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A GUIDE TO PREPARE 2013

Written upon every human heart is the longing to be forever satisfied.

The New Year has a funny way of reminding us of this. We put the guilt and shame of Christmas excess behind us as we declare to ourselves with optimistic determination, “A New Year, a new me!” And so begins our list of resolutions to spend less and save more, to eat smarter and exercise harder, to be more kind and less rude, to read a book instead of watch a flick, to take up a hobby or give up a habit, and on and on it goes. Whether we master our resolutions or not, we’re all striving to be more satisfied.

This innate desire to be more satisfied is the handiwork of our Creator

(Ecclesiastes 3:11). Yet our hearts are prone to find satisfaction not in the Creator but in created things, which ultimately lead us to death. But God, in His sheer grace, has fulfilled this longing for us through Christ. Psalm 16:9-11 captures the joy of being a recipient of this grace: Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Most reading this would likely identify yourself as a Christian; one who

has received, by grace through faith, new and eternal life in Jesus’ death and resurrection. This is the good news of the Gospel. But what I know from my own life, and having done life with many others in the Church, is that the truth of the Gospel too often lies dormant in our heads instead of breathing life into our hearts. Notice that the Psalmist’s joy comes not from simply knowing about God, but rather having his entire life mastered by God, “…my heart is glad…my body will rest secure…you [God] will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”


So the question is, “How do we move the eternal satisfying power of

the Gospel from our heads to our hearts?” The simple answer: faith. A daily, life-long rhythm of faith in the Gospel. Faith in the magnificent work of Jesus naturally leads to “an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8-9).

Lifestyle faith in the Gospel has three components: HEAR, SEE, DO. HEAR – Faith in God comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:14). To know the joy that comes from God is to hear how He’s revealed Himself in His Word: the Bible, which always points to Jesus. SEE – Hearing from God leads to clarity and confidence of seeing what cannot be seen (Hebrews 11:1; 2 Corinthians 4:18). God the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see the riches of the glorious inheritance that comes through Jesus (Ephesians 1:18). DO – Seeing the satisfying richness of God results in doing life for the glory of God (Psalm 63:5). The more satisfied we are in Jesus, the more known He is through us.

For the next three weeks (January 14th-February 2nd), we invite you to

seek our Heavenly Father through Scripture, prayer and fasting so that you might be more satisfied in Him so that He is more glorified in you. To commence PREPARE ’13, we ask you to join the Crossroads family in a three day fast from January 14-16. However, you should consider fasting from something (e.g., Facebook, TV, sweets, etc.) during the full 21 day period. For more information on fasting, see the appendix at the end of this booklet.

This PREPARE guide has been created to facilitate you in HEARING from

God, SEEING more of God, and DOING like God. Instead of trying to cram our minds with multiple truths of Scripture, why not slow down so we can actually HEAR and SEE more of God. That’s why we’re focusing on one Scripture a week. Each day, you’ll reflect on this Scripture, creating opportunity for you to truly taste and see the goodness of God. Set aside at least 15 minutes each day to work through this, reading and rehearsing the Scripture over and over.


The purpose of PREPARE 2013 is not to master something to gain satisfaction, but to be mastered by Someone who gives eternal satisfaction. God’s vision is that every man, woman, and child would be satisfied in

Him because they’ve responded in faith to the death and resurrection of Jesus. This is why we seek God together as a church. Imagine what could happen if every member of Crossroads was more satisfied in Jesus this year! The inevitable outcome would be that more of our family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers would come to know Him and be satisfied in Him.

When considering this idea, the Crossroads elders and staff sense God

leading us towards an ambitious goal in 2013. We believe that God wants Crossroads to ask Him to move 75 people to faith in Jesus through someone at Crossroads Community Church. To see 75 men, women, and children begin following Jesus because they’ve heard and seen the good news of the Gospel in a Crossroads member. We ask you to join us in achieving this goal.

PREPARE to HEAR from God, SEE more of God, and DO like God in 2013!! Brad Peterson Spiritual Formation Pastor On behalf of the Elders of Crossroads


week ONE matthew 6:9-13

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MONDAY HEAR [Jesus said] “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’”

SEE

Do you see that God wants to teach you to pray? It’s easy to dismiss the fact that we’re in need of learning how to pray. But ask yourself this, “Do I have an increased level of joy in life as a result of my prayer life?” According to Jesus, prayer is the key to experiencing the satisfaction He offers. He says in John 16:24, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” Jesus is not concerned with teaching us the proper lingo in our prayer, but rather teaching us the proper orientation of our prayer. In other words, Jesus is teaching all of us to shift our focus from our desires to God’s desires. The Westminster Catechism’s definition of prayer puts it this way, “Prayer is the offering up of our desires to God.” God wants you to be satisfied in Him so He is glorified through you. Prayer is the way for us to do so.

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DO Write a short, memorable prayer that you can repeatedly use that asks God to make your desires His desires. (If you’re married and/or have kids, do this together). It could be as simple as, “God, make our desires your desires.” In the Peterson home its, “Jesus, we want to believe that you are better than anyone or anything.” Whatever it is, make it a goal to say it daily.

___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

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TUESDAY HEAR Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name… 9

SEE

In order for our desires to become more like God’s desires, we must look at God and be completely awe-struck. Similar to the response evoked from gazing at a spectacular sunset or a magnificent mountain, we ought to have such a response when considering who God is and what He’s done. So how do we do this? Through the Scriptures, God’s revealed will. If you want to be more satisfied in God and want your prayers to continually transform your desires to His, then you must regularly renew your mind with the Word of God. As the Psalmist prayed, “Open my eyes that I might see wonderful things in your law…” (Psalm 119:18).

DO

Get with those in your community group or identify at least one close friend who will read Scripture with you. Make a commitment together to read Scripture and talk about it regularly, asking yourself, “What is God saying to me? What do I need to do about it?” Write the names of people you’ll do this with:

­___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

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For help in making a Bible reading plan consider the following: 1. Read the books our Pastor is preaching (typically three books per year). If the local church is called to “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority” (Hebrews 13:17), then part of that is putting ourselves under the preaching and teaching of the Word they’ve selected.

2. Go to www.biblegateway.com or www.youversion.com where you can find numerous types of reading plans. Pick one that is doable for your season of life and personality.

3. Determine a time and place that you will read and/or listen to the Word. For some, it will be at the kitchen table early in the morning before the kids are awake. For others, it will be the audio Bible on your smart phone during your 20 minute commute. Whatever it is, establish your time and place and schedule it as an appointment on your calendar.

4. Keep a journal to record your thoughts, questions, and prayers in response to your reading. Writing has a way of forcing you to process what you’re reading. Crossroads journals are available at the Welcome Table on Sundays. What is your plan for reading and meditating on God’s word this year? Write out the books you plan to read and dates you plan to do so: ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

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WEDNESDAY HEAR Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 10

SEE

Do you see whose agenda is to be primary in prayer? God’s kingdom come, God’s will be done. Jesus promises that our joy will be complete when we pray for anything according to his name (John 16:24). Therefore, we ought to be sure that we’re praying in accordance with what Jesus came to do. Jesus’ work on the cross and resurrection from the dead is all about bringing glory to God the Father. At the end of his earthly life Jesus said in John 17:3-4, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you [Father] have sent. I have brought you [Father] glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” If we want more joy in our life, our prayers and our actions must be about bringing God glory through Jesus.

DO

Write out what it might look like for God’s Kingdom to be represented through you. For help, look at passages like Matthew 22:1-14; Galatians 5:16-26; James 1:27. Relationships:_______________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________

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Money/Stuff:________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

Talents/Skills:________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

What do you sense God leading you to do differently or give up in order for His Kingdom and will to be done in your life? What do you need to keep persevering in? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ 7


THURSDAY HEAR Give us today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 11

SEE

Do you see that God is good and wants what is good for you? God is not simply Lord, but He is a good Lord. God is glorified when we are most satisfied in Him. That implies that we are satisfied and content with what He gives us. This is why Jesus teaches us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread.” Notice the emphasis is on what we need (daily food) when we need it (today). Jesus not only teaches us to pray for our individual needs to be satisfied, but he teaches us to pray for our relational needs to be satisfied, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Lasting satisfaction comes from the assurance we have in being reconciled to God through Jesus; the righteous for the unrighteous (1 Peter 3:18). Because we’ve been reconciled into an eternal relationship with God, we can then extend the same forgiveness to others (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). God gives you Himself so that you and those around you see His goodness.

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DO

Make a list of all the ways God has given you just what you needed when you needed it: ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

Who in your life do you need to forgive? Who do you need to ask for forgiveness from? What is it costing you and the other person if you fail to do so? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ 9


FRIDAY HEAR And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

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SEE

This final portion of Jesus’ lesson in prayer reminds us to be on guard of temptation. If God wants us to be most satisfied in Him, then it should be obvious that Satan’s main tactic is to lure us into being satisfied in anything other than God. Satan is the Father of lies and this is the greatest lie of all. We must continually seek our Father through His Word and prayer in community with the Church so that we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life.

DO

What barriers or excuses will creep into your life to keep you from God’s Word, prayer, and community? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ What can you do to overcome these? Who will help you? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ 10


SATURDAY Take some time to write out what you sense God saying to you. What are you seeing about Him? Yourself? Others? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

What is God encouraging you to do in light of what you’re seeing? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________


WEEK 2 1 PETER 2:9-12

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MONDAY HEAR

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 9

SEE

Do you see how the apostle Peter is describing the Church? First and foremost, the Church is described as a group of people rescued and adopted by God. The Church is a FAMILY. Secondly, the Church is described as being a family with a very specific mission: Declare the praises of him (God) who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. The Church is a FAMILY of MISSIONARIES. Thirdly, Peter describes the way the Church is to live in order to fulfill their mission. Namely, a life of service to God, one another and those outside the family. So, it could be said that the Church is a FAMILY of MISSIONARY SERVANTS sent to a specific people and place in history. Crossroads, we are a FAMILY of MISSIONARY SERVANTS sent to North Austin in 2013!

DO

Since the Church is sent to live out its identity to a specific people and place, who and where are you sent? List the names of people in the places you do life. These are the people God is calling you to declare His awesome works!

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HOME

WORK

NEIGHBORHOOD

FUN

OTHER

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Based on the description of the Church in 1 Peter, what would it look like for you to live out these characteristics this year? What do you need to do? Who do you need to help you? (If you’re in a community group, do this exercise together as a way to make some goals that you can strive towards together).

FAMILY Behaviors (what, how, when)

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­who will help


MISSIONARY Behaviors (what, how, when)

足who will help

Behaviors (what, how, when)

足who will help

SERVANTS


TUESDAY HEAR

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 9

SEE

Do you see yourself as infinitely valued (Once you were NOT a people, but now you are the people of God)? You came into this world to bear the image of God; to reflect the magnificence of the Creator of the Universe! But all of us give up this image for an image of our own. We believe the lie that the image of success, intelligence, beauty, wealth, independence, and so on, will fulfill our sense of purpose. In doing so, we forsake our Heavenly Father’s image for a lesser image, which leads to discontentment and ultimately destruction. What we need is to be re-made into the image of God through the power of one who can perfectly represent His image to us and for us. His name is Jesus. He lived the life we all should have lived, died the death we all should die, and rose to new life so that we could have our true image, our true identity – a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.

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DO

Write out the first thing that comes to mind in regards to the reality that you are infinitely valued by God. ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ Do you find yourself apathetic and indifferent to this reality? Why might that be? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ Write a simple prayer asking God to help you believe your true image/ identity in Him. ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

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WEDNESDAY HEAR

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 9

SEE

If you could see the original language of this verse, each reference to you is plural. So in Texan, it would read, “But ya’ll are a chosen people… that ya’ll may declare…Once ya’ll were not a people, but now ya’ll are…” The individuality that is so common to us is uncommon in how God works out His plan. There is only one individual who has perfectly fulfilled God’s plan and his name is Jesus Christ. It takes every member of the FAMILY of God living a life of SERVICE to God and others to fulfill the MISSION of God. In other words, whatever God is going to do in you and in the world, He is going to do through the community of His Church.

DO

How would you describe your relationship with the people of God (consider all your personal relationships with Christ-followers, not just at Crossroads)? How do these relationships compare to how a FAMILY ought to function? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________


What could you do to enhance these relationships so that it reflects a healthier picture of a FAMILY rescued and adopted by God? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

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THURSDAY HEAR

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 9

SEE

Do you see why God has chosen us to be in His family? The purpose of God rescuing and restoring you is that you would declare His lifechanging power in Jesus. The Church is God’s MISSIONARY people living everyday in every nook and cranny of the world. We have been rescued from sin for this MISSION. We are being restored from sin by living out this MISSION. And every member of God’s FAMILY is needed to live out this MISSION.

DO

Look back at the names you wrote out on Monday (the people around you in your everyday routines), and write their names here: ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

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Now, ask God to use you for the mission that He rescued you for: To make His goodness known to everyone you do life with in the everyday. Make the prayer specific to every name on your list. Your prayer may be something like, “God, use me to make you known to Jon…Jerry…Lisa… Tony…Debbie…” Do you really believe God created you, died for you, and rose from the dead for you so that you could live out this mission? If ‘no’, why? If ‘yes’, how does that affect the way you live during the week? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

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FRIDAY HEAR

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 11

SEE

How are we to show others the awesomeness of God’s mercy and grace? The apostle Peter makes it clear in this passage: By living lives of service to God and one another among those outside God’s family. A life of SERVICE means that we are humble because we’ve been served by Jesus (see Philippians 2:3-11). This means we confess and fight our sin with the help of the Holy Spirit and the church family. We openly confess our sin because it’s been taken care of at the cross. We aggressively fight our sin because it’s warring against the joy Jesus bought for us. Such a life of service to God and the Church family frees us to serve those outside God’s family with a sense of joy, not guilt. We do it expecting nothing in return because Jesus went to the cross expecting many would deny him. We do it admitting our own mistakes and struggles because Jesus went to the cross with all our past, present, and future sin in mind. This way of SERVICE is how the world will see the beauty of the Gospel.

DO

Do you find yourself pretending to be someone you’re not around certain people? Which people? Why is that? And how do you think that affects their view of the Gospel? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________


A central component of serving others is simply spending time doing everyday stuff together. This allows people to know you and see how God is changing you. Consider some everyday activities in your weekly routine and write the names of those (both in and outside the church) who could join with you:

Meals:

Housework:

Playtime with kids:

Watching TV:

Shopping:

Sunday church service:

Other:

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SATURDAY Invite some people to join you in doing something fun (movie, concert, dinner, birthday party, etc.). Include people from your community group or others you hang with at Crossroads and those outside the church (not-yet followers of Jesus). If someone from Crossroads is sick or hurting, consider visiting them, making them dinner, or simply calling to check-in and pray with them.

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WEEK 3 PSALM 63

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MONDAY HEAR O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 1

I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. 3 Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. 4 I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. 5 My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. 2

On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. 7 Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. 8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. 6

They who seek my life will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth. 10 They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals. 11 But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by God’s name will praise him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced. 9

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SEE

Do you see that God is the main character of David’s life? Twenty-one times God is referenced in these eleven verses. Only God has the right to be preeminent in our lives. David experienced this and longed for God to be more and more the center of his life. Why? As the famous author C.S. Lewis said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”Only God satisfies the thirst of our souls.

DO

Read this Psalm three more times, but slowly. Read it aloud and put emphasis on every “you” in reference to God. Personalize verses 1-5 as a prayer. With every reference to I, me, my insert your name (Example: “O God, you are Joe’s God, earnestly Joe seeks you…”). After saying the prayer for yourself, pray on behalf of Crossroads. This time, insert “Crossroads” (Example: “O God, you are Crossroads’ God, earnestly Crossroads seeks you…”). Make it a goal to memorize this prayer by the end of the week.

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TUESDAY HEAR O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. 1

SEE

Do you see in yourself the same longing for God that David had in this Psalm? If we’re going to be honest, all of us waver in this. There are days we feel super tuned in to God, and days we feel super distant from God. Welcome to being human! Even David who God called, “a man after God’s heart,” often felt distant from God (see Psalm 13, 22:1-2). So what do we do in the midst of those dry seasons; those times when we aren’t really in to God? Notice what David recalls seeing in verse 2. He recalls the amazing works of God in and around him. He remembers the faithfulness of God in spite of his unfaithfulness. Simply put, David reminds himself that God is God.

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DO

Express all the ways you have seen God work in and around you, your family, friends, church, city, and world. What does all this say about God? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

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WEDNESDAY HEAR I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. 2

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. 4 I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. 5 My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. 3

SEE

Notice what David specifically sees is that “God’s love is better than life.” The New Testament tells us why, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him” (1 John 4:10). David had seen and experienced that whatever his circumstances, life has its fullness in being a recipient of the Father’s love.

DO

What is the natural response of being the recipient of something so good? How does David respond in verses 3-5? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ When was the last time you talked to anyone (Christian or non) about God’s love for you as shown through the death and resurrection of Jesus? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________


On a scale of 1 – 5, how awkward and unnatural was that (compare it to how natural it is for you to talk about something you enjoy)? _________ Find a fellow Christian that you will talk with about God’s love in your life. Start your conversation with something like this, “I was wondering if I could share with you how grateful I am for God’s work in my life.” Then, tell them specific ways you’ve seen God’s love show up in your life. Write out what you would say here: ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

Identify who else in your social networks (family, work, neighborhood, fun) you could you share this with? Write their names here: ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ Based on what God is showing you in Psalm 63, what is at stake for you personally if you do not talk about His love? What is at stake for those who may have never heard or seen His love? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

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THURSDAY HEAR They who seek my life will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth. 10 They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals. 9

But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by God’s name will praise him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced. 11

SEE

Do you see what happens when anyone or anything other than God attempts to rule your life? (Note the bolded words). For David, certain men were out to kill him so they could have his place on the throne. But notice David’s confidence in the midst of this; he knew that no matter how close his enemies came to destroying him, in the end they would not prevail. The inevitable result of anything other than God that attempts to rule your life is destruction. We are in a real battle just as David was, though our enemy may not be as visible (see Ephesians 6:12). Satan is the ruler of all the forces that seek to deceive us into thinking that anyone or anything other than God will satisfy us. Satan is vigilant in robbing us of the joy that comes in Jesus. Therefore, we must remain vigilant in confessing the ways we’ve bought into the Lie and turning back to the Grace of God.

DO

What do you think you need to be happy? How do you respond when you don’t get it? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________


Do you find yourself hiding or downplaying a certain sin struggle in your life? Why are you afraid to confess this and turn to your Savior’s transforming grace? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

Knowing that anything other than God that attempts to rule you will be destroyed, and knowing that your Heavenly Father accepts all who turn to him with loving arms, will you confess your sin to a brother or sister in Christ? Write who that will be and when you plan to do it: ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

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FRIDAY

HEAR

On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. 7 Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. 8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. 6

SEE

What have you been seeing about God? Yourself? Others? God: ______________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________

Self: ______________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________

Others: ____________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________

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DO

Attempt to write out from memory the personalized prayer from verses 1-5. If you can’t get it, read through it five times, then try writing it out from memory again (repeat until memorized). ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

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SATURDAY Do something that you really enjoy today, and have fun! Thank God that He gives us things to enjoy in the here and now, and that they are a shadow of what life with Him will be like in eternity.

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APPENDIX ON FASTING The goal of fasting is not just to do without food; it is to draw nearer to God. The definition of a biblical fast is, “to restrict food for a spiritual purpose.” Biblical fasting always has to do with restricting food for a spiritual purpose. Fasting is not just an exercise for the super- spiritual, but it should be a periodic discipline in the life of every believer. The constant demands and pressures of daily life on your mind, will, and emotions can weigh you down and cause you to lose focus and feel spiritually sluggish and desensitized. Fasting hits the reset button of your soul and renews you from the inside out. Fasting is a way for you to celebrate the goodness and mercy of God and prepare your soul to expand and contain the fresh, new purposes and work God desires to bring into your life (Matthew 9:14-17). Choosing the Right Fast for You: Your personal fast should present a level of challenge, but it is very important to know your own body, know your options and most importantly, seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do. Types of Fasts: An absolute fast is what Moses did when he was on Mount Sinai for forty days when, “he neither ate bread nor drank water.” (Exodus 34:28) Rarely is an absolute fast practiced for a long period of time. Some will abstain from all food and all water for a short period, but longer periods are not recommended since physical complications could result.

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A normal fast is when only water is consumed. This would be the type practiced by Elijah (see 1 Kings 19:8) and Jesus (see Matthew 4). They abstained from food for 40 days. A partial fast is when some foods are restricted. Two of the most common partial fasts are: •

Juice fast: Consuming vegetable and fruit juices and water instead of solid food. Some include whey protein in their liquid plan as well. This is a popular and effective fast. Substituting liquids for one or two meals is an alternative.

• Daniel fast: Based on the fasting principles of the prophet in Daniel 1 and 10. Daniel 1 states that he ate only vegetables and water, and Daniel 10 states that he ate no rich (or choice) foods, as well as no meat or wine. The foundation of the Daniel fast is fruits and vegetables. The website www.daniel-fast.com is a good source of information about this fast. Remember, the power of fasting has less to do with food than with setting yourself apart for a specific period of time to focus more on the Lord, prayer, and worship. Another form of fasting would be to pick an activity or usual activity that you could cut out for 21 days and use the time normally spent doing that activity – directed to concentrated prayer. Examples: cut out watching TV for 21 days and dedicate that time to prayer, or Facebook, or reading…..you get the idea. You could also fast from a specific thing in your diet: like sugar or bread or caffeine……something that potentially has control in your life. Bottom Line: Ask God if He would have you fast for 21 days and ask Him from what?

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Prepare 2013 Spiritual Reading Guide  

Prepare 2013 Spiritual Reading Guide