Devotions

Monthly Archives: May, 2016

The Seriousness of the Mission

1 Corinthians 2:3-5

“And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

When I was in college, I was required to take a speech class during my freshman year.  The only thing that could have been worse for me at that time was to let a Tarantula crawl on my skin!  Yikes! Dropping that class was certainly in the forefront of my mind. However, to eventually graduate, I knew it had to be done.  I will never forget the first time I gave a speech in that class.  Minutes before it was my turn, my friend looked over at me to see if I was ready.  He busted out into laughter as he noticed I had already sweated through a good portion of my shirt under my arms.  There was no hiding my fear and trembling!

As much as I hated it at the time, God used that class to help me overcome my fear of public speaking.  So now, when I have the opportunity to teach or preach in front of people, can I do it with absolutely no fear, trembling, or anxiety? No. Not even close.  However, there is a unique difference between the anxiety I faced in college and the anxiety I have today. I am comfortable speaking in public and being in front of people.  It is the weight of the message, the importance of the Scripture, and the seriousness of the mission that makes me tremble. I pray I do not take it too lightly.

Paul had completely surrendered his life to the preaching of the Gospel.  He had planned to give it his all until the day he died.  Because of his passion and love for what Jesus had done in his life, he knew the message he preached was incredibly serious. That is why he brought the message, as he says, “in weakness and fear and much trembling.”  Paul knew the transforming power that the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings.

It does not matter if you preach the word every day, teach it every week, or simply read and study it on your own.  We cannot rely on our own knowledge (lesson 1), and we must understand the weight and the extreme importance of the Scripture.

As believers, we must not rely on the worthless wisdom of man, but rather allow the Spirit to demonstrate God’s power.  That is our goal!

 

Scott Johnson
Connections Pastor

May 30

The Priority of the Gospel

1 Corinthians 2:1-2

“And I, when I came to you brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.  For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

I have never been overly involved in politics.  However, I do find myself getting caught up in many of the presidential debates.  I get intrigued and end up watching for a good amount of time as each candidate banters back and forth about his or her political convictions.  As interesting as it may seem, I often find myself asking, “What are they even talking about?” The moderator asks a question, and then after several minutes of responses filled with political jargon, arguments, and attacks, I am even more confused than I was before the debate began. What is the point of all of this?

I think believers in Christ often do a similar thing.  We can get caught up in intriguing conversations of Theology, Eschatology, Hermeneutics, Calvinism, Dispensationalism, and many other fancy words. Although there may be a time and place for those conversations, I am just not convinced that it should be the focus, and one step further, it may be distracting some people from what really matters.

As Paul addresses the church in Corinth here in chapter 2, he wanted to let them know what was important.  When he first came to them (recorded in Acts 18), he was not concerned with impressing them with his own wisdom.  He did not want to confuse them by explaining everything he knew about who God was. It would not have done him any good to debate deep issues of Theology with these people. He was centered on making sure that they understood the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It was his aim to make sure the people understood that they were sinners in need of a Savior and that Savior is Jesus Christ alone.

We as believers have a desire to see lost souls come to know Jesus. When we speak with our neighbors, our friends, and our family members who do not have a relationship with Jesus, we must be careful not to get caught up in lofty words and our own intellect (however limited or extensive that may be). We need to be sure that the saving power of Jesus Christ through His death, burial, and resurrection is what is being heard.

 

Scott Johnson
Connections Pastor

May 28

1 Corinthians 1
There is a “You” in Unity

I really have struggled with writing this devotion. Unity. God calls us to be united in this cause for Christ. It seems simple enough. I wanted to write…unity, just do it. How hard is it to be united with everyone who claims to be a Christ follower?

1 Corinthians 1:10 says, “I appeal to you brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers.”

Have you ever met a bunch of people who love to disagree as much as the church body? Sheesh, you have people leave churches because of paint colors, they do not like the music, they do not like the children’s program, it is too big, it is too small, the Pastor does not preach exactly how they like, some want pews, some want chairs, blah blah blah. You name it, and I have probably heard the excuses to why people argue or leave a church. We do not like this one, so we are just going to leave and start another one. How ungodly is that? God does not receive glory in our quarreling or separating. For the greater good of the Gospel, we need to lay preferences and hurt down.

What does God call us to be united over? His doctrine. God puts into place Pastoral leadership in our local church bodies. These men are called by God and held responsible for teach us God’s Word. Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.” As long as a Pastor is preaching God’s Word faithfully and is living their lives in accordance with the qualifications of a pastor in 1 Timothy, we have got to put the rest aside and be united in the Scripture. We may not prefer the methods they use or like decisions they have made. However, if they do not go against Scripture, we are to remain unified.

Over the last few months, The River Church and The Point Church unified. This was not an easy decision to make.  What if they do not do things how we do them, what if they spend money differently than we do, what if I do not get to make decisions how I want them, what if they run their programs differently, what if, what if, what if.  However, all of the pastors involved in making this decision put aside their preferences in order for us to collectively reach and minister to more people with the Gospel.  This year we had record amounts of people hear about Jesus in our Easter gatherings at all of our locations.  We came together to have an egg hunt and thousands of people came and heard about the Resurrection. Jesus is glorified in unity. Jesus is blessing us in this unification. Maybe you need to ask forgiveness today for being a part of the quarreling in God’s family.  Maybe you need to ask someone forgiveness for being a part of a church split. I pray for us as a church, regardless of how difficult it is always to be unified in God’s Word.

 

Jen Combs
(Wife of Lead Pastor Josh Combs)

May 27

1 Corinthians 1
What is your Calling?

1 Corinthians 1:26-29, “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were born of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”

Consider your calling. What do you do for a living? Are you a teacher, plumber, police officer, nurse, stay at home mom, in sales, a banker, or whatever your calling?  Consider it; Scripture says that most of us are not super wise according to the world standards, we are not super powerful on a worldwide scale, and I do not think I know anyone of noble birth. However, God chose you; He chose the unexpected. He chose the unlikely candidate. He chose the underdog. He chose you to be His ambassador on Earth. I do not know about you, but in a world that chews you up and spits you out so often, I find extreme comfort in knowing that I am chosen by the King. However, what am I chosen for?

2 Corinthians 5:19-20 says, “…entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors of Christ.” The actual definition of an ambassador is an accredited diplomat sent by a country as its official representative to a foreign country. God chose you to be His official representative to this lost world. Once you gave your life to Christ, you became a citizen of heaven, no longer a citizen of this world. You are His ambassador to this foreign country. You are sent by Him as a representative of His to the lost to share His message of reconciliation, which is just a big word for salvation. When was the last time you shared the Gospel with anyone?  Are you serving in a ministry to help the Gospel go forward? Matthew 28 talks about how we are to make disciples, teach them the Word. Are you discipling anyone? Trust me you do not have to know it all to teach someone. You do not have to have eloquent words. You do not even have to be sure of yourself, just be sure of the Bible. Trust that God will give you the words and you just simply teach them what you know. Even if that is not a lot, keep learning and keep teaching.  If you do not have anyone to disciple and are ready for that, we will happily connect you with someone. So please do not hesitate to ask.

 

Jen Combs
(Wife of Lead Pastor Josh Combs)

May 26

1 Corinthians 1
“For the Bible tells me so”

1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the Word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” The Word of God is folly to those who are not believers (those perishing). The Word of God is silly, stupid, and ridiculous to unbelievers. It makes no sense.  It holds no weight in their lives; it is meaningless. When I looked up the definition for folly, it said madness and lunacy.  Ever have someone who does not believe in Christ look at you as if you have gone mad? Well, apparently that is biblical.    Read the second half of that verse… “but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”  To us who are being saved, the Word of God is everything. At least is should be.

Does the Word of God hold that much weight in your life?

Is it your final authority?

Does it get the last say when you are stating your beliefs?

Sometimes when I talk to believers, they will tell me that they follow Christ but then have some crazy idea of say what marriage looks like.  They will tell me what their belief on drinking is, how they feel about suffering, and what they think about blessing. In my Bible, I have a statement I heard once written down, “Am I defending a position or seeking the truth of God’s Word.” Is how I think a family should operate based on my feelings and how I think it should operate?  Do I look at God’s Word and say, “Ok God, teach me what a family should look like.” God’s Word is my filter for everything (or, at least, I try to make it that way). What I think about drinking, what I think about divorce, what I think about money, and parenting, I run it through the filter of His Word. What does the Bible say about that?  Even doctrine. Some people are tangled up in poor doctrine, and they believe it just because their grandma taught it to them or a pastor years ago said it was so.  What does God’s Word say on the matter?

Here is a hot topic for you, what does the Bible say I should think about government? Paying taxes? What does the Bible say about how the earth was created? How to handle a disagreement? What does the Bible say about aliens? I am talking EVERYTHING here folks! The Bible should be your filter for everything.  Make sure your opinion mirrors what God’s Word says.

 

Jen Combs
(Wife of Lead Pastor Josh Combs)



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