Do I Matter? | ONE 11

Have you ever felt like you don’t matter? Maybe someone said something that made you feel worthless. Perhaps you don’t see how you could ever do anything great, you’re too dumb, untalented, or unpopular. No one wants to listen to you. I think we’ve all had seasons where we felt forgotten and lonely. Maybe even wondered, “why do I exist?”

I remember a time in my life when I really wanted to be friends with a specific group of people. They really were the good Christian friends I’d always wanted. They were kind, friendly, outgoing and genuinely cared about people. Yet, I couldn’t seem to break into the group. I always felt like I was on the outside looking in.

At one point, one of my really good friends was starting to become really close to that group. I thought, “This is it! My friendship with him is going to help me get in the group for real.” And then one day my friend let me know that he would be spending less time with me so he could spend more time with them. I’m sure those weren’t his exact words, but the message was clear. I wasn’t invited.

I felt a bit lost. It felt so important for me to be included, yet to them I didn’t seem to matter. If you feel that way, I want you to know you’re not alone. As we begin the final five days of our ONE series I want you to know that God created you for a reason and He went through incredible lengths to show proof that you matter and have a purpose! There may be people in your life who make you feel like you don’t matter, but Jesus loves to use the ones who don’t matter.


  1. What are some specific words, or situations, that made you feel like you didn’t matter?
  2. Think about the fact that God CHOSE to create YOU. Remind yourself, that God enjoys spending time with you.

PRAY: Lord, when I feel like I don’t matter, help me to remember that my value comes from YOU.


2 Peter 2:9-10 (MSG) But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.

Psalm 138:1-8 (TPT)
I thank you, Lord, and with all the passion of my heart
I worship you in the presence of angels![a]
Heaven’s mighty ones will hear my voice
as I sing my loving praise to you.
I bow down before your divine presence
and bring you my deepest worship
as I experience your tender love and your living truth.
For the promises of your word and the fame of your name
have been magnified above all else!
At the very moment I called out to you, you answered me!
You strengthened me deep within my soul
and breathed fresh courage into me.
One day all the kings of the earth
will rise to give you thanks when they hear the living words
that I have heard you speak.
They too will sing of your wonderful ways,
for your ineffable glory is great!
For though you are lofty and exalted,
you stoop to embrace the lowly.
Yet you keep your distance from those filled with pride.
By your mighty power I can walk through any devastation
and you will keep me alive, reviving me.
Your power set me free from the hatred of my enemies.
You keep every promise you’ve ever made to me!
Since your love for me is constant and endless,
I ask you, Lord, to finish every good thing that you’ve begun in me!

Romans 8:26-39 (NLT) And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers[a] in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together[b] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn[c] among many brothers and sisters.30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[d]) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[e] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Caught: Confession | ONE 10

Yesterday we discovered that hiding or launching a full-blown cover-up is not the best course of action when we’ve been caught, well then what is the right course of action? We can learn this from another fairly well-known story in the Bible.

We know David most from when he killed a giant and became famous and eventually king. David is referenced hundreds of years later as a man after God’s own heart. However, he was not without faults. He once slept with another man’s wife. And he may have gotten away with it except that she became pregnant. Well, sin never stays hidden for long. David’s initial instinct is actually wrong, he tries to cover it up before he gets caught. The end result here is that he commits murder by causing her husband to get killed in battle. Not good David, not good.

God sees all this goes down and knows that David is in real trouble so He sends a prophet to confront David and his sin. David’s response to the ugliness of his sin is simple, honest confession. “I have sinned.” He recognized how far he had gone and was broken. In a song he wrote, we see a sincere heart crying out to God for mercy and restoration. God heard David’s. prayer and forgave his sin.

Sometimes we have this image of God in heaven waiting for us to mess up so He can scowl at us angrily and tells us, “I knew you were a sinner. You deserve hell”. However, this is such a false view of who God is. He knows we are a sinner and deserve hell, except he is anxious to show us mercy rather than judgment. He longing for us to come to Him so that He can demonstrate His love for us still remains, even though we messed up big. He is a loving Father longing to embrace his child.


  1. What challenges do you have in believing God can forgive your big mistakes?
  2. Do you have an image of an angry judgemental God in your head? Try and exchange that picture with that of a father that truly loves you without condition. What does that look like to you?

PRAY: Father, help me to see You the way You are and to know the unconditional way You love me.

*If you have time today, read all of 2 Samuel 11 & 12

2 Samuel 11:2-4 (NLT)  Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath. He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her.

2 Samuel 12:13 (NLT) Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

Nathan replied, “Yes, but the Lord has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin.

Psalm 51 (NLT)

Have mercy on me, O God,
    because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
    blot out the stain of my sins.
Wash me clean from my guilt.
    Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my rebellion;
    it haunts me day and night.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
    I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
    and your judgment against me is just.
For I was born a sinner—
    yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
But you desire honesty from the womb,
    teaching me wisdom even there.

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Oh, give me back my joy again;
    you have broken me—
    now let me rejoice.
Don’t keep looking at my sins.
    Remove the stain of my guilt.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
    and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and make me willing to obey you.
13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels,
    and they will return to you.
14 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
    then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
15 Unseal my lips, O Lord,
    that my mouth may praise you.

16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
    You do not want a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
    You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
18 Look with favor on Zion and help her;
    rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit—
    with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings.
    Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar.


Caught: Cover Up | ONE 09

Have you ever been caught with your hand in the cookie jar? We all sin, we all do things we aren’t supposed to do. It’s our secret. No one knows. Until they do and suddenly we are exposed. That moment we are caught is a moment of paralyzing fear as our minds quickly attempt to determine the correct course of action. Often our first course of action is to attempt covering up our wrong doing. We may lie, or make excuses, but ultimately this course of action is unadvisable.

Over the next two days, we will look at two examples of people in the Bible who were caught and how they responded.

Let’s start with Adam and Eve. They were the first people we encounter in scripture and they lived in a beautiful garden, enjoying a healthy relationship with God. The instructions God gave them were pretty good, eat of any tree except one. They could of any tree, and some of them were pretty good. My favorite was the tree of life. Eating from that tree meant you don’t die. Not a bad deal. Why is it, however, that we are always drawn to the one tree we aren’t supposed to eat from.

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God’s instructions were clear, don’t eat of this tree or you will die.

Well, they ate of the tree.

At that moment their whole world changed. They really did begin to understand things they didn’t before. They knew enough to cover up their nakedness, and they knew enough to know that there was no hiding what they had done from their Creator.

When they heard God walking the garden looking for them, they did what most of us do when we’ve done something wrong and our parents are looking for us. They hid.

When God found them, they tried to make excuses. Adam blamed the woman. The woman blamed the serpent. Sorry guys, the devil made me do it doesn’t hold up. We are responsible for the choices we make.

Because of their sin, among other things, they were banished from the garden and the tree of life.

However, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if they hadn’t hid? What if they hadn’t tried to make excuses and pass the blame? Would God have responded differently? We can’t know the answer to that, but we can know that trying to cover up our sins is never the best choice to make when we are caught.


  1. How do you respond when you get caught?
  2. Is there a better option than hiding or making excuses?

PRAY: Lord, forgive me when I sin. Give me courage to not hide or make excuses, but help me to take responsibility for my actions.


1 John 1:5-10 (NLT) This is the message we heard from Jesus[a] and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

Genesis 3 (NLT) The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied.“It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.

When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man[a] and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”

11 “Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked. “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?”

12 The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.”

13 Then the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done?”

“The serpent deceived me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.”

14 Then the Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this, you are cursed
    more than all animals, domestic and wild.
You will crawl on your belly,
    groveling in the dust as long as you live.
15 And I will cause hostility between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike[b] your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”

16 Then he said to the woman,

“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy,
    and in pain you will give birth.
And you will desire to control your husband,
    but he will rule over you.[c]

17 And to the man he said,

“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree
    whose fruit I commanded you not to eat,
the ground is cursed because of you.
    All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.
18 It will grow thorns and thistles for you,
    though you will eat of its grains.
19 By the sweat of your brow
    will you have food to eat
until you return to the ground
    from which you were made.
For you were made from dust,
    and to dust you will return.”

20 Then the man—Adam—named his wife Eve, because she would be the mother of all who live.[d] 21 And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife.

22 Then the Lord God said, “Look, the human beings[e] have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!” 23 So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. 24 After sending them out, the Lord God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.


Return | ONE 08

When we left off yesterday Jesus was telling the story of a young man who had wasted his inheritance. As he ate the pig slop, he realized how far off track his life had become. Suddenly all he wanted to do was to go back home, but how could he go back home? He had essentially told his dad that he wished he was dead, took his inheritance and abandoned his family. He had certainly lost the right to belong in his home, the right to called “son” by his father.

However, he knew that his father was a kind man. Even his servants were well taken care of. Certainly better off than he was right now. The young man decided to swallow his pride and admit his mistakes. At least enough to ask to be his father’s servant.

The boy headed home. This is where the story takes a turn for the amazing. The father missed his son and was daily longing for his son to come home. He was even looking for him. This particular day, while his son was still a long distance away, he caught a glimpse of a silhouette. He knew instantly that his son had returned. He took off running down the dusty street, anxious to embrace his youngest son.

The embrace of his father made the boy feel ashamed and he looked at his dad, “I’m so sorry, I really messed up. I was wrong.  I could never be called your son, but maybe you would allow me to work–”

The father refused to even let the boy finish his thoughts, “No, you are my son and I’m so happy that you’ve returned.”

The father then threw a huge party in honor of his son, making sure everyone knew his lost son had returned.

The Father’s love in this story shows that there is no condition on God’s love. Even after we make big mistakes He still loves us, He still embraces us. He will not stop pursuing us. He longs for us to return home.

Often, when I’ve messed up I don’t want to come to God. I have this fear that He is just angry and wants to yell at me, however that isn’t an accurate picture of God. He is the father in this story. We don’t have to be afraid to come to the Father, we don’t have to hide. God doesn’t shame us or condemn us. He embraces us.


  1. Is your instinct to run and hide when you mess up? Or do you prefer to come clean right away? Why?
  2. How does the picture of the father in the story differ from how you usually think of God?

PRAY: Father, please help me to know your love and compassion for me, that I might receive Your love and live for You.


Luke 15:17-24 (TPT) “Humiliated, the son finally realized what he was doing and he thought, ‘There are many workers at my father’s house who have all the food they want with plenty to spare. They lack nothing. Why am I here dying of hunger, feeding these pigs and eating their slop?

 18 I want to go back home to my father’s house, and I’ll say to him, “Father, I was wrong. I have sinned against you. 19 I’ll never be worthy to be called your son. Please, Father, just treat me like one of your employees.”’

20 “So the young son set off for home. From a long distance away, his father saw him coming, dressed as a beggar, and great compassion swelled up in his heart for his son who was returning home. So the father raced out to meet him. He swept him up in his arms, hugged him dearly, and kissed him over and over with tender love.

21 “Then the son said, ‘Father, I was wrong. I have sinned against you. I could never deserve to be called your son. Just let me be—’

“The father interrupted and said, ‘Son, you’re home now!’

22 “Turning to his servants, the father said, ‘Quick, bring me the best robe, my very own robe, and I will place it on his shoulders. Bring the ring, the seal of sonship, and I will put it on his finger. And bring out the best shoes you can find for my son. 23 Let’s prepare a great feast and celebrate. 24 For this beloved son of mine was once dead, but now he’s alive again. Once he was lost, but now he is found!’ And everyone celebrated with overflowing joy.

Acts 3:19 (NLT)  Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.

1 John 1:8-9 (NLT) If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness

2 Peter 3:9 (NLT) The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.


Reckless | ONE 07

Jesus loved to tell stories! He would often use the art of storytelling to illustrate heavenly truths. Today we’re going to look at one of the more famous stories that Jesus told.

The story opens with a young man who is bored with his life, tired of home and longing to explore the world. He knows that when his father dies that he will receive an inheritance, but his dad is kist not dead yet. Our protagonist is tired of waiting. The younger of two brothers goes to his father and basically says, “Dad, I’m tired of waiting for you to die, give me what’s mine so I can leave this place.”

Surprisingly, the father decides to go ahead and give his sons their inheritance.

The boy strikes out for his adventure, leaving his home and his family behind. He sets out to see the world, experience things his father would have never allowed, and to meet new people. He’s having the time of his life. He didn’t realize the way he was using his money, the choices he was making, were reckless. Not until his world was turned upside down. Rain was scarce and before long food followed. His money didn’t last as long as he had expected and now it was gone. With it the lavish lifestyle he had grown accustomed to and all of his friends.

He was alone and had no one to help him out. People weren’t willing to just give him the little food they had. There was one farmer that was willing to hire him, but the pay was hardly enough to get by. The boy worked on the farm, taking care of the animals, but he was so hungry.

You know how when you’re really hungry you enjoy eating things that you would have not enjoyed otherwise? Our perception of what’s good changes. This next moment shows how hungry this guy really was. As he was feeding the pigs, he thought to himself, “this looks good.” So he took a swig of the pig slop.

Suddenly he had a moment of clarity. He realized how far he had come and wished he had never left home.


  1. Have you ever had such a moment of clarity? Where you realized you had made some real mistakes.
  2. How did you respond?

PRAY: Lord, please reveal any area of my life that is not pleasing to you.


Luke 15:11-17 (TPT) Then Jesus said, “Once there was a father with two sons. 12 The younger son came to his father and said, ‘Father, don’t you think it’s time to give me the share of your estate that belongs to me?’ So the father went ahead and distributed among the two sons their inheritance. 13 Shortly afterward, the younger son packed up all his belongings and traveled off to see the world. He journeyed to a far-off land where he soon wasted all he was given in a binge of extravagant and reckless living.

14 “With everything spent and nothing left, he grew hungry, for there was a severe famine in that land. 15 So he begged a farmer in that country to hire him. The farmer hired him and sent him out to feed the pigs. 16 The son was so famished, he was willing to even eat the slop given to the pigs, because no one would feed him a thing.

17 “Humiliated, the son finally realized what he was doing and he thought, ‘There are many workers at my father’s house who have all the food they want with plenty to spare. They lack nothing. Why am I here dying of hunger, feeding these pigs and eating their slop?

Proverbs 28:13-14 (NLT)

People who conceal their sins will not prosper,
    but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.

14 Blessed are those who fear to do wrong,
    but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble.


Big Mistakes | ONE 06

When I was a kid I was a piano-playing child prodigy. Well, I thought I was. After composing one such sonic symphony I boldly declared to my grandparents, “I don’t even need piano lessons.” I was that good, or self-diluted.

I was also innovative. My mom owned a piano, a real old school piano. When I was real small I apparently decided to play those ivory keys with different kinds of keys. A house key. A car key. Any kind of key really. Sharp side grading against the piano keys. I imagine my mom listening to the beautiful music, love filling her heart for her favorite child. (sorry to my twin sister, who was likely doing this with me.) I can just see her coming into the room to compliment me on such unparalleled piano playing ability. Coming closer to hug her son only to see the piano keys, that now looked like teeth. Ruined. That was the day I learned my mom loved her piano more than me.

Ok, she loved me more. But I’m sure she wasn’t happy! And let’s be honest, people often place expectations on love. Human love is often conditional.

“I will love you until…”

“I will love you as long as…”

“I will love you unless…”

“If you loved me you would…”

You can fill in the blank, it sometimes seems like people will love us only as much as we agree with them, or do what they want. The moment we fall below their expectations, love is taken away.

I want to make sure you know, THAT IS NOT TRUE LOVE. That is certainly not how God loves. Maybe you have experienced that kind of conditional love from family, friends or relationships. Maybe you’ve lived in fear that if you mess-up, you will lose love from the people in your life. I want you to know this simple truth. God still loves you, even after you make big mistakes.


  1. Have you ever felt like if you mess up, you won’t be accepted?
  2. Have you ever struggled to love someone who fell below your expectations?

PRAY: Lord, help me to recognize that even when I make big mistakes, You still love me.


Romans 8:31-39 (NLT) What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 John 4:7-21 (NLT) Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us.14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first.

20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.


It’s Not Too Late | ONE 05

Growing up we learn that there are consequences for our actions. When we disobey our parents, we are punished. When we break the law, we get a ticket or go to jail. Have you ever been caught doing something wrong, but were given mercy instead of punishment? This doesn’t happen often, but for me when it has I was left with an incredible feeling of relief, gratitude and a resolve not to do it again.

Just like Jesus didn’t hold the sins of the woman caught in adultery against her neither does He hold our sins against us! We are all guilty because of our sins and we deserve the full consequence of our sins, which according to scripture is death and eternal separation from God’s presence. However, because of the glorious grace of God, Jesus stepped in took upon Himself the weight of sin and the punishment we deserved. He paid the debt we could not pay and as such we can receive forgiveness for our sins. We can receive His eternal life rather than death.

We simply have to receive it.

Receive it. That might be the most challenging part. We tend to want to earn things, but salvation is not something we could ever earn by being good enough or avoiding sin. In fact, Jesus didn’t tell the woman to stop sinning until after He had shown mercy. It is once we receive His mercy that we begin to change our behavior, not the other way around.

This is not illustrated better anywhere than in the exchange Jesus had with one of the men hanging on the cross next to His. This man was a thief. Most likely He was guilty of pretty serious crimes because hanging on a cross was a cruel punishment, reserved for the vilest of criminals. This thief recognized that unlike himself, Jesus was innocent and believed that He was the son of God. The thief looked at Jesus and asked Him to, “Remember me in Your Kingdom.” Jesus looked upon this man, moments away from death and said, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

Jesus offered forgiveness and salvation to this man who not only deserved to die, but surely would die for his crimes. This thief would have no opportunity to ever do any righteous deed to prove his salvation. Yet, Jesus freely and fully forgave him and invited him into the Kingdom of God.

The same invitation that He gives to us today.

Jesus doesn’t hold our sins against us. He doesn’t wait for us to change before loving us. He gives us life instead of the death we deserve. Jesus shows mercy instead of judgement, even the one who deserved to die.


  1. Do you believe that Jesus not only can forgive you, but wants to forgive you?
  2. How will your life change after receiving His forgiveness?

PRAY: Lord, I receive the forgiveness you offer. Thank You for loving me and showing me mercy.


John 8:10-11 (NLT) Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

Micah 7:18 (NKJV) He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy

James 2:13 (NLT) There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.

James 2:13b (NKJV) Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Romans 3:23 (KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 6:23 (KJV) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Luke 23:39-43 (NLT) One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”

40 But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? 41 We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

43 And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”


Unpopular Choice | ONE 04

When that woman was thrown before Jesus, the crowd was likely on the side of her accusers. According to the law of Moses, they had every right to stoner her. However, Jesus was not interested in making the crowd happy. He had come to demonstrate God’s love of mercy of Judgement. He looked at this one woman who deserved to die and even though it wasn’t the popular decision, released her from the punishment.

It can be difficult to go against what seems to be the popular thing to do. Sometimes at school, people are being mean and it may not seem right to you. However, you can’t seem to find your voice. You know speaking up may subject you to the same ridicule. Still, we shouldn’t go along with the crowd simply because it’s the popular thing. When others are being mean, we should show kindness. Even if it isn’t the cool thing to do.

Kindness is pretty important. Even when we are speaking truth to our friends. If we’re not careful our quest for truth can really hurt other people. For example if your friend’s makeup looks like a failed science experimenbt, perhaps  “You look really ugly today” isn’t the best the best approach. It’s important to let your friend know you care about them. Perhaps start with asking questions, “why did you do your makeup that way.” Maybe there is a good reason things went so wrong. Of course, we don’t want to lie either. A better approach might be, “You’re beautiful, but this makeup is hiding that beauty.”

Jokes are another area where we sometimes lose our sense of kindness. It can be so much fun to slam each other, however we have to be careful. Sometimes you can joke at someones expense and they may laugh along, yet go home feeling destroyed and cry their eyes out.

When I was in middle school, I remember hanging with a group of guys and I feel like they always made jokes at my expense. This went on for months and I thought they hated me. Yet, when it was finally talked about they didn’t even know I was bothered by it. They genuinely thought we were friends.

Honestly in the story we read yesterday, Jesus goes against the crowd and it wasn’t to protect a friend, or a popular kid. It was to protect a guilty woman who deserved to die. This is who God is, showing mercy instead of Judgement, even to the one who deserved to die. Amazing.


  1. How will you respond next time the popular thing to do is making fun of someone?
  2. When you speak truth to your friends, or joke at their expense, does it build them up or hurt them? Perhaps it’s worth asking them directly.

PRAY: Lord, help me to speak with kindness, even when it isn’t the popular or easy thing to do.


Proverbs 11:9 (NLT) With their words, the godless destroy their friends, but knowledge will rescue the righteous.

Proverbs 11:12 (NLT) It is foolish to belittle one’s neighbor; a sensible person keeps quiet.

Prvoberbs 11:17 (TLB) Your own soul is nourished when you are kind; it is destroyed when you are cruel

1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 (NLT) For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. 10 Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. 11 So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (MSG) So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.

Proverbs 12:18 (NLT) Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.

Psalm 19:12-14 (NLT)

How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
    Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
    Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt
    and innocent of great sin.

14 May the words of my mouth
    and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.


Scandal | ONE 03

She was caught in the act. We don’t know the exact details, but we are certain the man she was sleeping with was not her husband. They charged in and dragged her out and then they threw her in front of Jesus. 

Only it wasn’t just Jesus. By this time He was becoming incredibly popular. Crowds swarmed Him everywhere He went. Some drawn in by the authority with which He taught. Others by the miraculous healings that took place. The crowd circled as the Jewish religious leaders threw this guilty girl at the feet of Jesus. 

“The law is clear. She was caught in the act of adultery. She must be stoned. What do you say?”

Everyone loved Jesus except these Pharisees. Maybe they were jealous of His following. For sure they saw Him as a threat and were trying to trap Him. What they said was true, however, Jesus was not coming to bring judgement for the law, but to free us from it. 

He didn’t respond right away. Oddly enough, He bent down and began to write in the sand. We can’t know for sure what He wrote in this long and drawn-out moment. Some theologians believe He was writing the sins of the woman’s accusers. When Jesus stood again He said, “The woman does indeed deserve death. Let the one who has no sin throw the first stone.” 

The words hung over them like a thick fog. Jesus bent back down and continued writing in the earth. Silence engulfed the crowd. After what seemed like an eternity the oldest lowered his head and slowly walked away. One by one all of the woman’s accusers left leaving Jesus alone with the woman in the midst of the crowd. 

Jesus looked at her as surely no man had looked before. His eyes, they weren’t full of lust, or judgement. His eyes burned with compassion and a love the woman likely had never known. He gently said to her, “Where are your accusers? Do not even one have any charges to bring against you” 

The woman looked up, fear turning into brokenness as she saw the love in His eyes. “No, not one.”

Jesus held her stare and spoke back, “Then neither do I accuse you. Go and sin no more.”


  1. How does it feel knowing Jesus shows us the same mercy He showed the woman in our story?
  2. Is it easy to accept that God isn’t accusing us of our sins? Why or why not?

PRAY: Father, help me to see You as Kind and forgiving, knowing You desire to show me mercy. Help me to receive that mercy.


John 8:1-11 (NLT) Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”


Shoes, Punches & Curse Words | ONE 02

You know that feeling when you put on your new shoes for the very first time? They look so clean and the whole world shines a little bit brighter. It’s wonderful. Until something happens and your new kicks get scuffed, or muddy. Then the feeling is gone. You work hard to keep those shoes looking good.

Sam was a seventh-grader who, by all accounts, was a nice guy. Perhaps he occasionally stood too close to people, but all in all, he was a good kid. That day he was standing next to Desmond, who was brandishing a brand new pair of sneakers. Naturally, Sam, standing too close accidentally stepped on Desmond’s shoe. The sound of desmond shouting, “My shoes!” caught the attention of the whole class.

It was at that moment that everything went into slow motion as Desmond began throwing a fury of punches in Sam’s direction. Sam instinctively threw his arms up to protect his face and shouted, “What the–“. Well, I won’t repeat exactly what he said, but he may have referenced a place full of burning flames and fire.

His curse drew the attention of the teacher who immediately stood and shouted, “Stop this now! There will be no profanity in my classroom” The teacher then wrote Sam up for cursing and sent him off to the dean’s office. Desmond simply returned to his seat.

I sat there in my twelve-year-old mind as perplexed as I had ever been.

Is cursing a greater sin than throwing punches at another student? It wasn’t even one of the bad ones?! (Not that any cursing is ok.) How can the mild profanity deserve greater punishment than punching someone? I couldn’t wrap my mind around the injustice of the situation!

How do you feel when someone deserves punishment and doesn’t get it? I find it very frustrating when someone does not get what they deserve. Unless it happens to be me. I expect people to be understanding of myself, but don’t always offer that same understanding to others.

Maybe you can relate.. Have you ever been angry when someone did not receive the punishment they deserved? Have you ever known a Christain who for sure didn’t deserve to be forgiven? Maybe you’re reading this and there have been moments when you were certain you didn’t deserve to be forgiven. Next week we will be addressing these thoughts.

Here is the big idea.

Jesus shows mercy instead of judgement, even to the one who deserved to die.


  1. Have you ever felt like you weren’t good enough to be forgiven? Why did you think that?
  2. Is it easy for you to show others mercy? Why or why not?

PRAY: Lord, help me to recognize Your mercy in my life and extend that mercy to others.


Hebrews 4:12-16 (NLT) For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Ephesians 2:1-10 (NLT) Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world.[a] He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us longago.