Why Is the Bible Important?

May 23, 2020

May 23, 2020 • Andrew Stevens • READ: ACTS 10:43; 2 TIMOTHY 3:14-17; TITUS 1:2

Have you ever played the telephone game? One person whispers a sentence in someone’s ear. That person whispers it in another’s ear and so on and so on, until it reaches the last person. That person then shares the distorted mumbo jumbo that finally made it through the whispering line. Then, laughter breaks out at the nonsense. It’s hard to believe how quickly the truth can be distorted. And here’s the amazing thing. Because of the Holy Spirit, the Bible is not distorted. Its words were God-breathed through the writers God called. And, today, He guides translators and publishers as they work to bring that Word into other languages. The Bible is our source of truth because it is God’s Word, and He does not lie. But why does the Bible matter? The Bible is the truth straight from God. It is the true story of God’s work in His world—the history of the human race and our relationship with our Creator. The Bible matters because it is how we get to know our Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ. Because it is filled with the truth about Jesus, the Bible is the only place with eternal promises that never get broken (Titus 1:2). Jesus—who is God—is perfect and will not fail, even when we do (2 Timothy 2:10-13). The Bible is the grandest love story, and we are the ones loved through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. If it weren’t for the Bible, how would we know the truth and extent of God’s love? The Bible reminds us that, without Christ, we are spiritually starved. It leads us to the Bread of Life: Jesus, the only Savior from sin and death (John 6:35). • Tracie Lobstein • Throughout Scripture, God promised us a Savior: Jesus. What are some promises from the Bible that point to Him? • The world is full of partial truths and things that appear true, but God’s Word is the truth because it shows us the One who is the truth (John 14:6). As Christians, how does the Holy Spirit help us decipher lies from the truth (John 14:23-26; 1 Corinthians 2:10-16)? All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)

Splintered Trust

August 10, 2020 • August 10, 2020 • Andrew Stevens

Smiles, charm, Perfect friends Watching you. Your back is turned, Whispering begins. Nasty comments, A chuckle heard. Comments, jibes Grind you down. Burning tears. Thumping heartbeat. Subtle rejections. Trust splintered. When friends badmouth you, the hurt can be so deep that trusting again is challenging. David had the same problem. The first part of Psalm 55 shows how he is deeply troubled, and in verses 13 and 14, he shares the disappointment of his friend’s betrayal. In the midst of this desperation, he goes to God, the only One he can trust. In the same way, Jesus invites us to trust Him no matter what we’re facing. He is trustworthy even when people are not. When your trust has been splintered, go to Jesus, who was betrayed on the cross to bring forgiveness for sin— including gossip and backstabbing—and healing for the harm sin causes. He can direct you to trustworthy people who will show His love for you. Through it all, He will never leave your side. • Cindy Lee • Because we live in a broken world, not everyone can be trusted, and it’s okay to set loving boundaries with untrustworthy people. Can you think of a time when someone broke your trust? • Have you ever gone behind someone’s back? It’s easy to become drawn into a conversation when everyone is backstabbing someone. How can you remove yourself from this situation? • If you’re in the midst of a toxic situation, who are trusted adults you can reach out to? But I will call on God, and the Lord will rescue me. Psalm 55:16 (NLT)

Last Words

August 9, 2020 • August 9, 2020 • Emily Tenter

If you search “famous last words,” you’ll read the final thoughts of a variety of people throughout history—thoughts that range from sad to crass to funny to hopeful. Jesus has seven recorded statements from the cross, but His final statement summarizes His saving work: with His final breath, Jesus announces, “It is finished” (John 19:30). It is a startling end to the life of the greatest man who ever trod the planet. And yet, on the surface, the three-word sentence seems rather basic. But picture Leonardo DaVinci painting the Mona Lisa. He has spent many days perfecting his painting. There’s the blend of colors, the smile, the eyes, the shading. Finally, after completing his masterpiece, DaVinci puts down his brush, sits back in his chair, and announces, “It is finished.” That’s the sense of Jesus’ words. He had come down from heaven, become a human, lived a perfect life to fulfill the requirements of the law. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He declared that there was nothing more for Him to do to make sinful people righteous before a holy Father. When we put our faith in Him, we are His masterpiece—the work is already done (Ephesians 2:8-10). The implications of this are huge. There is nothing left to do, nothing left undone. Jesus completed the task—dying on the cross and then rising from the grave—so there is nothing left for us to earn. Jesus’ righteousness (or sinlessness) covers those who put their faith in Him (Romans 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Virtually every other religion offers salvation through works, but Christianity relies on Christ’s work to enable salvation from sin and death. Jesus removed all doubt with His final words on the cross: “It is finished.” • Mike Hurley • Read Romans 8. When Jesus died and rose again, what work did he finish? What can we add to His work? • Why is Jesus the only One who can finish the work of salvation in us (Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 5)? • To learn more about Jesus and His work, check out our "Know Jesus" page. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then bowing his head, he gave up his spirit. John 19:30 (CSB)

I Want a Life Like That

August 8, 2020 • August 8, 2020 • Andrew Stevens

"Whoa...I want to live in a house like that. Whoa...I want a life like that. I want a family like that. I want to look like that. I want..." Do you ever find yourself comparing your life to the life of someone else? I know I spend a good amount of time on social media, just dreaming of what life would be like if I could switch places with one person I follow. She seems to have it all together, and she seems to be content. But is she content because of everything she has...or because of her faith and the contentment God offers? Is she even content, or does she just look that way on social media? We compare ourselves to others all the time, and we feel like we have less than them. We feel like we have not been blessed like them. We want more out of our lives, and we want that because we have seen others who seem to have that. This is called coveting (Exodus 20:17). But, in Christ, we’re called to more than comparison and coveting (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus died for our every sin—including the comparison game (Isaiah 53:5; Romans 6:6-8). So, instead of coveting, let’s rest in Jesus, thanking Him for what we have. In this broken world, we won’t have perfect lives, but, no matter what, we are blessed because we have Christ and His kingdom, an inheritance that won’t be shaken (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 12:28; 1 Peter 1:3-4). • Emily Acker • Who do you compare yourself to? • What are things you are grateful to have, even as you long for other things? • When we have needs, who can we turn to (Matthew 6:25-34; 1 Peter 5:7)? • Reread today’s Bible passages. What are some of the promises we have in Christ? A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Proverbs 14:30 (NIV)