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

 
 
 
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How To Soul Journal
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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!
 

28 Days: Day 3

Join us this evening @ 7 for a time of worship and prayer at the church.

SCRIPTURE

  • Acts 1:1-11

OBSERVATION

Jesus came to earth with a mission – the mission was simple…proclaim that God loves mankind and wants to re-establish relationship with him.  Jesus proclaimed this news through preaching, teaching and by performing signs and wonders.  He also trained up a band of men to follow in His footsteps.  When Jesus went back to heaven He commissioned the disciples to continue with the mission – they were to proclaim the Good News of God’s love to all nations and to testify of the power of God displayed through Jesus’ life. 

UNDERSTANDING

When Jesus was resurrected He appeared to people for forty days.  During that time His purpose was clear.  He wanted the disciples to be fully confident of a few things…

That He was truly risen from the dead – Luke tells us that He gave them many infallible proofs of the reality of His resurrection.  Most of the people in Jerusalem knew that Jesus was crucified but they needed to know that Jesus was risen once again, so the disciples became the witnesses of the resurrection and having encountered Jesus and been assured of His resurrection He commissioned them to go and tell others that He was risen.  We no longer have to live in sin and separation from God.

He also wanted them to know that the time for being witnesses had an expiration date.  Soon He will return.  We may think that it has been a long time and He has not come back yet but you and I need to live in the reality that Jesus can return at any moment.

LIFE APPLICATION

You are a continuation of that mission given to the original band of followers – you are to testify of God’s power and allow His power to be on display in your lives.  You must also proclaim the Good News. 
 
You are to be His Witnesses – His living testimony.  How are you doing?  What are you doing to be His witnesses?
Jesus is coming back soon!  We who have encountered Him must be passing on the news with urgency.  Are we urgent about sharing the Good News with those who need to know?


28 Days: Day 2

SCRIPTURE

Matthew 28:17-20 (NIV) 17  When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

OBSERVATION

Verse 20 of Matthew 28 is that Great Commission Call issued by Jesus to all His disciples.  We need to make sure we understand the scope of the calling.  Christians are called to go!  We are sent ones not ones who gather.  

 

UNDERSTANDING

 The church has become the gathering ones, haven’t we?  We have come to believe that the purpose of the church is for us to just be given knowledge, but that knowledge is useless if we don’t apply it to what we have been called to do – which is to go and proclaim the Good News to the world around us.  Go and tell them that God loves them and has made a way for them to have a relationship with Him.  Go and tell them that only God can satisfy the longing of their hearts and the emptiness in their souls.  Then once they have believed we are to baptize them – induct them into the team and then teach them to be a Great Commission Disciple – a go-er.  And where are we called to go?  To all nations! 

So are you ready for the mission?  Are you involved in the mission?

LIFE APPLICATION

How will you say yes to God about going?  How is the Great Commission being worked out in your lives?



28 Days: Day 1

SCRIPTURE

  • Matthew 28

OBSERVATION

Jesus is risen – He is alive and His resurrection gives us reason to believe and have hope.  His resurrection now brings us to the place where Jesus has commanded us to go and make disciples (believers in Jesus) of all nations.  If we do not go there will be others who go and tell lies (read verses 11-15) and people will believe a lie rather than the truth.  God loves us and He has the power to change our lives!  That is what Jesus commissioned His disciples to go and tell others.  Are you ready? 

We are to go and preach (teach them what we have learned about God), baptize those who believe and then disciple them.

Will you take time to pray today that God will give you a Great Commission passion? 
Will you respond to His Call? 

[Ask God that over the next 28 days He will fill your heart with passion and vision of how you are to be a part of a Great Commission Movement.]

UNDERSTANDING

What is God saying to me?

I notice that a couple of times in the passage that people have an encounter with God and then after the encounter they are asked to go and tell others of what they have learned and experienced.  It leads me to ask…am I having encounters with God?  If I am experiencing deeper intimacy and encounters with Jesus the next question is am I steward those things well?  To steward it properly means that I must do what is commanded of me…go quickly and tell others.

Our walk with God is not to be kept to ourselves but to share with others.  Quickly now, go and tell others!
 

LIFE APPLICATION

What does that look like in my life?  It means that I am to view my encounters with God not from a selfish point of view but with an eye towards how I can share it with others so that it helps them come into relationship with God.  
 
It means that I am constantly looking to grow closer to God so that I can share my life changing encounters with Him with others.  


REGIFTING-AGAIN

  • Philippians 2:1 through Philippians 2:2 (NIV) 1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.

 

Notice the if/then concept.
If we have received then we should give all these things to others.
 
It’s the concept of regifting. 
Scripturally speaking it is our mandate.  If we have gotten all these gifts we need to wrap it up and pass it on.

But, but they don’t deserve it…

  • They don’t deserve my forgiveness
  • They don’t deserve to be happy
  • They don’t deserve tenderness and compassion

You’re right…but neither did you.  Go back to what we have been reading in Romans.  We were not deserving of anything.

  • Romans 5:6 through Romans 5:8 (NCV) 6When we were unable to help ourselves, at the moment of our need, Christ died for us, although we were living against God. 7Very few people will die to save the life of someone else. Although perhaps for a good person someone might possibly die. 8But God shows his great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners.

God wants us to recognize that our responsibility is to regift what He has given us even if they don’t deserve it.

It requires a whole other way of thinking.  Jesus doesn’t want us to fall into the selfish mindset of keeping all the gifts to ourselves, he wants us to shift our thinking.

 

SAVORING

The Christmas season is not about you and what you want or don’t want, it is about Christmas mission.  Are you Christmas vacation or Christmas mission?



REGIFTING

Have ever regifted something?  Admit it you have. 
Have you ever forgotten to take off the tag the person who gave it to you had put on?  Or have you ever regifted the gift to the person who originally gave you the gift?

So is regifting such a bad thing?  I actually think that regifting is a biblical command. I think that regifting in the spiritual sense is actually mandated by God.

  • Matthew 10:5-8 (NIV) 5These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ 8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
  • Acts 8:14 through Acts 8:17 (NIV) 14When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 17Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
Even Paul encouraged his spiritual son Timothy to regift…
  • 2 Timothy 2:2 (NIRV) You have heard me teach in front of many witnesses. Pass on to men you can trust the things you’ve heard me say. Then they will be able to teach others also.

 

SAVORING

What do these verses tell us we should be regifting?



SAVORING…

So it has come and gone.  The gifts have been opened, the meals have been prepared and consumed and the family has visited.  It is so easy for us to start packing up the stuff and moving on…but I want to encourage you to take time to savor the season.  Today in the church calendar the Feast of St. Stephen is celebrated.  It is the time where we pack up food and give to those in need – growing up we knew it as Boxing Day.  You made up food boxes to pass out to people. 
 
What a great idea – passing on the blessings.  Beyond just the food, we have been blessed by God and during the next few days why not be purposeful about how you can pass on those blessings.  Write an encouraging note to someone, invite a couple of friends over for coffee and dessert and play a game.  Spend time playing with your kids.  The possibilities are endless.  Don’t pack up and go back to business as usual – take time to savor


MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Joy to the World the Lord has come,

Let earth receive her king

Let every heart prepare Him room

 

Father we make room for you, not just today but in all our days!  You are welcome here!



TRUST=SURRENDER

  • Matthew 1:18-25, Hebrews 11:1

Trust is demonstrated when we make God’s plans our own goals.

  • 2 Corinthians 5:6-9 (NCV) 6 So we always have courage. We know that while we live in this body, we are away from the Lord. 7  We live by what we believe, not by what we can see. 8  So I say that we have courage. We really want to be away from this body and be at home with the Lord. 9  Our only goal is to please God whether we live here or there,
The end result is that we see Joseph submitted to God.

Trust always means submission.

Maybe that’s why trust is so hard, because we are so unaccustomed to surrendering ourselves.

Surrender means loser, quitter, not good enough, not strong enough, failure. Except in God’s vocabulary — where surrender .. or submission means strength and victory.

Without faith, it is impossible to please God. The heart of Christianity is our faith .. the trust that we place in God. In Who He is. In what He said He will do. In what the Bible says He has already done. In the Jesus’ death on the cross, for our sins. In His resurrection that sets us free. The victory that has overcome the world is our faith.

Today, you are facing circumstances that you can’t completely understand. Disease, death, debt, divorce, have sent the train of your life way off the tracks. And you can’t figure it out! Joseph reminds us that waiting on Jesus isn’t always about final answers, it’s about complete faith.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. Faith is by definition, not quantifiable or measurable. We cannot diagram it on the board and examine its parts. It is the logic of the spiritual realm, the currency of the unseen dimension.

 

SAVORING

What do you think that Joseph was most in need of after learning that Mary was pregnant?  What emotions do you think he felt?  What were some of the first words that angel said to him in Matthew 1:20?  How could these words be a demonstration of God’s love and concern to Joseph?



WILL YOU CHOOSE TO TRUST?

Matthew 1:18-25

I imagine every one of us either has been, at some time, or is in now, a situation that we don’t completely understand. We cannot fathom the reasons why such circumstances have overtaken us or, despite many sleepless nights and anxious hours, we just can’t figure a way out, so what will be your response?

How do you get from restless uncertainty to complete trust?
Joseph spent time knowing God.

Three times Matthew tells us that the Lord appeared to Joseph. Three times God revealed Himself and His will to Joseph. There are some powerful truths we can latch on to here.

Trust comes easier the more that we know somebody.

  • Hosea 6:6 (TLB) 6 “I don’t want your sacrifices—I want your love; I don’t want your offerings—I want you to know me.

Trust requires that we discern God’s will.

  • Mark 14:36 (TLB) 36 “Father, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take away this cup from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.”
 

SAVORING

Spend time with God today not asking Him for anything except that He speak to you regarding what He wants of you.  Put aside at least half-an-hour where you can sit in silence after asking Him the question, “Father, what is on your heart?  What do you want to say to me.”



YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT?

Matthew 1:18-25

How we deal with life’s interruptions is one of the defining qualities in who we are as people. Our character is determined NOT when life goes according to plan, but by how we react when it doesn’t.

I don’t know if there is any character in the Bible that faces this issue more personally than Joseph. The carpenter from Nazareth was anticipating his forthcoming marriage to Mary, and suddenly all of those plans are swept away in angel dreams, and Divine visions and the slow realization that instead of refinishing furniture, he would be raising the Son of God. Instead of merely waiting on the happy day of his wedding, Joseph found himself and his life upside down, while he waited on Jesus to be born.

You and I can understand why God chose this man to be the earthly father to Christ, when we really examine how Joseph handled the interruptions to his life with faith and obedience. His life may have veered off course, but Joseph was still waiting on God. You and I would do well to follow that example.

 

Joseph modeled complete trust in God, even when he didn’t understand what was happening.

Joseph married Mary, even when every ounce of reason in him, said this was another man’s baby she was carrying.

I know, I know, Joseph saw an angel, that’s why he trusted God. But I also know human nature. Joseph saw that angel once that we know of — he had to watch Mary’s belly grow with a baby inside for 9 months knowing he was not the father. Trust does not come easily when understanding is far removed.

I can hear God speak to me on Sunday and forget it by Tuesday! Joseph had to trust God for 9 long months while he waited.

SAVORING

The question is not whether life will ever careen off of your highway of hopes and dreams, BUT, what will you do WHEN it does!
How have you responded in the past, and how are you preparing to respond for the next time life changes directions unexpectedly?