Day 22 – What Next?

We have come to the end of our 21 Days of Prayer. We hope you have been encouraged during this intentional time with God and your relationship with Him. So, now what?  What’s the next step?  Well, here are some things that we believe will help strengthen you in the days to come if you prioritize them in your everyday life.

Worship, God’s Word, & Prayer – It is necessary to constantly expose our hearts to worship, God’s Word, and Prayer. These past 21 days will not be enough to sustain you. Choose to commit to time with the Lord in His Word and Prayer each day. It is pivotal to your relationship with Him.

Fellowship – We all need the community of believers to make it through the tough days. We encourage you to find a group of people to do life with.  Bay Chapel will offer many connect groups this semester including groups studying Design for Discipleship which will focus in greater detail on the themes presented these past 21 days. It is imperative to live life with others.

Witness – Share with someone you know about all that you have experienced through your journey with God and the hope you have found in Jesus. Pray the prayers you have learned with them, and share with them a scripture that has stood out to you. We are here to shine light into dark places!

No matter what, don’t let your journey end here.  Find out what adventures God has in store for you.  Let us not miss out on the blessings He has for us!
Prayer: Dear Lord, Please open the window or door of opportunity for me. Lead me to the right group of people where I can share, be vulnerable, and feel accepted.  Help me to grow in my relationship with you so that I can help others to grow closer to you.  Show me the next step in this relationship, Lord.  Shower me with your grace, your blessings, and your love.  You have control of my life and I lean on you to guide my paths.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Day 21 – Your Life Message

Find the Seed: God’s Word

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”

1 Peter 3:15-16 NIV

Prepare the Soil: Devotional & Prayer

Some people may be intimidated with the topic of witnessing.  How do we do it?  It can be scary being real and vulnerable with someone and risk rejection. We must be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us about our reason for the hope we have.  When we have light and joy people will notice. They may be searching for answers and seeking God and want to have what you have. It also says to do this with gentleness and respect.  Be mindful of the feelings and experiences of the person you are sharing with.  They are going through different circumstances than you are.  

So how we do we prepare?  In his book The Purpose Driven Life, Pastor Rick Warren discusses witnessing.  Here are the steps he shares to help develop an answer to give to others:

Your Life Message

  1. Your Testimony-the story of how you began a relationship with Jesus.
  2. Your Life Lessons- the most important lessons God has taught you.  
  3. Your Godly passions- the issues God shaped you to care about most.
  4. The Good News- the message of salvation

Here are his tips on how to create your testimony.

  1. What your life was like before you met Jesus.
  2. How you realize you needed Jesus.
  3. How you committed your life to Jesus
  4. The difference Jesus has made in your life.

It takes honesty and some time to develop this.  Be concise- it can be short and sweet, something you can share in 5 or 10 minutes.  Your story may plant some seeds that can make an eternal difference to someone’s soul.  Don’t forget to be bold!

Prayer: Dear Lord, You are so amazing!  You set up divine appointments with people who need it just at the right time.  Please help me to seriously think about how you changed my life and made my heart new.  I know there are others who need to hear of your healing love.  I pray for you to bring someone into my life who needs your salvation.  Use me God anyway you can. Please give me the presence of your Holy Spirit, foresight, courage, boldness and discernment when it’s time to share my life message. Prepare our hearts to your leading and your blessings.  Help me to be your ambassador.  Hold me in your hands every step of the way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Get Rooted: Apply it Today

Spend some time using these tips to develop your own Life Message so you have an answer ready to tell someone about the hope that you have.

 

Dig Deeper: Go Further

Ask God to lead you to someone to share your Life Message with today!

Day 20 – What It Takes

Find the Seed: God’s Word

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV

Prepare the Soil: Devotional & Prayer

Anyone with a smile and a sincere heart can make a difference.  Jesus himself commanded us all to go make disciples of all nations, to baptize them and teach them. There are a few key things to think about before witnessing.  Every Christian should make personal preparation.  These are basic fundamentals that brings you closer to God such as diving into the Word, memorizing scripture, prayer and always including the Holy Spirit.  When the Holy Spirit is involved, great things happen!  In Acts 4:31 the disciples were gathered in His Name.  It says, “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”  We can’t witness without the Holy Spirit! Our testimony must also be honest.  Walking the narrow road is not easy.  Let people see your struggles.  Proverbs 12:17 NIV says, “An honest witness tells the truth, but a false witness tells lies.”  People can see whether your heart and your words match up or not. When approaching people, timing is also important.  When we do things by God’s time table, not rushing ahead, he is able to work things out by his will.

In his book In a Handbook for Christian Maturity, Bill Bright explains eight qualities Philip showed while witnessing in Acts 8. These qualities are knowledge of the Word of God, boldness, compassion, humility, obedience, receptivity, sensitivity to guidance, tact and enthusiasm. Focusing on enthusiasm, if we show our love for Jesus with enthusiasm and a smile, people are going to be more likely drawn to what we have to say.  Let your joy shine!  Let his Holy Spirit light you up as you talk about your Savior and what he has done in your life.   Speak life to others.

Prayer: Dear Lord, Help me to represent you to others to the best of my ability.  Walk with me always and help me to see the opportunities of those around me who need a kind word and the hope of your salvation.  Help me to be receptive and prepare my heart so I am ready when someone reaches out to me.  Lord, clothe me in humility like you when dealing with others.  Help me to wait on your timing and give me a spirit of boldness to not be afraid.  Help me to have compassion for others and to rely on the Holy Spirit within me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Get Rooted: Apply it Today

What qualities do you have that can help you witness? Take one of those qualities and intentionally let it shine today. Let us know how it impacts you today!

 

Dig Deeper: More Scripture

Find more scripture to study here!

Day 19 – Why Witness?

Find the Seed: God’s Word

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 1:8

Prepare the Soil: Devotional & Prayer

Do you as a believer in Jesus Christ realize how important your witness is to others around you?  Every day people are watching.  So why do we witness either out loud to others or by our example? Luke 19:10 NIV says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”  Mark 10:45 says “45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus Christ himself is the very reason we witness.  1 John 5:11-12 gives us a very simple concept of faith- a foundation for witnessing.  “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

Jesus himself tell his followers in Acts 1:8 that they are his witnesses.  He wants us to come along side him and help him complete his kingdom work.  He says “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  We are his witnesses to the ends of the earth. How amazing, how empowering is that? Being a witness involves staying in His Light! 1 John 1:6-7 NIV says, “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”  

We ourselves have to walk in his light so we can be the light to others in this world.  Matthew 5:16-17 NIV says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  It’s for His glory! When we are the light to others, it helps our spiritual growth, leads us to God’s Word, and teaches us to depend on Him. Let us always be aware of what we say, of how we do things, of how we live.  Let us walk in His Light and lead the way for others who are still in darkness. Be light!

Prayer: Gracious Lord Jesus, You are so powerful and so mighty.  Help me every day to be bold for you. You asked us to be witnesses for you.  Help me to notice what others are going through around me and to reach out in your name.  Forgive me for the darkness that sometimes plagues me.  Only by staying close to you and standing on your promises in Your Word can I stay in the light.  Use me, oh Lord, to be light to others so they can see your glory.  In your name we pray, AMEN.

 

Get Rooted: Apply it Today

Jesus himself witnessed to people while he was on earth.  Read this great story of how one woman helped change the lives of others because of Christ’s witness to her.  This is story is found in John 4:1-42.

 

Dig Deeper: Go Further

Look up the scriptures referenced in the post and read them again today.

Day 18 – Unity in the Body

Find the Seed: God’s Word

But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.

1 Corinthians 12:24-25

Prepare the Soil: Devotional & Prayer

Have you ever watched a team that just didn’t seem to have it together? In every team sport, the more in sync the team is, the better their performance over all. One small mistake can cause the entire game to be given away. While every team member has their own part to play, not one of them can win the game on their own. This is exactly how the body of Christ should function. It is made up of various parts, but it ultimately performs at its best when every part is working together. If your body only functioned correctly on one side, you’d be limited in the maximum level you’d be able to operate.
God wants Christians to live in unity and harmony with one another. The more disunity in the body of Christ, the more ineffective it becomes. We have to understand that each believer is given different but important responsibilities in this spiritual body, the church. God’s desire is for there to be no division in the body and for there to be equal concern for each other (1 Corinthians 12:25). There is not one function of our physical body that is unnecessary, and the same is true with the body of Christ.

Prayer: Lord I thank you that you have made Christ the head of the body so that He will remain supreme over everything. Father you have given me a part to play in the body of Christ. Please reveal to my heart and lead me to be the best part you created me to play. Show me where I have become disconnected from the body of Christ and how I can reconnect to ultimately help it function to its maximum ability. Father I pray for unity in the body of Christ, and I pray that every heart of the body will see the importance of EVERY part you’ve created. Bring us together in a new way, so that we may glorify you fully. Thank you Lord for my part, and thank you even more for unifying us all to come together for a greater purpose. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Get Rooted: Apply it Today

Tell us, via social media, a way you have seen the Body of Christ working together.

 

Dig Deeper: More Scripture

Find more scripture to study here!

Day 17 – Forgiveness

Find the Seed: God’s Word

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Ephesians 4:32 NIV

Prepare the Soil: Devotional & Prayer

Fellowship among believers is pivotal to a relationship with Christ. However, it is necessary to remember that humans, Christian and non Christians, are imperfect. Maybe you have experienced hurt, rejection, or betrayal from someone very close to you and you have not been able to extend forgiveness to them. Maybe you are the person who has brought hurt to someone who is dear to you and you’ve not found the time to reconcile the relationship. Regardless, God does not want broken fellowship among believers. This gives room for the enemy to stir up bitterness and anger or guilt and shame inside of you.

Christians fellowship together on the basis of the fact that they are forgiven sinners – forgiven, yes, but still sinners. Knowing this, we have a responsibility to ask for forgiveness when we’ve wronged someone and to forgive when someone has wronged us. We should strive to create a space that is honest and real even when we make mistakes. Jesus says so clearly in John 13:35 that what sets us apart from the world is our ability to love one another. Whether you find yourself on the side of the coin seeking forgiveness or the side needing to forgive, be encouraged and seek God for help in taking a next step today.

Prayer: Lord, I need your help and your insights. Today I have gained a better understanding of forgiving others. With your help, I choose now to fully forgive (name them) from my heart. I call upon You, Lord, to help me forgive them. Just as you have freely forgiven me, I forgive them. Father, if there is anything I have done to cause fellowship to be broken between me and a fellow believer, I ask you to reveal it to me. Give me the courage to seek forgiveness, and give me the words to say that will reach them clearly. I trust you in this circumstance. Thank you, Father, for forgiving me and I ask that you reconcile this relationship to a place that will glorify only you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Get Rooted: Apply it Today

Write down the name that came to mind as you completed your devotional today. After praying the prayer, ask the Holy Spirit what you should do next. If He leads you, call them, send them a personal message or commit to praying for them. Share with us how God encourages you to take one small step in this.

 

Dig Deeper: Go Further

How could you use Colossians 4:3-4 to pray when someone has offended you or you have offended someone? Check out more scriptures here that will help you deal with broken fellowship.

Day 16 – Fellowship

Find the Seed: God’s Word

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV

Prepare the Soil: Devotional & Prayer

Have you ever been on your own in an unfamiliar environment? What did you do? You’re either the person who will strike up a conversation with someone in the room you feel you might relate to best. Or, you might just stay to yourself wishing that someone you recognized were there. Either way, there is a tendency whether subtle or extreme to find comfort in being with someone else in unfamiliar places. The ability to share an experience with others is an inner desire that should not be ignored. God put that in you, and we call it fellowship. Genuine fellowship is based on the concept of giving to and receiving from other Christians. You can share with others whatever God has given you – forgiveness, possessions, love, his Word, and many other things.

God gives fellowship for the purpose of mutual encouragement and growth. We were each called to build one another up and to walk alongside each other in the celebrations and the trials. The way we encourage you to do that at Bay Chapel is by joining a Connect Group. Have you thought about a group? In the past, have you attended then stopped? Why? Fellowship allows God to reach you through other people and to reach others through you!

Prayer: Lord, we thank you for your desire for Fellowship. You created us to share one thing in common, and that is to worship and praise You. I pray now for wisdom to know what to do with what I’ve read about the importance of fellowship with other believers. I ask that you free me or anyone else from any hesitancy and fears and give us strength and courage to take this step into what might seem like an unfamiliar place. I pray for those who are being led to host a group. Give them creative and fun ideas to connect and build those around them up in their faith. We praise you for the beauty of fellowship and how you grow us in those spaces. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Get Rooted: Apply it Today

Connect Groups launch February 12th at Bay Chapel! Take the next step and sign up for one when available. It may be your first time but know that it is better to do life along with others. Have you already decided on a group? Your next step is to invite someone else to join you!

 

Dig Deeper: Go Further

What are some specific reasons to prioritize fellowship with other believers? Read these scriptures to find out!

Day 15 – Worship

Find the Seed: God’s Word

Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!

Psalm 96:9 NKJV

Prepare the Soil: Devotional & Prayer

In John 4:21-24, we read of an encounter between Jesus and a Samaritan woman. The scene in itself is shocking to onlookers. Jesus, a Jewish Rabbi, is talking with 1) a woman, 2) a Samaritan. Their conversation was also one of the most quoted of scriptures. Jesus gives her a sneak peek about what is coming. He says, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” He invited her, an outsider, to drink of the living water, Himself. His invitation to us is that same today. Come, all you who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). He invites every person to worship him in spirit and in truth. But what exactly does that mean?

True worship is with a heart that sincerely desires to please and exalt God. The message translation brings new understanding to this passage, “23-24 “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”

The word worship essentially means “to bow down.” This action may be directed either to a human being or to a divine being. In many cultures bowing down, means you are submitting or surrendering to a higher authority. We don’t need to display this physically but we should live in a way that is surrendered and submitted to the one we exalt. In addition, worship is and should be a way of life not only associated with music and singing songs.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for opening your salvation to all of mankind, Jews and Gentiles alike. I want to worship you with my whole heart and all that I am. I want to be a true worshipper, worshiping you in spirit and in truth. Lead me on your path of righteousness and correct me when I go astray. Cleanse my heart and make me new each and every day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Get Rooted: Apply it Today

Try the physical posture of bowing down or kneeling before God. Not because you have to but to experience what it feels like to submit and surrender yourself to the highest authority, Jesus.

 

Dig Deeper: Go Further

What takes most of your time/energy and thoughts? Is there an area of your life that hinders you from a heart fully surrendered to God? Talk to God. Repent if your heart has not been right with him.
*Repenting is turning away from sin and toward God. We often miss the mark or have our priorities out of sorts. Ask God to bring you back.

Day 14 – Pray without Ceasing

Find the Seed: God’s Word

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

Prepare the Soil: Devotional & Prayer

It can be very easy to spot the shortcomings of others, but it takes more when it comes to recognizing our own. In the midst of your desperately seeking God for breakthrough, be sure to ask Him for ears to hear and a heart to obey.  He will show you the Asherah pole, which is the fuel for your next sacrifice. One thing we have to remember is that on our journeys with God, there will be some resistance that comes our way.

For Gideon, resistance came from his fellow Israelites.  It is possible your resistance may come from others when they don’t fully comprehend the changes you are choosing to make in your life. People may even question your motives or criticize you.  For others, your resistance might come from within. The enemy might try to remind you of your past and make you feel like your efforts are useless or that nothing will happen. In spite of the resistance, it is crucial to take action.  God led Gideon, step by step and he will lead us as well.  We have to take the first step; then another; then another.  You might be nervous or feel like you aren’t moving anywhere, but the point is to just keep praying and keep trusting God. He is faithful.

We have to remember that God takes us all on journeys to grow us and stretch us in different ways. Every answer to our prayer isn’t instant, but that does not mean that God is not listening or that He isn’t for you.  He is building your faith to a place where you will ultimately trust Him with every major and minor thing going on. While you might be in need of something, continue to pray. Stay consistent with your prayers for confidence, breakthrough, and wisdom.  You will come to the place of peace, just like Gideon. “And Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and named it Yahweh-Shalom (which means “the Lord is peace”)…” Judges 6:24a

Prayer: God, I thank you for your faithfulness to us. Lord, I ask for strength when I feel like all the world around me is against me. Thank you for teaching me faithfulness and how to remain consistent in my prayers. I pray now, again, for the things that are heavy on my heart (list them here). I thank you that you hear me when I call to you. In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

Get Rooted: Apply it Today

Do you need a boost of faith as you continue praying for something specific in your life or for someone you deeply love? Stop and pray for that very person or thing right now. Keep going and don’t lose hope. It might not be easy to see, but God is shaping us and our faithfulness.

 

Dig Deeper: Go Further

We have been encouraged to pray continually, but we have also been encouraged to rejoice always and give thanks in all circumstances. As you are praying without giving up, we invite you to rejoice and give thanks for where you are in your life. No matter what the situation looks like, rejoice, pray, and give thanks!

Day 13 – Prayer of Surrender

Find the Seed: God’s Word

Surrender your heart to God, turn to him in prayer, and give up your sins— even those you do in secret. Then you won’t be ashamed; you will be confident and fearless.

Job 11:13-15 CEV

Prepare the Soil: Devotional & Prayer

Like the rest of Israel, Gideon had very little to offer, but his desperation to see change was enough. The pain of staying the same was much greater than the pain of change, so Gideon was ready for something different no matter what it took. When Gideon needed the Lord to clearly confirm that he was the one called to lead the Israelites in battle, he was shocked and surprised when he realized that God had indeed been speaking to Him.

As He continued to build Gideon’s courage before battle, God told Gideon to cut down the Asherah pole and use it as wood for a second sacrificial offering. This Asherah pole was a symbol of darkness and idol worship that had taken place by the people of Israel. Gideon was commanded to cut up the Asherah pole and use it as wood for this sacrifice to God. This was a physical act of turning away from all the things that hindered their walk with God. What is your Asherah pole? What is it that God is calling you to surrender and get rid of for good? God’s greatest plan for our lives is hanging in the balance of our decision to do what satisfies us or what satisfies Him. Which will you choose?

Prayer: Father, I thank you so much for your grace and forgiveness. You have been so patient with me. Right now Lord, please speak to my heart about the things that are hindering my walk and growth with you. Give me the boldness and courage to walk away from those things and never look back. Let my soul thirst for righteousness and let my heart be led by your love. In Jesus name, Amen.

 

Get Rooted: Apply it Today

What is it that God is calling you to walk away from for good? Select someone who is willing to help hold you accountable to your new decision. Remember, God’s greatest plan for your life is dependent on your decision and commitment to do this.

 

Dig Deeper: More Scripture

Find more scripture to study here!