Lost and Found

“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?” – Luke 15:4.

If you have attended Northstar for any length of time, you know our vision is to help the whole world find and follow Jesus. This vision is predicated on some fundamental truths: God loves people desperately. People are lost without Him so they need Jesus. We need to have more of God’s heart for the lost.

The Apostle Paul famously said that his “heart’s desire” and his “prayer to God” is that his fellow Jews “may be saved” (Romans 10:1). The problem was that these “kinsmen according to the flesh” were lost—bound for an eternity without God—which filled Paul’s heart with “great sorrow and unceasing anguish” (Romans 9:2-3). We want that passion, that heart for the lost that Paul had.

As we begin our 21 Days of Prayer, I encourage you to pray for a passion for those far from the heart of God. First, remember the plight of those who have not chosen to follow Jesus. And keep in mind the terrible reality of entering eternity without Christ. Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:15-16: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.”

Take a moment and reflect on the joy you would have over one sinner who repents and turns to Christ through your prayer, life, and witness. 1 Thessalonians 2:19 says, “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?”  And John said in 3rd John 4:, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” Let your imagination grasp the joy of being used by God to bring a person from death to eternal life.

Pray for God to increase your love for the lost. Listen to the apostle’s prayer for us in 1 Thessalonians 3:12, “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all men.” Such love is not natural to us. It is a gift of grace. 

Pray that we have the courage to act on the passion and love we have for the lost.  1 John 3:18-19 says, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence:” In other words, if we don’t just talk about caring for others but we take the steps to win our neighbors and friends, even strangers for Jesus Christ. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you have believe that anyone is beyond God’s reach and love? Why or why not? How does your answer impact your view of those far from the heart of God?
  2. Why do you think the Lord Jesus put such a strong emphasis on proclaiming the Gospel?
  3. What role does the church play in communicating the words and works of the Gospel? Consider the role that you play in communicating the words and works of the Gospel.
  4. Think about the significance of us being the salt and light of the world? What did Jesus mean by this in Matthew 5:13-15?

Feed Your Spirit Prayer

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.” – Psalm 107:28-30

Prayer is that discipline that I feel like is so important, yet strides often seem so elusive.  That thought or question often pops up when the subject of prayer is brought up: Does prayer change anything? “What if [my prayer] doesn’t do anything?” It may or to may not, but we need to remember that God ordains the end and the means. One of those means is prayer.

The reality is that we may have a very limited view of the purpose of prayer if we wonder if communicating with our Heavenly Father changes anything. Some people see prayer as nothing more than a grown-up version of a Christmas list. We go to God with a list of our needs and our wants, but we don’t consider why God asks us to pray. Prayer is not about changing the circumstances, it’s about changing us. If we prayed for a reconciliation with a child who has severed all ties with you, that relationship can be healed if God has ordained it to be so. If the relationship stays frayed, does that mean our prayers were in effective? Absolutely not. 

Prayer isn’t complicated. In fact, God makes prayer an incredibly simple, yet powerful gift for those who have chosen to follow Him. We can pray at anytime, anywhere. Remember Jonah? Jonah prayed while in the belly of a great fish  Prayer helps change the way we think. When we focus on God, our hearts can’t help but align itself with what pleases Him. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:7-8)

We can pray about anything. That means anything from needing strength to forgive or help getting through traffic without turning into a madman or madwoman. If it matters to you…it matters to God. We can never ask more of God than what He can provide. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Our hope is that our 21 days of prayer will rejuvenate and refresh your prayer life for the remainder of 2016.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Since God knows all about you and what he is going to do before you ask, what do you think might be some reasons God still wants you to pray to Him?
  2. What are some reasons why Jesus had to pray? What do those reasons tell you about why you need to pray?
  3. How is it possible to have confidence and be satisfied that God will answer your prayers?
  4. What are some needs you are lifting up to God in prayer right now? How might your prayers change for each of these needs if you also prayerfully sought God’s direction for being the solution?

Feed Your Spirit God’s Word

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:14-17

Charles Spurgeon said, “Be masters of your Bibles, brethren… be at home with the writings of the prophets and apostles. Let the Word of God dwell in you richly.”

The goal of Bible study is not to be unique, clever, or holier-than-thou. Rather, we study God’s word to decipher, understand, and apply the truth of Scripture to our every day lives.  Our goal is to understand the original meaning of the text as intended by the original author to the original recipients. As we study the Bible in its entirety, we are better qualified to teach and apply its parts, and gain a greater sense of awe for our creator. And it is food for our spirit.

When we study God’s word, we don’t just receive a message about God, but also a message from God. It is a message that is from God that has divine authority and thus has the ability to transform our lives. If we are trying to teach, correct, train, or encourage one another toward maturity in Christ, the Bible is our book. That transformation only happens when we apply the Word of God in our lives.

God’s Word confirms that Christians should be doers over and over again. James encourages the believers to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22)  Jesus finishes his sermon on the mount by saying, “everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24).  Undoubtedly they are considered wise, because God’s Word is truly “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The Bible is no ordinary book. The words within its pages are food for your spirit. It has the power to change your life because there is life in the Word. “ For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12.)

When you discover the power and truth of God’s Word, you will begin to see changes in your life that only this truth can bring.

Make the time in your life to study the Bible because there is power in it to change your life and become the person God wants you to be. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is the best way to study the Bible?
  2. Read Psalm 119:9-11. How do you think David got to the point where he could say that God’s Word was hidden in his heart?
  3. Why do you think it’s important that we pray before we read the Bible?
  4. What can we do this week to improve our study of the Bible? 

Connect With God Relationally

“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” – James 4: 6-10.

Let me ask you a question: Would you walk up to someone you don’t know, somebody you have no relationship with, and ask them for a favor? You meet someone at the checkout line in Publix and inform them these are the things that you would like them to do for you. You tell them they can start by paying for your groceries. Before they can answer you tell them, “We can get to know each other at another time…you understand how it is, right?” 

If you had the chutzpah to do that, you would get some pretty interesting responses. You may even get some pointed remarks about your ancestors. And why not. Requests without relationships won’t get far. If that’s true when we speak with other people, is it true with God as well? How many of us talk or pray to God only when we want something? How often do we give God His to-do list without seeking a relationship? Prayer is relationship, not just requests. If God is a complete stranger to us and the only time we talk to Him is when we want something from Him, then we don’t have the level of relationship God desires to have with us.

A relationship with God is impossible without prayer. That’s because prayer is communication, and where there’s no communication, there’s no relationship. Prayer is pouring out our thoughts to God and paying attention to what God is thinking. It’s experiencing God’s love and expressing our love for Him.

Prayer is having a real conversation in which we not only talk to Him, but also listen to Him and get to know Him and become closer and closer to Him. As prayer lifts our hearts to God, it also fills God’s heart with pleasure. The Bible says, “…the prayer of the upright pleases him.“ (Proverbs 15:8). God loves us to come to Him in prayer. God enjoys conversations with His children. God savors the praises of His people. 

Belonging to Jesus Christ isn’t just a set of beliefs or behaviors – it’s a relationship. That relationship certainly involves believing certain truths and behaving in certain ways, but at the heart of the relationship is a personal connection with God.

Do you long to know God better, yet find all sorts of things getting in the way? Do you find prayer a struggle? Well, don’t give up. Don’t stop listening and talking to God just because it’s not always easy. Ask for the Holy Spirit’s help to pray and stay connected with Christ. Use the 21-day prayer challenge to connect and improve your relationship with God through prayer.

Discussion Questions:

  1. If desire for God is a thermometer in your relationship with Him, on a scale of 1 to 10 (highest) where would you rate your desire right now, and why? What role does prayer play in your answer? In your relationship with God? 
  2. Psalms 37:3-5: What do these verses say about relationship with God?
  3. How can we can build our relationship a little better with Jesus Christ over the next week?

Living On A Prayer

“Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.” 1 Chronicles 16:11

Alfred Lord Tennyson said “more things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” And  D. L. Moody said, “Every great movement of God can be traced to a kneeling figure.”

We are embarking on 21 Days of Fasting and Prayer on January 10 because we too believe that more things are accomplished through prayer than people realize and that God is ready to work through those who seek Him through prayer. Prayer is our most powerful weapon. Jeremiah 33: 3 says, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

Prayer starts with a strategy. What is a good strategy for prayer? When you go to your war room/private room, what do you pray about? “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.” (1 Peter 4:7). To become clear minded you have to set aside uninterrupted time to seek God. You cannot pray strategically if you’re running from one emergency to another. Or if your schedule is so tight that your mind is cluttered with an extensive to-do list, strategic praying becomes difficult. As you bring greater balance to your life and schedule, you will automatically reap the benefits in your prayer life. Your prayers will become more effective and more strategic. That is why we are posting daily devotionals to give you ideas on what to pray about. I encourage you to read 1 Timothy 2:1-8.   In this passage, the apostle Paul addresses the priority of the local church by addressing  a strategy of prayer for the church cooperatively and the Christ-follower individually.

Prayer must be a priority. Matthew 21:13 says, “… ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’…” 1 Timothy 2:1 says, “First of all, then, I urge that.” As Paul begins to tell Timothy how to conduct oneself in the local church (3:15), he puts prayer as the first priority. Once you have developed a strategic prayer plan, the hard part begins—sticking to it. We need to pray and study the Bible every single day. We need to make a commitment to God to put Him first in our lives each and every day. 

For me, it helps to think of my prayer time as an actual appointment with God. This includes having a specific time and place to meet Him. And yes, sometimes I am tempted to forego my private time because I have a million things to do. But I never do. And today, I actually look forward to my prayer time each day before tackling  the to-do’s for the day. 

Your prayer time could be at any point during the day when you have uninterrupted time. I have heard of all kinds of times and ways to pray. What is important is that you are consistently spending time in respectful communication with God.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is your motivation for praying? How has your motivation changed over the years?
  2. “Prayer is more for our holiness than for our happiness.” Do you agree or disagree?
  3. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”(Jeremiah 29:12-13) What does it mean to seek the Lord with “all your heart?”

As The Spirit Moves You

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” – Romans 8:26-27.

Just like you need physical food for physical strength, your spirit must be fed the things it needs and removal of the things that limit or hurt the spirit.  If somebody asked you whether your spirit is is being fed, what would your answer be?  But here’s the thing: just as the body needs food so does our spirit. We rarely think about the diet our spirit is getting. Taking a close look at what you have been feeding your spirit will likely reveal why you are not living the life God intended you to live.

Are we sensitive to the influence and suggestion of the Spirit of God? Do we ever think, yes, I should do this or that—and ignore that? Do we display an unwillingness to yield to the Spirit as it leads us? So what determines whether God is able to perform His work in us? For all practical purposes it boils down to how well we are being led by the spirit. Your effectiveness as a Christian is determined by how well you are led by the Spirit. And how effectively we are led by the spirit is determined by what we feed and starve it.

In many ways, this is where the rubber meets the road in our daily Christian lives. Certainly God leads us by educating us through His Word and through His ministry. But for God to be able to guide and direct our lives as a Father, He also must be able to lead us directly through His Spirit. Although I covered several things we need to feed the spirit for this devotional, I would like to concentrate on God’s word.

God tells us in His word what will fill the craving in your soul like nothing else can. Listen to what it says in 1 Peter 2:2: “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation…”: That deep craving is for God’s Word. 

Take one week and pay close attention to God’s Word. Read it, think about it, write out a verse or two that stands out to you. Make an appointment to spend time with God just as you would make any other appointment. Pray, read and listen. Let God’s Word penetrate your heart. It will feed your spirit and fill you in ways you have forgotten. 

Note this profound statement Paul made to God’s people in Rome: “ For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14). We are only sons of God when we are led by God through His Spirit.

As powerful as the Holy Spirit is, it never forces, impels, commands or controls us. It leads us. It influences our thinking—it suggests. We must be willing to yield to that influence, to follow, to obey those suggestions. And it begins with how well we remove the toxins in our spirit.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What am I feeding my spirit? What do I need to starve?
  2. Is my entertainment feeding me things that actually rob my spirit?
  3. Do I spend enough time in the Word each week?
  4. What steps can I take this week to remove any toxins in my spirit?

Show Me Your Glory

Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”Exodus 33: 18-23.

Moses was the man. The drama surrounding the life of Moses is pretty amazing – from the burning bush, to the plagues in Egypt, to the parting of the Red Sea and so much more. But there is a story of Moses that is not found in the public displays of miracles and supernatural events. The story is more personal, about spending time with God in a secret place. 

It was in one of those holy moments that nobody else saw. In Exodus 33:18, Moses asked God to “show me your glory!” Moses wants to see God’s face. God answers that this is impossible because nobody can see God’s face and live. God offers a compromise: He tells Moses that he will place him in a cleft in the rocks, put his hand over Moses’s face, and then pass by, so that Moses will get to see His, God’s back, though never his face.

Moses had seen things no one had seen before. Yet Moses knows that he has yet to see the true glory of God. How many of us would still ask this question if we saw the miraculous before our eyes. Would we not think that we had seen the glory of God? Moses was saying, “I love all that I see in you!  I love the compassion you have shown me and your people; I love the tremendous power you have displayed and I’m hungry for more of you… show me your glory!”

What we need is what Moses needed. “Lord, show us your glory.” Thank you for the wonderful things you have done in our midst. Thank you for saving us and filling us with your spirit. Thank you for the healing and miracles we have seen. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for loving us unconditionally. 

Now, Lord we really want to see who you are. We want to see your face. We want to see your glory. We are hungry for more of you in 2016. We are hungry for more of your presence. We want more of you in our lives. Show us your glory in 2016. 

Discussion Questions: 

  1. Do you believe you have seen the glory of God? If not, why not? 
  2. Can God show His glory to us today? Why or why not?
  3. What steps can we take to get closer to God in 2016.

No Fear

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” – Hebrews 13:5-6.

Those words from Hebrews provide us with a comforting promise, along with an insightful command as we begin the first few days of 2016. A new year, a new list of resolutions, and the same fears. Right? While our intentions are to make changes when the new year begins, more often than not, the same fears follow us into the new year.  That’s because fears are the hardest things to change. Each year we fear that our needs or the needs of someone we love are not going to be met. Or we fear that the things we think are meeting our needs are going to be taken away from us. Faith is the antidote to fear. 

Moses is an example of faith overcoming fear. Moses faced the greatest opposition you could possibly experience in life. Leading a rebellious group of complainers to standing against the most powerful government in the world, who wanted to keep Him and his people in captivity and poverty, a government that wanted to Kill God’s people and God’s plan. Moses’ faith won out over fear.

To overcome fear we need to keep our eyes on Jesus. Hebrews 13:27 says, “By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.”

Moses didn’t focus on the king’s anger, but rather focused on the One who is invisible. So what are we focusing on for 2016?

Maybe you are seeking approval and fear the loss of that approval. If making money is your thing, you probably have a fear of losing your income. Maybe you are afraid of losing your marriage. If success is your number one priority, you may fear losing that success. If your reputation is number one, you will fear losing it and always be working to bolster up your self image. There are many other fears, but you get the idea. 

Moses didn’t fear because he focused on Him who is invisible. That sounds like good advice for each of us for 2016. Focusing on God, the primary way that we see Him today is through His word. It tells us about Jesus, it instructs us, builds our faith and tells us about the plan and purpose that God has for our life. 2 Timothy 1:7-9 says, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.”

We don’t know what we will face in 2016. We may face something that we don’t understand and we may face it alone. And uncertainty creates fear. I don’t know what I’m going to face next year. But there’s one thing I know. God’s Word promises that God will never forsake us.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What area of your life do you find yourself consistently fearful of what might come or what won’t come?
  2. Why do you think it’s hard to let go of control and trust God for your future?
  3. Was there a time when you were fearful of the future and acted out on that fear (i.e., leading to anxiety, etc.)? What happened?
  4. What steps can you take in 2016 to settle your fears?

Value Determination

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – James 13:34-35.

Moses was born a Hebrew, but grew up in the house of Pharaoh where he was surrounded by status and privilege. Acts 7:22 tells us, “And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds.”

While still part of Pharaoh’s royal family, Moses made a decision that changed the course of his life. Hebrews 11:24-26 records it this way: “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.”

Moses’ great decision was that he “refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter” and chose to follow the God of Israel. Moses chose God’s values over man’s values. He changed his life and went on to change the lives of countless others.

Most businesses list the values that drive the company on their website. Merck is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Their core values are driven by a desire to improve life, achieve scientific excellence, operate with the highest standards of integrity, expand access to our products and employ a diverse workforce that values collaboration. The Bible does not specifically give a list of “Christian values,” there are any number of values that drive how we as Christians should operate.

A few of them include: Keep God’s 10 Commandments; love God and one another; have faith and trust in God; humble ourselves as little children; do good works; cultivate spiritual gifts to serve others; seek God’s righteousness; and live at peace with others.

This is just a sampling of the many Christian values we can find in the pages of the Bible.

These are attributes we should value in our lives. Fortunately, God has provided an instruction manual in the form of the Holy Bible.  If we’re looking for Christian values, this is where we will find them. 

These values are the restraint, boundaries and disciplines we develop around our life to direct us through obstacles instead of around them. They help make us attain and maintain a life dedicated to Jesus.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you find yourself conforming to the values, practices and beliefs of the world as well as those of God?
  2. What can you point to as core values of Christianity? What are the implications of these values on your personal spiritual journey?
  3. Are these values still relevant in the 21st century?
  4. What can you do this week to begin living life by the values of God?

No Pain. No Gain.

“But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” – Exodus 3:11.

If you ever come across a burning bush that isn’t being consumed or hear an unseen voice from above that tells you that you are on holy ground, then you might be freaked out a little bit. But then in Exodus 9:11 God tells Moses “…Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, “Let my people go, that they may serve me.”  Not only did Moses devalue himself as unworthy and unable to accomplish the seemingly monumental task that God gave him, I have to believe he was also thinking about how painful/awkward/hazardous/ this assignment could be. 

We too will make difficult life decisions. We may well know the right decision to make, the one that God calls us to make. However, making that decision is difficult when we start thinking about how painful/awkward/hazardous/ this decision could end up being. It would be easy to chicken out and just not make the decision. But often, these difficult decisions are the ones needed for you to grow spiritually. If God wants you to step out, I would encourage you to do exactly that. It may result in short-term pain, but the long-term benefits of obeying God are worth it.   

Moses made the decision to do what God asked him to do. This decision was more radical than the decisions we will typically make, because everything was on the line. There was no going back. Once Moses rejected his position as prince of Egypt and identified with the Israelite slaves, his choice was final. Moses knew he would be mistreated by his former colleagues who would consider his actions to be a disgrace. Moses made such a choice because what he saw made him sure that it was better to endure hardship and disgrace with God’s people, than to enjoy luxury with God’s enemies. He saw that suffering lay ahead, but he also saw that beyond the suffering lay a relationship with God. He knew that the king of Egypt would oppose him, but he also knew that the king of Egypt was nothing compared to the King of kings. You know the rest of the story.

Moses’ life is a living testimony to 1 Peter 4:13-14 which declares: “But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.”

So was the short-term pain worth it?  Did Moses make a good decision to obey God?  History answers that question. After leaving Pharaoh’s house, Moses went on to become Israel’s national hero, law-giver, and mediator with God. He became a man of unprecedented accomplishment and worldwide influence.

Today, some 3,500 years after his great decision, Moses is remembered as one of mankind’s most respected leaders.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Tim Keller says that “suffering is actually at the heart of the Christian story.” Agree or disagree? Why?
  2. Read 1 Peter 2:20-24: In what way does short-term pain deepen our trust and strengthen our walk with God?
  3. Do you believe God can use your short-term pain for His glory?
  4. Pray and ask God to help you make the right decisions in the new year?