- Deep Six Study and Daily Devotional
Every preacher's dream is to see the truth he preaches lived out in the lives of those he preaches to and certainly this is as it should be. This dream is rooted in our Heavenly Father's desire that there would never be unlived truth in the lives of His people. Our church is dedicated to the purpose of helping people Live Fully, and one way we do that is to encourage a deeper study of the truth they hear on Sundays throughout the other six days of the week. Accordingly, each week we provide (1) the Deep Six Study and (2) the Daily Devotional.
(1) Deep Six Study - accessed via "Discussion Notes" button located under the video message on the "Watch" page of the website. Printed copies also available at the Connect Desk in the church lobby. Note: the Deep Six Study is being done by Tom Main and will be posted below.
(2) Daily Devotionals - The Devotionals are done by Ken Hart and are available online Monday through Saturday on a daily basis at www.capecodchurch.com/daily or the "Daily Devotional" button at the bottom of the "Home" page. The devotions build on and expand from the Sunday message. It is our desire, our hope, and our prayer for this devotional section to be a useful Spiritual Life tool that our church family can benefit from throughout the year. Each day's devotional will typically consist of Scripture connected with the message, a commentary, and a prayer response. We trust the Daily Devotional will assist you as you seek to live out the truth of God's word on a daily basis.
Deep Six Study
December 27th, 2015
Christmas is Everything – “New Life Resolution”
Opening (Romans 12:2): The “week in-between” – the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day – can be a bit of a strange time when we’re not really sure what we’re supposed to be doing (or saying – “Merry Christmas” or “Happy New Year??”). Perhaps the most useful aspect of this week is that it gives us the opportunity to reflect on the year that was and make resolutions for improving the year to come. For those of us who are in Christ, Romans 12:2 – the Bible App’s most-shared verse in 2015 – gives much hope that our lives can indeed be better as we seek to Live Fully for him.
1. Relax – It’s God’s Work (Romans 12:2b; 2 Corinthians 3:18)
New Year’s resolutions rarely make it through a whole year of behavior change (only 8% of the time, according to one study) because changing ourselves is hard. Maintaining the motivation to consistently pursue change in our lives is nearly impossible for most of us.
The good news for Christians is that God promises to change us himself. Through the power and work of his Holy Spirit, he’ll do the work to change us from the inside out and make us more and more like Jesus – if we let him.
2. You Have a Part to Play (Romans 12:2a)
Paul tells us that our primary role in the process of changing our lives is simply to get out of God’s way. We do that by avoiding the “behaviors and customs of this world.”
One way to identify the behaviors we should avoid is to compare them to the “fruit of the Spirit” that Paul describes in Galatians 5:22-23. If our behaviors are counter to those 9 “Elements,” they’re clearly not from God but are “of this world.”
Our active role in pursuing change in our lives is to make time for personal spiritual disciplines, like Bible reading, prayer and spending time in community with other believers. Of these, daily engagement with God’s word (Hear, Read, Study, Meditate, Memorize, Apply) will do the most to “change the way we think” and facilitate the transformation process God is working in us.
3. Christmas is Still Everything! (2 Corinthians 3:16)
Christmas reminds us that the process of God remaking us into new people – entirely new creatures – begins with our recognition and trust that Jesus is who he said he is – the Son of God. Trusting him with your life is the best resolution you can make – a “New Life Resolution!”
Opening – Colossians 3:9-10
Point #1 – Exodus 34:29-35; Romans 8:29; 1 Peter 1:2
Point #2 – Galatians 5:22-25; Ephesians 4:20-24
Point #3 – Romans 6:6-7; Ephesians 2:10
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
1. If you’re a person who makes New Year’s Resolutions, do you usually succeed in carrying them out for a whole year? If not, what keeps you from doing so? Why is long-term change so hard for us?
2. YouVersion (the Bible App folks) tells us that Romans 12:2 was the verse that their users most often highlighted and shared in 2015. What do you think it is about that verse that made it so popular?
3. After reading Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 3:18 (and hearing Sunday’s message), are you confident that the change God wants for your life is primarily his work and not yours? Why or why not? How might that understanding change the way you live your life?
4. What are the “behaviors and customs of the world” that you struggle most with avoiding? How do you think those behaviors get in the way of what God wants to do in your life?
5. Read 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT) again. As followers of Jesus, what is the relationship between the process of change (transformation) God is working on our lives and our ability to “reflect the glory of the Lord” to the world?
6. What is one resolution you’re willing to make for 2016 that will help “change the way you think” (Romans 12:2) to facilitate God’s transformation of you into a “new person
Posted on Sun, December 27, 2015
by Alan Porter