“#Blessed: Matthew 5:6”

#Blessed: Matthew 5:6
 
The Good Life isn’t counting my blessings but counting on the one who blesses.
The Good Life isn’t pain free but pain freed.
The Good Life isn’t achieved but received
The Good Life isn’t settling but setting for nothing less.
 
-A leak won’t stop until the container is fixed
-A container only works in right relationship to its purpose & the world around it.
-A container will eventually leak carrying corrosive fluids
 
What do you want more than anything?
 
Further Conversation
1. If you won $1,000,000 what would you be most eager to buy?
2. Read Matthew 5:6. What does it mean to hunger & thirst?
3. In John 4, Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman. What were her hunger & thirsts? Why would Jesus’ offer be appealing?
4. Reread Matthew 5:6. What is justice or Righteousness mean? .
5. Read Romans 3:23-24. How does God “right” our relationship?
6. Read Colossians 2:6-7. How do we maintain “right relationship”?
7. Read Psalm 84:10. What brought fulfillment to this writer? Why?
8. From our readings, how would you describe righteousness, or a “right relationship” to God, our purpose, & the world?
9. How does a “right relationship” get knocked out of balance? for you?
10. The Good Life isn’t settling but settling for nothing less. What do you want most in life?
11. How will it satisfy you more than a right relationship with God? Are you satisfied?
 
Daily Devotions: Go Deeper this Week
 
Monday – Joshua 1:1-9
Joshua had to be scared. Moses was one of the best leaders human history knows. Even with daily communication with God, Moses struggled to lead a stubborn, sinful, and selfish people who made everything difficult. Yet, God called Joshua. God would empower Joshua. Joshua needed to be strong and courageous simply to do what was right to lead the people. God calls us in the middle of challenging circumstances, and God asks that we be strong and courageous. What challenge lies before you? Do you trust God?
Pray: Almighty God, may I be strong and courageous, trusting in you, as you send me to do your work.
 
Tuesday – Matthew 4:18-22
Jesus didn’t invent disciple-making. The practice of disciples, having someone learn from you by following you, is throughout the bible. Joshua followed Moses. Elisha followed Elijah. Timothy followed Paul who followed Barnabas. Yet, Jesus guides us perfectly into what disciples do. A disciple-maker sees potential in someone and seeks to guide the person into using their gift for a bigger purpose. Jesus is gonna take fishermen and teach them to be fishers of men. A disciple responds to the invitation by following. Have we allowed others to guide us? Who are we guiding? In who do we see potential?
Pray: LORD Jesus, thank you that you see potential in me. Help me be guided and help me to guide.
 
Wednesday – 1 Kings 19:15-21
Elijah was an influential prophet in Israel. How could anyone follow in Elijah’s footsteps? God sent Elijah to Elisha, so that Elisha could grow into the role Elijah occupied. Elijah apprenticed Elisha. Another way of saying this is that Elisha became Elijah’s disciple. We train others in the faith as we mentor, apprentice, and disciple them. Who have you invited to follow you?
Pray: Heavenly Father, thank you that you love us and send us to love and lead others.
 
Thursday – Ruth 1:1-19
Ruth refuses to leave Naomi’s side. One of the most powerful statements in this book is verse 16, “Where ever you go, I will go…Your people will be my people and your God will be my God.” Why do you think Ruth was willing to make such a bold proclamation? Ruth became Naomi’s disciple. What would it take for you to follow someone like Ruth did? How could you be a Naomi for someone?
Pray: Holy LORD, you are my God and you have led me. Help me love and lead others.
 
Friday – 2 Timothy 1:3-14
People often come and go in our lives. Our world has become increasingly mobile, meaning long-term influence and relationships are harder and harder to maintain. Our challenge is to make the most of our opportunities to love and lead others while we have them, knowing that tomorrow may be very different. Paul invited Timothy to follow him. Acts 16:1-5 shares the invitation. For a season of time, Timothy shadowed Paul on his ministry journeys. Then things changed. Timothy now pastors a church while Paul sits in prison. This letter shares the heart of a disciple-maker to his/her disciple. Even thought it is different now, Paul still wants to love and lead. Sense Paul’s compassion and joy in Timothy. Hear the heartfelt wisdom. What would it mean for you to receive a letter like this from someone? How might you offer someone this type of guidance and encouragement?
Pray: Holy Spirit, lead me to those whom I can love and lead. Help me offer my life as a guide to others.
 
Saturday – 1 Corinthians 11:1
Its only one verse, one statement. Yet packed into these few words is the essence of disciple-making. Although we teach disciples, discipling is more than teaching. Although we encourage and challenge, discipling is more than that. Discipling is living life with someone, allowing them to watch you as you do what you are called to do. As Paul says, discipling is allowing others to follow you while you follow Jesus. Who follows you?.
Pray: Heavenly Father, may I alway l follow you with a passion that encourages others to follow me.

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“#Blessed: Matthew 5:4”

#Blessed: Matthew 5:4
 
The Good Life isn’t counting my blessings but counting on the one who blesses.
 
The Good Life isn’t pain free but pain freed.
-Pain is freed as it is acknowledged
-Pain is freed where there is compassion
-Pain is freed when it has purpose
-Brokenness is the gateway to God’s greatest blessing.
 
God, break my heart for what breaks yours.
 
 
Further Conversation
1. Share a favorite story about you and your mother (or another female care-giver)? What made this person special to you?
2. Read Matthew 5:4. Where & when is mourning appropriate? When would mourning be inappropriate? How is it a blessing?
3. What does the bible say is the source of all sorrow? In what ways do people try to avoid experiencing pain, brokenness, and grief?
4. Reread Psalm 51:1-4. Who does this Psalmist blame for his brokenness? How does confession/acknowledgment free us?
5. Read Psalm 51:8-13. What does David hope? How does God show compassion? What results from our comfort?
6. The Good Life isn’t pain free but pain freed. Where do you avoid or deny pain? Who needs your compassion & comfort?
7. How can you pursue brokenness this week? What breaks God’s heart? How can you be open to the same brokenness in you?
 
Daily Devotions: Go Deeper this Week
 
Monday – Ephesians 2:1-10
“Its a dog eat dog world.” This cliche captures the selfish back-biting competitive nature of humanity. People will do almost anything to get what they want. Paul remind’s us that we too were “just like the rest of the world”. He describes this way of life as dead. Something dead is lost and unable to change. Yet Paul reminds us that God, “rich in mercy,” gave us life in Christ Jesus. Where everyone else seems to fight and brawl to get what they hope might give them life, God freely and graciously gives us full and lasting life in Jesus. It is a gift. We can’t earn it. We can only surrender to God and receive it. Are you still fighting, trying to find fulfillment? Or, are you living into the great gift of love from God?
Pray: Loving Lord, you gave me life in Jesus Christ. May I find security in you, knowing I have all I ever need because of Jesus.
 
Tuesday – 1 Corinthians 15:51-58
Last year, 700,000 people attended the Super Bowl celebration parade in Philadelphia for the Eagles. But that is nothing compared to the nearly 3 million that flooded Boston when the Red Sox won the World Series. We love when our teams win. We feel a part of the team, like it is our victory. If we are followers of Jesus, if we have given ourselves fully to him, then we have the ultimate victory. When Jesus defeated death, he did it for all of us. When Jesus won, we won. Even though we may die, we will live because of Jesus! Think about that victory! How does this victory change how you live? How are you celebrating Jesus’ win?
Pray: Jesus, my Savior, you conquered death and won for us the victory! We will live because you live! All my praise is yours!
 
Wednesday – Genesis 27:1-45
Talk about family drama! Isaac is old and clueless. Rebekah conspires to rob her own son of his birthright. Esau wants to murder his brother. Wow! You think your family has issues. Who are these people? Ironically, this is the founding family of Israel. This is Jesus’ family tree. These ancestral stories remind us that God can take any brokenness and make it beautiful. There aren’t perfect families…only a perfect God who loves and restores.
Pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for your love that finds us broken but through your Son Jesus, makes us whole.
 
Thursday – Matthew 20:25-28
They are called “public servants”, but judging by the ranker in our political discourse, people do not generally believe their government leaders act like servants. The term “public servant” finds its source in this passage in Matthew. Jesus challenges leaders to be servants. A Jesus-follower takes the worst seat or the short straw so that others might have better. Jesus-followers help others win. Many don’t feel that way about their public leaders. But how do people feel about you? Its easy to abuse power and privilege to serve ourselves. Its hard to go against culture and give the best to the guest. Are you a servant to all?
Pray: Holy Spirit, help me see myself for how I really act. Help me see where I may abuse my power. Help me be a servant of all.
 
Friday – Romans 15:1-6
Compassion, real compassion, requires great strength. Many people pretend compassion but really only provide a weak uninvolved approval coated in syrupy language. We call it political correctness and tolerance. Instead, this passage suggests something much more difficult. We are called to love people as they are…but love them too much to leave them as they are. We are to be sensitive, earning the privilege to speak truth and gently guide people to what is right. Some Christians wrongly display strength by clobbering people with the Bible. We should show strength through love, relationship, and service. How strong is your faith? Are you showing weakness through unchallenged approval or challenge disapproval? Or strength through love and guidance?
Pray: Almighty God, you showed the full measure of your power Jesus Christ, who came to serve. Help me be similarly powerful.
 
Saturday – John 13:34-35
I make it pretty obvious I am a Steelers fan. I have Steelers t-shirts, cups, hats, a blanket. I’ve considered getting a Steelers tattoo! How do people know we follow Jesus? Its not the cross we where or the bible we carry. Jesus tells us that people will know we are his followers by how we love. When we offer others our best, when we let them win, we show others Jesus! Do people know you follow Jesus? Make it your goal to show others today!
Pray: LORD Jesus, You gave yourself for me now I give myself for you. Help me love others as you loved me..giving them the win!

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“#Blessed: Matthew 5:3”

#Blessed: The Other Good Life
 
We all want to live the good life, to be #blessed. But what if God’s idea of blessing is different from our own? Join us as we work our way through the Beatitudes, learning that the #Blessed life might be very different, but even better than we ever imagined.
 
-Ultimate Happiness depends on Absolute Helplessness
-Contentment comes from Christ, not circumstances
-The Good life is not what I have but who has me.
 
3 Steps to the OTHER good life
1. Own MY Poverty Beg for GOD’S Mercy
2. Marvel at GOD’S Goodness
3. The Good Life isn’t counting my blessings but counting on the one who blesses
 
Further Conversation
1. What are your retirement dreams (beach, mountains, travel)?
2. If you polled the average person in our community, how would you guess they describe & say we achieve “the Good Life”?
3. Read Matt 5:3-10 What stands out to you as you read these eight statements as a whole? Why might Jesus start his main message this way? What do these statements ask of us?
4. Reread Matthew 5:3 How could emphasizing our “poverty” lead to blessing/happiness? Why is this so hard for people to do?
5. Read Philippians 4:11-13 How does Paul say he finds contentment? How could we learn to do this? (see vs 4:5-9)
6. Why won’t “counting our blessings” actually bless us? What are ways we can focus our thoughts on God, the one who blesses?
7. Look over the “3 Steps to the other good life”. In what ways do these steps challenge you? Encourage you?
8. How can Christ Church help you grow in Christ and take a next step this week?
 
Daily Devotions: Go Deeper this Week
 
Monday – John 10:6-10
My parents used to say that money burns a hole in my pocket. I don’t buy a lot of stuff for myself…I’m more a giver. When I get more, I feel a compulsion to give. I think most of us become generous when we have an abundance. The trouble is, we rarely feel rich. Jesus makes a bold promise in John 10:10. He promises a rich and satisfying life…life abundant…for all who follow him. That doesn’t mean we’ll be financially rich, but it means that our life will so overflow that we’ll feel compelled to share life with others. How are you experiencing Jesus’ promise? How might you be better able to realize & live this promise?
Pray: LORD Jesus, please help me fully experience and share your great promise of life abundant!
 
Tuesday – Genesis 15:1-19
God can make some crazy, seemingly impossible promises. Abram is an old man with no kids and no home to call his own…and yet God makes this bold promise that he will become a mighty nation that blesses the world. It takes many generations…yet God makes it happen. God always fulfills God’s promises. What has God promised to us? New life…abundant life…peace that pass understanding. We experience these as we stay focused on following the promise-maker. Are you focused on the promise-maker?
Pray: Almighty God, you alone are the one who gives life and keeps promises. May I trust in you.
 
Wednesday – Genesis 50:22-26
Sometimes it seems like God can’t possibly do what God promises to do. All Abraham’s descendants now live in Egypt. Soon they will all be slaves. For 400 years, they will remain in Egypt. Yet they never forgot the promise. The promise sustained them, it became their story. Have you ever felt lost and forgotten by God? Are you feeling that way now? God’s time is not our time. Remind yourself of God’s promises today. Trust God.
Pray: Holy God, may I not forget who you are or what you promise. In difficulty, please remind me.
 
Thursday – Philippians 3:12-21
Keep your eye on the ball! How many times have coaches and parents uttered these words to young children learning a sport? Hope to hit or catch…then you better keep your eye on the ball. Paul shares the same wisdom with his students in Philippi. Keep your eye on the prize. The NLT says it this way, “Focus on this one thing.” Jesus is our goal, our prize, our “ball.” Be like Jesus to experience the promises of Jesus. What distracts you from keeping your eye on the Jesus “ball”? What needs to change?
Pray: Holy Spirit, please help me focus by limiting my distractions and reminding me of the promise.
 
Friday – Deuteronomy 6:1-9
I love hearing my dad tell me the stories about our long past relatives, especially my great-grandfather. He was such a strong, determined man. He put himself through college by coal-mining, lumberjacking, and farming. It took him nine years, but he graduated in 1909! Wow! I love to hear the stories and tell the stories. These stories encourage me when difficulty comes. How do we maintain our faith in the face of hardship? Tell the story! Over and over again, we must tell the story. Put reminders in place. Tie a strings to your finger (or put Scripture on your head & wrist). We remember when we choose to intentionally not allow ourselves to forget. The promises to Abraham sustained the Israelites in Egypt. The stories of Jesus and his promises will hold us now. How do you remind yourself daily of God’s promises for you? How might you begin intentionally creating reminders?
Pray: LORD Jesus, may I not forget. Help me daily tell your story, reminding me of your truth.
 
Saturday – Revelation 22:7-21
He will come back. Jesus will set things right. Not only may we experience abundance now,, but we can eagerly look forward to Jesus’ return. This is God’s promise. If God always keeps promises…what might change in us if we repeated these verses and this promise daily in our life? What keeps us from being intentional in reminding ourselves? May we never take our eyes of this prize, His promise, Jesus’ return!
Pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for keeping your promises…I will choose to remember.

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