Teaching Session 1

Teaching Session 2

Teaching Session 3


Devotional

 “He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.” - Psalm 1:3

Life can be tough, and it can seem like we are facing an uphill climb all day every day.  It can feel like we are going through the motions, and we are just trying to make it to the next weekend, day off, or vacation.  We are going through life, and we are just surviving it.  I don’t think we were meant to live this way.  God wants to live in us and work through us every day, he wants to give us life.  There is an abundance of life in Christ, one that brings “joy, peace, patience and kindness.”  We weren’t made to survive - we were made to Thrive.  Like Joseph - he thrived even in the tough times and even in the mess. 

In Genesis 7 we learn about Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob.  In jealousy, his brothers sell him in to slavery.  He ends up in Egypt as a slave to Potiphar.  Even in his situation, he trusts God and God blesses him.  He moves up in the ranks in Potiphar's house.  

Genesis 39:3 “When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant.”  

Did you get that?  Potiphar put him in charge of his household.  And God blessed Potiphar's entire household because of Joseph.  Potiphar's wife, seeing the success of Joseph, makes a play for him.  After he rejects her, she accuses him before Potiphar and Joseph is sent to jail.

Genesis 39:21 “But while Joseph was there, the Lord was with him.”  

But God was still with Joseph even in prison. The prison guard put Joseph in charge of all of the prisoners.  Everywhere Joseph ended up, God blessed him and he ended up in charge.

While in prison, Joseph interpreted dreams for some of Pharoah’s employees. Years later, when Pharaoh was having dreams he couldn't understand, Joseph was called to interpret them. 

Once again, seeing that Joseph was a man of God, Pharaoh puts him in control of all of Egypt.  Egypt goes through a famine, they prosper because of Joseph.  Not only that, but he is even reunited with his family when his brothers are forced to come to Egypt to buy grain. 

Joseph was confident in the God that made promises to him, and when tough times came, he rested in God.  He at times may have been surviving, but it is clear that he thrived.  Joseph could have treated his brothers with revenge, hatred, and anger.  He could have been bitter, resentful, and poured out wrath on them; instead, he forgave them because he trusted that he was where he was because God had a plan.  Had they not sold him into slavery, he would not have ended up in charge and his family would not have been blessed during the famine.  God orchestrated everything.

Joseph thrived because he was rooted in Christ, and he trusted God's plan for his life.  Even in the tough times, even when it would have been easier to give up or throw in the towel, Joseph lived a life that sought God, and pointed others to God.  He was rooted in what God promised him, and he never quit helping others. 

I don’t know where you are as you are reading this.  But I do know that God is calling you to himself.  God is constantly calling you to know him and to make him known.  Start digging into God’s word an let him show himself to you.  Don’t just survive life - Thrive in it.

 

Scripture

  • Jeremiah 17:7-8
  • Psalm 1

 

 

Lyrics

(Mark Hall, Matthew West)

Here in this worn and weary land
Where many a dream has died
Like a tree planted by the water
We never will run dry

So living water flowing through
God, we thirst for more of You
Fill our hearts and flood our souls with one desire

Just to know You and to make You known
We lift Your name on high
Shine like the sun, make darkness run and hide
We know we were made for so much more than ordinary lives
It’s time for us to more than just survive
We were made to thrive

Into Your word, we’re digging deep
To know our Father’s heart
Into the world, we’re reaching out
To show them who You are

Joy unspeakable, faith unsinkable
Love unstoppable, anything is possible

© 2013 Sony/ATV Tree Publishing (BMI) All rights on behalf of Sony/ATV Tree Publishing administered by Sony/ATV. / My Refuge Music (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Songs for Emily Music Publishing (ASCAP)

About the Song

“We’ve kind of had this Celtic feel with a couple of songs in the past like ‘Praise You with the Dance’ and ‘Spirit Wind’ so it’s always been a little part of us and we just thought with this big, fun worship song, that we’d just make it a big camp song. It’s kind of natural, but the idea of ‘Thrive’ came out of our student ministry. For years I’ve been using the idea of Psalm One in showing them what a believer looks like... If you’re not getting into the word for God to define Himself to you, you will define God with what makes sense to you and what makes sense to us is, ‘I better do good or I’m in big trouble’ and ‘He’s going to stick with me for so long, but I’m going to blow it.’ That’s not the picture that the Bible has. God didn’t put you here just so you could survive through hard times. He put you here to thrive, to dig in and to reach out and this record is an effort to draw a picture of what a believer, a follower of Jesus, would look like if they dug into their roots and understood God and themselves more.”

 

Teaching Session 1

Teaching Session 2

Teaching Session 3


Devotional

The empty promises of the world define success and contentment in terms of money, possessions, prestige, and power.  Satan convinces us that if we have these things, then we have a good life.  He convinces us that it's up to us to hold it all together.  And so we work harder and study more, and we try to be responsible for our own success.

We hear God's work speak truth into our lives all the time, and we say God is in control, but the way we live suggests we don't really believe that.  If we love a little more, act a little nicer, right? We start to believe that we are the ones in control.  And Satan convinces us that it's up to us to earn our way into heaven. 

But even when we take a wrong turn, when we focus too much on building our castles on the sand or our stairway to heaven, God turns it around for our good.  He is patient and kind, long-suffering and forgiving.  He takes the ideas we have about who we are and what we need, and redefines them for us.  The key is we have to let him do this for us.

Ephesians 2:4-9 says “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which HE loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together in Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the imeasureable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing: it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

God did this for us.  We didn't do it for us. No matter how great a life we make for ourselves, no matter how much we love our families, it will never be good enough.  The only thing that is good enough is the redemption and salvation that comes through Jesus.

Our part in all of this was that we were dead in our sin.  God did it all.  He chose us, he started us, and he will complete us.  No one is greater than He.  He sees all, knows all, and controls all.  He is the only way and the only one who can rescue us from the lies the world tells us.  The challenge is to let him be the one that holds your life together, let God define himself you.  Put your trust in him and allow him to show you how much he loves you and that His Son’s sacrifice is for you. 

Scripture

  • John 6:25-40
  • John 10:1-18
  • John 11:17-27
  • Acts 4:12

 

Lyrics

(Mark Hall, Matt Maher, Jon Mabe, Blake Bollinger)

One more mother with a broken heart
One more family is torn apart
One more orphan out in the cold
One more fear that takes control
One more tangled in the same old lies
One more shackled to the same old highs
One more scared of what tomorrow brings
And one more chasing yesterday

Lord, let Your kingdom come

Who can right every wrong
You are the only One
Who can calm every storm
You are the only One
You alone are Father, Savior, Spirit, Healer, Redeemer
Lord of all
You are the only One

One more skeptic to believe
One more prisoner has been set free
One more longs to be Your hands and feet
One more standing for the least of these
One more praying in the morning light
One more shining in the darkest night
One more life worth fighting for
No greater love worth dying for

Lord, let Your kingdom come
Lord, let Your will be done

I want to know You more
I want to make You known
I want this world to see
That You’re alive in me
Jesus, You’re the only One

(Father, Savior, Spirit, Healer)
You are the only One
(Redeemer, Lord of all)
You are the only One

© 2013 Sony/ATV Tree Publishing (BMI) All rights on behalf of Sony/ATV Tree Publishing administered by Sony/ATV. / My Refuge Music (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Valley of Songs Music (BMI) (admin at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Thankyou Music Ltd. (PRS) (adm. worldwide at CapitolCMGPublishing.com excl. UK & Europe which is adm. by IntegrityMusic.com) / John Mabe Publishing Designee (BMI) / Songs Of Parallel / The Wizard Of AHHS (ASCAP) (admin. by Amplified Administration LLC)

About the Song

“This is the first time I’ve written with Matt Maher. I felt like I knew him because we sing all his songs in church. I’ve always been a big fan of Matt since ‘Your Grace Is Enough’, but we’ve never had a chance to write together. He sent me an email a while back and said, ‘I’m working on this song right now and you just keep popping in my head every time I keep thinking about it. It’s called ‘You Are The Only One.’” I took the verses and I began laying out these verses that show this is where the world is, they are real live people who love life and love their family and want to be happy. They are just destroying themselves because there is no compass. This is where the world lives and love is great, but love isn’t going to save them. This song reminds us that at the end of all of our good deeds and thoughts, Jesus is the only one that’s going to save and rescue us. The second verse draws a picture of what happens when somebody gets saved: One more skeptic to believe, one more prisoner has been set free, one more longs to be your hands and feet, one more stands for the least of these.”

 

Teaching Session 1

Teaching Session 2

Teaching Session 3


Devotional

There is something about the way Jesus sees people that makes me want to know him more.  The more I walk with God – not practicing religion or doing ministry but getting to know the person of Jesus – the more I see people the way he sees them, and the more I hurt like he does.  Are you with me?

When we see people the way God does, our attitudes change.

In Matthew chapter 9, Jesus is ministering to the people in his home town, the people who know him the best.  And he knows them better than anyone.  He knows their wickedness.  Yet, he still has compassion on them.  His heart breaks for them. 

Our hearts should be breaking like his.  We should be walking in to our schools, our offices, our own homes and seeing the people around us the way God sees them.  And our hearts should be breaking for them.  We should understand that God has set providential appointments for us to reach these people with the truth.  God puts us where we are for a reason.  It may not be the way you have dreamed it would be.  It may not be the popular crowd you are witnessing to, or the person who is going to make you look good if you can reach them with God's word.  But it is still God's appointment for you.  Your eyes have to be open to see them as God sees them. 

Matthew 9 says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” 

We ask God to save our friends, to save our family members, to work in our schools, to send someone to witness to our boss.  Why not you or me?  Are we too afraid of losing a friendship or a job?  Shouldn't we be worried about our friend losing his soul?  Are we so concerned about what they are going to think of us that we let these divine appointments pass?  Shouldn't they be worth the awkward moment?  Friend, when you pray for God to work in someone's life, be prepared.  He may say to you, “Get ready.  You're going in.”

We love these people, right?  Our moms, dads, brothers, and sisters?  Our friends?  Love gives us the right to speak the truth to them.  When you love others, they know you are sharing with them because you love them, and your willingness to share the truth proves you love them.  You have to love them despite their sin.  You have to love them where they are, and you have to love them with the truth. 

The place God puts us and the people around us are the harvest field, and we are the laborers.  He equips us for the work.  We just need to be ready to love them like Jesus does.

About the Song

“This song is about a person realizing that they’ve been a really cruddy friend because they haven’t shared the truth with the person closest to them. A lot of people will say, ‘I want to share the gospel with my friend, but I don’t want to ruin my friendship.’ What you are really saying is ‘I love my friendship more than I love my friend and I don’t want to lose them by giving them this to save them.’ That’s what this song says. It’s tough, but it’s truth.”

Scripture

  • 1 Corinthians 13
  • Ephesians 4:15
  • 1 John 3:18
 

Lyrics

(Mark Hall, Bernie Herms)

For the longest time, I believed the lie
That I’m not a strong enough believer
To be the friend that can take your hand
And lead you straight to Jesus
I’m waiting on the preachers, singers, and the teachers
To string the perfect words together
But every single time I have to say goodbye
I wonder will this be the last time

I can’t call myself your friend and walk away

When we love, we earn the right to speak the truth
When we speak truth, we show the world we truly love
I’m not pointing my finger, I’m holding out my hand
I lay it all on the line now to see God save my friend
Let my life and my words be the proof
I’m gonna love you with the truth
Gonna love you with the truth

Yes, God is love, but God is just
And we are separated in our darkness
So God let Him who knew no sin
To become sin to make us right with Him
It’s not about religion or earning God’s forgiveness
Or magic prayers or new behavior
It’s all about your heart, He’ll meet you where you are
Turn from your sin and trust in Christ as Lord

Jesus is the truth, the life, the way

How I’ve prayed for this moment, that you would finally see
That God is more than religion, a stained-glass fantasy
And how I’ve prayed for the courage, for my silent faith to speak
Or that God would just send you a better friend than me

© 2013 Sony/ATV Tree Publishing (BMI) All rights on behalf of Sony/ATV Tree Publishing administered by Sony/ATV. / My Refuge Music (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Songs of Universal, Inc. (BMI) / G650 Music (BMI)

 

Teaching Session 1

Teaching Session 2

Teaching Session 3


Devotional

“It's amazing to discover God has dreams for us, but it's hard when we realize that our dreams and God's dreams aren't always the same.  And it's a tragedy when we go our own way rather than Gods.”  (Your Own Jesus)

Mary had a dream one day.  She dreamed of marrying Joseph and having a family.  She dreamed they would have a son and Joseph would start a family business – Joseph and Son Carpentry.  What if Mary had lived out her dream instead of letting God live out His dream for her?

And David.  David was a shepherd boy.  He probably dreamed about owning a thousand sheep and having an operation that was bigger than the guy next door.  He could advertise it on the internet, have his own website.  He was going to be the best shepherd ever.  What if David had just pursued his own dream and didn't follow God?  

Friend, that's what we do.  We all have our dreams.  But our dreams are based on our understanding of our strengths and weaknesses.  And then God steps in to our little worlds, with our little dreams based on our little talents and skills and he says, “That's a great dream but mine is so much bigger.”

When I was in Bible college, I thought in order for God to use me I had to be awesome, and that if I was good enough then I would make it on to God's team.  I was weak, I was a dork.  So I thought it wasn't for me.  I would not be the one God used, but I would probably be the friend of the one God used, or go the same school as the one God used, or work at the same place as the one God used.  You get the point.  

When I started my own relationship with God, when I started reading my Bible and digging in deeper, I learned that God used the little guys to accomplish big things.  It wasn't my strength God needed.  God needed my surrender.  Our strengths and talents can only take people so far.  At some point, the power of God has to take over and take us so much further, if we can just take “us” out of it.  

To follow God's dream for your life, you have to understand that he is bigger than your weaknesses and your strengths.  If you rely on your own strengths, your own power, that can get in the way of what God is trying to do, so you have to be able to let your strengths go, as well.  When we give it all to God, our strengths and weaknesses, we don't bring anything to it, right?  So we can't brag about it.  We give him our weaknesses, and he works around them.  We give him our strengths for him to use his way.  

Our dreams are based on what we can do.  God's dreams are based on what he can do through us.

About the Song

“The kids in our youth group sang back-up vocals on this song. I wanted a bunch of high schoolers to come in and sing this song to give life to the truth, that before you plan your future, you should make sure you’re not following your dream instead of God’s dream. God’s dream is a lot bigger than yours, and God doesn’t need you to pull off His dream for you. He can do it if you’ll just follow Him. I’ve had that conversation so many times with so many seniors sitting in my office. Just let God be creative and let Him do what He’s doing. If your goal is to really follow God, He’s not going to steer you off the cliff.”

Scripture

  • 1 Samuel 16, 17
  • Luke 1:28-56, 2
 

Lyrics

(Mark Hall, Matthew West)

Hey, David, I hear you’ve been dreaming
About being a big time shepherd some day
You’re gonna prove your brothers wrong
You’re gonna sing your shepherd song
To the cattle on a thousand hills
But I’ve been thinking

I’m having trouble with a giant down the road
You’re the one who’s going to face him toe to toe
Wipe that grin right off his face
And whip this army into shape
I’m gonna turn the nation back to Me
And David, you were right about one thing
Your little shepherd songs are going to make the whole world sing
And I’m gonna make you king

So come on, let Me dream, let Me dream for you
I am strong when you’re weak and I’ll carry you
So let go of your plan, be caught by My hand
I’ll show you what I can do
When I dream for you
I have a dream for you

Hey Mary, I’ve heard you’ve been dreaming
Making plans for your big wedding day
You and Joseph are gonna be
The picture perfect family
Maybe a couple kids down the road
But I’ve been thinking

Even before time began
I had a picture perfect plan
Of how to save this broken world
Through the life of just one man
I’m gonna send my only Son
And Mary, you’re the one
You were right about one thing
You’re gonna have that family
And you’re gonna raise a King

I’m stronger than you think I am
I’ll take you farther than you think you can
You sing and call me Great I Am
So take your stand
My child, if you only knew
All the plans that I have for you
Just trust Me, I will follow through
You can follow Me

© 2013 Sony/ATV Tree Publishing (BMI) All rights on behalf of Sony/ATV Tree Publishing administered by Sony/ATV. / My Refuge Music (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Songs for Emily Music Publishing (ASCAP)

 

Teaching Session 1

Teaching Session 2

Teaching Session 3


Devotional

Luke 5:1-11  

What does it mean to be at the end of yourself, to follow Christ? Jesus was preaching at the Sea of Galilee, where Peter had just finished fishing.  Peter was washing his nets when Christ told him to pull back out in to deeper water for a big catch.
Peter was a professional fisherman.  He knew what he was doing.  He was experienced.  He had been fishing all night and had not caught anything.  He was probably thinking, “been there, done that, don’t want to do it again,” right?  But instead of doing it his way, he submitted to Christ and did it His way.  “Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything.  But because you say so, I will let down the nets." 
So he does what Christ asks, and he ends up with the catch of his life – so much fish that he has to call the second boat out, and they both start to sink under the weight of the catch.  This is a huge payday for him!  And you would think that Peter would ask Jesus to do it again, catch more fish for them.  But he doesn’t.  Peter’s eyes are opened.  He realizes there is something special about Jesus, and he feels unworthy to be in His presence.  He is not concerned about the amount of fish they have just caught; he’s focused on the power Jesus just demonstrated.  He submits to his authority.  He bows before him and says, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man.” Jesus acknowledges Peter’s confession, reassures him, and says, “‘Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men.’ So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed Him.” - Luke 5:10b-11 (NIV) They left EVERYTHING, and followed Him.  Just a few moments before Peter was concerned about his fishing business, and now it didn’t matter to him.  His life was changed. 
Jesus knows our sins.  It’s no surprise to him.  But he calls us to follow him because of who he is, not who we are, and following him frees us to be who we were created to be.  He frees us to get out of the lives created by our own sin.  Even when Satan wants to keep reminding us of our filth and of how sinful we are, Christ says, “Follow me.  I will make you new.  I will recreate you.”  Peter was obedient, even though pulling back out to sea meant he would have to wash his nets again.  And he had already been out there with no luck, but he was still obedient.  He set aside his way of doing things and did things Christ’s way.  And in return, he was given more fish than he knew what to do with, and he gained an understanding of who Christ was.  He also learned that Christ was able to meet all of his needs and would provide for him.  God wants our surrender.  He wants our obedience.  He wants our hearts.  At the point where we stop doing things our way and start following God and seeing through His eyes, then we will find we are at the end of ourselves and are in a place to find ourselves in Him. 

 

 

 

About the Song

“I think some of the most confusing times for me, as a believer, have been trying to understand God just from what I know already or what I’ve heard… instead of getting into His word for myself. When you try to understand God’s forgiveness without getting into God’s word, all you’ve got is a reference. The forgiveness around you won’t add up.  If you are trying to understand God’s love, how much He’s going to stay with you, and His patience with you, but you’re not in the word…all you’ve got to go on is what you are seeing around you.  So when I get into His word, I see a God who loves me not because I’m doing “good.” I see a God who loved me before I even knew what “good” was. I see a God who is pursuing me, who is sustaining me and who will finish me. He says in Matthew 5 and 6 that He is coming after our heart, not just so we would do better or become better versions of ourselves. He is going to recreate us, turn us into the ‘us’ that we were supposed to be from the start. All He wants is for us to know Him and to make Him known. He will produce the fruit! You can’t hang fruit on your life. Fruit comes within and fruit comes from Jesus.”

 

 

Scripture

  • Luke 5:1-11

Lyrics

(Beth Farris)

At the end of myself
I’m empty and dry
I have nothing to give
But surrender inside
Let down your nets
This is not the end
From now on, you’ll be
Fishers of men

Follow Me
Follow Me
Follow Me
Follow Me

At the end of myself
Judgment calls out my name
I’ve been looking for love
But I’m swallowed by shame
Throw away all your stones
Find forgiveness in Me
Let Me be your new passion
My daughter, you’re free

At the end of myself
I’ve done things my own way
This world gave up on me
Now it’s death I do pay
You know who I am
I’m sin’s sacrifice
Today you will be
In paradise

Who is this man who calmed the seas
And who is this man who loves the least of these

I am the promised One
God gave His only Son
And those who believe
Will live eternally

At the end of yourself, just follow Me
If you lose everything, just follow Me
I will give you new life, just follow Me
Follow Me

If at the end of yourself, just follow Me
You may lose everything, just follow Me
I will give you new life, just follow Me
Follow Me

© 2013 Made to Thrive Music (BMI)

 

Teaching Session 1

Teaching Session 2

Teaching Session 3


Devotional

How would you define a hero?  We think about a hero as someone who is bigger than life, always up front doing things.  Or we think of superheroes – awesome, fighting and saving people – and we think we can't be that kind of person.

We need to understand what a hero really is -  a hero points to Jesus with everything they do.

Heroes are ordinary people like you and me.  Maybe it's the student living his faith out in the classroom, praying for his peers, or the coach who travels to Africa on a mission trip.  These are real life people.  These are true heroes.  These are the kind of people who are not afraid to live for Jesus.  They carry him in to every part of their lives.  They not only talk the talk, they walk the walk.

A hero is someone who dares to do the hard things, to go to the hard places, someone who will sacrifice for others.  Maybe you can look at your own life and you quickly recognize the heroes.  But sometimes a hero isn't that obvious.  Maybe it is someone praying for you or for revival in our schools and in our world.  These people rarely get recognized as heroes, but then they aren't out for recognition.  They just want to make themselves vessels for God's work.

Young believers need that.  They need to see how to do life.  They need heroes to do life with them.  When they see someone live out what has been shown to them in God's Word, it sticks. 

We need to be heroes for the younger generations.  How can you point to Jesus with your own life?  How can you live out your faith in your job, or school, or home?  Who can you do life with?

About the Song

“We all want to be a hero. If you are a guy, you lay in the bed at night and you dream your hero sequences. You are going to swoop in and save the damsel in distress. You are going to save the children from the bus. You go to movies that say over and over and over, ‘Look at all these ordinary people everywhere, they need a hero.’ So we come to God saying, ‘I want to be this hero for you.’ We look at the word and say, ‘I want to be David for you. I want to be Nehemiah for you. I want to be Moses for you (who gets out there and does the awesome stuff).’ But the problem is, not one of those people in the Bible ever said that. No one, who has ever done big things for God, has ever said, ‘Hey, I want to go do big things for God.’ People who love God and want to walk close with Him (when they finish talking to God), they look at the world and their hearts are broken. They know something has to be done. David never set out to be a giant slayer. David was following God and a giant got in his way. Peter never planned on walking on water. That’s just where Jesus was. Nehemiah didn’t want to build some giant wall. He just loved God and his heart was broken for his city. If we love God so much, we do anything He says no matter how crazy it sounds. You will find yourself in a position to be a hero. 

This song is about actual people in my church right now. The first verse about the single mother is a lady named Robin Lamp, who is raising two girls by herself and running the divorce care ministry for our students. She struggles to make ends meet; however, she loves those girls enough to bring them up to walk with Jesus. Jake and Jessie are the seniors in the hallway walking through their school and decided that popularity wasn’t what they were going to go for. They’ve seen dozens and dozens of these middle school guys and young high schoolers come to know Jesus because of what they do. Even in the outro of this song you will see a boardroom with a Bible, that’s Chris Bledsoe, a businessman who decided to go build a business with Jesus in the front of it. In the classroom praying for revival, that’s Lynn Hudgens, a lady who prays for her class every year before they come that they’d see Jesus…even though she can’t outwardly share Him in the classroom. Being a hero is blooming where you are planted and loving the people you are with.”

Scripture

  • Philippians 2:3, 4
  • Matthew 5:13-16
  • John 13:1-17
  • Colossians 2:2-3
 

Lyrics

(Mark Hall, Matthew West)

She’s on her own, two girls at home
Thirteen years just up and walked away
And left her all alone
With bills to pay and mouths to feed
And every day she’s taking care of everybody else’s needs

But she’s finding her strength in the One love that won’t ever leave her
So she works and she prays and she loves and she stays ‘cause they need her

These are the heroes, just ordinary people
Laying down their lives like angels in disguise
They’re weak but always willing
They dare to do the hard things
And in the dark and desperate places no one else goes
You’ll find the heroes
You’ll find the heroes

He walks the halls, against the flow
He sees his high school as his mission field
He’s broken ‘cause he knows
The hopeless road that they are taking
The empty feelings they are chasing only lead to futures wasted
So he’s willing to stand alone

He lives what he believes when they all say it’s not worth believing
Every night on his knees, he prays “God, won’t
You please help me reach them?” 

You may never know their names
But they’re moving mountains just the same
Instead of searching for the spotlight
They’ll follow Jesus into the darkest night

Heroes, these are the heroes

In the board room with a Bible
In the classroom praying for revival
In third world countries, in downtown missions

© 2013 Sony/ATV Tree Publishing (BMI) All rights on behalf of Sony/ATV Tree Publishing administered by Sony/ATV. / My Refuge Music (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Songs for Emily Music Publishing (ASCAP)

 
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Teaching Session 1

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Teaching Session 2

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Teaching Session 3


Devotional

Wait...  That's a hard thing to do, isn't it?  We get tired of waiting on God some times, and instead of trusting his plan for our lives, we take matters in to our own hands, and we mess up.

In Genesis chapter 16, Sarai and Abram, the mom and dad of the nation, mess up.  God has promised them offspring.  She's 65, he's 75.

God says, “I'm going to build a great nation through you.”

And Sarai says, “Old ladies don't have babies.”

God says, “Trust me.”  

He has a plan.  He is in control.  And we must wait.

But friend, that's a hard thing for us to do, to wait on God.  The world tells us we can do it in our own power, our own way, and we buy the lies, don't we?  We come up with our own plan and want God to be okay with it.  We want God to make it happen for us – the perfect job, the perfect husband or wife, the perfect house, and perfect kids.

This is what Sarai did.  She came up with her own plan.  She convinces Abram to have a child with her maidservant, Hagar.  They have a boy and name him Ishmael.  They think this is the son God has promised them.  This is the son who nations will be born from.  But God says, “Not my plan.  He's not the one.  Sarai will have a son, and you will call him Isaac.”

And through Isaac came THE plan – the plan to get us back to God.  Thank you, God, that your way is perfect!

We can choose our own way, and it can work, but God has a better plan for us if we just trust him, if we give him our hearts.  What does that mean?  It means we surrender our will for His.  It means we surrender our lives to him and we let him lead us according to HIS plan.  When we buy in to the lies of the world, when we make decisions based on circumstances or feelings and not on God's promises, we mess up.  And then we think we have to earn our way back in to God's good graces.  But he doesn't want our promises or our good deeds or any works.   All he ever wants is our hearts. 

There is freedom that comes when you walk according to God's plan for your life.  All the guesswork is gone.  The story is already written.  All you have to do is trust him and follow him.  

What do you need to lay before God today?  What do you need to trust Him with?  A job, a family, finances, healing?  Give your heart to God and let Him work out His plan for your life.

Lord, you're the King of my life forever.  I'm handing it all over to you.  My past, my present, and my future, and I'm trusting you. I am believing in your perfect plan, and I'm giving you control of everything.  Amen.

 

 

Lyrics

(Mark Hall, Bernie Herms)

I just looked up today
And realized how far away I am from where You are
You gave me life worth dying for
But between the altar and the door
I bought the lies that promised more
And here I go again     

Lord, I know I let You down
But somehow, I will make You proud
I’ll turn this sinking ship around
And make it back to You

But all my deeds and my good name
Are just dirty rags that tear and strain
To cover all my guilty stains
That You already washed away

 (‘Cause) All You’ve ever wanted
All You’ve ever wanted
All You’ve ever wanted was my heart
Freedom’s arms are open
My chains have all been broken
Relentless love has called me from the start
And all You wanted was my heart

I was chasing healing when I’d been made well
I was fighting battles when You conquered hell
Living free but from a prison cell
Lord, I lay it down today

So I’ll stop living off of how I feel
And start standing on Your truth revealed
Jesus is my strength, my shield
And He will never fail me

No more chains, I’ve been set free
No more fighting battles You’ve won for me
Now in Christ, I stand complete

About the Song

“It’s about combating that logic we have in us that says when we fail, we need to make it right. We think we need to make things right with God. We think we’ve got to make Him proud again. We think we’ve got to give back to God. Not only does it NOT work, it’s not needed. We’re fighting a battle that’s already won and that’s what this song is about.” 

Scripture

  • Colossians 1:13-14
  • Ephesians 2:1-9
  • Romans 3:21-31 
© 2013 Sony/ATV Tree Publishing (BMI) All rights on behalf of Sony/ATV Tree Publishing administered by Sony/ATV. / My Refuge Music (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Songs of Universal, Inc. (BMI) / G650 Music (BMI)

 

Teaching Session 1

Teaching Session 2

Teaching Session 3


Devotion

In Acts 27, we read about the apostle Paul.  He is imprisoned and is on a ship that is transporting prisoners to Rome, where Paul will stand trial before Caesar.  They have been in a storm that has lasted 2 weeks.  The Roman guards are worried.  They are sure they are all going to die.  They bring the lifeboat on board, tie ropes around the ships hull, hoping to hold the ship together.  Man, they are doing everything in their power to make sure this ship remains intact.  

Man, can you imagine being in a wooden ship in a storm that has lasted 2 weeks already, a storm so fierce that the stars and the sun aren't seen for days? That's scary stuff.

Now, this is not just a ship transporting prisoners.  This is a cargo ship, and they have stopped in many ports to pick up and sell cargo.  But along the way, this storm has gotten so fierce they have to start unloading the ship's tackle and some of the cargo.  

So, everyone is freaking out and losing hope, and Paul tells them “there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.”  He tells them the ship will run aground on an island. 

They are taking him to a trial that may lead to his death, and he is concerned for them.  They are all afraid, and some of the sailors try to sneak away on the lifeboat.  Paul says, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.”  And verses 31 and 32 tell us they cut the ropes away from the lifeboat and let it go.  

Finally, the captain, sailors, centurion, and soldiers are listening to this proven man of God.    

So, the ship nears land but starts to fall apart.  Remember, Paul has told them they will all survive.  But the solders still doubt and think if they can swim for land, they will make it.  But they can't let the prisoners escape, right, or they themselves will face a death sentence, so they decide to kill the prisoners.  

Now, Paul had made friends with Julius, the centurion guarding him, and Julius wants to save Paul's life, so he instead orders everyone who can swim to jump overboard and head to land, and he tells everyone who can't swim to take a piece of the ship and use it to float to shore.  Notice, the ship had to be broken for people to survive.  The vessel carrying them had to be sacrificed in order to save them.  Sound familiar?  That's what Jesus did for you, friend.  He was sacrificed in order to save you.

The owner of the ship, the captain, the centurion, they all thought they knew how to sail this ship and get it safely to Rome.  But in the midst of the storm, it all fell apart around them, and they were trying to grab hold of anything they could think of to save themselves.  Only God could carry them safely to shore.  They had to let go of their plan, and let God hold them.  

That's life, friend.  We have to let go of our trials on a daily basis and let God hold us.  He knows the plan for our lives.  He wrote our stories from beginning to end.  Our futures are a memory to him.  He's already there.  We have to let go and let God lead us through the storms we face, trusting him to get us to the other side.

 

 

 

 

Lyrics

(Mark Hall, Bernie Herms, Matthew West)

Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on

And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

If your eyes are on the storm
You’ll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You’ll know I always have and I always will

And not a tear is wasted
In time, you’ll understand
I’m painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands

Lift your hands, lift your eyes
In the storm is where you’ll find Me
And where you are, I’ll hold your heart
I’ll hold your heart
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who won’t let go

About the Song

“I was out with my students surfing in Florida once and we were just learning how to get up and how to do this thing. I never mastered it, but when I got the closest to getting on the board a wave hit me and I went rolling.  I rolled so many times that I realized I didn’t know where up was. I couldn’t figure out where the air was. The light was going everywhere and that was a terrifying feeling of no control (absolutely no control). I think when life’s storm hits us, that’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for something we can grab onto and steady ourselves…we may even look at our faith that way. I need to grab onto God and steady myself, but what I’m finding even in our recent storm of life with our little girl Hope, and all the things that she’s been through medically, is that I just can’t grab a hold of something. What I’ve got to understand is that God is taking a hold of me. Instead of being the ‘fixer Daddy’ that grabs a hold of whatever I can and makes this work, I’ve got to understand that I’m already in His hands. I’m already being held and I’m already in His control and in His protection, even in the chaos. This song, to me, reminds me that I am being held by Him. As crazy as it is when I look around me, I’ve got to rest in that truth.”

Scripture

  • Isaiah 41:10
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9
  • Hebrews 4:16
© 2013 Sony/ATV Tree Publishing (BMI) All rights on behalf of Sony/ATV Tree Publishing administered by Sony/ATV. / My Refuge Music (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Songs of Universal, Inc. (BMI) / G650 Music (BMI) / Songs for Emily Music Publishing (ASCAP)

 

Teaching Session 1

Teaching Session 2

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Teaching Session 3


About the Song

“Marriage is tough. We bring a lot of fairytales to the picture when it comes to marriage. We bring them to the altar with us [thinking]: ‘This is going to be perfect. We don’t have to be apart. We can just wake up together every morning and no one is going to have morning breath. We’re not going to have any problems.’ And then the problems hit and you don’t know where to file those into your picture. . . The idea I’m trying to say is: ‘Can you lay down who you thought I was and love the ‘me’ that is? Can we take this from where we are now and realize that I can’t be that person?’ Only God is going to be able to make this work and broken people can be broken together. To me, it’s probably the most important song on the record.”

Scripture

  • Psalm 139
  • Philippians 4:6-7
  • Habakkuk 3:17-19
  • James 1:5-8
 

Lyrics

(Mark Hall, Bernie Herms)

What do you think about when you look at me
I know we’re not the fairytale you dreamed we’d be
You wore the veil, you walked the aisle, you took my hand
And we dove into a mystery

How I wish we could go back to simpler times
Before all our scars and all our secrets were in the light
Now on this hallowed ground, we’ve drawn the battle lines
Will we make it through the night

It’s going to take much more than promises this time
Only God can change our minds

Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete
Could we just be broken together
If you can bring your shattered dreams and I’ll bring mine
Could healing still be spoken and save us
The only way we’ll last forever is broken together

How it must have been so lonely by my side
We were building kingdoms and chasing dreams and left love behind
I’m praying God will help our broken hearts align
And we won’t give up the fight

© 2013 Sony/ATV Tree Publishing (BMI) All rights on behalf of Sony/ATV Tree Publishing administered by Sony/ATV. / My Refuge Music (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Songs of Universal, Inc. (BMI) / G650 Music (BMI)

 

Teaching Session 1

Teaching Session 2

Teaching Session 3


Devotional

In Matthew 16, we read about Peter.  The Pharisees and Sadducees are asking for signs from heaven to prove He is the Messiah.  They don't care about the healing that has taken place.  They don't care that he fed 4000 people with 7 loaves of bread and a few fish.  They want more.  But when Christ asks the disciples who they say he is, Peter announces, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.”  Peter believed, and he stood firmly on the truth, the rock. 

But in chapter 26, when Jesus is arrested, Peter flees the rock for the sand, and he denies Christ three times.  Peter hides while his friend is being beaten.  He gets scared, because that's what we do.  We're weak.  The one moment that counts, when all eyes are on him and he can make a difference, and he gets stage fright.  He chokes. 

How many times have we done that?  If you’re anything like me, this is something that is a daily battle. 

Before Peter was called by Christ, he was a fisherman.  That was what he knew.  He was good at it, and he was comfortable there.  Peter, probably still disappointed in himself, mad because of his human limitations, decides he's going back to something he knows, to a place where he feels worthy of being, right,  because how could Christ love him after he denied him?  So Peter decides to go fishing.

Remember, that this is how Christ found Peter in the first place.  Peter had been fishing and was washing his nets, when the Lord told him to pull out into deep water for a catch, but Peter was tired, and his back probably hurt, and He told Jesus, “I've been fishing all night and haven't caught anything, but if you want me to go back out, I will.”  When he did, Peter caught so many fish that his nets began to break.  He then recognized that this was Jesus.  Christ told him to follow him, and Peter did.  Until the day he denies him three times.  

And now, Peter probably thought he’s blown it.  We know how that feels, right?  When you know someone is counting on you, when they want to know you've got their back, and you let them down.  And then you aren't sure where you stand with them, if the damage is too great to be repaired? 

So Peter, suffocating from his guilt, goes back to the only thing he feels worthy of – his old life.  And we see that Christ asks him, “have you caught anything?”  Same scene, take two.  He tells Peter to cast his nets on the other side.  Peter does, and he hauls in payday number two.  Peter jumps in and swims a hundred yards to get to Jesus.

Christ gave him a do-over.  He provided a beautiful restoration of his guilt-ridden friend.  He does that for us, too.  He does not hold our sin against us but gives us a new chance.  He tells us, “You don't have to start again for me; I'll start over with you.”  You messed up, but that was then.  This is now.

Even when we stumble, Jesus is always ready to begin again with us.   

Scripture

  • John 21:1-19
 

Lyrics

(Mark Hall, Matthew West)

Standing at the water’s edge
I dropped my dreams when I dropped my nets
No hesitation, no regrets
I followed You
But that was then
And this is now

You washed my feet and You changed my name
I swore I’d never be the same
But just like the tides, I guess people change
‘Cause that was then
And this is now

I wish I could go back but I don’t know how
I remember when I stood my ground
I swore I’d never let You down
I want to be that man again
But that was then
And this is now

I watched a blind man lift his head
And look his Savior in the eyes
I heard a dead man take a breath
Dropped to my knees as I watched him rise
And I felt the sea beneath my feet
As I stepped out on the angry waves
But You saw the storm raging within
You reached out and calmed me then
But this is now

Just when I thought my sin had closed the door
I see my Savior standing on the shore
With arms wide open
Just like the first time You called my name
You said that was then
And this is now

My child, I bore your cross, I wore your crown
When you couldn’t come to Me, My love came down
So take My hand, I’ll lead you out
‘Cause that was then
And this is now

My child, I bore your cross, I wore your crown
You couldn’t come to Me so My love came down
Take My hand, I’ll lead you out
You’ll never be that man again
‘Cause that was then
And this is now

© 2013 Sony/ATV Tree Publishing (BMI) All rights on behalf of Sony/ATV Tree Publishing administered by Sony/ATV. / My Refuge Music (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Songs for Emily Music Publishing (ASCAP)

About the Song

“This is the first song I wrote for the record and it’s really important to me. It’s to help people understand what God’s forgiveness looks like. I was in the office with a girl named Stephanie, who was about to go to college. She was scared to death that she didn’t belong to God because she couldn’t figure it out when it officially happened and she was questioning her salvation. We were walking through it and I kept asking her questions until she started sharing, ‘I just fail too much and I don’t see how God can stay with somebody who messes up like I do.’ Your logic will tell you that you’re on strike two, but you’re not. You’re His and if you belong to God, you are always His.”

 

Teaching Session 1

Teaching Session 2

Teaching Session 3


Devotional

What is the first thing you do when you build a house?  You lay a foundation for the house to be built upon.  Each one of us needs to have a foundation and we must be wise on what we build our house on.  Looking to the Bible what you see over and over again especially in the book of Proverbs is that money, fame, and stuff will not satisfy you. 

The man who wrote Proverbs was Solomon, he was one of the richest men who ever lived, he had everything he ever wanted and what he tells us is that none of that compares to what God can give.  The temptation that we all face is that we want to lay our foundation with our job, clothes, money, friends, spouse, and plenty of other things. 

The problem with this is that all of those things along with many other things are perishable.  These things breakdown, jobs change, money gets spent, friends betray us, and our cars break down.  In times of confusion and pain it is easier to blame God for your hardships than to look at him and praise him. 

This is where our struggle lies, what have we built our house upon?  What is the House of Our Dreams?  Satan has made war with God.  What better way to get at God than through God's children?  Satan wants to derail us, and he does this by convincing us we need everything other than God.  Satan wants us out of the Word and looking in the mirror, focusing on ourselves. 

So we have to hide God's Word in our hearts and guard our time with him every day because that's the first thing Satan attacks.  It's a basic miltary strategy cut off communication, and all the ants run around and don't know what to do.

 Life starts to get a little more gray instead of black and white.  We focus on ourselves and our circumstances, and we start living off of gut feelings instead of the Word.  We make bad decisions because we take God-given needs and try to fill them with the world's answer, and when we do this life starts to fall apart.  We become trapped in our own worlds, away from God.

  Satan tries to convince us that we have blown it so badly and screwed up so much that God won't help us, right?  We're going to have to try even hard to get back in to God's good graces, and so the cycle begins again. 

The only way to have success in this battle is to have a solid foundation, and the only way to get that is to dig deeper. 

We have to know God.  We have to get away from trying harder to be better or working harder to get richer, and we have to put away anything that steals our time from God.  We have to get rooted in the Word so that we can stand on that solid foundation when Satan comes at our marriages, our families, and our walk with God. 

 

 

Lyrics

(Mark Hall)

A corner office was his dream
More like a prison now it seems
Somewhere on the corporate climb
He left his warrior behind
Now he’s just a worker at a daily grind
Steals his years and numbs his mind
His strength is fading, his dreams are blind
This is not the life he had in mind

She lies awake ‘cause he’s up all night
Staring at a screen that tells him lies 
That the grass is greener on the other side
So she’s at the gym fighting off the years
To be young again and calm her fears
That she’ll never be enough for him
Just as a young man catches her eye

Now they’re trapped in their own worlds, in their own wars
With their cell phones and the closed doors
It’s funny how quiet and peaceful that it seems
But they’re all alone together
In the house of their dreams

Little sister, she’s a sixteen-year-old princess 
Lost somewhere between the swing set
And her brand new crush’s chariot awaits
And big brother’s room’s glowing with trophies that shout his name
But he’d trade all his high school fame
For some backyard catch with his hero again

So now they’re all dressed up in Sunday best 
Sit up straight just like the rest
And they sing the songs of peace and rest that
Jesus freely gives


And then their kids look up as daddy stands
And he takes his bride with trembling hands
Brother kneels at his father’s side as princess
looks in her mother’s eyes
Their tears tear down the walls as daddy prays

We’re trapped in our own worlds and our own wars
With our cell phones and our closed doors
God, only You can save our family
And on this Rock, we’ll build
On this Rock, we’ll build
The house of our dreams

About the Song

“All of Crown’s songs come out of our ministry in the church. These are things that God is bringing us through. These are things that we’re seeing God do in other people. There are challenges inside the church that we want to see God do more in, but it’s real life stuff. I can tell you where those families are now, where those people are now, what their choices were and how their choices affected them… and this song is a lot like that. This song is about a family that the enemy attacked. He attacked them from four directions. He did what he does with all of us. He wants to divide us. He wants to get us all alone thinking that we’re the only one with a problem and there’s no way out and once he’s isolated us, we can’t draw from each other as well and families go down. This is a story of a family that desperately needs Jesus, and a family that I feel God is going to do a miracle in. They are on their way, but we are still praying for them.”

Scripture

  • Matthew 6:25-33
  • Psalm 103:12
  • 1 John 1:9
  • Hebrews 8:12
  • Hebrews 4:14-16
© 2013 Sony/ATV Tree Publishing (BMI) All rights on behalf of Sony/ATV Tree Publishing administered by Sony/ATV. / My Refuge Music (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com)

 

Teaching Session 1

Teaching Session 2

Teaching Session 3


About the Song

“This is a song about addiction, about someone that’s trapped by something they are hooked on. Addiction is like an old man who has got us in some way. Addiction is patient and [says], ‘If you want to be excited about Jesus this week, you go right ahead. I’ll just be right here. Run and sing your songs and do your thing and I’ll be here waiting.’ It seems like that with every record there is a warning song.”  

Scripture

  • 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
  • Ephesians 5:15-17
  • Colossians 3:1-11
 

Lyrics

(Mark Hall)

There’s an old man living in the back of your woods tonight
You forgot he was even there, but you’ve never slipped his mind
He’s living off of scraps of you you never knew you left behind
And as the sun goes down, he rises with a smile

He’s waiting on the night to fall
The old man’s coming to call
You don’t see the writing on the wall
He’ll never step out in the light
No, he’s just biding time
And while you slumber, he’s gonna come and take it all
He’s waiting on the night to fall
He’s waiting on the night to fall

He knows you have the answers, but Truth lies dusty on your shelf
And the sword that you could slay him with has become an ornament and nothing else
You could put him back down in his hole in the ground, but he knows you never will 
He’s been around so long you got used to the smell

He knows he’ll never have your soul
But he will gladly rob you blind
While you’re feasting at his table, he’ll tie your hands and numb your mind
He’ll take you farther than you wanna go
He’ll keep you longer than you wanna stay
And it will cost you more than you ever thought you’d pay

He’s waiting on the night
He’s waiting on the night to fall
The old man’s coming to call
But you don’t see, you don’t see the writing on the wall
He’s waiting on the night
He’s waiting on the night to fall
He’s waiting on the night to fall

© 2013 Sony/ATV Tree Publishing (BMI) All rights on behalf of Sony/ATV Tree Publishing administered by Sony/ATV. / My Refuge Music (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com)