for the weekend of February 2, 2020
Read Romans 8:12-39.
- Paul is speaking about the life of a Christian. What does he call even those who live by the Spirit? Read Galatians 5:19-23. How does Paul describe the difference between those who live according to the Spirit versus those who give into the sinful nature?
- What is one of the benefits that we get when we live by the Spirit? Find one in each of the following verses: 14, 15, 17.
- In verse 14, it says that we are led by the Spirit of God. Think about how you would lead a team, or even your own children or grandchildren. How do you lead others? Is it that same way that God leads those he loves?
- Paul compares two things in verse 18. How does this contrast encourage you? Read 2 Corinthians 4:17-18. What does Paul say about the problems and discouragements of this life?
- In verse 23-25, Paul speaks about hope of being sons and daughters of God. What does this teach us about hope and how might you apply it to your own life?
- What do you learn about the Holy Spirit from verses 26-27? How are you blessed by these verses? How can it be an encouragement in times of suffering or the trials that we face in life?
“Armor of God” Preparing for the weekend of February 9, 2020
Read Ephesians 6:10-19.
- Paul begins this section with the word “finally.” What proceeded that would lead Paul to begin this section this way? Paul then encourages us to “be strong in the Lord.” What does this look like in life?
- What does Paul instruct us to do in verse 11? Who provides us this armor? Why is this important or how does this knowledge further help us? Who does Paul say our enemy really is? How do we get this twisted in life?
- Read Ephesians 1:21, 2:2, 3:10; see also John 12:31 and 16:11. Each of these talk about the heavenly realms. What do these passages say about these beings?
- Take a look at each of the pieces of armor that we are given in Ephesians 6:14-17. There are 7 total. Note which part of the body that each covers. Which pieces are used for defense? Which are used for offense?
- The sword of the Spirit is the only offensive piece. Read Psalm 119:11, Hebrews 4:12. How is God’s word used to fight our battles? What does this tell us about the importance of being in God’s Word?
- Not only are we called to put on the whole armor of God, but what else does Paul say we should do? Who are we to pray for? What does Paul mean when he uses the word “saints?”
“RECEIPTS: What I Give” Preparing for the weekend of January 19
As we talk about Stewardship, in the first week we talked about how we manage money. We have been given exorbitant blessings from God. He is generous beyond measure, always giving to us from His grace. This week we turn our attention to how we give.
Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-15.
- As Paul writes to the church in Corinth, he brings up the generosity of the church in Macedonia. What does Paul call the people in the church of Corinth? How would this make them feel connected to the church of Macedonia?
- Read Acts 16:19-17:15. How were Paul and Silas first received when they traveled to Macedonia? Yet who is set up as a leader in the church there? Even though Paul and Silas ended up in prison, some hear the Gospel and come to faith. What does Paul say about this group even after they had left?
- Yet even when they were suffering, what word does Paul use to describe their gift? What was their attitude (vs. 2-3)? Why were they giving (vs. 4)? They saw their brothers in Judea were under an extreme famine and wanted to help. The word “relief” comes from the same word as ministry or service, indicating they were ministering to their brothers who were experiencing great hardship.
- In verse 12, Paul makes a interesting statement. What does Paul say God calls us to give from? We need to see the blessings that God has given us, the need of others around us and are called to help with what we have, not from what we wish we had.
“Receipts: What I Spend” Preparing for the weekend of January 12, 2020
Read Matthew 25:14-30
- If you were going away for a long time, who would you ask to look after things for you? As you read this parable, what expectations did the master have of his servants while he as gone (see verse 27)?
- Read verses 15-19. What did each man do with the money that was entrusted to him?
- Read verses 20-23. What happened to the two servants who doubled their investment?
On what basis were they rewarded? What did “Come share your master’s happiness” mean to the servants?
- Read verses 24-30. What happened to the servant who hid the money entrusted to him? On what basis was he judged? According to verse 29, what stewardship principle was Jesus trying to teach in this parable?
- How would you feel about being given more responsibility as the reward for a “job well done”?
- While money is the sermon illustration tool for the parable, this account is not really just about money, but rather the totality of God’s blessings to us in our time, talents and possessions. What would help you to better use God’s blessings to you? Keep in mind the words of Ephesians 2:8-10. According to verses 8-9, how are we saved? If that is true (and it is), then what ,according to verse 10, is the value of us being good stewards of all that God has entrusted to us?
“Witness Of The Wise Men” Preparing for the weekend of January 5, 2020
- Whenever you are trying to prove the authenticity of an event, the more witnesses you have, the stronger and more believable is your assertion. How do the following witnesses testify to the divinity of Jesus Christ?
- Angel Gabriel (Luke 1:26-37) & Mary (Luke 1:38): _________________________
- Angel (Matthew 1:18-23) & Joseph (Matthew 1:24-25): _____________________
- Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-45): ____________________________________________
- Angels (Luke 2:8-14 & Shepherds (Luke 2:15-18): ________________________
- Simeon (Luke 2:25-35) & Anna (Luke 2:36-38): ___________________________
- Now, let’s consider the witness of the Wise Men. Read Matthew 2:1-2. Where had they come from and where did they go to? What did they say led them there? Who were they looking for?
- Read verses 3-8. What was the reaction of King Herod when they made their inquiry in Jerusalem? Why might he have reacted this way? What was the reaction of the Jewish leaders? Why might they have reacted this way? Where were the wise men told to go to find the new-born king?
- Read verses 9-10. What happened when they left Jerusalem?
- Read verse 11. Where did they find Mary & the baby? How did they respond?
- Read verse 12. What happened next? Read verse 16. How did King Herod respond to the action of the wise men? Had he ever really planned to go worship the Christ- Child like he had said he would do?
There was no Devotion for the weekend of December 29, 2019
“Birth of Jesus Foretold to Joseph” Preparing for the weekend of December 22, 2019
Read Matthew 1:18-25
- Read verses 18-19. What do we learn about Mary (see Luke 1:26-28 for the specifics)? What do we learn about the character of Joseph? If you had been Joseph, how do you think you would have felt if Mary had come to you and said, “I’m pregnant. An angel came and told me that this child will be the Messiah”? What was his plan and why did he decide upon this action? Read Deuteronomy 22:20-21. What action could he have taken?
- Read verses 20-23. What happened to change Joseph’s plan? Immanuel is not a personal name, but indicates His role as God coming to be personally with us. This was the start of something very special. First, God came to dwell with us, in our world, in the flesh. Next after Jesus had accomplished our redemption by dying and rising from the grave, He promise to send His Spirit to dwell in the heart of all believers. Read 1 Corinthians 3:16 & Romans 8:9. Why do you think He came to be with us in such personal ways?
- Read verses 24-25. How did Joseph respond to his dream experience? If you had been Joseph, how do you think that you would have responded?
“Birth of Jesus Foretold to Mary” Preparing for the weekend of December 15, 2019
Read Luke 1:26-38
Read verses. 26-29. How did the angel describe Mary in verse 28? What do you think it meant to be “favored by the Lord?” Read Mark 8:34-38. How does Jesus describe life as a follower of His? Based on this do you think that angel was telling Mary that her life would be one of leisure and refinement, or one of challenging, sacrificial service to the Lord? Why would someone say “yes” to being favored by God? Are you willing to be one of God’s “favored ones?”
Why was Mary “startled?”
Read verses 30-33. Mary was a poor peasant girl. Put yourself in her sandals. What thoughts may have been going through her mind as she listened to this amazing message from the angel?
Read verses 34-35. The story just continues to get more and more astonishing. What was Mary’s “BIG” question for the angel? Mary no doubt knew the Old Testament Scriptures well. Read Isaiah 7:14. How might this prophecy have helped to give her confidence that this really was from God and really could happen to her? Might that have been affirming or scary to her? Now read Deuteronomy 22:20-21. Mary would have surely known about this requirement of the Law of Moses. What potentially could happen to Mary if she were to have a child and her husband (fiancé) would say that he had never slept with her?
Read verses 36-38. What reminder from the angel gave Mary the confidence to say “yes” to Gabriel’s message?
Read Romans 8:28. Is there something that you need to entrust to God’s all-powerful, graceful care?