Devotions

Author Archives: Kyle Wendel

Humble Mind 

Bonded | Devotion #4: Humble Mind
Kyle Wendel | Children’s & Student Director

“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” 1 Peter 3:8

Humble: having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s importance. 

Humility is something that is a very close subject for me. Pride and humility go against each other completely. Being humble means to put yourself under or below others and to make others more important.

When I came out of High School, I knew I wanted to go into youth ministry. I could feel God calling me to it, and I could not get away from it. Ministry was not something I saw myself ever doing. I am a pretty quiet and shy guy. Also, I hated public speaking. So in ministry, you kind of need to be someone that can talk with others and to be able to speak to a crowd. That was the complete opposite of what I was. So as I felt God’s calling to it, I laughed. But after months of prayer, I knew that is what He wanted. My thought was that I would get to go into ministry right away. God had some different plans for me. 

For the first three years of my time on staff here at The River, I was a maintenance guy. I went from thinking I was going straight to youth director to cleaning toilets. At the time I thought it was awful, but today I can tell you it was the best thing for me. God knew I was not ready for leading just yet. Being the maintenance guy taught me a lot of things. First off, it taught me I needed to be willing to do anything for the Lord. Cleaning toilets was serving Him and taught me that to be the leader, I needed to be able to do the lowly items. Second, I was able to see behind the scenes of ministry. I saw all the cleanup and set up that people do not notice or realize. I learned many more things, but most importantly I learned to be a servant no matter what the circumstance is. 

We see this same attitude with Jesus. In all ways, Jesus humbled Himself and had a humble mind. Jesus could have easily come to Earth and told everyone to worship Him as a king here on Earth. But instead, we see that Jesus came and humbled Himself to human form. We also see in John chapter 13 that Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. That was something that was for the lowest servant of the house. Feet back then were disgusting. They did not have the roads and such that we have now. Roads were dirty, and feet were gross. Jesus, of all people, showed humility to the point of washing His own disciples’ feet. If that is not humility, I do not know what is. 

Matthew 20:28 (NIV) says, “Even as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” 

Jesus came as the Son of God to serve His people. Nowhere do you see in history kings serving their people as Jesus did. Ultimately, Jesus served us by giving up His life on the cross to save us from our sins. He put us before Himself. He humbled Himself even to the point of death on a cross. That is what our example is. Jesus shows us that if we want to serve God that we need to be willing to do anything for Him. Washing feet, cleaning toilets, chair setup, teaching, and preaching are all things that glorify God. We need all of those things to work. 

What are some ways you can work on being more humble? 

Got Word?

Grow | Devotion #4: Got Word?
Kyle Wendel | Children & Student’s Director

You will often hear the terms “Reach, Gather, and Grow” here at The River Church. We believe these three principles are a key thing for the church. Each member should consistently be doing their best to achieve these in their lives. 

In focusing on growing, 1 Peter 2:2 says, “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.”

We all know that children are supposed to be constantly growing in their lives physically. If they are not, we start to figure out why and try to address the problem. Infants need their milk to grow properly and become the toddlers they are meant to become. Toddlers and children need their fruits and veggies to grow as they should.

Children are constantly growing and need select food to do so. Our spirituality is the same way. We need our nutrients to grow. One of our nutrients, in a spiritual sense, is the Word of God. We need to be in the Word to be growing as the Bible has called us to do. We never see in the Bible that God wants us to stay stagnant in our walk with Him. We see over and over He wants us to grow and know Him deeper. If we are not growing, we are not doing what God has called us to do. 

Do you long for the Word of God in your life? It is a simple truth but one that we often do not find in our lives. If the Word of God is not found in our lives, we are not growing. To grow, you need food, and the Bible is our food. If you want to do what God wants, then you need to be in His Word. His word will change your life. The more time you spend reading, the more you will grow as a follower. 

I want to challenge you to dive into the Word today. Take a few minutes away from your phone and distractions and just read. You will be amazed how much you can learn and grow if you just spend a few minutes every day in the Bible. I challenge you to go and do as the Lord says. Grow and become more mature. Do not stay as an infant never growing. We all know that a 20-year-old should not look the same as an infant, right? So why do we do that with our relationship with the Lord? 

Caiaphas

Delivery Plan • Caiaphas
Kyle Wendel | Children & Student’s Director

Have you ever wondered how an evil man could be a part of God’s plan? How can someone like that ever be used for the glory of God? One such person is recorded in John 11:45-53.

“Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, ‘What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.’ But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.’ He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.”

Caiaphas was the High Priest at the time of Jesus’ death. He was a Sadducee and a bitter enemy of Jesus. Caiaphas was one of the main advocates to plot to kill Jesus. After many people started to follow Jesus, the Pharisees had a meeting on trying to figure out what to do about Him. Jesus was stirring up all sorts of trouble for the Pharisees because the Gospel went against everything they were doing. The Pharisees had to figure out what to do about Jesus. Caiaphas had brought forth his plan to the group. He said it would be better for Jesus to die for the people than for the whole nation to perish. He was referring to the Romans possibly taking out the Jews. So, Caiaphas planned to kill Jesus to save the nation, but also because of the trouble Jesus was causing for the Pharisees.

Later on in the story, we see Jesus was taken to the house of Caiaphas before He was taken to Pilate. There he most likely would have been questioned by the Sanhedrin and Pharisees before they decided to take Him to Pilate and ultimately decided to crucify Him.

We could wonder how Caiaphas could be a part of God’s ultimate plan. However, Caiaphas was a part of the plan. God allowed Caiaphas to have a strong opposition to Jesus to ultimately fulfill the prophecies of Christ’s death on the cross. There would have to be an opposition to Christ for the prophecy to be fulfilled.

We may wonder how we can learn something from Caiaphas today? I think we can take that sometimes we need to trust in God’s plan and who He has allowed in positions of power. God had allowed Caiaphas to have his seat of power to orchestrate the ultimate plan of salvation. Today there are tons of people in power. We may not always like or believe in them, but we must remember God has allowed them to have that position and it can be part of a greater plan that we do not even know yet.

Goodness

Blooming • Goodness
Kyle Wendel | Children and Student’s Director

I do not know about you guys, but I cannot think about the Fruit of the Spirit without thinking of the children’s song about them. Maybe that is because I am one of the Children’s Directors, who knows. To this day it is honestly how I remember the fruit. If you have not heard the song yet, you need to go to YouTube “Fruit of the Spirit song.” You will not regret it.

“Ohhhhhh the fruit of the Spirit’s not a coconut
The Fruit of the Spirit’s not a coconut
If you want to be a coconut
You might as well hear it:
You can’t be a fruit of the Spirit.

Cause the fruit is
Love, joy, peace, patience,
Kindness, goodness, faithfulness
Gentleness and self-control.”

Today we are going to talking about the Fruit of the Spirit called goodness. Goodness means working for the benefit of others, not oneself. If we take a look at Galatians 6:10 it also mentions what goodness should look like in us.

“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

As followers of Christ, we should always be looking to have the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives. The Bible tells us that a good tree bears fruit. As Christians, we should be able to see the fruit in our lives. We should see this fruit growing over time in our lives. If this fruit is not evident in our lives, there needs to be some serious reflection. A tree that is not bearing fruit is a dead tree. Dead trees get cut down. We do not want to be walking around like a dead tree without fruit. Instead, a fruit we need to have is goodness.

The Bible says that every opportunity we have to do good we should do it. Man, we have a lot of opportunities! The verse also goes on to say especially do good to those of the faith. We need to constantly be looking for opportunities in our lives to do good to others. One, because it can show the Gospel to the unbeliever and two because it is a way to worship our Lord. We know the good that He has done to us. We should just be so grateful that we should always be looking for ways to do good to others. Let that fruit start to blossom in your life! Let us stop looking at what we can do to benefit ourselves and look how we can benefit others.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Herod • Devotion #4: Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire
Kyle Wendel | Children & Student’s Director

Lying is something that we can all say we have done before. Whether it was a small silly lie or a real serious one, we have all lied. Lying can have some real repercussions as well. Lying is never a good thing. We never really benefit from a lie. Eventually the truth will come out or you will burn inside from that lie. As we continue to talk about Herod, we need to look at this next Scripture.

Matthew 2:7-9 says, “Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.’ After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.”

Most of us have heard about the wise men that went to see Jesus from the nativity story right? Did you know that King Herod sent some of those men to find Jesus? Herod had heard the story going around that a new king had been born, but he did not want to be overthrown as king or anything like that. So Herod had a secret plan to find this child and destroy him. Herod gathered the wise men and gave them a big fat lie. He told them to go find this child so that he could go and worship this child as well. He wanted the wise men to report back after they found him.

Herod had his pants on fire! But the wise men missed that Herod’s pants were on fire as he told them this lie until God revealed the truth to them down the road. Herod really did not want to go worship Jesus, he wanted to kill Him! We see later in chapter two that Herod went and killed all the male babies in this area. His lie turned into a huge mess. Herod went from wanting one child killed to having every male baby killed. That is a massive transition!

Lies never really have good intentions anyways. Lies do nothing but end up making the situation worse. Lying is the original sin as well. Sin never brings anything good into your life. Sin is what separates us from God. Why would we want to do that?

Proverbs 12:22 adds, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.”

Lying is an abomination to the Lord. We need to remember that lying is never from God. As followers of Christ, we need to constantly pursue the things of God. How do you need to work on lying in your life? It could be small lies you tell or some big ones. Maybe you even lie to yourself. Whatever it is, we need to be people filled with truth. Those who act faithfully are God’s delight. We need to want to delight in the Lord. Get rid of those lies in your life, you do not need them. They are not helping.



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