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!
 

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.


Hebrews 4

Scripture

Hebrews 4:16

 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Observation – What does it say?

The writer of Hebrews encourages his fellow believers to run to God in their time of need. Jesus is our high priest who enables us to come to God, and he also understands us. He experienced weakness and temptation as a man, just like every one of us (yet he didn’t sin), so he can empathize with us. He knows what it’s like to be in our shoes and so he invites us to come to him, confident that God will have mercy on us and supply us with everything we need.

Understanding – What does it mean?

God’s people have complete access to his help whenever they want it.

We have an all access pass to God! We can go to him anytime, anywhere, confident that we will find a good Father who is eager to meet us right where we are. He won’t just listen to our pleas, but will extend his hand to help us.

Although we know this, we often have an “I’ll be ok” mentality. Things aren’t that bad; I can manage on my own; I don’t want to bother God with it. So we struggle through trying to overcome life’s challenges on our own strength and own wisdom. And every time, we miss out on opportunities to experience God! He wants to be intimately involved in our lives and is just waiting for us to go to him!
Proverbs 3:5-6 
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Life Application

Go to God!

What things have I been dealing with on my own instead of turning to God?

God, forgive us for relying on our own understanding and our own strength. Thank you for being so good! Thank you for the invitation to come to you. Thank you for the confidence we can have, knowing we will find mercy and grace. Help us to approach you today in our moments of need. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Hebrews 3

Scripture

Hebrews‬ ‭3:3-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.”
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Observation-What does it say?

The writer is basically explaining that Jesus is greater than Moses. Moses was a man used by God, while Jesus was and is God.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Worship Jesus, not man.

Human beings do not have the power to save…only Jesus does.

Psalm 146:3-Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.”

God is the creator and Moses was the creation. But because Moses was faithful to God and stayed close to Him, He used him in great ways. God spoke through him and worked in him to deliver the Israelites from bondage. It’s easy to want to worship the man that God builds up, however, without God, man is nothing. Because Jesus is God though, He is everything. He’s the builder of the house and is worthy of greater honor than Moses.

Life Application

If we want to do great things in life like Moses did, we must stay close to the Builder.

Our Triune God is the Source of our salvation and the builder of our faith, the builder of our strength, the builder of our confidence, and the builder of our purpose here on earth. If we want God to use us in awesome ways, we must be willing to die to ourselves and serve Him who is greater than ourselves. We must stay connected to Him through prayer and His Word. Only then will growth and transformation into His likeness take place. Dear Lord, I confess that it’s  easy to idolize and admire people who do great things for You, but help us to remember the reason they are able to do it and that’s because of You. You are the only One worthy of honor and glory and not us. Without You we are nothing. Thank You for great men and women of the faith who have chosen to die to themselves to live their lives for You. I pray that their example would point us to You alone. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
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Hebrews 2

Scripture

Hebrews 2:4

God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Observation – What does it say?

The writer of Hebrews goes on to warn his readers to pay attention to the message they heard so they don’t drift away – that is, the message of salvation through Jesus. Then he gives us the purpose for all signs, wonders, miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit. The purpose of all those things is to point to the gospel!

Understanding – What does it mean?

Signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit aren’t ends in themselves, but are intended to point people to Jesus.

Every time someone is healed, every time a miracle takes place, every time God supernaturally provides, every time he gives a word of prophecy or a word of knowledge, God’s desire is for people to be saved! All the things he does are to help him accomplish his will, which is to bring all people together under the lordship of Christ (Ephesians 1).

Life Application

Don’t forget that the gospel is central! And, share testimonies of what God has done with people who don’t yet know him.

While we long to see God move as we step out in daring faith, we must remember that God’s goal in all of it is to draw people into saving relationship with Jesus.

God, we thank you for the incredible message of salvation! Thank you for pointing each of us to it, and for saving us. As you move in our lives, use our stories to draw others to yourself. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.