Never Too SMALL

Windows of Heaven 

“parable” — “An earthly story with a heavenly meaning.”

Never Too SMALL (Matthew 13:31-35)

Our main text this week is a series of two parables that Jesus tells to the crowds about things which are small yet yield great results.  The first is about the mustard seed which was known as the smallest of all seeds.  When this seed is placed in the ground and allowed to do what it was created to do, a huge bush grows up that even the birds of the air can nest in.  The second is a story of a woman who took a small amount of yeast and mixed it into a large amount of dough.  As the woman did her work and the yeast did what it was created to do, the entire batch of dough was leavened by the yeast.

Jesus wants us to know that small things can yield big results when we place them in God’s hands.  What do you have that you think is too small?  If you place it in God’s hands, it is never too small.

Something to think about . . .
. . . Daily readings and questions to help you prepare for the August 24 AM message at Deer Run.

Monday (August 18) Read Matthew 13:31-32.

What did Jesus compare the mustard seed to?  Where does it rank among seed size?  What happens when it is planted?  Would you expect that simply by looking at the seed?  How is the kingdom of heaven like that?  What seeds have been planted to cause the kingdom to grow?  What seeds are you currently planting to cause the kingdom to grow?  How big are they?  Does it matter?  What does God want to do with that which seems small to you?

Tuesday (August 19) Read Exodus 4:10-17.

What was God wanting Moses to do?  How did Moses describe his speaking ability?  What did God say about the speaking ability of Moses?  How did Moses respond to God’s instruction?  What was God’s response?  Who did He send to help?  How often  do you pass up opportunities to share the gospel message  because you feel too slow in your speech?  What would God say to you about that?  What does God want to do with that which seems Slow to you?

Wednesday (August 20)  Read 1 Kings 17:12-14.

What does the woman in the text tell Elijah that she has?  What did she plan to do with it?  How much extra did she think she had?  What is Elijah’s instruction to her?  What happens?  When God presents a need to you, what do you consider is your inventory to meet it?  Do you ever say, “I only have enough for myself and my family”?  Is that ever true?  What does God want you to do with that which seems Meager to you?

Thursday (August 21)  Read Judges 6:11-13.

Who pays a visit to Gideon in the text?  What is Gideon doing?  Where is he at?  Why?  How does this visitor address Gideon?  What did Gideon think of the greeting?  Are there times that you are fearful to do what God says?  Do you have a hiding place where you hope no one can find you?  How can you find courage when it feels like the enemy is winning?  Who is greater, the One that is in you or the one that is in the world?  What does God want you to do when you feel too Afraid?

Friday (August 22)  Read Luke 19:1-6.

Who wanted to see Jesus?  What physical characteristic made that difficult?  How did he try to compensate for his size?  Who was looking for him?  What did Zacchaeus receive?  Do you ever feel too little in some way to make a difference?  How do you try to compensate?  Do you think Jesus knows where you are?  What does God want you to do when you feel Little?

Saturday (August 23)  Read Acts 22:6-10.

What is Saul doing when he sees a bright light and hears a voice as he travels?  What did the voice ask?  Did Saul recognize who was speaking?  Who did the voice identify himself as?  What is Saul told to do?  What message will Saul be given when he goes into Damascus?  How lost is too lost?  Have you ever felt you were too far removed from God to do any good?  How do you respond to God’s Word telling you all that you should do?  What does God want you to do when you feel that your are too Lost?

Sunday (August 24) Read Matthew 13:33.

What does Jesus compare yeast to in this parable?  What is done with the yeast?  Do you think she had much yeast?  Where does it end up?  What would have happened had the woman not mixed the yeast in with the flour?  What has God given you to cause the kingdom to grow?  What are you doing with it?  What does God want you to do with that which seems small to you?

 

PRAY Like a Mom!

Study guide to prepare for the Deer Run Church of Christ Mother’s Day sermon.

If you have, or have had, a godly mom, you were given one of the greatest gifts a person can receive!  What lessons have you learned from your mom?  What do you wish you had learned?  What do you hope to still learn?  What character qualities do you think are most important for a mom to have?  What “Mom” from the Bible do you learn the most from?  What is it about her life that helps you to grow in your faith?  In our study this week, we will look at several Bible moms as we consider lessons we can learn from them about prayer.

 Something to think about…

Monday (May 5)  Read 1 Samuel 1:9-20.  Who was Hannah?  What was causing so much sorrow in her life?  What did she request from God?  What did she promise to do in return?  What did Eli the priest think of her prayer time?  How does she explain what was noticed?  What is his response?  How did this change her?  What should you do when you are filled with sorrow and “bitterness of soul”?  Have your expressions of prayer ever been misunderstood?  Have you ever judged someone’s actions differently than what they were actually doing?  What does it take for your prayers to be genuine?

Tuesday (May 6)  Read 1 Kings 3:16-28.  What dilemma exists in this passage?  Who was supposed to solve the problem?  What did each party want?  How did the king propose the problem be solved?  What request (prayer) did one of the mothers make to the king?  What was his response?  Do you ever go to God asking that He sees things your way — to your benefit?  What are you willing to give up in order to save someone?  How does giving up your will change the way you pray for people?

Wednesday (May 7)  Read Matthew 20:20-25.  What does the mother of James and John request from Jesus?  Does Jesus think she understands the nature of her request (prayer)?  How does He reply?  Do you make bold requests on behalf of others?  When you pray, do you think about others being put first?  How do you respond when you discover that what you had been praying for requires more from you than expected? 

Thursday (May 8)  Read John 2:1-11.  What problem came up at this wedding where Jesus and His mother were guests?  Who did Jesus’ mother address about the problem?  How does He respond?  What does she do anyhow?  What happens?  Do you keep a mental list of things that you should go to Jesus about and things you shouldn’t?  If so, how do you decide what makes either list?  When you take your requests to God, do you trust He can do something about it?

Friday (May 9)  Read Acts 12:5,11-17.  What did the church do when Peter was imprisoned?  Who was gathered at the home of John Mark’s mother?  Why?  What were they doing?  What happened?  How earnestly do you pray for people who are being persecuted?  If people were wanting to gather and pray about a serious issue, would they come to your house?  Are you ever surprised when God answers your prayer?

Saturday (May 10)  Read 2 Timothy 1:3-7.  Who is Paul praying for . . . how often?  Who is Paul reminded of that planted the seeds of faith in the life of Timothy?  What were those seeds to produce?  Are there people whom you lift up in prayer “night and day”?  How often do you think of your faith being planted in the lives of those who follow you?  

Sunday (May 11)  Read Matthew 15:21-28.  Why did a Canaanite woman come to Jesus?  How did Jesus initially respond to her request?  What did the disciples want done?  Does she give up?  What does Jesus do for her, and then say about her?  When you pray, do you think you deserve a response from God?  How persistent are you when the answer to your prayer doesn’t arrive on the schedule you expect?

 

A Team That Works

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” 
Philippians 2:3-4

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of team and how it relates to the church body in general and occupational ministry specifically.  It seems like “team” is a popular buzz-word in many ministry circles lately, but it appears to mean different things to different people.  I think if God were to  use the word team to describe a group of people doing ministry together then perhaps the above verses from Philippians would be how He would do it.  If you’re familiar with the passage, you know it goes on to say we should have the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus!  God’s call is for us to voluntarily give ourself up for the sake of the team, not have the team give us up for their sake — there is a huge difference between those two things.

I’ve been blessed these past six months to work with a group of people doing ministry together that overall seems to get this team concept.  I noticed a while back, as an event was conducted quite successfully, that those leading were very quick to give credit to all who had a part in the event.  It made me think that perhaps that is a good definition, or sign, of a genuine team — a deliberate effort to give credit to all who do the work. 

On the other hand, I’ve also been part of a ministry group that liked to use the word team to describe the staff but it didn’t feel anything like this.  In fact, the word team wasn’t used as a vehicle for giving credit rather it became a means for taking credit!  The “lower ranking” members of the “team” were to do the work while the “higher ranking” members took all the credit.  This attitude seems to miss the entire point of the Philippians passage as Jesus, the highest ranking person of all, sacrificed everything in order that the lowest of all would receive honor. 

Do you suspect you might be part of a team that really isn’t a team at all?  First, examine your role on the team.  Are you focused on giving credit or taking it?  Perhaps the team member that needs to change is you!  When, and only when, your attitude is the same as that of Christ Jesus, look at the leadership of the “team”.  Are they seeking to give credit to others or take the credit for themselves?  How would God have you be the light and example in that setting?  Sometimes it is very difficult to remember that God calls us to live faithfully regardless of how right or wrong the people over you, around you, or under you happen to be.

A team that works is really only possible when it is fully surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in everything.  I don’t know who said it first but I’ve heard it often, “It is incredible what God can accomplish through a group of people when that group of people is not concerned about who gets the credit.”

I pray that the Deer Run team that I work with will always live and act as a real team and that you also would make every effort, wherever you are, to be a part of a team that works as you focus on giving credit to each one who does their part.

As Each Part Does Its Work

What is your part in the kingdom of God?  What is your part in the local body of Christ He has placed you in?  What are the “good works He created in advance” for you to do?

This is by no means an all-inclusive or detailed list, rather it is a starting point for you to spend time with God asking the question, “Lord, what do you want me to do?”.  If you need help in determining how to best implement God’s answer to that question, talk with one of the elders or ministry staff leaders in your local church.Each Part

Southern Gospel Concert

Mitchel Jon  

Mitchel Jon

In Concert

Saturday, December 13, 2008

7:00 PM

Deer Run Church of Christ
2730 S Ironwood Dr
South Bend IN 46614

Free Admission

An offering will be taken to benefit the ministry of Michiana Christian Service Camp.

If you are in the South Bend, Indiana area and enjoy good Southern Gospel music, then this concert is for you.  Not only will this be a great night of music and fellowship, but it will also be an opportunity to support the ministry of Michiana Christian Service Camp.