Friday, August 31, 2018

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27 (NIV)

Jesus does not GIVE us peace. I know that's what He said, but I believe that is not what He meant. We usually think of experiencing peace by a "give and take." We ask Jesus for peace, Jesus graciously gives us peace and then we take it. Kind of like borrowing a pencil. We ask a friend for a pencil, they give it to us, and then we take it. Once we have it, we walk away, no longer having need for our friend. In the same way, we see peace as something separate from Jesus presence. We see peace like borrowing a pencil.

Do you remember when you were little and something you were experiencing or thinking of made you afraid? You didn't have peace. So what did you do? You most likely called a parent or lov...

Thursday, August 30, 2018

When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. John 2:3-7 (NIV)

This is a famous passage in scripture because this miracle is where Jesus turns water into wine indicates the start of His ministry and His walk towards the cross. Many commentaries don’t believe Mary knew what she was asking. Though it is not explicitly stated what Mary thought Jesus would do we can debate that another time. Jesus was obedient and asked servants to fill the pots physically, but He turned the water into...

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.  The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me. John 15:18-21 (NLT)

Following Jesus always comes with consequences. If you believe making Jesus the goal of your life will not come with opposition, you may have forgotten that what is visible is not all that exists. There is a spiritual world that contains spiritual beings, and not all of those spiritual beings are on Jesus' side. In fact, they live to oppose Jesu...

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. John 2:7 (NIV)

What fills the jar that is your life? We get caught up in drinking from the well of the world and fail to fill ourselves with the Word of God. Notice that the servants actions are ones of obedience. Living a life of obedience allows us to be filled more than just to the brim, but to be overflowing so that others may share in the character of God that flows out of us. We can only pour water in, but He makes us sweet. He makes us overflow. 

As servants of God we are to live a life of obedience that let's others enjoy the flavor that God is not just pouring into us, but is also coming out of us. He pours in so we can pour out. We need His constant refill that is found in time with Him. The scriptures say that God is the one that provides the...

Monday, August 27, 2018

"Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples... As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. Acts 9:1-5 (NIV)

Here is a persecutor of Jesus' followers named Saul who was a religious leader of his day and someone who hated those who identified themselves with Jesus. He was so driven in his pursuit of the Lord's disciples that he was willing to travel great distances to see this cult snuffed out.

On one of his journeys toward Damascus, Jesus appeared to him. Jesus appeared to Saul for two reasons. First, he was protecting those who Saul was seeking to abuse. Second, Jesus loved Saul and was calling Saul...

Friday, August 24, 2018

“O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you! You show unfailing love to thousands, but you also bring the consequences of one generation’s sin upon the next. You are the great and powerful God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Jeremiah 32:17-18

Life is hard, and people are cruel, and by the way, we are "people." If you look at the world without a faithful and loving God who stands by your side, things can appear downright scary. If there is no God, then all you have to depend on is you and all your limitations and weaknesses. And if you look to others, they too have limitations and weaknesses. 

Who can you really depend on? Is there anyone one you know who can overcome all the trouble and challenges this world can throw at a them? Of course not, but there is ONE - "O Sovereign Lord! Y...

Thursday, August 23, 2018

As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. Proverbs 27:19 (NIV)

People can look at our lives and see our heart. I am reminded of another verse that says, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” How we act, what we do, and what we say reflects what’s in our heart. There are times in my life when I look in the mirror, and I am more concerned with what I see versus what God see’s. When people look at your life what do they see? What they see is a good indication of what’s in your heart.

This school year have you set out to impress people with the way you speak, how you dress, and the way you act? Life feels harder when we don’t fit in, and because of this, we ask God for things that may not be a part of His plan for our lives. We will ask God to do stuff for us instead of doing life with God. 

The bible says, “where your treasure is...

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

"It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”  1 Corinthians 5:12-13 (NLT)

The Barna Research Group did a study of people ages 16 - 29 in the US some years ago and 90% of those respondents reported that they believe Christians to be judgemental. This is confusing since the Jesus we read about in the Bible attracted all sorts of people to Himself. The kind of people, who in His day and ours, would be considered less than desirable to hang out with, or just plain "bad" company. If Jesus were crusty and judgemental, such people would never desire to be with Him.

Think about this, who likes to hang around individuals who are always measuring and criticizing us...

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

1 Corinthians 5:9-12 (NLT) - When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.

These are powerful words from Paul, and these are words that we like to soften or bend. These are words of justice and little grace, but truth can appear as though there is no grace present at times in the scri...

Monday, August 20, 2018

"I can hardly believe the report about the sexual immorality going on among you—something that even pagans don’t do. I am told that a man in your church is living in sin with his stepmother.  You are so proud of yourselves, but you should be mourning in sorrow and shame. And you should remove this man from your fellowship." 1 Corinthians 5:1-2 (NLT)

What a way to start devotionals for the school year; we read about a man who is having a sexual relationship with his stepmother. Hello! This man appears to attend church regularly and calls himself a Jesus Follower. On the flip side, the church seems to be taking more delight in gossiping about his sin instead of lovingly confronting him. Instead of hurting for him and over his actions, it is just easier to talk about him. It's just easier to whisper and laugh in the background while he engages in hurtful sexual...

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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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