“The inner essence of worship is to know God truly and then respond from the heart to that knowledge by valuing God, treasuring God, prizing God, enjoying God, being satisfied with God above all earthly things. And then that deep, restful, joyful satisfaction in God overflows in demonstrable acts of praise from the lips and demonstrable acts of love in serving others for the sake of Christ.” – John Piper

There is nothing like a worship song to get the adrenaline flowing. Music invites participation; it offers every person in attendance a way to get involved: singing, clapping, or even moving to the sound. There is that moment when the worship team is playing a song, and you are ushered into the presence of God. Music has the unique ability to stir our spirits and emotions.

Musical worship appears throughout scripture. “Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord: “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously…” (Exodus 15:1) Later in the chapter, Miriam led the women in song and dance (Exodus 15:20). King David, a man after God’s heart, continuously worshiped in song, dance, and music. “Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation” (Psalm 95:1).

Psalm 98 is an expression of jubilant, joyful worship. With trumpets blasting, hands clapping, and people singing and shouting for joy, there is a great celebration of all the wonderful things God has done. Psalm 92 begins with an announcement that it is good to praise and make music to the Lord: ”It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the Most High. It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening, accompanied by a ten-stringed instrument, a harp, and the melody of a lyre.” 

Music is an excellent way for us to worship and experience God and to keep focused on the important things in life, the things that God cares about. Christians worship through music because it expresses praise, glory, honor, and reverence for the Lord. But the bottom line is that worship is a lifestyle. It is characterized by devotion, obedience, and love for God and others. Additionally, it is a conscious action. Worship requires effort. It can be expressed in numerous ways; one way is music. The time set aside to worship through music creates a strong connection and realization of God’s character, holiness, goodness, and power.

Every day, our lives can show that we bring joyful worship to God. Our lives are the music that tells the story of our redemption and hope in Christ. Through our lives, others hear the joyful music of what living in a relationship with a loving God is all about.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. How can music be a conduit into God’s presence?
  2. How can music help you experience God’s presence in your life?


“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” – Colossians 3:12

The world we live in popularizes being great at all things, being better than those you are competing against, and celebrating our achievements with tweets, posts, and conversations.  We want the opportunity to “do great things.” Christianity has a different view: if you want to be great, you must have the humility to be a servant.  C.S. Lewis once said, “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”

In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi, he wanted them to know the value of humility and being a true servant. “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). He knew that a faithful follower of Jesus was to clothe themselves in humility.

Jesus Christ had every opportunity to grab hold of status, power, and authority.  Jesus was God and deserved to stay in heaven. Yet, out of His great love for us, He chose to come to earth as a human. Jesus even chose to obey God to the point of dying an embarrassing and painful death on the cross for our sins. Jesus is the perfect example of humility, and we are to follow His example. Now, can we follow His example perfectly? No. Only Jesus can be perfectly humble, but because of His humility, He offers us salvation and forgiveness for all the times we’re not perfect. While our imperfect humility can’t bring salvation to others, as Jesus’ perfect humility did, it can help others want to know more about our God.

But it isn’t easy to be humble, even if you are. What is there about us that makes us want to receive credit? Why do we tend to compare ourselves to others? Why are we prone to find fault with others? In those times, in fact, in all times, we need to remember that Jesus became nothing during His life on earth, and He gives us His example so that we may follow in His steps.  As John the Baptist said, ”He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” (John 3:30)

Humility is recognizing that everything I have and need comes from God. It’s an attitude of heart that affects everything a person does and says. To be humble is to realize how weak and helpless we are to change the course of our lives in our power. It’s to ask God for His forgiveness and to trust Him for His guidance.  That’s what He wants to see abiding in our hearts. “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

Discussion Questions: 

  1. Read Philippians 2:3-4. How do these verses describe humility? (not being selfish or trying to impress, thinking of others, taking an interest in others) Why is it hard for us not to think about ourselves first?
  2. What can we do to remember who God is and who we are?  


Now, someone may argue, ‘Some people have faith; others have good deeds.’ But I say, ‘How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.’- James 2:18.

James is perhaps one of the most profound books in the Bible. It is written to believers and challenges us to understand how to live the Christian life. One may say, “Hold on for a second. I am a believer; I have asked Jesus to forgive me for my sins. Is that not enough?” The answer is yes and no.

First, we must remember that we do not receive salvation because of our works. We are saved by works, but it is the work of Christ. God the Father planned our salvation in the past, but it was accomplished when the Son of God took on flesh and walked this earth. The core of His saving work is the two central events in Jesus’s life—His death and resurrection. His perfectly sinless life is counted as our perfectly sinless life. His death becomes our death, His resurrection our resurrection. Through His works, Christ has accomplished what we could never do for ourselves. When we come to Christ, sincerely confessing our sins and asking Him to save us, He does just that. Through His works, Christ has accomplished what we could never do for ourselves.

But we also need to understand that it is one thing to believe in God and another to obey Him and do what He asks us to do. James makes the stunning observation that the demons believe in God; that is, they know that God exists and even tremble in fear with that knowledge (James 2:19). When James talks about having faith in God, he means trusting God in the manner of our living.  Faith is more than a decision to believe; it is a willingness to act.

James is not talking about applying scripture to others. Nor does He want us to underline all the commands in the Bible to pass on to others. He is talking to each one of us. Simply hearing or reading the Bible only gets us so far. We can mark up our Bible, but the question is whether the Bible marks us. If a person thinks he is spiritual just because he hears the Word of God, not because he does the Word, he is deceiving himself. The value of the Bible does not consist merely in knowing it but in obeying it. To be a doer of the Word means to do more, take action, and be proactive. We do this out of gratitude for what Christ has done for us.

The Word of God commands us to take action, but many people seem to be waiting for some great spiritual experience to jumpstart them doing what the Bible tells them to do. Being a doer is taking the Word of God and allowing it to impact our lives, so it changes us. It changes the way we speak, think, and live. It changes the way we treat our spouse. It changes the way we act in business. It changes everything about us. If we are to use the mirror of God’s Word profitably, we must gaze into it carefully and thoughtfully. No glances will do. We must examine our hearts and lives in the light of God’s Word.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does it mean to you to be doing good works? 
  2. Why is it so hard to move from a hearer to a doer?
  3. What can we do to move further into the doers column this week?


For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” – Hebrews 4:12.

You sit down at the kitchen table. You have your Bible, Matthew Henry’s commentary, some note pages, and a pen. You are ready for some serious study. But today’s reading is in Leviticus, and soon, you are a bit overwhelmed. Suddenly, studying the bible feels intimidating, even a bit ominous. Yes, you want to dive into God’s Word, and yes, you are eager to learn and grow as the Holy Spirit speaks into your life.  And right there, we run head first into how we value God’s Word.

The Bible is the most essential book in the world. If we view the Bible as a beautiful book with limited application to our life in the 21st century, we will not value or study it as we should. But if we view the Bible as God showing us His heart, His plan for mankind, and the sacrificial gift of Jesus that brings us into right standing with Him, we will give it the respect it deserves. Because when we value God’s Word, we will work to grow our knowledge of it and understand that the Bible is not only a book for today but also the book of the future. Why would you not want to have the fullest possible understanding of your Savior and Creator?

The Apostle Paul said this in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “God inspires all Scripture and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.  God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” That text should end claims that we do not need to study the Bible. There is profit from a careful study of the Bible. Because God inspires the Bible, it gives us a valuable and profitable asset at our fingertips.

The 66 books in the Bible collectively make a unique volume that talks about all the most important matters of life. It deals with right and wrong, morality, life on earth, and life after death, and touches on all the complicated issues of humanity.

Attempting to understand the Bible is not a walk in the park. It takes time, effort, concentration, and perseverance. At times, we must be willing to research and dig into resources outside of our regular reading. It requires a genuine desire to learn.

Studying God’s Word may be challenging, but it is doable and eminently worthwhile. God did not give us His Word to confuse us but to enlighten us. He revealed the contents of the Bible so that we could understand. But understanding requires study. If we are unwilling to put in the effort and the work, then it is easy to miss out on the rich, life-changing knowledge we gain by studying the Bible. The rewards of pouring over and examining the Bible make the work well worth it. The effort we exert in seeking to know the Word will be nothing compared to the payment we receive back from it.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Read Psalm 119:103, 105, 114, and 160: What do these verses say about studying the Bible?
  2. What can we do this week to improve reading and studying the Bible?


“There are storms of this life still to be met, so get behind Christ by following him in the path of duty. If you never go anywhere but where Christ leads the way, you need not be afraid of storms, for they will beat upon him more than upon you.” – Charles Spurgeon.

Quantum Leap is a TV series where a physicist takes journeys back in time. Each week, we find Ben in a different time and a different place. Suppose you could travel back to Biblical times what scene would you want to see? Would it be the parting of the Red Sea? Or David and Goliath? To Bethlehem or a front-row seat at the sermon at the mount? Or would you choose to see Jesus still the storm?

There you would be, standing alongside the disciples when they woke Jesus and said, “ …Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown” (Mark 4:38)? Then you would stand in awe when Jesus rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still! “The wind stopped and there was great calm (Mark 4:39-40). We would walk away with a different perspective on storms.  We will face storms. When storms rage around us, and every wave leaves us gasping for air, what do we do? What do we believe about Jesus? Do we believe that He’s sleeping, inattentive, disinterested? Are we left wondering if He has the power or wants to change things?

Maybe today, you are in the middle of a massive storm. The difficulties on your plate are too much—too hard to handle on your own. Jesus can turn the darkest moment around in a way you thought couldn’t be done. He wants to take care of our problems—but we must rely on Him. That’s what faith is all about. It does not mean you won’t face another storm. It means you now have someone on board your boat who takes care of the winds and waves no matter how many storms you encounter. Jesus brings peace and calm to the struggles you face.

So, what storm are you going through in life? What is it that’s giving you a difficult time right now? What is it that is bringing you pain, heartache, suffering, and disappointment?

Hebrews 6:18 encourages us to seize or take hold of the hope God has set before us, to grab it and not let it go. Hebrews 6:19 says, “This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.”

Without an anchor to keep us steady, when the storms of life hit, our souls – our minds, will, and emotions – will be tossed in the wind and rain. Hope in God, and His promises is the anchor that keeps us steady regardless of what circumstances we might be facing. Maybe you are in a storm that has lasted so long you’ve given up hope of anything being different. Grab the promise in Psalm 30:5, and don’t let it go. “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is the purpose of the “life storms” we experience? How have you reacted to the “life storms” you’ve experienced?
  2. How has God proven himself faithful to you during a difficult time? What does having faith look like in your life?
  3. What practical things can we do to help us face future “life storms” more confidently?


“But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect” – Matthew 5:48.

“Nobody’s perfect.”

While the fact that nobody’s perfect is an oft-used statement, people are constantly seeking perfection. Too often, we measure our success against unrealistic standards and expect others to do the same. But who could live up to the ideal of perfection?  Yet there is that troubling Bible verse: “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

Most people probably read those words and scratch their heads. How can we be perfect as God is when we can’t even reach perfection on a human level?

Fortunately, there are some critical differences in perfection between the world and God. Worldly perfection is mainly focused on our ability to conform to a set of standards that drive our self-worth.  In this model, our worth stems from what we do and how well we do it. God doesn’t define perfection in the same way we do. He knows that we are human. He knows we are frail. He knows we are on a journey, in progress, not yet reaching the final goal, and He loves us just as we are.

Yes, God does command us to be perfect. But He doesn’t expect us to be perfect in the sense that we never sin.  1 John 1:8 says, “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.” He knows we sin and remedied that through the priesthood of Jesus: “My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous”     

No matter how hard we try, we sin constantly and are far from perfect. We sin more than we probably realize. We commit sins of commission—doing that which we shouldn’t, and sins of omission—not doing that which we should. God sees and knows our shortcomings. That is why, in daily life, we need His grace and His unconditional love. Jesus’ righteousness is credited to us, so when God looks at us, He sees us as perfect.

God loves completely. Perfectly. Jesus taught us to love everyone, regardless of faith, nationality, or personality. Will we ever achieve loving perfectly like our heavenly Father loves? Not in this life. But this is our goal, and we are to pursue it wholeheartedly. Perfect love is a standard impossible for us to attain by our efforts. But what is impossible for man becomes possible for those who give their lives to Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in our hearts. “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

When I accept my imperfection, understand my inability, and receive God’s grace, I can love others in a way that is characteristic of our heavenly Father.

And that is what He expects from each of us.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does it mean to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect?
  2. How can you be better at loving others this week?


“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela in his book Long Walk to Freedom.

I’m sure you’ve noticed it’s pretty difficult, if not impossible, to like everyone. Some people are so irritating, and you feel uneasy or annoyed in their presence. You have negative feelings toward them, and you’ve got to be careful lest it intensifies into something stronger.  If we are not careful, it can morph into anger and hatred over time.

The word hate occurs approximately 83 times in the Old Testament and 17 times in the New Testament. The New Testament challenges the idea that one person is allowed to hate another. In Matthew 5:43-45, Jesus says: “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.”

As Christians, we will never match up with the highest ideals of love, but we must realize that hatred is poison. Hatred doesn’t right a wrong, open a dialogue, stop a war, mend a relationship, or enrich us physically, mentally, emotionally, or physically. Hatred saps abilities, talents, energies, and life.

Love, on the other hand, builds lives. It makes people better. It can edify the one expressing the love and the one being loved. Love corrects, while hatred finds fault. Love listens, while hatred only wants to be heard. Love desires repentance; hatred desires retribution. Love is much better.

Nelson Mandela was often asked how he felt about the 27 years of imprisonment. You would think he was bitter, resentful, or even angry. But he wasn’t.  He said, “Bitterness only hurts oneself. If you hate, you will give them your heart and mind. Don’t give those two things away.”  Proverbs 10:12 says, “Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses.”

So what happens when you feel hatred towards another human being? It does happen. We live in a world where people come and go and experience vastly different things in all avenues of life. If you hate someone, ask yourself, why? Then, turn your disappointments, offenses, frustrations, hurts, and the anger they cause over to God. Determine that you will do whatever is necessary to ensure that anger doesn’t control you. Forgive people. Accept disappointments and delays patiently, trusting God’s plan and timing.

“Goodness is stronger than evil; love is stronger than hate; light is stronger than darkness.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How do you deal with hatred? What is the typical outcome of your hatred?
  2. Proverbs 10:12 says, “Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses.”  What does that verse mean to you?


“Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”- Isaiah 40:28-31.

Where is your source of power? God is the perfect and on-time source for everything you need or want. The only catch is you have to receive Him as your one and only source by faith. The word of God will renew your mind and feed your faith.  If you allow Him, God can do more than we ask or think, and His power is working within us daily. The scriptures make the case that we need to be entirely dependent on Him.

Romans 11:36 says, “For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory…”  Exodus 15:2 says, “The LORD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory…” Psalm 28:7 adds “The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.”… 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (AMP): Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me; but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me. So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength].”

God is our power source.  If God closes a door in your life, He can open another door. And if another door closes, He can open a window, and you can crawl through it. God is not limited to your ability and capacity.  Bank accounts rise and fall. Economies go up and down. Stock markets can go bull or bear. It doesn’t matter. By coming to Jesus daily, you draw from the source of all resources. He is the love you need, the joy that will motivate and renew you, and the strength that will carry you through the day, no matter how much supply you require.

“Many Christians estimate difficulty in the light of their own resources, and thus they attempt very little and they always fail. All giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on His power and presence to be with them.” – Hudson Taylor

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does it mean to you for God to be your source and supply? 


  “Not a single one of all the good promises the Lord had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything he had spoken came true.“ – Joshua 21:45.

Few things are more comforting than knowing and believing that God is at work in our lives. That comfort is not a result of anything we do but in a God whose promises never fail.  Joshua 21:45 clarifies: “Not a single one of all the good promises the LORD had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything he had spoken came true.” Joshua tells us that not even one of God’s promises was left unfulfilled…not even one.   

The question is whether we underestimate and take for granted the remarkable gift of God’s promises. God’s promises are not empty words, nor are they distant or detached. They are personal and transformative and give us hope and become an anchor in the storms of life. In times of uncertainty, we can cling to the promises of His presence and His guiding hand. In moments of doubt, we can find reassurance in the promises of His unconditional love and unending grace. And the good news is  the promises of God are not for select people but are accessible to all believers. D. L. Moody said, “God never made a promise that was too good to be true.”

And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge” (2 Peter 1:4-5).

It is not enough to possess knowledge of His promises; we must have unwavering trust in them and allow them to guide our every step. In the Bible, we encounter men and women who demonstrated faith in claiming God’s promises. One example is the story of Abraham. Despite his old age, he believed in God’s promise of descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky (Genesis 15:5). Abraham’s faith moved him to action, and he became known as the father of many nations. Similarly, we are called to trust in the faithfulness of our Heavenly Father and step out in faith and trust His promises.   

 The Bible’s promises have always been and always will be trustworthy. We can count on them. Don’t allow the times when you are discouraged or experiencing setbacks in your life make you give up on God’s promises for you.  Even if you do not see what God is doing, He is active behind the scenes. He is there, and He will fulfill His promises.

Discussion Questions:

  1. We can trust God, no matter how impossible the situation, because God always keeps His promises. Agree or disagree and why? 
  2. If you completely accepted God’s promises, how would that change how you look at fear?  


“This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain.” – Hebrews 12:27

Is our faith prepared to stand whatever comes our way? Because troubles will come. They will come as the normal stresses of daily life to something that can shake the very foundation of our faith. But an unshakeable faith will keep us standing firm whatever life throws at us.

We can learn a lot about unshakeable faith from the Apostle Peter. It is easy to identify with Peter because his life, like ours, is something of a rollercoaster ride. For instance, in Matthew 16:16, in response to Jesus’ poignant and ageless question, “But who do you say I am?” Peter boldly and accurately responds, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus affirms this answer and gives Peter the keys to the kingdom. Peter is on the mountaintop.  However, a few verses later, Jesus says to Peter: ““Satan, get away from me! ” Off the mountaintop.  But this is not an isolated incident.

Peter witnesses the transfiguration and naively suggests they build tents to stay awhile (Mark 9:5-6 (ESV). Peter proudly declares that he will never desert Jesus, but a short time later, after following Jesus at a distance, Peter vehemently denies ever knowing Him. In Peter, we see ups and downs: brilliance, then ignorance. He’s believing yet fearful, faithful but broken. Peter’s journey of faith is a microcosm for all of us.

God allows us to watch Peter’s faith grow as we read the Gospels, the book of Acts, and Peter’s two letters. Over time, Peter’s faith transformed from shaky to unshakeable.

Faith is being sure of things we hope for spiritually but haven’t experienced or seen with our own eyes yet. It is trusting in Jesus Christ- who He is and what He accomplished on the cross. Faith is believing His promises to us are true.

As modern-day ambassadors for Christ, we must ask God for an unshakable faith to step forward into whatever our unique callings require each day.  When we face troubles, we must remind ourselves that we belong to Jesus. God is bigger than any trial or problem life may throw at you. Nothing touches your life that He doesn’t know about. He can use whatever trial He allows into your life to strengthen your faith and shape your character. He has the power and authority to remove it or use it and walk with you through it.

We cannot grow our faith. That is solely the work of the Holy Spirit. However, we can position ourselves to cooperate with His activity. Growing in faith is a lifelong journey in our Christian life.

Discussion Questions:

  1. If I’m genuinely going to walk by faith, it will involve some risk. Agree or disagree?
  2. How willing are you to fail in life? What do you dislike most about failing? How willing are you to fail in an attempt to honor God?