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

 
 
 
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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!
 

Romans 1

Scripture

Romans 1:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 

Observation – What does it say?

The Apostle Paul begins his letter to the Christians in Rome by expressing his longing to visit them. He lists several reasons why he wants to visit, and among them is his desire to preach the gospel there and to have a harvest of souls. Where some people might be ashamed and afraid to tell people the message of salvation through Christ, Paul declared that he wasn’t! Why? Because through the Gospel, God will save everyone who believes!

Understanding – What does it mean?

The antidote for being ashamed of sharing the gospel is remembering that God will save anyone who believes it!

When we hear about sharing our faith, many Christians feel uncomfortable and afraid. Afraid that they don’t quite know what to say, afraid of what people will think, afraid of how people will respond, etc. But Paul learned to focus his thoughts away from those things and to continually remind himself what the gospel is: Good news! The only means to salvation!

When you recognize the greatness of the treasure you have to offer you can’t help but tell people about it. And, you find yourself like Paul wanting to travel, not for vacation but to share the gospel with those who haven’t heard it!

Life Application

Remember that God will save anyone who believes the gospel!

Find an opportunity to share the gospel with someone this week.

God, you know my desire to be used by you. I long to see souls saved. Please help me, help us, to recognize the opportunities you’ve placed before us. Give us the courage and the words to say, that we may give people the opportunity to be saved! Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Hebrews 13

Scripture
 
Hebrews 13:8“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
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Observation-What does it say?
 
The writer of Hebrews gave encouragement to Believers in various areas, but the overall theme points to the “superiority of Christ” (got questions.org) as Christ never changes and is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
 
UnderstandingWhat does it mean?
 
Jesus Christ is trustworthy!
He does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17b). In an ever changing world, serving a Lord that never changes, means we can trust what He says in His Word about marriage, money, giving, loving our neighbors, submitting to our leaders, etc. It means we can trust Him when He says our sins have been completely forgiven. It means we can trust Him when He says He will one day return and we will live with Him in eternity. 
 
Life Application
 
Hebrews 13:8 is a verse that is found on the wall of our church. Jesus Christ is the reason why we worship and gather on a Sunday morning. Jesus is the reason we are obedient to serve and give of our tithes and offerings. Investing in people or things that change like shifting shadows is unwise and will continue to leave us empty. However, investing our time, money, gifts, and talents to further the Kingdom of Christ will leave us with a return that will last forever, for eternity. What sounds like the better investment?
Dear Jesus, thank You that You stay the same and never change. Thank You that we can fully trust the promises in Your Word because You never go back on Your Word. I pray that when the world tempts us and tries to entice us to live for ourselves and/or material things, that we would be reminded of the better investment, which is You and Your Kingdom and glory. Amen. To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Day 5 – A Minute on Faith

Minute on Faith

[This week we are continuing our regularly scheduled Bible reading in Hebrews and would love to see your SOUL Journal entries in the comments below. However, in the opening posts this week, Pastor Gary will be sharing a bit of his heart for us as we approach the end of our Daring Faith campaign.]

I feel really mixed emotions as I write this last letter to you before we step out in daring faith this weekend.

I’m super-excited and filled with joyful anticipation knowing that God is going to do a miracle through the faith and sacrifice of many people!

And knowing that because of Daring Faith, the lost will be found. The hungry will be fed. The sick will be cared for. The next generation will be educated. The poor will be helped. People will be saved. Marriages will be restored. Churches will be planted. The Great Commission will be obeyed. The Kingdom of God will be advanced.

Yet, at the same time, I’m feeling sad, even grieved knowing that some people are going to miss the greatest opportunity of their lives. Whether due to fear or an inability to trust God, they will miss the moment that God gave them.

They WON’T grow in faith, and they’re going to lose the chance to be a part of something significant, to experience a personal miracle, and to impact eternity. I grieve for these people.

In Exodus, God let his people wander for 40 years and die in the desert because they didn’t have enough faith to believe He would take care of them in the Promised Land.

Please know that I am praying for you in these final hours of decision. We are in a spiritual battle against fear, doubt, self-centeredness, and materialism. It all boils down to this:

HOW MUCH WILL I TRUST GOD’S PROMISES?

That’s why my message this weekend will be “Daring to Trust the Promises of God.”

I’m praying for you!

 

Pastor Gary

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



Day 4 – A Minute on Faith

Minute on Faith

[This week we are continuing our regularly scheduled Bible reading in Hebrews and would love to see your SOUL Journal entries in the comments below. However, in the opening posts this week, Pastor Gary will be sharing a bit of his heart for us as we approach the end of our Daring Faith campaign.]

“Faith is More Than Believing.”

Every promise has a premise. For God to do what I’ve asked him to do, I must do what he has asked me to do!

There are more promises in the Bible about generosity and giving than about any other subject! Here are just a few of them:

  • “Good will come to him who is GENEROUS . . . he will never be shaken . . . he will be remembered forever . . . he will have no fear of bad news . . . his heart will steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” Psalm 112:5-7 (NIV)
  • “Those who give generously to those in need… will never be forgotten… they will have influence and honor.” Psalm 112:9 (NLT)
  • “Be generous to poor people, and freely lend them as much as they need. Never be hard-hearted and tight-fisted with them… Be sure to give to them without any hesitation. When you do this, the Lord your God WILL BLESS YOU IN EVERYTHING you work for and set out to do.” Deuteronomy 15:8 & 10 (GW)
  • “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each one of us should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make ALL grace abound to you, so that in ALL things at ALL times, having ALL that you need, you will abound in EVERY good work!” 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NIV)

Did you know that the Bible says your faith is worthless unless you take a step of faith?

Faith is more than merely believing. Faith is something you do. Faith is more than just talking about Jesus. Faith is action. In James 2:14, the Bible says, “If people say they have faith, but do nothing, their faith is worth nothing”.

I don’t know what your next step of faith is, but I do know this: You have one. God will never be finished taking you deeper in faith. There will always a next step.

God isn’t going to help you with step three, four, and five until you take step one. While you’re asking God to help you with something, he’s asking you, “Why haven’t you done what I’ve already told you to do?” You may have “been aiming to” do something. Stop aiming and pull the trigger.

What is God asking you to do that you haven’t done yet? Take that step of daring faith today.

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


Day 3 – A Minute on Faith

Minute on Faith

[This week we are continuing our regularly scheduled Bible reading in Hebrews and would love to see your SOUL Journal entries in the comments below. However, in the opening posts this week, Pastor Gary will be sharing a bit of his heart for us as we approach the end of our Daring Faith campaign.]

“Faith is More than Positive Thinking.”

At the end of my life on earth I will never regret having made too big a sacrifice for Jesus, but I will regret having made one too small.

  • Jesus said…I guarantee that anyone who sacrifices a home or business or even relationship for me and for the gospel will receive far more back in return. They will receive a hundred times more, and in the age to come they will receive eternal life. Mark 10:29-30
It takes more than positive thinking to live a life of faith. You need the power of God. In Philippians, Paul says,

“I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength”.

Philippians 4:11-13

In other words, you can do anything—with God’s help.

Faith means we believe that Jesus can do what we ask, and that with his help, we can do what he asks us to do, too.

Have you been trying to live life on your own power? If so, I guarantee you’re getting nowhere—at least on the things that really matter in life. You can read all the motivational books in the world and still never make any progress toward your dreams. You need the supernatural help of God to live a life of faith.

 

What is God asking you to do that you can only do with God’s help? Take that step of daring faith today.

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


Day 2 – A Minute on Faith

Minute on Faith
[This week we are continuing our regularly scheduled Bible reading in Hebrews and would love to see your SOUL Journal entries in the comments below. However, in the opening posts this week, Pastor Gary will be sharing a bit of his heart for us as we approach the end of our Daring Faith campaign.]
This week, our families and individuals will be deciding their step of faith for our Daring Faith Giving and Commitment Weekend.

How do you get God’s dream for your life? You do three things:

First, dare to ask God for it. The Bible says, “Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of…”

Ephesians 3:20 (TLB). If you want God’s dream for your life, you must dare to ask him what he wants you to do. Then ask yourself, “What would I attempt for God if I knew I couldn’t fail?” Let that expand your vision.

Second, believe God’s promises.

Never let an impossible situation intimidate you. Let it motivate you to pray more, believe more, trust more, experience more, learn more, and grow more. Faith always works in the realm of the impossible.

Third, dream big. Let the size of your God determine the size of your goal. You haven’t really believed God until you’ve attempted something that cannot be done in the power of the flesh. God’s dream for your life can only be accomplished, as Ephesians 3:20 says, “By his mighty power at work within you.” If you can do it in your own strength, then it’s not a God-sized dream. But the Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “the one who calls you is faithful and he will do it!”

Will you dream big with me?

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


Day 1 – A Minute on Faith

Minute on Faith

[This week we are continuing our regularly scheduled Bible reading in Hebrews and would love to see your SOUL Journal entries in the comments below. However, in the opening posts this week, Pastor Gary will be sharing a bit of his heart for us as we approach the end of our Daring Faith campaign.]

 Faith is about taking the first step.

What should you do when you know something is God’s will but you’re scared to death to do it? Do it anyway. Faith is about taking the first step.

You may be thinking, “But I’m waiting for God to do something?” Has it ever occurred to you that God may be waiting on you?

Throughout the Bible we see this important truth: The Holy Spirit releases his power the moment you take a step of faith. When God told Joshua to cross the Jordan River, it was at a flood stage. It was only after Joshua stepped into the river, that the waters stopped flowing and the whole nation of Israel crossed on dry ground.

God waits for you to act first. Move ahead, and do what God tells you to do regardless of your fears and feelings. In 2 Corinthians 5, the Bible says,“For our life is a matter of faith, not of sight”. This is how you cooperate with the Holy Spirit.
What is God asking you to do that you haven’t done yet?
Pastor Gary
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Hebrews 7

Scripture

Hebrews 7:27

Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

Observation – What does it say?

Why don’t we still offer sacrifices like they did in the Old Testament? Why don’t we have the Old Testament priesthood in place anymore?

Because Jesus is the ultimate High Priest! He is greater than any priest before him because he lives forever, he is perfect, and he himself became the sacrifice once and for all! When he died on the cross, he made payment for every sin committed – past, present and future. And when he rose from the dead, he rose to be our High Priest forever.

Understanding – What does it mean?

There is no longer any need for a sacrifice, because Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient.

There is no longer any need for another priest to mediate between God and man because Jesus is our High Priest forever!

It’s all about Jesus! He is the only way to the Father, the only mediator God accepts, the only means by which we can be reconciled to God, and the only one worthy of all our worship. He spared our lives by painfully laying down his own, and he lives forever to intercede for us.
For anyone to think they could make themselves more acceptable to God by doing good deeds would be to diminish what Jesus did on the cross. It’s like slapping Jesus in the face. Feeling guilty about your sinful past and trying to make up for it by doing good deeds is like saying, “Jesus, what you did on the cross wasn’t enough and so I’m going to add to it by doing some good deeds. Then God will really love and accept me.” No! Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient! We obey God not so he will accept us and love us, but because we are grateful that because of Jesus he already does.

Life Application

Worship Jesus! Thank God for the blessing of Jesus and for life under the New Covenant.

God, thank you so much for the sacrifice of your son! Jesus we worship you today and recognize that you alone provide the way for us to be saved. You alone died for us. You alone were able to pay the price for our sins and you were willing to do it. We stand in awe of you today and worship. Amen.

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



Hebrews 6

Scripture

Hebrews 6:12

We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

Observation – What does it say?

God gives us some advice regarding his promises. Do we have a role to play in making sure we inherit what God has promised? Or are they just automatic? He implies here that we have a critical role to play. Either we can have faith and patience or we can be lazy. Faith and patience will lead to us inheriting what he has promised. Laziness will keep us from inheriting what he has promised.

Understanding – What does it mean?

God’s promises belong not to the lazy but to those who have faith and patience.

Faith and patience aren’t passive. Faith and patience doesn’t mean sitting back and saying, “I believe God will do what he says and so I’m just waiting here in this seat until it happens.” Faith and patience imply action. The writer of Hebrews goes on to use the example of Abraham patiently waiting in faith for the promise that he would be a father. In his case, patiently waiting in faith meant that for years he continued to try to get his wife pregnant. Sleeping with Sarah despite their very old age was the action that demonstrated his patient faith. If he gave up and stopped sleeping with his wife, there would have been no fulfillment of the promise.

There is always a waiting period between the promise and the fulfillment. And experiencing the fulfillment is only for those who work toward pursuing those promises with patient faith.

Life Application

Don’t give up! And don’t be lazy! Work!

What does it look like for me to do my part in pursuing God’s promises?

God, thank you so much for your faithfulness to your word. Help us learn to patiently wait and not waver in our faith. Help us to enjoy the waiting time and to be filled with hope and joy in the midst of the process. Show us our part, our role to play, and help us not to be lazy regarding your promises. We want to experience the fullness of what you intend! Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Hebrews 5

Scripture

Hebrews 5:11

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 

Observation – What does it say?

The writer of Hebrews wants to teach his fellow believers more but points out that he can’t. Why? Because they aren’t ready to receive it. They have stopped trying to understand, letting the truth go in one ear and out the other. They keep having to be presented the basics of following Jesus because they aren’t putting forth effort to get them down and move on.

Understanding – What does it mean?

There is deeper truth and more available to those who try to understand.

No one wants to take kindergarten over and over again, year after year, until they die. Yet many Christians are content repeating the first year of their journey over and over again, not really pursuing growth. Chuck Swindoll says, “Some people have been Christians for 20 years but it is simply one year repeated twenty times.”

It’s important we all recognize that God has more in store for us and take an honest assessment: Am I really trying to understand and pursue more? Am I settling for less in my relationship with God? Are there areas God keeps having to address with me that it’s time for me to get down?

Life Application

Try to understand!

God, we want to experience the fullness of what you have in store for us! Please forgive us for the times we settle for less and fill us with a hunger for more. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.