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Inward life Discipleship Grow Spiritually

Personal Reflection: Romans 12:1-8

Read Romans 12:1-8. Work through the questions at your own pace, don’t feel like you have to answer all of them!

For you personally, how has God shown you mercy? How have you experienced his love?

What are a few ways that you can keep his mercy “in view,” that is, remember it?

In your opinion, why does Paul say “living sacrifice?’ Why doesn’t he just say “sacrifice?”

The first 2 verses talks about bodies and minds, which equates to loving God internally (thoughts, attitudes) and externally (actions). What happens when both aren’t engaged? What does it look like to only worship God with your thoughts but not your actions? What does it look like when it’s just your actions and not your thoughts?

Paul talks about conforming to the world vs. being transformed. On a scale of 1-10, how much do you feel you are conforming to the world? Why did you give yourself this number? Do the same with being transformed.

How does a person renew their mind?

Paul tells us not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought. How does pride hurt a person? Where does pride show up in your life?

why does Paul use the body as an analogy? What is his point of that word picture? How does that point apply to your life?

Why does God give us gifts?

What is  something you love about yourself? In your opinion, how do you think God has gifted you?

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Grow Spiritually

Where does your gospel come from?

I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11–12)

Lord, help me to keep a constant focus on the Gospel–salvation through your Son. Forgive me when I neglect the foundation of our faith.

Lord, help me to hold to the Divine Gospel, which has no human origin, warn me when I am tempted to change it.

Lord, help me to preach the Divine Gospel, making the most of my opportunities to preach in love, be it service or speech.

Lord, help me to be more thankful to you for revealing yourself. Help me to position my heart to hear you speak.

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Grow Spiritually

Reflection: considering the parable of the four soils

Scripture

4 While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. 6 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”

11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

Luke 8:4-8; 11-15

Q. As you reflect on this teaching from Jesus, how are you challenged and encouraged?

Q. “A farmer went out to sow his seed.” What are all the ways you could have access to God’s Word? Are there any changes you ought to make so that you would be positioned better to hear God’s Word?

Q. The path represents those people who hear God’s Word, but their heart is too hard to let the truth sink in. On a scale of 1 to 10, how hard is your heart? Why? What situations, people, or thoughts work to harden your heart?

Q. The rocky soil represents those people who hear God’s Word with joy, but their heart is too shallow to let the truth sink in and grow roots. At the first sign of trouble, they give up. On a scale of 1 to 10, how “rocky” is your heart? Why? What situations, people, or thoughts work to make you give up on your faith?

Q. The thorny soil represents those people who hear God’s Word, but their heart is too distracted by worry and riches. Good actions grow, but are choked up by the thrones. On a scale of 1 to 10, how distracted is your heart? Why? What situations, people, or thoughts work to choke out the good things in your life?

Q. Consider the first three soils from a positive point of view. What can you do to soften your heart? How can you better persevere and outlast the difficult times? How can you have a greater focus on Jesus?

Q. Do you know anyone with a heart that is “hard,” “shallow,” or choked by “thorns?” How can you encourage that person?

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Grow Spiritually

How to be cut back so you aren’t cut off.

Reflections from John 15

Would you rather be cut off or cut back?

Cut back.

What has Jesus called us to do?

Remain in him. 

How do we remain?

Make sure his word is in us and obey his commands.

What is his command?

To love one another. 

What is love?

Love is sacrifice, it is the opposite of selfishness.

What happens when we love like Jesus?

We have complete joy and our prayers are answered. 

Why are we now friends with Jesus?

We are no longer called “servants” because we know the full plan of God: to love others as Jesus loved.

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Grow Spiritually

Breaking Through Frustration and Failure

Jesus said: “Very truly I tell you: No one can enter the kingdom of God unless they have been born of water and the spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” John 3:5-6

The kingdom of God is open to everyone, but there is only one opening: being born of the Spirit.

What is true about the beginning of life in the kingdom is also true as we continue in life

What is true about ENTERING life in the Kingdom is also true about ON-GOING life in the Kingdom. We BEGIN through the Spirit, let us also CONTINUE in the Spirit.

The flesh does some things, and they are important. But the Spirit does things the flesh can not, and these are the most important things.

When we are faced with repeated frustration and failure, this can be an indicator from God that we are working too much on our own power. We need to work differently, through the power of the Spirit. This begins with confession and a renewed commitment to trust God. In this humility, we wait for God to make our convictions clear. Then we obey.

God has given us great gifts–the flesh can accomplish much, as long as it’s submitted to the power of the Spirit.