Mark 12:29-31 (NCV) “The most important command is this: ‘Listen, people of Israel! The Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second command is this: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There are no commands more important than these.”
Luke 9:23-24 (NLT) Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.”
Galatians 2:20 (MSG) “Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central… It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
1 John 2:17 (NET) The world is passing away with all its desires, but the person who does the will of God remains forever.
1 John 1:3-6 (CSB) What we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may also have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in him. If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” and yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth.
1 John 1:7-9 (CSB) If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Romans 13:14 (NLT) Clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.
Ephesians 6:10 (TEV) Build up your strength in union with the Lord and by means of his mighty power.
Psalm 105:4 (NIV) Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.
Philippians 1:6 (NLT) I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
What were some of your biggest highlights from 2019? What’s one thing on your “wish list” you’d love to see happen in 2020?
How would you respond to someone who cautions, “Be careful of going overboard & getting too serious about religion”? How can you love God supremely without becoming a religious nut?
What’s the most obvious “before & after” change following Jesus has brought to your life?
Look again at Jesus’ words in Mark 12:29-31. What are the four ways of expressing love to God he emphasizes, and what might each of these look like in real life?
How is the second command in Mark 12:29-31 about loving others related to loving God? Why are these two the most important things we can focus on? Are you stronger in one of these commands than the other? Why?
What ideas or scriptures from this message especially spoke to you this week? What do you think Jesus is calling on you to give greater focus and commitment to in this next year to experience greater transformation from him? What new practices or habits could help you toward this and how could your group pray for & assist you?
Elementary Parents, we are kicking off 2020 by talking about wisdom. Ask kids who was offered anything he wanted in a dream. (Solomon) Who made the offer? (God) What did he ask for? (Wisdom) Our teachers taught that God’s wisdom is knowing what to do and what is the best choice to make in a situation. Ask your kids what three ways we talked about for finding God’s wisdom. (Pray, read, ask) Our bottom line is: God will give me wisdom because he loves me.
A born teacher, Steve combines a depth of insight with unchanging biblical truths to provide messages that are both engaging & life changing. Married to Jean, his bride of 35 years, and the father of three adult children, Steve enjoys early mornings on his porch in study, time with family & friends at the coast, and playing Bluegrass music on his guitar.