Blessing Pirates


There’s a Hillsong United song, “As You Find Me”, that contains the lyrics:

I have wrestled
And I have trembled toward surrender
Chased my heart adrift
And drifted home again
Plundered blessing
Till I’ve been desperate to find redemption
And every time I turn around
Lord, You’re still there

When I heard that lyric, “plundered blessing”, it captured me, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. The rest of the song is amazing too, but during this FULL HEART GREAT GAIN series we’ve been in as a church, I just can’t shake the concept of plundering something that God has GIVEN me, and what that means.

So, of course, I went to the Word….and the dictionary.

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I found this odd little story in Daniel 4, where a king gets so big headed, so arrogant, that he’s driven to madness for 7 years, and then when he comes back to himself, he surrenders himself to God, and God restores everything that he had before.

Plundering blessing, to me, now means:

  • squeezing every ounce of goodness out of a blessing, until it’s not good anymore.

  • loving the blessing so much, you start worshipping it, instead of the God that gave it to you.

  • mining a blessing for only the parts that make you feel good, and ignoring the parts that could help others.

  • ignoring God’s commands, but taking the blessing for yourself.

Can you think of other examples of people plundering blessing in the Word?

  • Adam & Eve…had everything, but still wanted more.

  • Jonah…had God, didn’t matter who else in the world didn’t, as long as he was comfortable.

  • Saul…allowed his men to take anything they wanted, when God specifically told them to destroy everything.

  • David….had all the wives and concubines he wanted, but had to have one he couldn’t have.


Study the book of Daniel.

  • What can we learn from chapter 3?

  • What else can we learn from chapter 4?

Can you think of any areas of your life that you may be plundering God’s blessing?

Can you see other Bible examples of this?



Fight Like A Girl


Today we read about Deborah in Judges Chapter 4. We saw how God listened to the Israelites’ cries for help after they had turned their backs on him for 20 years. He promised to deliver them from the Canaanites and incorporated two important women (Deborah and Jael) to help carry out His plan. We also looked at what made Deborah such a great leader. Some of her best leadership qualities was that she….

  1. Listened to God ( v 4:5)

    1. He told her His plan, and she communicated that plan to Barak boldly and without fear.

  2. Lead with a servant’s heart (v 4:9)

    1. When Barak lacked the bravery to carry out his part of God’s plan by himself, she was brave enough for the both of them and agreed to accompany him without hesitation. She did this even though God didn’t call her into it.

    2. We also talked about the significance of this, being that she was a woman leading a very patriarchal society. Not only did he not question what she was telling him, but he also practically begged her to go with him because he was too afraid to go on his own.

  3. Motivated her people (v 4:14)

    1. At this point we know Barak isn’t exactly known for his bravery. In this verse we see Deborah motivating him and giving him a pretty epic pep-talk.

  4. Praised God and gave HIM the glory ( v 4:9, 5:2)

    1. In 4:9 she reiterates to Barak that the glory will not be his, but God’s. And oh, by the way Barak, you’re not going to be the one that will even kill Sisera. The person who will ultimately kill Sisera will be a women. Talk about a humility-check.

    2. Chapter 5 is a song written by Barak and Deborah about the battle. It praises God and gives Him the glory….it says Jael was pretty boss too though.

On that note…we also looked at Jael, the unlikely hero of this story. She saw an opportunity to do what was right and used the tools God gave her to be an instrumental part of the Lord’s victory….even though she wasn’t an Israelite. Through her part of the story, we can see that you don’t necessarily need to hold a formal leadership position to serve and glorify God; all you need is to recognize the opportunity He has given you and be willing to act on it!


Homework for this week:

  1. Read Judges 4 on your own. Was there anything that stood out to you about Deborah’s story that we didn’t discuss tonight?

  2. Think about the groups of people you lead, or are interested in leading. This could be your kids, nieces, nephews, other family members, coworkers, etc. How can you apply the principles covered at LEAD night (if you were there) and Deborah’s leadership qualities we learned tonight to be a better leader/servant of God?



Where You Found Me


Your love is too good to leave me here.

”Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate” . -Rick Warren

This quote has been used to many times to bash others regarding specific beliefs and life choices however that doesn’t negate the truth behind the quote, sometimes we need to love people enough to challenge them into growth. God loves us not just to rescue us from the mire and mud but also to compel us to grow by challenging the attitudes, mindset and traditions in us that hinder that growth.

Through the Bible God shows his love by meeting people in whatever circumstance they are, in the middle of sin, shame, hurt, danger, rebellion, and defeat. He reaches out regardless and offers forgiveness love, hope, relief, freedom. The amazing thing about encounters with God is that he will not leave you the same way he encountered you. There has to be a radical change. He will not let you sit in the attitude of dormancy. He will challenge, he will in the most loving way possible (and sometime not so loving) urge you forward. If he left us where he found us how would we grow?

God’s biggest show of love comes from the times he challenges his people where they are. Where he confronts them on choices and behaviors they have carried on with that are opposed to his word. Sometimes he confronts them for just staying still. We believe that his discipline or that messes in our life are because he wants to control us because life is just hard, because we are fated to always be in a hard place but this isn’t true. Hardship polishes us, the fire forces the dross up, pressure brings out the gifts and qualities needed for us to succeed and grow. Just because we have always had certain behaviors doesn’t mean they are healthy or beneficial for growth. Hardship, stress, difficulty force us to deal with behaviors that otherwise we would ignore or just not realize are keeping us from the fullness of God plan for our life.

God is a gentleman and will only take you as far as you want to go,
Do you want to remain as is or do you want to accept the challenges and become His version of you that is so much more than we can see…


Below are examples of God meeting people where he found them and not allowing them to stay the same.
Read the scripture and pick 2.

Why did their story resonate with you? How did God impact their life.

  • Zaccheus: Luke 19: 1-9

  • Abraham: Genesis 12:1-7

  • Hebrew 11:8-12 Saul(Paul)

  • Acts 9:1-19 Hagar

  • Genesis 21:14-20

  • Read John 8:1-11

    • Where did Jesus find this woman?

    • How did he change her life?

    • What were the benefits of this encounter with Jesus and what where the goals for her life?



Frustration is Your Friend


Notes from Part 1

·       Frustration is your friend. Frustration ignites transformation

·       Life will not go as planned. The only thing that is predictable is the unpredictable

·       The immature have to stay in crisis to stay committed. Many people don’t know how to evolve in their reliance on God. Spiritual immaturity is preventing your own success.

·       We will never see what God has in store for us if we are obsessed with what he has for everyone else.

·       Move without the detail- walk by faith, not by sight

·       The plan God created for you future better than any plan you could create for yourself

·       God WILL outdo himself in your future.

·       Saul v David, The people’s pick v. God’s pick, what people thought they wanted V what they really needed. Move on from Saul to get to your David.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” –Jeremiah 29:11.  Letting go of the life you thought you wanted is way easier said than done, and it won’t happen overnight; it’s a process. At the core of that process is the ability to fully submit to God’s will which requires complete, whole-hearted trust in God, His plan, and his Promises. This week I want you to reflect on this particular promise and how you can apply it to your own life.


This week’s assignment

·       Has there been a situation in your life that you felt stuck in or were frustrated with? What could God have been trying to get you to move on from?

·       Samuel’s story didn’t end with him taking the oil to Jesse’s house! Read the rest of 1 Samuel 16 and do a SOAP note.  



The Life You Thought You Wanted

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Moving On from the Life You Thought You Wanted


Jude 1:9

An aspect of God’s existence that is not overtly spiritual, but it is uniquely important: God is a planner.

God does not act reactively or impulsively. God is strategic, intentional, methodical in executing his intentions for his people. Whatever is a surprise to YOU, is not a surprise to HIM.

Jeremiah 29:11

I’m not going to tell you what the plan is, but I am going to tell you what the plan does.

God created the answer before the devil created the problem!

The principle of perspective. Where you sit, determines what you see. What you see, determines what you do. God’s providence = pro means before, video means to see.

When you live a life that thinks generationally, you are blessing people from the grave.

Deut 34:5-6

If we’re going to move on from the life we thought we wanted, we must be willing to move on without closure we thought we needed. Some people are still stuck in the past, because we’re waiting on closure. You’ve placed your future in the hands of someone who is probably unwilling to acknowledge the damage they did in your past. YOU MUST BE WILLING TO MOVE ON WITHOUT ANSWERS.

God only gives closure when closure is necessary for you to move forward. Bury that thing so that you can move on. You don’t need closure, you just need a calling, to get you from where you are, to where you need to be. Your future is calling you!

God gives us answers to questions we NEED to answers to, not the answers to questions you WANT the answers to. Lean what you DO know! For my good, and for His glory!

  • What I do know: weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning!

  • What I do know: no weapon formed against me shall prosper!

  • Trust must be present when answers are absent. Some people are stuck because they’re waiting on answers.

4 Steps We Can Take To Move On

  • Admit the emotion

    • Israel had an emotional attachment, to someone who had served them well in a previous season, they were in love with someone who could take them no further. Someone who was unequipped for their future. A season God had no intentions of them revisiting.

    • When we want something REAL BAD, we think that MUST be God.

    • When we are highly emotional in any way, it impairs our discernment. We will do things we would not normally do, when we are emotionally sober. Emotionally intoxicated.

    • Admit the emotion = increase your discernment. God, is this you? Or is this me?

    • If not, we will be entrapped by what we don’t expose.

  • Acknowledge the entitlement

    • Someone wanted an answer to what happened to Moses!

    • God’s like, wait time out, you wanna talk about what you deserve?!

      • Let’s talk about the stuff only me and you know.

    • I sent Moses as a gift to you, in a season you did not deserve him. And now that you are better than you were, you have forgotten how you used to be, and now you feel entitled to a GIFT.

    • Entitlement: I don’t have it, but I deserve it.

      • Appreciation: I don’t deserve what I do have. THE ANTIDOTE TO ENTITLEMENT.

      • Gratitude breaks the back of entitlement.

      • You can only move on from the life you thought you wanted, when you realize you’re not entitled to it.

    • A church about transformation, not just inspiration…we have to say things that comfort us, but also challenge us. More concerned about how we think, than how we shout. ‘Cause you can dance your way into a sweat, but you cannot dance your way into the next level!

  • Refuse to revisit what you can’t revise

    • For some of us, today is a worship service. For others, today is a funeral service. We need to bury some things…some reminiscing is counterproductive!

    • The enemy is using our mistakes to keep us in a maze of misery.

    • Once you’ve learned all the lessons from it, you’ve got to put that body in the ground.

    • “Remember Lot’s wife” Luke 17:32

      • Don’t look back! Because you can’t run forward and backward at the same time. Whenever you run into someone that’s salty, that’s someone that keeps looking back.

  • You must trust the Savior with our satisfaction

    • We trust the Savior with our salvation/sanctification, but do we trust Him with our satisfaction?

      • No surgeon operates on themselves.

    • Do you believe God knows what it takes to make you happy?

      • Jeremiah 2:13, my people have committed two sins, they have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns, that are leaking water.

      • Something is holding your happiness, that has holes in it.

      • I want to be satisfied, not frustrated.

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  • Luke 17:20-37

    • What’s your takeaway from this passage?

  • Jeremiah 2

    • What do you think verse 13 is talking about?

    • What do you think verse 32 is trying to say?

    • What’s your takeaway from this passage?



The Lies We Believe

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Satan tempts us today, in much the same way, as he tempts Eve…and he’s sneaky! It doesn’t often come in the way that we think it will. It may come as doubt, or fear, and it’s up to us to stop the doubts!

Genesis is an incredible look how Satan tempts us, but it’s often a little hard to understand.

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Satan didn’t necessarily lie- he bent the truth. Isn’t this the same thing though? How often do we tell our kids that not telling the WHOLE truth is the same as lying…this is what Satan did in the garden! The serpent was right, Adam and Eve didn’t die when they ate the fruit. What died in the garden was their innocence; the perfect life God had created for them. But how did Satan get Adam and Eve to believe him when they could literally see God and talk to Him directly? He planted seeds of doubt. He knew what God had said and twisted it just enough for Eve to doubt what God had said. How often do we do this in our own lives? That we doubt if God actually has a plan, or that his timing is perfect, or that he really has our best interest? Sometimes there is a disconnect between what we logically know and what we emotionally feel, and that is when those seeds of doubt can be planted. It is important for us to recognize those seeds in our own lives and take our thoughts captive when they are planted.

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  1. Start to recognize the seeds of doubt. Practice taking those thoughts captive and replace them with The 40 I Am’s.

  2. Find your 5 favorite verses about doing good deeds for others for Melissa’s challenge.

    1. (Let Candace know if you can help with fruit or desserts for the Memorial Service June 15th, or set up/tear down that day.)

  3. Finish watching the Bible project videos above. What were your biggest take-away’s?

Melissa lived her life for others. She was constantly giving of herself to help someone out, her friends describe her as “not able to see another living thing go through pain, without doing something about it.” In her last moments, she asked her husband for two things:

  • 1. That her service would be at FV, and there would be a salvation message.

  • 2. That we would strongly challenge every person to do one good thing for someone else, every single day.



Making Progress - Part 2

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Jason and I have been discussing lately how people will occasionally tell us that they just don’t understand how we can get so much out of the Bible, because when they read it, they just don’t get it. But look, we’ve been at this a while! I’ve been studying the Bible and using it in my daily life since a very young teen, and Jason says the same.

There are ways to get more out of it, besides just time, though! Coming to this group, is one GREAT way to do that! But I think, a lot of times, we just want quick and easy solutions…we don’t want to have to wait and work, and wait and work…in this time and culture where everything is instant, we want the WORD of God to be instant too.

Today’s teaching from Carl Lentz, is all about giving yourself room and time and permission to make progress.


This teaching and assignment is from Carl Lentz’s sermon on the Hillsong Channel App! It’s about $8/month, but totally worth it, and if you just want to listen to this particular teaching, they do offer a free week!


“God will never call you to something that He won’t equip you to stand in.”

John 14:23-27

“You’re purpose will always be greater than your position.”

“‘I don’t even have a bank account’ — YOU’RE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD!”


  1. “Unannounced and unapproved (by you) reconstruction of your life.”

    1. “Just because you’ve made your peace with God, does not mean that God has made his peace with YOUR plans.”

    2. “God’s love is relentless, so that means the Holy Spirit will be relentless with His conviction.”

    3. “Comfort is not included in the conviction and the calling of the Christian.”

    4. “The kingdom of God is much more like an airport, than a country club!”

    5. “If you wanna know if you’re living spirit-led, here’s a pretty easy way:

      1. Have a look at how you’re handling the sin in your own life.”

      2. When you ARE spirit-led, here’s how you handle sin: Adherence (dedicated, focused, all in) & Repentance (I’m sorry, turn around, renounce, walk away)

      3. When you’re NOT spirit-led, here’s how you respond to sin: Admission & Continuation.

      4. Matthew 5:23-24

  2. “You can expect unbelievable and unearned restoration.”

    1. “You can’t choose the season of progress OR pain you’re in right now. But you can choose the spirit with which you walk through it.”

    2. “Every bit of your progress becomes your platform.”

    3. “Remind yourself who started it, and remind yourself who’s gonna finish it!”

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Read Matthew 21:28-32

  • When it come to spiritual growth, which son would you say you are?

  • What does this story say about how God values our words vs. our actions?

Read Luke 17:1-10

  • What can we learn about the spirit of authenticity vs the spirit of religion from this passage?

  • What can we learn about forgiveness? Can it be earned, or only given?

Read Matthew 5:23-24

  • Why do you think Jesus taught this? What do other people have to do with your relationship with God?



Breaking Secrecy

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FROM CANDACE: This weekend, I spoke about staying awake, spiritually speaking. We are children of the light, and children of the day, 1 Thessalonians 5 tells us, and so we need to remain “awake and clearheaded”. We put ourselves to sleep, spiritually, by allowing the shadows the law and shadows of the world to creep in, little by little, and we excuse these things away little by little.

Radical honesty with myself is something I’ve been practicing for a while now, but I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about it.


  • an excuse to say everything that comes to your mind. We are called to be patient, kind, and humble with everyone. We’re called to make allowances for each other’s faults. We’re called to encourage each other and lift each other UP!

  • a license to let your mouth rule you. The Bible says plenty of things about a fool’s mouth and how it constantly gets him/her into trouble. Read Proverbs 18:6-7, or Proverbs 20:19, or Ephesians 4:29. We’re called to “be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry,” James 1:19 tells us.


  • holding yourself to a standard. The standard does not change with every circumstance. No excuses!

  • asking yourself WHY you behave the way you do. And don’t let yourself get away with the first response. Old ways won’t open new doors.

  • confessing your sin. Not to everyone, but to the right people. Jesus said, “Don’t give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the pigs, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:7. At the very least, admit them to yourself, and to God. We tend to stress REPENTANCE, not just confession, but confession can be a powerful step toward repentance.

Some of us will never move forward spiritually before we’ve broken secrecy with ourselves. You have to acknowledge there is a problem, before being able to fix it. THE WORD is a lamp unto your feet, a light on your path (Psalm 119:105). Allow it to change you from the inside out by acknowledging your faults, allowing the Holy Spirit in to help you uncover the real reasons for them, and moving past them into freedom!

  1. Secrecy doesn’t work anyway.

    1. Proverbs 10:9

    2. Romans 2:16

    3. Mark 4:22-23, Matthew 10:26-28, Luke 12:2

    4. Psalm 44:21

  2. There’s mercy in confession.

    1. Proverbs 28:13

    2. James 5:16

    3. Psalm 66:18

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  1. Read Acts 4:32-5:11

    1. What’s your main takeaway from this story?

    2. What can we learn about the spirit of religion vs. the spirit of authenticity in this story?

    3. Does this story speak to “secrecy doesn’t work anyway” or “there’s mercy in confession”?

  2. Read Psalm 66:16-20

    1. What’s your main takeaway from these verses?

    2. What do you think it means to “fear God”?

    3. Does this story speak to “secrecy doesn’t work anyway” or “there’s mercy in confession”?

  3. Find one more story in the Bible that either speaks to “secrecy doesn’t work anyway” OR “there’s mercy in confession”.



"She's a boss!"


From Jess:

Book of Psalms – patterned, present, and promised.

  • Pattern

    • 1-41 (Genesis): psalms of man and creation.

    • 42-72 (Exodus): suffering and redemption

    • 73-89 (Leviticus): worship and God’s house

    • 90-106 (Numbers)- our pilgrimage on Earth

    • 107-150 (Deuteronomy): praise and the Word

  • Present:

    • Psalm 2:6- I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain

    • Psalm 2:12- kiss his son or he will be angry and your way will lead to destruction….blessed are all who take refuge in him.

  • Promised:

    • Luke 24:44- He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

      • Jesus even acknowledges the book of psalms was prophecy about HIM

  • * The Psalms weren’t written in palaces, they were written in caves on the run….the entire book is a collection of midnight singing

    Psalm 1:1

    • Living your life for Good V Evil and the consequences of each, how to keep yourself on the right path

    • Do not follow the advice of the wicked

      • Proverbs 11:14- For lack of guidance a nation falls,
            but victory is won through many advisers.

      • Who do you go to for advice? Think of 3 people you can go to for GODLY advice

    • “Nor be found sitting in the scorner’s seat”- he doesn’t even hang around in the company of the wicked!

Proverbs 31: She’s a boss!

I think people get too hung up on the false idea that Christian women should completely submit themselves to their husbands, and that this is their only purpose in life. This verse outlines the ideal, virtuous woman that we should all strive to be. God did not create us to just sit around and be subservient; He created us in His image and to be strong contributors to our families. He wants us to be doers! The Proverbs 31 woman is made strong through grace, wisdom (wisdom is personified as a woman throughout proverbs), and the fear of God. Her husband trusted her totally, her husband and children voluntarily praised her, her home was run like a well-oiled machine, she reached out to her community and helped the poor, and increased her family’s resources through wise investments and productive management; she did it all!



  • Proverbs 13:20

    • What do you do to keep wise/Godly Company? How can you get better at it?

  • Proverbs 11:14

    • Who do you go to for advice? Think of 3 people you can go to for GODLY advice

  • Do a SOAP study on Proverbs 31:10-31

    • Go through the book of Proverbs, memorize your favorites so that you will have a song to sing at midnight.



This Giant Thing Called Life

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John 14

“The Progress Reality: Because we broke it, we need to allow God time to fix it, reset it, rebuild it.”

“Everything that matters in life has a process to it. Healing is a process. Forgiveness is a process. Loving people is a process.” “Deliverance = moment, Freedom = process”

“Don’t get caught building on broken foundations.”

“You need to give the holy spirit at least as much time to fix your life, as you gave the devil time to wreck it."

“This is what most churches look like. People who just got out of surgery, trying to do stuff!”

“You can always find reasons to sin…they even use Bible verses to do it!”

“This Christian life cannot be about how much we can get away with. It needs to be about how much the Holy Spirit can do in our lives! And if it costs you something, so be it!”

“Some of you right now are making progress, but it’s painful…stay in it!”

“Stop defining progress by the standards of this world!” “Non Christians are telling you there’s not progress—they don’t know the boss you work for!”

“Ya wanna know where you’ll bee in 5 years, show me your 5 convictions that matter! A reality in my own life that I understand is that most great convictions come at the expense of comfort.” “Convictions are based out of commands—God said it, so you do it.” “Some Christians have convictions with loopholes.”

“Empty activity vs. spirit-led movements”

“Living spirit-led involves two things:

  1. The convictions you hold. Ideas will come and go, convictions are immovable! What are your standards? What do you believe? What are you fighting for? The best convictions are the always the hardest to hold to. Being conviction-led, comes down to staying fed. You thought your fuel was gonna be relationships, so you go from church to church!

  2. The covenant you trust (promise from God, timeless truth). The difference between the Christian that is fruitful and the Christian that is the trust factor. Some Christians think we have a contract with God, we don’t! It’s a covenant. You can’t stop a covenant! There is a promise for every problem!

“Generosity is not a matter of money, it’s a conviction.”

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This teaching and assignment is from Carl Lentz’s sermon on the Hillsong App! It’s about $8/month, but totally worth it, and if you just want to listen to this particular teaching, they do offer a free week!

This week, read:



Patterned, Promised, or Present

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This past weekend, Johannes Amritzer spoke at Freedom Valley, and he referenced a story in the Old Testament about Samson. Samson had encountered a lion, and Johannes likened the lion to Jesus Christ, saying that Jesus can be found throughout the Old Testament in prophecy after prophecy, story after story.

In our conversations before and after services, Johannes mentioned a few more to me, saying that over the years, he’s become passionate about finding Jesus in the Old Testament.

When Jason and I talk about sermon preparations, we always talk about bringing everything back to Jesus, and how Jesus can be found either directly on the page, or indirectly in our need for Him. I’ve found myself lately reading with two questions in mind: “What is this saying about my savior?” and “What is this saying about my NEED for my savior?”

“Perhaps we’d be helped by a simple framework for how Christ is at the heart of the Scriptures: he is patterned, promised, and present from Genesis onward.”

Patterned: “The flood and the ark, the Passover and the Red Sea, the wilderness and the Promised Land, exile and return, war and peace, kingdom and kings, prophets and priests, the temple, its sacrifices, and its rituals, wisdom in death and in life, songs of lament and rejoicing, the lives of faithful sufferers and the blood of righteous martyrs — the Old Testament is extraordinarily Jesus-shaped.”

Promised: “Old Testament saints were not simply tiles in a mosaic, witnessing, unwittingly, to a gospel pattern of which they were ignorant. They too looked forward to the fulfillment of these patterns. How? Through the promises. This is how Jesus, Paul, and Peter saw it (Luke 24:25–27; Acts 26:22–23; 1 Peter 1:10–12). Each of them characterizes the Old Testament shape as proclaiming “Christ’s sufferings and glory,” yet, at the same time, each of them maintains that this message is what Moses and the prophets themselves “wrote,” “said,” “prophesied,” and “predicted.” All along, true faith was messianic faith, centered on Christ himself. He was the one held out and the one trusted by the faithful.”

Present: “But more than just patterned and promised, perhaps the most under-appreciated facet is that Christ also is present. It’s surprising how explicit the New Testament authors are about Jesus’s presence in the Old Testament:

  • The “I Am” in whom Abraham rejoiced was Jesus (John 8:56–58).

  • The Lord who motivated Moses was Christ (Hebrews 11:26).

  • The Redeemer who brought them out of Egypt was Jesus (Jude 5).

  • The Rock in the wilderness was Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4).

  • The King of Isaiah’s temple vision was the Son (John 12:40–41).”

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Study the following 3 passages and try to figure out how Jesus is patterned, promised, and present in all 3.



The Testing

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Today, we’ll be studying Genesis 22. This is one of those passages that tends to make me really uncomfortable…but is LOADED with lessons for me to learn. We’ll be studying a few of those lessons in Bold & Brave, but I wonder which lessons you’ll learn this week from it as well?

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Study Genesis 22

  • What is your biggest takeaway from this chapter?

  • Is there anything in your life that God might ask you to give up, but it would hurt?

  • What else can we learn from Abraham’s story?



Dream Again

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This week’s BATTLES sermon is about the wall of Jericho, and I think one of the biggest lessons we can take from the story of Jericho is that some battles happen MORE in the spiritual, than in the physical. You may think you have a PHYSICAL problem, when in reality, the problem is in the spiritual.

Some of us need to become dreamers again. We need to start believing God for something impossible, not out of desperation, but out of passion!

Today, we’ll watch this Hillsong teaching, and we’ll learn how to dream together again.

CANDACE’S NOTES from the teaching:

“God NEEDS his church to have more—to have access to all that He has.”
“The lowest parts in my ministry were when I didn’t have any vision.” @Chris_Hodges
”I think we keep trying to reduce God down to us, and God keeps trying to bring us up to him.”

Hebrews 11

5 types of people:

1. No dream. You’re saved, but you’re very bored. Just getting by.

2. A wrong dream. You're living for something that God did not inspire. You've become a hireling. Good, not God. Fun, not fulfilling. Career, not a calling. “Compensation will give you something to live ON, a calling will give you something to live FOR.”

3. A stale dream. A right dream, it’s just dying out.

4. A vague dream. The Bible wasn't being metaphoric when it says to write it down! If someone asks you what you would do with $1 million (in ministry), you BETTER HAVE AN ANSWER! The one who writes the vision, CAN RUN WITH IT. Have a vision gap:: more vision than money. And a plan for when God gives you more.

5. A God-honoring, culture-defying, heaven-impacting, seemingly-impossible dream. “The only dream that really matters is the dream that shows up in heaven.”

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  1. Read Hebrews 11

    1. Pick one of those stories to study further.

  2. Start a bucket list!



No Weapon Formed

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Have you ever found yourself in a season where you felt like a desolate woman, living in shame and disgrace? Or a storm-battered city, troubled, defeated, and terrified?

Now, I know those are oddly specific scenarios, but I bet every one of you can identify a time in your life when you felt like one or the other…or both! You’re not alone.

Isaiah 54 describes these exact scenarios, and it’s a prophecy for a better future! At FV this weekend, I talked about how we are not victims. We are children of God, and therefore, we have certain promises that we can cling to. At the end of this chapter it says, “These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord; their vindication will come from me. I, the Lord, have spoken!” So, today, let’s look at some of the promises He’s made to us, just in this chapter alone.

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Go through Isaiah 54 and write down all the promises you want to claim over your life. Come up with at least 5. Say them out loud over yourself this week, and every day that you do, write down how they make you feel.

Come back next week and share them with the group!



Battle Tools

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When our world is in complete chaos and all hope is lost, when we have exhausted all ideas, all options, and strength, what do we do? What do you do? What is left? Where is your trust? How do you go on?

We can fall apart, give up walk away, become jaded, bitter and weighed down because of our circumstances and stop growing and just continue the rest of our existence in a hopeless senseless repetitive cycle or…we can stand. Just STAND. Before the oncoming storm or in the midst of it stand up and remember you are not alone, you DO have hope and you have a mighty Warrior who goes before you and cannot be defeated. God has equipped us for such times and our job is to stand in spite of the chaos around us. There is a time to pray and wait on the Lord but there is a time to Stand. We were not meant to be bowed down because of our problems and in a constant holding pattern, but instead we were meant to be on the offensive.

Joshua 7:6, the only time we were meant to bow is in the presence of the Almighty God and in His presence, situations, spirits, powers, and authorities cannot withstand and will run and be broken because of his power. However we cannot stand when we are unprepared, if we don’t know what to do, if we haven realized that the Holy Spirit is within us and we do not understand the Power that comes with the anointing. Isaiah 10:27 NKJV.

We cannot cultivate this power if we do not run to the source consistently, unashamedly and with passion and if we do not use the tools already set for the battles ahead. Ephesian 6:10 tell us that tools are needed because we do not battle against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers and spiritual host of wickedness. The physical things we see with our eyes have a deeper, more serious layer beneath that can only be dealt with through the Spiritual anointing. You cannot go into battle as if it was everyday life. We must have protection, armor, tools that we can only become experts at through consistent use. We must use ALL tools because each one is meant to cover and deal with specific attacks.

We are told to be:

  1. Girded with Truth

  2. Have the breastplate of righteousness

  3. Shod with the Gospel of peace

  4. Shielded with Faith

  5. Have the helmet of salvation

  6. Wield the sword of the spirit

  7. To be praying always

  8. To be watchful with perseverance and supplication

    Once you are covered head to Toe…STAND!

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  1. Study the list above and pick 2 “tools”. What do you think they mean?

  2. Why do they speak to you personally?

  3. How can you get better at daily putting on this armor?

  4. Look for verses in the Bible where we are called to Stand, pick one and do a SOAP study, explain why you picked that verse.



The Love Letter

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Growing up I looked at the Bible as a historical book full of stories of what not to do and a book full of rules. However, as I know God more, and as I have delved deeper into the Bible, and into a deeper relationship with Him; I found that in fact the Bible’s purpose is so much more meaningful. The Bible is actually a very long love letter to us from God. It is God pursuing us and wanting us to be healthy, happy and holy so that we can walk with him and talk to him as friends.

The love letter starts in Genesis when he created us out of love and spoke to us face to face, to the fall and his answer to our sin, to Jesus’s life and death, to Revelation when Jesus comes back for his people to Judge and eventually heal this broken and hurting world. It showed us the consequences of Sin and what not to do.
From the beginning Gods purpose has been a profound, intimate, relationship, but because of the fall this purpose could not continue as intended. Instead of giving up, God did the next best thing, he gave us a way to be temporarily purified so that we could still have means to enter his presence through the sacrifice of the priest. Leviticus 16

However, he didn’t leave things there, he knew this was a temporary fix that could not be sustained forever (the temple was destroyed, animal sacrifices stopped) and it also did not cultivate an environment where a close relationship with Him was possible because a priest was needed, and they were the only ones that could enter the Holy of Holies. God had a timely and more permanent master plan to show how much he loved us and how deeply he longed for us to have an unveiled relationship with him.

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  • Read Leviticus 16

  • What was the process needed to perform the sacrifice?

  • Do you think Aaron’s sacrifice was enough? Was this sacrifice a personal experience or more communal?

  • Read Mark 15:33-39

  • Why did the Veil Rip?

  • Why was Jesus’ sacrifice more significant that the one ordered by God in Leviticus?



The Secret Place

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When we’re going through STUFF…we have a tendency to handle it badly, and sometimes we get mad at God and wonder why he would do this to us. Instead, we should running to him for safety, protection, and comfort. Hiding in the secret place. You don’t have to pretend to have it all together, or be strong all of the time. Hide in the shadow of The Almighty!

If you have a Hillsong Now account (just $10/month), go here to watch the teaching we watched in B&B tonight!

My notes from the video:

9 words from 1 Sam 30: “BUT David found strength in the Lord his God.”

Leadership is a verb, leadership is active. “Hey, I’ve got to lead myself through this moment…” This needs to become a reflex action.

3 Thoughts that we can learn from David:

  1. Lead ourselves to pick the battles that we have in life. Work on the battles that matter. What are the things consuming me right now? Are they going to matter in 10 mins, 10 days, 10 years? JESUS UNDERSTANDS (Heb 4). Good battles vs. dumb battles. Internal vs. external battles. Spiritual vs. physical battles.

  2. The Secret Place. An intimate “place” with God.

    The secret place is a place where God is okay with my humanity, my honesty, and my emotion. It's not geographical or physical, but it's a place of honest and free expression. Psalm 61:2, Psalm 57:1

    Sometimes we've gotta give our soul a good talking to. And the sooner, the better. Psalm 43:5

  3. Put our confidence in God's great ability, before the miracle. 

“Great leadership is not position. Great leadership is about learning to lead ourselves, in humility & honesty, but with faith in our Great God.”

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  1. Study the above passages. Read the entire chapter, take them into your soul. Do a SOAP study on each. Even if you’re not going through something difficult now, you will. Learn how to run to the secret place now, so you can be faithful, then.

  2. Take notes in the sermon this weekend. Learn to be a notetaker. As Bold & Brave Women, we are passionate, not passive. If we’re going to excel in our relationship with God, we have to be passionate and intentional about it.



Do you love me?

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Freedom Valley has always been a church that welcomes the unchurched, the people who don’t feel worthy of a staunch, religious church environment.  Very down to earth, friendly, welcoming.

Where we’re currently tracking though, becoming disciplemakers, it’s about MORE than just welcoming.  For the past few years, we’ve been training our greeters team to be helpful, not just friendly.  That there’s a big difference between helpful and JUST friendly.  Friendly is smiling. It’s “hi, how are you?”, but not necessarily, “how can I help you?”.  There’s depth to HELPFUL that’s not there with friendly.

We want to be HELPFUL to the people walking through our doors, not just welcoming.  We want people to BE accepted in our churches, not just FEEL accepted. We want them KNOWING God...not just knowing about Him.

There’s a difference!

And so, I’ve been challenging our church, since the end of last year, we need to go deeper.  We need to BE deeper.

In John 21, Jesus appears to some of the disciples after his resurrection, and has a very interesting interaction with Peter.  First, he blesses them with abundance of fish...something that they NEEDED. Not only for breakfast, but to support themselves.  He was blessing their efforts in the “secular world”, which I think is interesting. But then he sits down and has breakfast prepared for them.  He feeds them physically..THEN sets about ministering to them spiritually. Also interesting.

But then he says to Peter.  THREE times, do you love me? Read verses 15 - 17.

Jesus makes DIRECT comparison between loving Jesus, and feeding the sheep.  Not once, but 3 times. To the point of hurting Peter’s feelings, challenging him with it.  

  • There’s SO MUCH TO LEARN from this much that we could focus on.  Like the fact that Jesus asked Peter by using his OLD name..the one that didn’t mean ROCK or strength or stability.   

  • Or the fact that Jesus asked him THREE times.  The same amount of times that Peter denied Jesus.

  • Or the fact that Jesus that didn’t directly even mention Peter’s indiscretion...did chastise him for his fear...his betrayal...just wanted to hear him say OUTLOUD that he loved him. And make a point.

And I think the point Jesus makes is significant.  One that he makes over and over to the disciples when it’s “their time”

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  • Mark 16

    • What was Jesus’ directive to his disciples after the resurrection?

    • Do you see that as a directive in your life as well? How can you live that out?

  • Luke 14

    • What do you think the Parable of the Great Feast (vs.15-24) is trying to explain?

    • What’s your one takeaway from this chapter for your own life?

  • Matthew 28

    • How do you think this passage relates to being a disciplemaker?



The Key To Life

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“People don’t have a problem adding Jesus to their life, they have a huge problem removing everything else so He can be the ONLY thing in their life.”

JESUS is THE key to life, not a key. He is THE way, not a way. He is THE truth, not a truth.

Stop trying to add Jesus to everything else you’re doing, and let Him be in everything and through everything.

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Read John 14:1-14

  • How is Jesus “the way” in your life?

  • How is Jesus “the truth” in your life?

  • How is Jesus “the life” if your life?


Start the Disciplemakers Challenge (it’s a sneak peak into the sermon for this weekend!)