Live Wise

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Titus 2:1-6

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.


Questions:

There is a big difference between knowing the right thing and doing the right thing.  Here in Chapter 2, Paul guides Titus to address the issues mentioned in chapter 1 (which were bad theology and even worse actions).  Which one the above mentioned categories represents you? (hint: if you are married or live outside your parent’s home you would be considered “older” even though you still feel young at heart)

Use these descriptions as a mirror.  How do you reflect (or fail to reflect) each one of these characteristics?

Why was it important that Jesus followers “behave” a certain way?  Is it still important now?

What benefits would come from living this way?

What are the potential damages of not living out these characteristics?

(As you think through these questions consider 3 filters: how does this affect my relationship with God, myself, and with others?)

Pray for wisdom and clarity how God would want you to live out your beliefs.

Reputation

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Titus 1:10-16

10 For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. 11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. 12 One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.


Questions:

What kind of a reputation do you have?  What are you known for?

Paul quotes the Greek Philosopher Epimenides when he refers to “a prophet of their own” in verse 12. The Cretans had a reputation of being evil lazy liars and, according to Paul, they had earned that reputation. They were even self-proclaiming of their reputation. Although vile actions were the way of the culture they weren’t something to be embraced by the followers of Jesus in Crete. By living out the love of Jesus in this culture, these early believers had an incredible opportunity to reach their fellow Cretans.

What do you want your reputation to be?  What do you want to be known for?

In order to develop that reputation what is one thing you can start doing today?

Can you think of somebody that has the reputation and is leaving the same kind of legacy you would like to have?  What gives them their reputation.

Thank Jesus for giving us an example of what it looks like to live and love counter-culturally.  Pray that the Holy Spirit would help you to transform from a product of the culture to a model of Jesus.

God Never Lies

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Titus 1:1-9

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;

To Titus, my true child in a common faith:

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.


Questions:

Paul makes a statement in verse 2 that we would be wise to reflect on.  Shortly after the pen touches the parchment of Paul’s letter to Titus he make the aside statement, “…God, who never lies…”

Think about that statement for a moment.

Every single word ever spoken by God, every insight, every account, every promise is absolutely and completely 100% true for all time.  Now consider this, God has spoken a lot.  Paul calls Scripture “God-breathed”.  Jesus is the very Word of God in the flesh.  Everything represented, spoken, and revealed in Scripture and in the person of Jesus Christ is undefiled truth.

So why do you think humanity has so many trust issues with God?

Evaluate your own heart for a moment.  Where do you have trust issues with God?

What do you think causes these issues?

Do you believe God loves you?  Do you believe He knows what is best for you?  Do you believe He wants what is best for you?

To love is to trust and to trust is to obey.  Ask God to reveal where you have been hesitating to trust Him.  Take a step of faith today as a demonstration of your love and trust for God.

Prepare

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Are you prepared? This question has become more common with the cultural phenomenon of apocalypse prepping. People are building bunkers on a scale that rivals the Cold War.  Although the Bible doesn’t say anything about stockpiling canned beans or bullets, there are a few things in the Bible that Christians are specifically commanded to prepare for.  We are to be proactive, ready to respond, established so as not to miss the opportunity when it inevitably comes our way. This weekend we kick off our brand new series to explore the commands given to us to prepare.  Join us at one of our 3 campuses (or join us online on Saturday @ 4, or 5:30pm, or on Sunday @ 9, 10:30, or 11:59am).

He is Eternal Life

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1 John 5:13-21

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

16 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.

18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. 19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.


Questions:

While traveling with His disciples (including the one who wrote 1 John), Jesus asked them a couple simple yet vital questions.  He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”

Take a moment to think about the answer to this question in today’s culture.  Who do people say that Jesus is?

Jesus then uses this question and subsequent answers to get to the real question.  The question of most importance.  He asks them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Imagine for a moment that you and Jesus are speaking face to face and He asks you this same question.

How would you answer?

Does your life reflect your answer or are there some major discrepancies?

As John concludes his letter he says that he writes it so that we may know that we have eternal life.  So how can we know?  Some days my behavior reflects my faith in Jesus more than others.  So how can I be certain?  Has your life been changed by your faith in Jesus?  If you trust in Jesus there will be life change, even though some days may be better than others.  But our confidence shouldn’t come from our behavior it should come from our Savior.  While we will spend the remainder of our lives being shaped, changed, molded, guided, transformed, and conformed to the image of Jesus, Jesus Himself will never change.  It is in Him that we find our confidence. “He is the true God and eternal life.”  It is His righteousness, His perfection, His promise that gives us the confidence to know that we have eternal life.

Talk to Jesus.  Tell Him who you say that He is.  Pray for His continual transformation of your life and thank Him for giving you confidence in eternal life with Him.

Yes!

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1 John 5:1-12

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God:by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.


Questions:

There are almost an unlimited supply of resources available to help us in our relationships. Go to Barnes and Noble you will find an entire sections of the store devoted to relationships. You can pick up a book on parenting the strong-willed child or learning to communicate with your spouse. Go online and you will find thousands of posts on relationships in a quick Google search. Find your “perfect” marriage partner on the internet with online dating services. There are workshops you can attend. Classes you can enroll in and counselors ready to provide professional guidance on any aspect of your relationships.

A wise person will take advantage of the relational resources that are available today, but all of the best relational tools in the world still leave us incomplete if we fail to include the most important resource.

In today’s passage, John teaches that there is one thing that will help us find success in life. He writes, “this is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out is commands.” He goes on to say that “victory that has overcome the world” comes through faith in Jesus.

If you want to give and receive love in your marriage, it starts with Jesus. If you want to lead your children well and help them to grow and mature, it starts with Jesus. If you want to build friendships that endure, you guessed it, it starts with Jesus. The starting point to excel in relationships, is understanding and receiving the love of Christ. Jesus gives life eternal and brings life to our relationships. “Whoever has the son has life.”

Have you said “yes” to Jesus’ love? Have you received the grace and love of Jesus? Jesus changed the world and when you say Yes to Him he will change your life. He will change your relationships. If you have not said “Yes” to Jesus, you can do that now.

“Jesus, I need you. I believe that You died for my sins and I receive your free gift of forgiveness today. I surrender my life to you and allow you to be my leader. I say “yes” to you today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

If you said “Yes” to Jesus today for the first time, send us an email at yes@sunvalleycc.com. We would love to celebrate with you and give you a book to help you take your next step with Jesus.

Let Love Show

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1 John 4:7-21

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 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. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends,since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear,because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen,cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command:Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.


Questions:

LOVE is one of the most overused words in the English language.  In this short passage, the word “love”, or a variation of it, is used over 20 times.  There have been countless books written on the subject of love, and it remains the number one theme in popular music. Why is LOVE such a popular theme in society?

The answer is simple:  people want to be loved.  People want to feel appreciated, valued, heard and respected.  Ultimately, what people are looking for is LOVE.  So then, what better way to meet the needs of people than to follow Jesus?

Let’s unpack this.  Our passage today tells us that love is from God.  Essentially, this passage says that God is Love.  Perhaps the greatest lesson of the Christian life is learning how to receive the love of God and give it away.  After all, people will know you follow Jesus by the way you love them.  Therefore, following Jesus gives us the best opportunity to give love away and help see lives changed.

So, how are you doing with this?

Here’s a challenge today – are you up for it?  For every time you say I Love You, do something to show it.  So, if you tell your spouse you love them in the morning, be sure to follow it up, or set it up, by an action that communicates love.  Do the same for your children, your friends and other family members.  Ask yourself – what can I do today that will communicate love to those in my life?

And go further than that.  What can you do today that will communicate God’s love to those around you?

Will the way you love today highlight the life change that God is doing in you?  Take these steps to give love away, and watch what God does in and through your life when you love like Jesus.

Jesus, help me to love others the way that you love me.  Help me to go beyond just saying, “I love you” to actually demonstrating it.  Jesus, I love you.  Help me to demonstrate that by loving those you have placed around me today.  Amen.