We’re Going to Pass On the Message of Christ: Day 5

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     Day 5: Reflection

What did the Scripture readings this week reveal to you about the grace and love of God?         

What did you learn about yourself this week, and/or your role in passing on the message of Christ?

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

Read: John 1

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

 

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We’re Going to Pass On the Message of Christ: Day 4

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     Day 4: Positive Influence Part IV

History is a fascinating subject because is simply focuses on the question, “What happed?” There are things that happened in other places and at other times, and the people felt that some of that stuff was important enough to write down. And ultimately, this is what led to the origins of Christianity – something happened. 

If Jesus was just a teacher, why did over 500 people say they saw Him after He died? If Jesus was just a man, why was so much written about Him? If Jesus was just a religious zealot, why did his followers, knowing they would be beheaded or crucified, continue to say that He was Son of God? 

These are questions secular historians struggle to answer. But again, the majority of historians will agree, something significant happened. Otherwise, Christianity would not exist. 

Fortunately, due to Christianity, much more good came into the world as well. Equality among all people, human rights, hospitals, education, the freeing of enslaved people, the arts, and much more has been birthed from Christianity. Something indeed happened! And the death and resurrection of Jesus started a revolution that is continuing to change lives. As you read today, consider this: How has Jesus revolutionized your life? Your family?

READING: JOHN 19:28-20:29

How has Jesus revolutionized your life? Your family?

Think about it, where would the world be today if Christianity was not a part of our culture? Where would you be if Jesus wasn’t a part of your life?

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

Read: Mark 1

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I know that we live in a world today which will often try to discredit belief in God and/or the resurrection of Jesus. Despite this, billions of people around the world continue to worship You because approximately 2,000 years ago, something happened. The event of Jesus’ death and resurrection has completely changed the world, and billions of people have been freed from the consequences of sin as a result of their trust in You. Today, I simply rejoice that I am one of those people, and today I simply want to celebrate just how much You have impacted my life for the best. I worship You today in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

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We’re Believing the Message of Christ: Days 2-5

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Note: 

Greetings all! I’d like to apologize for the SRC Blog not automatically updating for a couple of weeks. I believe that is an administrative error on my part. Below is a list of all of the posts that have not been sent out to all followers automatically over the previous 1 1/2 weeks. Tomorrow’s post will go out as scheduled.

 Day 2: Believe in Jesus 

Years ago, somebody challenged me (Pastor Justin) to read through the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and to do my best to identify what was unique about the Gospel of John compared to the other three. At the time, I really enjoyed a good challenge. So I spent the next few weeks reading through the Gospels, looking for patterns or words that were different in the Gospel of John compared to the other three. 

Spoiler Alert: If you’re the kind of person who enjoys these kinds of challenges, feel free to stop reading now and skip over to the reading/questions on the right. On your own, you can see if you can discover what’s unique about the Gospel of John. 

Compared to the other three Gospels, the Gospel of John is quite unique. While there is much to be discovered and pondered in all of the Gospels, John focussed tremendous attention on the concept of belief. In fact, John used some form of the word believe over 100 times throughout his Gospel. This is more than than the other three Gospels combined! More than anything, John focused on belief in Jesus. He quotes Jesus in 14:1 saying, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” As you read today, consider this: What would you say it means to believe in Jesus?

READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-11

What would you say it means to believe in Jesus?

What questions, if any, do you have about Jesus? Where will go to find the answers to these questions?

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

Read: Malachi 1

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I think I know what it means to believe in Jesus, but I confess there are times when I don’t feel confident in answering that question well. And I recognize that if I’m unable to answer that question well, there’s a tremendous challenge when it comes to me taking opportunities to share what I believe with others. Today, as I continue to wrestle with the questions of what I believe and why I believe it, I pray for continued wisdom in knowing You and knowing the purpose You have for my life. I also pray that I will not overthink these questions, but will instead rest in the simplicity of the answers; in the simplicity of Your love, grace, and truth. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

 

Day 3: Why [Not] Believe in Jesus?

We live in a world in which people, in general, believe in good and evil, or right and wrong. For example, if you were to ask the average American if he/she believes in God, the majority would say yes. Similarly, if you were to ask them how one gets to heaven, the majority would say that by being a good person, we get to be with God after we die. But this leads to a much more difficult question the average American cannot easily answer: how good is good enough?

That’s a difficult question to think about, is it not? How good is good enough? But let’s take it to yet another level, who gets to decide how good is good enough? You? Me? Somebody else? 

This line of questioning is what separates Christianity from every other major belief system in the world. Within Christian belief, nobody can earn eternal life by their goodness. Nobody. But this is a good thing, because it means that nobody has to figure out how good is good enough. Instead, we can recognize that we cannot earn eternal life, but can simply accept it by recognizing who Jesus is and making a decision to follow Him. As you read today, consider this: Have you taken the opportunity read and study the life of Jesus? If so, can you think of any reasons as to why not believe in Jesus?

READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:12-34

Have you taken the opportunity read and study the life of Jesus? If so, can you think of any reasons as to why not believe in Jesus? (If not, will you consider reading the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in order to study the life of Jesus?)

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

Read: Malachi 2

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I know that the Gospel of John ends with him writing that if everything Jesus said and accomplished was written down, there wouldn’t be room in the whole world for all of the books! I also know that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the best starting point for reading and studying the life of Christ, and that by reading them, I will continue to grow in my understanding of Him. Today, as I think through what I do know of Jesus, I acknowledge that I cannot think of any reason as to why I would not want to follow Him. So today, I will continue to (or begin to) follow Him, and pray that my understanding of Him will continue to increase. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

 

Day 4: Eternal Life Starts Now

Think for a moment about the things that may be preventing you from experiencing contentment in life. Some things that are fairly common within our culture include, “I’ll be more content when I get a promotion.” Or, “I’ll be more content when I get married.” Or, “I’ll be more content when I graduate.” Or, “I’ll be more content when (you fill in the blank).” Just so you know, this level of thinking doesn’t work. Contentment doesn’t come based on something you buy or earn. It comes by acknowledging who you are. 

Unfortunately, this same level of thinking is common among Christians today. Some even take it to the extreme level of, “I’ll be content when I die and get to be with Jesus.” But these kinds of thoughts often stem from the belief that eternal life doesn’t begin until death. But the Scriptures teach us that eternal life begins as soon as we profess faith in Jesus. 

Yes, there will be troubles, tears, sickness, death, and other heartaches that we will all experience, even after professing faith in Christ. But these can all be overshadowed by the truth that eternal life begins now, and our future hope in being with God can lead to inner peace no matter our circumstances. As you read today, consider this: How often do you pause to consider that you are, right now, beginning to live out eternal life?

READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:35-58

How often do you pause to consider that you are, right now, beginning to live out eternal life?

Be specific: In what ways does beginning eternal life right now impact any circumstances you’re currently experiencing?

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

Read: Malachi 3

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that there are many times when I have thought about eternal life beginning sometime after death, instead of the truth that for all who believe in Christ, it begins now. Today, I simply want to celebrate this truth, and rejoice that my life was forever changed the moment I decided to be a follower of Jesus. I celebrate that this decision doesn’t just impact what my life will be like after death, but that it impacts everything I’m currently experiencing in life right now. Thank You for this wonderful gift! I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Day 5: Reflection

READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 7:1-40

What did the Scripture readings this week reveal to you about the grace and love of God?         

What did you learn about yourself this week, and/or what you believe about the message of Christ?

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

Read: Malachi 4

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

We’re going to pass on the message of Christ

Day 1: Positive Influence Part I

Years ago, Coca-Cola set out with an absolutely audacious goal: they wanted every person in the world to know their name. Today, 94% of people in the world recognize the Coca-Cola logo. That’s over 7 Billion people! Even in countries that will not allow Coca-Cola products to be shipped or sold, the majority of people still know the name of Coca-Cola. 

Despite Christianity being the largest belief system around the world, the name of Jesus has not been made known to 94% of the world’s population. While different sources provide different numbers, there’s still a consensus among statisticians that more people around the world have heard the name of Coca-Cola than have heard the name of Jesus. Even more disconcerting is this: those who know the name of Coca-Cola know exactly what it is, while many who have heard the name of Jesus, have received incorrect information about who He is and the good news about His death and resurrection. Let that sink in. More people today have more accurate knowledge of Coca-Cola than they do of Jesus. 

As you read today consider this: God is inviting you to have a role in passing on the message of Christ to others. What is one step you will take this week towards fulfilling this role?

READING: JOHN 3:16-21

God is inviting you to have a role in passing on the message of Christ to others. What is one step you will take this week towards fulfilling this role?

Write down the names of 3 people you know who do not currently have a relationship with Christ. Commit to praying for them every day this week. 

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

Read: Luke 1

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that I don’t regularly think about what it would look like for me to take on a role to help spread the message of Christ. There are times when I think it is the church’s job to do that, or the pastor’s job, or…anybody else but me. But I know that You have invited all of Your followers to help spread the good news of Jesus. Today, I simply pray for wisdom and understanding as to what my role in that is, and I pray for the confidence to fill this role well. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Day 2: Positive Influence Part II

It was Christmas morning is in the early 1990’s. My family and I (Pastor Justin) had all opened up our Christmas gifts, and wanted to share our excitement with other family and friends. This was long before cell phones were common, so what did we do? We used our Windows 95 computer and dial-up internet (remember that high-pitched crackle when logging on?) to email our friends.

The above story is shared just to say that we all really wanted to share our excitement with other family and friends. And today, the majority of people want to share things they’re excited about with their family and friends. Whether it’s graduation, a birthday, a wedding, a new baby, a promotion, or something else, we all want to share good news with others. 

Jesus’ death and resurrection was good news for His followers. According to Paul, over 500 people had Jesus appear to them after His resurrection, and it’s likely that many of them wanted to share this good news with others. And those who heard this good news – fishermen, shepherds, and even kings – were also so excited that they wanted to share this good news with others. Today, this news is still being shared worldwide. As you read today, consider this: What are some things you have been excited to share with others? Do you find yourself excited to share the good news of Jesus?

READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:6, JOHN 14:1-4

Be honest: What are your 3 greatest fears when it comes to sharing the Gospel with others?

What are some things you have been excited to share with others? 

Think about it: why would anybody not be excited to share the good news of Jesus?

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

Read: Luke 2

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that one of the first things I feel when I think about sharing my faith with others is fear. There’s a fear that they will think less of me, or a fear that they will get angry with me, or a fear that (fill in the blank). Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Jesus regularly taught, “Be not afraid.” Perhaps You really are inviting me to lay my fears aside, and take the opportunity to share my faith with others. Today, I pray for an opportunity to do just that. I pray that You lead me to share something about my faith today. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

 

Day 3: Positive Influence Part III

The majority of historians today agree on two important aspects of Christianity. First, there is agreement that Jesus was a real person. Even non-Christian historians acknowledge that Jesus was a real person and was a huge influence on history. Second, historians agree that Christianity most likely would not exist if it were not for the Apostle Paul. 

Paul’s life story is quite fascinating. He was trained in making tents and canopies out of leather, and was also trained in the religious laws of the Old Testament. In his young adulthood, he was zealous for what he referred to as The Law, and because of his hatred for Christianity, he had Christians put to death. But after experiencing an encounter with Jesus, he not only converted to Christianity, but was instrumental in spreading the Gospel message throughout major cities in the Roman Empire. And in his first letter to the people of Corinth he writes, “Always give yourselves fully to the world of the Lord (15:58).” He didn’t ask them to do anything he wasn’t willing to do on his own. He worked. He experienced tremendous hardships. But he could think of no reason not to share the gospel. 

As you read today, consider this: Can you think of any reason as to why you should not help spread the good news of Jesus? 

READING: ACTS 5:27-39

Can you think of any reason as to why you should not help spread the good news of Jesus?

What’s the worst thing that could happen from sharing your faith with somebody else? What’s the best thing that could happen? Which is more likely?

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

Read: Matthew 1 & 2

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, as I examine the life and the teachings of Jesus, I acknowledge that I may not fully understand everything he taught. Nevertheless, I can’t think of any reason as to why I wouldn’t follow Him, nor can I think of any good reason as to why I would not accept a role in spreading the good news of Jesus to others. Today, I continue to pray for all of my friends and family who do not know Jesus. Specifically, I pray for (person 1), (person 2), and (person 3), and I ask that You will provide me opportunities to share my faith with them and/or others. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

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We’re Believing the Message of Christ: Day 1

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     Day 1: What Do You Believe? 

There are many questions that require a great deal of reflection, but there are two questions that really get to the heart of a person. Those two questions are:

  • What do I believe? 
  • Why do I believe what I believe? 

More than ever before in history, there is a growing trend of teachers, professors, and students who will answer the first question by saying, “I only believe what I can see, taste, touch, hear, or smell.” Similarly, they’ll answer the second question by saying, “That’s what I believe, because it’s tangible. I know something exists if I can experience it with one or more of my senses.” 

Yet people, in general, have very firm beliefs that do not fall into this definition. For example, love is impossible to be defined. Similarly, it’s very challenging to have a basis for human rights, because the basis for human rights isn’t something that can be created in a lab. As you read today, consider this: For just a few minutes, take an inventory of your own beliefs. How would you respond to somebody who asked you, “What do you believe? And why do you believe that?”

READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-11

How would you respond to somebody who asked you, “What do you believe? And why do you believe that?” 

Write it down: What do you believe about God? Jesus? The purpose God has for your life?

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

Read: Nehemiah 13

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that the questions presented today are very difficult questions for me to answer. I confess that I sometimes don’t know exactly what I believe, or why I believe it. This week, as I continue to wrestle through these questions, I pray that You will lead me to better recognize what I believe, why I believe it, and how I can grow in allowing these truths to impact how I live my life. I pray for insight and understanding about You, Jesus, Your Word, and the purpose You have for my life. I pray all these things in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

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We’re Planning to Minister to All: Day 5

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     Day 5: Reflection

READING: COLOSSIANS 3:1-3

Have you ever experienced anything that wasn’t done in a “fitting and orderly way?” What was that experience like?

What, if any, questions do you have about the Scripture readings from this week? Where will you go find the answers to these questions?

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

Read: Nehemiah 12

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

 

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We’re Planning to Minister to All: Day 4

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     Day 4: Good Order in Worship

Think about the first time you traveled to a foreign country, or perhaps heard somebody speak in a foreign language? What was that experience like? 

Chances are, you needed somebody to help you translate the conversation. You may have been able to pick out certain words that had a familiar sound to them, but for the most part you just weren’t able to understand what was being said.

In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul encourages the people of Corinth to think the same way about their church services. We can safely assume that Paul would have been thrilled that people of faith were coming together, singing together, praying together, reading together, and listening to a teaching from the Scriptures together. But he had one more desire in mind as well: he wanted the people to understand what was being taught, and also to ensure that their gatherings were done in an orderly way. As such, he finishes this section of his letter by writing, “But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way (1 Corinthians 14:40).” 

As you read today, consider this: Have you ever experienced anything that wasn’t done in a “fitting and orderly way?” What was that experience like?

READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 14:26-40

Have you ever experienced anything that wasn’t done in a “fitting and orderly way?” What was that experience like?

What, if any, questions do you have about the Scripture readings from this week? Where will you go find the answers to these questions?

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

Read: Nehemiah 11

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that there are times when I read something within the Bible that doesn’t initially make sense to me. I also confess that in these moments, I would sometimes rather not read the Scriptures and do something else instead. But I know that You have provided Your Word for a reason, and that understanding Your Word is one way I can better get to know You. So today, I pray that You will lead and guide me as I seek out answers to my questions about You and/or Your Word, and that the truths I learn will help me to grow in ways I never expected or imagined. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

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We’re Planning to Minister to All: Day 3

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     Day 3: Come Together Part 3

Have you ever walked into a party or gathering and it was completely different than what you anticipated? Of course you have. And admittedly, this is what it would be like for us to walk into a church gathering in the city of Corinth. What we know is that Paul encouraged them to gather together and to experience the presence of God among them. But we also know that Paul did something that very progressive for the time and culture: he encouraged women to participate in their gatherings. 

On a quick reading, there may be some verbiage in 1 Corinthians 14 that may not meet our current understanding of the word progressive. But for the people of Corinth, Paul’s inclusion of women in their gatherings was a huge leap forward. Within Greek society, many women were uneducated and were not permitted to sit under any kind of teaching, including private education. But Paul encouraging women to be part of their public gatherings was more or less unheard of in that day and age. The takeaway for us is that Paul encouraged everyone to come together, and for everyone to experience the presence of God, and for everyone to continue to discuss and ponder the wonders of God on their own. As you read today, consider this: How regularly do you discuss and ponder the wonders of God on your own, outside of a church gathering?

READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 14:26-40

How regularly do you discuss and ponder the wonders of God on your own, outside of a church gathering?

Think of at least 3 benefits to discussing, pondering, or even journaling about the wonders of God on your own.

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

Read: Nehemiah 10

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that much of the time, I break my life into different chunks. When I am with my family, I think about family. When I am at work or school, I think about work or school. When I am at church, I think about You. But today’s reading is a great reminder that I can be thinking about You and pondering Your love, Your grace, and every other wonderful attribute of Yours any time. And I recognize that the more I think about You, the more I get to know You. Today, may I get to know You more. I worship You today in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

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We’re Planning to Minister to All: Day 2

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     Day 2: Come Together Part 2

Think about a time in your life when you felt safe enough to share everything you were thinking and feeling? Chances are, it isn’t something that happens often. There’s this thought of, “I don’t want others to judge me or think less of me for what I’m thinking or feeling.” 

But interestingly, in Paul’s letter to the people of Corinth, he was hopeful that non-Christians attending a worship gathering would lay their hearts bare, would be convicted of their sins, and would ultimately worship God as a result. He writes, “But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you (1 Corinthians 14:24-25)!” 

Admittedly, our culture is different from the culture of ancient Corinth. Nevertheless, there is still something about a Christian gathering that hopefully leads to Christians and non-Christians alike to exclaim, “God is really among us!”

As you read today, consider this: In what ways have you experienced the presence of God? How may God be inviting you to help others experience His presence?

READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 14:1-25

Be specific: In what ways have you experienced the presence of God? 

How may God be inviting you to experience His presence more often? How may God be inviting you to help others experience His presence?

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

Read: Nehemiah 9

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I’m grateful that Paul has reminded us that You are present at all times and in all situations. Even though there are times in which I am not aware of Your presence, You are with me. When I am at work, You are with me. When I am preparing dinner, You are with me. When I am feeling broken and discontent, You are with me. When I am feeling completely at peace, You are with me. Today, I simply want to rest in this truth, that You are with me at all times, in all situations, no matter what. May I rest in You today. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

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We’re Planning to Minister to All: Day 1

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     Day 1: Come Together Part 1

Have you ever heard of Nigel Richards? That’s OK, you’re not alone. He’s apparently one of the most accomplished Scrabble players of all time. According to Wikipedia, he won the French National Championship in 2015, despite the fact that he didn’t speak French. He simply studied the French dictionary for 9 weeks, and won. He then did it again in 2018!

Word Games like Scrabble are incredibly complex, because languages are incredibly complex. And admittedly, there are words that regularly show up in the Scriptures that we don’t use within our own language on a regular basis. One of those words comes up several times in 1 Corinthians 14. It’s the word, prophecy.

Some may immediately think of, “predicting the future” when they hear or read the word prophecy. This is because movies and television have communicated that prophecy is predicting the future. But the Chronological Life Application Study Bible notes that the main purpose of prophecy, “…is to communicate God’s message to people, providing insight, warning, correction, and encouragement.” That sounds a lot like a sermon during a church service, doesn’t it? As you read today, consider this: How does the above definition of prophecy ensure that Christian gatherings can be used to minister to all who attend?

READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 14:1-25

How does the definition of prophecy in today’s devotional ensure that Christian gatherings can be used to minister to all who attend?

How may God be inviting you to partner with SRC in ministering to all who attend, and all within our community?

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

Read: Nehemiah 7 & 8

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, today I simply want to thank You that for the freedom within our culture for me to attend a Christian church regularly, and have unlimited access to Your Word. I confess there are times when I am more focused on work, family, or other activities than I am focused on getting to know You better. As I begin this week, I want You to know that my desire is to know You better, and to better know the purpose in which You have called me to live. Finally, I pray for wisdom to better know and understand how You may use me to help minister to all within our community. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

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We’re Preparing for Future Ministry: Day 5

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     Day 5: Reflection

READING: COLOSSIANS 1:3-14

What did the Scripture readings this week reveal to you about the grace and love of God?         

What did you learn about yourself this week, and/or your role in partnering with SRC for future ministry?

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

Read: Nehemiah 5 & 6

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

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