Found People Find People

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” – Luke 15: 4-7.

There is a story of two brothers that is hard to believe. After years of trying to find each other, two long-lost Newfoundland brothers discovered they live just yards apart. Tommy Larkin, 30, and his brother, Stephen Goosney, 29, were adopted as children by separate families. Both Larkin and Goosney spent years searching for their biological family but had no luck. Little did they know, they had spent the past seven months living almost directly across the street from each other. The unusual thing was, despite living across the road from each, they couldn’t really ever remember seeing or speaking to each other, until an unlikely encounter. Since reconnecting, the brothers said they have been spending a lot of time together. 

Jesus and His Word makes our mandate pretty clear. Our mission, the driving force, the thing that should get us up and keep us up and that we should be expending our energy on is people who are far from the heart of God whether they are across the street or across the planet. Matthew 28:19-29 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…”  He reveals that our understanding must be that found people find people.

Jesus drives this home with words, but also His actions! Jesus was constantly on a mission to find people. In John 1:43-45 He found Philip. The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” Philip, like Andrew and Peter, were from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

He found Philip. Jesus was about finding people. And then He expects us to in turn find others.

So the question is who are we finding? Who have we gone out of our way, purposely set out, planned, to find? It is impossible to really love Jesus and not be concerned about people who are lost and haven’t come to Christ!

Are you found? Who will you find? 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do we have a willingness to find others?
  2. What does finding others mean to you?
  3. What is preventing us from inviting others to church? Is it our schedule? Is it fear? Is it comfort? Is it apathy?
  4. Read Romans  2: 6-11: What does Paul mean when he states, “For God shows no partiality.”
  5. Pray and ask God for the courage and the opportunity to invite people to church and to talk about your faith.

The Power of Praise

“Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power, praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” – Psalm 150

The book of Psalms has a lot to say about praise. In fact, it gives any number of reasons why praising God is important. It also gives various ways of how to praise God. Psalm 92:1 says, “It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High.” Psalm 147:1 says, “How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!”

Psalms also highlights the attributes of God that are worthy of praise. First, God is full of glory: “May they sing of the ways of the Lord, for the glory of the Lord is great.”  (Psalm 138:5)  God is great: “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.” God is wise and powerful: “ Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his.” (Daniel 2:20) He is the One who saves us: “The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!” (Psalm 18:46)

To try to list all the things God has done is impossible, but it is a worthwhile exercise because it turns our hearts back to Him and reminds us of how much He has done for us. Revelation 4:11 says this: ”You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power,  for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

All too often, praise to God is something that many people leave behind when they leave church and get ready for the week ahead. But praise is not a church only event or something we do in the company of other Christians.  Praise should be a part of our life, at home, at work, actually anywhere for that matter. “…I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (Psalms 34:1).

Praise is an expression of faith. It says that we believe God is with us and is in control of the outcome of all our circumstances (Romans 8:28). Praise is a “sacrifice,” something that we offer to God sacrificially, not just because we feel like it, but because we believe in Him and wish to please Him. Hebrews 13:15 tells us, “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.”

How is praising God possible? Singing songs and hymns, clapping our hands, praying even jumping for joy…the list is endless. We can give glory and praise to our God with the use of our physical bodies, with our hearts and minds, and with our deeds. There are many ways to praise God! No matter how you praise and worship God, it should result in humble recognition of God’s power, love, and grace for all of us.

Discussion Questions:

  1. In what ways have you been amazed by God this past year?
  2. What habits can you develop to help you learn to praise God more?
  3. How does praising God more help you to trust him more? What other activities help us to trust God more?
  4. What are the things in life that prevent us from resting and trusting and praising God? 

In Everything Give Thanks

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” –  Colossians 3:15-17

It is Thanksgiving 2015, 395 years since the first one in 1621. There are a lot of things I like about the Thanksgiving holiday and there are a lot of things I am thankful for. Number one on the list is I am thankful for a God who loves me and a Savior who came to die in my place and rise again for my salvation.  I am nothing without Him. 

I am thankful for the woman God put in my life.  Angela continues to be an incredible blessing from God. I am thankful for my son, Andrew and my daughter Ashleigh. Nothing prepares you for being a father, but there are few things better than being a dad.  

I am thankful I have the opportunity to be a pastor. I thank God for blessing my life with a church family filled with compassion and love; giving me the honor of serving as your Pastor, walking alongside you, working together, laughing together, crying together, in ministry and mission that transforms lives with the good news of Jesus Christ. I wouldn’t trade the Northstar family for the world.  

I am thankful for the church staff. These men and women have dedicated their lives to serve people. Thank you for going to God on our behalf and praying for us daily. 

I am also thankful for our campus pastors. Thank you for walking with us through tragedy, marital troubles, raising children and life’s great challenges. Thank you for the periodic phone calls, texts and emails just to see how we are doing. And most of all, thank you for not quitting each Monday.

I am thankful for all our volunteers. Many of the tasks that need to be done in a church setting happen behind the scenes; in a place where you will not get noticed or applauded. Your love of God shows in your willingness to get involved and in your willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

I am thankful to live in America. To enjoy the freedoms we have is an incredible blessing which all too often I have taken for granted.

If you have a second you may also want to read Psalm 136 which starts out, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever to him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever…”

This Thanksgiving, let us give thanks as we reflect upon all of God’s blessings in the past, present, and future.  

Delight In His Presence

“Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem!. The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 3:14 – 17

A little background may be in order before we go on. The book Zephaniah is a small book, nestled in the midst of the Minor Prophets, toward the end of the Old Testament. The book of Zephaniah was written during the reign of King Josiah, likely between 635 and 625 BC.

In the passage that began this devotional, we see a picture of the delight that we can have with the Lord: Verse 17 tells us that yes, “the Lord your God is with you” and then it says that “He will take great delight in you.”  … and rejoice over you with singing.” So we are to delight in Him and He will delight in us.  Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” While our delight may be found in many different things, the Bible commands us to find our delight in the Lord.  That same “delight” that we try to find in so many things, we are to find in Him.

But what does delighting in the Lord look like in practice? What specifically are we supposed to do? King David was a person who was able, for much of his life, to find his delight in the Lord. What did he do?  For one thing, He got up early to spend time with God.  Psalm 5:3 says, “In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” This indicates the commitment that David had to walk with God in prayer first thing in the morning. If we want to seek God and to delight in Him, then we too need to make a commitment to to start our day with Him.   

David also sought God in His word. Psalm 119:103 says, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psalm 55:17 tells us, “Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.” That did not mean that he only prayed at those three specific times, but that at every portion of the day, he was found walking with God, delighting in Him. This is what we must do, too, if we would delight in the Lord; we must walk with Him constantly throughout the day.

I fall short of the depth of what it means, to really continually “delight yourself in the Lord.”  And I imagine that some of you could say the same thing. But that is what I am working toward and I know you are too.  Because the bottom line is this: Our greatest help is not going to be found somewhere else, because what we need more than anything, is to delight in the Lord. 

Because if we really learn to delight in Him, then we will have what it takes to live truly enjoyable lives no matter what happens with all the other things that we think will bring us delight. And the truth is, even if you have all of these other things, you will never enjoy life as God intended us to do, until we learn to delight in the Lord. My prayer this week is that God will help us to learn to “delight ourselves in the Lord.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you spend a few minutes with God each morning? If not, why not?
  2. In what circumstances are you most tempted to stop delighting in God?  If you were to talk to Him in those circumstances, what would you want to hear from Him?
  3. Do you delight in God in between the big moments in your life?
  4. If you changed the way you delighted in God, what would that be? If God were to change the way you delight in Him, what would that be?

God’s Love Never Fails

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:37-39

As a pastor, I constantly catch small glimpses, these small moments where I see Jesus, alive and well, moving and mattering, showing up everywhere, in the lives of many in any number of ways. God’s love is all around us. C.S. Lewis said that, “though our feelings come and go, God’s love does not.”

To see God’s love, we need to get our eyes off our shortcomings and the distractions in our lives. We need to learn to open our heart and our life to the perfect love of Christ, and experiencing his presence and his presents in our life. This process will give us the eyes to see and the heart to experience His love. 

But let me ask you a question. Do you find it hard to believe that God loves us that much? Is it difficult to fathom that the God of the universe loves us and is present in our lives on a daily basis? It can be difficult to get our head around the idea of the infinite, and unconditional love of our Heavenly Father.

I think this is because we always try to put God’s love into human terms, or terms that we can understand. We are conditioned to measure love by “if’s,” “maybe’s,” and “because’s.” “I’ll love you if you do this.” Or, “I love you because you did that.” It is hard to imagine that a love without some sort of condition even exists. Yet God wants us to know that such a love exists and we can feel secure in His love. If a person has never come to know genuine unconditional love, then he only knows the rules for conditional love. And the foremost rule for conditional love is, “you must earn the right to be loved.” You must measure up to my standards before I will love you. And of course the other horrible aspect of conditional love is that it can be taken back at any time. In other words, if you do something to displease me, I will stop loving you.

God’s love is not based on what we have, what we do, or what we achieve. God’s love is not determined by our behavior or by our conduct. It does not depend on our background or our birth or status in society. God’s love is not influenced by anything that we say or do. 

There is nothing you can do to win any more of God’s love. In fact, there is absolutely no way that you can get God to love you anymore than He does right now at this very second of your life. It is God’s nature and character to love each and everyone of us. We are told in the Bible that God is love. 

So then, because God’s love is unconditional and it’s not based on your performance, you should accept it, receive it, delight in it and experience it as a present from a loving Heavenly Father. So how can we not enjoy life in His love, His presence and His presents in our life.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How important is love to human beings? Why do you think it is so important?
  2. What are some words that describe God’s love?
  3. What does the phrase “God so loved the world” in John 3:16 tell us about God’s love? How big is His love? Who does He love?
  4. What is hard for me to understand or believe about His love?
  5. Have I seen His love in action in my life? In what ways?

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end.” – Lamentations 3:22

If you ask the average person if they wanted to be happy, they would look at you like this is a trick question.  Who wouldn’t want to be happy? In fact, if you were to make a list right now of all the things you want in your life, chances are the vast majority of things that make the list are the things that make you happy, or at least you think they will make you happy.

You may think if you have a bigger house, more money, a better car, a different job or a better boss you’d be happy. Many of those things are based on another person or on some kind of outward circumstance over which you have no control. It reminds me of the scenes from a movie where some guy is out in the desert. He’s so thirsty his mind is playing tricks on him. He thinks he sees a pool of water up ahead. It looks very real to him. He staggers toward the water. But when he reaches the water’s edge, he discovers the pool of water is just more desert. It was just a mirage—something that appeared to be something that is not really there. 

Many of us have been that poor guy in the desert seeking happiness by chasing after things that convince us that happiness was just around the corner. All we need is something that we can’t find in other people or in other circumstances. Unfortunately, those things are often a mirage.

The truth is, God wants you to enjoy your life every day. Take a look at John 10:10 (AMP). It says, “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” This scripture clearly tells us that God doesn’t just want us to live our life in a desert. He wants us to live with abundant joy.

I would encourage you to not wait on when, or wait on someday. So many people have the mindset that they will be really happy and enjoy life when…they go on vacation, when the kids are older, when they get higher on the ladder of success at work, when they get married…whatever we hope for in the future. We can all relate to waiting for a when in our lives.   

Make a decision today to connect to God. Remember that God loves you always. He knows everything about you and loves you anyway. We all have things about us and in our lives that need to change, but they will really only change when we’re abiding in Christ, living with the joy of the Lord.

As you go about your day today, make this your goal: Set the Lord continually before you and He will give you strength to face any problems you have to deal with, and you’ll enjoy your life while you’re doing it.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you ever wondered why you did not let yourself be happier?
  2. What is the secret to finding happiness in your mind?
  3. Can we enjoy our lives more? Why or why not?
  4. Pray and ask God to help you set the Lord continually before you.   

Multiply Loaves, Fishes and Generosity

“Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.” – Haggai 1:5-7

Through The Multiply series, we talked about offering God the first fruits of giving, serving and our time. Our hope was that through this series we would recognize His giving at a deeper level so that we might be able to give to Him in deeper ways, and help change the we you think about and manage what God gives you financially. The bottom line is that when we put God first in our lives, God always does more than we expect. Our motivation for this series comes from Matthew 6:33 and says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” 

For the purpose of summary, here are some key points from the Multiply series in no particular order:

  1. We experience abundance most fully when we ask God for the spirit of generosity. Ask God to give you His heart for others as you give, trusting Him to provide your needs.” And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” (2 Corinthians 9:8-9)
  2. God will provide more than we need if we are willing to risk sharing what we do have, even when it seems like “not enough”.  Jesus multiplies what is faithfully given when nothing is held back because we’re worried about having enough. Ask God for faith to give to Him and then watch how He will multiply it. 
  3. Whatever gifts, talents or skills we’ve been given, they are entrusted to us so we can use them to bless others. We bless others out of gratitude for the grace and mercy that God has bestowed upon us.  Intentionally share your gifts, talents or skills as an act of worship to God.
  4. Generosity opens the door to new opportunities. The law of giving and receiving cannot be suspended. When you sow seeds of generosity, you reap a harvest of opportunity. “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10)  In blessing others, we are blessed. Generosity is not only an investment towards a solution to someone’s plight, but an investment in your own future. So, generosity is not about money. It’s about changed lives.

I pray that you enjoyed this series and this series will help you make lasting change in your lives. We have many compelling reasons to be generous. Lives will be forever changed, including our own when we are generous.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you think a spiritually-motivated and Bible-focused generosity movement is needed in the world today? Why or why not?
  2. If God is truly bigger than a paycheck, what are some ways you have seen him bring provisions into your life recently?
  3. List some of the available time, talents, treasure, and things that God has given you. What is a way that some of these things could be used for the Lord and for others?
  4. Can you recall a time when you experienced God’s crazy math and saw the Lord provide in unexpected ways?
  5. What is the greatest benefit or insight you have gained from the Multiply series? 

Stewardship Unplugged

“Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, I will testify against you. I am God, your God. Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you; your burnt offerings are continually before me. I will not accept a bull from your house or goats from your folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine. – Psalm 50:7-12. 

Stewardship is a familiar subject in church today. But while it is often talked about, I’m not sure people fully understand the concept. But when we fully grasp the idea of stewardship, it will change the way we make decisions each day. If we really understand what it means to be good stewards, we will begin to see our lives change. Because like all Biblical principles, there is tremendous benefit gained by following them.

The dictionary defines stewardship like this: the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care <stewardship of natural resources>

Notice that it says “managing of something.” We all have things we manage. We all have things we are responsible for. And we all make decisions about those things.  So what are those “things?”  Basically, we are stewards over everything God has given us. Our time, our money, our gifts and abilities, our influence, it all comes from God. There are references to stewardship throughout the Bible, including the Parable of the Talents. (Matthew 25:14-30)  In this well-known parable, the good stewards took “risks” and action in order to multiply what they had been given. The bad steward was risk averse and was called lazy. 

As stewards we have a responsibility to use what we have been given wisely. Just like in the parable of the talents, it is up to us how we use what we have been given. We can choose to bury it like the “lazy” steward or we can make more from what we have been given like the “good” stewards.

The great thing is that as we prove ourselves faithful in small things we will be given more and bigger things to be stewards over. “‘His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’” (Matthew 25:20-22)

Finances tend to be the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about stewardship. That makes sense, because money is one of the most difficult things to give. Many people are okay giving their time, or sharing their abilities, but money provides security and is harder to part with. The reality is we came into this world with nothing and we will leave with nothing. It all just gets passed on to someone else. The amazing thing is that we have the opportunity to “store up for ourselves treasures in heaven” by being generous with the things God has given us to steward. 

Stewardship can seem daunting. After all, being managers of our families, possessions, the earth and builders of a kingdom puts a lot on our plate. But remember, God promises us that He’ll never require something of us that we cannot accomplish. “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed”(2 Corinthians 9:8 NASB).

Discussion Questions:

  1. Would you say you are generously giving or generously living? Why?
  2. What is your biggest motivation for giving?
  3. Where do you think you are most gifted by God?
  4. What are you doing to develop your areas of giftedness so you can better serve others?
  5. What are some specific examples of where you have seen God bless when you have invested your time, talents, and treasures?

A Declaration of Dependence

“God is looking for imperfect men and women who have learned to walk in moment-by-moment dependence on the Holy Spirit. Christians who have come to terms with their inadequacies, fears, and failures. Believers who have become discontent with ‘surviving’ and have taken the time to investigate everything God has to offer in this life.” –  Charles Stanley.

It amazes me how quickly children move from the infantile state of total dependence to relative independence. Each step along that continuum, they start to develop the, “I can do it myself” mindset. This attitude is reinforced by a culture that prides itself on its own resourcefulness and self-reliance. But self-reliance can shut out God. 

We can find ourselves in circumstances that are unfixable and unbearable. Unforeseen trials, huge life changes, medical crises and shattered relationships can leave us lost and powerless.

Yet it goes against our nature to be in a place we can’t fix. We want to be able to handle things. God, however is looking for us to be completely dependent on Him. Often that complete dependence on God results from situations or circumstances completely out of our control. 

Maybe you are in that position right now. You feel powerless. And vulnerable. You need God. Fortunately over and over again God calls Himself “our helper.”

  1. “…God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble..” (Psalm 46:1)
  2. “Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.” (Psalm 54:4)
  3. Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.” (Psalm 33:20)
  4. “So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6)

We depend on God all the time, and there are times we can do nothing else. The Lord gives us the faith we need to make it through those times. But it is not all about bad times. We need and are dependent on God in good times as well.

I love these words from Hudson Taylor:

“I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize this; for He, I know, is able to carry out His will, and His will is mine. It makes no matter where he places me, or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me; for in the easiest position He must give me His grace, and in the most difficult His grace is sufficient. It little matters to my servant whether I send him to buy a few cash worth of things, or the most expensive articles. In either case he looks to me for the money and brings me his purchases. So, if God should place me in serious perplexity, must He not give me much guidance; in positions of great difficulty, much grace; in circumstances of great pressure and trial, much strength? No fear that His resources will prove unequal to the emergency! And His resources are mine, for He is mine, and is with me and dwells in me.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you worry about most? When do you replace your faith in God with worry? What is the most generous gift you have ever received? How did it make you feel?
  2. Why would you want to depend on God’s unfailing faithfulness rather than your well intentioned efforts?
  3. Have there been times when you felt that God disregarded your pain and your struggles? How did you feel? How did you respond?
  4. What changes could you make so you will be totally dependent on God in all things?

Unshakeable Contentment

But godliness with contentment is great gain.” – 1 Timothy 6:6.

A man was upset that his friends had houses that were larger and more luxurious. That had to change. So he listed his house with a real estate firm, planning to upgrade to a bigger house once his sold. A few weeks passed and he was looking through the real estate section of the newspaper. An ad for a house caught his eye. It seemed ideal from the description. He promptly called the realtor and said, “a house described in today’s paper is exactly what I’m looking for. I would like to go through it as soon as possible!” The agent asked him several questions about it and then replied, “but sir, that’s your house you’re describing.”

We live in a culture where we’re taught to believe that more is never enough and our success is based on how we’re doing in comparison to others. Basically, we have created a culture of discontent. We have closets full of clothes, but complain that we have nothing to wear. We run out of storage space for all our stuff that we don’t use and probably never will. We protect our homes with sophisticated security systems and still fear for our safety. We have 200 channels on our television and complain that there’s nothing worth watching.

We have become short-sighted, plagued with short-attention spans and shorter tempers. We are constantly seeking the secret to happiness and often that search translates into more, bigger, or better. But that doesn’t bring us happiness. Most of us possess so much, yet we enjoy what we have so little.

God wants us to be content because He knows that contentment produces peace, joy and love. 

So how do we find contentment? Let me take a moment and give some additional thoughts from what I talked about on Sunday. One way is to keep from falling into the comparison trap, that is comparing ourselves to others. 2 Corinthians 10:12 says, “Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” Comparing what we have with what others have means, according to the Bible, we are without understanding. 

Then be content and give thanks in what you do have. “…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Instead of focusing on your circumstances or what you don’t have, think about what you do have, and be grateful and thank God for it. 

Finally, share what you have to help others. “…give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38) Don’t put your hope in wealth, which is so uncertain. Put your hope in God because He provides for you. Do good with what God has given you and be willing to share it and watch Him multiply and bless you. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. This series is about putting God first. Sometimes our lives get cluttered with things that distract us.  If you could eliminate one thing from your life, what you would eliminate?
  2. Would you define yourself as content or anxious?
  3. What’s the secret to being content in all circumstances?
  4. What are some steps we can take to be more content?