Author Archives: Tommy Youngquist

Luke 12:35-38

The Return of Christ | Devotion #2: Luke 12:35-38
Tommy Youngquist | Children’s Pastor 

I am about to be way too honest with you, but there are times in my life where I will think about the second coming of Jesus, and the thought will run through my head, “Not Yet!” I mean, there are so many things I want to experience in this life. My wife and I just had our first child, and we want to see her grow up. I want to have more children.  I want to see the world. I want to experience being a grandfather.  “There are so many things I want to happen before my life is over,” I will think to myself. But then I check myself, and I have to realize that when Jesus comes back, true life begins!  It will be a life that is so much better than the one I have here. Imagine eternal life in a world that is perfect.

The Bible says in Luke 12:35-38, “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants!”

We are not only supposed to be ready for the return of Christ, but we are supposed to be anticipating it! “Stay dressed for action,” Luke says. Something is coming, and you need to be ready for it. Be prepared. You should be thriving with anticipation because it could happen at any second! 

When my focus shifts from “Not Yet” to “Get ready for Awesome,” my priorities change during my daily routine. Instead of focusing on earning money to do all of the things I think I want to do, I focus on the only thing I can take with me to that “Awesome.” Human souls are on balance.  I will spend more time with Ashley and Heidi. I will spend more time with the RiverKids. When I am forced to decide between earthly or eternal, I am more apt to choose eternally. Part of preparing for the second coming of Christ is doing everything humanly possible to get as many other people ready as you can. Are you doing that? Are you going to be the blessed servant that is awake when Jesus comes back? Or is your mindset “Not yet?”

Romans 3:23

Jesus Died for Our Sins | Devotion #2: Romans 3:23
Tommy Youngquist | Children’s Pastor

I hate going to see a doctor!  I always think to myself, “This will pass, and I will be fine,” no matter what it is.  If I am sick, I never think that what I have is worth the trip, effort, and time it takes to see the doctor.  Most of the time the doctor just tells you what you already know and charges you a fee to do so.  Therefore, I am usually miserable until whatever I have “passes.”  Can any of you relate to this type of thinking?  Am I the only one?

This type of thinking reminds me of how the natural man views sin.  Sin is not a problem to them.  Human nature is not viewed as a bad thing.  “There is nothing wrong with me, and I do not need a doctor,” they think to themselves.  Why try to fix something if you do not think it is broke, right?  The problem is that all of humanity is sick and in need of a doctor.  We are debilitated with our selfishness.   

Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

The first step towards fixing any problem is recognizing that there is a problem.  Jesus said in Luke 5:31-32, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Once you realize you have a problem, you will be more apt to let someone fix it.  This is our problem: All have sinned!  All of humanity has been branded with sin.  I have sinned (and still do).  You sin.  We have a sickness, a sickness that is destroying us.  When we realize this, we allow God the opportunity to fix us.

When we come to the point of realization about our sin, humble ourselves, and repent of our sin, Jesus starts to work in our lives.  He starts to heal our brokenness.  He begins to remedy our sickness.  He waits for us to come to Him.  He is always there for us, too.  Unlike the doctor, He does not charge us a fee to tell us what we already know.  He paid the price!

Isaiah 9:6

Jesus is God | Devotion #5: Isaiah 9:6
fTommy Youngquist | Children’s Pastor

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire.”  Isaiah 9:2-5

Holy Smokes! That is some victories right there! Why are all those victories happening to people that are so oppressed? Why are people who have lived in darkness being shone a great light? Why has the rod of oppression been broken? It helps to look at the next verse for the answer.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Why are all those victories going to happen? The victories will come because Jesus is coming!  God is going to make everything right by sending his Son to earth. The Wonderful Counselor is going to reunite God’s people with Himself. The Mighty God is going to right all of the wrong in the world. The Everlasting Father is going to take His children home forever. The Prince of Peace is going to calm the chaos. We have hope!

When I read these verses, I can relate to the person Isaiah mentions in the first five verses. My life seems so oppressed sometimes. It can be oppressed by finances, culture, social, and economic issues and to be frank, people’s negativity.  I have to remind myself that there is hope. Hope because Jesus is God and Jesus can right the ship. Today, bank on the fact that with Jesus, you get all those victories. Be faithful to Him until you get the win!

John 3:16

Salvation by Faith Alone & Grace of God | Devotion #4: John 3:16
Tommy Youngquist | Children’s Pastor

This is most famous verse in all of the Bible!  This is the verse that everyone knows, even if they are not religious at all.  It is John 3:16!  

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

You probably know it by heart.  What does it mean?  Have you ever stopped to truly digest the words and the meaning behind the message?  Here is a quick breakdown.

“For God so loved the world”   There is a God.  This God loves us.  Humans are God’s most precious creation.  God’s most precious creation made a mistake and sinned.  Because of this sin, God’s most precious creation was separated from Him.  Imagine this scenario.  Imagine loving someone so deeply, but you cannot interact with that someone because they made a mistake.  God is too holy to interact with the sin that infests humanity.  So, God devised a way to get us back to Him and allow us to interact once again.  

“That he gave his only Son”  The only way God could reunite His most precious creation to Himself was to sacrifice His Son.  He was the only person that could be holy enough to atone for the sins of the world.  Do you think God wanted to do this?  Would you want to sacrifice your child for someone else?  Let me answer that for you…NO WAY!  That is how much God’s love for us was and is.  Despite not wanting to, He did it anyway.

“That whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” – Now what do we do because Jesus, God’s Son, paid the ultimate sacrifice?  We do like Romans 10:9-10 says, “Confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe with our hearts God raised him from the dead.”  When we do this, God’s Word says that WE WILL BE SAVED!  That is how God’s love for the world should impact us.  It should cause us to believe in Him with everything.  It should cause us to love Him in return.  It should cause us to want to serve Him with our lives.

As a church, we believe this to be the only way you can attain eternal life in Heaven.  Humanity cannot merit salvation in any way.  It is simply a belief each person has to make for themselves.  Salvation comes by faith in God alone.  This is the Gospel.  It is the only way God could get us back to Himself.  The decision is now up to you.  What have you decided?  Or what will you decide?

Recognize | How?

Recognize | Devotion #6: How?
Tommy Youngquist | Children’s Pastor

“I still cannot believe what everyone did to Jesus!”
“I know, man; I wish we could have done something to help.”

Can you imagine what the two believers on the road to Emmaus were talking about as they traveled?  The conversation had to be heavy!  The Bible says that these two men were believers in Jesus, but the region had just witnessed Jesus being killed!  Think about it.  These believers just witnessed the crucifixion of the person they were putting all of their hope in to save them.  Their hero was dead!

As they were walking and talking, someone catches up to them and joins them in their travel and conversation.  The stranger asked them, “What are you guys talking about?”  With their faces downcast, they report to this stranger that their hero was just crucified and now they are confused as to where their hope lies.  Then the stranger starts to give them a motivational pep talk.  The Bible specifically says, “He said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!’ Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:25).

Every time I read this pep talk, it serves as a reminder to me to not lose heart.  Like these two travelers, I will get depressed about my call in Jesus and wonder if it is true.  I know, but I do!  I cannot believe that I think that, but if I am telling the truth, I do.  It is as if I know that Jesus finished everything and I can wholeheartedly trust that, but I wonder where He is at sometimes.  Just when I find myself thinking this way, it is like Jesus disguises Himself as someone to slap me upside the head and kick my rear back in gear.

The best part of the story is that the two travelers invite the stranger to stay at their house and it is during dinner. The stranger reveals to them that He is Jesus!  Their hope is restored, and that toxic, depressive thinking dissipates.

I love it when Jesus does that for me.  He is the ultimate hope, and we can rely on Him.  When you start to think negatively, be open to a motivational pep talk from Jesus, even if it is disguised as something besides Him.

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