Category Archives: Devotion

Priorities – Mary vs. Martha (DEVOTION)


Read the following Scriptures, and discuss the questions below as a table group.

  • Luke 10:38-42
  • John 11:1-3, 17-44
  • John 12:1-8
  1. Compare and contrast the two sisters.
  2. What is Mary doing that is similar in each of these Scriptures?
  3. What is Martha doing that is similar in each of these Scriptures?
  4. Why do you think Jesus said that Mary’s choice was better in the passage from Luke?
  5. How are you sometimes like Martha?
  6. What is the danger of living our lives like Martha all the time?
  7. What is the best combination of Mary-type priorities and Martha-type priorities for your life?

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Filed under activity, Character, Devotion, Martha, Mary, Priorities, spiritual disciplines, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Health

Needs Analysis (DEVOTION)


As a group, read the following Scriptures, and use the form to do a needs analysis of the situation.

Matthew 17:14-20         Mark 9:14-29       Luke 9:37-43

Symptoms

  • What are the main issues?
  • What isn’t working well?
  • What is obvious about the problem(s)?

Suffering

  • What pain is it causing?
  • Who/what is impacted by the performance gap?
  • What is it costing individuals, the team or the organization?

Significance

  • What are the organizational goals that are being impacted by the lack of performance?
    • (If possible, tie these in with the organization’s strategy, vision or mission.)
  • What is the potential cost to the organization if the goals and outcomes aren’t achieved and the performance problem isn’t addressed?

Success

  • What is the desired performance?
  • What does success look like?
  • What are the expectations?
  • How will we know when we get there?

Status

  • What is happening now?
  • What level of performance is currently being achieved?
  • What are the gaps between the desired performance and the current performance?

Sources

  • Why is the gap happening?
    • Know, Grow, Whoa, Mo, Go
  • Who or what is responsible?

Solutions

  1. 1.    Suggest
  • What do you recommend?
  • Who should do what by when?
  1. 2.    Select
  • Typically done by key leaders or stakeholders.
  1. 3.    Start
  • Typically done by key leaders or stakeholders.
  1. 4.    Status (Celebrate or Start Over)
  • Return to the Status step to evaluate the effectiveness of the solution.

 

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Filed under Apostles, demons, Devotion, Disciples, faith, Healing, Jesus, leadership, Management, Needs Analysis, Overcoming obstacles, Performance, Problem solving, spiritual disciplines, Spiritual Growth, test

Cross-Cultural Leadership (DEVOTION)


In your groups, read or skim the following Scriptures. Then answer the questions below.

  • Exodus 2:11-22
  • Exodus 3:7-22
  • Exodus 4:10-19, 27-31
  • Exodus 5:1-23
  • Exodus 6:1-12
  • Exodus 7:8-13, 22-24
  • Exodus 12:31-38
  • Exodus 14:10-31

 

  1. What cross-cultural challenges did Moses face in each instance of his leadership?
  2. How successful was he in dealing with them?
  3. How did his early failure impact his future efforts?
  4. What helped Moses to be successful in his later efforts?
  5. What lessons can we take from his experience?

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Filed under conflict management, Conflict Resolution, culture, Decision making, Devotion, leadership, Management, Moses

God-Sized Vision (DEVOTION)


In your groups, read the following Scriptures. Then answer the questions below.

  • Daniel 10:1-21
  • Daniel 11:1
  • Daniel 12:1-13
  • How did Daniel prepare himself to receive the vision?
  • How did the vision impact Daniel?  Why?
  • What was the response of the “one who looked like a man?”
  • How was the vision delayed?
  • Why do you think it was delayed?
  • How should this influence how we approach God when we want a God-sized vision?

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Filed under Daniel, Devotion, Future, Goals, God's dream, God's Plan, God's Will, Humility, Listening to God, prayer, Priorities, Revelation, Spiritual Warfare, Supplication, Vision

Weakness (DEVOTION)


As a group, read the following Scriptures, and then discuss the questions below.

  • Psalm 10:2 (the wicked man hunts down the weak)
  • Psalm 41:1-3 (blessed are those who have regard for the weak)
  • Isaiah 40:29-31 (He increases the power of the weak)
  • Ezekiel 34:16 (I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak)
  • Acts 20:35 (we must help the weak)
  • Romans 8:26 (the Spirit helps us in our weakness)
  • Romans 14:1-4 (accept the one whose faith is weak)
  • Romans 15:1 (bear with the failings of the weak)
  • 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (God chose the weak things to shame the strong)
  • 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (to the weak, I became weak)
  • 1 Corinthians 12:21-26 (the weaker parts of the body are indispensable)
  • 2 Corinthians 11:30 (I will boast of the things that show my weakness)
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (for when I am weak, then I am strong)
  • Hebrews 5:1-3 (the high priest is subject to weakness)
  1. How does God feel about weakness?
  2. How is this different from how the world often feels about and acts toward weakness?
  3. How are we called to respond to weakness?
  4. How do these Scriptures relate to the weaknesses people have in regard to the work that they do and the relationships that they are in?
  5. Do you think God wants us to fix our weaknesses?  Why or why not?

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Filed under acceptance, Agape Love, Bullying, Challenges, Devotion, Humility, Kindness, Love, Relationships, self-image, Self-worth, spiritual disciplines, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Health, Strengths, struggles, temptation, Weakness

New Life (DEVOTION)


As a group, read the following Scriptures.  Then, create a flipchart that compares what you know about the man before and after he met Jesus.

Luke:8:26-34


1.    What changes did you notice?

2.    Why wouldn’t Jesus allow the man to go with Him?

3.    What impact do you think these changes had on the community as the man continued to interact with them in a new way?

4.    Now, look at the story as a metaphor for what happens in a new believer’s life when he/she comes to Christ.  What comparisons can you make?

5.    How should this story influence how we live today?

 

Facilitator’s Notes

Here are some of the comparisons about the before and after conditions of the demon-possessed man you can point out if the group doesn’t notice them.  The middle line represents the man’s encounter with Jesus.

 

BEFORE AFTER
o  Spiritual bondage, demon possessed

o  Naked

o  Social outcast, living in tombs

o  Chained, physical bondage

o  Cursing, shouting, running

o  Hurting himself

o  Freed, delivered

o  Fully clothed

o  Came home

o  Freed

o  Sitting at the feet of Jesus

o  In his right mind

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Filed under Change, demons, Devotion, faith, Jesus, salvation, sanctification, Transformation

Negotiation (DEVOTION)


In your table groups, read through the Scriptures below and then answer the following questions.

Genesis 18:1-33

1.    What did Abraham do before the negotiation that helped make it successful?

2.    What did Abraham do during the negotiation that helped make it successful?

3.    Was Abraham going for Win-Win or something else?  Why do you think so?

4.    Why do you think Abraham stopped at ten?

5.    Could he have gotten the Lord to agree to a lower number?  Why do you think so?

6.    What practices of good negotiation can you use in your negotiations?

 

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Filed under Abraham, Abram, Devotion, God's Will, Intercession, Negotiation

One Body – Many Parts (DEVOTION)


In your table groups, read through the Scriptures below and then answer the following questions.

1 Corinthians 4:7  (what do you have that you did not receive?)

1 Corinthians 12:14-26  (not one part, but many)

1.    What can we learn from these Scriptures about our different strengths and talents?

2.    How should we think about our strengths and weaknesses as a result?

3.    How should we think about others’ strengths and weaknesses?

4.    Is it true that if one part of the Body suffers, every part suffers with it?  Why do you think so?

5.     How can we show “equal concern for each other?” (1 Corinthians 12:25)

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Filed under Body of Christ, Church, Devotion, diversity, Oneness, Paul, Relationships, team, teambuilding

Lazarus (DEVOTION)


As a group, read the following Scriptures and answer the questions below.

John 11:1-44 (entire chapter)

1.    Why do you think Jesus waited before going to Mary and Martha?

2.    Have you ever had a time in your life when you desperately prayed for God’s help but God chose not to give you what you asked for?

3.    What do you think God’s purposes are in these situations?

Now, think back through the story, and put yourself in the role of Lazarus.  Instead of focusing on Lazarus’ physical sickness and death, though, now focus on your spiritual sickness and death before you became a Christian.

4.    How is the story about Lazarus’ resurrection like your own story of spiritual rebirth?

5.    What insights does this give you about the story?

 

Facilitator Notes for Large Group Debrief

o  Like Lazarus, we were dead, but our sickness which led to death was spiritual rather than physical.

o  Jesus waited until we were aware of our deadness before He brought us into life everlasting.

o  Releasing Lazarus from the grave was a visual representation of what Jesus was about to do for all of us.

o  When Jesus rolled away the stone from His own grave in the garden, He rolled away the stone for all of humanity.  Death could no longer hold us!

o  The stone that blocked our way to new life has been rolled away.

o  Jesus calls our name and invites us to come out to enjoy new life with Him.

o  Unfortunately, many of us chose to stay in our tombs rather than respond to Jesus’ call for us to come out.

o  As long as we stayed in our graves, we were still dead in our sin.

o  But for those of us who responded when Jesus called our names, we have new life!

o  But that’s not the entire story of how we got free, because even though we had been freed from the power of death, we, like Lazarus, were still bound in our grave clothes.

o  Satan had wrapped us up pretty tightly.

o  Many of us emerged from the grave, but we weren’t truly free yet.  The sins and scars of our past still held us.  We wanted to be free to enjoy the life that Jesus promised, but we didn’t know how to separate ourselves from those grave clothes.

o  Some of us are still bound today.  We still don’t know how to get free of our past.  What we did or what was done to us prevents us from experiencing the full joy of our new freedom.

o  Like the burial custom practiced in Lazarus’ time, Satan tied our hands and our feet, wrapped us in grave clothes and veiled our faces.

o  He tied our hands, because it’s with our hands that we do God’s WORK.

o  He tied our feet, because it’s with our feet that we WALK with the Lord.

o  He veiled our faces, because it’s with our faces that we bear WITNESS to God’s glory.*

o  Many of us are alive in Christ but still tied up in sin, guilt, shame, pain, or ignorance that keeps us from our WORK, our WALK and our WITNESS with and for God.

o  It sometimes takes a long time to recognize our freedom, and we need the help of the Church to get free.  We need our brothers and sisters in Christ to do for us what those who witnessed Lazarus raised from the dead did for Lazarus.  We need our brothers and sisters to “Take off (our) grave clothes and let (us) go!”

o  We can’t get free ourselves.  This is part of the role of the Church.

o  So, as we see other brothers and sisters emerge from the grave, we need to step forward and help them in whatever way God gives us.  We need to get them free from their grave clothes.

o  And if you are still bound and don’t know how to get free, don’t try to do it alone.  Turn to your brothers and sisters in Christ and to Christian professionals who can help you to cut those bounds and walk free in Christ.

 

* There are at least three important veils in Scripture. Moses wore his veil to hide God’s glory when he came down from the mountain, because the sinful people couldn’t stand the bright holiness of God. But when Jesus died, the veil in the temple was ripped from top to bottom because all could now have access to a holy God through Christ. Satan wants to keep us veiled like Lazarus, but it’s no longer necessary to hide God’s glory.

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Filed under Daily walk, Devotion, God's Will, Healing, Jesus, Martha, Mary, Resurrection, Witness

Roles of Women in the Church (DEVOTION)


As a group, read the following Scriptures and make a chart (see example below) of all the women mentioned, the roles that they served in for the early Church and their impact (wherever possible).

Luke 8:1-3 (women who supported Jesus)

Luke 24:1-12 (women encounter the risen Lord)

John 4:28-30, 39-42 (the Samaritan woman)

John 20:11-18 (Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene)

Acts 1:12-14, 2:1-4 (all joined together in prayer, Pentecost)

Acts 2:14-18 (men and women will prophesy)

Acts 8:1-3 (Saul persecutes both men and women)

Acts 9:36-42 (Tabitha/Dorcas raised from the dead)

Acts 16:13-15, 40 (Lydia’s conversion)

Acts 18:24-26 (Priscilla and Aquila instruct Apollos)

Acts 21:8-9 (Philip’s daughters)

Romans 16:1-15 (Greetings to many, including Priscilla and Aquila and several women)

1 Corinthians 1:11 (information from Chloe’s household)

1 Corinthians 16:19 (Aquila and Priscilla send greetings)

Philippians 4:2-3 (Paul pleads with Euodia and Synthyche)

Colossian 4:15 (Paul greets Nympha)

2 Timothy 1:5, 3:14-15 (Lois and Eunice, Timothy’s grandmother and mother)

2 Timothy 4:19 (Priscilla and Aquila with Timothy)

2 John 1-13 (letter to the chosen lady and her children)

Name Role Impact
     

1.     Are you surprised by any of this information?  Why or why not?

2.     How do women’s roles compare to men’s roles in New Testament Scripture?

3.     What do you think about Scriptures like 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, 1 Timothy 2:11-3:13 and Titus 1:5-9?

4.     What do you think all this says about how God sees women? (Also see Galatians 3:28-29.)

5.     What does all this mean for the Church today?

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Filed under Church, Devotion, leadership, Women