Real Hope Program and Study Guide for 1-28-2018
Welcome to Real Hope
We are glad that you are here to join us in worshiping our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
This is our program for today, Sunday January 28th.
Music Countdown to Worship: "Lion and the Lamb" Leeland.
First Music Offering: "All the People Say Amen," Matt Maher.
Second Music Offering: "Just Be Held," Casting Crowns.
Third Music Offering: "Communion," Third Day
Communion Service: Ken Smith
Offering, Prayer Requests, and Announcements, Dana Smith
Today’s Sermon: Real Stories. Pastor Justin Miller of Real Life Church interviews Jen Bricker.
Jennifer Bricker dreamed of being a gymnast from a young age. She’d watch the Olympics on TV, following the moves of the U.S. women’s team closely. Dominique Moceanu, the 1996 Gold Medal winner, was her idol. Bricker had just one challenge to overcome: She was born without legs.
We hope that you enjoyed our service today and encourage you seek God in everything that you do.
At Real Hope our purpose is to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts and with all of our souls and with all of our minds.
Our focus begins with all the people of Citrus County and by the Grace of God we will:
Gather together to worship and celebrate God,
Grow in our knowledge and faith,
Give in love and,
Go out into the world to shine brightly with the light of salvation from our Savior Jesus Christ and tell the world what we know is true!
We boldly ask God to help us shake the Earth and touch the Heavens!
We look forward to seeing you again.
Thank you and God bless you.
Study Guide Stories 2018 -Week three – Jen Bricker
This week Jen Bricker shared with us how we should focus on what we can do rather than what we can’t do. Along with her faith in God, a lot of Jen’s confidence came from how others treated her. Jen’s story is one of overcoming obstacles by finding joy in God, experiencing His love through her family, and relying on those in her church family.
When someone says you "can’t" do something, does that motivate you or discourage you?
Suggested Reading: Genesis 1:27 and Romans 8:14-17
1. Jen shared how she found her identity in God. What do these verses teach us about what it means to be created in God’s image?
a. God obviously did not create us exactly like himself because God has no physical body. Instead, we are reflections of God’s glory.
b. Some feel that our reason, creativity, speech, or self-determination is the image of God. More likely, it is our entire self that reflects the image of God.
c. We will never be totally like God because he is our supreme Creator. But we do have the ability to reflect his character in our love, patience, forgiveness, kindness, and faithfulness.
d. Knowing that we are made in God’s image and thus share many of his characteristics provides a solid basis for self-worth.
e. Human worth is not based on possessions, achievements, physical attractiveness, or public acclaim. Instead, it is based on being made in God’s image. Because we bear God’s image, we can feel positive about ourselves.
f. Criticizing or downgrading ourselves is criticizing what God has made and the abilities he has given us. Knowing that you are a person of worth helps you love God, know him personally, and make a valuable contribution to those around you.
Suggested Reading James 1:2-4, 1 Peter:1:6-9 and John 15:11
2. Pastor Justin and Jen both shared that we have a choice. We can choose to be joyful in our circumstances or depressed. How can we choose joy in a broken and sinful world?
a. When things are going well, we feel elated. When hardships come, we sink into depression. But true joy transcends the rolling waves of circumstance. Joy comes from a consistent relationship with Jesus Christ.
b. When our lives are intertwined with his, he will help us walk through adversity without sinking into debilitating lows and manage prosperity without moving into deceptive highs. The joy of living with Jesus Christ daily will keep us levelheaded, no matter how high or low our circumstances
c. We need to understand that the joy the world gives is not the same as the joy the Spirit gives. Worldly joy or happiness comes and goes as often as waves hitting the shore. It isn’t something you can cling to when you’ve lost a loved one or are facing bankruptcy.
d. The Spirit’s joy or happiness, on the other hand, can stay with you for the long haul. For the believer, the fruit of the Spirit, including joy, is like a bottomless well of water-there’s always an abundant supply. Even in the darkest days, when sadness, grief, and loss may threaten to overwhelm you, God’s joy is there.
e. We need to understand that God’s joy cannot be taken away. As believers, we are promised the constant presence of the Holy Spirit. We are promised His joy. Just as our salvation is assured through Jesus’ one-time sacrifice for all.
f. Choose joy over bitterness, anger, and sorrow. Make a decision to choose joy every day. No matter what. Grab onto God’s joy
Suggested Reading: James 3:8-18
3. Jen shared that she really never experienced bullying or harmful speech from others. Although, most of us would never say anything harmful to someone who has a physical challenge like Jen, we nonetheless are often guilty of being critical to those around us. Why is it so important to control our tongue, and how can we control what we say?
a. What you say and what you don’t say are both important. To use proper speech you must not only say the right words at the right time but also control your desire to say what you shouldn’t.
b. Examples of an untamed tongue include gossiping, putting others down, bragging, manipulating, false teaching, exaggerating, complaining, flattering, and lying.
c. Before you speak, ask, "Is what I want to say true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?"
d. The Holy Spirit will help us learn self-control. Remember that we are not fighting the tongue’s fire in our own strength. The Holy Spirit will give us increasing power to monitor and control what we say.
e. God convicts us when we sin with our lips, and that conviction drives us to repent and pray for more filling of the Spirit so we can avoid further sin. As we cling to Him and yield to Him in obedience, He controls us more and more, including our tongues.
Suggested Reading: Hebrews 3:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:11 and Proverbs 16:24
4. As much as our tongue can do harm, it can also be a blessing for others when used as God intends. Jen shared how the encouragement she received from others had a huge impact on her life. Why is encouragement so important according to the Bible?
a. Primarily because encouragement is necessary to our walk of faith.
b. Without encouragement, hardship becomes meaningless, and our will to go on wanes. The prophet Elijah struggled with discouragement and so do we. It is important to remember that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against . . . the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12).
c. This truth makes encouragement all the more important. It is not just that we face the world’s displeasure; we are caught in the crosshairs of a spiritual battle. When we are encouraged in Christ, we have strength to put on our spiritual armor and remain steadfast.
d. Encouragement makes it easier to live in a fallen world in a holy way and to love as Jesus loved. it gives hope, helps us through times of discipline and testing.
e. Encouragement nurtures patience and kindness, makes it easier to sacrifice our own desires for the advancement of God’s kingdom. In short, encouragement makes it easier to live the Christian life.
f. However, without encouragement, life would soon feel pointless and burdensome, we can be overwhelmed by the very real pains of our lives, feel unloved, and begin to think that God is a liar or is unconcerned with our welfare. So, the Bible tells us to encourage one another, to remind each other of the truth that God loves us, that God equips us, that we are treasured, that our struggles are worth it.
Suggested Reading: Mark 9:23, Philippians 4:13, Job 42:2 and Romans 8:37
5. One of Jen’s go to verses reminds her that all things are possible through God. How can we use that promise to conquer our challenges and shortcomings?
a. Jesus’ words do not mean that we can automatically obtain anything we want if we just think positively. Jesus meant that anything is possible if we believe, because nothing is too difficult for God. We cannot have everything we pray for as if by magic, but with faith, we can have everything we need to serve him.
b. Job’s repentance was not the kind called for by his friends. He did not ask forgiveness for committing secret sins, but for questioning God’s sovereignty and justice. Job repented of his attitude and acknowledged God’s great power and perfect justice.
c. We sin when we angrily ask, "If God is in control, how could he let this happen?" Because we are locked into time, unable to see beyond today, we cannot know the reasons for everything that happens. Thus, we must often choose between doubt and trust. Will you trust God with your unanswered questions?
d. God can help us do all things through His strength. The power we receive in union with Christ is sufficient to do "His will" and to face the challenges that arise from our commitment to doing it. He does not grant us superhuman ability to accomplish anything we can imagine without regard to His interests.
e. As we contend for the faith, we will face troubles, pressures, and trials. As they come, ask Christ to strengthen you.
Next Steps: As you read through the passages below and reflect on Jen’s story, ask yourself the following:
1. Am I getting my identity from what I do/have, or from God?
2 . How can I encourage others more?
3 . How can I rely on God’s power to help me with my struggles and challenges rather than my own strength?
Reading Plan Sunday – Genesis 1:27 and Romans 8:14-17 Monday – James 1:2-4, 1 Peter:1:6-9 and John 15:11 Tuesday – John 15:9-27 Wednesday – James 3:8-15 Thursday – Hebrews 3:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:11 and Proverbs 16:24 Friday – Mark 9:23 and Philippians 4:13 Saturday -Job 42:2 and Romans 8:37