Uganda Day 1

 

The journey to Uganda is a long one. It took well over 30 hours of continuous travel to get there, and we arrived exhausted and with little sleep. Thankfully, after a long drive from the airport, we arrived around 2:30 in the morning and went straight to sleep.

The next morning, Shannon gave our group a tour of the whole compound. Not surprisingly, with over 160 acres, it took the better part of the morning. The compound is buzzing with activity, and it seems that there has been multiple things under construction from the time the ministry began 9 years ago. Shannon explained his vision for S.O.S. to us during this time, and it was inspiring to see someone so passionate and with seemingly no limits to what he wanted to do for God. What excited me most was the Shepherd’s Training Center, which will put students through a 4 year training program to equip them to be effective pastors in their local churches. Shannon plans to bring in men from all over Uganda, and in this way to strengthen the church there in the truth.

The 4 year program will be divided into 3 parts, first focusing on discipleship, then theology, and the leadership. Housing was being built for the students, which will be able to accommodate 80 residents. Those in the last 2 years of their training will be able to have their families live with them as well.

This amazing, very needed ministry is scheduled to begin in the next few years. I had the pleasure of meeting one of the future professors there, who is going over to America for seminary now. His amazing depth of biblical knowledge and love for the Word of God was inspiring and is something this theology starved, confused nation desperately needs.

Sadly, Uganda is plagued by many false teachers who prey on the people there. The people’s desire to be out of their poverty makes them susceptible to false teachers who preach a gospel of health and wealth. These preachers fly over to Uganda to conduct “healing ceremonies” and tell the people that if they sell all that they have and give to their ministry, God will bless them, because God wants them to be rich and healthy. Sadly, these preachers only leave them poorer than before, and they neglect to address the most important issue of any people group, their sin problem, which can only be solved through the gospel. Praise God that Shannon is making it his mission to preach the right gospel to the people of Uganda, and to train Ugandan pastors to do the same!

After touring the whole compound, we spent some time at the Legacy Christian Academy, and ate lunch with the kids. There I met a boy named Junior, who told me it was his dream to go to America some day. It was amazing to talk to a boy who was growing up in such challenging conditions yet had such a passion to learn and succeed in life.

After lunch, I partnered with a couple other people from my group, and we helped some employees of S.O.S. dig holes to build a fence around some of their unused land. This fence was needed to prevent squatters who had been raising livestock on Shannon’s land. After this, we took a walk through the village. It was startling to see how the locals live. Most live in small, one room mud or brick huts, and do their cooking outdoors. People survive by farming and eating whatever they produce, selling the excess at markets and netting under 5 dollars a month in income. It is a very sparse way of life, but the blessings S.O.S. is bringing to the area are apparent.
I’ll discuss how, and the ways I was able to see that first-hand in my next post, which should come Thursday or Friday.

 

Introducing My Uganda Trip

 

“How was Uganda!?”

This is the common refrain I’ve heard repeated over and over again at graduation parties, bible studies, and at church. It’s nice to know that so many people care about my trip and want to see how it was. However, I continually find myself struggling to find the right words to say to answer a question that encompasses such a broad subject. I have found myself stuck in a rut of cool’s, awesome’s, and amazing’s.

The better conversationalists have relieved me a bit by asking “What was your favorite part?” or something along those lines. That helps a bit, but on a 10 day trip it’s almost impossible to choose a favorite moment.

Because my trip to Uganda was so long, I’ve decided to write 4 posts about it. This will be my first, which will mainly be an introduction to the trip.

I decided to go to Uganda when it was announced at my church months ago. I had wanted to go on another missions trip since I went to the Dominican Republic a year ago, and had a life-changing experience. Because of that trip, I had high hopes and big expectations for my trip to Uganda.

Our church recently began partnering with a new missionary named Shannon Hurley, who runs S.O.S., or Sufficiency of Scripture Ministries, in a small village called Kubamitwe in rural Uganda. The team I went with was the first team to visit his ministry. He started S.O.S. in 2002, and officially moved to Uganda in 2006. The story of how he ended up there is fascinating. While attending seminary, God blessed Shannon with a wonderful job that supplied abundantly for him. He became convinced that God was providing these huge funds not for his own personal enjoyment but to begin the ministry in Uganda. How many of us are as sacrificial with what God gives to us?

Shannon started construction of his compound in 2009, which has grown quickly and now encompasses a church of 300 people, a school with grades K-4, 4 missionary homes which house his family and the families of 4 other missionaries who have partnered with him, a new seminary and pastoral training center which will open in the coming years, and an administration building, among other things. He now employs 20 people full time from the surrounding community, where the average monthly wage is under 5 dollars.

His school, Legacy Christian Academy, has over 300 students, and he adds a grade each year. It is free to the community, and is giving an uneducated area its first chance at having a quality education in a safe environment. The local public schools are unpleasant, dirty places where children are literally beaten into submission. At Legacy Christian Academy, students are instead taught in a safe, modern environment and showered with Christ’s love. The truths they learn at school are then brought home to their families, and this has caused a tremendous change in the village.

The culture of Uganda is very dark, with most people having multiple partners and not getting married. There are many Muslims, and crime and disease run rampant. Morals are an unknown subject in the Ugandan culture. However, S.O.S. is reshaping the morals and values of the village it is located in by preaching the gospel, and a large church has grown out of this called Community Bible Church of Kubamitwe. Many people in the village have become believers, and have gotten married and started to glorify God in their families. I was able to see first-hand how God is reshaping the culture while visiting the home of a local family there and hearing their testimony. I’ll share more about that in a later post.

S.O.S. is reshaping the immoral culture of the village it is in through the saving power of the gospel. It is providing quality education, emergency medical care, jobs, spiritual nourishment, and soon pastoral training to Kubamitwe and the surrounding areas. This is the world that I stepped in to on June 5th. I hope you’ll come along the rest of the week as I explain day by day what God is doing in Uganda and what He showed me in my own life.

Johnathan

To My Readers

As many of you might already know, my Aunt has decided to stop blogging on Good Morning Girls for personal reasons, for an indefinite amount of time. Since she has produced and published most of the materials for our studies, including the journals, and was in charge of what books of the Bible we were studying and what the reflection questions and verses of the day were, this obviously changes things a whole lot for us. I wanted to let all my readers know what my plans are for the blog moving forward, as well as letting you all in on some exciting developments in my own life as I graduate from High School in a month.

The first, and largest change, is that we will no longer be studying through books of the Bible like we have been since we started.

I have really been praying about things, and I know that God wants me to continue to use my gift of writing to serve Him, however, so I intend to continue posting here. I haven’t figured out too much of what I want to do just yet, but I know that I will write about relevant issues to Christian boys and men in our culture today. I’m really relying on God to see where He wants to go with this, and I know He has a bigger plan than I could ever imagine.

I will be taking some time off here for the next month or so, as I will be graduating High School in late May, and things are getting very busy. In addition, I’ve accepted a full-time job this summer, which leaves me only weekends and evenings to work on writing for this blog. Because of this, I plan on posting here as much as my schedule will allow. After summer is over, I’ll be going to college to study Communications and Marketing. I’m not sure how much time college and working a part-time job will leave me, but I can assure you that I will do my best to continue helping you understand the truth.

One specific thing that you all can look forward to is a series of posts I plan on writing that should come out late June and early July. I will be going on a week-long missions trip with a group from my church to rural Uganda in early June, and I want to share my experiences with you. Depending on how it goes this could turn into multiple posts about what I’ve learned while on that trip.

In addition, In late June I will be traveling to a youth conference with my youth group. In the past when I’ve gone to this conference, we’ve been blessed with amazing teaching and times in the word, so I hope to bring back some of what I’ve learned there with you.

With all that being said, everything else is up in the air right now. I know God has great plans for this blog. I wanted to thank all of you who have read and supported me so far. I appreciate it more than you’ll ever know.

My heart and biggest desire is that everyone who reads this blog will be brought closer to Christ. I always pray specifically for others that they would know the depth and vastness of a life lived with Christ. Reader, my deepest desire is that you would personally commune with God each and every day, and know exactly who He is and what He’s done for you. I desire for you to understand and know all these things accurately, and to love and cherish the truth of Christ with all that you are. I want to spur you on to live for the glory of God, because that is the only thing that will ever satisfy you.

In the light of all this, I continue to pray that God will use this blog for His purposes, and I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

Johnathan

What the Cross Means For You

This Friday, Christians everywhere will remember Christ’s death. It’s Good Friday, the Friday before we celebrate Easter. It’s the day Jesus died on the cross for us.

How fitting that we come to Luke 23: 26-49 this week, the crucifixion and death of our savior. For our final blog post this week, I want to cover what the cross means for you.

The cross of Christ is the turning point of History!

The world will never be the same because of Christ’s sacrifice for us.

Christ’s death and resurrection started Christianity, which, as the angry mob in Acts 17:6 said, has, ” turned the world upside down.”

If you really think about it, you probably wouldn’t exist today if it weren’t for the cross.

If I think about my own life, I realize a few things. First, the country I live in wouldn’t exist if Jesus hadn’t died on the cross, because those who first discovered it came because of Christ. In addition, my great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents wouldn’t have met, because almost all of them met in a church or something related to Christianity.

All things considered, I have Jesus’ death to thank for my existence today, and so do many millions of people around the world, including you!

However, these things are of a secondary nature to the true importance of the cross and what it really means for us. 

It doesn’t matter if we are just thankful that Jesus died so that we could exist today. It matters how that cross changes our lives and our hearts.

Jesus died for a way bigger reason then just bringing into existence countless societies and billions of people. He died to save our souls!!

God originally created humans without sin, but Adam and Eve chose to disobey God in Genesis 3, bringing sin and death into the world and separating everyone from God.

Because of Adam and Eve, we have a sin nature and no hope of ever getting right with God.

We will always freely choose our sin and will never even want to choose God. God says in Ephesians 2:1, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.” Our spirit is dead to God. The situation looks pretty hopeless. 

But there is hope!

Christ came, and He died for our sins. He lived a perfect life and then died, taking on all the wrath of God against the sinners He would save.

This is the most important news about the cross, but what does it mean for you?

2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

When Jesus died on the cross, He became sin for us so that we would finally have hope of being made right with God, by the righteousness of Jesus being placed on us. 

All we have to do is repent and turn from our sin, accept Jesus as our savior, believe what God says in His word, and decide to follow Him in everything we do in our lives.

When we accept Jesus as our savior, we get God’s righteousness put on us from the cross of Christ. All of our sins, past, present, and future, are paid for. We won’t be punished for them any longer.

If you haven’t accepted Jesus yet, please do it today. There is no better time than now. 

If you have accepted Jesus, then praise Him for what He did for you. 

It should be overwhelming to us that our debt is paid in full and that we can worship God and have a relationship with Him!

I’m reminded of one of my favorite hymns, and I’ll end with the chorus:

 

“Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.”

Johnathan

Reflect on these questions, and if you feel led, comment below:

  1. Have you accepted Jesus’s sacrifice for you?
  2. If you have, how will you worship God for His sacrifice today?

Good Morning Girls Resources {Luke 21-24}

Welcome back to the Good Morning Guys Study through Luke! I pray your past week of study was beneficial to your growth in your relationship with Christ. This is our final week in the book of Luke. On Friday I’ll post about future plans for the blog.

If you’re new, feel free to jump right in and follow along. Everything you need for this week is below, including this week’s Bible Reading Plan, Reflection Questions, and Verses of the Day.  Don’t forget to check back on Wednesday for my weekly blog post.

Here’s This Week’s Bible Reading Plan

Monday: Luke 21

Tuesday: Luke 22

Wednesday: Luke 23

Thursday: Luke 24

The Reflection Questions for the Week

Chapter 21-Monday

Nothing in this world will last forever. We must not depend on the words we hear, the things we read, or the possessions we own to sustain us. It is God’s Word that is powerful and eternal. His words will last forever!

Do you find yourself tempted to substitute the words of this world for the words of God? How can you make God’s Word more of a priority in your life?

 

Chapter 22-Tuesday

Every time we wake up and forget to talk to Jesus, we have forgotten. Every time we give into temptation and sin, we have forgotten. Every time we become independent of God and live life on our own terms, we have forgotten. Taking communion helps us to remember. We remember Jesus’ broken body and blood spilled our for us.

Have you forgotten or grown numb to the truth of what Jesus did for you on the cross? Take some time right now and remember.

 

Chapter 23-Wednesday

Jesus knew that those who crucified Him were spiritually blind. They did not know what they were doing. Jesus offered love to His enemies, just as He commands us to love our enemies.

Is there a spiritually blind person in your life who has hurt you and who you need to forgive? This does not mean that you will be reconciled to them, because for reconciliation, repentance is required. However, forgiveness frees you from bitterness and resentment. Who do you need to forgive today?

 

Chapter 24 -Thursday

Some of the most beautiful words in scripture are these: “He is not here, but has risen.” This is what sets Jesus apart from all other religions in history. You can search every grave but you will not find Him there. Jesus lived a sinless life, and death had no grip on Him. Our God is alive!

Because Jesus is alive, our passions, priorities, plans, and past-times should look different. How has Jesus changed your life?

 

 

The Verses of the Day

Monday: Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. -Luke 21:33

Tuesday: He took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” -Luke 22:19

 Wednesday: And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” -Luke 23:34

Thursday:  He is not here, but has risen. -Luke 24:6

Don’t forget to join me out on Instagram every day for the verse of the day at GuysInTheWord, as well as on our Facebook page!

I’ll see you back here on Wednesday for our weekly blog post.

Johnathan

Jesus is Better

When I read through Luke 18:18-30, the words to a worship song that I heard at a youth conference I attend every summer came to my mind. Part of the song gives these powerful proclamations, saying:

In all my sorrows, Jesus is better-make my heart believe

In all my victories, Jesus is better-make my heart believe

Than any comfort, Jesus is better-make my heart believe

More than all riches, Jesus is better-make my heart believe

Our souls declaring, Jesus is better-make my heart believe

Our song eternal, Jesus is better-make my heart believe

-https://www.austinstoneworship.com/jesus-is-better-lyrics/

I put the lyrics in bold that I think relate best to this week’s study, which will focus on the story of the rich young ruler from Luke 18.

Two years ago, at this same conference, one of the preachers continually hammered into the youth there the statement that “Jesus is better.” He was so passionate about it that he broke down into tears.

I can still picture him passionately pleading with us to believe him and accept this truth, that Jesus is more soul-satisfying than anything else we could ever hope to find in this world. 

In Luke 18:18-30, a rich young ruler approaches Jesus seeking to know how he could inherit eternal life. Jesus first lists off all the commandments as the way to eternal life, since if they are followed perfectly, you would be sinless and allowed into heaven. Jesus knew that this man was sinful like every other human and had not followed the ten commandments perfectly, since it’s impossible. This was Jesus’ way of showing that the rich young ruler needed Him. However, the man arrogantly claims that he had followed them all.

Jesus then reveals that the man had not obeyed all the commandments by telling him to give away all his possessions.  The rich young ruler’s refusal to obey this command shows His idolatry of money, proving He had not actually followed the ten commandments but was instead worshiping money.

This is a genius way to reveal sin on Jesus’ part. 

Jesus goes on to explain that it is impossible for someone who is rich to become a Christian apart from God’s help (Verse 27). After this, He explains that those who leave everything for Jesus will receive many more blessings, both now and in heaven. These are not material blessings, but spiritual blessings.

So what can we apply to our lives from all of these truths?

After reading all this, you might be wondering, “Is it wrong to be rich?”

The answer to that question is no.

Look at Abraham and Job. They were both extremely wealthy, yet Abraham had great faith and Job was “blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.” (Job 1:1)

However, we must be cautious with wealth.

We can’t make it more important than God or make it our life pursuit.

Instead, we must be generous with what we have, and thankful to God for it.

Job grasped this concept of openhandedness with His wealth when he said “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” He said this after all his worldly possessions were stripped from him, and his response ultimately proved his love for God, which God eventually rewarded with more wealth.

In the same way, Abraham was willing to leave his hometown after being established there for 75 years and becoming very wealthy, as an act of faith to God.

As Christians, we need to realize that Jesus is better!

We need to live our lives solely for Him.

If that results in wealth for you, praise God! Be thankful, be generous, and use that wealth for the glory of God. After all, everything is God’s and so is your wealth.

We must be openhanded and willing to give up our earthly possessions for Christ whenever He calls us to. When you are living focused on Christ, this is not a hard thing to do.

I went on a missions trip to the Dominican Republic that taught me this. (I took the picture at the top there) When we went, we were without many common comforts. We were living out of suitcases, sleeping on nasty beds with no air conditioning, taking cold showers, had no cell phone service or WiFi, and no cars except for those we rode in as a group. The people we were ministering to often had even less then we temporarily had that week.

But you know what? That week spent with minimal comforts in a third-world country was by far the most blessing-filled week of my life. God just poured out spiritual blessings that week, and I would have gladly continued on without material comforts for the rest of my life just to keep serving and worshiping God without distraction like that. There is truly no greater joy than to worship God above anything else!

We don’t need any of the comforts we have, and they are not what makes a happy life. Focusing on Jesus and worshiping Him is so much sweeter. 

Please realize this, and begin to be open-handed with what you have.

Be willing to give it all up for Christ if He calls you to, and if not, be generous and sacrificial to those around you.

Living this way minimizes distractions and strengthens your walk with God.

Get rid of the idol of wealth in your life today. Give generously to those in need and to the spreading of the gospel.  Start viewing your possessions as God’s and be willing to give it all up.

Jesus truly is better. 

 

Johnathan 

Reflect on these questions and, if you feel led, you can comment your answers:

  1. Have you made wealth an idol?
  2. How can you be generous and thankful today?
  3. What is God calling you to give up to know Him more?

 

Good Morning Guys Resources {Luke 16-20}

Welcome back to the Good Morning Guys Study through Luke! I pray your past week of study was beneficial to your growth in your relationship with Christ.

If you’re new, feel free to jump right in and follow along. Everything you need for this week is below, including this week’s Bible Reading Plan, Reflection Questions, and Verses of the Day.  Don’t forget to check back on Wednesday for my weekly blog post.

Here’s This Week’s Bible Reading Plan

Monday: Luke 16

Tuesday: Luke 17

Wednesday: Luke 18

Thursday: Luke 19

Friday: Luke 20

The Reflection Questions for the Week

Chapter 16-Monday

Many say that they love God but they spend their lives sacrificing to get more money. This is not about the size of our bank accounts but the condition of our hearts. A poor, greedy, jealous person may serve money more than a rich, grateful, generous person. God knows the truth about our hearts by what we do with our money in secret.

Are you tempted to serve money? In what ways and how do you overcome it?

 

Chapter 17-Tuesday

Jesus tells the apostles that if they had faith the size of a mustard seed, they could uproot a mulberry tree. A mulberry tree has deep and strong rots and a mustard seed is tiny. Jesus says this right after telling the disciples to forgive offenses done to them. Many times, relational wounds run deep. Through faith God can restore relationships. It’s not about the size of the problem or our faith, but the size of our great God.

In what area of your life do you need to increase your faith today?

 

Chapter 18-Wednesday

The persistent prayer of the widow is an example of how we must continue to pray and not give up. God does not delay in answering because He is waiting to be changed, but because He is doing a changing work inside of us. God is good and He wants us to pray to Him day and night.

Are you discouraged in your prayer life right now? Have you given up or given only minimal time to prayer? There is power in prayer! What has God laid on your heart that you should be praying more for?

 

Chapter 19 -Thursday

Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Jesus came to seek and save you! This is the heart of the gospel.

How long have you been saved? Never let the excitement of this truth and the passionate love God has for you grow cold. Reflect on the fact that Jesus knows your name. How does that make you feel?

 

Chapter 20-Friday

Everything belongs to God, but Jesus recognizes the authority of the government. When the government does not oppose God’s commands, we are to obey.

As Christians, we all have a dual citizenship. We are citizens of the country we live in and citizens of the kingdom of God. How does this truth make a difference in your life?

 

 

The Verses of the Day

Monday: You cannot serve God and money. -Luke 16:13

Tuesday:  If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it would obey you. -Luke 17:6

 Wednesday: Always pray and do not lose heart. -Luke 18:1

Thursday:  For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost. -Luke 19:10

Friday: Render to Caeser the things that are Caeser’s, and to God the things that are God’s.

Don’t forget to join me out on Instagram every day for the verse of the day at GuysInTheWord, as well as on our new Facebook page!

I’ll see you back here on Wednesday for our weekly blog post.

Johnathan

The 5 Things You Should Pray About

According to a Pew Survey, 55% of professing American Christians rely on prayer when making major life decisions, and 63% of professing Christians in America hold regular prayer as an essential part of their Christian identity. 

What is your response to those statistics?

If you’re like me, you are left wondering what the other 45% of Christians rely on when making big decisions, and what the other 37% think is essential to their Christian identity if prayer isn’t essential to them.

These may look like encouraging statistics on the surface. The majority of Christians are praying, right?

These statistics are actually extremely troubling, however.

A sizable minority of Christians are neglecting prayer. They are starving themselves of the most essential part of a healthy relationship with God.

You can’t be in a relationship with someone and never talk to them, can you?

God commands us to pray regularly. Ephesians 6:18 says, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”

Prayer is essential to the Christian life. We pray to commune with God, confess our sins, worship Him, grow closer to Him, and pour out our desires and troubles before Him. John Bunyan, author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, had this definition of prayer:

“Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God has promised, or according to the Word of God, for the good of the church, with submission in faith to the will of God.”

Prayer is the cornerstone of our relationship with God. 

God uses prayer to accomplish His purposes and change us.

James 5:16b says, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” We do not pray to get God to do what we want, but rather to commune with God and get our hearts right in order that our wills are in line with God’s will. Once our will is in line with God’s, we can be sure that whatever we ask of Him will be given to us because we will always be asking for what is in His will. We know God is sovereign and knows everything that is going to happen. However, we can be assured that our prayers are one of the ways God accomplishes His sovereign plan, so it is not pointless to pray in light of God’s sovereignty.

The Bible tells us to pray over and over again, but one of the best known and most important passages on prayer is Luke 11:1-4. This is the Lord’s Prayer, and just about everyone has heard it. This is the basis for our study today.

The Lord’s Prayer provides a template for our prayers to follow, showing what sorts of things we should be praying for and in what order.

Here is the Lord’s Prayer from Luke:

“Father, hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come.

Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins,

for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.

And lead us not into temptation.”

Here are 5 things the Lord’s Prayer shows us to pray about:

          1. Glorifying God.

The Lord’s Prayer shows us that our prayers should begin with glorification of God. “Hallowed be you name” is a petition that everyone would worship and adore God above everything else. Your prayers should begin with worship and adoration of God, and an expression of your desire to see everyone worship God in this way.

        2.  Praying For the Spread of the Gospel and Christ’s Return

The second thing the Lord’s prayer models for us is to pray that God’s kingdom would come. This kingdom is initially the kingdom of God manifested in each believer in the World today, and eventually God’s kingdom when He returns to reign on the earth. We are called to pray for both of these things to come. Specific things to pray about in this area include missionaries you know of, countries that need to gospel, people in your life that don’t know God, and that you and others would be ready when Christ returns someday.

         3. Praying For Daily Needs

The third thing the Lord’s Prayer exhibits is a prayer for daily needs. As Americans we often don’t even think about our daily needs, but we should. We should pray to God in thankfulness for the abundance of blessings He has given us, and acknowledge that we are reliant on Him for all of it. Maybe we are in need of a something as well. This is the point in prayer to ask for it humbly.

        4. Praying For Forgiveness for Ourselves and Help in Forgiving Others

We are bound to sin in this life every day. We need to be confessing and repenting of these sins daily in our prayers, asking God to forgive us. This keeps us humble and frees our guilty hearts to worship God. In addition to this, every one of us is wronged by people every day. We should be praying to God for help in forgiving these people and loving them despite their sin against us.

        5. Praying For Deliverance From Temptation

Every one of us is tempted to sin every day, and fighting it can get exhausting. We need to come to Christ daily in prayer asking for help from the Holy Spirit to fight the temptation of sin.

 

These are just guidelines on how our prayers should look. Obviously, some prayers will be shorter and some will be longer. Some might just be a quick cry for help or a short thank you to God for something, while others might be hour long times of pouring your heart out to God. Either way, keep these 5 areas of prayer in mind and try to incorporate all of them into at least 1 prayer a day.

 

Johnathan

Below are some reflection questions. Feel free to answer them in the comments below or just think about them privately in your own heart.

  1. How is your prayer life, and how can it be improved?
  2. How has prayer shaped and changed you and your life?

 

Good Morning Guys Resources {Luke 11-15}

Welcome back to the Good Morning Guys Study through Luke! I pray your past week of study was beneficial to your growth in your relationship with Christ.

If you’re new, feel free to jump right in and follow along. Everything you need for this week is below, including this week’s Bible Reading Plan, Reflection Questions, and Verses of the Day.  Don’t forget to check back on Wednesday for my weekly blog post.

Here’s This Week’s Bible Reading Plan

Monday: Luke 11

Tuesday: Luke 12

Wednesday: Luke 13

Thursday: Luke 14

Friday: Luke 15

The Reflection Questions for the Week

Chapter 11-Monday

Learning to pray is of utmost importance! Jesus did not teach his disciples how to preach, but He did teach them how to pray. The prayer in Luke 11 is not meant to be recited as a ritual, but rather as a pattern for our prayer life. After Jesus gave the pattern, he then gave an example of the boldness and persistence He wants us to have in our prayers.

Pause and pray though the Lord’s Prayer today, then consider if there is something you have given up praying for that you need to boldly and persistently begin praying for again.

 

Chapter 12-Tuesday

 

The world system tells us that success and possessions deserve a high five, but at the end of the parable in Luke 12, God calls the rich man a fool! The only way to conquer a greedy heart is to believe that life does not consist in the abundance of our possessions.

Do you struggle with this? Jesus tells us to “be on guard.” How can you guard and protect yourself from falling into the temptation of desiring an abundance of possessions?

Chapter 13-Wednesday

 

To God, it does not matter what our standing in this world is. Money, titles, status, beauty, lineage, and good works are not what God looks at. Salvation is based on Jesus’s grace alone.

Do you at times feel jealous of others whose standing in this world is higher than yours? One of the great mysteries of the gospel is how those who are first in this world are last in the next. How does this truth bring you comfort today?

Chapter 14 -Thursday

 

Jesus was the ultimate example of one who deserved the highest exaltation, but He was humble. True humility does not have too high an opinion of oneself, and is others-centered rather than self-centered.

We are promised that those who humble themselves will one day-in eternity-be exalted. In what area of your life do you need to work on humility?

Chapter 15-Friday

 

The parables in Luke 15 show us that God goes after the lost, and heaven celebrates when they are found. Nothing is more precious to us as something that is lost. Think of your car keys. If they were lost, you would search for them until they were found. And when they were found, you would rejoice. In the same way, the angels rejoice when a sinner repents.

Who have you recently shared the love of Jesus or the gospel with? If you haven’t had this opportunity, write a prayer for someone who is lost and ask God for boldness.

 

The Verses of the Day

Monday: Lord, teach us to pray-Luke 11:1

Tuesday:  Be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. -Luke 12:15

 Wednesday: Behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last. -Luke 13:30

Thursday:  For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. -Luke 14:11

Friday: There is joy before the angels over one sinner who repents. -Luke 15:10

Don’t forget to join me out on Instagram every day for the verse of the day at GuysInTheWord, as well as on our new Facebook page!

I’ll see you back here on Wednesday for our weekly blog post.

Johnathan

We Are Called to Offend People

Tough love, as it could be called, is not popular today, both in Christianity and the secular world. 

The tough love I’ m talking about is being told you’re wrong.

No one likes to be told of their sin. Society today is riddled with politically correct rules. If we so much as call anyone’s lifestyle wrong according to the Bible, we are labelled a hater and a bigot.

Sadly, this trend has carried over to the church in many instances. 

I was at a local Christian youth conference a couple years ago, and, to my disappointment, this trend pervaded it.

The speaker bombarded the pliable audience of young adults with the false teaching that has so sadly influenced many churches today. “Don’t tell people they’re sinful and need to repent,” they said, “that’s unloving and just turns people away. Instead of telling people about their sin, just tell them God loves them!” The speaker went on to give examples of people who had been offended by Christians telling them they needed to repent of their sin to know God, and were forever disgusted with Christianity.

The truth is that those who only preach God’s love and neglect to preach repentance are being the most unloving people anyone could ever imagine. 

In essence, they have the life-saving drug, and are removing one of the key ingredients before administering it to people, rendering it useless and ineffective. “That ingredient causes stomach aches,” they say, “we don’t want to cause these people any pain.”

So, to avoid a stomach-ache, they unknowingly send these patients straight to their deathbeds. 

Guess what, brothers: The Gospel of Jesus Christ is offensive.

It was offensive when Jesus preached it, it was offensive when the apostles preached it, and it is and will be when we preach it today.

The passage that is a basis for this post, Luke 7:23, shows that Jesus expected people to be offended by Him. He says, “Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

Those who are not offended by Him, and are therefore blessed according to Jesus, are those who have accepted Jesus’s message. They are believers.

Every person who is not a believer will inevitably find Jesus offensive unless they turn to Him as savior and get a new heart.  Jesus drives this point home in John 15:18-25, where He says, ““If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

The world is going to hate us.

People are going to be offended by our message.

Jesus explains why just two verses later in John 15:22-24, where He explains “ If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.  Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father.”

People are offended by the Gospel because it makes them guilty of their sin. They can’t continue in their sin that they love so much if they accept the true Gospel, and they hate that. Jesus makes this very clear.

Here is the true Gospel.

The true, saving Gospel calls men to repent of their sinful lives, turning from their sin to Christ as their only hope of being forgiven of their offenses against God, believing He is God.  Adam and Eve sinned, and through that we all have sin. Christ, the son of God, came into the world as a man, lived a perfect life, died for our sin, rose again, and is alive today. Once they repent and believe all this, they are free to make Christ their Lord and begin a relationship with Him. They are free to fight their sin and repent of it daily, instead of being enslaved to it and hating the message of repentance.

Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean you stop sinning, and it doesn’t mean you have to be perfect to become a Christian. But you do have to confess you are a sinner and vow to continuously reject sin in your life, asking forgiveness when you fail. Anyone who repents, no matter how bad you have sinned, can be made right with God.

Here are some verses that talk about the need for repentance of sins for salvation: Matthew 4:17, Isaiah 30:15, Luke 5:32, Acts 3:19, Acts 17:30, Romans 2:4.

If you are a Christian, it is of utmost importance that you are communicating the whole Gospel, not a gospel that just communicates the love of God. 

We must call people to the only way that they can be saved from death.

While it is true that God loves sinners, this knowledge alone can save no one. There must be repentance, and to do that, we must tell people that they have a sin problem and they need to repent.

Please don’t leave this out, or else you are calling someone to a false Gospel and leading people astray. 

We must do this lovingly and graciously, with the knowledge that we are just as sinful as them, which completely levels the playing field and gets rid of all the “Holier-than-thou” attitudes.

Lastly, if you are not a Christian, I call you to repentance of your sins now. You cannot have a relationship with God and an eternity in heaven without it. Cry out to God for forgiveness, accept that Jesus is God and died for your sins, and turn to live for Him.

Johnathan

Reflect on these questions and feel free to comment your answers below.

  1. Have you repented of your sins and given your life to Christ?
  2. Are you preaching the whole gospel in your life currently? If not, begin today.
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