Devotions

Author Archives: Noble Baird

Serving

Reach | Devotion #6: Serving
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

For many years, serving was always on my list of weekly to-do’s, and I was always able to mark it off on Sunday mornings. Every Sunday for a majority of my middle school and high school years, I would find myself back in children’s church with my parents or Pastor Bonnie. You see, I honestly had no desire to sit in “big church” or listen to the pastor’s preaching, it just was not very fun. So, I asked Pastor Bonnie and my parents if I could help out in the children’s ministry and they allowed it. As I was escaping the big church and checking off my assumed “serving” box every week, I was missing the point.

Paul writes in Colossians chapter 3 about this concept of serving. However, he turns the tables and writes to us about it in a new light. In Colossians 3:23-24 he writes, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” I am not sure if it can be said any clearer or more simple. Paul reminds us as followers of Christ that in whatever capacity we are serving, we must remember the One we are doing it for, Christ.

Although for years I was stuck in the mindset of simply checking off a box, I am so thankful for the words that Paul wrote. It reminded me of the need to serve not simply to check off a box, but because of the One I was serving. I know at times it can be difficult to get up early to greet at the door Sunday morning or to have to get up early and welcome those coming to the Community Center for food. However, I want to challenge you not to have the box checked as the reason you serve. Instead remember the words Paul wrote to us when he said, “You are serving the Lord Christ.” So, the next time you get up early or are asked to stay a little longer than planned, keep these words of Paul near as we continue to serve our Lord together.

GO!

Reach | Devotion #5: GO!
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

Over the past couple years, I have had the privilege of stepping foot in prison yards all over Ohio. If you had asked me when I was in high school if I would ever visit a prison, I would have told you that you were crazy! However, after my first time going in with the team, God truly placed a need in my heart. All throughout my college career at Moody, I had heard of various prison ministries and even had opportunities to go to Cook County Jail in downtown Chicago. I was always hesitant because I had no idea how I could ever relate, greet, let alone begin a conversation with someone who was in prison. Honestly, I was scared.

In Matthew 25: 24-40, Jesus gives a list of physical needs which had been supplemented unknowingly by those who are followers of Christ. In verse 36, He says, “I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” Within this passage, Jesus is giving us a clear and tangible picture of what it looks like to meet the physical needs of the lost. In this case, He very clearly mentions those who are in prison. He does not stop there. He ends this passage by saying in verse 40, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Jesus tells us plain and simple that when we visited the lost and broken in prison, we are doing it for His glory. 

Back in the summer of 2016, I went to Noble Correctional Institute for the first time (maybe a little biased, but this is always my favorite prison to visit). After we had finished playing our set and Pastor Jim finished his message; we had the opportunity to talk and pray with the inmates. I was quickly approached by a man named Trey and his friend who noticed my ridiculous faces I made while playing drums and they wanted to talk. Although we only had a few minutes together, I was able to hear their stories, and they both eagerly asked me for prayer. This past year in 2017, I was able to return to NCI. While I was playing, I looked out as we had over 1,300 inmates gathered around and sure enough there in the front I saw my friend Trey. When it came time for us to talk and pray with the inmates again, Trey ran over to me and gave me a big hug telling me all that had happened this past year.  

I honestly have no idea where Trey is today, if all went according to plan, he is reunited with his wife and his little girl, Layla. No matter, I do know one thing for sure, it is that Trey knows Jesus as His Savior. I have never forgotten Trey, and even though I doubt I will ever see him again during my time here on earth, I am excited to know that we will one day be reunited in the presence of our Savior and I cannot wait to get another big hug from him! So, my challenge is simple, GO! Jesus calls us in Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples.” The only way to reach the lost is to get up, get out of our comfort zone, and GO! 

Loving the Community

Reach | Devotion #4: Loving the Community
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

Several months ago, I received a phone call from a friend who attends the church, and he told me that there was someone in need of help from the Community Center. I asked him what time he could bring the man out and he said they would be at the center by 4:00 pm. So, I went to the center early, told Miss Pat the situation, and we gathered together a couple of boxes of items that we thought the man would need. Once four o’clock rolled around, my friend walked into the center with the man who I had been on the phone with earlier; that is when I had the privilege of watching God work.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul writes about the Body of Christ, which is the culmination of us as followers of Christ. He writes about this to explain how every believer plays an essential role in the Church. In 1 Corinthians 12:12-20, he writes, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.” It is within this passage, that Paul explains the appearance of the Church. Often people will affiliate themselves with one specific denomination or even get wrapped up following one preacher. However, Paul writes to the church in Corinth and us, explaining how there is no separation and how we are all united in one body in Him.

As Miss Pat showed the man all that we had for him and his family, I saw tears start to run down the man’s face. He was speechless at the fact that a church that he did not associate with, nor had he ever stepped foot in, met him with open arms. All of the items that we were able to give to this man was from all of you, the Church. At the Community Center, all we have is donated. The clothing, bread, dishes, towels, blankets, and small household appliances are used to touch lives because of what you gave. That afternoon, a man’s life was changed, and he experienced the love of Christ through the body of Christ working together to show him and his amazing family love. So, thank you Church. Thank you for being a family and coming together, as the body of Christ, to love those in our community who are in need of His love! 

Elisha

Lesson Nine | Devotion #5: Elisha
Noble Baird |Community Center Director

“My God is Salvation.”

Bold, by definition, means, “not afraid of danger or difficult situations.” Every summer, we ride into prisons all across the state of Ohio. It is a ministry that I have personally come to love and respect. The level of trust that God has given to us as a ministry is mind-blowing to me, and also very humbling. As we ride into these prisons, play rock music, put on a magic show, pray, and then pass out books, it is all done with the message of the Gospel. The one thing we want each of those men and women to experience is an understanding of who Jesus is and how He died for them. Being in those prison yards is a mission field unlike any other. We enter into a dark place where hopelessness is around every corner. As we walk through the sally ports and into the prison yards, our prayer is not only for strength and opportunity, but that through us boldly proclaiming the Gospel, lives would be changed.

Yesterday, we looked at an amazing prophet by the name of Elijah. He was known by his name as “My God is Yahweh,” however, he also lived this out in his life. Today, I want to look at his successor, Elisha. At the end of 1 Kings 19, we are introduced to a new young man who is called by God, through the prophet Elijah. It is at this point when Elisha leaves from his father’s fields to follow after Elijah. Fast forward a few years, at which point Elisha had spent much time learning alongside Elijah, and Elijah’s time on earth has come to an end. In 2 Kings chapter 2, we have the amazing account of Elijah’s departure from this earth. Before he is taken up in a chariot of fire, Elijah asks Elisha what the one final gift he wants of him before he leaves. It is at this point that Elisha makes the bold request in 2 Kings 2:9, “When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.’ And Elisha said, ‘Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.’” As Elijah is taken to Heaven in a literal chariot of fire, Elisha’s request is fulfilled, and his ministry explodes in a mighty way.

As we enter into the prison yards every summer, we boldly ask God to do the same as He did with Elisha, a double portion. Are you simply satisfied in your walk with Christ? Are you satisfied in the ministry you have? Elisha could have asked anything, yet he asked to be used more by God. He boldly asked to be thrown in more situations, so that everyone would know who God is and that He is the only way. So, what are you boldly asking of God? Do you want to stay comfortable, or are you asking for that double portion?

Elijah

Lesson Nine | Devotion #4: Elijah
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

Every time a baby is born, a name is given. That name which is given will be carried with them their entire lifetime. These names can span decades of history, a profound lineage, lay a path for one’s life, or give a challenge for the life ahead. Some names are hated, some are loved, some are chanted, and some are even worn by fans. Elvis for example, we do not even need to say his last name and everyone knows we are talking about one of the most influential musicians of all time, “the king.” Yet, when I say Queen Elizabeth II, we think of the royal family and the lineage that has preceded her. As we dive into these different world changers, I want to take a look at one whose name means “my God is YAHWEH.”

In 1 Kings 18, we read about one of the greatest confrontations in all of history. The people of Samaria are in the midst of a severe drought, and King Ahab is seeking water and vegetation for the livestock and people. As Ahab and Obadiah are searching, Obadiah is met by the prophet Elijah. Elijah precedes to meet Ahab and challenges him and all the prophets of Baal and Asherah atop Mount Caramel. It is within these next verses that this confrontation unfolds. In 1 Kings 18:20-39, God reveals Himself in a mighty way to the people of Israel who have yet again, drifted from their Heavenly Father. As all the prophets gather atop the mount and prepare an offering for their god Baal, they are met without an answer. This is when Elijah steps in and declares what his very name means. As an offering is prepared for the one true God, fire comes down from Heaven, consuming the offering. It is then that the people realize their waywardness and how they have drifted from their Father.

For Elijah, not only does his name mean that his God is Yahweh, but he showed that constantly throughout all his ministry. 1 Kings 18:21 says, “And Elijah came near to all the people and said, ‘How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.’ And the people did not answer him a word.” You see, Elijah challenged the people with a question. They were trying to serve two masters; they had their hands in both pots. So, I want to leave you with the same question that Elijah left for the people of Israel. Are you truly following after the one true God, or are you trying to serve two different masters? I do not know about all of you, but even though my name does not mean my God is Yahweh, I want my life and ministry to reflect it.



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