Church attendance is as vital to a disciple as a transfusion of rich, healthy blood to a sick man.” – Dwight L. Moody

It is clear that in every church we have two types of people who attend; the consumers and the contributors. In essence, it is the difference of sitting on the sidelines instead of taking a step of faith and getting involved.

If I approach church as a contributor, I come to church expecting to be part of a community. While at times I find it challenging, I count it a privilege to be part of a fellowship of diverse people with whom I can share my life.  I commit myself to the community and this shows by my attendance and servant’s mentality. I embrace my calling to be a partner and co-worker with others for the gospel and I do whatever I can to support church initiatives. I give sacrificially of my time, energy, and money.

When I approach church as a consumer, I attend, but I don’t commit. I prefer to be on the fringe rather than a member of the core.  I just don’t have the time to volunteer, take on responsibility or contribute to the church. If I approach church as a consumer, I am content to attend each week and enjoy worship and hearing God’s word.

The Bible doesn’t give some of us a hall pass and say we’ve been excused from serving because we aren’t gifted. Everyone has gifts. There are no exceptions. 1 Peter 4 teaches us, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ…” (1 Peter 4:10-11).

We were made for a purpose and have a God-given gift that we need to be pouring into the kingdom.  As believers and followers of Jesus, we are all called to be participants in God’s kingdom right here and now. Usually, when we don’t serve the kingdom it’s not because we believe we aren’t gifted, it’s because we’ve got so many things going on we don’t have time to get actively involved in the church.

There is a principle in business that 20 percent of your customers give you 80 percent of your revenue and profits. A recent survey shows that the 80/20 principle is a fact of church life as well. Only 20 percent are heavily involved, while 80 percent are minimally involved.

The church does not exist for us. It exists to reach people with the saving message of Jesus Christ wherever in the world they live. The church is people using gifts to make a difference in the lives of others.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Would you fall into the consumer or the contributor camp? What caused to you be in either one?
  2. Serving, teaching, encouragement, giving, leadership, kindness, prophecy — which gifts has God given you?
  3. Pray and ask God for wisdom on where you can best make contributions to the church.


“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me..” – John 15:26 (ESV).

With Jesus’ impending departure, the disciples were naturally worried about being left alone. Who could blame them? But in Jesus’ great love and care for them, He promises to show up in a new way. This is one of the most encouraging verses in Scripture. God did not leave us alone to fend for ourselves. He provided an amazing Helper in the person of the Holy Spirit who will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves—if we let Him.

The Holy Spirit is God. There are three Persons in the Trinity–God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is all-powerful. We read in Micah 3:8, “…I am filled with power—with the Spirit of the Lord…” The Bible says that God is present everywhere. No matter where we go, He is there. “I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!” (Psalm 139:7). We need never be afraid again, or lonely, hopeless, sorrowful, or helplessly inadequate. For the Helper is always with us. The Holy Spirit can be at home in your heart.

There is always Someone standing by to assist us no matter what circumstances we are facing. God has provided every resource we need through His Spirit. When we can’t, He can. When we’re tired, He isn’t, When we’re weak, He’s strong. When we think, “I don’t have the wisdom for this situation, or I don’t know how to love my prodigal, or I can’t take one more round of hard medical news,” He says that’s why you have an in-home Helper. We house His Spirit in us, and if we allow His Spirit to operate in our lives, we’re going to be more than okay, no matter what comes our way.

John 14:26 says, “But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” And we know from 2 Peter 1:20-21 that the Holy Spirit moved upon the authors of scripture to write the Bible. And it is He who inspired Scripture that helps us interpret it and apply it to our lives today.

Our shortcomings in living the Christian life are often due to our inattention to the Holy Spirit’s leading and prompting in our lives. We spend so much time looking outside of ourselves for answers when we have God at work inside of us. When we become more aware of His presence, we will change from the inside out.

As believers, we must let the Holy Spirit take the lead in our lives so that we will be empowered to do the work that God has given us and to live in humble obedience to the leading and the guidance of the Spirit.   

Discussion Questions:

  1. When you think of the Holy Spirit, what comes to your mind? 
  2. How familiar are you with the topic of the Holy Spirit? Is the Holy Spirit a confusing or encouraging topic of study for you? Why or why not?
  3. As the Spirit works to refine us, the Spirit reminds us of our new identity as God’s children. How does the Spirit’s voice impact my relationship with God?


In those days people will live in the houses they build and eat the fruit of their own vineyards. Unlike the past, invaders will not take their houses and confiscate their vineyards. For my people will live as long as trees, and my chosen ones will have time to enjoy their hard-won gains. They will not work in vain, and their children will not be doomed to misfortune. For they are people blessed by the Lord, and their children, too, will be blessed. I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!” – Isaiah 65:21-24.

Have you ever thought about why you live where you live?  Was it a set of circumstances or merely a coincidence? It is neither. Nor is it a consequence of your budget, or your season of life. You live where you live because God placed you there. The long series of events, decisions, and circumstances that led you here were orchestrated by God. He brought you home one detail at a time.

Acts 17:26-27 yells us. “ From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist…” (Acts 17:26–27). You do not have a home by accident.

Our home should be built on Christ and nothing less. Maybe at the top of the list of things that you don’t want to show up on a house inspection is a foundation issue. If you buy a house with a bad foundation, you’re going to experience real problems that cost real money to have it fixed. Most buyers simply walk away from a bad foundation and for good reason. Jesus tells as much in Matthew 7:24-37 when He talks about building a strong foundation by building your home on the Rock. Allow His voice to be the regular stabilizing, guiding, shaping, correcting, and comforting foundation under your lives.

But this home is not our home. While we may in a house for a few months or 50 years it is a temporary living situation. Our earthly home is not our true home, because we have a better home, an eternal one, in heaven: “You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever.” (Hebrews 10:34). Philippians 3:20 adds, “ But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.” Wherever we live in this world, we know we belong somewhere else.

That does not mean we cannot treasure the four walls of our homes. God has chosen these walls, for these days, specifically for us. As you enjoy your home for however long you live there, prepare your heart and family to live forever at home with the Lord.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “home?”
  2. God’s home will be a place of joy and safety, where the lame and the outcast are gathered, and shame disappears. Home with God will be a place of restoration and praise. In God’s home, we will be safe and happy, and no one will oppress us ever again. When things seemed impossible and our sin overwhelmed us, Jesus made a way. One day He will return and fulfill this ultimate promise of hope and home. How does that make you feel?


“A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense.Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables.” – Proverbs 24:3-4

There are countless comprehensive books available if you want to put on your grubbies, get out your tools, and tackle home repairs and improvements. Whether you’re an accomplished do-it-yourselfer or a novice, there are books that will guide you through the process. There are also countless books written on how to build a godly home. Yet none of them come close to giving the kind of counsel we find in Proverbs 24:3-4. These two verses give us a blueprint for a home built around God.    

A house is built on wisdom. Wisdom is seeing things as God sees them.  Wisdom views all of life – all its decisions as decisions to be made in agreement with His will and His Word.  But we are asked to do more than just see things as God sees them. A home built on God’s wisdom will become part of our daily decision-making processes.  Kind of like what Jesus said in Matthew 7 – that the wise builder founds his house upon a rock instead of upon sand.

As believers, we want our home, our family, to be built on wisdom and knowledge: knowledge of God, knowledge of His word, and knowledge of His truth. As we study God’s Word, our knowledge of Scripture deepens. Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.” So through meditating on God’s Word, we allow the gospel to dwell within us, and that impacts the way we act with other believers. So don’t rush through your time reading your Bible. Instead, open your heart to receive what God wants to teach you. Dwell on what you are reading, and delight in its truth

While it is good to know God’s Word, we must also live out God’s Word. How do we do this? Philippians 2:12–13 points us to an answer as it reminds us to “ …work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” This means that our knowledge of God’s Word will be put into practice. We must do what Scripture tells us to do.

God calls us to build our spiritual homes on solid biblical ground. We must lean into time with God in prayer, worship, and reading our Bible to ensure our actions are matching God’s Word and to rest in His forgiveness when we fall short. It is in this time of relying on God that he will change our hearts thus changing our actions. Because of what our cornerstone Jesus has done for us, God will continue to sanctify us so that our spiritual house will be made strong enough to handle the huffs and puffs of our world.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is the difference between wisdom and knowledge?
  2. How do you define a spiritual home? What can you do this week to make your home built on wisdom?


“Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.” – Psalm 5:3.

The ability to wait is a thing of the past. We expect to get what we want at an ever-increasing speed. Fast food is not fast enough anymore. Our internet speeds are a blur compared to just a few years ago. We communicate with people all over the world instantly. We simply don’t like waiting.

Psalm 5:3 talks about waiting. We talk to God at the beginning of every day. We talk with God about our agenda, our plan, our worry, our heartbreak, and our joy; we present it all to Him and then we wait. God could answer us so fast we would not get the request out before the answer arrives, but that is not typically the case. What we fail to understand is that waiting on God is not a bad thing. There is growth in the waiting and many times, special gifts or blessings are given in the midst of the wait, blessings that if God would have answered as quickly as we would have liked, we might have missed. We become stronger and more confident in God because of our wait.

What we see in David’s prayer life is that he eagerly watched for God to answer. It’s as if he was “sitting on the edge of his seat” just waiting and watching for what God would do. We too need to wait expectantly on the Lord as we look forward to His answers to our prayers.

Some of the greatest figures in the Bible — Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and David — had to wait for many years for God’s promises. Everything that happened in the meantime was used to prepare them, inwardly as well as outwardly. Then, when they reached their promise, they were blessed beyond measure.

The good news is He has heard each and every prayer and He is working in our life in ways you can’t always see. Trust Him as you wait. God is moving and His timing is perfect even when we feel it is not. Wait expectantly on His answer. This “waiting on the Lord’” is not a “sitting around, twiddling your thumbs” kind of waiting, fearing an unfavorable outcome. This is a waiting that has action behind it. That action is the exercise of faith in eager anticipation.

God invites us to trust in His goodness today and His faithfulness tomorrow. Relinquishing control over to Him is the main route to experiencing His love and peace. It unites our hearts with His. It creates a level of maturity and character that we will take with us into the future, and it enables us to enjoy His future blessings all the more.

In other words, when you are waiting on the Lord are you doing it with faith, knowing God will act on your behalf, whether that results in what you want or not?

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you ever experienced a long season of waiting?
  2. Given what you know about God’s character, what do you think He wants to show you during this period of waiting?


“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” – Proverbs 4:23

Guard your heart is a common phrase in many Christian circles. You’ve likely heard it used a few times and maybe even said it yourself. But do you know what guarding your heart means?

I suspect while most Christians likely have an idea of what it means to guard your heart, they don’t know exactly how to do it. What are the practicalities of “guarding your heart?” And how is this 2,000-year-old wisdom relevant to us in 2023? 

Our hearts are precious; they are the essence of who we are, the core of our being; they hold our thoughts, feelings, desires, and will. Hence why Solomon says “above all else.” It should be a top priority. We don’t guard worthless things. The iPhone is pretty expensive and has become a necessary communication tool. Because of those two things, we tend to take excellent care of it: we handle it carefully even though it has a screen cover and a protective case that can be dropped off the highest building in the world. We never put it in a shallow pocket, take it out, and leave it on the table for lunch. It is too valuable to lose. And while it is pretty cool technology, that’s all it is.  The heart is so much more important.  And we are in a daily battle to protect it. 

Scripture tells us to guard our heart because it is the source of our life. It is the essence of who you are. It is your authentic self—the core of your being. It is where all your dreams, desires, and passions live. It is that part of you that connects with God and other people. Out of the heart come all our motives, desires, and motivations. We are to barricade our heart against anything or anyone else that seeks to claim it because our heart belongs to God. Only God has the right to lead, guide, and instruct our hearts. That is why we must safeguard it. We must diligently and consciously protect it from invasions other than God.

The word “guard” is often a military term. It means to protect, maintain, take care of, and shield. The enemy is always at work trying to attack our hearts (Ephesians 6:10-12). They can do this in many ways and should never be underestimated. Though we have Christ’s victory, the enemy will always threaten our earthly lives. Remember, he comes only to steal, kill and destroy.  

As Christ followers, we must intentionally guard our hearts against anything contrary to scripture. Instead, we must focus on what enables us to be more like Jesus.

Guard your heart with prayer, solitude, fasting, scripture memorization, and learning to sharpen your ability to draw closer to God. These will help you guard your heart because you will spend your energy on Him. Remember, as your heart goes, so does your life.

Discussion Question:

  1. Why is it so important to guard your heart? Why is it important that we address any issues at the source rather than downstream?
  2. Read Matthew 22:37-38: What is the first and greatest commandment concerning the heart?
  3. Read Luke 21:34 and Deuteronomy 11:16: What are at least two dangers concerning our hearts?



“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.” – 1 Timothy 2:1.

How important is prayer?  The Bible would seem to indicate that it is very important. Take the early church: Acts 2: 42 says, “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.” And in Acts 4, when Peter and John were wrongfully arrested and then set free, the church prayed. “When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God: “O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in themAfter this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness,”  (Acts 4: 24, 31)

Prayer can be viewed as a conversation, activity, ritual, or obligation. But prayer is simply talking to God: it is simply talking to God in order to grow in our relationship with Jesus and to grow in our love and loyalty to Him. If Jesus himself spent time in prayer when He was here on earth, how much more do we need to open our hearts to commune with the Lord?

What a gift that God wants to spend time with us and develop a personal relationship. How much more meaningful will our time in prayer be if we view that time as a privilege, instead of an obligation? We have to move beyond time spent out of duty-bound obligation and come to cherish and desire that time. Our prayers matter.

So when and how do we pray?  First, have a set time and place for where you will pray. This helps you to stay consistent and to create a habit of spending time with God and making space to grow in your relationship with Him. The reality is we make time for the things that are important in our lives. We should fight to make time for God on a daily basis.

We need to remember not only what God has done but who He is. God is a loving Father, who loves to see you grow and doesn’t expect you to be perfect on day one. He loves every time that you come to Him, He loves every moment that you sit and spend time with Him, so when you know that, it changes everything.

Prayer is not limited to a morning quiet time. Don’t underestimate the power of a 10-second prayer where you are just thanking Him and talking to Him throughout the day.

When we pray, God moves on our behalf. Prayer must be the foundation of everything we do if we desire to see God move. It needs to be ingrained in our daily lives, becoming our first response and not our last resort.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you ever needed to pray about something but just didn’t know how? How did you overcome this obstacle?   


“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near..” – Hebrew2s 10:25.

Church attendance is necessary for your growth as a believer in Christ. Every Christian should gather together to hear the Scriptures and worship Jesus together with other believers weekly: “On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper. Paul was preaching to them, and since he was leaving the next day, he kept talking until midnight” (see (Acts 20:7).  Acts 2:42 says, “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.” Romans 16:5 adds, “Also give my greetings to the church that meets in their home….”

A popular Christian catchphrase today is, “You don’t go to church, you are the church.” While that sentiment is fundamentally true it should not pit “being the church” and “going to church” against each other. If we are truly “the Church,” then we will surely get together with other believers regularly. We cannot “be” the church if we don’t “go” to church.

The “Church” is not a single, individual Christian just going about his or her Christian duties, and never gathering together to worship with other believers. The “Church” by its very nature means multiple believers. The first followers of Jesus would get together weekly to worship God together, and at times even daily. They would also share community together in each other’s homes.

Paul and the other Apostle’s letters were actually sent to these church communities that gathered in various cities to be read aloud together. Church means getting together with other believers to worship Jesus Christ, hear the Scriptures together, and encourage one another in the faith. Church is more than a podcast. It’s community. It’s worshiping with others, praying for others, hurting with others, serving others, and being involved in the lives of others.

If you attend church, you may hear something that will motivate and convict you to make changes in your life. Each service is tailored and designed to maximize your Sunday worship so that you can leave with the best possible spiritual experience. You can praise and worship God and you can learn things that you didn’t know before. You will be challenged and motivated. Church is where you will be inspired to go higher than you’ve gone and to sync your life up with Jesus and His purpose and plan for your life

So is church attendance still important? Nothing does more for your spiritual health than regularly being in church.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you really need to attend church? Why or why not?
  2. Do you believe being part of a church satisfies our need for belonging and acceptance?
  3. Does church give you the ability to minister to others? Is church one of the ways to exercise the ministry gift God has given you to be a blessing to someone else?


“The one thing I ask of the LORD— the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.”  – Psalm 27:4

If you could ask God what He desires most from you, what do you think He would say? Would it be for you to give more, serve more, or share your faith more? Would He ask that you become more involved in church activities, join a church family, or attend more regularly? Do you think, at the end of the day, that God wants you to do more for Him?

David asks one thing of the Lord in Psalm 27. He is crystal clear. David’s one thing is this: continual and unhurried abiding in God’s beautiful, wise, and holy presence. This is what he’s seeking. This is what he wants.

Is that what we want? Too often we see God as a means to an end by asking Him to provide us with this or that. The trouble with that thinking is that we should be looking to God, not as a means to an end, but God as the end. He’s the one we want. He’s the one we need. So like David, our prayer is to make God our heart’s solitary desire. To love God with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind and all our strength.

There are a few instances recorded in the Bible when Jesus told His followers what “one thing” He most desired. When the rich young ruler came to Jesus to inquire about eternal life, Jesus lovingly told him that he lacked one thing. “Go, sell everything you own and give it to the poor. Then, come follow Me,” Jesus told him. Was Jesus telling him to work for salvation? Of course not. He was, however, telling him to abandon everything for His sake. There could be nothing of more value in the young ruler’s life than Jesus. Scripture tells us that the man went away sad because he was wealthy. He was unwilling to give up all he had to follow Jesus.

And then there were the two sisters, Mary and Martha. When Jesus came to their home to dine, Martha was busy in the kitchen working to serve her Lord. She became frustrated with her sister, who was “just sitting” with Jesus, not doing any work. Martha asks Jesus to make Mary help her, and what does Jesus say, ”There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42).  How many of us are busy in the kitchen, yet missing the one thing that is needed?

Prayer often involves focusing on many things that have our attention or capture our interest. But at the center of it all, drawing all things together and making sense of it all, is just one thing. This is what we should ask about. This is what we should seek. This is who we should seek. What might happen in our life if, like David, we were to pray one thing—day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year? How might you change, even if only a little bit at a time?

What one thing are you seeking? If it’s not Jesus, you are missing out on the great purpose for which you have been created.

Discussion Questions:

  1. When you think about God, what feelings arise? Do you feel light, cared for, and safe? David does in Psalm 27. If you don’t feel these things, what do your feelings say about how you see God these days? Take a little time to think and pray about this.
  2. Take a moment to list the many things in your life that concern you, interest you, involve you, and keep you from being unhurried. Can you imagine these as countless spokes of a wheel around a singular hub? Why not pray David’s prayer in verse 4 word for word as a way of remembering that one thing to which God invites us.


“Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6

Many people believe in moral relativism – the idea that there’s no such thing as absolute truth. We live in a culture that tells you that truth is relative, or that each person can make up their own truth. Yet Jesus said in John 14 that He is the truth. In other words, Jesus is saying that truth is not found in knowledge, religion, or philosophy, but in Him.  Jesus says it’s absolutely clear. He is both the way to God, and He is the ultimate truth.

“What is truth? Pilate asked in John 18:38 after Jesus prompted him by saying “I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” (Vs. 37)  Earlier, the disciples had asked Him to show them the way, Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).  And John 8:31-32 adds: “Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).

Jesus meant that truth is not merely some abstract thing floating out in space that we have to mystically experience or something we have to force our will to follow, but it was a person, Himself. In Colossians 2 8-9 we read, “Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.” Paul was telling the Colossians not to be deceived by “fine-sounding” logical “arguments” but to find all truth in Christ.

Paul answers Pilate’s question by saying that every truthful thing in the universe is found in Christ. While many people claim to know the truth, only Jesus could honestly claim to be the truth.

Our faith is built on the truth that is absolute. This truth is not just based on faith but on reason and evidence that has stood the test of time. Here are some scriptures that speak to the strength of the foundation of our faith. “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11). “Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.” (Isaiah 26:4).

We can be confident knowing our faith is based on eternal truth. When you are posed with the question of what is truth, know that Jesus is the truth. Beyond that, He is eternal, unchanging, and the rock on which our salvation stands. Since He will not change your confidence in Him as the truth need not be shaken.

Discussion Questions:

  1. It’s easy to get caught up in a sea of opinions and false truths about the Bible. What can you do to build up your confidence in the absolute truth of God’s word?
  2. How can you remain faithful in believing the truth, regardless of the dizzying opinions surrounding you every day?