Pastor Mike pointed us to the Father’s heart this weekend with a powerful word from the book of Jonah, and from John 17:20-22. If you haven’t had a chance to catch the online worship experience this week, click here — this is one hope-filled message you don’t want to miss!
As we meditate on alignment with the Father’s heart, let’s take a look at an age-old problem with a timeless solution. In Matthew 6, Jesus tackles the subject of anxiety head on, teaching us how to align our hearts with His when our concerns threaten to consume.
Read Matthew 6:25-34
Jesus instructs His listeners not to be anxious about their lives, specifically the basic provisions of food and clothing. What other concerns could you add to this list? Fill in the blank based on your heartfelt anxieties: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, about _________.”
Jesus lists several reasons we should not be anxious. Read through the text carefully and list as many reasons as you can find. Which of these reasons is most compelling to you and why?
Jesus reminds us that God faithfully feeds the birds and clothes the grass with flowers, and we — His children — are far more precious to Him than birds or grass. Pause and journey inward with God. Ask Him to reveal your deepest fears. Where are you believing the lie that He will not be enough for you? That He will fail you? That His love is not strong enough to save you? Take a moment to silently sit in God’s love and remind your soul that you are precious to Him.
Verse 33 teaches us that one of the surest ways to loosen the grip of fear is to reorient our hearts toward Christ’s Kingdom. “Seek first His Kingdom” is another way of saying, “Align your heart with His.” Confess to God your failure to seek His Kingdom first, to value His mission supremely. Repent, turn from your sin, and ask God to realign your heart with His.
Close by meditating on verse 34. Anxiety lives in the future, in the land of “what if?” and “what then?” Draw yourself back to the present by focusing on your surroundings for a moment. Where do you see glimpses of God’s grace all around you — whether in nature, in the photographed faces on your living room wall, or anywhere else around you? Thank God for the good gifts He has given you. Recognize each one as a tangible sign of His love for you, His precious child. Surrender the future into His hands, and ask for the grace to live with Him moment-by-moment, today.
Grace Communities: Sermon Discussion Questions
Why is obedience necessary for happiness? What are some practical examples of how obedience protects us from suffering?
Why is obedience insufficient — in and of itself — to provide happiness? What do we need alongside obedience? Explain the concept of “alignment” in your own words.
What are some indicators of obedience without alignment? (In other words, what are signs that we are obeying God outwardly while our heart is far from Him?)
Pastor Mike gave examples of the power of alignment within businesses like Amazon, Chick-Fil-A, and Apple. Where else have you seen the power of alignment, whether within a corporation, family, sports team, etc?
These businesses were successful in part because employees caught the founder’s mission. Would you describe yourself as someone who is aligned with the Father’s mission? What are some practical ways we can cultivate a deeper heart for the Father’s mission?
GraceStudents 5th/6th Grade
Word of the Week—Atone
The word “atone” comes from the combination of two words “at” and “one.” When you say these words together, they mean “in harmony.” For example: “She is at one with nature” means she is in harmony with nature. “He is at one with himself” means he is not conflicted; he is at peace with himself.
Eventually, the phrase “at one” inspired a new word, “atone,” which means to restore harmony by making up for wrongdoing. If you broke your brother’s bike, you might “atone” for your actions by lending him yours. In this way, you are trying to restore harmony in your relationship with your brother.
When Jesus died on the cross, He “atoned” for the sins of humanity. Jesus restored harmony between us and God by paying the penalty for our sin. Whoever puts their faith in Jesus is made right with God through the death and resurrection of Christ.
If you’ve never given your life to Jesus, you cannot experience harmony with God. In fact, the Bible says you are an enemy of God because sin separates us from God (Ephesians 2:12). If you’re interested in giving your life to Jesus, talk to your parents, Pastor Mike Standish, or a youth leader at your campus. They would love to help you take your next step toward Christ!
GraceStudents (7-12 Grades)
GraceStudents Sunday Nights are back on at the Orlando and Oviedo campuses. Orlando, you gather at 5pm on Sunday at the Grace Church building (2300 Pembrook Drive, Orlando). Oviedo, you come together during your 3:45pm service on Sunday evenings at our temporary location at East Coast Believers Church. Winter Garden, watch for fun student events this summer.