Thursday, January 18th, 2018

 1 Peter 5:1-4 Serving
Eldership is such a counter-cultural leadership calling (in both the first century, and today), as it is servant-leaders that God puts in charge of His people. In addition, note that there is plurality in each of these passages. Paul nor Peter speaks to an elder, but always elders, nor is there a distinguished “head elder” per se. How is this idea of plurality a safety-net for a church? Where have you seen the benefits of plurality at GBC?

 

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

1 Timothy 3:1-7 Elders Qualities I
Paul here lays out the qualifications for elders. What qualifications stands out to you as the most important and why? How might the qualifications in verses 2-7 sober the desire described in verse 1? How might these qualifications for church leadership serve as an ideal model for all mature believers in Christ?

 

Monday, January 15th, 2018

Hebrews 10:25 Together
The writer of Hebrews instructed us to stay committed to meeting together in Christian community. “Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves,” the King James Version says. Why is being a part of a group, a larger whole, a necessary part of being a Christ follower? What kinds of events or alternate activities will you skip church for? What would you not skip church for?

 

Using Your Skills For The Lord

Dennis Hoover from GBC will return to Buchanan, Liberia this month, helping Alive Liberia Missions provide training and mechanical skills for their lumber sawing operation.

Revive Liberia Missions of Spencer, Indiana, helps indigenous churches in the Alive Liberia network by providing resources and training for economic development and pastoral support. The ministry, together with Wood-Mizer, a sawmill manufacturer, has supplied three sawmills, parts, and personnel in Buchanan, helping Christians provide jobs for themselves and support for their churches.

Liberia is located on Africa’s west coast just across the ocean from Connecticut.   The major religion is Christianity.  English is the official language, and its government is patterned after ours.  It is rich in beauty and natural resources, but economically very poor. Ranking among the poorest countries in the world, the per capita income is less than $1000 per year. Government corruption is widespread. It is recovering from recent civil wars and a virulent Ebola outbreak. Most of the comforts we take for granted in the United States are nonexistent.  Relatively few are productively employed. 

Last April, Dennis traveled with five others, including the mission founders. This time, it is just he and JB, a Wood-Mizer employee.  They’ll be met in Monrovia by African friends who are very excited about this visit.  Lord willing, they will re-connect, repair, re-train, and rejoice together at the work the Lord is doing there.

Please pray for…

—the leaders of this mission, Phil and Karen Eckart (Spencer, Indiana), and “Frog” Kangar and his wife Sarah (Monrovia, Liberia)--to maintain their tireless courage and enthusiasm

—Joe and others at the sawmill--for safety and encouragement
from God.

—safe uncomplicated travel for Dennis and JB during their 12-day visit.

—the Lord to work effectively through Dennis and JB during this visit.

 

Friday, January 12th, 2018

Psalm 45:10-17 The Splendor of the Bride

Here the writer calls the Bride to loyalty to her adoring Bridegroom, He who is enthralled with her beauty. When applied to the Church, the true Bride of Christ, this becomes profound. Consider the history of the Church, and consider your own life- clearly it is a wonder of wonder that He loves us, that He loves ME, and truly we ought respond with love and faithfulness to Him, and Him alone!

 

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

Psalm 45:6-9 Bridegroom

While it’s possible that the idea of “lord” or “god” here could have been attributed to a descendant of David, a human king, yet, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, these words have their ultimate meaning and fulfillment in Christ, our Bridegroom. Use these words to frame a prayer of worship to the Lord today.

 

Out of Whack

“I’m a little out of whack” is an informal American idiom meaning, “improperly ordered or balanced, not functioning correctly.”  Do you feel that way when you consider your relationship with Jesus?  Are you little out of whack?  If so, how is that condition affecting your ability to share the Good News with others?  Do you need a bit of adjustment?  Is it time to visit a spiritual chiropractor?

Here are four suggestions to get you back in shape and moving again.

1.  Remember your relationship--Did you notice the lines at the gas pumps just before this week’s storm?  The drivers realized that they’d get nowhere on an empty tank, so they did a fill up.  How about you?  Is your spiritual tank empty? Is Jesus a distant friend?  Quick question--When is the last time you had a great morning devotion?

2.  Remember your priorities--What is the “lens” through which you view the world?  Are you wooed by the consumerism of our society, or do you strive to see the world through God’s eyes?  Quick question--Do the “things” you value most make God smile?    

3.  Remember to act--”Doing stuff” doesn’t make you followers of Jesus; a life-altering encounter with Him does.  But, becoming a Christ-follower brings with it the idea of action--walking in His footsteps whereever He takes you.  Quick question--Are you a spiritual “couch potato?”

4.  Remember to pray--When was the last time you prayed for others--more than a few hollow words?  Do you pray for our missionaries who are front-line warriors?  Do you pray for those who live without the advantages you enjoy each day?  Quick question--When you say, “I’ll pray for you,” do you do it? 

 

Sunday, January 7th, 2018

2 Peter 1:3-8 Effective and Productive
Both Paul and Peter wanted to see bold, mature, and effective believers in Jesus in both the Jewish and Gentile churches. So too today, the goal is not just to see believers made, but also grown. Believing in Jesus is about redemption, meaning bought back, but we are bought back for a purpose, to be used of God (Eph.2:8-10). How can you embody the process illustrated here in 2 Peter 1 and be more effective and productive for Christ’s Kingdom this year? 

 

Saturday, January 6th, 2018

Philippians 4:4-7 Prayer and Petition
The vehicle to finding peace in all that the year brings to us is prayer. In prayer we have a constant and sure place to bring our points of both rejoicing and our complaints. In prayer God resolves our heart in His Sovereignty and His goodness, no matter our circumstances—and He gives us His peace. What is causing you to be anxious? Carve out some time today to get on your knees and bring your cares and concerns to Him!

 

Friday, January 5th, 2018

Psalm 14:1 Fools
As a bit of a sneak peak, this verse will serve as the theme for our Easter considerations in 2018. When we hear the word “fool” we think almost of a silly person; however, in the Bible a fool is someone who knows the truth but chooses to ignore it, and act contrary to it. The second half of this verse will come alive when considering this biblical definition. Where are you in reference to the Bible’s assertions about who God is? Who Jesus is?

 

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

Isaiah 43:19 Something New
The theme of our RENEW campaign, this great verse shouldn’t be pigeon-holed to one preaching series. In the Gospel, God wants to renew us, renew families, and renew communities. What new things might the Lord want to do in your life in 2018? How can you partner with God in what He’s doing in your life through the practices and disciplines of Bible reading? Prayer? Fasting? Accountability? Worship? Fellowship? Other?

 

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

Colossians 1:24-29 Maturing
Paul talks of his own sufferings as worth it for the sake of proclaiming the mystery of God in Christ, that he might see believers mature in Jesus. What sacrifices are you willing to make in order to see others come to faith in Christ or mature in Him? What about your time? Use of your skills and abilities? Spiritual gifts?

 

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

1 Timothy 4:11-16 Conduct
While written to the young Timothy, these words are not limited to younger believers only. Paul challenges each one of us to not only live moral lives, but to live exemplary lives, and to self-judge our lives. How do you evaluate your walk with Christ in 2017? Where can you grow? What goals of spiritual growth do you have for the new year?