Episode 4: When You Feel Like Giving Up
Discussion following the sermon from 1/29/23
"At last the wall was completed to half its height around the entire city, for the people had worked with enthusiasm. But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the work was going ahead and that the gaps in the wall of Jerusalem were being repaired, they were furious. They all made plans to come and fight against Jerusalem and throw us into confusion. But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves. Then the people of Judah began to complain, 'The workers are getting tired, and there is so much rubble to be moved. We will never be able to build the wall by ourselves.' Meanwhile, our enemies were saying, 'Before they know what’s happening, we will swoop down on them and kill them and end their work.' The Jews who lived near the enemy came and told us again and again, 'They will come from all directions and attack us!'” Nehemiah 4:6-12
Nehemiah and the people who had returned to Jerusalem from captivity found a city with no protection from their enemies. This is why Nehemiah set out to rebuild the wall as a defense against an attack. But building the wall was a huge undertaking and there was no way of knowing when or from where they might be besieged. They were worn out from the hard work and discouraged by their situation. They felt like giving up. In today’s sermon Pastor Beau reveals from God’s Word:
HOW CAN I DEFEAT DISCOURAGEMENT?
1. REST MY BODY
"It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones." Psalm 127:2
"The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength…" Psalm 23:1-3
Discussion: Why do I panic instead of trusting in God’s provision and protection?
2. REINFORCE MY WEAK AREAS
"So I placed armed guards behind the lowest parts of the wall in the exposed areas. I stationed the people to stand guard by families, armed with swords, spears, and bows." Nehemiah 4:13
"Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another…" Hebrews 10:24-25
Discussion: Think about the positive things I can do to strengthen myself in times of distress.
3. REFOCUS ON GOD
"Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, 'Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great
and glorious…'" Nehemiah 4:14a
"I lie in the dust; revive me by your word." Psalm 119:25
Discussion: When I am discouraged, do I seek God’s direction and the prayers of His people?
4. RESIST THE DISCOURAGEMENT
"…and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!” Nehemiah 4:14b
"...Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7
"When our enemies heard that we knew of their plans and that God had frustrated them, we all returned to our work on the wall…So on October 2 the wall was finished—just fifty-two days after we had begun. When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God." Nehemiah 4:15, 6:15-16
Discussion: God never said it would be easy but think about how He promises to fight beside us.
Application: Ask for God’s strength to stand against the devil and His plans to discourage me.
Episode 3: Setting Goals That Please God
Discussion following the sermon from 1/22/23
"Look here, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.' How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it's here a little while, then it's gone. What you ought to say is, 'If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.' Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil. Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it." James 4:13-17
We often set goals for the new year: things we want to accomplish or life dreams we want to realize in 2023. But in doing so, do we pray and seek God’s direction in setting our goals? And are we committed to His plan; are we faithful to apply the gifts and resources He has given us to reach our goals? In today’s message, Pastor Beau will show us, from the Bible, how to set God-honoring goals, and he will encourage us by showing us how God has given us His Holy Spirit to empower us to fulfill our goals.
1. PRAYERFULLY SET MY GOALS
"I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back. So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us." Philippians 3:12-15
Discussion: Have you prayed and asked God for His direction in setting your life goals?
2. CONTINUALLY CHECK MY GOALS
Three Key Questions To Ask
WILL THIS GOAL HONOR GOD?
"So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31
IS THIS GOAL MOTIVATED BY LOVE?
"Let love be your highest goal!" 1 Corinthians 14:1
DOES THIS GOAL REQUIRE ME TO DEPEND ON GOD?
"And it is impossible to please God without faith." Hebrews 11:5-6
"We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it." Proverbs 16:9
Discussion: Truthfully and prayerfully answer these three key questions about your goals.
3. FAITHFULLY FUEL MY GOALS
Three Key Ingredients
GOD'S WORD TO GUIDE ME
"Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:8-9
Discussion: Are you being instructed by God through reading and meditating on His Word?
GOD'S PEOPLE TO SUPPORT ME
"A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken." Ecclesiastes 4:12
Discussion: Are you regularly spending time in fellowship with God’s people?
GOD'S SPIRIT TO EMPOWER ME
"You won't succeed by might or by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord." Zechariah 4:6
Discussion: Are you trusting God’s Spirit to live in a way that glorifies Him?
Application: Take a few minutes to assess whether your life goals are honoring to God.
Episode 2: Our Purpose Of Praise
Discussion following the sermon from 1/15/2023
"Let everything that breathes sing praises to the LORD!" Psalm 150:6
"I will praise You with my whole heart!" Psalm 138:1
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I PRAISE GOD WITH ALL MY HEART?
1. PRAISING GOD LIFTS MY SPIRIT.
"Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!" Psalm 42:5
"To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair…" Isaiah 61:3
Discussion Question: Why does praising God encourage us when we are sad or disillusioned?
2. PRAISING GOD HELPS ME SENSE HIS PRESENCE
"The righteous praise your name and they live in your presence." Psalm 140:13
"God, we praise you and thank you because you are near." Psalm 75:1
Discussion Question: What does Psalm 22:3 mean when it says, “God inhabits the praises of His people?”
3. PRAISING GOD ENLARGES MY PERCEPTION OF HIM
"I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify Him with thanksgiving." Psalm 69:30
"Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable." Psalm 145:3
Discussion Question: Why does praising God help us better recognize His loving-kindness?
4. PRAISING GOD REMINDS ME OF HIS BLESSINGS.
"Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s." Psalm 103:1-5
Discussion Question: Why is it hard to see God’s blessings when we have an ungrateful outlook?
5. PRAISING GOD ENLISTS GOD'S PROTECTION
"So the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army singing praise to the Lord and praising him. They sang ‘Give thanks to the Lord because his faithful love endures forever!’ The moment the people started singing and praising, the Lord caused the opposing forces to start attacking each other and they were completely defeated!” 2 Chronicles 20:21-22
"The Lord protects and defends me when I trust him. He helps me and fills me with joy as I praise him.” Psalm 28:7
Discussion: How does praising God open our minds to His protection?
6. PRAISING GOD FREES ME AND OPENS DOORS
""Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself." Acts 16:25-27
Discussion: Why does praising God set us free?
Application: Commit to a heart of praise today and then take a few minutes to just praise God.
Episode 1: How To Become The Greatest Me I Can Be
Discussion following the sermon from 1/8/2023
"Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, 'Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.' And He said to them, 'What do you want Me to do for you?' They said to Him, 'Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.' But Jesus said to them, 'You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?' They said to Him, 'We are able.' So Jesus said to them, 'You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.' And when the ten heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John. But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, 'You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.'” Mark 10:35-45
GOD'S GREAT PURPOSE FOR MY LIFE...
1. IS REALLY NOT ABOUT ME
"'Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.'" Mark 8:34
Discussion Question: Why is personal denial such a foreign concept for all of us?
2. SOMETIMES INCLUDES SUFFERING
"So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name." Acts 5:41
Discussion Question: Is suffering a deal breaker for you, or are you willing to suffer for Jesus? Explain.
3. ALWAYS SEEKS TO SERVE OTHERS
"'I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'" Matthew 25:35-36
Discussion Question: How does the commitment to serve others change your heart?
4. WILL ONE DAY BE WORTH IT ALL
"'His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'" Matthew 25:23
Discussion Question: How does thinking in terms of eternity change your purpose for today?
Application: Take a few minutes and think about who God would have you serve this year.