Tuesday, July 25, 2023

When I’m not feeling it | Psalm 13

This summer our church is taking nine weeks to focus our heart, soul, and mind on worship. For the summer we’re going to focus our attention on worshipping God. We’re going to submit ourselves to the creator of the universe and see what Scripture teaches us about worship. For this series we’ll look at a variety of passages that teach us about worship. For this series I will write some of the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions | When I’m not feeling it | Psalm 13

It’s hard to worship when we’re not feeling God in our daily life. The Bible teaches us how to deal with distressing situations in our life and turn them into worship. The struggle in our lives happen when we want to praise God but we just can’t. We can be grateful for the honesty of the Psalmists who experienced difficult times and wrote about them. We’re going to look at how to worship God when it seems like God has hidden His face from us. We’ll figure out how to ask God to look on us and how to respond in praise. There are times in our lives when it feels like God has hidden Himself from us. 

1) Neal shared a story about losing his dad, his stepdad, and his mom having a traumatic brain injury in the span of seven months. Can you think of a time in your life when it seemed like your world was falling apart?  

2) Read Psalm 13:1-2. You can see David’s struggle in the fact he writes, “How long…” four different times. Read Numbers 6:22-27, Psalm 11:7, Psalm 17:15 and Psalm 27:4. Describe what it feels like for God to hide His face from our daily life. 

3) In our dark moments we tend to wrestle with the thoughts in our mind. One struggle we have can be listening to God’s word but not applying it (read James 1:22-25). How do you manage your emotions during dark times? 

4) Read Psalm 13:3-4. David asks God to look on him and answer. There is a powerful aspect of our human life when people actually see us (read Genesis 16:13, Psalm 80:14, and Matthew 8:5-13). Talk about the power of God seeing us. 

5) David’s fear was that his enemies would gain the victory if he were to pass away. This is not a selfish request but a request for the mighty power of God to be known. Think of ways that God can be, and is, glorified when He acts on our behalf. 

6) No matter the situation, David will trust in God. David has known God’s faithfulness for generations. Read Psalm 13:5-6. Share about how you’ve seen God's faithfulness in your life and how you can trust Him moving forward. 

7) The final invitation, or application, of this Psalm is to praise God. What is your favorite worship song? How does that song invoke a lifestyle of praise for you? Where would you like to praise Jesus more in your life? 

Close your time in prayer. Pray for strength to invite a friend to meet Jesus. 

Tuesday, July 04, 2023

When a Lion is on the Prowl: Staying Alert in a Fierce World

As a child, visiting the zoo was an exciting adventure. The majestic lions, lying lazily in the sun, seemed so harmless and cuddly. But as we grow older and gain knowledge about the wild, we understand the true nature of lions – powerful, muscular, and fierce hunters. Similarly, the Bible compares the devil to a roaring lion, seeking to devour God's people. In this blog post, we will explore 1 Peter's teachings on staying alert and vigilant when the enemy is on the prowl, and how embracing God's grace can empower us to stand firm in our faith.

The Lion on the Prowl:
In 1 Peter 5:8, Peter warns the early Christians of the devil's tactics, likening him to a ferocious lion seeking to destroy believers. As Christian leaders today, we must remain alert to the actions of the enemy, knowing that he is always looking for an opportunity to strike. Lions have powerful teeth and razor-sharp claws, reminding us of the strength and cunningness the devil possesses in his schemes against us.

Staying Vigilant Against the Terror of the Enemy:
The scattered church in the first century faced intense persecution and hardships. Similarly, we may find ourselves in challenging situations, where the devil seeks to capitalize on our weaknesses. To resist the devil, we must stand firm in our faith, knowing that we are not alone in this struggle. Throughout history, countless believers have faced the enemy's pressure and emerged victorious, and their stories of faith can encourage us to do the same.

Grace in the Midst of Suffering:
Facing the roaring lion is not something we can do in our own strength. The grace of God sustains us through periods of suffering, restoring us and making us stronger in the process. Our past experiences of God's grace, even in the most trying times, can equip us to confront the enemy's attacks with confidence.

Staying Alert: Practical Applications:
To remain vigilant in a world with a prowling enemy, we must actively engage in practices that strengthen our faith. Hiding God's word in our hearts enables us to combat the enemy's lies with truth. We resist the lion's temptation when we choose not to engage in sinful behaviors, such as harmful conversations or gossip. Instead, we strive to speak kindly, seek truth, and stand firm against the devil's tactics.

Worship in the Midst of Adversity:
Amidst the trials and challenges, we must remember that the ultimate response to God's grace is worship. When we worship, we draw closer to God, allowing His strength to fill us. Focusing on worship keeps our minds fixed on the Almighty, reminding us that while the lion prowls, we serve a God who is greater and more powerful.

In a world where the enemy lurks like a lion, seeking to cause havoc, the Church must stay alert and vigilant. Just like a lion on the prowl commands our attention, so should our awareness of the spiritual battle we face. But with God's grace and strength, we can stand firm, resisting the enemy's attacks, and remaining steadfast in our faith. Let us remember to worship God in the midst of adversity, acknowledging that He is the ultimate victor over any prowling lion in our lives. As we embrace God's grace, we can walk with confidence, knowing that when the lion is on the prowl, the Church stands united, strong, and unwavering.