The Apostles’ Creed: The Communion of Saints

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WEEK 7, DAY 3: The Communion of Saints

To believe in the Holy Catholic Church and the Communion of Saints is to believe that we, quite simply, cannot do life alone. As Albert Mohler writes in The Apostles’ Creed, 

“We are never alone. The thought that we can walk this Christian life alone carries with it a toxicity and poison that has deeply encumbered the American church. This individualism not only betrays the church, it betrays the gospel. It insinuates that the gospel is about God saving people without pointing to a bigger story of God creating a people. From the Old Testament to the New, the covenants, God’s purposes, indeed the very creation of the world, all point to God’s design of creating a people—a people that will be made up of every tribe, tongue, and nation. By God’s grace we come through faith to Christ and thereby stand united as the whole people of God.”

Mohler makes an excellent point. The communion of saints is about being God’s people, together. We simply weren’t created to go it alone. 

READING & JOURNALING:

     1 CORINTHIANS 12:12-26

Do you feel like others do a good job of encouraging and motivating you on a regular

Which verse in today’s reading sticks out to you most? Why do you think that is? 

Is there any area in your life right now in which you’re trying to “go it alone?” How is that working out for you? 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I know that You have brought others into my life so that I don’t have to go it alone, yet it seems like everything within me strives to prove myself. Today, help me to remember that I don’t need to do anything to prove myself to You, or others. You have called me loved. You have called me your child. You have called me holy. May I rest in these truths so that I can receive the love and encouragement of others. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

The F260 is a Scripture Reading Plan designed to read through the foundational passages of the Bible through a year (September 2019 – August 2020). It is a separate reading from the daily devotional but is included for those who would like to engage with the Scriptures on a deeper level throughout the year.

Read: Isaiah 52 & 53

Journal: Write it out. Following the pattern from 7 Arrows Page (click here) what did you learn from today’s reading?

 

Note: Are you looking for a Study Bible to help you engage with the Scriptures at a deeper level? If so, click here for some recommendations.

 

 

The Apostles’ Creed: Being ‘Real’ is not Weakness

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WEEK 7, DAY 2: Being ‘Real’ is not Weakness

In her audiobook lecture titled The Power of Vulnerability, author and researcher Brené Brown notes that the majority of people today view vulnerability as weakness. She says that, in general, when we see somebody else being vulnerable – like somebody sharing about being abused in their childhood – we see them as being brave. But when we have opportunities to be vulnerable, we choose not to share. We’ll justify the decision by thinking, “They don’t want to hear my sob story,” or, “My story isn’t nearly as bad as theirs.” But these are mere excuses. The reality is that we choose not to share out of fear. 

Even though she’s not writing from a Christian perspective, Brown’s conclusions align well with the Scriptures. The author of Hebrews, for example, writes that we should meet together, and motivate one another, and encourage one another regularly. But to truly encourage one another, we need to fully see and know one another. And to fully know one another, we need to allow our true selves to be seen by others. 

To truly be the church, therefore, we need to share our real life experiences as well as our current struggles. Only then can we offer real motivation and encouragement to one another.

READING & JOURNALING:

     HEBREWS 10:23-25

Do you feel like others do a good job of encouraging and motivating you on a regular basis? If not, have you considered the possibility that you’re not allowing your true self to be seen? 

Do you feel like you do a good job of encouraging and motivating others on a regular basis? What steps can you take to truly get to know them so that you may better encourage and motivate them? 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that oftentimes I choose not to be vulnerable because I do see it as weakness. Today has been an excellent reminder that to truly be the church, we must be real about our experiences and our struggles. Help me to use the mess of my life to minister to others. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

The F260 is a Scripture Reading Plan designed to read through the foundational passages of the Bible through a year (September 2019 – August 2020). It is a separate reading from the daily devotional but is included for those who would like to engage with the Scriptures on a deeper level throughout the year.

Read: Isaiah 44 & 45

Journal: Write it out. Following the pattern from 7 Arrows Page (click here) what did you learn from today’s reading?

 

Note: Are you looking for a Study Bible to help you engage with the Scriptures at a deeper level? If so, click here for some recommendations.

 

 

The Apostles’ Creed: I Believe in the Holy Catholic Church

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WEEK 7, DAY 1: I Believe in the Holy Catholic Church 

The Apostles’ Creed was written a long time. A really, really long time ago. At the time, there weren’t a bunch of different denominations like there are today. People didn’t walk around saying, “I’m a Methodist,” or “I’m a Baptist,” or “I’m Catholic.” Instead, they simply identified themselves saying, “I’m a Christian,” or “I follow Christ.” 

As such, the next line in the Apostles’ Creed needs to be understood in its proper context. The phrase, “I Believe in the Holy Catholic Church,” is nothing at all like somebody today saying, “I’m Catholic.” Instead, the term Catholic here means, “Universal,” or “Christian.” In other words, it means that all people who have professed faith in Christ – regardless of what church they attend – are part of The Church. 

To say you believe in the Holy Catholic Church, therefore, is simply a way to say, “I’m a Christian. I’ve placed my faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. As such, I’m now part of His church, the one Holy Church.” God sees everyone who has professed faith in Christ as Holy, which means we are all part of His holy catholic church. 

READING & JOURNALING:

     ACTS 2:42-47

What kinds of things do you notice about how the first church lived and interacted with one another? 

The author of Acts (Luke) doesn’t write that this is how all Christians in all cultures should live. Nevertheless, there is a sense of family in how the people in the early church lived with one another. Does this passage impact how you understand the idea of family? 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, it’s clear that those in the early church were united in purpose, but our culture today often advocates an every-man-for-himself way of living. Help me to remember that I am now a member of your family, and that the family of Jesus helps and supports one another. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

The F260 is a Scripture Reading Plan designed to read through the foundational passages of the Bible through a year (September 2019 – August 2020). It is a separate reading from the daily devotional but is included for those who would like to engage with the Scriptures on a deeper level throughout the year.

Read: Isaiah 6 & 9

Journal: Write it out. Following the pattern from 7 Arrows Page (click here) what did you learn from today’s reading?

 

Note: Are you looking for a Study Bible to help you engage with the Scriptures at a deeper level? If so, click here for some recommendations.

 

 

The Apostles’ Creed: I Believe in the Holy Spirit (Review)

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WEEK 6, DAY 5: Review

READING & JOURNALING:

What was your biggest takeaway from this week’s teaching — “I believe in the Holy Spirit?” 

 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

The F260 is a Scripture Reading Plan designed to read through the foundational passages of the Bible through a year (September 2019 – August 2020). It is a separate reading from the daily devotional but is included for those who would like to engage with the Scriptures on a deeper level throughout the year.

Read: Joel 1, 2, & 3

Journal: Write it out. Following the pattern from 7 Arrows Page (click here) what did you learn from today’s reading?

 

Note: Are you looking for a Study Bible to help you engage with the Scriptures at a deeper level? If so, click here for some recommendations.

 

 

The Apostles’ Creed: Walk with the Spirit

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WEEK 6, DAY 4: Walk with the Spirit

Take a moment to pause and consider the words you use when you pray. Are you more likely to pray for your will to be done, or are you more likely to pray for God’s will to be done? Are you more likely to pray that God will bless and serve you and your needs, or are you more likely to pray for wisdom in how you may be a blessing for others? Do you pray as if God is your personal assistant, or as a personal friend? 

Perhaps one reason for a lack of peace and contentment in our culture, even among Christians, is that we live our lives in highly self-centered ways. We believe that God exists to serve us, and not the other way around. We want God to walk in step with our lives, instead of changing how we live to walk in step with Him. 

But the Christian life is not about getting God to walk in step with our lives, it’s about us walking in step with Him. And while it may not always be easy to walk in step with the Spirit, life is harder when we choose not to do so. 

I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh…

READING & JOURNALING:

     GALATIANS 5:16-26

Re-read the opening questions in today’s devotional. Be honest, which of these most aligns with your prayers? 

What thoughts come to mind when you read, “And while it may not always be easy to walk in step with the Spirit, life is harder when we choose not to do so?” 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, forgive me for the many times my desires are for You to do my will and not the other way around. Moving forward, I want to lay aside my desires and simply focus on walking in step with You. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

The F260 is a Scripture Reading Plan designed to read through the foundational passages of the Bible through a year (September 2019 – August 2020). It is a separate reading from the daily devotional but is included for those who would like to engage with the Scriptures on a deeper level throughout the year.

Read: Amos 1:1, 9:1-15

Journal: Write it out. Following the pattern from 7 Arrows Page (click here) what did you learn from today’s reading?

 

Note: Are you looking for a Study Bible to help you engage with the Scriptures at a deeper level? If so, click here for some recommendations.

 

 

The Apostles’ Creed: The Holy Spirit will Guide You in Truth

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WEEK 6, DAY 3: The Holy Spirit will Guide You in Truth

In our culture today, depression, anxiety, debt, and addiction are at an all time high. While the reasons for our overall lack of peace and contentment are many, researchers are discovering that one of the reasons for this trend is that we believe a lot of things that simply aren’t true. For example:

  • A young couple believes they can, and should, own a home with the same size and furnishings as their parents, though their parents took 30 years to build their home.
  • Throughout High School, a student regularly tells herself, “I’ll never have real friends.” By age 30, she’s addicted to heroine because she would do whatever she could to fit in. 
  • A 60 year old successful sales rep refuses to consider retirement, believing that his business will crumble if he chooses to do so. 

Whether it’s believing lies about our physical appearance, our relationships, our work, or the simple lie of, “I’ll be content (or happy) when ____________.” Even the simplest of lies can have a detrimental impact. 

Fortunately, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us in truth. 

READING & JOURNALING:

     JOHN 14:26, JOHN 16:12-15, 1 JOHN 2:20-21

We all tell ourselves things throughout the day which may be lies. Lies about God, about ourselves, or about others. What is the danger of telling yourself lies? Be specific. 

Have you taken time to consider whether any of your hurts, habits, or hangups are the result of you believing a lie? 

How does the Holy Spirit help us to combat these lies? 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I’m pretty confident that if I were to write out all of my thoughts throughout the day, I would discover that I’m telling myself, and perhaps believing, more lies than I realize. Help me to see the danger in these lies, and to stay focused on Your truth. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

The F260 is a Scripture Reading Plan designed to read through the foundational passages of the Bible through a year (September 2019 – August 2020). It is a separate reading from the daily devotional but is included for those who would like to engage with the Scriptures on a deeper level throughout the year.

Read: Hosea 1, 2, & 3

Journal: Write it out. Following the pattern from 7 Arrows Page (click here) what did you learn from today’s reading?

 

Note: Are you looking for a Study Bible to help you engage with the Scriptures at a deeper level? If so, click here for some recommendations.

 

 

The Apostles’ Creed: I Believe in the Holy Spirit

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WEEK 6, DAY 2: I Believe in the Holy Spirit

Take a few moments to reflect on any questions you may have about the Holy Spirit. If you were to write them all down, there probably wouldn’t be a shortage of questions. To believe in Jesus, His life, His death, and His resurrection is one thing, as there were hundreds of eye-witnesses. But there’s some mystery behind the Holy Spirit. 

Despite this mystery, belief in the Holy Spirit is another foundational believe in Christianity. All throughout the Scriptures we are reminded that there is one God, and only one. For example, Deuteronomy 6:4 reads, “…The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” However, as Albert Mohler writes in The Apostles’ Creed, “…the Bible reveals and affirms the following propositions: (1) The Father is God. (2) The Son is God. (3) The Holy Spirit is God.“

This, of course, doesn’t mean Christianity has three Gods. Instead, the Trinity shows that God has revealed Himself in these three persons. While there may be some mystery here, to deny the existence of the Holy Spirit would be to deny everything the Scriptures teaches about the Spirit. Without the Spirit, one can only believe in a god of their own making.

READING & JOURNALING:

     MATTHEW 3:13-17, MARK 1:9-11

What thoughts came to mind as you read the end of today’s devotional, “Without believing in the Holy Spirit, one can only believe in a god of their own making?” 

What do you think is the significance behind God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit all being present at Jesus’ baptism? 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, while I know there is some mystery behind the Holy Spirit, I do trust that Your Spirit is real, and is living within me. Continue to help me hear Your voice so that I can live wisely. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

The F260 is a Scripture Reading Plan designed to read through the foundational passages of the Bible through a year (September 2019 – August 2020). It is a separate reading from the daily devotional but is included for those who would like to engage with the Scriptures on a deeper level throughout the year.

Read: Jonah 3 & 4

 

Journal: Write it out. Following the pattern from 7 Arrows Page (click here) what did you learn from today’s reading?

 

Note: Are you looking for a Study Bible to help you engage with the Scriptures at a deeper level? If so, click here for some recommendations.

 

 

The Apostles’ Creed: Are You Listening?

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WEEK 6, DAY 1: Are You Listening? 

I (Pastor Justin) am regularly encouraging people to journal. If you’re not somebody who regularly journals, let’s take just a couple of minutes to journal together. Are you with me?

Grab a piece of paper or notebook, and go ahead and write today’s date at the top of the page. Are you still with me? (If you don’t have a piece of paper handy, you can use the back of this Reading Guide if you’d like.) 

OK, let’s keep going. For this particular journal entry, all you need to do is answer one question. Just one. That doesn’t seem too challenging, does it? Of course not. OK, here’s the question: 

Question: Over the past 48 hours, what are a few things God has been speaking to you? 

My guess is that you’ll respond to this question in one of three ways:

(1) You can quickly write down some things God has been speaking to you.

(2) You’ll need to pause and consider, but will eventually be able to write something down. Or…

(3) You have no idea what to write down. 

Which of these three ways best describes your response? 

READING & JOURNALING:

     JOHN 10:27-28

Over the past 48 hours, what are a few things God has been speaking to you? 

If option #3 from today’s reading is your go-to response, then ask yourself: Is God not speaking to you? Or have you not been listening? 

What is one way you will be intentional in listening to God today? 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, today I am reminded that You are regularly speaking to me, but I’m not always listening. Help me today to quiet the distractions in my life and to listen carefully to all You’re teaching me. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

The F260 is a Scripture Reading Plan designed to read through the foundational passages of the Bible through a year (September 2019 – August 2020). It is a separate reading from the daily devotional but is included for those who would like to engage with the Scriptures on a deeper level throughout the year.

Read: Jonah 1 & 2

 

Journal: Write it out. Following the pattern from 7 Arrows Page (click here) what did you learn from today’s reading?

 

Note: Are you looking for a Study Bible to help you engage with the Scriptures at a deeper level? If so, click here for some recommendations.

 

 

The Apostles’ Creed: Introduction to Part II

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Introduction to Part II of this Message Series

A Note from Pastor Justin:

Throughout this message series, we’ve taken the opportunity to emphasize that our beliefs lead to our values and ultimately to our behaviors. As we continue this series, I’d like to encourage you to continue to self-examine your beliefs, taking time to reflect on what you actually believe, and the impact those beliefs have on how you live. 

Example:

Belief – What do I actually believe? 

Value – How does this belief impact my values? 

Behaviors – How does this belief impact my behaviors? 

As we begin this series, let me encourage you to take a few important steps: 

  1. Write out the Apostles’ Creed on your own (this exercise is part of Day 1 of this Reading Guide). As you write it out, ask yourself, Is this really what I believe? Also take the opportunity to write down any questions you may have about the Apostles’ Creed or the Christian faith.
  2. Commit to joining us every week of this series.
  3. Commit to reading through this Reading Guide, reflecting and journaling through the questions provided within each daily reading.
  4. Use a good Study Bible and/or other resources as you read through this Reading Guide. Refer to https://southridgeblog.com/study-bible-info for more information on many excellent Study Bibles available today. Some suggestions include:
    • NLT (or NIV) Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition
    • NIV Zondervan Study Bible
    • ESV Study Bible
  1. Write down questions you have about what you’re reading, and take opportunities to seek out answers to those questions. 

 

The Apostles’ Creed: Week 5 Review

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WEEK 5, DAY 5: Review

What was your biggest takeaway from this week’s teaching — “From there He shall come to judge the living and the dead?”

 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

The F260 is a Scripture Reading Plan designed to read through the foundational passages of the Bible through a year (September 2019 – August 2020). It is a separate reading from the daily devotional but is included for those who would like to engage with the Scriptures on a deeper level throughout the year.

Read: 2 Kings 5:1-6:23

Journal: Write it out. Following the pattern from 7 Arrows Page (click here) what did you learn from today’s reading?

 

Note: Are you looking for a Study Bible to help you engage with the Scriptures at a deeper level? If so, click here for some recommendations.