Each week, we offer daily Scripture readings and thoughts in our Grow • Pray • Study (GPS) Guide.
Come back on Mondays for the weekly GPS, and spend time in study and prayer daily!
You matter to God.
St. Paul’s UMC
GPS: Grow, Pray Study Guide
for the week of December 9 - December 15,
Advent Conspiracy: Spend Less
Destination: To gain a deeper understanding of what it
means to be a deeply committed follower of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. To be able to recognize your experiences of
God and to discover God in new and different ways.
verse: I encourage you to read this
Scripture every day and by the end of the week have it memorized or to the
point of where you can paraphrase the verse(s).
Try writing it down on post-it notes and place them in areas where you
will see it daily, for example the bathroom mirror or the dashboard of your
“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality
with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself
nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”
Philippians 2:6-7 NIV
Called to follow Christ, we are called to a life
of humility. But what does that even mean? Do we seek to exalt
ourselves – to be lifted above others? Does our sense of success depend on
someone else’s failure? Does our love of God entirely guide our relationships?
Do we twist service into convenience and leisure, ignoring the idea that to
serve is to be a servant? Disturb the
habits of our sin, O God. Rouse us from the sleep that cradles sin’s
embrace. In the name of Jesus, we pray – show us your ways.
Highlight what we can change and change
what we cannot. God is at work in you! God is alive in us! God
lives, and our sins are forgiven, through Christ, our Savior.
Monday, Dec. 10, 2018
read Matthew 1:18-21. There were stories that both Alexander the Great and
Augustus, both great military leaders were conceived by divine beings. It is
Jesus who was conceived by a divine being (the Holy Spirit). Jesus comes not as
a great leader of military domination but as one of life-giving service. Why is
Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018
read Matthew 1:22-25 and Isaiah 7:14. Fulfillment language in the Gospels emphasizes
God at work in the Scriptures. Do you see how Matthew 18-21 and Isaiah 7:14
relate? How do they relate? Why do you think it was important for Isaiah to
Wednesday, Dec. 12,
2018 read Isaiah 7:10-15. God invites King Ahaz to ask for a sign of Immanuel (God
with us). Ahaz refuses, Isaiah realizes that the King’s refusal is because he
wants to enter into an alliance with the Assyrians. God is going to give him a
sign regardless. God gives the sign of Immanuel to demonstrate the God is with
both Judah and Jerusalem; therefore, there is no need to enter into an alliance
with Assyria. When have you been like King Ahaz, not wanting a sign from God so
you can you do your own thing? When have you listened to an Isaiah in your life
and asked God for a sign?
Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018
read Luke 1:39-45. The exchange of
greetings between May and Elizabeth demonstrates their faithfulness to God.
They both received their pregnancy announcement from the angel (messenger).
Elizabeth immediately recognizes Mary as the mother of the Messiah. John in
Elizabeth’s womb recognizes Mary’s baby as the Messiah. When is your first
memory of recognizing Jesus as Messiah?
Friday, Dec. 14, 2018
read Luke 1:46-56. This passage is also known as Mary’s Magnificant or Mary’s Song. Her
Magnificant grounds her praise in God’s present activity in God’s faithfulness
and ancient promise. God is seen as both warrior and merciful. God as warrior
engages in battle on behalf of God’s people and brings deliverance. God the
merciful, who cares for the lowly and the needy. God’s overruling of human
rulers is about putting them in a position where they also might experience the
graciousness of God. Pray for world leaders that they might experience the
mercy of God.
Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018
read Luke 1:67-80. This
passage is known as Zechariah’s Song or Benedictus
because it closes the narrative. He retells the importance of John as prophet
before Christ, he tells the interweaving of John and Jesus’ stories into one of
God’s redemptive purpose. How do you see the stories of John and Jesus working
Resources: Bible by God, The Advent
Conspiracy by Rick McKinley, Chris Seay and Greg Holder.