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Be A Person of Excellence

“...I will do for you whatever you say, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence.” Ruth 3:11 NASB 1. THE SPIRIT OF EXCELLENCE IS DEVELOPED THROUGH HABITS OF EXCELLENCE!! “And she said to her, ‘All that you say I will do.” Ruth 3:5 NKJV “Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings;” Proverbs 22:29 NIV 2. A REPUTATION OF EXCELLENCE IS INFLUENTIAL, INSPIRATIONAL, AND IMPACTFUL!! “They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you.” 2 Peter 2:19 NLT “For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.” Ruth 1:16-17 NKJV 3. EXCELLENCE IS NOT TO BE ACHIEVED, IT’S TO BE LIVED!! “for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more,” 1 Thessalonians 4:10 NASB EXCELLENCE WITHOUT HEART IS A MACHINE!! VICTORY GROUP QUESTIONS 1. How would you describe a person of Excellence?? Now with all honesty, do you fit that description?? Explain. 2. (Review point #2) How important is your lifestyle when it comes to sharing Jesus with others?? Share and Explain. 3. What does the phrase “Excel still more” mean to you?? Share a practical example. 4. Can you have Excellence without Heart?? Is that a good or bad thing?? Why??Explain.

Prescription For Boredom

(Jesus said) I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10 (NKJV) ENNUI - /änˈwē/ - A French word that describes a feeling that combines boredom and tiredness. Ennui is described as feeling "the blahs." 1. BOREDOM MAY INDICATE A DEEPER NEED FOR PERSONAL AND SPIRITUAL GROWTH My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. Jeremiah 2:13 (NIV) 2. BOREDOM COMES WITH LACK OF INVOLVEMENT; CHECK OUT YOUR PARTICIPATION BEFORE YOU CHECK OUT FROM CHURCH Take delight in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 (NIV) 3. STIR UP THE GIFTS GOD HAS GIVEN YOU; ALLOW “ENNUI” TO CATAPULT YOU INTO NEW THINGS For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:19 (NLT) VICTORY GROUP QUESTIONS 1. Share a time when you experienced a season of being ENNUI – being bored, tired and feeling the “blahs”. How did you motivate yourself to improve your attitude, renew your mind and change your situation in life? If not, how could you have improved the process? 2. Read Jeremiah 2:13. Can you identify broken cisterns in your life? In what ways can you allow Jesus to fully satisfy and fulfill the deep longings in your life? 3. Reflect on your life and pray for God to open up new doors of opportunity for you, so that you can have that abundant life as stated in John 10:10. Share your prayer request with your group so they can pray for you.

Living Life Above Average

“So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” Luke 10:36 (NKJV) And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:37 (NKJV) 1. “C” EFFORT GETS “C” RESULTS! “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV) 2. YOUR LIFE IS MORE THAN BIG SCREENS, TIGHT JEANS AND SMOKE MACHINES! “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (NKJV) 3. FAITH DOESN’T TAKE THE FEAR AWAY! “…and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (NKJV) Victory Group Questions: 1. What grade would you give yourself in your Christian walk? Why? 2. Share a testimony of a time when you relied on your faith in God in the presence of fear. READ Luke 10:38-42 and discuss the concept of priority.

Friendship

“AND THE LORD SAID, ‘IT IS NOT GOOD THAT MAN SHOULD BE ALONE; I WILL MAKE HIM A HELPER COMPARABLE TO HIM.’” GENESIS 2:18 (NKJV) ● GOD DESIGNED US NOT TO BE ALONE, BUT IN COMMUNITY. “ONE WHO HAS UNRELIABLE FRIENDS SOON COMES TO RUIN, BUT THERE IS A FRIEND WHO STICKS CLOSER THAN A BROTHER.” PROVERBS 18:24 (NIV) 1. FRIENDSHIP IS PART OF GOD’S PLAN FOR SPIRITUAL AND EMOTIONAL GROWTH. “I HAVE GIVEN THEM THE GLORY THAT YOU GAVE ME, THAT THEY MAY BE ONE AS WE ARE ONE I IN THEM AND YOU IN ME SO THAT THEY MAY BE BROUGHT TO COMPLETE UNITY. THEN THE WORLD WILL KNOW THAT YOU SENT ME AND HAVE LOVE THEM EVEN AS YOU HAVE LOVED ME.” JOHN 17:22-23 (NIV) 2. THE FIRST STEP IN FINDING GOOD FRIENDS IS TO BE ONE. “GREATER LOVE HAS NO ONE THAN THIS, THEN TO LAY DOWN ONE’S LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS.” JOHN 15:13 (NKJV) “LOVE IS PATIENT, LOVE IS KIND. IT DOES NOT ENVY, IT DOES NOT BOAST IT IS NOT PROUD. IT DOES NOT DISHONOR OTHERS, IT IS NOT SELF-SEEKING, IT IS NOT EASILY ANGERED, IT KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONGS. LOVE DOES NOT DELIGHT IN EVIL BUT REJOICES WITH THE TRUTH. IT ALWAYS PROTECTS, ALWAYS TRUSTS, ALWAYS HOPES, ALWAYS PERSEVERES.” 1 CORINTHIANS 13:4-7 (NIV) 3. THE TRUEST FRIEND YOU WILL EVER HAVE IS JESUS. “NO LONGER DO I CALL YOU SERVANTS, FOR A SERVANT DOES NOT KNOW WHAT HIS MASTER IS DOING; BUT I HAVE CALLED YOU FRIENDS, FOR ALL THINGS THAT I HEARD FROM MY FATHER I HAVE MADE KNOWN TO YOU.” JOHN 15:15 (NKJV) Victory Group Questions 1. How does knowing that we are made for friendship change your understanding of what it means to be a friend? 2. How can you use your friendships to build God’s Kingdom? 3. What steps could you take to cultivate a loving friendship? 4. How has God shown Himself to be a faithful friend to you?

Hold Fast Your Confidence

“…Christ was faithful as a Son over His house-whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.” (Hebrews 3:6 NASB) 1. THE DEVIL TARGETS YOUR CONFIDENCE AT OPPORTUNE TIMES “When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came.” (Luke 4:13 NLT) “…do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.” (Hebrews 10:35 NASB) DON’T PUT A QUESTION MARK, WHERE YOU SHOULD PUT AN EXCLAMATION POINT “…let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 NIV) 2. KEEP A CLEAN HEART “…My strength has failed because of my iniquity, and my body has wasted away.” (Psalm 31:10 NASB) “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10 NASB) 3. COLLECT MEMORIES THAT STRENGTHEN YOUR CONFIDENCE “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear…” (I Samuel 17:36 NASB) “Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident.” (Psalm 27:3 NASB) 4. WHEN YOU HAVE CONFIDENCE IN GOD, YOU’LL HAVE ALL YOU NEED! “…blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV) Discussion Questions: 1. When was the last time you passed on a God given opportunity because you lacked confidence? Please describe. 2. What action steps can you take today to strengthen your confidence? 3. What are some confidence stealers? 4. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the “Strongest”, how confident are you in God? What reduces and increases your confidence in God?

When There's No Help From Others

Therefore He humbled their heart with labor; They stumbled and there was no one to help. (Psalm 107:12 NASB) 1.GOD SHOULD BE ON YOUR FAVORITES LIST It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in people. (Psalm 118:8–9 NLT) 2.GOD REMOVES PEOPLE TO RETURN YOUR HEART BACK TO HIM Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” (Joel 2:12 NKJV) 3.GOD IS NOT THE RESOURCE BUT THE SOURCE OF YOUR HELP 7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. 8 He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV) 25 A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. 26 She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. 28 For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition. (Mark 5:25-29 NLT) Victory Group Questions 1. Sometimes God is the last one we go to for help instead of the first. Was there a time when you should have gone to God first and not depended on people? 2. If God removed people in your lives, how did you react to it? Did you see the good purpose behind it? Did it make you turn your heart more to God? 3. We can stand firm knowing where our help comes from, or better Whom it comes from. How can you grow your faith in trusting God alone? What changes do you need to make?

SILENCING UNCLEAN NEGATIVE VOICES

OUR LIVES ARE DIRECTED AND AFFECTED BY THE WAY WE THINK. “For as he thinks within himself, so he is..." Proverbs 23:7 (NASB) “Just then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, “What business do you have with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are: the Holy One of God!” And Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” After throwing him into convulsions and crying out with a loud voice, the unclean spirit came out of him.” Mark 1:23-26 (NASB) 1. CUT IT SHORT AND SHUT IT DOWN. “Listen carefully: I have given you authority [that you now possess] to tread on serpents and scorpions, and [the ability to exercise authority] over all the power of the enemy (Satan); and nothing will [in any way] harm you.” Luke 10:19 (AMP) 2. THERE’S NO SPIRIT MORE POWERFUL THAN THE HOLY SPIRIT. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a SOUND MIND.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are TAKING EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE to the obedience of Christ…" 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NASB) 3. THE WORD OF GOD IS THE FINAL AUTHORITY. “So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (AMP) “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—THINK about such things.” Philippians 4:8 (NIV) Victory Group Questions: 1. What negative voices have you been entertaining in your mind and why? Silence them. 2. In what areas of your life do you need to take your thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ? 3. Share an experience where you’ve had victory over the voice of the enemy by hearing the voice of God? 4. What was your biggest takeaway from this message and why?

Responding with Righteousness

1. Don’t let negative situations control you. The Lord detests the way of the wicked, but he loves those who pursue righteousness. Proverbs 15:9 NIV 2. Let negative situations take you to your knees! If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 NIV 3. Let GOD deal with your struggle rather than the devil. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 NIV 4. Use negative situations as an opportunity for character growth. Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you maybe mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 NIV Victory Group Questions 1. Discuss which negative situations still may or may not control you. What does God do to help you change that? 2. Are the negative situations the only times you find yourself on your knees? Why or why not? 3. What struggles are you allowing God to deal with currently? Are there any you haven’t given to Him? 4. What characteristics in your life have you grown in? Which situations helped you get there?

Declare by Faith

DECLARE: (v) to make known formally, officially, or explicitly; to make known as a determination; to show “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21 NKJV “Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!” 1 Samuel 17:46-47 NLT 1. BEING OBEDIENT IN THE LITTLE, MAKES YOU OBLIVIOUS TO THE GIANTS!! “Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?” 1 Samuel 17:26 NLT 2. SHARING YOUR TESTIMONY BRINGS HOPE TO YOU AND TO THOSE AROUND YOU!! “The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine! Saul finally consented. ‘All right, go ahead,’ he said. ‘And may the Lord be with you!” 1 Samuel 17:37 NLT 3. REMIND THE ENEMY WHO HE IS AND WHO YOU’RE WITH!! “David replied to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” 1 Samuel 17:45 NLT ❖ FAITH IS NOT BUILT ON RESULTS, IT’S BUILT ON RELATIONSHIP!! “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrew 11:1 NKJV Victory Group Questions 1) Is there a “Giant” that you’re facing in your life right now?? If so, has this message helped you?? How?? 2) Has someone’s testimony impacted your life?? If so, how?? Why is it important to share your testimony?? 3) Read Proverbs 18:21 NKJV. What does it mean to you?? How will you apply it to your life?? 4) Have you ever experienced an “Unanswered Prayer” or a prayer that didn’t go your way?? How did you handle it?? What kind of encouragement would you give to someone who’s also experiencing this??

Forerunners For Christ

A FORERUNNER is a messenger sent to give notice of the approach of others; a person who forges a pathway for others to follow. In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. Matthew 3:1-6 (NIV) 1. Jesus was the ultimate Forerunner, giving hope to this world by paving a pathway to salvation for mankind. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our Forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. Hebrews 6:19-20 (NIV) 2. What does it take to be a Forerunner for Christ? Be Passionate about God and Life There is no passion to be found playing small--in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. Jesus’ Mission and Passion: For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost. Luke 19:10 (NIV) Set your face like flint! Be a Forerunner, not a running back Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced, therefore I have set my face like flint and I know I will not be put to shame. Isaiah 50:7 (NIV) MAY YOU BOLDLY GO WHERE NO ONE HAS GONE BEFORE! VICTORY GROUP QUESTIONS: 1. How can you be a Forerunner for Christ in your own life? Are you paving a pathway for others to follow? If so, how? 2. What is your mission and passion in life? How are you living it out in your daily life and making a difference in the lives of others? 3. In what areas of your life do you need to “Set your Face Like Flint” and persevere with endurance? Ask for prayer in this area so you can be an overcomer! 4. Share your thoughts about this quote and apply it to your life: There is no passion to be found playing small--in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.

Taking the High Road

"…Hurry now; for today he came to this city, because there is a sacrifice of the people today on the high place…” 1 Samuel 9:12 (NKJV) “So they went up to the city. As they were coming into the city, there was Samuel, coming out toward them on his way up to the high place.” 1 Samuel 9:14 (NKJV) 1. YOUR ATTITUDE DETERMINES YOUR ALTITUDE! “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 (NASB) 2. TAKE THE HIGH ROAD TO AVOID THE FLOOD! “David also arose afterward, went out of the cave, and called out to Saul, saying, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed down.” 1 Samuel 24:8 (NKJV) 3. THE VANTAGE POINT IS GREATER ON THE HIGH ROAD! “ Now it came to pass, in the morning watch, that the Lord looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and He troubled the army of the Egyptians.” Exodus 14:24 (NKJKV) “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV) Victory Group Questions: 1. Share a time when you have had to take the HIGH ROAD. 2. The flood waters of life are relentless. How can you prepare spiritually to avoid the flood waters? 3. The spirit of hopelessness consumes people because they have no vision. How can you change your vantage point to increase your vision? 4. READ Psalms 102 and discuss.

The Heart of the Father

“…Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:9-13 KJV) 1. PURSUE WHAT’S IN YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER’S HEART, NOT JUST WHAT’S IN HIS HANDS AND HEAD “…the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” (I Sam. 13:14 NIV) “…God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’” (Acts 13:22 NIV) “…He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.’” (Mark 14:36 NKJ) 2. WHEN YOU HAVE YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER’S HEART, HIS FAVOR WILL FALL TO YOU “…Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?’ Elisha said, ‘Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.’…if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.’” (2 Kings 2:9-10 NKJV) “…Elisha saw it, and he cried out, ‘My father, my father…’. He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan.” (2 Kings 2:12-13 NKJV) 3. HAVE PEACE WITH YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER, NOT “ENMITY” AGAINST YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:7-8 NIV) “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” (Proverbs 1:8 NIV) Discussion Questions: 1. How (action steps) are you pursuing the HEART of your Heavenly Father? 2. Why is having your Heavenly Father’s HEART so important? 3. Why do you need to have peace with your Heavenly Father? 4. What does Psalm 68:5 mean?