Bible Reading Plan
bible

Weekends: Read any passages of your choice or catch up if you’ve fallen behind 🙂

November 4: Esther 9, Revelation 17, Psalm 73

November 5: Esther 10, Revelation 18, Psalm 74

November 6: Job 1, Revelation 19, Psalm 75

November 7: Job 2, Revelation 20, Psalm 76

 
 
 
divider
 
How To Soul Journal
pencil
 
soulj
 
divider
Journal Entries
Every weekday you will find a journal entry here from someone different in our church family. 
 
Click the scripture title and scroll down to see a comments section where you can ask questions, share insights and post your own SOUL Journal entry for the day!
 

Acts_15

Scripture

 
Acts 15:8-11
8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

Observation

People were sharing “fake news”…well, at least old and outdated news.

People had come from Judea and Antioch saying “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved” (verse 1). So the church sent Paul and Barnabas to share the truth. As they made their way, their message brought relief. When they came to Jerusalem, though, 5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses” (verse 5).

Understanding

Lots of good stuff packed in here!

God’s heart for us is love and a desire for relationship.

The message that was being shared – having to live by old testament law and being circumcised – was raising up anxiety in the people. And, Paul’s message explains why – it was “a yoke that neither [they] or their ancestors [had] been able to bear” (vs 10). This reveals God’s heart for us – love. He doesn’t want us living in this low level sense of anxiety focusing on the legalisms of an old law. He wants us to seek Him, love Him and have relationship with Him. And, yes, He wants perfection; but knowing we cannot sustain that, He loved us enough to create a way that we may still be saved and still experience Him.

The Holy Spirit’s presence marks God’s children.

Like PG shared yesterday, the Holy Spirit is not just for a select few…it’s for EVERYONE! That’s the gift of salvation. And, that gift, shows God’s acceptance of someone.

Furthermore, experiencing the Holy Spirit CHANGES us. It’s a marked change, we are not the same. Also, as PG said, it’s not a one and done thing; there’s regular infillings of God when we walk in obedience.

Life Application

Know and tell the truth!

People share “fake news” about God daily. Like Paul and Barnabas, we are called to share the truth, with God’s heart behind it…so without judgement and for the cause of turning their hearts to God.

Check your Holy Spirit action.

We need to be LIVING IN the Holy Spirit…it’s Holy Spirit experiences that transform lives and we are called to be conduits of that! [Quite an honor!] It requires that we seek God’s face, that we turn our ears and open our eyes to where God wants to use us and we obey when we hear that still small voice. And we need to be dissatisfied with camping on HS experiences of that past…instead, pressing in for more and living with expectancy to be used by Him DAILY.

God, I’m grateful that you call me yours. I’m grateful that we get to experience your Holy Spirit – and the joy, the fullness, the power that comes with it! Use me today. Show me who you want to impact, give me the words, increase my boldness in you…and may you be known and experienced by all those I encounter today.

In Jesus name, Amen.

Rei

To check out the discussion or to join in click here.



Acts__14

ScriptureWhat stood out to me?

Acts 14:19-20

19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20 But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.

Observation – What does it say?

Previously in Iconium Paul and Barnabas learn of a plot to stone them and they flee to Lystra. Unfortunately the Iconium Jews find Paul in Lystra, incite the crowd against him, and stone him. 

Understanding – What does it mean?

We have been asked to read the book of acts with the lens of the Holy Spirit as our filter. So you might be wondering why I felt led to highlight these two verses when I clearly had some amazing other options to choose from in this chapter. My defense lies in this vision I had of Paul when I had finished re-reading chapter 14 five or six times.  I was asking God to highlight some areas for me and I was slowly awestruck. 

He was stoned. He was stoned and then he got up and went back into the city that stoned him. Wait he did what? And the next day he left to go preach in Derbe.

The lack of emotional and spiritual details during this moment in Paul’s life might seem discouraging. What was Paul thinking when he was stoned? What did the group of disciples do when they gathered around him? What was Paul’s spiritual state? Was he mad? Was he sad? These are all questions we might ask. I think that the lack of such details is exactly the point that the author and God is ultimately trying to make here.

Paul was stoned, nearly to death. The disciples responded by gathering around him. Perhaps a small miracle was performed by God. Perhaps not. What did Paul do next? He got up. The next day was business as usual. On to the next city to continue his God given mission. No fanfare. No sob story. Paul and Barnabas sum up their response in part of verse 22, ““We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.” 

I can’t stop seeing Paul shrouded in the Holy Spirit as these events unfold. As he was being stoned he was filled with it. As he was left for dead I see him shrouded still. I picture the disciples glowing as they gathered around him. I see him wrapped in the Spirit as he is revived. And I can’t help but picture him continuing to glow as he moves on to the next town. 

Life Application – How can I apply this today?

In Paul I see a man who was just so devoted to his mission in life. I see a man that constantly stayed connected to the Holy Spirit for as much as possible. That is what I want for my life. I don’t want the Holy Spirit once a week on Sundays or even twice a week. I want it all the time!

Father God, 

Please teach me Lord to live my life like Paul did. I feel like sometimes if a pebble is placed in my path I am grumbling and groaning. Instead would you teach me to live like a man always filled with the Holy Spirit every moment of every day for the rest of my life. For when the stones are thrown I want to simply get up and continue on like Paul did. For your glory. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Your Son,

Kenneth Lee

 



Acts__13

Scripture

Acts 13:3 

“So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.”

Observation-What does it say?

While in Antioch, Barnabas and Saul spent time in a church fellowshipping with other believers. Among them were the teachers and prophets: Simeon, Lucius, and Manaen. While they were praising God the Holy Spirit specifically called out Barnabas and Saul to be set apart to do God’s work. They obeyed, but not before praying, fasting, and officially being sent off.

Understanding-What does it mean?

United through Christ.

Jesus said: “I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:23 

There is no such thing as a being a “Sideline Believer.” Being a believer denotes action, even when we’re aren’t on the front lines we are always about God’s business. 

While visiting this church, only Barnabas and Saul are specifically called by God to go. Yet, the other believers didn’t just tap out and wait for the next announcement. Instead they also fasted and prayed with Barnabas and Saul, and before sending them on their way they prayed over them. 

Whether or not we are directly called out, we are always united together under the same God. It is our job to come alongside our fellow Christ Followers and walk firmly beside them.

You can’t be a Christian and stand on the sidelines, it’s an oxymoron. There is always work to be done, we are all called to go out, but as soon as we get back it’s our job to support those heading out next. 

Life Application

God is always moving, and many of us, myself included, are yelling from the sidelines, waiting for the coach to call us in. We forget that we’re actually supposed to be in game. The minute we turned our lives over to Christ, we were in. It’s time to jump in, whether we’re specifically called out or not we’re on mission. We are all called to be active and integral participants in securing the Kingdom.  

-Ethan Khan




Acts_12

Scripture  Acts 12:8-10  Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him.  Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision.  They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron-gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.

Observation-What does it say?  Herod has begun a full scale attack on the followers of Jesus.  He recently put to death James, the brother of John, and has imprisoned Peter with the same intention.  One thing we see of Peter’s character in the passage is his trust in the Holy Spirit.  When faced with imminent death, he is calm and secure enough to be sleeping amongst the guards.  He was ready to accept his fate as a result of following Jesus, without any expectation of deliverance.  Peter’s deliverance from prison may be seen as an allusion to our deliverance from sin.  When we least expected it, the Holy Spirit calls us out of our bondage and leads us to freedom.

Understanding-What does it mean?  I love to watch Disney’s animated version of Robin Hood.  The one where Robin Hood is played by a fox and Little Jon is played by Balu from the Jungle Book.  I always get excited when Robin Hood is in the castle, stealing the last bag of gold, right from underneath Prince John’s arm.  The peak of the climax of the story is in sight.  Soon Prince John will wake up and call for his guards.  Then Robin Hood will attempt his daring escape as the castle of the evil Prince John is burning to the ground.  

I really love a good story, and all the elements that it takes to fill that story and make it come alive.  I love the conflict between characters, even within individual characters, the little twists in the plot.  And forgive me, but I am a sucker for the stories that end with the good guy winning.  The bible is one of the best examples of great story, with smaller stories playing themselves out within the entirety.  

In the moment where Peter is stuck between two guards, he is miraculously saved by a messenger of the king (plot twist).  Peter’s part in the story wasn’t done; God had bigger plans for him.  It’s like this often for us in our own story.  Just when we think we have hit rock bottom, God swoops in and saves us from imminent death.  God has good plans for the ones who serve Him (Jeremiah 29:11).  And we know He always wins, I cheated and read the end of the book.

Life Application  Jesus, help me to look at your story and understand my part in it.  You have given me the wonderful responsibility of being a herald of the king.  You have placed me in charge of announcing the good news of your return.  Help me to find my voice, so that all will know that you are king.  Help me to teach my children to take up the call as well.  

-Tyler Galloway



Acts_11

Scripture

Acts 11:12

The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them.

Observation – What does it say?

Immediately following his mysterious vision from God, the three men sent by Cornelius came to the house where Peter was staying. He heard the Holy Spirit speak to him, commanding him to go with these men. So he did.

Understanding – What does it mean?

What stood out to me was the intimate relationship Peter had with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit spoke to him. Plainly. Clearly. Scripture doesn’t say, “Peter thought it might have been the Spirit speaking to him.” It was a matter of fact, because Peter had come to discern His voice.

And, the second side of the coin here is that Peter didn’t just hear, he obeyed. Jews didn’t associate with Gentiles, much less journey with them and step foot in their home. This would seem like an absurd thing for God to ask him to do. Yet, he didn’t question God and went.

Life Application 

Hear and obey.

I long to hear God’s voice more clearly. And, when God speaks I want to steward his voice well by obeying. How many times have I asked God to bless me to hear his voice, and yet how many times has he spoken clearly and, because of fear or what he was asking seemed too hard, I hesitated and ultimately disobeyed?

God, forgive me for the times you have spoken and I didn’t obey! May your voice become more clear to me and grant me the faith to trust you, even when what you say doesn’t seem to make sense or to be what I would prefer. Make me like David, a man who will do everything you have in mind for me to do. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

– Levi Thompson


Acts__10

Scripture
 
Acts 10:44-45
 
“Even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message. The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
A devout, God-fearing man named Cornelius received a message from an angel of God. The angel instructs him to send some men to a town called Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter. So Cornelius sends his servants to bring Simon Peter back to his home.
While at home, Peter receives word from the Holy Spirit to follow these men that God has sent for him. Peter listens and obeys without any hesitation. Peter arrives at Cornelius’ house, and although the custom back then was that a Jewish man was not supposed to enter a Gentile’s home, Peter understands now that he should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean. Cornelius invites all his family and friends over to his house and explains to Peter the message he received from God. Peter now realizes that God doesn’t discriminate against anyone to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. So Peter begins to share with Cornelius and all his family and friends the message of Jesus Christ, and while Peter was speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening. The people began speaking in other tongues and praising God. This amazed Peter and the other Jewish believers who were with him that day.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Being obedient to the Holy Spirit is the first step to witnessing amazing things.
 
Looking back at this story I’m realizing the amazing thing that happened that day for Cornelius and all his family and friends. They were all baptized into the family of Jesus Christ! Christ Followers were multiplied that day! And none of this would have happened if Peter or Cornelius weren’t obedient to the Holy Spirit. In verse 7 Cornelius didn’t wait and ponder on what the angel had instructed him to do. It says as soon as the angel left him he followed through with the instructions. In verses 21-25 Peter invites these total strangers into his house to stay the night, and leaves with them the very next day. Who would do this?! Especially knowing these men were Gentiles and Peter being Jewish, and the history between the two groups. That takes faith and obedience! But because of Cornelius and Peter being so obedient to the Holy Spirit, they were able to witness multiple salvations that day and they were able to see the power of the Holy Spirit move within the whole household of Cornelius as they began to speak in tongues, giving God praise.
 
Life Application
 
Take time to pray and listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
 
Prayer is a way we communicate with God, but communication is a two way street. Who likes to be in a relationship when the other person does all the talking and they don’t even take the time to listen to you? That can be quite frustrating. I hate to admit, but sometimes I may treat God like that. Sometimes I can get caught up praying to Him and asking Him for all these things, but I forget to take the time to sit and listen to Him and hear what He needs from me.
 
Father God forgive me for my selfishness. Allow me to sit in silence and truly take the time to listen to your voice. Whether it’s through reading Your Word, or hearing the voice of Your Holy Spirit, help me to be keen to Your presence, and be obedient to what You ask of me. I know You are willing to do the amazing, but You just need obedience on my end. Bless me dear Lord with the strength and courage to do so. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.  
 
-Moses Gaddi


Acts_9

Scripture
 
Acts‬ ‭9:17-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?””
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?

Saul was someone who used to persecute and kill Christians. He did this because he thought he was honoring God. Jews, especially religious Jewish leaders believed that Jesus wasn’t God, so Christians were “blaspheming” God by preaching in Jesus’ name. They had to pay the consequences for their behavior. Saul was a key person in the stoning of Stephen, a Christian who was described as full of the Holy Spirit in Acts 7.
On the road to Damascus, Saul had an encounter with Jesus and Jesus spoke directly to Saul asking him why he was persecuting Him? The Lord made Saul blind for a few days and his life forever changed after that.

Understanding-What does it mean?

The work of the Holy Spirit changes us.

God spoke to Ananias in a dream to locate Saul and lay hands on him. The first work of the Spirit in this chapter was the fact that Ananias was able to obey God’s commands despite Saul’s former reputation of persecuting and killing Christians. The second work of the Spirit was the change in Saul’s life after Ananias laid hands on him so that he could see and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Saul, who began as one of the chief religious Jewish leaders who persecuted believers, would soon be known as Paul, one of the greatest leaders in the Christian faith recorded in the Bible! That’s a true testament to the work of the Holy Spirit. Saul’s life turned completely around.

Life Application

What would happen if we were one of those vessels that the Holy Spirit could freely work through? What would happen if we were obedient to His leading?

In this chapter alone, there is evidence of so much of the Holy Spirit’s work. I already mentioned 2 in the understanding section. The Holy Spirit also changed the hearts of the believers towards Saul. The disciples weren’t fully convinced of Saul’s conversion, but the Holy Spirit worked through Barnabas and he convinced the apostles not to be afraid of Saul because he was a changed man. The Holy Spirit continued to do things in Scripture that was impossible in a human’s own strength. He continues to do things today that are impossible in our own strength!

As verse 31 said, “….They stopped living in the fear of man and started living in the fear of the Lord.” As a result, the church increased in numbers again!

Don’t underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit. There’s no stopping Him when He’s at work. As Pastor said on Sunday, “We need the Holy Spirit and when we receive Him we will be different in a way that is obvious to a watching world.”

-Michelle Gaddi


Acts_8

Scripture

Acts 8:4


Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.

 

Observation

Saul was shaking things up…and not in a good way.  He was terrorizing the church and all who believed.

 

Understanding

Quite beautifully and boldly, though, those who had experienced the Holy Spirit continued to preach “wherever they went.”  Like PG shared yesterday, when you experience the Holy Spirit, you are CHANGED.  There’s no going back, no hiding it, you catch a glimpse of what God’s heart is for His people, what He desires – wholeness, healing, love, joy, peace – and you can’t help but want to be part of it and share it with others.

 

Life Application

God, stir up a Holy hunger in me and in our church.  May we experience your manifest presence in a way that CHANGES us from the inside out, in a way that does not allow us to turn back to old ways or normal day to day…but in a way that creates an insatiable need to share your heart with others. 

 

Rain down. 

 

In Jesus name, Amen.

 

Rei

 

To check out the discussion or to join in click here.



Acts_7

Scripture

Acts 7:51-53

“You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”

ObservationWhat does it say?

Stephen was seized and brought to trial under false accusations against him with false witnesses. He was responding to the high priest who asked Stephen if the charges were true. Stephen answered by laying out the history of Israel and how time and time again the Holy Spirit showed up yet the Israelites resisted God, grew cold, hard and jealous, and turned away from Him. Stephen was calling the Sanhedrin out, showing them how they were doing the same thing people had done for hundreds of years before them. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Don’t resist the Holy Spirit.

All throughout scripture we see how God’s people resisted Him and suffered for it.

Jesus said: “This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;     you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused;     they hardly hear with their ears,     and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes,     hear with their ears,     understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’[a] 

But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.” 

–Matthew 13:13-16

I want to be like Stephen, I wanted to be someone who sees and hears what the Holy Spirit is doing and saying. I want my heart to stay soft, and I wanted to be blessed because I see and hear. 

Life Application

Keep your heart soft before the Holy Spirit by spending time with God and God’s people.

I don’t want to be like the Sanhedrin or thousands of others who have gone before and have had their hearts hardened, and who have resisted Holy Spirit. I don’t want to miss out on the glory of God that people like Stephen got to experience because they were open to what Holy Spirit had for them and obeyed Him. I want to be open to all that God has for me, my family, community, and world. In order to do that, I need to keep myself in His presence, connecting with him regularly throughout my day and connecting with my family – God’s people – who can continue to encourage me and keep my heart in check should it start to grow cold. 

God, thank you for loving me so much that you sent Jesus to die for my sins, and thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Please forgive me for the times I resist the Holy Spirit, forgive me for the times that I have received your commands but haven’t obeyed them. Thank you for your grace and mercy, and the blood of Jesus that washes me clean. Help me to stay soft and open to you. Help me to stay soft and open to my family of believers. Help me to stay vulnerable before you. I love you! Amen. 

-Katie Thompson



Acts _6

SCRIPTURE

Acts 6:5-8 (NIV) 5  This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; … 8  Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.

 
OBSERVATION

The word used to describe Stephen was fulness.

  • He was full of faith.
  • He was full of the Holy Spirit.
  • He was full of God’s grace
  • He was full of God’s power.
 
UNDERSTANDING

When we describe Stephen as full of, it means to be controlled by.  In essence, the description of Stephen was that he was a man controlled by the Holy Spirit.  He allowed the Holy Spirit to fill him with grace and power and love for the people he was serving.  He was also filled with wisdom as he allowed the Holy Spirit give him the words to speak to people.

 
The result of Stephen’s ministry was that the church continued to grow.
 
LIFE APPLICATION

The Holy Spirit is for everyone and the truth is that we can all be described in the same way that Stephen is described.  I want to be full of the Holy Spirit so that God’s grace and God’s power is demonstrated in and through me.  I want to be full of the Holy Spirit and directed by Him so that I too can see God do miraculous signs and wonders through me.  Imagine what could happen if we all allowed the Holy Spirit to fill us up.  Maybe the same would then be said of us… Acts 6:7 (NIV)  So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly…