Devotions

Author Archives: John Hubbard

O Praise the Name (Anastasis)

Gather | Devotion #6: O Praise the Name (Anastasis)
John Hubbard | Worship Leader

There are so many reasons that a song can make an instant connection to a body of believers. From the very start of the first verse, it can grab your attention and take you to a place of affirmation even as you are listening for the first time. O Praise the Name (Anastasis) by Hillsong Worship is a song that wastes no time getting to the point, the Gospel. This song is a journey through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The word “Anastasis” is a Greek word that translates to “resurrection,” not only regarding Jesus, but also the raising up of believers at the end of the age. 

Not only is O Praise the Name a journey, but it is also sung from a personal point of view. The first line, “I cast my mind to Calvary,” brings the listener to an actual point of reference. The second line, “where Jesus bled and died for me,” hits you with one of the most vivid scenes found in the Gospel. The songwriters wanted to hone in on the actual moment of Jesus’ death and step into the shoes of those that were closest to Him. The second verse has a line, “His body bound and drenched in tears,” is a unique look at that moment between Jesus’ death and resurrection. A lot of the time it seems that the burial of Jesus suffers from the middle-child syndrome, not as in-your-face as the eldest child who came first, Jesus’ death, and not like the youngest child who everyone likes to give their attention, His resurrection. To spend a moment and think about the people who lost all hope and had to bury Jesus, you cannot help but feel that raw emotional reaction.

The chorus is my favorite part of the song, and I love that every arrangement I have heard has at least three in a row to end the song. Most of the time having three in a row makes you feel like it drags on, but the lyrics catch you:

O praise the Name of the Lord our God
O praise His Name forevermore
For endless days we will sing Your praise
Oh Lord oh Lord our God

Forevermore we will sing His praise, so if you are sick of singing that after the third time I do not want to be the one to tell you what we will be doing in Heaven before the throne of God, forever and ever. To be fair, I am sure that eventually, I will want to switch up the song now and then, but until that time comes, I will continue to praise the Name of the Lord our God.

Boaz

Lesson Six | Devotion #5: Boaz
John Hubbard | Worship Leader

The book of Ruth tells the story of when there was a famine in Judah. A man takes his wife and two sons and moves to Moab. Both of the sons married Moabite women. Soon afterward the father and two sons died, leaving the wife and her two daughters-in-law to fend for themselves, which in that day and age might as well have been a death sentence. The lady, Naomi, encourages both of the girls to return to their homes and remarry in order to survive. Ruth, unlike her sister-in-law, stays with Naomi and returns to the land of Judah. In that time widows could follow behind the men working in the fields for harvest and collect the scraps of wheat left behind. This was customarily allowed by the land owners and was even written in their laws. Ruth was out collecting scraps and found favor in the eyes of Naomi’s relative named Boaz. Boaz allowed her to follow his workers and even instructed some of them to leave extra wheat behind for her, enough for Naomi as well.

In those days if a woman were widowed, a relative of her late husband would marry her. Boaz knew it would be righteous to redeem her, but he also knew that there was another relative that was ahead of him in line to do so. He very well could have helped her without asking the other relative, but he chose to do the right thing. He wanted to make sure Ruth’s needs would be met. Boaz knew that he needed to let this other man have his opportunity to care for Ruth. Ruth chapter 3, verse 13 says, “Remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the LORD lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.” 

Boaz had several opportunities to be Ruth’s redeemer right away. But he also knew that someone else was more responsible first. Boaz saw the situation and realized that in order to help Ruth the right way, he needed to let someone else have a chance to be the redeemer in her life. We might think of Boaz as trying to pass off Ruth’s problems onto someone else; I would argue that he did the opposite. He got the right people to recognize the problem and then assured her that he would do what another would not in order to take care of her. Sometimes rather than pull someone out of their mess, you have to get down in it with them and find the way out right alongside them. World Changers are not necessarily the people walking in front of us. Often, they are walking alongside us.

Noah

Lesson Two | Devotion #1: Noah
John Hubbard | Worship Leader

Do Not Miss The Ark.

Have you ever decided you wanted to run a full marathon? What did you do? Did you think about it often? Did you lie awake at night and imagine everyone’s amazement that you could do something so difficult? You might have searched the internet for videos to learn about how to better run your first marathon. Hopefully, you started to prepare yourself for the challenge that running a marathon presents. It does not stand to reason that your mental preparation alone would come in handy for such a daunting physical endeavor. If you want something big to happen, it takes work. The planning and the learning will not help you without any real doing. Francis Chan uses a similar analogy for Christians regarding the Great Commission. Imagine standing before God and saying, “Well God, I did not actually share the Gospel with the lost, but I read and memorized every verse in the Bible about it, and I even started a Bible Study where a group of us came up with some practical ways to share the Gospel, and I have heard all the great preacher’s sermons on the importance of sharing the Gospel.” It sounds pretty comical when he puts things in that frame of reference, but how often do we do the same things? We want to make a big change, but we are afraid to start putting in the work. You might embarrass yourself, you might screw up, or you might even hurt yourself.

In Genesis, we find Noah in a similar situation. God finds him as a righteous man living in a time of total wickedness. God lays out a huge task for him in Genesis 6. Noah is set to build a massive ark to survive the coming Flood. Noah saw a huge movement of God coming and knew that his only option was to prepare. Now, luckily for him, the Lord spelled out pretty clearly both what He wanted and what He was going to do. For us, it is easy to get discouraged when we do not feel certain about what God is going to do. It is impossible to know everything that God will do, but it is not impossible to know a specific thing that God is doing.

This is where we look to the Church as the body of Christ. The Church has been tasked with carrying out the work of God, namely in the Great Commission. We hear of all the things the church is doing, and it is so easy to sit back and say, “Wow, I hope that goes well.”

I realize that a church event is a little different that a global flood, but how well would Noah have fared if he did not get to building the ark? The same goes for us now. How well would an outreach opportunity in your community go if everyone hopes it will go great and does not show up. It did not matter then that Noah had never built an ark before, and it does not matter now if you have never volunteered, you just have to give it your best shot. We all want God to move powerfully, but sometimes we forget about the ark we are going to need to build first.

Believe | How?

Believe | Devotion #6: How?
John Hubbard | Worship Leader

The disciples saw Jesus do many miraculous things, but each one of them did not fully understand the resurrection. After seeing the power that Jesus had over sickness, over storms and the sea, overfeeding a multitude of people, and even raising a man from the dead, the disciples had lost all hope and were in hiding following Jesus’ death and burial.

If you read Mark 16:10-13, you will see that each one of the disciples failed to believe the accounts that the resurrection had taken place. We always like to single out Thomas as the one who doubted Jesus’ resurrection. Read the passage beforehand.

John 20:19-20 says, “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.”

In this passage, we find that the other ten disciples all doubted the resurrection until Jesus appeared before them. They saw His body and the scars, and they believed. The next passage is where we come to Thomas who was absent during Jesus first visit. Jesus appears again, eight days later, to the disciples and instead of rebuking Thomas for his disbelief, He comes and meets Thomas where he was in his doubt and shows him the truth.

Luke 24:44-47 says, “Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’”

The disciples needed to see Jesus to understand what Jesus had been telling them all along, that He was to die and on the third day rise from the dead. It is awesome that even from the point of total hopelessness, Jesus takes the time to set us straight and lead in the right direction.

No Ledge

Delivery on Time • No Ledge
John Hubbard | Worship Leader

I have always loved movies with an opening scene that has some huge and intricate accident. I picture a man sitting outside a restaurant doing a crossword in the newspaper when he accidentally hits his coffee cup causing the waitress to jump out of the way which startles the bicyclist who swerves to miss her. The biker ends up on the street, so the car coming behind him slams on his brakes and gets rear-ended. I have always liked the idea these types of scenes can show that sometimes the smallest of accidents can cause real problems. How could the man have known that spilling his coffee would ruin the rear bumper of a car in the street? He could not have; one of the crazy things about God is that nothing surprises Him. His plan and will do not get redirected; He does not get sent on detours, everything comes together just how He intended.

In the book of Acts, Peter is addressing multitudes of people immediately after the disciples have been speaking to them in many different languages, He talks about the coming of the Messiah, and he says an interesting thing about Jesus.
“This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” Acts 2:23

God’s definite plan of redemption for all of us was incredibly timed. Jesus was born of the line of King David, out of Bethlehem which was David’s hometown. God did not have a “rough idea” of how it would play out. He knew that the Jewish leadership would reject Jesus, and they despised Him enough to plot to have Him killed. Since Jesus lived in a time of Roman occupation, who better to execute Jesus than the Romans. Even though they acted of their reasoning, God was in control of it. Jesus fully intended to die for the sins of all of us, even if it looked like a betrayal by His own people at the time.

When Peter spoke to all these people about the prophecies of Jesus being fulfilled, the Bible says that three thousand souls were saved that day.



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