40 Days in the GOSPEL

Day 40 – 4/15

Did Jesus really rise from the grave?

Matthew 27:64-66

The chief priests and Pharisees wanted to make sure no one could fake the resurrection. Pilate did everything in his power to secure the tomb. There is no mistaking Jesus rose from the grave, because they did everything humanly possible to keep Jesus in the grave. Join us tomorrow, as we celebrate Christ defeat of death and the grave! Join us as we celebrate salvation that comes from Christ our Lord.

Day 39 – 4/14

Why do they call it Good Friday?

Matthew 27:46

When Jesus died on the cross he took the punishment for our sins. While salvation is a free gift to us, it cost Christ a great deal. What is “good” about Good Friday? Because of Christ’s sacrifice, our sins are forgiven. Take a moment to pray with your family and thank Christ for the sacrifice he made.

Day 38 – 4/13

How did Jesus pray?

Matthew 26:39

When was the last time you fell down on your face to pray? Jesus was overcome with emotion, as he prayed in the garden. Jesus didn’t want to go to the cross, but thankfully he cared more about the Father’s will. When was the last time you prayed like this?

Day 37 – 4/12

How do you remember Christ’s sacrifice?

Matthew 26:26-28

During his last meal, with the disciples, Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper. This meal was a foreshadowing of the events to come. The disciples didn’t really understand what was happening. Can you imagine what it was like the next time the disciples ate the Lord’s Supper? Join us this Friday, as we remember the sacrifice Christ made for us.

Day 36 – 4/11

She did what?

Matthew 26:7-10

Just a few days, before Jesus’ death, Mary anoints Jesus with an expensive ointment. Theologians suggest the perfume cost about one year’s wage. She wanted to show her appreciation and devotion to Jesus. As we prepare for Easter Sunday, how do you plan to show your appreciation for Christ?

Day 35 – 4/10

How do you love?

Matthew 22:36-39

The week before Jesus’ death on the cross he was questioned by many of the religious leaders. They tried to trip him up and stump Jesus, but they always failed. At one point they asked which commandment is the greatest. It easy to say we love God, but how do YOU love him with all your heart, soul, and with all your mind?

Day 34 – 4/8

By what authority?

Matthew 21:23

By this point Jesus had been stirring up quite a bit of trouble. Jesus’ actions challenged the authority of the chief priests. They questioned Jesus, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” How does Jesus respond?

Day 33 – 4/7

What did a tree ever do to you?

Matthew 21:18-19

Not long after Jesus rides into Jerusalem to the praises of the crowds, Jesus curses a fig tree outside the city. We know Jesus can create a fig tree, but why would he curse the fig tree?

Day 32 – 4/6

What happened?

Matthew 21:12

Rarely do we ever see Jesus angry, but this is one instance where Jesus was not afraid to show his anger to others. What made Jesus so angry at these people? What had they done to make Jesus overturn tables?

Day 31 – 4/5

Who is this?

Matthew 21:10-11

As Jesus entered Jerusalem, many people asked, “Who is this?” People knew that Jesus was different. The crowds proclaimed, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth.” If someone asked you who Jesus is, how would you describe Jesus to someone who has not heard of him?

Day 30 – 4/4

What is humility?

Matthew 21:5

Christ came into this world as a humble infant, born in a barn. As Jesus enters Jerusalem, during his final days on earth, he is met with greetings fit for a king. However, Jesus humbly rides in on the back of a donkey. What does it mean for Christ to be our humble king?

Day 29 – 4/3

Are you willing?

Matthew 21:3

Before Jesus entered Jerusalem he sent his disciples ahead to find a donkey and a colt. If anyone questioned them, he told them to say, “the Lord needs them,” and Jesus said they would be given to them. What does the Lord need from you today?

Day 28 – 4/1

What was God saying?

Matthew 3:16-17

For those of us in Christ, the words of God the Father over Jesus-“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased”-are the words God speaks over us at our baptism. What is the significance of this affirmation from God?

Day 27 – 3/31

Why did Jesus get baptized?

Matthew 3:13-15

Jesus was perfect and sinless. Baptism is for those coming to repent of their sin. If Jesus was sinless and baptism is for sinners, why did Jesus get baptized? If John recognized that he needed to be baptized by Jesus, then why did Jesus get baptized by John?

Day 26 – 3/30

How did John prepare others for Jesus?

Matthew 3:11-12

John spoke about one who would come after him. John didn’t just explain how he prepared the way for someone else to baptized, John proclaimed how Christ would fulfill God’s kingdom. How did John’s message help prepare people for the ministry of Jesus?

Day 25 – 3/29

Why be baptized?

Matthew 3:7-8

John explains how believers should produce good fruit and repentance, along with baptism. He made it clear to the religious leaders that repentance is a part of salvation. In what ways does baptism provide a picture of salvation through Christ?

Day 24 – 3/28

Why should we confess our sins?

Matthew 3:5-6

As people came to John the Baptist, to be baptized, they came confessing their sins. Confession of sins can only be found in a handful of verses, but it is consistently mentioned all the way through scripture. What can we learn from confessing our sins?

Day 23 – 3/27

Why is repentance important?

Matthew 3:1-2

John the Baptist came to prepare the way for Jesus. As he preached, John’s message was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” How does repentance make us ready to receive the Word of the Lord?

Day 22 – 3/25

How can we grow like Jesus?

Luke 2:52

This verse teaches us that Jesus grew in favor with God and in favor with man. How is it that we can expect to find favor with the world around us even though we expect to be opposed by the world?

Day 21 – 3/24

How did Jesus honor his parents?

Luke 2:51

Even Jesus obeyed his parents. Isn’t it interesting that the very one who created Mary and Joseph now obeyed them as his earthly parents? What can this verse teach us about submitting and being obedient to the authorities placed in our life?

Day 20 – 3/23

What did he need to do?

Luke 2:49-50

It is hard to know exactly why Jesus said he “must” be in his Father’s house. For that matter, even Joseph and Mary did not understand why Jesus told them this. Regardless, why do you think Jesus said it was necessary for him to be in his Father’s house?

Day 19 – 3/22

Do you have a question?

Luke 2:46-47

One of markers that someone is learning is the fact that they ask questions. Even Jesus asked the teachers in the temple questions. When is the last time you asked a question? What questions do you have about the Bible?

Day 18 – 3/21

How did you grow up?

Luke 2:41

Jesus grew up with his parents taking him to the temple every year. Did you, or have you, grown up attending church? How do you think your life would be different if you had or had not grown up going to church?

Day 17 – 3/20

How did Jesus grow up?

Luke 2:40

We know very little about Jesus’ childhood and how he grew up. What would it have been like to grow up with Jesus or live next door to his family? What do you wish you knew about Jesus childhood? Why?

Day 16 – 3/18

Where did they come from?

Matthew 2:1,12

We don’t know exactly where the magi came from. Based on what we do know, they probably came from Persia, in the east. They came from another country and they were most likely not Jewish. What does the story of the magi tell us about God’s heart for the nations?

Day 15 – 3/17

Why the magi?

Matthew 2:1-2

Some time after Jesus was born, the magi, or wise men, came to see the savior. The magi were a stark contrast to Jesus’ first visitors. While the shepherds were some of the poorest people, the magi were the elite of society. Why do you think God sent the magi to worship Jesus?

Day 14 – 3/16

Do we see things the same way God does?

Luke 2:16-20

People couldn’t believe what the shepherds were saying. The shepherds were overwhelmed by what they had seen and heard, and Mary treasured these things in her heart. How does this scene challenge the way we think of worth and importance?

Day 13 – 3/15

Why the shepherds?

Luke 2:8-11

The shepherds were some of the poorest and most marginalized people during Jesus’ time. God sent an angel to proclaim the birth of Christ and the glory of the Lord shone around the shepherds, at the pronouncement of Christ. What is the significance of God revealing the news of Jesus’ birth to shepherds first?

Day 12 – 3/14

What did she lay him in?

Luke 2:7

Even during Jesus time, it would have been unorthodox for a baby to be born in a stable. Mary and Joseph made due with what they had. Even though it probably wasn’t their first choice, and it probably smelled a bit, God provided a safe and warm place for Jesus’ birth. Why do you think Jesus was born in a manger?

Day 11 – 3/13

Who’s in charge?

Luke 2:1-3

Luke chapter 2 begins with a decree, not from the Lord but from Caesar. The thought of traveling to Bethlehem, while pregnant, must have been frustrating. Mary and Joseph followed the decree of Caesar Augustus fulfilling the prophecy of Micah (5:2). Why do we sometimes forget that God is the real one who is in charge?

Day 10 – 3/11

Fear the Lord?

Luke 1:50

In Luke 1:30 Gabriel tells Mary, “Do not be afraid.” In her song of praise, Mary says we should fear the Lord. Why does Mary say, “And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation”?

Day 9 – 3/10

What did Mary praise God for in her song of praise?

Luke 1:46-50

Make a list of the things that Mary mentions in her song of praise. Are there any common themes? When we sing to the Lord, how should our praise reflect Mary’s attitude, in these verses?

Day 8 – 3/9

When is the last time you leaped for joy?

Luke 1:41-44

When Mary went to visit her family, it says Elizabeth was “filled with the Holy Spirit,” and her baby “leaped in her womb.” At the day of Pentecost, believers were certainly filled with Joy at the coming of the Holy Spirit. Are we still filled with joy like this today?

Day 7 – 3/8

What can we learn from the mother of Jesus?

Luke 1:38

We tend to think about serving as an action, but service begins with a willingness to act. What can we learn from Mary’s willingness to serve? Are you willing to be God’s servant and do anything he calls you to do?

Day 6 – 3/7

What was it like to raise the son of God?

Luke 1:32-33, Matthew 1:20-21

Can you imagine what it must have been like to raise Jesus? Mary and Joseph had the responsibility of caring for the Savior of the world. You don’t have to worry about being responsible for raising Jesus, but what has God placed in your responsibility? How are you honoring God with what he has called you to?

Day 5 – 3/6

Did they just say the same thing?

Luke 1:8-18, Luke 1:26-34

When the angel told Zechariah he would have a son, Zechariah said, “How shall I know?” When Gabriel told Mary she would bear a son she said, “How will this be?” Why was Zechariah’s question a sign of his weakness but Mary’s question a sign of strength?

Day 4 – 3/4

What is unique about Jesus’ genealogy?

Matthew 1:11-12

In the middle of Jesus’ genealogy, Matthew breaks from a list of names and mentions an event. Why would Matthew consider Judah’s exile important to the genealogy of Jesus?

Day 3 – 3/3

Why did he include “those guys”?

Matthew 1:7-9

It is obvious that Matthew doesn’t list everyone in his genealogy, from Abraham to Jesus. Despite this he does mention some rather evil people in the lineage of our savior. Why do you think he included people like Rehoboam who split the kingdom of Israel or Ahaz who burned his own son as an offering?

Day 2 – 3/2

What is it important that God kept his promise with David?

2 Chronicles 6:16, Matthew 1:6

It used to be said that a man’s word was worth its weight in gold. However, today someone’s word can mean very little. The concept of covenant is foreign to us. How was God glorified through his covenant with David?

Day 1 – 3/1

Why is the genealogy of Christ important?

Matthew 1:1

Genealogy has become a multibillion dollar industry. Many people love it for the thrill of the hunt, but why is the genealogy of Christ so important? Why did Matthew open his gospel with, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham”?

#40DaysintheGospel

Introduction

As Wildwood begins the Gospel Project Curriculum, we want to encourage everyone to spend time in God’s Word with your family, friends, and Fusion class. We are taking the 40 days of Lent, leading up to Easter, and challenging everyone to read and talk about the Bible together. Let’s fast from the things that can be a distraction and spend more time in God’s word together. Each day we will post a specific passage from the Gospel, and question to discuss. We will post each question here through the Wildwood blog and share it through social media. If we desire to lead people to become believers and passionate followers of Jesus Christ, our time in the Word must extend beyond Sunday morning. We challenge you to take these 40 days to dig deeper in the Gospel and share your conversations. We hope and pray this experience will deepen our understanding of the Gospel, strengthen the faith of our families, and grow us closer as a congregation.

Again, this blog will be updated each morning with the new day’s passage and question for discussion, then will be posted on social media for you to share and have open discussion with your family and friends. The purpose of this blog is for discussion, so we encourage you to do so! Also, be sure to use #40DaysintheGospel!

Obedience

Hebrews 5:8 describes Jesus by saying, “Although He was a son, He learned obedience through what He suffered.”  (ESV)

I find this to be an interesting verse, for several reasons.  We don’t think of Jesus as needing to learn anything – He is fully man, but also fully God.  Most of us tend to dislike suffering as well.  To find out that being Christ-like might mean that we will need to learn obedience, and the vehicle for that education may be through suffering, is at best lofty if not potentially discouraging.   Do we really have to have suffering in order to learn to be more Christ-like?

But what if… What if we sometimes look at this from the wrong angle?  What if everyone goes through suffering, and what if struggles in life are inevitable?  Rather than think of the pathway to Christ-likeness as one that requires suffering, what if that pathway is one that uses the struggles common to everyone as tools of refinement for those who have set their minds on becoming like Him?  True power in the life of the believer is not realized by one’s capacity to avoid struggles – true power is realized by the one who invites God to use the struggles to produce maturity.

Obedience to God is an outward expression of our inward trust in Him.  The way we learn obedience is by learning to trust Him – ultimately, to trust Him enough to do what He says.  We do learn from our mistakes, but when we learn from our mistakes, we mostly learn what not to do.  Jesus made no mistakes – He lived a perfect, sinless life.  He learned obedience, not through mistakes, but through the things He did right.  He learned obedience by obeying.

Let this be your goal today:  to listen to God, to obey God, and to invite God to use every circumstance – both the victories and the struggles – to make you more like Him.  Do that, and you will learn to obey by… obeying.

Steve Coleman

Devotion in Motion

The Lord has been taking me on a journey about love recently…seems fitting for the month of February.  I thought I understood what it meant to love.  I love my family.  I love friends at church.  I love serving others with those I partner with in ministry.  However, all of that love doesn’t take me drastically outside of my comfort zone.

What kind of love is Christ talking about in 1 Corinthians 13:1?  “If I speak in tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”  This kind of love in the Greek is agape.  Agape is not a comfortable, mutual kind of love between friends, family, or church members.  Instead, it is an unselfish, undeserved kind of love that expects nothing in return.  THIS is the kind of love that takes us out of our comfort zone.  This is the kind of love that feeds the homeless, builds orphanages in Haiti, or takes in foster children – the kind of love that leads us to do radical things for Him.  It is also the kind of love that led Christ to send his son to die for me.  The Bible says if we do not love with an Agape kind of love, we are a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  In the New Testament, gongs and cymbals were associated with pagan worship.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my life to be an obnoxious, annoying noise of pagan worship.

1 Corinthians 13:3 says, “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love I gain nothing.”  So let’s put a modern day twist on this verse.  If I give my tithe faithfully, and if I serve every week in my church,  but I don’t love (Agape) outside of my comfort zone I gain nothing.  It’s time to love in a way that hurts.  Agape is a sacrificial love.  What are we doing to love the least of these?  How are we reaching those who are helpless?  What sacrifices are we willing to make for others?

What is it that breaks your heart?  Is it the homeless guy on the street corner?  Is it the mother whose husband walked away?  Is it the foster children in Cobb County sleeping in hotels?  Is it the children in Africa walking for hours to get water?  Find out what it is that breaks your heart, and move in the direction to show an agape kind of love to those people.  Put your devotion to God in motion.  Matthew 25:40 says, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”  You have no idea what hangs in the balance when you decide to step out in faith and love those who are in a situation that breaks your heart.

Let’s go be the hands and feet of Jesus, Wildwood, as we put our devotion in motion!

– Sharon Carmichael

The Cross = Power

“For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”
1 Corinthians 1:17 ESV
The calling for us is simple: share and preach the gospel.  Teach the power of the cross with the evidences of its power being lived out through our lives.  Words are empty if there is no truth in action or activity. The proof of our words must be evident in our life.
The gospel is the gospel and the cross is the cross.  There is nothing that we can do with our words to give it more power than it has.  The truth is, we can only weaken its power by our words and our lack of proof of belief through our actions. However, when its power is heard through our willingness to share its transformation to our lives, and then it’s backed up by the actions of the (temple) person that has been transformed, that power has been used to further the truth and power of the Kingdom.
Simply put, we must not share in a way that exhibits expectations of gain in this life or eternity; such as a better life here, financial peace, or reward in heaven. There should be no attempt to play on the emotions of those with whom we are sharing or to set a mood in order to create a weightier, emotional tug on the heart. The power of the gospel and the power of the work done on the cross are powerful enough. It does not need the words of a polished speaker or the eloquent sharing of a testimony.  It is not dependent on a cool, edgy video or the minor chord that resonates within the emotions of those who are listening.  Preaching the gospel shouldn’t be based on logic or intellect.  The truth is, when looking at the depth of accepting the gospel and following it as best as humanly possible, leads to a journey that is not explainable and is outside of what would be considered logical.
Those who believe have trusted in the power of the gospel of Christ and the power of the work that was done through Him on the cross.  Share it and preach the gospel.  Let the power of the cross and the gospel of Christ be shared by our words and backed by the action of a visible life change.
– Terry Huey

Why do Kids Leave the Church?

Why do kids leave the church?

The statistics are alarming. Research organizations report that somewhere between 60% and 70% of kids will leave the church. Even though studies show most of these dropouts will return in their late 20’s, it is scary how many kids will walk away from the church. Maybe the better question is, “Why do some stay?”

A quick search on the internet reveals numerous reasons and opinions about why kids leave, but only a handful of studies focus on why some kids stay in church. Among these, one common thread stands out.

FAMILY MATTERS-In fact one study listed family upbringing as the #1 reason kids stay in church. Children that stay in church said their parent’s faith was “just as real in the home as it was outside of it.” Kids that stay said they saw their parents take their faith seriously. They also said they had parents or family members who talked about spiritual things, offered spiritual advice, and prayed with them.

The truth is parents and family members usually have more of a spiritual influence on a child’s life, even more than a pastor or church leader. Don’t mistake this for a copout, but that’s why we try to partner with families and provide resources to help reinforce the lessons we teach in church.

This is why I am super excited we’ll be moving to one common curriculum in March (The Gospel Project). While no pastor, parent, or program can prevent every prodigal child, I believe this move is one of the best things we can do to raise children to become believers and passionate followers of Jesus Christ.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

We’re all in this together!

Pastor David