DAY 8 RED LETTER CHALLENGE

Throughout the Bible, we are encouraged to express our praise to God for who He is and what He has done for us

Psalm 63:3-4  
Because Your loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.

For many, when they think about worship, they immediately look toward specific songs or musical styles. Or, they may think about that 25 minute time slot at church each week when we sing to the Lord together.  While these are all forms of worship, God is not confined to a building or a time-frame, and neither is our worship. We can worship God every minute of every day!   

This is what Jesus said about worship:

John 4:23                                                                                                                                                                                          23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

Jesus said we are to worship Him in “spirit and truth.” To worship in “truth,” we must have a right understanding of who God is, who Jesus is and what He accomplished for us on the cross. We worship Him in “spirit” when we are alive to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to be active in lives. Jesus wanted us to know true worship is not just an external expression of our love for God; it is a reflection of what is happening in our hearts and minds internally. Our worship is defined by the priority we place on who God is in our lives and where God is on our list of priorities. True worship is a matter of the heart expressed through a lifestyle of holiness. Jesus warned against worship that does not come from the heart.   

Matthew 15:8-9                                                                                                                                                                                       These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.

For Jesus, this type of worship meant nothing. We will worship God when we truly value Him above everything else. You can do good deeds and attends as many church services as you want and never be truly worshiping if it’s all external and nothing is happening in your heart toward God. True worship is in essence a matter of the heart. It is more, but it is not less. Our entire lives are an act of worship. 

Paul gives us a picture of this in
Romans 12:1                                                                                                                                                                                      Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

Everything we do, every minute of every day can be an act of worship when we truly set our hearts and minds on Him.   

DAY 8 CHALLENGE: 

Music can help usher us into God’s presence and feel things in ways that otherwise we would not. Your challenge for today is to listen to worship music. Here are a few ways you could do this: 

–  Rather than listening to politics, sports, or the top 40 today, tune into your    local Christian radio station during your daily drive.  

–  Go for a walk and listen to praise/worship music. 

–  Read Psalms 96 with background music playing. 

If you need help finding great Christian music, consider adding: Bethel Music, Hillsong Worship, Elevation Worship and Passion to your playlist. 



DAY 7 RED LETTER CHALLENGE

This week we are learning about “BEING” with Jesus. Yesterday we looked at the importance of spending time with Him daily by reading His word. Today, we will look at the spiritual discipline of prayer. Jesus modeled the kind of prayer life we are to have. He frequently withdrew from the crowds to spend time with His Father in prayer. In the days leading up to His death, Jesus went to a garden to pray and asked His disciples to “watch” and “pray” with Him. You can read the full story in Matthew 26:26-46, but here is what transpired. Jesus asked his disciples to “watch” and “pray” while he went further into the garden to pray, and three times he returned to find them sleeping.

For all of us who have fallen asleep or easily became easily distracted when we tried to pray, you are not alone! Even the disciples, (Jesus closest followers), struggled to do as Jesus asked. Jesus wanted the disciples to join Him in prayer so they would be prepared for what they would face in the days ahead. It’s interesting to me that Jesus spoke personally to Peter three times, AND HE MISSED IT. Jesus said “Pray” so you don’t “FALL” into temptation, and that’s exactly what happened to him. Peter fell asleep three times and ultimately denied knowing Jesus three times. Check out what Jesus said to Peter:   

Matthew 26:40 ESV

40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

I’ve often wondered if things may have gone differently if Peter had been able to stay awake and spent time “watching” and “praying” as Jesus had asked. Like a father to a son, Jesus’ desire for Peter and the other disciples was for them to go to the Father in prayer for strength, equipping and empowerment. Like Peter, we will fall every time if we depend upon our own strength. Jesus wants us to stay focused and locked into prayer so when the struggles of life occur, we are not found battling life alone and powerless. Moving forward, Peter never forgot this lesson. Live God’s purpose, in God’s presence, through God’s power. How? Prayer!
 

DAY 7 CHALLENGE

SPEND SOME TIME TODAY IN PRAYER. HERE’S A GREAT MODEL: 

Adoration (Tell God what you love about Him)

Confession (Tell God about the sins in your life and how you plan to turn/repent from them)

Thanksgiving (Thank Him for His forgiveness and for all the blessings in your life)

Supplication (Ask Him to supply the specific things that you need in your life)

Ask God to give you the strength to make it through this Challenge. Boldly ask Him to Strengthen your faith



DAY 6 RED LETTER CHALLENGE

Lifeway Research surveyed more than 2900 Protestant churchgoers and found that while 90 percent “desire to please and honor Jesus in all I do,” only 19 percent personally read the Bible every day. How can we truly know Jesus if we don’t spend time with Him in His word each day? Jesus told His disciples how they could “BE” with Him. 

John 8:31-32 ESV

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

The word “abide” is a verb. It is active. Abiding is not a feeling or a belief, but something we do. It means to “remain” or “stay” and entails far more than the idea of just continued belief in the Savior. If we are to “abide” in His word, we must make it a part of our lives. It should guide our decisions and our actions.  Why? The Bible is the one true story of life!

In the Old Testament, we see just how important God’s word is.  

Ezekiel 3:3 ESV

3 And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey.

God told Ezekiel His word was so important that he should “eat it.” He went on to say Ezekiel should not only “eat” His word, but “fill” his stomach with it. This means we are to consume God’s word, taking it into our very lives, making it a part of who we are. Remember the old School House Rock song “We are what we eat, from our head down to our feet?” Well you may not remember it, but believe me, it’s so true regarding our physical bodies and our spiritual lives as well. It reminds me of Thanksgiving Dinner! My favorite meal of the year. I know the food I am going to eat tastes so good, I am not satisfied with eating a few bites and leaving the table.  I eat until I am absolutely FULL! Even after I leave the table on Thanksgiving, I remember how good the food tasted and return to the kitchen several times over the next few days until every last bit of the greatest meal of the year has been consumed.  As we consume the word of God, the more we take on the principles found in His word. The more we make His word a part of our lives, the more we take on the characteristics of Jesus and become His hands and feet to the world.  

Today, we are focusing on the spiritual discipline of Bible Reading.  If we are going to “abide” in the word and “consume” it, we must read it every day.  
 
DAY 6 CHALLENGE: Make Reading God’s word a priority every day. 

Read John 1:1-5

What do you learn about the word in this passage? 

How is God described in this passage?

Verse 5 tells us “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” This means if you have a personal relationship with Jesus, you are a “light” in the darkness and become an extension of Jesus to the world.  Think about how you can be a “light” to those around you.    

Spend time reading God’s word each day this week. If you are unsure where to start, the Book of John is a great place to start so continue reading where you left off today!



DAY 5 RED LETTER CHALLENGE

Some of Jesus last words on earth to his disciples were to “GO.” We know this as the Great Commission. Many think the Great Commission is for preachers or missionaries, but it’s for everyone. 

Matthew 28:18-20 NIV

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus wanted you and me to tell His story.  He wanted us to live in such a way that others would want to experience the Christian life. The final week of the challenge may be tough. You’re going to be asked to “GO” and God may call you to be stretched out of your comfort zone. On those days you may be tempted to to quit before you complete the challenge but I want to encourage you to hang in there and finish! Here’s a story that will help you understand why.

Several years ago, our church was going on a mission trip to Russia. A friend of mine name Richard was in his early twenties and had never been out of the country, but he felt God was calling him to go. He excitedly began making preparations for the trip, but as the trip grew closer, Richard began to think about the journey to Russia. He had never flown before and he grew increasingly fearful of the plane ride that would take him to the place He knew God wanted him to go.

I wish I could tell you that Richard realized when God calls you to go somewhere, you are never alone, and made the journey to Russia, but he didn’t. He let his fear keep him from going and missed out on all of the adventure and excitement the other team members were so excited to share when they returned. He missed the blessing of serving along-side other believers and sharing the beautiful story of Jesus. He never got to meet the Russian believers the other team members grew to love while they were there. I have often wondered what Richard’s story would have been like if he had overcome his fears and gone on that trip. I think of him often when God is calling me do things that take me out of my comfort zone.  

“Going” into the world and sharing the story of Jesus can be scary, but when God says “GO,” we are never alone! He promises He will never leave us or forsake us. Jesus offers us a way of life filled with adventure, mission, and purpose. Are you ready to get started? 
 

BUCKLE UP, THE CHALLENGE STARTS NOW!