Devotions

Monthly Archives: August, 2016

God is NOT Dead

When I attended Moody Bible Institute, I had the privilege of hearing some amazing speakers and preachers. We always had an annual Founder’s Week every February, which celebrated our legacy as a school. Amongst all the speakers that I was able to see and hear over my four years, one that I especially loved hearing was Ravi Zacharias. Zacharias is without a doubt one of the greatest apologists of our time. He has a burning passion for the lost and it is seen in both his writing and speaking. This quote of his, in particular, has really stuck with me, “Outside of the cross of Jesus Christ, there is no hope in this world. That cross and resurrection at the core of the Gospel is the only hope for humanity. Wherever you go, ask God for wisdom on how to get that Gospel in, even in the toughest situations of life.”

I love 1 Corinthians 15 because it focuses so much on the resurrection and the Gospel message of Christ. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:13-14, “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” Here, Paul is saying it plain and simple; without the resurrection of Christ, we have nothing. The resurrection is the absolute foundation of our faith. It is the resurrection that we preach and the resurrection through which we are saved in Christ.

Zacharias brings up an important point about the resurrection, in that it is the only hope for this world. Everyone in this world is searching for hope. Some find that hope in their job, alcohol, drugs, religion, sex, video games, etc. As followers of Christ, we know the only One, who will bring true hope to all those in this world. So, what does all this mean for us? Urgency. An urgency to spread the Gospel message of Christ. We do not preach in vain, nor is our faith in vain because of the fact that our Savior is not in a grave. Our God is not dead. No, He is very much alive, and He conquered the cross and the grave for every one of us. I do my best to leave you with a personal challenge every day I write and today is no different. With that said, I simply want to reiterate what Zacharias said, “Wherever you go, ask God for wisdom on how to get that Gospel in, even in the toughest situations of life.”

 

Noble Baird
Guest Services Director

Terrific Testimony

“I did not have a fireworks moment for my salvation. I had a falling in love with Jesus in Sunday school when I was a very young child.” I absolutely love this quote from Beth Moore. “A lot of times in the society we live in, bigger is better.” Whether it is the more action-packed movie, the most souped up cars, or the most extravagant home whatever it may be, there is always competition for who has the biggest and the best. Sadly, the same has become true of our testimony as followers of Christ. At times, we can begin to idolize those who have the craziest testimony and story of how they came to Christ. Now, know my heart, I love hearing people’s testimony. Everyone has his or her own unique story, and it is awesome. However, there does not need to be competition on whose is the best. Just as Beth Moore says, there is nothing wrong with not having a big firework moment.

One of the reasons I love 1 Corinthians 15, is because it is the first recorded account of the resurrection. We know this to be true by the facts that Paul writes within the letter. In 1 Corinthians 15:5-8, Paul records those whom Jesus appeared to after His resurrection. The reason we know this to be the earliest recording of the resurrection is found in 15:6, “Then He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.” Right here, Paul is declaring the fact that there are over five hundred witnesses alive, during the time that he wrote this letter, whom can attest to the resurrection of Christ. Moreover, it is through this resurrection that our salvation hinges on. Without the resurrection, we have nothing; no testimony, no stories to tell, and no messages to preach.

Those five hundred witnesses were ready and able to give an account of what they had seen. Some of them may have had some crazy stories about what God had done in their lives before they came to believe in Christ and His resurrection. Yet, for others, I bet they simply fell in love with Jesus that morning He appeared to them. As you go throughout your day and this week, remember that every story matters. We are not in a competition; no story is greater or makes someone a better follower of Christ. Just as those five hundred witnesses could attest to the resurrection of Christ, we can also. At the end of the day, we have all fallen in love with an amazing, risen Savior.

 

Noble Baird
Guest Services Director

Go Gospel

The Gospel. I think it is safe to say that there is no greater message ever told or heard other than the Gospel of Christ. As followers of Christ, all we are and all we have is because of the Gospel. Growing up, I attended a private Christian school from kindergarten all the way until I graduated from high school. During that time, I heard the Gospel and the stories of Jesus constantly. However, as I told you a couple of weeks ago, it was not until I was 16 years old and on the streets of Atlanta that I truly heard the Gospel message. It is a time in my life that I will never forget; I can remember it just like it was yesterday.

In 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 Paul writes, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved.” Paul sets the tone of this chapter by saying, “Hey, let’s take a second, and remember the message of the Gospel. Let’s think about what is at the foundation of our faith.” I love this. Too often, we are caught up in the business of the church, business of serving, business of the next big event, and we can forget the simple message of the Gospel. We forget that moment when it all clicked and truly became a part of us and not just a message.

“By which you are being saved.” What does it mean to truly be saved? Is it simply a prayer that is prayed then we go about our ways of life doing whatever we want? Maybe it is being baptized in a lake that truly sets us apart from the rest, right? Paul tells us the answer right in the passage. The Gospel was preached, received, and now we stand in it. Being a follower of Christ is not like wearing a hat. We cannot simply take it off when we feel like it or throw it on right before we head to church Sunday morning. It is a part of us.

When you stand for something, you not only support it, but you live it. To put it in simple terms, “You can’t talk the talk unless you walk the walk.” So, this week as we begin to take a look into 1 Corinthians 15, I want you to start by remembering when the Gospel message of Christ became real to you. When was that moment when you heard it, received it, and started to truly live it?

 

Noble Baird
Guest Services Director

I Can See Clearly Now

“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33).

Life can be confusing; it is difficult and emotional, and we can get lost in the immensity of life. We come to points where decisions need to be made, or big life things happen, and we do not understand, we do not know how to navigate them. We get confused.

That confusion can lead to some pretty dark paths, some pretty huge doubts, and we begin to question God. We blame Him for our confusion, for our hurts, and for our lives that do not look like what we want them to. What we have to remember is that God is not in the confusion. “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace…”

How do we get through the confusion? How do we figure out how to calm down and cope? We plant our feet on the truth. Sometimes we think we are, but then another dark time comes, and we are back to questioning everything. See, we cannot simply expect to have peace; we have to pursue it. It will not come naturally to us; we are broken people. However, in Psalms 34:14, God calls us to pursue it… “…seek peace and pursue it.”  Do not be passive about having peace, seek it, pursue it, and be intentional.

In Isaiah 54:10 it says, “For the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”

I love that we have a God that offers peace; we do not have to worry about what the world brings because we have a God that will not keep His peace from us. Though “the mountains be shaken… peace shall not be removed.”

 

Jill Osmon
Assistant to the Lead Pastors

1 Corinthians 14:26

“What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.” (1 Corinthians 14:26)

What I love about this verse, it implies that when the Corinthian church gathered, they all gave something, when they did reading, sang, or taught, they all participated in being the church. We attend a large church, so I know it can be intimidating, or overwhelming to try to offer your talents to the church. Maybe you do not believe that your talent is usable. Please understand, do not believe that lie from Satan. God honors our abilities and talents when we use them for His glory.

If I could choose one talent, it would be singing. I love to sing, but my love for singing does not match up to my abilities to sing. It does not sound good, trust me, you do not want to be standing next to me when singing; I am that person. I struggled for a long time to know what I could offer the church. I was good at planning. I could not sing, I could not play an instrument, I was not comfortable teaching, working in the nursery was not something anyone wanted me to do, but I could plan and organize. I had no idea how God could use that, but I began to pray, and God continued to give me a passion for events and organization. I fought it for a long time, trying to focus on other things but God kept bringing me back to the ability that He gave me. When I stopped fighting it, He began to use me and the abilities He gave me. No matter what your talent or abilities God had given you (babies, teaching, cleaning, building, hospitality, friendliness, compassion), do not minimize, or ignore it. Find out how God wants you to use those talents and abilities He has given you. Then come together with the church and use them to glorify God and build up His church.

Let’s work together and build up the church by bringing our talents and abilities together!

 

Jill Osmon
Assistant to the Lead Pastors



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