This Is Us – Adopted Son

The Exodus is the single most important event in the history of Israel (until Jesus’ birth), and the covenant God makes with Moses is a foreshadowing of what God ultimately has planned.  God’s interaction with His people during the Exodus provides insight into His ongoing redemptive work. This work finds its meaning and fulfillment in the person of Jesus Christ.  For all of us who feel enslaved or in bondage to sin, the Exodus story offers the template by which God is working to free us.  God’s covenant with Moses at Sinai outlines a way of life that sets us apart. The Tabernacle provides us with a glimpse into how much God wants to be with His people.

 

Questions for discussion:

 

·         What do you think was the main point of Matt’s message?

 

·         What do God’s covenant with Moses and the Tabernacle tell us about God’s redemptive plan? 

 

·         Read Exodus 12. How do the details of the first Passover help us to better understand God’s relationship with mankind?

 

·         What is a “fictive kinship?” How does this term apply to your relationship with God?

 

·         How does gaining a better understanding of the way things were give us a clearer picture of who we are?

Do something about it:

When Moses left Egypt many of those who were with him, who had been enslaved their entire lives, wanted to go back. They preferred the familiar (slavery) to the promise of a new life, a new home, and a brand new, rekindled relationship with God. If this were just a pipe dream, or even a remote hope, you might be able to understand, but it was a promise directly from God. Are there places in your life where you have accepted being enslaved to a circumstance or situation because you feel that is your lot in life? Just as God used Moses to deliver His people from bondage during the Exodus, He is offering you the same deliverance through Jesus Christ.  Are you willing to accept God’s offer of freedom and abundant life? Jesus offers us the answer: “Ask and it shall be given, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened.”

Digging deeper:

Exodus 12, 19, and 25; Jeremiah 31:31-33; Matthew 7:7-11; Romans 6:5-7; 8:14,15,36; 1 Peter 2:9,10

 

This Is Us – Father Abraham

When we take time to dig deeper into God’s covenant with Abraham and his successors we cannot fail to understand the central role that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob play in Israel’s self-understanding and, by extension, our own self-understanding. God chooses Abraham, who responds in faith and perseveres it through trials and doubt until God delivers on His promise. In Abraham’s story, we begin to hear the rescue plan unfold in earnest. God begins to demonstrate His resolve by establishing His covenant with Abraham and expanding the plan to a family. The heart of that covenant is the promise of a home, a family in which we belong, and that God will show up. We begin to see God forging a path back to His original plan of: people, place and presence. Whether we realize it or not, this is what so many of us crave in our lives. We crave belonging in a family, a place we can call home and the security and blessing of being with someone we trust who will protect us and provide for us.

Questions for discussion:

  • What do you think was the main point of Marlin’s message?
  • Read Genesis 12:1-4: What lesson(s) do we learn from Abram’s interactions with God? What does this teach us about who God is?
    • How big a “step of faith” was this for Abram?
  • Who is this “Melchizidek” (Genesis 14:17-20) and why is He important to the future understanding of this story? 
  • Why do you think God changed Abram and Sarai’s names to Abraham and Sarah?
  • What does the story of Abraham and the covenant tell us about God’s plan for us?

 

Do something about it:

Look for opportunities that are right in front of you. Where is God calling you to step out in faith (like Abraham)? In what areas is He calling you to “just believe” in His ability to provide for and protect you? Use these opportunities to accept and claim the promises of the covenant that God has made with you and all who believe.

Digging deeper:

Genesis 12-17; Hebrews 7; Jeremiah 31:30-33; Luke 22:19,20; Genesis 17:1-16; 1 Peter 2:9

This Is Us – Our Crazy Uncle

 What comes to mind when you think of the story of Noah’s Ark? When we tell it as a children’s story we often focus on God’s saving of hundreds of animals and tend to not notice who the author of the flood was. When we read the story on its own, it can actually be a bit unnerving because it appears to portray God as a harsh, unforgiving taskmaster. One tends to seek a “feel good” aspect and ignore the possibility that a loving God would allow such a thing, and the other gives God no credit and seems to strip Him of all compassion and mercy. Might there be more to this story? When we take the time to dig deeper we find that there is an underlying narrative that helps illuminate God’s purpose in this story? The underlying narrative is of a God who loves mankind so much that He is unwilling to allow them to take His creation down the path to ultimate destruction. So what does God do? He allows us a redo by hitting the reset button.

Questions for discussion:

  • What do you think was the main point of Matt’s message?
  • Read Genesis 9:1-17: What lesson(s) do we learn from God’s interactions with Noah? What does this teach us about who God is?
  • What part does God’s role in the “flood story” play in who we are, today? 
  • How can knowing “who we were” help us to become a better “who we are?”

  

Do something about it:

All of our lives have clutter and things we rarely use in them (like the junk drawer). The unfortunate thing is that many of these things (activities, routines, grudges, etc.) take up space and time. Since Lent is a time to consider the concept of redemption, take a few moments to consider what in your life may need to be de-created and re-created according to God’s purpose and plan. Jesus offers us an opportunity for rebirth. Have you accepted His offer yet?

Digging deeper:

Genesis 9:1-17; John 3:1-16; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 1:3

This Is Us – Firstborn

How would you describe your family? When you look back at those family members who preceded you, does it provide some insight into why you are like you are? We are also part of a much larger family: The family of God. If we are truly interested in knowing who we are, we need to dig deeper and go further back. In truth, our family’s story can be summed up in six Bible stories. These stories illustrate God’s interaction with our most important ancestors.

The first chapter of this journey delves into God’s relationship with Adam and Eve. Our goal is to dive deep into this story and hear God’s supremely good intention for all humanity (people, place, and presence) and to recognize that our current brokenness is due to our unwillingness to live within the bounds He has established.

Questions for discussion:

  • What do you think was the main point of Matt’s message?
  • Read Genesis 2 & 3: What lesson(s) do we learn from God’s interactions with Adam and Eve? What does this teach us about who God is?
  • What part did the “fall” play in who we are, today?
  • How can knowing “who we were” help us to become a better “who we are?”

 

Do something about it:

Take some time during the next week to Read Genesis chapters 1-3, aloud. Read these chapters like they are a message directly from God to you. Listen closely to the covenant that God makes with humanity. Take a moment to reflect on what that means for you, personally.

Digging deeper:

Genesis chapters 1-3; Romans 5:12-18; Exodus 34:6,7; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 7:21-23

Back to Ones – Again?

 

Perhaps no one in the New Testament better understood what going “Back to Ones” meant than Peter. Time after time Peter had to take a step back and start over.  Time after time Jesus demonstrated the grace that changes lives and provided Peter with an opportunity to begin again. Even after Jesus rose from the dead, True to his impetuous and stubborn nature Peter continued to mess up, even after Jesus died and rose from the dead. Yet, true to His forgiving nature, Jesus offered him another do-over. This blundering disciple is actually the perfect model for most of our relationships with God. Peter, though he screwed up a lot, continued to grow closer to Christ, despite making mistake after mistake, Peter’s life is a great example of how God offers forgiveness and grace as He draws us closer to him.

Questions for discussion:

  • What do you think was the main point of Matt’s message?
  • Read Matthew 16:13-23: What lesson(s) do we learn from Peter’s interactions with Jesus? What does this teach us regarding how God deals with our failures?
  • What were some of Peter’s failures? How did God offer opportunities for him to go “back to ones?”
  • What do Peter’s failures and victories teach us regarding how we should deal with our own failures?

Do something about it:

Ironically, our failures sometimes lead us to distance ourselves from God because we either feel ashamed or we feel angry. Usually, this leads to us feeling like we have to step away and create a distance. But, just like with human relationships, resolution and the ability to move forward comes only with honest communication. We need to go “back to ones” in our relationship with God and remember that no matter how long we’ve been “gone,” or how bad we think we’ve messed it up, Jesus is still desperate to re-establish a relationship with us.  That being the case, He is waiting for us to return.  How we best connect (or reconnect) with God is a very personal thing. Think of times when you have felt closest to God (prayer, worship, study, meditation, taking a walk or listening to music, etc.) and use those venues to have an open and honest talk with God.

Digging deeper:

Matthew 16:13-23; Luke 5:1-11; John 18:10; 27; Acts 3:1-8;10:28-11:18; Galatian 2:11-21; Matthew 7:7-11: Hebrews 10:21-23

Back to Ones – How Could I

Has doubt ever stopped you in your tracks? Whether the doubt is self-doubt or directed towards God, it can, if we let it, become an obstacle for growth. In the book of Judges, Gideon experiences this kind of self-doubt and projects those doubts on God, asking “If the Lord is with us, then how can all of these things be happening?” This doubt in God’s desire to provide for and protect his children nearly paralyzes him. However, things change when Gideon allows himself go “Back to Ones.” When he chooses to set his doubts aside long enough to allow God to use him, the situation turns into a huge blessing for him and his people.

Some of us have allowed doubt in God or self-doubt to hold us back from experiencing God’s plan for our lives. We need to start over and get ready to be used by God.

Questions for discussion:

  • What do you think was the main point of Matt’s message?
  • Read Judges Chapters 6-8: What lesson(s) do we learn from Gideon’s interactions with God? What does this teach us regarding how we should deal with doubt?
  • Have you ever doubted yourself and/or God? How were you able to move past it?
  • How does this message apply to your life?

Do something about it:

Just as Gideon did, it’s ok to ask God to help us with our unbelief. Look for some practical ways to recognize how God is working in your daily life. One way is to keep a prayer journal. Record your prayer requests and then periodically go back and reread them. As you see God answer a particular prayer, write the answer next to the request in the journal. If we become more intentional about looking for God presence in our daily lives we will begin to see areas that were oblivious to in the past. Ask God help you with your doubt and reveal His will for you and for your future.

Digging deeper: 

Judges 6-8; Psalm 9:10; 27:1; 37:4-6; Proverbs 3:5-6; Jeremiah 29:11-12; Mark 9:23-24; Hebrews 4:16

Dayspring Diamond

What exactly is our vision and mission as the body of Christ in Tyler, Texas?

“Feeding our love-starved culture by empowering Christ-filled lives”

Dayspring has an incredible opportunity to introduce our neighbors to the power of Christian community and decrease the number of spiritually disconnected people in the “Dayspring Diamond”.

In the next 7 years (2023), we will focus on reducing the number of spiritually disconnected people within the “Dayspring Diamond” by 15%, with a special emphasis on introducing young families to a
Christ-filled life within Christian community.

Nearly one out of three households within the “Dayspring Diamond” (South Loop 323-Flint-Bullard-Whitehouse) is completely disconnected from a church home, and 3 out of 5 people attend church once a month or less! While many of our neighbors come from “churched” backgrounds, they no longer identify with or invest in a vital faith-life.

We also see that 70% of the population in the “Dayspring Diamond” is younger than 50 years old, primarily consisting of families with young children (including single/divorced parents) who have never experienced the transforming power of the Body of Christ.

We see a day in which families in the “Dayspring Diamond” are healthier and more stable because of God’s work through us.

Every person deserves the opportunity to be invited and welcomed into the family of God!  We believe God uniquely positioned Dayspring to move the needle and make a measurable impact in the lives of spiritually disconnected people that live in our “backyard.”

We see a day in which every individual in worship at Dayspring would identify one person per quarter, pray for them and invite them into a Christ-filled life within a Christian community (at Dayspring or any other church).