Tuesday, February 28, 2017

"It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?" Galatians 5:13-15 (MSG)

In your life someone has told you, "You are free to do what you want." Your first thoughts probably weren't about how you could use that freedom on behalf of someone else. When we are put in charge, are given extra money or given an opportunity to share - we usually don't think about things that wou...

Monday, February 27, 2017

Galatians 5:1- It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (NIV)

Christ died to set us free from sin. Not a freedom to do whatever we want because that would lead us back to slavery. Back to the slavery of our desires. Christ set us free from those desires. Instead, we can live unselfishly and put on the yoke of Christ which is easy and light. It’s a yoke that allows us to remain in the freedom of Christ and enjoy His love. Christ provided all the freedom that we would ever need by His payment for our sins on the cross. We walk out of that freedom from time to time, but we serve a God that can’t be moved, and He offers that freedom to us every day. His mercies are new every day. Are you experiencing the freedom that comes from Christ or are you a slave to your desires? Our s...

Friday, February 24, 2017

"We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them." 1 John 5:18 (NLT)

In some ways that this verse Grandpa John wrote down is translated (...everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning...) it can seem as though he was implying that the way to know if you are truly born of God is when you no longer sin. And that is just plain untrue. I think that the NLT translation does a better job at putting it into language that more easily lines up with the realistic expectation of Jesus. What does it mean to practice something? I think a very good definition of practice is purposely doing a particular task, to 1) Get better at it, and 2) Have it come more natural to you. I think this is what John was getting at when he said that the God-begotten (from God) don't act in this...

Thursday, February 23, 2017

"There is joy for those who deal justly with others and always do what is right." Psalms 106:3 (NLT)

Sometimes as we read the Bible, there will be a verse that stands out as odd, almost like it doesn’t fit. We know that God’s word is God-inspired, so these verses are an opportunity to dig in beyond the surface. Take Psalm 106:3 for example. “Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.” If we skim over this verse, we might think, “Well… duh! Of course it’s best to be just and do what’s right.” But there are a couple of things about this verse that requires a closer look.  First, notice that this verse says “always”. Do you know anybody today who always does what is right? Me neither. Second, while you might expect Psalm 106 to go on to give examples of people who live out this verse, the rest of the Psalm actually lists out sin after sin that...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

"The answer’s simple: Live right, speak the truth, despise exploitation,   refuse bribes, reject violence, avoid evil amusements. This is how you raise your standard of living! A safe and stable way to live. A nourishing, satisfying way to live." Isaiah 33:15-16 (MSG)

Blessing and Obedience are closely related, while Love and Obedience aren't even distant cousins. The perfect love Jesus has for us is unconditional and is not moved according to our behavior. His love for us is unchanging regardless of what we do or do not do. On the flip side of that is blessing, which is God's physical and spiritual favor and provision for our lives. We find out, according to this verse and a multitude of other verses in the Bible, that His blessing is dependent on our obedience.  

All of us have experienced the consequences of our actions from a loving parent, teacher or coach...

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

1 John 3:7- Dear children, don't let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. (NLT)

Practice makes perfect. The best way for us to grow in living a righteous life is to impersonate Christ Himself. Study how He lived an honest life and what He consisted righteous. We often stray from righteous because of our desires, but God is calling us to set an example for those who haven’t accepted Christ. If we claim to be Christians but don’t live righteous lives, what does that say about our faith?

Our righteous living not only moves us closer to God, but it also shows the world that we have a genuine faith. Many people have no intention of coming to church when they see people that attend church living the same way as they do. Knowing Jesus creates a heart change first, and we are changed...

Monday, February 20, 2017

"If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him." 1 John 2:29 (NKJV)

God created us to adopt the character traits of the people we hang out with the most. It's why my oldest son Jacob will talk to his younger brother with my authoritative tone (something I am not proud of). My youngest son will try and be goofy and make people laugh the way his father tries - I emphasize tries. 

We can't ignore this principle; who we hang out with is who we become. Knowing this principle is not enough, we must use it to our advantage. When we spend real time with Jesus, we will naturally become and act more and more like Him (living righteously). Spending time with Jesus is not easy to do, but if we want Him to change us, we must make it a priority. 

Spending time with Jesus enables us to be shaped into His image, but we canno...

Friday, February 17, 2017

“And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For, in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved.” Romans 11:6 (NLT)

There are countless times in the Bible where Jesus says Salvation is a gift. It can not be earned by good works or good deeds. Salvation has nothing to do with money in the collection plate, our being baptized, confessions, reading the Bible, prayers, or going to church. Salvation has nothing to do with us and everything to do with Him. It is a free gift from God to ALL who believe that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. It's because of His gift of Salvation that we do all of those good deeds. They are done to glorify and magnify Him. They are done so that others might be able to see this beautiful free gift that He has to offer. Paul asks a question at the beginning of Romans 11, “ Has Go...

Thursday, February 16, 2017

"A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."  (NIV) Proverbs 17:17

     It’s easy to say we love our friends especially when everything is going well, but when the enemy strikes in our world and adversity hits. That’s the time when you really find out who your friends are, but maybe more importantly who your brothers and sisters are. God’s word speaks it clearly saying it’s easy to love a friend, but when adversity occurs brotherhood and sisterhood is born. When struggle or hardship presents itself in your life, stop and take a look around. Then you will find out who your real friends are. The ones that stay with you are worthy to be called brother or sister. Take the time today to be more than just a friend, be a brother or sister and share the word of God with some one in the middle of a struggle. Pray that God will provide you w...

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Romans 6:14- For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. (NIV)

It is also said in the bible that you can’t serve two masters because you will love one and hate the other, but as Christian's we only serve God. We are bound to Christ, He is our Master, and He gives us the power to do good rather than evil. Being under grace doesn’t mean we go around sinning. We are called to live as Christ did and His grace is a great reminder of His sacrifice for all humankind. The law serves as a standard to remind us that we are sinful people, but again we are not chained to it. Jesus made a way to eternal life by His gracious sacrifice on the cross. I would much rather serve someone that gave their life for me than be a slave to the law that can’t save my life. Don’t be a person committed to a checklist that illustrates laws yo...

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We believe the only life worth living is the “uncommon” life that results from having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  We encourage our youth to experience this life through a daily time with Jesus,  worship, ministry, and prayer.

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