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24Seven: Philippians

Key Passage:

  • Philippians 3:12-14

Key Takeaways:

  • Paul is continuing to talk about how incredible it is to know Christ and how knowing Christ should be our goal.
  • Christ took hold of us so that we could know Him and glorify Him forever.
  • If that is the goal of our life, we should forget any past obedience that we take pride in and focus on what lies ahead (being a citizen of heaven while still living on earth).
  • Pressing on is not about you becoming a better person but about you knowing Christ more fully.
  • Pressing on is only done in humility and faith – recognizing our need for Christ and the glorious riches of knowing Him, and then depending and trusting in Him daily, through all of life’s circumstances.
  • Misconception – Once you are saved, you have no purpose until you get to heaven.
  • Truth – Our purpose, both now and in eternity, is to know God and glorify Him.  God is transforming you now into his likeness, and when we meet him face to face, we will be perfected and know Him completely.
  • In the same way that we are saved by faith, we live by faith and grow closer with the Lord daily.

Application

  • What is the goal of your life?  Is it knowing God?
  • Have you experienced some spiritual “success” or obedience and allowed yourself to disconnect with God because you “had it all figured out”?  We must continually repent and live by faith.
  • Do you live by faith daily and see your circumstances (even ordinary circumstances) as an opportunity to depend on Christ and know Him more?
  • What needs to change in order for you to live by faith?

 

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The Word: Learning To Feed Ourselves

I grew up going to public school until I made the switch to private Christian school going into my sophomore year of high school.  It really was such a blessing at that time in my life because I was not consistently involved in a church and I was not spiritually being poured into.  But, I had this desire to grow in “understanding the Bible and its teachings and the implications that had on my life,” so I was longing for somewhere to help me grow and my new private school really provided that.  Looking back I can see more clearly how God orchestrated putting all of the pieces together so I could attend a Christian school which is a story for another day but it really was amazing. 

At any rate, from this background I wanted to explain my first week in what we called “Bible class” to hopefully give a helpful idea.  My first week at private Christian school was like walking on the moon, so foreign.  We started every class with prayer, my science class started “In the beginning God created…”, and I was wearing jeans and a nice shirt-haha, not the usual gym shorts and t-shirts I grew up loving.  Anyhow, when I walked into Bible class and when the teaching began it was like I was a little kid in a candy store, in awe because of the amount of candy, I was captivated.  It was awesome, we were studying the book of Acts and I was fascinated by “this guy” named Paul and everything that was going on.  I wanted to have Bible class everyday so my teacher, Mr. Brooks, could teach me. 

I was all into studying the Bible WITH Mr. Brooks because I felt like I got so much out of it.  But, I struggled to get the same out of it on my own so I was discouraged.  I still read some on my own but it just didn’t have the same affect so I struggled with being excited when reading the Bible by myself.  Now, after I have gotten older I see that to be a teacher of the Bible is a gift and I am so grateful for the guys that do it, it is so helpful in my personal growth, but I have also seen that to some extent I need to be able to have a version of “the candy store moment” in my personal study to encourage me on a daily basis not just on a weekly basis (on Sundays).

So, now for “the helpful idea,” hopefully.  For me, I have to take notes when I listen to gifted teachers so I can use what they taught on Sundays, in my personal life throughout the week (which I do not always do a great job of but that is my intent).  I also need to use their teachings to encourage myself to pursue studying the Bible and meditating on it in a way that is similar to how they do in order to get up and teach.  What if we all became more dependent on God in our personal Bible studies the way a pastor is when preparing for a sermon?  My hope is that we would have more “candy store moments.”  (In no way am I saying that we all need to be able to teach the way a pastor does but I do think that if we put more energy in pursuing God through studying His Word and asking the Holy Spirit to help us understand, we will have more moments of hearing and seeing the Holy Spirit at work in and through our lives and others.)

Right now, across ministries, at church we are studying certain books of the Bible with the purpose of feeding God’s Word to us, His people, to focus on God and who He is and to facilitate life change.  The “candy store magic” comes from the Holy Spirit moving in His Word.  So, in effort to fully engage Him, we are studying as a Church books of the Bible with diving into the history, the time period, and culture behind the book and then working through the book seeking the proper interpretation and asking and allowing His Spirit to move in application to our lives.  In essence we are having a “Mr. Brooks” show us how to study a book of the Bible through teaching it and we should try to latch on to the HOW to study as well as the WHAT we study so we can all feed ourselves through the week. 

~ Meredith Mielke

Engaging A Hungry World

In Little Rock, Arkansas a school nurse discovered that the majority of students that were seeking her care were not physically sick but HUNGRY!  This is what began the idea of sending home backpacks full of food to bridge the gap of hunger over the weekend for these children and their families.  This nation wide program is called Backpack Buddies! 

Within Student Ministry at Grace Church we believe in three core values:  Pursuing God, Connecting with the Church and Engaging the World.  One way we will be engaging the world this year in student ministry is through the Backpack Buddies program.  Buena Vista Elementary School, where many of our students have attended, has asked us to partner with them in bridging another gap in their school.  Each morning as the elementary students have a snack, 55 Backpack Buddies go without a snack.  Our high school students will be responsible for changing their snack time.  We will be collecting, organizing, and delivering a monthly care package for each of these 55 children.  That is over 1000 snacks per month, and 8800 over the school year!  We are so excited about the difference our students can make in the lives of others.  We will also be planning ways to reach out and build relationships with their families.  It is our hope that by setting this example these children will see the love and gratitude we have for what we have been given but more importantly to live out the gospel in this hungry world!

If you would like more information about how you could be involved please feel free to contact me for more details!       

~ Mary Daum

Kopa Kokoro: A Student’s Perspective

When I went on the Kopa Kokoro retreat, I learned so much about what God has for my life. As usual, before a retreat, I was so excited about going to have a lot of fun and getting to see all of my friends. After this retreat, it was completely evident to me that having a great time should not be my first idea when I think of a Grace Church student retreat. I feel like God really spoke to me through this retreat. I learned that I need to be a man after God’s heart, not my own. I should never follow the desires of my deceitful heart because that will lead to sin and destruction. I should be in the constant pursuit of God’s heart. In other words, my heart should be a reflection of God’s heart. When I saw that this was true for my life, I knew that there were some major things that really had to change. Since God really loves the world and his people, this means that I also must love God’s people and the world he created. If I don’t love my enemies, lost sinners, or the world, then I am not reflecting God’s heart. I reject God’s love everyday when I disobey him. As much as God loves me, I still reject Him and think that my way is better. What does it really mean to follow God’s heart? It means that we completely give our lives away, and follow his direction rather than our own. Also, it means that our actions should please Him. This all became clear to me at the Kopa Kokoro retreat.

In my solitude time, I got to see a glimpse of how powerful God really is. He is in total control over everything. Nothing catches God off guard. He knows everything before it happens. Human might will fail, but God will never fail. Daniel Moore talked about how we cannot read through the book of Joshua and not see God’s power and glory. I learned that God’s glory is His holiness and perfection put on display. I have a tendency to make earthly things superior over God. If God is ultimate in my life, then everything else can’t be all about me. When we went into our small groups, a couple questions we had to ask ourselves were, “Are we really living for God’s glory?” and “Are we showing God’s glory to others?” These are some tough questions that I get to ask myself every day.

I learned so much at this retreat. I am so thankful for all of the leaders who made it possible. We had a blast! I really love how in one weekend God can teach me so much, changing the way I view Him. He really is all-powerful.

~ Micah Williams