Week of December 24

And He Shall Be Called...

Prince of Peace

Day 1. “And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Is. 9:6) When Isaiah wrote this prophecy about Jesus, he was writing about things to come. We now live in a time in which Jesus has come. Isaiah was looking to the future with hope, we can now live in that hope. Jesus is here! As we close this series, think about the last four weeks. How has your perspective of Jesus changed? How have you seen Him as a Wonderful Counselor? Mighty God? Everlasting Father? Prince of Peace? In response to these messages, are there any steps that you desire to take in the coming year? 

Day 2. Read Isaiah 9:6-7. Jesus was described as the coming Prince of Peace. But what does this mean? Was Jesus’ birth intended to end all wars and conflict? Clearly this is not the case, or we would have no hope at all! In Colossians 3:15, Paul encourages the reader to “let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.” His peace is in our heart, not in the world around us. Our peace comes from a confident hope in the truth of who Christ is. He is the one who saves us. He is our mediator and the only way to God. He is a good father, one who will always be by our side. How does your life reflect these truths? Are you living out of a peaceful heart or a distressed heart? Where are you troubled in your life? Reflect on this for a few minutes. Acknowledge your distress to God and ask Jesus for His peace.  

Day 3. Read Philippians 4:6-7. Are you anxious? Let your requests be known to God… Pray about it, and He will give peace beyond reason. While we usually think of peace as the absence of conflict, true peace is found instead in the presence of Jesus. Peace is not the alleviation of difficult circumstances but is a state of being that happens when you’re in the middle of it. We can have peace in spite of circumstances; This peace comes in the form of the presence of the One who is the Prince of Peace. Paul encourages us to have “God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.” When do you have trouble accessing Jesus’ peace? If you wrestle with anxiousness, what are the symptoms or signs (in your behaviors or your words), which could help you become more aware?  

Day 4. Read Luke 2: 13-14. On the night of Jesus’ birth, the angels declared peace! In God’s plan, the presence of Jesus on Earth is the only thing that can bring peace and deliverance from the distresses we experience in life. Read John 14:23-27. These are Jesus’ words shortly before His death. How does Jesus say that we will receive this peace? See verse 23 again. God will make His home in us. Somehow, someway if we follow and love Jesus, He will be in us and the Holy Spirit will remind us of the profound peace of Jesus. If we pursue in obedience, He will provide peace. If we trust, He will provide peace. Can you recall a time when you felt this kind of peace? If so, describe it by writing in a journal or sharing with a friend. If not, ask God for help. If you search, He will answer.   

Day 5. Read Isaiah 26:3. Do you stand in need of peace? Have you experienced the Prince of Peace? If not, it may be because you have not recognized your sin is a barrier between you and God. If you want the peace that Jesus gives, it begins with a simple yet life- changing decision. Jesus came to give us peace – to relieve the consequences of our shortcomings (our sins) – and to walk this life with us. If you are in need of this “perfect peace,” tell God the following: First, recognize that there is not one of us who is without sin, including you. Be honest with Him. Then submit to Him acknowledging that you will follow Him going forward. If you have already trusted Jesus, recall the first time you experienced the Prince of Peace. What difference did that make in your life? If you just made a decision to trust Jesus with your life now, do you have a sense of peace? Whether you’re a long-time Christ-follower or you just made the decision, share your thoughts from this devotional with a person of faith, a friend or family member, maybe with a pastor. Here is one who would celebrate with you, LSCC Small Groups Pastor, Patrick Hukriede  

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Week of August 6

Encountering Jesus

Second Chances

Day 1: At the start of John 21, we find Peter on the Sea of Galilee fishing. Cory shares that Peter was looking to the familiar for comfort. Possibly to ease his guilt and shame over his betrayal of Jesus. Or maybe to gain clarity on why Jesus died instead of establishing the new earthly kingdom like he had expected. Either way, Peter was confused and retreated to his old way of life. What earthly comfort do you run to when you face guilt or shame from having failed or sinned? Reflect if or how these activities may be a self-driven distraction to hide from God. Are these diversions stopping you from taking the next step to discover what God has uniquely planned for your life? Self-awareness is a powerful tool. Learn your cues. Have a conversation with a friend about your hiding places and allow them to share theirs. You can help each other. 


Day 2: Read John 21:7. Note what happens when John recognizes Jesus. Peter jumps in the water to be the first man on shore. Peter continually sought to prove his love for Jesus by boasting about it, arguing with his “rival” disciples (read Luke 22:24-34) and even rashly using his sword to lop off an ear. But this time Peter learns that Jesus has a different benchmark for testing one’s love for Him – one of sacrificial service. Reflect how Jesus pursues this impetuous and flawed man in John 21:15-22. He doesn’t punish and shame, but forgives and restores. Jesus reminds Peter of his God-given identity, that his scene of betrayal would not define his life’s story. Are you in need of a restoration? Stop. Turn around. And fall into the loving arms of the Savior chasing you. Like Peter did on the shore, experience the God of second chances. 


Day 3: In Not a Fan, the prerequisite book for Followers Made -  six-month discipling experience at LSCC, author Kyle Idleman states: “The biggest threat to the church today is fans who call themselves Christians but aren’t actually interested in following Christ. They want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits, but not so close that it requires anything from them.” Read John 21:15-19. Jesus’ “Follow Me” command to Peter at the end of Verse 19 punctuates what Christ expects from him. And us. To walk in His steps, live as He lived, serve others as He did, and to even lay down our lives for the “sheep” if necessary. What would it look like in your life to move from a well-wishing, fan waiving, Phileo love to a surrender-all Agapao love for Jesus and people? Are you a self-empowered fan or a Spirit-filled follower? God is pursuing you for a purpose. He is calling you to follow. How do you plan to follow Him today? Give some specific examples. 


Day 4: Review John 21:20-23. Right after Peter receives his personal call from Jesus to follow him, he asks Jesus how John’s life will unfold. It’s easy to fall into this trap of what our life looks like compared to others. That’s the way we sinners are wired. But Jesus doesn’t judge any of us according to our superiority or inferiority over someone else. Read Ephesians 2:10. Spend some quiet time thanking God for His unique plan and purpose for your life. If uncertain of your calling, ask God for direction. Thank God for using people, like you and me, for His purposes. One part of Followers Made discipleship group at LSCC is a process of discovering or deepening the unique calling God has given you. If you haven’t been through, consider Followers Made this fall. 


Day 5: John 21 is a chapter of heart-change transformation for Peter. Jesus calls him to live the story God has written for him and as we see in the book of Acts. Peter used mightily by God as a leader of the early church. At LSCC, we have three commitments we ask each to make to reveal God’s unique story for our lives. Consistently re-align our perspectives with God’s perspectives by making Worship an integral part of our daily lives. Embrace a lifestyle where we are known and know others deeply by engaging in community. Engage in an intentional lifestyle to serve others as Jesus did, without any expectation of being served yourself. Over the summer, we have encountered Jesus through this message series. Reflect on last week and previous messages. What one to two messages or truths have stirred you during the series? Where is God inviting you to take a step? Take time to share with your spouse, a friend or in your small group.

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