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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.

RADICAL HONESTY IS NOT:

  • 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.

RADICAL HONESTY IS:

  • 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”.

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"She's a boss!"

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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!

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READ:

  • 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.

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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 not..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:

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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.

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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?

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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!

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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!

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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.

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The Love Letter

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FROM DENYSE:

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?

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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.

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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 passage...so 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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Read:

  • 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?

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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?

AND!

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

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Amid My Mess

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From Denyse:

Lately I have noticed many people are surprised at the concept of praying not only for others, but also for themselves. Although this is a very selfless sentiment and actually very admirable, it can also be a bit precarious for us. Don’t get me wrong—the Bible is huge on being unselfish, drawing us away from the very human mindset of “me first”, and teaching us to put others ahead of ourselves, serving others and covering others with prayers. Nonetheless, as individuals, we are prone to believe we can do it all ourselves, we have the strength to deal with everything, fix everything and figure it all out without needing anyone else.

As leaders, parents, mentors, managers, (insert your title here) we believe that we need to know all, hold everything up and manage everything/everyone around us without showing any sign of weakness, confusion or fear and that our duty is to only come to God when it’s about someone else and that is the only time he listens. We have been taught not to rely on anyone but ourselves if we want things to be done right. Or we have been taught to toughen up and not let on that we are not as strong as we should be or look.

However, I notice that throughout the Bible the great leaders do not only cry out to God for the sake of others, but also for their sake as well and some of them do it quite thoroughly by bemoaning their very existence and having what we would call a meltdown (not that we should be whiners). I notice also that God likes to have friends who he knows intimately and races to their rescue when they desperately cry out to him. Moses and Abraham come to mind. He saw them at their best and saw them at their worst and loved them and strengthened them through it all. He wasn’t surprised or shocked about their shortcomings or when they couldn’t handle everything that life was dishing out at the time. Through the Bible He shows his spectacular strength with amazing rescues and awe inspiring deeds in the middle of pretty serious situations and yet (NIV) Luke 12:6 says, “Are not sparrows sold for 2 pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.” This shows me that He is just as much interested in our BIG things as he is in our mundane and little things. He wants to know when we are strong, but he also wants to be there when we are weak, mad, happy, sad, unsure or just so-so.

Sometimes selfless obedience to him is admitting we need him urgently and admitting that it is by His strength and not ours that we wake up, move forward, thrive, and survive. Sometimes by praying about what is affecting us, the prayer spills over and actually affects those around you in a positive way. A personal prayer is being able to allow God’s big shoulders to take the load and to admit that our strength is so limited next to the enormity of his love and who he is. There is something freeing and intimate when we can admit, I can’t do this Lord…I need you here amid my mess. This is where we allow him to do his best work, where he can powerfully move, change our circumstances or just give us the strength to walk through the hardest battles whatever the outcome may be.

  • Read 2 Kings 6:8-23

    • How did God move through Elisha’s prayer?

    • How did the outcome of the prayer affect the Soldiers of Aram?

  • Read Matthew 26:38-54

    • What do you think was the purpose of his prayer? And what was God’s response?

    • What was the outcome of Jesus’s prayer?

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Bold As Lions

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“Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.”
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Growing up shy, but with God-given leadership gifts, I always felt like I couldn’t be myself. I was stuck in a cage of fear and insecurity, and I knew that wasn’t who God had called me to be. Somewhere along the line, someone said that we could use the Word of God to change us from the inside out, and encouraged me to start speaking it, out loud, over my life. So, I dug in.

What I mean by “dug in”:

  1. Write the scripture down.

  2. Write down what speaks to you about it

  3. Look up definitions of anything that doesn’t make sense.

  4. Read the rest of the passage, before and after the verse.

  5. Who was the writer talking to? What was the culture like at that time?

  6. Is there anywhere else in the Bible that talks about this subject?

  7. Pray about what God is speaking to you through this verse. What is God saying?

After I really got the meaning of the verse down, I could repeat it over and over to myself. I would say it out loud, or as an anthem in my head inspiring me to do things I wouldn’t normally do, out of fear. I would write them on little pieces of paper and hang them on my mirror, where I could see them every day.

Over time, these verses saved me. Changed me. Inspired me. That’s the power of the Word of God.

For me, I had to pursue boldness. Maybe for you it’s something else entirely.

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This week, read:

  • Proverbs 28:1-2

    • Why do you think the godly are as bold as lions? What makes them this way?

    • This chapter has a lot to say, which verse spoke to you the most?

  • 2 Timothy 1:5-7

    • How does God give a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline?

    • How can you pass on genuine faith to your children and grandchildren?

  • Deuteronomy 31:1-8

    • Why does God promise to not abandon Joshua? Do you think that’s a promise we can still hold onto today?

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It Is Still Well With My Soul

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We’ve all had weeks where we felt beat up, broken, and bloody. Weeks where our soul is limping into church on Sunday, where our faith is badly shaken, and we feel unable to be the leaders, the contributors, and the passionate women of God we were created to be. I don’t want to lie to you all, I’ve had these weeks too.

But there is a way to make it all well with your soul. To stand in the storm. To be found standing after the battle. To have the emotional equity to get through even the toughest of days.

(You do need a subscription for the Hillsong Channel to see the content, $7.99/month, but they offer a 7-day free trial!)

Do I have a healthy soul?

  1. You know you have a healthy soul, when you change your environment, and your environment does not change you.

    1. “My prayer for you is that you never acclimate to the dysfunction around you.”

    2. “Ah! I wish I could listen to your negativity, unfortunately, God says—I belong!”

    3. “Control the parts of your environment that you can.”

  2. You know you have a healthy soul, when you give the benefit of the doubt, to God.

    1. “Unhealthy souls are waiting to get wounded.”

    2. “Beware of good people who say bad things, by the way.”

    3. “Which way do you lean when crisis hits you?”



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Read Psalm 127:1-2

  • Does this verse speak to anything in your life?

  • Do you need to start asking God for good rest?

Read Matthew 11:28-30

  • What do you think Jesus means by this statement?

Read Mark 6:30-32

  • Why do you think Jesus led the disciples to be alone?


BONUS ASSIGNMENT: Find 2 more places that the Bible talks about rest or having a healthy soul. Write then down, and bring them to B&B next week!


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Contributors, not Consumers

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The church was never meant to be a spectator sport, because we were never meant to be unproductive! In fact, from the very beginning of time, God created us with purpose, and with a job to do!

Genesis 1:27-28, “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

We are productive, because God is productive, and He created us in His image. We’ve been given gifts and talents and abilities to pour INTO the world around us, to make it better than we found it, and work diligently. We have trouble with this because our fallen nature doesn’t always want to work for something, face something difficult, or challenge the status quo, and our consumerism culture doesn’t help!

Some resolutions I’ve made in the past to help myself be a contributor, not a consumer:

  1. Leave things better than I found them.

  2. Learn about a subject (or both sides of the story), before speaking my opinion into it.

  3. Let everything I say be good and helpful. (Eph 4:29)

  4. Challenge myself, even when it’s scary.

  5. Gauge my own investment.

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This week, read:

  • Ephesians 4:29-32

    • Can you identify any areas of your life that need to change based on this passage?

  • Romans 12:1-3 (in the Message version)

    • How can you place your everyday life before God as an offering?

  • Proverbs 18:17

    • Have you been taking one side of the story in any area of your life? How could you begin to make more well-rounded opinions?

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Passionate, not passive.

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As Bold & Brave women, we are passionate, not passive. I used to sit back and watch the world go by me in fear. My most comfortable place was in the background, not being pressured or challenged, playing a supporting role. Fast forward to today, and you can see how God didn’t exactly allow me to stay in comfort zone.

Now, I have to make decisions. I have to embrace conflict. I have to fight my way to justice! And all of that requires passion. Passion overcomes fear.

We see passion modeled in Jesus’ flipping the tables, in his constant retreat to the presence of God, his steadfast submission, and his single-minded focus on his father. We need to follow that example to the best of our ability. Like an olympic athlete who trains obsessively and watches what they eat and cuts out other things from their life, we need to have focus.

Passionate people speak up when something goes wrong, they light up the room, they pull the people around them up, they are vibrant, full of life, and give into the people around them.

But as bold & brave women, we’re not passionate about just anything. We’re passionate about God, and we’re passionate about people.

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Read 1 Corinthians 9: 19-27

  • What do you think Paul’s point is here?

Read Romans 12

  • What can we learn about passion from this passage?

Read Psalm 63

  • How can you make this more your prayer this week?

  • What verse jumps out at you from this passage?


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Leaders, not Complainers

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Welcome to Bold & Brave, Winter Semester!

Bold & Brave began as a mandate to me (Candace), from God. He dropped the vision for it, even the name for it, into my heart at a conference, and I just couldn’t let it go. Since then, we’ve become a group that encourages each other, prays for each other, and challenges each other to move forward in our faith and understanding of God’s Word.

I’ve become very passionate about knowing God’s Word over the past few years, and I want that for you too! It’s unlocked countless truths for me, challenged me to do things I never thought was possible, and made my life better in so many ways. I am Bold & Brave today, because of the Word. 100%! So, in this group, I want to teach you how to study it, know it, live by it, and apply it to your life. For me, the Word has always shaped my worldview and self-view. As it should!

The first thing that I had to learn on my journey to being bold & brave, was how to be a leader, not a complainer.

  1. I had to own my part in how people treated me.

  2. I had to choose to make my own table, not pine for tables I’m not invited to.

  3. I had to stop giving myself permission to have self-centered discontentment.

  4. I had to model behavior that I wished to see in those around me.

  5. I had to make the decision to serve those around me.

————————————————————————————————————-

To get the most out of this group:

  1. Commit to showing up every week.

  2. Do the assignments, and let your curiosity take you further.

  3. Be honest.

  4. Make friends!

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  • Read Philippians 2:1-18.

    • What about this passage speaks to the “leader, not complainer” idea?

  • Read Luke 12:13-21.

    • How did Jesus respond to complaining?

  • Read Luke 10:38-42.

    • What is the thing worth being concerned about?

  • Read John 8:1-11.

    • What can we learn about Jesus’ general attitude towards people in this story?

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The Remedy

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The joy of faith is the best remedy against the griefs of sense.
a remedy with a promise
a remedy with a proof

A lot of things in Jesus’ teachings, and in the Bible, seem contrary to popular opinion, or even good sense. Sense says that to be happy, as with any emotion, it must come from within. And doesn’t that sound like a lot of popular advice? “Be true to YOU—true happiness comes from being YOU.” That kind of thinking appeals to our very American, very original, very individual thinking.

The Bible, however, has some different things to say. It actually seems to think that joy isn’t found within, all of the time. That sometimes—it must be something that you PUT ON. Like clothes! That it’s something that must be found outside of yourself.

I've had this theory for some time now—that ALL topical sins, come from 3 base desires deep within each of us. Pride, lust, and greed. We act out of them all the time, but usually, we tend toward one over the others. But, I’m starting to believe that even out of those 3….everything we do—everything—-everything that affects us negatively…is actually based in fear.

We fear everything. We fear loneliness, rejection, poverty, sickness, disease, failure, disappointment, spiders, lack of sleep, hunger…the list goes on. We even fear fear itself! Humanity keeps conquering disease after disease, we haven’t had any world wars in a while, and yet we’re still killing ourselves with anxiety & depression by the millions! FEAR does that.

YOU can train your body, your mind, and your soul, to PLACE your faith, PUT ON joy, and CHOOSE to love. Joy is not only possible, it’s NOT OPTIONAL.

Over the next two weeks, until we meet again, take a few days to really study, meditate on, and apply each of these verses. By study, I mean: do a SOAP study, write each verse out word by word, pray about, read the rest of the chapter, read a commentary, etc.

  1. James 1:2-4

  2. 1 Peter 1:3-12

  3. Psalm 27

  4. Proverbs 15:16

  5. John 16:16-33

  6. If you need more, check out this article.

I also found some songs that help me PLACE my faith, PUT ON joy, and CHOOSE to love. Use these…just like Saul used music of the harp, in 1 Samuel, to ward off a “tormenting spirit”.

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Chasing the Mystery

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I believe that God wants to know us, and wants to be known. If that’s true, why does it seem so difficult to know Him? I think there are many reasons for that, but here’s a few:

  1. God is infinite. We are currently bound by time.

    1. “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’” Revelation 1:8

  2. God is complex. We aren’t ready.

    1. “‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord, ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.’” Isaiah 55:8

    2. “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” Mark 4:23

  3. God is perfect. We were born into imperfection.

    1. “We see things through a glass, darkly” 1 Corinthians 13:12

In these ways, it’s difficult for us to know God because he is so different. And in some ways, we just have to embrace the mystery, trust and have faith, that God is who He says He is, and He’s going to do what He says He’s going to do.

But He also calls us to KNOW Him. By “know” I believe that means to experience Him, not just know facts about Him. We often call it the difference between being a fan and a follower. Fans of Jesus know stuff about Him, but don’t really apply it to their lives. Followers actually model theirs lives after Him. In the same way, I think you can know facts about the character of God, but not actually have a relationship with Him.

So how do we get to know Him?

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This week, we’ll challenge ourselves to try a few of the disciplines from the article we read in Bold & Brave. For more info or direction on any of them, click that link for the article. This week, try 2 that you haven’t tried ever, or in a long time. Look through the list reflectively and try to pick out something that you need, then try the discipline for it!

Disciplines of Engagement (Christ in Community)

  • Bible Reading

  • Worship

  • Prayer

  • Soul Friendship

  • Personal Reflection

  • Service

Disciplines of Abstinence (Self-Denial)

  • Solitude

  • Silence

  • Fasting

  • Sabbath

  • Secrecy

  • Submission

Looking for more info on this subject?
I highly recommend the following books:

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