Devotions

Author Archives: Noble Baird

Abraham’s Name Changed 

Abraham, Sarah, & Isaac • Devotion #2: Abraham’s Name Changed
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

For as long as I can remember, people have always questioned my name. Whenever I meet someone new and introduce myself, I always look forward to their reaction. They usually give me one of two reactions, that of disbelief or surprise because they think its a cool name. Noble is not a typical name by any means. I have found this to be true over the past 26 years as I have never met anyone else with the same name. However, I have also come to understand that for some reason it is a difficult name to spell as well. Whenever I walk into Starbucks or a sandwich shop to place an order the name on the order or cup will be: Mobile, Nobel, Noel, Noah, or Nable. It truly feels like I win the lottery whenever someone actually spells my name right on the first try!

In Genesis chapter 17, God appears before Abram and makes a new covenant with him. It is within this covenant that God promises to multiply Abram’s offspring and bless them as long as they continue to follow after God as their one and only God. As part of this covenant, Abram receives a name change. In Genesis 17:4-5 it reads, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.” This name change is not only signifying the promise of the covenant with which Abram enters with God, but it is also a reminder of what his legacy will now be. 

A question that I am often asked is why did your parents name you Noble? To which I give a two-fold answer. The first is that my father was reading a Louis L’Amour book and Noble was one of the characters in his novel. Secondly, my parents wanted to give me a name that they had hoped one day I would live up to and fulfill. Boy did they give me a tall order! However, I am grateful for the name my parents gave me. Yes, the misspelling can sometimes become annoying, but I would not change my name for anything. You see, Abram was given a new name. It was a name that he would have to live up to, and that would leave a legacy for generations to come. Translated literally, Abraham means “father of many nations.” God did not give him this name to simply help the questions and, I am sure, the misspelling of Abram; but He gave him this name to signify the new covenant that was promised.  

Abraham left behind a legacy to his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and so many more as he truly become the father of many nations. However, more importantly, he left a legacy of faith and obedience in the one true God. It is God that would fulfill the promise He made to Abraham. As you continue on in your week, I challenge you to think about your name. Maybe the actual meaning of your name is not significant, but what is more important is what your legacy will be. How will you be remembered? Abraham is remembered for his faith and obedience. Because of that, God made a covenant with him and made a great nation out of his family. What legacy will your name leave behind?

Elohim

Creation • Devotion #2: Elohim
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

One of my favorite movie series is Harry Potter. Now, I do not necessarily agree with everything that is in the movies; however, I do appreciate and enjoy the adventure which Harry, Hermione, and Ron experience. Throughout the series, Harry uses various “tools” to carry out tasks and solve his many mysteries. One of my favorite tools he uses is the cloak of invisibility. As you have probably guessed, for those of you who have not seen the movies, this cloak makes Harry and whoever wears it invisible. This allowed Harry to sneak around Hogwarts without ever being seen.

As we continue to take a deeper look into creation, it is important that we make sure to stop and establish who was there at the beginning. In Genesis 1:2 it reads, “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” So, right from the very beginning, we have established that we not only have God the Father during creation, but also the Spirit of God, or the Holy Spirit for a more familiar name. Fast forward to Colossians, Paul writes in 1:15-16, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him.” Here, Paul establishes that we also have Jesus’ existence at the very beginning of creation. Now, we have this completed picture where we not only have God the Father at creation but also the Spirit and Christ, completing the Trinity.

Some days, I wish that I could put on the cloak of invisibility and just disappear. Maybe sneak into a Dierks Bentley concert, snag a free pizza at Little Caesars, or simply hide at home knowing no one would see me! Now, I know this cloak is not real and it is just all in fun; however, when we talk about the Spirit of God, He has the same character trait of being invisible, yet so much more powerful. When Christ ascended after His forty days here on earth, He told us how He would be sending the Helper. In Acts 1:8 Jesus says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” You see, although we cannot physically see the Holy Spirit, we will be able to see His works through us and others, but not see Him, yet.

Personally, I have found this understanding of the Spirit so comforting. Knowing that Jesus left this earth, but made sure we were never alone, blows my mind. He knew exactly what the Disciples needed then and what we need now. So, as you continue in your week and we continue this study on Genesis, I encourage you to remember the Spirit of God. Knowing that although we may not be able to physically see Him, He is covering us and His power is at work in and through us always.

Heart of Nehemiah

Fasting • Devotion #4: Heart of Nehemiah
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

One of the most simplistic, yet encouraging definitions of “fasting” I have found: “to be firmly fixed.” Growing up, the practice and meaning of fasting were very confusing for me. Whenever I would hear it talked about or read it in the Scriptures, I would tune it out, telling myself it was not for me. Yet, as I grew older and understood God’s Word more clearly, I realized that fasting was so much more than simply not eating for prolonged periods of time.

In the very beginning of the book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah found himself and the city he loved broken. The walls were falling down, fires were raging, and everything that he had known and the place he found comfort was now gone. Yet, before he lost his mind, searched for answers, tried to find a solution, he sought God. Nehemiah 1:4 reads, “As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” Nehemiah’s first reaction was to realign himself and his heart with the Father. He knew that before he could make a move, he needed to prepare his heart and mind with the Father’s purpose and plan.

As followers of Christ, we are going to have these “Nehemiah” experiences throughout our lives. For some of you, you have been in the midst of one for a while, preparing to repair the wall; yet for others, you may be just arriving at the scene and are speechless, trying to process the hurt and destruction. Regardless, I want to encourage you to remember the heart of Nehemiah. Instead of letting his gut reaction take hold, he sat down with a broken heart, but an open one. He sat silently, praying, fasting, and taking the necessary time to fix his heart with the heart of the Father firmly.

Maze or Amazing?

Guidance • Devotion #4: Maze or Amazing?
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

Several years ago, my buddy Connor and I decided to go to a corn maze with a few friends. When we arrived, it was around 7:00 pm and pitch black outside. There were already a ton of people at the farm, and many were in the maze. As we waited in line, only a few had successfully made it to the end, warning those of us in line not to go. However, as Connor and I have a track record of doing, we looked at each other and knew although others were struggling to get through the maze on their own, that we would be able to do it.

In Proverbs 15:21-22, Solomon writes, “Folly is a joy to him who lacks sense, but a man of understanding walks straight ahead. Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” I have always admired Solomon. In 1 Kings 3:1-15, God asked Solomon what he wanted. He could have had anything in the world: money, a brand new Benz, 140 acres with a mansion, or maybe even a spaceship! However, Solomon asked God for wisdom and understanding to lead and reign over the people of Israel. For this reason, I have always admired Solomon. As he writes in Proverbs chapter 15, he is warning us about the importance of seeking guidance in all we do.

So, as Connor and I embarked on this journey to conquer this maze, we were confident that we could be better than everyone else. As time went by and we may have retraced our steps a handful of times, we started to realize that this might be a little harder than we anticipated. Eventually, we gave in and asked one of the guides who was in the maze, to help people who were lost, to help us with directions. I have never forgotten that crazy maze because it is a reminder to me of the importance of the truth which Solomon wrote about thousands of years ago.

As followers of Christ, it is all too often easy for us to forget the importance of seeking guidance. During the hard times of our lives, we are constantly praying and seeking His guidance. However, when things get good, and life is at a normal pace, we can tend to slow down our interaction with God and seeking counsel from those He has placed in our lives. So, I want to leave you with this challenge to seek after wisdom and guidance, continually. Solomon had the opportunity to receive anything he wanted from God, and he asked for wisdom. I hope that this reminder challenges you to seek out His guidance and wisdom daily.

Step Four

Back to Reach | Devotion #5: Step Four
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

As a church, we have made it our mission statement and vision to Reach, Gather, and Grow. The cycle does not stop at Grow; we go right back to Reach. For many, they will hear this vision and think it is simply a three-step process. Once we work our way through Gather and finally start to Grow, some feel they have arrived. However, the most important part is going back to Reach! Matthew 28:19-20 is the foundational passage of all we do as a church, and it is where we find this concept of “Reach, Gather, and Grow.” This passage is often referred to as the Great Commission, and it was some of Christ’s final words before He ascended to Heaven. However, the story does not end there.

In Acts chapter 1, Luke records Christ’s call to all those who are gathered around Him and call themselves followers of Christ. Starting in verses 6-8 Luke writes, “So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’” Here, Jesus is giving us, His followers, the call and charge to go back and reach into all the world. He came and reached out. He gathered together with His disciples and followers constantly and helped them grow in their walk and faith. Then, just before He leaves, He gives the command to go right back and reach out just as we have all been reached at one point.

I love how Jesus gives the charge, “You will be my witnesses.” Wow, how awesome and powerful is it to think how our Savior has chosen us to be the ones to proclaim and stand for Him! Reaching out can be tough at times and even scary; however, if we take a look back at our life and our story of redemption in Christ, at some point, someone reached out to you and me. So, I want to challenge you not to simply stop and be satisfied with your Growth Communities and small groups. Do not just simply check off the gathering box every weekend. No, I challenge you to remember the call that Jesus gave us in Acts 1:8, truly going back to reach and being a witness for our amazing Savior!



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