ALL MY DAYS
SERMON DISCUSSION | PS 23:6b
This week’s sermon focused on the biblical perspective of “days” and what they mean.
What does a “good day” look like to you? What about a “bad day”?
Are there any recent examples of one or the other?
I. One Day
Duane shared that in the Bible the idea of a day and life go together. God created the day so that life could be lived.
Think of a day in your life when you felt really “alive”, like you were really thriving and enjoying life. What was it about that day that was different than others?
Every day that we breathe air is (ultimately) a good day because it is a day God has made. Hebrews 1:3 says, “[Jesus] upholds the universe by the word of his power.” Every day exists because Jesus said so.
Have you ever thought of each day as being a gift from God? What are some challenges in life that make it hard to view each day as a gift?
Pastor Duane presented the idea that there are two basic ways which people approach each day:
Without much thought or intention, kind of meandering through the day without purpose, or,
With vigorous determination, a “carpe diem” type of attitude.
Which type of approach is more characteristic of you? Was there anything that led you to develop this approach or are you naturally like that?
Jesus offers a third way to approach the day: Denying yourself and taking up your cross daily (Luke 9:23).
How does this third approach differ from the other two?
What are some practical ways you could tell which approach to the day someone is taking?
Why is it important to view each day as eternally significant?
II. Many Days
Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Life is more than just a string of days that have no overarching or greater purpose. A wise person will understand they only have one life to live and only a limited number of days in which to live it. Developing a Christ-honoring vision or plan for your life is a wise way to live.
Have you ever thought through a vision for your life? What is it?
Pastor Duane shared his personal vision for his household. What do you think are some marks of a godly vision for your life?
Should all visions/plans look similar? Why or why not?
Similar to how there are different approaches to each day, there are different approaches to living life:
Existentialism – Essentially allowing your feelings/desires to dictate the direction of your day to day life.
Pragmatism – Living and ordering your life in such a way to achieve or accomplish goals.
“Theocentricism” – Making decisions from, for, and to God.
Which approach to life do you tend to take? What are some potential problems you could see with living life existentially or pragmatically?
The Christian life is filled with seasons. Life is not a straight line to heaven. There are many ups and downs, mountains and valleys. The way we live out our life of faith will most likely look different in each season.
What are some ways you have seen your life of faith lived out differently in your different seasons?
What are some pitfalls that could come by not acknowledging life is made of different seasons?
The promise of God is that He will be with us in each season (“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”) How might the knowledge of God’s presence in your current season change your perspective?
III. The Day
“The Day of the Lord” is the day referred to in Scripture of when Jesus will return. That day will represent one of two things for people:
It will be a day of judgment for some.
It will be a day of salvation for others.
Do you ever think about that day? What are some thoughts you have?
For believers, God promises to sustain us until Jesus returns, and then present us guiltless before him on that day (1 Corinthians 1:7-9).
In what ways can this promise effect our day to day lives? In what ways can this promise effect the vision for our lives?
Pray for One Another
Pray for each others hearts and for the wisdom to learn how to number our days.
Pray for a passion to live with a Christ-centered vision.Pray for encouragement and comfort through each of the different seasons of life people are in.
Pray for encouragement and comfort through each of the different seasons of life people are in.
INTRODUCING SAN DIEGO SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY
Pastor Duane Smets
We have merged Leadership Development and The Resolved School of Theology to form the San Diego School of Theology (SDST) in order to better serve both our church members and those outside our church. Our mission is “Developing Relationally Healthy, Biblical Leaders In Jesus' Church and churches.”
In order to accomplish this we have established a board of directors for San Diego School of Theology: Dave Maddox, Dennis Frey, Duane Smets, Ryan Buss.
After much prayer and discussion we have put together the following CORE VALUES to guide the processes and goals of SDST.
DEVELOPING THE HEART
Our goal is to not only teach, listen and learn but to process how those things connect and effect our inner person on a deep heart level.
DEVELOPING THE HEAD
Our goal is for the mind to be cognitively engaged and challenged to think high thoughts in accordance with who God is and what He has told us.
DEVELOPING THE HANDS
Our goal is for the posture of the heart and the assent of the head to flow out in intentional action as we live out the truths of the Gospel in our city.
Even though we’ve separated out these distinctions, we recognize the human person as a unified whole. Thus, the whole person perceives. The whole person contemplates. The whole person feels. The whole person interprets. The whole person decides. The whole person acts.
Therefore, when we speak about the pursuit of spiritual maturity we have in mind Spirit-wrought growth of the whole person. Christ formed in the whole person. That framework of the human personality should also carry over in the way we think about and carry out the development of leaders. Discipleship of leaders rightly understood is Christ formed and supremely reigning in the mind, heart and body. Christlikeness is another way of describing whole-life change.
This fall San Diego School of Theology will be offering two courses we encourage you to take and register for:
Theo 101 – Christian Beliefs (Sundays @ 1pm)
An eight-week course covering the range of theological beliefs essential to the gospel. Topics include: the existence of God, the truth of the Bible, the depravity of humans, the good news of Jesus, the order of salvation, the role of the church and our mission in the world. This class is necessary for membership in The Resolved Church. Click here to register.
Theo 102 – Christian Living (Sundays @ 6pm)
An eight-week course covering the range of practices essential to the Christian life. Topics include: giving, community, serving, worship, personal stories, the spiritual disciplines, missional living and caring for the soul. This class is necessary for leadership in The Resolved Church. Click here to register.
THE RICHES OF GOD
SERMON DISCUSSION | 2 Corinthians 9:81-2
This week Pastor Ryan spoke about how God provides for us and how we are to respond in light of to his goodness to us. He began by giving a personal story of how God provided for his mentor during great financial hardship, making the point that even when we can’t see how a situation will work out, God always is in control.
What are some personal examples of God providing for you? What made it difficult to trust God? What are the ways God tends to show us grace and provision?
I. Divine Provision
Pastor Ryan continued by stating that the two types of grace that the Bible talks about are common grace (God’s goodness he has towards all creation – Psalm 104:10-15, 27-28), and particular grace (the special grace that God gives to only his people – Romans 8:28). While common grace is experienced by everyone, it is only temporary, ending when we die. Conversely, particular grace is eternal in intention and execution in that while we were still destitute, God provided Jesus to give us a life rooted in the renewing grace and forgiveness that only he can provide.
What does grace mean? How would you explain common and particular grace to an unbelieving friend? What does common grace say about the character of God? Why is particular grace intentional? How does receiving particular grace help renew us?
II. Holy Contentment
Moving on, Pastor Ryan explained that God is faithful in his provision to his children, and as such we can have contentment in every situation that we experience because we find our satisfaction in Christ, not our circumstances.
How do we know that God is faithful to provide for us? What makes us God’s children? What does it mean to have “contentment in every situation”? How does being confident in God’s grace change our view of his provision for our lives? How can we avoid being anxious? What does the Bible tell us about God’s provision?
III. Thankful Generosity
Ryan closes his sermon by stating that God has given us more than enough to sustain as well as provide for our every need. As such, we should continually give out of gratitude for what God has done in our lives, believing that no matter how much we give we can never out give God, which allows us give freely and cheerfully to meet the needs of the saints and unbelievers alike.
Who should we give to? How much should we give to others? What if you don’t have that much to give? How should you deal with debt and savings when giving? Where does the money you give go towards? How do you start giving? What are some needs in your community group that can be met?
SERVICE TIME CHANGES
OCTOBER 2 | 9AM + 11AM
Beginning October 2, our 10am service will be multiplying into two morning services at 9am + 11am to support the wonderful growth that we have seen God granting in our morning service. If you'd like to help, join one of our ministry teams by signing up at the Connect Booth!
THE SOUL-RESTORING INTIMACY OF GOD
SERMON DISCUSSION | Isaiah 43:1-4
Pastor Ryan Buss
Pastor Ryan starting by discussing the different seasons of a church’s life, and how the Fall is a big time of growth for the church. He cast some vision for the Fall and some of the exciting things we are engaging in as a church. One of the biggest things we are planning is to multiply our morning service into two: 9am & 11am.
What is your favorite season of the year? What makes it your favorite?
I. Redeemed [v. 1]
Ryan helped to frame the context of Isaiah 43:1-4 by reminding us that God is calling His people to remember who He is and who they are in relationship with Him. God’s people were in exile in an enemy country and had many reasons to fear and lose hope and forget Him. Ryan retold some of the story of Israel and of God’s relationship with His people.
What parts of Israel’s story tends to resonate with you in your life?
Ryan then went on to talk about our own stories and how each of us and our stories have been formed by God to bring Him the most glory and honor, and to allow His gospel to shine through us in beauty. Telling our stories and remembering the LORD in it will help us as we experience difficulties and trials in our lives, and to not forget who the LORD is. When we forget it is easy to begin to doubt and despair.
What are some parts of your story that you often remember the LORD in? How does remembering that encourage you?
II. Rescued [v.2]
God gives His people the promise that they will experience trials in their lives, but also that He will be with them in it, and He will preserve them through it to the end.
What are some recent trials that you have experienced where you have seen and felt the presence and preservation of God in your life? How did that influence your relationship with Jesus?
What are circumstances or things that tend to overwhelm you? That tend to cause you pain? How does God help us in those times?
Ryan brought up the fact that fire in the Bible is also equated with the tongue, citing James 3.
How have you experienced the biting and piercing of words in your life? How have you experienced the joy and encouragement that comes from words?
We are brought into trials so that we might share in the suffering of Christ, and so that we might comfort others with His comfort. Who in your life can you bring the comfort of Christ to?
III. Ransomed [vs.3-4]
God end this text by describing how much His people mean to Him, how much they are worth in His eyes. What is something that you have that you felt like you paid too much money for? Why? What is something in your life that you feel you got a great price on?
God uses three words to describe what His people mean to Him in [v. 4]:
Which one of these three words resonates with your soul the most right now? How does this bring your encouragement? Which one is the hardest for you to believe about yourself? Why?
How does this help us in pursuing intimacy with Jesus? Do you have any action plans for pursuing Christ in your life in a new way?
IV. Pray for one another
BE A CHRISTIAN HEDONIST
What Is Christian Hedonism?
My shortest summary of Christian Hedonism is: God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.
We all make a god out of what we take the most pleasure in. Christian Hedonists want to make God their God by seeking after the greatest pleasure — pleasure in him.
By Christian Hedonism, we do not mean that our happiness is the highest good. We mean that pursuing the highest good will always result in our greatest happiness in the end. We should pursue this happiness, and pursue it with all our might. The desire to be happy is a proper motive for every good deed, and if you abandon the pursuit of your own joy, you cannot love man or please God.
The Difference Between Worldly and Christian Hedonism
Some people are inclined to believe that Christians are supposed to seek God’s will as opposed to pursuing their own pleasure. But what makes biblical morality different than worldly hedonism is not that biblical morality is disinterested and duty-driven, but that it is interested in vastly greater and purer things. Christian Hedonism is biblical morality because it recognizes that obeying God is the only route to final and lasting happiness. Here are some examples of this from the Bible:
Luke 6:35 says, “Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great.” It is clear when Jesus says “expect nothing in return” that we should not be motivated by worldly aggrandizement, but we are given strength to suffer loss by the promise of a future reward.
Again, in Luke 14:12–14: “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your kinsmen or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor . . . and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” That is, don’t do good deeds for worldly advantage; rather, do them for spiritual, heavenly benefits.
Should Duty Be Our Main Motivation?
But some will say, “No, no. These texts only describe what reward will result if you act disinterestedly. They do not teach us to actually seek the reward.”
Two answers to this objection:
1) It would be foolish to say, “If you take this pill, I’ll give you a nickel,” if you expect the desire for the nickel to ruin the pill. But Jesus was not foolish. He would not offer blessing to those who obey him and then hold it against us if these blessings motivated our obedience.
2) Even more importantly, there are texts that not only commend that we do good in the hope of future blessing, but command it.
Luke 12:33 says, “Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail.” The connection here between alms and having eternal treasure in heaven is not a chance result — it is the explicit purpose: “Make it your aim to have treasure in heaven, and the way to do this is to sell your possessions and give alms.”
And again, Luke 16:9 says, “Make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into eternal habitations.” Luke does not say that the result of using possessions properly is to receive eternal habitations. He says, “Make it your aim to secure an eternal habitation by the way you use your possessions.”
Therefore, a resounding NO to the belief that morality should be inspired more by duty than delight.
Don’t Be Too Easily Satisfied
Hebrews 11:6 teaches, “Without faith it is impossible to please [God]. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” You cannot please God if you do not come to him looking for reward. Therefore, faith that pleases God is the hedonistic pursuit of God.
As Christian Hedonists we know that everyone longs for happiness. And we will never tell them to deny or repress that desire. It is never a problem to want to be satisfied. The problem is being satisfied too easily. We believe that everyone who longs for satisfaction should no longer seek it from money or power or lust, but should come glut their soul-hunger on the grace of God. We will bend all our effort, by the Holy Spirit, to persuade people:
- that they can be happier in giving than receiving (Acts 20:35);
- that they should count everything as loss for the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus their Lord (Philippians 3:8);
- that the aim of all of Jesus’s commandments is that their joy be full (John 15:11);
- that if they delight themselves in the Lord he will give them the desire of their heart (Psalm 37:4);
- that there is great gain in godliness with contentment (1 Timothy 6:6);
- and that the joy of the Lord is their strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
We will not try to motivate anyone with appeals to mere duty. We will tell them that in God’s presence is full and lasting joy (Psalm 16:11) and our only duty is to come to him, seeking this pleasure.
This article may be originally found at Desiring God as adapted from John Piper’s article, Christian Hedonism: Forgive the Label, But Don’t Miss the Truth.
THE GLORY OF GOD
SERMON DISCUSSION | Ephesians 1:3-14
Spend some time catching up on each others lives. Summer can be a busy season and your group may not be spending as much time with each other as you normally do.
What was one thing that made you laugh this week (or since you last met)? Why?
What was a high moment from last week? What was a low moment from last week?
This week we had a guest speaker, Pastor Joel Webbon from the Response Church. His sermon was geared primarily towards turning our attention to the riches of the glory of God.
Joel shared that he grew up in a church that was primarily man-centered and not God-centered. What do you think a man-centered church would look like (it’s songs, it’s sermons, it’s conversations)? Can anyone relate to a church-going experience like this?
What are some differences you have seen between your church growing up (if you had one) and being a part of The Resolved?
Joel shared an often-quoted (but not often discussed) statement made by John Piper: God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. Do you agree with this idea?
What does it mean to be most satisfied in God? How would that show itself in a Christian’s life?
I. Saved for God’s Glory
Joel spoke about how we can forget our salvation is part of a bigger story that is telling the glories of God, and how wonderful He is, especially the wonder and glory of His grace. Joel described God’s grace as the summit or peak of the glory of God.
When you hear the words “the glory of God”, what comes to mind?
In this Scripture passage the phrase “the praise of his glory” is used several times, as well as “the praise of his glorious grace” and “the riches of his grace”, in connection with our salvation.
Have you ever thought of God’s grace as being the pinnacle of His glory?
How does this differentiate the God of the Bible from the gods of other religions?
Joel said God orchestrates everything for the highest degree of His glory and heightening the praise of His people. Have you ever experienced God heightening your praise?
Has there been a particular circumstance or season in your life where you felt God was causing you to enjoy Him more than you had before? What did that look like?
II. Sealed for God’s Glory
In this section, Joel emphasized the spiritual security of the believer, and how that pointed to God’s concern for His own glory as well as His profound love for us.
Joel said God will not allow our salvation to rest on our own will and work so therefore we can be secure. How does the lifting of this burden from our shoulders give us security?
As Christians we often know in our heads that we are secure, but we don’t feel like its true. What sort of things, both externally and internally, prevent us from personally experiencing a feeling of security with God?
Do you think God wants you to feel secure? Why? Reading through verses 11-14 might help answer this question.
III. Viewing Our Sins Through the Lens of God’s Glory
We can view our sin through two different biblical lenses:
- The love of God: sin destroys that which God loves.
- The glory of God: sin perpetuates a lie about who God truly is.
Which lens do you normally look through? Why do you think that is?
When we are faced with sin, in ourselves or in others, what are some practical steps we can take to filter that sin through these two important lenses? What are some things we might need to say to ourselves or to others?
Read 2 Corinthians 7:10.
How do godly grief and worldly grief differ?
Assuming we have all experienced both kinds, how can you tell them apart in your own life? Reading through the rest of 2 Corinthians 7:10-16 might help solidify things.
Pray that God would open the eyes of our hearts to see that our own salvation story is part of the greater story of God revealing His glory.
Ask the Holy Spirit to give us a deeper experience of the absolute security we have in God through Jesus Christ.
Seek wisdom in viewing sin the way that God views sin.
Praise God for revealing His glory in the grace we have all received through the Cross of Christ!
YOUR GOODNESS & MERCY
PS 23:6a | SERMON DISCUSSION
Psalm 23 has taken us to some enlightening places, some dark places and David is now arriving at much more pleasant places. As we start verse 6 of the Psalm David presents to us God’s goodness and mercy.
What are somethings that could be argued seem universally good? What are some things that seem universally beautiful? (Duane gave the example of a sunset.)
Let’s back up to verse 5 and get a running start at verse 6:
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. – Psalm 23:5-6
Duane had three main points to hit about God’s goodness and mercy
I. The Good God
II. The Good Mercy
III. The Good One
THE GOOD GOD
On the first page of the Bible we’re shown God as good. Through the act of creation He is shown as the creator and the source for each creation, which He deems “good” (Gen 1:31).
What does it say about God that He creates “good” things?
James 1:17, Romans 8:28, Matthew 7:11, Romans 12:2 all point to God as being good and the supply of good.
Where do you turn to when you’re looking for something good? Where do you point others?
Duane pointed out that it’s popular to think of “good” as an entity itself (e.g. “they are a force for good”, “it’s good versus evil”). Consequently we can think that God just shares some attributes of good.
What could be the danger of thinking of good as an entity? What analogy could you use to explain God’s relationship to goodness?
THE GOOD MERCY
Duane pointed out that our view of the word mercy may be smaller than it should. He defined the word mercy here as "a never stopping, never giving up, unbreakable, always and forever love."
How is that different from your understanding of mercy? Is it different from the popular definition of mercy?
David observed that “goodness and mercy will surely follow me”. He was assured and confident of God’s mercy.
How would you live if you thought God’s mercy was a one time event to you? What is different if it’s a continual ongoing in your life?
THE GOOD ONE
In Luke 18:18 Jesus is asked about goodness. A young ruler asks what does he have to do to receive eternal life. Jesus points him to the ten commandments, a veritable definition of what it would take to be “good.”
Have you ever made a serious effort to keep all the commandments? Were you able to? Why are we given the commandments if we can’t keep them?
God is good, and He also just. He cannot let an offense, an evil go without consequence.
Culture has a high view of justice, but a low view of consequences, why do you think that is?
As a result, Jesus lived a perfectly good life, so He can exchange us all his goodness for our badness and also accept our punishment.
Why is Jesus able to accept the punishment for all who believe not just one person? What does it say about God that still exacts punishment, even when it’s on His son?
Pray with our group that you would live knowing the God’s goodness and mercy have you covered eternally. That we as a church would reflect His goodness to San Diego.
FOUNTAINS OF BLESSING
The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. — John 4:14
The picture our Lord described here is not that of a simple stream of water, but an overflowing fountain. Continue to “be filled” (Ephesians 5:18) and the sweetness of your vital relationship to Jesus will flow as generously out of you as it has been given to you. If you find that His life is not springing up as it should, you are to blame— something is obstructing the flow. Was Jesus saying to stay focused on the Source so that you may be blessed personally? No, you are to focus on the Source so that out of you “will flow rivers of living water”— irrepressible life (John 7:38).
We are to be fountains through which Jesus can flow as “rivers of living water” in blessing to everyone. Yet some of us are like the Dead Sea, always receiving but never giving, because our relationship is not right with the Lord Jesus. As surely as we receive blessings from Him, He will pour out blessings through us. But whenever the blessings are not being poured out in the same measure they are received, there is a defect in our relationship with Him. Is there anything between you and Jesus Christ? Is there anything hindering your faith in Him? If not, then Jesus says that out of you “will flow rivers of living water.” It is not a blessing that you pass on, or an experience that you share with others, but a river that continually flows through you. Stay at the Source, closely guarding your faith in Jesus Christ and your relationship to Him, and there will be a steady flow into the lives of others with no dryness or deadness whatsoever.
Is it excessive to say that rivers will flow out of one individual believer? Do you look at yourself and say, “But I don’t see the rivers”? Through the history of God’s work you will usually find that He has started with the obscure, the unknown, the ignored, but those who have been steadfastly true to Jesus Christ.
SERMON DISCUSSION | PS 23:5d
I. The Filling Cup
- What does it look like to have a filled cup in life?
- God starts by forming and then filling the universe. He forms and fills the universe out of the overflow of His being. How do we see God doing this in Genesis 1?
- Are you a glass is half full or half empty person? Why? What do you think God is?
- Why did God create anything at all? What does this tell us about His character?
- Why is it important for us to remember that God is a God who fills? What might this do for our spiritual life with Him?
II. The Deadly Cup
- Cups in the Bible are also used to talk about “cups of wrath”. Cups can be used to describe blessing and curses.
- There are two cups in the Bible: the cup of life and love, the cup of sin and darkness. Why do we often choose the 2nd cup? How does this cup play out in your life?
- How does sin deceive us into thinking it is good? Do you know your own particular temptations which deceive you? How does God help you to fight them?
- The Bible describes how without Him, we are all drinking of the cup of sin and darkness and that God has reserved the cup of His wrath prepared for us if we do not repent.
III. The Overflowing Cup
- Jesus comes to us and drinks the cup of Gods wrath for us. In His resurrection He gives us the cup of His life and blessing. How does Jesus’ cup of life keep us filled? How do we drink from His cup?
-Why does Jesus’ cup the only cup which fully and continually satisfy us?
- Have you experienced this kind of overflowing? What was that like?
- Joyful emotion is the expression of the overflow. Is this your posture in life today? Why or why not?
- God made us for life, to have a full and happy life! We can only be truly and eternally happy if our happiness is rooted and found in Him.
IV. Pray for one another to have this kind of happy and full life in Christ!