Grow Deep - The Family Trip Edition, Week 2
Week 2: August 26 – September 1
“… Grow in the grace and knowledge of
our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18a
For me, the words “family trip” conjure up sweet memories of sunny summer days vacationing at the lake, boating, tubing, water skiing, late night card games, and early morning quiet time with God on the dock. I always look forward to our family vacations with eagerness, even though I know that every trip will require a significant investment of time and energy to plan and execute! There are schedules to coordinate, reservations to make, menus to plan, and shopping and packing to do. But the pay-off is huge—time spent together as a family, stronger relationships, shared conversation and laughter, shared dreams, and unbridled joy in new things tried and conquered!
God has a dream and a plan for us, too. His desire is that we are fully invested in pursuing a relationship with Him. There are times when I am zealous in my pursuit of Him. I am passionate about getting to know Him more intimately in His Word, in worship, and in prayer. But if I am honest, there are other times when I am more invested in my own plans than in His. Getting my Bible study finished is more important than getting to know Him. My worship is distracted and shallow. My prayers are hurried and routine.
Living out God’s plan for me takes more than just desire and my good intentions. It takes an investment. It takes time, planning, commitment, and sacrifice … every day … to do the hard work of being a disciple. Jesus Himself said it would be hard, and the cost would be high. But He is faithful. When I make the choice to follow His plan of discipleship with greater mental and spiritual attention, He promises that the power of the Holy Spirit will drive me forward. He promises that He Himself will be interceding to His Father on my behalf … even when I fall short!
How is God calling you? How will you plan for your spiritual growth? How will you make an investment in your relationship with Jesus?
Sunday, August 26
Read: Luke 14:28-33
There were many who followed Jesus, but they were not willing to do what it would take to be a disciple. Jesus made it clear to them that the cost of discipleship would be high. That is still true for us today. He wants us to understand the cost of discipleship and to have a spiritual plan for following.
Reflect: What does it mean to count the cost? Re-read verse 33. What is the sacrifice that Jesus asks us to make? Why is it important to plan for spiritual growth?
For the Family: If you want to build something with LEGOS that looks like the picture on the box, why is it important to read the instructions? What do we have that tells us how to be followers of Jesus? Why is it important to read the Bible every day?
Monday, August 27
Read: Proverbs 16:1-3
Through the words of Solomon, God gives us some practical guidelines for living out His plan in our daily lives. It is by His grace alone that man can do anything, so we need to commit our lives and plans to God. In the end, we need to be prepared to answer to God for our decisions.
Reflect: What does it mean for you personally to commit your ways to the Lord? How does that impact your long-range life goals? How does it impact your plans on a daily basis? How is it impacting your plans today?
For the Family: Why do you think God gives us choices? Do your parents help you to make choices that are good for you? How? Can the Bible help you to make the best choices? How?
Tuesday, August 28
Read: 2 Timothy 3:10-16
In his letter to Timothy, Paul encourages us to devote our home to God’s Word; it is part of setting goals and planning for spiritual growth. Timothy was taught God’s Word by his grandmother and mother. He followed the examples of faithful men like Paul. He relied on the Scripture as the basis for all that he believed. Paul encourages Timothy (and us) to continue in all that he has learned.
Reflect: What are three things that you learn about the Bible from vs. 15-16? How are the lives of Paul and Timothy an example for you? Why is it so critical to have godly examples in your life? How can you encourage your child(ren) or a friend to develop a hunger for God’s Word?
For the Family: In a letter to his friend, Timothy, St. Paul told him that the Bible was inspired (or breathed out) by God. Why was it important for Paul’s friend to know that the Bible was inspired by God? Why is it important for us to know that?
Wednesday, August 29
Read: Hebrews 10:19-25
This letter was written to Christians who were discouraged. It was an encouragement to them to trust God and live out their Christian faith according to God’s plan in community with others. By trusting in the salvation that is ours through faith in Christ and His sacrifice for us, we are free to approach God boldly in prayer, to read and study His Word, and to gather together with others in worship.
Reflect: List five things that the writer of this letter encourages the Hebrew Christians to do in these verses? How do these same encouragements apply to us today in the 21st century? Why is it important to meet together with other Christians for your own spiritual growth? How does meeting together with others “spur” you on to greater faith and good works?
For the Family: Have you ever felt sad or afraid or lonely? How does it help to have your family with you at those times? How can you draw closer to each other in your family? In your church family? Why do you think God wants you to draw close to others?
Thursday, August 30
Read: Philippians 4:4-9
Paul is writing to the Christians in Philippi and encourages them to experience the joy, peace, and understanding that is theirs through the grace of Jesus. He wants them to experience those things in their hearts and minds, to continually demonstrate an attitude of prayer, and to be intentional about the choices they make and the things they think about.
Reflect: Why do your heart and mind need to be guarded? Against what? Is there a connection between the thoughts that fill your mind and your prayer life? If so, what is it? How can you train your mind to focus on the things listed in v. 8?
For the Family: Paul writes that we are to rejoice always. What does that mean? Paul also wrote that we are to pray continually? How is that possible? Spend time praying with your family. Sing a song about Jesus that makes you feel joyful.
Friday, August 31
Read: 1 John 4:1-6
John encourages his readers concerning the matter of discernment and the testing of other voices and spirits that are “out there” to be sure which are from God and which are from sources that are not of God. The best way to grow in discernment is to continually grow in the knowledge of Jesus through individual study and in community study and worship.
Reflect: Have you ever been deceived … even as a joke or a prank? Did it impact your life and decisions? How? How can you “test” for truth? Why is it important even in a Christian community to “test” the spirits?
For the Family: What does it mean to deceive another person? Why is that wrong? What does the Bible tell us we need to do to keep from being deceived about Jesus? How can your family help you? How can your church family help you?
Saturday, September 1
Read: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31
In this section of Scripture, Paul shares an amazing reality … we are all part of Christ. He is the Head, and we are the Body. We all belong to the same Lord and are given gifts by the same Spirit to use together as His body to change the world and impact people for Jesus. No one part of the Body is greater than any other part, but we are equal, each having an important role.
Reflect: What does it mean to you individually to be part of the Body of Christ? What happens in your own human body if one part of it does not do what it was designed to do? What happens in the church if one part of the Body does not do what was planned? How has God gifted you? How can you use His gifts?
For the Family: In this passage God tells us that the church is like our bodies. He is the Head, and we are all the other parts. If you were an actual body part, what part of the body do you think you would be? What part do you think God wants you to be in His Body, the church? Why?